Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Crocheting' Category


How Visualizing and Completing a Crochet Project Can Change Your Life

December 20th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares inspiration for enjoying all of your craft projects from start to finish. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

visualizing-crochetI believe strongly in the power of crochet to improve quality of life whether you’re suffering from a serious condition like depression or just seeking to experience more inspiration in your everyday life. One of the key ways that I believe crochet can help is through embracing each stage of the project including the process of visualizing, working on, and finally completing the work.

Visualizing a Crochet Project

Many people underestimate the value of this first step of a crochet project but it can be immensely beneficial to focus on it. Truly embrace the process of thinking about what you want to make, how you want to make it, who it will be for, and which yarn you will want to use.

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Video: How to Do a Chain-Less Foundation Row

December 9th, 2013

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Maggie Weldon is a crochet expert who loves to share her expertise with those wanting to master the art of crochet.

How many times have you carefully counted your chain stitches when starting a crochet project to find that you’ve come up short or have extra? With the Chain-Less Foundation Row, also known as a Foundation Single Crochet, you’ll never have to count chain stitches again! Watch the video below to learn this easy technique:

If you’re reading this blog post in your email or an RSS reader, please click on the title to view the full blog post and video on our website.


Amigurumi-fy Your Christmas Tree With These 9 Patterns!

December 8th, 2013

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Last week I put up my Christmas tree, a tiny two-feet tall plastic tree that was the perfect size for a cozy apartment in New York City.   Since I started working at Lion Brand a few months ago, I’ve been thinking about adding some handmade ornaments to reflect my love of yarn and crochet.

When one of our readers had mentioned she had used baby booties as ornaments, it gave me the inspiration to crochet amigurumi!  They would be small enough to fit on my tree and could also fit in a shoe box once the holiday season was over. Cute and functional!

Here are some ideas for decorating your tree:

Amigurumi Graduation Bookworm Happy Reindeer in Vanna's Choice and Vanna's Glamour Amigurumi Lady Bug
Amigurumi Graduation Bookworm
in Wool-Ease®
Happy Reindeer
in Vanna’s Choice® and Vanna’s Glamour®
Amigurumi Lady Bug
in Wool-Ease®

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Eight Arms to Love You With: My Daughter’s Halloween Costume

October 30th, 2013

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costume

My daughter loves octopuses (or is it octopi?) and is almost never caught without holding one of her 7 stuffed octopuses or wearing one of her growing closet of socks and tees.  When I saw this pattern for an octopus costume there was no contest as to what she wanted to be.  She got so excited and immediately asked that it be made in her favorite colors: purple and “lellow” (yellow) with pink spots.

Crocheting the entire thing would be a feat that would’ve taken more than a month’s planning.  And while I could quilt, the pattern was beyond my skill level.  Thankfully Jackie, our Technical Editor, was an expert seamstress and offered to help out.   Since I love creating new things using yarn, I wanted to add some personal handmade touches.

But I also didn’t want it to be just handmade – I wanted it to sparkle and glitter.

When I first saw the pattern I immediately wanted crocheted medallions for the suckers and the spots.
Vanna’s Glamour fit perfectly with what I wanted, and her mustard gold yarn went well with the deep purple velvet fabric.  Soon I was swept up in a creative moment and started picking out more colors like light gold and pink, which would give the costume a cool, colorful, and textured look.  Even Michala, our Design intern, found it so adorable that she also wanted to assist.  Since I knew she was fast crocheter, I asked if she could make some medallions whenever she had free time.

By the time I looked away, I found a pile of medallions of varying sizes already on the table.  She even had extra time to crochet the eyes and a pink bow too!

Then I saw Martha Stewarts CraftsTM/MC Glitter Eyelash yarn and it all came together.  The sparkly polka dots, the giant eyes with purple eyelashes, even the pink bow on its head. When I showed my daughter the finished product she couldn’t wait to get it on her.

Michala crocheting away The growing pile of octopus spots Sewing it altogether
Michala crocheting away The growing pile of octopus spots Sewing it altogether.

The only bad (or good) part will be trying to take it off her once Halloween’s over.


Learn to Crochet with Easy-to-Follow Videos

September 9th, 2013

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If you’ve always wanted to learn to crochet but had trouble following written directions and illustrations, check out our video playlist!

Already know how to crochet? Share this blog post with your friends who are interested in learning!

If you’re reading this blog post in your email or an RSS reader, please click on the title to view the full blog post and videos on our website.

For more blog posts on crocheting, check out:


Get Started on Back-To-School & Fall Projects with New, Striping Colors of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick!

August 19th, 2013

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Since so many of you turn to Wool-Ease Thick & Quick as your tried and true yarn for afghans and warm fall/winter accessories such as hats and scarves – we’ve updated the line to add a few new self-striping colors.  The new colors of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick were designed to create solid blocks of color, then striping blocks of color as you work, so that you won’t have to change yarns to create the effect.

The new colors of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick stripes in Hoosiers, Hoyas, Crimson, Tigers, Huskies, and Spartans make it easy for you to create fun, fast-finish projects to show off your team spirit and school colors.  Browse the color selections below and see if there’s a shade for your favorite team!

Crochet Wharton Wristers
Crochet Wharton Wristers
Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Spartans
Collegiate Hat and Scarf
Knit Collegiate Hat and Scarf
Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Crimson
Crochet Bucket Tote
Crochet Bucket Tote
Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Hoosiers

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Help Pick the NEXT Crochet-Along Project!

August 7th, 2013

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It’s that time of year again! Crochet-along with us as we make one of the following garments!

But FIRST you have to help us pick the pattern! Learn more about the patterns on LionBrand.com: Sunset ShrugColorfully Modern JacketTop Down Crochet Jacket.

« Click here to vote. »

Help Pick Our Fall 2013 Crochet-Along Project!

A crochet-along is a virtual event, where all the participants make the same project together. Follow along with crochet-along host Lauren here on the blog and share your comments and photos. There’s no need to sign up, and it’s free to join(New to crochet-alongs? Check out our guide here.)

The winning pattern will be announced next Wednesday on the blog—when we’ll also give you details on picking up your supplies and getting started on the project!

Votes must be cast by 12:00 am Eastern August 13, 2013. You must use the link above to vote; comments here on the blog do NOT count as votes.

Knitters, look out for a knit-along later this year, here on the Lion Brand Notebook.


Crochet as Meditation

July 24th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips on meditating through crochet.

Crochet as MeditationI remember the first time that I tried formal meditation. I sat amidst a group of compassionate people with closed eyes who were letting go of all thoughts, focusing attention on their breath. I felt no compassion for myself as my monkey mind skittered about. I felt self-conscious about my constant twitching and resituating, certain I was irritating the peaceful beings around me. More than that, I simply didn’t enjoy the experience. My anxious mind raced into terrifyingly uncomfortable places. I left feeling that meditation is a great thing…for other people but not for me! Then I found crochet.

Crochet offers a chance to meditate in a way that many people find easier than sitting still in a room and focusing on the breath. Crochet is a relaxing, repetitive craft that can be done as a means to mindfulness. The combination of constant counting, gentle recurrent hand motions and focus on the work is a stress-reducer and a path to being present in the here-and-now.

Want to practice crochet as a form of meditation? Here are some tips:

  • Choose a project that requires only beginner skills, like a large granny square or a scarf made of only single crochet stitches.
  • Select a project that offers comfort in counting. For example, a scarf will let you count the same number of stitches again and again in each row.
  • Use a yarn color that feels comforting.
  • Work in a quiet, relaxed space.
  • Set an intention. At the beginning and end of the crochet project remind yourself what it is you want to achieve with meditative crochet. Celebrate the craft and celebrate yourself.

There is certainly something valuable to be found in formal meditation. However, it doesn’t work for all of us. In particular, people with mental health conditions including depression and anxiety may find it too difficult to simply sit on the cushion and watch the breath. We can use mindfulness crochet instead to bring ourselves back to the present moment, practicing compassion for ourselves and for others with each stitch.

What has been your meditation experience? How does crochet help?


6 Fast and Fun Projects Perfect for Summer Crafting!

July 12th, 2013

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Now that we’ve celebrated Independence day and have spent some time at the beach, it’s clear that we’re in full summer mode! Of course as a crafter, you know that just because it’s warm out – that’s not an excuse to stop your knitting or crocheting.  Summer is a good time to work on smaller scale, portable projects. You’ll feel so accomplished knocking out project after project on road trips, or just relaxing by the pool.  To get you started with ideas, I’ve included some fast, stress free project from crafters on the Internet, as well as our very own Lion Brand patterns.

Projects from Crafters:

ArchieCrochet Picture Frame
in Amazing
headbandMoss Stitch Bow headband
in Wool-Ease
Knitted Jam Jar Sweater
in Vanna’s Choice, Wool-Ease

Lion Brand Projects:

buds
DIY No Tangle Ear Buds

in Bonbons

Crochet iPad Cover
in Vanna’s Choice
bookmarks
Mini Granny Square Bookmarks

in Bonbons

What are your favorite summertime projects? Share with us in the comments!

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6 Quick & Easy Patterns for July 4th Celebrations!

June 28th, 2013

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July 4th is just around the corner, and you know what that means – BBQs, pool parties, picnics and more! In preparation of the big celebration day, I’ve gathered some fun decorative, and patriotic themed patterns to help you get in the spirit of things. Below you’ll find projects from some creative bloggers in addition to our Lion Brand patterns.  Take a gander for yourself and get ready for some crafting this weekend!

Projects from Blogs we enjoy:

Patriotic Crocheted Stars
Patriotic Stars
Blog: Repeat Crafter Me
Star Spangled Banner
Star Spangled Banner Crochet Bunting
Blog: Petals to Picots
Baby Sandals from Tutus and Tea Parties
Patriotic Barefoot Sandals
Blog: Tutus and Tea Parties

Lion Brand Patterns:


Americana Crochet Evaporative Cooler
Lion Cotton (can substitute for Kitchen Cotton)
Click here for knit version
Barista Cup Cozy Set
Barista Cup Cozy Set
Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp
Macrame Plant Hanger
Macrame Plant Hanger (Craft)
Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton

Do you like to knit or crochet items for your BBQs or celebrations? Tell us some of your favorite patterns for these occasions!

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