Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Did You Know . . . ?' Category


What’s the difference between a ball, a skein and a hank?

September 22nd, 2014

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Some Further Reading Related to Balls, Skeins and Hanks


Needle Felting with Acrylic? Check out Lion Brand’s new Spinnables!

August 26th, 2014

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Lion Brand Spinnables

Felting and acrylic aren’t usually words that go together, so when the opportunity arose to try out some of Lion Brand’s “Spinnables” 100% acrylic fiber, I was skeptical. You might recognize this fiber because it’s our Homespun® before it’s spun into yarn! (We wrote about how Homespun® is made HERE.)

Here is a look at the fiber. It’s incredibly soft and silky. I frequently felt with superfine Merino wool, but even that does not compare to the softness of this fiber! It reminds me more of silk than of wool. Lion Brand Spinnables Acrylic Fiber
Acrylic Needle Felted Cat Next step was to try felting a simple object. I picked a cat, although I think the result looks more like a gummy bear. So let’s say it’s a gummy cat. The acrylic fiber felted surprisingly quickly and densely! The gummy cat feels very solid, although the surface texture retains some of the fiber’s silky smoothness. I started with a coarse felting needle and moved on to a finer one as the fiber began to firm up.
All finished! I only had one color to work with, but with multiple colors it would be possible to add details like eyes if desired (of course, a gummy cat doesn’t need them). Because of its extreme softness, this fiber is better suited to projects with simple shapes and rounded edges. Acrylic Needle Felted Cat
Acrylic Needle Felted Cat All-in-all, I think acrylic fiber is an excellent alternative to wool and a great way for those who forgo animal products to get into needle felting. I look forward to experimenting with it further and to seeing what others come up with.

 

Spinnables” fiber is available in 3 oz packages of assorted colors – more than enough for several small projects like this. You can find it at the Lion Brand Outlet and on our website. If you are new to needle felting, we also have everything else you need to get started. We hope you’ll give it a try!


Lion Brand on Pinterest: 6 Reasons to Follow Us if You Knit or Crochet

July 31st, 2014

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Pinterest Blog post imagesAre you addicted to Pinterest? We sure are! It’s just so easy to pin and re-pin project inspirations, recipes, inspirational quotes, and so much more. We never get bored of your boards!

In case you haven’t come across our boards, we’d love for you to check them out.

Lion Brand curates boards on Pinterest with you in mind. We pin hard to provide you with ideas and inspiration for knit, crochet, weaving and craft projects. We’re always pinning silly anecdotes and quotes on our Yarncraft Funnies board, and we often share adorable images of animals in knit or crocheted outfits on our Cute Animals & Yarn board (cats cats cats).

I’ve included a few links to some of our most popular boards below, so make sure you go ahead and follow us!

Pinterest Crochet Inspiration
Find patterns we love from Ravelry, crochet-related blogs, and a select few patterns from lionbrand.com.
Pinterest Knit inspiration
Beautiful stitch and inspirational patterns from bloggers, artists, and Lion Brand.
Pinterest Crafting Help
We’ve curated some great tips, suggestions and techniques to help you with your yarn crafting skills. Learning how to crochet cables seems to be a popular pin in this group!
Pinterest Craft Storage
If you need ideas to improve your yarn storage system, or how to contain your yarn balls as you work – this board has got you covered!

 

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31 Ways Knitting and Crochet Will Change Your Life … and Make You Healthier

July 23rd, 2014

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The research is in and there’s no denying it: people who knit and crochet have a much better chance at staying healthy, being happy and getting organized.

group-knitting_08022014In the past few years, reports from authoritative sources such as CNN, the Huffington Post and Oxford University, cite evidence to support the fact that knitting and crochet can change your life in many ways … and for the better.

Health is a serious matter for all of us, so we took some time to compile our favorite writings on the matter; articles from Lion Brand bloggers such as Kathryn Vercillo and investigative reports from mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post.

We hope that you find this round-up useful and that you’ll include knitting and crochet as part of your personal health and wellness plan. It works!

31 Ways that Knitting and Crochet Can Change Your Life

  1. Relieve depression.
  2. Promote mental health.
  3. Reduce anxiety.
  4. Process grief.
  5. Alleviate cabin fever during winter months.
  6. Reduce Stress.
  7. Practise mindfulness and meditation.
  8. Create a non-medicinal, feel-good high.
  9. Protect the brain from damage incurred by aging.
  10. Learn discipline, empathy, patience.
  11. Lose weight.
  12. Relieve insomnia.
  13. Relieve chronic pain.
  14. Keep your brain fit.
  15. Think clearer.
  16. Reduce negative thoughts.
  17. Reduce or postpone dementia.
  18. Improve your mood.
  19. Get organized.
  20. Build self-esteem.
  21. Avoid cognitive impairment.
  22. Delay memory loss.
  23. Control eating disorders.
  24. Find friends.
  25. Reduce irritability and restlessness.
  26. Control addictions.
  27. Get strong.
  28. Recovery.
  29. Practice prayer.
  30. Give to others.
  31. Build community.

:: Treat yourself! Here’s a pattern for our Aromatherapy Eye Pillows (pattern available in knit and crochet) ::


How to Enjoy Knitting or Crocheting in the Summer

June 19th, 2014

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How to Enjoy Knitting & Crocheting in the Summer

The sun is shining, it’s warm outside and you’re enjoying frozen and iced drinks – must mean summer is here!

Summer is a great time to work on projects you may not otherwise tackle because you’re busy working on a sweater, afghan, or holiday gifts, etc. With the arrival of warm weather, small and portable projects like washcloths, dishcloths, scrubbers, and coasters are ideal. Find yourself frequenting the farmers market for fresh produce? Knit or crochet yourself a reusable market bag!

There are so many great ways to enjoy your yarncrafting this summer. Check out some of our previously posted blog posts for some summertime inspiration.

  1. 6 Fast and Fun Projects Perfect for Summer Crafting
  2. How to Choose the Right Yarn to Knit and Crochet with This Spring & Summer
  3. 4 Reasons to Bring Yarn on Your Vacation This Spring & Summer
  4. 9 Colorful Summery Tote Bags to Knit & Crochet
  5. 5 Fun Summertime Projects from Crafty Bloggers

 


4 Ways To Learn To Knit Or Crochet

March 17th, 2014

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teachtoknit

Wherever I go, when I mention I work for Lion Brand Yarn Company, people tell me they would love to learn to knit or crochet.  It’s not surprising that so many more people want to learn these crafts.  Not only do you see a lot of younger people and celebrities knitting in the last couple of years, but the stress busting and health benefits of doing these crafts are beginning to be recognized by more and more people.

For people who want to learn, I suggest first finding your ideal learning method.  In many cases that will be sitting side by side with a good teacher, but when that’s not possible, there are many other ways.  Here are my top four ways to learn–with and without a person by your side.

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Three New Lion Brand Classes Now On Craftsy!

November 1st, 2013

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One of the most important things we do at Lion Brand is offer education through tips, techniques and step-by-step how-tos. That’s because we know that learning will enhance your ability to enjoy working with yarn.

This year, we asked ourselves how we can get more deeply involved in teaching knitters and crocheters all over the world to grow their skills in a way that can mimic the classroom setting. That’s where Craftsy came in. Craftsy is the premiere online education platform for crafters. We are combining Lion Brand’s beautifully designed patterns and quality yarns with Craftsy’s know-how in online education and their sophisticated, interactive technology.

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New, Informative Labels on Lion Brand Yarns

October 23rd, 2013

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HSTQ label

Have you noticed that we’ve changed our label? Over the past year, we’ve updated the Lion Brand yarn labels to be more helpful for you and your crafting needs.  New additions such as a ruler grid, project icons, and care icons have been added to help you select the perfect yarn for your project. You can find the following label icons under the project image on various Lion Brand yarns.

 Project Icons indicate what kind of project a particular yarn is ideal for:

Trilingual Icons From left to right: scarf, hat, garments, and baby items.

Trilingual Icons

From left to right: afghans, amigurumi/toys, accessories/purses, and socks.

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An Introduction to Needle Felting

October 14th, 2013

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Darrin, our needle felting teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City, shares some insights into this fun and sculptural craft technique. Shop felting tools on LionBrand.com by clicking here.

If you knit or crochet, then you know how important it is to follow the pattern.  Obtaining the correct gauge, and counting stitches and rows are all required to be certain that your project will turn out like the pattern describes.  With needle felting you can forget about all of that!

I hope you will find needle felting liberating as I do, it is refreshing to be free from all of that regulated structure. Take back control of your yarn crafting, and make choices as you go.  Often, if I don’t like something, I just take my scissors and cut it off of my work. It is very liberating to work in a creative free-form way, where you can decide as you go if you like how your work is turning out.

What Is Needle Felting?

Needle felting is a popular fiber arts craft that creates felt without the use of water. Fiber artist Eleanor Stanwood first used special needles that were originally used in industrial felting machines in the 1980s to sculpt wool by hand. Now this art form is gaining in popularity.

Frequently, the needles are described as having barbs, spurs, or notches, along the shaft of the needle that grab the layers of fibers and tangle them together as the needle passes through the wool fiber. These notches face toward the tip of the needle and do not pull the fibers out as the needle exits the wool. Once tangled and matted, the felt can be very strong and used for creating fabric, jewelry, 3D sculptures, and just about any thing that you can imagine.  This is a very versatile art form, and you can really achieve very fine detailed work.

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Gauge & Why It Matters

July 14th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter. 

Every knitter and crocheter has heard of it. Most ignore it. The smart ones know better. What is it? Gauge, of course.

You’ll see gauge (also sometimes referred to as tension) mentioned in your pattern and on the yarn label. Assuming you are knitting with the same yarn as the pattern used, the gauge on the label may or may not be the same.

The gauge on the label is only a suggestion…a starting point for the gauge of the yarn the manufacturer felt was best. You’ll see a needle size noted too; this is also just a suggestion. All yarn works to a variety of gauges with various needles sizes; in fact, some yarn labels will give you a range of suggested gauges and needle sizes.

If the pattern gauge is different than the label, this is gauge you need to achieve. Ignore the label. Remember, the gauge and needle size of a pattern is only the gauge that particular designer achieved with that size needle. Your mileage may vary. This is why you need to check your gauge before beginning to knit the project. If you fail to do this, you may end up very disappointed at the outcome.

Don’t believe it’s important? Let’s say you are knitting a sweater and the back should measure 20″ across. The gauge in your pattern is 16 sts = 4″, in other words 4 sts = 1″, so the number of sts you’ll work over will be 80 (20 x 4). Suppose you are getting 3.75 sts to the inch instead of 4. Your piece will measure 21.4” (80 divided by 3.75). If you were knitting at 4.25 sts to the inch instead of 4, your piece would measure 18.8″ instead of 20. So, as the math shows you that even a quarter of a stitch in your gauge indeed makes a huge difference! The more stitches you are working over, the larger this difference will be.

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