Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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


2 Ways to Start a Circle in Crochet from Dora Ohrenstein

February 12th, 2015

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Learn 2 Methods for Crocheting a Circle

Thanks to our friends over at Storey Publishing, we’re sharing a handy excerpt from Dora Ohrenstein’s latest book, The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop (The Essential Techniques for Becoming a More Versatile, Adventurous Crocheter).

Dora’s latest book features numerous tips on gauge, crochet shaping and construction, colorwork and more – so we suggest that you go ahead and check out the book in its entirety, you’ll be glad you did.

In the meantime, have a look at the excellent excerpt below. Coupled with instructional photos, you’ll quickly and easily learn two different methods for starting a crochet circle – a ring with chains and the magic circle.

Try them out to see which method you like best!


Starting the Circle

There are several different ways to begin working in the round. You can make several chains (the most common method), make an adjustable ring, or use the first chain as a ring. Let’s look at the first two.

Make a Ring with Chains

To make a ring with chains, work several chains, then slip stitch in the first chain to form a ring. The number of chains is determined by how many stitches you intend to work into the ring and how tightly you want the ring to close. If you are following a pattern, the number of chains will be specified. Supposing, however, that you are working a hat pattern, and after working the specified number of chains and stitches in the first round, you find you have a larger hole at the center than you’d like. Go ahead and try again with fewer chains: it will cause no harm whatsoever. For other items worked in the round, such as motifs and flowers, the size of the “hole” at the center can make a difference, as it affects the overall size of the finished piece. In these instances, it’s wise to stick with the instructions as written.

Ring with chains

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New Easy-to-Follow Patterns for Knit and Crochet Projects!

December 5th, 2014

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We’ve developed a new system for bringing you easy-to-follow patterns for knit and crochet projects. The new pattern style features simple diagrams and less text, plus simplified written instructions so you can both visualize and understand each step.

We believe that you’ll find these patterns to be the easiest you’ll ever use, so you can knit and crochet with newfound confidence.

But don’t just take our word for it … below is a sampling of three popular patterns written in the new style. Click on the image or name and you’ll be taken to a PDF file featuring the new pattern style. Give it a try, start creating the easy way today!

Crochet Simple Shrug
Open as a webpage
Level 2 Easy Knit Poncho
Open as a webpage
Knit Cromwell Court Afghan
Open as a webpage

We’d love to hear your opinion of this new style of pattern writing, so please leave a comment below.


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!

 

Pinterest Pin it image


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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