In 2007, we started our on-demand radio show (aka podcast), YarnCraft. Since then, we’ve aired over 100 episodes, featuring behind-the-scenes stories from Lion Brand, interviews with people ranging from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee to Vanna White to Nicky Epstein, and tons of useful tips and pattern recommendations.
I’ve had the pleasure of working on each of these episodes, first as a producer and then later also as a co-host, and I’d like to invite you to check out the show if you haven’t already.
Here are just a few reasons you might enjoy YarnCraft, straight from our listeners…
Each episode features a main theme/topic, as well as other fun segments. We cover topics ranging from patterns for particular seasons to becoming a professional knit or crochet designer.
“YarnCraft inspires me to try things I never would have tried. Hearing advice from other crafters gives me confidence and ideas to create things on my own. I look forward to every podcast and I learn something new each time!” – Erin, Denver, CO
“I just listened to the podcast on shaping…wow, how informative! [...] You inspire me to tackle things I would never even consider. Thank you for providing a podcast that is informative and interesting and benificial to increasing my skills and knowledge of yarncrafting.” – Allison, Morton, IL
Have you liked our Facebook page? If so, you should see all of our tutorials, questions, pictures, and conversations in your Facebook news feed. However, recent changes to the Facebook have made it so that not all of our posts may make it into your feed, even though we’re still updating our page frequently. Thankfully, there’s a super easy solution to make sure you catch all of our updates!
First, visit our Facebook page. After you’ve liked the page, you’ll see a “Liked” button. Simply click that, then make sure the “Show in News Feed” option is checked. That’s all there is to it! If you use interest lists on Facebook, you can also add us to a list for easy content sorting. Now you’ll be able to see our posts directly in your feed instead of having to come to our page.
That’s one of the most popular questions on the Lion Brand FAQ section. Maybe you don’t have a pattern with you when you shop or you want to design your own creation. Having a general idea of the amount of yarn you will need for a project can be helpful in the planning phase before you get started.
Click here to see an approximate yardage for a variety of projects from afghans to scarves and get an idea how much yarn each project takes in some of our most popular yarns.
Did you know that we offer so much more than patterns and products on our site? We’ve developed a wide range of information that is designed to help expand your yarn crafting horizons. From a helpful list of pattern abbreviations to a virtual encyclopedia of stitch patterns, you’ll find a wealth of useful facts, images, and instructions that help you grow your skills and hopefully bring you more enjoyment when you pick up your hooks and needles.
If there anything we don’t have that you’re looking for, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Hate weaving in ends? The Russian join is an excellent technique for attaching a new skein of yarn or for changing colors. Best of all, it creates a secure join, so you can keep crocheting or knitting without worrying about yarn ends! Here are instructions on how to complete the Russian join in 7 easy steps. I’ve used 2 different colors of yarn, but this is a great technique for attaching a new skein of the same color yarn, too!
1. Thread a blunt needle with one end of yarn.
2. Work the needle through the plies of your yarn for a few inches. Don’t worry if this looks bunched up now.
3. Pull your working yarn through, leaving a small loop at the end. This is where the second piece of yarn will be attached.
4. Thread your needle with the second piece of yarn, then insert the needle into the small loop you created before.
5. Pull a few inches of yarn through the small loop.
6. Like you did before, work the needle through the plies of your second piece of yarn.
7. Give each strand a little tug to smooth out the bunching. You now have a secure join! Trim off any excess ends.
That’s all there is to it! Depending on your yarn, you may notice that this joined area is slightly thicker than the rest of your yarn. I find this isn’t very noticeable when I’ve worked my projects, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Group crafting can be a lot of fun because you get to chat and form new friendships, find new inspirations, or even become someone else’s source of inspiration. It’s also beneficial to knit or crochet in groups if you find that you need some help with a project or with understanding certain techniques. To help make it easier for you to find knit and crochet groups/clubs in your area, Lion Brand Yarn created a database to search possible options near your area.
Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes. If you’re stuck on a pattern and reach out to us, you might get the chance to chat with Laura! She’s one of our resident experts, and I’m always impressed with her encyclopedic knowledge of all things yarncrafting. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out this sweet email from Diane:
Over the past couple of years, since I’ve gotten back into knitting, I’ve run into pattern problems that I couldn’t figure out for myself. You have been such a tremendous help, talking me through the rough spots and making it possible for me to finish several sweaters for our two sets of twin great-grandchildren and one teenage grandson. All of the patterns I used were labeled “Easy,” but in each I needed a little assistance. I appreciate having a support line, and most of all I appreciate knowing that you’re going to be there for my next question.
Thanks so much for your email, Diane! Remember, if you need help with a pattern, please reach out to us! You can call 800-661-7551 on weekdays or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tired of weaving in ends whenever you reach a new skein in your crochet project? Avoiding crochet colorwork project because there are too many ends? Try crocheting over your ends! This easy technique allows you to keep on crocheting so that the end you have to weave in is the very last one. Here’s how to do it.
You’ll have two pieces of yarn: the working yarn and the tail you’re weaving in (top image). Place the tail over the top of your next stitch (second image). Then, complete your stitch as normal (third image). This securely hides your tail in the middle of the stitch (bottom image). Continue in this manner until the entire tail has been used, then snip any excess yarn that may be sticking out. That’s all there is to it! This technique is helpful for both stripes and solids, so get crocheting!
I admit it: I used to cheat at gauge swatches. I would cast on, work a few rows, then assume I was good to go. Of course, my projects never came out the right size (and I have the ill-fitting sweaters to prove it)! Since then, I’ve decided that I prefer sweaters that fit, so now I’m a believer in the gauge swatch. Not only does a swatch help you measure your gauge, but it also gives you the chance to practice your stitches and see how your project will drape. Are you ready to swatch now? Here’s how to make and measure your swatch in 5 easy steps.
Step 1: Cast on using the same technique you’ll use for your project. The gauge section of your pattern will tell you how many stitches per inch to anticipate, usually given over 4 inches. To get the most accurate measurements, you’ll want to cast on enough stitches to give you a 5-6 inch swatch. For example, this pattern has a gauge of 16 stitches = 4 inches, so I’m casting on 24 stitches. Work in your pattern for 5-6 inches, then loosely bind off.
Step 2: Measure vertically and horizontally. Don’t cheat by stretching it! It’s okay if your swatch doesn’t lay flat; hold it flat without stretching as you measure. For more accurate measurement, start your counting a few stitches in from the edge (as the size of your edge stitches may be distorted). Note your stitch and row gauge because it’s all about to change!
Step 3: Wash (and dry) your swatch in the same way that you’ll care for your finished piece.
Step 4: Are you going to block your finished piece? If so, block your swatch. Otherwise, skip ahead to Step 5. Click here for more information on blocking.
Step 5: Measure your swatch again. I repeat, don’t cheat by stretching your swatch! This will be your final gauge, which you’ll match against the pattern.
And that’s all it takes to make a gauge swatch! After following these steps, did your gauge change? Mine sure did! I went from 20 stitches over 4 inches (before washing and blocking) to 16 stitches over 4 inches. Likewise, my row gauge went from 38 rows over 4 inches to 32 rows over 4 inches. Does your gauge match your pattern? If not, it’s time to make another swatch. If your swatch is too small (too many stitches per inch), go up a hook/needle size; if your swatch is too big, go down a hook/needle size.
Just as there are many different variations of yarns, there are types of needles and hooks to choose from as well. Hooks and needles come in different shapes, sizes, and textures to help you achieve your best results when yarncrafting. They even come in fun colors and designs, allowing you to add a personal touch to your collection of supplies! Imagine your friend handing you a pair of needles in that royal purple color she knows you love so much; you’ll always remember that moment when you work with those needles.
The most common materials you’ll find your needles or hooks in are plastic, wood and metal. Needle or hook choice is entirely up to you, but it might be beneficial for you to know that the different materials of the needles/hooks can affect the way your knitting or crochet may feel (and sound) as you work.
It’s good to consider having multiple needles and hooks in varying materials, because their properties may have different effects on your gauge. In other words, you may find that you get a slightly different gauge when you knit/crochet with bamboo compared to when you knit/crochet with metal. Read below for more info on how the different tool materials affect yarncrafting styles.
There was a time when I did laundry and the most sorting I would do for my loads would be to separate the whites and colors. I washed everything in hot water, and threw them all into a hot dryer to dry. Needless to say, my cashmere sweater was no longer a recognizable garment. It shrunk incredibly and had multiple holes in it; that sweater was dead. Thankfully it wasn’t a hand-made item, but it still hurt to lose it – so today, I’ll share some tips on how to properly wash those yarn-crafted goods that you spent your precious time and energy on.