Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Knit-Along' Category

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 2: Reading Stitches and Swatching!

May 4th, 2016

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Spring2016KALmainI am so thrilled you are on board with our spring knit along: the Rio Rancho Cardigan. It is a flowy, open cardigan that I keep calling my cardishawl. I love how easy it is going to be to throw on when it gets a little chilly at night. I am also loving watching my color changes as I knit up this cardigan.

First things first! If you are new to knitting or choosing this knit along to improve your knitting skills, I want to point out a few important points.

I have to enourage you to knit up a gauge swatch. Not only does this aid you in choosing the correct size needles, but it also ensures the garment will fit. For this project, fit is not as important as this is a one-size fits all open “cardishawl”, but for more form-fitting projects, it is a crucial first step.

For this project, swatching serves two purposes:

1. How much air do you want in your garment? Examine your fabric to see how tight or loose you wish the garment to be. I was actually able to obtain gauge on a 7 and 8 needle. Using a 7 needle made my fabric a bit less airy than with 8’s. I liked that feel, so I went with a size 7 needle.
2. Am I comfortable with the seed stitch? If you are new to knitting or the seed stitch, knitting a 4” square is a great way to practice this new technique.


I hate to say it, but due to the texture of this yarn, it is a little tricky identifying the difference between knit and purl stitches. I took a few photos so that you could see the difference between the purl stitches (BUMPS) and knit stitches (V’s).



For seed stitch, whatever the stitch is that you encounter on the needle, you knit it the opposite.

When you see a bump (PURL), knit that stitch. When you see a knit (V), purl that stitch. When you get used to reading your stitches, it is easy to put it down and pick it up and begin again without remembering what you did last.

Taking the time to learn to read your stitching takes a lot of the stress out of it. And since the beginning of this pattern is 11 inches of seed stitch, it’s important to not be stressing out!

Speaking of the beginning, I suggest casting on using markers for every 10 or 20 stitches.

There is nothing more frustrating than losing count on a large cast-on. Adding markers makes counting it much quicker. No stress knitting everybody!

Comment below if you have any questions or comments about beginning this project. See you on the Ravelry thread too!

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 1: Grab Your Kit!

April 27th, 2016

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Welcome to the Lion Brand Yarn Spring Knit Along! This spring we will be knitting the Rio Rancho Cardigan. It is a lightweight, flowing pattern that marries love of cardigans with love of shawls.

If you are like me, you have been eyeing Lion Brand Yarn’s newest yarn: Shawl in a Ball.  I had the opportunity to crochet up a shawl recently, and one ball was just not enough to satisfy me! I am thrilled to say that this pattern uses 3 balls of Shawl in a Ball.  It’s the perfect amount for this one size fits all cardigan, and a wonderfully affordable project!

Check out the video below to see some footage of this cardigan in action at the CHA Fashion Show this past winter.

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch – ::

Every season and complexion is covered in the range of colorway offerings.  If you love autumn colors I suggest Calming Desert and Peaceful Earth.  If you are a neutral lover: Soothing Blue and Feng Shui Grey.  If you love the bright colors like me: Restful Rainbow, Mindful Mauve, Healing Teal and Community Coral are perfect for you.

I am knitting my Rio Rancho Cardigan in Mindful Mauve.  I love the purple hues paired with grey.

There’s still time to grab your supplies — order your KAL kit today!  Join us on Ravelry so we can discuss it as we knit.  You can find us there and also here in the comments below, on Twitter and Instagram.  You will finish just in time to have the perfect garment for those chilly summer nights.

Happy Knitting!

Announcing… The Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along!

April 13th, 2016

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Spring2016KALmain Each season we host a crochet- or knit-along, a virtual event in which knitters and crocheters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up! Simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you knit your project, and feel free to share your comments and/or photos as you progress.
rio rancho cardigan

And the pattern is…

We heard you loud and clear: Shawl in a Ball is a must have for your stash, and we’re gearing up for a Knit-Along that really shows off this yarn! Join our host, the always wonderful Kristy Glass, as we make the Rio Rancho Cardigan together!

Click here to download the pattern for the Rio Rancho Cardigan.

To get this knit-along going, this week is about gathering your materials so that we can jump right starting on Wednesday, April 27th. Remember, our knit-alongs are designed for you to follow along at your own pace, so don’t fret if you don’t have your yarn just yet!

Starting April 27th, our KAL host Kristy Glass will post her progress through the Rio Rancho Cardigan project, with updates coming every Wednesday. You’ll know it’s a dedicated KAL blog post when you see our special badge in the upper right-hand corner of the post. Don’t forget to join our Ravelry group for this KAL as well!

Get Your Kit…

To best prepare for our KAL, grab one of our kits! You’ll get all the Shawl in a Ball you need to make the Rio Rancho Cardigan, plus a pattern copy to keep with your WIP.

Choose from 8 spectacular colors!


Or Win Your Kit!

Enter to win: Use the form below to tell us what your favorite color of Shawl in a Ball is and you’ll be entered to win a KAL kit in that color! Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen; enter now!**

Viewing on a mobile device? Click here to access giveaway.

**Only one entry per person. Promotion ends Wednesday, April 20 2016 at 11:59pm EST. Three (3) winners will be randomly selected and contacted by email before April 25th, 2016. Open to residents of the USA and Canada. No purchase necessary. Retail value of prize is approximately $30 USD.

Free Spirit Topper Knit-Along: Blocking & Seaming

November 25th, 2015

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KAL #2Friends! Fellow Knitters! I cannot believe we have reached the end of another fantastic knit along. I admit I felt a little overwhelmed when I read the Free Spirit Topper pattern — all those stockinette stitches! – but I am SO GLAD I stuck with it because my topper is so cozy. I haven’t taken it off since I finished.

For those of you who have not finished, I have a few last items of business to share with you.

First of all I want to talk about blocking. When I finished my two panels, they puckered in the middle, inside the seed stitch border:



I decided that blocking before I combined the two pieces was the best idea. I found this fabric does not require much manipulation, so I wet each piece and squeezed the water out gently. Keep in mind there is a 20% animal fiber component to this yarn, so it’s best not to agitate your yarn, to avoid felting. I laid one piece on my stone kitchen bar countertop and flattened out the puckering. I then placed the second panel directly on top of it, shaping it identically.


Free Spirit Topper Knit-Along: What’s Your Knitting Style?

November 18th, 2015

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KAL #2
You are probably nearing the end of your first of two panels for the Free Spirit Topper.  You have repeated the same two rows for so many inches, you may be exhaling a little sigh as you realize you have to do it all again for the second half of your Free Spirit Topper!

If you’ve lost steam, you could always wear the first half as a scarf until you get around to the second panel, but for those of you who are committed and determined to have a snugly sweater at the end of this knit along—I’m talking to you!

Due to the repetition of this stockinette pattern, I have found myself wondering about different knitting techniques.  I learned to knit using the English style of throwing the yarn.  Over the years I have tweaked my technique to wrapping my working yarn around my pointer finger and sort of flicking it around the needle.


This past year I have challenged myself to knit garments (as opposed to scarves or hats or smaller projects) and this has caused some knitting fatigue.  I taught myself how to knit in the continental style which involves picking the yarn instead of throwing it.  I find a row of continental style knitting goes a bit faster too—so I am that much closer to the finished product.

Though I have enjoyed experimenting by mixing my techniques when knitting for long stretches, I warn that this can mess with your tension if you are a beginner.  Be sure to do some practicing on a practice swatch to make sure your tension remains the same throughout.

If you have tried knitting before and not found your groove, trying a new technique may be the trick. One style may be better for a righty than a lefty.

I recently discovered a class on knitting techniques BEYOND English vs. Continental, from Patty Lyons.  She talks about 6 different techniques. This may be fun to explore if your skill level is beyond a level 2 (the rating for this topper).

On another note, I have found that my marker, separating the 8/9 stitch border from the rest of the project has been misplaced a few times. I don’t know how this has happened! But there are a few stretches where my border ended up only being 7 or 8 stitches long instead of the correct amount! I hope it blends in when I am wearing it! Almost everything I have made has a little mistake or too—don’t fret—it gives your garment some added character!

What is your favorite knitting technique? How do you prevent knitting fatigue? I would love to hear about your stretches and techniques in the comments below.

Take a look at some of our fellow Ravelry knitters as they work on their Free Spirit Toppers! All projects featured use different colors of Scarfie.

tealadytoo leaobrien95 memaw9
Tealadytoo’s Free Spirit Topper in Ochre/Navy Scarfie leaobrien95’s Free Spirit Topper in Cranberry/Black Scarfie memaw9’s Free Sprit Topper in Forest/Black Scarfie
Nolanacleta Aquaspir KnittedKnotion
Nolancleta’s Free Spirit Topper in Cream/Taupe Scarfie Aquaspir’s Free Spirit Topper in Denim/Navy Scarfie KnittedKnotion’s Free Spirit Topper in Oxford/Claret Scarfie

I am Kristy Glass and I am so thrilled to be infiltrating the Lion Brand blog to lead you in the 2015 Fall Knit Along! Even though I learned to knit as a girl, my passion for fiber arts has escalated at a very steep rate these past several years.

I returned to knitting and began crocheting about 8 years ago after I suffered an unexpected health setback leaving me feeling completely out of control. Hand work was a healing salve for my body and soul as I suffered through a long healing process. Thankfully I continue to use knitting to aid meditation, solace and a feeling of accomplishment. I knit year round, despite weather changes, and I am highly anticipating us all knitting together on this project.

I have completed over 100 projects including scarves, cowls, hats, hand warmers, phone cozies, afghans, pillows, sweaters and yarn bombing. My most recent passion has been making sweaters and actually wearing what I make!