Lion Brand Notebook

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Archive for the 'Knit-Along' Category


Vote for the Fall 2011 Knit-Along!

September 14th, 2011

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Nothing says September quite like a new sweater, so it’s time for a new knit-along! We want YOU to help us decide on a pattern. Click on any image below to view its accompanying pattern. Submit your vote here by Tuesday, September 20th. Remember, you must submit your vote through SurveyMonkey for it to count!
Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Raglan Sleeve Topper Textured Topper

We’ll announce the winner here on Wednesday, September 21st. We’re excited to have our friend Kendra hosting once again. We can’t wait to see what the winning garment will be!

New to knit-alongs? Check out our guide to knit/crochet-alongs for some helpful advice. Crocheters, we’ll be having another crochet-along in the coming months, so keep an eye out for an announcement.


Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along: YOUR Projects!

March 11th, 2011

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Thanks so much for joining us during our Winter 2011 Knit-Along! It’s been so great working with everyone on your projects, and we’re excited to see the photos that are appearing in our Ravelry group, our Flickr group, and on the LionBrand.com Customer Gallery! Here are just a few of YOUR versions of the Saturday Morning Hoodie:

On Ravelry, Anne stuck to the recommended Wool-Ease Chunky (but in the color Nantucket), creating this great toggle-less version:

Barbbbacca on Flickr made this Homespun version with buttons instead of toggles:

sat morning hoodie

Susan K. posted her finished hoodie, made with Tweed Stripes, in the Customer Gallery:

Once again, if you’ve finished your hoodie, we’d love to see photos! Be sure to post them in one of the places listed above. If you’re still knitting away, don’t worry — all of our blog posts will be archived under the “Knit-Along” heading, found under the “Categories” in the left-hand bar of the Lion Brand Notebook. Good luck as you finish this sweater, and we hope you’ll keep commenting and keep sharing photos!


Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 6: The “Finishing” Line

March 3rd, 2011

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In the 15 years I have taught knitting, probably the #1 fear (and reason students come for help) is what this week is all about: finishing.  In fact, it is the most unloved part of a project for many knitters and a reason there are many UFOs (unfinished objects) in closets.  I actually love to get to this part (although I didn’t years ago) because it is the part that makes the garment look so great when the time is taken to do it right.

After I finished the back, fronts, sleeves and hood last week, all I needed to do was the ribbing that goes around the fronts and hood, the pockets and button loops.  I am working the second size of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, and the pattern calls for me to pick up 200 stitches for the front band that starts at the lower right front, goes up all the way around the hood and back down the left side.  So, how do I evenly pick up 200 stitches? I’m going to do this the same way I picked up for the hood last week.  I placed a marker at the middle of the hood and at each lower edge of the fronts.  Now, I need 100 stitches on each side, so I folded each front and marked that spot with a detachable marker.  Each of these quarters were folded and marked and once more to create 8 sections on each front and back. (As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.)

So, the way I figured it, I will need to pick up alternately 13 stitches and 12 stitches all the way around.  Working from marker to marker makes picking up stitches a lot less daunting!  Starting at the bottom edge of the right front (with the right side facing), I picked up my stitches and ended up with the 200 required.

The pattern calls for a 29″ circular needle to work all of these stitches, and there are a lot of stitches on the needles.  One thing I do to make sure I work these stitches back and forth (rather than connecting them in the round) is to place a marker on my needle that will remind me to turn my work around when I get to end of the row and go back.

It would be so easy for me to make this mistake and especially as I wanted to do this ribbing while watching the Academy Awards.  After many “thank you” speeches at the Oscars, I finished all 3″ of the ribbing!  I also made sure to bind-off in ribbing, for a nice, flat, edge and not to bind off tightly.  (Binding off in ribbing is the same as normal binding-off, but knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches while working your bind-off.)

What makes this “hoodie” so different is the amount of ribbing that actually becomes a part of the sweater.  Half of the fronts of the pockets are ribbing, and since I needed to pick up 26 stitches for each pocket ribbing, I just divided each edge into 2 parts and picked up 13 stitches.

The 3″ of ribbing for the pockets and the front bands really adds so much to this hoodie!

After the pocket bands were finished, I neatly sewed the top and bottoms of the band to the fronts.

Many times, I use yarn ends for finishing and I found some of the ends left on the pockets in perfect places to sew them down.   After the fronts of the pockets looked good, I turned the hoodie to the inside and lightly sewed the pocket backs the front, making sure that my sewing would not show through to the other side.  (I do this many times by only going into half the yarn, and just be careful while working it.)

All that is left now is the button loops!  The instructions in the pattern have the buttons on the right front which is for a man’s garment, but nobody has been admiring this hoodie more than yours truly.  Having tried it on, I think I will be wearing this often – so I am going to have the buttons on the left front and the button loops on the right front.  I marked the placement for my buttons and button bands with markers (again!).

The button loops are made as a crochet chain that is folded in half and sewn on top of a rib (it almost looks like a rib itself).  I found that the 43 chains called for in the pattern for some reason made too long a chain, so I made each chain 8″ long leaving ends to sew them in place at the beginning and the end of the chain.  The loop is supposed to extend 1″ past the edge.  So, I just used each end and sewed it with a running stitch on top of the marked ribs.

I really love these button loops!  I found some “toggle” buttons perfect for this hoodie and then showed it to my knitting students.  And (drum roll…) here it is:

I will definitely be wearing this tonight as single-digit temperatures are coming again.  It has been wonderful hosting this Knit-Along and seeing all of your hoodies “grow.”  Thank you all for being a part of our winter KAL! Be sure to share your photos with us in our Ravelry group, our Flickr group, or on the LionBrand.com Customer Gallery!

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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 5: Now the Hoodie has a Hood!

February 24th, 2011

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I must be getting near the home stretch of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, because I have finally reached the part that that makes it one: the hood. This last week I sewed in the second sleeve, and then I decided to sew the side and sleeve seams together as well. (This just makes the piece a little more manageable to work on.) After the fronts, sleeves and back are all sewn together at the raglan edges, I can pick up stitches for the hood.

I am working on the second size in this pattern and it tells me to pick up a total of 45 stitches around the neckline. Sometimes, knitting patterns tell you exactly how many stitches to pick up for each section of a neck, but for this pattern the total number is given–and I have an easy way to evenly pick up stitches! (As always, highlighted photos can be clicked on to enlarge.)

I really do like using detachable markers (or safety pins) to mark off sections and all I did was fold the neck in half, and place one marker at the center back. Then I folded each of these halves into quarters and marked each of these sections off. So, with the neck in quarters, I only have to pick up 11 in each section, and one extra (probably at the center back). By working from marker to marker, this makes the job easier than to just hope to have the total number picked up by the time I get to the end of the neck. Another tip: I also like to pick up my stitches with my smaller needle for a neater look and then work with the larger needle for the rest of the hoodie.

After working the hood for 11″, I shaped the top of the hood to create the top of the hood. Then I worked even for another 5” (for the top of the hood) and bound off.

Look! I just sewed the bound off edges to the sides of the center piece and a hood emerges!

All I have to do this next week is the ribbing for the front bands, sewing the pockets to the fronts and working the bands of the pockets. Oh, and one of my favorite things to do – find some great buttons!

How is your hoodie coming along? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 4: The Nature of a Raglan

February 17th, 2011

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This certainly was a good week for me to work on two sleeves that are both identical and symmetrical.  It is that time of the year I find myself at college swimming meets for my daughter, which gives me time to enjoy watching her swim and also work on a great take-along projects–like sleeves to the Saturday Morning Hoodie!

Whenever I finish knitting the fronts and back for a cardigan, I think about how I can work another part of the sweater before I sew in the sleeves.  If I could have started the hood at home while my sleeves-in-progress were in my knitting bag, I might have done that but…this is a “raglan” sweater, which means that the top edge of the sleeves are part of the neck.  In raglan sweaters, there are no shoulder seams just the diagonal seams that connect the sleeves to the back on one side and a front on the other.  So, I have to complete the sleeves and sew them to the fronts and back before I can work on the hood.

One question I always ask myself when making a sweater is whether the length of the sleeves will be long enough.  I have longer arms than most, and usually I have to add an inch or more to a pattern.  For a cardigan that does have shoulder seams, I have my knitting students (as well as myself) sew up the shoulder seams and try on the sweater before they start the sleeves.  Then we can measure how long the sleeves for their sweater should be.  But for this raglan, there is another easy way to if you need to make the sleeve longer or shorter.  Remember that the reason that raglan sleeves look so long is because they are knitted all the way up to the neck.

If you look at all the schematics for all sizes of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, you can see that the length of the raglan itself is the same on the sleeves, back, and raglan edge of the fronts.  Looking again at all the sizes, I see all the total length of the sleeves are 2″ more than the total length of the back.  So, if you have already made your back the length called for in the pattern, just hold up that back to yourself (as if it were the sleeve) with the top up to the neckline.  When I did this, I could see that a couple more inches in length would be just right – so I kept the sleeves the same length as called for in the pattern.  If you do want to shorten or lengthen the sleeves, then you only have to add or subtract length before you work your raglan shaping.

After I worked the sleeves, I lightly blocked them like my back and fronts and using detachable markers, I have attached one of my sleeves to the front and the back.

I always use markers when sewing up any seams and just work from “marker to marker.”  This makes finishing a little less daunting and I won’t have to worry about one side ending up longer than the other.

I sewed together the stitches that were bound off for the underarms by sewing stitch to stitch as shown below:

But for sewing up the raglans, I use the “mattress stitch” (below), sewing together the “bars” of the stitches.

I also always sew up my raglans with the right side facing me and since I worked my raglan decreases a stitch in from the edge, it makes for a much neater and easier seam to work!

Now, I will just sew in that other sleeve and then I’ll be able to pick up stitches and start the hood!
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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 3: The Fronts – Left, Right, Forward and Reverse

February 10th, 2011

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With the back of my Saturday Morning Hoodie finished, it’s now on to the fronts!  It certainly is not too late for any of you to join in,  because with a stitch gauge of 2 1/2 stitches to the inch,  this hoodie “grows” very quickly. I really like working the back of a sweater (especially a cardigan) first for a few reasons.  Usually, they are symmetrically shaped and for a cardigan, you can just work the fronts to correspond the back when it comes to the underarm and side raglan shaping.

A great addition to this hoodie pattern (since it became our Winter KAL) are the detailed instructions for the right front as well as the left.  Many times, knitting patterns with a left and right front won’t include full instructions for the second front, but rather tell you to just “reverse” the shaping directions of the first side. Sometimes this isn’t a problem, but this hoodie has the pocket facings (the fronts of the pockets) made simultaneously with the rest of the front, so it can be nice to have them spelled out for you.

The instructions start with the left front, and I thought I would take some pictures along the way to show how that front along with the pocket facing progresses.  Sometimes a picture (or two, or three) makes the instructions much easier to comprehend.

OK, so I worked the ribbing for my left front then after a couple rows of stockinette stitch, I placed the side stitches called for on a holder.  The ones on the needle are for the pocket facing (which is the outside, or front of the pocket).  Then I knit on just those stitches for 9″. (To enlarge any of these photos, simply click on them.)

Then, the facing stitches were placed on another holder, and I did a “switcheroo” by placing those originally held stitches back onto the needle.  Then I cast on stitches to this needle that will be the part of the left front – behind the pocket.

The front stitches are knit up for 9″, and then the stitches I had just cast on are bound off. (This creates the back of the pocket.)  On the next row the stitches on hold for the pocket facing are joined with the rest of the stitches.  This makes a nice, seamless join–and as long as I am careful sewing the inside of front to the facing–it will look great.   (I’ll do that a little later.)

Then, after working a few more inches of stockinette stitch, I followed the instructions for the raglan shaping when the front measured the same as the back to the armhole.  Of course, I will only shape on the armhole side.  The pattern calls for shaping at the neck about 2″ less than the back.  I found I still had to do about 3 more decreases at the raglan edge as well before it was all finished.  When I had 2 stitches left, I just worked them together and fastened off.

The right side is worked just like the left, only that the pocket facing is on the right side as you can see below.  The instructions give all the numbers – so it is much easier!   Both of the fronts curled quite a bit, so I again just lightly blocked them with a spray bottle and let them dry.

Later, I will be picking up along the pocket edges and lightly sewing those pockets on the inside.  Since this is a raglan, I’m really not able to do any seaming yet as I need to make those raglan sleeves to join the fronts and the back.    The sleeves are both the same, so no reverse shaping will be necessary this upcoming week.  Forward, knit!

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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 2: Starting the Hoodie with Thoughts of a Great Finish

February 3rd, 2011

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I think that if there ever was a “Winter to Knit” contest, this winter would take 1st prize!  It’s great to see so many of you join our Winter Knit-Along (KAL)  and it certainly is not too late to join making the Saturday Morning Hoodie.  Some of you have ordered your yarn, or already have your yarn, or may still be wondering what yarn to use.  In last week’s post, I wrote about how this sweater uses Wool-Ease Chunky – a category 5 yarn – which is a bulky weight.  I had also suggested some other bulky yarns that would work great for this pattern.  Then I saw the blog post here on the Lion Brand Notebook talking about using two colors (two strands) of yarn to make beautiful colors. I brought out some of my worsted weight yarns and found that holding two strands together of worsted Wool-Ease or 2 strands of Fishermen’s Wool, works up great at a gauge of 10 sts = 4” (the gauge in the pattern.)  If you don’t mind holding two strands together, and haven’t found the yarn you want to use, or would like to use two colors together, this is a great option.  Just remember that you will need double the yardage of yarn called for the Wool-Ease Chunky.

Before I talk about how far I was able to get on the Saturday Morning Hoodie, please print out an updated version of the pattern if you haven’t already.  There are a few corrections to the original (they appear in red type in the “Corrections” section and are incorporated in the pattern below), but there is a great addition to this pattern: Many times a pattern for a cardigan will instruct you to work the second front by working it the same as the first front, but tell you to reverse shaping.  For some knitters who have done this before, it doesn’t cause too many problems, but to make this pattern even more accessible, the reverse instructions for right front are now a part of the pattern! Next week, I’ll talk about how the pockets are knit at the same time the fronts are worked, but all the instructions are there for both fronts now.

So, this week I worked and finished the back of my hoodie and I was happy how it worked up, but even happier when I blocked out my back piece.  When I was finished with the back, it, like many other stockinette stitch pieces curled:

This can make the finishing more difficult, but there are ways to make your pieces more “finishing friendly.” When I finished my back, I dampened it with a spray bottle and then just pinned it to the correct measurements (see below).  Many times after I dampen the pieces, I can just gently pull them out to the correct size.  When the pieces dry, they are ready for finishing.  (I didn’t pin the ribbing so it wouldn’t stretch out–but it looks like the schematic to me!)

The other way I made this back “finishing friendly” was to do work my decreases a stitch in from the edge (see below).  In other words, I worked an edge stitch, then either knitted or purled the next two stitches together.  This makes an edge that it much easier to sew to the raglan edges of the sleeves.  I’ll make sure to work the other raglan edges like this on the sleeves and front raglan edges as well.

I’m on to the fronts now and will work that left front with pocket first (I’ll also keep the back handy to compare to the fronts), so let’s continue on together. Keep those fingers busy and keep warm!

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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 1: A Truly His & Hers Hoodie

January 27th, 2011

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I am very happy to be here again to lead our 2011 Winter Knit-Along (KAL) with all of you! I think the Saturday Morning Hoodie is a great choice for so many reasons, and I know you will enjoy making it during the rest of what has been a very cold and snowy winter. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since our Inishturk Sweater Knit-Along (finished sweater from that KAL is at the right), and this winter has made that sweater such a welcome sight in my sweater closet (and yes, my kitty still likes it too), so I know the Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along will be just as rewarding!

Although there is a handsome young man modeling this year’s Saturday Morning Hoodie, it truly is a unisex garment that will look great on so many of us! So, let’s talk about sizes, yarn choices and one of my favorite subjects (really!): gauge.

So, first and foremost–the pattern is free and if you haven’t already–go and download the pattern and print it out; click here for the pattern. [Editor’s note 1/27/11: We updated the pattern with written out instructions for the reverse shaping and some extra clarification, so if you downloaded the pattern previously, please click the link to re-download it.]

Now, what size to make? It appears at first glance that the pattern is written for 12 different sizes – but in reality there are six. Since this is a unisex pattern, the six sizes are sorted by standard men’s sizes and standard women’s sizes. Either way, the finished sizes for this pattern are 40 (44, 48, 52, 56, 60)”. When trying to choose a size, I usually look at a garment that I have already similar to the weight and fit like the one in the picture – then I just measure it around the chest. This garment is loose-fitting, so when choosing a size, keep in mind that it should be about 4-6″ larger than actual bust or chest measurements.

I’ve decided to make the second of the six sizes: the women’s medium (or men’s small) with a finished bust of 44″. I really do like this hoodie, but am making a size that my husband can wear as well if he likes. (I always say that, but it’s yours truly who is always chilly!)

The yarn called for in this sweater is Wool-Ease® Chunky which is a bulky weight yarn and is a “Category 5” yarn by weight (thickness). Other Category 5/bulky weight yarns that would work great for this would be Alpine Wool, Tweed Stripes, Homespun, or–for a more season-transitional yarn–Baby’s First, which is a cotton/acrylic blend. I’ve decided to work this one in the Wool-Ease Chunky and have chosen the color “Wheat” – a great natural shade with flecks of black and brown.

For the 44″ finished size, the pattern calls for 9 skeins of the Wool-Ease Chunky, so my choice was an easy one! If you want to make this in another bulky-weight yarn, make sure that you go by yardage for the correct amount of yarn. Each skein of the Wool-Ease Chunky has 153 yard (140 meters) so this converts to approximately 1380(1530, 1690, 1840, 1990) yards [or about 1260 (1400, 1540, 1680, 1820) meters for the six sizes].

I’ve been working with my gauge and found that the US 13 needle called for in the pattern was the right size to get the 10 sts and 13 rows for 4 inches. I know as a knitting teacher that gauge is not always easy for many knitters, but stick with it and make sure to change needles until you get the right gauge! And if you need a “refresher” on gauge, click here. (For the best results, be sure to wash/block the swatch just as you will the finished garment to get a “finished” gauge.)

I’ve already cast on my stitches for the back on my smaller needles (US 11) and am working on the ribbing. I’m looking forward to your comments, so let’s knit and keep those fingers warm this winter! See you next week!

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A Mini Office Knit-Along

January 25th, 2011

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I often find that the best way to motivate myself to finish a large project is by knitting or crocheting along with a friend. My co-worker Lindsey and I have similar taste in sweaters, so we decided to knit Metro together.

Metro cardigans

While this cardigan is very clean and classic, it does feature asymmetrical cables and ribbing. As such, it was very important for us to choose a yarn with great stitch definition. We decided to use Superwash Merino Cashmere for soft, warm cardigans. Lindsey wears a lot of rich earth tones, so she used the Saffron shade. I prefer deep jewel tones, so I opted for Olive.

front detail

Lindsey finished her cardigan first, and seeing how much she loved it really motivated me to finish my knitting. I completed my cardigan only a week after she did. In the end, our office KAL was a huge success, and we both ended up with warm, versatile sweaters that we love.

Back detail


Announcing Our Winter 2011 Knit-Along

January 20th, 2011

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Each season we host a knit- or crochet-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. You don’t need anything special, and there’s no need to sign up. Simply work on your sweater and check the Lion Brand Notebook at your leisure for new posts with helpful hints and tips (which come out weekly) and share your comments and progress if you’d like!

Last week we asked you to vote for the next project, and your choice was clear: the Saturday Morning Hoodie will be our Winter 2011 Knit-Along project!

Our wonderful KAL host Heather will start with an introductory post next Thursday. In the meantime, you can start thinking about who to make this hoodie for. It comes in a variety of sizes for men and women, so you can make it for anyone in your life. Make it the warm Wool-Ease Chunky recommended, or try something different like our colorful Tweed Stripes or Homespun yarns. You can even make it in cotton-blend Baby’s First for a piece that will transition nicely into spring!

If you have a blog, add the badge below to show that you’re participating (Right click or Ctrl+click on Macs to save the image to your computer; then upload it to your blog). You can also join our Ravlery group here and our Flickr group here.

While you’re waiting for the KAL to get going, comment below. Who are you? Where are you from? Who are you making this sweater for?

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