Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Knitting' Category


You Can Do It! Wait. . . Can I Do It?!

February 17th, 2015

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It’s official: I’m making my first sweater.

I’ve worked at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City for two years and now that I am the Brand Ambassador for the company I thought I would take on a knitting fear: making my own sweater.  I’ve been a knitter for a good portion of my life and I have yet to conquer knitting a sweater.  How is it that I have knitted plenty of socks and not a sweater? This makes no sense to me, so I am going to rectify the situation.  l40025a

Every Wednesday night, from February 11th – March 18th, I’m taking part in a Knit-Along at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City.  In an ideal situation, I’d finish my sweater by the 18th of March, but this is my first sweater so give I’ll give myself a little slack.  The pattern I’m following is  The Essential Fall Pullover made with Heartland®.  I decided to get a little creative and instead of doing the three colors that the pattern calls for, I will be doing two. I’ll be using Black Canyon for the front and back, and for the side panels and sleeves I’m going to be using Biscayne.  I chose Black Canyon as the main color for the sweater because, like many people who live in NYC, black is a prominent color in my wardrobe.  On the other hand, I’m also trying to get a little more colorful, so I decided to incorporate Biscayne for the sleeves and side panels.  It will give it a nice “pop” and allow me to dress it down and up!

Since I worked in the studio for two years, I had the chance to really get to know my co-workers, and I got to see how talented and creative they truly are.  Ann, who is the instructor for the KAL, is a machine knitter and teaches machine knitting at the studio, but she also is so creative when it comes to knitting garments.  When I found out that Ann would be the instructor for the KAL, I was sold,  it would guarantee that for at least once a week for the next month, I would get to see her.  Her creativity is infectious and it inspired me to take this sweater making to another level.

For the first meeting she showed up with sketches (that she had made) of what her sweater would look like with the colors she chose.  She also suggested going to Pinterest for color inspiration. I thought that was a really clever idea and plan on using that for other projects as well!

As you can see I started the ribbing for the back of my sweater. But the main reason for writing this is because I need your support in completing this project. There have been so many times that I have wanted to make a sweater and I’ve second guessed myself even though I know I have the skills.

So, I Need You – You Wise Knitters And Crocheters – Give Me Your Best Sweater Advice And Support!

Before I really get into the nitty-gritty of the back portion of the sweater – do you have any good tips for me as I embark on this journey? What did your first sweater look like?  Is there something you are too nervous to make because it’s just overwhelming?

Please use the comments below.  You can keep track of my sweater making exploits here on the blog and by following me on Instagram and Twitter.


Top 5 things the Big Apple Knitters Guild Loved (We Bet You’ll Love Them Too!)

February 15th, 2015

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This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Big Apple Knitters Guild to unveil some of our newest offerings, live and in person. As the new Brand Ambassador, and a fifth generation member of the family business at Lion Brand, I was bursting with excitement to meet about eighty knitters and to talk about the yarn world that I love so much.

I was SO energized by their enthusiasm that I want to share with you their top 5 “oohs and aahs” of the evening:

Penelope Poncho 1. The Penelope Poncho – made with Country®, who doesn’t love this snugly, cozy great easy knit project?
pd-rpda 2. Artisan Gift Wrap – I need it and I need it now! I just want to wrap my cats in it.
3. LB Collection® yarns – These yarns are really well-priced, stunning, and they are not going to make me broke. Can I have some more please?
100-202a 4. 2-in-1 Tote – This invention is genius! Always searching for your sunglasses and hoping they don’t get tangled with your yarn? Perfect, this one’s for you.
l40703a 5. Hudson Riverfront Hat – There is nothing bad about some glitz and faux-fur – Pelt and Gold Leaf® create the magic here. I love this hat and I need to make it myself.

I look forward to speaking to more groups in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area so if you would like me to visit, please contact me at Shira@lionbrand.com. In the meantime, I share the inside scoop about what it’s like living the yarny life at Lion Brand on Intagram and Twitter, where you can follow me @Shiraroars


It’s #Caturday … post some #LBcats!

February 14th, 2015

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Crafting with Cats
We love pets at Lion Brand. If you’ve any spent time browsing our patterns at lionbrand.com, chances are you’ve seen some of our canine friends modeling in projects such as Barkley Loves His Blanket or the 12 Dogs of Christmas series — but what about our cats? They may not go for snuggly sweaters like our dogs do, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what we’re making. If you share your home with a cat, you’ve probably had your craft time turn into cat time: Got a great new project on your needles? That’s where the cat wants to nap. Sitting down to crochet for a couple of hours? That’s when the cat wants head scratches. Ready to start a brand new project with some gorgeous new yarn? HEY, where’d my yarn go?!

Big personalities have helped some cats like Grumpy Cat, Lil’ Bub and Keyboard Cat to achieve celebrity status on the internet, but we think they’re ALL stars! With that in mind we’ve created a special gallery where you can share your favorite felines with the world. Post your pics of crafting with cats on your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and simply include the hashtag #LBcats!

You can also upload your pics directly to our gallery here:


:: click here if you cannot see the gallery ::

Make your furry friend a special #Caturday treat with these patterns for knit and crochet!

Amigurumi Sardines Cat Toy
Amigurumi Sardines Cat Toy
Miss Mousie
Miss Mousie
Amigurumi Fortune Cookie Cat Toy
Amigurumi Fortune Cookie Cat Toy

You Still Have Time to Knit a Quick & Easy Candy Cane Ornament!

December 24th, 2014

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The holidays are here and I just managed to put up my tiny Christmas tree. Much to my dismay, I somehow lost all of my candy cane ornaments! With some quick, last-minute thinking, I came up with the idea to make these cute knit candy canes using a package of Bonbons.

Check out my tutorial below to make your own.

P.S. Since I have a small Christmas tree, it only took two episodes of Downton Abbey to make about six candy canes! Which means an entire package could make at least two dozen!

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FLASH SALE! Save 20% on Favorite Fast-Finish Gift Kits

December 6th, 2014

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This sale is now over but for more great kits, please visit lionbrand.com kits.

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*** Click on the project you’d like to make and choose from two kits: one that contains the pattern and yarns; or one that contains everything – the pattern, yarns, needles and hooks. ***


Learn to Knit a Raglan Cardigan with an Easy Tutorial by Staci from Very Pink Knits

November 13th, 2014

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Today, we’re very excited to share a garment knitting tutorial with you. With the temperatures steadily dropping, it’s the perfect time to start knitting… sweaters!

Staci from the YouTube Channel Very Pink Knits is a great instructor who makes knitting a garment look like a breeze. Check out the tutorial below as she explains and shows you how to make Lion Brand’s Cropped Raglan Cardigan pattern in Wool-Ease®. After viewing the tutorial, many of you who’ve previously shied away from garment knitting may feel quite confident about giving this one a try.

Tell us what you think about the tutorial in the comments, we hope you’re inspired!


David Babcock the Knitting Runner Achieves his New York City Marathon Goal!

November 7th, 2014

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As featured in the the New York Daily Post, the New York Times and the Good Men Project, we’re proud to share the news that David Babcock completed the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd with a great time of 3:56. All of us here at Lion Brand are proud of the #KnittingRunner! We’re especially proud that David achieved his goal of running the marathon in under four hours.

While David was in New York last week, we took some time to sit down with him to discuss how he came to be a knitting runner and the challenges he’s faced and overcome. Please enjoy and share widely.

:: can’t see the video? click here: http://youtu.be/FFBd4HoKw3c ::

David ran the marathon to raise funds for the free care and support programs provided by the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. You can donate to David’s team up until November 30th and the best part, Lion Brand will match your donations until David reaches his fundraising goal of $3500. He’s almost there – every dollar counts, so please give what you can.


Learn to Finger Knit with the Knitting Runner, David Babcock

October 29th, 2014

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db_squareFeatured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he did in Kansas City last October. Coupled with a great deal of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his amazing accomplishment! Lion Brand is sponsoring David in the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, 2014 and lucky for us, he’s agreed to write for us leading up to race day! Plus, you can meet David while he’s in New York City!

This Sunday, I’ll be running the New York City Marathon while knitting a scarf. I’m doing it to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. While training for the New York City Marathon, I was faced with a problem. Due to security concerns I was told that I would not be allowed to bring knitting needles or a crochet hook with me on the run. I respect the great service that the New York Police Department provides and want to support their efforts. So I had to come up with a way to knit on the run without needles.

I tried arm knitting, but a 15 minute scarf doesn’t fill my target 4 hour finish time and the giant loose gauge would not hold up well on the run. I was aware of what is commonly called finger knitting but I didn’t feel that a 4 stitch stockinette would work well either. So I did a little experimentation of my own and in the process I learned more about knitting.

Knitting at its simplest level is just a series of loops inside of loops. Knitting needles are a very helpful tool for holding stitches and picking up and pulling loops through, but learning where to insert them and how to twist them was quite a challenge for me as a beginner.

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Arm Knit a Colorblocked Scarf with Audra Kurtz from The Kurtz Corner!

October 17th, 2014

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Today, we’ve got a brand new Arm Knitting video for you from Audra Kurtz! Watch as she shows you how to achieve a color blocked scarf in the super popular, Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. Follow the video to the end and check out the rest of her fantastic Arm Knitting tutorials!

 

If you like this tutorial, check out the rest of Audra’s videos on her YouTube channel!


Improving Your Health to Improve Your Knitting and Crochet

September 2nd, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 5 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

improvehealthyimprove-craftingWe have discussed a lot of ideas for using crafts to improve your mental and physical health. But what about the reverse – improving your health so that you can be a better crafter? It turns out that one can help the other in a cycle of ongoing self-improvement.

Hand Stretches for Easier Crafting

One of the main complaints that knitters and crocheters have is that their crafts can cause them hand pain. This includes carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injury. You can reduce that by doing regular hand exercises. Keeping your hands limber will allow you to yarncraft for longer periods of time.

It’s a case of one hand washing the other because as you do needlecrafting, you loosen certain parts of your hands. Many people have reported that crochet helps them reduce symptoms of arthritis for example. So you can do hand and finger exercises in order to crochet better and then the more you crochet, the less your hands are likely to hurt.

Here are 9 hand exercises for crafters’ fingers, thumbs and wrists.

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