Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Knitting' Category


Add Color With Slip Stitch Patterns: An Introduction

June 30th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Slip Stitch AfghanSlip stitch patterns are an easy way to add color to your knitting; unlike Fair Isle and Intarsia, you knit with only one color per row so they are less complicated. When knitting slip stitch patterns, some stitches from a previous row are slipped and others are knit or purled with a new color.

When a row is completed, you will have stitches that are slipped which are a different color from the stitches that you just knit with the new color. The slipped stitches will be elongated; this will cause the stitch pattern to pull in, so check your gauge carefully if you substitute one in a pattern that calls for Stockinette or another less dense stitch pattern.

Tips to Know

  1. Slip stitch patterns are most often knit in Stockinette but you will find some that combine knits and purls on the same row; this results in a fabric that is both colorful and textured.
  2. Stitches can even be worked with yarn held in the front or manipulated to create “floats” (strands running across other stitches) for contrast.
  3. Slip stitch patterns can be worked in two or more colors.
  4. Generally you won’t find a stitch pattern that calls for more then 3 stitches to be slipped.
  5. Take caution to make sure the strand from the working yarn that results when slipping the stitch is kept loose (resist the urge to pull that “float” tight) or your fabric will pucker.

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How to Increase in a Row or in the Round

June 9th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

As you work on shaping a project, a pattern may ask you to increase or decrease a specific number of stitches evenly across a row or round. But it won’t tell you how often to do this…just to do it evenly.
Increase
You don’t want the increases or decrease bunched up together at one point because it would make your piece lopsided. To avoid this, you want them spaced as evenly as possible across the row or round.

So you’ll need to do some simple math in order to determine how often to increase or decrease so they are spread out evenly.

Getting Started

  • You should know the number of stitches you currently have. The pattern will indicate how many stitches you need to increase or decrease.

    Example: Let’s say you have 100 stitches and the pattern calls for 10 increases. Dividing 100 by 10 equals 10, so you would increase once every 10th stitch.

  • If you’re knitting in rows, you’ll need to add one to the number of stitches you are to increase. Otherwise, in the above example of 100 stitches and 10 increases, the first increase would occur on the 10th stitch and the last increase would occur on the 100th stitch (10, 20, 30, 40, etc.).

    Example: Suppose you have 110 stitches and you’re to increase 10 stitches. Adding 1 to 10 equals 11. Dividing 110 by 11 equals 10, so you would increase one stitch every 10th stitch.

  • Whether knitting in the round or back and forth, the numbers don’t always work out exactly even, and you will get a fraction instead.

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6 Helpful Tips For Knitting in the Round

June 2nd, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

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Knitting in the round can seem daunting, but with a bit of practice, it’s no more difficult than knitting on straight needles. Here are some tips that I hope will make it a bit easier!

1. Circulars and Length

The appropriate circular needle length is the same size or slightly shorter than the circumference of the piece you are knitting. If it’s too short you’ll have trouble keeping all the stitches on the needle; if it’s too long, the fabric will be stretched too taut (this is why you need to switch to double points when decreasing the crown of a hat).

2. A Neater Join

For some people, the usual way of knitting the first stitch of the round can be loose and therefore sloppy. You can tighten it up with the tail when weaving in the end later.

A better way to join it the round can be to cast on one extra stitch. Slip this stitch to the left (the first needle if casting on to double points); this is the beginning of the round and next to the first stitch you cast on. Then knit the two stitches together.

Still better, slip the first stitch you cast on to the right, next to the last cast on stitch. Pass the last cast on stitch (which is now the second stitch on the right) over the slipped stitch, give the yarn a tug and begin your round.

3. Which Double-Pointed Needles to Buy

Aluminum needles can be slippery and your stitches will always want to slide off. Try bamboo or plastic.

Double points come in different lengths. Longer ones can be a bit more awkward but for larger number of stitches, you’ll need them so your stitches don’t fall off.

They come in sets of 4 or 5. If you have the option, always buy 5; then you’ll have it if you need it (and if one disappears you’ll have a spare!).

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5 Ways to Knit Increases

May 26th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

An increase adds stitches and creates shaping as a general rule. Lace patterns will use increases to balance decreases and you usually end the row with the same number of stitches you started with.

Many times, the pattern will tell you which specific increase to use; this is especially true with lace patterns. If the pattern tells you to simply increase, use the default increase: knit in the front and back of the same stitch (usually abbreviated kfb).

When working an increase in shaping, such as making sleeves wider, work them at least one stitch in from the edge. This makes seaming much easier.

Let’s take a look at some various ways to increase (click on any highlighted text to see diagrams:

1. Knit in the Front and Back (kfb)

As mentioned earlier, this is the default increase. It’s sometimes called a bar increase as it leaves a noticeable “bar” of yarn from the original stitch as it’s manipulated twice. It does not distort and it’s a perfectly fine increase except for the bar. If you don’t look closely, it will not be noticed.

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5 Steps To Designing Your Own Scarf

May 12th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Although there are many lovely scarf patterns available, a scarf is relatively simple to design, and it’s a great way to venture into your very first custom design. By understanding a five simple concepts, you’ll be able to design and knit or crochet beautiful scarves on your own.

While most basic crochet fabrics are relatively flat, many knitters venture into their own scarf pattern by simply working in stockinette stitch, and then they see it rolls and have knit what amounts to a big tube. Stockinette rolls. You can’t stop it. It’s the nature of the fabric that is produced when you knit one row and purl the next. What you can do is work the first and last 3 or 4 rows in garter stitch or seed stitch as well as the first and last 3 or 4 stitches in each row. This will usually keep a stockinette scarf from rolling.

Seasonless Scarf Knit Rainbow Ridge Scarf Angora Lace Scarf
Crochet
Seasonless Scarf
Knit
Rainbow Ridge Scarf
Knit
Angora Lace Scarf

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Make a Zodiac Scarf for Gemini

May 2nd, 2014

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Gemini scarf
Gemini is the sign of the Twins and it’s the sign for birthdays from May 21 to June 21. Geminis are witty and inquisitive and, like other air signs, they value intelligence. The dual aspect of this sign means that those born under it are able to see things from multiple perspectives, making them excellent communicators. It’s no surprise that they are also great multi-taskers! People born under this sign are cheerful and personable, so chances are good you’ve got at least one friend who is a Gemini!

gemini-signThe colors in this scarf match the qualities of Gemini: yellow for curiosity, navy for intelligence, sapphire for eloquence, and aqua for optimism.

If you’ve got a friend with a birthday coming up, a handmade gift is always the way to go. Your Gemini friend will probably want to know all about how you made it, so it might be fun to set aside some time to teach him or her your craft. If you are a Gemini yourself, you’ll probably want to make two of these scarves – one for you and one for your bestie!

The Gemini zodiac scarf is available for both Knit and Crochet (pictured). Not your sign? Check out our other zodiac scarves here.


Spring Lace Shawl Knit-Along — Gauge Swatching

April 10th, 2014

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Hi, I’m Grace and I’m so excited to be leading the knit along for the Spring Lace Shawl.

This is a great project for both experienced knitters and beginners who are ready to advance beyond simple stitch patterns. With an elegant lace pattern and a chunky, multi-stranded construction, this quick knit will be the perfect addition to your wardrobe to curl up with on those cooler spring evenings.

I’ll be posting every week giving you tips for getting through the project successfully.

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Craft Through the 7 Wonders of the Yarn World – Next Stop: Cables!

April 9th, 2014

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7wonders-cable
Nathan Vincent’s sculpture of Easter Island Statues; model wearing knit Oversized Fishermen’s Sweater

Last year, we asked Nathan Vincent to design several larger-than-life sculptures that could be associated with seven yarn techniques or, as we like to call them, “yarn wonders.” Revealed at the Craft and Hobby Association show earlier this year, these sculptures were presented as Lion Brand’s 7 Wonders of the Yarn World. Each yarn wonder was represented in our fashion show, displaying the variety of ways you can use and wear each one. We started with textures (Stonehenge) and stripes and chevrons (Mayan Ruins). Our third Wonder of the Yarn World, the Moai statues of Easter Island, represents timeless and awe-inspiring cables.

According to Creative Director Adina Klein, cabling may look complicated and mysterious but it’s actually a very easy stitch to pick up. This collection of cabled-designs features classic and timeless pieces that you can coordinate with any wardrobe.

We presented several designs that range from classic cabled afghans, to more modern takes on the Fishermen’s sweater. The garments featured were made in a variety of yarns like Heartland, Heartland Thick & Quick®Hometown USA®, Homespun®, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Wool-Ease®, Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®, Vanna’s Choice®, and Vanna’s Glamour®.

Below you can see a selection of some of the designs featured. Find your own cable inspiration and use this classic technique to make something new and modern.

Knit Neutral Cabled Afghan Knit Cabled Hat CHA-cables Knit Lush Ribbed Pullover
Knit Cabled Hat
with
Knit Fitted Cable Pullover
with
Knit Neutral Cabled Afghan
Knit Striped Cable Hat
with
Knit Oversized Fisherman Sweater*
Knit Weekend Ribbed Hat
with
Knit Cozy Textured Pullover
with
Knit Studio Afghan
Knit Lush Ribbed Poncho

*Pattern(s) coming soon


Join Our Spring Knit-Along Featuring the… Spring Lace Shawl!

March 28th, 2014

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Each season we host a crochet- or knit-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters 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. KAL_BADGE_2014
81058adaWe asked you to vote on what knit project you’d like to make, and you picked our Spring Lace Shawl! Almost 6,000 of you voted, and we’re so excited to knit-along with you.Click here to download the pattern for the Spring Lace Shawl and click here to get the kit in Kelly Green or in Silver Blue (free shipping for a limited time).

To get this knit-along going, this week is about gathering your materials so that we can jump right in the week of April 7th. This lovely shawl is made in our Vanna’s Choice yarn, a versatile, easy-care, acrylic worsted-weight yarn that comes in a huge assortment of stunning colors. If you’re more in the mood for a cotton blend, Cotton-Ease is a great substitute, and will be light and lovely as the temperatures get warmer.

As with any yarn substitution, you’ll also need to figure out how many skeins of the yarn of your choice the pattern will require. Here are the number of balls for our other recommended yarns:

Yarn OS
Vanna’s Choice 12 skeins
Cotton-Ease 12 skeins

Click here for our FAQ on substituting yarns.

Starting the week of April 7th, our KAL host Grace DiLorenzo will be posting her progress through the lace shawl project, with updates coming every Thursday. 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!

In the meantime, please introduce yourself below–let us know who you are, where you’re from, and who you’re making this top for!

About Grace: Grace DiLorenzo has been knitting for the last 10 years. What started as a hobby quickly grew into a passion. Her favorite things to make are garments and lace. As a teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City she has been able to share her love of yarn crafting teaching beginning through advanced knitting and yarn dyeing classes. She has lead the first four in studio knit alongs and is excited to do it again! grace_200px

Help Pick our NEXT Knit-Along Project!

March 20th, 2014

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Voting ended on Thursday, March 27th, 2014. Thanks to all who voted!

And the winner is … The Spring Lace Shawl!

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It’s that time of year again! Come knit-along with us as we make one of the garments below.

But FIRST you have to help us pick the pattern! Learn more about the patterns by clicking on their photos/names or by visiting LionBrand.com.

Eloise Eyelet Cardi Spring Lace Shawl Seven Wonders Wrap Mitered Ridges Top

 

Ready? Cast your vote!

(Can’t see the voting tool above? Click here to vote.)

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A knit-along is a virtual event, where all the participants make the same project together. Follow along with knit-along host Grace here on the blog and share your comments and photos. There’s no need to sign up, and it’s free to join! (New to knit-alongs? Check out our guide here.)

The winning pattern will be announced Friday, March 28th, 2014 here on the blog and at that time we’ll also give you details on picking up your supplies and getting started on the project!

Votes must be cast by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time, March 27th, 2014. You must use the voting tool above to vote; comments here on the blog do NOT count as votes.

Crocheters, look out for a crochet-along later this year, here on the Lion Brand Notebook.

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