Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Knitting' Category


Picking Up the Right Number of Stitches: Tips & Tricks

August 11th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Many projects, particularly sweaters, will ask you to pick up stitches to complete a section, such as along the neckline, armholes, or the button band of a cardigan.

Your pattern will generally indicate how many stitches you need to pick up. But that number is based on the row gauge the designer achieved; your row gauge won’t always be identical, as it is very common to achieve the stitch gauge but not the row gauge of a pattern. You may have fewer rows or more rows available along which you can pick up the needed stitches.

If too many stitches are picked up, the resulting ribbing (or whatever pattern stitch you’re working) will flare out and will not lie flat. If too few stitches are picked up, it will pucker.

You can attempt to pick up the exact number of stitches specified, but you may end up frustrated. Here’s how to pick up the correct number, regardless of how many rows there are to work along.

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How to Do the Long Tail Cast On

July 31st, 2013

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Also known as the slingshot cast on, this technique is fast and creates a neater look than your basic cast on. If you’ve ever seen it done by somebody else it looks very complex (I was super intimidated when I first saw it!), but it actually isn’t. Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly produce a beautiful and even cast on row!

how to do a long tail cast on

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Hints & Tips on Knitting Decreases

July 30th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

When you decrease in knitting, you are not always losing stitches. Decreases are used in lace patterns, for example, and you’ll almost always have the same number of stitches after completing the row because the decreases are balanced by increases (most likely yarn overs). Lace pattern stitches will specify which decrease to use; the correct decrease is important because it impacts which way the fabric biases or slants.

Decreases are also used for shaping projects, such as sweaters and even purses, and you will be subtracting stitches. As in lace patterns, the correct decrease will help the fabric to slant in the direction it should. Patterns for garments will sometimes tell you which decrease to use when you are shaping the armholes and neck; other times the designer will assume you are already armed with this knowledge and you are left on your own. You could use the default k2tog decrease and turn out a perfectly fine sweater. But the correct decrease will give it a more professional look.

Which decrease to use is really quite logical. Although there are many more decreases available, it’s important to know that ssk slants to the left and k2tog slants to the right. These two decreases match each other in terms of appearance.

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6 Fast and Fun Projects Perfect for Summer Crafting!

July 12th, 2013

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Now that we’ve celebrated Independence day and have spent some time at the beach, it’s clear that we’re in full summer mode! Of course as a crafter, you know that just because it’s warm out – that’s not an excuse to stop your knitting or crocheting.  Summer is a good time to work on smaller scale, portable projects. You’ll feel so accomplished knocking out project after project on road trips, or just relaxing by the pool.  To get you started with ideas, I’ve included some fast, stress free project from crafters on the Internet, as well as our very own Lion Brand patterns.

Projects from Crafters:

ArchieCrochet Picture Frame
in Amazing
headbandMoss Stitch Bow headband
in Wool-Ease
Knitted Jam Jar Sweater
in Vanna’s Choice, Wool-Ease

Lion Brand Projects:

buds
DIY No Tangle Ear Buds

in Bonbons

Crochet iPad Cover
in Vanna’s Choice
bookmarks
Mini Granny Square Bookmarks

in Bonbons

What are your favorite summertime projects? Share with us in the comments!

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6 Quick & Easy Patterns for July 4th Celebrations!

June 28th, 2013

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July 4th is just around the corner, and you know what that means – BBQs, pool parties, picnics and more! In preparation of the big celebration day, I’ve gathered some fun decorative, and patriotic themed patterns to help you get in the spirit of things. Below you’ll find projects from some creative bloggers in addition to our Lion Brand patterns.  Take a gander for yourself and get ready for some crafting this weekend!

Projects from Blogs we enjoy:

Patriotic Crocheted Stars
Patriotic Stars
Blog: Repeat Crafter Me
Star Spangled Banner
Star Spangled Banner Crochet Bunting
Blog: Petals to Picots
Baby Sandals from Tutus and Tea Parties
Patriotic Barefoot Sandals
Blog: Tutus and Tea Parties

Lion Brand Patterns:


Americana Crochet Evaporative Cooler
Lion Cotton (can substitute for Kitchen Cotton)
Click here for knit version
Barista Cup Cozy Set
Barista Cup Cozy Set
Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp
Macrame Plant Hanger
Macrame Plant Hanger (Craft)
Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton

Do you like to knit or crochet items for your BBQs or celebrations? Tell us some of your favorite patterns for these occasions!

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Celebrate Log Cabin Day with Log Cabin Afghans!

June 25th, 2013

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As you may have already noticed, I’m big on the quirky holidays. The way I see it, each of these silly days is a chance to celebrate something that may get overlooked every other day. An excuse to eat more donuts just because it’s national donut day? Count me in! (National Donut Day was on June 7, actually, but I don’t see why you can’t have a belated celebration.) Anyway, today is National Log Cabin Day! For some people, this probably evokes the smell of fresh cut grass and the feeling of the raw lumber used to construct a grandparent, aunt or uncle’s log cabin in the woods. For crafters, however, the term “log cabin” speaks directly to a very particular variety of quilts and afghans.

The quilts first became popular in the United States in the 1860s, during the Civil War, and their popularity as a traditional style of American crafting has remained for generations since. Traditionally, center squares were symbolically red or yellow, but more modern takes on the style show off individual preferences. These log cabin quilt-inspired afghan patterns range from traditional to contemporary, and can be knit or crocheted in a variety of yarns, colors, and stitch patterns.

 Image of Cozy Cabin Throw Image of Log Cabin Pocket Blankie  Image of Neutrals Log Cabin Afghan
Crochet Cozy Cabin Throw  Knit Log Cabin Pocket Blankie  Crochet Neutrals Log Cabin Afghan

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Sock Tips, Pt. 4: Add an Eyelet Stitch Pattern to Your Sock

June 24th, 2013

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As we continue our series on embellishing your socks, we now introduce a new stitch into our basic sock pattern. Because socks are compact and quick to whip-up, they’re a great opportunity to try out new stitches. In our last two installments, we talked about color-work. In this article, we feature an eyelet sock pattern, adding style to our basic sock pattern with a lacy look.

Child’s Eyelet Sock

Here are a few tips on this eyelet sock pattern:

  • It’s helpful to use light color needles for dark yarn, darker needles for a light color yarn – you’ll be able to see your stitches more easily. This is helpful no matter the project.
  • Socks with an eyelet pattern provide a good fit – the spaces created by the eyelets stretch or contract easily to accommodate a variety of leg sizes.

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Get Your Cotton Yarn Ready! 6 Knit & Crochet Patterns for Your Kitchen and Bathroom

June 19th, 2013

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With the warm weather now upon us, many of you are probably looking for smaller, more portable projects to work on so that you can still craft, and stay cool.  In addition to choosing smaller projects, it’s important to choose the appropriate seasonal yarn – so today, I’ve rounded up a few washcloth, dishcloth and potholder patterns in various cotton yarns for you to get some some ideas for your summer crafting.

The best part about knitting or crocheting dish and wash cloths is that they’re perfect for practicing new stitches on a smaller scale project!

Momma chickadee potholder
Crochet Momma and
Baby Chickadee Potholder
in Cotton-Ease
Cross-Sttitched Cloths
Crochet Cross-Stitched Cloths in
Kitchen Cotton and Bonbons

Loom Woven Dishcloth Set in
Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp
Folly Washcloth
Knit Folly Washcloth
in Cotton-Ease
Spring Cleaning Scrubbies
Crochet Spring Cleaning Scrubbies
in Recycled Cotton
Knit Long Beach washcloth
Knit Long Beach Washcloth
in Cotton-Ease

What type of stitch pattern do you prefer when working on a washcloth or potholder? Share with us in the comments!

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Warm Weather Knitting & Crochet

June 18th, 2013

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Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column featuring frequently asked questions. 

As warm weather approaches (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), some may find themselves tempted to put away their knitting or crochet for the summer. But this is the season for baseball games, picnics, taking the kids to the park, and flying and driving to vacation destinations. That’s a lot of down time that could be spent crafting!

I don’t care how low the air conditioner’s temperature is set; when warm weather sets in, I don’t want all the bulk of an afghan sitting on my lap as I knit.

But you can still knit/crochet an afghan in strips or blocks, so they won’t be nearly as warm to work on. Then, when falls comes again you can sew them together!

This Knit Patchwork Sampler Throw is a perfect example and has different stitch patterns so you’ll maintain interest. Another made in strips is the Crochet Cozy Checkerboard Throw; it doesn’t have complicated stitch patterns so you won’t need to refer to the pattern very often, which is great when you can’t really concentrate on your crafting.

Knit Patchwork Sampler Throw Crochet Cozy Checkerboard Throw

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Sock Tips, Pt. 3: Knit Crazy Stripes!

June 17th, 2013

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Socks are a great, compact project that can be made on the go. In each installment, we will show you different ways to add color and pattern to a basic child’s sock. Click here for part 1 and click here for part 2. This month’s article is all about stripes.

Striped socks are a fun and friendly way to experiment with color. The patterns below feature stripes of varying colors and widths to make a basic concept more fun.

Apply stripes to other projects too! From afghans to sweaters, knitted and crocheted items look great in stripes.


Child’s Striped Socks

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