Most knitters and crocheters have been in this situation before: You walk into a clothing store, and you see a piece of clothing; you think to yourself, “Hey, I could make something like that.” Well, that happened to me recently, and I wanted to share with you how I broke down the process of figuring out how to knit or crochet a piece based on a commercial item.
This skirt caught my eye because of its loopy fringe and sheen. Being mass produced, it was made of a fine knitted fabric with the fringe sewn onto it. BUT as a creative yarncrafter, I knew I could find a stitch pattern and yarn that would allow me to create a similar effect while knitting the fringe right into the fabric.
Being that it’s spring, I wanted to go with something more fun that steel gray, so I chose LB Collection Cotton Bamboo for its great drape, subtle sheen, and bright spring colors. Next, I looked in the LionBrand.com StitchFinder and found the Single Loop Fringe stitch pattern, which is just a perfect match for this project. [All highlighted text are clickable links.]
Finally, I sketched out a rough schematic (just like one you’d find in a pattern) to figure out which measurements I would need and what math I would have to do. I know that I need measurements for my waist and hip, the distance up and down from the waist to the hip (the section where I would have to do increases to get the extra width for my hips), and the desired length of the skirt. I also know that I’ll have to knit swatches to figure out my gauge (and thereby figure out my cast-on amount) for the ribbed section, as well as in stockinette stitch (the stitch I’m going to use for the skirt fabric), and in the single loop fringe (to help me figure out how far apart my fringe rows should be). I’ll be knitting these test swatches with smaller needle sizes than recommended for this yarn, since with a skirt, you’ll want a denser fabric for better shape (and to make sure it’s more opaque!), and I’ll be sure to try a few different needle sizes to figure out which fabric density I like best.
With all of this information and my schematic, I should be able to do the math to write my very own pattern!
Alas, I still have a WIP (work in progress) on my needles, so it will be a little while until I get to my skirt project, but in the meantime, I hope this blog post shows you how to break down a project so that you can really create it for yourself.
Good luck, and happy yarncrafting!
Despite the fact that it snowed at the end of March, our thoughts are turning to spring as we head into April. At the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC, that means cottons, lace, knitting and crochet, and trying new things! Here’s a peek at what some of us have on our hooks and needles:
This spring, I’m ready to try my hand at my first crocheted sweater. I have always been a big sweater knitter and I save my crochet for scarves and hats. No more. I saw the cover of this month’s Interweave Crochet and it screams out for LB Collection Superwash Merino. I’ve swatched it on two different hook sizes (on for my hips and then the smaller hook for the rest). I know if I hit a problem, I have our expert Crochet Doctor in house–Andrea to the rescue!
For my warmer-weather crafting this year I’m branching out (spring pun!) into new territory, trying my first crochet garment pattern. The crochet project is the Circle Vest from LionBrand.com. It’s originally done in Vanna’s Choice, but I’m doing it in the Recycled Cotton for a more summer-wear option. I think this is the perfect stepping-stone garment, since it doesn’t have sleeves for shaping!
I’ve been working on the Emmaline short-sleeved top from Knitty.com with Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton in Dusty Blue. It’s almost done, so I might be able to wear it soon if the weather ever decides to stop hating us. Wait, what’s that? Snow forecasted for tonight? Never mind
This spring I wanted to explore two of my favorite things, yarn dyeing and lace shawl knitting. I’m experimented with acid dye and the LB Collection Baby Alpaca. Since Alpaca takes dye differently then wool it ended up this great kettle dyed look. Stay tuned for a new dyeing class that I will be teaching in the Studio starting this Summer. Here is the start of my shawl (Little Arrowhead Shawl, a free pattern on KnittingDaily.com).
This spring I’m splitting my time between knit and crochet.
I’ve just finished my crochet garment, the Persimmon Pullover from LionBrand.com. To fit my style, I elongated the pattern and turned it into a tunic to wear over leggings. I used Superwash Merino Cashmere in Wild Berry.
Not to play favorites with crafts, my knit project in progress is Roman sweater (free pattern on Ravelry.com), and I’m using Cotton-Ease in Cherry. I was a bit frustrated because although I achieved gauge my first 2 attempts turned out too large. I tinked (that’s unknitting, knit spelled backwards) those and finally used the X-small size. We will see how it turns out once I seam it. I plan on spray painting it with a metallic color at the end because I saw a similar sweater in a store recently. I really was attracted to the pattern because of the one shoulder diagonal cable and the fact that it would be a good summer sweater.
Want to show us what you’re working on? Add your project to the Customer Gallery on LionBrand.com!
Here on the East Coast, it’s been quite wintry and blustery, but luckily for Lion Brand staffers, we’ve had some reasons to go out to sunny California for yarn and crafting events.
Last month, I was out in Long Beach for the TNNA Trade Show (that’s the National Needle Arts Association), where I met many industry insiders and interviewed them on what’s upcoming for 2011 in the world of yarn. You can listen to these interviews on YarnCraft, our podcast about all things knitting, crochet, and crafting with yarn (I like to call it “Car Talk” but for knitters & crocheters). Click the following to check out the episodes that include part 1 and part 2 of this mini-series of interviews; part 3 will come out tomorrow on 2/15.
Later in January, some of the Lion Brand team went out to Anaheim for the Craft & Hobby Association’s Winter Trade Show. Open to industry insiders, it’s a show where we–and many other companies–highlight new products and ideas for the upcoming year. We always host a big fashion show, emceed by Vanna White herself, featuring inspirational projects made with yarn. Our booth also features unique and unexpected ideas about creating with yarn. Check out our yarn man, sitting on a patchwork yarn sampler ottoman (with more yarn creations in the background):
And this weekend, we’ll be at Stitches West, a knit & crochet consumer show that’s open to the public, so be sure to stop by February 18 to 20. It’ll be at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA. We’ll have a booth with samples of new yarns for you to touch and feel, raffles throughout the day, and discounts on orders placed at the booth. Come join us for this fun-filled weekend! Learn more by clicking here.
I first started knitting with LB Collection Superwash Merino because it was the perfect yarn for a sweater I wanted to make. It was a DK weight, it knit to gauge, and I loved the Wild Berry color. So I bought my yarn, making sure I had enough for whatever size I would end up needing, and got started on my Rusted Root (pattern available from Zephyr Style).
Upon finishing this sweater (my first finished sweater, in fact), I realized I had purchased too much yarn. I loved working with it so much that instead of returning it, I promptly starting making a hat. I had been planning on making a Rose Red (pattern available from Ysolda) for my sister’s birthday, and the LB Collection Superwash Merino was the perfect yarn: soft, warm, and great stitch definition! My sister was hesitant about me using wool, but I assured her that it would be super soft (and it was)!
After I finally used up all my Wild Berry, I had another pattern that happened to be perfectly suited to the Superwash Merino: the Marigold Sweater from Interweave Knits, Summer 2010. Because I wouldn’t be finishing it in time for summer, I wanted a yarn that could keep me warm into the fall. This time I chose Dijon for my perfect fall cardigan.
On my last trip to visit my family, my sister fell in love with the Rusted Root sweater and the Dijon color. So my most recent project in my new favorite yarn is a Dijon Rusted Root for her.
Quick tip for working with the LB Collection Superwash Merino: Block your gauge swatch! All of my projects have looked like new after being machine washed and dried, but I was surprised by how much my projects grew after getting wet. For more information about superwash wool, check out Jess’s blog post “What is Superwash Wool?“
What is your go-to yarn? Post in the comments below.
This summer I blogged about dyeing some yellow yarn for a sock project. I’m finally ready to show off my finished project, Batman socks!
Everyone who knows me knows that I adore both Batman and knitting socks, so the combination seemed inevitable. To complete this project, I first knit a pair of plain cuff-down socks with Snow Cone Sock-Ease. Using this great chart created by Elizabeth Thomas, I then duplicate stitched the Batman logo with my dyed Marshmallow Sock-Ease. The best part about this project is that both parts were very fast and easy, but the results are amazing!
Have you used duplicate stitch to add a special touch to your crafting? Share your story in the comments!
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.
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.
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.
From some of the guys in IT to our Sales staff, there are lots of people at Lion Brand you will find with a hook or needles in hand, and we truly enjoy being around these crafts that we enjoy so much.
Recently, a group of us were in a meeting and many of us kept our hands busy by working away at knit socks, crochet scarves, and other projects. Here’s Laura at that meeting–looking particularly yarn-friendly–as she works on a scarf in Hometown USA. Yes, she’s wearing the Learn to Knit Cuffs in Hometown USA and a sweater in Fishermen’s Wool, and yes, those are photos of some of our older yarns on the wall behind her! Being bedecked in yarn suits Laura, since she’s the one providing pattern support to those of you with questions!
Do you knit and/or crochet around the office or on the go? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences!
Here at Lion Brand, we appreciate a little fun, and many of us collect whimsical objects to keep around our offices: I keep photos and buttons from all of the different yarn events I’ve attended on my bulletin boards, David collects lions of all sorts, Jess makes and keeps sea creatures on her desk, and there are lots of other cute and quirky examples.
Contributed by various members of the staff (I brought the wooden llama wearing the yellow hat back from my last San Diego trip) these little guys even have a whole wardrobe of coats and accessories made by the staff (that’s what’s hanging on those hooks below the shelf), the sheep and llamas range from those made of yarn or felt to the sheep-shaped needle gauge and the soap-on-a-rope black sheep hanging in the bottom part of the picture.
Want to make a lamb for your own space? Here are a couple of patterns that are adorable:
What fun, yarny goodness do you collect? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
Every year, I contemplate hand-making my Christmas gifts, and every year I come to a different conclusion. Two years ago, I knit and crocheted, made ceramics, and baked–exhausting, but satisfying and budget-friendly. Last year, I decided to concentrate on finishing a sweater for myself (I rarely make things for myself, so I considered it a real treat) and forgo hand-making gifts.
This year, I decided to go with a hybrid model. I’m concentrating on small, relatively quick projects that used up my stash yarns for my friends and family, and I’m combining them with gift certificates to their favorite stores. I’ve already made a whole bunch, and I’m hoping to get a couple more done before Christmas.
What projects did I decide on? I picked free patterns from our website and Ravelry.com, or I improvised designs. They are…
…clockwise, from the top right:
What else am I planning on making this season? I’m currently working on a hat in LB Collection Baby Alpaca, then I hope to make the Cottage Wrist Warmers in the same yarn for my mom, and I’m also planning on making a cowl made with Superwash Merino Cashmere and Vanna’s Glamour.
I like that all of these projects are relatively quick, with patterns that are easy to memorize, perfect for last-minute crafting on the go!
What projects are you making for this holiday season? When do you usually start yarncrafting for the holidays? Do you usually make or buy your presents? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
Looking for a fast and easy crochet gift? The most popular project around the office right now is the Angora Tam! The open stitches crochet up super quickly, and the project only costs $8 using the suggested LB Collection Angora Merino! Here are some of our Angora Tams:
My tam is in Parchment LB Collection Angora Merino. I used a size J-10 hook to make mine a little floppier.
Vanessa used Avocado LB Collection Angora Merino.
Claire’s hat is in Pewter LB Collection Angora Merino.
Kendra used the same color as Claire.
Lindsey made the tam into a beanie by using a smaller hook and LB Collection Baby Alpaca in Silver Grey Heather.
Claire’s second tam is very colorful in Glacier Bay Amazing.
What’s your favorite fast project for gifts? Let us know in the comments!