Dyeing your yarn is a great project for the warmer months of the year, and can blossom into a hobby that you’ll enjoy year round! When you want to try dyeing your own yarn, here are a few tips that will help you choose the yarn, dye and tools you’ll need to have a successful project:
What tools to use? The first step in dyeing is assembling the right materials. Make your you have a non-reactive pot to heat the dyebath in (try steel or enamel pots), tongs to move the yarn, and protective covering/clothing in case of spills. If you’re working with kitchen-safe dyes, then you can use the pots you cook with, but in general it’s a good idea to have a separate set for dyeing.
A few weeks ago, I shared a Customer Tip of the Week in our Weekly Stitch newsletter from Elaine B., who said:
“I only just realized that at the bottom of each yarn’s detail page on LionBrand.com, there is a section called “Patterns for this Yarn.” This is VERY helpful to someone like me who will buy a bunch of yarn when it is on sale, and then wonder what to make.”
This got me thinking that it might be useful to highlight what else you can find on a yarn’s individual page (which you can find by clicking on “Our Yarns” at the top of LionBrand.com and then click on a particular yarn).
For each of Lion Brand’s yarn lines, the top of each of these product pages has a description of the yarn, along with all of the important details (the size of the ball, what it’s made of, its weight category (thickness), recommended hook & needle size, and its care instructions).
Beautiful fibers come from all over the world, so we at Lion Brand travel the world to bring you fibers that you’ll love. We bring you Superwash Merino Cashmere and LB Collection® Cashmere from Italy, whose mills are known for luxurious yarns and fabrics. We bring you LB Collection® Baby Alpaca from Peru, where they’ve been raising them for thousands of years, and also LB Collection® Wool Stainless Steel from Japan, where the yarn culture is always cutting edge.
But did you know that some of our most popular yarns like Homespun and Hometown USA are made in the USA? In fact, the mill that makes Homespun and Holiday Homespun is a wonderful, historic facility in New Hampshire that was built in 1864 and running on hydroelectric power since 1915. I’ve visited the mill a few times myself, and you can read about one of my visits by clicking here.
Our current yarns made in the USA include (updated 6/1/2013):
There are so many wonderful fibers from so many incredible yarn cultures, but for those of you who are looking for USA-made products, we hope that you’ll consider these yarn lines.
The pattern shown above is the knit Lion Country Afghan; click here to see the pattern on LionBrand.com.
It’s always a challenging finding the perfect gift for the friend who has everything, but what about the perfect gift for the crafter who makes everything? Get ready to wow the knitters and crocheters in your life and show them how much you appreciate their careful, loving work with any of the gifts below. If you are a yarncrafter, share this post with your friends and family to show them what’s on your holiday wishlist this year.
|Ergonomically designed tools are a great for crafters who are always working. The Ergonomic Crochet Hook Set has a rounded base that makes it comfortable to hold, and a wide variety of interchangeable hooks means you can work with yarn of almost any gauge.|
|Another perfect gift for busy hands, Stress Relief Gloves help rejuvenate tired hands and, when worn while crafting, help keep wrist and finger fatigue at bay. They can also be worn during regular activities beyond crafting, helping keep those crafting hands healthy and comfortable.|
|With this Yarn Cutter Pendant the knitters and crocheters in your life will never have to search for their scissors again! Tiny, well-protected blades keep fingers safe and easily cut through yarn of nearly any size. The pendant itself makes a very fashionable pendant or key chain.|
|Every knitter and crocheter loves being able to find their tools quickly and easily. A tool case like the Lily Combo Needle Case makes it easy to locate needles, hooks, stitch markers and more all at a quick glance. A gift like this will save the yarn lover in your life from the frustration of losing tools and having to replace them.|
|Buying yarn for another person can be a challenge; color, quantity and fiber content are often very personal preferences. A gift certificate is the best way to help your crafty friends and family get exactly the yarn they want, in exactly the right amount.|
|If there’s one thing that yarn crafters love, it’s trying out new techniques and learning new skills. The Martha Stewart Crafts Knit & Weave Loom Kit is a wonderful present for those who already knit and would like to try loom knitting, or those who want to learn to knit but don’t enjoy working with needles. It’s also a very versatile weaving loom. With over 100 patterns on LionBrand.com specifically designed for the loom kit, it will be easy to find new projects to try.|
Often, the best gift for busy crafters is time. Homemade coupons for babysitting and household chores never go out of style for knitters and crocheters who would love just a little extra time with their hooks and needles. A special holiday tea or coffee blend would be a relaxing gift to enjoy while crafting, and a series of books on tape would make a perfect gift for a literary knitter or crocheter whose hands are always busy.
Want even more tips on shopping for yarncrafters this holiday season? Click the link below to check out the newest episode of our podcast, YarnCraft, for more gift-giving tips whether you’re adding items to your own wishlist or shopping for yarn-loving friends:
What gifts have you given or received that were prefect for crafters? Is there anything special you’re hoping for this year? Leave a comment to share your story with everyone.
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about making some holiday gifts this season. I love to make accessories in fun colors and textures for my friends and family, since it’s a nice way to change up a winter look. They’re my go-to gift items.
A great tool for cranking out gifts is our Martha Stewart CraftsTM Knit & Weave Loom Kit, which lets you knit, weave, and double-knit (as shown above), along with making rosettes, and knit in the round. The Kit is particularly fast in weaving and double-knitting, making those crafts perfect for making multiples–especially if, like me, you find yourself perpetually biting off more than you can chew when it comes to gift recipients.
If you’ve never woven before, it’s a great way to mix and match colors to create interesting plaids or striping designs. Check out the weaving patterns on LionBrand.com or click here for my blog post about picking yarns for weaving.
Wondering why you should try double-knitting? First off, it’s extra warm, allowing you to creates a double-thick layer of fabric. But more impressively, one project you’ll want to check out is our Loom Double Knit Duo Striped Scarf (right). Unlike in regular or loom single knitting (in which you would have yarn floats on the back-side of your work), loom double-knitting allows you to make vertical stripes with ease AND it’s completely reversible! I kid you not; double-knitting on the loom is seriously fast, seriously easy, and definitely worth trying.
Finally, for the crafter in your life, you may want to consider giving the Kit itself as a gift. Find out why loom-knitting might be a good option for both younger and older crafters by reading this interview with designer, Isela Phelps.
For the patterns shown above, simply click on the photos to access them on LionBrand.com.
Pom-poms–you see them everywhere in yarncrafting, from the tops of skiing caps to the ends of hoodie ties. But have you ever wondered how to actually make one? Below, watch our video on how to choose the perfect pom-pom for every project.
With endless combinations of color and texture, pom-poms are the perfect way to add new life to old projects. They’re also a great project to do with kids! (For more tips, click here for our recent post about kid-friendly yarncrafting.)
Baby blankets are a fun and easy way to play with different techniques and constructions. Here are four basic baby blankets that anyone can knit or crochet. Click on the images to go to the patterns.
|Knit Sunny Diagonal Blankie
Knit from corner to corner, all you need to learn to make this blanket is yarn-over and knit 2 together.
|Crochet V-Stitch Baby Throw
An easy all-over v-stitch pattern gets a beautiful finishing touch with a picot border. Even if you’ve never done these handy stitches, they are easy to learn by following the directions in the pattern.
|Crochet Baby Throw
A single oversized granny square works up quickly in a super-bulky yarn. Try Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Hometown USA for this dramatic throw.
|Knit Princess Basketweave Throw
For a timeless design, go with a basketweave stitch. In bulky cotton-acrylic blend Baby’s First, this simple design will be super-soft and work up quickly.
As with all projects, the yarn you use makes a big difference. A diagonal baby blanket can be a simple solid or incorporate stunning stripes. You can use a cool cotton or warm wool. Click here to read Ilana’s post on our favorite baby yarns.
When someone you care about is expecting a baby, you’re likely to have the urge to create a one-of-a-kind beautiful gift. As one of the landmark occasions in a family’s life, a time to celebrate the arrival of a new life, what better way to do that than with something made by hand?
Babies are delicate, so the yarn should be soft so it is comfortable on their skin. The reality of spills and spitting up require a yarn that will hold up well and be washable and dryable.
Our lightest weight baby yarn (#3) is Babysoft. This is soft and it gives you a pastel color palette to choose from. It washes and dries beautifully and we offer 62 free patterns for you to choose from.
If you are looking for cotton yarns we would recommend Cotton-Ease, a blend of cotton and acrylic that has a lovely drape to it, beautiful stitch definition and is easy care. With 17 baby blankets and toys to choose from, this yarn is ideal for welcoming spring and summer babies.
In a #4 (medium) weight yarn, we recommend Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Choice Baby, our premium 100% acrylic yarns that are worthy of creating heirloom quality afghans. You’ll have the widest variety of colors to choose from with these yarns–everything from pastels to brights. You’ll also have your pick of over 100 free patterns for that perfect gift. Another great choice in this weight class is Pound of Love, which is offers a selection of traditional baby colors and is the most affordable choice for baby gifts. You can create a hooded blanket with only one ball.
One of our newest yarns, Baby’s First, comes in a thicker, faster #5 weight. The color palette includes sweet sherbet shades and the thicker yarn works up quickly so if the big day is approaching, you may want to choose this soft, easy-care yarn.
A couple weeks ago, I posted about self-striping yarns. Another fun way to play with colors is using “multis”, where each strand contains multiple colors. Whereas self-striping yarns change gradually, multis have either short bursts of color change or different colors plied together. You can see how the Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton in Wildflowers (left) has short color changes that won’t create stripes when worked up. Hometown USA multis (shown in Mardi Gras, right) have contrasting colors spun together; it’s as if you were holding a strand of each color and working them at once.
Here’s a project in each of these yarns so you can see how these fun colorways work up (click on the image for the pattern):
What’s your favorite project to spruce up with a multi-colored yarn?
Unlike the mood rings of our childhoods, color changing yarns don’t actually change color according to a change in their environment. These are yarns that have multiple colors spun together in unique ways for different effects. “Self-striping” and “painterly” colors gradually change color as you knit or crochet to create stripes of color. The color changes can be subtle or bold, but they are fun to play with either way. Of course, different stitches and patterns are going to make the colorways work up differently. For example, you can see the difference between garter stitch (left) and double crochet (right) in the scarves below, both of which are made using Amazing in Vineyard. Click here to see all the colorways of Amazing. You can also click on the images below to see each of the patterns.
Some of our other fabulous yarns with self striping or painterly colors include Sock-Ease, which has bursts of contrasting colors, Homespun, which subtly transitions from one color to the another, and Tweed Stripes, a traditionally spun yarn with color unique color blends. I love the way that color changing yarns can turn a simple project into a stunning one. Two of my favorite patterns (Sunny Diagonal Blankie and Rose Lichen Cardigan, below) cleverly use self-striping colors of Baby Wool to highlight unique construction.
What’s your favorite thing to make with self-striping yarns?