Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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6 Great Gifts for Knitters, Crocheters, and Crafters

November 22nd, 2011

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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.

Ergonomic Crochet Hook Set 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.
Stress Relief Gloves 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.
Yarn Cutter Pendant 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.
Lily Combo Needle Case 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.
Lion Brand Gift Certificate 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.
Martha Stewart Crafts Knit & Weave Loom Kit 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:

YarnCraft Episode 105 :: 20 Gift Ideas for Yarncrafters, PLUS 5 Sock-Making Tips from Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review

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.


Get Going on Your Holiday Gifts with the Martha Stewart Crafts™ Knit & Weave Loom Kit

October 28th, 2011

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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.


How to Make a Pom-Pom Out of Yarn

July 6th, 2011

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Left to right: Hanover Hat, Kildare Hoodie

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.)

Ready to get started? LionBrand.com sells a huge variety of pom-pom makers, from winders of all sizes to customizable wooden and plastic pom-pom trees! Click here to check out our selection.

 


4 Easy Baby Blankets

May 5th, 2011

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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.


Our Favorite Yarns for Making Knit and Crochet Baby Gifts

April 28th, 2011

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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. 

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Mix It Up With Multis

March 1st, 2011

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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?

 


Explore Self-Striping Yarns

February 8th, 2011

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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?


A Very Special, Limited Time Offer

January 7th, 2011

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We invite you to visit our website, where for a very limited time, you can get  20% off everything you order shipped within the US. Enter the code newyear20 during checkout to receive the discount.  The sale ends at midnight on Tuesday, January 11th.

Take a look at the thousands of free patterns in every category for inspiration and ideas. It’s a great opportunity to replenish your yarn supply, try one of our luxury LB Collection fibers, or give yourself a gift from our tools and accessories collection.


What’s Your Favorite Color of Amazing?

December 13th, 2010

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Color changing yarns are fun and turn simple projects into stunning creations.  Amazing has been such a popular color changing yarn that in its first year, we already doubled the line to 14 colors! Check out how the color changes of Amazing look by clicking here, then vote on your favorite color below. (If you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail or in an RSS reader, please click the title of the blog post to view it online and use the survey form.)


4 Essential Tools for Your Project Bag

November 17th, 2010

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For every knitter & crocheter, every project brings with it a couple of basic needs: the right size hook/needle, rows to count and keep track of, and of course, ends to weave in. To help you with these basics, here are 4 essential tools that you will want to keep in your project bag (I know I certainly get a lot of use out of these tools), available at LionBrand.com and in your local stores:

Needle gauge: Often needle/hook size numbers get worn down or are just hard to read (or with DPNs, the needles are often unlabeled). Keep a needle gauge in your bag to and simply stick your needle through the various holes to see what size it is. Plus, the 5-inch ruler on the edge, makes it a tool that does double-duty! This tool will work for crocheters too, giving you the number and metric sizes, but if you’re wondering which letter it is, just remember this useful tip from our friend, designer Lily Chin: H = 8 and they sound similar. Working forwards and back, you can now figure out which letter your hook will be!

Row counter: Keep a row counter handy when working on projects where you have to keep track of the pattern repeats or number of rows. Turn the dials every time you complete a row. These Lion Brand row counters even slip onto your circs or straight needles so they don’t get lost! Split-ring stitch markers are another great tool for keeping track of pattern repeats. Slip them on your needles every ten or twenty stitches for place patterns. Since our stitch markers having this neat split-ring design, they’re also perfect for slipping onto the first stitch of your crochet rounds or even slipping onto mistake stitches in your knitting that you want to fix when you come back around to them!

Large-eye blunt needles (or tapestry needles): Essential for weaving in ends, seaming together garments, kitchener stitching your socks, or embroidering facial features onto your amigurumi, every knitter & crocheter needs blunt needles in their bags!

Finally, I like to keep a couple of extras like a pair of small scissors or a yarn cutter and a small crochet hook (useful for fixing mistakes on knitting projects too!). Whether you want to have a set for every project bag or whether you move them from bag to bag, these tools will help to keep you on track, no matter the project.

What are the tools that you always keep in your bag? Leave a comment and let us know!

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