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!
Earlier this month, Lion Brand Yarn sponsored the Crochet Guild of America’s Professional Development Day and exhibited at the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, New Hampshire. Here at Lion Brand we truly enjoy being a part of the consumer shows because it gives us a chance reach out to the public. Having our booth filled with Lion Brand fans and witnessing their creativity is always such a gratifying experience for us. (If you didn’t see Lindsey’s post last week about the projects that Lion Brand customers brought to our booth, be sure to check it out!)
Another wonderful part of the show is finding out what products our customers were really into. As usual, our LB Collection of luxury fibers at affordable prices was a big hit, especially the LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel. We brought the Lace Net Scarf as an example of how this yarn is both soft enough to wear around the neck and how the steel content actually allows it to keep its shape, staying open and lacy with just a little stretch! One of the many reasons we like to attend shows like this one is to show off our yarns in person, as many people prefer to touch yarn and see the colors in person before buying! (Tip: Another great way to see our yarns in person is to order a color card. Click here to see the LB Collection color cards.)
Our color-changing Amazing yarn was also a big hit — people love seeing the swatches and how the colors work over a long stretch of yarn. Haven’t seen how it works? Click here to see swatches!
Finally, walking the show and seeing all of the Lion Brand tote bags being carried around always brings a smile to my face. It makes me feel as though our fans share the same sense of pride in our brand as I do.
(If you’re looking at this blog post on the website, click on the slideshow to move to the next photo. If you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail and you’re having trouble with the photos, please click the title to see it on the website.)
We can’t wait to see what this event has in store for us next year!
Were you at the Knit & Crochet Show? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this blog post!
I love the new colors of Sock-Ease, but I needed a small amount of bright yellow yarn for an upcoming sock project. My solution: dye Sock-Ease with Kool-Aid! This method works great for any animal fibers, including wool, alpaca, mohair, and more. Nylon will also absorb the dye, so sock yarns are great for dyeing. Here’s the process that I used. You’ll need your yarn, some sugar-free Kool-Aid or other comparable drink mix (1 or 2 packets per ounce of yarn dyed), a microwave-safe container, plastic gloves, some scrap yarn, and food coloring (optional).
Step 1: If your yarn isn’t already in a hank, wind it into a large circle. I wound my Marshmallow Sock-Ease around a binder. Loosely tie a few pieces of scrap yarn around your yarn as shown to keep everything untangled. Note: If you tie the scrap yarn too tightly, the sections of yarn under the ties won’t get dyed!
Step 2: Soak your yarn in some lukewarm water and mild soap. If your yarn isn’t machine washable, be careful not to felt it!
Step 3: Put on your rubber gloves. Add your sugar-free Kool-Aid to water and stir until the powder is fully dissolved. I used one packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid and a few drops of yellow food dye to make my color really pop. Next, place your yarn into the dye bath and add enough water to completely cover the yarn. Don’t worry if you add a lot of water; this will not dilute the dye.
Step 4: Microwave your yarn in its bath for about two minutes. Let the yarn sit for a minute or two, and then check the color of the dye bath. Repeat the microwave/rest process until the dye bath is clear.
Step 5: After the yarn cools, remove it from the dye bath. Wash the yarn as in step 2 and hang to dry. After the yarn has dried, you can wind it into a ball.
My finished yarn was the perfect beautiful, bold yellow, and it’s still machine-washable! I’m so happy with my results that I want to Kool-Aid dye everything.
Earlier this season, we released a new yarn that’s like a chunky-weight version of our popular Cotton-Ease. Like Cotton-Ease, Baby’s First is a cotton/acrylic blend made with many fine plies, which gives it great stitch definition, loftiness, and strength. And while it’s called Baby’s First, its sherbet colors are actually great for spring and summer garments for adults too.
Wanting to make something in this yarn, I decided I’d look at quick-to-crochet cardigans that I can layer with summer dresses, but looking at our Pattern Finder, the pattern that caught my eye was this kid’s Bebop Cardi (below), originally made in Vanna’s Choice, a worsted-weight yarn. While its largest size would actually work for a women’s XS, I figured I’d need a slightly bigger size.
Luckily, one great way to resize a pattern is to follow the directions exactly as written, but use a thicker yarn and a bigger hook! Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Sure, but how do you know what size your project is going to end up?” Well, as with almost all projects, gauge is going to come into play when it comes to determining size.
First I made a gauge swatch with the recommended size hook for Baby’s First, the K-hook. The pattern tells me that I need to make the whole swatch in double-crochets, so lucky for me, it’s very quick:
Normally, you’re trying to match the gauge in the pattern (in this case 3 inches to 9 stitches across), BUT since the whole point of this new yarn and hook size is to get a bigger swatch, my next move will be to figure out just how much bigger it is compared to the original swatch. I measure my 9 stitches and I get 3.75 inches or 1.25 times bigger than the original sweater (3.75 inches divided by the original 3 inches = 1.25). To get my projected bust measurement (the best way to size a sweater), I multiply the smallest bust measurement (29 inches) by that 1.25, and I get a bust measurement of 36.25. That’s a little bigger than I’d like it to be, as I’d like the cardigan to be more fitted, so next I tried one size smaller, using a J-hook.
This gave me 3.5 inches over 9 stitches. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but remember, over as many stitches as you have in a sweater, it adds up fast. With this hook, my swatch is 1.167 times bigger than the original gauge. This gives me a bust measurement of 33.83 inches. This is much closer to the 34 inch bust that I’d like to achieve. [Note: If you want to make this pattern as a women’s medium or large, get 3.5 inches per 9 stitches, and then you can expect to follow the medium or large directions of the pattern for a 35.6 inch bust and 38.5 inch bust respectively. Again, to get these measurements, I just multiplied the 1.167 by the original medium and large bust measurements. For slightly larger sizes, just do the same math with the K-hook measurements!]
The cardi worked up quickly (the pattern is only 17 rows, following the smallest directions), and here’s the finished product:
As with any project, it’s always best to wash it according to its care instructions after it’s finished (to get rid of any grime from working the yarn and to fluff it up), so into the washer and dryer it went! I also measured the circumference just to double-check that the size was right, and it was just under 34 inches–right on the money.
I’m really looking forward to wearing this cardigan all summer long!
And here’s the back:
Do you have any projects that you’ve modified to suit your needs? Tell us about them by leaving a comment!
The second annual Vanna’s Choice contest has ended and the winners are now posted on the contest website. The entries showed extraordinary talent, skill and creativity. They also demonstrated the amazing versatility of Vanna’s Choice–that it can be used successfully to make virtually any type of garment, afghan, toy, or in the case of the grand prize winner–an entire village. They also showed how the wide range of easy-to-match colors allowed for endless possibilities of creativity in creating beautiful color combinations.
Our judges found selecting winners from among the thousands of entries extremely challenging, but the grand prize winner was a true stand-out.
The grand prize winner, Andrea Miners of Prince George, British Columbia, Canada created a miniature world in her entry entitled Fantasy Village Playmat. Her prize is a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, where she will meet Vanna White, accommodations for 2 nights for 2 people, plus $500 spending money.
We look forward to sharing the story of Andrea’s trip to meet Vanna with you in a future blog post. Here is an image of the entire village, as well as two close-up detail images.
Children don’t need to knit or crochet to make amazing projects with yarn. With a little bit of creativity, you and your kids can make imaginative creations from yarn and some household objects! Colorful yarn, glue, paper or plastic cups, cardboard, buttons, safety scissors, and felt are all all of the supplies you need for an entire afternoon of fun crafting. These wrapped animals are just a few of the ideas we came up with.
But you don’t have to just make animals. With just yarn wrapping, we’ve also made bracelets and decorative vases. Try combining lots of different yarn colors and textures to make a truly exciting project. What yarn wrapping project will you create?
Want to keep your kids entertained and crafty this summer? Check out the children’s aisle of your local craft and hobby store. There you’ll find a wealth of kid-friendly craft kits. They usually come with everything you’ll need for the project, so you don’t have to worry about gathering supplies. Best of all, you can stock up on lots of different kits so that you’ll be ready for any rainy days, surprise visits, or anything else that comes up! Be sure to check out our Amigurumi Friends Kits for great stuffed toy, purse, and pillow craft projects — no knitting or crocheting required.
Looking for more kid-friendly craft ideas? I’ll be posting more projects in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the blog!
Vanna’s Choice yarns are great to work with and easy care, but did you know that all the colors were expertly designed to go with each other? Jess and I decided to test the theory, and using Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Choice Baby we came up with over ten different color palettes! The options are endless, but these few color combinations are a great jumping off point. You can use them as they are, or pick as many colors as you need from each.
We started with the basics (note: captions list colors in order from left to right, top to bottom):
Then we picked palettes based off of individual colors (Greens, Neutrals, and Pinks):
Then we picked color themes (Muted, Deep, Brights):
We also picked seasonal colors (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn):
You could also make your own entirely different Vanna’s Choice combos or themes. No matter what colors you pick from the line, they always look perfect together. The Vanna’s Choice Fan Club on Ravelry picks color themes and does swaps, knowing that no matter what they end up with, it’ll match perfectly. What are you favorite Vanna’s Choice color combos?
Yesterday, I received two skeins of yarn as gifts for our Lion Brand archives. One of the skeins was Lion Brand Tweed Look, which was a four-ply knitting worsted yarn that was a Sayelle 100% Dupont Orlon. The yarn was machine washable and dryable and had a fantastic tweed look. I believe this yarn made its début in the late 1970’s and was extremely unique for its time due to the fact that most four ply yarns were considered a commodity, while this yarn had a unique tweed-like effect.
I was most excited about the second skein I received because it was one that I have never seen before. The yarn is called Glitter Knit and the put-up (the way the ball is shaped) and packing on this yarn are truly unique. Although we have had other yarns called “Glitter Knit” in our line throughout the years, this one was one I wasn’t familiar with; in addition to the put-up and interesting logo on the package, it also has an interesting fiber content. It is a 2 oz. skein that contains 87% wool and 13% tinsel. This skein is also special to me because it dates back to 1954, the year I was born.
Today, we have Vanna’s Glamour which is comparable to the vintage Glitter Knit, and over the summer, we’ll be introducing a new product that is like a modern take on Tweed Look. It’s interesting to see how everything comes full circle over the years!
Do you have photos of vintage Lion Brand yarns you want to share with us? E-mail the blog at email@example.com and show us!
You loved our shawl pin in the last Lion Design catalog, so we have just added a couple more to our store!
These beautiful wood shawl pins add a touch of sophistication to your shawl, scarf, or wrap — and these fair-trade pins are made from found hardwood, meaning that no trees are chopped down to make them! Click on the photos below for more info & to order!
|Shawl Stick (Light)||Shawl Stick (Dark)|
|Shawl Pin (Dark)|
I think they really make even the simplest shawl pop.
Pair your new pin with a classic project like this Crochet Afternoon Breeze Shawl for a great look this spring: