Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Tips & How To' Category


How to Make a Yarn Wreath in 4 Easy Steps!

November 17th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter, which features new products, tips, and more. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

mohairwreaths
A great gift for a knitter or crocheter – turn two balls of yarn into two cute wreaths in minutes! Use them as ornaments, then knit or crochet them into fabulous projects.

For this project you’ll need two balls of yarn (here we’re using LB Collection® Silk Mohair in Azure and Sunbeam), as well a tapestry needle.

Step 1

mohair1

Remove labels from yarn, (hang on to them if giving to a yarncrafter!) and remove a little bit of yarn from each ball. If your yarn isn’t already in a cake or doughnut shape, wrap it around a water bottle or cup to make “cakes.” From the yarn you removed from each ball, cut 2 lengths of yarn (1 of each color), long enough to wrap around your package. Set them aside. Thread tapestry needle with remaining yarn in first color.

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Make a Mini Pom-Pom Gift Topper in 5 Easy Steps!

November 10th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter, which features new products, tips, and more. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

pompom4Pom-poms are easy, fast, and fun — add a couple of mini ones to your packages for a whimsical touch! This week we’re showing you how to make a Mini Pom-Pom Gift Topper

For this gift topper, you’ll need several colors of yarn (the example below uses Lion® Cotton in Turquoise and Lion Wool® in Dark Teal*).

*Editors’ Note: Lion Wool® has been discontinued since this article was originally published. Try a color-changing yarn like Amazing® and Vanna’s Tapestry or use the leftover yarn from the handmade gift inside.
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Make a Woven Wonder Gift Topper in 5 Easy Steps!

November 7th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter, which features new products, tips, and more. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

weavingTurn any package into a mini loom! If you teach the recipient how to tie off the edges, they’ll have a little coaster or place mat in addition to the gift inside.

For this gift topper, you’ll need two types of yarn (the example below uses Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in Citron and Lion Wool® in Dark Teal*.), tape, and a tapestry needle, in addition to your wrapped gift.

*Editors’ Note: Lion Wool® has been discontinued since this article was originally published. Try a color-changing yarn like Amazing® and Landscapes® or use the leftover yarn from the handmade gift inside.

Step 1

Tape the end of the first yarn to the back of your package. Wrap yarn around package lengthwise, keeping strands close together (aprox ¼” apart). Wrap about 20 times for a coaster, 50 for a placemat OR any even number of times. Once wrapped, cut yarn, remove the tape holding the other end of yarn and tie the two strands together, being careful not to distort the front lineup. Trim tails.
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9 Tutorials for Every Knitter and Crocheter to Try!

October 27th, 2014

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9-tutorials-every-knitter-and-crochet-should-know

Beyond bringing you new patterns and reporting on the latest knit and crochet trends each week, Lion Brand also provides numerous tutorials on techniques and methods all knitters and crocheter should know about (and try at least once!). 

Tutorials are a great method of learning – for knitters and crocheters who are just learning the basic, to experienced crafters who want step-by-step visuals to master a new technique.

Bottom line, tutorials are a great way to learn new skills that will help you on future knitting and crochet projects!

Here is a collection of our most popular tutorials:

For more step by step instructions, look under our Tutorials and Tips & How To sections of the blog.  And for those learning how to knit or crochet, our Stitchfinder is also a great resource!


Learn How to Knit the Concerto Cowl with Christine from iKNITS! + Giveaway

September 6th, 2014

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Get ready for fall with a cozy and comfortable cowl. The Concerto Cowl is a great transitional piece, made with our soft, classic worsted weight, Heartland yarn.

In this tutorial, Christine walks you through the pattern step-by-step and shows you how easy it is to slip stitch.

So get out your needles and follow along with the video below!

If you like this video, check out more from Christine over on YouTube at iKNITS


Needle Felting with Acrylic? Check out Lion Brand’s new Spinnables!

August 26th, 2014

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Lion Brand Spinnables

Felting and acrylic aren’t usually words that go together, so when the opportunity arose to try out some of Lion Brand’s “Spinnables” 100% acrylic fiber, I was skeptical. You might recognize this fiber because it’s our Homespun® before it’s spun into yarn! (We wrote about how Homespun® is made HERE.)

Here is a look at the fiber. It’s incredibly soft and silky. I frequently felt with superfine Merino wool, but even that does not compare to the softness of this fiber! It reminds me more of silk than of wool. Lion Brand Spinnables Acrylic Fiber
Acrylic Needle Felted Cat Next step was to try felting a simple object. I picked a cat, although I think the result looks more like a gummy bear. So let’s say it’s a gummy cat. The acrylic fiber felted surprisingly quickly and densely! The gummy cat feels very solid, although the surface texture retains some of the fiber’s silky smoothness. I started with a coarse felting needle and moved on to a finer one as the fiber began to firm up.
All finished! I only had one color to work with, but with multiple colors it would be possible to add details like eyes if desired (of course, a gummy cat doesn’t need them). Because of its extreme softness, this fiber is better suited to projects with simple shapes and rounded edges. Acrylic Needle Felted Cat
Acrylic Needle Felted Cat All-in-all, I think acrylic fiber is an excellent alternative to wool and a great way for those who forgo animal products to get into needle felting. I look forward to experimenting with it further and to seeing what others come up with.

 

Spinnables” fiber is available in 3 oz packages of assorted colors – more than enough for several small projects like this. You can find it at the Lion Brand Outlet and on our website. If you are new to needle felting, we also have everything else you need to get started. We hope you’ll give it a try!


3 Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re Substituting Yarns

August 18th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You're Substituting Yarns

The time will come when you need or want to substitute a yarn in a pattern. The reasons for this are varied. Perhaps the yarn recommended is discontinued; perhaps it’s too expensive, or perhaps it’s a fiber you don’t wish to use.

1. What is the weight of the yarn?

Worsted? Bulky? You need to select a yarn in the same weight class. If you don’t, you won’t be able to obtain the correct gauge and your project will not be the correct size. You may eventually be able to obtain the gauge of the pattern but it will be as stiff as cardboard or very loose (depending on if you selected a lighter or heavier weight). For a project such as a sweater, this will have a huge impact.

For a listing of Lion Brand yarns by weight click here.

You can often combine multiple strands of a lighter weight yarn to achieve the same weight as a heavier one. Be sure to check your gauge very, very carefully when doing this. Yarns within the same weight class still work to various gauges. For example, a worsted weight yarn is usually classified as one that works between 16 and 20 sts per 4 inches.

These are approximate equivalents:

  • 2 strands fingering = one strand sport.
  • 2 strands sport = one strand worsted.
  • 2 strands worsted = one strand super bulky.

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Learn How to Crochet a Flower with Vanessa from The Crafty Gemini! (Plus a Giveaway)

August 12th, 2014

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Today, we’re sharing a tutorial from the talented Vanessa from popular YouTube channel, The Crafty Gemini. Vanessa’s tutorial shows you how to easily create a Crochet Flower using Bonbons yarn! Whether for fun embellishments, or to enjoy all on their own, crochet flowers are quick and customizable, and only require a little bit of yarn.

Watch Vanessa’s video below to get started!
Get pattern here: Crochet Flower

P.S! Although Vanessa’s giveaway has ended, we’ve got a new giveaway for you, find more details below the video.

If you like Vanessa’s tutorial, check out her YouTube, The Crafty Gemini!

Enter for a chance to win 3 packages of Bonbons.
Two winners will have the chance to select three packs of Bonbons as a prize, colorways of their choice! (8/15-8/22)

Bonbons-for-Crafty-Gemini-Blog

Restrictions:

1. Entries must be received by August 22nd, 11:59:59 pm, EST.
2. Must be 18 or older to enter.
3. One entry per person.
4. Shipping only within U.S and to Canada

»Click here« to enter if the form below doesn’t work.


Should You Carry the Yarn Along the Side or Cut It?

August 11th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

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When working a pattern in stripes, sometimes you’ll see an instruction “Carry the yarn not in use along the side” (as with the Knit Shell Beach Washcloth shown at right); other times you won’t see an instruction at all.

When to Carry the Yarn Along

What should you do then? “Carry the yarn along the side” means nothing more than leave the color you are currently not using at the side of your work without cutting it. You’ll pick it up again later when you are to use that color again. If you are not going to use the color for 4 more rows, the next time you are at the edge where the unused yarn is, you will need to twist it with the color you are using. This will keep a loose loop from forming (the loose loop might get snagged or look unattractive if it isn’t twisted into the other yarn).

If you’re working 2 rows of one color followed by 2 rows of a second color, carrying the unused yarn makes sense, because all the color changes are on one edge of the piece, meaning that you can simply pick up the next color at the side and proceed.

If you’re alternating three colors, working 2 rows each, you will need to twist both colors not in use. Drop the color you just finished behind the other two, twist the other two, pick up the next color you need and continue.

When to Cut the Yarn

Quintessential Country Afghan

If the pattern is anything other than 2 rows of color A followed by 2 rows of color B, even though you’ve been told to carry it, you still have a personal choice to make and should consider several factors that may lead you to cutting it every time instead. The down-side to cutting the yarn is that you will have many more ends to weave in (but if you weave in as you go, this task will not be as daunting). The upside? The row edges will be much neater. This should be especially considered when you are making a scarf or a throw where the edges will be seen (as with the Quintessential Country Afghan, shown left). In a sweater, the edges will be hidden in a seam; however, the seams will be bulkier because you’ve carried the yarn so that’s a negative factor to consider.

There is no hard and fast rule but generally if you are going to be working more than 4 rows before needing the color again, strongly consider cutting it. Some people will stretch this to 6 rows. Every time you twist the yarns, you are adding more bulk to the edge.

And you can always weave in those ends while watching TV.

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10 Ideas to Stay Inspired During a Crafting Hiatus

August 5th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 4 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

10 Ideas to Stay Inspired During a Crafting Hiatus

Many knitters and crocheters craft every single day. It’s part of a good total wellness plan for a lot of us. But what happens if you have to take a crafting hiatus? An injury, crafting burnout (similar to writers’ block) and health issues can force an unwanted break from knitting and crochet. Here are ten ideas for staying inspired in the event that this occurs to you.

1. Organize photos of your past craft work.

This can be a great way to celebrate the work that you’ve already done. It will remind you of all of the inspiration you’ve had in the past and get you re-excited for the time that you can pick up hooks and needles again. A big photo album works as does a blog or Facebook albums.

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