Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for the 'Tips & How To' Category

How To Use Pinterest to Find the Perfect Pattern

September 24th, 2015

Pin It

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… not that you need another app in your life, but Pinterest is a must-have for crafters! Like other social media applications, you can use this platform as a way to showcase your own work. However, Pinterest thrives by connecting content from all over the internet in a single place. Think of it as a your new virtual vision board!

I like to think of Pinterest as a ‘stashbook’ – a place where I can stash ideas and inspiration I can revisit when I need to.

Primarily, I use Pinterest to save outfit ideas — I often find myself scrolling through my Style board on days when I’m not sure what to wear. Recently, I’ve been using Pinterest to gather inspiration for new knitting projects I’m interested in.

Here’s what my knitting Pinterest board looks like:

knitting board


Right now, I’d say I’m inspired by chunky knits, neutral/light colors, and self-striping and variegated yarns.

I’m especially drawn to that chunky cowl (bottom left, model with blonde hair), but that Pinterest link led to a fashion blog in another language, with no pattern — tough luck for me! Using Pinterest’s search bar, I was able to find a similar cowl with a pattern — Lion Brand®‘s Dobbs Ferry Cowl (top left, model with brown hair) made with Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®. Using both photos as inspiration, I know all I need to do is mix up the yarn I use and follow the pattern to get the look.

Here’s how to use Pinterest to get what you really want:


How to Weave on a Cardboard Loom with Lion Brand!

August 29th, 2015

Pin It

For beginners who are interested in weaving, a cardboard loom is a great way to learn and practice designs before deciding to invest in a sturdier loom – like the Cricket Loom or Martha Stewart CraftsTM Knit & Weave Loom Kit. This step by step tutorial will help you get started on your new journey into weaving!



You will need a 14 X 20 in. (35.5 X 51cm) piece of cardboard, a ruler, a large-eye blunt needle, pencil scissors, and, of course, yarn.

The tutorial below is for a placemat made with Lion® Cotton, but we also recommend Bonbons, Vanna’s Choice®, Cotton-Ease® for beginner weavers.

Making Your Loom

With the ruler and pencil, mark a line 1 in. (2.5 cm) from each short end of cardboard. Beginning 1/2 in. (1.5 cm) from one end of line, and ending 1/2 in. (1.5 cm) from opposite end of line, make 53 evenly spaced (about 1/4 in. (6 mm) apart) marks along length of line. Cut a slit in cardboard at each mark, down to the 1 in. (2.5 cm) border.

Step 1

We are showing you the over 2, under 2 weaving method.

Wrap loom with base yarn, placing one strand in each notch then around the back of the loom to the next notch. At last notch cut yarn, leaving a 6 in. (15 cm) tail. There should be 53 strands. Thread blunt needle with about 10 in. (25.5 cm) of working yarn.

Note: Use a length of working yarn that feels comfortable to you. The longer the yarn, the more chance for tangles! The shorter the yarn, the more ends you’ll have to weave in!

Which Crafting Tools are Allowed in Carry-on Luggage?

July 5th, 2015

Pin It

Travel Tips for Knitters and Crocheters
The summer is here so it’s time to plan a big getaway! I don’t like air travel but I do like that it provides me with uninterrupted time to knit and I like that knitting keeps me calm and stress-free while I’m on board! When I tell people that the meditative qualities of knitting have seen me through many journeys, they’re often surprised that I’m allowed to bring my needles on board. While the TSA guidelines can be tricky, knitters and crocheters can put their minds at ease! I’ve collected some frequently asked questions on the subject so you can be in the know about what you are permitted to take on the plane.

Are knitting needles and crochet hooks allowed in carry-on luggage?
Knitting needles and crochet hooks are permitted by the TSA in carry-on luggage on domestic flights in the US. Savvy travelers suggest that you carry wooden or plastic needles over metal and bring circular knitting needles instead of straights which might seem more obtrusive. If you are travelling internationally be sure to check the guidelines of your airline and security agencies abroad. You may be allowed to fly into a country with knitting needles in your carry-on but be required to check them on your return flight.

What about scissors?
You might be surprised to find out that you can bring scissors in your carry-on as long as they have blades that are shorter than four inches. Although they may seem innocuous or be advertised as airplane-approved, thread cutter pendants like these are prohibited by the TSA and should be kept in checked luggage. Don’t have any small scissors? Nail clippers are a good, travel-sized alternative for cutting yarn and they are permitted in carry-ons. If you have questions about other items, the TSA has made a handy search tool.

What if my knitting needles are confiscated?
If you’re worried you might have your needles confiscated, bring a print out of the most recent TSA rules. But keep in mind, screeners can confiscate any items they do not feel are safe regardless of these guidelines. It’s best to leave supplies that are costly to replace or hold sentimental value at home in case you have to part with them. Carry dental floss in your carry-on. You can use the blade to cut yarn and the floss is great for holding stitches in a pinch if you’re asked to surrender your needles.

The security checkpoint is, for many travelers, the most stressful part of a trip. Pack your supplies together in a project bag so that they can easily be inspected and use clear, zip-top bags for smaller notions. Remember to have a back up plan and be courteous!

What should I bring on my trip?
Check out this post for more ideas on what projects and notions to pack and how to prepare for travel crafting. And don’t forget, you can leave your yarn diet home while you’re on vacation!

Have you ever had trouble with your knitting or crochet at the airport? What’s your favorite thing to knit or crochet on a flight?

Can you crochet? Make a fun 8-bit pixel afghan!

June 29th, 2015

Pin It

Can you crochet a granny square? Great! You’re on your way to making an awesome pixel crochet afghan.

What is pixel crochet, you ask? Sarah from Repeat Crafter Me offers this explanation, “basically a pixel crochet blanket is made up of a series of granny squares where each square represents one pixel of the picture. When joined together, the squares (pixels) make a large image.”

So for example, if you wanted to make a Lola afghan, you’d find your favorite Lola image and convert it into a chart using a tool like KnitPro 2.0. Each square in the chart you see below represents one granny square.


It’s easy and fun to do. Below are some examples of crochet pixel afghans. Click the images for charts and explanations for each project.

Avengers Cupcake Tetris Hello Kitty
8-Bit Avengers Blanket, made by Jessica Jamey – design a pattern with your favorite charts and make it with Modern Baby® * Crochet Cupcake Pixel Blanket by Repeat Crafter Me – make it with Vanna’s Choice® * Tetris Afghan by Bethany A. Hamilton – make it with Vanna’s Choice® * Hello Kitty Afghan made by Tarmine626 – make it with Babysoft® *
Storm Trooper kitty pixel Transformers my little pony
Pixel Storm Trooper Afghan made by InAnotherCastle – check out the chart and make one with Modern Baby® * Pick of the Litter Afghan – make one for yourself (or for our resident cat lady, @ShiraRoars!) with Vanna’s Choice® * 8-Bit Transformer Afghan by AmandaJayne00 – pick your favorite chart and make one with Vanna’s Choice® or Modern Baby® * 8-Bit Pinkie Pie Afghan by AmandaJayne00 – pick your favorite chart and make one with Vanna’s Choice® or Modern Baby® *

* Not a Lion Brand pattern

No Ends to Weave In! Join Wool Seamlessly with the Felted Join!

June 3rd, 2015

Pin It

Whether you call it the Felted Join or the Spit Splice, this way of adding on a new ball of wool is perfect when you want to avoid having to weave in ends.

A few drops of water help wool fibers bind together — the result is seamless! Please note that this method is for wool yarn only! If you are interested in an invisible join for other types of yarn, check out our Russian Join tutorial.

Take a look at how we’ve done it: