Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Tips & How To' Category


3 Helpful Crochet Tips for the Left-Handed

March 17th, 2015

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Arabia Temple works at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and gives some of her favorite tips for crocheters who often come into the store asking for help.
left-handed-crochet

At least once a week, someone will come in and talk about how they’d love to crochet, but they’re afraid to try because they’re left-handed. Admittedly, the majority of crochet patterns, diagrams, and instructions are created for crafters who hold their hook in their right hand.

Here are a few tips that have proven helpful to those who hold their hook with their left.

Re-write for left

stGeorgesVariationChart-left

Before you even pick up a hook, you should read your entire pattern from start to finish. Once you’ve gone through it and understand what it’s asking of you, go through it once more and make adjustments to the directional instructions to reflect crocheting from left to right.

Create a mirror image

If you’re working with granny squares, motifs, or other patters using charts, symbols or illustrated stitch explanations, see if the images can be flipped horizontally (see example of St. George’s variation on the right) before they’re printed or photocopied to show the stitches being worked clockwise. Or, you can simply find an actual mirror and place it next to the image to follow the pattern.

Declare it Opposite Day!

Online instructional videos, like Lion Brand’s Youtube Channel, are a great resource for crafters, but when the host is a right-handed, you’ll want do the opposite of what you see the instructor doing. For example, right–handed instructors will turn their work from right to left – like turning the page of a book; you would instead turn your work from left to right-like going back a page.

While crochet doesn’t exactly cater those who are left-handed, it certainly shouldn’t scare them away. As long as you remember that patience, practice, and perseverance are all you really need to crochet, no matter what hand your dominant hand is, you’ll be just fine.


16 Tips for Crocheters!

March 9th, 2015

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March is National Crochet Month – making it the perfect time to learn to crochet or perfect a stitch. Lion Brand offers many great resources to learn: there’s our Learning Center for step-by-step instructions, Stitchfinder to find the perfect stitch to practice, and our YouTube Channel if you’re a visual learner. We even have a Craftsy class to show you how to crochet your very first cowl.

Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran looking for new tricks, here are some great tips to get you started on your next crochet project:

So pick up a hook, some yarn and learn a new skill!


8 Great Tips To Help You On Your First Knit Sweater

March 7th, 2015

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myfirstsweatertipsLove knitting scarves and afghans, but want to take your knitting skills to the next level? You might want to try your very first sweater!

We have several tips that can help you along the way, plus 4 of our most popular sweater projects — check them out below!

In addition to this, we even offer a Craftsy class that will show you how to make different types of raglan sweaters – perfect for visual learners!

 

Knit Raglan Sweater Knitted Aran Sweater Striped Boyfriend Cardigan Knit Cable Luxe Tunic
Raglan Sleeve Pullover
in Wool-Ease® Chunky
Knitted Aran Sweater
in Fishermen’s
Wool®
Striped Boyfriend Cardigan
in Wool-Ease® Thick
& Quick®
Cable Luxe Tunic
in Wool-Ease®

16 Tips and Tricks for Beginner Knitters!

February 23rd, 2015

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As a person who’s just learning to knit, I find Lion Brand’s Learning Center to be very useful because of the step-by-step-videos that I can rewind as many times as I need to get a stitch right. In addition to the Learning Center, the Lion Brand® blog is another great resource for tips and little-known tricks to make knitting even more enjoyable.

Whether you’re just learning to knit or would like to try a different method of casting on, check out these great posts:

16-knit-tips


Crochet a Cozy Cowl in No Time with the Crafty Gemini!

February 19th, 2015

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flattering cowl
It’s the middle of February, and many of us in the Northeast are still getting plenty of snow, cold, and wind – so it’s the perfect time to get out those hooks (or needles) and work on something warm and cozy.

The Flattering Cowl is a popular pattern that’s easy to make, and super snuggly because it’s made with Lion Brand’s plush Homespun® Thick & Quick® yarn. It’s definitely a gratifying project because it works up quickly; you can easily finish this cowl in one day.

You’ll love the feel of Homespun® Thick & Quick® as it keeps you nice and toasty in this super bulky cowl. Watch the video below for a tutorial that’s great for beginners. Vanessa, from the Crafty Gemini, shares tips and tricks for working on this cowl, and offers advice for creating different variations. Enjoy!

:: can’t see the video above? click here: http://youtu.be/lsuM-bx7f6o ::


2 Ways to Start a Circle in Crochet from Dora Ohrenstein

February 12th, 2015

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Learn 2 Methods for Crocheting a Circle

Thanks to our friends over at Storey Publishing, we’re sharing a handy excerpt from Dora Ohrenstein’s latest book, The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop (The Essential Techniques for Becoming a More Versatile, Adventurous Crocheter).

Dora’s latest book features numerous tips on gauge, crochet shaping and construction, colorwork and more – so we suggest that you go ahead and check out the book in its entirety, you’ll be glad you did.

In the meantime, have a look at the excellent excerpt below. Coupled with instructional photos, you’ll quickly and easily learn two different methods for starting a crochet circle – a ring with chains and the magic circle.

Try them out to see which method you like best!


Starting the Circle

There are several different ways to begin working in the round. You can make several chains (the most common method), make an adjustable ring, or use the first chain as a ring. Let’s look at the first two.

Make a Ring with Chains

To make a ring with chains, work several chains, then slip stitch in the first chain to form a ring. The number of chains is determined by how many stitches you intend to work into the ring and how tightly you want the ring to close. If you are following a pattern, the number of chains will be specified. Supposing, however, that you are working a hat pattern, and after working the specified number of chains and stitches in the first round, you find you have a larger hole at the center than you’d like. Go ahead and try again with fewer chains: it will cause no harm whatsoever. For other items worked in the round, such as motifs and flowers, the size of the “hole” at the center can make a difference, as it affects the overall size of the finished piece. In these instances, it’s wise to stick with the instructions as written.

Ring with chains

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10 Truths: Knitting and Crocheting Prayer Shawls

February 12th, 2015

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“A shawl is like a warm hug.”

Giving a prayer shawl to a friend or family member going through a difficult time is an appropriate gesture when there isn’t anything you can do to make their situation better. A handmade knit or crochet gift can offer comfort beyond words and the process can often have the power to heal one’s self too.

Over the years we’ve collected wisdom and insights from our favorite writers on making and giving prayer shawls (sometimes also known as comfort or healing shawls). These four articles below capture the essence of the prayer shawl and offer ten great tips – from patterns to process to the philosophy behind them – this collection is a great starting point for anyone who’d like to learn more about making prayer shawls:

Also see

Homespun® is on sale now – save 20% at lionbrand.com and Lion Brand retail locations in February.

How have prayer shawls helped you? Share in the comments below!



8 Things To Think About Before Starting Your Next Knit or Crochet Project

February 9th, 2015

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8-things-to-think-about-kcprojectSo you’ve finished a project and are ready to a start new one – congratulations!

Whether you plan to knit a hat or crochet your first vest or tackle a new stitch, there are a few things you can think about before you pick up a hook or needle.

A great place to get started is reading Lion Brand’s nine-part series Cracking the (Pattern) Code. You’ll learn about choosing the right yarns and tools, how to check your gauge, how to read patterns and more.

From there, you may want to continue on to more advanced topics and helpful tips like the ones below:

Are there any pre-planning ideas you recommend before starting a project? Share with us below!

:: Pattern seen in the picture above is the Moody Blue Bag made in Fettuccini® Yarn.


New! Learn to Crochet 3 Easy Cowls with Moogly

January 30th, 2015

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Learn How to Crochet With Moogly!

  In the Round, In Style: Crochet Cowls Made Easy Cowls are quite the craze amongst crocheters, and it’s easy to see why! They’re small projects that make a big impact in any wardrobe — plus, they’re quick, easy and fabulously fun to work. Join me, Tamara Kelly, the mind behind Moogly, in my online Craftsy class, Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls, to create quick and captivating cowl projects that will work up with ease, and open up a brand new world as you crochet in the round! During class, we’ll work our way through three dazzling cowls. Start with the easiest, then turn your sights to a lace cowl, getting acquainted with lace charts as you crochet. And finally, create something a little more advanced, adding fabulous granny square embellishment to the final cowl. Plus, throughout class, you’ll get tips and tricks for blocking and finishing to really make those cowls pop! And, did I mention that the first 1,000 students to enroll get a heavenly, heathered treat? That’s right — enroll today and get a free skein of Lion Brand Amazing® yarn!

 For our first lesson, we’ll make the aptly–named 45–Minute Cowl. I’ll show you how to work two strands at once from the same skein, and we’ll start our foundation row, learning to properly measure gauge. As we move on, I’ll give you tips for joining the beginning row in the round, including a more professional way to start the round, and take you through each stitch used. Then, we’ll complete this cowl with fabulous finishing tips that will help you take care of those ends!In our third lesson, we explore lovely lace in the round. You’ll improve your chart–reading skills as I walk you through the pattern and show you how it translates to the chart. Join your first round, and enjoy my nifty trick you can use in all your in–the–round projects so that your chain doesn’t get twisted! While we crochet, I’ll explain how the stitch pattern develops round by round, and you’ll learn which loops to work into to create the beautiful shells of this stunning cowl.

 We’ll finish lesson four by flipping the cowl once we’ve worked it half way, working into the foundation chain once more to build fabric out in the opposite direction. Once we’re finished, it’s time for the beautiful Brompton Abbey Cowl! This more advanced cowl is still very approachable — it just takes a few special stitches, like picots, which I’ll show you step by step. Plus, I’ll share some advice on adjusting length and width, so you can customize for the fit you crave! Then, we’ll create our cowl’s dazzling centerpiece by crocheting and attaching the granny squares. I’ll show you how to make the center spiral, square–off corners for a traditional look and attach the squares to the neck piece. For our final lesson, we’ll add finishing touches with a beautiful picot edge and functional snaps, and end class with blocking tips for all your projects! Get three incredible designs, plus a FREE skein of Lion Brand Amazing yarn, when you sign up for Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls today.

 For me, as much as I’ve fallen in love with crochet over the years, it’s the aspect of community and sharing with other crocheters that has truly become my passion. That’s why I started Moogly, a crochet website, and made it my mission to connect with crocheters, sharing my knowledge by blogging, designing, curating pattern collections, crafting tutorials and more! Now, I get to connect with you too — thanks to Craftsy! With Craftsy you get expert instruction and ample support, with me and the crochet community by your side. Plus, with online lessons you can watch when you want and where you want, you get to learn on your terms, in crystal clear high–definition!So, join me, and get ready to cowl with delight! Learn all the skills you need to start creating cowls and other in–the–round projects with complete confidence.

Join me in for only $19.99that’s 33% off today!


3 Different Ways to Shape the Neckline of a Sweater

January 29th, 2015

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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.

shapenecklineWhen making a pullover sweater in either knitting or crochet, there are many different ways to construct a sweater. In some cases, you will be working from the top-down in one piece (working from the neckline downwards, adding stitches for your raglan sleeves, and then coming back in for the body); you might also work in the round from the bottom edge, splitting the stitches at the arm holes and then working on the front and back separately.

Often you’ll see instructions like this:

Shape Neck

    K14 (15, 16, 16) sts, join a 2nd ball of yarn and bind off next 6 (8, 8, 10) sts, k to end. Working both sides at once with separate balls of yarn, dec 1 st at each neck edge every other row 3 times – 11 (12, 13, 13) sts. Work until same length as Back to shoulders.

When you shape the neck of the front of a pullover, in particular a crew neck or a v-neck, you are ensuring that the neck opening will be large enough so that it fits over the head. There are two components: the width and the depth.

The depth is generally several inches. This is why the neckline shaping begins before the front armhole reaches the depth of the back armhole (where usually only width is of consequence to the total neck opening).

To begin, stitches are eliminated in the center and then decreasing takes place on each side of these center stitches to further widen and shape the neck opening. When the depth is completed, the shoulder stitches are usually bound off.

We’ll be discussing how to shape a neckline when you work the sweater in pieces, starting from the bottom edge and working up towards the neckline.

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