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 Fluffy Pom Pom Topper in 4 Easy Steps!

December 20th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter. The Weekly Stitch features new products, tips, and more, so if you enjoy this article and would like more content like it, subscribe!

Wrap Your Gift with a Fluffy Pom Pom Topper

Make a big statement with a fluffy pom-pom! Make it one color for a classy look, or combine two colors for something bolder! Once the gift is unwrapped, the pom-pom can also be used as a luggage tag.

For this project, you will need yarn (for the gift on the left, we use Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in the color Fisherman, coupled with Vanna’s Glamour® in the color Diamond; and for the gift on the right we use Alpine Wool in the colors Chili and Olive), along with a pom-pom maker.  For the tutorial below we used Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in Starlight.

To make your pom-pom follow the directions on the pom-pom maker package or see below on how to make one using cardboard.

Step 1

pomtutorial1
Take a rectangular piece of cardboard about 2″ X 4″ and use scissors to cut two, half-inch slits. Cut a piece of yarn to a desired length — I cut mine about a foot to wrap around my present — and secure the ends in the slits.
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9 Travel Tips for Knitters and Crocheters

November 25th, 2014

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The holidays are here and that means that it’s travelling season! For some of us, packing knitting or crochet for a trip can be as important as bringing clothes! Travelling can provide some of the best opportunities for uninterrupted knitting or crocheting time. But these crafts involve a little bit of planning to take the show on the road. Here are some tips for travelling with your knitting or crochet!

knit crochet travel tips
1. Consider Your Project
While over the river and through the woods may give you enough time to stitch up a whole sweater, it may not be practical to work on complicated colorwork or bulky blankets when you’re packing light. Projects that are worked in pieces like granny square afghans or single skein projects such as socks are great for travelling because they don’t take up a lot of room in your luggage.

2. Keep it Simple…or Not!
When deciding on the complexity of your project, each trip is different. Ask yourself a few questions about your travels: Will you be able to devote your attention to intricate cables or should you stick to a stockinette stitch project? Will you be bored working on a simple scarf or will it allow you to chat with family and friends? Do you want to bring two projects so you’re prepared for different situations?

3. Know What You Need
Now that you’ve picked your project, it’s time to prep. Do a gauge swatch in advance so you bring the right needles or hooks. Take time to ensure that you’ve got everything you need for your project because you won’t able to pop into a craft store if you’re boarding a trans-continental flight! Read over your pattern so that you understand all of the techniques involved. Be sure to pack all of the yarns and notions required to complete your work.

4. Leave the Good Stuff at Home
Even if you’re careful, things happen! Losing something you’ve worked hard on can be heartbreaking but it’s even worse if your favorite set of needles or antique scissors go astray as well. Your time and effort is irreplaceable but those handmade crochet hooks cost a pretty penny. Plan for the worst: Bring less expensive supplies and yarns, just in case you become separated.

5. Make a Travel-Sized Notions Case
Use an empty tin (like the ones those famously strong mints come in) to store notions. Fill it with a tape measure, tapestry needle, stitch markers, and whatever else your pattern calls for. This kit is a great size to fit in a small project bag or even your purse and everything is together in one place.

6. Dental Floss is the Traveler’s Best Friend!
A travel-sized dental floss can be incredibly handy on the go. The blade can be used to cut yarn and the floss can become an improvised stitch holder or even a stitch marker in a pinch!

7. Carry Extras
Back ups are key! It’s always a good idea to pack away an extra crochet hook or set of knitting needles just in case one goes on its own adventure. You won’t regret printing out a second copy of your pattern, either! If you like to keep your patterns on your smartphone or another electronic device, bring a printed version in case you run out of battery!

8. Knitters, Use Circular Knitting Needles
Circular knitting needles may not be your favorites but their flexibility makes them perfect for packing. You can use them the same way you’d knit with straight needles but you won’t bump your seatmate’s elbows. For projects knit in the round, the magic loop method can save you from bringing double pointed needles on your trip. Those double pointed sock needles love to run away!

9. Locate Your Nearest Local Yarn Shop
While you may not need to make an emergency trip to the yarn store, it’s always fun to pop into the local shop when you’re traveling. For a list of stores where Lion Brand is carried, search here. If you’re somewhere unfamiliar, a local shop can give you a feel for the scene and the regulars are sure to have recommendations for places to visit in the area. Besides, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can always connect with a knitter or crocheter at the yarn shop!

What are your favorite patterns to make on the road? What tips do you recommend to make travelling easier?


Airline Travel Rules For Knitters and Crocheters

November 21st, 2014

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This time of year many of us will be traveling for the holidays.  It’s a stressful time and we need our knitting needles and crochet hooks now more than ever.  The time you spend at airports waiting for your flight and on the plane won’t be wasted if you’ve got your yarn with you to make gifts or to simply enjoy the meditative feeling you get when you knit or crochet.  One thing you don’t need is to worry about whether you can take the tools you need a plane.   Here are 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?
On domestic flights in the US, knitting needles and crochet hooks are permitted by the TSA in carry-on luggage. The TSA suggests that you carry wooden or plastic needles over metal. Circular knitting needles are preferred over straight. Each country is different, though. 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?
Scissors with blades shorter than four inches are permitted in carry-on luggage on domestic flights. Although they may seem innocuous, thread cutter pendants like these are prohibited by the TSA and should be kept in checked luggage. Nail clippers are a good, travel-sized alternative for cutting yarn and 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?
It’s always handy to carry a print-out of the TSA policies but keep in mind, screeners can confiscate any items they do not feel are safe regardless of these guidelines. If you’re able to confirm ahead of your trip that the airport has mail facilities or a service such as Airport Mailers, you may be able to send prohibited items home instead of losing them for good. You may want to carry a padded, self-addressed, stamped envelope just in case you are not permitted to bring your needles or scissors on board. 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.

While it can be frustrating, remember that this season can be stressful for everyone. It’s helpful to have a back up plan and always be courteous!

What’s your experience been? Have you ever had trouble with your knitting or crochet at the airport?


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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