Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Tips & How To' Category

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 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.


Lion Brand’s Top 10 Tutorials from 2014!

January 6th, 2015

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“How to Knit” and “How to Crochet” were ranked as two of the Top 5 Google Searches for How-Tos in 2014 — so if you haven’t decided on a new year’s resolution yet, why not learn to knit or crochet?

There’s a reason why these two crafts have become so popular.  Research (and lots of anecdotal evidence) tells us that knitting and crocheting helps to relieve stress, makes it easier to get through difficult times, and helps us to feel more productive.

Whether you are an absolute beginner or a long time knitter or crocheter who wants to improve your skills, we have plenty of resources to help you learn.  In addition to Stitchfinder, an amazing collection of stitch explanations for over 200 knit and crochet stitches, our blog is another great place to find tutorials and tips, as well as articles on how knitting and crochet are great for your health.

Check out our most popular tutorials from 2014:

  1. How to Russian Join Yarn in 7 Easy Steps
  2. Video: How to Arm Knit
  3. Make a Simple Shrug with Yolanda Soto-Lopez
  4. The Ups and Downs of Knitting: Counting Your Rows
  5. Make an Infinity Scarf in 30 Minutes with Audra Kurtz
  6. What is Fingering/Sock/Sport/DK/Worsted…Weight Yarn
  7. Keep Yarn Organized: Learn How to Wind a Center-Pull Ball By Hand
  8. How to Crochet Broomstick Lace
  9. Unlock the Secrets of Crochet Cables
  10. How to Use Stitch Markers

What’s your crafting resolution for 2015?