Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category

After My Hair Turned Grey, My Whole Outlook on Color Changed …

August 26th, 2015

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The Scarfie Effect! A funny thing happened when my hair began to grey.  I was thirty-five and resented a situation that seemed premature and, well, unfair.  For every grey hair I plucked, ten appeared, suggesting that resistance was futile. So I began experimenting with different DIY hair colors offered by the neighborhood drugstore.  Experimenting was fun.  I could choose shades with cool or warm highlights, go auburn in the summer, or Goth when I felt dramatic.  After a while, though, I sadly realized I wasn’t very good at covering what needed to be covered.  I sought professional help.

Between Brunette and Blonde…

My hairdresser worked for months to remedy the self-inflicted dye damage.  By now I was a decade older.  My underlying color was so grey that when brown dye was applied, my hair seemed blonde.  So, I became a dark blonde.  But it didn’t stop there—I went lighter and lighter.  My hair is now honey-colored, and I’m satisfied with the results.

My point is about personal color, but it applies equally to clothing.  No matter what, I want to look my best—don’t we all?  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that the colors most flattering to me aren’t the brights I wore when my tresses were chestnut.  With light hair, I prefer neutral and natural shades.  Fortunately, I really like neutrals and naturals.  They seem serene, and they play well with jazzy accents.  I love a camel coat with a crimson scarf, a grey tunic with a cobalt shawl, and anything black with apple green.

…And Every Shade in Between

My knitting, of course, reflects this preference.  Right now I’m in the mood to knit a beautiful sweater to wear in the cold months ahead, and I want an interesting yarn, as enjoyable to work with as to wear.  And—total wish fulfillment!—I’ve discovered Lion Brand’s Scarfie!

The Scarfie palette fits my personal color theory exactly. Scarfie is an ombré yarn that subtly moves from one shade to another.  It’s dreamily dynamic, hypnotic, and outright magical as it transitions from light to intermediate tones, then darkens. Working with it is like watching clouds at sunset or morning haze over mountains, except it’s you and your pattern, not Mother Nature, behind the changes!  The natural shades have a rustic purity, from cream to taupe in one skein, from silver to charcoal in another.  There are stunning low-key colors, too—rich cranberry to deep black, forest to deep black, denim to midnight.   All of them are in the palette most flattering to me.

It’s called Scarfie because one generous skein makes one generous scarf.  But I’m determined to do something larger—a sweater.  The gorgeous “Free Spirit Topper” in the Lion Brand Pattern Finder is exactly what I had in mind.  But there’s also a high-fashion crochet pattern, the “Duo Tone Throw” which is ultra simple to make but totally interesting at the same time, because two different shades of Scarfie, moving along their individual paths, create a rhapsodic interplay of colors.

I might have to make them both….

free_spirit one_ball_blue duotone_throw
Knit Free Spirit Topper Crochet One Ball Scarfie Crochet Duo Tone Throw
pero_poncho diagonal_shawl neutral_slant
Crochet Pero Poncho Crochet Diagonal Shaded Shawl Knit Neutral Slant Shawl

We Like How You Use Our Yarn: Failynn Fox Cowl Made with Wool-Ease Thick & Quick!

August 22nd, 2015

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This sweet hooded cowl, designed by Heidi May of The Velvet Acorn Designs, is the perfect fall project for little ones! Kids will love dressing up as a sneaky fox, and you’ll love that they’re staying warm. Knit with Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®, this cowl will keep its wearer bundled up and cozy.

This is a paid pattern, available through Ravelry for $5.50.
:: Our line of Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® has 67 colors!  Featured here are Fisherman, Pumpkin, and Black. ::

What happened changed my life . . . and my color choices.

August 13th, 2015

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color choices
In this guest post by Phyllis Alberci, we explore why our favorite colors may change over time.

Did you ever wonder why you can’t get enough of one color and why you just don’t like another? Maybe you’re hardwired that way. When it comes to choice, the colors that dominated our childhood might still be influencing what we choose today.

When I was growing up in a rural mountain town, you never talked about color. You dressed for the climate. You didn’t stand out; you blended in with the rocks and the forest. Color was for flowers that bloomed briefly during the short summer. But not for people.

A Neutral View

My world was the subdued hues of a Norman Rockwell painting: subtle browns, greys, deep greens, faded reds, and deep blues. Nothing to shake the bedrock of my idea of hometown style. I was a girl who wore a navy school uniform for twelve years and became a woman who wore a black suit to work and drove a grey car. Color was monotone.

But last year, something happened that told me I’d better try something different before it was too late. I became ill and it wasn’t happening to someone else; it was happening to me. Time started to rush by me.

Suddenly what used to matter didn’t anymore. I needed to visit the rainbow. Internalize the power that color has to heal us. But it had to be colors gathered from memories, colors that reminded me of the big crayon box I had when I was a kid: cherry reds, sunshine yellows, grass greens and bold pinks. I turned my back on a lifetime of dark colors. It didn’t matter if what I wore made me look sleek or fashionable. I wanted people to know I was still here, down but not out.

Bringing Color Back Into My World

I sold all my yarn. Who does that? I had achieved SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy) and I was proud of it. But it was all in the dark colors that reminded me of how rotten I felt. It was time to reinvent myself. It all had to go.

I replaced those skeins and balls with a fruit salad of colors. They sat in my baskets and for the first time I was head over heels with ideas for projects. This was big stuff.

I spent too much time trying to find articles and blog posts that could explain why I had made a complete about face in color preference. I had never heard of such a drastic change of heart. I didn’t dwell on color charts that told me red would energize me, make me hungry, or make me angry. Or pink would make me feel genteel and feminine. I was looking for a kindred spirit who had chucked a lifetime of color choices in favor of the polar opposite. It never happened.

But I dove in anyway. I learned to knit lace and made shawls. Lots of shawls. And a few sweaters, hats and mitts in colors I would never had imagined I’d wear. I felt like I had grown wings.

Are there any memories you associate with specific colors?

electric_ave patchwork_effect colorfully_modern
Knit Electric Avenue Pullover made with Vanna’s Choice® Crochet Patchwork Effect Scarf made with Unique Crochet Colorfully Modern Cardigan made with Unique and Vanna’s Choice®
sassy_slouch highlighter_vest rhapsody
Crochet Sassy Slouch Hat
made with Vanna’s Tapestry
Knit Highlighter Vest made with Hometown USA® Knit Rhapsody of Color Dressmade with Amazing®

Let Go by Franklin Habit

July 7th, 2015

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

I spend about half my time these days away from home, standing in front of classrooms full of knitters, teaching them how to do things. That’s my job. I have an awesome job.

I teach these knitters to do all kinds of stuff: how to knit lace, how knit with color, how to put colors together, how to cut knitting, how to sew knitting. And that’s just the top of the list. If you want to make a living in this business, it pays to have many strings to your bow.

No matter what I’m teaching, one sort of question always comes up.

“What if I…?”

For the ellipsis, read any of the following:

…do the opposite of what you are telling me to do?

…try doing the same thing in a way I just thought up?

…try doing something that is not at all this thing we are talking about, but is some other thing I think might be kind of cool?

Or variations thereupon.

I grin, because one über lesson underlies all my lessons:

Play around. Whatever you’re doing, play around.


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

June 29th, 2015

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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