Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category

Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing a Moon Crown

April 21st, 2016

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My knitted costuming adventures continue! This time on a cosmic scale…

I’m very drawn to the moon – for its symbolism and beauty, and as a visual marker of the passage of time. When the theme of “cosmic carnival” was announced for a costume party, I jumped on the opportunity to create a moon-related costume. At first I considered trying to recreate the Moon Tarot card – a concept I might pursue at a later date. For this project, I wanted something simpler and less time-consuming to make, since (as usual) I was working on a tight deadline. I decided to knit the phases of the moon into a headpiece.

For my yarn, I chose Vanna’s Glamour® held double. I used two strands of Onyx for the new moon and darkened portions of moon phases, and held together a strand each of Topaz and Platinum for the full moon and light sections of lunar moon phases. The champagne and silver shades combined to create a subtle marled effect.

When I’m in the brainstorming stages of a costume project, I like to chat with the knowledgeable staff at our Lion Brand Yarn Studio to hash out design ideas. What technique would work well to knit flat circles for the moon phases? They recommended a pattern using short rows, which I adapted for this project.

For the crescent, first quarter, and waxing gibbous moon phases, which required both the light and dark yarns, I used the intarsia technique to incorporate both colors.

Jewelry wire and floral wire have quickly become essential in my crafty costume toolbox. I used thick gauge jewelry wire to attach the circles to the store-bought crown that formed the base of my headpiece. This wire is sturdy enough to hold the circles upright. Thin gauge floral wire was perfect for wrapping around the thicker wire to fasten the components to the crown even more securely.

A silver dress from my costume stash, silver accessories, and glitter rounded out the look. With a string of LED lights wrapped around the crown, this lunar queen was all set to light up the cosmic carnival!


Free to Good Home

April 14th, 2016

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franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

Welcome, good people, to the Franklin Habit Home for Neglected Knitting Projects.

You’re in luck. It’s Adoption Week, during which time we waive all fees, background checks, and paperwork. It will be my pleasure to show you around. Petting is not only permitted, it’s encouraged. If you see anything you like, simply speak up and it’s yours.

If you don’t see anything you like, we will stuff something in your bag and force you to take it home. We’re that desperate. No backsies.

You’ll find the home is divided into a series of pleasant, airy pavilions, each devoted to a different sort of neglected project. Let’s begin with Slow Haven, where hours upon hours of patient knitting have brought these sad creatures no closer to completion.

May I interest you in…

One quarter of a blanket cunningly intended to use up the odds and ends of 150 partial balls of sock yarn? Such a charming concept. Not merely a blanket, but a blanket full of memories. All those different yarns jumbled together in one joyous samba parade of wild color. Who could resist?

Reasons for Surrender: Color mix looks less like samba parade than political riot. Grows at the rate of one inch per week, forcing the knitter constantly to contemplate how old she will be when it is finished.

Or perhaps…

A Shetland cobweb lace shawl comprising one repeat of center chart and six untouched balls of eensy weensy yarn. Purchased on impulse at spectacular fiber festival; best friend purchased same kit so that “…we can knit them together.”

Reasons for Surrender: Chart has vanished. Pattern is out of print. Best friend finished hers in six weeks. (No longer speaking to friend.)


Now, if you’ll please follow me over the hill, we’ll take a peek into Twilight Garden, the shady grove wherein we place projects that have outlived their usefulness without leaving their needles.

Have you room in your heart for…

A baby sweater minus one sleeve and the button band? Such a promising beginning. Look at that darling two-color yoke. I’d go so far as to say the work is perfect. A small bag containing the perfect ducky buttons is included.

Reason for Surrender: Baby is now thirty-six years old, and like the sweater has failed to live up to its early promise.

Take a look at…

An unspecified amount of the bottom of a bottom-up sweater.

Reason for Surrender: Instructions state, “Work in stockinette until piece measures fifteen inches from cast-on edge.” Somehow, knitter has never managed to get both this project and her tape measure into the same room.

Or please consider…

In white fingering-weight yarn, a charming congratulations on your wedding baby divorce retirement funeral shawl, lacking only the knitted-on edging.

Reasons for Surrender: The clue is in the name.

We shall now make several wrong turns and come to the Salon des Whoops. This, by far our largest building, is a secured area for projects that were pretty much doomed from the start. We don’t tell them that, though. They’ve already suffered enough.

 Perhaps you might have some use for…

The half-finished body of a wool cardigan in eighteen colors?

Reason for Surrender: Upon returning from extensive tour of Shetland Islands, maker suddenly remembered that she lives in Miami Beach.


A single sock with an un-grafted toe?

Reason for Surrender: Maker suddenly remembered why she hates knitting socks.


Pattern, four skeins of top-quality merino/silk, wound into balls, and one circular needle. 

Reason for Surrender: Cast on for pattern is 537 stitches.


Afghan Block-of-the-Month Club January block, completed; plus half of February block, and two rows of March block, and all the yarns for April through December.

Reason for Surrender: If you have to ask, you must be new here. Excellent. You really should try a block-of-the-month club. Hold still while I stuff this thing in your bag.

Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008–now in its third printing) and proprietor of The Panopticon (, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep. Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for

These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.

March’s Top 9 Patterns: A Perfect Intro To Spring!

April 7th, 2016

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Toss aside your winter knits — it’s Spring! We certainly got the ball rolling with the release of Shawl in a Ball, an airy acrylic yarn with soft cotton slub. Available in 8 dreamy colors, the first batch of patterns proved that one ball indeed makes a full shawl. There’s so much more this yarn can do — stay tuned!

Shawls aren’t the only warm-weather project; 24/7 Cotton is the cotton for just about everything. From market totes to our CAL winner the Clement Canyon Poncho, this yarn is extremely versatile. New garments and afghan patterns were just released — find a project right for you (like the shabby chic Garden State Afghan) and develop your own color palette with 24 colors to choose from!

Our entire Vanna Collection is featured for the month of April — grab all the yarn you need to make the spectacular Corner-to-Corner Baby Owl Afghan! Deck the nursery with a dash of whimsy in the form of this cuddly owl. You can also grab Vanna’s Palettes to make a handful of the popular Pocket Prayer Shawls — click here to learn how this pattern benefits both the maker and receiver!

See March’s Top 9 Patterns below, and subscribe to the New Patterns Alert newsletter to get a fresh batch of patterns delivered right your inbox!

pocketprayer datab2 mistyhaze
Knit Pocket Prayer Shawls made with Vanna’s Palettes Crochet Openwork Shawl made with Shawl in a Ball Knit Misty Haze Cowl made with Shawl in a Ball
babyowla ebbtide gardenstate
Crochet C2C Baby Owl Afghan made with Vanna’s Choice® Crochet Ebb Tide Shawl made with Shawl in a Ball Crochet Garden State Afghan made with 24/7 Cotton
halfcircleshawl devon clement
Knit Half Circle Shawl made with Shawl in a Ball Crochet Devon Top made with 24/7 Cotton Crochet Clement Canyon Poncho made with 24/7 Cotton

#StitchAwayStress with Lion Brand Yarn & the Craft Yarn Council!

April 5th, 2016

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You know how comforting and relaxing yarn crafting can be — now, share it with others! April is Stress Awareness Month, so we’re using our knit and crochet talents to spread the word and offer relief.

In keeping with the theme “When life gives you lemons…” we’ve teamed up with the Craft Yarn Council for a “Lemon Drop”! Using a pattern designed for the CYC campaign, we’re just a handful of many crafters making lemon stress-relief balls. Members of team Lion Brand will be on hand in New York City on April 18th — Tax Day! — to hand out lemons to New Yorkers in a rush.

Join in on the fun by making your own stress-reliever! Keep one by your desk at work, around the house, or even in your WIP bag for some quick relief. Share your finished lemon on social platforms like Instagram and hashtag #StitchAwayStress.

Get the knit pattern for lemons here.

Get the crochet pattern for lemons here.

Don’t forget — Vanna’s Choice® is one of our featured yarns for April! It’s the perfect yarn to get that vibrant, sunny yellow lemon. Grab a few skeins (we recommend Radiant Yellow and Radiant Lime) and give out your lemons all month long!



Happy Easter from Lion Brand!

March 27th, 2016

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Get the free pattern for the Hippity Hop Blankie here.