Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category


A Look at Loom-Knitting: an Interview with Isela Phelps

October 4th, 2011

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In honor of our new Martha Stewart Crafts™ Lion Brand® Yarn Knit & Weave Loom Kit, I sat down with loom-knit designer and author, Isela Phelps, who shared some of the reasons that you may want to try out the wonderful craft of loom-knitting. Isela is the author of books including Loom Knitting Primer: a beginner’s guide to knitting on a loom, Loom Knitting Pattern Book, and Loom Knitting Socks: a beginner’s guide to knitting socks on a loom. Check out Isela’s website at LoomKnit.com.

Who would you recommend loom-knitting to?
I would recommend loom knitting to anyone who is either wanting to learn to knit or has had difficulty learning to knit in the past or to those who due to hand dexterity problems can no longer create with knitting needles.

Are there advantages to knitting with a loom as opposed to knitting with needles?
The main advantage that I have found is that my hands do not get as tired from holding onto the needles. Less hand cramping means longer periods of time knitting.

What is one thing you would like yarncrafters to know about loom-knitting?
Loom knitting is a viable way of creating. We are still using our hands to create knitted items just a different tool to create the fabric.

What are your favorite online loom-knitting resources?
I recommend visiting YouTube.com for videos–an invaluable sources of hundreds of videos, free. LoomKnittingHelp.com is a great resource for written instructions. LoomKnit.com, my own website, is also a top resource for videos, instructions, and patterns.

A note from Zontee: Look out for new how-to videos for the Knit & Weave Loom Kit on Lion Brand’s YouTube channel in the next few weeks.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a loom-knitter?
Everything takes practice; the more you practice the easier it gets. Take it step by step, learn the basics, and move slowly up.

How did you get started yarncrafting? Loom-knitting?
I grew up with my grandmother and she is a knitting guru! She can create anything if she has yarn and needles. As a young child, I learn at her side how to create items, not from reading patterns but just from my own imagination. Loom-knitting became an integral part of my life when my husband started a small knitting loom company. At the time, there was very limited loom-knitting information available and I made it my mission to spread the word about loom knitting. I started creating patterns, instructions, and videos and my website, LoomKnit.com was born.

What’s your favorite thing to design?
I am an accessories person. I love to jazz up my wardrobe with simple pieces such as scarves or hats.

Thanks, Isela, for telling us about this great craft!

Have you tried loom-knitting or do you have any questions about it? Leave a comment below!


Yarn Lovers at Citi Field

October 2nd, 2011

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Regular readers of the blog know that I am a big sports fan, and I love when I get to combine my love of sports with my love of yarn. It’s the end of Stitch N Pitch season, and as usual, it’s been a season full of great baseball and lots of yarncrafting. Here in New York, I was proud to once again serve on the organizing committee and to be able to attend a game at Citi Field with my fellow yarn lovers. Citi Field is a truly special place, and this year, the committee and I, along with hundreds of knitters and crocheters yarnstormed (or “yarn bombed”) the stadium in Mets colors. Then we sat down for the game and enjoyed our crafting while watching the game. As a special bonus, the committee and I got to go out on the ball field, and I even got to meet Mr. Met.

Check out some of the photos from the event below!


If you’re reading this blog post in your email, please click on the title of the blog post to view the full blog post and slideshow online.


Baseball + Yarn = The Perfect Double Play

August 28th, 2011

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Play Ball! August is wrapping up, which means we’re heading into the home stretch of this year’s Stitch N Pitch season. If you’re not already familiar with it, Stitch N Pitch is an event organized by the National NeedleArts Association that brings yarn crafters to major league ball games. As someone passionate about both yarn and sports, there is nothing I love more than to see people yarn crafting supporting local sports.

Upcoming games in September:

Sept 10 – Chicago White Sox
Sept 13 – New York Mets
Sept 15 – Cincinnati Reds
Sept 25 – Detroit Tigers

As we get to the end of Stitch N Pitch season, I hope that those of you who have already attended your local Stitch N Pitch games had a great time, and I hope you’ll leave a comment sharing your experiences.

Stitch N Pitch in New York
My fellow New York Stitch N Pitch committee members and I have been working hard to top last year’s event, during which we set the World Record for most people crocheting in one place. This year, we’re planning–with the help of yarn crafters like you–to yarn storm (or “yarn bomb”) Citi Field. If you’re in the NYC-area, click here to learn more about how you can drop off swatches at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in Manhattan and come to our seaming party to help seam up the swatches into pieces that will decorate Citi Field! I am extremely excited for everyone to see the yarn storming that will place at Citi Field. It will truly be something to see.

So come one, come all as we cheer on the New York Mets as they battle the Washington Nationals. Again, the game is September 13 and it starts at 7:10 pm. To purchase tickets for the game, visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

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Start Them Early with Children’s Books Featuring Yarncrafts

August 1st, 2011

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Earlier this summer, I was on vacation and I stumbled upon an adorable looking children’s book called Mischief in the Forest: a yarn yarn in a bookstore. Obviously, as a yarncrafter, I had to flip through it. It was a wonderful story about a grandmother, her woodland neighbors, and what happens to her yarn while she was out of town visiting her grandkids. It seemed like a wonderful way to help your kids (or grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc.) to appreciate the wonderful world of yarncrafts–I say get them while they’re young, so that they become yarncrafters later on!–so I began to wonder what other books feature knitting, crocheting, and yarn?

Well, it turns out quite a few, according to a quick search online! Here are just a few that I thought were cute (highlighted text will take you to the books’ pages on Amazon):

Woolbur
The story of a unique sheep who marches to the beat of his own drummer (and spins his own fleece!), this charming book is all about being yourself (and maybe spinning, dyeing, and knitting your own yarn on the way).

Knitting Nell
Nell is a little girl who just loves to knit, and wants to do it just about everywhere. She may be shy, but she lets her creative voice shine through her hats, scarves, mittens, and more.

That Darn Yarn!
Two stories in one, this book follows the journey of a sock-monkey that starts to unravel and a little girl who finds some yarn and starts to make a sock-monkey.

Do you have any favorite yarny literature, whether it’s for children or adults, that you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments!


Tom Hanks Pulls Knitting Prank

July 18th, 2011

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Did you know that movie star and director Tom Hanks loves to play pranks on his sets? His latest film, Larry Crowne, stars avid knitter Julia Roberts. Hanks decided to surprise Roberts by getting the whole crew to take up her favorite hobby! Check out the video below:

I’m thrilled to see so many new knitters enjoying the craft, and what a pleasant surprise to see our yarn involved. Great prank, Tom Hanks!


Harry Potter-Inspired “Deathly Hallows” Patterns

July 14th, 2011

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Since 1997, when the first Harry Potter book was released, yarncrafters have had a special relationship with the wizarding world. Throughout the series, knitting patterns are mentioned over and over again, as are magical needles clicking away on scarves, sweaters, hats, and more. “Muggles”, a term from the books, has even become a popular word among yarncrafters for the non-yarny people in our lives! Yesterday, we featured a blog post with Harry Potter-inspired creations from our customers over the years, and today, I want to share with you some new patterns created in honor of the last Harry Potter film coming out this weekend.

I worked with Michelle (Lion Brand Yarn Studio Manager/Harry Potter über-fan) and Gina (speedy crocheter, whose crochet monster blog we’ve previously written about) to come up with special projects in honor of the second Deathly Hallows film. We’ve created the three Deathly Hallows, made in yarn:

Capelet of Invisibility Knit Capelet of Invisibility

Make this shimmering capelet–inspired by the Invisibility Cloak–with two strands of Vanna’s Glamourand big needles for a fast-finish project. Michelle made in a weekend and is pictured here, wearing her creation. She designed the hood to be long and to end in a point, for a wizardly touch.

Click here for the FREE pattern.

Resurrection Stone Ring Crochet Resurrection Stone Ring

Made with Vanna’s Glamour, with the symbol of the Deathly Hallows stitched on, this ring is quick to crochet and fun to wear. Tip from Gina: the ring-band can be made larger or smaller as needed–just chain more ore less stitches to start.

Click here for the FREE pattern.

Elder Wand Crafted Elder Wand

Just wrap and glue Vanna’s Choice to a dowl to create this fast and easy wand. To create the knots in the wood, Gina simply wrapped more yarn in those spots. One ball would easily create many wands, so you could make them for your friends too!

Click here for the FREE pattern.

We hope you’ll be making and enjoying these projects in honor of the new film–and if you spot me and Michelle, wearing our Deathly Hallow projects this weekend, feel free to stop us and say hi!


Extra! Extra! Get Inspired by Fiber Artists in the News

June 30th, 2011

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Recently there have been a plethora of publications writing articles about the world of yarn bombing and yarn in fine arts. It is so nice to see the exciting world of yarn crafting brought to light, since working with yarn–as knitters & crocheters already know–is a wonderful form of artistic expression that should be shared with the world. Looking at these articles show you how something as simple as a skein of yarn can be transformed into a work of art. To check out some of these articles for yourself, use the following links:

Are there any articles you’ve spotted in your local newspapers? Do you have a favorite fiber artist? Leave us a comment and tell us!

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A Closer Look at the 3rd Annual Vanna’s Choice Contest Grand Prize Winner

June 27th, 2011

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Many of you have already taken a look at the 32 fabulous winning designs of the 3rd Annual Vanna’s Choice Contest — but we thought our Grand Prize winner deserved a closer look! Below, check out our video highlighting all the interactive features of the Kid’s Farmyard Activity Book by Alison Grosvenor of Surrey, BC, Canada. (Note: if you are reading this blog post in an e-mail, click through to the site to watch the video.)

This year, we received so many wonderful entries that we had a really tough time choosing the winners! We’re grateful to everyone who entered.

To see the full list of winners, including the Zuider Zee ‘Double Dutch’ Double Knit Afghan by Margaret MacInnis of Cherry Grove, AB, Canada, the Christmas Chess Set by Aiqi Huang of Simi Valley, CA, and the Vanna’s Silver Ribbons dress by Amy Dulac of Deltona, FL, click here.


See the Amazing (Yarn) Man at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

May 16th, 2011

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Earlier this year, we featured a photo of our Amazing man, a sculpture made with various colors of our Amazing yarn that was featured at the CHA trade show. If you want to see him in person, you can visit the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles in San Jose, CA starting this week. Both he and his couch will be part of the exhibit, Primary Structures from May 17 to August 7.

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3D Images Projected on Yarn

April 28th, 2011

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Here at Lion Brand, we believe in supporting the next generation of fiber aficionados and artists. That’s why we support programs at universities like FIT in New York City and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel.

Last month, Mindy Tchieu, a grad student at NYU Tisch’s ITP program whose work incorporates yarncrafted elements, shared with me the following clip from her classmate Matt Parker, whose graduate thesis project is a 3D volumetric display (it allows a 3D image to be projected):

You might be wondering, “What does this have to do with yarn?” Well, Mindy wrote:

[M]y favorite part about Lumarca is that it’s projected on YARN! Honestly when I saw the videos, I thought, “Wow this is cool,” but it wasn’t until I saw it in person at school and realized that it was white yarn, that my mind was blown.

Thanks, Mindy, for sharing this very cool usage of yarn with us! It’s always cool when low-tech materials like yarn can be used for high-tech purposes.

Have you seen some amazing uses for yarn? Share them with us by leaving a comment!

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