Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category

Get an Exclusive Illusion Scarf Pattern in Honor of Croak!

March 20th, 2012

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When former Lion Brand Yarn Studio associate Gina Damico first told us that she was writing a young adult novel called Croak, we thought it was awesome news. But when she told us that she wanted to design an exclusive pattern inspired by the book, we were even more excited!

So what’s Croak about? It’s the story of Lex, a 16 year-old girl who is sent to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of work on his farm will settle her wild ways. But Uncle Mort’s actually a Grim Reaper and he takes Lex under his wing. Join Lex as she explores the world of the reapers, in Gina’s debut novel.

In honor of her novel, Gina’s created an illusion scarf whose pattern you can only see at certain angles. Gina said about her inspiration:

I’ve always been a big fan of illusion knitting – it’s simple, fun, and creates an amazing effect that will impress the socks AND shoes off everyone you show it to. So when thinking about a fun accessory to create in conjunction with the release of Croak, an illusion scarf was the natural choice. Black and red stripes make for a quirky, offbeat look, and since the book is about grim reapers, the colors fit perfectly. As for the design, skulls were a must. They tie in to the plot, they offer a hint of the dark humor within, and as the saying goes, everyone loves a good skull. (I think that’s a saying. Eh, maybe not.) Thanks so much to Lion Brand for the chance to share my designs, and I hope you enjoy both the pattern and Croak!

Click here for the pattern on!

Croak comes out TODAY and we’re so excited to get our hands on our own copies, so click here to learn more about it on Amazon and get one for yourself!

EDIT (10/18/12): Get the second book in the series, Scorch, now available in bookstores and online!

Watch Our Mini-Fashion Show on the Martha Stewart Show

December 8th, 2011

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Last week, David asked me what I was doing on Monday. I was sort of puzzled at the question, since as usual, I would be here in the office, working on things like the YarnCraft podcast, the Weekly Stitch newsletter, and other projects. It turns out that he wanted to know if I would be interested in being on the Martha Stewart Show with Martha herself.

Well, being the daughter of a crafter who calls Martha her guru, I knew that I could not turn down the opportunity! It would be so much fun to follow in the footsteps of my YarnCraft co-host Liz, who was a guest on Martha two years ago, and I could not wait.

When I got to the set, I was whisked away to my own dressing room, which made me feel pretty cool. (I even got a little goodie bag!) I got hair and make-up, rehearsed with the crew, and then it was showtime! It was a really exciting experience to be on live television (thank goodness I didn’t flub anything!), and Martha even admired my necklace! (Click here for the necklace pattern.)

Click here to watch the fashion show (and find links to the other show segments at the end of the video).

It was a fun experience, and let’s just say, Martha, all you have to do is call me, and I’d be happy to be on the show again!

And the Winners of the Halloween Caption Contest Are…

November 15th, 2011

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This year we received hundreds of entries into the Halloween Caption Contest. After much consideration and review we are ready to announce the 5 winners! Each winner will receive a $25 credit in their name on And the winners are…

Ghouls’ night out!
– Amy H.

The perfect Halloween treats: High in fiber, low in fat!
– Whitney H.

Oh no, it’s Halloween and we haven’t knitted our costumes yet!
– Veronica C.

“Oh Count, you are such a knit-wit!” “Please Witchie, I yarn for you!”
– Debbie V.

No more Halloween candy for me, I’m stuffed.
– Brenda C.


If you’re like us and can’t get enough of these adorable amigurumi, click here to see the patterns for Wanda the Witch, Cody the Count and the Amigurumi Headstones.

Enter Our Halloween Caption Contest!

October 31st, 2011

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For the chance to win a special treat, we want YOU to trick us into laughing. Write a caption for the image above, and get a chance to win one of 5 $25 credits to use on Enter by November 4, 11:59:59 EDT, and we’ll pick our 5 favorite captions.

Click here to enter (captions left as comments below will not be counted).

Open to residents in countries where Lion Brand ships. Click here to view applicable countries outside of the US. Void where prohibited. Entrants must be over 18 years old. Contact information is only collected to notify winners. Your information will not be used in any other manner.

Happy Halloween from all of us here at Lion Brand!

Find Pattern Inspiration Out in the World

October 30th, 2011

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Like many people, I love my iPhone. It lets me check my email on the go, access my Lion Brand app, and take pictures and videos of things that inspire me wherever I go. Recently, I passed the Hermès store and with my iPhone, I took a picture (below left) of the amazing coat in the window–it’s made of yarn and has a wonderful loopy texture.

I really love the look of that coat, and I think the texture would be great for a hand-knitting or crochet project. I showed the picture to Zontee, and she reminded me that we have a great purse pattern that has that same great texture, but in a more accessible style (not everyone can wear a full-length loopy coat!). I hope you’ll check it out. Click here for the purse pattern.

Have you been inspired to knit or crochet a project based on something you’ve seen? Leave a comment and share your experience.

Yarncrafting International: Find Patterns en Français, en Español, and More!

October 18th, 2011

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Knitting and crochet are crafts that you find around the world, and at at our Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC, it’s always exciting to meet yarn-loving tourists from far-flung places like Brazil and Australia, who make a special trip to us to experience Lion Brand in person.

If you’re a user who lives outside of the US, you may have noticed that we ship to dozens of countries around the world (click here for more info about international shipping). You may have also noticed that we have patterns available en français (in French) and en español (in Spanish) on

In the last few years, we have also had several bloggers reach out to us to translate some of our patterns into their native languages for their yarncrafting friends. It’s so awesome that they’re interested in making these designs accessible to more people. Here are just a few of the bloggers who have lent their talents:

Tiamat Creations (Français)
This francophone blogger shares translations of several crochet patterns from Lion Brand, along with her own crafting experiences. Click here to see her translated Lion Brand patterns.

Cose di Lia (Italiano)
This Italian blogger shares knit and crochet creations of all kinds, as well as tutorials and explanations of abbreviations. She’s translated several Lion Brand patterns. The first is our Bias Knit Tie into the Cravatta Lavorata in Sbieco; the next is our Crafted Mama Octopus and Baby into the Mamma Piovra e Bebè. She’s also translated our Cindy the Angel pattern into Cindy l’angioletta.

Fernanda em Fios (Português)
For Portuguese knitters who love the Baby Tree of Life Throw, you’re now in luck! This blogger translated it into the Manta Baby Tree of Life.

Finally, for those who want to try their hand at translating patterns for themselves, here are some links that might be helpful:

Fall Colors Come Alive with “Summer Into Fall” by Artist Suzanne Tidwell

October 9th, 2011

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Photo credit: Jeff Newfeld. If you’re viewing this blog post in your email, please click on the blog post’s title so that you can view the full slideshow on the blog.

One of the things that I love most about working with yarn is that it inspires us with its colors and textures. By working with each of our unique palettes, we create something that’s completely our own.

Taking her cues from the colors of nature, fiber artist Suzanne Tidwell has created her latest installation in Occidental Park, in Seattle, Washington, covering dead tree stumps (considered eyesores by the local community) with beautiful knit sleeves. Selecting from the diverse palettes of  Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Choice Baby, Suzanne has created some unexpected color combinations that truly pop. The color block style of the sleeves remind me of a Rothko painting–they are so vibrant and inspiring.

If you’re in the Seattle area, I hope you’ll visit “Summer Into Fall: Sammamish Trees,” up from now until December 16, and enjoy this lovely splash of color.

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

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 for videos–an invaluable sources of hundreds of videos, free. is a great resource for written instructions., 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, 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.

Related links: