Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category

Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing a Coral Reef Headpiece

September 22nd, 2015

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In this guest post by Gali Beeri, she rounds out the summer with a splash of a costume! Read on to learn more on how she created a beautiful mermaid-themed costume.

With summer coming to an end, I’m looking back fondly to long sunny days, visits to the beach, and lots of mermaid themed costuming events! With the Mermaid Parade and another sea-inspired party taking place back-to-back in NYC, a coral headpiece seemed like the perfect costume project to tackle.

Coral is so gorgeous! I spent many delightful moments captivated by its beauty and variety as I searched through coral reef images online. Certain kinds of coral looked like trees to me, with their little branches reaching out like tendrils into the water… I wanted my headpiece to feature this “tree coral”.

Vanna’s Glamour continues to be my favorite yarn for sparkly costume pieces! This time around the Jewel colorway felt like the perfect fit. Pipe cleaners inserted into the coral helped the “branches” keep their shape and stick upright, adding the height I wanted for the ensemble.

For added texture, I wanted to knit pieces that look like the traditional “brain coral”. I vaguely remembered hearing about crocheted coral being used to teach some mathematic concept…hyperbolic space, that’s it! A little searching produced a recipe for knitted hyperbolic surfaces. Two large pieces knitted with Hometown USA in Neon Orange served as the base for my headpiece. A few small pieces in Vanna’s Glamour and LB Collection Superwash Merino in Peony rounded out the “brain coral” collection.

When I first envisioned this project, I had dreams of knitting tiny fish and shells as part of the ensemble. As always, the reality of time set in and I knew I wouldn’t have enough hours to knit it all. So instead I turned to a party superstore and found a collection of plastic sea creature toys. I’m fond of turtles, and decided to add one to the coral. I pierced holes through the turtle’s limbs using a safety pin heated by candle flame – you need something hot enough to melt the plastic. Then I stitched the turtle to the coral with sewing needle and thread. The rest of my sea creature toys became gifts for friends at the Mermaid Parade and subsequent costume parties!

After spending so much time assembling the headpiece, I found myself speeding through putting the rest of my costume together the night before the Mermaid Parade. I made a tutu using strips of sparkly lace knotted around a piece of elastic, and attached sparkly fish cutouts to the lace. A blue top, whale necklace, and glitter on my eyes completed the look.

Check out photos of fabulous costumes from the Mermaid Parade, and scroll down to see a photo of me and my friends on in the news! (We’re 5th from the bottom.)

What costumes are you planning to craft this season? Let us know in the comments below!

Listen While You Stitch – Our Favorite Podcasts

September 13th, 2015

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Listen While You Stitch - 9 Podcasts We Love One of my biggest dilemmas as a knitter is that I can’t read while I knit — it’s devastating! The obvious solution would be a good audiobook, but I’m still pretty dedicated to owning real books, pages and all.

Here’s where a new wave of media comes in — podcasts. Like many before me, I initially thought podcasts were seemingly endless droning on ultra-serious topics. I was so wrong.

I’d overheard a few podcasts from my coworker’s desk when she listened to shows like Radiolab or Fresh Air, but didn’t give it too much interest. It wasn’t until she — perhaps as it happened to you — emailed me a link to a new true-crime podcast: Serial. I played armchair detective along with the rest of the country last fall and listened intently; in my office, on my way to and from work, and, oftentimes, while I knit.

Best of all, podcasts are free! You can stream them online or download them to your phone or listening device to listen to later. With thousands of podcasts available, you’ll always have an episode of something to listen to while you craft. It’s a great alternative to watching TV while you work — no looking up at the screen required!

When we here at Lion Brand® aren’t meeting about new patterns and yarns, some of us listen to music or podcasts while we work. I asked the team to share a few of their favorite podcasts, craft-related or not. Find our suggestions below!:

Crafting-related podcasts

The Yarniacs

At first listen, hosts Gayle and Sharlene might sound like people you know. With the natural banter of good friends, these ladies chat about all things yarncrafting. Their candor and openness about WIPs, and “stalking” out new projects is a refreshing look at how knitters and crocheters use sites like Ravelry to admire work and gain inspiration. Listen along as they seek out the perfect yarn for their next project!

Woolful – recommended by Sarah

Host Ashley Yousling is a knitter, but her podcast focuses on something all yarncrafters can relate to: Wool. Where it’s sourced from, how each spinner creates their yarns, and what they make with it are constant themes in her podcast. Woolful is regularly sponsored by local yarn shops around the country, making it a great resource for finding one-of-a-kind yarns near you!


Host Michelle is a teacher by day, and a self-proclaimed “World Class Knitter” by afternoon and evening.

Podcasts on Various Topics

99% Invisible – recommended by Sarah and Zoe

A look at design, architecture, and the “99% invisible activity that shapes our world.”

Freakonomics Radio – recommended by Ilana

From the team that brought you the book of the same name, this podcast delves into the economics of our world, the ‘hidden sides’ of social groups, and much more.

You Must Remember This… – recommended by Lorena

An oral history of Hollywood from its inception, host Karina Longworth shares fact, scandals, and history in various series.

The Outlander Podcast

A look at both the book series by Diana Gabaldon as well as the Starz series of the same name, this podcast is perfect for those who’ve been inspired to knit and crochet Claire’s 18th century fashions.

The Moth – recommended by Ilana

The art of compelling storytelling comes to life in this podcast, where true stories are shared in live events.

Mystery Show – recommended by Lorena and Sarah

Starlee Kine sets out to solve mysteries surrounding a lunchbox, a belt buckle, and the height of a well-known actor in this funny and engaging podcast.

Do you listen to audiobooks or podcasts while you knit or crochet? Have a favorite podcast you like to stream? Let us know in the comments section!

3 Beautiful Projects to Crochet for Fall From Moogly!

August 31st, 2015

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3 Beautiful patterns to crochetToday we’re sharing a few popular patterns from Tamara Kelly, the amazing crochet and knitwear designer behind the blog, Moogly! If you haven’t checked out Moogly yet, you must! There’s just so much inspiration to be found on her site, you can literally dig through the content for days.

With modest blogging beginnings as a “mommy blogger”, this crafty woman realized her wonderful potential in designing knit and crochet patterns, which eventually led her to change the focus of her blog to showcase more of her creative side, and we’re glad she did.

Our team recently traveled to the Knit and Crochet Show in San Diego, and the lovely Tamara was there and willing to be interviewed by our very own Brand Ambassador, Shira, for an episode of Tea with Shira. Watch below, as Tamara shares why her blog is names Moogly, and shows off some extremely popular patterns of hers, the Alpaca Your Wrap, and Moroccan Tote Bag (patterns below).

Tamara is also an instructor for the increasing popular tutorial website, Craftsy. She teaches a highly rated crochet course (4.75/5) “Quick & Easy Crochet Cowls“, in which she walks you through crocheting 3 different cowls in the round. No need to fear circular crochet with her easy-to-understand instructions. In this course, Tamara shows you how to crochet some of our most popular patterns: 45 Minute Cowl, Cardiff Cowl, and Brompton Abbey Cowl. We hope you start following the Moogly blog and enjoy her fabulous work just as we do!

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch – ::

Find Tamara’s patterns from the video!

Moroccan Tote
in LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo
Alpaca Your Wrap
in LB Collection® Baby Alpaca
Easy Log Cabin Afghan
in Textures®




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. ::