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!
Our friend and coworker Jocelyn recently shared pictures of a one-of-a-kind sweater that she knit for her band‘s new album. I think you’ll agree that it’s truly unique!
In this exclusive video, Jocelyn shares a bit more about why and how she made the sweater.
This sweater is more than a fantastic whimsical piece; it inspires non-crafters and crafters alike to engage in dialogue about yarncrafting. Thanks for sharing, Jocelyn!
Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I really enjoy interesting furniture design, as well as interesting fashion design. A few weeks ago, I stopped into ABC Carpet & Home, a wonderful home furnishings department store with a great philosophy, where I spotted a very cool-looking chair. It immediately called to mind the new necklace I had sitting on my desk back at Lion Brand (and recently featured in our YarnPlay monthly newsletter; click here to subscribe).
The combination of these two things reminded me of the blog Oh Joy! and its This/That feature, showcasing a fashion and home item whose styles are reminiscent of each other. Isn’t it neat when design concepts converge?
Where do you get inspiration when you knit & crochet? Leave a comment and let us know!
Each month at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, we are lucky enough to have a special guest join us. We have had wonderful designers, fiber artists, authors, and teachers who come in for our free special event night. The store is closed and customers who RSVP’ed fill the audience for these great talks, presentations, and trunk shows. With all the yarn, stories, and yarncrafting, a great time is had by all.
Since not everyone can join us here in NY, we film an interview and put it up on YouTube so the whole world can join in on the fun. Here’s a playlist of interviews so far (click the left and right arrows to browse all the videos):
Planning a trip to the NYC area? Be sure to check out the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s blog for upcoming free events! We hope you stop on by!
Heather Lodinsky is a knit & crochet designer, whose helpful hints and wise words should be familiar to regular visitors to the Lion Brand Notebook–she’s been our knit-along (KAL) and crochet-along (CAL) host on projects ranging from the Cable Luxe Tunic to the Moderne Jacket to, most recently, the Saturday Morning Hoodie.
Her first book–150 Knit & Crochet Motifs–has just been released by Interweave, here in the US (along with several other countries; see below), and I’m excited to announce that Interweave has been nice enough to allow us to sample a few of her motif designs for our website, so be sure to check your Weekly Stitch newsletter subscription all throughout April for motif designs from Heather!
I sat down with Heather to talk about this fantastic book:
Can you tell us about 150 Knit & Crochet Motifs?
150 Knit and Crochet Motifs is a collection of both knit and crochet shapes that are worked in many different directions and at different skill levels. There are an equal number of both knitted and crocheted motifs to appeal to those who knit, crochet, or both! The book is organized by shapes– whether they are circles, squares, diamonds, triangles, pentagons, hexagons, octagons, flower, leaves, hearts, snowflakes and other shapes to join as connectors. Working any of these motifs would be a great way to use yarn you have–and a super way to try a new technique without having to commit to a larger project. Of course if you love the motif, there are many ways to join them together to create so many items.
I also want to add that all of the 150 motifs in the book are worked in Lion Brand Wool-Ease which was a great yarn to use since it not only works well for blocking these motifs, but also is machine washable. The colors were amazing to work together!
What are some ways in which people can incorporate motifs into their knitting & crocheting?
I’ve included many suggestions and shown which motifs will work well with others in the book. There is also a section at the back of the book that shows diagrams explaining how the various shapes fit together as well as project ideas. The other day, I had a knitter say to me that she was going to make some of the motifs and sew them together to create fun scarves for her children! Of course, many of these shapes can work alone, as face cloths, hot pads, pockets, embellishments added on to larger projects or worked in thicker yarns to create pillows, or smaller to create ornaments. The possibilities are truly endless, but the book does give many suggestions and ideas about what you can do with these shapes. I hope this will be a great reference book for many knitters and crocheters!
There’s a fun story related to this blog about how the book came to be. Can you share it with us?
It is a very interesting story! I have been asked by Lion Brand a few times to host both KALs and CALs here on the blog. In July of 2009, Quarto Books (a book creating company in London) contacted Lion Brand to see if I would be interested in authoring a book of both knitted and crocheted motifs. That e-mail was passed on to me, and I was very interested! It all worked out and the book has been published by Interweave Press in the US and by Search Press in the UK. I also know that it is being translated into Dutch to be published in Holland! Who knew hosting the KALs and CALs would lead to a book–but it did!
Having led several knit- and crochet-alongs, as well as being a teacher, what are some of the most important lessons you like to impart to people?
I think the best thing to remember is to take your knitting or crocheting step-by-step and gradually work to more challenging projects. I know that avid knitters or crocheters love to “keep going”, and I think it is important to have at least 2 projects going at the same time: one that you find more challenging and one or two that you can take along with you or work on until you can get help with the other. There is nothing worse than being stuck without a project to work on! Also, know that making mistakes is a part of the process. Although I have knit for 40 years, I still make mistakes all the time. I am the “Queen of knitting with the short end!” Enjoy your knitting or crocheting and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
How did you become a knit and crochet designer?
I always tell people a funny thing happened on the way to pursuing a PhD in International Communications! I was taught how to knit and sew by my Mom when I was about 7, but always remember working with fabric, yarn and needles. I did a lot of sewing growing up as a 4-H member and by working all those sewing patterns, I learned hands-on how different shapes work together to create a garment. I have always had a fiber-project with me, and when I went to college, I found there wasn’t any room for a sewing machine in my dorm–and that’s when the knitting needles went with me next to the books in my backpack! During my five years of graduate studies at the University of Maryland, I was offered a job at a local yarn shop, where I was often found looking for a new project. It was there I really expanded my knowledge of knitting as I had to help customers with their own projects. After my Masters degree, I moved back to Buffalo, NY and married my husband where we started a family. With the birth of our second daughter, and realizing I wanted to be at home with both of our daughters, I started to submit designs to various magazines. It took over a year, but finally my designs were accepted–that was over 16 years ago!
We always want to know: swatching–do you really do it?
Absolutely! As a designer, I am many times asked to create a design using a particular yarn. So, the first thing I always do is to make a swatch to see how a yarn works up. Many times a yarn looks much different knitted or crocheted than it appears as a ball or skein. I often say that I’m “playing” with the yarn instead of swatching – but the swatch does tell me everything I need to know about what I can do with it. I always have my student swatch as well, because it will tell them what size needle or hook to use, familiarize them with the stitch patterns used in their project and guarantee a project that will turn out the size they desire!
In your personal yarncrafting life, what are your favorite kinds of projects?
Well, since there is not a lot of time beyond my design work for personal projects, I like to work projects that I know I will find interesting to make and fairly fast. Many times, I may see an interesting design by another designer that I just want to try for myself. I love to work cables, lace, textures and easy color knitting (like slip-stitch knitting). Sometimes, my fingers are just itching to do some crochet and I usually will try a new technique to expand my knowledge about crochet. There is always something new to learn!
Here in the Northeast, it can sometimes feel like spring is slow to unfurl and for color to return to the trees. Lucky for those in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a creative knitter took adding color to trees into his/her own hands!
Have you spotted yarn bombing in your area? Leave a comment and tell us about it. You can even link to a photo if you’d like!
If you’re going to be in Berlin from April 6 to 10, stop by the Pictoplasma Festival–an annual celebration contemporary character culture–to see a whole solar system made in yarn!
Our friend Anna Hrachovec, the amazing knitter behind the popular blog Mochimochi Land and the book Knitting Mochimochi, will have a new installation called “Mochimochi Worlds” held at the Smallspace gallery. Learn more about the project on her blog.
We wish Anna a great show, and we hope that if you’re in the Berlin area, you’ll check it out!
Last month, I was reading Craft‘s blog, and I saw this blog post by our friend Becky Stern that included an amazing aran chair sweater. Whimsical and just generally delightful, I love the idea of a cozy knitted chair! It may not be a project for everyone, but it’s certainly inspiring to see the amazing techniques that can be used to make these cool covers.
The blog post also reminded me that yarn-covered chairs come in many flavors. Here are two of our chairs from Maker Faire San Mateo 2009 (photos by Craft’s editor Natalie Zee Drieu):
In addition to Maker Faire, you may recognize the Fair Isle/pom-pom chair from such shows as CHA Winter 2009, TNNA Summer 2010, and Vogue Knitting Live Winter 2011. It’s quite well-traveled!
This i-cord chair, I’ve nicknamed the “muppet chair” because that’s what it reminds me of.
In addition to these chairs, there is also a cool blog dedicated to the world of knitted chairs. Click here to check out “The Knitted Chairs” blog.
What unconventional uses of yarn have you spotted out in the world? Leave a comment and let us know!
Here on the East Coast, it’s been quite wintry and blustery, but luckily for Lion Brand staffers, we’ve had some reasons to go out to sunny California for yarn and crafting events.
Last month, I was out in Long Beach for the TNNA Trade Show (that’s the National Needle Arts Association), where I met many industry insiders and interviewed them on what’s upcoming for 2011 in the world of yarn. You can listen to these interviews on YarnCraft, our podcast about all things knitting, crochet, and crafting with yarn (I like to call it “Car Talk” but for knitters & crocheters). Click the following to check out the episodes that include part 1 and part 2 of this mini-series of interviews; part 3 will come out tomorrow on 2/15.
Later in January, some of the Lion Brand team went out to Anaheim for the Craft & Hobby Association’s Winter Trade Show. Open to industry insiders, it’s a show where we–and many other companies–highlight new products and ideas for the upcoming year. We always host a big fashion show, emceed by Vanna White herself, featuring inspirational projects made with yarn. Our booth also features unique and unexpected ideas about creating with yarn. Check out our yarn man, sitting on a patchwork yarn sampler ottoman (with more yarn creations in the background):
And this weekend, we’ll be at Stitches West, a knit & crochet consumer show that’s open to the public, so be sure to stop by February 18 to 20. It’ll be at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA. We’ll have a booth with samples of new yarns for you to touch and feel, raffles throughout the day, and discounts on orders placed at the booth. Come join us for this fun-filled weekend! Learn more by clicking here.
Faux fur is back in style this winter, popping up in the winter collections of clothing companies like BCBG: Max Azria, Juicy Couture, and others. Last month, our friends at BurdaStyle had a round-up of faux fur sewing projects, and inspired, we’ve put together a couple of patterns that you may want to try, in our classic Fun Fur yarn. Quick and easy, you can make each of them in a weekend!
Have you incorporated faux fur into your winter accessories? Leave a comment and tell us about it!