Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Enter the Lion Brand Essay Contest and Tell Us Who Empowers You!

April 8th, 2014

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Krochet Kids International is an organization we are supporting this month by donating 10% of the sales from our LB Collection on this website. As you may know, the LB Collection is an exclusive line of 6 different yarns in a variety of fine fibers from cashmere to cotton bamboo.

What we love about the Krochet Kids organization is that they help women live better lives by giving them the opportunity to earn money through hand crafting. They don’t believe in handouts, they believe in empowerment. Thanks to Krochet Kids, hundreds of women and many more hundreds of children have become educated and have learned they have the power to create a better life for themselves.

Krochet Kids sells more than hats and other clothing. They also offer inspirational posters. We selected our favorite to give away to one person at random who enters our contest, called “Who Empowers You?”


Simply answer the question, enter your name and email address so we can contact the winner and you’ll have a chance to win this poster. It’s a limited edition poster, signed and numbered by the maker. Lion Brand purchased it here so if you want to purchase one yourself, you can do so. There were only 100 posters made so order quickly if you want one! We also framed it for the winning entry.

The poster is a great reminder to all of us. You are more capable than you think.


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How to Determine if there is a Mistake in the Pattern, Part 1

April 7th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter

You’ve completed a row and something isn’t right. You have 2 sts left. Or you’ve completed the row but the pattern still has instructions for the row you haven’t worked. You try it again and there’s still a problem. What do you do?

It’s possible there is an error in the pattern…it does happen sometimes*. Or despite the fact that you’ve worked it twice now, you may be misunderstanding or skipping part of it.

If you break down the section or row by number of stitches used and number of stitches remaining (if there is an increase or decrease), it will be easier to determine if there is a pattern error or if it’s a knitter/crocheter error.

Let’s look at an example of how to do this.

Cromwell Court Afghan

This pattern is worked over 114 stitches. At the end of this row, you should still have 114 stitches.

Row 3: K3, (k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, *(k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 6 times; rep from * to last 9 sts, (k2tog) 3 times, k3.

First, let’s look at K3, (k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times,

There are 3 decreases (k2tog) and 6 increases (yo). You have used 15 stitches (k3, k2tog 3 times, k1 6 times [3+6+6]) and you have 18 stitches on the right needle now (3+3+12).

*(k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 6 times; rep from * to last 9 sts,

This repeat has 6 decreases and 6 increases so the number of stitches used is the same as the number you have on your right needle for this section. The yo’s compensate for the k2tog decreases.

There are 18 stitches used (k2tog 6 times, k1 6 times [12+6]) and 18 new stitches (6+12).

This section is repeated 5 times.

We know this because we started with 114 stitches, we used 15 stitches prior to the asterisk, and we will have 9 stitches left to work.

114-15-9=90 stitches worked over the repeat

90 divided by 18 stitches used=5

(k2tog) 3 times, k3.

There are 3 decreases and no increases. So the last section compensates for the 3 extra increases in the first section.
You have used 9 stitches (6+3) and there are 6 new sts (3+3).

So the total number of stitches used is 15+90+9=114
The total number of stitches you now have is 18+90+6=114


Here are four simple tips to help you think there is an error in a pattern:

  1. Try to understand the pattern line by line so you can follow it and maintain the right stitch count.
  2. Use stitch markers, which can be helpful when there are repeats. Mark each section and keep track of them.
  3. If you do determine there is an error, send a note to the pattern’s publisher so can correct it in the future.
  4. If a pattern is frustrating you at the moment, take a break! Leave it and look at it with fresh eyes the next day. Often, when you come back to a pattern later on, it becomes obvious what the issue may have been.

Next week we’ll be looking at another example: a sweater pattern.

To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.

*Editor’s note: While we triple-check each pattern for errors here at Lion Brand, an occasional one may slip through. If that happens, you can contact us via When we issue a correction, we include a note at the top of the pattern (for people who may have previously printed out the pattern, but we also incorporate the changes into the body of the pattern for new people downloading the pattern so that you don’t have to worry about the correction.


Lost in Space

April 6th, 2014

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

I figure this as good a time as any to begin this essay, as my knitting is temporarily on hold.

The pattern says to work in stockinette until the piece measures six inches from the cast on edge. I may have hit the target, but I won’t know until I measure it, and I can’t measure it because I can’t find my tape measure.

By “my tape measure,” I mean any one of the thirty or so tape measures with which I share a compact urban living space. How compact? Not New York compact, just Chicago compact–about 1,600 square feet. That means one tape measure for every 53.3333 square feet.

I should not have to look very far for a tape measure.

In fact, my tape measure was right here. I know it was right here because when I sat down to cast on I knew I would soon need to measure six inches of stockinette. So I found (hooray!) (one of) my tape measure(s) and put it right here.

So where is it?

I remember when I was a new knitter and every trip to the yarn store meant spending money on needles and notions. You remember that time in your life? You’d go to the yarn store, see the pattern, pick out the yarn. Then the nice person at the counter would say, “You’re going to need a [stitch holder/row counter/tapestry needle/bag of stitch markers/size E crochet hook/16-inch size four circular]? Do you have a [stitch holder/row counter/tapestry needle/bag of stitch markers/size E crochet hook/16-inch size four circular]?”

You didn’t, so you bought one of those, too.

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Keeping to Pattern

April 6th, 2014

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We’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

When knitting a project that involves a stitch pattern (something other than stockinette or garter stitch) and shaping, such a sweater or hat, you will likely run into the term “keeping to pattern”. It may be written as “keep to established pattern”, “work pattern as established”, or “continue in established pattern”; they all essentially mean the same thing.

When working on the non-shaping section, you will knit your stitch pattern, following the written instructions for each row. But if you increase or decrease at each end of a row while shaping, those rows will no longer begin and end as written because you have added or subtracted stitches. But you need to keep the previous stitches aligned so the stitch pattern continues.

doubleseedstitchMany times, you can simply look at your knitting and see where you are within the stitch pattern. This is why it’s important to learn to “read your knitting” and understand by looking at your work the sequence of knits, purls, yarn-overs, etc. Knitting from a chart is also an advantage here because you can look on each side of the pattern repeat and understand visually where you are in the row.

There are times when it’s more difficult to follow where you are at or perhaps you are just starting out. So let’s work through an example of Double Seed Stitch, sometimes known as Box Stitch:

Multiple of 4
Rows 1 and 2: *k2, p2; rep from *
Rows 3 and 4: *p2, k2; rep from *

Let’s suppose you began with 16 stitches and you have increased one stitch on each end on Row 4. You now have 18 stitches and you can no longer begin Row 1 with a knit stitch because you no longer have a multiple of 8 and knits and purls will no longer align as intended.

How should you be keeping to pattern when you work Row 1 again? You would begin p1, then proceed to begin the row as written. The first stitch you work is the last stitch of the row as written. You are working backwards from the end of the repeat to the beginning of the repeat as you increase stitches.

keepYou will also have one extra stitch at the end of the row. As written, you ended Row 1 p2. Because you have an extra stitch, the row will now end with k1, which is the first stitch of the row as written. The last stitch you work is the first stitch of the row as written…the repeat is starting over again. However, you won’t have enough stitches to complete the row as written.

So, the new Row 1 would be:
P1, *k2, p2; rep from *, end k1

Remember that where you begin and end each row will change each time you add more stitches. If you increased one stitch at each end again, Row 1 would now be:
P2, *k2, p2; rep from *, end k2

Or even more simply:
*p2, k2; rep from *

When you decrease you eliminate stitches, so again you need to recalculate how to begin the row and how it should end.

Let’s suppose you were working over 16 stitches again but this time you decreased at the beginning of Row 1. You would have k2tog and this brings you to p2 as the next step. You would then continue k2, p2.

You don’t need to worry about ending the row when you decrease. As long as you begin in the correct place, the row will end when you’ve run out of stitches and they will all be aligned as intended.

Remember, just as with increasing, where you begin and end will change each time you decrease stitches.


Make a Simple Shrug with Yolanda Soto-Lopez

April 4th, 2014

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One of our most popular patterns, the Simple Shrug, is an easy project that’s perfect for beginners. The pattern is essentially a long rectangle seamed together at the ends to form a “one size fits all” shrug. Many of you have been excited to start this pattern, but wanted more of a visual explanation about seaming the ends and how the whole thing comes together. Now, we’re happy to share with you this wonderfully detailed video that will help guide you on this pattern journey!

Check out this new video with Yolanda Soto-Lopez of “All Crafts Channel” as she walks you through every step of the way for this pattern.


Arm Knitting with Mary Beth Temple: A New Book on the Shelves!

April 4th, 2014

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Arm Knitting cover

Arm knitting has taken the fiber world by storm. It’s a quick and easy way to produce a chunky knit item, which could be anything from a cowl, to a scarf, or even a blanket. In about 30 minutes or less, you can knit a beautiful cowl or scarf, and you don’t need needles!

Knitting expert Mary Beth Temple has put together a collection of 15 creative patterns in Arm Knitting: How to Make a 30 Minute Infinity Scarf and Other Great Projects . In this book, Mary Beth works with an assortment of Lion Brand yarns in various weights to get you started on your arm knitting journey. Also in the book are well-detailed, step by step photo instructions that will help you become an arm knitting master.

Arm knitting is a great way to introduce friends, children and loved ones to the wonderful world of fiber arts. Take a look at some of the cool projects found in Mary Beth’s book below!

We’re happy to be offering this book at 20% off the retail price at $7.99
. Click here to purchase.

Projects in Arm Knitting book
(pattern images courtesy of Mary Beth Temple: Arm Knitting)


6 Fast-Finish Easter Patterns!

April 4th, 2014

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After a long, cold winter, spring is finally here — which means Easter is just a few weeks away! While this often means buying marshmallow Peeps and hunting for candy-filled eggs for children, crafters are starting their Easter and spring-related projects.

Living in New York, this is the time of year when I like to walk down 5th Avenue and see  people  show off the crazy-fun hats they made just for the “Easter Parade” — traditionally, this time of year was when Victorian churchgoers use to show off their best hats, jewelry, and clothes after church. The event is similar to red carpet movie premieres and award ceremonies you see on TV.

Whether you are crafting for children or yourself, it is a good excuse to think of cute bunnies, sheep, and bright colored eggs.  Here are a few inspirational projects to put in a child’s Easter basket or decorating your home.

Craft Over Easy Eggs Crochet Amigurumi Chocolate Bunny
Over Easy Eggs Crochet Amigurumi Chocolate Bunny Knit Little Lamb
Crochet Chickadee Potholder Knit Little Bunny Crochet Amigurumi Bunny Egg Cozy
Crochet Chickadee Potholder Knit Little Bunny (Check out Selma’s post about making this cute critter) Crochet Amigurumi Bunny Egg Cozy

For more ideas check out Patternfinder and search under “Easter” or “Passover.”  Also check out our Pinterest Board for more Easter inspiration!


Knitted Toys: Little Bunny

April 2nd, 2014

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts.

If you’re a knitter who’d rather work with two needles than with double-points, this “Little Bunny” pattern is for you. Of a size easily grasped by small children, she’d make a wonderful gift for a baby or toddler, and be adorable in an Easter basket.

Little Bunny is knitted flat, and seamed up the back, using the mattress stitch. Ears, arms, legs, and tail are made separately and lightly stuffed before they’re fully seamed and sewn together. The tail, knitted from a scrap of Pound of Love in Antique White, is an ingeniously constructed pouf that’s more durable and shapely than a pompom—worth keeping in mind, as young children can be rough with their toys.

While this pattern specifies Lion Brand’s Superwash Merino Cashmere, any medium weight worsted yarn may be used. The Lion Brand website has appropriate substitutions which you can find here.

When knitting toys, it’s a good idea to work with yarn that’s washable and soft. My preference would be for an acrylic like Vanna’s Choice®, or an acrylic blend, like Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool BlendTM/MC. I also tend to favor natural colors, like grey, brown, and off-white, for animals, but as the Lion Brand pattern photos often show, stuffed toys can also look great in pastels and bright yarns. The choice is really up to you!

When completed, Little Bunny has a direct, folk-art quality that’s unique and appealing. I can imagine her crossing the prairies in a covered wagon as the dear companion of a small pioneer girl.


Make A Zodiac Scarf for Taurus Birthdays

April 1st, 2014

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I think it’s safe to say that most of us enjoy personalized gifts, or making things for ourselves that reflect a bit of our personality. For instance, I recently just picked up the Leo colorway in our LB Collection Silk because I’m a Leo and well, I thought it would be fun to work in a colorway that matched my sign’s color palette, which also happens to complement my wardrobe. This post though, is about Taurus and the specific color representations chosen in the Zodiac Scarf that reflect certain qualities of those born under this sign.

Taurus is an earth sign, with birthdays that range from April 20th – May 20th. This zodiac scarf incorporates two shades of green, which are color representations of Taurus’ generous and harmonious nature. Taurus really appreciates balance in life, and wants the people around them to be happy, so they might be more inclined to start a new project with someone else in mind.

A Taurus also tends to be a strong-willed individual who is determined to get the job done, which leads me to think that they may possibly have a lower UFO stash than some of us (can anyone attest to this?). The brown colors in the scarf also represent loyalty, and the Taurian’s need for stability and structure. Could this also translate to having a more organized yarn stash?

Crochet version of Zodiac scarf pictured, click here for knit version. Not a Taurus? Find your zodiac scarf here.

Hey all you Taurus yarncrafters, shed some light on some of these personality traits and how it affects your crafting styles, we’d love to hear your thoughts!




A Special Delivery: Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan

March 30th, 2014

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This story is from our newsletter called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

What do you give an expectant mother who has everything? Kerry had already furnished and decorated the nursery when she first told Jane the exciting news. She also announced her purchases on social media for the benefit of friends and family. It would be hard to find a shower gift that wasn’t a duplicate of something Kerry already owned.

What Kerry couldn’t buy, though, was the afghan Jane had crocheted. Jane had always known she’d make something unique for Kerry’s baby and when she saw the Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan pattern on the Lion Brand website, everything clicked.

The blanket, of creamy yarn crocheted into twenty textured squares, softy back-dropped bright pictures of animals, numbers, flowers, trees, and objects. Illustrating the pictures had been a blast, from choosing images to the actual embroidery. Jane used the adorably bright Bonbons mini-skeins to outline the darling pictures from Lion Brand’s motif library, creating a collage of color.

Nineteen of the afghan’s twenty squares were illustrated. When the baby arrived, Jane would embroider the child’s name and birthdate on the one blank square.

At the baby shower, Kerry opened Jane’s present last. She held the afghan close, and studied the bright pictures. “This is an amazing gift.” Kerry’s voice was filled with emotion. “I’ll show baby these pictures at bedtime, and make up special stories about them. We’ll treasure this…I can’t thank you enough.”

“When the baby arrives, I’ll embroider his or her name in the corner square,” Jane said.

“Oh, I can tell you that now,” Kerry replied. “It’s Cameron.”

“It’s a boy!” someone cried.


“What do you mean by ‘maybe’?” Jane asked.

Kerry smiled and said, “That’s the name we chose, for either a boy or girl.”

That evening, Jane embroidered “Cameron” on the corner square. And a week later, she added:

Cameron Elizabeth Bennett
24 March 2014.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Selma Moss-Ward is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in her columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island.