February 17th, 2015
Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she shares how the Waldorf schools incorporate knitting and crochet into their curriculum, benefiting children in a variety of ways. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
I have to confess that I was a little intimidated when I first walked into the 3rd Grade Handwork Class at Sebastopol Charter School in California. The children seemed so magical and creative as they prepared to work on their crochet projects. Before they began, they sang a song, led by teacher Kristen McLaughlin, about the cotton plant that grows to become the yarn they work with.
Today, in fact, the kids were working with wool. Kristen, who’s been teaching at the school since 1997, used to have the kids work with double-worsted cotton yarn but has recently switched to wool. The kids don’t seem to mind as their hands wield the hooks to create the shapes that will become water bottle cozies, hats and granny squares. With half of the school year behind them, these kids are well-versed in the basics of crochet.
By third grade, the students have a couple of years of handwork under their belts — a critical component of the Waldorf curriculum. They begin with knitting in first and second grades, starting with finger knitting, and then knitting with two needles. In third grade, the handwork is crochet. In fourth grade they return to knitting, learning to knit on four needles. In later grades, they add cross-stitch and sewing to their handwork skills set.
Read the rest of this entry »
February 16th, 2015
The Chinese New Year is represented by a rotating cycle of twelve animals. There are years named for dragons, and others named for dogs, snakes, and even rats! This new year, which begins on February 19th, is the Year Of the Sheep! It’s the cutest animal and the yarniest animal … definite reasons to celebrate. If you’re giving a baby gift to a baby born in the next twelve months, this is the gift – try our Little Lamb Sock Critter as your first project for the new year!
Below are a few of our favorite sheep-inspired patterns for your knitting and crochet enjoyment this year!
|Knit Cute Cabled Lamb||Crochet Little Lamb
||Knit Cabled Sheep||Knit Fluffy Little Sheep|
February 15th, 2015
This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Big Apple Knitters Guild to unveil some of our newest offerings, live and in person. As the new Brand Ambassador, and a fifth generation member of the family business at Lion Brand, I was bursting with excitement to meet about eighty knitters and to talk about the yarn world that I love so much.
I was SO energized by their enthusiasm that I want to share with you their top 5 “oohs and aahs” of the evening:
|1. The Penelope Poncho – made with Country®, who doesn’t love this snugly, cozy great easy knit project?|
|2. Artisan Gift Wrap – I need it and I need it now! I just want to wrap my cats in it.|
|3. LB Collection® yarns – These yarns are really well-priced, stunning, and they are not going to make me broke. Can I have some more please?|
|4. 2-in-1 Tote – This invention is genius! Always searching for your sunglasses and hoping they don’t get tangled with your yarn? Perfect, this one’s for you.|
|5. Hudson Riverfront Hat – There is nothing bad about some glitz and faux-fur – Pelt and Gold Leaf® create the magic here. I love this hat and I need to make it myself.|
I look forward to speaking to more groups in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area so if you would like me to visit, please contact me at Shira@lionbrand.com. In the meantime, I share the inside scoop about what it’s like living the yarny life at Lion Brand on Intagram and Twitter, where you can follow me @Shiraroars
February 15th, 2015
You’ll impress your friends (and yourself) when you make this Simple Shrug!
The Lion Brand® design team has developed a collection of gorgeous, uncomplicated patterns based on straightforward rectangles. The Simple Shrug is the perfect project for any crocheter who’s ready to graduate from making accessories!
This shrug can be worn in multiple ways, so it’s very versatile! Wear it over your favorite little black dress or pair it with jeans on a chilly summer night. Made with Lion Brand®‘s self-striping yarn Unique, the beautiful color changes do all of the work for you!
Design Editor Susan Haviland explains the easy construction of the Simple Shrug in the video below:
::Trouble viewing the video? Click here: http://youtu.be/2Ob0aDg1E9s::
February 14th, 2015
Big personalities have helped some cats like Grumpy Cat, Lil’ Bub and Keyboard Cat to achieve celebrity status on the internet, but we think they’re ALL stars! With that in mind we’ve created a special gallery where you can share your favorite felines with the world. Post your pics of crafting with cats on your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and simply include the hashtag #LBcats!
You can also upload your pics directly to our gallery here:
:: click here if you cannot see the gallery ::
Make your furry friend a special #Caturday treat with these patterns for knit and crochet!
Amigurumi Sardines Cat Toy
Amigurumi Fortune Cookie Cat Toy
February 14th, 2015
Once a crafter, always a crafter … it’s a new “Out of the Loop,” the comic for those who love to knit and crochet!
February 13th, 2015
We’ve teamed up with Todd Clark, creator of the ever-popular Lola series, to bring you “Out of the Loop,” a regular one-panel comic featuring humorous takes on the world of yarn.
Enjoy and please share widely!
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Here are a few loom-knit patterns to inspire you!
|Loom Knit Entrelac Baby Blanket||Loom Knit Ridged Cowl||Loom Knit Patchwork Throw|
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February 13th, 2015
Health and wellness are topics we cover here quite often. Today we’re recognizing National Heart Month with a giveaway! Enter now for a chance to win one copy of Crochet Red: Crocheting for Women’s Heart Health, and 10 skeins of Vanna’s Choice® to make a Mitered Throw, one of the patterns featured in the book!
Laura Zander, owner of Jimmy Beans Wool, worked with Sixth and Spring Books on the Stitch Red book series to raise awareness around heart disease and preventive heart health in general. A portion of each book sale goes towards HeartTruth®, a public awareness program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Crochet Red is filled with beautiful crochet projects, each paired with a heartwarming story from a prominent face within the crochet world, including our beloved Vanna White. She wrote one of the forewords for the book, and also shares some of her healthy lifestyle tips.
One lucky winner will be chosen to win the prize pack: the book and 10 skeins of Vanna’s Choice® yarn — please see below for details.
Rules and Guidelines:
1. Entries must be received by February 20, 11:59p.m. EST
2. US entries only
3. Must be 18 and over to enter.
4. One person per entry
»Click Here« to enter the giveaway if the form below does not work for you.
February 12th, 2015
Thanks to our friends over at Storey Publishing, we’re sharing a handy excerpt from Dora Ohrenstein’s latest book, The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop (The Essential Techniques for Becoming a More Versatile, Adventurous Crocheter).
Dora’s latest book features numerous tips on gauge, crochet shaping and construction, colorwork and more – so we suggest that you go ahead and check out the book in its entirety, you’ll be glad you did.
In the meantime, have a look at the excellent excerpt below. Coupled with instructional photos, you’ll quickly and easily learn two different methods for starting a crochet circle – a ring with chains and the magic circle.
Try them out to see which method you like best!
Starting the Circle
There are several different ways to begin working in the round. You can make several chains (the most common method), make an adjustable ring, or use the first chain as a ring. Let’s look at the first two.
Make a Ring with Chains
To make a ring with chains, work several chains, then slip stitch in the first chain to form a ring. The number of chains is determined by how many stitches you intend to work into the ring and how tightly you want the ring to close. If you are following a pattern, the number of chains will be specified. Supposing, however, that you are working a hat pattern, and after working the specified number of chains and stitches in the first round, you find you have a larger hole at the center than you’d like. Go ahead and try again with fewer chains: it will cause no harm whatsoever. For other items worked in the round, such as motifs and flowers, the size of the “hole” at the center can make a difference, as it affects the overall size of the finished piece. In these instances, it’s wise to stick with the instructions as written.
February 12th, 2015
“A shawl is like a warm hug.”
Giving a prayer shawl to a friend or family member going through a difficult time is an appropriate gesture when there isn’t anything you can do to make their situation better. A handmade knit or crochet gift can offer comfort beyond words and the process can often have the power to heal one’s self too.
Over the years we’ve collected wisdom and insights from our favorite writers on making and giving prayer shawls (sometimes also known as comfort or healing shawls). These four articles below capture the essence of the prayer shawl and offer ten great tips – from patterns to process to the philosophy behind them – this collection is a great starting point for anyone who’d like to learn more about making prayer shawls:
- What to Do When Someone You Know Needs Comfort
- Prayer Shawls: How They Help You While Helping Others
- Tips for Getting the Most from Prayer Shawl Crafting
- I Don’t Pray . . . How Can I Make a Prayer Shawl?
- Lion Brand’s collection of FREE prayer shawl patterns: http://lby.co/1EaRgth
- Knitting and Crochet Relieves Stress and Depression in Caregivers
- Tips and Tricks Using Homespun and Homespun Thick & Quick
How have prayer shawls helped you? Share in the comments below!