November 14th, 2013
As you may know, Lion Brand has partnered with Craftsy, the premiere, online crafting education platform, to develop classes that will inspire you and take your yarn crafting skills to the next level.
One of the classes we wanted to develop first is a My First Sweater class. Many of you have been knitting for years–20, 30 or more–yet there are some of you who’ve never felt confident enough to move from flat knitting (i.e. scarves and afghans) to garment knitting. This class will give you the confidence to move to garment knitting. You’ll learn to follow a pattern, breeze through the process of shaping and create what will likely be your favorite sweater.
November 14th, 2013
Sister and brother duo, Elizabeth and Robby Miracle, first created this dyeing series for a Lion Brand newsletter several years ago. Although that newsletter is no longer around, we loved the idea of making kitchen-safe dyes so much, that we’ve updated it and reprinted the series here.
Creating your own dyes can be a fun and exciting way to personalize projects. This month, we show you how to make all-natural dyes and use them with different cotton and wool yarns.
After trying our dyes, you will probably want to experiment with other natural food dyes of your own. Start by using fruits or vegetables that stain and experiment! You can mix dye baths to make different colors. You will probably find, as we did, that the colors are all — surprise — “earth” tones!
Because this project requires boiling water, adult supervision is required.
This quantity of dye will easily color 2 skeins of LB Collection Pure Wool or , 2 skeins of Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton. Other options include: Alpine Wool, Fishermen’s Wool, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Superwash Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Roving Wool, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp, Kitchen Cotton. Click here to see all Lion Brand yarns.
|Dyed Cotton||Dyed Wool|
1 oz ground turmeric
3 quarts water
Bring mixture to a boil in a stainless steel or enamel pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will reduce in volume some what while boiling. As soon as it is finished cooking, you can use it.
November 13th, 2013
Today’s story comes from Shira Blumenthal, a current employee at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, and the daughter of our President and CEO, David Blumenthal. Shira is excited to share with us how she’s getting ready for her upcoming wedding at the end of the month.
As I was in the final stages of getting ready for my wedding, I was also thinking of some way to thank my bridal party for all their support and hard work. They were a smattering of 11 close friends who I had known throughout my entire life, from 5th grade to the present. With all the last-minute planning, not to mention the overall nervous fact that the event was just weeks away, I just wanted to go away for a bit and relax.
When they had surprised me with a bachelorette weekend at our family house in Woodstock, I couldn’t have been happier.
It was no secret that my family ran Lion Brand or that I loved to knit. So I decided the best thing was to make a thank you gift for everyone. I loved cowls for the sheer fact you could just put it on and go out the door. I am fond of knitting in the round, and knew I could whip up several in no time—which came in handy if I was making them for eleven people.
With the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s distinctive wall of yarn, it made choosing colors a breeze. I’m traditional at heart and felt a range of natural shades would suit all of them. When we got to the house, I got a bit nostalgic as we drove up to the house—remembering all life’s milestones I’ve had in that house: my first steps, my first words, and now my bachelorette weekend.
When the girls showed me the t-shirts they would all be wearing, complete with a picture of She-Ra and the date of the event. I couldn’t help but laugh, and had wonderful flashbacks of when I first met each of my friends who thought I was named after the famed Princess of Power! Although this was not so, they knew that given any superhero to idolize it would be her!
In turn, I gave them their own goodie bag filled with fun weekend essentials and their own cowls with a customized label to commemorate the weekend. They all loved them and some traded them like friendship bracelets on the playground because of the variety of colors. As my wedding worries were quickly forgotten as we reminisced about the old days, I remembered the excitement that I was getting married and they were going to all be there as I said my vows.
November 11th, 2013
It’s time for the annual Vanna’s Choice Contest!
Use your imagination! It can be anything you dream up — from “Gramminal” hat and bootie sets (which took last year’s Grand Prize, made by Nancy Nielsen), to a Christmas-themed chess set (Aiqi Huang’s winning entry from 2011).
There are 20 prizes to win, including the Grand Prize: a trip for two to meet Vanna White in Los Angeles!
Entries can be submitted into one of four categories:
- Hats and Scarves
- Baby items
- Afghans, Blankets and Throws
Celebrate color with Vanna White yarns – enter now!
*Note: restricted to residents in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec). One entry per person. See here for the complete rules.
November 10th, 2013
Punctuation differs from publisher to publisher, but in all cases is used to separate and group instructions. Typically, commas, semi-colons, colons, and dashes are used to separate. Parentheses, brackets, curly braces, and asterisks are used to group. Commas and semi-colons are used to separate each part of an instruction making the parts a bit easier to see and read.
Instructions and parts of instructions are grouped for several reasons; 1) To indicate that multiple stitches are to be worked into the same location and, 2) To indicate that instructions are to be repeated.
Parentheses are most often used to group stitches to be worked into one location. For example, “(k1, p1, k1) in next st” indicates that all 3 stitches within the parentheses are to be worked into the next stitch before it is removed from the left needle. Brackets, curly braces, and asterisks paired with “repeat” are used most often to group instructions to be repeated.
November 8th, 2013
Fall has arrived, temperatures have dropped, and some folks might’ve already had snow; ski season is now upon us! Of course it’s fun engaging in all of those outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, but it’s also fun coordinating those wintry outfits. It’s so cool to see everyone in their bright jackets, and funky hats adorned with pompoms against the contrast of the snow. So today, in honor of the new ski season, I’ve rounded up 9 hat patterns in knit and crochet to get you thinking about how you’ll stand out of the crowd in the sea of snow.
Crochet Sweet Harvest Hat
in Hometown USA
Knit Snow Day Cap
in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick
Crochet Halsey St. Pompom Helmet
in Hometown USA
November 7th, 2013
Whether it’s for your newest family member or a gift for your best friend’s newborn, babies will always need booties. They are so easy to make, you’ll start making them in every size and color.
Let your imagination run wild with these inventive patterns:
|Knit Ruby Red Slippers||Crochet Posy Baby Booties||Knit Holiday Mousie Slippers|
- Crochet Cowboy Booties
- Knit Sweet Slip Ons
- Crochet Monster Baby Booty (Knit pattern is $3.00)
- Knit Turtle Saartje’s Booties *
- Crochet Baby Sneaker Booties
- Knit Blue Booby Booties *
- Crochet Lion Paws and Mittens *
Click here for more great ideas. Have you ever gotten super creative with making baby items? Share below!
Note: Make sure you have a free Ravelry account for patterns with *.
November 6th, 2013
As you’re planning out the holiday gift list why not reserve some gifts for yourself? We’ve teamed up with Larks Crafts to bring you a wonderful giveaway!
Crochet Love by Jenny Doh is a book filled with great ideas to decorate your home. Inspired by Zakka, a Japanese design style that emphasizes simplicity and creativity, Jenny Doh creates projects that are easy-to-make, functional, and most of all, imaginative.
One lucky winner will have a chance to win a copy of Crochet Love and 2 skeins of Cotton-Ease® yarn to make a Camera Strap Cover and Lens Cap Pouch (Crochet pattern).
Get Inspired and Good Luck! Contest ends Friday, November 22nd.
Please note: Comments left on this blog post do NOT count as entries. Please click on the link above to enter.
*Update 12/4/2013*: Congratulations to Kim Gourley who has won this fabulous prize!
November 6th, 2013
Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.
Life in a city apartment means experiencing the joys of child rearing even if you haven’t produced or acquired children of your own. The thundering grade-schoolers who used to live above my workroom have moved out and been replaced by an infant of six months. Said infant has colic. A baby with colic doesn’t make for pleasant listening, but she pales in comparison to the toddler across the courtyard–who is suffering through an extended Riddle Phase. No, suffering is not the right word. She’s having the time of her life. The rest of us are suffering.
Toddler (not her real name) has two volumes, “bellow” and “roar.” So shut your windows, you say to me. It’s autumn in Chicago. The windows are shut. Toddler has the lungs, but alas not the artistry, of a young Beverly Sills.
On any given day she can outclass my white noise machine, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, expensive sound-canceling headphones, and jet aircraft on the final approach to O’Hare.
Between bellowed demands to her nanny for snacks, toys, and trips to the bathroom, she has taken to roaring selections from an apparently inexhaustible supply of riddles and jokes. How one so young can have amassed such a wealth of material surpasses understanding. Perhaps she is Henny Youngman, reincarnated with pigtails. Stranger things have happened, especially on my block.
The nanny has to listen to the riddles and jokes, but she is being paid to listen to the riddles and jokes. I also have to listen. I am not being paid.
Prolonged exposure has caused me to begin dreaming and thinking in riddles and jokes. I mention this as alert readers may discern faint echoes in this month’s ruminations about knitting, yarn, and the creative life.
Now, as I was saying about my knitting…
November 5th, 2013
I’ve learned a ton of new skills and tricks from working at Lion Brand. One of my favorite tips comes from crochet designer Robyn Chachula. (I’ve interviewed her several times for our podcast, YarnCraft—check out the first and second episodes featuring Robyn.)
Robyn says that you should create a schematic based on YOUR favorite sweater so that whenever you come across a pattern for a sweater that you like, you can check it against your reference schematic to see which areas of the pattern you might need to modify to fit your body better. I love it!
Need more help? Here are some resources on measuring your body:
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Measuring for a Sweater + Free Sweater Planning Guide
- Selecting the Perfect Sweater Size
- Keep Track of Your Measurements
[Schematic pictured: Knit Classic Nordic Pullover]