Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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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.

“Maybe.”

“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.

 

Join Our Spring Knit-Along Featuring the… Spring Lace Shawl!

March 28th, 2014

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Each season we host a crochet- or knit-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up! Simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you knit your project, and feel free to share your comments and/or photos as you progress. KAL_BADGE_2014
81058adaWe asked you to vote on what knit project you’d like to make, and you picked our Spring Lace Shawl! Almost 6,000 of you voted, and we’re so excited to knit-along with you.Click here to download the pattern for the Spring Lace Shawl and click here to get the kit in Kelly Green or in Silver Blue (free shipping for a limited time).

To get this knit-along going, this week is about gathering your materials so that we can jump right in the week of April 7th. This lovely shawl is made in our Vanna’s Choice yarn, a versatile, easy-care, acrylic worsted-weight yarn that comes in a huge assortment of stunning colors. If you’re more in the mood for a cotton blend, Cotton-Ease is a great substitute, and will be light and lovely as the temperatures get warmer.

As with any yarn substitution, you’ll also need to figure out how many skeins of the yarn of your choice the pattern will require. Here are the number of balls for our other recommended yarns:

Yarn OS
Vanna’s Choice 12 skeins
Cotton-Ease 12 skeins

Click here for our FAQ on substituting yarns.

Starting the week of April 7th, our KAL host Grace DiLorenzo will be posting her progress through the lace shawl project, with updates coming every Thursday. You’ll know it’s a dedicated KAL blog post when you see our special badge in the upper right-hand corner of the post. Don’t forget to join our Ravelry group for this KAL as well!

In the meantime, please introduce yourself below–let us know who you are, where you’re from, and who you’re making this top for!

About Grace: Grace DiLorenzo has been knitting for the last 10 years. What started as a hobby quickly grew into a passion. Her favorite things to make are garments and lace. As a teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City she has been able to share her love of yarn crafting teaching beginning through advanced knitting and yarn dyeing classes. She has lead the first four in studio knit alongs and is excited to do it again! grace_200px

 

9 Stylish Spring Patterns to Knit and Crochet

March 27th, 2014

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Spring has sprung! Well, it’s still a bit chilly for us in NYC, but we’re eager to start switching our wardrobes. With the sun shining and the cool chill in the air, now is a great time to work on a new transitional piece for the season.

Below is a round up of seasonally appropriate garments for you to browse in preparation for the warm weather!

My First Raglan Cardigan
My First Raglan Cardigan
in Vanna’s Choice
(Also offered as a Craftsy Course,
learn more here)
Top-Down Crochet Jacket
Top Down Crochet Jacket
in Fishermen’s Wool and Amazing

Knit Tabard Vest
in Wool-Ease

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Lion Brand Recommendations: The Neutral Cabled Afghan

March 27th, 2014

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l32161aJackie Smyth is a Technical Editor in Lion Brand’s Design Department. Today she shares one of her favorite Lion Brand patterns. 

I work in Lion Brand’s New York Design Department, where every day is a bit like a birthday! Wrapped packages arrive every afternoon – each holding a new and exciting design. On a daily basis, we’re all inspired to add way too many new items to our project queues.

When we opened the box containing the Neutral Cabled Afghan, I knew it was something I should put at the top of my list.

A good friend recently moved from New York (a city of steam heat) to less well heated Dublin, so was clearly in need of something to wrap up in on chilly evenings. The colors of the Neutral Cabled Afghan are a perfect match for his color scheme and the cables are lovely nod to his Celtic surroundings.

I’m a big fan of interesting construction techniques, so I was super excited when I saw how this afghan was made. No sewing! And a different stitch pattern on each of the panels means I’ll never be bored.

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Same Yarn, Super-Sized: Introducing Heartland Thick & Quick®!

March 26th, 2014

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hltq

Whether you love our American-made yarns or have a soft spot for the deep-colored hues of Heartland—you’ll love our newest yarn Heartland Thick & Quick®!

Heartland has been one of our most popular yarns because of its soft and silken make, so we decided to make a super bulky version for people to make their projects bigger and better!

It’s a great yarn to go to for soft-to-touch garments, quick afghans, and plush accessories. Check out a few of  our recent knit and crochet patterns using Heartland Thick & Quick® below:

Knit Ski Lodge Cap Crochet Ripple Afghan Knit Deep V Cabled Vest Crochet Flower Power Hat
Knit Ski Lodge Cap Crochet Ripple Afghan Knit Deep V Cabled Vest Crochet Flower Power Hat

 

Craft Through the 7 Wonders of the Yarn World – Next Stop: Stripes & Chevrons

March 26th, 2014

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Earlier this year Lion Brand unveiled The 7 Wonders of The World – a series of sculptures designed by fiber artist Nathan Vincent. Not only did each sculpture represent one of the 7 Wonders in yarn techniques, but we presented a fashion show where each technique was reflected in a variety of fashions. In the last post in this series we visited texture and it’s importance to knitting, crochet, and felting. Today we present part two: “Stripes & Chevrons.”

CHA-chevron
Nathan Vincent’s sculpture of Mayan Ruins; model wearing Crochet Flame Stitch Coat

The Mayan Ruins is our second Wonder of the Yarn World. Chosen to represent bold colors and the spirit of adventure, you’ll find that the patterns associated with this line are fun and perhaps even a little rebellious. Our Creative Director Adina Klein calls this line, “chevrons gone wild!”

With distinct colorways, vertical chevrons and magnificent mash-ups (“coatigan” anyone) – these pieces are well-suited to the yarncrafter who’s looking to spin that afghan on its head and try something new. The yarns featured include HomespunHomespun® Thick & Quick®, Vanna’s Glamour®, Heartland and our newest super bulky yarn, Heartland Thick & Quick®.

Below we’ve chosen several of the striking designs from the stripes and chevrons collection from our fashion show. In the coming weeks we’ll continue featuring the rest of the 7 Wonders of the Yarn World — from lace to granny squares to modern color work, you’re sure to find inspiration in this amazing collection.

CHA-chevron CHA-chevrons-pncho CHA-chevron-poncho CHA-chevrons
Drawstring Slouch Hat*
with
Knit Zig Zag Dress
with
Ripple Afghan
Crochet Greenpoint Grunge Cap
with
Lace Edged Poncho*
Crochet Sunset Stripe Hat
with
Radiant Ripple Poncho
Crochet Zigzag Hat
with
Chevron Afghan

* pattern coming soon

 

 

Meet the Soldier Who Learned to Crochet While in Afghanistan

March 25th, 2014

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We featured David Muir on our Facebook page earlier this month, which received an overwhelming positive response. We asked him a few questions about himself and how he got interested in crocheting.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, like where you’re from and why you decided to join the military.

I’m originally from Easton, Maryland but I call Pooler, Georgia home now. I joined the Army because of the “adventure” and “awesome toys” — eventually it became more than that. I worked with a group of individuals that became my great friends, and my family.

I was in the Army for 10 years until I decided to seek new adventures. Many of us were stationed together for 6+ years. At that point, others started getting out or changing duty station. It just changed. It wasn’t the same. I needed to try something new. When I got out of the Army in July 2011 I lived in Spain for the summer. I even worked at a scuba dive shop just for fun.

afghan-facebook
David Muir and his first afghan,
made with Hometown USA.

After that I moved to Pooler, GA where I lived with my brother, Danny. I worked for Gulfstream as a Quality Engineer but soon missed my Army brothers. When I heard my old unit was deploying to Afghanistan, I decided to look for a job with the slight chance I’ll see them again. Working on the Apache Helicopter is my specialty so our field is quite small. Unfortunately I didn’t get the same base as my old unit, so I’m not in the military anymore. Now I work for DynCorp Aviation.

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Caring for Your Handmade Items

March 24th, 2014

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You’ve just spent hours crafting a gorgeous sweater (or afghan, or shawl, or scarf…honestly, this article applies to any type of project!) and now you need to know what to do when it needs to be cleaned. We’ve all heard horror stories about washing machines eating afghans, and sweaters shrunk in dryers, and it makes the prospect of caring for things we slaved over rather daunting, to say the least. I’ll do my best in the next few paragraphs to try to alleviate those fears for you.

Read the Label

The first thing to consider is the yarn you used. The label (or the yarn’s page on our website if you’ve misplaced the label) will give you a bunch of information about whether the yarn can be thrown in the washer and dryer, taken to the dry cleaner, steamed, etc.

Not sure what all those symbols mean? We’ve provided a handy key for you in our FAQ. Remember, the information on the yarn’s label applies to the yarn itself, not necessarily your project. In other words, just because the yarn you’ve used will not be damaged by machine washing doesn’t mean that’s the best way to care for your item.

Acrylic or 100% Wool?

Once you’ve checked out the label and seen all the ways you can safely wash the yarn, it’s time to think about the item itself. Is this a baby sweater? An extra large man’s sweater? An afghan? A very lacy shawl? A scarf with a fringe?

Something like a baby sweater, if it is made with a machine-washable and -dryable yarn, can be pretty safely tossed in the machine with no problems (though, as noted in the paragraph below, it will continue to look newer and fresher if it can be cared for more gently). The rest of the items I listed? Not so much. The fringed scarf is going to tangle itself up in all that loose yarn, and all the agitation can be very damaging to the fringe. Your larger sweaters, afghans, and lacy items, are going to get very heavy when they are wet, and the action of the washing machine and dryer will cause the weight of the item to pull on itself, stretching those items out of shape, in some cases quite severely. This can be somewhat alleviated by using a sweater bag with those larger items, as it will keep the item from having room to stretch out.

Making It Last for Years to Come

Finally, think about your expectations for the item. Is this an afghan you expect your rowdy family of five to snuggle up under on the couch every night and the cat to sleep on all day? You probably don’t expect it to look perfect forever, and a little pilling and stretching is going to be par for the course, so throwing it in the machine (in a sweater bag!) is just fine.

Is this a beautiful cabled cardigan you hope to wear for years and years? You’re probably hoping it will continue to look just-off-the-needles for a good long time. As with any delicate item — whether handmade or store-bought — the more gently you care for it the longer it will last and be beautiful. 

Conclusion

Hand-washing and laying flat to dry is almost always the gentlest way to care for a handmade item to ensure the best results over time. It’s inconvenient, sure, but isn’t it worth a little inconvenience to keep the project that took so many hours to make looking and feeling great?

There are more great tips on exactly how to handle your project as you wash it in this article.

 

6 Helpful Tips for Knitting & Crochet

March 23rd, 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.

knit+crochet

Yarn crafts should be an enjoyable experience. Pitfalls abound but many of them are our own doing. I hope these suggestions will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or disheartened as you explore the world of knitting and crochet.

1. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

You’ve never knit with circulars? Thousands, if not millions, of people have done it. How hard can it be? You won’t learn a new skill unless you give it a go. Try out the new skill and you’d be surprised how many skills come naturally to you.

Need extra help? Lion Brand can show you other ways you can learn to knit or crochet.

2. Break it down.

If you’re working a series of instructions [such as this bobble: Knit into front, back and front of next st, turn and k3, turn and p3, turn and k3, turn and Sl1, k2tog, psso] that you don’t understand, try it step by step without thinking ahead. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking at the entire sequence. By looking at it in steps, it’s easier to break down.

3. Knit or crochet with a yarn you love.

If you’re finding a texture cumbersome or that the yarn is rough on your hands (doesn’t slide, feels like plastic…whatever the case may be), perhaps it’s not the right yarn for you (or this particular stitch pattern). Pick a smooth yarn for more complex stitch patterns and use a simpler stitch when using more textured yarns. Finding the right pairing will make your project more enjoyable.

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