Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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You Can Do It! Wait. . . Can I Do It?!

February 17th, 2015

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It’s official: I’m making my first sweater.

I’ve worked at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City for two years and now that I am the Brand Ambassador for the company I thought I would take on a knitting fear: making my own sweater.  I’ve been a knitter for a good portion of my life and I have yet to conquer knitting a sweater.  How is it that I have knitted plenty of socks and not a sweater? This makes no sense to me, so I am going to rectify the situation.  l40025a

Every Wednesday night, from February 11th – March 18th, I’m taking part in a Knit-Along at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City.  In an ideal situation, I’d finish my sweater by the 18th of March, but this is my first sweater so give I’ll give myself a little slack.  The pattern I’m following is  The Essential Fall Pullover made with Heartland®.  I decided to get a little creative and instead of doing the three colors that the pattern calls for, I will be doing two. I’ll be using Black Canyon for the front and back, and for the side panels and sleeves I’m going to be using Biscayne.  I chose Black Canyon as the main color for the sweater because, like many people who live in NYC, black is a prominent color in my wardrobe.  On the other hand, I’m also trying to get a little more colorful, so I decided to incorporate Biscayne for the sleeves and side panels.  It will give it a nice “pop” and allow me to dress it down and up!

Since I worked in the studio for two years, I had the chance to really get to know my co-workers, and I got to see how talented and creative they truly are.  Ann, who is the instructor for the KAL, is a machine knitter and teaches machine knitting at the studio, but she also is so creative when it comes to knitting garments.  When I found out that Ann would be the instructor for the KAL, I was sold,  it would guarantee that for at least once a week for the next month, I would get to see her.  Her creativity is infectious and it inspired me to take this sweater making to another level.

For the first meeting she showed up with sketches (that she had made) of what her sweater would look like with the colors she chose.  She also suggested going to Pinterest for color inspiration. I thought that was a really clever idea and plan on using that for other projects as well!

As you can see I started the ribbing for the back of my sweater. But the main reason for writing this is because I need your support in completing this project. There have been so many times that I have wanted to make a sweater and I’ve second guessed myself even though I know I have the skills.

So, I Need You – You Wise Knitters And Crocheters – Give Me Your Best Sweater Advice And Support!

Before I really get into the nitty-gritty of the back portion of the sweater – do you have any good tips for me as I embark on this journey? What did your first sweater look like?  Is there something you are too nervous to make because it’s just overwhelming?

Please use the comments below.  You can keep track of my sweater making exploits here on the blog and by following me on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Teaching Kids to Crochet and Knit: Why Waldorf Schools Incorporate Crafting into their Curriculum

February 17th, 2015

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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.

teachkids-knitcrochet
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.
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Yarn Lovers, It’s Your Kind Of Year – Year of the Sheep!

February 16th, 2015

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year-of-the-sheep

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
Knit Cute Cabled Lamb Crochet Little Lamb
Knit Cabled Sheep Knit Fluffy Little Sheep

 

Top 5 things the Big Apple Knitters Guild Loved (We Bet You’ll Love Them Too!)

February 15th, 2015

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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:

Penelope Poncho 1. The Penelope Poncho – made with Country®, who doesn’t love this snugly, cozy great easy knit project?
pd-rpda 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?
100-202a 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.
l40703a 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

 

The Simple Shrug is Simply a Rectangle!

February 15th, 2015

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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!

simple shrug

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::

 

It’s #Caturday … post some #LBcats!

February 14th, 2015

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Crafting with Cats
We love pets at Lion Brand. If you’ve any spent time browsing our patterns at lionbrand.com, chances are you’ve seen some of our canine friends modeling in projects such as Barkley Loves His Blanket or the 12 Dogs of Christmas series — but what about our cats? They may not go for snuggly sweaters like our dogs do, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what we’re making. If you share your home with a cat, you’ve probably had your craft time turn into cat time: Got a great new project on your needles? That’s where the cat wants to nap. Sitting down to crochet for a couple of hours? That’s when the cat wants head scratches. Ready to start a brand new project with some gorgeous new yarn? HEY, where’d my yarn go?!

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 Sardines Cat Toy
Miss Mousie
Miss Mousie
Amigurumi Fortune Cookie Cat Toy
Amigurumi Fortune Cookie Cat Toy

 

❤❤❤ Happy Valentine’s Day from Lion Brand Yarn! ❤❤❤

February 14th, 2015

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valentines3

 

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

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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!

OOTL-LoomHalo_02092015

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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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Win a Copy of Crochet Red: Crocheting for Women’s Heart Health and 10 Skeins of Vanna’s Choice

February 13th, 2015

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Crochet Red Giveaway Image

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.

Good Luck!

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.

 

2 Ways to Start a Circle in Crochet from Dora Ohrenstein

February 12th, 2015

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Learn 2 Methods for Crocheting a Circle

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.

Ring with chains

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