Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Should You Carry the Yarn Along the Side or Cut It?

August 11th, 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.

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When working a pattern in stripes, sometimes you’ll see an instruction “Carry the yarn not in use along the side” (as with the Knit Shell Beach Washcloth shown at right); other times you won’t see an instruction at all.

When to Carry the Yarn Along

What should you do then? “Carry the yarn along the side” means nothing more than leave the color you are currently not using at the side of your work without cutting it. You’ll pick it up again later when you are to use that color again. If you are not going to use the color for 4 more rows, the next time you are at the edge where the unused yarn is, you will need to twist it with the color you are using. This will keep a loose loop from forming (the loose loop might get snagged or look unattractive if it isn’t twisted into the other yarn).

If you’re working 2 rows of one color followed by 2 rows of a second color, carrying the unused yarn makes sense, because all the color changes are on one edge of the piece, meaning that you can simply pick up the next color at the side and proceed.

If you’re alternating three colors, working 2 rows each, you will need to twist both colors not in use. Drop the color you just finished behind the other two, twist the other two, pick up the next color you need and continue.

When to Cut the Yarn

Quintessential Country Afghan

If the pattern is anything other than 2 rows of color A followed by 2 rows of color B, even though you’ve been told to carry it, you still have a personal choice to make and should consider several factors that may lead you to cutting it every time instead. The down-side to cutting the yarn is that you will have many more ends to weave in (but if you weave in as you go, this task will not be as daunting). The upside? The row edges will be much neater. This should be especially considered when you are making a scarf or a throw where the edges will be seen (as with the Quintessential Country Afghan, shown left). In a sweater, the edges will be hidden in a seam; however, the seams will be bulkier because you’ve carried the yarn so that’s a negative factor to consider.

There is no hard and fast rule but generally if you are going to be working more than 4 rows before needing the color again, strongly consider cutting it. Some people will stretch this to 6 rows. Every time you twist the yarns, you are adding more bulk to the edge.

And you can always weave in those ends while watching TV.

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A Knitter’s Portrait

August 10th, 2014

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This column by Michelle Edwards, author of A Knitter’s Home Companion, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter. To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.

mother knittingMy mother, Lillian Edwards, was a life-long knitter. She was an attractive, well-dressed woman: tall and thin with dark black hair and almond-shaped brown eyes that almost looked Asian. She called them “laughing eyes,” and that is how I like to remember them.

I’m told that as a young woman my mother knit socks, argyle ones. It was in the days before I was born, perhaps before she was married … maybe even as a young, single, working woman, living in Manhattan with her parents in a tiny apartment on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island.

My mother grew up poor. Her parents were both Russian immigrants. My grandma Yetta, with a handkerchief soaked in vinegar, wrapped around her head, rested a lot. She suffered from migraines and was always carrying a large purse with her — as if she was waiting to be uprooted again. This time she would be prepared. I would often seen her stuffing sugar packets in her purse when we were at HoJo’s.

My grandfather, Samuel, was as a quiet man. Hard to reconcile my gentle grandpa with the gangster he used to be. My grandfather and his brothers were the strongmen for a liquor smuggling ring during prohibition. When they double crossed the boss, two of my uncles were murdered in broad daylight at a Philadelphia street corner. My grandparents, my mother, and my uncle fled Philadelphia in a hurry and slipped into Coney Island where they could meld and blend into the mass of Russian Jews like themselves.

I don’t know who taught my mother to knit. Maybe my grandmother did, when she was not resting. It wasn’t a question I ever thought to ask my mother when she was alive. I know that she taught me how to knit and that she knit like a Russian Jew, with her yarn in left hand, wrapped around second finger, picking open the stitch and pulling the yarn through with her right hand needle. It is a very fast and efficient way to knit and I am often asked by knitters out here in the Midwest to teach them “my way” of knitting.

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Can Amy convince Lola to try hot yoga?

August 9th, 2014

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Here is the latest installment of Lola, from its creator Todd Clark.

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Want to relax? Knit a Neck Pillow using Lion Brand’s luxurious LB Collection® Cashmere and LB Collection® Bamboo. Get the free pattern here and below.

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Subscribe to The Weekly Stitch Newsletter

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Summer Chemo Caps at the Lion Brand Outlet

August 8th, 2014

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Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet

The Lion Brand Outlet in Carlstadt, New Jersey is more than just a place to get great bargains on yarn. We recently hosted the Summer Chemo Cap Project: a charitable knitting and crochet drive for the patients at Steeplechase Cancer Center in Central NJ, part of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Lion Brand supplied the yarn and many enthusiastic volunteers provided the labor. Lightweight hats were made especially for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy during the warm weather months, when a woolen cap would be too hot. These caps were made with Cotton-Ease® and Nature’s Choice Organic® Cotton yarn for maximum comfort and as you can see, they were knit and crocheted in a wide variety of colors and styles.

We are very pleased to report that the project, which concluded with a “finishing party” on August 4th, was a huge success! The final count is in and together we were able to make almost 350 caps. Thanks to everyone who volunteered – whether it was over the weekend, at the “finishing party”, or by sending a cap in – and special thanks to Pam MacKenzie for organizing!

Read more about this fantastic charitable effort at MyCentralJersey.com!

Many of you have asked for the patterns we distributed so that you can do your own charitable knitting and crochet. Many of our patterns make excellent summer caps. Try the Tranquil Violet Hat (knit), the Spice Solace Hat (crochet), or the Lace Beanie (knit).

If you are in the New York or New Jersey area, we encourage you to come visit us at the Lion Brand Outlet!

Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet
 Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet  Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet  Chemo Caps at the LBY Outlet

 

Make a Zodiac Scarf for Virgo Birthdays

August 8th, 2014

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virgo-colorIf you were born between August 23rd and September 22nd, your Astrological sign is Virgo, the sixth sign of the Zodiac. Virgo is represented by the Virgin Maiden, and like their namesake, people born under this sign are typically gentle and reserved. Virgos often gravitate to care-taking professions like healthcare and medicine and they make loyal friends and companions.

Virgos are known for their attention to detail. They are intelligent, analytical folks and great problem solvers. Careful Virgos prefer to take their time making decisions and with their slow and calculated approach, they are excellent communicators. For better or worse, people born under this sign are often perfectionists and while this quality may lead them to great professional success, it can also cause them to be too critical of themselves and others.

Famous Virgos include Beyoncé Knowles, Keanu Reeves, Sean Connery, and Sophia Loren.

Symbol-For-VirgoThe colors used in this scarf are inspired by the attributes associated with the astrological sign: sapphire for eloquence, navy for intelligence, colonial blue for helpfulness, and chocolate for loyalty. If you have a Virgo friend with a birthday coming up, they will surely appreciate the time and skill that goes into a handmade gift. Since Virgo loves to analyze, an especially thoughtful gift would be to teach them your craft. Activities like knitting and crochet are great for Virgo’s careful, methodical mindset, so don’t be surprised if your friend wants to make you something in return!

The Virgo Zodiac Scarf is available for both Knit and Crochet (pictured). Not your sign? Check out our other zodiac scarves here.

 

My Favorite Moments from the 2014 Crochet Guild of America Conference and Knit & Crochet Show

August 7th, 2014

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Dinner with friends, from left to right: Evan Blumenthal, Danielle Holke, Jack Blumenthal, Carla Horvath, Mary Colucci, Brandyce Pechillo, Tammy Hildebrand, Kimberly McAlindin.

The fond memories of last month’s 2014 Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) conference and Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, NH are still fresh in my mind. It was the 20th Anniversary of the CGOA and the Anniversary Celebration Committee planned a sensational event, chock-full of crochet pride.

Once I arrived at the hotel and saw the many crochet squares and yarnbombs decorating the courtyard and lobby, I knew it was going to be a great event.

As in years passed, I am always honored to be able to attend the CGOA Annual dinner and fashion show, an annual event that is always a crowd pleaser. This year it had 250 people in attendance!

I was blown away by the impressive talent of participating members; no surprise that plenty of door prizes and awards were given out.

The shopping floor was a flurry of activity, housing vendors from all over New England and beyond. It was also a great opportunity for me to catch up with all my friends in the knitting and crochet community. For instance, I was able to congratulate Gwen Blakely Kinsler in person on her induction to the CGOA Hall of Fame this year. Like a majority of crafters, she has tremendous love and passion for crocheting and the guild.

My college-aged son, who attended the conference with me for the first time, was quite impressed to see how many people I knew … and who knew me.

During the conference I attended my last in-person Board Meeting with the CGOA. It has been a great pleasure to have been a board member since 2011 and to have been able to participate in these meetings, but I know that I’m leaving the board in good hands.

To end on a brighter note: I took the opportunity to visit one of the mills that produces some of our yarn. I was able to see the process and production in which everything is made. Being able to see the very beginnings of a Lion Brand yarn and the attention to detail that is put into each skein makes me love being part of this family and company.

 

Most Popular Patterns from July

August 7th, 2014

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July's Most Popular Pattern: Knit Baby Crown Hat!

Every baby is a member of a royal family and deserves to wear a crown! This month’s top pattern is an ingenious design knit in everyone’s favorite new yarn, Modern Baby®.

There is definitely a theme to what’s popular this month. Many of the other popular patterns were designed in the lively, upbeat colors of Modern Baby® and several were created with Sock-EaseTM, a fingering weight yarn, perfect for working with in the warmer months.

As you can see, you don’t need to make socks to enjoy Sock-EaseTM.  The Crochet Candy Color afghan was made with this yarn.  It’s bright and lightweight–perfect for a warm weather throw to keep you cool in an air conditioned room.

The stylish Crochet Boutique Laptop Sleeve was made with Cotton-Ease®, another popular yarn for summer.

So keep it light this summer and you can continue to knit and crochet even when it’s 90 degrees outside!

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Crochet a Market Bag with Yolanda Soto-Lopez

August 6th, 2014

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In her newest Lion Brand tutorial, our favorite crochet expert Yolanda Soto-Lopez guides you through our Market Bag pattern using one of our best warm-weather yarns, Cotton Ease ®.

Check out the video below!

If you like this video, check out more tutorials from Yolanda at All Crafts Channel!

 

10 Ideas to Stay Inspired During a Crafting Hiatus

August 5th, 2014

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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. This is part 4 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

10 Ideas to Stay Inspired During a Crafting Hiatus

Many knitters and crocheters craft every single day. It’s part of a good total wellness plan for a lot of us. But what happens if you have to take a crafting hiatus? An injury, crafting burnout (similar to writers’ block) and health issues can force an unwanted break from knitting and crochet. Here are ten ideas for staying inspired in the event that this occurs to you.

1. Organize photos of your past craft work.

This can be a great way to celebrate the work that you’ve already done. It will remind you of all of the inspiration you’ve had in the past and get you re-excited for the time that you can pick up hooks and needles again. A big photo album works as does a blog or Facebook albums.

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How To Do 4 Different Types of Selvages

August 4th, 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.

seaming_selvageYou may see patterns that talk about selvage stitches (sometimes spelled “selvedge”) and wonder what they could be referring to. All fabric has selvages; they are simply the left and right edges of the piece, or the first and last stitch of each row.

Some patterns specify to work a selvage stitch; you may notice that directions tell you to always knit the first and last stitch of the row or to slip the last stitch of each row. In these cases, the designer has factored in the selvage as part of the design to make it easier for you. However, if you’re creating your own design from a stitch dictionary or just winging it, understanding how to work those selvage stitches (or identify them, if you’re modifying a pattern), will be very helpful.

1. Selvages for Seaming

When you have pieces you are going to seam together, such as the front to the back of a sweater, you will use these edge stitches for seaming. They won’t be visible after the project is seamed. This is particularly useful when you’re creating your own design for a sweater or shrug, which may otherwise end up with yarn-overs and decreases on the edges of the design. Regardless of the pattern stitch used, if you work a stockinette selvage it will make seaming much easier. To do so, simply knit the first and last stitch of every row on the right side and purl them on the wrong side. If a stitch pattern is used, you might check and be sure that the pattern has allowed two extra stitches for seaming so you have a full repeat across after seaming.

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