Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Styling Makes All the Difference: How One Project Can Be Worn Many Different Ways

September 27th, 2012

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Many a clever knitter & crocheter has discovered that one project can do double-duty with different styling. For instance, our Knit Grande Wrap pattern can be work many different ways:

For more ideas about how to turn one project into several different looks, check out these blog posts:

Do you have a favorite styling trick for a knit or crochet project? Share it in the comments!


8 Fast and Easy Hats to Knit or Crochet this Fall

September 19th, 2012

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Beanies, caps, berets–whatever your favorite style is, a hat is the perfect project to help you kick off the fall season! A hat makes a quick project you can enjoy right away; you’ll finish yours even faster using a thick yarn like Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or DaVinci. Make your own hat to wear as the weather turns chilly, or save it to share with a friend or loved one during the holidays.

These are some of our favorite and most popular hats to knit and crochet. Click on the pattern name or image to see the full free pattern on LionBrand.com (you may have to log in first). Want to see more toppers for fall and winter? Follow the links at the bottom of each section to browse through dozens more knit or crochet hat patterns.

Hats to Knit

Hometown Hat Soft Cozy Hat New Moon Hat Ribbed Hat & Scarf

Browse more hat patterns to knit

 Hats to Crochet

Beginner’s Beanie Fleecy Crochet Hat Moon Rock Hat Angora Tam & Lace Scarf

Browse more hat patterns to crochet

Have you made your own hat before? What was it like making your first hat? We’d love to hear your story!

Related Links:


5 Hats & Different Ways to Style Them

March 13th, 2012

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Sometimes when I’m shopping and I see a garment or accessory I really want, I think about the different ways to style it, making the item itself very versatile.  For instance, I really like my denim jacket because I can roll up the sleeves different lengths and I can partially pop the collar for a different look. I can then pair it with a skirt or jeans for a more casual look…the choices go on.

The finished pattern images you see on LionBrand.com show you one way to style an item, but today, I’ll show you alternate ways to style 5 hats.

Ballpark hat Crochet Ball Park Hat
We definitely like the slouch effect of the hat as modeled for the pattern, but think about playing around with your hat ribbing.  You can fold up the ribbing to let more hair show, and also to create a tighter fit.

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Make Simple Look Sensational with Bouclé

January 4th, 2012

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Bouclé knitwear is making a comeback for 2012; it’s been featured in the collections of fashion designers such as Bottega Venetta, Max Studio and Philosophy Di Alberta Ferretti.  Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for designer bouclé, you can easily knit or crochet your own piece with our bouclé style yarns in Homespun and Silky Twist (a new addition to our family).

boucle coat bottega venetaBottega Venetta boucle coat max studioMax Studio boucle philosophy di Alberta FerrettiPhilosophy Di Alberta Ferretti

Traditional bouclé is constructed with 3-plies, with one strand a bit looser than the others to create a loopy textured yarn.  When knitted or crocheted, the yarn appears a bit bumpy or “nubby”, giving the garment a unique quality.  Since bouclé yarn has so much texture to it, it is best to stick with a simple stitch–complicated stitches get lost with all of the loops and bumps involved.  Here are some bouclé patterns to start off a new project for the new year:

Ridges Hat
Ridges Hat

Crochet in Silky Twist
Long and Lean Jacket
Long and Lean Jacket

Knit in Homespun
Honest Warmth Shawl
Honest Warmth Shawl

Knit in Homespun
Simplicity Cowl
Simplicity Cowl

Crochet in Homespun

Do you have experience with bouclé yarns? Have you tried Silky Twist, our bulkier bouclé?  If you’re interested in learning more about knitwear trends for 2012, check out one of our previous posts by Jess, 3 Favorite Trends for 2012.


Last-Minute Gift Idea: I Made a Hat in One Evening, and So Can You!

December 20th, 2011

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With Hanukkah starting this evening and Christmas this weekend, it might feel like you’re down to the wire, but with the right project, I’m telling you there’s still time to squeeze out one more project! Just remember the 3 secrets of a fast gift project: thick yarn or multiple strands of yarn, easy stitches, accessory pattern.

Using the formula I shared in my “How to Crochet a Beanie” blog post, I made this quick hat in less than 2 hours.

To make it, I paired a strand of Superwash Merino Cashmere (in Sangria, Wine, and Charcoal) with a strand of Vanna’s Glamour (in Grey Stone, for bling!) and used single crochet stitches. By holding two strands of yarn together, it was like I was working a thicker yarn, and of course a thicker yarn means a faster project!

Editor’s note: Need to figure out how much yarn you need for a hat (or other project)? Click here for our handy guide.

For this project, instead of using the spiral method of making crochet rounds, I used the “joined rounds” method. That means I joined at the end of each round with a slip stitch, and then started each progressive round with a chain stitch (just as you would start a new sc row when crocheting flat back and forth).  The “joined rounds” method allowed me to have smooth stripes without a “jog” where the colors changed.

For the color pattern: after the first 5 rounds in Sangria, I changed colors every 3 rounds for my stripes. Finally, I improvised a quick trim for the edging: slip 1, *[hdc, dc, hdc] into the next stitch, slip 2, repeat from *. Voila! A finished hat in just one evening.

I think it’s a rather cute project, if I do say so myself, and I hope my cousin likes her gift! Good luck with any last-minute projects, and have a wonderful holiday season!


Step Into the Light and Sparkle with Glitter Eyelash!

November 11th, 2011

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Glitter Eyelash, one of our new yarns from the Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand collection is here, right on time for the holidays. Glitter Eyelash comes in 14 different colors which range from pastel tones, seen in Kunzite, Blue Topaz and Purple Sapphire, to bright and bold colors such as Tourmaline, Garnet and Orange Topaz. This novelty yarn is extremely versatile because it can be knit and crocheted into accessories and trims, and it can be crafted with just a bit of glue! Explore the possibilities below, click on the pictures for free patterns.


Glitter Eyelash
Lush Cowl (knit/crochet)
Glitter Eyelash Loom Knit Scarf
Glitter Eyelash
Loom Knit Scarf
Cowls and Scarves 

Glitter Eyelash can be knit, crocheted, or loom knitted into lovely fashion items, adding some shimmer to your favorite outfit.  This yarn is constructed so that it’s not too scratchy or uncomfortable against the skin.  Pair a lush cowl or scarf with an all black outfit to make a bold entrance on your night out.

Glitter Eyelash Earmuffs
Glitter Eyelash Earmuffs
Glitter Edged Hat
Glitter Edged Knit Hat
 

Hats, etc

Glitter Eyelash is the perfect yarn to add as trims on accessories.  While the temperatures drop, stay stylish and warm by also pairing this novelty yarn with another Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand yarn.  The earmuffs and hat on the left were both constructed with Extra Soft Wool Blend in complimenting colors for additional warmth.

 


Glitter Eyelash Loopy Necklace
Glitter Eyelash
Loopy Necklace
Glitter Eyelash Wrapped Bangle Bracelet
Glitter Eyelash Wrapped
Bangle Bracelet
Jewelry 

The great thing about this yarn is that it’s unique qualities allow it to be a fun crafting yarn as well.  Create a necklace with Glitter Eyelash by wrapping strands together to hang from your neck. Try varying sizes such as double (necklace on the left) or even triple looped necklaces for different effects.  Bracelets can be crafted by wrapping the yarn around a circular form, mix and match some colors for fun!

 

Glitter Eyelash Wreath
Glitter Eyelash Wreath
Glitter Eyelash Napkin Rings
Glitter Eyelash Napkin Rings
Home Decor  

It’s holiday season! Jazz up your home with Glitter Eyelash in various forms.  Glue and wrap yarn to form a wreath, craft some snowflakes, wrap the yarn around picture frames- there are tons of crafting possibilities.  It could even be used as a garland for a Christmas tree, since this yarn is available in 14 colors, there’s a color to match almost any kind of theme (if your Christmas tree has a theme, mine usually does!).

Are you now inspired to add some sparkle to anything in your home or in your closet? What do you think would work out nicely in Glitter Eyelash? Share your thoughts with me.  If you’ve already used Glitter Eyelash, please upload a picture to our Customer Gallery and show off your talents!

 


Hey Beginners, We Found Your Next Easy Project!

November 10th, 2011

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If you’ve just started to knit or crochet, or know someone who has, you know how challenging the first few projects can be. Chances are if you are just getting started, you’re thinking about making a scarf, or have already made one. My first and second projects were both basic scarves, but by the third project I was ready to try something new. We’ve all faced the challenge of figuring out what to make when you’re ready to move beyond the scarf, but aren’t sure what you can make with your new skills.

With a little sewing and creativity, there are plenty of projects to make with the same skills it takes to make a scarf. Each of the easy projects below is worked flat like a scarf and then sewn together to form the correct shape and fit.

Free Knitting Pattern: Learn to Knit CuffLearn to Knit Cuffs Free Crochet Pattern: Learn To Crochet CuffLearn to Crochet Cuffs Wristers and Cuffs  

These wrist cuffs work up like very short, wide scarves. Simply knit or crochet your rectangle, and when you’ve reached the desired length, fold your piece lengthwise and seam it together. Leave a hole for each thumb about 2 inches from the edge, and your project is ready to wear.

Free Knitting Pattern: Rosy Ribbed HatKnit Rosy Ribbed Hat Free Crochet Pattern: Ripe Wheat HatCrochet Ripe Wheat Hat Simple Hats  

Hats are great beginner projects; they are warm, useful, make great gifts and many work up fairly quickly. Hats like these are knit or crocheted as large flat rectangles and then seamed together. Sew the two shorter sides of the rectangle together to form a tube, and then thread a piece of yarn through one edge, pull together and tie it securely to close the top. Then you can add pom-poms or tassels to decorate.

Free Knitting Pattern: Garter Stitch CowlKnit Garter Stitch Cowl Free Crochet Pattern: Fast And Easy CowlCrochet Fast & Easy Cowl Basic Cowls  

Cowls make excellent projects for beginners ready to take basic yarn crafting to the next level. Long, skinny cowls can loop many times around your neck, while wide, snug fitting cowls will keep you warm all the way up to your chin. Make simple cowls like these by making a rectangle long enough to wrap comfortably around your neck, and then seaming the two shorter sides together to make a tube.

Free Knitting Pattern: Big Stitch PillowKnit Big Stitch Pillow Free Crochet Pattern: Stadium PillowCrochet Stadium Pillow Pillows  

Pillows can be any size or shape, and made in whatever yarn you like. Simply make two pieces the same shape and sew them together, or make one large rectangle, fold it in half and seam the edges together. All you have to do is add fiber fill or a pillow form and you have a brand new household accessory that displays your crafting skills.

If you’ve mastered the basic scarf, then you already have all the skills needed to take on any of these projects. Choose one that you’ll enjoy wearing, or better yet, make several and give them as gifts this holiday season.

What was your first ‘beyond the scarf’ project? Tell your story and share your tips for beginners in the comments section below.


How to Choose the Perfect Hat Project

September 25th, 2011

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Heart Hat to Knit or CrochetWith all the available patterns for hats, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Do you want a simple beanie or brimmed hat? Or would you prefer a soft tam, elegant cloche or make-a-statement beret? Use these tips and you’re sure to pick an excellent hat that’s perfect for you.

  • Hairstyles matter when it comes to picking the perfect hat. Snug fitting beanies flatter hair that lies close to the head, while berets and tams have a little more space for curly styles. Do you love to wear your hair in a particular way? Pick a hat design that compliments your style, and you’ll love wearing it all season long.
  • Use colors that compliment you. Color is a great way to experiment with hat styles. Outlandish hats can be much more wearable when coordinated in the colors of your wardrobe, and simpler patterns come to life in bright, bold hues.  Many people select a yarn color that brings out the color of their eyes or hair. You could also try matching your hat to a coat or accessory, or selecting a contrasting color for a bold look.
  • Little details make a big difference. Some hats have complex stitch patterns that create detail in the fabric, but simpler patterns don’t have to result in simple hats.  Adding buttons, pom-poms or appliques are great methods for making any hat more your own style. The Hat with Heart Earflaps (pictured above) is a great example of how an applique design turns a simple hat into a treasure.

Keep these tips in mind, and at the end of your project you’ll have created something beautiful that you’ll want to wear again and again. To see all the hat patterns available for free from LionBrand.com, click here.

How have you chosen your favorite hat patterns in the past? Do you have a special tip or trick to share? Leave us a comment to let us know.


4 Easy Hats for Kids & How to Make Them Your Own

September 20th, 2011

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Stylish hats are excellent, thoughtful gifts for kids of all ages. These 4 projects to knit and crochet are clever and fashionable hats for kids worthy of any children’s boutique; only these are easy to make yourself. Try the hints below to make each hat special for each child in your life.

The ‘Totally Tubular’ Child’s Hat is a great project for knitters who love fast finish projects and  the garter stitch. The hat is worked flat in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, sewn into a tube and gathered at the top of the head with a bow. 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
The bow is a great project to get the child you’re knitting for involved in the design. Make the cord together as you teach them to cast on, or encourage them to make a cord with a knitting spool or crochet.

The Cool Kids Hat can be made in any super-bulky yarn, from Hometown USA to Martha Stewart Crafts Lofty Wool, and will look great in neutral, bold or pastel shades. 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
Pom-poms and tassels are excellent details, and who says you can only have one? Add a tassel or pom-pom to each point at the top of this hat, or make even more and add them in clusters.

For a hat with special attention to ears, the Mini Trick Hat is the perfect pattern. There are larger versions of this pattern made to fit older children (click here to see them all), and a wide variety of colorwork designs to suite any taste.
 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
This hat is a great project to experiment with color combinations. Take the child you are crafting for along with you to the yarn store or pick out colors together online. You can be sure the child will love the colors, and you’ll have introduced them to the wonderful world of yarncraft.

For crocheters who can’t get enough color and love a fast-finish project, the Speed Hook Earflap Hat is the one for you. Crocheted on a speed hook with 4 strands of yarn held together, this is one of the quickest hats to make and can be made in sizes for the whole family. 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
This speedy colorful hat and scarf set is a great opportunity to make matching gift sets. Try mixing different color combinations for each family member with one color in common, and you’ll have a matching family set that is still unique for each individual.

Have you made hats for children before? Share your favorite hat stories with us in a comment below.


Go International with Your Yarncrafting!

September 19th, 2011

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For some people, knitting or crocheting might be a hobby, while for others, it has been a cultural influence.  Like the United States, the United Kingdom has seen a large increase in knitting popularity over the years; In July, an English newspaper entitled The Guardian, mentioned in their article “Pride in the wool: the rise of knitting“, that knitting searches on Google have increased to over a million per month. Although there has been a recent increase in yarncrafting popularity, in many instances, knitting or crocheting has been passed along from generation to generation; it is common to hear, “My grandmother (mother) taught me when I was a child”. Knitting and crocheting is done all over the world, in many different styles; see the roundup below to check out some knitting styles adapted from over seas!

Fair Isle  

Fair Isle knitting is a technique that originated from Fair Isle, a small island located in the Shetland Islands of northern Scotland.  The technique is a traditional style that works in the round and uses two colors per row, usually with frequent color changes.  This style was developed in the mid 19th century and uses basic knit stitches, no purling.  Fair Isle knit patterns became very popular once they were seen on King Edward VIII, who donned the pattern during golfing in the 1920s.

Click here to see Lion Brand’s Fair Isle patterns.

Irish Lace Crochet 

Irish lace crochet is a technique that dates back to the 19th century famine years in Ireland.  During this time, charity groups taught crochet lace techniques to anyone who was willing to learn; they saw it as a way to jump start the economy.  The style is comprised of separately crocheted motifs which are then applied to a mesh background.  The tools for Irish lace crochet involve a fine steel crochet hook and thread or cotton in varying weights. A thinner thread/cotton is used for the mesh while a thicker thread/cotton is used for the motifs.

Click here to see Lion Brand’s Irish Lace Crochet pattern.


photo source:
Original Artisan

Andean Knitting 

The culture of knitting in the Andes is quite interesting because it is done primarily by the men.  The men knit caps (also known as Chullos) to keep them warm while working, and are mostly made with natural fibers, such as that from an Alpaca. The ear flaps are an important part of the cap, providing good insulation.  These hats are knit with very thin double-pointed needles and incorporate a plethora of colors. Chullos often tell a story of the man who’s wearing it, so a lot of motifs (animal and human), stripes, diagonal lines and diamond patterns can be found on them; the Andean men take a lot of pride in their knitting.

Click here for Lion Brand ear flap hat patterns.


picture source: Globe Hoppers
Estonian Lace/Haapsalu shawl 

The Estonian lace shawl is a traditional knit style originating from Haapsalu, a small town in Estonia.  Local artists sold these shawls at the seaside during the late 19th century, ranking popular amongst the Russian aristocracy for souvenirs and gifts.  A traditional shawl is knit as a rectangle, and uses very fine lamb wool yarn- mostly done in white.  The shawls are traditionally constructed using wooden needles.  The shawl’s body is composed of a center, a border and an edge- which has been knit separately and then sewn to the body.  This knitting tradition is still kept alive today through the school systems, as girls are taught this intricate pattern in grade school, and pride themselves on completion.

I’d love to hear how you learned to knit/crochet; were you taught by family, self taught or took a class? Are any of you familiar with these styles? I’d personally love to be able to Fair Isle knit one day, but since I’m still a beginner, that may take some time. Share your experiences with us!

Sources:Globe Hoppers: Haapsalu Shawl, Knitting Letters A to Z, Original Artisan