Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Hand Carved Amish Looms: The End Of An Era

August 29th, 2014

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32 inch amish loom Amish Loom 19 inch
32 inch Portable Amish Loom 19 inch Portable Amish Loom

About 12 years ago I received a call from someone who wanted to help an Amish friend sell his hand crafted looms.  It sounded like an interesting and unique way to use yarn so I decided to get in touch with him.  I was told that Joe was a carpenter who lived and worked on a farm in Mio, Michigan, where the population was somewhere under 2,000.  Joe did have a phone and I was able to call, but the phone was in the barn, since the Amish are not permitted to have telephones in their homes. So I had to call many times and let it ring a lot in order to reach Joe when he happened to be there.

Joe built his entire home himself, with help from neighbors, and made his living as a carpenter.  As a hobby, he started crafting looms from local wood.  They were beautiful works of art.  Eventually a few of his neighbors started using the looms to make shawls and blankets to sell.  The women who used the looms loved to work with Homespun® because of its silky feel and the fact that it worked so well with the loom.

Over the years we bought the looms to sell online, although the supply was not always easy to get.  There was the fact that Joe made every single one himself, which meant there was a limit to how many we could purchase, and there were life events that interfered.  One year there was a fire in the barn that put him out of commission for 6 months and one year his wife was ill so he stopped making the looms.

Joe is retired now, so there won’t be any more looms. We’re selling the last of the inventory, although we’ll definitely be keeping one as a keepsake.  If you’d like a piece of history and a beautiful object crafted lovingly by hand, now is your chance.  One of a kind made by one person in the world doesn’t last forever.


2014 Pantone Color of the Year is. . . Radiant Orchid!

January 8th, 2014

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radiant_orchid

At the beginning of every year Pantone appoints one color to inspire world trends for the months ahead. A regular practice since 2000, Pantone recently announced this year’s color: “Radiant Orchid.” According to the leading color authority, Radiant Orchid “inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health,” and was chosen to influence fashion, personal style and all creative matters in 2014.

Purple is a color that’s often associated with encouraging individual creativity and used in meditation to help visualize a harmonious, spiritual balance. Expect to see this purple popping up on  inspiration and mood boards everywhere—and of course yarn projects.

With personalization becoming a bigger aspect in fashion this year, we find that purple a great color to work with because of its complexity. While it is a simple combination of blue and red, the variety of shades you choose to use in a project can vary, depending on the mood you wish to reflect.

Two Tone Mobius Cowl Knit Lace Beret Crochet Easy Peasy Hat and Scarf Set
Crochet Two Tone Mobius Cowl
in Homespun® Thick and Quick®
in Mixed Berries and Claret
Knit Lace Beret
in Vanna’s Sequins
in Merlot
Crochet Easy Peasy Hat and Scarf Set
in Tweed Stripes
in Orchid

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Knit and Crochet and Yarn Trends For 2014

December 23rd, 2013

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1. Big, Bigger, Better

Big, Bigger, Best
1) Arm Knitting. 2) “Speed Stix” Knitting Needles. 3) Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® 4) Homespun® Thick & Quick®

We’ll see people supersizing everything in 2014 with big needle knit and crochet garments and home décor that display chunky, oversized stitches in oversized silhouettes. In 2014 we’ll be showing you a collection of designs that will keep you right on trend. Many of Lion Brand’s yarns are ideal for the “Big” trend including Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®, Homespun®, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Hometown USA® . . . with more to come in 2014.

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Tips and Tricks Using Homespun and Homespun Thick & Quick

December 4th, 2013

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homespuntq-tips

Homespun® and Homespun® Thick & Quick® have become two of our most popular yarns because of their softness, colorways, and versatility. Whether it is the unique painterly shades or the bouclé texture, people are just drawn to it. Before trying out a new yarn it’s always good to know the best ways to use it in order to create amazing projects. Here are some things that we at Lion Brand think you should know when it comes to handling this plush yarn

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Celebrating Homespun Handmade: 9 Projects from Our Customer Gallery

January 8th, 2013

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Homespun is definitely a favorite yarn amongst many Lion Brand fans, and it especially seems to be a “go-to” yarn for those looking to making an afghan. Most of you have expressed your enjoyment of working with Homespun because it’s soft, has a beautiful color range, and unique texture – not to mention, it works up super quick.

It’s always so great to see what our yarns inspire other people to knit/crochet, whether it be an original pattern, or from a pattern on our site.  Thank you for uploading pictures to our customer gallery, and please continue to do so! Here’s a roundup of some great projects made by fans like you, with Homespun.

Afghan in the Round
Afghan in the Round
Pattern: Woodland Circle Afghan
By: Delilah Sanchez
Vintage Ripple Afghan
Vintage Ripple Afghan
Pattern: Vintage Ripple Throw
By: Carolyn Boulet
In Fine Style!
In Fine Style!
(original pattern)
By: Robert Toth

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How To Choose the Best Yarn for Your Project; Understanding How Texture and Color Interact

February 9th, 2012

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When choosing the best yarn for a project, there are a few different factors that come into play.  You need to consider what you want the focus of your project to be; will it focus on stitch definition, color or texture?  For instance, if you’re working on a complicated lace stitch, you will probably work with a solid color yarn (preferably a lighter color), so your beautiful stitch work isn’t overlooked by a self striping or variegated effect of a yarn.  If you work with a bulkier or bouclé style yarn, you can whip up a fast project with a simple stitch that still looks amazing.  A heavily textured bouclé yarn hides stitches, so it’s great for an advanced beginner who wants to stick to basic patterns, but can handle navigating through the loops and bumps.  Below are some examples to demonstrate how the interaction of color and texture affect your final project.

Moon Rock Hat
Moon Rock Hat

Moon Pebble Hat
The pattern featured on the far left is the Moon Rock Hat, crocheted in Amazing; and the pattern to the right of it is the Moon Pebble Hat crocheted in Homespun.  Due to the color variegation of the Amazing yarn, the individual bobbles on this hat seem to stand out more because they’re different colors.  Since the Moon Pebble Hat is crocheted in one color of Homespun, your focus is solely on the hat itself, and the bobbles become more of a “feature”, not the main attraction.
Sunny Diagonal Blankie
Sunny Diagonal Blankie
Summery Diagonal Blanket
Summery Diagonal Blankie
When I think about how to make my simple stitch project look more than “simple”, self striping yarns are my yarn of choice.  I love how the diagonal stitch plus the self striping effect of the Nature’s Choice Organic gives this blanket a completely new look.  Since the Summery Diagonal Blankie is done in a solid color of Jamie, it isn’t as obvious that this pattern uses the same diagonal pattern; but it has more of a classic feel, and it won’t hide stitch mistakes (a side note for those who hate to frog!).
Raglan Sleeve Topper
Raglan Sleeve Topper
Raglan Sleeve Topper
Raglan Sleeve Topper
The Raglan Sleeve Topper on the far left is knit in the Natural shade of Fishermen’s Wool, a nice off-white color that truly enhances the stitch definition of this pattern.  The Raglan Sleeve Topper on the right is knit in the same pattern, but has a different look to it because it was knit in the self-striping Amazing.  In Amazing, the Topper has more of a fun, attention grabbing feel to it, while the Topper in Fishermen’s Wool provides a more classic, timeless look to the piece.
Zig Zag Pillow
Zig Zag Pillow
Herringbone Stitch Pillow
Herringbone Stitch Pillow
These pillows are a great example of how color and texture affect a stitch pattern.  The Zig Zag pillow was crocheted with Homespun, a bouclé yarn with subtle painterly effects.  The stitch pattern itself creates the zig zag effect while the bouclé style adds more texture.  The Herringbone Stitch Pillow to the right was knit in the Linen color of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick; a great yarn to showcase this particular stitch because its bulkiness adds more texture, and the light color helps make the stitches pop.
Cushy Knit Cowl
Cushy Knit Cowl
Stockinette Cowl
Stockinette Cowl
Both cowls are knit in the stockinette stitch, but have very different looks because of the yarn.  The Cushy Knit Cowl was knit in Luxe Fur, a cat. 6 super bulky yarn, while the Stockinette Cowl was knit in Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Extra Soft Wool Blend, a cat. 4 worsted weight yarn.  The Extra Soft Wool Blend provides more drape, and the individual stitches stand out more than the stitches on the Cushy Knit Cowl.  The cowl in Luxe Fur makes you think more about the functionality of the piece, as opposed to the aesthetics of the stitch-work; you’re more likely to wear it on a cold winter day.

What techniques do you use to enhance your projects? Textured yarns with simple stitches, light weight yarns for complicated stitches, a little bit of both? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.


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.


Get Inspired by Amazing Afghan Patterns

December 21st, 2011

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How will you be keeping warm this winter?  Will you be cozy by the fireside?  Will you be wrapped up in your afghan on the couch?  Afghans and lapghans are a great way to stay warm and snuggly at home or in the car. While you’re relaxing with your lapghan/afghan, you might as well think about a pattern for your next one! Listed below are a few pattern suggestions along with some afghans that have been submitted to our customer gallery; check it out it see if you’ve been featured.

Miss Yvette's Afghan
Miss Yvette’s Sampler Throw
Crochet
Homespun

Circles to Squares Afghan
Crochet
Vanna’s Choice
Updated Ripple Afghan
Updated Ripple
Afghan

Knit
Vanna’s Choice
Slip Stitch Sampler Throw
Slip Stitch Sampler Throw

Knit
Vanna’s Choice

 

Customer Gallery Submissions

Wool Ease Customer Submitted Afghan
The Afghan Squared by Donna
Crochet in Wool-Ease
Click here for pattern
USA afghan
US Afghan by Cheryl Kissee
Knit in Wool-Ease
Click here for pattern

Circle in a Square Afghan
by Nichole Rivers
Crochet in Homespun
Click here
for pattern
Walk of Fame Afghan
Walk of Fame Star Afghan
by B. Palkki
Crochet in Homespun
Click here for pattern

It’s always exciting to see the great pieces you’ve created with our yarns and we encourage you to continue submitting. Please also include whether the pattern is your original or a Lion Brand pattern, that information is helpful to others who may be inspired by your work. Keep yarncrafting and stay safe and warm this season!


How Will You Decorate Your Home for the Holidays?

December 2nd, 2011

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Now that the Thanksgiving and Autumn decor has been taken down and placed in storage, it’s time to gear up for more holiday celebrating and decorating, and we’ve got some great ideas to help get you started! Take a look at the patterns below to see how you can incorporate yarn crafting into your home decor this winter.

Holiday Tree Decoration
Holiday Tree Decoration
Holiday Welcome Wreath
Holiday Welcome Wreath
These D.I.Y crafting projects are so fun and festive, and there’s no knitting or crocheting! A styrofoam cone wrapped in Holiday Homespun makes for a cute decorative tree; buy them in different sizes and mix and match yarns.  Holiday Homespun works up for a nice wreath as well, and for other holiday (or winter) color options, check out Homespun.  Look at these beautiful wreaths crafted in  Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Glitter Eyelash!
Holiday Stocking
Holiday Stocking
Holiday Ball Ornament
Holiday Ball Ornament
Will you be adding stockings to your mantle this year? Crocheted in Fun Fur and Homespun, this all white stocking is a classic you’ll want to bring out year after year; click here for more stocking options.  Knit ornaments make for great decor beyond the tree; hang them from your windows, mantle and more!  Click here for more ornament options.
Holiday Place Setting
Holiday Place Setting

Holiday Box Ornaments
A touch of glimmer can help decor look more festive, and Vanna’s Glamour is sure to get the job done.  Mix and Match traditional colors such as those chosen for a Chanukah celebration place setting, or chose earthy tones for a sophisticated Christmas look.  Either way, you’re sure to make projects stand out with this yarn.
Poinsetta
Poinsettia
Festive Tree Skirt
Festive Tree Skirt
When the poinssettia’s are out, you know the holidays are near! Crochet these little poinsettias and chain them together for a garland, place them on your holiday table setting and mantles- the possibilities are endless.  Awe your guests with a one of a kind homemade tree skirt, sure to make your presents and tree look a little brighter.
Happy Reindeer
Happy Reindeer
Amigurumi Snowman
Amigurumi Snowman
Amigurumis can be excellent toys, and they’re also a cute way to add a touch of whimsy to your home decor.  Make a bunch, throw in some fake snow, and create a little winter wonderland set up!

What are your favorite ways to decorate for the holidays? Personally, I love getting styrofoam wreaths and decorating them with yarn, twigs and pinecones.  Share your decor project ideas with us!


October 14th is I Love Yarn Day

October 14th, 2011

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The Craft Yarn Council has declared October 14th “I Love Yarn Day”; I’m sure all of you wonderful crafters profess your love for yarn all of the time, but now, there is an “official” day we can all unite and do so. In celebration of this day, you are encouraged to knit/crochet in public (as if you don’t already do so!), do something for charity, wear a knit/crochet item or even teach someone how to knit or crochet. On this day, Lion Brand would like to thank all of you for your support; we love our yarn crafting community! We thought including a roundup of some Customer Gallery submissions would be very suitable for this celebration, go ahead and take a gander.

(Pattern information is only available if the customer noted pattern on their submission.)

Commemorative Police Throw
Commemorative Police Throw
Created by: Laura Hanson
Craft: Knit
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice
Weekend Retreat Cardi


Weekend Retreat Cardi

Created by: Margaret Mealia
Craft: Knit
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice
Crochet Lola Doll
Crochet Lola Doll
Created by: Sheila Sessions
Craft: Crochet
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice
School Colors ScarfSchool Colors Scarf
Created by: Bump Shannan
Craft: Knit
Yarn:Wool Ease Thick & Quick
Knitting Bag
Knitting Bag
Created by: Joan Livernois
Craft: Knit
Yarn: Amazing
2 Bears
2 Bears
Craft: Crochet
Yarn: Homespun
CowlCowl
Created by: Brenda Taulbee
Craft: Crochet
Yarn: Amazing
Whimsical OwlWhimsical Owl
Created by: Yvonne Odegard
Craft: Crochet
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice
Cable Ready BagCable Ready Bag
Created by: April Wood
Craft: Knit
Yarn: Wool Ease Thick & Quick

Have you been previously informed that today is “I Love Yarn Day?”, if so, how will you celebrate? If you didn’t know before, now you do- so go out and represent your love for yarncrafting!

(Please note, due to holiday observances, our offices and Lion Brand Yarn Studio and Lion Brand Yarn Outlet are closed today and tomorrow.)

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