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Monthly Archives: June 2010

  • Are You A Star Contributor?

    You may remember when we introduced our first "Star Contributor" Grace Jones, who contributes so much to our communities on Ravelry, Facebook, listens toand comments on our podcasts and has visited the Lion Brand Studio.  This month Grace wrote a blog post on her own blog about a summer top she crocheted with Cotton-Ease.

    Are you a "Star Contributor?"  Do you connect with Lion Brand through Facebook, Twitter, and/or Ravelry?  Do you read our newsletter, comment on our blog, and listen to our podcast?  If so, feel free to nominate yourself or a friend by commenting here or emailing me at Ilana@lionbrand.com.  If you are chosen, we will write about you on our blog, send a thank-you basket of yarn samples, and you'll get 2 free tickets to the exciting Maker Faire event coming to New York for the first time this September.  Most importantly, we like to recognize publicly, the contributions made by those who share their knowledge, their interest and their love of yarn with others in our community.

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  • Want a Bigger Garment? Use a Thicker Yarn!

    Earlier this season, we released a new yarn that's like a chunky-weight version of our popular Cotton-Ease. Like Cotton-Ease, Baby's First is a cotton/acrylic blend made with many fine plies, which gives it great stitch definition, loftiness, and strength. And while it's called Baby's First, its sherbet colors are actually great for spring and summer garments for adults too.

    Wanting to make something in this yarn, I decided I'd look at quick-to-crochet cardigans that I can layer with summer dresses, but looking at our Pattern Finder, the pattern that caught my eye was this kid's Bebop Cardi (below), originally made in Vanna's Choice, a worsted-weight yarn. While its largest size would actually work for a women's XS, I figured I'd need a slightly bigger size.

    Luckily, one great way to resize a pattern is to follow the directions exactly as written, but use a thicker yarn and a bigger hook! Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Sure, but how do you know what size your project is going to end up?" Well, as with almost all projects, gauge is going to come into play when it comes to determining size.

    First I made a gauge swatch with the recommended size hook for Baby's First, the K-hook. The pattern tells me that I need to make the whole swatch in double-crochets, so lucky for me, it's very quick:

    Normally, you're trying to match the gauge in the pattern (in this case 3 inches to 9 stitches across), BUT since the whole point of this new yarn and hook size is to get a bigger swatch, my next move will be to figure out just how much bigger it is compared to the original swatch. I measure my 9 stitches and I get 3.75 inches or 1.25 times bigger than the original sweater (3.75 inches divided by the original 3 inches = 1.25). To get my projected bust measurement (the best way to size a sweater), I multiply the smallest bust measurement (29 inches) by that 1.25, and I get a  bust measurement of 36.25. That's a little bigger than I'd like it to be, as I'd like the cardigan to be more fitted, so next I tried one size smaller, using a J-hook.

    This gave me 3.5 inches over 9 stitches. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but remember, over as many stitches as you have in a sweater, it adds up fast. With this hook, my swatch is 1.167 times bigger than the original gauge. This gives me a bust measurement of 33.83 inches. This is much closer to the 34 inch bust that I'd like to achieve. [Note: If you want to make this pattern as a women's medium or large, get 3.5 inches per 9 stitches, and then you can expect to follow the medium or large directions of the pattern for a 35.6 inch bust and 38.5 inch bust respectively. Again, to get these measurements, I just multiplied the 1.167 by the original medium and large bust measurements. For slightly larger sizes, just do the same math with the K-hook measurements!]

    The cardi worked up quickly (the pattern is only 17 rows, following the smallest directions), and here's the finished product:

    As with any project, it's always best to wash it according to its care instructions after it's finished (to get rid of any grime from working the yarn and to fluff it up), so into the washer and dryer it went! I also measured the circumference just to double-check that the size was right, and it was just under 34 inches--right on the money.

    I'm really looking forward to wearing this cardigan all summer long!

    And here's the back:

    Do you have any projects that you've modified to suit your needs? Tell us about them by leaving a comment!

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  • Express Yourself with Sock-Ease

    My absolute favorite knitting project is socks. While I do enjoy solid socks, I really love combining colors with stripes and Fair Isle. When the new colors of Sock-Ease arrived, I decided to test out a few color combinations by knitting up some miniature socks!
    socks
    From left to right: Cotton Candy with Lemon Drop, Lemon Drop with Green Apple, Green Apple with Marshmallow, Taffy with Snow Cone

    As you can see, I got some fun results by mixing stripes with stripes, stripes with solids, and solids with solids. My first two combinations were bold and exciting, while the second two were more classic. Once I was finished making these tiny socks, I decided to give them to a worthy recipient: Archibald the Octopus, who I blogged about last year!
    Archibald with socks

    What are your favorite Sock-Ease color combinations? Let me know in the comments so that I can knit Archibald 4 more socks!

    Related links:

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