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Monthly Archives: April 2011

  • What Style of Crafter Are You?

    What style of crafter are you? Some work up a swatch for every project, and others grab the yarn and dig right in. It’s a little like the difference between rehearsing for a play and doing improvisation.

    Rehearsed crafting is generally a great approach – it means you know how much yarn you’ll need before you get started, and what tools to look for. Swatching really comes in handy when you are making garments or trying out new patterns. Think of the swatch as a way to get a sneak peak at the final project. You’ll know exactly what’s coming up next!

    Improvisational crafting is more unpredictable, and works best for more standard pieces like simple scarves or basic hats. Improvising can be a great chance to experiment, especially if you are very familiar with the yarn and know the basics of construction by heart. Extra trim or appliques are good improv projects because they are small scale and won’t affect the fit or size of a larger project.

    Always remember: crafting should be fun! A little improvised flower pin can be a nice, energizing break from a complex afghan, and a beautiful cabled sweater can be a thrilling challenge if you are used to simpler, smaller projects.

    How do you prefer to craft? Are your projects Mostly-Rehearsed or Often-Improvised? What yarn-filled adventures are you looking forward to? Leave a comment to let us know!

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  • 5 Cotton Yarns for Spring

    It's finally warming up here in New York, and I'm ready to start working on projects that are appropriate for the warmer days ahead.  Cotton is a great fiber to wear in warm weather because it's cool and breathable.  It's also ideal for market bags, accessories, and washcloths.  But, with so many cottons out there, it can be hard to pick the right one for a project.  To help you decide which cotton to use for different projects, I thought I'd give you a rundown of my five favorite cotton yarns.

    Cotton-Ease is a worsted weight cotton-acrylic blend. It combines the absorbency of the cotton and the lightness of acrylic.  It's machine washable, so whether you make a sweater or a washcloth, you can easily clean any project made with Cotton-Ease.

    Baby's First is a cotton-acrylic blend like Cotton-Ease, but it is a chunky weight.  It is constructed of many thin plies, so it is soft and cushy with wonderful stitch definition.  Ideal for fast-finish projects, you don't have to limit yourself to baby items.  See Zontee's adorable cardi (below), which she made by substituting Baby's First for the required Cotton-Ease in the Bebop Cardi.

    Zontee's Bebop

    Recycled Cotton is possibly our most unique cotton-acrylic blend.  Like Cotton-Ease, it is a worsted weight, but this yarn is made of cotton fabric clippings that would get wasted in the tee-shirt manufacturing process.  The material is sorted by color so that minimal dying is required. Before it's dyed, it's spun with acrylic and the result is a beautiful heathered yarn.  Make your market bags even more green, or make a cozy cardi for your little one like the Eyelet Remix Cardi (below).

    Knit Eyelet Remix Cardi

    Nature's Choice Organic Cotton is organically grown and dyed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard by the Institute of Marketecology.  This super-soft 100% cotton is worsted weight, and I like to use it for things that will be close to my skin, such as shawl, scarves, and hats.  The construction of this yarn is ideal for simple stitches in knit or crochet.

    Nature's Choice Organic Cotton

    LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, our most luxurious cotton, combines all the wonderful qualities of cotton with the beautiful drape and sheen of rayon from bamboo!  Bamboo is used to make rayon because it is a renewable resource.   The result is an affordable little luxury that can be used on garments and baby projects.

    What do you like to make with cotton?

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  • Spotted: Knitting Comics

    Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Long Island Knitting Guild. I always love speaking to ladies who are as passionate about yarn as I am; it creates such a wonderful rapport and allows for great questions. As I was leaving the meeting, one of the ladies presented me with three comic strips from her local paper, each of which were about knitting. [Click the photo above to enlarge.]

    Not only was I excited because I collect knitting and crochet-related memorabilia, but I was also excited to see this because it reminded me of our very own Lola comic. Lola has been the most popular aspect of our Weekly Stitch newsletter for years and she's is an important lady here in Lion Country. To check out what funny thing she is going to do next, subscribe and stay tuned for our next newsletter or you can check our new Lola comic book.

    Have you spotted other knit/crochet-related comics? Tell us about them by leaving a comment!

    Want me to visit your group? Groups of 50 or more in the tri-state area can contact me at jack@lionbrand.com regarding speaking at an event.

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