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Monthly Archives: September 2011

  • How to Choose the Perfect Hat Project

    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.

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  • Announcing our Fall Knit-Along Featuring the Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover!

    Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover KAL BadgeEach season we host a knit- or crochet-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up; simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you knit your sweater.

    We asked you to vote on what knit garment you’d like to make, and you picked our Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover!

    My name is Kendra and I’ll be your knit-along (KAL) host! I work at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, Lion Brand's unique retail and education center in New York City, where I am a crochet and knitting instructor. Click here to learn more about me. Each week I'll have a post here about my progress through the sweater full of information I've found helpful and hope you will as well. This is meant to be an interactive process so please ask questions here and in our Ravelry group so I - and the other knitters involved - can help! I can't wait to work through this project with you!

    To get this knit-along going, this week is about gathering your materials so that we can jump right in next week. This pullover is made in our Amazing yarn, a beautiful wool-acrylic blend that makes smooth transitions from one color to the next resulting in a beautiful finished product with minimal effort from you! The fiber blend makes for a sweater that will be really warm but still machine washable, which is great when it comes to a wardrobe staple! This version of the sweater is knit in the Wildflowers colorway, but we've also made similar versions in Ruby Amazing, Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend, and Wool-Ease (pictured below). These solid versions make fantastic unisex garments!

    Amazing - RubyMSC Extra Soft Wool Blend - Gray PearlWool-Ease - Avocado

    Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend and Wool-Ease are both great yarn substitutions for this pattern because they're soft, easy-care wool-acrylic blends. Vanna's Choice is also easy-care and comes in a fantastic color palette. For a warmer weather alternative, you could also use Cotton-Ease.

    As with any yarn substitution, you'll also need to figure out how many skeins of the yarn of your choice the pattern will require. Here are the number of balls for our other recommended yarns:

    Size S M L 1X 2X
    Amazing 8 9 10 10 11
    Wool-Ease 6 7 8 8 9
    Vanna's Choice 7 8 9 9 10
    MSC Extra Soft Wool Blend 7 8 9 10 11
    Cotton-Ease 6 7 8 8 8
    Approx. yardage 1200 1350 1450 1500 1650

    As an aside, if you plan to make the pullover longer, I would recommend you purchase an extra ball or two to make sure you have enough yarn. It never hurts to have extra (think matching hat!), but it's such a bummer to run out of yarn near the end of a project!

    This unisex pullover (guys, you can pick a solid color or a more masculine color of Amazing like Cobblestone) has a slightly relaxed fit, so a little positive ease (i.e., more inches around than your bust size) is okay. I think of this sweater as fitting similarly to a comfy sweatshirt, so you may want to choose a size accordingly. When choosing a size, sometimes it helps to find a sweater (or sweatshirt) that you like the fit of and measure this garment to help you choose a size.

    Starting next week I'll be posting my progress through the pullover, starting with the all important gauge swatch! In the following weeks we'll work through the back, then the front of the sweater, followed by the sleeves and then the collar and finishing work to give you a beautiful pullover just in time for cold weather. So pick up your yarn and needles and come back next week for information regarding gauge and getting going with this wonderful sweater!

    Please introduce yourself below--let us know who you are, where you're from, and who you're making this sweater for!

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

    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.

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