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Higher End: A Side of Lion Brand You May Not Know

My first projects used Lion Brand Yarn that I’d purchased at my local Michaels store. Combined with Red Heart and Caron, that’s all I knew of yarn. (Nobody in my life was a yarn crafter.) This was years ago, probably about 10. I remember piles of Fun Fur and Homespun and Vanna’s Choice. None of which I was a fan of. I never liked textured yarns by any brand. And Vanna’s Choice was just “too acrylic.”

I never considered myself an outright “yarn snob,” but I definitely appreciate good stuff. Recently I’ve become addicted to We Are Knitters. (Particularly their MeriPaca yarn.) Over the years I’ve used a whole lot of Knit Picks yarn, which I consider somewhere between the big box store offerings and the higher end.

Recently I’ve been exposed to a lot of Lion Brand yarn . With a lower price point and weekly promotions, it’s good for being on a tight budget. Easily accessible. Yada yada.

And then there’s the LB Collection. This set of higher end yarns from Lion Brand can only be found in their NYC retail store or tucked away on their website. No running down to Michaels for this stuff. I was completely unaware of its existence until my local knitting guild was visited by Shira Blumenthal, LB’s brand ambassador.

If you go looking for LB Collection yarns in the LBY Studio (34 West 15th street, New York, NY 10011) you need to walk all the way to the back of the shop. It’s like their best kept, public secret. It’s there, but not really discussed.

My favorite in the LB Collection (so far) is the Angora Merino. Kinda want a sweater in the stuff. Is super soft. Right now I’m using small smidgens of it mixed in with Superwash Merino and Merino Yak Alpaca for a garter stitch squares blanket I’m making for my cousin’s wedding. I completely want to keep said blanket for myself, but I will try not to be greedy and actually gift it.

At some point I’ll do an in-depth review of the yarns. For now I will say that the SW Merino is pretty good, very bouncy. Merino Yak Alpaca is a little scratchy. Angora Merino is a dream. And I’m not a huge fan of the Cotton Bamboo, but only because I don’t really like plant fiber yarns. There are other yarns in the collection too. The Jumbo Alpaca I used for two scarves this winter is another.


Note: This post was not commissioned by any brand and was written completely from my point of view.

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Comfort Crochet

Lion Brand zz twist

When teeth get pulled you need some comfort crochet.

This past weekend I had the oh-so-lovely experience of getting two wisdom teeth taken out. I was not looking forward to the ordeal, but on the other hand my mouth had been in such agony for the week prior that I welcomed the inevitable pain of the extraction because at least the bad tooth (and its partner above) would be gone and there was an end in sight.

Ricky (and his family) was amazing and kept me supplied with mush foods. We spent the weekend watching TV and lounging. He serenaded me on guitar and I made some good progress on a new Spring/Summer top I’m designing in Lion Brand’s crochet-specific yarn, ZZ Twist.Lion Brand zz twistThe schtick with this yarn is it’s spun opposite than normal. Most yarn has a “S” twist and this is a Z, hence the name. (It’s a spinning thing. You spin the single ply one way and then when you put the plies together you spin in the opposite direction to balance the twist of the yarn. So this yarn is spun single with an S twist and plied with a Z twist whereas most yarn is the other way around.)

ZZ Twist is supposed to be ideal for [right handed] crocheters due to how you wrap the yarn around the hook. I am no expert on this phenomenon. I can say, however, that it crochets up pretty nicely with a good drape. With that in mind, it seemed like a good yarn to test out a simple crochet top. Crochet design hasn’t been a big focus for me and the things I have designed were mostly accessories or baby items. So the adult-sized top is kind of new ground, so to speak. Let’s see what it turns out like. Especially since it was conceived in a moment of complete agony. I promise photos regardless of the outcome. Let’s see if I’m proud or embarrassed!

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Go-To Hat in Scarfie – Free Knitting Pattern

Lion Brand Scarfie

Lion Brand Yarn, Scarfie
312 yards, 150 grams, bulky weight
78% Acrylic, 22% Wool
Color: Black/Hot Pink

Size
Adult: 18″ circumference
*Go down a needle size, or 2, to create a 16″ circumference for a tighter hat to keep your ears warmer. Looser is better for Spring and Fall to allow air circulation around the ears.

Needles
US size 9 (5.5 mm) 16″ circular and DPNs

Gauge
22 sts = 4” 1×1 twisted ribbing

Notions
Stitch marker to note beginning of rnd
Yarn needle for weaving ends

 

The Pattern
Cast on 96
Ribbing: *k1, p1; rep from * to end of rnd.
Work ribbing for 1.5”

Rnd 1: Purl
Rnds 2-6: *p1, k1tbl; rep from * to end of rnd.
Rnd 7: Purl
Rnds 8-12: *k1tbl, p1; rep from * to end of rnd.
Work rnds 1-12 a total of 3 times, or as desired to length before beginning crown decreases.
Purl 1 rnd

Crown decreases
Change to DPNs when necessary
Rnd 1: *[p1, k1tbl] 7 times, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 2: *[p1, k1tbl] 7 times, k1; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 3: *[p1, k1tbl] 6 times, p1, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 4: *[p1, k1tbl] 6 times, p1, k1; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 5: *[p1, k1tbl] 6 times, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 6: *p12, k1; rep from * another 5 times
Rnd 7: *[k1tbl, p1] 5 Times, k1tbl, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 8: *[k1tbl, p1] 5 Times, k2tog; rep from *another 5 times.
Rnd 9: *[k1tbl, p1] 4 times, k1tbl, k2tog; rep from *another 5 times.
Rnd 10: *[k1tbl, p1] 4 times, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 11: *[k1tbl, p1] 3 times, k1tbl, k2tog; rep from *another 5 times.
Rnd 12: *p6, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 13: *[p1, k1tbl] twice, p1, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 14: *p1, k1tbl, p1, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 15: *p1, k1tbl, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 16: *p1, k2tog; rep from * another 5 times.
Rnd 17: k2tog 6 times – 6 sts remain.
Cut yarn and pull through remaining 6 sts.
Fasten off and weave in ends.


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So Snuggly

knitting love

This yarn is way far out of my normal comfort zone, especially for a garment. Yup. I’m making a sweater out of this bright pink lumpy bumpy yarn. It will be a simple boxy pullover and I plan on pairing it with my pink plaid lounge pants for Netflix & Knit nights at home.

The yarn is new from Lion Brand and if you couldn’t take a guess, it’s marketed for babies. The name says it all: Baby Soft Boucle. It is indeed soft enough for a baby. There are some other colors that probably make more sense for a grown-ass adult, but go big or go home. Right?

Originally I thought about crocheting with this yarn, but that turned into a big NOPE. You can’t see your stitches in this at all. (Definitely not beginner friendly.) Knitting is working out just fine in plain old garter stitch on US size 11 needles. This also makes it a pretty speedy knit. For he moment the newness and novelty of the yarn is keeping me I retested enough to knit rectangles. Let’s hope my speed outlasts my boredom with repetition so I end up with a wearable snuggly sweater.