Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for April, 2008

She may never buy from us but . . .

April 30th, 2008

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It’s been one week since we launched the Lion Brand notebook and it’s been a real thrill reading all the comments. I especially liked the one from Laura, who wrote from Argentina. She said, “even though your yarns are not available in Argentina, I just want to thank you for all the interest(ing) things I find at your place. . . I can’t buy your products, but I love to see the patterns and all the tips you give us.”

You may wonder why I was so pleased at a comment from someone who can’t even buy our yarn. It’s because when Lion Brand can encourage someone to knit and crochet, I believe we have done something good. I am thankful for the fact that I am part of a business that helps make peoples’ lives better. Yarn provides people with a way to de-stress, a way to express themselves creatively with color and fiber, a way to share something handmade with others and so much more.

You may even be surprised to know that I work with my competitors (I like to refer to them as my friendly competitors) several times a year to come up with ways to promote and encourage crafting with yarn. I’m chairman of an organization called the Craft Yarn Council which, among other things, organizes the annual Knit Out, now held at the Mall of America in February.

Loving my work means loving the business I’m in as well as believing in our products.

Q & A

April 30th, 2008

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This is our first Q & A post so we’d like to share how the questions come to us. Lion Brand customer service associates answer questions by phone and email. We respond to over 12,000 email questions each month. This Q & A feature is culled from the most commonly asked questions. If you would like to submit a question, kindly do so in any of the following ways, rather than through this blog:

You may email it to For questions about an order you already placed, you may email or call 800-661-7551. If you need phone support to help you work through a pattern, you may call 800-705-8636. Keep in mind that these phone numbers are available only weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Q – I’m trying to find an crochet afghan in Vanna’s Choice that is easy enough for someone who knows simple stitch patterns.

A – The best way to find just what you are looking for is to use our Pattern Finder. With over 1,900 patterns to choose from (and growing daily), this great tool will save you lots of time. We used the pull-down menus to select “crochet” as the craft, “Vanna’s Choice” for the yarn, “easy” for the skill level and “afghans/throws/blankets” for the item type. The Pattern Finder located 14 afghans for you.

Try this with any requirement you have. Whether you looking for a baby blanket in Babysoft, a sweater in Wool-Ease or a scarf in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, the Pattern Finder is the shortest route to get to those patterns.

If you want to fill in the search bar instead of using the drop-down menus, you can enter words describing what you want. The results will not be as accurate as they are when you use the drop-down menus, but if you prefer this method, use what works for you!

Give the Pattern Finder a try and let us know how it works or if you have any questions about it.

Sharing Your Handiwork Pictures Online

April 30th, 2008

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Our customer gallery is a spot on our site where you can see what other people are working on or upload your own images. Here’s one we loved, submitted by Jessica Basciano, of a picture that she takes annually of her children wearing sweaters knit by her grandmother. Here’s what she says: “My 84 year old Grandmother, Betty Harris, has made an annual event of making sweaters for 4 of her Great-Grandchildren, Cate, Julia, Colin & Aaron, and having their photo taken. She always uses Lion Brand Yarn and is thrilled to see her work displayed on your web-site. Thank You!

5 Tips for Crafting with Kids from YarnCraft Episode #13

April 29th, 2008

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In each episode of our podcast, YarnCraft, my co-host Liz from our Design Department and I like to share some interesting tips about knitting, crocheting, and yarncrafting.

In the podcast episode, “Yarncrafting with Kids,” we were joined by technical editor Jackie from the Design Department to talk about teaching kids. Here are five tips:

  1. Yarncrafting is more than just knitting & crocheting. Pom poms, tassles, and craft projects are a good way to get even young children experimenting with yarn. Check out our craft patterns for more ideas.
  2. Think about the materials. Children (as well as most beginners) will knit/crochet tightly, so you may want to give them needles/hooks that are a little bit larger than what is normally recommended for the yarn. Pick needles/hooks that are an easy to work with size (Speed Stix & Speed Hook may be too big for kids!) and yarn that is light in color so that it’s easy to see individual stitches. Variegated yarn can be helpful so that you can point out individual stitches by color — Jiffy Thick & Quick can be a good choice for kids.
  3. Don’t worry about what they’re making. Let them knit, crochet, loom-knit, or weave for a little bit. That rectangle of material can be sewn up into a coin purse, used as a trivet, given to a doll as a blanket. Even just making chains can be a really satisfying experience for kids.
  4. Help them start the project. Casting on or working into the first chain are some of the most difficult skills for beginners, so you may want to do the first row for them both to demonstrate the skill, and also so they don’t get frustrated.
  5. Get to know their learning styles. While some children may learn better watching, others learn better with diagrams, while others learn better by listening to explanations. Getting a feel for their learning styles will make it easier for you to explain things in the most effective way.

YarnCraft Podcast

For more ideas, check out the podcast every other Tuesday by visiting or sign up for BK4K, our monthly newsletter for kids and those who yarncraft with them!

Welcome to the Lion Brand Notebook

April 23rd, 2008

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Welcome to Lion Country

Hi, I’m David Blumenthal, President of Lion Brand Yarn Company, and I’d like to welcome you to Lion Brand through this notebook. As a family business with a long history (Lion Brand has been around since 1878), we are passionate about yarn and dedicated to upholding the values that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents have instilled in us. Several times a week we’ll share ideas, information and thoughts about crafting with yarn and we’d like to hear your comments.

The picture above is a sign that greets visitors in our corporate offices Carlstadt, New Jersey offices. There is also a bronze plaque in our reception area with the following quote:

The ideals set forth by our parents for this company will ever remain the guiding spirit in our efforts to promote lasting friendship and fair dealing.

We’ll be bringing you answers to your most asked questions, tips and technical support for crafting with yarn, information about the community of knitters, crocheters and crafters, and knit and crochet events. Please check this notebook regularly for up-to-date news and information about new products and plans for an exciting new endeavor that we’ll share with you soon.

We’re looking forward to the conversation. We hope you’ll become part of our extended family. Please feel free to leave a comment, introduce yourself and say hello.