Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for December, 2011

Get Out Your Party Hats, It’s a Celebration!

December 30th, 2011

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As the year comes to an end, we’d like to thank everyone for their support of Lion Brand; we look forward to sharing more new patterns, yarns, and ideas with you in 2012.  It’s time to throw on your party hat and celebrate all of your hard work and energy that went into yarncrafting this year- here’s to completing those WIPs (Work in Progress) in the new year!Happy Family
Give your amigurumi pals a miniature knit hat for a celebration, click here for the free pattern.

All of the hats were knit in Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Roving Wool.
Listed below are the patterns for most of the amigurumi in the picture:
Knit Fluffy Sheep

Martha Stewart Doll with Poncho and Dog
Amigurumi Octopus
Cupcake and Mini Lion patterns can be found in the book Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec.

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year! How will you be celebrating?

3 Favorite Trends for 2012

December 30th, 2011

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With 2011 quickly winding down, I’ve begun prepping my 2012 yarncrafting queue. I’ve noticed a lot of great trends in stores that are also appearing in knitting and crochet. Here are my 3 favorite trends that I’m adding to my to-do list.
Granny Squares
The classic granny square has become fashionable in a very big way. British fashion label House of Holland has embraced the trend with bright 70’s colors in tights, jackets, and more. For a modern touch, try more neutral tones, such as those featured in Etsy seller SheepishKnitCrochet’s cowl. My favorite thing about granny squares is that they look amazing in any yarn! I made the square in the upper right in Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend in Parakeet, Green Eucalyptus, and Meadow Green for a tonal look. Get inspired with more than 50 granny square patterns; click here to view them.

Faux Fur
Faux fur is perfect for keeping cozy in winter. Of course, neutral accessories are always popular, such as this furry Gap hat (center) and our Cushy Crochet Cowl (right). This season, fur is taking on bright, bold shades, including this pink Paula Lishman shrug. Try using Luxe Fur for a plush look, or use Fun Fur or Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash for an exciting pop of color.

Gradual Stripes
Traditional stripes are always in style, and a new wave of slowly shifting striped yarns has modernized this classic look. This trend is especially popular in sweaters, pictured here from British brand House of Fraser (left) and popular American retailer Urban Outfitters (right). Yarns like Amazing (pictured center in the Knit Shapely Stripes Pullover), Tweed Stripes, Homespun, and Vanna’s Colors create this bold color effect without having to change skeins.

What trends have you noticed for the upcoming year? What are you adding to your to-do list? Let us know in the comments!

7 Tips on How to Knit and Crochet for Charity

December 28th, 2011

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The holidays have past, but crafting for charity is a great way to stay in the spirit of giving.

With so many worthy causes and charities in the world, choosing what to make, which yarn to use and where to donate can be a bit challenging. These tips are are organized to help you find the right project and organization for you. Enjoy making someone wonderful and sharing it with someone in need this winter using the 7 suggestions below.

Choose the Best Yarn for Your Project
When you donate a project to charity, make sure it is easy to care for. It’s a good idea to use all machine washable and dryable yarn, like Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Vanna’s Choice. But if you are using a fiber that needs special care, make sure to check that the group you a donating to can take projects made of that yarn and sew a label for care instructions into your gift. Click here to see our yarn pages with all the care instructions and yardage information.
Try Our Charity Connection
When you’re looking for a group to work with, our online Charity Connection is a user-friendly way to find out what groups are accepting donations, where they are located and what they are hoping to receive. If you know a charity who that is looking for donations, you can register on the Charity Connection quickly and easily to let others know about your project. Click here to visit the Charity Connection page.
Project to Donate: Prayer Shawls
Making prayer shawls for those in need of support or strength in any way can be a helpful, warm reminder that others care for them in their time of need. Prayer shawl groups or ministries are devoted to making and giving shawls to those in their communities. Find out if there is a prayer shawl ministry in your area, or you can  start one yourself with friends. Click here to see the patterns for prayer shawls.
Project to Donate: Afghans (whole or squares)
If you only have  a little time, why not make a block for an afghan? If you’re looking for a new stitch to try out or want to develop your knit or crochet skills, use our Stitch Finder to pick out a stitch pattern and then create a block the appropriate size. You can use up your excess stashed yarn making afghan blocks and seam them together yourself, or get help from a group like the Warm Up America! foundation. groups like WUA help knitters and crocheters connect their individual blocks into large masterpieces that can keep others warm. Click here to see W.U.A.’s site on donations. Click here to see pictures of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s donation drive with W.U.A. this fall.
Project to Donate: Chemo Caps
Softness and comfort are key for these projects simple, fast-finish projects. These caps warm and comfort patients undergoing chemo therapy, and are often made in cheerful and bright colors to brighten their time in treatment. Many hospitals or cancer centers will accept donations, so be sure to call and see if they are in need. Click here for free knit and crochet patterns for chemo caps
Project to Donate: Warm Accessories
During the holidays many people donate small accessories to scarf or mitten trees; but just because the holidays have past it doesn’t mean donations aren’t needed. If you love to make smaller projects, shelters, schools and hospitals are often accepting them during the colder months. Plenty of charities specialize in mittens, scarves, or hats, find a pattern you love to make, and you’ll keep a lot of people warm this winter. Click here for patterns for hats, scarves, mittens and accessories.
Short on Time? Donate Yarn.
While not knitting or crocheting yourself, donating your extra stash is a great way to support children’s after school arts clubs, senior center craft groups, and local charity organizations in your area. Arts organizations are often in need of supplies, and sharing your left over yarn with those who have been crocheting for decades or are just learning to knit is a beautiful way to share the crafts you love with others.  Many groups donate their projects to charity after they are finished, keeping the cycle of giving going. Click here for help finding a group to donate to, or just call our local schools and charities to ask if they are accepting donations.

Have you made a project for charity? What is your favorite kind of project to donate? Leave a comment to share your story.

No Knit, No Crochet Projects From the Blogosphere

December 27th, 2011

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Over the past few months, Lion Brand has worked with a few bloggers on yarncrafting projects which require no knitting or crocheting.  This was a fun initiative for us because it was great to see what projects come to mind to people when they see a particular yarn. Many people don’t know how to knit or crochet but love using yarn in craft projects.  So, even if you do know how to knit or crochet, think about the crafting possibilities with yarn without using your hooks or needles- there’s so much you can create!

10 Minute No Sew Scarf from According to Kelly

Kelly spotlights our Amazing yarn by wrapping it around multiple times to create a scarf.  The self striping colorway in Amazing creates a beautiful unique accessory or garment.  After you make one of these, you might be tempted to try another in a different color!

Semi-Homemade Mohawk Beanie

Semi Homemade Mohawk Beanie from This Mama Makes Stuff

Carrie had a different approach to using our Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Roving Wool yarn, she mixed and matched colors for some funky cool mohawk beanie caps.  Once again, this is a no knit, no crochet, no sew project, check out her tutorial here.

Chunky Yarn Cuff

Chunky Yarn Cuff from P.S I Made This

Erica Domesek, fashion forward blogger of P.S. I Made this, featured a D.I.Y tutorial utilizing our Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Mambo yarn to create a chunky bracelet.  This is a jewelry piece that’s sure to make a statement wherever you go.  Click here to see how she made this zebra-like cuff.

Holiday Yarn Trees

Holiday Yarn Trees from Recaptured Charm

Lisa from Recaptured Charm took a sophisticated approach to creating yarn trees by crafting them in Silky Twist, Holiday Homespun and Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Glitter Eyelash. Her crafted trees have a classic look that can be appreciated year after year.  View the rest of her trees and the process here.

Yarn Pom Pom Garland

Pom Pom Yarn Garland from Little Birdie Secrets

Mandy made some pretty big textured pom poms for her mantle with our textured yarns Silky Twist and Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Lofty Wool Blend.  This is a great craft for birthdays and other holiday celebrations, and it’s a fun craft for the kids as well.

Yarn Art

Yarn Art with Children from Make and Takes

Marie wanted to do a craft that was kid friendly so she could create a project with her children; she crafted a festive yarn art piece with Vanna’s Choice, Vanna’s Glamour and Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Glitter Eyelash.  Her children crafted creative holiday scenes with yarn as well, check out all of the projects here. Yarn can be used to recreate any kind of scene, just think of it as a unique paint!

Most of you wonderful Lion Brand Notebook readers are knitters and crocheters, but are you ever inspired to you use your yarn without hooks or needles?  What kind of projects have you done or are looking forward to trying?

Celebrating the 100th Birthday of a Member of Our Family

December 22nd, 2011

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My family was blessed to celebrate the 100th birthday of my Mom, Ann (Chanchy) Blumenthal, on November 26th. I share this with you because my Mom is a member of the third generation of the family that owns Lion Brand Yarn Company. From the 1940s to the 1990s, my Mom was active in the business, answering customer letters and phone calls. She served as a trusted advisor to my father, Isidor, the President of Lion Brand from 1958 to 2003, offering her wisdom and ideas on everything from advertising to selecting yarns, colors, and patterns.

I’d like to share some photos from the party.

Amazing how many different 100th
birthday cards there are!
The cover of a book of photos

My mother received a letter from President Obama congratulating her on her birthday. I also wrote a letter on Lion Brand stationery thanking her for her service to our company and signed it with my titles: President, CEO, and Son.

As a member of the fourth generation of our family-owned and operated business, my Mom continues to inspire me.