Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for February, 2014

7 Ways Knitting Keeps You Healthy and Well

February 28th, 2014

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This article originally appeared in TreeHugger and is reprinted with permission from Katherine Martinko.


Last month I wrote an article called “Why bother knitting a scarf?” Much to my surprise, I received thousands of positive reactions from readers who share my love of homemade, local, and beautiful “slow fashion” items. Clearly, knitting is being embraced by people from all walks of life who benefit from its peaceful, relaxing repetition. It got me wondering – what’s really going on when people knit? Why is it so tremendously popular?

It turns out that knitting has incredible health benefits. It makes people feel good in just about every way. A bit of research has revealed a wide range of ways in which knitting helps humans cope, physically and mentally.

1. Knitting is used for therapy. It’s a powerful distractant, helping people manage long-term physical pain. For those who are depressed, knitting can motivate them to connect with the world. It is a conversation starter, allowing people to interact politely without making eye contact. It builds confidence and self-esteem.

2. Knitting is supremely relaxing, which is extremely important for reducing stress and anxiety. Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, wrote The Relaxation Response, in which he recommends the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity to elicit “the relaxation response” – decreased heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Knitting is likened to meditation, sometimes described by knitters as “spiritual” and “Zen-like.”

3. Knitting connects people. By joining a knitting group, a solitary activity turns into a social one. One study, called “The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood” and published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, found that “knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact, and communication with others.”


Being A Part of the Family – My Story by Gabby Blumenthal

February 27th, 2014

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Gabby Blumenthal, 20 year old college student and the daughter of Jack Blumenthal, Senior VP of Lion Brand Yarn Company, shares her story of growing up in the family that started Lion Brand Yarn Company. She recently attended the annual Craft and Hobby Association trade show with her Dad, and talks about her experience.

Family picture.
Family picture taken in 1999.  Pictured from left to right: Dean, David, Isidor, Gabby, Jack, and Reuben Blumenthal.

When I was a little girl, my Dad would come home from work, loosen his tie and tuck me into bed with a story. Now, my Dad’s stories were far from conventional. For one thing, he was terrible at make-believe and couldn’t tell a princess from a portal. So, telling me all he knew how to tell, my Dad would talk at length about his own life-long adventures. I can’t tell you how many times I heard about how he got stuck in an international airport, or when he was babysitting a cat and, not to ruin the story or anything, but the poor cat died.

When these “epic” tales wore thin, my dad started on the family tree. I heard about everyone from Great, Great Grandpa Reuben to my own Grandfather, George, whom I never had the chance to meet and am honored to be named after. I heard about how Dad wanted to go into Lion Brand since he was four years old, always knowing that he was passionate about having a career in the yarn industry.


Craft Through the 7 Wonders of the Yarn World – First Stop: Textures

February 26th, 2014

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Nathan Vincent’s sculpture of Stonehenge; model wearing Knit Modern Varsity Jacket

Every year, Lion Brand presents an exciting booth display and fashion show at the Craft and Hobby Association Convention in Anaheim California. Past booths have included a Viennese table filled with yarn crafted cakes, cookies and other deserts and a menagerie of giant animal sculptures created with yarn.

Last month, we ramped up the excitement with the 7 Wonders of The World sculptures which were designed by fiber artist Nathan Vincent. Not only did each sculpture represent one of the 7 Wonders in yarn techniques, but we presented a fashion show where each technique was reflected in a variety of fashions.  Vanna White was there to emcee the show and all of the patterns we presented are now available on our website.

Our first highlighted wonder of the world is Stonehenge, which was designed to reflect texture and it’s importance to knitting and crochet design, including felting.  There was even life-like looking moss around the base of the monument.

One of the best things about knitting and crocheting your own garments is the rich texture you can achieve by using yarns that are super bulky, sparkly, or furry.  You’ll find that exceptional look in the yarns that these fashions were made of including Imagine, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Vanna’s Glamour®, Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® and Romance®.

We hope you enjoy the ideas and unique designs represented in the popular textured fashions from our show. In the coming weeks we’ll be present all of the 7 Wonders of the Yarn World — from lace to chevrons, granny squares to modern color work, you’re sure to find inspiration in this amazing collection.

CHA-texture CHA-chevrons-pncho CHA-texture-fettucini CHA-texture
Knit Voyager Vest
Crochet Neon Beginner Scarf
Knit Cocoon Cape
Knit Simple Hat
Crochet Fern’s Necklace
Knit and Crochet 3 Color Top
Crochet Williamsburg Hat
Knit Multidirectional Afghan*


12 Blends: The Meaning Behind the Colors of the Zodiac Scarves

February 24th, 2014

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We craft to inject the personal into the day-to-day and to infuse our lives meaning.  The yarn we choose speaks to us because we can instantly visualize it as a sweater or a scarf or an afghan, or simply because we like the color.  Color also speaks to us on a more mystical level – often symbolizing deeper meanings: red for love and passion; white for purity; yellow for cheerfulness, to name a few.

Lion Brand’s Design team takes this concept further with it’s Zodiac scarves collection.  Colors from the Vanna’s Choice collection were chosen to represent attributes related to each astrological sign.  We thought you might be interested in learning what each of the colors we chose represents.

Make one for yourself or make one for a friend. As with all of Lion Brand’s designs, our Zodiac scarves are a craft that encourages the personal to shine through.

Jan 21 – Feb 19
Knit or Crochet
pisces-color Pisces
Feb 20 – Mar 20
Knit or Crochet
Purple – Independence
Dusty Purple – Inventiveness
Charcoal Grey – Practicality
Eggplant – Respect
Dusty Blue – Devotion
Kelly Green – Patience
Dusty Green – Adaptibility
Silver Blue – Intuition
aries-color Aries
Mar 21 – Apr 20
Knit or Crochet
taurus-color Taurus
Apr 21 – May 20
Knit or Crochet
Linen – Idealistic
Scarlet – Instinctive
Black – Adventurous
Cranberry – Passion
Toffee – Sensibility
Chocolate – Loyalty
Radiant Lime – Generosity
Kelly Green – Patience


Amazing and True: Raglan Sleeve Topper

February 23rd, 2014

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This story is from our newletters called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

l0613aSome garments just call out to you, and this Raglan Sleeve Topper was one of them, Rose thought. But “raglan sleeve topper”was too modest a title for something so beautiful. To Rose it seemed a magical wrap that transformed the wearer into the best she could possibly be. It was obvious that your natural attributes—whether you were willowy or full-figured, long-or short-haired, enthusiastic or reserved—would be optimized by the form and colors of the gently curving sweater.

Rose didn’t believe in love at first sight, but her attraction to the design she saw online was close to that. The more she studied the image, the more she felt compelled. This was a must-do project. Yet there was some half-completed knitting that should take precedence: two baby gifts, an almost- done afghan, a hat for Dad’s birthday…

Uncharacteristically, she wasn’t dissuaded. She knew those things would be finished eventually, and…she really needed a sweater.

Actually…honestly…she really wanted to knit something just for herself.