Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Author Archive

Bait and Stitch by Franklin Habit

June 5th, 2015

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

I don’t know about you, but if the person who invented the “click bait” headline suffered severe contusions after being buried alive in an avalanche of refurbished laptop computers I would not weep heavily into my handkerchief.

Unless you’re reading a transcription of this online article from a parchment scroll, you know what click bait is. You’re fooling around on the Internet when something like this catches your eye:

“She Ordered a Half-Caff Double Latte with Extra Foam. What She Got Instead Will Shock You.”

Being only human, you immediately cease writing a wry comment on the photograph of your sister-in-law’s new pet ocelot (a rescue, so cute) and click the link. Being only human, you brace yourself for the advertised shock.

Being only human, you are annoyed to find that What She Got Instead was not (as you had rather hoped) a cardboard cup containing a human nose; but a Half-Caff Double Latte without the Extra Foam. You have wasted two minutes of your life, you are not shocked, and in the meantime your own daughter has already written the clever thing you were going write on the picture of the ocelot.



This was bad enough when it was new; now it has become pervasive. The time lost is the worst of it. We are all too busy, in a gadabout age, without running after shocks that do not shock and amazement that fails to amaze.

And those of us who have things to knit, to crochet, to weave–can we stand to lose precious moments this way? We cannot. Life is short. Yarn is long.

Therefore, as a service to the public, I have undertaken to collect the latest crop of click bait and present you with a concise summary of the bait beyond the click. If you wish to investigate further, at least you will know what you’re getting into.


A Brief Guide to Lesser-Known Yarn Superstitions by Franklin Habit

May 7th, 2015

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

There is no question that persons who make things with yarn are a superstitious lot.  This is scarcely to be wondered at–so much can go awry on the journey from winding up to casting off. Skill and vigilance are well and good as safeguards against disaster; yet much depends on luck. You cannot make luck as you can, with luck, make a mitten. And so knitting, crochet, and all their sister arts are shot through with charms and spells intended to pick up stitches before they drop.

You are likely familiar with the folk custom that one does not knit a sweater for a lover to whom one is not firmly and finally wed. So old and pervasive is this belief that it has passed into common knowledge. Few among us will have left grammar school without learning the ancient playground chant:

Mary knit a cardigan

And handed it to Gene.

He stuffed it in his bottom drawer

And ran off with Maureen.

The origins of the famous “sweater curse” are obscure, but perhaps arose from the hard-won knowledge that it is best to present him with an expensive, labor-intensive gift he doesn’t want and won’t use only after both of you are too exhausted by the demands of child-rearing to care about anything else.


Bootie Call by Franklin Habit

April 7th, 2015

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago so I pulled out a copy of After the Thin Man, the second of the classic MGM films with William Powell and Myrna Loy as socialite detectives Nick and Nora Charles. Have you seen them? You really ought to.

Start at the beginning, with The Thin Man. It was based on a crime novel by Dashiell Hammett, and all the installments are mysteries; but they wear that badge lightly. You don’t really watch a Thin Man film to find out who killed who; you watch it to see Powell and Loy bounce absolutely perfect wisecracks off one another in the highest possible style. Even their romantic moments are agreeably tart.

NICK: Did I ever tell you that you’re the most fascinating woman this side of the Rockies?

NORA: Wait ’til you see me on the other side.

Nick, Nora, and their dog, Asta, form the family unit in the first and most of the second installments. But in the closing minutes of After the Thin Man, Nick notices that Nora is knitting something.


He leans in to take a closer look. “Looks like a baby’s sock,” he says.


A pause.

“And you call yourself a detective,” says Nora.

He gasps. They kiss. Asta wails. The End, until Another Thin Man.


Franklin Habit’s Destash Diary

March 10th, 2015

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.


February 4. Abner was looking for the can opener today and found the sock yarn I’ve been storing in the flour canister. He asked where we keep the flour. We? When was the last time you whipped up a batch of cookies, Abner? I handed him the can opener–from the drawer it’s been kept in since the Carter administration–and told him to get out of the kitchen.

February 5. Abner was snooping again. Found the lace weight in the big roasting pan on the top shelf. So what? We only use it every fourth year when it’s our turn to host Thanksgiving. To keep the peace, relocated the lace weight to the canisters marked TEA and RICE. Wasn’t much tea or rice left anyhow.

February 6. Out all evening, volunteering at the guild’s learn-to-knit night. Terrific thank-you gift, two skeins of kid mohair/wool blend. Not sure what to do with it just yet, so it’s tucked in with the Christmas decorations in the hall closet. Abner has been nice and quiet, holed up in the den clacking away on his computer. Crisis averted? Fingers crossed.

February 7. At breakfast, Abner handed me a typed list of one hundred and thirty eight places around the house that he has found stashed yarn. He wants me to think about what I should do. I’m happy he didn’t look under the porch.


Your Year in Yarn: 2015 Horoscopes for the Yarn Lover

February 10th, 2015

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

I’ve just this minute come in from my annual check-up with Madame Bobbie Jean, the psychic down the block. (FYI: She also repairs small electrics.) Looks like I’m in for an interesting ride. Since I was there anyhow I asked her to provide forecasts for all of you, as well. It’s my pleasure, really; and she gave me a fantastic bulk discount.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

Yours will be a year of conclusion and fulfillment. In other words, of finishing. You need not fear the second sock. Should you undertake to knit matching hats for everyone at the family reunion, success will be yours. Yet you will ring in 2016 still not having sewn together that green cardigan whose diverse pieces you completed in March of 2006. You will never sew those together. Ever. You realize that, right? You might as well start using them as dust rags.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Travel is indicated; sometimes over long distances, possibly even across the sea. You’ll do anything to find a skein of that discontinued yarn with the right dye lot, won’t you? Cripes.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Seek opportunities for growth in the company of potentially like-minded people. When these people try to tell you that the fiber guild field trip to the Lion Brand Yarn Outlet is not an excuse for buying fifty pounds of stash yarn, seek opportunities for growth in the company of a different group of potentially like-minded people.