Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Because We Always Remember The Person Who Taught Us To Knit Or Crochet

November 20th, 2014

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Yarndevu-blog(web)
When you think about the people who have made a lasting impression on your life, who do you remember?  I remember my great-grandmother who made holiday dinners for twenty people in a house built for two. I remember every one of my teachers from first to sixth grade.  I remember my mother’s best friend who taught me to knit.

Learning to knit or crochet is a lifelong skill and giving the gift of these skills is a meaningful, useful, special ability that has the power to change our lives and the lives of others.  If you know how to knit or crochet, you probably are an ambassador for these crafts.  Wouldn’t it be great if more people could create handmade sweaters, afghans and scarves? Wouldn’t it be great if more people could give their work to charity and to loved ones?  Now’s your chance.

There’s a new website that’s launching in the New York City area that helps people arrange in-person meet-ups so they can either teach, learn or improve their knitting and crochet skills.  It’s called Yarndevu and is described as “Rendez-vous for yarn lovers.”  Right now you can sign up for a limited test in the New York area and be part of the first wave of people invited to the site.

If you’re interested in being a part of this or in learning more, sign up and tell your friends.  The friends who don’t know how to knit or crochet will remember you for it!


12 Thanksgiving House Gifts You Can Make With Yarn In Two Hours Or Less

November 18th, 2014

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When I’m invited to someone’s home for Thanksgiving, I like to bring a gift. On Thanksgiving there’s often such an abundance of food that bringing more food sometimes seems like overkill.  I prefer to contribute to the festivities by making something for the table or for the hosts’ home. If you’re the one hosting the meal this year, there are many ideas here for your own festive table.

These twelve gift ideas are super easy and most can be made by someone who doesn’t know how to knit or crochet.  Get other family members into the spirit by working on them together.

We’d also love to hear your ideas for hand crafted Thanksgiving gifts and table decor.

Yarn Bombed Branches Wine Glass Braids Petite Harvest Pumpkin Embroidered Place Cards
Yarn Bombed Branches
in Vanna’s Glamour®
Wine Glass Braids
in Bonbons
Crochet Petite Harvest Pumpkin
in Vanna’s Choice®
Embroidered Place Cards
in Glitterspun®

(more…)


Quick Quiz! How Do Knitting and Crochet Make You Feel?

November 8th, 2014

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We’ve heard so many stories of how knitting or crocheting has helped people feel better.  Now’s your chance to weigh in and be counted. In this quick quiz you can tell us specifically what crafting with yarn has done for you.  We’re looking forward to hearing from you and to sharing what our community thinks.

If the form below does not work for you, please click here for the link.


Make a Zodiac Scarf for Sagittarius Birthdays!

November 3rd, 2014

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saggitarius-zodiacl30230baIf you were born between November 23rd and December 21st, you are a Sagittarius. Sagittarians are known for being open, friendly, and outgoing, but their most outstanding trait is their love of freedom.  They tend to be innovators  in whatever they do, with imaginations that run free. They are often artists, writers, actors or entrepreneurs.

The ruling color of Sagittarius is purple. Purple is the color that represents creativity. The combination of blues and purples is perfect for those born under this sign because with such an outgoing personality, you need to balance it with colors that are not too bright and don’t draw attention to yourself.

Famous Sagittarians include Willa Cather, Jane Austen, Woody Allen, Brad Pitt and John Kennedy, Jr.

If someone you care about is a Sagittarius, this scarf will be the perfect gift.  It’s not just any scarf, but one that reflects their unique personality and mindset.

Looking to make a customized scarf for other birthdays?  Check out our entire collection of Zodiac scarves.


New Pattern Book Alert: Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (And Booties Too!) is Available Now!

October 21st, 2014

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In 2012, Lion Brand sponsored a design contest to use Vanna’s Choice® yarn and create an original design.  The winner was “Gramma” Nancy Nielsen, who we flew out to California to meet Vanna White as part of her prize.  Nancy’s design was an irresistible baby hat that looked like an elephant head and booties that looked like elephant feet. As you can see, Vanna was charmed by the whimsy and creativity of these designs.

It turned out that Nancy also had a whole range of animal hats and matching booties that she had designed as baby gifts.  There was a Lion set (and of course we looove lions!) and sets that recreated a duck, lamb, monkey, dig, rabbit and more.

We were so taken with the wealth of designs that we spoke to a friend who edits pattern books at Random House about doing a pattern book of animal hat and bootie sets and today, the book is a reality and Nancy Nielsen is an author.

Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (And Booties Too!) was just released.  It includes 19 animal hat patterns with many including matching booties and mittens sized for newborns to bigger kids.  In the foreword Vanna White wrote for the book she talks about the interesting reason that Nancy was inspired to have this burst of creativity. I’d like to share a quote from that foreword that we can all relate to:

“As all of us who knit or crochet know, there is nothing more special, and more appreciated than giving something handmade that comes from the heart. . . she has touched the hearts of hundreds of people at a special time in their lives. . . ”

If you’re a knitter, looking for ideas for your next baby gift or for a birthday gift, you’ll find years’ worth of affordable ideas in this book.  It includes patterns, charming photographs and the amazing stories of generosity that inspired these patterns.

GrammaNancyBlog image


Lion Brand Wants To See Your Best #Scarfie

October 16th, 2014

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My First #Scarfie

Practice Makes Perfect Circle #Scarfie

I’m A Star #Scarfie

Out On The Town Circle #Scarfie

Do you or your friends love taking selfies?

The “selfie” is a viral phenomenon.  Who knew that with camera phone in hand, people would turn the social media spotlight on themselves? It does make sense, though. It’s an age in which we share what we’re doing 24/7 and what better way to tell that story than to show our selves in the act?

But for those of us who knit and crochet, it’s not just about us. It’s also about what we make, how it looks on us, who we make things for and how it feels to wear something of our own creation.

So we’re asking knitters and crocheters everywhere to photograph that experience. Make a scarf and show us your work. Share it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, your blog, or any other social site – tag your post with @LionBrandYarn and remember to use the hashtag #scarfie.

We’ll share your #scarfie on our site in a beautiful mosaic along with #scarfies shared by other members of the knit and crochet community.

What you make is one-of-a-kind. Started from a simple strand of yarn, your creation is a reflection of you in color, style, and literally in the shape and size of every single stitch.

If you’d like some inspiration for your #scarfie (see some examples above or on Pattern Finder), we’ll be sharing pattern ideas and themes over the coming weeks and months.  Stay close and keep a look out for your fellow knitters and crocheters by searching for #scarfie on your favorite social networks.

Can #scarfie become a trending topic?

Below are some #scarfie pics that have been shared with us!

Find more inspiration, try Lion Brand’s free Pattern Finder and find the perfect #scarfie pattern just for you.


Lion Brand and Stitch and Pitch!

September 17th, 2014

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Last Sunday was the perfect day to watch a ballgame but there was something particularly special about this game. Lion Brand sponsored Stitch N’ Pitch with the Mets and hundreds of knitters and crocheters had the opportunity to sit together in the stands and enjoy the company of yarn lovers from all over the tri-state area.

It was a special day for everyone at Lion Brand. We were given an award on the field and our Sr. VP and Chief Operating Officer, Dean Blumenthal was interviewed. He discussed how Lion Brand has been able to thrive for over 136 years and we all proudly watched his interview featured on the Jumbotron.

Many Lion Brand associates brought their family and friends to the event to meet the folks they work with every day. It was a memorable and fun outing where sports-lovers and yarn-lovers came together to enjoy the last days of summer.

The next day when we shared the story of Stitch N’ Pitch on our Facebook page and Instagram feed, we heard from you loud and clear — you’d love to see an event like this again and again!


What To Do When Someone You Know Needs Comfort

September 15th, 2014

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Sometimes there is nothing you can actually do when someone you care about is going through a difficult time.  Perhaps a friend is grieving the loss of a loved one. Or, maybe you know someone who is suffering from a serious illness. As much as we’d like to, it isn’t always possible to do much. But there is value to letting that person know that she is cared for and supported.

That’s why so many people who knit or crochet have discovered how helpful it is to use their skills to create a physical sign of caring in the form of a comfort shawl.  A person who receives a handmade gift understands this. A shawl is like a warm hug.

And, there’s an extra benefit to giving something of yourself away. Why? Because it’s difficult to feel poor or deprived when you are giving. People who knit and crochet shawls to comfort others say that they feel better as well.

So, when there isn’t anything you can do to make things better for someone in need, there is something you can knit or crochet to offer comfort beyond words.

Here are a few patterns to inspire you when you want to knit or crochet a comfort shawl:

Simple Lace Shawl Crochet Tranquil Comfort Shawl Knit Heartfelt Shawl Crochet Daylight Tweedy Shawl
Knit Simple Lace Shawl Crochet Tranquil Comfort Shawl Knit Heartfelt Shawl Crochet Daylight Tweedy Shawl

What Should A Woman Knit This Season? Advice From Harper’s Bazaar

September 8th, 2014

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harperbazaar
Micheal Kors, The Row, Rag + Bone via NYMag

OK, well maybe Harper’s Bazaar doesn’t tell us what to knit or crochet, but they do offer great fashion guidance on what to wear … and we can make it! In the current issue, knitwear fashion designer Michael Kors shares his style advice on that one special piece to add to your closet this season — whether you’re an avid fashion trend follower or a classic-wear kind of woman.

“For fall, it’s all about statement making knits, anything with a lush texture …”

We’ve selected 5 patterns that fit the bill:  dramatic, statement-making garments that you’ll love to make, and love to wear.

Dinner in Aspen Cozy Textured Pullover Knit Naturally Chic Cape Cabled and Buttoned Wrap District 12 Cowl Wrap
Dinner in Aspen Scarf in Landscapes®
and Pelt®
Cozy Textured Pullover in Homespun® Thick &
Quick®
Naturally Chic Cape in LB Collection®
Natural Wool
Cabled and Buttoned Wrap in Heartland District 12 Cowl Wrap in Wool-Ease® Thick &
Quick®

Hand Carved Amish Looms: The End Of An Era

August 29th, 2014

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32 inch amish loom Amish Loom 19 inch
32 inch Portable Amish Loom 19 inch Portable Amish Loom

About 12 years ago I received a call from someone who wanted to help an Amish friend sell his hand crafted looms.  It sounded like an interesting and unique way to use yarn so I decided to get in touch with him.  I was told that Joe was a carpenter who lived and worked on a farm in Mio, Michigan, where the population was somewhere under 2,000.  Joe did have a phone and I was able to call, but the phone was in the barn, since the Amish are not permitted to have telephones in their homes. So I had to call many times and let it ring a lot in order to reach Joe when he happened to be there.

Joe built his entire home himself, with help from neighbors, and made his living as a carpenter.  As a hobby, he started crafting looms from local wood.  They were beautiful works of art.  Eventually a few of his neighbors started using the looms to make shawls and blankets to sell.  The women who used the looms loved to work with Homespun® because of its silky feel and the fact that it worked so well with the loom.

Over the years we bought the looms to sell online, although the supply was not always easy to get.  There was the fact that Joe made every single one himself, which meant there was a limit to how many we could purchase, and there were life events that interfered.  One year there was a fire in the barn that put him out of commission for 6 months and one year his wife was ill so he stopped making the looms.

Joe is retired now, so there won’t be any more looms. We’re selling the last of the inventory, although we’ll definitely be keeping one as a keepsake.  If you’d like a piece of history and a beautiful object crafted lovingly by hand, now is your chance. One of a kind made by one person in the world doesn’t last forever.

(If you’re interested in other looms, we have a selection which you can find here.)

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