Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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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 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 and 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?

Here’s one idea to get you started: show us how you style your scarf!

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.)


Most Popular Patterns from July

August 7th, 2014

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July's Most Popular Pattern: Knit Baby Crown Hat!

Every baby is a member of a royal family and deserves to wear a crown! This month’s top pattern is an ingenious design knit in everyone’s favorite new yarn, Modern Baby®.

There is definitely a theme to what’s popular this month. Many of the other popular patterns were designed in the lively, upbeat colors of Modern Baby® and several were created with Sock-EaseTM, a fingering weight yarn, perfect for working with in the warmer months.

As you can see, you don’t need to make socks to enjoy Sock-EaseTM.  The Crochet Candy Color afghan was made with this yarn.  It’s bright and lightweight–perfect for a warm weather throw to keep you cool in an air conditioned room.

The stylish Crochet Boutique Laptop Sleeve was made with Cotton-Ease®, another popular yarn for summer.

So keep it light this summer and you can continue to knit and crochet even when it’s 90 degrees outside!

(more…)


Group Effort: An Afghan For David

July 29th, 2014

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This month, our CEO, David Blumenthal, celebrated a big birthday.  We honored the day at our annual company barbecue.  As a special way of recognizing David’s birthday, an afghan was created from a patchwork of knit and crochet squares created by people who work at Lion Brand, as well as some names you may know from the world of knitting and crochet.  Included among the designers and makers of squares were Nicky Epstein, author, designer and creator of one of Lion Brand’s most enduring patterns, the Tree of Life; Trisha Malcolm, the editorial director of Soho Publishing; and Nathan Vincent, the fiber artist who designed the 7 Wonders Of The Yarn World.  There were also squares made by Vanna White and her daughter Gigi.

David was surprised and thrilled with his gift as you can probably tell from the smile on his face!

If you are giving a group gift to someone, why not try this idea of having a number of people contribute squares to make an afghan to commemorate the occasion?  Here are a few afghan patterns to get you started:

9 Cousins Lapghan Crochet Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan Basketweave and Slip Stitch Afghan Americana Afghan
Knit 9 Cousins Lapghan Crochet Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan Knit Basketweave and Slip Stitch Afghan Crochet Americana Afghan

Introducing A New Yarn To Thrill The Modern Baby

July 16th, 2014

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modernbaby

We’re excited to bring you a completely new kind of yarn for the modern baby or child.  Your newborn, toddler or young child will delight in the lively colors of this unique yarn. It’s an easy-care yarn with a chainette construction for an extra-soft, downy feel. The palette consists of crayon-like primary shades, along with rich pastels and neutral tones. You like soft? This yarn has a similar feel to merino, alpaca and cashmere blends but with an anti-itch, non-allergenic, easy-care fiber blend of premium acrylic and nylon.

A yarn like Modern Baby® deserves a collection of patterns that make the most of its softness, comfort and color options.  Choose from a selection of free, whimsical knit and crochet patterns — from Easy to Intermediate — that fit your child’s personality.  Animal lover? Choose the Fishy Wishy Hat and Scarf or the Circus Afghan.  Drawn to brights? Choose one of our patchwork style throws.

Don’t be surprised when a Modern Baby blanket becomes the one your child can’t live without!

Knit Sassy Stripes Leg Warmer Trio Crochet Patchwork Style Throw Knit Fishy Wishy
Knit Sassy Stripes Leg Warmer Trio Crochet Patchwork Style Throw Knit Fishy Wishy Scarf and Hat
Crochet Graphic Blanket Knit Circus Afghan Crochet Buttoned Wrap
Crochet Graphic Blanket Knit Circus Afghan Crochet Buttoned Wrap

Eating, Playing, Knitting and Crocheting at the Lion Brand Company Barbecue

July 15th, 2014

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Every summer Lion Brand invites all the associates to a barbecue.  There’s a lavish spread of food from barbecued steaks and other grilled favorites to a delicious array of salads and yummy desserts.  We also let our competitive stripes show with sports contests (do water balloon fights count?) a scavenger hunt, and guessing games.  You’ll always find plenty of people working on their knit and crochet projects as they wait for the next activity to begin, and to top it all off, we are treated to a chair massage!

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