Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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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!


Lion Brand Wants to Wish You a Wonderful 4th of July!

July 4th, 2014

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july4th-blog

Happy 4th of July! We’ll be celebrating with barbecues, watching the fireworks, getting together with friends and family, and decorating with Red, White and Blue. We wish you a safe and enjoyable day.


Why It’s Important To Celebrate World Wide Knit In Public Day

June 13th, 2014

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wwkpWorld Wide Knit In Public Day takes place June 14-June 22 this year. Now, you might think, “Why do I need a holiday to knit (or crochet) in public?” The reason is that in many peoples’ brains, knitting  and crocheting still reside in a section labeled “old fashioned.” Believe it or not, 10-15 years ago, people were actually ridiculed for pulling out their yarn, needles and hooks in public and they hesitated to do it.

We’ve come a long way. But we’re not there yet.  I was knitting at an airport a couple of weeks ago and a man watching intently spoke up after a while and said, “I haven’t seen anyone do that since my grandmother.”  The man was in his 60s! I wanted to ask him where he’s been but obviously, he hasn’t been anywhere where he has seen people who don’t look old fashioned knitting or crocheting in public.

That’s where you come in.  Make your presence known. Promote your hobby on the train, the subway, the airport, the doctor’s office, the beach, the park,  the hockey game, the local coffee shop or bar. You know how great it is that you have this craft.  It helps you relax. It offers you the opportunity to give meaningful gifts. It allows you to be creative and productive in a tangible way.  Go out. Knit in public.  People will talk to you and you’ll have an opportunity to tell them what they’re missing.

Visit World Wide Knit (&Crochet) In Public Day’s Facebook page to find or lead a group and use the hashtag #wwkipday to find information and share images and info about knitting in public.

Then, let us know how it goes.  We’d love to hear your stories!

 


Make a Charlotte Brontë Cape with Yolanda Soto-Lopez

May 20th, 2014

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Re-visit the Victorian era with one of our most popular crochet patterns, the Charlotte Brontë Cape, made with Homespun® Thick & Quick®. This informative two-part video series, hosted by Yolanda Soto-Lopez of “All Crafts Channel”, offers detailed instructions for making this piece, from start to finish!

Join Yolanda as she walks you through each and every step of this easy project that’s perfect for beginners.

Charlotte Brontë Cape — Part One

Charlotte Brontë Cape — Part Two

“I’m just going to crochet because I cannot help it.”

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