Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Getting Nostalgic at the Knit and Crochet Show

October 25th, 2013

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Rita Weiss induction into Crochet Hall of Fame.One of my favorite shows to attend has always been the Knit and Crochet Show.  And earlier this month during Crochet Guild of America’s Professional Development Day, I got to hear my fellow colleagues and peers in the yarncraft industry speak about what we’ve all learned this past year.  What always excited me about this show was hearing other people, who were just as passionate as I was about yarn, talk about what they love.

It always felt like a family coming home for the holidays, reuniting and catching up what everyone has been doing since the last show. It was this experience I always look forward to the most.

Crochet Hall of Fame

This year was particularly special because I got to see Rita Weiss be inducted into the Crochet Hall of Fame. It reminded me of the reason why I work in this business and at Lion Brand. She has served as my role model, and was the reasons why Lion Brand got involved with the Crochet Guild of America. How she has become a household name and what she has done for the yarncraft industry is what I hope that Lion Brand will one day become.

Lion Brand Home Movies

Not only that but because I travel so much it also gives me a chance to see what Lion Brand has been working on this past year. When videos of my family and I talking about Lion Brand and Vanna White giving Lion Brand’s annual proceeds to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, it brought a tear to my heart knowing I was seeing on screen what I always want our customers to know about Lion Brand. Just like a family, we are taught to be generous and to care about others, but most of all that family comes first.

Knit and Crochet Fashion Show

This year I also got to see I got to see Lauren and Brandyce model for the Lion Brand segment of the Crochet Fashion show. It always impresses me how much our employees go above and beyond when it comes to showing their love for Lion Brand. Whether it’s working behind a desk or working the runaway to model this year’s designs.

I can hardly wait what the next show will bring but I do hope to see some of you in July…

Want to check out a Lion Brand booth near you?  We’ll be in Hartford, Connecticut for Stitches East from November 10-11!

Stories from the Road: Remembering My Father and Deacon Jones

June 4th, 2013

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Stories from the Road | Lion Brand NotebookAs a traveling salesperson for Lion Brand for over 30 years, I’ve crisscrossed the country meeting knitters and crocheters from all corners of the United States and hearing their stories. In addition to yarncrafters, throughout my travels I’ve sometimes been lucky enough to run into some celebrities. Being that I am a huge sports fan, it is always extra exciting when I run into an athlete. During my travels, I have met the likes of Muhammad Ali and Darryl Strawberry.

My father, like me, traveled for the company for over 40 years and he too ran into his share of famous faces. One of my personal favorites that he had the pleasure of meeting was Deacon Jones of the Fearsome Foursome from Los Angeles Rams. Deacon sadly passed away today and it reminded me of my father, how much he loved traveling for Lion Brand, and of his adventures on the road.

May Deacon rest in peace.

[Pictured: my father George Blumenthal and Deacon Jones.]

Related links: 

Preserve and Discover the History of Knitting & Crochet

October 17th, 2012

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Recently I was invited to the Knitting Heritage Museum Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. The symposium, which takes place in November, focuses on preserving the history of knit and crochet.

The whole symposium is about history, which I’m very fond of. I love my family history and I love Lion Brand history and that’s what intrigues me about this opportunity. The museum contains many historical knit and crochet pieces on display for anyone to see. I treasure the pieces I have from Lion Brand and make sure that they are preserved in our archive.

At the event, I’m looking forward to broadening the knowledge I have of knit and crochet history. I already know a lot about Lion Brand history but I want to learn more about knit and crochet history. I think it’s important to collect things, archiving them and cherishing them and giving other people the opportunity to experience them. Sharing with others is inspiring and is something I always try to do.

I’m also excited get to have a meet and greet with the Madison Knitters Guild while I’m there. As a member of the board of directors of the Crochet Guild of America, I’m always pleased to meet with guilds all over the country. I can’t wait to meet  such a large guild from Wisconsin.

If you’re as interested in the history of yarn crafts as I am, I hope you’ll also consider attending.

Knitting Heritage Museum Symposium
November 8-10, 2012
Wisconsin Historical Society
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Click here for more information and to register.

Laughing & Learning at the Knit & Crochet Show

October 4th, 2012

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Last month, a few members of the Lion Brand team and I had the pleasure of attending the Fall Knit and Crochet Show in Reno, Nevada. The show offers many classes as well as a marketplace, featuring unique and wonderful products from many different companies. We also gave out 500 goodie bags to people who signed up for classes, and it was great to see people walking around the show with them.

Lion Brand had a booth at the show, and it was so much fun for me to speak with the attendees and hear their feedback. We got to show them our new colors and new yarns and everyone especially loved the new Bonbons multi-packs. It was really exciting to see the expressions on their faces when they got to see it up close and personal. I told everyone that I thought they were so cute I put them in a candy dish in my house!


Part of Our History: 1941 Life Magazine

August 3rd, 2012

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Growing up in the Blumenthal family, I learned early that yarn is a treasure. Dad used to say that everyone in my family was born with a ball of yarn in their crib, and it was true (often literally!). In recent years it’s sometimes been seen as unusual to know how to knit or crochet, but I can remember a time when crafting was nearly universal, and it was very common to see a basket of yarn in any living room you might happen to visit.

I took this picture in my office at Lion Brand Yarn headquarters; I love keeping antiques that have to do with the tradition of crafting with yarn. This particular piece is an authentic cover of Life Magazine from 1941. The small text in the bottom left-hand corner says “How to Knit” and inside they included knitting instructions and a pattern for a regulation military vest. One line in the article reads, “To the great American question ‘What can I do to help the war effort?’ the commonest answer yet found is ‘Knit.’” Because yarncrafting was so abundant in everyday homes, this was one way folks found to contribute to the war effort.

In that era, it wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary to see people knitting a few stitches at the bus stop, crocheting a few rows in the park, or toting a bag of yarn to the library. Yarn was often a part of home-life too, even if you weren’t born into it like me. Needles would be clicking after supper and during family gatherings, and more than one child from the time has the memory of holding open a hank of yarn for Mom or Grandma while she wound it into a ball (a process I remember personally, one which always seemed to take an unusually long time).

One of the things I love about working with Lion Brand is seeing the culture of knitting and crochet grow with the development of online resources for learning, web-based ways to meet other crafters and online availability of great yarns. My personal dream is to see knitting, crochet and all sorts of yarncrafts become a large part of American culture again. Yarncrafts have an important place in our history, and I’m delighted that today’s communities of yarn-lovers will ensure a place for crafts in our future.

Want to learn more about yarn in history? Try these posts: