Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Charity' Category


4 Ways Knitting and Crocheting for an Animal Can Be Healing for Yourself

May 26th, 2015

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she explores the benefits of having pets and other animals in our lives and how we can craft for them as a way to heal ourselves. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

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Pattern: Barkley Loves His Blanket
Every week I pick up a friend’s Golden Retriever and together we volunteer through the SPCA doing animal-assisted emotional support therapy. We visit hospitals, schools, housing shelters, community organizations, transitional living residences … and no matter where we visit, the energy of the room changes as soon as the puppy walks through the door. People relax. People smile. People play.

One of the most underlooked ways that animals can help us is through our knitting and crochet. Whether or not you have a pet of your own, you can find ways to crochet for animals that help to benefit them as well as yourself.

1) Crafting for Pets That Are Ill

It can be so difficult on us when our pets get ill, especially with a chronic illness. Animals with long-term illnesses require a lot of care and support. People sometimes reduce their hours at work or change their social schedules for years at a time in order to accommodate the special needs of a sick animal. We do this because we love them but we shouldn’t underestimate how stressful it can be for us.

Having a pet that is chronically ill can lead to the same kind of caregiver stress experienced by people who are taking care of elderly parents or special needs children. Knitting and crochet help to relieve depression in caregivers. Making items for your own pet in need can be a way that you give to them while sustaining yourself. It can feel especially healing to make something that will comfort the animal – a soft new pet bed, a cuddly new pet toy – because it really feels like the time that you’re taking for yourself is also giving to the animal.

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Handmade Gifts for Giving Back — Our Favorite Patterns for Charity

May 17th, 2015

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Have you ever knit or crocheted for charity? Mixing a hobby you’re passionate about with the act of giving back to others is a delightful way to make yourself and others feel appreciated. As you search for your next project, consider patterns for chemo caps, prayer shawls, or warm afghans. Gifts like these let those in need know that you’re thinking of them – a good feeling for all!

We’ve rounded up a list of charities that could benefit from your handmade gifts, as well as suggested patterns for each one. Whether they’re in your local community or across the nation, we hope you’ll consider using your talents to give back. 

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10 Benefits of Making and Receiving Prayer Shawls

April 25th, 2015

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she explores how prayer shawls help both the maker and the recipient of the handmade item. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

prayer_shawl_april2015A knit or crochet prayer shawl is intended as a gesture of warmth and comfort for the person who receives the item. The maker prays (or sets their intention) for that person with every stitch. When the item is done, a special prayer or ritual may be done to add emotional value to the item before it is sent to charity or given to the person in need. However, it’s not just the person receiving the shawl who benefits from the act; the crafter also heals.

Benefits of Receiving a Prayer Shawl

People who receive prayer shawls often consider them to be special items that they will keep forever. A prayer shawl can be given to help someone who is going through a difficult illness, grieving the loss of a loved one or reeling from a disaster. The item provides physical comfort, actual warmth and a tangible reminder that there are others in the world that care for them.

Wrapped in the snug hug of a prayer shawl, the person can feel the love that went into those stitches. Barbara, who commented on a previous post we did about prayer shawls shared, “When I had surgery the pastor brought one to the hospital and prayed for me and wrapped it around me. It was very comforting. When I feel anxious I wrap myself in it and I feel the love that was knit into each stitch.”

Benefits of Making a Prayer Shawl

Making a prayer shawl has as many benefits as receiving one. Oftentimes when someone we care about is hurting, we desperately want to help but don’t know how. Making a prayer shawl is a way to channel that stressful energy into something positive. Other benefits people cite of making a knit or crochet prayer shawl include:

  • It takes your mind off of your own stress as you help someone else.
  • It can heal old wounds. For example, someone who has been through cancer herself might crochet prayer shawls for chemo patients and heal their own pain with each stitch.
  • Prayer shawl crafting can be done in groups, which offer camaraderie and companionship to the maker.
  • Some people find it easier to make time for crafting when they have a purpose, such as charity crafting, which allows them to reap many health benefits.
  • It is a way to bring prayer or meditation into your daily life. Research shows that there are numerous benefits to prayer.

Making a prayer shawl is a great way to connect you to your own community. Linda Kennedy finds this is true as she makes baby blankets for the women at her church. (Although we call them prayer shawls, intentional crafting items can be anything at all!) She shares, “I know them and think about them often as I am working on theirs. I have heard some of the women talking about how they can’t wait to get their blanket for their baby. It makes me so happy!” Linda put special attention into a white crochet baby blanket that she made for a mother whose baby had heart problems and they weren’t sure whether or not she would make it and found that this was a way to connect to her during a difficult time. Each experience of prayerful crafting is unique and special. Speaking of another item she made for someone from church, Linda says, “When they gave it to her, she cried because she didn’t think anyone would do something like that for her. Seeing how I can touch someone’s heart is so comfort to me!”

Anja’s Squares: A Story of Making and Receiving

Katinka Steyn shared a story about the healing power of both making and receiving intentionally crafted items. It all began in December 2013 when her eldest daughter Anja had to undergo open-heart surgery after a stent lodged in her heart. She posted in her South African Facebook Group Ons Hekel (which means “we crochet”) about what was happening and “countless messages of prayers and encouragement started pouring in”. Anja made it through surgery and was discharged but continued to have chest pain. On January 22, 2014, Anja passed away in her home.

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The Lion Brand Yarn Company Supports Cast Off Chemo!

March 24th, 2015

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The Lion Brand Yarn Company is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of Cast Off Chemo!

Comprised of yarn industry professionals, the organization operates on the belief that a cure for cancer is one of the most important goals in medicine. With the understanding that it’s a disease that affects all of us – our family, our friends, our customers, our sisters in knit and crochet – Cast Off Chemo is asking that yarn lovers of the world unite to beat chemo – and cancer!

How? Well, by supporting the research of Dr. David Krag and his team at the Breast Cancer Center at the University of Vermont Medical Center. By developing new treatments for patients with breast cancer by using their own immune system, Dr. Krag’s team believes this treatment could end the need for chemotherapy.

There are several ways to support this research:

  • Buy a pattern. — For just $5, you can buy one of many beautiful patterns donated by popular designers like Cari Clement and Diane Moyer.
  • Make a one-time donation. — Cast Off Chemo accepts donations through their association with SD Ireland Cancer Research Fund.
  • Host a fundraising event for shops and knit-crochet groups in your area. — Cast Off Chemo has put together over a dozen ways that you could host a fundraiser. Ideas include stitch-n-sip parties, encouraging local yarn shops to donate a portion of yarn sales for a day, offering classes for a donation, and more.

Whatever option you choose, your support will benefit over a million women and men world-wide by bringing Dr. Krag’s research to clinical trials.

For more information, visit Cast Off Chemo at http://castoffchemo.org.

Cast Off Chemo! is a program of the SD Ireland Cancer Research Fund, a 501c3 organization.


Top 5 things the Big Apple Knitters Guild Loved (We Bet You’ll Love Them Too!)

February 15th, 2015

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This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Big Apple Knitters Guild to unveil some of our newest offerings, live and in person. As the new Brand Ambassador, and a fifth generation member of the family business at Lion Brand, I was bursting with excitement to meet about eighty knitters and to talk about the yarn world that I love so much.

I was SO energized by their enthusiasm that I want to share with you their top 5 “oohs and aahs” of the evening:

Penelope Poncho 1. The Penelope Poncho – made with Country®, who doesn’t love this snugly, cozy great easy knit project?
pd-rpda 2. Artisan Gift Wrap – I need it and I need it now! I just want to wrap my cats in it.
3. LB Collection® yarns – These yarns are really well-priced, stunning, and they are not going to make me broke. Can I have some more please?
100-202a 4. 2-in-1 Tote – This invention is genius! Always searching for your sunglasses and hoping they don’t get tangled with your yarn? Perfect, this one’s for you.
l40703a 5. Hudson Riverfront Hat – There is nothing bad about some glitz and faux-fur – Pelt and Gold Leaf® create the magic here. I love this hat and I need to make it myself.

I look forward to speaking to more groups in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area so if you would like me to visit, please contact me at Shira@lionbrand.com. In the meantime, I share the inside scoop about what it’s like living the yarny life at Lion Brand on Intagram and Twitter, where you can follow me @Shiraroars


Vanna White Shares a Special Message

January 19th, 2015

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We met up with Vanna White at the Craft and Hobby show in Anaheim, California earlier this month and she took a moment to share this special message:

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here: http://lby.co/1CsMFl3 ::

Vanna’s signature collection yarn is on sale for the month of January and as Vanna mentions, you make a difference with every purchase! Since 2007, Lion Brand Yarn Company and Vanna White have donated over $1,500,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and it’s all thanks to you!

All of Vanna’s signature yarns are 20% off through January 31st! Choose from Vanna’s Choice®, Vanna’s Choice® Baby, Vanna’s Glamour®, Vanna’s Palettes, Vanna’s Sequins, and Vanna’s Tapestry.


Learn to Finger Knit with the Knitting Runner, David Babcock

October 29th, 2014

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db_squareFeatured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he did in Kansas City last October. Coupled with a great deal of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his amazing accomplishment! Lion Brand is sponsoring David in the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, 2014 and lucky for us, he’s agreed to write for us leading up to race day! Plus, you can meet David while he’s in New York City!

This Sunday, I’ll be running the New York City Marathon while knitting a scarf. I’m doing it to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. While training for the New York City Marathon, I was faced with a problem. Due to security concerns I was told that I would not be allowed to bring knitting needles or a crochet hook with me on the run. I respect the great service that the New York Police Department provides and want to support their efforts. So I had to come up with a way to knit on the run without needles.

I tried arm knitting, but a 15 minute scarf doesn’t fill my target 4 hour finish time and the giant loose gauge would not hold up well on the run. I was aware of what is commonly called finger knitting but I didn’t feel that a 4 stitch stockinette would work well either. So I did a little experimentation of my own and in the process I learned more about knitting.

Knitting at its simplest level is just a series of loops inside of loops. Knitting needles are a very helpful tool for holding stitches and picking up and pulling loops through, but learning where to insert them and how to twist them was quite a challenge for me as a beginner.

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Two Knitting Runners: David Babcock Interviews Friend and Fellow Knitting Runner, Susie Hewer

October 11th, 2014

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db_squareFeatured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he did in Kansas City last October. Coupled with a great deal of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his amazing accomplishment! Lion Brand is sponsoring David in the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, 2014 and lucky for us, he’s agreed to write for us leading up to race day!

:: Sponsor David and support Alzheimer’s research — make a donation today! ::

susie_hewer_10082014When someone discovers a person who knits or crochets while running, they’re understandably surprised by the incongruous pairing, even more surprised when they learn that it’s a phenomenon not limited to one person AND even has a bit of a history!

David Babcock interviews the pioneer of yarn-on-the-run, the original knitting runner, Susie Hewer. Susie held David’s record previously and currently she is the Guinness World Record holder for the longest crochet chain made while running a marathon, achieved at the 2014 London Marathon in London, UK, on April 13, 2014.

David: On your blog you share the story of wanting to do something special for the 2005 London Marathon while running for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK when a friend said that you should ‘act your age and stay at home with your knitting!’. Did you take this as a challenge? What was your process in figuring out how you would use your knitting with the marathon? Had you heard of anyone else that had tried anything like it?

Susie: I most certainly did take it as a challenge! I didn’t act upon it immediately but I turned the thought over and over in my mind, thinking perhaps I’d run in fancy dress as a ball of yarn or a giant knitting needle or even running it dressed entirely in knitted garments, until the idea of actually taking my knitting with me on the run popped into my head. Of course I dismissed that idea straight away as that would be plain silly now wouldn’t it! But the idea festered away in the back of my mind until I decided that I would in fact take my knitting with me with the intention of running for a bit and then stopping to chat to the crowd whilst knitting.

This concept caught the attention of the media and I was featured in a few articles in the Press which was spotted by the people from Guinness World Records who contacted me to suggest that I could turn it into a record attempt. After much tooing and frooing of ideas we came up with the concept of me knitting a scarf whilst running. This of course meant that I would actually have to knit whilst running. Oh my!

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month… You Can Help Make a Difference

October 6th, 2014

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. About 1 in 8 US women (approx. 12%) will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, so almost all of you are affected by breast cancer either directly or through someone you care about.

Throughout the month of October, Lion Brand Yarn Company will donate 20% of the purchase price of a selection of pink yarns (see below) and our Knit for Life and Crochet for a Cause Kits to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, while supplies last. BCRF’s mission is to advance the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer in our lifetime. For more information about BCRF, please visit bcrfcure.org.

We’re proud to support BCRF because 91% of the money they raise goes to breast cancer research and awareness programs. They also understand the importance of prevention and they’re happy to share learning and helpful information from outside organizations such as this article from the Mayo Clinic, 9 breast cancer prevention tips from the Mayo Clinic.
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David Babcock, the Knitting Runner, Wants to Make a Trade: Your Alzheimer’s Story for a Scarf

September 30th, 2014

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babcock_knitrun_sept10Featured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he did in Kansas City last October. Coupled with a great deal of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his amazing accomplishment! Lion Brand is sponsoring David in the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, 2014 and lucky for us, he’s agreed to write for us leading up to race day!

Greetings from the Knitting Runner. I have some knit-while-running scarves I want to give away, keep reading …

It’s hard to believe that the fall marathons are nearly here — it’s just starting to get cool enough that I’m thinking about knitting some new hats. I’ll be running the Kansas City Half Marathon on October 18th and the New York City Full Marathon on November 2nd. And yes, I’ll be knitting as I run! I’m deep into my training runs and testing my multi-tasking dexterity.

I’ve also joined the NYC Athletes To End Alzheimer’s team and am actively fundraising – please donate!

So, about those scarves I mentioned …

I want to hear your stories about Alzheimer’s and knitting. Are you a knitter or crocheter who has Alzheimer’s? Do you care for someone with Alzheimer’s and still find the time to knit or crochet? Please share your story in the comments below. If I have your stories in my head and heart as I run/knit, they will lend me more strength and purpose.

On October 30th, Lion Brand will randomly select five people who have shared stories to receive one of my scarves. At least once a week I knit a scarf while on the run and they’re stacking up!

I really want to get connected with my Alzheimer’s community. I know you’re out there and that, like me, knitting (or crocheting) is something you do while doing other hard things too. I am cheering for you!

Sincerely,

David Babcock
knittingrunner.com

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Since its creation in 2009, the Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC Marathon teams have raised well over $2 million. The Chapter offers free support and education to the more than half a million New York City residents who either have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia or are caring for someone who does.

:: Support Alzheimer’s research — make a donation today! ::

Photo: David with a recently-made scarf, finger-knit with Hometown USA while running 10 miles in 80 minutes on September 10th!

Congratulations to the following: Susan S., Judy N., Lola E., Jean L., and Margaret B.! Thank you for sharing your stories!

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