Yesterday, as President of Lion Brand, I had the honor of joining my cousin and EVP of our company, Dean Blumenthal and Vanna White, Lion Brand’s spokesperson, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to present a check representing donations of $1 million. When we first introduced the Vanna lines of yarns and Vanna shared her wish that we donate a portion of the proceeds to this fantastic cause, I had a dream to donate $1 million. Yesterday that dream became a reality.
As the fourth generation in our family-owned business, we learned the importance of giving charity in both our business and personal lives from our parents. The opportunity to tour the St. Jude facility and learn more about what this amazing organization does was truly a highlight of my life.
We heard from one woman who survived leukemia when she was 10 years old. The survival rate was 4% at the time. Today, the survival rate for this type of leukemia is 92%, thanks to the cutting edge research and treatment that this organization provides. We saw the heartbreaking scene of small children who are being treated for cancer. We heard the extraordinary fact that no family every pays for anything related to the treatment of their child. Not only does St. Jude cover all the costs of medical treatment, but they take care of housing for the family and provide emotional support for the siblings and parents.
I knew that we were donating to a good cause, but it was humbling to see the human side of this organization. I was inspired by what can happen with vision.
(Please NOTE: there is a brief ad that appears before the segment)
Courtesy of KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News
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One of the things I liked best about being out on the road with sales was meeting yarncrafters face to face. Now that I spend more time working with the Lion Brand Yarn Outlet here in New Jersey, it’s still a treat for me to talk to knitters and crocheters in person, and to see their faces light up when they see all our colorful yarns and supplies.
Last week several ladies from the Cedar Crest Retirement Community in Pompton Plains came out in dreary Monday morning rain to pay a visit to the Outlet. The ladies came in, shook off the weather and strolled through the rows and rows of vibrant yarns stocked on the shelves.
If you’ve been thinking about learning to knit or crochet, now is the perfect time! With the New Year upon us, now is the time to think what you’d like to learn or accomplish in this year. Whether you’d like to learn your first stitch, make your first scarf, or learn a new craft having mastered another (knitters learning to crochet, weavers learning to knit, etc.) now is the time to begin.
Here are 5 great reasons to learn to knit or crochet in 2012. Use them to get yourself started, or share them with friends and family members who are interested in getting into yarncrafting.
|Yarncrafting makes a perfect New Year’s resolution. Taking up a craft is a great way to add creativity to your new year. Many resolutions involve giving up habits, but learning a new art is both a wonderful resolution that will keep your mind engaged and your fingers nimble.|
|Crafting with your hands can help you relax. Repetitive, calm motion coupled with the texture of a beautiful yarn can lend meditative qualities to your spare time. With so much stress in all our lives, it can be restful and soothing to spend even just a little time in a creative, calming way.|
|Connect with old friends and meet new ones. Yarn lovers always seem to find each other in any crowd, so take advantage of the opportunity to make new friends and connect with people you know. Try joining a crafting group or starting your own with crafty friends. Meeting with yarncrafters is also a great way to pick up new skills. There’s a good reason they call close friends ‘tight knit’ groups!|
|Crafting for charity is a great way to give to your community. If you can spare a few moments to knit or crochet, you can make a world of difference to someone in need. Whatever you love to make, there’s probably a charity collecting that very item. Try our Charity Connection for details if you’re interested in finding a group to donate to.|
|Be your own designer in the new year. If you’ve been scouring stores for just the right hat or scarf, learning to make your own might be the answer! Making your own garments and accessories gives you the freedom to combine your favorite colors and textures and create new and exciting looks.|
With long, chilly winter nights ahead, curl up with some yarn and get started with one of the most enjoyable resolutions you can make for the new year. Happy yarncrafting!
If you’re interested in learning how to knit or crochet, check out these resources:
The holidays have past, but crafting for charity is a great way to stay in the spirit of giving.
With so many worthy causes and charities in the world, choosing what to make, which yarn to use and where to donate can be a bit challenging. These tips are are organized to help you find the right project and organization for you. Enjoy making someone wonderful and sharing it with someone in need this winter using the 7 suggestions below.
|Choose the Best Yarn for Your Project
When you donate a project to charity, make sure it is easy to care for. It’s a good idea to use all machine washable and dryable yarn, like Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Vanna’s Choice. But if you are using a fiber that needs special care, make sure to check that the group you a donating to can take projects made of that yarn and sew a label for care instructions into your gift. Click here to see our yarn pages with all the care instructions and yardage information.
|Try Our Charity Connection
When you’re looking for a group to work with, our online Charity Connection is a user-friendly way to find out what groups are accepting donations, where they are located and what they are hoping to receive. If you know a charity who that is looking for donations, you can register on the Charity Connection quickly and easily to let others know about your project. Click here to visit the Charity Connection page.
|Project to Donate: Prayer Shawls
Making prayer shawls for those in need of support or strength in any way can be a helpful, warm reminder that others care for them in their time of need. Prayer shawl groups or ministries are devoted to making and giving shawls to those in their communities. Find out if there is a prayer shawl ministry in your area, or you can start one yourself with friends. Click here to see the patterns for prayer shawls.
|Project to Donate: Afghans (whole or squares)
If you only have a little time, why not make a block for an afghan? If you’re looking for a new stitch to try out or want to develop your knit or crochet skills, use our Stitch Finder to pick out a stitch pattern and then create a block the appropriate size. You can use up your excess stashed yarn making afghan blocks and seam them together yourself, or get help from a group like the Warm Up America! foundation. groups like WUA help knitters and crocheters connect their individual blocks into large masterpieces that can keep others warm. Click here to see W.U.A.’s site on donations. Click here to see pictures of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s donation drive with W.U.A. this fall.
|Project to Donate: Chemo Caps
Softness and comfort are key for these projects simple, fast-finish projects. These caps warm and comfort patients undergoing chemo therapy, and are often made in cheerful and bright colors to brighten their time in treatment. Many hospitals or cancer centers will accept donations, so be sure to call and see if they are in need. Click here for free knit and crochet patterns for chemo caps
|Project to Donate: Warm Accessories
During the holidays many people donate small accessories to scarf or mitten trees; but just because the holidays have past it doesn’t mean donations aren’t needed. If you love to make smaller projects, shelters, schools and hospitals are often accepting them during the colder months. Plenty of charities specialize in mittens, scarves, or hats, find a pattern you love to make, and you’ll keep a lot of people warm this winter. Click here for patterns for hats, scarves, mittens and accessories.
|Short on Time? Donate Yarn.
While not knitting or crocheting yourself, donating your extra stash is a great way to support children’s after school arts clubs, senior center craft groups, and local charity organizations in your area. Arts organizations are often in need of supplies, and sharing your left over yarn with those who have been crocheting for decades or are just learning to knit is a beautiful way to share the crafts you love with others. Many groups donate their projects to charity after they are finished, keeping the cycle of giving going. Click here for help finding a group to donate to, or just call our local schools and charities to ask if they are accepting donations.
Have you made a project for charity? What is your favorite kind of project to donate? Leave a comment to share your story.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many crocheters and knitters show their support through crafting. From cancer awareness pins to scarves to cancer caps, there are so many projects that you can make in pink yarn to raise awareness and show support. Try using any of these pink yarns for your October projects; they’re all super soft and easy-care, so they can be shared with loved ones currently undergoing cancer treatment or donated to your favorite charity.
Choice Organic Cotton
In response to the devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan, many crafters have asked us how they can help. As crocheters and knitters, it is our natural inclination to want to donate handmade goods. However, I want to encourage you not to try to donate your goods directly to Japan at this time. As pointed out by this article, the country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged, making it virtually impossible to ship donations and have them distributed.
The most important way you can help right now is through monetary donations. If you still want to support relief efforts with crafting, consider raffling or selling your goods and donating the proceeds. There are so many fantastic organizations currently accepting donations. Here are just a few of them:
In addition, the group Handmade for Japan will be auctioning handmade goods on eBay from March 24th-27th. Started by Japanese-American ceramic artist Ayumi Horie, the auction will donate 100% of proceeds to Global Giving. You can check out the auction here on March 24th, and you can view more details about the project here.
As a New Yorker, I often knit and crochet while on the subway. I love hearing your stories about crafting in public, and now we want you to share on Twitter where you’re yarncrafting for your chance to win a gift certificate to LionBrand.com! To enter, just tweet where you’re crafting to @LionBrandYarn, and be sure to include the hashtag #yarninpublic! A sample tweet would look something like this: “@LionBrandYarn I’m crocheting in Union Square Park! #yarninpublic” Of course, you don’t have to be in public; you can tell us that you’re crafting in your house, at the library, or wherever you may be!
Here are the official rules:
1. Enter as many times as you like. The more you tweet, the more likely you are to win!
2. Open to residents of countries to which LionBrand.com ships. You can find out where we ship by clicking here. Void where prohibited.
3. Must be 18 or older to enter.
4. Tweets must be sent by Thursday, March 3rd at 12 noon Eastern time.
Now, on to the prize. One randomly selected winner will receive a gift certificate to LionBrand.com. The value depends on how much everyone tweets! We will also make a matching donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, so your entries will also help this fantastic charity. Here’s what you might win:
0-250 total tweets: $100 gift certificate
251-500 total tweets: $200 gift certificate
501-1,000 total tweets: $300 gift certificate
Way more than 1,000 total tweets: TBA!
So start tweeting for your chance to win and to support St. Jude! You MUST submit your entry on Twitter to be entered into the contest.
There is so much we offer for free on our site to help you with your yarn crafting but I have the feeling you may not know about all of these goodies. Here are 5 kinds of freebies you can get. Please check them out and let me know what you think.
1. Charity Finder
If you are looking for a charity to knit or crochet for, or if you are part of a group of knitters and crocheters who knit for charity, the Charity Finder will be a great resource for you. We have over 1,000 groups currently listed. It’s easy to use. Just indicate if you have a preference for a type of organization or a type of garment, the Charity Finder lets you limit the choice so you find just what you want. You can also select a group within a few miles of your home. When you go to the Charity Finder you will also find a useful listing of some of our most popular free patterns for charity. We would love to hear from you and find out how your charity group search or organization listing goes.
2. Free e-Cards
When it’s the last minute on an important holiday or birthday, you can dash off one of our free e-cards for yarn lovers. We have a wide range of designs to choose from. Just personalize your message and go.
3. Stitch Finder
Over 100 knit and crochet stitches are explained and shown on our Stitch Finder. It’s a great way to grow your skills and learn to make some changes to the patterns you tend to make over and over.
4. The YarnCraft Podcast
It sounds hi-tech but it’s just a 30 minute radio show that feels like you’re listening in to a couple of friends sitting around and chatting about ideas in yarn crafting, interviewing designers, or sharing what they know about fashion trends. Listen to it online or download it through iTunes.
5. Yarn Substitution Information
Are you about to start making one of our free patterns and you realize you don’t have the yarn that is called for? We have a chart that helps you figure out what yarns can be substituted. We also have articles that review the process of substituting yarns in case you’d like step by step instructions.
What other goodies and information would you like to see us have on our site? Leave us a comment and let us. know.
Last week, I asked you to vote on your favorite Lion Brand yarn for charity crafting. The results are in, and you named Vanna’s Choice as your favorite. Some of the reasons you named were the softness, washability, and wide color range. Homespun was also quite popular in the poll for similar reasons. Now that you’ve selected your favorite yarns, here are 5 patterns to inspire your charity crafting:
1. Knit Warm Up America Blanket: This comfortable blanket is perfect for donating to Warm Up America or any other charity organization. It’s also a great project for experimenting with the over 50 colors of Vanna’s Choice.
2. Crochet Comforting Blue Cap: This comfortable hat makes a perfect chemo cap.
3. Knit Ribbed Scarf: This versatile scarf can be worn by men, women, or child.
4. Crochet Simply Sublime Shawl: The softness of Homespun makes this prayer shawl extra special.
5. Knit Honest Warmth Shawl: This triangular prayer shawl works up quickly and easily.
What’s your favorite pattern for charity projects? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This time of year, many of us wake up from our sense of complacency to remember that we should be thankful for what we have. Studies show that being grateful is actually good for us. Remembering to be thankful for something everyday has been linked to being healthier and happier. When we realize that our lives, while never perfect, have many bright spots, the natural inclination is to give back, to show our appreciation by paying it forward.
One of the lessons I have learned from working for Lion Brand for over a decade is how important charity is to this company. It’s been part of the family’s traditions for generations. We don’t talk about all of the donations, but there is one we would like to share with you today because it is with your help that we make this donation. Lion Brand Yarn Company and Vanna White have partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the goal of furthering research to fight childhood cancer. With your help in making Vanna’s Choice, Vanna’s Choice Baby, and Vanna’s Glamour successful, we have raised $622,745 since March 2007 to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This donation supports the extraordinary work of an organization where no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or the ability to pay.
Tomorrow’s post will be about yarn crafting for charity–a topic we know is near and dear to so many of you who believe in charity as well. Before we all leave for the holiday, from everyone at the Lion Brand family to you we want to express our thanks for being part of our community.