As a fourth generation family member of Lion Brand, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to meet and talk with very passionate people that are prominent within the yarn industry; people like Janet Johnson Stephens, Rita Weiss, and Gwen Blakely Kinsler. I met Gwen a number of years ago when I spoke to her Guild in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and I was impressed with the many ways she has contributed to the craft industry.
Gwen was instrumental in establishing the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) organization 20 years ago and is also an author, designer, teacher and writer of everything crochet.
This year, the Crochet Guild of America chose Gwen as their 2014 recipient for the Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame Award. Her passion and determination to host the first meeting with crochet enthusiasts in Chicago is now recognized as an incremental part of yarn history.
For everyone who is passionate about yarn and loves to crochet, Gwen Blakely Kinsler is an inspiration. I’d like to congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.
I spent my July 4th at the New York Historical Society to see an exhibit on Civil War Textiles. While most of the exhibit was quilts, I was quite surprised to find this very patriotic crochet shawl. It was made in 1861 (that’s older than Lion Brand!) and was presented to the Massachusetts governor and his wife to thank them for their support in the Civil War and abolitionist reforms.
I was most impressed by its simplistic design and could actually imagine someone making something similar today. It’s really amazing to see how the art of crochet (and knitting) has been an integral part of American history, don’t you think?
Over the weekend I spotted this yarn bomb under a Brooklyn highway as I was walking back home. As soon as I saw it I had to take a picture – not only because it was made out of yarn but I instantly recognized the person behind this mysterious yarn art.
This cute, cartoon style belongs to none other than local crochet artist, London Kaye, who is known for her unique street art pieces (she even yarnbombed an entire subway train for Valentine’s Day). According to her blog and Instagram it was originally done last month in honor of International Yarn Bomb Day.
Great job London Kaye!
Featured 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!
This November, David will run the New York City Marathon to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support. He’ll be knitting for the duration of the marathon run and Lion Brand is proud to announce its support! David will use his fingers like knitting needles to work with anywhere from 10 to 16 stitches (see below for his finger knitting tutorials), using Lion Brand yarn, of course!
We’re proud to support David in his mission for many reasons. Any time we can bring knitting (or the art of crochet) to the public, we’re so pleased to do so because crafting with yarn promotes health and wellness, something that Lion Brand deeply supports. We’re also happy to lend a hand for a good cause. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050.
So let’s help David do his part – please make a donation.
Check back often for updates about the Knitting Runner and the NYC Marathon! We’ll be announcing opportunities for YOU to meet David this November and to learn finger knitting too.
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. This is part 2 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
Last month we explored the top ten health benefits of yarncrafting. Many of you chimed in with great comments about how crochet and knitting have helped you to heal from a variety of different ailments. Want to get more intentional about that? This five-step guide will help you create your own yarncrafting wellness plan.
Knitting and crochet can help with each of these things. For example, it can be a distraction that reduces physical pain and helps control diet cravings and it can provide relaxation to reduce stress-related headaches and irritability. However, not every symptom will apply to you so think about what you really want to solve. It’s a lot easier to get healthy when you know what specific ailments you’re trying to reduce.
World 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!
Every year, senior students from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) design knitwear pieces for their thesis project. As a proud sponsor of the knitwear class, Lion Brand is thrilled to be associated with this iconic school; a school that’s respected and well-loved within the fashion industry.
Each Spring semester, students work with Lion Brand yarns to create beautiful, high-fashion inspired garments, with many of the final works being featured in the school’s annual Future of Fashion fashion show in May. This past fashion show featured a stunning array of pieces, and I’m happy to share with you some of the most amazing designs that graced the runway, along with some “process” shots of their creation. I’ll be highlighting several other amazing pieces in upcoming blog posts, so be sure to keep an eye out!
|Designer and student Ou Ma hand-dyed skeins of LB Collection Silk Mohair||Ou Ma was inspired by the Cobweb Lace course she took at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and used some of the technique she learned for the dress.
||Ou Ma’s Handpainted Dress on the runway|
|Sakshi Awal places pennies in the LB Collection Angora Merino knit material and ties them tightly with thread.||A larger cluster of the tied coins in the knit fabric, which will be washed to create an embossed fabric.
||Sakshi’s final dress without the coins on the runway.|
And here are some other beautiful, creative designs:
|Student and designer Jeong Ah (Jay) Woo’s dress knit with Romance and LB Collection Silk Mohair||Student and designer Jeanette Yu’s LB Collection Silk Mohair dress featured on the runway.
||Student and designer Dongeun Kwon’s dress on the runway with LB Collection Silk Mohair (Midnight) and Superwash Merino Cashmere (Ebony)|
Wedding season is here and I know there are many brides-to-be, mothers, and friends searching for the perfect handmade pattern for the joyous occasion. How lovely it would be to have a handmade shawl or gift on that special wedding day; sure to become an heirloom piece, passed down from mother to daughter, and cherished for a lifetime.
I spent some time browsing wedding-related patterns on Ravelry and found these gorgeous patterns, all perfect for the big day. Couple them with Lion Brand’s “wedding appropriate” yarns, and just maybe you’ll have the perfect handmade wedding gift you’ve been looking for!
Project by Ravelry User Lorix5
Knit Pattern: Flying Home by Kat Coyle
LB Collection Silk Mohair in Wisp
Project by Ravelry User Paeonia
Crochet pattern: Morpho Shawlette by Cheri McEwan
LB Collection Silk Mohair in Wisp
Project by Ravelry User AngelSong76
Knit Pattern: Celtic Knot Stole by Sarah Kendrick Hughes
Vanna’s Glamour in Topaz
Project by Ravelry user BrotherLadies
Knit Pattern: Cashmere Bolero by Sharon Sorken
LB Collection Baby Alpaca in Fawn Heather
Vanna’s Glamour in Moonstone
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. This is part one in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
Yarn heals. Whether you prefer needles or hooks or a combination of both, crafting can soothe your body and mend your mind. Anecdotal evidence has shown this for decades and new research confirms it with science. The benefits people report are seemingly endless. Here are the top 10 yarncrafting health benefits.
1. Knitting and Crochet Relieve Depression
Depression relief is by far the most reported and studied benefit of crochet and knitting. The repetition of the crafts has been shown to release serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. CNN recently reported that “in one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”
|Knit & Crochet Aromatherapy Eye Pillow|
Yarncrafts helps with various forms of anxiety. It keeps your hands busy and mind focused so that you can attend classes or events even when you have social anxiety. It brings the internal mind to a calmer space for when you’re coping with the anxiety of repetitious thoughts. The counting has even been shown to serve as a productive outlet for people with anxiety associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as eating disorders. The Craft Yarn Council reports on one study that showed nearly ¾ of women with anorexia found knitting to be calming and anxiety-reducing.
(image courtesy of Deramores)
We want to congratulate Susie Hewer “The Extreme Knitting Redhead”, who ran the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 13th and won the Guinness World Record for creating the longest crochet chain while running a marathon! Sponsored by our friends over at Deramores in the UK, Susie used the bright, cheery Hometown USA while she crocheted.
Susie began running to help support Alzheimer’s Research UK after losing her mother to vascular dementia in 2005. Every race that Susie runs is in dedication to her mother, and she has raised thousands of dollars for dementia research over the years.
Crocheting is an art form that Susie embraces as a method of educating others on dementia. She uses crochet to teach how dementia breaks the links between cells until the brain can no longer function properly. Additionally, her mother taught her to crochet when she was young, which makes this even more meaningful to her.
We wish Susie well on her future endeavors and hope that she continues to inspire more people along her journey! You can read more on her blog here.