Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Training with David Babcock, the Knitting Runner: “Yes, it is hard.”

September 18th, 2015

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This week David wants to know – what do you find hard? Keep reading …

David BabcockLion Brand is sponsoring David Babcock, aka the Running Knitter, in not one but TWO marathons this fall! David is running to raise money for Alzheimer’s research and he needs your support – please donate today:

David is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (over 12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he accomplished in 2013. In Kansas City on October 17th, he will attempt a second world record – the largest doily crocheted while running a marathon! Last year David ran the New York City Marathon in under four hours, setting a personal record while finger-knitting a scarf with the words, “I’ll remember for you.” Together, David and Lion Brand raised just under $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter and we’re going to do it again this year!

The Knitting Runner’s Training Diary Part #2

I’m training again for a marathon. Yes, it is hard. Like most people, I would rather be comfortable = not running. So why do something hard and uncomfortable? Short answer: because I can and it matters, plus it’s good to do hard things.

I like to find parallels between my running, learning more about yarn arts, and life. So while you may not be marathon training chances are that, as a visitor to this site, you are trying to improve your yarn skills. It is also safe to assume that most people are dealing with something hard in their life.

To keep myself motivated and moving I keep telling myself, “I can do hard things”. There are three key parts to this that I would like to share with you.

  1. Don’t Make Decisions Uphill

The worst time to decide to slow down, or quit, during a race is when it is toughest while you are running uphill. Make decisions when you are stable, cooling off, or at a rare resting point. Don’t decide when your knitting is knotted or your crochet is crooked. Frustration and despair are what we are training against.

  1. Do It For Someone Else

I’m running races while doing crochet this year to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s and caregivers. If it was just me it would be easier to sleep in. I’m doing it for them and they are counting on me. Find a creative way to connect with a cause. Most hard things find you. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease they might not thank you. Don’t confuse someone’s appreciation for service with the value of that service. For your yarn projects it helps to find a recipient with a good sense of humor. Pets tolerate less-than-perfect projects as well as they do successful ones.

  1. Smile, You’re Doing Good

It is hard to look good in a marathon race photo. Being positive and hopeful about your efforts is like a turbo boost. Smiling is not a way to hide your pain but a way to invite others to share the load. If your hard things are for someone you love let that love lift you up. Hard is important. It is how we get things done that matter. The things that do the most good are often the hardest. Does being better with your yarn really matter? Make it matter by connecting it with other people.


The Alzheimer’s Association uses flowers as a symbol for remembering our relationships with those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. For the NYC Marathon I’ll be making finger-crochet flowers while running. I’ll be making lots of flowers as I train. Everyone deserves a flower but I won’t be able to manage that but I can give away a few. Last year I shared training scarves with randomly selected readers who shared a story about their relationship to Alzheimer’s and yarn arts.

This year I’d like to hear about the hard things that you can do, leave your message in the comments below. It doesn’t have to be connected to yarn but we are all connected here through our yarn. I think you are awesome for working hard and working through it. You are becoming more talented, stronger, more able to serve, and more able to love. You deserve a flower and much more.

– David Babcock, the Knitting Runner

:: Donate and support Alzheimer’s research — make a
donation to David Babcock’s Alzheimer’s Fundraiser today!

David Babcock

David Babcock ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 3:56 (a PR) and raised just under $10k for Alzheimer’s research.

Share the hard things that you can do for a chance to receive a crochet flower.

3 Beautiful Projects to Crochet for Fall From Moogly!

August 31st, 2015

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3 Beautiful patterns to crochetToday we’re sharing a few popular patterns from Tamara Kelly, the amazing crochet and knitwear designer behind the blog, Moogly! If you haven’t checked out Moogly yet, you must! There’s just so much inspiration to be found on her site, you can literally dig through the content for days.

With modest blogging beginnings as a “mommy blogger”, this crafty woman realized her wonderful potential in designing knit and crochet patterns, which eventually led her to change the focus of her blog to showcase more of her creative side, and we’re glad she did.

Our team recently traveled to the Knit and Crochet Show in San Diego, and the lovely Tamara was there and willing to be interviewed by our very own Brand Ambassador, Shira, for an episode of Tea with Shira. Watch below, as Tamara shares why her blog is names Moogly, and shows off some extremely popular patterns of hers, the Alpaca Your Wrap, and Moroccan Tote Bag (patterns below).

Tamara is also an instructor for the increasing popular tutorial website, Craftsy. She teaches a highly rated crochet course (4.75/5) “Quick & Easy Crochet Cowls“, in which she walks you through crocheting 3 different cowls in the round. No need to fear circular crochet with her easy-to-understand instructions. In this course, Tamara shows you how to crochet some of our most popular patterns: 45 Minute Cowl, Cardiff Cowl, and Brompton Abbey Cowl. We hope you start following the Moogly blog and enjoy her fabulous work just as we do!

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch – ::

Find Tamara’s patterns from the video!

Moroccan Tote
in LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo
Alpaca Your Wrap
in LB Collection® Baby Alpaca
Easy Log Cabin Afghan
in Textures®




A Fine Day at Stitch ‘N’ Pitch: Jack Throws Out the First Pitch!

August 30th, 2015

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first pitchThis summer I crossed off a major dream from my bucket list when I threw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game for the New York Mets at Citi Field.

For the last eight years I’ve been very involved with Stitch ‘N’ Pitch. The event is a wonderful opportunity for the knitting and crochet community to come together and share their passions — stitching and baseball. Each summer, crafters fill the stands and bring their current projects with them. It’s magnificent to look out onto the manicured lawns of the playing field and around the stadium at the knitting and crochet enthusiasts enjoying their labor of love.

The New York Stitch ‘N’ Pitch group has orchestrated some very special events. One year, we yarn bombed Citi Field, and another we were added to the Guinness World Records for the most people crocheting at one time. In 2015, crafters were challenged to make squares with Lion Brand® yarn for Warm-Up America, a charity that I’m involved with which distributes handmade afghans to those in need.


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At the end of the day, a good time was had by all; Lion Brand associates and their families, crafters who came from far and wide, our friends at AC Moore, and all the many designers and others from the knitting and crocheting community. I can’t wait till next year … but until then, LETS GO METS!



Things We’re Doing Besides Knitting and Crocheting: Travel Edition!

August 9th, 2015

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Here in the marketing department at Lion Brand, we talk a lot about knitting and crocheting and yarn and magic loops and swatches and yarn weights (we know our DK from our super bulky) and and and … bottom line is that we’re all experts in one way or another when it comes yarn. We can talk about it all day — and we do! You may however be surprised to know that we’re also fairly well-rounded with an excess of interests, hobbies and obsessions that go beyond the hooks and needles.

We thought you might enjoy a peek into our inner worlds. Have fun and please share some of your own personal interests outside of knitting and crocheting in the comments below.

Cefalu - Sicily (1)Margaux – I went to back Bordeaux, France where I’m from to spend some time with friends and family. “Slow life” was my watchword. I even did some yoga and Pilates in front of the waves, on the beach for a fully relaxing vacation! I also had a quick escape to Sicily (pictured) reminding me that you can’t go wrong with Italy; every single village has good food, nice wine and gorgeous postal card landscapes.  It was really nice to be away from the Big Apple for a while but it also feels great to be back!

Ilana – I love to read in the summer, especially when I’ve got a long flight for vacation or business. You never have to worry about a paperback book’s battery running out, unlike reading you do with an e-reader, and it is a pleasure to hold a real book in my hands.  I just picked up another book by the author I wrote about last month, Haruki Murakami, called The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I’m really enjoying. I bought the book when  I was on my way to a meeting in San Francisco, where I got to tour the YouTube offices.  It was very exciting to be there.  What most of the people do in the office is sit at a desk, just like us, though and the main difference is that they have a two-story sliding board in the middle of one of their hallways.  I also caught a movie about Brian Wilson, the lead singer of the Beach Boys, called Love and Mercy.  Growing up when they were popular, I always thought of them as the lightweight, sort of frivolous band at a time when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were making more “waves.”  But when you see the story of the brilliant and troubled lead singer, you can really appreciate their music and see that their contribution to the early days of rock & roll was no accident.

la_jolla (1)Brandyce –  I’ve been doing a little bit of traveling within the U.S lately, which has been very enjoyable. I recently went to Dallas, Texas and explored many historical sites including the JFK memorial and Pioneer Plaza. I also had a lot of fun at the Dallas Aquarium and Zoo. It’s a small city that gets extremely hot in the summer, but it’s easy to navigate and walk. For a recent work trip to the Knit & Crochet Show in San Diego, I extended my stay a little longer to see more of the city. San Diego was so pleasant, clean, and sunny – quite the difference from gritty NYC. I absolutely loved La Jolla Cove and the sea lions (pictured), and also going to Coronado Island and watching the sun set over the Pacific, it was magical!

Lorena – I finally got to visit Nashville after years of talking about it. I grew up in Atlanta, a mere four hours away, but had never visited Music City. It lived up to every expectation I had and more — music poured out of every honky tonk on Broadway, there was fantastic food, and a rich history. My favorite stop on the trip was the Johnny Cash Museum. Not only did it feature the incredible story of the Man in Black, there was also an exhibit on the artists of legendary recording label Sun Records: Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, of course. On the way to and from Tennessee, I read Modern Romance, a new book on relationships in the digital/millenial age by Aziz Ansari (fans of the show Parks & Recreation will recognize him as Tom Haverford.) The book had me cracking up everywhere I read it, with many passersby asking what was so funny. His honest advice and zany humor will keep you reading for hours!

shira_sanfran (1)Shira – Where has the summer gone?!  I feel like I have had to pack and unpack my suitcase so much lately and let me tell you, my cats…not into it!   On one of my recent trips was a trip to San Francisco!  I had never been and I went to go catch up with some friends.  I only had a weekend there but I think I got a real taste of city.  With walking hills ( and those hills are real!) I went to Sausalito, Presidio Park, and of course the look out and took the classic photo! I love traveling but let me tell you there is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed!  As much as I love summer I cannot wait for fall so I don’t feel crazy knitting a wool hat in 100 degree weather!

IMG_7416 (1)Sarah – I also went to San Diego for the Knit and Crochet Show. I had a lot of fun exploring the city! Balboa Park was amazing. It makes Central Park look like a patch of grass! You could spend an entire vacation there since there are so many museums, gardens, and public events going on. The San Diego Zoo was so impressive especially the pandas and, of course, lions. After the zoo, I relaxed in the shade at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion and took in a free concert on the world’s second-largest outdoor organ. And to top things off, Shira and I ran into a couple of princesses!

wire_heartDanielle – My family and I recently explored Dead Horse Bay at the bottom of Brooklyn. Known as the weirdest beach in New York City, it’s not the easiest place to get to without a car. We took the opportunity to zip down there one Saturday morning when we found ourselves with a few hours left to kill on a rental. Here’s why it’s weird: one of Dead Horse Bay’s past incarnations includes a stint as a landfill for NYC trash and that landfill is now leaking! It sounds gross and it is, but in a complicated and fascinating way. Some of the stuff that’s washing up on the beach is really beautiful – I saw tiny antique perfume bottles (intact too, I was lucky), old ceramics, oddities like shoe soles, and …  lots and lots of broken glass. You really can’t understand how much broken glass is there until you experience the place – even the ocean waves tinkle. It’s the perfect spot to find beauty in the broken, like this clump of wires I spotted, which had self-formed into a heart shape. Pro tip: sturdy boots and gloves are a must!

NEW DATE – AUGUST 30th! Make a big yarnbomb in Union Square with London Kaye Crochet

June 19th, 2015

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NEW DATE – Sunday, August 30th, 11am – 4pm. See you there!


If you’re in New York City on Sunday, August 30th, drop by Union Square between 11am-4pm and add a small swatch of knitting or crochet to our mystery yarnbomb! We’ll be there with world-famous yarnbomber London Kaye Crochet, who is delightful in the latest episode of Tea With Shira #5:

Can’t see the video above? Click here:

You can make your swatch before hand if you like — our StitchFinder has some great knit and crochet patterns for small blocks, flowers and motifs — OR you can knit or crochet a little something on the spot. We’ll have lots of yarn, hooks and needles for you to take advantage of.

Some ideas from StitchFinder:


Knit Small Leaf Crochet Octagon Motif


Can’t knit or crochet? No problem! Representatives from Yarndevu, a community of knitters and crocheters who meet in person and learn from each other, will be on hand to teach you how! Eager to learn before then? Sign up on Yarndevu now and connect with a local knitter or crocheter eager to teach!

Event Details:

Who: You, London Kaye Crochet, Lion Brand Yarn and Brand Ambassador Shira Blumenthal will all be there!
What: We’re crowdsourcing a yarnbomb and we want you to contribute! Bring a small swatch of knitting or crochet, free-form or based on a pattern, and add it to our big yarnbomb!
Where: Union Square, New York City, by East 14th Street & Union Square West
When: Sunday, August 30th, 2015, 11am-4pm (If the gathering must be postponed due to poor weather, an announcement will be made by 9am the day of the event through Twitter and Facebook.)

* Please note, we are not fastening any yarn to a fixed structure. We are asking participants to fasten their knitted or crochet contribution to a piece of portable mesh that we will provide that day.