When you think about the people who have made a lasting impression on your life, who do you remember? I remember my great-grandmother who made holiday dinners for twenty people in a house built for two. I remember every one of my teachers from first to sixth grade. I remember my mother’s best friend who taught me to knit.
Learning to knit or crochet is a lifelong skill and giving the gift of these skills is a meaningful, useful, special ability that has the power to change our lives and the lives of others. If you know how to knit or crochet, you probably are an ambassador for these crafts. Wouldn’t it be great if more people could create handmade sweaters, afghans and scarves? Wouldn’t it be great if more people could give their work to charity and to loved ones? Now’s your chance.
There’s a new website that’s launching in the New York City area that helps people arrange in-person meet-ups so they can either teach, learn or improve their knitting and crochet skills. It’s called Yarndevu and is described as “Rendez-vous for yarn lovers.” Right now you can sign up for a limited test in the New York area and be part of the first wave of people invited to the site.
If you’re interested in being a part of this or in learning more, sign up and tell your friends. The friends who don’t know how to knit or crochet will remember you for it!
Brr! It hit 32 degrees or below in all 50 states on Tuesday¹, November 18th, can you believe that? That means that plenty of you knitters and crocheters have been piling on the layers and grabbing your cozy hats, gloves, and scarves. Now that everyone is in full cold-weather crafting mode, more and more #scarfie projects are popping up, and we’re so delighted to see them! And today, we’ve got another fabulous #scarfie from our friend Stephanie at All About Ami.
Stephanie’s cowl is both simple and quick, and uses about a ball and a half of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, leaving you with enough yarn to work on a smaller project, like a cute earwarmer to match your cowl. Not only does Stephanie share her written pattern, but she walks you through it with a step by step tutorial that’s easy to understand as well. Check out Stephanie’s post and see for yourself!
Find Stephanie’s pattern here: Crochet Twist Cowl
As featured in the the New York Daily Post, the New York Times and the Good Men Project, we’re proud to share the news that David Babcock completed the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd with a great time of 3:56. All of us here at Lion Brand are proud of the #KnittingRunner! We’re especially proud that David achieved his goal of running the marathon in under four hours.
While David was in New York last week, we took some time to sit down with him to discuss how he came to be a knitting runner and the challenges he’s faced and overcome. Please enjoy and share widely.
:: can’t see the video? click here: http://youtu.be/FFBd4HoKw3c ::
David ran the marathon to raise funds for the free care and support programs provided by the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. You can donate to David’s team up until November 30th and the best part, Lion Brand will match your donations until David reaches his fundraising goal of $3500. He’s almost there – every dollar counts, so please give what you can.
Get your crochet hooks out − because today, we’ve got another wonderful pattern from a blogger who participated in the #scarfie challenge! Kara, from the blog Petals to Picots, has created a beautifully textured cowl in the ever-popular Oatmeal colorway of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. She even adorned her cowl (which only requires two balls) with a few metal buttons for a more rustic look, and we love it!
Check out Kara’s pattern here: Quick and Comfy Crochet Scarf Pattern
For all the knitters, Kara has also created a lovely knit version of her cowl with the Barley color of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick: Quick and Comfy Knit Scarf Pattern
BUT just before we do, we want to share some news! The Crochet Crowd’s Grim Wreath Challenge has just ended and the randomly-chosen, lucky winner of the $150 yarn prize goes to Crissi C. from New Hampshire! Congratulations and thank you for your entry Crissi!
There were so many great entries, we just have to share a few other great wreaths from the Grim Wreath Challenge submissions, so please take a look below!
Fun colors, pumpkins, and other Halloween amigurumi adorn this wreath by Cristina Nelson
This is a great Autumn wreath to keep up until the holiday season starts, by Nicole Bergen
Love the skull couple and color combinations in this wreath by Addie Austin
An adorable family of creepy spiders by Michele Cook
Adorable ghostly characters in this lively wreath by Stephaney Williams
Of course, what’s Halloween without an ode to A Nightmare Before Christmas, by Crissi Leigh Coko
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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! 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.
“… Go to the Fair, Templeton. You will find that the conditions at a fair will surpass
your wildest dreams. Buckets with sour mash sticking to them, tin cans
containing particles of tuna fish, greasy paper bags stuffed with rotten …”
“That’s enough!” cried Templeton. “Don’t tell me anymore. I’m going.”
E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Convincing my cousin Janet to go to The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival wasn’t hard. Unlike Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web, she didn’t need the lure of sour mash, stray particles of tuna fish, or even greasy paper bags. The mere mention of sheep and wool and she was on board.
I had been to Rhinebeck, as the event is known in the fiber world, when I was promoting my knitting book, A Knitter’s Home Companion. My fair days back then were spent almost entirely signing books. This summer, after attending a small Iowa sheep and wool festival, I got the itch to go back to the big one, to Rhinebeck, to see what I had missed.
Rhinebeck is not only about wool. Among the offerings there were a bred ewe auction, an angora goat show, and an exotic breeds parade. In addition, there were demos of “blue ribbon hearth” cooking, canine Frisbee, sheepdog herding and more. Not to mention classes like Weave a Williamsburg Basket, Art and Science of Natural Dyeing, Needle Felting in 2-D and 3-D, Made in the Moment Jewelry, Double Knitting, Beginning Rug Hooking and Spinning for Socks.
Of course, Janet and I went straight for the wool. We cruised booth after booth, discussed the merits of projects and yarns on display. Often our eyes were drawn to the handwork worn by other fair attendees. We admired lacy shawls, cabled sweaters and the stunning green baby blankets covering a pair of adorable twins in their side-by-side stroller.
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Today, we’ve got a great tutorial for you by Vanessa from the Crafty Gemini! Vanessa will show you how to create a simple cowl in our beautiful, self-striping yarn, Amazing. This cowl works up extremely fast and will make a great gift for the upcoming holidays. Watch Vanessa’s tutorial below, and check out the link for her Amazing giveaway!
Click here for: 45 Minute Cowl Pattern
Click here for: Amazing yarn giveaway
We invited a few awesomely creative knit and crochet bloggers to participate in a #scarfie challenge! We asked them to design a scarf or cowl with two skeins of one of our most popular yarns, Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. The #scarfies are making the rounds on blogs and social media, and we’re so excited to share them with you. Today, we’re featuring a cute crochet scalloped edge cowl from Rachel at Maybe Matilda.
Rachel’s pattern is easy and fast, so get your balls of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and start crocheting!
Find Rachel’s pattern here: Chunky Scalloped Cowl
In 2012, Lion Brand sponsored a design contest to use Vanna’s Choice® yarn and create an original design. The winner was “Gramma” Nancy Nielsen, who we flew out to California to meet Vanna White as part of her prize. Nancy’s design was an irresistible baby hat that looked like an elephant head and booties that looked like elephant feet. As you can see, Vanna was charmed by the whimsy and creativity of these designs.
It turned out that Nancy also had a whole range of animal hats and matching booties that she had designed as baby gifts. There was a Lion set (and of course we looove lions!) and sets that recreated a duck, lamb, monkey, dig, rabbit and more.
We were so taken with the wealth of designs that we spoke to a friend who edits pattern books at Random House about doing a pattern book of animal hat and bootie sets and today, the book is a reality and Nancy Nielsen is an author.
Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (And Booties Too!) was just released. It includes 19 animal hat patterns with many including matching booties and mittens sized for newborns to bigger kids. In the foreword Vanna White wrote for the book she talks about the interesting reason that Nancy was inspired to have this burst of creativity. I’d like to share a quote from that foreword that we can all relate to:
“As all of us who knit or crochet know, there is nothing more special, and more appreciated than giving something handmade that comes from the heart. . . she has touched the hearts of hundreds of people at a special time in their lives. . . ”
If you’re a knitter, looking for ideas for your next baby gift or for a birthday gift, you’ll find years’ worth of affordable ideas in this book. It includes patterns, charming photographs and the amazing stories of generosity that inspired these patterns.