Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Community' Category


Crafting Your Way Through Cabin Fever

January 21st, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips for using knitting or crochet to relieve the restlessness of cabin fever this winter. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here

We’ve survived the Polar Vortex but winter is really just beginning. There are a lot of days ahead when we might be stuck in the house because of the weather. You might get gripped by cabin fever; that restless, anxious, irritable feeling that we all sometimes get when we’re stuck inside for too long. Crocheting or knitting can be the best way to alleviate that feeling.

What is Cabin Fever?

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The first thing to do is recognize that you have cabin fever! Cabin fever, which typically happens when you’re inside for an extended period of time, often due to extreme outdoor weather conditions, is characterized by:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Extreme feelings of restlessness
  • A strong desire to get away from the people
    who are with you
  • Frustration, defensiveness and annoyance
    with those people
  • Extreme boredom; nothing feels like fun to do
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of depression

It helps to be aware that these feelings might be caused by cabin fever because then you can recognize what it is and do something about it!

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How Visualizing and Completing a Crochet Project Can Change Your Life

December 20th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares inspiration for enjoying all of your craft projects from start to finish. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

visualizing-crochetI believe strongly in the power of crochet to improve quality of life whether you’re suffering from a serious condition like depression or just seeking to experience more inspiration in your everyday life. One of the key ways that I believe crochet can help is through embracing each stage of the project including the process of visualizing, working on, and finally completing the work.

Visualizing a Crochet Project

Many people underestimate the value of this first step of a crochet project but it can be immensely beneficial to focus on it. Truly embrace the process of thinking about what you want to make, how you want to make it, who it will be for, and which yarn you will want to use.

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Designs with Lion Brand Yarns Spotted at the Fall Knit and Crochet Show!

October 18th, 2013

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In the first weekend of October, myself, and a few Lion Brand team members attended the Fall 2013 Knit & Crochet Show in Concord, North Carolina. We had a great time chatting with designers in the industry, discussing yarns and patterns, and making new connections. One of my favorite parts about the show is seeing the many different projects people have worked on using Lion Brand yarns.  Below, you’ll see some creative patterns from talented crocheters who were at the show – go ahead and check them out.

Betsy's ShawlKnit & crochet designer Brenda Bourg in her Betsy’s Shawl pattern made in LB Collection Silk: Pluto Deborah and Crochet OwlDeborah Bagley’s Owl Bean Bag chair in Vanna’s Choice won 3rd place in the “Artistic Expression” category at the annual CGOA design competition.  You can find more designs from Deborah and her sister at Yarnovations. Vintage Christmas AfghanThis Vintage Christmas Afghan was designed by Sue Solakian in Heartland, and the pattern will soon be available at Mainly Crochet.

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Video: The Benefits of Knit and Crochet

October 3rd, 2013

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Everyone who crafts knows that it is about more than just hats and scarves. In fact, readers often leave comments here on the Lion Brand Notebook about how knitting and crochet make their lives better. See members of the Lion Brand family along with our customers and spokeswoman Vanna White tell why they knit and crochet.

If you’re reading this blog post in your email or an RSS reader, please click on the title to view the full blog post and videos on our website.

For more blog posts about the benefits of knitting and crochet, check out:


A Fun Crochet-Along for You to Join at the Petals to Picots Blog!

September 29th, 2013

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Little Boy Blue BlanketWe’ve teamed up with Kara at the Petals to Picots blog to bring you a new crochet-along with one of our newest patterns, in one of of our newest yarns!  Kara has just announced she’ll be hosting the crochet-along for the Little Boy Blue Blanket made in Heartland.  Kara starts the official CAL instructions tomorrow, and will be conducting the CAL through early December.  This way, you have enough time to possibly turn this blanket into a holiday gift for someone!

There will be new instructions posted for the CAL every two weeks so that you’ll have enough time to work up each section.  The pattern is considered an intermediate level, and requires knowledge of the single crochet (sc) and double crochet stitch (dc).  There’s fun color work in the project, so it will be fun to see everything come together at the end.

There is an official Ravelry group for the CAL so you can share your progress, ask questions, chat with other members and more.  Stop in, say hi to Kara and the rest of the group, and get ready to start a fun new crochet project!  We look forward to seeing plenty of great projects.

Check out Petals to Picots tomorrow for the first set of instructions.  Are you ready to get crocheting? Let us know if you’ll be participating in the comments below.


Professional Development Day at the Knit & Crochet Show with Lion Brand and the CGOA

September 25th, 2013

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Have you ever attended a Knit & Crochet Show sponsored by the TKGA (The Knitting Guild of America ) and CGOA (Crochet Guild of America)? If you’re near the Charlotte, North Carolina area – you’re in luck because the Knit & Crochet Show will be in town next week (Oct. 2-6)!

The Knit & Crochet show is a wonderful 4 day event, where you have the opportunity to take advantage of classes taught by some of your favorite knit and crochet designers, meet new friends, purchase yarn, and just have a good ole time. If you only want to shop and don’t want to sign up for classes, you can purchase a ticket for the marketplace onsite, and use the coupon to the right for a great “Buy One Get One Free” offer. Lion Brand will have a booth for shopping and we’ll be carrying our newest yarn collections, so be sure to stop by and say hi to us.

On October 2nd, before the classes start and the marketplace opens, the CGOA will host Professional Development Day, which is a one-day session in which you learn valuable tools of the trade when it comes to proposing and developing a book. You’ll learn about how to write a book proposal, how to promote yourself, creative writing tips, and lots more.  This is a great educational and networking opportunity for those who are already established and for those who are aspiring professionals in the industry.  The CGOA committee has lined up some wonderful, knowledgeable experts in the field – you’ll get to hear from Melissa Leapman, Lily Chin, and Vashti Braha – just to name a few! Click here to learn more about Professional Development Day.

Have you ever been to a Professional Development Day at one of the Knit & Crochet shows? Please share your experience with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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I Don’t Pray…How Can I Make a Prayer Shawl?

September 17th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo joins us for the third installment of her series on prayer shawl crafting. Click here to read her previous blog posts.

Image of Serene Comfort Shawl | Prayer Shawl Crafting | Lion Brand NotebookI don’t consider myself someone who prays. My spiritual path has been varied and complicated and it’s been a long journey to the point of even being able to comfortably say that I have a spiritual path so it’s still another leap to be okay with saying I pray. Nevertheless, I do believe in the value of setting an intention and asking for help, strength, hope … and so I am comfortable making prayer shawls.

Suggested Prayer Shawl Practices for People Who Don’t Pray

There is no right or wrong way to craft a prayer shawl. Whatever you feel comfortable with is enough. It can be as simple as setting the intention to heal the recipient at the start of the project.

Here are some additional options:

  • Repeat a short phrase in your mind as you work. An example: “I wish you strength.”
  • Pause at the end of each row or round to think positive thoughts about the prayer shawl recipient.
  • Stitch with love. Intentionally focus on love and compassion as you craft.
  • When the project is complete, take a moment to say an affirmation or blessing. You may also want to include a sentiment card with the gift.

[Pattern pictured: Crochet Serene Comfort Shawl]

Which prayers, affirmations or thoughts do you use when crafting for others? Share in the comments below!


Tips for Getting the Most from Prayer Shawl Crafting

September 8th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips for choosing patterns, charities and the setting for intentional crafting. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
Image of Honest Warmth Shawl | Tips for Prayer Shawl Crafting | Lion Brand Notebook

Choosing a Prayer Shawl Pattern

Any shawl pattern can be used as a prayer shawl. An ideal pattern uses a textural comforting yarn like Homespun.

Items Other Than Prayer Shawls

Prayer shawls don’t have to be shawls. Other popular items for prayer-based crafting include:

Selecting Prayer Shawl Recipients

If you are inspired to craft something handmade for a specific individual, by all means do so. Alternatively you may donate to a group. Here are some tips for selecting your group:

  • Pick a cause that you care about. What has affected your life?
  • Ask friends what charities they support and why.
  • Think local; it’s wonderful to drop your donation off in person if you can.

You can also find charities that are currently seeking donations by using the Lion Brand Charity Connection page.

Setting the Space

The recipient benefits from your prayer shawl but to get the most out of the crafting experience it should also help heal you. Set your space intentionally when doing prayer crafting. Some tips:

  • Choose a quiet space.
  • Use lighting that is adequate but not glaring.
  • Burn candles or incense.
  • Ask yourself what makes you feel most comfortable and safe. Infuse your space with that thing.
  • See more tips for meditative crafting. 

[Pattern pictured: Knit Honest Warmth Shawl]

Who have you (or would you like to) donate a prayer shawl to? Share your stories in the comments to inspire others!


Prayer Shawls: How They Help You While Helping Others

September 1st, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares thoughts on the practice of knitting and crocheting prayer shawls. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Image of Tender Shawl | Prayer Shawls | Lion Brand NotebookWe do not live in isolation in this world. We live in an interconnected global community. When something difficult happens to someone else, it hurts us. Prayer shawls are a way to heal others while healing ourselves.

Praying for Others

When you make a prayer shawl you are intentionally infusing each stitch with hope, warmth, love, compassion and care. You emanate the hope that the person will be healed from pain. When the gift is received, that warmth is felt, the connection is recalled and healing takes place.

Your Own Healing

When we see pain, loss and tragedy in others, we feel it in ourselves. We feel sad about our own tragedies. We feel fear about possible pains. As we stitch together our connection to this other person through intentional prayer, the meditative action calms us. Our hearts open up through the work of our hands and we feel safe and loved again.

Make a Prayer Shawl

The healing of the shawl is partially about the prayer and partially about the tactile sensation of crafting. The silky texture of Lion Brand Homespun helps with the tactile benefits. You’ll find it used in the free crochet prayer shawl and free knit prayer shawl patterns.

[Pattern pictured: Knit Tender Shawl]

How have prayer shawls helped you? Share in the comments below!


Great Customer Projects from STITCHES Midwest!

August 22nd, 2013

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One of the best parts of attending craft shows like STITCHES Midwest for me is seeing projects that customers have made with Lion Brand yarn. Some customers approach me shyly, while others proudly brandish their handiwork. They’re often surprised when I enthusiastically ask to take their pictures, they have no idea how gratifying these moments are for me! Check out some of my favorite finds from the last show!

swing dress

Swing dress made with Amazing yarn.

Click here to learn more about this pattern.

mitered ridges top

Mitered Ridges Top made with Lion Brand® LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo

Click here to get the knit pattern.

fishermen poncho

Poncho made with Fishermen’s Wool®

She made this project back in the ’70s (wow!) so the pattern is no longer available.

hexagon market bag

Hexagon Market Bag made with Lion® Cotton

Click here to get the crochet pattern.

lily collage

The highlight of the show was definitely when designer Lily Chin came to our booth wearing a girl scout costume that she made with Recycled Cotton  in Seagrass, Kitchen Cotton in Olive, and Bonbons in Brights and Celebrate were for her badges.

*Please note: this is an original design so no pattern is available*

Didn’t get to see us at the last show? Come visit us at STITCHES East from November 10-11 in Hartford, CT! Don’t forget to bring you Lion Brand projects!

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