Growing up in the Blumenthal family, I learned early that yarn is a treasure. Dad used to say that everyone in my family was born with a ball of yarn in their crib, and it was true (often literally!). In recent years it’s sometimes been seen as unusual to know how to knit or crochet, but I can remember a time when crafting was nearly universal, and it was very common to see a basket of yarn in any living room you might happen to visit.
I took this picture in my office at Lion Brand Yarn headquarters; I love keeping antiques that have to do with the tradition of crafting with yarn. This particular piece is an authentic cover of Life Magazine from 1941. The small text in the bottom left-hand corner says “How to Knit” and inside they included knitting instructions and a pattern for a regulation military vest. One line in the article reads, “To the great American question ‘What can I do to help the war effort?’ the commonest answer yet found is ‘Knit.’” Because yarncrafting was so abundant in everyday homes, this was one way folks found to contribute to the war effort.
In that era, it wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary to see people knitting a few stitches at the bus stop, crocheting a few rows in the park, or toting a bag of yarn to the library. Yarn was often a part of home-life too, even if you weren’t born into it like me. Needles would be clicking after supper and during family gatherings, and more than one child from the time has the memory of holding open a hank of yarn for Mom or Grandma while she wound it into a ball (a process I remember personally, one which always seemed to take an unusually long time).
One of the things I love about working with Lion Brand is seeing the culture of knitting and crochet grow with the development of online resources for learning, web-based ways to meet other crafters and online availability of great yarns. My personal dream is to see knitting, crochet and all sorts of yarncrafts become a large part of American culture again. Yarncrafts have an important place in our history, and I’m delighted that today’s communities of yarn-lovers will ensure a place for crafts in our future.
Want to learn more about yarn in history? Try these posts:
Are you on Pinterest? Because we are! In a previous post on our blog, “Introducing Pinterest, a Great Resource for Crafters“, Jess introduced you to Pinterest and discused some great benefits for joining the picture sharing social media site. Since we pin many images on our boards that come from the Internet, I thought it would be fun to share some of the popular pins on our boards. We tend to pin cute and inspiring images, storage ideas, yarn crafting tutorials and ideas, and lots more.
If you click on the link under the image, you’ll be taken to the direct source of the image, and underneath that link, you’ll be able to view the board where the link was pinned. We actually have a total of 22 boards on our Pinterest page, so don’t hesistate to look around – maybe you’ll find a project of yours that we’ve pinned!
Baby Cowboy Boots by Gina
(Four Leaf Clover) – pattern from Ravelry.
Board: Handmade Baby
In 2007, we started our on-demand radio show (aka podcast), YarnCraft. Since then, we’ve aired over 100 episodes, featuring behind-the-scenes stories from Lion Brand, interviews with people ranging from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee to Vanna White to Nicky Epstein, and tons of useful tips and pattern recommendations.
I’ve had the pleasure of working on each of these episodes, first as a producer and then later also as a co-host, and I’d like to invite you to check out the show if you haven’t already.
Here are just a few reasons you might enjoy YarnCraft, straight from our listeners…
Each episode features a main theme/topic, as well as other fun segments. We cover topics ranging from patterns for particular seasons to becoming a professional knit or crochet designer.
“YarnCraft inspires me to try things I never would have tried. Hearing advice from other crafters gives me confidence and ideas to create things on my own. I look forward to every podcast and I learn something new each time!” – Erin, Denver, CO
“I just listened to the podcast on shaping…wow, how informative! [...] You inspire me to tackle things I would never even consider. Thank you for providing a podcast that is informative and interesting and benificial to increasing my skills and knowledge of yarncrafting.” – Allison, Morton, IL
Recently, Jack and I went to the Knit & Crochet Show, a wonderful yarn festival held by The Knitting Guild Association and Crochet Guild of America. I’m always happy when the Knit & Crochet Show is held in Manchester, New Hampshire, because it means that in addition to seeing all of my yarny friends (and experiencing the beauty of converted mill buildings like the one shown in the slideshow below), I get to take a drive out of town to visit the mill that produces our Homespun and Silky Twist yarns.
Over the years, I’ve posted about our visits, and since I often get requests for a look at how this yarn is made, I’m happy to share some photos from our latest visit to New Hampshire and the mill.
Built in 1864, the mill is a facility that’s steeped in New England’s rich textile history, and we’re proud that it makes some of our most popular products. Secret tip: Look out in the coming weeks for an announcement about a brand NEW product from Lion Brand that is also made at this location.
If you want to learn more about Homespun, click here to pick up a copy of our book, The Story of Homespun.
Growing up in the Blumenthal family, I learned from an early age that gifts made with yarn are also made with care and thoughtfulness.
Being a part of Lion Brand Yarn my entire life, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many hand-made gifts crafted with yarn and patience. Everyone knows that when they get a home-made gift, countless hours and a great deal of care went into making it. I’ve always felt very honored and lucky to receive gifts given with so much thought.
I like to keep gifts like that out in the open where they can be enjoyed. The piece in this picture hangs in my office at Lion Brand Yarn’s New Jersey headquarters. It was made for my father by my second grade teacher, as a thank-you present for all the yarn he’d given her over the years.
From all of us at Lion Brand, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy 4th of July! Since our beginnings in 1878, we’ve been an American family-owned company, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to celebrating America with barbecuing, fun in the sun, fireworks, and yarn!
The London Olympics are less than one month away! If you’re a member of Ravelry, you know what that means: The Ravellenic Games! Formerly known as the Ravelympics, this event brings together yarncrafters from around the globe as complete yarncrafting projects during the duration of the Olympics. Each participant selects a team (think of it as your country) and participates in special yarn-related events, including Sock Put, Sweater Triathalon, Synchronized Stash Busting, and more. There are just two rules: challenge yourself and finish the project during the Olympics (July 27th – August 12th)! For more information, be sure to visit the Ravellenic Games Ravelry board.
In the meantime, we want to help you prepare! Get 15% off your LionBrand.com purchase of supplies for the Ravellenic Games; just enter code rav2012 at checkout! This coupon is good for US orders now through 11:59pm EDT on Friday, July 6th, so you’ll be able to receive your supplies in time for the mass cast-on during the Olympic opening ceremony. Still looking for a group to join for the Ravellenic Games? I kindly suggest our friends at the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club.
So, what are your plans for the Ravellenic Games? Do you have a project in mind? Share your ideas in the comments!
Hello everyone! For those who are following along live, this week we’re done! Please post pictures as you finish your project!
After your blocking is completed, the final step is seaming the two halves together. With crochet, seaming is very easy because you can simply crochet the two pieces together! You will first be seaming the two longer edges of the upper and lower halves. When you crochet, you will be holding the pieces with the right sides together. I laid them flat in the picture so that it is easy to see where to insert the crochet hook.
Hello everyone! I hope everyone’s projects are still going well. The good news is that we’re coming close to finishing our shrugs, and after next week we’ll be done and able to wear them! At this point, we have finished the upper and lower half and completed the finishing border on the lower half. This week I am going go over the beginning of the finishing of your Glittery Shrug, which is the upper half border and the blocking. The border on the upper half uses the same front and back post double crochet stitch that the cuffs use. After doing the upper half border, you will be completely prepared to do the sleeve cuffs next week!
The upper half border starts with one plain row of single crochet and then one row of double crochet. The pattern calls for two single crochet stitches in each of the mesh stitches. This means you will be working two single crochet stitches into each chain space along the edge of the upper half. When you get row 3 of the edging, the special stitches are abbreviated as BPDC for the back post double crochet, the first of the two stitches that you will be working, and FPDC for the front post double crochet, the second of the two stitches. The difference between a standard stitch and a post stitch is that in a regular stitch, you are working horizontally, inserting your needle underneath a little “v” along the surface to create your stitch. With a post stitch you are working the around the base of the stitch from the previous row instead of in the top of this stitch. This is quite easy with the double crochet, as it is a taller stitch, and easy to work around the post.
It’s that time of year again: World Wide Knit (and Crochet!) in Public Day is upon us! I love this unofficial holiday because it encourages crafters to come together and celebrate their amazing skills. Now through Sunday, people are gathering all over the globe to show off their yarncrafting skills in public. If you’re in the New York area, you might see some familiar faces at Saturday’s event at the Brooklyn Public Library!
Are you interested in finding a gathering near you? Click here to search the official WWKiP Day website. If there’s no meet up scheduled in your area, you can still celebrate! Simply take your yarn, hooks, and needles to your local coffee shop, park, restaurant, or other public space and start crafting. Make today and every day your own personal WWKiP Day!
Are you celebrating WWKiP Day this year? Where do you plan to crochet or knit in public? Let us know in the comments!
Image courtesy of wwkipday.com.