Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Community' Category

Teaching Kids to Crochet and Knit: Why Waldorf Schools Incorporate Crafting into their Curriculum

February 17th, 2015

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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. In this post she shares how the Waldorf schools incorporate knitting and crochet into their curriculum, benefiting children in a variety of ways. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

I have to confess that I was a little intimidated when I first walked into the 3rd Grade Handwork Class at Sebastopol Charter School in California. The children seemed so magical and creative as they prepared to work on their crochet projects. Before they began, they sang a song, led by teacher Kristen McLaughlin, about the cotton plant that grows to become the yarn they work with.

Today, in fact, the kids were working with wool. Kristen, who’s been teaching at the school since 1997, used to have the kids work with double-worsted cotton yarn but has recently switched to wool. The kids don’t seem to mind as their hands wield the hooks to create the shapes that will become water bottle cozies, hats and granny squares. With half of the school year behind them, these kids are well-versed in the basics of crochet.

By third grade, the students have a couple of years of handwork under their belts — a critical component of the Waldorf curriculum. They begin with knitting in first and second grades, starting with finger knitting, and then knitting with two needles. In third grade, the handwork is crochet. In fourth grade they return to knitting, learning to knit on four needles. In later grades, they add cross-stitch and sewing to their handwork skills set.

Top 5 things the Big Apple Knitters Guild Loved (We Bet You’ll Love Them Too!)

February 15th, 2015

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This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Big Apple Knitters Guild to unveil some of our newest offerings, live and in person. As the new Brand Ambassador, and a fifth generation member of the family business at Lion Brand, I was bursting with excitement to meet about eighty knitters and to talk about the yarn world that I love so much.

I was SO energized by their enthusiasm that I want to share with you their top 5 “oohs and aahs” of the evening:

Penelope Poncho 1. The Penelope Poncho – made with Country®, who doesn’t love this snugly, cozy great easy knit project?
pd-rpda 2. Artisan Gift Wrap – I need it and I need it now! I just want to wrap my cats in it.
3. LB Collection® yarns – These yarns are really well-priced, stunning, and they are not going to make me broke. Can I have some more please?
100-202a 4. 2-in-1 Tote – This invention is genius! Always searching for your sunglasses and hoping they don’t get tangled with your yarn? Perfect, this one’s for you.
l40703a 5. Hudson Riverfront Hat – There is nothing bad about some glitz and faux-fur – Pelt and Gold Leaf® create the magic here. I love this hat and I need to make it myself.

I look forward to speaking to more groups in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area so if you would like me to visit, please contact me at In the meantime, I share the inside scoop about what it’s like living the yarny life at Lion Brand on Intagram and Twitter, where you can follow me @Shiraroars

6 Fast-Finish Crochet Cowls: a #Scarfie Roundup!

January 27th, 2015

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Over the past few months, we’ve shared #scarfie projects from many of our favorite bloggers who all used Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® to design beautiful cowls, most of which require only one or two balls.

I put together a collection of their wonderful #scarfie projects in case you missed any. They’re all simple crochet patterns that even a beginner crocheter will be able to understand and work through. So take a gander and see which one fits your style!

P.S: We encourage you to share photos of your handmade scarf or cowl projects by tagging @LionBrandYarn and using the hashtag, #scarfie. You’ll have the chance to be featured in our #scarfie gallery on Facebook!

Repeat Crafter Me 2 ResizedRepeat Crafter Me
Crochet Hooded Cowl in Fig and Fisherman
Maybe Matilda Scarfie 2 resizedMaybe Matilda
Chunky Scalloped Cowl in Grass
All About Ami resized
All About Ami
Twist Cowl in Sandstone
PetalstoPicots Scarfie 2 resizedPetals to Picots
Quick & Comfy Crochet Scarf in Oatmeal
Moogly Scarf 2 resizedMoogly Blog
Stormy Weather Cowl in Fig and Charcoal
Crafty GeminiScarfie 2 resized
Crafty Gemini
Uptown Circle Scarfie in Eggplant


6 Reasons Why Knitting and Crochet Group Therapy Works

January 21st, 2015

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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. In this post she shares how crafts can heal when used as a social activity. She also introduces us to Yarndevu, a new resource connecting knitters and crocheters. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Knitting and crochet are often used therapeutically in group settings for substance abuse, pregnant women on bed rest and for those coping with social anxiety.  There are several reasons why  group crafting is so effective in addressing these challenges.

The Craft is the Focal Point


A primary reason why knitting and crochet are useful in group therapy is that the focus is taken off of the patient and put on the needlework itself. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California offered a crochet group to pregnant mothers on bed rest to help them take their minds off of their stress and fears, while still allowing them to connect with other women going through the same experience.

People in therapy groups who are coping with grief, abuse and other difficult situations may find it easier to begin talking with others about a project they are working on before getting comfortable enough to talk about more personal issues. Even in less intense situations, it can be helpful to focus on knitting and crochet in a group.  These activities are great ice breakers and relaxing at the same time.


Hand Therapy for Knitters: Tips and Techniques for Hand Health

January 14th, 2015

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Colette Hand Massage image
We’re excited to have Colette Smith stop by the Lion Brand Yarn booth (Booth #213, 5th floor) at Vogue Knitting Live NYC this weekend to demonstrate Hand Therapy for Knitters. Colette is a knitter, knitting instructor and fiber artist whose work you’ve likely seen at other fiber art shows. Colette knits beautiful, mythical dragons with yarn and other materials and her work will be on display in the gallery area of VK Live (5th floor). She’ll also be present at the Lion Brand booth on Saturday and Sunday to demonstrate hand massage techniques to help alleviate hand and nerve pain.

After consulting with doctors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists, Colette discovered and perfected useful massages for her hands using a rubber bounce ball – the kind you find in toy dispensers at the supermarket!

We hope to see you at our booth on January 17th and 18th to receive a ball and learn the techniques for yourself!

  • Saturday, January 17th: 12:30-1:30pm
  • Sunday, January 18th: 10:30-11:30am

Click here to see Colette talk about some of her massage techniques.

Colette Hand Massage video clip image