Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for the 'Crafting' Category

10 Benefits of Making and Receiving Prayer Shawls

April 25th, 2015

Pin It

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 explores how prayer shawls help both the maker and the recipient of the handmade item. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

prayer_shawl_april2015A knit or crochet prayer shawl is intended as a gesture of warmth and comfort for the person who receives the item. The maker prays (or sets their intention) for that person with every stitch. When the item is done, a special prayer or ritual may be done to add emotional value to the item before it is sent to charity or given to the person in need. However, it’s not just the person receiving the shawl who benefits from the act; the crafter also heals.

Benefits of Receiving a Prayer Shawl

People who receive prayer shawls often consider them to be special items that they will keep forever. A prayer shawl can be given to help someone who is going through a difficult illness, grieving the loss of a loved one or reeling from a disaster. The item provides physical comfort, actual warmth and a tangible reminder that there are others in the world that care for them.

Wrapped in the snug hug of a prayer shawl, the person can feel the love that went into those stitches. Barbara, who commented on a previous post we did about prayer shawls shared, “When I had surgery the pastor brought one to the hospital and prayed for me and wrapped it around me. It was very comforting. When I feel anxious I wrap myself in it and I feel the love that was knit into each stitch.”

Benefits of Making a Prayer Shawl

Making a prayer shawl has as many benefits as receiving one. Oftentimes when someone we care about is hurting, we desperately want to help but don’t know how. Making a prayer shawl is a way to channel that stressful energy into something positive. Other benefits people cite of making a knit or crochet prayer shawl include:

  • It takes your mind off of your own stress as you help someone else.
  • It can heal old wounds. For example, someone who has been through cancer herself might crochet prayer shawls for chemo patients and heal their own pain with each stitch.
  • Prayer shawl crafting can be done in groups, which offer camaraderie and companionship to the maker.
  • Some people find it easier to make time for crafting when they have a purpose, such as charity crafting, which allows them to reap many health benefits.
  • It is a way to bring prayer or meditation into your daily life. Research shows that there are numerous benefits to prayer.

Making a prayer shawl is a great way to connect you to your own community. Linda Kennedy finds this is true as she makes baby blankets for the women at her church. (Although we call them prayer shawls, intentional crafting items can be anything at all!) She shares, “I know them and think about them often as I am working on theirs. I have heard some of the women talking about how they can’t wait to get their blanket for their baby. It makes me so happy!” Linda put special attention into a white crochet baby blanket that she made for a mother whose baby had heart problems and they weren’t sure whether or not she would make it and found that this was a way to connect to her during a difficult time. Each experience of prayerful crafting is unique and special. Speaking of another item she made for someone from church, Linda says, “When they gave it to her, she cried because she didn’t think anyone would do something like that for her. Seeing how I can touch someone’s heart is so comfort to me!”

Anja’s Squares: A Story of Making and Receiving

Katinka Steyn shared a story about the healing power of both making and receiving intentionally crafted items. It all began in December 2013 when her eldest daughter Anja had to undergo open-heart surgery after a stent lodged in her heart. She posted in her South African Facebook Group Ons Hekel (which means “we crochet”) about what was happening and “countless messages of prayers and encouragement started pouring in”. Anja made it through surgery and was discharged but continued to have chest pain. On January 22, 2014, Anja passed away in her home.


Celebrate Pi Day with Some Nerdy Knitting and Crochet

March 14th, 2015

Pin It

Happy Pi Day! It’s a special one too because today is 3/14/15, which happens to be the first five digits of Pi (3.1415) and if you’re super-into Pi, you know that this post went up at 9:26am, the next three digits (3.1415926)!

Don’t know what the heck I’m on about? Pi is an irrational number relating to the circumference and diameter of a circle. It’s approximately equal to 3.14, though the decimal places are believed to go on forever. You can learn a little more about Pi here, or you can just have fun with the collection of math and Pi-themed knitting and crochet patterns below!

4395566813_d12a681842_z il_570xN.130447019
Pi Family by Alicia Kachmar Butterfly Pi Shawl by lafarrelly
knit-pie-crust-17 4406859934_f31d559621_z
Knit Pie Top for Pi Day by Lorna and Jill Watt, aka Knits for Life Pi Guy by Ms. Premise-Conclusion
Knit Irrational Scarf by Anne Bruvold Knit Pi Digits Scarf by Christina J
Knit Pi Dish Towel by Shannon Servesko Crochet Amigurumi Pi by Alicia Kachmar

*Note: Some of these patterns require a Ravelry account. Make sure you are signed up or create a free account to access.

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

February 15th, 2015

Pin It


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

Crafter’s Coloring Companion

January 18th, 2015

Pin It

Introducing Crafter’s Coloring Pages, a brand new way to start yarn playing in 2015. Take out your crayons. Treat yourself to a set of brush pens or markers. Coloring pages can be a useful addition to your crafting. 

Here are some ideas for using these pages:

  • Scrapbook your finished page as a personalize record of gifts you’ve given or projects you’ve made.
  • Invite a child into your crafting world. Give them their own scarf to color.
  • Create a handmade #scarfie. Cut and paste a photo of the recipient into the blank face on the coloring page.  Share on social media.
  • Let your coloring pages help you plan your project. Use them to sketch out your ideas for colors or patterns.
  • Before you give a scarf as a gift, offer the recipient some colors to work with and get their design input. They can even add extras, like fringe, by drawing them on.
  • Relaxation! Coloring is a great way to unwind after a hectic day.

Getting started is easy. Just download the image, print and color.

Scarf -finish HR Scarfie finishes hr  with features
#Scapbook Page: Use to archive details you’d like to keep below the image: pattern, yarn, colors, date, recipient, modifications, etc.
:: Click the image for print-size version ::
#Scarfie: Just add a face and color the scarf!
:: Click the image for print-size version ::

Michelle Edwards is a life-long knitter and the author/illustrator of A KNITTER’S HOME COMPANION and many award-winning children’s books including CHICKEN MAN and STINKY STERN FOREVER. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about books in schools throughout the US and beyond. Her newest book, MAX MAKES A CAKE is now available from Random House. To keep in touch with Michelle, visit her website, “Like” her on Facebook . Follow her blog and sign up for her newsletter .

How to Make a Fluffy Pom Pom Topper in 4 Easy Steps!

December 20th, 2014

Pin It

This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter. The Weekly Stitch features new products, tips, and more, so if you enjoy this article and would like more content like it, subscribe!

Wrap Your Gift with a Fluffy Pom Pom Topper

Make a big statement with a fluffy pom-pom! Make it one color for a classy look, or combine two colors for something bolder! Once the gift is unwrapped, the pom-pom can also be used as a luggage tag.

For this project, you will need yarn (for the gift on the left, we use Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in the color Fisherman, coupled with Vanna’s Glamour® in the color Diamond; and for the gift on the right we use Alpine Wool in the colors Chili and Olive), along with a pom-pom maker.  For the tutorial below we used Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in Starlight.

To make your pom-pom follow the directions on the pom-pom maker package or see below on how to make one using cardboard.

Step 1

Take a rectangular piece of cardboard about 2″ X 4″ and use scissors to cut two, half-inch slits. Cut a piece of yarn to a desired length — I cut mine about a foot to wrap around my present — and secure the ends in the slits.