Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Humor' Category


Play Me

May 15th, 2014

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

It has been my pleasure and privilege over the past several years to be interviewed by a few knitting magazines in America and abroad. The experience is always a little jarring, as for the first three-quarters of my life even those who knew me well were less than interested in my life and opinions. In some ways, it’s easier. When nobody cares to ask you about your creative process, you don’t have to worry about admitting that it mostly involves watching funny dog videos on YouTube and taking naps.

But interviewers, even the clever ones, always ask at least a few common questions that quickly become familiar and are easily answered. What’s it like to be a man who knits?* Who taught you knit? What’s your ideal yarn? What’s on your needles right now? You learn quickly that you’d better ready for those.

Once in a while, though, even a softball question will throw you a curve. For me, that question was, “What music do you listen to while you work?”

My answer was that if the work requires concentration–designing a lace motif, say, as opposed to knitting merrily along a sample–I work in silence. No music, no television, no funny dog videos. Silence.

The writer wasn’t terribly pleased with that response. It upset her data. She told me that every other designer she’d spoken to had obligingly offered the name of a recording artist, or at least a musical genre. Would I please do likewise? Or would I prefer she picked something for me?

So I told her to say I was physically unable to knit a single stitch in the morning until I had listened to the whole of Erich Korngold’s opera Die Tote Stadt while sitting in a bubble bath. She cut me out of the article.

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Oh, come on! It’s a new “Out of the Loop” — a Lion Brand Yarn comic created by Todd Clark …

May 11th, 2014

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We’ve teamed up with Todd Clark, creator of the ever-popular Lola series, to bring you “Out of the Loop,” a regular one-panel comic featuring humorous takes on the world of yarn-crafting.

Enjoy and please share widely!

OutOfLoopSheep_05082014

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Introducing “Out of the Loop” — a new Lion Brand Yarn comic created by Todd Clark

April 19th, 2014

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We’ve teamed up with Todd Clark, creator of the ever-popular Lola series, to bring you “Out of the Loop,” a regular one-panel comic that will feature humorous takes on the world of yarn-crafting.

Enjoy and please share widely!

Out_of_the_Loop_042014

*** *** ***

Subscribe to The Weekly Stitch Newsletter

Get a FREE weekly email featuring patterns, articles and special offers. As a bonus for subscribing, we’d like to offer you 15% off your first order! *

:: Sign up now ::

* offer valid only for first-time email subscribers, one coupon per person.


Lola Stripes it Rich!

April 17th, 2014

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Here is the latest installment of Lola, from its creator Todd Clark.

LBStripeItRich_600px

Want to crochet the Stripe it Rich afghan? Get the free pattern here.

Enjoy other installments of Lola here.

*** *** ***

Subscribe to The Weekly Stitch Newsletter

Get a FREE weekly email featuring patterns, articles and special offers. As a bonus for subscribing, we’d like to offer you 15% off your first order! *

:: Sign up now ::

* offer valid only for first-time email subscribers, one coupon per person.


Do Your Ears Hang Low?

April 11th, 2014

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knitbunny
It’s really adorable to see your child and their furry best friend get excited over anything and everything. Whether it’s some fun at the park or a drive to Grandma’s house – these two are an inseparable pair!

Celebrate their love and friendship with Lion Brand’s knit Bunny Hoodie and Bunny Dog Costume this Easter!  They’ll be the best-dressed couple at the annual Easter Egg hunt!


Lost in Space

April 6th, 2014

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

I figure this as good a time as any to begin this essay, as my knitting is temporarily on hold.

The pattern says to work in stockinette until the piece measures six inches from the cast on edge. I may have hit the target, but I won’t know until I measure it, and I can’t measure it because I can’t find my tape measure.

By “my tape measure,” I mean any one of the thirty or so tape measures with which I share a compact urban living space. How compact? Not New York compact, just Chicago compact–about 1,600 square feet. That means one tape measure for every 53.3333 square feet.

I should not have to look very far for a tape measure.

In fact, my tape measure was right here. I know it was right here because when I sat down to cast on I knew I would soon need to measure six inches of stockinette. So I found (hooray!) (one of) my tape measure(s) and put it right here.

So where is it?

I remember when I was a new knitter and every trip to the yarn store meant spending money on needles and notions. You remember that time in your life? You’d go to the yarn store, see the pattern, pick out the yarn. Then the nice person at the counter would say, “You’re going to need a [stitch holder/row counter/tapestry needle/bag of stitch markers/size E crochet hook/16-inch size four circular]? Do you have a [stitch holder/row counter/tapestry needle/bag of stitch markers/size E crochet hook/16-inch size four circular]?”

You didn’t, so you bought one of those, too.

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Rag Doll

March 13th, 2014

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

habit-illo-03-14-lowresWinter in Chicago takes no more notice of the first of March than a mean-eyed general takes of boundary lines. It tramples right along, both fists swinging. Winter here is a bully, unstoppable, and knows it.

As the months drag on I always find myself growing smaller and smaller, retreating under blankets and into tighter corners. The flowers in the borders–if they ever existed, I may have dreamt them–survive the cold by shrinking, and so do I.

In the stillness I turn contemplative. I’ve been thinking through my early childhood, which seemed always at my fingertips until with a snap, a few weeks ago, it withdrew to a place so remote I worried I might lose sight of it completely, forever. If you have dropped a piece of complicated knitting that has fallen off the needles, you know this feeling. One moment, there is a shawl. The next, there is a tangle.

Perhaps this is how life goes, as you grow older? I must have crossed a border without noticing, like the mean-eyed general–punching away without realizing what I left behind.

So now I sit under the blankets, eyes closed, and try to gather up the threads that slipped.

This is my first memory of needlework.

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7 Ways Knitting Keeps You Healthy and Well

February 28th, 2014

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This article originally appeared in TreeHugger and is reprinted with permission from Katherine Martinko.

knitting-keeps-healthy

Last month I wrote an article called “Why bother knitting a scarf?” Much to my surprise, I received thousands of positive reactions from readers who share my love of homemade, local, and beautiful “slow fashion” items. Clearly, knitting is being embraced by people from all walks of life who benefit from its peaceful, relaxing repetition. It got me wondering – what’s really going on when people knit? Why is it so tremendously popular?

It turns out that knitting has incredible health benefits. It makes people feel good in just about every way. A bit of research has revealed a wide range of ways in which knitting helps humans cope, physically and mentally.

1. Knitting is used for therapy. It’s a powerful distractant, helping people manage long-term physical pain. For those who are depressed, knitting can motivate them to connect with the world. It is a conversation starter, allowing people to interact politely without making eye contact. It builds confidence and self-esteem.

2. Knitting is supremely relaxing, which is extremely important for reducing stress and anxiety. Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, wrote The Relaxation Response, in which he recommends the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity to elicit “the relaxation response” – decreased heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Knitting is likened to meditation, sometimes described by knitters as “spiritual” and “Zen-like.”

3. Knitting connects people. By joining a knitting group, a solitary activity turns into a social one. One study, called “The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood” and published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, found that “knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact, and communication with others.”

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So Long? Farewell.

February 12th, 2014

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When a non-knitter asks a questions about my knitting, that question is most often, “How long will it take you to finish that?” or the common variation, “How long would it take you to make me a [type of knitted thing]?”

So I explain that a hat may require several evenings, particularly if worked in a complicated technique or a fine yarn. I tell them the average number of stitches in a pair of socks (eight million) or a plain sweater (seven hundred trillion) and that completion of the latter may take months.

The gasps of astonishment are strong enough to suck the stitch markers right out of a raglan.

You will have noticed that we live in a world that idolizes instant gratification. What we want, we want now. (Did you scroll down to read the cartoon first? You did, didn’t you?) Inevitably, the sight of a person voluntarily engaged in sustained concentration draws the sort of fascinated stares formerly reserved for lake monsters.

Not that I make any claims of superiority. During one of the first knitting classes I ever took, the redoubtable Galina Khmeleva held aloft a completed Orenburg lace shawl, roughly six feet square. The yarn was finer than a typical modern lace weight–the sort you often hear called “cobweb”–and the entire thing was absolutely riddled with yarn overs.

“How long–” one of the students (okay, me) said breathlessly.

“Six months,” said Galina.

I said nothing, but my heart whispered, “Nope.”

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Yarncraft Resolutions from Lion Brand Staff

January 23rd, 2014

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We’re well into 2014 and many of you have since made (and perhaps broken) resolutions and goals for this year. You’ve shared with us some amazing goals like knitting a pair of socks a week, to learning Fair Isle knitting, to even learning how to knit your very first sweater. Besides the usual “organize my stash,” I really want to improve my knitting skills beyond the basic knit and purl and maybe try to learn how to cable. As a pretty skilled crocheter, I’d also like to try Irish lace crochet.

This topic of resolutions inspired me to asked some of the writers and staff at Lion Brand if they had any goals they’d like to accomplish for this year. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Kathryn Vercillo, who writes for our blog told us
“I want to play more with free-form crochet, try techniques I’ve never done and push my crochet writing in new ways.”
freeform-coral
Close-up of coral from
the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s Under the Sea” window last summer.

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