Brenda Dayne is a knitter and a storyteller who knows the power of stitch memory. She is the host of the wildly popular knitting podcast, Cast On and has been telling stories through her knitting for years.
I first fell in love with her podcast in the summer of 2006. It was my last free summer before leaving for the Jersey Boys tour. I used to be a Stage Manager, but my real passion was knitting. Listening to Brenda talking about following her passion was a big part of my quitting my 22 year career in theatre to pursue knitting full time, and two years later, joining Lion Brand to open the Lion Brand Yarn Studio (our retail store & education center in New York City).
Now I’m sooo excited that Brenda is launching her North American tour at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on May 3rd. Brenda will be collecting yarncrafter’s memories as part of her art piece called “A Memorable Yarn.” The finished piece will exhibit at the Wool Museum in Wales through the summer of 2012. This is where you all come in.
Each month at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, we are lucky enough to have a special guest join us. We have had wonderful designers, fiber artists, authors, and teachers who come in for our free special event night. The store is closed and customers who RSVP’ed fill the audience for these great talks, presentations, and trunk shows. With all the yarn, stories, and yarncrafting, a great time is had by all.
Since not everyone can join us here in NY, we film an interview and put it up on YouTube so the whole world can join in on the fun. Here’s a playlist of interviews so far (click the left and right arrows to browse all the videos):
Planning a trip to the NYC area? Be sure to check out the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s blog for upcoming free events! We hope you stop on by!
Alice of OMG! Heart has written a wonderful review of our retail store, the Lion Brand Yarn Studio [LBYS] in NYC. Not only do her kind words make us blush, but they also highlight some of our favorite aspects of the store.
It’s the perfect combination of local yarn shop along with what I’m looking for in an NYC yarn shop! Personal yet professional attention. Unlikely on first glance since Lion Brand Yarns is actually a large nationwide company that you’d normally associate with a more mass market approach. But no. Their lovely bright studio, 2 floors, has all the character and style of a small boutique store but without the prices and all the comforts and perks a large store can afford!
You can read her full post by clicking here, which goes into our free help, classes, groups, and more. But don’t just take OMG! Heart’s word for it: next time you’re in the New York City area, come check out LBYS for yourself. We’re sure you’ll “heart” us, too!
The Lion Brand Yarn Studio is located at 34 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Despite the fact that it snowed at the end of March, our thoughts are turning to spring as we head into April. At the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC, that means cottons, lace, knitting and crochet, and trying new things! Here’s a peek at what some of us have on our hooks and needles:
This spring, I’m ready to try my hand at my first crocheted sweater. I have always been a big sweater knitter and I save my crochet for scarves and hats. No more. I saw the cover of this month’s Interweave Crochet and it screams out for LB Collection Superwash Merino. I’ve swatched it on two different hook sizes (on for my hips and then the smaller hook for the rest). I know if I hit a problem, I have our expert Crochet Doctor in house–Andrea to the rescue!
For my warmer-weather crafting this year I’m branching out (spring pun!) into new territory, trying my first crochet garment pattern. The crochet project is the Circle Vest from LionBrand.com. It’s originally done in Vanna’s Choice, but I’m doing it in the Recycled Cotton for a more summer-wear option. I think this is the perfect stepping-stone garment, since it doesn’t have sleeves for shaping!
I’ve been working on the Emmaline short-sleeved top from Knitty.com with Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton in Dusty Blue. It’s almost done, so I might be able to wear it soon if the weather ever decides to stop hating us. Wait, what’s that? Snow forecasted for tonight? Never mind
This spring I wanted to explore two of my favorite things, yarn dyeing and lace shawl knitting. I’m experimented with acid dye and the LB Collection Baby Alpaca. Since Alpaca takes dye differently then wool it ended up this great kettle dyed look. Stay tuned for a new dyeing class that I will be teaching in the Studio starting this Summer. Here is the start of my shawl (Little Arrowhead Shawl, a free pattern on KnittingDaily.com).
This spring I’m splitting my time between knit and crochet.
I’ve just finished my crochet garment, the Persimmon Pullover from LionBrand.com. To fit my style, I elongated the pattern and turned it into a tunic to wear over leggings. I used Superwash Merino Cashmere in Wild Berry.
Not to play favorites with crafts, my knit project in progress is Roman sweater (free pattern on Ravelry.com), and I’m using Cotton-Ease in Cherry. I was a bit frustrated because although I achieved gauge my first 2 attempts turned out too large. I tinked (that’s unknitting, knit spelled backwards) those and finally used the X-small size. We will see how it turns out once I seam it. I plan on spray painting it with a metallic color at the end because I saw a similar sweater in a store recently. I really was attracted to the pattern because of the one shoulder diagonal cable and the fact that it would be a good summer sweater.
Want to show us what you’re working on? Add your project to the Customer Gallery on LionBrand.com!
We were absolutely delighted by the overwhelming response we received to our Window Caption Contest! We’ve read through all of the entries, and we’ve selected a winner and 5 honorable mentions!
“Yarnia: The Lion, the Stitch, and the Wardrobe” – Karen Frech
“Pair Ice Skates: $64.99. One Hour Skating Rockefeller Center: $8.00. Handmade Lion Brand Yarn Sweater: Priceless.” – Lori Decker
“Knitting in a winter wonderland.” – Nicole Cushing
“It’s the true ‘March’ of the penguins! In like a Lion, wooly like a lamb!” – Janice MacDonald
“In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion skates tonight.” – Rosie Ankers
“Lions and penguins and yarn…Oh my!” – Melanie Blakeney
We want to thank everyone who entered. You all made this contest a huge success, and we loved reading all of your imaginative captions. Congratulations to Karen for winning; we hope you enjoy your prize!
Here at Lion Brand, we appreciate a little fun, and many of us collect whimsical objects to keep around our offices: I keep photos and buttons from all of the different yarn events I’ve attended on my bulletin boards, David collects lions of all sorts, Jess makes and keeps sea creatures on her desk, and there are lots of other cute and quirky examples.
Contributed by various members of the staff (I brought the wooden llama wearing the yellow hat back from my last San Diego trip) these little guys even have a whole wardrobe of coats and accessories made by the staff (that’s what’s hanging on those hooks below the shelf), the sheep and llamas range from those made of yarn or felt to the sheep-shaped needle gauge and the soap-on-a-rope black sheep hanging in the bottom part of the picture.
Want to make a lamb for your own space? Here are a couple of patterns that are adorable:
What fun, yarny goodness do you collect? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
This is a guest blog post by Ben from our NJ offices, who spent the day with Natalie Bayer, the winner of the Lion Brand and Hancock Yarn Imagination Contest.
When Natalie Bayer, age 88 and the Grand Prize Winner of the Yarn Imagination Contest visited the Lion Brand Yarn Studio as part of her prize package, she said to me, “I loved your Studio. It was a once in a lifetime experience!” [Pictured: Natalie and Peggy in front of the Studio]
Natalie–an experienced and professional knitter originally from New Zealand, now living in Virginia Beach, VA–created a Lion themed sweater that won her a round-trip ticket and 3-nights hotel stay in NYC, including a special VIP tour of the Lion Brand Studio given by David Blumenthal, president of Lion Brand. It was a truly special experience for her, and I was glad to be a part of it!
The day started out with Marlene (who you may remember from blog posts such as this one) and myself meeting Natalie and her travel companion, Peggy, at Newark International Airport. Natalie was an instant inspiration. We were immediately drawn to her sassy, charming, witty, funny and upbeat personality.
On the way into New York City, Natalie shared stories with us about her journey to the U.S. and how she learned to knit at 5 years old and has kept on stitching ever since. In her earlier days, she averaged 85 sweaters per year! Natalie also told us, “I’ve knit for profit but mostly for pleasure. For every sweater sold, there are many more that I’ve given away.” Not having been to New York in over 46 years, she was looking forward to visiting our Studio and seeing “all that yarn” and meeting David. In fact, she dressed up for the occasion.
As we walked into the Studio, Natalie’s reaction was priceless. Her jaw dropped as she stood in awe looking at our winter window display. Entering the store she said, “Did I die and go to heaven?”
On the tour, David shared with Natalie a little bit about Lion Brand’s history and values, and Natalie told David, “You have such a community-focused company. It was a great honor to have won the contest and meet you.” [Pictured: David and Natalie]
What really struck me about Natalie is how passionate she is about Lion Brand. She told us that, with her eyes closed, she could touch and recognize our yarns. She’s very particular about her yarns and looks for very specific weights and properties. What’s her favorite yarn? Wool-Ease, she told us, because “Wool-Ease washes so well that my sweaters have been passed down from generation-to-generation and they still feel and look new.”
In addition to the tour of the Studio, we took Natalie and Peggy to Mesa Grill, celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s restaurant around the corner from the Studio. Natalie was also interviewed by Patty, our Studio director for the video below. Finally, we topped off the day with Natalie and Peggy as the special guests at the Studio’s special event night, featuring popular knit & crochet designer Nicky Epstein. [Pictured: Natalie holding her prize-winning sweater, Nicky, and Patty]
Natalie is one of a kind. It was a real treat and pleasure for us to meet her and have her visit our Studio.
Click on the video below to hear from Natalie in her own words:
Keep an eye out for Lion Brand contests throughout the year at your local store and on LionBrand.com!
Here in New York, the holiday windows are a fun and festive tradition during the winter season, and at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, we’re excited to be a part of it. This year’s window features a skating lion and his penguin friends–click here to visit the Studio’s blog and see more photos.
To celebrate the new window, we invite YOU to write a caption for it, and the winner will get $250 to spend on LionBrand.com!
Contest ends on December 17th, 11:59 pm EST. Please note that you MUST use the form below (if you’re viewing this blog post on an RSS reader or in e-mail, please click on the title of the blog post to view it in its entirety). Only one entry per computer. You may return to this blog post and edit your entry at any point before the contest ends. Open to residents over the age of majority of the US and countries to which LionBrand.com ships (please click here to see a list of international countries to which we ship).
Here at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, our unique retail store in NYC, the entire staff knits, crochets, and yarncrafts, sharing their skills in the dozens of classes and workshops we offer…and like other yarncrafters, they love to show off their FOs (that’s “finished objects” in yarn-speak) by wearing them to the Studio. I always love stopping by the Studio and seeing what projects they’re working on both for the Studio and in their personal lives. Earlier this month, two of our lovely Studio mavens happened to have brand new sweaters:
Andrea (left) is wearing her new Victoria Cardigan, knit in the Bluebell color of our beautiful new Baby Wool. It’s a 100% wool yarn that’s machine washable AND dryable, making it super-durable and easy care, and the contemporary spring palette makes for great baby AND adult women’s garments.
Kendra (right) is wearing her modified version of the Owls Sweater, knit in Wool-Ease Chunky in Nantucket. She changed it from a pullover to a cardigan by steeking the sweater and knitting button bands–how cool is that?
Do you have a project that you’ve made in Lion Brand yarns that you’d like to show off? Click here to submit it to our Customer Gallery.
Want to see the Studio’s customers and their projects? Click here to see the Studio’s News & Events Blog’s “Look What I Made” blog posts.
One thing I love about making small projects is the chance to experiment with stitch patterns. We’ve had some great knit blocks turned in from customers that used our stitch finder for inspiration. We’ve seen Basketweave, Moss Stitch, Sugar Cubes and more.
Here are a few crochet blocks from our window that customers have turned in, that looked fun. Our own Studio crochet expert, Gina, took a look to see how they made their squares–see below to make your own afghan blocks in these patterns.
Dark Blue – front post/back post pattern
Row 1: sc across, turn
Row 2: Ch 3, 2 dc, *fpdc, 2 dc, repeat from * to end, turn
Row 3: Ch 3, 2dc, *bpdc, 2dc, repeat from * to end, turn
Repeat last two rows until piece measures 9”. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Green – basic shell stitch pattern
Row 1: Sc across, turn
Row 2: Ch 1, sc, (5 dc in next sc, skip 1, sc, sk 1) repeat ( ) 3 times, end with sc, turn
Row 3: Ch 3, 2 dc in same sc, (sc in 3rd dc of previous shell, 5 dc in next sc), repeat ( ) 3 times, end with sc in 3rd dc, 3 dc in last sc
Repeat last two rows until piece measures 9”. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Light Blue – easy textured pattern
Row 1: Sc across, turn
Row 2: Ch 3, *dc, sc, repeat from * to the end
Row 3: Ch 1, *sc, dc, repeat from * to the end
Repeat last two rows until piece measures 9” tall. Fasten off and weave in ends.
In the NYC area? Join our collection and stop by the Studio to drop off your blocks; learn more by clicking here. If you’re not in the NYC area and would still like to donate, please click here to visit Warm Up America! Foundation’s website and send your blocks directly to the organization.
What stitches do you like to experiment with? Leave a comment and tell us!