Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Lion Staff' Category


12 Things We’re Doing Besides Knitting & Crocheting: Cooking, Reading, Traveling and more!

May 16th, 2015

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Here in the marketing department at Lion Brand, we talk a lot about knitting and crocheting and yarn and magic loops and swatches and yarn weights (we know our DK from our super bulky) and and and … bottom line is that we’re all experts in one way or another when it comes yarn. We can talk about it all day — and we do! You may however be surprised to know that we’re also fairly well-rounded with an excess of interests, hobbies and obsessions that go beyond the hooks and needles.

We thought you might enjoy a peek into our inner worlds. Have fun and please share some of your own personal interests outside of knitting and crocheting in the comments below.


Margaux:The place I like the most these days is my rooftop; it has nothing fancy but the view of the city is spectacular. On sunny evenings we like to relax there and share a nice bottle of wine with my neighbors. Recently, I had a great time at a low-key dance performance: Andy Warhol’s 15 (Color Me, Warhol) at Dixon Place. This small theater is a non-profit organization committed to supporting the creative process by presenting original works of dance, theater, music, visual art… It’s a very unique place! And continuing on my “discover NYC” tour, I discovered my favorite restaurant in the city: Hometown. It may sound a bit silly but this BBQ joint encompasses the exact image I had of traditional American food.

chicken facing rightShira: Well, I feel like I’m Kelly Clarkson preparing for my summer tour. I am starting my tour by heading to Atlanta to talk to the North Georgia Knitting Guild and the Chain Gang on May 21st! You can check out where I’ll be next here.

On a more personal level I have been getting back into cooking. Life happened and I just put cooking to the side. However a friend came in from out of town and I was feeling very Martha Stewart sooo … A friend of mine told me about this delicious recipe for Hummus-Crusted Chicken. It is so yummy, a real crowd-pleaser and SOOOOO easy! I don’t even use veggies as the recipe calls for! Here’s what you do: 1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees; 2) Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; 3) Coat the chicken breasts in hummus, then sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika on top; 4) Squeeze on some lemon juice (I then take the lemon and slice it and put it on top of the chicken); 5) Bake for 25-30min and oulah … I guarantee that you will have re-occurring guests for dinner!

Lorena: My best friend from elementary school just got married to a guy we grew up with, and another old friend just proposed to his girlfriend! The wedding bug has officially hit my circle of friends and I’ve been inspired to read Galt Neiderhoffer’s “The Romantics”, about a group of friends reuniting for a wedding (art imitating life?) Since the weather’s nice, I’ve been taking my reading outdoors to Riverside Park, Union Square Park, and, of course, Central Park. Up next for me? Exploring (and reading in) Brooklyn’s Botanical Garden!

zoewilliams_OraclesPSGGalleryZoe: I’m getting ready for my third solo exhibition and it’s really crunch time now! Even after the artwork is finished, there is still photography, marketing, packing and shipping to be done before the show can finally be hung in the gallery. ORACLES opens Friday, June 5th at PSG Gallery in Philadelphia. If you are in the Philadelphia area and enjoy surreal sculpture in needle felted wool, I hope you’ll check it out!

Brandyce: New York City has so many different museums and galleries, it’s almost like you need to carry around a checklist just to keep track with what’s going on! I just recently went to the Brooklyn Museum to check out the exhibition, Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks. The museum itself currently has some exhibitions which are quite enlightening and make you think about how you interpret the world around you. I look forward to seeing a lot more art this summer; The MET has just unveiled its new rooftop garden piece and I can’t wait to check it out.

Hudson tennisIlana: After the winter we just had, all I want to do is be outside and soak up the warmth. As soon as the temperature hit the high 50s I started playing tennis. In a city where real estate is at a premium, you either have to wake up early to reserve a court or wait in line. Court time may be a scarcity but I don’t mind waiting for a spot at my favorite location on the Hudson River where I can play under the lights and see a sunset. That’s New York. You face a lot of challenges but the benefits are pretty amazing!

Danielle: I went to Cort Theater last Saturday to see Larry David in his new play, Fish in the Dark. It’s a quirky show about a dysfunctional family facing the death of their patriarch. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry … it’s great. Fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm will appreciate the hidden references (well, one is pretty, pretty obvious). If you’re visiting New York in the next while, grab tickets if you can – I give this show a big thumbs up! (Pro tip: Larry David’s run ends June 7th and Jason Alexander steps in on June 9th – great news for Seinfeld fans!)

sarah_burgersSarah: I just got back from a vacation in Las Vegas. While I didn’t do much gambling, I did a bit of eating.

Shake Shack has my favorite burger so I had to stop at the one in the New York New York casino. It was just as good as home! I also went to In-N-Out Burger since we don’t have any on the east coast! Right now Las Vegas is the only place where you can get both cult favorites! There’s a big rivalry.

Which one do you prefer?

Welcome Lorena!


A Little Glamour in Sin City

May 14th, 2015

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I’d never wanted to visit Vegas. I don’t like to gamble and I don’t like crowds (even after almost ten years living in New York City). Quite frankly, Las Vegas seemed like the opposite of my favorite thing to do which is curl up with my knitting and a good movie. But when I got the opportunity to go on a some-expenses-paid trip to Sin City, I felt like I shouldn’t turn it down.

Since I spend a lot of my day perusing Lion Brand’s free patterns, I’m often spotting new projects that I want to start. When I saw the Sparkle Slipon in our Fashion Show, I was totally in love. It was fun and summery and oh so sparkly! I felt like I needed to have a little glitz to wear by the pool if I was going to visit the land of showgirls!

But I was a little nervous. I’d just taught myself how to make granny squares after years of knitting. I’d never crocheted anything bigger than a coaster. When I read over the pattern, I realized that the Sparkle Slipon is a lot like a granny square. I’ve never shied away from a crafting challenge so I decided to dive in. I got some help (and a lot of encouragement) from Arabia in the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. I wanted to use fewer colors than the pattern called for so she helped me calculate how much yarn I would need and, after making the lower body too tight, she gave me advice on how to make easy changes.

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This was the perfect project for a novice crocheter! It certainly was a challenge for me and it’s not perfect but this was a great way to translate what I knew how to do into a big project. I was able to pick up some new skills but I wasn’t pulled too far out of my comfort zone since it had so little shaping. The color and fiber made this garment just the right weight for a swimsuit cover up. And since Vanna’s Glamour® is machine washable and dryable, I won’t have to worry about getting sunscreen on this top.

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On my very first day by the pool, a woman stopped me to say how much she loved my top. I don’t usually let people know when I’m wearing something handmade but this time, I was so proud, I had to let it spill! She said, “I’m a crocheter, too! I was looking at that top and I thought, ‘I have to make one!'” I was so happy! I love inspiring other people with the things that I make!

I’m really looking forward to wearing this next time I get by the pool!

Have you ever gotten an unexpected compliment on something you made? Do you take baby steps when you’re learning something new or do you dive in?


Meet Shira Blumenthal: Lion Brand Yarn’s Brand Ambassador!

May 11th, 2015

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Shira_Studio_CountryYarnLion Brand® Yarn, a family-owned and operated yarn company, announces the official launch of a new web series with its newly appointed Brand Ambassador, Shira Blumenthal, a fifth generation member of the family. The new web series, Tea with Shira, was created to share the story of this 137-year-old brand directly with crafters in person and online. Tea with Shira launches with three videos including a Mother’s Day episode, where she interviews her mother, whose husband, David Blumenthal, is the President and CEO of the company.

Shira began working for the company in 2013 as an associate in the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, the company’s Flagship retail location in Manhattan, which is a global destination for yarn lovers.  At the Studio, where customer service and education is key, she specialized in teaching children to knit and helped customers find the yarns and inspiration they were looking for.

Now, as an associate in the Marketing Department, Shira is part of a team that engages directly with consumers through conferences, email marketing and social media, including YouTube, Pinterest, Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Shira will be traveling the country to speak with knit and crochet guilds, as well as appearing in videos about Lion Brand® products, behind the scenes videos about the company, and starring in a new video series called Tea with Shira.


:: can’t see the playlist above? click here: http://lby.co/1KBThSq ::
Find Shira’s upcoming schedule below:

2015
May 21- Atlanta, GA- North Georgia Knitting Guild and Chain Gang Crochet Guild
May 28- Long Island, NY- Eastern Long Island Knitting Guild
June 15- Greyslake, IL- Greyslake Crochet Guild
June 16- Chicago, IL- Windy City Knitting Guild
June 29- Caldwell, NJ- Caldwell Crafting Groups
July 22 – 24- San Diego, CA- Knit and Crochet Show
October 8- Merrick, NY- Long Island Knit and Crochet Guild
October 19- Chappaqua, NY – Westchester Knitting Guild

2016
February 8- Madison, WI- Madison Knitters’ Guild

For further information, including how to arrange for Shira to speak, please contact Brandyce Pechillo.

About Lion Brand® Yarn Company

Lion Brand® Yarn Company is a 5th generation, family-owned and operated business, and a beloved American brand since 1878. The company is devoted to inspiring and educating knitters and crocheters with yarns, patterns, how-tos, and ideas that elevate their yarn crafting experience.

 


There’s Nothing Crafty About Airport Security

April 13th, 2015

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As a knitter I always wonder when I travel, “can I bring my knitting needles with me?” That’s a question that maybe you ask yourself too.  My co-worker Sarah wrote this post which offers some helpful tips for traveling with knitting and what handy dandy tools we’re allowed to use. I always use it as a guide, and this past trip I traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica with no reason to worry, but I guess who doesn’t worry a little about getting their needles taken away from them.

Well now to the tale…

As I mentioned, I was just on vacation in Jamaica and  I stayed in beautiful Montego Bay. Of course, being who I am — a diehard knitter —  I brought my knitting along as I always do. I love to knit on the beach. I find it creates an ultra-calming feeling; the ocean, the knitting, no way to be stressed! I was working on my sweater and a gift for my friend. Everything was great.

 

But then it was time to go home.

I was going through security in Jamaica and I usually never have a problem with my bag, but this time I did. She asked if she could check my bag and I said, “of course.” What do I have to hide? But then as she went through my make-up and other bags inside, I realized “MY NEEDLES!” I started to get really nervous, not only nervous, but a slow-motion anger was building inside my belly!

 I thought I was going to need to fight someone!

Thank goodness I didn’t have anything on my needles, but she was looking at them in question, like “what are these?” She then went to her supervisor and asked if they were “ok?” I felt like she was talking about my children. I mean she was holding at least $60 worth of needles in her hands … needles I hold like they’re new borns!! I was standing there thinking, “How could she be treating them like this?!” Not to mention the fire in my belly that was growing faster and faster…. These are my identity! Don’t you …. And then she threw them back in my bag and attempted to be neat, but wasn’t. I closed my bag up and it took about five breaths to bring me back down to this planet.

Tell me I’m not the only one!

 I know I can’t be the only one who has been through this scare. Have your needles or crochet hooks ever been taken away from you? What did you do? How did you feel?


10 More Things We’re Doing Besides Knitting & Crocheting

April 10th, 2015

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Here in the marketing department at Lion Brand, we talk a lot about knitting and crocheting and yarn and magic loops and swatches and yarn weights (we know our DK from our super bulky) and and and … bottom line is that we’re all experts in one way or another when it comes yarn. We can talk about it all day — and we do! You may however be surprised to know that we’re also fairly well-rounded with an excess of interests, hobbies and obsessions that go beyond the hooks and needles.

We thought you might enjoy a peek into our inner worlds. Have fun and please share some of your own personal interests outside of knitting and crocheting in the comments below.



Shira:
Right now I don’t know what it is about Spring, but while cleaning out my closet and doing some spring cleaning I feel like I’m doing a lot of shopping! My favorite shop is a little boutique on the Upper West side of Manhattan called ShiShi. Also there’s a website I love called Soft Surroundings — literally you’ll want to snuggle with everything, it’s sooo soft!

5647697408_c553259a54_mZoe: I’ve been getting into birdwatching. I’ve got a pair of binoculars and so far I’ve spotted some familiar birds, like Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Starlings, and a few others that were new to me, like the Purple Finch, Tufted Titmouse, and Red-winged Blackbird. I’ve even had the pleasure of several Red-tailed Hawk sightings in Central Park.

Ilana: Almost every morning I spend an hour before work reading blogs. In addition to marketing and social media blogs, I read about culture, creativity and innovation.  Some of my favorites are Thought Catalog, Mental Floss, Digital Tonto, and 99 Percent and HBR.  My secret to staying ahead of the curve on topics that matter to me personally and professionally is a heavy dose of curiosity and Feedly.

nakBrandyce: I’m trying to get into the spring spirit, and the best way I do that during this transitional time is by switching up nail polish colors with pretty, feminine hues. I was just sporting Essie’s awesome deep lavender shade, play date, and now I’ve got my eye on the coat azure color. Coat azure is one of the few bottles of nail polish I have at home that’s halfway finished, I love it!

Sarah: I’m very excited that Mad Men starts again on April 5th. I spent the past weekend watching the first half of this past season again so I had all of the details fresh in my mind. I recently saw the Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. It was so cool to get up close with the sets and costumes! I’ll be so sad to see the show come to an end!

Danielle: I just finished reading Kim Gordon’s memoir, “Girl in a Band” and I really enjoyed it. It started off a bit rocky, but once I got deeper into it, I couldn’t put it down. Outside of being the bassist for Sonic Youth, I didn’t know a whole lot about her. She often presents as this moody, evasive being which, after reading this book, I understand is not really her true character. She offers an interesting perspective on the realities of an artist’s life in NYC in the 1980s and 1990s and, of course, being a girl in a band.

Margaux: Being new to the team, I’m really excited to discover Lion Brand’s world and people! When I’m not knitting, I teach French in Brooklyn and get to share my culture (from French grammar to French wine!). I like going to Zumba classes where I forget I’m actually not on a dance floor … dancing is my way to relax. Being also new to NYC, I spend my weekends wandering around with my husband and my two daughters trying to understand how this incredible city works.

Welcome Margaux!

:: Blue Jay photo courtesy of FishHawk via Creative Commons license ::


8 Colorful Landscapes Projects Knit and Crocheted By Bloggers, Ravelry Users, and Lion Brand Staff!

March 24th, 2015

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The intense colors of Landscapes® have really motivated people to craft with this yarn. With names like Apple Orchard, Boardwalk, Metropolis, and Tropics, it’s very easy to be inspired. Whether you knit or crochet, are a beginner or veteran, the roving texture of this yarn will work up in a lovely fabric for you.

From one-stitch cowls to blankets, a simple project becomes a beautifully detailed project. And now until March 31st, Landscapes® is 20% off!

Here is a collection of stunning projects from our favorite bloggers, Ravelry users and Lion Brand staff:

 brioche-cowl-1  tropics cowl  30243-apple  Landscapes Cowl-metropolis
Hands Occupied made this very colorful cowl using a Brioche Stitch. She even  includes a video tutorial for those who work right-handed or left-handed. Ilana from our Marketing Department knit this beautifully striped cowl with Tropics using just one stitch, the garter stitch! A customer posted to our project gallery the Crocheted Vest with our Apple Orchard colorway. Check out those stripes! Brandyce from Marketing is currently working on a seed stitch cowl in Metropolis — she loves watching her project work up in texture and color.
 bridgercwol-sanddune-boardwalk  marlene-scarf  baby booties  colonie-celebrationscarfie
lajoyagirl made two beautiful crochet cowls in Boardwalk and Sand Dune Marlene from Sales  chose Apple Orchard to make the Back to School #Scarfie as a gift because it made her think of the person’s  bright, cheerful, and friendly personality.  mommy2maya used Apple Orchard to make these adorable baby booties. Heidi from our Colonie store made the My Celebration #Scarfie in Tropics as her project of the month!

What patterns do you like to knit or crochet with Landscapes®? Share with us below!


How I’m Staying On Track With The Sweater Knit Along

March 10th, 2015

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I’m antsy. I don’t like to have too many projects going at once because I know I’ll never finish them. One might say I’m loyal to the project I start; I don’t start another project until it’s finished. However I’ve taken on a big challenge with my first sweater and I need mental break. I’m participating in the current Knit Along in the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and if you’ve been following my posts about it, you know that I’ve been working hard to keep up with the class.

Taking A Break From Knitting … By Knitting Something Else

I thought I’d take on a few small projects as a way to take a break from my sweater. My friends who are twins just celebrated their 30th birthday (they say they just turned 25 … but I digress.) I love making gifts for my friends because they’re always made with love and they’re one-of-a-kind. And they love when I make them something special; they refer to it as “Made by Shi Stuff.”  So I suggested some wristers and to make them special they could choose any of our premium LB Collection® yarns they wanted.  They chose Angora Merino; Hadassah chose Pewter and Yaffa chose Blue Bell.

 

The Plan

Even though I need to make two pairs of wristers, it’s a nice little break.  It’s like Where is Waldo, sometimes you’re looking so hard for Waldo you need a break and once you come back, you find him right away.  I’m hoping that these wristers are my break, and then I will come back to my sweater and zoom through.

How many projects do you have going at once?  Or are you like me, and are a one-at-a-time project kinda crafter?


A New Way to Look at Mistakes

March 5th, 2015

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I now have a rhythm to my sweater. I’ve come to terms with the likelihood that I will probably not finish my sweater by March 18th, the last KAL meeting. As much as I would have loved to have finished a sweater in a month, a lot of things are going on, and sometimes while I wish all I could do is knit… that’s not the case.

Why I Missed Week’s Knit Along

This past week I didn’t go to the KAL. My mom had a procedure so of course I visited her in the hospital. We’re very close and I recently taught her how to knit. So, I decided we’d have our own knit along. She’s a good student and very determined to finish her scarf. She has been working on it for a while, it’s her first project: a simple scarf. She has gotten “crafty” as I like to call it, increased some stitches, done some yarn overs, as every beginner does, but no matter what, I’m very proud of her.

Learning From My Student

One of the things I love about how she has taken on knitting is that she has made it fun.  When she makes a mistake, she doesn’t get upset or frustrated. For instance, when she purls instead of knits, or when she twists her stitches, she simply says “Oh, I have been wanting to do that for a while.”  She embraces her mistakes as design elements. I think that’s something us knitters and crocheters forget. It’s not the end of the world if it’s not perfect, you have made it by hand and with love, there have to be some design elements (that’s what I now like to call mistakes).

Avoiding the UFO

I was afraid I might be procrastinating but the time I spent instead of going to the KAL was really important to me. Still, I have to finish and I cannot let this sweater become another UFO. The encouragement of all of you reading this and the need to keep up with a group are spurring me on. I’m off to knit!


10 Things We’re Doing Besides Knitting & Crocheting

February 27th, 2015

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Here in the marketing department at Lion Brand, we talk a lot about knitting and crocheting and yarn and magic loops and swatches and yarn weights (we know our DK from our super bulky) and and and … bottom line is that we’re all experts in one way or another when it comes yarn. We can talk about it all day — and we do! You may however be surprised to know that we’re also fairly well-rounded with an excess of interests, hobbies and obsessions that go beyond the hooks and needles.

We thought you might enjoy a peek into our inner worlds. Have fun and please share some of your own personal interests outside of knitting and crocheting in the comments below.

***

destiny_zoeZoe: I’ve been playing Destiny, a futuristic first-person shooter from the creators of Halo. My Warlock alter ego finally acquired the elusive Gjallarhorn and is well on the way to becoming legend. With so many minions of darkness to destroy, it’s tough choosing between needles and controller!

Sarah: Sunday mornings, I’m curling up with a cup of tea and a Rehab Addict marathon on HGTV. My favorite weekend breakfast sandwich: Spread half an avocado onto a toasted everything bagel and top with three slices of bacon (I cook my bacon in the oven like Ina’s recipe to avoid a greasy kitchen). During the week, instead of knitting on the subway, I like to listen to podcasts. My favorite at the moment is 99 Percent Invisible which is a podcast about design. It covers things that you wouldn’t expect like the origins of the sports mascot, buildings that once housed Pizza Huts, and the way airports are laid out  to get you to buy food. I love learning these fun facts!

newgirlShira: Being a single lady in the city and Brand ambassador for Lion brand Yarn, my social life has definitely  taken off. I no longer have time for one of my favorite things to do … hang out with my two cats Psy and Thai and catch up some really good TV like the New Girl, or another one we love Scandal.  If I try to knit while I watch TV, the kitties try to help, but their version of “help” is not really helping so watching TV is like a mini-vacation from my Yarn life.

Petrina: I’m trying to brighten up my apartment more and find myself getting into gardening. Recently my in-laws gave me some paperwhites as a gift and I planted them a few weeks ago so they’re just starting to bloom now – just in time for spring!

kale_brandyceBrandyce: I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, and since it’s so cold here in the northeast, soups have definitely been a favorite of mine. I recently came across this Butternut Squash Quinoa and Kale Stew recipe from Love and Lemons, and it was great! I also added Mushrooms for some extra texture – and think it could taste even better with maybe some bacon pieces or chorizo. I will definitely be making more of this soup; it’s so hearty and flavorful.

Ilana: To relax and stay in shape, I do yoga regularly. Even though I don’t really enjoy most exercise, yoga gives me an immediate feeling of relaxation by the end of the class. I started practicing about six years ago because I felt stiff when I woke up in the morning. Doing yoga regularly solved that problem and makes me more mindful of my physical health so I’m not as likely to fall into bad habits.

Danielle: Sad that the new Modest Mouse will be released later than expected, I at least found comfort in an engrossing little ebook called, “Crocheting with Kurt Cobain“. Kind of, sort of, not really about Kurt Cobain or crocheting, it’s about a deceased law student who’s stuck between heaven and earth and must somehow atone for her wrong-doings before she can get entrance to heaven. I couldn’t put it down … I’m also excited about all the amazing shows coming to New York City this year – Björk, Yoko Ono, Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, to name a small few! It’s a good time to visit if you can work it into your travel plans.


The Studio Knit-Along – My Adventure Continues

February 24th, 2015

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I’ve never been more determined to finish something I’m knitting in my whole life! I feel as though I am in the Knit-Along Olympics, competing against myself. It’s not really a competition, but this week when I showed up with my ribbing, and everyone else had their back portion done and they were either finished or half way done with the front part of the sweater, I realized I needed to pick up my game. The group is spurring me on. I’m knitting like a fiend, trying to catch up to these ultra-fast ladies.

So I have run into a few hiccups.

As I was knitting, doing my increases every sixteen rows, I looked at my fabric and saw there was a big gaping hole in the back panel! I had dropped a stitch and it was ten rows back. How was I going to fix this? Will I have to rip it out?! How will I know where I was? I started to sweat. What to do …

LIGHT BULB!

I went through my collection of crochet hooks, and I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been so thankful for a crochet hook in my life! I took some calming breaths and saved the stitch, bringing it back up to the needle.

My next challenge? Counting rows …

I’m scared to find out what happens if I mess up the counting. Ann, the KAL instructor, had suggested I get a row counter, but what do you do about traveling?  How do you know it won’t get pushed? That’s all I need, to think I’m on row 16 but I’ve really done 25 rows. Then what happens?  I travel all the time with my knitting, how does one count rows while traveling on a subway?!


My mission and to end on a positive note!

 I am on a mission to finish my front and back panels this week because I cannot wait to start the side panels and sleeves of my sweater. The good news is that I love knitting with Heartland®. It can only get better from here right?

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