Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Lion Staff' Category


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.

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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?


Behind The Scenes: The Making Of Yarn

February 18th, 2015

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Did you know that many of Lion Brand®‘s yarns are American-made? Some of them — Homespun®, Homespun® Thick and Quick®, Quickie, Country® and Spinnables — are all related because they’re all made in the same mill in New Hampshire. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these yarns being created first hand – it’s magical!

When I first walked into the mill, I could envision what it looked like 135 years ago – the same. Even though the mill is so old, it still works, making lots of yarn each day. To make it run, there are many employees from the town. That’s one of the most wonderful things about the mill — it supports hundreds of families!

I am so passionate about yarn and claim I have yarn for veins, so watching the whole process come to life was very exciting! I had the opportunity to see how the different colors come together to create a popular Homespun® color, Tudor, along with finding out how the dying process works. There were barrels of Quickie getting ready to be put into skeins. Near the Quickie were barrels of different colors of unspun yarn, used for Spinnables. It took a lot to hold myself from jumping in!


You Can Do It! Wait. . . Can I Do It?!

February 17th, 2015

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It’s official: I’m making my first sweater.

I’ve worked at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City for two years and now that I am the Brand Ambassador for the company I thought I would take on a knitting fear: making my own sweater.  I’ve been a knitter for a good portion of my life and I have yet to conquer knitting a sweater.  How is it that I have knitted plenty of socks and not a sweater? This makes no sense to me, so I am going to rectify the situation.  l40025a

Every Wednesday night, from February 11th – March 18th, I’m taking part in a Knit-Along at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City.  In an ideal situation, I’d finish my sweater by the 18th of March, but this is my first sweater so give I’ll give myself a little slack.  The pattern I’m following is  The Essential Fall Pullover made with Heartland®.  I decided to get a little creative and instead of doing the three colors that the pattern calls for, I will be doing two. I’ll be using Black Canyon for the front and back, and for the side panels and sleeves I’m going to be using Biscayne.  I chose Black Canyon as the main color for the sweater because, like many people who live in NYC, black is a prominent color in my wardrobe.  On the other hand, I’m also trying to get a little more colorful, so I decided to incorporate Biscayne for the sleeves and side panels.  It will give it a nice “pop” and allow me to dress it down and up!

Since I worked in the studio for two years, I had the chance to really get to know my co-workers, and I got to see how talented and creative they truly are.  Ann, who is the instructor for the KAL, is a machine knitter and teaches machine knitting at the studio, but she also is so creative when it comes to knitting garments.  When I found out that Ann would be the instructor for the KAL, I was sold,  it would guarantee that for at least once a week for the next month, I would get to see her.  Her creativity is infectious and it inspired me to take this sweater making to another level.

For the first meeting she showed up with sketches (that she had made) of what her sweater would look like with the colors she chose.  She also suggested going to Pinterest for color inspiration. I thought that was a really clever idea and plan on using that for other projects as well!

As you can see I started the ribbing for the back of my sweater. But the main reason for writing this is because I need your support in completing this project. There have been so many times that I have wanted to make a sweater and I’ve second guessed myself even though I know I have the skills.

So, I Need You – You Wise Knitters And Crocheters – Give Me Your Best Sweater Advice And Support!

Before I really get into the nitty-gritty of the back portion of the sweater – do you have any good tips for me as I embark on this journey? What did your first sweater look like?  Is there something you are too nervous to make because it’s just overwhelming?

Please use the comments below.  You can keep track of my sweater making exploits here on the blog and by following me on Instagram and Twitter.


My Visit to the Soundview Knitting Guild in Trumbull, CT!

December 22nd, 2014

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Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the amazing folks at the Soundview Knitting Guild in Trumbull, CT.   Having seen Jack Blumenthal present to a guild the month before, I was able to see how well he connects with people when he talks about our company.  So when he asked me to fill in for him in Trumbull, I was thrilled and a bit nervous.  But as a communications major and drama minor in college, I really do love standing up and talking in front of people, and as a fifth generation member of the family business, I’m more than happy to talk about Lion Brand.

We regularly visit knit and crochet guilds to share what’s happening at Lion Brand face-to-face with people who use our yarns. The feedback our customers give us is so important. These presentations are also an opportunity to show samples of our latest yarns.   I love getting “ooohs and ahhhhhs” when I show off our American-made yarns such as Heartland, Heartland Thick & Quick®, Hometown USA®, Country®, and Homespun Thick & Quick®.

At the Soundview Knitting Guild I also shared samples of Unique and Ice Cream, the latter of which was a definite favorite.

Personally, I have a soft spot for the LB Collection®, our exclusive collection of fine fibers which includes 100% Cashmere and Baby Alpaca.   I showed the Soundview Knitting Guild the newest addition to this collection,  Silk Chiffon Ribbon. It’s made from recycled Indian saris, and each hank is unique and gorgeous.

I also did an arm knitting demonstration. In the past year, arm knitting has become incredibly popular.  It’s perfect for people who are a bit intimidated by knitting and it’s a great introduction to knitting. You can easily finish a scarf in less than half an hour and if you keep going, you could have a blanket in less than an hour! I chose Quickie, which makes the project go even faster! At the guilds I love to demonstrate arm knitting and at Soundview, one lady was even arm knitting before my demonstration ended! She was so ready to go go go and make a scarf!

I had a great time visiting Soundview Knitting Guild in Turnbull, CT. Thank you to Guild President Nancy Boccuzzi and to everyone who made it such a memorable night. I’m looking forward to my next visit!

 

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Tell us about your guild in the comments below. If it’s located in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT), Shira would love to visit!

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