Gabby Blumenthal, 20 year old college student and the daughter of Jack Blumenthal, Senior VP of Lion Brand Yarn Company, shares her story of growing up in the family that started Lion Brand Yarn Company. She recently attended the annual Craft and Hobby Association trade show with her Dad, and talks about her experience.
|Family picture taken in 1999. Pictured from left to right: Dean, David, Isidor, Gabby, Jack, and Reuben Blumenthal.|
When I was a little girl, my Dad would come home from work, loosen his tie and tuck me into bed with a story. Now, my Dad’s stories were far from conventional. For one thing, he was terrible at make-believe and couldn’t tell a princess from a portal. So, telling me all he knew how to tell, my Dad would talk at length about his own life-long adventures. I can’t tell you how many times I heard about how he got stuck in an international airport, or when he was babysitting a cat and, not to ruin the story or anything, but the poor cat died.
When these “epic” tales wore thin, my dad started on the family tree. I heard about everyone from Great, Great Grandpa Reuben to my own Grandfather, George, whom I never had the chance to meet and am honored to be named after. I heard about how Dad wanted to go into Lion Brand since he was four years old, always knowing that he was passionate about having a career in the yarn industry.
This story is from our newletters called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.
Some garments just call out to you, and this Raglan Sleeve Topper was one of them, Rose thought. But “raglan sleeve topper”was too modest a title for something so beautiful. To Rose it seemed a magical wrap that transformed the wearer into the best she could possibly be. It was obvious that your natural attributes—whether you were willowy or full-figured, long-or short-haired, enthusiastic or reserved—would be optimized by the form and colors of the gently curving sweater.
Rose didn’t believe in love at first sight, but her attraction to the design she saw online was close to that. The more she studied the image, the more she felt compelled. This was a must-do project. Yet there was some half-completed knitting that should take precedence: two baby gifts, an almost- done afghan, a hat for Dad’s birthday…
Uncharacteristically, she wasn’t dissuaded. She knew those things would be finished eventually, and…she really needed a sweater.
Actually…honestly…she really wanted to knit something just for herself.
Crafters are a generous lot. We often crochet and knit for others. We craft gifts for birthdays and holidays. We knit and crochet prayer shawls for strangers. We infuse our handmade items with love, and hope that love comes through for the recipient. It’s a wonderful thing. But we can go even further with this intention, choosing ways to craft for and with the people we love, so that the love comes through in deeper and more meaningful ways.
Here are five ideas for making that happen:
|1. Appreciation Blanket + Journal. This is a twist on the crochet mood blanket, a popular project this year. Each day (or week) you crochet/ knit either one row or one motif (such as a granny square) that will go into a blanket intended for a special person. Select colors based on the feeling you have for the person each day you work on it. For example, the blanket will have rows of red when you feel love, pink for appreciation, and white for awe. Write down this color code in the front page of a journal. After each row, write a single line expressing why you chose that color for that day. In the end, you’ll have a cozy blanket and this touching journal that will be treasured forever. This is a great gift for pregnant moms seeking to create baby’s first blanket with intentional love.|
|Little Boy Blue Blanket|
At the Craft and Hobby Association tradeshow earlier this year Lion Brand unveiled its “7 Wonders of the Yarn World,” a larger-than-life art installation, designed and created by fiber artist Nathan Vincent. The response was wild – people loved it!
Then we went for the old one-two punch with a runway show to spotlight our newest line of knit and crochet fashions. Our lovely spokesperson Vanna White was on hand and people went crazy for the sweater she was wearing. Across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – people wanted to know, “where can I find that pattern?”
Well we have good news! We’re so pleased to be able to share the pattern for our Stained Glass Sweater with you now. The dramatic use of Vanna’s Glamour® and a metallic colorway of Bonbons make the alternating chevrons on this piece really stand out against the black background.
This sweater is also very versatile – you can wear it to the office during the day and leave it on for a fancy dinner that evening. It’s the perfect outfit sweater – dress it up, dress it down – wear it the way you feel best.
We’d like to say a special thanks to our fabulous Design team for the amazing details this sweater boasts – right down to the embroidered cuffs and collar – they did a fab job!
Groundhog Day is the one day that gives hope that we are on the last stretch of winter and on our way into spring. To help bring some luck that he doesn’t see his shadow, I crocheted a groundhog amigurumi with some Vanna’s Choice.
In the meantime, think warm, happy thoughts everyone!
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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.”
|Close-up of coral from
the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s Under the Sea” window last summer.
All of us at Lion Brand want to wish you a Happy New Year!
While most resolutions revolve around good health, life, and a better you, we wonder what your yarncrafting resolutions will be for 2014? Are you looking to learn a stitch or try a new pattern or will you finally organize your yarn stash?
|For lion pattern click here.|
A lot of my projects often are related to food because I’m inspired by a concept I like to call “good enough to eat.” I’ve made berets that look like strawberries and pancakes and recently I crocheted a beret that looks like a “Jammie Dodger,” a jam -filled sandwich cookie.
|For over 30 years working at Lion Brand as a traveling salesperson, it has been one of my greatest joys to witness the growth of the many crafting communities all over the United States. I have always felt immeasurably proud to be a part of a company that enables people to find happiness in each stitch and a sense of accomplishment in every final product.Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak at the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, the Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America. This group started in 2001 as a bunch of crafters who wanted to get together and share their love for crochet. Now they have expanded to an organization “dedicated to preserving, promoting, and teaching crochet” within the Tri-State Area; it was like looking into Lion Brand’s past.At the end of my talk, the president presented me with a personalized honorary membership, for all of the hard work, passion, and inspiration Lion Brand has helped give the crafters of today.|
|Irene and Ariel in a sweater she made.|
Following the event, there was a “show and tell” parade of garments made by members who used Lion Brand yarn, ending in the biggest surprise of all: my longtime, good friend Irene Iannelli had brought her young daughter, Ariel, that day to model some of her own garments!
Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing how our product has transformed itself into a handmade sweater thanks to an imaginative crafter. Seeing members of Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club enthusiastically welcome Lion Brand and myself into their community makes visiting knit and crochet guilds across the nation all the more worthwhile.
|With Janet (pictured left) and the other ladies from the Guild|
As a fourth generation member of a family-owned business, I’ve always been fascinated with the “living legends” of the yarn industry since, like me, many of them have been involved in the business for 30 or 40 years.
The very talented Janet Johnson Stephens is a particularly influential person. Not only is she a dedicated crafter, but she is an accomplished teacher and designer.