A few years ago, I met the super-talented Robyn Chachula, a crochet designer whose background in engineering gives her projects a wonderfully architectural logic. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Robyn better, and she’s always making crochet easy to understand through great charts and schematics.
As an admirer both of architecture and crochet, I couldn’t resist working up one of the fantastic patterns from her book Simply Crochet. Pictured is my version of Robyn’s Linked Jacket, worked in our Martha Stewart Crafts™ Extra Soft Wool Blend with a clasp from Gita Maria.
I love that simply through choosing my yarn and by selecting my own closure, I’ve made this pattern my own–that’s really one of the great joys of crocheting and knitting your own clothes.
If you’re interested in learning more about Robyn’s designs, check out these interviews with her:
Do you have a finished project that you want to show off? Leave a comment and a photo or click here to upload your project to our Customer Gallery.
Jessica, one of our sales support associates in our NJ office, worked on a Tweed Stripes cowl for her cousin at the recent Craft & Hobby Association trade show, where Lion Brand exhibited earlier this month. She shared her inspiration for the cowl. As told to Zontee.
When I was home during Hurricane Sandy, I had made myself an infinity scarf, a long scarf that you can double around your neck, for myself out of the Mixed Berries color of Tweed Stripes. It’s very warm and I get compliments (or requests!) every time I wear mine. In fact, it was so popular that all of my family members asked me to make them scarves too–I’ve already made seven, but the most requested color has been Mixed Berries.
It’s double-crocheted long-ways back and forth through the back loop only, which creates a ridged look. It only takes about a ball-and-a-half of yarn to make. Then at the end, I seam up the two shorter ends to create the cowl.
It’s a really easy project, and it doesn’t take much time to finish. I finished this one here at the trade show over 3 days! I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick gift to make. I can’t wait to give it to my cousin!
Editor’s Note: If you want to make your own version of Jessica’s cowl, chain about 180 with a K hook (adjust larger or smaller depending on how tight or loose a crocheter you are), double-crochet into the 3rd crochet from your hook and into each stitch thereafter, chain 3 and turn. In each of the subsequent rows, crochet into the back loops only, chain 3 and turn. Work about 6 rows (more or less depending on your preference for width). Seam the ends together. Voilà cowl!
Recently I was invited to the Knitting Heritage Museum Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. The symposium, which takes place in November, focuses on preserving the history of knit and crochet.
The whole symposium is about history, which I’m very fond of. I love my family history and I love Lion Brand history and that’s what intrigues me about this opportunity. The museum contains many historical knit and crochet pieces on display for anyone to see. I treasure the pieces I have from Lion Brand and make sure that they are preserved in our archive.
At the event, I’m looking forward to broadening the knowledge I have of knit and crochet history. I already know a lot about Lion Brand history but I want to learn more about knit and crochet history. I think it’s important to collect things, archiving them and cherishing them and giving other people the opportunity to experience them. Sharing with others is inspiring and is something I always try to do.
I’m also excited get to have a meet and greet with the Madison Knitters Guild while I’m there. As a member of the board of directors of the Crochet Guild of America, I’m always pleased to meet with guilds all over the country. I can’t wait to meet such a large guild from Wisconsin.
If you’re as interested in the history of yarn crafts as I am, I hope you’ll also consider attending.
Knitting Heritage Museum Symposium
November 8-10, 2012
Wisconsin Historical Society
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Click here for more information and to register.
Last month, a few members of the Lion Brand team and I had the pleasure of attending the Fall Knit and Crochet Show in Reno, Nevada. The show offers many classes as well as a marketplace, featuring unique and wonderful products from many different companies. We also gave out 500 goodie bags to people who signed up for classes, and it was great to see people walking around the show with them.
Lion Brand had a booth at the show, and it was so much fun for me to speak with the attendees and hear their feedback. We got to show them our new colors and new yarns and everyone especially loved the new Bonbons multi-packs. It was really exciting to see the expressions on their faces when they got to see it up close and personal. I told everyone that I thought they were so cute I put them in a candy dish in my house!
Growing up in the Blumenthal family, I learned early that yarn is a treasure. Dad used to say that everyone in my family was born with a ball of yarn in their crib, and it was true (often literally!). In recent years it’s sometimes been seen as unusual to know how to knit or crochet, but I can remember a time when crafting was nearly universal, and it was very common to see a basket of yarn in any living room you might happen to visit.
I took this picture in my office at Lion Brand Yarn headquarters; I love keeping antiques that have to do with the tradition of crafting with yarn. This particular piece is an authentic cover of Life Magazine from 1941. The small text in the bottom left-hand corner says “How to Knit” and inside they included knitting instructions and a pattern for a regulation military vest. One line in the article reads, “To the great American question ‘What can I do to help the war effort?’ the commonest answer yet found is ‘Knit.’” Because yarncrafting was so abundant in everyday homes, this was one way folks found to contribute to the war effort.
In that era, it wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary to see people knitting a few stitches at the bus stop, crocheting a few rows in the park, or toting a bag of yarn to the library. Yarn was often a part of home-life too, even if you weren’t born into it like me. Needles would be clicking after supper and during family gatherings, and more than one child from the time has the memory of holding open a hank of yarn for Mom or Grandma while she wound it into a ball (a process I remember personally, one which always seemed to take an unusually long time).
One of the things I love about working with Lion Brand is seeing the culture of knitting and crochet grow with the development of online resources for learning, web-based ways to meet other crafters and online availability of great yarns. My personal dream is to see knitting, crochet and all sorts of yarncrafts become a large part of American culture again. Yarncrafts have an important place in our history, and I’m delighted that today’s communities of yarn-lovers will ensure a place for crafts in our future.
Want to learn more about yarn in history? Try these posts:
Recently, Jack and I went to the Knit & Crochet Show, a wonderful yarn festival held by The Knitting Guild Association and Crochet Guild of America. I’m always happy when the Knit & Crochet Show is held in Manchester, New Hampshire, because it means that in addition to seeing all of my yarny friends (and experiencing the beauty of converted mill buildings like the one shown in the slideshow below), I get to take a drive out of town to visit the mill that produces our Homespun and Silky Twist yarns.
Over the years, I’ve posted about our visits, and since I often get requests for a look at how this yarn is made, I’m happy to share some photos from our latest visit to New Hampshire and the mill.
Built in 1864, the mill is a facility that’s steeped in New England’s rich textile history, and we’re proud that it makes some of our most popular products. Secret tip: Look out in the coming weeks for an announcement about a brand NEW product from Lion Brand that is also made at this location.
Keep your mouse over the slideshow to read the captions. Please note: If you’re viewing this blog post in your email or RSS reader, you may need to click the title to view it online.
If you want to learn more about Homespun, click here to pick up a copy of our book, The Story of Homespun.
Growing up in the Blumenthal family, I learned from an early age that gifts made with yarn are also made with care and thoughtfulness.
Being a part of Lion Brand Yarn my entire life, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many hand-made gifts crafted with yarn and patience. Everyone knows that when they get a home-made gift, countless hours and a great deal of care went into making it. I’ve always felt very honored and lucky to receive gifts given with so much thought.
I like to keep gifts like that out in the open where they can be enjoyed. The piece in this picture hangs in my office at Lion Brand Yarn’s New Jersey headquarters. It was made for my father by my second grade teacher, as a thank-you present for all the yarn he’d given her over the years.
From all of us at Lion Brand, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy 4th of July! Since our beginnings in 1878, we’ve been an American family-owned company, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to celebrating America with barbecuing, fun in the sun, fireworks, and yarn!
Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes. If you’re stuck on a pattern and reach out to us, you might get the chance to chat with Laura! She’s one of our resident experts, and I’m always impressed with her encyclopedic knowledge of all things yarncrafting. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out this sweet email from Diane:
Over the past couple of years, since I’ve gotten back into knitting, I’ve run into pattern problems that I couldn’t figure out for myself. You have been such a tremendous help, talking me through the rough spots and making it possible for me to finish several sweaters for our two sets of twin great-grandchildren and one teenage grandson. All of the patterns I used were labeled “Easy,” but in each I needed a little assistance. I appreciate having a support line, and most of all I appreciate knowing that you’re going to be there for my next question.
Thanks so much for your email, Diane! Remember, if you need help with a pattern, please reach out to us! You can call 800-661-7551 on weekdays or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the best things about working at Lion Brand is the great people that you get to work with. When I first started here, one of the first people I became friends with was Liz, who works on yarn development. When we decided to launch the Lion Brand podcast–YarnCraft–back in 2007, Liz was definitely a go-to person for interesting yarncrafting facts and stories to share. Eventually, she and I began co-hosting the show. We’ve done over 100 episodes, sharing pattern recommendations, techniques, stories, interviews with influential yarncrafters, and in doing so, we’ve also found ourselves with a lot of amazing listeners who share their comments and stories with us, some of whom have been with us for years.
Because of my friendship with Liz, I knew that when the company was recently planning her baby shower (for her first baby!), I wanted to do something special for her. I also knew that it would be wonderful to get not only my coworkers involved, but also our wonderful YarnCraft listeners.