As a fourth generation family member of Lion Brand, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to meet and talk with very passionate people that are prominent within the yarn industry; people like Janet Johnson Stephens, Rita Weiss, and Gwen Blakely Kinsler. I met Gwen a number of years ago when I spoke to her Guild in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and I was impressed with the many ways she has contributed to the craft industry.
Gwen was instrumental in establishing the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) organization 20 years ago and is also an author, designer, teacher and writer of everything crochet.
This year, the Crochet Guild of America chose Gwen as their 2014 recipient for the Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame Award. Her passion and determination to host the first meeting with crochet enthusiasts in Chicago is now recognized as an incremental part of yarn history.
For everyone who is passionate about yarn and loves to crochet, Gwen Blakely Kinsler is an inspiration. I’d like to congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.
Every summer Lion Brand invites all the associates to a barbecue. There’s a lavish spread of food from barbecued steaks and other grilled favorites to a delicious array of salads and yummy desserts. We also let our competitive stripes show with sports contests (do water balloon fights count?) a scavenger hunt, and guessing games. You’ll always find plenty of people working on their knit and crochet projects as they wait for the next activity to begin, and to top it all off, we are treated to a chair massage!
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I spent my July 4th at the New York Historical Society to see an exhibit on Civil War Textiles. While most of the exhibit was quilts, I was quite surprised to find this very patriotic crochet shawl. It was made in 1861 (that’s older than Lion Brand!) and was presented to the Massachusetts governor and his wife to thank them for their support in the Civil War and abolitionist reforms.
I was most impressed by its simplistic design and could actually imagine someone making something similar today. It’s really amazing to see how the art of crochet (and knitting) has been an integral part of American history, don’t you think?
Happy 4th of July! We’ll be celebrating with barbecues, watching the fireworks, getting together with friends and family, and decorating with Red, White and Blue. We wish you a safe and enjoyable day.
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Hand-knit and hand-crocheted items make great gifts to be treasured and loved. Make them even more special by making them unique. Pick colors special to you or your recipient and you’re sure to please, says Jackie Smyth, our technical editor. We asked Jackie to recommend readers three patterns that feature color as the main attraction. (This column originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.)
|Knit Slip Stitch Pom Hat||Crochet Sante Fe Throw||Crochet Little Princess Throw|
LBY Newsletter: Knitting and crocheting are great for handmade gifts that really reflect the giver or the recipient. What’s a simple recommendation about how to customize a project?
Jackie: One word—COLOR. The great thing about patterns is that it’s easy to choose other colors in the same yarns and get a totally different look. To make a pattern really personal, choose colors that you like or that have representative meanings to the recipient. Perhaps they love autumn colors or spring colors. The right colors can add a lot of depth to a project.
LBY Newsletter: What if you are nervous about choosing colors that will go together?
Jackie: Going with a yarn that has a great color range is often a good place to start. The Lion Brand Design team works to create yarn collections that are designed that coordinate beautifully.
LBY Newsletter: What’s a yarn you might recommend for someone looking for easy-to-match yarns?
Jackie: Vanna’s Choice® is a great yarn for mixing and matching colors. All 23 of the solid colors in this collection are designed to match and coordinate. You could use three colors in one family—say, Dusty Rose, Rose, and Antique Rose—to get a light-to-dark effect, or you could pick a few contrasting colors like Purple, Chocolate, Pea Green, and Rust that will really pop against each other.
It’s good to look for inspiration from the things around you. The garden is one place to find unexpectedly beautiful contrasting colors. Fashion and architecture are other places to draw inspiration.
LBY Newsletter: Would you recommend a few colorful patterns for our readers?
Jackie: For a simple project, I like the Slip Stitch Pom Hat pattern. We’ve carefully plotted the colors for each pattern stripto create a bold statement piece, but I would encourage you to experiment with your own color combinations. You could draw from the current fashion concept of Normcore and create a more traditionally color hat.
Next, I like the Santa Fe Throw. In colors to match the recipient’s home décor, it but would make a truly fabulous house warming gift.
My third recommendation, the Little Princess Throw, of the impact of color in your project. Tailor your color choice to the baby to create an heirloom – or have fun with gender neutral brights–have fun!
Don’t be afraid to change the colors in a pattern to suit you better. That’s the great thing about knitting and crocheting; you can really make every item your own.
LBY Newsletter: Thank you for your recommendations, Jackie. We look forward to speaking with you again next month.
For more pattern ideas, click to visit our Pattern Finder.
To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.
In this post Lion Brand’s Creative Director Adina Klein shares stories and behind-the-scenes photos from her recent visit to Vanna White’s home near Los Angeles, CA. Joining her were Lion Brand’s Production Coordinator Karlye Mayer and our lovely photographer Jack.
After twenty years, Vanna is definitely part of the Lion Brand family. Some of us have been to her home and she’s been to ours. Most recently she attended the company barbecue at our New Jersey headquarters. Going to Vanna’s house is more like visiting a friend than visiting a celebrity–well, maybe, except for the fact that her house is nicer than most of our friends’ houses. And even though she has a beautiful home with spectacular views, there’s something so down-to-earth about it–just like Vanna. Vanna even made us breakfast and let us into her closet to pick clothes for her for the shoot.
You’d think her closet would be filled with glamorous gowns, but it was actually filled with an assortment of jeans, slacks, sweaters and t-shirts! We hung out in her bedroom, playing with her cat, Stella, while she had her hair done. We walked around the house, while she got dressed, looking for great spots to photograph. In case you couldn’t tell, we felt right at home. You’d never know she is one of the most well-known celebrities in the world!
One thing we love about Vanna is that she’s always calm, always gracious, and always kind. It made it a lot easier for us to get great photos of her because she puts everyone at ease. Now that we’re back home, we’ll be editing the photos and finalizing the patterns for the beautiful afghans and garments we shot and soon you’ll see the results of the day we spent with Vanna.
My mother is a nurse in the neonatal department at a hospital in Boston, and is reknowned for knitting and crocheting gifts for her newborn patients. Like my mother, I have inherited her desire to craft whenever someone I know is expecting a bundle of joy. My go-to pattern is the Hooded Baby Blanket made with Pound of Love® yarn. The popcorn stitch pattern makes it very simple to make, but still incredibly detailed.
Plus, I love using this yarn because the name sounds like you are literally infusing love into your future project. Here are three versions that I’d like to share with you today:
|A charity item for a local drive that collected handmade
items to send to those affected by the tsunami
in Japan in 2011. To keep it simple, I removed the hood.
(Plush toy was not included)
|Her father is a big fan of the Superman franchise,
so I chose the superhero’s iconic logo to put on the back.
Trimmed with Baby’s First in Twinkle Toes, and the logo
was a combination of Baby’s Wool in Sunflower and
Vanna’s Choice in Scarlet.
|A good friend of mine recently had a baby boy
and wanted something playful he could grow into.
I decided to make it look like a dragon pelt,
making the blue scales out of Baby’s First in Bluebell.
What’s your favorite baby item to make? Share with us below!
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|