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.
Lion Brand Yarn Company Showcases “The 7 Wonders of the Yarn World” at CHA Winter Tradeshow
We’re at the Craft Hobby Association (CHA) Winter 2014 tradeshow in Anaheim, CA this weekend and our big secret is now out! Keep watching here as we reveal “7 Wonders of the Yarn World” — a fiber art installation that includes large-scale yarn sculptures representing the 7 wonders of the world.
The 7 Wonders of The World sculptures were designed by fiber artist Nathan Vincent. Each sculpture represents a different technique found in knit or crochet. The installations that represent the “7 Wonders of the Yarn World” theme stand about 5 feet high or taller, and include marvels such as the Great Wall of China crocheted with granny squares, an embellished knit Taj Mahal, a lace crocheted Leaning Tower of Pisa, a crocheted Lion Sphinx, and more.
Keep watching here as more photos get added to our gallery.
|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.
One of my favorite shows to attend has always been the Knit and Crochet Show. And earlier this month during Crochet Guild of America’s Professional Development Day, I got to hear my fellow colleagues and peers in the yarncraft industry speak about what we’ve all learned this past year. What always excited me about this show was hearing other people, who were just as passionate as I was about yarn, talk about what they love.
It always felt like a family coming home for the holidays, reuniting and catching up what everyone has been doing since the last show. It was this experience I always look forward to the most.
This year was particularly special because I got to see Rita Weiss be inducted into the Crochet Hall of Fame. It reminded me of the reason why I work in this business and at Lion Brand. She has served as my role model, and was the reasons why Lion Brand got involved with the Crochet Guild of America. How she has become a household name and what she has done for the yarncraft industry is what I hope that Lion Brand will one day become.
Not only that but because I travel so much it also gives me a chance to see what Lion Brand has been working on this past year. When videos of my family and I talking about Lion Brand and Vanna White giving Lion Brand’s annual proceeds to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, it brought a tear to my heart knowing I was seeing on screen what I always want our customers to know about Lion Brand. Just like a family, we are taught to be generous and to care about others, but most of all that family comes first.
This year I also got to see I got to see Lauren and Brandyce model for the Lion Brand segment of the Crochet Fashion show. It always impresses me how much our employees go above and beyond when it comes to showing their love for Lion Brand. Whether it’s working behind a desk or working the runaway to model this year’s designs.
I can hardly wait what the next show will bring but I do hope to see some of you in July…
Want to check out a Lion Brand booth near you? We’ll be in Hartford, Connecticut for Stitches East from November 10-11!
One of the best parts of attending craft shows like STITCHES Midwest for me is seeing projects that customers have made with Lion Brand yarn. Some customers approach me shyly, while others proudly brandish their handiwork. They’re often surprised when I enthusiastically ask to take their pictures, they have no idea how gratifying these moments are for me! Check out some of my favorite finds from the last show!
Mitered Ridges Top made with Lion Brand® LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo
Click here to get the knit pattern.
Poncho made with Fishermen’s Wool®
She made this project back in the ’70s (wow!) so the pattern is no longer available.
The highlight of the show was definitely when designer Lily Chin came to our booth wearing a girl scout costume that she made with Recycled Cotton in Seagrass, Kitchen Cotton in Olive, and Bonbons in Brights and Celebrate were for her badges.
*Please note: this is an original design so no pattern is available*
Didn’t get to see us at the last show? Come visit us at STITCHES East from November 10-11 in Hartford, CT! Don’t forget to bring you Lion Brand projects!
As a traveling salesperson for Lion Brand for over 30 years, I’ve crisscrossed the country meeting knitters and crocheters from all corners of the United States and hearing their stories. In addition to yarncrafters, throughout my travels I’ve sometimes been lucky enough to run into some celebrities. Being that I am a huge sports fan, it is always extra exciting when I run into an athlete. During my travels, I have met the likes of Muhammad Ali and Darryl Strawberry.
My father, like me, traveled for the company for over 40 years and he too ran into his share of famous faces. One of my personal favorites that he had the pleasure of meeting was Deacon Jones of the Fearsome Foursome from Los Angeles Rams. Deacon sadly passed away today and it reminded me of my father, how much he loved traveling for Lion Brand, and of his adventures on the road.
May Deacon rest in peace.
[Pictured: my father George Blumenthal and Deacon Jones.]
Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area? Come visit Lion Brand this coming weekend at Stitches West–the largest knit & crochet show in America! It’s a yarn expo put on by our friends at XRX, and Lion Brand is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s shows!
There will be classes, a marketplace, fashion shows, events, free lectures and demos, and much more. Want to see some highlights from past shows? Check out these blog posts:
At Lion Brand’s booth, you’ll find select yarns including brand new products AND our exclusive LB Collection–all on sale especially at the show. Plus we’ll have pattern booklets, stickers, and other goodies for FREE. Stop on by!
As a sponsor, we’re also pleased to offer you 50% off market admission with this coupon (click to open it in a new window):
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!
One of my favorite parts of attending yarn conventions and fiber festivals across the country is that I get to talk to Lion Brand customers face-to-face. Sometimes, customers will also come to show us their favorite projects in Lion Brand yarns. It’s always exciting to see what you, our customers, do with our yarn and your creativity. Here are just a few photos from events I’ve been to:
Click on the photos to see them full-screen. Then use the left and right arrows to scroll through them; click the X in the top-left corner to exit. If you’re viewing this blog post in your email or RSS reader, you may need to click the title to see it with full functionality on our website.
Want to show off your latest Lion Brand creation? Click here to browse our online customer gallery and share your own project photos with us!
Or stop by the Lion Brand booth at one of these conventions!