When I was a little girl my dad said to me, “Shira, when you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.” He really is a wise man. So, when I meet people and ask them what they do and they tell me they love what they do, I’m really taken by them. Last week I had the chance to meet a whole roomful of people who were passionate about what they do when I had the privilege to be a judge in a competition called Enactus.
Where Do You Find Hundreds Of People Passionate About What They Do In One Place?
Enactus is an organization that gives students at different colleges and universities a platform to present entrepreneurial ideas and business plans to better their community and empower others. It really is wonderful to see the ideas that these kids come up with. But they’re not only ideas — they actually put them into action. You see how much effort and time they’ve put into creating business plans and making them come to life! You see their passion when they present. One group talked about how they raised money and started a relationship with a family in Cambodia to help them grow crops and teach them how to sell what they grew. The group traveled to Cambodia to help one farmer sell his crops and a help him develop a new watering system that they created especially for him. These students love what they do and are looking for that future job that they will be passionate about.
It was not easy to judge this competition, and I have to admit I felt like Christina Aguilera on The Voice — their future was in my hands. Not really, but I for sure felt super important. It’s not easy making decisions like that, deciding if different schools go through or not. But hearing out all the wonderful business plans, charity work and so much more that these students do, put my mind at ease, knowing our future is made up of people who are super passionate about what they want to do in life or at least what they are doing now and how they want to better the world!
Then off for some fun in Saint Louis.
I had a day to explore the Saint Louis area. I had never been to Saint Louis, MO. Beautiful City. I went to the Saint Louis Zoo! Did you know that the Zoo is free? Well it is and it’s truly beautiful! I stopped at the famous Arch of St. Louis but chose not to go to the top because there was something a bit more pressing to see. On every trip I go on, wherever I am, I look for yarn. When I was little, when my dad went away he would bring back a snow globe from each place he went to, there began my snow globe collection. I even continued it as I got older. But now I look for yarn wherever I travel! I go into stores that sell Lion Brand to see how the selection looks and I go into small yarn shops as well.
What kind of traveler are you?
What have your best travel experiences been? Do you talk to the locals, see the famous landmarks or go off the beaten path? Do you make it a point to shop for yarn when you’re away from home?
Can We Meet?
I’ll be doing a lot more traveling this year and hope to meet many of you. I know we share a passion for knitting and crochet so we’ll have a lot to talk about. Here’s my schedule.
Appearance Schedule for 2015
Appearance Schedule for 2016
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|Dinner with friends, from left to right: Evan Blumenthal, Danielle Holke, Jack Blumenthal, Carla Horvath, Mary Colucci, Brandyce Pechillo, Tammy Hildebrand, Kimberly McAlindin.|
The fond memories of last month’s 2014 Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) conference and Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, NH are still fresh in my mind. It was the 20th Anniversary of the CGOA and the Anniversary Celebration Committee planned a sensational event, chock-full of crochet pride.
Once I arrived at the hotel and saw the many crochet squares and yarnbombs decorating the courtyard and lobby, I knew it was going to be a great event.
As in years passed, I am always honored to be able to attend the CGOA Annual dinner and fashion show, an annual event that is always a crowd pleaser. This year it had 250 people in attendance!
I was blown away by the impressive talent of participating members; no surprise that plenty of door prizes and awards were given out.
The shopping floor was a flurry of activity, housing vendors from all over New England and beyond. It was also a great opportunity for me to catch up with all my friends in the knitting and crochet community. For instance, I was able to congratulate Gwen Blakely Kinsler in person on her induction to the CGOA Hall of Fame this year. Like a majority of crafters, she has tremendous love and passion for crocheting and the guild.
My college-aged son, who attended the conference with me for the first time, was quite impressed to see how many people I knew … and who knew me.
During the conference I attended my last in-person Board Meeting with the CGOA. It has been a great pleasure to have been a board member since 2011 and to have been able to participate in these meetings, but I know that I’m leaving the board in good hands.
To end on a brighter note: I took the opportunity to visit one of the mills that produces some of our yarn. I was able to see the process and production in which everything is made. Being able to see the very beginnings of a Lion Brand yarn and the attention to detail that is put into each skein makes me love being part of this family and company.
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.
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.]