Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Wellness' Category

How “Craft As Therapy” Grew Into a Thriving Community

November 19th, 2015

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she introduces us to the Craft As Therapy community on Instagram, which is a daily visual celebration of the healing capacities of crafting. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

When Mandy of the RedAgape Style & Design blog started using the hashtag #craftastherapy on her own Instagram account, it was just a personal thing. She had always loved crafting but after her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and the diagnosis worsened Mandy’s own illness, she realized just how important crafting was for her health. She began to intentionally turn to crafting as a way to distract herself from the anxiety of this period, and she began to tag her photos accordingly.


yarnsPeople immediately took notice. Others started using the hashtag widely. Mandy says, “It became apparent to me how important craft is as a form of therapy, not just for me, but for many other crafters. Many have shared their stories about why they craft for therapy. Some are suffering with mental illness, infertility issues, chronic illness, physical illness … and some craft simply because it is cheaper than (traditional) therapy and keeps them smiling!”

Mandy was surprised by how much people loved this hashtag, although looking back she says she’s surprised that she was so surprised. She says, “I’m not sure why I thought I was the only one. I mean; there is a reason that coloring books for adults are so popular right now. Everyone is looking for some time out for their minds and crafting is perfect.”


Crafting, Color Blindness, and Changes in Color Perception

October 21st, 2015

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Crafting, Color Blindness, and Changes in Color Perception
In this guest post by Phyllis Alberici, she explores crafting with color blindness, and how to choose a color palette with color perception in mind.

You’re out shopping for yarn and having a difficult time choosing colors, so you decide to ask another shopper or the sales person for an opinion on a color you chose. You thought you were holding a pretty blue-green but you’re told it’s just green or just blue or maybe even turquoise.

Have you had this experience?

We each “see” color and hue a little differently but color blindness, medications and certain illnesses can also change how we perceive color.

There’s a long list of medical conditions that can affect our color perception: diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and liver disease are just a few. Some medications, including antibiotics and medicines used to treat psychological illnesses and high blood pressure can also affect our eyes.

True color blindness doesn’t mean you can’t see color but it creates difficulty seeing the differences between certain colors. It can also make it difficult to distinguish between certain shades, or hues, of some colors.

How does a color blind crafter, or crafter with medical issues that affect color, work with color? Here are a few simple ideas to make your knitting and crocheting easier:

  1. Use contrast in choosing colors but try to avoid either very dark colors together or very bright colors together. In general, dark shades of red will look like dark brown for those who are red/green color blind and dark greens will look more grey or taupe.
  1. Before you head out to choose yarn, the Colblindor Color Blindness Simulator might help you make the right color choices. Just upload a photo and then click through the different types of color blindness to see what the yarn will look like.
  1. If you’re making a gift for someone who has difficulty with color perception, take a look at the colors they wear most often or just ask what they prefer. Choose something with enough contrast so that colors don’t look muddy.
  1. In general, the more pure the hue the better. That orangey red or blue grey might not work but a true red or blue might.
  1. Take a photo with your phone or a camera set on the black and white setting when you choose yarn for a color blind friend. This helps to “see” the contrasts as the color blind person does.


If you’ve knitted or crocheted for someone who is color blind, or has difficulty with color perception, how do you choose color combinations?

How-To Tuesday: A How-To-Knit Guide for Project Knitwell

October 20th, 2015

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How-To Tuesday: Project Knitwell
With our latest publication, Project Knitwell Presents: The Comfort of Knitting, we aimed to bring our craft to those who could benefit most from stress relief. We were inspired by Project Knitwell’s commitment to bring knitting to caregivers in hospitals, and developed the book as a how-to guide for first-time knitters. Whether you yourself are a caregiver, know a caregiver, or want to take up knitting, this book acts as both an introduction to the craft and a wellness guide. You’ll learn firsthand how therapeutic knitting can be!

In this How-To Tuesday, we’ve compiled tutorials tailored to beginner knitters. With these skills, anyone can start on one (or more!) of the seven new patterns found in The Comfort of Knitting. All projects included in the book are portable, so they can be worked on both at home, in a waiting room, or during breaks in your day.

Click on the links below to learn…

How to Make a Slip Knot

How to Start with a Knitted Cast-On

How to Knit the Knit Stitch

How to Knit the Purl Stitch

How to Bind Off

How to Seam Two Garter Stitch Pieces Together

How to Seam Two Stockinette Stitch Pieces Together

Head over to to buy Project Knitwell Presents: The Comfort of Knitting; all proceeds from Lion Brand’s sale of this book go directly to Project Knitwell and the Alzheimer’s Association.


Lion Brand and Project Knitwell Ask: Are You A Caregiver? How Knitting Can Help.

October 15th, 2015

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Are You A Caregiver? How Knitting Can Help.

The Comfort of Knitting is a unique how to knit book with a mission.  It is presented by Project Knitwell, a non-profit organization started by a mother who found knitting helped her relax and provided a distraction from her worries during countless hours spent in the hospital.  That mom, Carol Caparosa, was so moved by her experience, that she has devoted the last 11 years of her life to helping others discover the joy of knitting in times of stress.

Project Knitwell volunteers work in hospitals, in after-school programs for at-risk youth and with cancer support groups.  They supply the The Comfort of Knitting book, offer knitting instruction, and provide yarn, needles and patterns to patients, family members and health care providers.

Lion Brand®, working with Project Knitwell designed and produced The Comfort of Knitting.  It includes

  • How to knit instructions
  • 7 easy patterns
  • A  list of health benefits of knitting based on studies including alleviating eating disorders, delaying memory loss and decreasing stress.
  • A list of books about the therapeutic benefits of knitting
  • First person accounts of the effect of knitting on caregivers and patients

With a focus on caring for the caregiver, the book recognizes the unique stresses and feelings of isolation experienced by the scores of millions of people who take care of family members and patients every day.

Included in the book is the Three Strand Afghan pattern. Made with Hometown USA®, it’s an easy knit blanket that offers warmth and comfort to its receiver.

Knit Three Strand Afghan made with Hometown USA®

Lion Brand® has committed all of its proceeds from the book to Project Knitwell and to the Alzheimer’s Association, since caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients often face long term and unrecognized efforts.

Can you share a story of using knitting to help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver?

Pocket Prayer Shawls Provide Portable Comfort

September 12th, 2015

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Pocket Prayer ShawlsBlogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she tells us about pocket prayer shawls, which are fun to craft and healing for recipients. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Photo credit: Southern Belle CrochetFree pattern available.


Prayer shawls provide comfort to those who make them as well as to the recipients of these special gifts. However, it can take a long time to knit or crochet a shawl and some people, although they appreciate the gift of one, don’t ever wear shawls. Pocket prayer shawls address both of those issues, allowing crafters to quickly work up comforting handmade squares that any recipient can carry at any time for constant comfort.

Learn about the benefits of prayer shawls.

What is a pocket prayer shawl?

As the name suggests, this is a miniature version of a prayer shawl that is small enough to fit inside of a pocket. As with all prayer shawls, the crafter infuses each stitch with a prayer or loving intention to provide love and goodwill to the person who will receive the small item. Pocket prayer shawls, also called prayer squares and prayer cloths, are small enough to be tucked into pockets, purses and even inside helmets. They can also be carried into surgery and taken on vacations.

Who needs pocket prayer shawls?

Who might receive a pocket prayer shawl? Anyone who needs the comfort of a handmade item! You might craft an individual pocket shawl for a specific person you know who has had a recent loss or who is going through an illness. Alternatively, you might knit or crochet many of these and make them available to people to take them when they feel that need that comfort. A basket of these shawls, each with a prayer or note attached, can be placed so that those who are seeking extra support can feel comfortable taking one.