Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category


Meet the Soldier Who Learned to Crochet While in Afghanistan

March 25th, 2014

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We featured David Muir on our Facebook page earlier this month, which received an overwhelming positive response. We asked him a few questions about himself and how he got interested in crocheting.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, like where you’re from and why you decided to join the military.

I’m originally from Easton, Maryland but I call Pooler, Georgia home now. I joined the Army because of the “adventure” and “awesome toys” — eventually it became more than that. I worked with a group of individuals that became my great friends, and my family.

I was in the Army for 10 years until I decided to seek new adventures. Many of us were stationed together for 6+ years. At that point, others started getting out or changing duty station. It just changed. It wasn’t the same. I needed to try something new. When I got out of the Army in July 2011 I lived in Spain for the summer. I even worked at a scuba dive shop just for fun.

afghan-facebook
David Muir and his first afghan,
made with Hometown USA.

After that I moved to Pooler, GA where I lived with my brother, Danny. I worked for Gulfstream as a Quality Engineer but soon missed my Army brothers. When I heard my old unit was deploying to Afghanistan, I decided to look for a job with the slight chance I’ll see them again. Working on the Apache Helicopter is my specialty so our field is quite small. Unfortunately I didn’t get the same base as my old unit, so I’m not in the military anymore. Now I work for DynCorp Aviation.

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Running With Needles: an Interview with David Babcock

January 22nd, 2014

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Featured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock became the Guinness world record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon in Kansas City last October. Along with a whole lot of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his accomplishment!

1. Which came first knitting or running?
It’s not an easy answer — it’s a timeline of failure and discovery for both with middle-aged knees, toys no one wants to play with, and hats no one wants to wear. I started trying to run for exercise in 2009 at age 37, but had a lot of knee pain, so it was an off-and-on thing. I watched the NYC marathon that year and noticed some barefoot runners but it would take almost two years to figure out how to manage the knee pain for myself. The end of that same year a student of mine made a crochet hat for me. Over Christmas break I decided that the hat was too short and learned how to crochet to extend it myself. By February 2010 I had some basic skills and discovered amigurumi-style toy-making. Over the next Christmas break I bought a beginning knitting kit but didn’t get into knitting until that fall in 2011.
David Babcock

By the following spring I had found that minimal-style running resolved my knee issues and by mid-April 2012 I was running in water socks and had found Susie Hewer’s blog. (Editor’s note: Susie Hewer is a runner/knitter as well. She held the world record for knitting the longest scarf while running a marathon before David!)

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The Original Yarn Hog

January 19th, 2014

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One of our friends on Facebook called it “the original pig in a blanket” The Mangalista is a breed of pig that was developed in Hungary in the 1930s to provide a fattier meat.   The delicacy of Mangalista meat was initially reserved for the Habsburg Royalty, but the rich, fatty flavor made it a popular choice by the end of the 19th century.

Times have changed and tastes and health concerns make the Mangalista a much less desirable pig to eat.  It also takes twice as long to raise a super fatty Mangalitsa as it does to raise other pigs, taking over a year for them to reach 300 pounds, rather than 175 pounds.

The curious look of this animal is what we love. Like a character out of Star Wars that sprung from the imagination of a yarn-loving film-maker, the Mangalista post on Facebook turns out to be one of your favorites this year.  If you’d like to discover more extraordinary images, stories and ideas, we welcome you to join us on Facebook.

Mangalista 1 Mangalista2


Knit and Crochet and Yarn Trends For 2014

December 23rd, 2013

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1. Big, Bigger, Better

Big, Bigger, Best
1) Arm Knitting. 2) “Speed Stix” Knitting Needles. 3) Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® 4) Homespun® Thick & Quick®

We’ll see people supersizing everything in 2014 with big needle knit and crochet garments and home décor that display chunky, oversized stitches in oversized silhouettes. In 2014 we’ll be showing you a collection of designs that will keep you right on trend. Many of Lion Brand’s yarns are ideal for the “Big” trend including Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®, Homespun®, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Hometown USA® . . . with more to come in 2014.

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Yarn Crafting Seen At New York Comic Con

October 30th, 2013

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New York Comic Con has been over for more than two weeks and I’m still suffering from the post-con depression (i.e. that listless, nostalgic feeling you get when you’ve just returned from Disneyland). However I’m still going through all the photos I took from the event.  To my surprise, I saw quite a few yarn crafts and couldn’t help but share them with you.

They were all impressively creative because the majority required no pattern, just a lot of imagination.

 rwby  drwristers boo
This girl crocheted her entire
Ruby Rose (RWBY) cosplay.
Doctor Who wristwarmers
found on Etsy.
An adorable Boo costume from Monsters, Inc.
 r2d2  pokemon  littlesister-bioshock
This needle felted R2D2
took at least 6 months to make.
She just started to learn crochet and wanted to show off her skills with
this Magikarp (Pokemon) hat.
She said she didn’t know how to sew, and crocheted her props for
her Little Sister cosplay (Bioshock) instead.

Ever tried to crochet or knit an entire costume? Or ever seen one that totally impressed you? Tell us!


Exclusive Pattern: Huge & Huggable Mochimochi

October 17th, 2013

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If you loved designer and artist Anna Hrachovec’s books of teeny adorable mochimochi (her little knitted creatures and creations), you’ll love her newest book of giant buddies—just released!

To celebrate, we’re sharing a super-sized version of her popular Petite Pencil, excerpted from the book. Click on the image for the pattern and click on the book cover for more info about it!

Arthur (Plush Pencil) designed by Anna Hrachovec Huge & Huggable Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec
Arthur: Knitted Plush Pencil Huge & Huggable Mochimochi

Want your own copy of the book? Look out for a giveaway in next week’s issue of The Weekly Stitch!


I Love Yarn Day with Lion Brand

October 11th, 2013

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Here at Lion Brand we love yarn as much as you do, and to show our appreciation we encourage you to share our exclusive “I Love Yarn day” badge on your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Proud Yarn Lover For Life
<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com/" target="_blank"><img title="Proud Yarn Lover For Life - I Love Yarn Day 2013" src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/I-love-yarn-day-badge2013.png" alt="Proud Yarn Lover For Life - I Love Yarn Day 2013" width="163" height="200" /></a>

Not sure what to do to celebrate ILYD?  Here are some ideas:

  • Wear your latest knit or crochet item.
  • Meet up with a local knitting, crochet group.
  • If you like knitting or crocheting solo: take some time out of your busy day, relax, and pick up that WIP.
  • Visit our Studio or Outlet *(if you’re in the Tri-State area) and find some yarn for a new project. Or visit your LYS.

What are your plans for I Love Yarn Day? Share below or visit our Facebook.

*Note:  Be sure to check store hours as we tend to close early on Friday.


Showing Off the Goods! 9 Featured Projects from the Lion Brand Customer Gallery

August 13th, 2013

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Every once in a while we like to highlight the great project submissions that have been uploaded to our online Customer Gallery, and today I’ve got 9 great projects to share with and inspire you.  It’s always fun to see our patterns come to life by others, especially when made with modifications.  Take a look at the projects below, and see if something you created made a guest appearance!

Modified Snowstorm Hat Pattern #90022AD
Modified Snowstorm Hat Pattern
By: Myra Gabriel
Pattern: Snowstorm Hat
gallery Baby Throw with AppliqueBaby Throw with Toy Car Appliques
By: Myra Slatkoff
Pattern: Sunshine Day Baby Throw
Perfect Crochet CardiganPerfect Crochet Cardigan
By: Mary Cast
Pattern: Perfect Crochet
Cardigan

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Stories from the Road: Remembering My Father and Deacon Jones

June 4th, 2013

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Stories from the Road | Lion Brand NotebookAs 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.]

Related links: 


Play Nice!

May 8th, 2013

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Writer/illustrator/knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column on the life of a yarn crafter.

I was at a yarn shop a few weeks ago, troubleshooting a thumb gusset in the company of those who understand the importance of good thumb gussets, when the topic of steeks came up.

A steek, in case you haven’t run across the term before, is an opening cut into a piece of hand-knit fabric. There are many ways to create one, but they all end by taking scissors to your knitting. Snip! It gives some knitters the shakes to even contemplate this. It shouldn’t, but it does.

That’s not what I want to write about today.

I mentioned to the group that I’ve launched a class in which the students cut steeks, then sew zippers into the openings. Zipper installation is another thing that gives some knitters the shakes. It shouldn’t, but it does.

That’s also not what I want to write about today.

“I’d take that class,” said one of the junior knitters at the table. There was a murmur of agreement from the other junior knitters. The most junior shook her head. “I’d like to,” she said. “But I’m not good with a sewing machine.”

“You don’t need a sewing machine,” I said. “In my class we use crochet to secure the edges.”

“Forget it,” said the least junior knitter. “I don’t crochet.”

“It’s only basic crochet,” I said. “Even if you haven’t done it before, you can pick this up in sixty seconds.”

“No,” she said, under a slightly curled lip. “I don’t touch crochet hooks. Ever.”

Several of the others–junior and senior–echoed her. No hooks. No hooks ever. Well, maybe to pick up dropped stitches. Never to crochet.

“I don’t crochet,” she said. “I’m a knitter!”

That’s what I want to write about today.

Play Nice! An essay by Franklin Habit for Lion Brand

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