Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Yarniverse' Category


New Pattern Book Alert: Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (And Booties Too!) is Available Now!

October 21st, 2014

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In 2012, Lion Brand sponsored a design contest to use Vanna’s Choice® yarn and create an original design.  The winner was “Gramma” Nancy Nielsen, who we flew out to California to meet Vanna White as part of her prize.  Nancy’s design was an irresistible baby hat that looked like an elephant head and booties that looked like elephant feet. As you can see, Vanna was charmed by the whimsy and creativity of these designs.

It turned out that Nancy also had a whole range of animal hats and matching booties that she had designed as baby gifts.  There was a Lion set (and of course we looove lions!) and sets that recreated a duck, lamb, monkey, dig, rabbit and more.

We were so taken with the wealth of designs that we spoke to a friend who edits pattern books at Random House about doing a pattern book of animal hat and bootie sets and today, the book is a reality and Nancy Nielsen is an author.

Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (And Booties Too!) was just released.  It includes 19 animal hat patterns with many including matching booties and mittens sized for newborns to bigger kids.  In the foreword Vanna White wrote for the book she talks about the interesting reason that Nancy was inspired to have this burst of creativity. I’d like to share a quote from that foreword that we can all relate to:

“As all of us who knit or crochet know, there is nothing more special, and more appreciated than giving something handmade that comes from the heart. . . she has touched the hearts of hundreds of people at a special time in their lives. . . ”

If you’re a knitter, looking for ideas for your next baby gift or for a birthday gift, you’ll find years’ worth of affordable ideas in this book.  It includes patterns, charming photographs and the amazing stories of generosity that inspired these patterns.

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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.

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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.

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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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