Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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6 New Patterns for January’s Featured Yarns!

January 14th, 2016

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New year, new works in progress! With a collection of yarns all made here in the U.S.A featured for the month of January, now’s a great time to get started on a new project.

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Through January 31st, save 20% on Homespun®, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Country®, Hometown USA®, Heartland®, and Heartland® Thick & Quick®!

See some of our newest patterns for our featured yarns below!:

falmouth pompom sunday_stroll
Knit Falmouth Shrug made with Country® Knit Pom-Pom It Up Scarf made with Heartland® Thick & Quick® Knit Sunday Stroll Vest made with Homespun®
sorrento newfield loopyhat
Crochet Sorrento Ripple Shrug made with Heartland® Crochet Newfield Afghan made with Hometown USA® Crochet Liz’s Loopy Hat made with Heartland® Thick & Quick®

Until January 31st, Save 20% on a Selection of American-Made Yarns

January 4th, 2016

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All January long, save 20% on yarns made in the U.S.A! Choose from Homespun®, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Heartland®, Heartland® Thick & Quick®, Hometown USA®, and Country®. These American-made yarns are sure to delight with their assorted weights and vivid solids, tweeds, and mixes.


9 of November’s Top Patterns!

December 4th, 2015

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This November marked Homespun‘s 25th anniversary, and we celebrated by revisiting this yarn’s fantastic pattern support! With over 500 free patterns for this yarn available on lionbrand.com, a few favorites were bound to pop up.

Beautiful shawls, shrugs and ponchos made it to the top of the list, but the true favorite was one of the newest patterns for this yarn: a gorgeous ombre throw knit made with Homespun and Homespun Thick & Quick! Use this pattern — worked on size 50 circular needles — for the fastest afghan you’ve ever made. See the 8 Hour Throw pattern below for all the scrumptious details!

Never tried pixel crochet? Try the Baby Owl Corner-to-Corner Afghan! Follow a chart and learn to craft your blanket from one corner diagonally to the opposite end; you’ll learn to incorporate colorwork to create an amusing blanket that’s great for new moms.

We’re also excited to launch 24/7 Cotton! This worsted weight 100% cotton yarn comes in 24 shades that work together harmoniously. The Clement Canyon Poncho became a quick favorite; we can’t wait to get started on it for the springtime!

Check out the top 9 patterns for November below and see many more over on our Pattern Finder!

babyowl 8hr reindeer
Crochet Baby Owl Corner-to-Corner Afghan made with Vanna’s Choice® Knit 8 Hour Throw made with Homespun® and Homespun® Thick & Quick® Crochet Happy Reindeer made with Vanna’s Choice® and Vanna’s Glamour®
cushy tender simple
Quick Cushy Hat & Cowl Set made with Homespun® Thick & Quick® Knit Tender Shawl made with Homespun® Crochet Simple Shrug made with Homespun®
clement cozy_cowl 5halfhour
Crochet Clement Canyon Poncho made with 24/7 Cotton Crochet Cozy Cowl Poncho made with Homespun® Thick & Quick® Crochet 5 1/2 Hour Afghan made with Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®

Patterns We Keep Coming Back To: Anne loves the Honest Warmth Shawl made with Homespun®!

June 28th, 2015

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Honest Warmth Shawl

This Pattern Journal comes to us from Anne B. in New Hampshire. Anne shares this story about one of her favorite Lion Brand patterns, the Honest Warmth Shawl.


Erica cast on the three stitches to begin the Honest Warmth Shawl. This would be the third one she had knit. The first, knit in Lion Brand’s Homespun® in Rococo, was for Mum. The soft golds and whites were the perfect color that Mum always liked to wear, and brought out the healthy rose of her skin. The second shawl, for Gram, was Baroque, the purples and blues the colors Gram always loved best. She had knit the shawls one after the other, consciously infusing each stitch with warm memories and love, imagining with each row how the warmth would envelop them like a hug, keeping the cold drafty breezes of New Hampshire off their hips and shoulders. But this shawl was a little different. This one was for Mum’s Japanese sister.

Mariko was visiting in two months time, and her visit was very special. Erica wanted this shawl to show the respect and honor the family felt at receiving this visit. She had researched color meaning in Japan. Mariko was a doctor, and she knew that Japanese culture associated white with the medical profession, referring to nurses as “angels in white”. She also knew that Mariko might appreciate the warmth on a cool New Hampshire evening. She saw the Homespun® in Deco, and knew the light cream was perfect.

As Erica knit this shawl, she thought of the hard work Mariko had done to become a doctor. And she thought of the bonds forged when Mariko had visited the United States as a teenager, living with her host American family for a whole year. Mariko had returned many times to visit over the decades, sometimes bringing her own family to meet her. One time, when she was a little girl, Erica had played for a weekend with Mariko’s daughter and son.

As the shawl grew over the evenings of knitting, Erica recalled the times she had met Mariko as she grew up. The last time she had seen her, Mariko had given gifts to Erica’s own daughters, enchanting the little girls with beautiful origami paper and clever pens. She hoped her gift would show the appreciation and love the families had forged over the years and generations.
Once finished, Erica wrapped the Honest Warmth Shawl in beautiful paper, tied it carefully with a bow and added a fabric flower. It was perfect.

A story submitted by Anne B. from New Hampshire.

Enjoy 20% off the Honest Warmth Shawl kit for a limited time!

Would you like to be featured in an upcoming Pattern Journal? Submit a story, click here.


10 Benefits of Making and Receiving Prayer Shawls

April 25th, 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 explores how prayer shawls help both the maker and the recipient of the handmade item. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

prayer_shawl_april2015A knit or crochet prayer shawl is intended as a gesture of warmth and comfort for the person who receives the item. The maker prays (or sets their intention) for that person with every stitch. When the item is done, a special prayer or ritual may be done to add emotional value to the item before it is sent to charity or given to the person in need. However, it’s not just the person receiving the shawl who benefits from the act; the crafter also heals.

Benefits of Receiving a Prayer Shawl

People who receive prayer shawls often consider them to be special items that they will keep forever. A prayer shawl can be given to help someone who is going through a difficult illness, grieving the loss of a loved one or reeling from a disaster. The item provides physical comfort, actual warmth and a tangible reminder that there are others in the world that care for them.

Wrapped in the snug hug of a prayer shawl, the person can feel the love that went into those stitches. Barbara, who commented on a previous post we did about prayer shawls shared, “When I had surgery the pastor brought one to the hospital and prayed for me and wrapped it around me. It was very comforting. When I feel anxious I wrap myself in it and I feel the love that was knit into each stitch.”

Benefits of Making a Prayer Shawl

Making a prayer shawl has as many benefits as receiving one. Oftentimes when someone we care about is hurting, we desperately want to help but don’t know how. Making a prayer shawl is a way to channel that stressful energy into something positive. Other benefits people cite of making a knit or crochet prayer shawl include:

  • It takes your mind off of your own stress as you help someone else.
  • It can heal old wounds. For example, someone who has been through cancer herself might crochet prayer shawls for chemo patients and heal their own pain with each stitch.
  • Prayer shawl crafting can be done in groups, which offer camaraderie and companionship to the maker.
  • Some people find it easier to make time for crafting when they have a purpose, such as charity crafting, which allows them to reap many health benefits.
  • It is a way to bring prayer or meditation into your daily life. Research shows that there are numerous benefits to prayer.

Making a prayer shawl is a great way to connect you to your own community. Linda Kennedy finds this is true as she makes baby blankets for the women at her church. (Although we call them prayer shawls, intentional crafting items can be anything at all!) She shares, “I know them and think about them often as I am working on theirs. I have heard some of the women talking about how they can’t wait to get their blanket for their baby. It makes me so happy!” Linda put special attention into a white crochet baby blanket that she made for a mother whose baby had heart problems and they weren’t sure whether or not she would make it and found that this was a way to connect to her during a difficult time. Each experience of prayerful crafting is unique and special. Speaking of another item she made for someone from church, Linda says, “When they gave it to her, she cried because she didn’t think anyone would do something like that for her. Seeing how I can touch someone’s heart is so comfort to me!”

Anja’s Squares: A Story of Making and Receiving

Katinka Steyn shared a story about the healing power of both making and receiving intentionally crafted items. It all began in December 2013 when her eldest daughter Anja had to undergo open-heart surgery after a stent lodged in her heart. She posted in her South African Facebook Group Ons Hekel (which means “we crochet”) about what was happening and “countless messages of prayers and encouragement started pouring in”. Anja made it through surgery and was discharged but continued to have chest pain. On January 22, 2014, Anja passed away in her home.

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