Lion Brand® Yarn will be closed Monday, October 24th and Tuesday, October 25th. Please allow additional processing time for all orders. Thank you!

Author Archives: Franklin Habit

  • How to Be a Superb Student: A Lesson in Two Parts, Part Two

    franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    I left you, last month, on the brink of taking your seat in the classroom. If all has gone well, you are equipped with the correct needles, notions, and yarns. If the teacher has asked for homework, your homework is complete.

    Let us begin.

    Part Two: In the Classroom

    1. Dress for Comfort. A fiber arts classroom may be anything from a deluxe hotel suite to a livestock barn. I have taught in both. No matter what, I promise you this: the room will be far too hot for half the class and far too cold for the other half.

    Dressing in layers is vital. A student in a shirt, sweater, and small shawl or scarf can adjust to a variable microclimate. A student who wears only a bra under her snuggly hand-knitted merino pullover is going to suffer when the radiator starts to glow.

    1. Arrive on Time. On time is slightly early–anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes before class is due to begin. Earlier than 45 minutes isn’t punctual, it’s pushy. The teacher needs time to arrange the classroom (and himself) for what’s to come. If you cannot sit outside (i.e., it’s snowing hard, there’s an angry mob in the street, the yarn shop is entirely surrounded by a moat stocked with alligators) please have mercy–quietly choose a seat and let the teacher prepare.

    Do not ever (ever) show up very, very early and attempt to wheedle a free private lesson out of the teacher before class beings. You will not enjoy what happens next.

    If you must arrive late, slip in quietly and take the nearest available seat. No explanations necessary.

    1. They’re All Good Seats. If you have a physical condition that requires special accommodation, please let the venue know in advance so they can take the necessary steps.
      If you do not, choose any open chair. You’ll be able to see. You’ll be able to hear. The seats in the back are fifteen feet from the teacher. It’s a crochet class, not a Who concert at Yankee Stadium.
    1. Silence the Phone. Period.
    1. Silence Yourself. Your classmates have paid to learn about cable knitting, not your dinner plans. When the teacher is addressing the class, conversations on your phone or with your table neighbors should–indeed must–be taken out of the room.

    If you simply can’t wait another minute to catch up with the bosom friend you haven’t seen since the day fifty years ago when you left her for dead on a blood-soaked battlefield, please consider that perhaps my class on the history of lace knitting is not the ideal place to do it.
    Continue reading

    Tagged In: Read More
  • Franklin Habit's How to Be a Superb Student: A Lesson in Two Parts

    franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    For the past several years I’ve been one of the most traveled knitting teachers in the northern hemisphere–with the battered baggage and frequent flyer status to prove it.  In a busy month I may be at a shop, guild, retreat, or festival every other weekend. In a very busy month, that may be every weekend. It’s so hard to be me.

    (No it isn’t.)

    Before this, I was a knitting student. I loved taking classes. I still do, on rare and beautiful occasions when my schedule permits me to sit down and shut up.

    In this way I’ve met literally thousands of students–some learning from me, some learning with me. All have gathered into the classroom with a common goal: to have fun, stretch their wings, and expand their horizons.

    Most students are lovely, polite, considerate, and prepared. Were they not, I would be writing an entirely different column about information architecture or collectible figurines or the semiotics of Sesame Street.  I lack the stamina to teach classroom after classroom full of boors and cretins.


    Needlework classes of any variety–knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery–can be fraught with tension. They are often expensive and crowded. Miniscule rooms tumble perfect strangers together in close proximity. Challenging topics push mental or physical limits to the breaking point. Temperaments clash. Patience is often in short supply.

    And everyone present comes supplied with sharp implements.

    In such circumstances, being a prepared and polite student is good for everyone.

    It is good for your teacher, because it allows him or her to give the entire class the best possible guided tour of the material.

    It is good for your fellow students, because it allows them to concentrate on their own work.

    It is good for you, because it helps you get the most for your money; and gives your teacher and classmates no cause to gather after class and smack the whoopsie out of you in the parking lot.

    Therefore, in the spirit of everyone having a bodacious time, I humbly present this two-part guide to being the best student you can be.

    Continue reading

    Tagged In: Read More
  • Franklin Habit's Friendly Three-Point Message to Journalists Who Seek to Write About Knitting and Crochet

    franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Please let me say how delighted I am that you intend to devote column inches (or equivalent in screen real estate) to something so dear to my heart. It’s a broad and fascinating subject, reaching back centuries and stretching the world around. Much has been said of it, yet so much remains unsaid.

    I venture to guess, based upon prior experience with reporters covering this beat, that it was not your first choice among the week’s assignments. You are new, perhaps. An intern, possibly. Or you got caught in the office supply closet with the editor’s girlfriend at the holiday party, and this is your punishment.

    Chin up, friend. You could do worse. Your sources are legion. They will eagerly supply fodder sufficient to overflow the boundaries of a book, let alone your limit of 2,000 words. Play nice, and you might get to keep the mittens after the photo shoot.

    Field research will take you to guild meetings, knit nights,  and yarn shops, at which you will be offered tea and cookies, frequently; and stronger libation, almost as frequently.

    You will not have to jump off a bridge or wear a silly costume. You will not be required to crawl down mine shafts or across battlefields.


    Before you turn on your recorder there are a few fundamentals you must understand. They will help you to write a piece full of truth and beauty. A piece that will be passed merrily around the Internet like a plate of homemade macaroons. A piece that will not inspire fifty million plugged-in yarn fanciers to flood your publication with sternly worded messages of complaint.

    Ready? Good. Take notes.

    Continue reading

    Tagged In: Read More