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Author Archives: Ilana

What do you do at Lion Brand? My title is V.P. of Marketing. I consider my first priority to encourage people who craft with yarn to engage with us in ways that will enhance their experience and feel more connected to Lion Brand. When did you start working at Lion Brand? My first day was January 2, 1996. On January 3, 1996, an article appeared on the front page of the New York Times Style Section entitled “Younger Knitters Knit One Purl Two.” The first line of the article read: “Knitting, an activity that faded during the 1970's and 1980's, is coming back, especially among younger people.” This article marked the beginning of a renaissance in the field of yarn crafting. I considered this an immensely fortunate sign ( at a time when people hesitated to knit in public) and knew I had landed in the right place. What is your favorite thing about working at Lion Brand? Even when people don’t necessarily agree with or understand the point of an initiative I believe in, they are willing to let me try it. What do you do when you’re not working at Lion Brand? I spend time as much time as possible with my family. I do Yoga two to three times a week so I don’t stiffen up completely and topple over. What is your earliest yarn memory? My mother’s friend, Adele, taught me to knit when I was eight. I had trouble sitting still. I’m still having trouble sitting still and I’m not much of a knitter, but I’ll always be grateful to Adele for her gift.

  • Steve Frank: Athlete, Father, Leadership Coach...Knitter

    This is an interview with Steve Frank, the owner of evolution 360°.

    I was introduced to Steve through a mutual business acquaintance who knew that I’m always looking to meet knitters who don’t fit the traditional image of knitters.  He’s an athlete, an entrepreneur, and a dad.  What I discovered was that while Steve appears to be different from many knitters on the outside, what he has in common with the rest of the knitting community is, well. . . everything.   It’s the “why” of knitting that makes people want to knit and keeps them knitting, no matter what.

    Ilana: Tell me a little about how you spend your time and what kind of work you do.

    Steve: When I started my career I expected to go into politics.  I had a Masters in Urban Economic Development from Harvard and my goal was to run for public office.  When I got married, I decided that going into politics was not going to lead to the type of family life that I wanted to create.  I took a job in marketing and branding, but after 20 years the changes that took place in that company made me realize I wanted to work for myself.  I had served in a “coach-like” role in many organizations, serving as a cycling coach for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I realized that helping others to gain clarity and intention around their goals was something that I really enjoyed doing. So, I went back to school to get certified as a Professional Coach and built my coaching and consulting business.  In my practice, I translate the life lessons I learned as an avid cyclist and branding professional to help others become more effective leaders of their professional and personal lives.


    Ilana: When did you start knitting?

    Steve: I started about three years ago. While coaching for the Leukemia and Lymphona Society and one of cyclists was holding a fund-raiser at a local knitting store. I had been wanting to knit for some time, but could never seem to bring myself to walk in to a knitting store. I knew this was the perfect opportunity!  I looked at the process and was fascinated and wanted to learn.   I tried knitting at that fundraiser and by the end of the evening my hands felt like cement claws. I went home that night and I put it aside the start of my scarf. I picked it up a few times over the next week.  Then, a few months later, I realized I really had a desire to knit so I went back to that same local yarn shop.  They took their time working with me and I made a one color scarf.  Then I made a two-color hat for my son and a very complicated infinity scarf for my daughter.   Between July and December of that year I made 6 more hats and gave them as holiday gifts.


    Ilana: What brought you back to knitting after initially being frustrated?

    Steve: First of all, I had a way to learn in person from a patient teacher at a local knit shop. The rhythmic movement of the hands and the ability to create things was enticing. I’m a meditator and I noticed that the effect of knitting was like meditation. Knitting brings me to my Zen place. I find that effect from cycling and this was just another way to center myself, especially during those Michigan winter days that don’t always lend themselves to cycling.

    Ilana: How do you find the time to knit?

    Steve: It’s a great way to be productive when I otherwise wouldn’t be.  I put on a football game, grab a beer and knit.  I knit between clients, even if all I have is a few minutes.

    Ilana: Can you describe any way that knitting has helped you?

    Steve: I used to hate flying and I started flying a lot for work.  I couldn’t read because it required too much focus and actually caused some motion sickness for me.  Now I have no stress when I fly.  I don’t care if I’m delayed. I don’t mind take-offs or landings, which used to stress me out, a bit, especially if the least bit turbulent.  Now, I usually start knitting as soon as I get settled in my seat. A great side benefit has been some of the conversations that knitting on a plane has led to with other passengers.

    IMG_6838The rhythmic movement of the hands and the ability to create things was enticing. I’m a meditator and I noticed that the effect of knitting was like meditation.


    Ilana: Is there anything else that keeps you knitting when there are so many other activities competing for your time?

    Steve: I’ve always been creative but never believed I had any talent at drawing or creating artwork.  Knitting is a creative outlet and it’s something I can do.  The stuff I knit comes out well.  It’s very satisfying. I find that even when I decide to deviate from the pattern because I have a different vision, I really like what I make…and, others seem to, as well. But, overall, the thing that keeps me knitting is the centering effect it has on me. I’m in my happy place when I knit…so, why wouldn’t I knit?

    Are you an unexpected knitter or crocheter? Tell us in the comments.

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  • Knit, Crochet And Yarn Trends For 2016

    If you love fiber and the look of hand crafted elegance,  you're going to enjoy the trends we see for 2016.  In all of these trends, yarn is a big, bold star.  From the powerful combination of black and white, to giant, chunky stitches, to the no-holds-barred flowing fringe look, it's all about standing out.  As yarn takes center stage, we seem to be in love with the look of it and with the stitches themselves. Whether it's cable, stockinette or woven stitches, we want to see them, and the bigger, longer and more dramatic, the better!


    Get the look: Knit Concerto Cowl // One Ball Crocheted Scarfie

    Colors go in and out of fashion, and although black is always popular, the trend we see is black and white.  From Angelina Jolie on the cover of Vogue to the preponderance of runway fashions in the contrasting black and white patterns, the evidence is clear that black and white makes a bold on trend fashion statement.

    Lion Brand®'s yarns in a variety of weights help you design in black and white, and Scarfie is the perfect yarn to help you create this trend in an ombre look.


    Get the look: Crochet Fast Fringed Scarf

    According to some sources, fringe is the biggest trend for Spring 2016. Fringe is everywhere, from the obvious--on ponchos--to dresses, shoes, boots and even scarves.  The look is dramatic, off beat and retro, with a new twist that there is not limit to the ways you can wear fringe or the length that the fringe can be!


    Get the look: Crochet "Knit-Look" Tapestry Bag by Mama in a Stitch // Crochet Cabled Wristwarmers by All About Ami

    Everyone wants the look of knit stitches.  If you buy knits, you'll find that the stitch definition is part of the design.  Even items that aren't knitted like the tights and the printed bags shown below have the appearance of knitted stitches.  It's a sign that knitting has become part of pop culture and has seeped into every corner of design.  From yarn bombing to the latest Netflix knitted socks, knitting is in.  If you're a knitter, you're set and if you crochet, you can still get the look with knit look crochet patterns.

    Get the look: Knit Hat in a Flash // Super Circs Size 50 Needles

    So, it's not only the look of your stitches but the boldest, biggest stitches that seem to be taking over accessory and home decor patterns.  The designs are attention getting and powerful.  If you knit or crochet, you can make your projects quickly and easily. Our new size 50 circular needles were just introduced especially to help you use the chunkiest yarns available.


    Get the look: Loom-Woven Natural Instincts Wall Hanging // Loom-Woven Blue Note Pillow // Loom-Woven Simple Clutch

    Weaving is a simple way to craft with yarn and woven wall hangings are the most woven project.  Even a novice can pick up a basic loom and start creating artistic wall art. It doesn't stop with wall hangings though, as the woven look is popular for home decor objects like table runners and pillows, as well as tote bags and clutches.  If you're a knitter or crocheter, you'll enjoy the new ways to use the fibers you love. With weaving, you'll enjoy mixing yarns and the variety of texture and dimension that possible with woven projects.

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

    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?

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