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Author Archives: Jack

What do you do at Lion Brand? My title is Vice President. I do marketing and sales. When did you start working for Lion Brand? March 1, 1983 What’s your favorite thing about working for Lion Brand? My favorite thing is to have an idea, to discuss it in a meeting and then see it in a store 6 months or a year later. What do you do when you are not working? I Collect sports memorabilia and autographs. When I travel and I’m in a hotel I can spot a professional athlete from across the room and I’ve gotten a lot of autographs that way. I have an autographed Sandy Koufax jersey and a ball autographed by Koufax and Drysdale. I also coach my son’s basketall team and take him to little league games. What is your work area like? My work area is fun. I have a 1954 working Coke machine and a bubble gum machine from the 50s, a collection of Norman Rockwell plates of people knitting, articles by my Dad of a book he wrote the introduction to on knitting from 1953, a needlepoint made by my second grade teach showing Lion Brand on a pushcart, The Simpson family, sitting in front of the T.V. with Marge knitting. This was a cover of T. V. Guide. When I called them and told them I was in the yarn business they sent me the original artwork (called a cell). I have a tin that we used to give to stores in the 1950s, a photo of my son modeling a Lion Brand Sweater, a French poster of a girl knitting from 1928, a Red Cross poster from World War II that says, “our boys need socks, knit your bit”, a cover of Life Magazine from 1941 with a woman knitting (Life was 10 cents), a cover of New Yorker Magazine with a big ball of yarn, about 40 images of Lions counting stuffed animals, needlepoint, and framed images. A collection of books, some autographed, by Vanna White, Kate Jacobs and Debbie Macomber, all famous knitters or crocheters, a Build-A-Bear of a Lion, a picture of Wallace and Grommet knitting, a poster of an old catalog cover that was a take-off of American Gothic with two Lions knitting and crocheting, a clock with the Lion Brand logo, a framed 1946 Saturday Evening Post from with a picture of a dog sweater being knit. I have lots of photos including my father with Henry Kissinger, photos of me with Jackie Mason and Mohammed Ali, a picture of my Uncle Isidor, A picture of my parents in front of the Taj Mahal from 1971, picture of Warren Buffet knitting (his daughter had a knit shop), color card books from the 60s to the 90s, license plate holder, that says “license to knit”, What is your earliest yarn memory? When I was 5 I took a paper bag with spools fo thread, I went to my parents friends on the street and to go door to door selling spools of thread for a nickel a spool.

  • Congratulations to the Newest Member of the Crochet Guild of America's Hall of Fame!

    gwen-blakley-kinslerAs a fourth generation family member of Lion Brand, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to meet and talk with very passionate people that are prominent within the yarn industry; people like Janet Johnson Stephens, Rita Weiss, and Gwen Blakely Kinsler. I met Gwen a number of years ago when I spoke to her Guild in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and I was impressed with the many ways she has contributed to the craft industry.

    Gwen was instrumental in establishing the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) organization 20 years ago and is also an author, designer, teacher and writer of everything crochet.

    This year, the Crochet Guild of America chose Gwen as their 2014 recipient for the Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame Award. Her passion and determination to host the first meeting with crochet enthusiasts in Chicago is now recognized as an incremental part of yarn history.

    For everyone who is passionate about yarn and loves to crochet, Gwen Blakely Kinsler is an inspiration. I’d like to congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.

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  • Visiting the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club

    For over 30 years working at Lion Brand as a traveling salesperson, it has been one of my greatest joys to witness the growth of the many crafting communities all over the United States. I have always felt immeasurably proud to be a part of a company that enables people to find happiness in each stitch and a sense of accomplishment in every final product.Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak at the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, the Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America. This group started in 2001 as a bunch of crafters who wanted to get together and share their love for crochet. Now they have expanded to an organization “dedicated to preserving, promoting, and teaching crochet” within the Tri-State Area; it was like looking into Lion Brand's past.At the end of my talk, the president presented me with a personalized honorary membership, for all of the hard work, passion, and inspiration Lion Brand has helped give the crafters of today.  irene-ariel
    Irene and Ariel in a sweater she made.

    Following the event, there was a “show and tell” parade of garments made by members who used Lion Brand yarn, ending in the biggest surprise of all: my longtime, good friend Irene Iannelli had brought her young daughter, Ariel, that day to model some of her own garments!

    Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing how our product has transformed itself into a handmade sweater thanks to an imaginative crafter. Seeing members of Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club enthusiastically welcome Lion Brand and myself into their community makes visiting knit and crochet guilds across the nation all the more worthwhile.

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  • Meeting a Living Legend of the Knitting Industry

    janet-johnson-stephens
    With Janet (pictured left) and the other ladies from the Guild

    As a fourth generation member of a family-owned business, I've always been fascinated with the "living legends" of the yarn industry since, like me, many of them have been involved in the business for 30 or 40 years.

    At the Knit and Crochet show last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Janet Johnson Stephens, who won the Honorary Lifetime Member award from the Knitting Guild of America. 

    The very talented Janet Johnson Stephens is a particularly influential person. Not only is she a dedicated crafter, but she is an accomplished teacher and designer.

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