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  • Celebrate Read a Book Day with One of These Yarn-Filled Novels

    September 6 is Read a Book Day, and to celebrate that, we've compiled a list of novels that feature yarn crafts. You may have already heard of books like Friday Night Knitting Club (which was also a movie) or Knit One, Kill Two, but there are a lot of them out there. Whether you read on paper or a screen, here are ten books, many of which are the first in a series, that feature knitting or crochet.


    • Hooked on Murder by Betty Hechtman is a mystery about a bookstore event coordinator, Molly Pink, who discovers the body of the leader of a local crochet group. Because of a tense personal history between the women, Pink becomes a suspect and must catch the real killer to clear her name. This book is the first in the Crochet Mystery series.




    • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil tells the story of Jo Mackenzie, who moves from London to the seaside to take over her grandmother's yarn shop. As their little town grows more exciting, the members of the shop's knitting circle rely on each other for support. This is book 1 in the Jo Mackenzie series.




    • The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is a story of recovering from loss. After the passing of her only child, Mary Baxter turns to a local knitting group for support. She learns new techniques as well as new things about love and loss, herself, and her relationships.




    • Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton combines yarncraft with witchcraft. In the sleepy town of Sugar Maple, VT, everything looks like your usual New England town, but there's one difference -- it's full of witches, warlocks, vampires, and sprites. The owner of the local yarn shop faces a unique challenge when she falls for the forbidden -- a human. This is the first in the Sugar Maple series.




    • Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik is as much about coming of age as it is about knitting. As three twentysomethings are suddenly thrust into new and terrifying situations involving love, money, and forgiveness, they have to rely on each other and their weekly knitting group to survive.





    • When it Happened by Kathy Gleason tells the story of a teenage girl who loves to crochet. Shortly after losing her father, the girl faces an unwanted pregnancy, and must figure out on her own how to handle her situation.





    • Knitting by Anne Barlett is about two women, their love of knitting, and their grief. Sandra and Martha meet by chance, but spark a deep friendship. Both are dealing with their share of loss, and manage to cope to work together on a new project.




    • Died in the Wool by Mary Krueger is a mystery set in a knitting shop. Ariadne Evans comes into the store she owns to find one of her customers strangled with handspun yarn. She must work to solve the crime as bizarre patterns and connections unfold. This is the first book in the Knitting Mysteries series.





    • The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan is an over-the-top (on purpose) story of knitting and vengeance. When members of a knitting circle realize most of them have been sexually assaulted, and their attackers have never been punished, they take matters into their own hands -- and needles. This books is a satire that explores many topics, including violence, feminism, knitting, love, and revenge.




    • Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae is a mystery involving yarn and ghosts. Kath Rutledge inherited her late grandmother Ivy's yarn shop, only to discover that there has been a murder and Ivy was the number one suspect. Kath also discovers a ghost who has a vested interest in solving this crime, and must turn to her grandmother's friends, as well as the spirit, to find the real killer. This is the first book in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series.





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  • Lola Saves The Day! (or... Selma takes Lola On The Road)


    It’s a fact of modern life that families often disperse for economic reasons.  My sons and my sister moved from the east coast to west coast for work.  I’m still firmly entrenched in New England.  Now I have young grandchildren who live far away.  Although I take two trips annually to California, I want to be more than an occasional presence to them, more than an image on a computer screen when we have video-chats.

    That’s how Lola saved the day!

    Readers of the Lion Brand Blog know Lola as a regular feature by cartoonist Todd Clark*.  She’s a white-haired, knitting-and-crochet–fixated lady, whose feisty energy is concealed by her grandmotherly appearance.  Nothing comes between Lola and her needlecraft, and her output of knitted and crocheted garments is on the extreme end of things.  This creates comic situations that ring true for those of us who are, shall we say, somewhat needlecraft addicted?

    A friend from the Philippines tells me that lola is the Tagalog word for grandmother.  So when I saw in Lion Brand’s Pattern Database that there are knit and crochet designs for a Lola doll, I knew the “make your own grandma” moment had come.  I set about knitting a Lola for Max and Addie, and decided to bring her to them myself.  Lola would be not just a plaything, but a grandma double, to remind them of me after I returned home, three thousand miles away.

    Lola at Metro station2

    I’m happy to report that last week Lola enjoyed her trip to California immensely.  Though the temperature on both coasts was almost the same—in the high nineties!—it was less humid in the west than in the east.  This appealed to Lola, who likes her weather and martinis dry.  Even so, she was glad to have her removable raglan cardigan with her, because you never know when you’ll be in an overly air-conditioned environment!

    Lola and I took the Metro from Santa Monica to downtown LA, enjoying the shockingly low senior citizen fare (thirty-five cents!) as well as the view from the elevated platform.  Arriving in the heart of downtown, we strolled about Union Station, appreciating its beautiful architecture, and discovering a lovely garden, with fountains and umbrella-shielded tables.


    The highlight of that day and every day, though, was spending time with Max (two-and-a-half years) and his sister, Adeline (seven months).  They’ve all along been beneficiaries of their grandmother’s knitting addiction.  Since living in a warm climate cancels the need for mittens, sweaters, and caps, Max and Addie have amassed a collection of grandma-knitted stuffed toys, some of which have been documented in previous Lion Brand Blog posts (Sheepdog, William Hedgehog, a caterpillar, a lion, Babar, and a couple of bunnies).


    Lola is the latest addition to this cast of characters.  Max, actually, calls Lola “Grandma,” and he was thrilled to learn she’d be moving into his room.  So, too, was I.  If I can’t be with these lovable children in reality, at least I can be there by proxy.

    Lola posing among prickly pear cactus paddles

    *Editor's Note: One of my favorite moments when joining Lion Brand's marketing team was discovering the brilliant Lola Comic Strips by Todd Clark. If you are, as Selma says, addicted to needlecraft, you should find yourself chuckling right along with the wry humor of this ultimate Grandma! If you find yourself needing a little Lola in your life, grab the free knit pattern here, and the free crochet pattern here. Long live Lola!

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  • New Pattern Journal: One Thing Leads to Another ... Featuring the Tribeca Tunic and the Dotty Dots Afghan

    This story is from our newsletter called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

    One Thing Leads to Another

    If Kathy's sister hadn't been named Dorothy, and if Dorothy hadn't been expecting a baby, and if Kathy hadn't crocheted a blanket for Dorothy's baby, Kathy would never have knitted herself the most sophisticated sweater ever. It was as simple as that.

    Dotty Dots Afghan

    She'd gone to the crafts store, where the blanket was on display. Its upbeat colors--cream and soft grey, vivid yellow and purple--immediately appealed. She also loved the whimsical layout of squares, diamonds, and circles, as rhythmic and happy as a children's song. When Kathy saw the pattern was titled "Dotty Dots," that clinched it! The family had called her sister Dorothy "Dottie" since forever. A Dotty Dots blanket for Dottie's baby—the coincidence was pure serendipity!

    It was crocheted from a subtly-chained, petal-soft yarn, Modern Baby®, which had a lively, bouncy quality that her fingers loved. The Modern Baby® palette was joyous, the yarn a pleasure to use. After finishing the blanket, Kathy wondered what else she could do with it. Too much fun to stop now!

    Maybe, she thought, it's time to focus on me. Making something just for her -- that was when her creativity peaked. She could play with color, shape, and structure. She could express herself.

    Tribeca Tunic

    The Tribeca Tunic, a sophisticated look in two shades of Modern Baby® and one of sparkle-inflected Vanna's Glamour®, was the perfect next project, Kathy discovered. Its construction appeared complicated, but was surprisingly straightforward. Yet there were enough changes in direction and color to keep things interesting. Knitting that sweater was as fascinating as crocheting the Dotty Dots afghan had been. She marveled at Modern Baby®'s versatility—it worked equally well for adults' and kids' clothing.

    At the baby shower, Kathy wore the chic Tribeca Tunic, worked in cream and two shades of black, over velvet leggings. She gave Dottie the Dotty Dots Afghan, and her sister was enchanted. "Thank you so much!" Dottie enthused. "I've never seen anything as adorable! And by the way, that's a fabulous sweater you're wearing. Is it new?"

    Kathy smiled, and considered how lucky she was to be a sister and an almost-aunt, as well as someone who loved to crochet and knit. It had been so rewarding to follow her intuition from baby blanket to Tribeca Tunic, as one creative project led to another, in natural succession -- just like life itself.

    Nothing is more fashionable than a handmade accessory you've made yourself. Save 20% off these kits for a limited time:

    1) Tribeca Tunic
    2) Dotty Dots Afghan


    All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    A story by Selma Moss-Ward.

    Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. You can find her work on our blog, as well as Lion Brand's monthly newsletter, Pattern Journal, which you can subscribe to here.

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