Meet Our Sponsor - Lion Brand Yarn Studio

This is the first in a series of articles about the organizations that are supporting our Holiday Handmade Cavalcade.

Interference by Michelle Loughlin at Lion Brand Yarn Studio

Exciting things are happening at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. On November 18, it will celebrate its second anniversary with a sale, demos and prizes! The Studio is the first retail outlet of Lion Brand Yarn the 132-year-old yarn wholesaler that was founded on Orchard Street in 1878 and has been a family business for four generations.  When I went to visit the Studio, I felt like I had entered Mr. Magorium's Emporium--for knitters and crocheters. Everywhere you look you find the most gorgeous yarn in an explosion of colors: on the sampling wall, where you can unwind a length of yarn to try out, on display tables featuring the yarn of the month (November's yarn is "Homespun"), alongside the long wall filled with shelves and shelves of yarns of all fibers and colors, and the Gallery wall at the end of the room exhibiting a stunning piece of fiber art by Michelle Loughlin. (This month's exhibit features Nicky Epstein's sheep prints.)

Given its relaxed atmosphere, it's easy to see how the Studio is becoming a community center for fiber enthusiasts. During an early midweek afternoon an impromptu knitting lesson was taking place at the large project table overflowing with swatches and needles; several shoppers were browsing the shelves; a visitor checked her Ravelry account on one of the iMacs available, while another printed out a pattern from the Lion Brand website. More than once someone would remark "This place is becoming addictive."

Free Amigurumi Club Every Third Wednesday

Education, the first component of the Studio's mission of Education - Innovation - Inspiration, is of enormous importance to the Blumenthal family and the Studio's staff. Every month the Studio publishes a six-page schedule of available classes that range from free drop-in sessions to classes with master designers like Sharon Silverman and Jared Flood. In addition to classes, the Studio organizes free  RSVP events on the second Thursday of every month. December's event will be an evening with Nicky Epstein. And since few things go better with a pair of needles than a movie, the Studio offers a monthly Flix with Sticks gathering featuring a movie that includes at least one scene of a character knitting or crocheting. (Flix with Sticks will resume in January.)

Warm Up America Afghan Drive

Lion Brand Yarn's interest in community is not limited to fiber enthusiasts, though. From October through November the Studio is collecting afghan blocks to be joined together at a joining party on December 12. The blankets will be distributed to the needy through Warm Up America. This is just one of the many civic enterprises of the company that also donates a portion of its proceeds from the popular Vanna's Choice yarn to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Lion Brand Yarn founded in 1878 on Orchard Street
Leaving the Studio, my head was spinning with ideas for new projects. It's definitely time to pick up the needles again.