9.07.2011

Lion Brand... A little Q and A

Did you know that YarnCraft is getting ready to launch its 100th show? Yup, Lion Brand's informative and fun podcast is about to air its 100th episode on Sept 13th. In honor of their great run, Liz and Zontee sat down to answer some of my burning questions.

RC: Liz and Zontee what do you do at Lion Brand?

Liz: I do product and yarn development at Lion Brand. That means I work with mills to create the yarns that will eventually be on the retail shelves. Yes, this is every bit as awesome as it sounds.

Zontee: I edit our various newsletters, our company blog which is the Lion Brand Notebook, produce the YarnCraft podcast, and oversee marketing initiatives like our booths at yarn events. I also work on content for our website, and I work with artists and designers who use our yarns, which means I get to spend a lot of time out and about in the wonderful yarncrafting community.


RC: Lion Brand has a great Podcast, interviewing lots of designers, authors, teachers; and coming up with project ideas, organization, and techniques. Where do you get your ideas for each of your podcasts?

Zontee: Liz and I do a lot of brainstorming and try to think about topics that will be interesting to other yarncrafters. Sometimes we’re inspired by suggestions from our listeners, coworkers, or friends. Other times, we start with a guest that we’re interested in speaking with and build the topic around their expertise. In the world of yarncrafting, there’s no shortage of creativity and inspiration.


RC: We know that a ton of work goes into each podcast, how early do you start planning shows and how long does it take you to edit all the segments into a show?

Zontee: We usually plan several episodes at a time, so we have our ducks in a row usually a few weeks before the episode airs. Once everything’s recorded, it takes me a few hours to go through all the segments and put everything back together again.


RC: How do you keep your sanity being surrounded by all the great yarn colors and textures all day?

Liz: Well, I think the matter of my sanity is definitely a topic for debate! Honestly, at this point I start to feel anxious if I am NOT surrounded by piles of yarn, since that is such a big part of my work and home life. You should see how much yarn I bring when I travel.


RC: What is your current favorite Lion Brand yarn to crochet?

Liz: The LB Collection Cotton Bamboo – I love how smooth and silky it is. It just flies through your fingers. I made a granny square baby blanket out of this and it went so fast!

Zontee: For everyday projects, I’ve crocheted a lot with Vanna’s Choice, which makes a really lovely dense fabric, and is very versatile. For special projects, I like crocheting with the LB Collection Silk Mohair, since you can crochet a
seriously fast-finish project that’s lacy and open.


RC: You know I am in love with the LB Collection. Can you tell us how that came about?

Liz: We wanted to offer our loyal customers high quality, natural fiber yarns that unfortunately are too expensive to be carried at our normal retailers. By selling them direct to customers on our website, we can make luxury fibers like cashmere, alpaca, angora, and mohair available at reasonable prices. An important part of our Lion Brand philosophy is to provide high quality but value priced yarns for every type of crafter – whether someone is looking for an inexpensive acrylic yarn for their child's classroom project or for 100% cashmere to make an heirloom gift.



RC: How does Lion Brand decide out of the millions of fibers and weights and colors, on a new yarn line?

Liz: When developing new yarns, we try to balance the newest fibers and yarn construction techniques with practical applications for our customers. We want to make yarns that are new and exciting for people, but not so unusual that people won't know how to use them!

Zontee: In fact, we’ve done an episode about this very topic, so be sure to listen to episode 90.


RC: LB Collection Superwash Merino is one of my favorites to use, it has been featured in a number of my books and DVDs. What was the inspiration behind that yarn?

Liz: I am so glad to hear you say this, because the LB Collection Superwash Merino is one of my favorites too! It was created to be as versatile as possible, so we went with a DK weight and a multi-ply construction that resists pilling while staying lofty and soft to the touch. This means that you can use this yarn at a variety of gauges, all with great results. I've used it for everything from socks to sweaters to baby blankets.


RC: LB Collection also has a really cool yarn with Steel in it, that will be in my new book, Simply Crochet. It can be crocheted and then the project can be formed into different shapes, it is really neat. What was the inspiration behind that yarn?

Liz: The LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel is such a fun yarn to experiment with. At the time we were developing the LB Collection, we were approached by a Japanese mill we had worked with in the past who wanted broader distribution for their Stainless Steel yarn. We had already been big fans of the yarn, so were thrilled to included it in the LB Collection.


RC: What is coming up next at Lion Brand that we should keep an eye out for?

Zontee: This fall, we have a couple of awesome things coming out. First off, we have a brand new collection in conjunction with Martha Stewart Crafts that features 8 yarn lines, as well as a Knit & Weave Loom Kit that’s one of the most versatile knitting loom/weaving tool combinations I’ve ever seen. Second, we have several new yarns in chunky and bulky weights that feature great textures. These will be great for gift projects for the holiday season. Be sure to keep an eye on our newsletter, The Weekly Stitch, and LionBrand.com for announcements. We’ll also, of course, be talking more about them on YarnCraft!


Thank you Liz and Zontee! I can't wait to see what comes next on YarnCraft!

Continuing the celebration, We will be giving one lucky winner a copy of my DVD "Design Your Own Crocheted Baby Sweater" and a few balls of LB Collection Superwash Merino (my favorite for crochet). The cabled cover sweater is made with Lion Brand's Microspun, which is another good yarn for kids.

To enter: Leave a comment here (or email me) your favorite yarn at Lion Brand or your favorite YarnCraft Episode. Enter by Sept 16th at midnight (EST) and I will announce the winner the following week. Good luck!



47 comments:

April Garwood said...

I'm really enjoying Lionbrand's Cotton-Ease right now for warm weather projects!

Sarah.Crochet said...

Great post! Thank you for the awesome giveaway.

I enjoy Homespun and Vanna's Choice!

natalie said...

It's a hard choice between LB Superwash merino and Lion Brand Wool-ease.

The merino is so great for garments, and nothing beats wool-ease for afghans. :)

Plus I love all the colors for both!

Susan said...

I love Vanna's choice!

MellowMe said...

I really love the look of finished projects using Lion Brand Homespun

CupcakeCatie said...

My favorite would have to be the Nature's Choice Organic Cotton- its so soft and a great choice for a bulkier yarn!

cllovegood@yahoo.com

Gywnna said...

Favorite is Nature's Choice Cotton; stitches up nicely whether crocheting or knitting and so very soft.

Rach said...

Vanna's Choice is such a versatile afghan yarn, I love it!

Andrea said...

I definitely end up using a lot more Wool-ease than anything else, but I really like the Mohair!

Margo said...

My summer favorite is Cotton-Ease and my winter favorite is Lion Wool.

clairewhill said...

Baby's First is my favourite, perfect for the projects I do for my 2 year old nephew.

heather said...

I've used a lot of Wool-ease thick & quick for projects and loved it, but right now am working on a blanket in vanna's choice and loving how it looks!

db said...

My favorite podcast? that's hard to answer, perhaps when you interviewed Kate Jacobs and also when you interviewed Sue Grafton.

Favorite from LB collection? That would be Angora Merino.

Megan said...

Lion brand hometown is my fav at the moment. Makes great scarves !

lorraine said...

im really smitten with wool ease thick and quick! raineoc@yahoo.com

Liz McQueen said...

Vanna's Choice... It's so versatile!

Karyn said...

I enjoy alot of the lionbrand yarns. Have used Vanna's Choice and Homespun. I want to try the superwash merino.

mtheads said...

Love Cotton-Ease and MicroSpun for garments; like Vanna's Choice for crafts (like amigurumi). Love Robin's patterns for everything! Thanks for asking all the right questions, Robin; I've been dying to know exactly what Zontee does as LB.

Derek, Jenna, Wyatt, & Emma. said...

I love any of them! Thank you for giveaway!

jackie-tn said...

I have always liked wool-ease

Shorty said...

So far, my favorite LB yarn has been Homespun. Last year I made too many cowls to count with that stuff! It kept me warm and snuggly all year season long, and it made wonderful gifts that my friends enjoyed, too! Thanks for the chance to win a new LB yarn that I haven't tried yet and your wonderful DVD!
Kelly

Sarah said...

Homespun!!

Knittingdancer on Ravelry said...

My favorite would be Vanna's Choice. I like the colors and the yarn is so soft.

Carol said...

I like Lion Organic Cotton. Soft. Natural colors. Unfortunately they are discontinuing it.

Princess said...

Your sweaters are simply adorable! I would love to win the DVD. And I've never worked with the Microspun. Sounds fun! I'm new to crochet. I just purchased some Hometown USA super bulky yarn to make a child's hat....but I do drool over Lion Brand at the store! =)

m said...

I can't think of a favorite, but I haven't had the opportunity to much other than Home Spun yet. This would be a great giveaway to win to try some out! ;)

Deborah Carpenter said...

I'm enjoying the interviews. Congrats to Lion Brand's podcast. Though it can be difficult to work with at times, I like how fun fur makes certain projects pop! Thanks for the giveaway!

Jane said...

I use many different LionBrand yarns . . .so I will share my favorite YarnCraft podcast. It's #94, in which Liz and Zontee answer one of my questions On The Air!

Wendy said...

I love the Fisherman's Wool because it is such a great value! I also like the Superwash Merino Cashmere and I'm dying to try anything in the LB collection!

Wendy (Wendeluu on Ravelry)

Get REAL said...

Lion cotton is my fav!

Kate said...

I love Vanna's Choice... Great selection of colors.

Janice DeC said...

I made a scarf for my husband last Christmas out of LB Cashmere. It is ridiculously soft and surprising easy to work with. I know this is a special occasion yarn, not a stand-by, but if it weren't for Lion Brand I would not have been able to afford cashmere. Thanks!

carmelvineyard said...

I second the love for Fisherman's Wool! I'd also love to try something from the special line. I have a ball of the Nature's Choice cotton and am looking forward to using it, too. :)

I only just started listening to YarnCraft, and really enjoyed it.

ajz said...

I have loved all of the episodes of Yarncraft, especially when new products have been announced. It is a very exciting day when the new lionbrand catalog comes in the mail.

GayleT said...

my favorite is Fishermans Wool

Tara Mae said...

I would love to try this yarn for one of my crochet projects as I am limited to acrylic yarn at home in The Bahamas!

The Deceiver said...
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The Deceiver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Deceiver said...

I adore Homespun for beautiful afghans and scarves. Wool-ease is usually my "all-purpose" yarn - for amigurumi (the heather-y colors make lovely little animals), hats, all kinds of accessories.

Sorry for the deleted posts. For some reason, it kept automatically signing in as my husband.

Gloria said...

I love Vanna's Choice, Homespun, and basically all the yarns put out by Lion Brand!!

cnuland said...

I haven't done many projects using yarn other than acrylic, but I really like Vanna's Choice yarns.

Lee said...

I adore their Natures Choice Cotton! thanks for the post and giveaway.

dreadofmondays said...

I don't have a favourite LB yarn as my local shops don't seem to stock it. Despite frequent discussion of the LB Collection on the Yarncraft podcast, it wasn't until I read the interview on this blog that I learned that LB Collection is only through LionBrand and not in the shops. I will definitely have to investigate online shopping further.
My favourite Yarncraft episode is no. 40 because the theme is weddings and I am busily preparing for a friend's wedding in April next year.
By the way, I love your patterns, Robyn - I am currently making a "Robot Burt" and the "Petal Pullover" is on the top of the queue, waiting until my friend is ready so we can do it together. I can't wait to get stuck into the merino yarn I have chosen for it. Thanks for such beautiful patterns.

Erin said...

I'm using Lion Brand Hometown Usa yarn to knit headbands for gifts! Love that yarn! I might have to make one of those skirts up there! :)

h2e said...

Wool-Ease is so versatile for gifts. I like that it has some wooly goodness but can be machine washed & dried. I'm currently making an afghan out of Chunky and a hat & scarf out of Thick & Quick.

JLG said...

I am crocheting a cape with the Lion Brand merino cashmere yarn. Love it!

Oiyi said...

It's hard to choose. My two favorites that I use a lot is Wool-Ease and Vanna's Choice. I recently bought a ball of LB Collection Baby Alpaca and I love it. So soft! I guess that is my new favorite right now.