July 1st, 2015

Holidays in July: Planning Ahead, So You Won’t Stress Later

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I know, you probably don’t want to hear it, but we’re just 5 months away from the winter holidays. This year is going to be different! I say that every year, but this year, I actually mean it. I’m going to make a plan for holiday projects and I’m going to stick to it. I really am. (Please stop laughing! :))

If you’re anything like me, organization goes a long way to making things easier, and so does checking stuff off of lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than having a to do list with everything crossed off. So, this month, we’re going to take a look at some planning tips. Every week we’ll have a different post focusing on the things you can do to make planning and completing those projects you want easier.

Holidays in July - Tips for Planning Ahead

I know this makes holiday projects sound like a big undertaking, and there are lots of you who don’t feel the need to make anything for anyone. (And there’s nothing wrong with that, the entire rest of the year, I’m happily selfish with my crafting!) I have found, there’s nothing better than watching the face of someone who truly wants a handmade gift as they open the package and are thrilled with the contents.

What are we going to cover? Well, we’ll talk about putting the right people on the list, the actual planning (for yarn and patterns), and the best ways to keep track of your progress.

What are some of your favorite tips for planning holiday projects?

June 29th, 2015

Are you ready to spin? It’s Tour de Fleece time!

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Team WEBS Tour de Fleece spinning challenge, read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Attention Spinners! Team WEBS Tour de Fleece 2015 registration is now open! If you’ve never heard of the Tour de Fleece, it’s a Ravelry spin-along that shadows the Tour de France bike race during the month of July. This is not a competition! It’s a chance to come together with other spinners, set personal challenges for yourself but, most importantly, have fun.  If you don’t have a consistent spinning habit, the Tour is a great incentive to spin on a regular basis for a month.  You’re welcome to use wheels and/or spindles and there will be prizes at the end of the Tour.  If you’d like to join us, please pop over to the All Things WEBS group on Ravelry and let us know you’re participating by this Friday, July 3.

Here are some guidelines, not rules,  for those of you just joining in this year – and a refresher for returning spinners:

  • Try to spin every day that the Tour is riding, July 4-26. There are days of rest, July 13th and 21st, so feel free to take those days off.
  • There are challenge days, when the riders are climbing. Give yourself a challenge on those days by spinning a new fiber or try a new spinning style, but save your biggest challenges for the second climbing stage, like when they tackle Alpe d’Huez on July 25th  – seriously LOOK at the climb up that mountain! See the full route here.
    • Climbing stages 10 -12 from July 14, to 16
    • Climbing stages 17-20 from July 22, to 25
  • Celebrate as you go with the colors you wear.
    • Wear Green: green is for sprinters, if you’ve been spinning FAST this color is for you!
    • Wear Polka-dots: dots are for climbing so break them out whenever you’re taking on a challenge!
    • Wear White: white is for rookies so this is the color for you if this is your first Tour!
    • Wear Yellow: the leaders wear the Maillot jauneor Yellow Jersey, following each stage of the race, so wear it whenever you feel particularly successful. And be sure to wear it on July 26th to announce your victory in completing the Tour!

The Tour runs Saturday July 4th through Sunday July 26th, this year. And don’t worry about how much you have to do to participate! There is no minimum, or maximum amount of fiber you need to spin through. You don’t have to spin every day and you don’t even have to measure what you DO spin. The whole idea is just to get you spinning and to have fun with it! However we will be announcing some prizes on July 1st and there will be specific minimums or types of fibers and yarns you’ll need to spin to win. Keep an eye on the Ravelry group for specifics!

I’ll be spinning from my stash which includes Hello Yarn club fiber, some Spunky Eclectic fiber, some great stuff from Into the Whirled, and maybe something from Abstract Fibers or Frabjous Fibers! What will you be spinning and what will you challenge yourself with?

June 27th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 405: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

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This week Kathy talks with Leslie Ann about N.E.W.S., the bi-annual weaving conference hosted by the New England Weaving Guilds. This year N.E.W.S. is at Smith College the weekend of July 9 – 12.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #405 - Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor, WEBS Weaving Manager. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Learn from internationally know teachers in a wide array of classes from short 3 and 6 hour sessions to multi-day classes on every topic from beginner basics to advanced weaving, and even specific techniques. You can register for classes now.

Check out the vendor show, as well as the gallery and fashion shows(the runway show is Friday night) that are open to the public.

In the WEBS vendor booth you’ll find a Toika computer loom set up for demonstration that is for sale at 15% off, lots off mill end yarns, tools and accessories, benches, boards, and books!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week :

Reminder:

I-91 Shop Hop is HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! You still have time to shop and hop, all stores are open today until 6pm and will be open again tomorrow from noon till 5pm. And don’t forget there’s a special kit with exclusive patterns available at each shop!

We are closed on July 4th and 5th to celebrate Independence Day – Shop in-store on the 3rd until 5:30pm and we’ll see you again on the 6th at 10:00am! Enjoy a safe and healthy holiday weekend.

Upcoming Events:

Summer Classes are online – sign up now before all the seats are filled!

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

June 25th, 2015

It Takes a Team

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A few members of our store staff got together to participate in the 2015 Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair Fleece to Shawl competition and they won! Strong collaboration and preparation before the event, creativity, communication and a bit of improvisation made the difference.

Ashley spun the warp (almost 800 yards of Abstract Fiber 2-Tone Blue Faced Leicester plied with Ashland Bay Mixed Blue Face Leicester); Mary warped our Norwood loom, store staff members created the team name, (Ply of the Tiger) and Carreen made team shirts for competition day.

WEBS staff members, "Team Ply of the Tiger" Compete in the Fleece to Shawl competition, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

On the competition day, the process of creating the shawl ran smoothly, with Mary (fighting a bad cold) carding the fleece; Meg and Ashley spinning singles for the weft; and Carreen plying the singles together to create the weft. Everyone was using their favorite spinning wheel, the Lendrum DT Complete.  Then it was Mary’s turn to start the weaving using a draft that WEBS founder, Barbara Elkins, created just for this event.  The team worked feverishly to make the deadline, while answering the many questions that curious onlookers asked throughout the afternoon.  Things were going swimmingly until the loom’s apron rods separated with 2″ left to weave!  Ashley held the loom in place until the weaving was complete. With minutes to spare, the team made fringe for the shawl and then time was up!

WEBS staff members, "Team Ply of the Tiger" and their winning shawl, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

In the end, the team won the event with a fabulous shawl, blue ribbons, swollen hands and blisters, and, best of all,  enthusiasm to do it all over again.  They’ve decided to enter the Sheep to Shawl competition at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in October!

The winning shawl is on display in the store–please stop by to see our staff’s beautiful work.

And if you’d like to share WEBS spinning adventures, please sign up for the Ravelry Tour de Fleece event beginning July 4.  See our Ravelry WEBS forum post to sign up.

Keep on spinning…

 

June 24th, 2015

Cone Cornucopia!

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Greetings from the Weaving Room! We received a shipment of mill end cones this week and I am having trouble concentrating on my job. This is what happens when you work in the candy shop of the fiber world. I keep making ‘detours’ as I walk through the warehouse and find myself standing in front of these lovelies. My desk is filling with cones in different color groupings, adorned with sticky notes listing yardages, setts and calculations for projects.

It’s always a heady atmosphere when we get mill ends because they are so hard to come by these days. I have 2 coping strategies, but unfortunately they directly contradict each other so I only have a 50-50 chance of getting it right. The first one says – ‘surround yourself with the beautiful colors and feels, give it a few days and maybe you’ll realize that as much as you love it you’re never going to get to that project.’ This strategy has saved many a paycheck (and also led to a few regrets). The second theory goes – ‘this color/hand is stunningly awesome and it’s going to go really fast and if you don’t grab it now it will be gone forever.’ This has led to my embarrassingly large stash and membership in Hoarders’ Anonymous (and some great finds at the year-end guild auctions).

But enough about me! You really just want to know what’s back in that warehouse, right? Okay, this is what we got:

Mill End cones on sale at WEBS - more on the WEBS Blog, blog.yarn.com

 4.1nm Cotton Viscose Mill End is a delightful blend, with a thick & thin cotton core wrapped with viscose. The viscose gives it a beautiful sheen and the varied thickness will add great texture to your weaving. Suggested sett is 20-28 epi, but remember to always weave a sample before starting your project. 54% Cotton/46% Viscose. 18 colors

$12.99 by the cone, full cones only. Cones weigh approximately .55 lb., with ~1320 yards.

30s Yorkshire Wool Mill End on 250g cones is a finely spun, 100% wool, single ply weaving yarn with a spectacular range of colors including some rich, heathery shades. The fine weight will weave up into beautiful yardage for garments as well as lightweight throws, blankets and more. Recommended sett is 30 – 35 epi, but remember to always weave a swatch before starting your project.  55 colors

$12.99 by the cone, full cones only. Cones weigh approximately .55 lb., with ~4224 yards.

2/16 Lambswool Mill End is not only gorgeous, soft and cozy, but it boasts some incredibly rich heather shades that will add depth and color to your weaving. This 100% wool yarn comes on 250g cones. Recommended sett is 24-30 epi, but make sure to always weave a sample before starting a project. 28 colors

$12.99 by the cone, full cones only. Cones weigh approximately .55 lb., with ~2464 yards.

9.4nm Wool Nylon Mill End 250g weaving yarn is a springy, tightly spun blend of wool with a little nylon. It has great texture – almost like a bouclé – and is available in a lovely array of colors. We see this working as a wonderful weft yarn, used alone or in combination with other yarns. Use as warp only with great care as it’s rather stretchy. Always weave a sample before starting a project. 93% wool/7% nylon. 56 colors.

$13.99 by the cone, full cones only. Cones weigh approximately .55 lb., with ~2475 yards.

3.5nm Flan Mill End is a fun yarn on 250g cones that’s 100% cotton, and will provide lots of interest and texture to your weaving. It’s got a zig-zaggy texture throughout, with variations in thickness, almost like a flake. Recommended sett is 16-24 epi, but remember to always weave a swatch before beginning your project. 40+ colors

$12.99 by the cone, full cones only. Cones weigh approximately .55 lb., with ~957 yards.

Mill End cones on sale at WEBS - more on the WEBS Blog, blog.yarn.com

The two wools have me thinking of yardage for a winter coat, while the 3.5nm cotton is jumping up and down, begging to be combined with an 8/2 or 6/2 cotton for textured snuggly baby blankets. What can you see weaving with these yarns?

June 20th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 404: Kathy talks with Andra Asars

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This week Kathy talks with Andra about the new Fall yarns from Berroco.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode 404 - Kathy talks with Andra Asars - listen now at blog.yarn.com

Northstar is a chunky, superfine alpaca with a touch of nylon, in all natural colors. Gusto is a thick-n-thin wool acrylic blend great for quick garter or stockinette accessories while Briza is a worsted weight nylon netting filled with blown in mohair for easy, lightweight cardigans and accessories

Artisan fills the need for a hand dyed look with great, repeatable kettle dyed colors, and don’t forget to check out Colora and Folio Luxe. Also be on the look out for Berroco’s extensive pattern support which will be arriving in the coming weeks, including Portfolio Vol. One – Celebrating 10 years of Ultra Alpaca!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week :

Reminder:

We are closed on July 4th and 5th to celebrate Independence Day – Shop in-store on the 3rd until 5:30pm and we’ll see you again on the 6th at 10:00am! Enjoy a safe and healthy holiday weekend.

I-91 Shop Hop is coming NEXT WEEK, starting on Thursday 6/25 – get your passport now! Shop Hop hours for all participating shops:

Th 10-8
F/Sat 10-6
Sun 12-5

And don’t forget there’s a special kit with exclusive patterns available at each shop!

Upcoming Events:

Summer Classes are online – sign up now before all the seats are filled!

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

June 19th, 2015

Genius is Everywhere

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Hey! If you stop by the store through June 29, you’ll see our resident genius designer Emma Welford’s work in a trunk show of some of her many beautiful designs. Emma has worked at WEBS for a few years, as our Purchasing Coordinator and now in the store. She may have helped you pick out yarn or you may have stopped by our Thursday evening Drop-In and had her show you how to pick up stitches or do a decrease.

The Coronation Tank and more designs by Emma Welford on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

If you check out our website, you’ll see Emma’s new ebook of patterns, “Let Them Knit Cake,” which was released in early spring. It contains what I think is the most beautiful tank ever, the Coronation Tank, knit in Malabrigo Arroyo. The combination of color and texture (the cables making a shapely trim waist and the bright color announcing “summer’s here!” are irresistable. Plus–it’s a tank! It’ll take maybe a week to knit.

Elektrocute and more designs by Emma Welford on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

All of Emma’s designs are thoughtful and make me want to abandon everything I have on the needles to start her garments. Just when I think I’ve got her figured out (she designs great textural sweaters!) she comes up with something like Elektrocute, a cowl with the most shocking colorwork that looks like it’s not only doable but imperative that it be made.

Check her out on Ravelry, on her blog, and please come to the store to see her trunk show. You’ll be inspired and awed.

June 18th, 2015

WEBS Mystery Blanket KAL and CAL- Joining and Edging

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It’s FINALLY time to put everything together!

If you’ve been keeping up then you’ll have 36 finished squares, 4 squares in each of 9 colors. If you’re setting a slower pace for yourself or joined us in mid MKAL/MCAL NO problem, the patterns will remain free and at these links! If you’re just joining in you can find all the square patterns here(MKAL), or here(MCAL)

You may want to take some time and lay all your squares out in a couple different configurations to see which one really clicks for you. Here we have 3 different options for you but they’re not the ONLY ones! Play with the texture and color layout for a day or two before you decide to make sure you’re really happy with it. You’ll note that the last option we show has only 35 squares – you can use that extra one as an accent pillow.

Finishing the WEBS MKAL/MCAL blankets, layout options and more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Knitters: We’re offering you two option for both the joining and the edging! For both joining options you’ll need to start by picking up stitches, you then have the option of a three needle bind-off or an I-cord join. Once all your squares are together you can add a tidy attached I-cord edge or be little more fancy and add the Fan lace edge. We’re showing the Fan lace with each row worked in one color from your blanket.

Picking up stitches

JOINS

Three Needle Bind-Off

I-Cord Join

EDGES

Attached I-Cord

Fan Lace Edge – no video for this one as there’s no new techniques, just a combination of one’s you already know!

Fan Lace edge option for the WEBS MKAL blanket, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Don’t forget, we have a playlist for the Knit-A-Long blanket on Youtube to make it all easier (Please note that our techniques videos are NOT the patterns! These videos are here to help you understand the featured techniques, but you’ll need to refer to your pattern for specifics.) All the squares and join/edge pattern instructions can be found here.

Crocheters: You also have two option for both joining and edging your blanket! As with the knitters options, having a nice clean edge to work on before you start your joins really helps to bring the blanket together, so you’ll want to add a row of single crochet to each square edge before you begin your joins. Joining single crochet is a skill you got to practice earlier in the blanket, as well as a more open lattice double crochet join. For edging you can choose rounds of single crochet or a neat looped chain edge, both are shown with a row worked in each color of your blanket.

Adding a single crochet edge

JOINS

Joining Single Crochet – this one will be familiar from your Tunisian square from March.

Lattice Double Crochet

EDGES

Single Crochet

Single Crochet edge option for the WEBS MCAL Blanket, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Looped Chains

Looped Chain edge option for the WEBS MCAL Blanket, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

The square patterns as well as the join/edge instructions can be downloaded here (FREE). Did you know there’s a playlist for the full Crochet-A-Long and all the techniques on Youtube? (Keep in mind that our techniques videos are NOT the pattern! These videos are here to help you understand the techniques featured in our patterns, please refer to your pattern for specifics.)

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and tell us about your progress! You can do that here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Ravelry, or post pictures of your progress on Instagram and tag them with #WEBSMKAL or #WEBSMCAL

We can’t wait to see your finished blankets!

June 11th, 2015

I-91 SHOP HOP IS AROUND THE CORNER!

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If you haven’t participated in the Shop Hop in the past years joining in is super easy, all you need is $5 to purchase your passport and a sense of adventure! The I-91 Shop Hop runs Thursday, June 25th through Sunday, June 28th and you can purchase a passport at one of the 12 shops participating this year, and you still have time to purchase your 2015 passport! We are looking forward to welcoming more than 300 Shop-Hoppers to our store over the weekend.

The Annual I-91 Shop Hop is just around the corner. Get your passport now! Read more at blog.yarn.com

Why participate in the Shop Hop? At each store you visit your name will be entered in the daily prize drawing. Each of the daily prizes contains a variety of wonderful yarns, patterns, needles and accessories. Once you’ve visited all 12 shops and have your passport stamped just turn it in at the last shop on your trip and you will be entered into a grand prize drawing! On Sunday, there are two drawings: the daily basket and a chance to win a wooden swift and ball winder.  As an added bonus, each shop will have a special knit kit for sale just for Shop Hop! So be sure to hit all the shops during the long weekend and keep your fingers crossed for the daily prize and grand prize on Sunday. Hope to see you then!

The Annual I-91 Shop Hop is just around the corner. Get your passport now! Read more at blog.yarn.com

Participating Shops:
Green Mountain Spinnery- Putney, VT
Handknits- Brattleboro, VT
Sheep & Shawl-South Deerfield, MA
Northampton Wools, Northampton, MA
WEBS America’s Yarn Store-Northampton, MA
Marji’s Yarncrafts-Granby, CT
Creative Fibers-Windsor, CT
Village Wool-Glastonbury, CT
Country Yarns-Wallingford, CT
The Yarn Barn,LLC-Woodbridge, CT
Knit New Haven-New Haven, CT
The Yarn Basket-Branford, CT

June 10th, 2015

Reading for Inspiration

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Greetings from the Weaving Room! I love books and my personal reference library is full of everything from pattern dictionaries to technique books, structure-focused tomes and classics from weaving icons. I keep an eye out for new books coming in to the store, looking for inspiration and education.

I have found myself restless of late, yearning for my weaving to be more than just squares and rectangles. And then…..Simple Woven Garments, by Sara Goldenberg and Jane Patrick arrived this spring. Filled with gorgeous photography and layouts, this book is a great springboard into the world of sewing handwoven cloth. The project photos, of course, fall into the category of eye candy but I really loved that they took equal care in providing detailed, close up photos of techniques. Another nice feature is the use of side bars with suggestions for other fabric ideas and alternate styles. I’m a big fan of projects that encourage you to say “what if” and offer suggestions for making it uniquely your own.

The book starts with an introduction to sewing handwovens with information about shaping, sizing, cutting and sewing. I found the techniques to be simple and a great place to start (as opposed to feeling faint and intimidated at the thought that I need to learn French seams right away!). All the projects can be woven on either rigid heddle or shaft looms and the authors discuss the considerations for using one or the other. Some of the projects also incorporate knitting and I gotta say I love a good bi-craftual project.

Flame Lace Top from Simple Woven Garments by Sara Goldenberg & Jane Patrick - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Of course I checked to see which projects used WEBS/Valley Yarns and found the Flame Lace Top with 8/2 Tencel and Variegated 8/2 Tencel combined as the weft. I love the lacy texture of the weave and the clever pulled threads to provide shaping. I wasn’t sure, however, that the blouson look  was for me. After reading suggestions in the “Alternate Styles” box, I realized I could make one of those long open vests I’ve been coveting by increasing the length and cutting it down the center front (and perhaps making an inkle facing?). I could also use Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo for the warp (single stranded) to give it that wonderful drape……………

See, this is what happens when you read books – you get inspired and start to dream of what you can create!

And to further inspire you, Jane Patrick will be in town this summer to teach at NEWS (New England Weavers Seminar) and she will be signing books in our booth (bottom floor of the Campus Center at Smith College) on Thursday, July 9th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. We will have Simple Woven Garments in addition to her other books – The Weaver’s Idea Book and  Woven Scarves. We hope you can join us!