July 28th, 2015

Design Inspiration with Fiona Ellis

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My goodness half of my Designer in Residence year is over and my fourth pattern was just launched! So I just did a quick review of what I’ve chatted with you about over the past few months; geometry, the humble I-cord and Morphing Cables. I guess it’s time I talked a little about how I find my inspiration. The best way I have found of generation my ideas is by taking photographs. Back on Sept 1st 2007 BI – that is “Before Instagram” (I can hardly believe it), I committed to taking photos to illustrate my journals. Up until that point my photo taking was more haphazard, but from that day on I have tried (and mostly succeeded) in taking a photo every single day. This kind of practice helps you develop a more artistic view of the, mostly mundane, everyday things that surround us. Or put another way it forces you to look at things that you see all the time (and mostly overlook) in a new light.

Ironwork - design inspiration for Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

As you can imagine I have amassed quite the collection of photos over these past 8 years. And through this process my fascinations have become very apparent. I have become very aware of my re-occurring themes/sources of inspiration. Collar Your Dreams springs from one of my favourites – ironwork, and more specifically the Eiffel Tower. OK you got me…the Eiffel Tower is hardly mundane and everyday, but the practice of looking at those objects transfers into my picture taking when I’m somewhere exotic like Paris.

Design inspiration with Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ve used ironwork as an inspiration source many times, but what is a little different with this design is that I wanted to incorporate the openwork feel that the tower, for me, epitomises. It’s not just about the lines, but the spaces in between the lines. There is almost a lightness or airiness to the structure,and that was what I wanted to try to capture. If you have ever been lucky enough to see it up close, maybe it has struck you as it did me, that when you walk around it each vantage point produces yet another beautiful curve or line with amazing geometric shapes nestled in between the main structural braces. So I placed arcs of eyelets holes between the cables, cables that I hope capture something of the graceful lines of this beautiful structure. If you are interested in hearing about my latest fascinations I would love for you to join me on my website on the 9th of each month when I post about what I’m currently finding inspiring. This month it’s all about my recent trip to the UK.

July 25th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 408: Kathy talks with Ben Levisay

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This week Kathy talks with Ben Levisay of XRX, and Knitter’s Magazine about the upcoming Stitches Midwest show. If you’re going you’ll find over 130 vendors, more than 100 great classes and lots of new teachers!

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #408 - Kathy talks with Ben Levisay. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

If you can’t do classes AND all the great vendors try one of the Market Sessions!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week :

Reminder:

Northampton Sidewalk Sale is happening this weekend. Shop today at WEBS, and the rest of the weekend downtown.

Now through Monday 7/27 save  an extra 15% off Noro, Sirdar, and Sublime Closeouts.

Upcoming Events:

If you’re local to our retail store we’re hosting another American Red Cross Blood Drive on Wednesday July 29th, more info here.

Are you headed out to Stitches Midwest August 6-9 in Illinois? WEBS will be there and you can save 50% on admission with a coupon from us.

Bathroom renovations are happening in our retail store. Please,plan ahead for restroom stops before and after your visit to help alleviate lines for our customers and staff.

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

July 24th, 2015

How to Wear It – The Breezeway Pullover

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Summer is in full swing but that doesn’t mean that you need to abandon your warmer knits or that a few cool evening aren’t going to sneak up on you! The Breezeway Pullover from our recent Valley Yarns catalog is a great transitional wardrobe piece that works well all year long and in almost any climate.

How to Wear It - The Breezeway Pullover. Show us how YOU wear your Valley Yarns knits, more info on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com #VYwearit

The loose, unstructured shape give this pullover versatility across multiple styles, and as a layering piece you can wear it in any season! We’re focused on summer looks here but you could add this over a great oxford with dress pants, or pair it with leggings, a cami, and some killer boots, topped off with a big statement necklace.

How to Wear It - The Breezeway Pullover. Show us how YOU wear your Valley Yarns knits, more info on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com #VYwearit

Hatfield is a 100% baby alpaca yarn in over 2 dozen lightly heathered colors so you’re sure to find a color to match this season’s trends or your tried and true wardrobe favorites.

We’d love to see your finished garments! Anytime you’ve made a Valley Yarns pattern be sure to tag it with #VYwearit We may feature you here on the blog, highlight you on our Facebook page, or repost you on Instagram!

July 23rd, 2015

Introducing Valley Yarns Hatfield

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We’ve launched some great New Valley Yarns this summer, and with even more arriving in the coming weeks we thought we’d take some time to introduce them.

hatfield swing

First up is our Valley Yarns Hatfield, a 100% Baby Alpaca, lace-weight yarn with over 400yds per skein. While it might seem a little early to talk about Holiday knits, who wants to think about winter when it’s 90+ outside, we only have a little over 20 weeks before the gift giving begins! This gorgeous yarn may be the perfect starting point. Light enough to be knit outdoors on a hot summer day without making you’re hands overheat, it will keep the wearer plenty warm when the cold winds begin to blow. Think shawls, lacy cowls, and even transitional sweaters!

hatfield and patterns

And we already have 2 patterns to get you started on that gift list. The Breezeway Pullover is knit at a loose gauge into a roomy, casually shaped sweater that makes a great multi-season layering piece. The Composition Cowl uses a classic lace stitch, combined with garter stitch, for great texture without tons of work, and the length is totally adjustable! Or choose your favorite pattern that calls for a laceweight yarn. I’m thinking that maybe the Hazel Shawl, or the Greenway Shawl, is going to end up on my needles soon in Leaf Green, it’s my sister’s favorite color! What projects will you plan in Hatfield?

July 22nd, 2015

Vacation Weaving

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We have reached the dog days of summer and time for vacation. Days of relaxing on the porch, sipping iced beverages and, of course, creating something with fiber. For many years my projects centered around knitting, mostly because it is so portable. But two years ago my sister hauled her 4-shaft table loom along and I became inspired to venture outside my usual travel boundaries.

Weaving on your summer travels. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Last summer I had just learned to weave on an inkle loom and decided that our family vacation would be the perfect time to learn new techniques and play with ideas. I picked up Anne Dixon’s The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory and packed up my trusty Inklette and some yarn and headed off. I felt pretty confident with the basic warping and weaving, so I chose to tackle something more adventurous and turned to the section on pick up. The book is not only filled with gorgeous, inspiring bands, it gives you multiple design options on a single warp. So I warped it up and started to play with weaving different motifs and patterns. It was fun watching the designs emerge and since it was for sampling, once I got bored adept with one, I’d move on to another. And the best part – when I pulled it off the loom I cut it into sections and gave my family “commemorative” bookmarks from our vacation.

This summer I plan to continue my newly created tradition of learning new techniques and giving family members a handwoven souvenir from our week at the lake. I’m still debating whether to take my Zoom Loom or forge ahead with my newest weaving obsession – tablet weaving. (Who am I kidding? They are both going into the suitcase!)

Do you weave on your vacations?

July 21st, 2015

Holidays in July: Keeping Track of it All

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Now that you’ve created your list, and  you know what yarns and projects, you should probably decide how you want to organize all of this info. Are you a pen and paper person? Do you prefer a computer? Your smartphone? You need to pick what’s best for you. If you prefer physically crossing things off a list, you might want to use a notebook. If you, like many of us, live on your smartphone, you may want to utilize an app.

Holidays in July: Keeping Track of It All

Pen and Paper Person?
Head to your favorite office supply, or even better, paper store and peruse the notebooks. There is great joy in selecting a new notebook with fresh pages that’s just waiting to be filled up. Consider how you’ll want to keep track? Are you going to want to dedicate one page per person? (You can draw a big ‘x’ through the page when you finish the project.) Would you like to use lined paper, or maybe graph paper? Again, you need to think about how you’ll function best. I like the idea of using a page per person, especially in a smaller notebook, like a pocket Moleskin.

Computer Savvy?
Do spreadsheets make you grin from ear-to-ear? Does having information saved on a computer make you more comfortable than a notebook that can be lost? Spreadsheets may be the way to go for you. You can organize the columns however you like. Name of the recipient, project name, yarn being used, anything else you need for the project, finish date for the project. You could even include things like start date, halfway point date (where you need to be halfway done), or a column for a contingency gift just in case (which you won’t need, since we’re planning ahead). One of my favorite things is color-coding. I’d probably color code the people by priority level and then the projects by type. If there are several hats on the list, and I’m feeling particularly excited about making hats for a few weeks, I can easily spot them on the spreadsheet and knock them out. When you complete a project, you can gray out the cells, or use strikethrough to mark it finished.

Smartphone Addict?
Nearly everyone I know has some version of a smartphone, and there are tons and tons of different organizational apps. If you’re an organized person, chances are, you already have your favorite. Mine depend on what I’m doing. For example, for something like grocery shopping, I use Clear. This app is basically a list-maker. You can swipe to check the item off the list. If you want something more robust that handles more information, you may want to check out something like 2Do, or Swipes, which integrates with Evernote. Because organization is such a personal thing, you want to use the app that’s best for you.

How will you keep yourself organized?

 

July 20th, 2015

Emerging Designer – Debbi Stone

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WEBS Emerging Designer Summer 2015 eBook: Sproutlet, from Debbi Stone. eBook and individual PDFS now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

We’re excited to bring you the second installment of our WEBS Emerging Designer series with the Summer 2015 Sproutlet eBook! Debbi Stone, who you may know from the Stitches of My Life Designs, has put together a mini collection of everything you need to bring that new baby home in style and keep them warm for the first few years! We’re always excited by Debbi’s fantastic accessory patterns and we couldn’t be happier with these designs! We asked her to tell us a bit about her process and inspiration.

WEBS: When did you learn to knit and what prompted you to start designing?

Debbi: I learned to knit from my grandmother the summer I was 7. She taught me to cast on and knit, no purling, and bind off. That summer I made a lot of garter stitch headbands! A few years back I was looking for a simple cabled cowl to knit for my daughters for Christmas and realized that I couldn’t find what I wanted on Ravelry. I knew how I wanted that cowl to look and how I wanted to construct it so I just started knitting. The next thing you know I had designed my first (very basic) pattern.

WEBS: Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

Debbi: Someone once referred to me as a “noun girl”. I take my inspiration from the people, places and things in my life. I’ve used everything from relatives, to places I love, and objects of my affection. Once I started keeping my eyes open the world of inspiration opened up to me.

WEBS: Tell us about your design aesthetic.

Debbi: I love to design accessories to pair with a simple, basic wardrobe. I wear a lot of basic black and love to put an accessory on to pull those basics together. I have found that this gives my mix and match wardrobe infinite possibilities, and creates many different looks with the same basic pieces.

The Sproutlet Sweater is an easy, top-down cardigan that you’ll reknit, in each size, every time they outgrow it. Paired with the Sproutlet Hat, and the Sproutlet Blanket, you’ll have one stylish baby ready for that first car ride home or an early autumn family picnic. All three patterns were designed in our line of Valley Superwash yarn, each using a different weight: DK, worsted, and bulky. With 12 colors available in all 3 weights you could make this set in a shade perfect for any baby, from the vibrant Spring Leaf green that Debbi chose to Soft Yellow, Natural or Misty Lilac. Or choose from over 20 other colors and create a set of hand knits in bold tones to gift with your favorite baby accessories.

WEBS Emerging Designer Summer 2015 eBook: Sproutlet, from Debbi Stone. eBook and individual PDFS now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Download all three patterns together in the WEBS Emerging Designer, Summer 2015 Sproutlet eBook for just $9.99 or download any individual pattern for just $3.99 each. You can find more of Debbi’s designs here on our site, and on Ravelry and don’t forget her collaborative designs with her friend Marcy under Adventures Du Jour. And check out WEBS Emerging Designer Spring 2015 eBook by Angelia Robinson with three stunning crochet accessories perfect for every season.

July 18th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 407: Kathy talks with Barry Klein

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This week Kathy talks with first time guest Barry Klein, owner of Trendsetter Group. Barry has been working in the industry for over 40 years and run Trendsetter for the last 27.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #407 - Kathy talks with Barry Klein. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Barry discusses being the US distributor for Lotus Yarns, the Mimi recall and what you can do if you have Mimi in your stash at home. You can read more about the recall process in a letter from Barry, here.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week :

Reminder:

Now through Monday 7/20 save  an extra 15% off Plymouth Closeouts.

Upcoming Events:

If you’re local to our retail store we’re hosting another American Red Cross Blood Drive on Monday July 29th, more info here.

Are you headed out to Stitches Midwest August 6-9 in Illinois? WEBS will be there and you can save 50% on admission with a coupon from us.

Bathroom renovations are happening in our retail store the 3rd week of July, more details to come.

The Blue Sky Alpacas Trunk Show has grabbed everyone’s attention, be sure to stop by the store and check it out!

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see!

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

July 17th, 2015

Inspirational Knitting

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I’ve loved Blue Sky Alpacas yarns since I first worked at WEBS, lo those many years ago. It’s not just the lovely yarns in soft, clear colors, or the fiber choices, either (alpaca wins my heart, always). It’s the pattern support. They support all the different lines they produce — Spud and Chloe, Royal Petites, Blue Sky…everything is beautiful to look at, functional, and best of all, really fun to knit.

Blue Sky Alpacas Truck Show on display now at WEBS Retail store. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

The team at Blue Sky Alpacas just sent us a trunk show, and it’s to their credit that in 85-degree heat and 90% humidity, those wooly garments really got me thinking about what I’d like to wear this fall and winter. To help out, they also sent this video, so that knitters could see how the sweaters, wraps, and poncho work on a human being. Too often, knitted sweaters tend to be lovely to look at but a bit off-putting in the actual wearing. Too tight here, too itchy there, something hits at the wrong place on your body and you spend lots of time tugging it around. While, admittedly, the model in this video is gorgeous, and probably weighs as much as the chocolate bar I ate for breakfast, the sweaters and wraps still look like they would flatter anyone wearing them.

Blue Sky Alpacas Truck Show on display now at WEBS Retail store. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

I’m dying to make the Canby Cardi. It satisfies my requirements for a sweater that closes in the front (because I hate things flapping around me) with a cunning one-button design, but it also curves in a way that immediately shapes the waist while somehow making you look polished and stylish. While I wouldn’t necessarily wear a poncho, the Bianca Wrap is comfy and not too voluminous; knit in a neutral plus cream, I would wear it over every shirt I own this fall.

Check out the trunk show if you’re local to our store, and look at our new Blue Sky Alpaca products online to bring a little bit of fall anticipation to your summer!

 

 

July 15th, 2015

Holidays in July: Which Project? What Yarn?

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You’ve decided who you’re going to make gifts for, but what exactly are you going to make them, and what yarn are you going to use. Usually we have at least a general idea of what we want to make someone. Using my examples from last week, I know I want to make my mom socks, my sister would love something kooky, my nephew a dinosaur, and coworker 1 a shawl. My cousin needs a pair of mittens or gloves and we’ll add a boyfriend who needs another hat in there too (since he liked the last one so much).

Holidays in July - Looking for projects on yarn.com and Ravelry

Where do you go now? I think the easiest way to proceed is to choose a specific pattern that you want to make the person. You could search through the patterns on our site, use the search feature, and search for, say dinosaur. Oh look! Danger Crafts Basil the Boogie-Woogie Brontosaurus PDF. It’s adorable and going on the list for the nephew. Something kooky for my sister may be a little bit longer of a search. I would start this search on Ravelry. The ‘advanced search’ feature is great for this. I started by clicking on ‘softies’ (all), then ‘knitting’, and ‘worsted’ (because I don’t want to spend forever knitting it). Next, I sorted by ‘most popular.’ I didn’t see anything on the first page that screamed her name, but what I did see was a fox, and my sister loves foxes. So, I added fox to the search box and found a great project for her – Backyard Bandits. Hey, I could make her all three! Well that’s settled. On to searching for the other projects.

Holidays in July - Searching yarn.com for yarns

So, now that I have that projects settled, it’s time to pick the yarn. I have all the pattern information and a general idea of what I’m looking for. Again, I take to the search section on our site. We’ll use that Boogie-Woogie Bronto for this example. I know I want something washable, since it’s a stuffed animal, and my nephew is 3. Under the yarn category, I click ‘Yarn by Fiber’ and select ‘Washable Wool.’ Scrolling through, I spot Berroco Vintage. I’ve used this yarn before with loads of success, and I know there are lots of color options, so I’ve found my yarn for the Bronto. I just need to decide on colors.

Another option, is of course, knitting from the stash. My stash happens to be a lot of sock yarn that’s perfect for socks, shawls, and mittens. So, taking a look at the requirements for those projects, and looking at the yarn I have in my stash, I’m sure to find just what I need. And if not, there’s always yarn.com.

What’s your favorite way to search for yarns and patterns?