October 6th, 2015

Designer in Residence – the Superwash Hat and Scarf from Doris Chan

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Just in time for for crisp Autumn days, the Superwash Hat and Scarf set from Doris Chan is the perfect extra layer to keep you comfortable at your favorite sporting events, the local corn maze, or apple picking adventure. And if you’re just getting started on holiday crocheting this set would make a great gift for the men, women or children in your life.

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence October design, the Superwash Hat and Scarf set. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

With a simple twist on the classic single crochet stitch, and an easy to achieve biased fabric, WEBS Crochet Designer in Residence Doris Chan has created a hat and scarf set with the flexibility you expect from a knit ribbing and the cushy softness of a full-bodied superwash fabric.

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence October design, the Superwash Hat and Scarf set. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Valley Yarns Valley Superwash is available in over 2 dozen colors so not only can you choose just the right shade for gift sets for everyone in your family but you can even try this set in bold stripes or a soft ombre transition. Who will you be making this set for?

October 5th, 2015

Valley Yarns Flash Sale is Here!

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Are you a fan of Valley Yarns? Have you been meaning to try it for a while but just haven’t gotten around to it? Now’s the perfect chance during our Valley Yarns Flash Sale. You have through October 6, 2015 at 11:59pm EDT to save 30% on Valley Yarns!

Valley Yarns Flash Sale at WEBS

Valley Yarns is our own brand that we source from all over the world. We look for beautiful yarns that will last, and strive to have them at affordable prices. You may want to take this chance to check out our two newest yarns, Valley Yarns Hatfield and Valley Yarns Sunderland. Both of these 100% alpaca yarns are super warm.

Maybe merino is more your style? Take a look at Amherst. It’s one of my favorite Valley Yarns yarns because it is so soft. Prefer something without wool? Valley Yarns Southwick, Valley Yarns Longmeadow, and Valley Yarns Goshen are all wonderful cotton blends. I have a hard time knitting with cotton, but I must say, Goshen is one of my favorite yarns, and I’ve done several projects with it.

If you’re hoping for something machine washable, we have three weights of Valley Superwash, Worsted, DK, and Bulky, that are sure to fit whatever project you are looking to make. I’m actually thinking about some quick accessories in Valley Superwash Bulky, since the weather turned a bit chilly over the last few days, and we have some great bright colors that we’ve recently added to the line.

This is just a small sampling. No matter what Valley Yarns yarn you choose, you’ll love working with it. If you need inspiration, we also have a wonderful collection of Valley Yarns patterns designed exclusively for the yarn.

Don’t forget, until October 6, 2015 at 11:59pm EDT, you can save 30% on your purchase of Valley Yarns.

October 3rd, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 417: Kathy talks with Dave Van Stralen

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This week Kathy talks with Dave Van Stralen, owner of Louet, about the history of his family owned company.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #417 - Kathy talks with Dave Van Stralen. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.comAnd don’t miss your chance to try out a Louet spinning wheel, loom, or various Louet yarns and the chance to get your Louet wheel tuned up when Dave and his wife Pam stop by WEBS for a weekend-long special event October 9th and 10th!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week : 

Upcoming Events:

Our annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure is happening tomorrow! Sunday, October 4th.

National Spinning and Weaving Week is next week, Oct 5-10!

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

October 2nd, 2015

An Unexpected Treat

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I get the WEBS emails, just like you do. Last week, one sprang out at me, featuring a yarn I had heard about but not really seen (I work tucked away in one of the offices and am not out in the store as much as I want to be!). Amano is a lovely group of yarns in enough weights to satisfy any knitter, crocheter, or weaver, all featuring some iteration of alpaca–baby, royal, and an important-sounding alpaca designated “Imperial,” which obviously makes it the Homecoming King this year. Late-breaking news: Royal is the TOP 1% of alpaca fiber, Imperial is the next 2-10%. So, royal is the Homecoming King and imperial, obviously, is the guy who fixes the overhead projector.

Amano Ayni is my new best friend. 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk, this sport-weight dream of a skein has a hint of halo, enough to say “I’m soft, but not scratchy.” I am imagining a drapy A-line sweater, soft enough to wear next to the skin. Warmi (is that the best name for a yarn? yes.) is a worsted-weight workhorse, perfect for sweaters, shawls, hats, or scarves. It’s got a lush color palette inspired by fruits and vegetables.

The new Amano yarns now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Puna means “Andes Mountains” in the native language of the Incas, and is the essence of the Andes, made from 100% baby alpaca in a beefy 273-yard skein. It’s got a little more halo than Ayni, so I’d treat it a bit more gently, and my perfect project for this sport-weight wonder is the Delia Cowl in Amano’s pattern book for Fall/Winter. The simple openwork contrasts with the warmth of the alpaca to make a very useful garment.

The dip-dyed colorways of Mayu would be a wonderful vehicle for a body-conscious sweater– the addition of cashmere and silk to alpaca makes it almost criminally soft, and the heathery tones almost gleam, showing off the myriad shades in the skein. Puyu means “cloud” in the language of the Incas, and it does look very cloudlike. Baby alpaca is blown into a mesh tube made of silk for an almost two-tone appearance that will make luxurious accessories like hats, scarves, and even ponchos look expensive. Rounding out the Amano family is Apu (“Simpsons” fans will join me in a round of giggles), a dainty ball of imperial alpaca that I can’t stop holding. The Maria Cowl in Amano‘s pattern collection seems like the perfect project in Apu, with startling stitch definition and a drapy texture that caresses the skin.

Check out this new family online or in the store–you’ll want to make friends immediately. What project are you looking forward to knitting in an Amano yarn?

October 1st, 2015

Rock and Rolag!

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We are counting down the days to Spinzilla – the international “friendly competition” to see which team can spin the most yardage. We have a great team this year and excitement is running high. Last year I had just learned to spin so it was all new. This year I not only have some spinning experience under my belt, but I realize the importance of preparation so I can optimize my spinning time.

la spin post

For starters, I am clearing off all my bobbins so I have room for all that new yarn I will be spinning. One bobbin-full I will wind into a ball and ply from inside and out as Sara described in this post. But I learned a new trick this week – I’m going to wind off onto an inexpensive storage bobbin so I can keep it on a bobbin to ply from but have my wheel bobbins free for more spinning.

The majority of my time, however, will be spent prepping fiber. Mostly that involves pre-drafting the roving which will save much time during spinning. And then there’s the playing with cards part – making rolags to blend fibers and colors. Now I just have to decide which set of hand carders to go with, or maybe the blending board from Louet……………..

Do you have any great tips for fiber prep?

September 30th, 2015

The Art of Slip Stitch Knitting Review

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The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting by Faina Goberstein and Simona Merchant-Dest arrived recently and this book is not to be missed. Slip-stitch knitting is a simple and versatile technique that can be used to create stunning projects that look a lot more complicated than they are. Create stunning colorwork, amazing texture, and more.

The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting

The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting includes a complete overviews of all of the basics of slip-stitch knitting. Stitch formation, reading charts, customizing stitch patterns, selecting yarns, and tips for designing are all included in this book. Not only that, you’ll also find 16 patterns for garments and accessories that use slip-stitch knitting.

The Fialka Boot Toppers look like complicated Fair Isle, but there are worked in a fairly simple slip-stitch pattern that plays with the placement of stitches, how floats are carried, and color changes. It’s super easy to customize for your favorite color, too. The Šiška Hat looks like a complex cable, but instead it is made up of crossed slip stitches. The reverse is a basketweave pattern, so you get two hats for the price of one. It’s knit in Malabrigo Worsted, so you know it’s super soft, and this one may end up the next project on my needles.

Accessories from The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting

Not only will you find great accessories, like those above, The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting also includes gorgeous garments. I’m a big fan of hoodies, and with a finished size range of 36 ½” – 57 ¼” the Kromka Hoodie would fit an array of sizes. The body of the sweater is worked in a single color in stockinette stitch, and the cuffs and front bands are worked in a two-color slip-stitch pattern, with a different two-color pattern at the hem. It’s colorful without being overwhelming. The Koketka Sweater is a classic yoke sweater knit in the round from the bottom up. There is a two-color slip-stitch pattern on the edges as a border, and another slip-stitch pattern is used on the yoke. This pattern teaches you how to shape without disturbing the pattern, and it’s a beautiful option knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk.

Garments from the Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting

Whether you’re new to slip-stitch knitting, or already a fan, The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting is definitely a book to pick up for you bookshelf, and explore these great techniques.

September 28th, 2015

Spinning tips – Navajo or Chain plying

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Time to go back and visit the single that I spun from the fiber that I hand carded. I did a lot of work to create a gradient, or ombre, in that single and I want to maintain those color transitions in my final yarn. To do that I’m going to Navajo ply my single. This is also known as Chain plying because you are basically making a crochet chain with your hands instead of a hook! You can see how to do that in the 6 images below.

How to Navajo/Chain Ply yarn on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

1 – I like to start with a leader that ends in a loop, then I catch the end of my single between the strands but keep the loop of the leader open with one hand.

2 – With the hand that is holding the loop open reach through the loop and grab your single

3 – Pull the single through the loop while continuing to hold the loop open

4 – Pull your new loop so it’s rather large and let the upper part of the loop start to ply together with what remains of your leader (that’s your 3 strands!)

5 – Here I’ve paused so you can see just that little bit of leader that’s left

6 – And now you’re right back to where you started.

Keep repeating these steps until you’ve used up your whole single and you’ll have a beautiful 3 ply yarn that keeps the integrity of your ombre spin. There’s are lots of tutorial videos out there for Navajo and chain plying, and lots of variations on the technique. Find the one that works for you and go for it!

Navajo/Chain Ply yarn on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

Here’s my finished yarn. Because I spun this worsted from rolags, my single was slightly underspun and I over plied by just a bit to help it all stay together, then I fulled the yarn in the skein. For those of you that don’t spin, I basically felted the surface of my yarn! I know that sounds scary but it really helps to finish a woolen spun yarn. I dropped my finished skein into a bowl of hot water with dish soap and squished and agitated it around for about 30 seconds, rinsed it in cold water and then repeated the wash and rinse twice more. Then I let my yarn soak in a tepid bowl with Eucalan for about 15 minutes, squeezed out the excess water and hung it up to dry. I’ll be crocheting a simple shawl with the finished yarn so you can see those beautiful color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever used Navajo plying? Are you ready for Spinzilla yet? Just one week to go!

September 26th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 416: Kathy talks with Jody Richards

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This week Kathy talks with Jody Richards, founder of Knotions Magazine. You may recall this free online knitting magazine from a few years ago, it featured quarterly issues with about a dozen patterns each, great articles and tutorials. Good news, it’s back!

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #416 - Kathy talks with Jody Richards. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

While doing some site upgrades and maintenance Jody felt it was time to bring it back (and we’re all glad she did!) The new site will feature everything you used to love as well as great designer interviews and it’s mobile friendly.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week : 


Fall classes are open. Register now, they’re filling fast!

Upcoming Events:

Our annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure is happening Sunday, October 4th.

National Spinning and Weaving Week is coming, Oct 5-10!

Louet owners Dave and Pam Van Stralen will be at WEBS Oct 9+10, try out all their beautiful products!

Sign ups are open for our annual bus trip to Rhinebeck – get your seat now they’re almost gone!

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

September 24th, 2015

Knit and Crochet for the Cure

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Once again, this October, WEBS, together with our friends at the Cancer Connection of Northampton, will be hosting our 12th annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure event. On Sunday, October 4th, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., yarn lovers can gather here at the store to knit or crochet fingerless mitts and cowls for cancer patients. I was so happy to be asked to be a part of this event, despite the fact that I have not done a great deal of charity knitting myself. My life, like so very many others, has been touched several times over by cancer, and being able to collaborate with an organization like Cancer Connection is so exciting!!

Join us for the 12th Annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure at WEBS. More details on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Cancer Connection is a non-profit organization that provides care and support for cancer patients and their loved ones. They are fully funded by donations and all of their offerings, such as education, complementary therapies, peer support and creative programs, are free of charge. By working with Cancer Connection, the WEBS community has the opportunity to share our love of knit and crochet and offer some comfort to others who are dealing with the hardships of life with cancer.

The projects we will be knitting and crocheting this year are fingerless mitts (the ones donated last year were very popular!!) and neckwarmers (read: shorter, closer fitting cowls). The patterns are free and WEBS will be providing the yarn!!

We are so looking forward to this afternoon of charity and community and hope to see you here!! This is a free event, but registration is required, so please, sign up on our website!

September 23rd, 2015

Spinning tips – 2-ply without a lazy kate

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When I sat down at my first wheel I was SO excited to get spinning that I didn’t take the time to make sure I had all the tools I’d need. I spun up my first full bobbin of yarn and then I was stuck, I only had one bobbin. I knew that the single on that bobbin wasn’t good enough to survive on it’s own, that it needed to be plied to be a semi-successful yarn. I carefully, and sadly, wound that single off the bobbin with my ball winder thinking that it was a loss until I was able to get my hands on a second and third bobbin and then I would need a lazy kate…

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And then I looked at the ball I’d wound, it had 2 ends. I COULD do a 2ply! So I set that ball between my feet, tucked it up to the edge of my treadles and plied away. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned that this was an actual thing other people did and I wasn’t alone. It’s important to remember that you still have to ply against the twist of your original spin to help balance your yarn, so make sure you check the twist on those ends before you begin plying.

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Thankfully my Ladybug has an attached lazy kate and I’ve always got at least 5 bobbins now, but every once in a while I like to wind up a single and ply from the ball. This method is actually how I’ve plied the fractal yarn I’m spinning from this post. I’ll be knitting this up into a simple cowl so you can see the fractal effect on the color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever plied from a center-pull ball? What’s your favorite plying method?