July 29th, 2016

Kits = Best Thing Ever

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Kits seems to be the New Thing. I think that I’ve never seen so many kits in the store as I did on a recent meander through the yarns. I hasten to add that I think kits are a fabulous thing, because you have every single thing you need to knit or crochet (or weave!) a project with no need to make any kind of decision whatsoever, other than what color palette you most enjoy. There are so many different project kits I’m just dying to use that I thought I’d let you in on some of my favorites.

Project and specialty yarn kits available at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Fair Isle Box of Itty-Bitties captured my heart. If you’ve ever done Fair Isle knitting you know that you use about a yard of each color and it makes no financial sense to buy 10 different skeins of yarn and use a quarter of each to make a hat. This beautiful box of teensy skeins of sport weight yarn in 8 colors will turn into a beautiful Fair Isle hat in your talented hands. Three different colorways give lots of options.

More options await you in the Wonderland Yarns “Mad Hatter” kits. Included in each kit is a large skein (344 yards) and 5 smaller skeins (86 yards each) for a total of 774 yards of lovely sport weight yarn. That’s plenty to make the “Which Way” shawl that is free with the purchase of one of the 6 color options.

Artyarns has also conspired to seduce fiberlovers with Gradient Kits. These are colors in the same family that range from light to dark, perfect for shawls and scarves in ombre or gradient designs. WEBS carries several different color palettes including 3 that are exclusive to our customers. And Merino Cloud yarns are deeeee-lightful, a merino/cashmere blend that is twisted for beautiful stitch definition.

There are plenty more to drool over–Zen Yarn Gardens Cordoba Shawl kit, using Superfine Fingering yarn in their signature intense colors, Lorna’s Laces String Quintet kits in Shepherd Sock, Baah Yarns “Wings” cowl kit in Baah Yarns’ La Jolla, pattern included in the kit. I think you’ll have a hard time deciding to make just one project. Tell us what kits you love the most in the comments!

July 28th, 2016

Thank You!

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Once again the residents of the Pioneer Valley have voted in the Daily Hampshire Gazette‘s annual Reader’s Poll and have chosen WEBS as their favorite yarn store!

WEBS is in first place for 2016 in the Daily Hampshire Gazette's annual Reader's Poll. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

A huge thank you to all our customers that voted. We wouldn’t be able to keep doing what we do without you!

July 27th, 2016

Twist and Shout

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I have a fondness for twisted fringe. It is so clean and elegant and adds a beautiful finishing touch to a handwoven piece. I took a stroll through our display racks to show you some fun variations to mix up the twisting.

Fringe options for your woven goods on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

First there is the graceful sophistication of the long lace fringe on the Champagne Celebration Shawl. It’s like a luxurious waterfall that I just want to run my fingers through.

Another exquisite touch is to add beads in the fringe. For the Zephyr Shawl the beads were added to a single end at the edge of each bundle and then that end was pulled into the adjacent bundle for twisting, resulting in a row of beads interspersed between the fringes at the end of the shawl. A different technique was used for the Plaited Twill Shawl to place the beads throughout the length of the twisted fringes. To achieve this effect, beads are strung on several ends of the bundle and held in place at intervals along the threads, the beads become locked in place as the fringe is twisted.

If you have more than one color in your warp, there are a few ways to handle it. When there are random or asymmetrical color changes across the warp you can just twist in bundles across, ending up with some solid color twists and some with a barber pole effect when two colors twist together, as in the Labyrinth Throw and the Dornik Twill Throw.

Another option that works well with a double weave or a more symmetrical color order is to twist the fringes in single color bundles. The resulting fringe allows each color to stand out on its own, looking crisp and clean. The XOXO Shawl is a deflected doubleweave shows this beautifully with all three colors represented in the fringe. And the fringe on the Turned Taquete Scarf shows both colors bold and pure, alternating across the edge.

Many people twist their fringes by hand, but I prefer to use the Leclerc Fringe Twister. This handy and very simple device makes the work go quickly and saves me from hand cramps.

Do you have any favorite fringe tips? Share your pictures, you know we love show and tell!

July 26th, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure – Hat KAL: Week 4

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Let’s turn this tube into a hat! It’s time for some crown decreases

If you’re working magic loop or on two circular needles you can continue along but if you’ve been working with one 16″ needle you’ll want to transition to double pointed needles at this point.

Crown shaping options for the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

1 – Option 1: Spiral Decreases 

Place a stitch marker after every 10th sts, use a contrasting color marker to identify the beginning of the round. Work in rounds as follows:

Rnd 1: *K to 2 sts before marker, k2tog: rep from * around. (9 (10, 11, 12) sts decreased.)

Rnd 2: Knit.

Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until 18(20, 22, 24) sts remain.

Rnd 3: *K2tog; rep from * around. (9 (10, 11, 12) sts)

Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Thread yarn through all remaining stitches and pull snugly. Sew in all ends and block to settle stitches. 

Here’s a quick refresher on k2tog.

2 – Option 2: 4 corners 

For 18” and 22” sizes only: on the last round, increase by 2 sts at evenly spaced intervals around the hat. (92, 112 sts)

Divide your stitches evenly among 4 double pointed needles.

Work in rounds as follows:

Rnd 1: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle, k2tog; repeat from *. 8 sts decreased.

Rnd 2: Knit.

Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until 20(20, 16, 16) sts remain.

Rnd 3: *K2tog; rep from * around. (10(10, 8, 8)sts remain)

Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Thread yarn through all remaining stitches and pull snugly. Sew in all ends and block to settle stitches.

A quick reminder of how to make an ssk

3 – Cable pattern decreases

18 and 22” sizes only, an 18st repeat

Rnd 1: *P1, c1L, c1R, p1, k1, ssk, k2tog, k1, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 2: *P1, k4, p1, k4, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 3: *P1, c1L, c1R, p1, ssk, k2tog, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 4: *P1, k4, p1, k2, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 5: *P1, c1L, c1R, (p2tog)twice, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 6: *P1, k4, p2, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 7: *P1, ssk, k2, p2, k2, k2tog, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 8: *P1, k3, p2, k3, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 9: *P1, ssk, k1, p2, k1, k2tog, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 10: *P1, k2, p2, k2, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 11: *P1, ssk, p2, k2tog, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 12:  *P1, k1, p2, k1, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 13: *P1, (p2tog)twice, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 14: P all sts

Rnd 15: *P2tog; rep from * around

Repeat Rnds 15 and 16 once more.

Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Thread yarn through all remaining stitches and pull snugly. Sew in all ends and block to settle stitches.

20 and 24” sizes only, a 20 st repeat

Rnd 1: *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1L, c1R, p1, k1, ssk, k2tog, k1, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 2: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k4, p1, k4, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 3: *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1L, c1R, p1, ssk, k2tog, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 4: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k4, p1, k2, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 5: *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1L, c1R, (p2tog)twice, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 6: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k4, p2, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 7: *P1, k1tbl, p1, ssk, k2, p2, k2, k2tog, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 8: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k3, p2, k3, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 9: *P1, k1tbl, p1, ssk, k1, p2, k1, k2tog, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 10: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k2, p2, k2, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 11: *P1, k1tbl, p1, ssk, p2, k2tog, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 12:  *P1, k1tbl, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 13: *P1, k1tbl, p1, (p2tog)twice, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 14: *P1, k1tbl, p4; rep from * around

Rnd 15: *P1, k1tbl, (p2tog)twice; rep from * around

Rnd 16: *P1, k1tbl, p2; rep from * around

Rnd 17: *P2tog; rep from * around

Rnd 18: P all sts

Repeat Rnd 17 once more.

Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Thread yarn through all remaining stitches and pull snugly. Sew in all ends and block to settle stitches.

If you’ve never done a p2tog before, here’s how!

5 – Alternate Crown: No shaping!

Continue working your hat in pattern with NO decreases until the hat is 1 inch longer than your desired depth from the cast-on edge. Fold the hat flat and use the 3 needle bind off or kitchener stitch to close the top of the hat with a flat seam.

Here’s your chance to try a 3-needle bind off

And, it never hurts to have a visual reminder of kitchener stitch!

Next week we’ll do a little finishing work, and show you our fully finished hats as well as which options were used for each. How’s your hat looking?

Be sure to post your pics to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag it with #chooseyourownadventure #WEBSKAL #Myhatadventure #websyarn

July 25th, 2016

Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk

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Our 2/14 Alpaca Silk is one of the hidden gems in our Valley Yarns collection. The fact that it’s on a cone gives some knitters and crocheters pause, but let me tell you what a boon that is. For larger projects, and even multiple small projects, it means only 2 ends to weave in at the end of your work. You read that right, only TWO ends to weave in! There’s so much yardage on one of these cones, over 1,700yds in fact, that each cone really can result in multiple projects. Like our Allamanda Shawl. The pattern requires 550yds but with the incredible yardage on these cones you could get three of these shawls out of just one cone! This makes it a wonderful choice for wedding party shawls, or other occasions where multiple versions of the same knits or crochet are needed.

Get to know Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The fiber combination of this yarn, 80% Alpaca/20% Silk, results in a lace weight yarn with incredible strength and beauty. The silk gives the yarn durability and a delicate sheen while the alpaca imparts warmth and softness as well as a subtle halo. Together you get a yarn that is soft and easy to work with, even in the summer heat, that becomes garments and accessories that are surprisingly warm.

Get to know Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Clockwise from bottom left: The Stella Pullover, the Magda Shawl NEW, the Geothermal Tubular Scarf, the Shenandoah Valley Shawl NEW, the Vintage Vest FREE,  the October Mountain Cardigan, the Gallica Shell, the Coppice Cardigan, and the Intemporelle Pullover.

We have some truly lovely patterns for this yarn, from cozy mid-season accessories to full garments in both knit and crochet. Have you worked with 2/14 Alpaca Silk?

July 23rd, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 452: Kathy talks with Kate Atherley

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This week Kathy talks with Kate Atherley about her 4th, and newest book, The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #452 - Kathy talks with Kate Atherley. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

After years working as a tech editor Kate began to compile some of answer to questions she regularly encountered in the process of pattern writing.  She sees designing and pattern writing as two separate skills and this is a guide for helping designers articulate their instructions. She also gives resources for photography and pattern layout.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Upcoming Events:

WEBS will be at Convergence in Milwaukee, WI August 2-6.

It’s not too early to book your seat on the bus to Rhinebeck!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

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 22nd, 2016

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl

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I love a good wrap. A nice wide shawl that I can snuggle into like a great knitted hug is a real comfort, but I don’t necessarily want to look like I’m wearing a blanket. The new Shenandoah Valley Shawl designed by Katharine Malcolm is that perfect shawl! Knit in our Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk it is gauzy and ephemeral but amazingly warm and cozy.

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The silk give the yarn strength and shine, while the alpaca give it that surprising warmth and a soft fuzzy halo. With a decreasing pattern of cables forming a mountain shaped border at each end and a gentle striping effect of stockinette and yarn overs, reminiscent of the rivers and streams, you get to see the best of the Shenandoah Valley in this shawl, the gorgeous Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains as well as the James and Potomac rivers. And with the bonus of the incredible yardage of the 2/14 Alpaca Silk being offered on cones you will only have 2 tails to weave in at the ends of this project!

Katharine talked to us about herself and how this design came to be.

When did you learn to knit? 

I taught myself how to knit before I was ten years old, a long time ago. The first article I can remember knitting was a woolen turtleneck, shaped, full fashioned sweater with mock cables on the front and the back. I was 12 at the time. In my college years, everyone knit in class. I knit my model train loving fiance a pair of socks with an original train on the side, but never thought of it as designing. The same was true as I knit for my sons and nephews, including whole animal families of hand puppets. It wasn’t until I became a TKGA Master Hand Knitter that I realized that what I had been doing for years was designing. I have been knitting my own designs ever since.

What prompted you to start designing?

I tend to find a design that I want to create in knitting and as I proceed, my ideas grow. That was the case with the Shenandoah Valley Shawl. It started as a project to work on a train trip and as I knit, I did not want it to be the same throughout, so I created the triangles. As I worked the shawl that you see I realized, looking out the window that the color matched the Blue Ridge Mountains. From another window I can see the Appalachian range and the Shawl fit in perfectly. Many of my designs evolve as I knit.

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

When I was working towards the Masters Program for The Knitting Guild Association, I decided that since I lived on an alpaca farm, that I would create the yarn for the project. As a result, it was not only an original design for the vest and the long coat, but they were both knit from a one of a kind yarn.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I loved the feel of the Alpaca/Silk. The silk adds a sheen to the alpaca and I loved working in color. I have been knitting with my hand spun, but none of the alpacas come in Whipple Blue!

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

With a gorgeous combination of lace and cables, this light and airy yet scrumptiously warm shawl could be the perfect accessory, and with almost 30 colors of 2/14 Alpaca Silk to choose from you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you. Download your copy of the pattern now and cast on!

 

July 21st, 2016

A Few New Yarns to Tempt You…

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Even though the summer is just beginning to heat up, our fall yarns have begun to arrive. If you’ve been to the store, you’ve probably noticed swatches of most of the yarns on offer, Store staff knit these to provide you with an example of how the yarn looks, not only in stockinette stitch, but also in a stitch pattern.  The swatches are labeled with all pertinent yarn information in addition to suggestions for use.  Knitting swatches also gives staff an opportunity to get to know new yarns so we can help you even knowledgeably.

Discover Valley Yarns Pocumtuck on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The newest from Valley Yarns, Pocomtuck, is a dk weight cashmere. Karen knit a decorative swatch to show this yarn to its best advantage.  She found it to be a luxurious knit, and states that “it lends itself to a wide variety of garments and accessories.”

Discover Plymouth Yarn Tuscan Aire on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Marthe’s swatch of Plymouth’s Tuscan Aire  shows this bulky yarn’s adaptability to stockinette and textured stitches.  Comprised of 90% merino wool and 10% nylon,  “this light and lofty fiber is just perfect for lightweight yet warm ponchos, cowls and scarves.”

Discover Plymouth Yarn Cannoli on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Mary M. chose another new Plymouth yarn, Cannoli, to try out.  She thought it was an exciting, fast knit and would use it for accessories and gifts. The construction (it’s a single) makes it bouncy and the colorways are very tempting.

Discover Berroco Cotolana on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Berroco Cotolano has become a new staff favorite and Maryanne knit the swatch.  This wool, cotton and nylon blend is remarkably soft and would make a fine three season garment. Cables and other textures are really enhanced in this yarn.

This is just the beginning.  Stay tuned for more as fall yarns continue to roll in.  Happy knitting!

July 19th, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure – Hat KAL: Week 3

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It’s time to get to the fun part, the body of the hat! Feel free to add stripes in multiple colors, or stitches, for these first 3 options.

Stitch pattern options in the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

1 – Stockinette

Rnd1: K all sts

Repeat Rnd 1

Continue in stockinette until the hat is 2 inches LESS than your desired depth from the cast-on edge

2 – Seed Stitch

Rnd 1: *K1, P1; rep from * around

Rnd 2: * P1, k1; rep from * around

Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until the hat is 2 inches LESS than your desired depth from the cast-on edge

3 – Moss Stitch

Rnds 1 and 2: *K2, P2; rep from * around

Rnds 3 and 4: * P2, K2; rep from * around

Repeat Rnds 1 through 4 until the hat is 2 inches than your desired depth from the cast-on edge edge

You can add stripes into any one of these stitch patterns or combine these stitch pattern as their own stripes as shown above! And just to gussy things up a bit, here’s a great way to avoid that unsightly jog that happens with stripes in the round!

Please note: the Cable and Fair Isle motifs work with an 18 st or 20st repeat, depending on size.

4 – Cables

Stitch pattern options in the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com18 and 22” sizes only, an 18 st repeat

Stitch pattern options in the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comRnd 1: *P1, k4, p1, k6, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 2: *P1, c1L(left twist), c1R(right twist), p1, k6, p1, c1L, c1R, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 3: Repeat Rnd 1

Rnd 4: *P1,  c1R, c1L, p1, k2, sl 2 purlwise, k2, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 5: *P1, k4, p1, 1/2Rc(c1 over 2 right), 1/2Lc(c1 over 2 left), p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnds 6-9: Repeat Rnds 4 and 5 twice more

Rnd 10: *P1, c1L, c1R, p1, k6, p1, c1L, c1R, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 11: *P1, k4, p1, k6, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 12:  *P1, c1R, c1L, p1, k6, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

 

20 and 24” sizes only, a 20 st repeat

Stitch pattern options in the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comRnd 1: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k4, p1, k6, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 2: *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1L(left twist), c1R(right twist), p1, k6, p1, c1L, c1R, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 3: Repeat Rnd 1

Rnd 4: *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1R, c1L, p1, k2, sl 2 purlwise, k2, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 5: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k4, p1,1/2Rc(c1 over 2 right), 1/2Lc(c1 over 2 left), p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnds 6-9: Repeat Rnds 4 and 5 twice more

Rnd 10: *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1L, c1R, p1, k6, p1, c1L, c1R, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 11: *P1, k1tbl, p1, k4, p1, k6, p1, k4, p1; rep from * around

Rnd 12:  *P1, k1tbl, p1, c1R, c1L, p1, k6, p1, c1R, c1L, p1; rep from * around

For all sizes

Repeat Rnds 1-12 until the hat is 2 inches LESS than your desired depth from the cast-on edge,

ending after Rnd 1 or Rnd 9, before beginning Crown decreases.

Sara Hat LegendAbbreviations:

c1L – left twist: sl next st to cn and hold to front of work, k1, k1 from cn

c1R – right twist: sl next st to cn and hold to back of work, k1, k1 from cn

1/2Rc – c1 over 2 right: sl next 2 sts to cn and hold to back of work, k1, k2 from cn

1/2Lc – c1 over 2 left: sl next st to cn and hold to front of work, k2, k1 from cn

tbl – through the back loop; work designated stitch through the back loop of the stitch on the needle

Here’s a quick refresher on basic cabling.

And a tutorial for cabling without a needle!

5 – Fair Isle

Stitch pattern options in the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Work Rounds 1-20 of the chart then Rounds 1-4 Only, or until the hat is 2 inches LESS than your desired depth from the cast-on edge before beginning crown decreases.

Stitch pattern options in the Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

18 and 22” sizes only, an 18st repeat

20 and 24” sizes only, a 20 st repeat

Follow the chart as indicated

Continue in colorwork pattern until the hat is 2 inches LESS than your desired depth from the cast-on edge. Next week we’ll start the crown decreases.

Here’s a quick tutorial on basic colorwork.

Be sure to post your pics to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag it with #chooseyourownadventure #WEBSKAL #Myhatadventure #CYOAKAL

July 18th, 2016

Valley Yarns Hatfield

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Hatfield is one of my top 5 yans from Valley Yarns! 100% super soft, baby alpaca in a sturdy, yet lofty,  2-ply laceweight with 437 yds, means you have a versatile yarn with almost endless possibilities.

Get to know Valley Yarns Hatfield! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We already have some incredible pattern support for this yarn, with more planned! It’s perfect for lightweight, yet incredibly warm garments and accessories, and with that extensive yardage you’ll only need a few skeins. Pictured clockwise from top left: Lina Shawl(just 2 skeins), Fruits of the Forest Scarf (also only 2 skeins), Poet’s Corner Shawl – NEW! (2 skeins!), Traversina Shawl (1 skein in each of 6 colors, but only 2 skeins in yardage), Breezeway Pullover (2-4 skeins depending on size), and the Crisanta Shawl – NEW! (only 1 skein!)

Get to know Valley Yarns Hatfield! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This is an amazing yarn for summer knitting. It’s lightweight nature means you won’t have a bulky project heating up your lap while you enjoy some beach time, but you’ll finish with a great piece to ward of the chill come Fall. Do you have Valley Yarns Hatfield on your needles?