Author Archive

Cashmere, Of Course

Friday, January 27th, 2017
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Continuing my love affair with yarn that is not sport or fingering weight, I have been anxiously waiting to get our new Valley Yarn Wachusett on my needles. If you haven’t caressed this yarn yet, you are missing a very comforting experience. A very luxurious blend of merino wool and cashmere (the magic word!) makes knitting with Wachusett a treat. Getting a gauge of 19 stitches to 4 inches in stockinette makes a sweater fly off the needles, and a very generous 163 yards in a ball will let you settle in for hours of fun. A very slight halo and a range of clear brights and smoky neutrals give you lots of choices if you like colorwork or color blocks; of course, any of those colors could stand on their own as well.

Amy's loving Valley Yarns Wachusett, read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Backstage Boss hat from Advenure Du Jour Designs would be a great test knit for Wachusett–with two colors that can either complement or contrast, you’d get a real feel for what this yarn can do. I’m a fan!

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Friday, January 13th, 2017
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I realized that my last two substantive projects (sweaters, that is) were both knit in teeny, tiny yarn. Usually I’m a fan of a gauge that is smallish, but it just takes too darn long. And my hands ache by the time I’m seaming.

I went back to an old fave, Rowan Big Wool. About 10 years ago, I knit a sweater in this yarn and I remembered that feeling of being able to finish not one, but two sleeves in an evening. It’s BIG. In a good way. Less than 2 stitches to 1 inch on size 17-19 needles. It’s like knitting with two broomsticks! But for a small project like a hat, a cowl, a scarf, even a vest, you’ll get that superhero feeling of making a garment in no time at all. Big Wool is 100% merino wool, tightly plied, so it’s not fuzzy. A generous 100-gram ball gives the knitter plenty of bang for not a lot of bucks. Even more enticing, when you buy 5 skeins of Big Wool, we’ll give you the Rowan Archive Collection Big Wool book FREE! Lots of great patterns that use this lovely stuff to its best advantage are in this treasure trove.

Rowan Big Wool and Amy's plans for a quick knit on the WEBS Blog, read more at blog.yarn.com

Because I love the feeling of being wrapped up in a blanket, I might make the Pioneer Cape, a really smart shoulder covering that will stay in place, unlike a shawl or a scarf. The color palette is muted but expansive, giving you just the range you’d like for a conspicuous yarn like this. Now go, knit like the wind!

A Scarf As Big As You Want

Friday, December 30th, 2016
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At this time of year, I think many of us crave a huge scarf, big enough to envelop one from head to toe. While the gorgeous Mentolat Scarf isn’t quite that big, it’s a generous helping of love from Manos del Uruguay, knit in their Silk Blend yarn. WEBS has made it easy for you to knit this uniquely-constructed scarf by making a kit-our Mentolat Kit comes in 4 different colorways, each with 6 colors of Manos del Uruguay’s Silk Blend yarn.

Manos del Uruguay Mentolat Scarf Kits available at yarn.com More on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This DK-weight single ply blend of 70% merino and 30% silk is dreamy, both in color and texture. The kit provides you with 1500 yards, plenty to make the largest-sized scarf in your choice of color blocks. Since we’re officially at the tail end of the holiday season, this might make a great gift for a knitting friend who would rather DIY next year’s presents. Each kit comes with a free Mentolat Scarf pattern, making it a one-stop gift item, although frankly, I’d covet this for myself, and not ever give it away.

Mind Over Matter

Friday, December 16th, 2016
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I’ve been unsettled lately. The universe seems to be sending me (and lots of people I know) signs that we need to simplify, focus, cultivate warmth and compassion. Of course, I turn to knitting, as it is one of the crafts I can count on to engage my mind without leaving much room for thinking about what seems to be a bleak next few months. A yarn I’ve been loving is West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious, a serious wooly wool that isn’t scratchy or fuzzy. West Yorkshire Spinners are based in England (of course!) and source their wool locally, processing it in a very traditional way on state of the art equipment. It’s the best of both worlds or handmade craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. The result is a tightly spun DK-weight yarn in 12 delicious colors to use as you’d like. Stranding, cables, textures, open-work; Illustrious can do it all.

West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious yarn and pattern collection. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

West Yorkshire Spinners commissioned designer Emma Wright to come up with a series of garments, accessories, and wearables to showcase Illustrious, and her 11 patterns reflect the design process from start to finish. I’ve been eyeing a fantastic colorwork cardigan called Hermione so I can use as many of those 12 colors as possible.

What kind of knitting takes you to a happier place? Let us know in the comments.

Arranmore by The Fibre Co.

Friday, November 25th, 2016
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I wanted to write about this wonderful stuff a few months ago, but we went through a dry spell and didn’t have it in stock (that’s the sign of a great yarn–you have to suffer through a drought before the good stuff rains down). Now we are fully stocked and you should know about it because once you try it, you won’t want to knit with anything else.

Arranmore is a beautiful example of a true Donegal tweed yarn, spun in Ireland. In colors that capture the Irish coast, it’s a true aran-weight yarn, meaning it is toothy and authentically wooly, with flecks of color throughout highlighting the earth, sky, and water tones of the yarn. Composed of wool, cashmere, and silk, Arranmore has a springy, sturdy feel and a substantial crispness that relaxes and blooms once wet-blocked. at 3.5 stitches to 1 inch on US size 8 needles, your projects will fly off your needles quickly, and the twist ensures no splitting or catching on your needle tips.

The Fibre Co. Arranmore on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Of course, The Fibre Co. has great pattern support, and thoughtful garments and accessories showcase this colleen of a yarn to it’s finest. I think if I wasn’t drowning in gift-knitting, I’d probably be casting on The Lake Isle tunic. It’s a fascinating combination of plain stockinette and colorwork, with an unexpected funnel neck to keep one warm in the chilly UK winter weather. Or the chilly New England weather. Try it and see; you won’t want to stop knitting.

The More You Know

Friday, November 11th, 2016
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I tried out a new circular needle recently and it was a game-changer. Knitter’s Pride Royale fixed circular needles are wood with metal tips, which I like (somehow, metal seems pointier). What I really love about the Royales are that they SWIVEL at the join. Come on! Yes, they do. No kinking up, no twisted joins, just smooth sailing. This swivel is only available in the fixed circular needles, not in the interchangeable sets, alas. But what a great reason to stock up on sizes you may need for your holiday knitting! They’d be a great stocking stuffer for a knitting group buddy, or an in-law at a gift exchange.

Knitter's Pride Royale Needles on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ve been making some deadline projects lately, but once I free up my time and buy the right size Royale, I’ll be casting on the Genevieve Baby Cardigan for a special baby arriving in December. So fast, so delightful on the right needles. Check them out!

Noro For Grownups

Friday, October 28th, 2016
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One of the first sweaters I made, for my then-7-year-old son, was in Noro Kureyon. He loved the colors but it was a tad scratchy, and after he grew out of it, I couldn’t find any child that would love that sweater like he did. Noro has always been the gold standard for eye-catching, long color repeats and brightly-hued blues, pinks, reds, and greens. At least, I thought that’s what I loved about Noro yarns.

Read more about Noro Tennen on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com

What did I spot in one of my hoarding window-shopping expeditions into the store? Why, Noro Tennen, a gorgeous blend of wool, silk, and alpaca in colors evocative of nature in late November. The color names bring to mind images of stone, smoke, wood, and salmon, and the yarn brings those images onto your needles. Each worsted-weight skein is a very generous 275 yards, making the possibility of a hat, cowl, ear-warmer, or fingerless mitts out of one of those skeins very real. But I think this slightly fuzzy, rustic yarn demands a sweater, and our Shay Cap Sleeve Pullover would be perfect to show off the muted colors and unique texture of this special yarn. Perfect to throw on over a slim long-sleeve shirt or under a heavier jacket, Tennen will be a savvy investment for moments of quiet, contemplative stitching.

Sometimes Bigger IS Better

Friday, October 7th, 2016
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Knitting folk, you know I am usually all about the smaller yarn. I think somehow it looks nicer, you can do more with it, the stitch definition is usually better, and also, those are the needle sizes I have lots of. So…expedience.

I recently was lucky enough to be in on a presentation given by Stacy Charles, whose name is probably familiar to all of you knitters. Their new yarn, Sherpa, was really popular at our recent Knitting Retreat, and at first glance, I thought “absolutely NOT.” It’s everything I thought I didn’t like in a yarn: fuzzy, big, random little boucle dots of natural color along the fiber. However, I then saw this yarn knit up in this absolutely gorgeous pullover with matching cowl, and it’s the antithesis of what I don’t like in bulky yarn.

Stacy Charles with Tahki Yarns Sherpa, available at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Zest Pullover has a drapiness that I could compare to a superstar sportweight or DK yarn, not boxy or puffy, but smooth and shapely. The fuzziness of Sherpa is soft, not like a fuzzy yarn that you don’t want next to your skin. That cowl is about to be on my needles and I’ll finish it in a day, I bet.

What’s the last yarn that changed your opinion? Let us know in the comments, below.

Time For A New Bag!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016
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My favorite project bag is falling apart. It’s the cutest Erin Lane bag ever, in a fabric that I think they don’t use anymore–white skulls on a black background. The best part is that some of the skulls have little pink hair ribbons and it is just subversive and cute at the same time. However, I’ve carried it from East to West and it might have even traveled to another country and it’s shredding. Time for a new bag!

Binkwaffle Dumpling bags and more favorite project bags on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I certainly have a lot from which to choose. I’m a bit picky about my bags, because I like the kind that can stand (or sit) on their own, without falling over and taking up a lot of room. This Binkwaffle Dumpling bag comes in two sizes and seems highly useful in both. They’re both reversible and close ingeniously by simply pulling the handle through a grommet. Ta dah! comfy on your wrist and the big one is sturdy enough to sit quietly without misbehaving beside my chair.

Erin Lane is always reliable (and the fabrics they use are delightful). I particularly like Self-Standing Bucket Tote, big enough to throw my wallet, keys, and sunglasses in along with a project or two. Lots of choices of color and print, too.

If I was going to give a wishlist to a caring husband, I’d certainly encourage a Namaste purchase. The Hermosa Bag is big enough to throw a laptop in and maybe a sweater in case it gets cold (along with the sweater you’ll be knitting, of course). These bags last forever and they are easily mistake for a high-end handbag.

You know, there’s a lot of knitting time before the holidays hit us. Why not indulge in a new bag now for all those gifts you’ll be creating?

Summer Pick-Me-Up

Friday, August 26th, 2016
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It’s the last weekend before the “official” start of autumn; here in Massachusetts, that means kids are starting to go back to school, colleges are welcoming freshmen for their orientation, and we’re starting to see the store fill up with parents of boarding school-ers and college students who see WEBS as the destination they come here for AFTER they drop off the kids.

Planning your last summer project with Amy on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Since it’s still pretty hot, I thought about knitting a “Last Gasp Of Summer” project, and with a minimum of searching I found the perfect top: Baby Cocktail “White Sangria” sleeveless top, designed by Thea Colman. It’s a gorgeous confection of eyelet patterning and a flattering shape–a super-feminine A-line with a fitted bust and the option to tailor the “skirt” for your figure. It won’t take long to make, since the details, while beautiful, are fairly simple, and although Thea used Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton, I think I might gravitate toward one of our Rowan closeouts like Pure Wool Worsted Superwash in a discontinued color. Grasshopper is a minty light green, almost a neutral; but Vintage (a mauve-y purple) would carry your top into the warmer days of September over jeans or some white capris (if you want to break some fashion rules!). Check it out, and let us know in the comments what your end-of-summer project is.