Author Archive

Charity Knitting All-Star

Monday, January 9th, 2012
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Susan is a familiar face in our store and our weekly drop-in sessions, and she is a graduate of our Expert Knitters Program. You could say she’s an all-around WEBS girl! We have seen her progress on a long-term charity knitting project and have finally gotten some much needed details of this enormous undertaking! Be inspired!! What is your New Year’s resolution?

Here’s what she has to say….

Appalachian Sweater Project

Question: What happens when you combine a large yarn stash with a career retirement and an insightful story about Appalachian children?

Answer: A most unexpected project that took me on a two-year journey.

In 2009, Diane Sawyer of ABC News presented a special entitled A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains. I found this special to be an extraordinary story of Appalachian children and the challenges they face each day. The stories of these children lingered with me for a long time as their poverty is something I cannot imagine. I wondered what I could do to help.

Months before, I retired from a near thirty-year career with a health services organization. The retirement came earlier than planned due to long-term medical conditions and admittedly, I was a bit lost going from a ten-to-twelve hour workday to a non-structured day. My focus was to do what was needed to improve my health, but there was still something missing — I kept thinking about the children of Appalachia and what I could do to help them.

Late one Saturday night, I had an idea. What if I used the large yarn stash I had built to help those children? What if I were to knit sweaters for these children to help keep them warm? I searched the internet for an organization in Appalachia and found many. I focused on an organization that services 30,000 in Appalachia and was established since 1952. I wrote them a note on their website asking if they would accept and distribute 100 hand-knit children’s sweaters. My goal was to send the sweaters in groups of twenty-five over the course of two years. I received a response from Sister Robbie who was excited and grateful for the offer. Thus, a project was born.

I began knitting, accumulating patterns, and was excited to see my yarn stash slowly decrease. The first group of 25 sweaters were sent to Appalachia early in 2010 with another batch in late 2010. June of 2011 rolled around and group three was sent and as of December, 2011, the last group of sweaters is making its way to Kentucky.

What I Learned

This project began as something to help me to look forward to when not feeling well (most of the time) and to assist with the transition into retirement. It ended up being so much more. Here’s a bit of what I learned:

  • Children’s sweaters are a great way to learn new techniques or use new yarn you’ve been meaning to try.
  • Blocking a sweater is when the ‘magic’ begins. Each and every time I was amazed to see a heap of knitted pieces transform into a beautiful sweater.
  • The buttons are critical and make-or-break the look of the sweater. It is important to select and purchase the best possible buttons that you can to finish the garment.
  • Call me crazy if you wish, but the biggest discovery is that I LOVE FINISHING WORK! Yes, it’s one of my most favorite parts of knitting. What a surprise.
  • I began the project with gathering patterns from various sources. Somewhere around sweater #70, an interesting thing occurred. I began designing the sweaters myself! That was not the plan, but an outcome of the process itself.

Fun Facts

A Few Thanks

Thanks to all the folks who not only cheered me on to complete the project, but also those who donated their extra yarn from previous projects. Such a thoughtful gesture is much appreciated.

Some of my fellow Thursday morning drop-in friends donated knitted items for the project. Each time, I was surprised with these lovely items (sweaters, a snuggle sak, and two dolls) and more than happy to include them in the boxes being sent. Thank you.

Thanks to Webs for having an outstanding button selection, an unbeatable yarn selection, and allowing me to share my story.

Final Thought

Charity knitting has been an amazing experience for me at a challenging time in my life. If you have bits of yarn leftover from other projects, combine them to knit up a small sweater and give it to the charity of your choice. You’ll be making someone warm and in return you may have some delightful discoveries of your own.

Susan, The Sweater Lady


(1) Charcoal Grey Cable and Seed Stitch vest made with Cascade 220 Superwash

(2) Light Blue Angora Bolero from page 39 of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies using Valley

Yarns Deerfield

(3) V-Neck Cardigan using Crofter Fair Isle Baby DK and steel blue Charming Raglan Pullover from page 69 of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies made with Encore DK

Final week for knitted donations!

Sunday, December 11th, 2011
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If you were meaning to send in a crafted donation or have something languishing on the needles (hooks/loom/etc), now is the time! Lise will be collecting items for this batch until Monday, the 19th of December. However, we’d be able to find a worthy home for any stragglers!

So far the donations have been quite generous. We snapped a couple photos of what we’ve collected. Lots of color!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to give. Your hand crafted item will be well-used. Again, donations can be mailed to WEBS or dropped off in the store.

Hope your holidays are magical!


Dream in Color Giveaway!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
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Congrats to all the lucky winners of Dream in Color Yarn! Nothing could make me happier than to send off some lovely squishy fiber. Thanks so much for being such great customers and a great community.

Without further ado…

1-Shirley Pasture McCormack



4-Debbie Saenz


6-Lisa Gutierrez




10-Heather M

To claim your prize email me at

Happy holiday crafting!


Brrr…Hot Chocolate Run

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
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We’ve raised funds. We’ve ordered T-shirts. We are 40 strong and counting.

Yes, I’m talking about the WEBS Hot Chocolate Run team! We will think of you all as we walk for Safe Passage on Sunday, so add a little comment of support. I’ll print them all up and share them with the staff as we shiver on Sunday morning!

We are lagging behind as the lead team and with a staff like ours and generous loyal customers like you I know that can’t last for long. If you were meaning to give make sure to pledge before Sunday, December 4th, either in the store or at under the WEBS team.

We’ve been so touched by the support of our customers at every charity effort we’ve ever endeavored, and this is no different. Thanks for being a community that we can be proud of!


Dream in Color Giveaway

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
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The time has come again for a juicy new giveaway from Dream in Color yarns. And just in time! This holiday I see crafters working their little fingers to nubs. What better way to look forward to post-holiday selfish knitting than with a special handdyed skein of  your very own?

This month Dream in Color is tempting us with a lovely fingering weight merino cashmere blend in a green/purple fusion.  This is an exclusive colorway of Smooshy with Cashmere. *Swoon*. Check it out!

Of course, the giveaway includes a free pattern to go with it! The pattern for this great yarn is a men’s scarf called Opa! But this would be great for anyone…including yourself!

Want a chance to win? Let us know what selfish knitting you are planning for January by commenting below by Sunday, December 4th. Please leave your contact info (Ravelry name is fine) and we’ll contact 10 lucky winners!

Happy Knitting and Good luck!!


Helping the Homeless

Monday, November 21st, 2011
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There are a million ways to give back during the winter months and the holiday season. If you have been looking for a crafty way to give back look no further! Lise, a long time employee, has been organizing a collection of knitted/crocheted/woven items for donation to the area homeless.

A word from Lise, “With all the crazy weather we have experienced this past year, most of us still will not experience what it is like to live on the streets.  There is not a night where all the shelters do not have a waiting list of people to get in. Even though we didn’t have electricity we did have plenty of clothes to warm us up in those cold homes.”

Last year we received an overwhelming response and were told that there was still need. Maybe this season we can break our record! A local man who works with people living on the streets will use these items to make sure those without shelter are warm and safe.

We are always thankful for the generosity of our customers and cannot wait to see what lovely things come our way. Feel free to donate in person or mail to the store.

Last year our customers mailed and dropped off the following items: 105 hats, 81 scarves ( woven, crocheted & knit), 5 hat/scarf sets, 6 blankets, 12 pairs of gloves, 1 knit slippers, 2 baby sweater and 6 Christmas stockings.  There was also a bag left with wrapped presents to be given to the homeless.

Thanks to everyone for their many generous offerings!



Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
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WEBS is a yearly sponsor of the Hot Chocolate Run and this year the staff wanted to get involved personally. Although this event has been regularly attended by employees we wanted to go as a team this year, complete with t-shirts! What better way to fuel our love of charitable events and team building than to pool our resources and do it together?! I’m hoping we can convince a large contingent to train to walk and knit, how fun would that be?

The Hot Chocolate Run raises funds for Safe Passage, the Hampshire County organization providing shelter, counseling, and advocacy services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.  This event is Safe Passage’s largest fundraising event.

Want to get involved? We will have a team fundraising page available at, listed under team WEBS. Learn a little bit about where your money will be going by following this link

I hope you’ll consider offering support to such a worthwhile organization and helping us meet our fundraising goal. All money raised goes to support Safe Passage’s counseling, advocacy and shelter services, and all contributions are tax deductible. Donations will be collected until Sunday, December 4, which is race day.

Thanks for all your support!


Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks

Monday, October 3rd, 2011
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Our Dreamz knitting needles hardly need an introduction they’ve been so popular. But in case you hadn’t heard we wanted to make sure you didn’t get left out. The staff (and customers) have been particularly excited by the new line of Dreamz needles. And for good reason, the Dreamz are a unique color tinted set of needles with a smooth hand at a reasonable price. The Dreamz line is so extensive I wanted to take a moment to walk you through it and familiarize you with this great and affordable needle line.

The Dreamz are constructed of laminated birch, an affordable needle to make and a durable needle to invest in. Not only is it considered a dense, smooth wood allowing for sharp points and smooth finish; it is considered stronger than ebony and rosewood at a much less expensive price point. Additionally, its construction is resistant to water absorption, making it particularly suited against warping.

A favorite aspect of this line is its color coded system. Each size is assigned a different lovely wood stain, and the colors are consistently matched to sizes across the Dreamz line. Sizes are marked clearly on the needles as well.

We offer 10” Single Pointed Needles in US sizes 2.5–17 (3-12mm). These lightweight needles share the graduated and ample tip of the other Dreamz needles. All sizes are available separately as well as together in the Dreamz Single Points Needle Set. The set includes sizes US 2.5–11 in a stylish black jacquard zippered case.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Single Points Needle Set

Our Dreamz Double Pointed Needles are sold in packs of 5 with a length option of 5”, 6” or 8”. The 5 and 6” lengths are available in sizes US 0–6, and the 8” spans the US 2.5–11. Additionally, there are Double Pointed Needle Sets available in 5” or 6” which include US sizes 0–3, each set is organized in its own vinyl carrying case. Although warping is of less concern for this style of needle the thinner needles will still need to be treated with care.

Dreamz Fixed Circular Knitting Needless have a smooth nickel plated join and supple cord particularly suited for magic loop. The wide range of cord lengths include 16” in US sizes 0-11 and 24”, 32”, 40” and 47” in US sizes 0–19. To aid in size differentiation MM and US sizes are etched into the join as well as the wooden tip.

The Dreamz Interchangeable Circular Deluxe Set is a great way to economically collect all sizes and lengths of needles in one compact vinyl case. The set comes with a set of 9 tips, US sizes 4–11. Shorter tips are available separately for creating a 16” needle to supplement the interchangeable set.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Circular Deluxe Set

Deluxe sets can be expanded with additional tips and cables including the Chunky Set, which includes US sizes 13, 15 and 17. If you aren’t ready for the investment of the Deluxe set the Starter Set provides a great low-commitment way to try them out. The Dreamz Starter Set includes US sizes 6, 9 and 10. If you haven’t set your heart on a needle material yet there’s also a Comby Set with samples of Dreamz, Nova and Trendz acrylic needles, to help you decide which needle you like working with best.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Circular Chunky SetKnitter's Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Circular Starter Set

Although we’ve covered the crochet line before, the Dreamz lineup would not be complete without its mention. Our Dreamz Crochet Hooks and Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hooks are available singly in US sizes E–12mm as a perfect supplement for any collection. The Dreamz Crochet Hook Set and Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hook Set sets feature sizes US E–L and come in a handy vinyl carrying case.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Crochet Hook SetKnitter's Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hook Set

Our trio set of Dreamz Cable Needles is a really clever set. Not only are the cable needles various lengths, they are marked with US sizes and correspond with the color coded needles. How fantastic!

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Cable Needles

Check out this video covering the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz line.

It’s clear that this has been a customer favorite. I must admit that we are smitten with this needle line as well. But don’t just take our word for it, make sure to sample these needles yourself, and see what all the fuss is about.


Holiday Knitting

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
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I dread to bring up the inevitable. “It’s barely Halloween,” I hear people say. But then again, the seasoned knitter starts when the weather is warm. Customers vow each year to start in January, and I wonder, does anyone ever really do this? I’ve been trying to sidestep the hand crafted gift giving because it quickly spirals into fantasy regarding what can be done in a certain period of time.

I wonder sometimes if all this work is worth it. It’s doubtful that my brother will ever wear the cabled scarf I spent countless hours making him. My father will likely lose the hat I made, so I can make the same blaze orange hunting hat year after year. My mother will just add to the pile of special knits that are too nice to wear. Thankfully my sister wears the stitches out of everything I knit for her, but she’s always easy to give to.  Family knitting is truly selfless knitting.

Despite my misgivings, as time approaches my thoughts return to gift knitting. It’s almost impossible to resist the handmade gift. What better way to show love? Or strike envy into the hearts of non-knitters at our skill? (Or so I imagine).  So my next challenge is to come up with a good “assembly line” gift. One I can plug out in a relatively short period of time and just keep running full speed until I’m done.

One year I made miniature stocking ornaments, which were well received. The new book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, by Arne and Carlos, has me considering this again. There’s more to this book than you might imagine with ample opportunity to mix and match themes. I could make a strangely large amount with the new Cascade 220 Fingering or Rowan Fine Tweed!

55 Christmas Balls to Knit

Felted slippers are another good contender. Although I’m leaning towards knitted slippers like Prairie Boots by Cocoknits to give my washing machine a rest. Northampton Bulky, anyone?

Cocoknits Prairie Boots

I can also see making a variety of hats, each to fit the style of the recipient. With the brand spanking new Weekend Hats this is bound to be a hit. This book is the newest volume edited by Melissa Labarre and Cecily Macdonald.

Weekend Hats

So many lovely publications this fall my head is spinning with ideas! What are your plans for holiday crafting?


Winners: Dream in Color Giveaway

Monday, September 26th, 2011
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We have ten lucky winners to receive the special Dream in Color Giveaway exclusive yarn and pattern for September! Please, if you see your name listed below give us a shout and let us know where to mail it to you (




4-Robbin K


6-Amy M.

7-Deborah D.

8-Mary Beth

9-Sara B.

10-Lucy W.

Thanks for participating and rest assured this will not be the only chance to win from Dream in Color. Make sure to check back for more great giveaways!