Author Archive

Tuesday’s Tip – Knit and Crochet Easily with Coned Yarn

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
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Coned yarns aren’t just for weaving! Yarns wound onto a cone are wonderful to knit and crochet with. They generally come in fairly large quantities, which means fewer joins and weaving in ends. The only tricky part can be getting the yarn off the cone easily while you’re working with it. You could put the cone on the floor, but your seat may not be high enough to be effective. A great solution is to run the yarn over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.

Knit and Crochet Easily with Coned YarnRun the yarn from a cone over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.

Here, I used a tall computer monitor, but a desk lamp would work really well too. If you haven’t worked with coned yarns before, you can try the Valley Yarns 496 Greenway Shawl knit in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel (Colrain Lace) and Valley Yarns 456 Sumac Berry Shawl crocheted in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk.

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Block Colorwork or Lace Mittens

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from Sara Delaney, designer of the Valley Yarns Safe Passage Hat and Mittens and Valley Yarns Frost Rime Cowl and Mitts.

When blocking mittens or fingerless mitts with color-work or lace, the stitches may need to be stretched a bit during blocking to settle into shape. Instead of just soaking your project and laying it flat to dry, you can use blocking wires (or long single point needles in a pinch!) to pull the edges evenly. This lets you block the mittens with minimal pin use and virtually no distortion to the pattern!

How to Block Colorwork or Lace Mittens

All proceeds from the sale of the Safe Passage Hat and Mittens benefit Safe Passage.

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Debby

Thursday, October 24th, 2013
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Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos knit in Valley Yarns LongmeadowDebby is part of our amazing store staff team, and happens to be an incredibly talented knitter and weaver. She continues to impress us all by her projects despite a very busy life outside of WEBS. Debby’s family owns Cook Family Farm, where she lives and works every day of the week. Their restaurant, Flayvors of Cook Farm is a local favorite, especially for the ice cream!  With 5 children, 2 dogs, many chickens, 13 turkeys and about 200 cows to tend to, it’s amazing she finds the time to knit and weave.

How long have you been knitting and weaving?
I’ve been knitting for almost 9 years and I’ve been weaving for just over 2 years.

How did you learn to knit?
I’m a self taught knitter. After I learned how to knit, I realized how much I didn’t know! So then I took classes here at WEBS. I was inspired to knit by my Mom, but it was my grandmother in law, Mimi, who pushed me to learn. I had told Mimi that “someday I’ll learn to knit and make sweaters”. And she said, “Don’t wait for someday because you don’t know what the future holds.You may loose your sight or maybe have severe arthritis, whatever it may be. If you want to learn or do something, do it now!” She was a very wise woman.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I love Malabrigo yarns!  They are such a joy to knit with that it never feels like “work”. I have grown very fond hand dyed yarns, especially monochromatic styles.

Dishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.Dishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
Some of my favorite projects that I’ve finished are hand woven dishtowels. They get used every day and somehow in their functionality,  any “flaws” seem lost. I just love having them around.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right I’m working on the Feather weight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I’m also weaving a small rug for our bathroom…and hoping that I am able to get 2 or 3 rugs from this warp so that I may also get a Christmas present or 2 done.

What is your favorite fiber art?
I like weaving, but honestly don’t seem to make the time to  get a project started. So knitting is my favorite fiber art…it’s just so  portable!! Quick to find a project, which then becomes a birthday gift,  baby shower present or Christmas gift.

The Amanda Hat by Gina House in Classy with CashmereDishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.

How else do you like to express yourself artistically?
Well, I don’t know how artistic I am, but I really enjoy photography. I got the chance of a lifetime this year to venture down to Argentina, the Falkland Islands and then onto Antarctica. It was so amazing and the pictures I came home with made me fall in love with photography. I’ve started making cards with some of my favorite pictures from our family farm. Now if I just had some more time…

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
My best marathon time is just 13  minutes shy of qualifying for Boston!

Knitting Pure and Simple 9724 in Plymouth Encore

How do you like to spend your free time?
I work full time at our family farm store. I work at WEBS 1 day a week. We have 5 children, 2 dogs, many chickens, 13 turkeys and about 200 cows. I have no free time. However, I love spending time with my family, especially outdoors. So we go for bike rides, hikes and day trips.

Debby has been working at WEBS for about 5 years now, and says she hopes to be here forever! “My husband encouraged me to apply  in order to support my yarn addiction and to be able to spend more time with  fiber crazy people.  And I’m so grateful that he did.”

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Wrap and Turn

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
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If you’re looking for a great handmade gift to give this holiday season, try socks! Socks can be quick and easy while still making a big impact. If you’re new to the world of knitting socks, tackling the heel may be the most intimidating part. Once you master the wrap and turn technique, they’re a cinch! You can see the wrap and turn demonstrated below, and you’ll be on your way to making socks in no time.

Valley Yarns B-3 Basic Socks are a great pattern to get started with if you’re never tried knitting socks before.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Select the Right Length Circular Needle

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from WEBS Design Manager, Kirsten. She helps us solve the mystery of what length circular needle to use for our projects.How to Select the Right Length Circular Needle

Finding the right length of circular needles can be confusing to even experienced knitters. As a general rule, the length of the needles should be shorter than the circumference of your knitting. You can always scrunch the stitches up on a short needle, but you can’t stretch them out. For example, if you’re knitting a 38″ sweater, you would use 32″ circular needle. Any longer and the stitches won’t reach all the way around, and any shorter wouldn’t leave enough room for the stitches on the needle. Of course, there’s an exception to this rule. You can use a needle longer than the length of your stitches if you’re doing magic loop. With the magic loop technique, you could actually work a hat on 40″ needles.

 

Tuesday’s Weaving Tip – How to Warp a Loom from Back to Front

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
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In honor of Spinning and Weaving Week, this week’s tip shows us how to warp a loom from back to front. As weavers, we warp much less frequently than we actually weave, and not just beginners need a refresher sometimes. Barbara goes into wonderful detail and has clear, easy to follow instructions to help you get your project started.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Kitchener Stitch

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
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The Kitchener stitch is essential to knitting socks from the top down, and even opens the door to symmetrical shawls and wraps. This technique takes live stitches, and grafts them together in a way that mimics the what a real knit stitch looks like. A properly executed Kitchener stitch looks like it’s not even there! You can see the Kitchener stitch in action below!

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Get the Best Fit for Hand Knit Gloves and Mittens

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
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How to Measure for Gloves and MittensThis week’s tip comes from our Design Manager, Kirsten. She helps us understand how to get the best fit for our hand knit gloves and mittens

To choose the best size glove to make, you should measure around your hand above the knuckles, including the tip of the thumb, and pick the size that’s closest to this measurement. This will give you just the right amount of wiggle room and help account for the thickness of the fabric. I avoided sizing like that for the longest time, thinking I wanted really snug gloves and mittens, but they never felt quite right until I added the thumb tip.

 

 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Lindsey

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
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Lindsey portraitYou’re probably most familiar with Lindsey’s work out of anyone here at WEBS, you just don’t know it! Lindsey is the Multimedia Coordinator for us, and every image and video you see has been shot, edited, and perfected by her. It seems like Lindsey is constantly moving. If she’s not photographing yarn in her office or editing video, she’s out and about with her camera in hand to document the WEBS experience. She’s constantly looking for new locations and stories to share with our customers. Lindsey has an incredible drive that makes her work well rounded and certainly impressive to say the least. Outside of WEBS, her interests include hiking, running, and documenting some of the amazing stories “regular” people have to tell. She wasn’t always so outgoing, and has found photography the perfect tool to help her come out of her shell.

How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit? I learned to knit soon after I started working at WEBS two years ago.  I was editing so many learn to knit videos that I started to build enough confidence to try it myself.  My coworkers were an incredible help, of course.  I likely would not have picked up this craft without their enthusiasm and support.  I started with a striped hat knit out of Valley Yarns Northampton.

What is your favorite yarn to work with? Can I say Madelinetosh, or does everyone say that?  My winter hat, THE winter hat (Rikke Hat) that I wear for half of the year here in New England is knit out of Madelinetosh Merino DK.  So I guess my favorite yarn to work with is Madelinetosh.  The colors are beautiful and it feels really good in my hands.  My husband also has a favorite hat that happens to be knit out of Madelinetosh Merino light held double.

Ken's hatTosh Merino Light

What’s your favorite fiber project? Last year I knit the Valley Yarns 487 Dappled Shawlette for my mother’s birthday.  It was the first triangle shawl I knit and it involved yarn overs and knit two togethers and knit front and backs maybe?  It was all new to me and was definitely a challenge and a test to my patience.  It came out nice, despite all of the dropped stitches that my coworkers helped me sew down.

What fiber project are you working on right now? Right now I’m trying to knit up all of the random skeins of yarn I’ve acquired in giveaways and yarn swaps as an employee of WEBS.  That means, some squares for a baby afghan out of Valley Superwash DK (bottom left) and a cowl out of Noro Kirara and Classic Elite Silk (bottom right).

SwatchesCowl in progress

Tell us about your photography and video! How did you get interested in this art? What do you most enjoy about it? Do you prefer one over the other? I studied film at the University of California in Santa Cruz and worked as a script coordinator on a documentary about Sputnik after I graduated.  I had always been interested in Documentary film making and photography, so when I was accepted into the Masters program for Photojournalism at Boston University, I came back to the East Coast to study.  After a year as a photographer at a local newspaper, I saw a job opening at a large yarn store in Northampton for a Multimedia Coordinator.  I had no idea what WEBS was or what exactly they were looking for but I thought I’d apply and see what happened.  I was qualified for the job and it seemed like a new position that I could shape to my skills, so when they offered me the job, I couldn’t say no.  When I’m not doing photography or video for WEBS, I shoot a lot of sports, mostly trail running.  This year I covered the very first 100 mile ultramarathon in the state of Massachusetts and a slew of other 50 milers scattered about the New England area.

Ultra Runner

I love how photography and video can be a gateway to meeting new people.  I was a really shy kid growing up and it took some time and travelling for me to come out of my shell.  Since I started doing photography and video I’ve had to take even bigger steps out of my comfort zone and connect with total strangers.  It’s a terrifying thing, but can be very rewarding when you make a solid connection with someone.  Photography and video have led to many special experiences from sitting down with Holocaust Survivors  to this project about erosion on Plum Island and my work with the ultrarunning community .  I don’t really have a preference of photo or video, both are really powerful mediums for expression and storytelling in their own way.

Santa Teresa Stretch

A surfer stretches on a tree washed ashore on Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed? This year has been full of exciting races for me.  Every weekend I’m driving somewhere in New England to photograph a trail race and when I have time, run some myself.  I paced at the Vermont 100 Endurance Run in July and was fortunate to  bring in the last finisher of the race.  He was 64 years old and ran 100 miles through the state of Vermont in 29 hours and 50 minutes.  It took us 8 hours to go the last 26 miles, but he made it just in time!  Last Sunday, I decided to take to the trails without my camera and run my first 50k in New Hampshire.  It was a great run and I can’t wait to do more like it.

Lindsey Ginger Running

Lindsey running through the woods with her dog Ginger.

How do you like to spend your free time? I love to travel.  I run and hike a lot with my husband and dog Ginger.  We spend a lot of time in the green mountains of Vermont, but have had very memorable hikes in Yosemite, Big Sur, Hawaii, Iceland, Utah, and Costa Rica.

Collage

If you could cover any photojournalism story, what would it be? I would love it if I was strong enough and had the endurance to work some of the ultramarathons out West.  The Western States Endurance Run  in California and the Hardrock 100 in Colorado are legendary races that I would love to photograph.

What’s your favorite video series you’ve shot for WEBS? I love shooting the Valley Yarns video series.  It’s fun to shoot on location in Western, Massachusetts with WEBS staff who are excited about our yarn line.  These videos have really evolved into a collection that I’m excited about.  The videos for Valley Yarns Southwick and Valley Yarns Stockbridge were especially fun.

Lindsey has managed to find a parallel between her knitting and running. “It’s that ‘one more mile, one more row’ mentality, There’s an endurance to knitting that’s really overlooked.”

Lindsey lives in the Pioneer Valley with her husband, Ken and their Redbone Coonhound, Ginger.  You can view more of her work at www.lindseytopham.com.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Make 1 Left and Right Increases

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
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There are several different ways to increase in your knitting, but the make 1 increase (abbreviated m1L or m1R) is by far my favorite. The increase is subtle, and the option to have it lean to the left or right helps it blend into your project even better. You can see a demonstration of the technique in the video below.

Make 1 Left:
· Insert left needle from front to back under strand of yarn which runs between next stitch on left needle and last stitch on right needle
· Knit this stitch through back loop

Make 1 Right:
· Insert left needle from back to front under strand of yarn which runs between next stitch on left needle and last stitch on right needle
· Knit this stitch through front loop

Make 1 Purl Left:
· Insert left needle from back to front under strand of yarn which runs between next stitch on left needle and last stitch on right needle
· Purl this stitch through front loop

Make 1 Purl Right:
· Insert left needle from front to back under strand of yarn which runs between next stitch on left needle and last stitch on right needle
· Purl this stitch through back loop