Author Archive

Review & Giveaway: The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016
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We love stitch dictionaries here at WEBS and the latest one to arrive is fantastic. Wendy Bernard’s (of Knit and Tonic) newest book, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary is the follow-up to her popular Up Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary, and features 150 new stitch patterns for knitting in every direction. Not only does it have the stitch patterns and directions, every chapter includes a pattern so you can put the stitch patterns to use! The book is spiral-bound, which makes it incredibly easy to knit from.

The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

As part of the blog tour, we’re excited to be able to share with you not only a stitch pattern from the book, but also a giveaway of the book and 2 hanks of yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas, who provided the yarn for the book.

First things first, the stitch pattern! The Fern Grotto Lace pattern is a lovely pattern that has directions for knitting flat and in the round, both bottom-up and top-down.

The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary Fern Lace Grotto Bottom-Up

Fern Grotto Lace Bottom-Up Flat
(panel of 21 sts +1 worked on a background of St st; 6-row repeat)
ROW 1 (RS): *K1, yo, k3, ssk, k10, k2tog, k3, yo; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 2: P1, *p1, yo, p3, p2tog, p8, ssp, p3, yo, p2; repeat from * to end.
ROW 3: *K3, yo, k3, ssk, k6, k2tog, k3, yo, k2; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 4: P1, *p3, yo, p3, p2tog, p4, ssp, p3, yo, p4; repeat from * to end.
ROW 5: *K5, yo, k3, ssk, k2, k2tog, k3, yo, k4; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 6: P1, *p5, yo, p3, p2tog, ssp, p3, yo, p6; repeat from * to end.
Repeat Rows 1–6 for Fern Grotto Lace Bottom-Up Flat.

Fern Grotto Lace Bottom-Up in the Round
(panel of 21 sts worked on a background of St st; 6-row repeat)
ROW 1 (RS): *K1, yo, k3, ssk, k10, k2tog, k3, yo; repeat from * to end.
ROW 2: *K2, yo, k3, ssk, k8, k2tog, k3, yo, k1; repeat from * to end.
ROW 3: *K3, yo, k3, ssk, k6, k2tog, k3, yo, k2; repeat from * to end.
ROW 4: *K4, yo, k3, ssk, k4, k2tog, k3, yo, k3; repeat from * to end.
ROW 5: *K5, yo, k3, ssk, k2, k2tog, k3, yo, k4; repeat from * to end.
ROW 6: *K6, yo, k3, ssk, k2tog, k3, yo, k5; repeat from * to end.
Repeat Rows 1–6 for Fern Grotto Lace Bottom-Up in the Round.

The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary Fern Grotto Lace Top-Down

Fern Grotto Lace Top-Down Flat
(panel of 21 sts +2 worked on a background of St st; 6-row repeat)
ROW 1 (RS): K1, *k5, k2tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, ssk, k5; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 2: P1, *p4, ssp, p3, yo, p3, yo, p3, p2tog, p4; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 3: K1, *k3, k2tog, k3, yo, k5, yo, k3, ssk, k3; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 4: P1, *p2, ssp, p3, yo, p7, yo, p3, p2tog, p2; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 5: K1, *k1, k2tog, k3, yo, k9, yo, k3, ssk, k1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
ROW 6: P1, *ssp, p3, yo, p11, yo, p3, p2tog; repeat from * to last st, k1.
Repeat Rows 1–6 for Fern Grotto Lace Top-Down Flat.

Fern Grotto Lace Top-Down in the Round
(panel of 21 sts worked on a background of St st; 6-row repeat)
ROW 1 (RS): *K5, k2tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, ssk, k5; repeat from * to end.
ROW 2: *P4, k2t0g, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, ssk, k4; repeat from * to end.
ROW 3: *K3, k2tog, k3, yo, k5, yo, k3, ssk, k3; repeat from * to end.
ROW 4: *K2, k2tog, k3, yo, k7, yo, k3, ssk, k2; repeat from * to end.
ROW 5: *K1, k2tog, k3, yo, k9, yo, k3, ssk, k1; repeat from * to end.
ROW 6: *K2tog, k3, yo, k11, yo, k3, ssk; repeat from * to end.
Repeat Rows 1–6 for Fern Grotto Lace Top-Down in the Round.

And now the giveaway! Please comment here on the blog by May 18, 2016 with what you love about stitch dictionaries for your chance to win. Make sure you use your email address so we have a way to contact you and get your mailing information.

Fit Fiber Crafters: Good for Your Brain

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when your craft.

Good for Your Brain Learn a New Technique

We’ve all seen the news stories touting what we’ve all known for a long time – knitting (and other fiber crafts) are good for your brain. Not only does it help cognitive function, these activities can help with depression. We like to think that any learning can’t be bad, so why not take some time this year to help your brain’s health and stretch your knowledge a little.

We challenge everyone to learn one new fiber-related skill this year. If you’re not sure where to start, you can take a look at our class offerings. Another option is checking out that pattern or weaving draft you’ve been eyeing but have always thought, “Oh, that’s too hard.” It’s not. You can do it. Use 2016 as your chance to learn how to do it.

Many of us often try new things and stop immediately because it’s too hard. Stretch yourself this year. Take the time to truly learn something new. Show your friends what you did. Maybe you’ll encourage them to try it too.

What are you going to challenge yourself with this year?

Fit Fiber Crafters: Project Care

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when your craft.

Project Care Choosing the Right Technique

How do you care for your handmade finished fiber projects? This is a question that gets asked often. Many times, the items we make are outerwear, so they don’t have to be laundered as often, but it’s important to know how you’re going to clean something before you create it.

One of the benefits of swatching or sampling is that you get to practice taking care of your finished project. Launder your swatch or sample they way you plan on taking care of it once it’s done. Taking a little extra time at the beginning of your project helps go a long way towards ensuring that you won’t have a sweater that grows into a dress, or a towel that shrinks so much it becomes a washcloth.

As far as laundering goes, you’ll want to check the care instructions that came with your yarn, then consider what the purpose of the project is. You probably want to be able to machine wash, and even dry, a baby blanket, or a kitchen towel, but a shawl or even an adult sweater would be fine to live its life being hand washed. Before even starting your project, you want to make sure it’s going to last. If your swatch comes out of it’s first trip in the washing machine looking a bit worse for the wear, your entire project will probably behave the same way.

On the other hand, if you throw that swatch or sample in the washing machine and it comes out looking just beautiful, you want to keep the finished project looking that way. Sometimes, especially on wool, our usual laundry detergent can be a little too harsh. A wool wash, like Eucalan is not only great for handwashing, it’s also perfect for using in your machine like regular detergent. It’s great for woolens, but also other delicate items you may have in your life.

Before you wash your project, take a quick look at it (whether your hand or machine washing) and make sure there aren’t any stitches that need fixing or ends that need weaving. You don’t want to wash your gorgeous sweater with a small hole that later becomes a giant, tangled mess, when it could have been prevented.

A little care in the health of your finished projects will go a long way in ensuring they’re in your life for years to come.

Check out this great video about washing your projects, too.

Fit Fiber Crafters: Sitting Pretty

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when your craft.

Sitting Pretty Good Posture and Breaks Prevent Injury

We all dream about being able to sit down and knit, crochet, spin, or weave all day, but our bodies are not especially excited about that idea, especially if we’re not being careful to take care of them as we craft. It’s important to avoid injury when crafting so you don’t miss out on extended periods of time doing your favorite activity.

Some things to keep in mind when crafting:

Lighting and Seating
You want to make sure your area is well lit. Having to strain your eyes takes the fun out of your favorite activity and can lead to things like headaches. When you choose where you’re going to sit, it’s best to choose a comfortable spot that has plenty of support where you can sit up straight. I’m guilty if sitting on the couch turned sideways without much care for which way I’m sitting, and I know that leads to pain.

Take Breaks and Stretch.
As much as we love a long session of crafting, breaks are incredibly important. Every half hour or so, get up and take a walk around the house. Go get a glass of water, play with your pet, or go through a stack of mail. Do some stretches. Stretch your hands and wrists, and your shoulders and back. Do some shoulder rolls and get everything a little loosened before you sit back down to go back at it.

Be Mindful
When we’re working on something really complicated, a lot of us hunch up so our shoulders they’re touching our ears. Try to be mindful of where your body is as you craft. A simple readjustment in your body position can also give you a break from a difficult task you’re trying to get done, and it’s long enough to come back at it with new eyes. Maybe a lightbulb will go off!

Most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re hand is going numb, or your back is starting to feel funny, it’s time for a break and reevaluation.

Fit Fiber Crafters: Stash Health

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when you craft.

Stash Health

The stash! Most of us have one, but we don’t always think of the best ways to keep it healthy. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you maintain the health of your stash so it’s ready when you reach for it with the perfect project in mind.

Organization
The new year is the perfect time to get organized. Many of us are dealing with colder temperatures that make outdoor activities harder, and less enjoyable. Spend a little time every day to organize your stash, so you know what you have. You can check out previous blog posts we’ve done on organizing and cataloging your stash.

Check for Unfriendlies
The word many yarn-lovers live in fear of – moths! There are a few different critters that can get into and damage your yarn, so while you’re organizing, it’s a good idea to check for them. If you’re already organized, take a little time every so often to inspect your yarn and fiber well. You can store your yarn in zip-top bags, or plastic bins. Again, you’ll want to let some air in every so often to keep things healthy. Keeping a generally tidy space can also help deter critters from hanging out in your stash.

Enjoy It
One of the most fun things about having a stash, is rediscovering yarns that you loved and just needed to have. Keep your stash healthy by showing it a little love.

Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears KAL Week 4

Saturday, November 28th, 2015
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The final accessories of your bear use all the skills you’ve used in previous weeks of the KAL. We would love for you to share your bears with us on Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram, or Twitter. We can’t wait to see how you’ve accessorized yours!

Share your finished bears with us!

Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears KAL Week 3

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
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We’re continuing our KAL this week and it involves finishing up our bears. Next week we’ll finish them up completely with their accessories. After completing the body of the bear, you move on to the legs. When separating for the legs, you’ll bind off the middle and work each leg separately. Leave the dpns, or use the waste yarn trick from last week.

Separating for the legs - Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears

After you finish the legs, you’ll want to seam the bound off stitches so the only hole remaining is at the top of the head. Before stuffing, use a simple running stitch to close off the ears. We’ve shown it here in a contrasting color.

Running stitch on ear - Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears

Give your bear some personality with a face. You can really have fun here! Use safety eyes or yarn. Give your bear a big nose, or small one. Make it a happy bear or a mischievous bear.

Adding the face - Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bear

What will your bear’s face look like?

Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears KAL Week 2

Thursday, November 12th, 2015
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How’d the first part of your bears go? This week, we’re moving on to the yoke and arms. If you’re observant, you’ll see that the yoke area is reminiscent of a sweater, so it makes for good top-down sweater practice.

You’ll be using a lot of the same techniques as last week, so you may want to hop back and review the videos. This week, you’ll also be dividing for the arms.

Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears Dividing for Arms

This can get a little cumbersome with all of the dpns hanging off. I found that transferring some of the stitches to waste yarn was super helpful. It makes it easier to handle without getting poked, or the other needles getting in the way. You don’t have to replace them all, just one or two, and they’re super easy to slide back on. You’ll notice, I still have two dpns in the body section. The rest of the stitches are on waste yarn.

What has been the trickiest part of the bear so far for you?

Holiday Catalog Spotlight: Gifts to Make – Larger Projects

Monday, November 9th, 2015
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Our holiday catalog is hitting mailboxes now, and the holidays are quickly approaching. We’re just two and half weeks away from Thanksgiving here in the US, and I find that once Thanksgiving comes and goes, it’s full steam ahead with no stops to the rest of the holidays. Luckily, there’s still some time to get some bigger projects done, if you’re looking to give something bigger, or if you want to knit something for yourself before the holidays come. Here are a couple of ideas:

Valley Yarns 605 Colorfall Cardigan at yarn.com

You may remember seeing Valley Yarns 605 Colorfall Cardigan knit in Valley Yarns Charlemont. For the holiday catalog, we knit it in 2/10 Merino Tencel, in a natural/gray combination, and it’s stunning. It’s a perfect layer that can easily be dressed up or dressed down.

Valley Yarns 676 Two-Tone Blanket and Valley Yarns 663 Oatmeal Afghan at yarn.com

In the holiday catalog, you’ll also find two spectacular blankets. Valley Yarns 663 Oatmeal Afghan and Valley Yarns 676 Two-Tone Blanket are great gift ideas. The Oatmeal Afghan is knit in Valley Yarns Amherst, which is one of my favorite Valley Yarns because it is so soft. I would love to have this blanket on my couch for the cold nights that are surely coming. The Two-Tone Blanket is knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky, so it’s a quick knit that’s machine washable. It’s also a multidirectional knit that gives it an interesting, modular look. I love that you can be creative and select your own color combinations. I can see one in just brights using some of the newer colors of Valley Superwash Bulky.

Prism Eccentric Chevrons Shawl and Rowan Triangle Shawl at yarn.com

Want to give a shawl to someone? Prism’s Eccentric Chevron Wrap is available in a kit so you don’t have to worry about selecting the colors. The graphic interest comes from unbalanced, or eccentric chevrons: one leg is much longer than the other, which skews the fabric off-center. Even better, the kit is discountable, so you automatically get our discount. If the person you’re creating a gift for is into a little sparkle, you might want to check out the Triangle Shawl from the Rowan Swarovski Evening Collection. This shawl is knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze, then there’s a crocheted border with Swarovski crystals.

Are you planning any larger projects for holiday knitting?

Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears KAL Week 1

Thursday, November 5th, 2015
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Welcome to week 1 of our Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears KAL! Did you have a chance to gather all of your materials? If not, there’s still plenty of time to join and catch up. This is a fairly fast project that we’ve broken down into 4 weeks, but if you’re ambitious, you could even finish a bear in a day!

For this first week, we’ll be working up until the neck. There are a few skills you’ll need, so we’re including some pictures and videos to help you out. The first thing you’ll have to do is cast on to your dpns and join without twisting. This can be a little tricky. I like to cast all my stitches onto one dpn then transfer the stitches to each separate needle. Then, I lay my needles flat on the table and check every needle to make sure all my stitches are facing the same direction. You don’t want to twist them!

Tip for joining in the round and not twisting stitches

For the head and neck, you’ll need some to know an increase and some decreases. The increase you’ll need to know is kfb (knit into the front and back of the stitch). For this increase, you knit the stitch just like you normally do, but don’t drop it off the needle. Instead, you go back into the back of the stitch and knit it. Here’s a handy video to help:

You’ll also need to do some decreases. The pattern includes k2tog (knit two stitches together) and ssk (slip, slip, knit). Here are two videos of those two decreases if you don’t know how to do them:

Have you started your bear? Do you have any questions we can help you with?