Author Archive

Pattern Reading Basics

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
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Customers often ask us what they need to know when looking at a pattern for the first time. If you keep in mind a few key things, you should be able to tell if the pattern is something you want to make, or if it is something that will work for you.

Many patterns have an introduction that tells you about the pattern. They can be short and sweet, or they can tell you about the construction, inspiration, and more. You’ll want to check this out to see if you can pick up any hints about the pattern.

Patterns will list the finished sizes, and sometimes the “to fit” size. You can also find the finished measurements in the schematic (which we will get to later). Often, patterns list the first size followed by the rest in parenthesis like this: 36 (40, 44, 48, 52).”

How much yarn
You need to know how much yarn you will need to complete the project and you can find this in the information section of the pattern. It is generally set up the same way as the sizing, so you can match your size with the corresponding location. For example, if your pattern calls for 6 (7, 8, 9, 10) skeins and you’re working on the 48” size, you’ll need 9 skeins. Sometimes the pattern also includes the information on the required yarn, like yardage amounts, so if you want to substitute, you can just do a little math and figure out how much you would need of a yarn.
So, if the yarn called for has 109 yards per skein, you’ll need 981 yards. If the yarn you want to use has 247 yards per skein, you divide 981 by 247 and discover you’ll need 4 skeins (you want to round up when you get a decimal answer so that you’re sure to have enough).

Patterns list out the needle size and type of needle you’ll use to complete the pattern. Sometimes you need a combination of single point and circular, or double point needles. It will recommend the length of circular needle you need. You probably don’t want to go longer on the circular needle if you’re knitting in the round because all of your stitches may not fit.

Will you need stitch markers? A cable needle? You’ll also be able to find this in the information section of the pattern. If it’s not obvious by looking at the pattern image, this will also give you an idea of how the pattern is constructed.

Not sure what one of the abbreviations in the pattern mean? Check out the key and it will give you an explanation. Can’t quite remember what ssk means? You should be able to find this in your pattern. If it’s not listed there, a quick search on the internet should also be able to help you out.

The schematic can often be overlooked, but it’s a very important part of the pattern. It gives you not only information on the finished measurements of the pieces of your pattern, but also information on the construction and how many pieces your project is created in.

Read through of the entire pattern – is there something you don’t understand?
It seems simple enough, but you want to read through your whole pattern and make sure that you understand everything it is asking you. If you don’t, there are lots of resources – the store you purchased the pattern from, the designer, or you could check Ravelry to see if someone else had a similar question. Reading through the pattern before you being means that you won’t have any surprises halfway through your project.

Do you have any pattern reading tips to share?

Ready, Set, Knit #312: Live at the Tent Sale 2013

Saturday, May 18th, 2013
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Steve is live at the Tent Sale!

Steve fills us in on all of the great stuff that we have at the Tent Sale. We have 20% of spinning wheels, fiber, and accessories this weekend in the store only.

Sara tells us about the vendors we have here at the Fleece Market. If you couldn’t make it this year, there’s always next year!

Tina hops in on our live show to share information about upcoming classes and events. Make sure you visit the Classes and Events page on website.

Ann Budd will be here teaching Sweater Basics and Finishing Basics July 13th and 14th. You’ll also want to check out the Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements.

Amy Herzog, author of the new book, Knit to Flatter, will be here for a book signing June 6th. Please register here.

Stephen West will be teaching two classes (sign up for the waiting list) and he’ll be doing a free event June 13th. Register here, so we know how many people are coming.

Jason Collingwood is coming to do an Introduction to Rug Weaving class June 15th-17th.

Fiber Camp is happening again for kids ages 8-12. They’ll take place the 3rd and 4th weeks of July.

Check out the selection of Rigid Heddle classes where we go beyond the basics. Rigid Heddle is a great way to use up your yarn stash in a beautiful, useful way.

Broomstick Lace Crochet

Math for Knitters – you don’t need to be intimidated!

NEWS – New England Weavers Seminar in July at Smith College. Beginning weaving is offered as a class at NEWS.

Steve’s Yarn Picks – only at the Tent Sale!

Steve’s Picks for Everyone

Best of luck to Karen, our Store Manager who is moving on to open her own store in Freeport, ME.

Our Anniversary Sale continues until May 31st.


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Annual Tent Sale and Fleece Market

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
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We’re in for a crazy weekend here at WEBS! Our annual Tent Sale is this Saturday and Sunday, May 18th and 19th, and our Fleece Market takes place Saturday in the parking lot. If you’re within driving distance, you don’t wan to miss it (and if you’re not, make travel plans for next year)!

The craziness is totally worth it. We set up a huge tent in our parking lot and Steve fills it with yarn at incredible prices. Plus, there are special discounts on yarn, accessories, and patterns in the store in addition to the Anniversary Sale yarns. Need another reason? All in-stock spinning wheels, fiber, and accessories are 20% off in the store all weekend!

Need yet another reason? On Saturday, we hold our Fleece Market in the parking lot. Local vendors come sell fiber, yarn, and more. Great fiber-y goodies from Sojourner Design, Kama Suutra Fiber Arts, and many other great vendors will tempt you. What’s this “more”? Well, we have Stitched by JessaLu and her amazing project bags (I always need new project bags!), Kristin Nicholas will be here with lamb, and that barely scratches the surface. Check out the list of vendors here.

So, will you be coming this weekend? Have you been before? What’s your favorite part?

Knit to Flatter Review

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
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When Amy Herzog was here to teach her Fit to Flatter class back in January 2011 (was it really that long ago?), I had the pleasure of taking the class. If you get the change, I urge you to take it, and check out her online class on Craftsy. Both are amazing! Amy’s new book Knit to Flatter is an amazing resource that’s full of information and patterns to make you look your best. We’re all shaped differently and Amy shows you how you can flatter your shape.

The first section has you use a picture of yourself to figure out your body shape – top-heavy, bottom-heavy, or proportional. You’ll find great pictures illustrating the different body shapes and clear directions on how you can determine yours. You may even be surprised where you fall. (I know I was!) In this section, as well as throughout the book, you’ll find tips on the best ways to flatter your shape.

The patterns are divided by body shape, but each pattern has modification tips for the other shapes, so you’re not limited to just what’s in your section. Patterns are merely a jumping off point to creating a garment that fits and flatters YOU perfectly. The modifications section is chockfull of helpful information on darts, bust shaping, short rows, and more to make the most out of your project. This book deserves a prominent place in your library.

I also love that the book uses women of all different sizes to show off the gorgeous patterns. I don’t think there’s one pattern in here that I wouldn’t want to knit and wear! The projects all have very generous size options as well. Many start at a 28″ chest measurement and go up to a 53″ or higher.

Are you in the area? Amy will be here for a book-signing to celebrate this new release on Thursday, June 6th from 6:00pm to 7:30 pm. Please join us, stop by, say hi, and have your book signed.


What Does Discountable Mean?

Monday, May 6th, 2013
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We get a lot of questions about our discount, so we thought it might be handy to share some details about it.

What is WEBS’ discount?
If you spend $60 or more on yarn and books that are marked “discountable,” you receive 20% off of your order. If you spend $120 or more on yarn and books that have the “discountable” tag, you receive 25% off of your order.

Items that are marked “no further discount,” have a sale price, or not marked with the “discountable” tag are not discountable and do not count toward your discountable total. So, if you have $50 worth of yarn in your cart and you find a closeout that would bring your total up to $62, you would not receive the discount because that extra $12 is “no further discount.”

Often times, it is worth it to throw an extra skein in you cart because you’ll get some big savings. Let’s take a customer favorite – Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. This yarn sells for $20.99 per skein. If you buy two skeins, the total is $41.98. If you throw another skein into your cart, your total would be $62.97, so you would receive 20% off bringing your total down to $50.38. Not only are you saving over $12, that third skein only costs $8.40.

The discount is also a great thing to think about when buying yarn to create gifts. I get a little giddy thinking about giving the people I love gifts made out of Jade Sapphire Cashmere 2-Ply, especially since one is enough to make a lovely gift. Two skeins would cost $94, so you would get the 20% discount, which is a great deal, but if you throw that third skein in there, your total would be $141, but after the 25% discount, it would only be $105.75, so you save $35.25 and can create three gifts!

Free Shipping vs. Our Discount
A lot of people ask about free shipping, but in most cases, our discount will save you more than free shipping does! Let’s use the examples above and say that you live in UPS zone 8, since it’s the farthest from us. The shipping, at most, would cost $6.50. So, without the discount and with free shipping, those three skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light would cost you $62.97. With the discount, however, your total is $56.88, so you’re still saving $6.09 on the three skeins!

We hope that this helps you understand our discount a little better!

39th Anniversary Sale – All New Yarns Now on Sale!

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
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April flew by and now the sale yarns have switched over to a whole new round of yarns that you don’t want to miss.

We still have the staples Cascade 220, Cascade 220 Superwash, and Plymouth Encore on sale, so you can stock up on those.

Make sure you check out all of the yarns on sale here on our website, but here is a small selection of what you’ll find there.

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool – Silky Wool is a staff favorite! This blend of wool, silk, and nylon has a wonderful tweedy appearance and works up into a wonderful fabric.

Classic Elite Soft Linen – A blend of baby alpaca, wool, and linen that works up into crisp, yet soft garments. Classic Elite has amazing pattern support for all of their yarns and Soft Linen is no exception. It’s perfect for cool spring and summer evenings!

Make sure you check out all of the May sale yarns today!

Holla Knits Blog Tour: Just Beachy by Emma Welford

Monday, April 29th, 2013
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The Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Holla Knits was released recently and we are super excited about it here at WEBS and happy to be participating in the blog tour. Not only does it have a great selection of hip patterns that are perfect for warm weather, one of them is designed by our very own Emma Welford!


Just Beachy is knit in Valley Yarns Goshen and is a perfect layering piece for summer. Throw it on over anything. The fun colorblock detail adds a bit of contrast, but if you wanted to, you could easily knit this in just one color.

We’re giving away the yarn to knit yourself your very own Just Beachy. In the comments section, let us know what you love the most about summer. Leave your comment by Tuesday, May 7th at 9:00EDT and we’ll announce the winner. (Please make sure to leave your email address so that we can contact you if you win.)

Check out the other stops on the blog tour:
April 16 – The Sweatshop of Love
April 17 – Canary Knits
April 18 – Yarn Hollow
April 19 – Under the Red Umbrella
April 22 – Stash, the Knit Picks Staff Blog
April 23 – Emma Welford Designs
April 24 – Pink Brutus Knits
April 25 – Rewolluzza
April 26 – Knits in Class
April 29 – WEBS Yarn Store Blog
May 1 – Masi Knits
May 3 – Unplanned Peacock

Last Call! April Anniversary Sale Yarns

Friday, April 26th, 2013
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Have you had the chance to pick up the yarns you wanted in our April Anniversary Sale? If you haven’t, there are only a few days left!

Plymouth Encore, Cascade 220, and Cascade 220 Superwash will still be on sale in May, but everything else will go back to regular price.

If you’re looking for an easy-care yarn, Berroco Vintage is a great one to stock up on. It is super soft and it washes and wears very well, plus it comes in some fantastic colors.

Classic Elite Magnolia is a beautiful blend of wool and silk that has a lovely heathered look thanks to the blending of the two fiber contents. You’ll also find great pattern support from Classic Elite in their pattern books and in free patterns on their website. This yarn would be great to make gifts out of.

Looking for a little bit of sparkle and color? S. Charles Ritratto is an excellent option. This yarn has several great PDF patterns available to purchase as well as a couple of free patterns. There’s even a free pattern for a scarf on a rigid heddle loom that uses Ritratto and a few other S. Charles yarns.

What was your favorite April sale yarn?

If you’d like a sneak peek of what’s on sale in May, Steve mentions a few in this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit! that goes up tomorrow morning. To see everything, you’ll have to wait until May 1st when it’s posted on our website.

Creating a Project with Stripes

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
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Marion works in the store and is an incredible knitter. She shares with us her story of how she got her inspiration to knit stripes in a collection of projects.

Many of us use the wonderful hand-painted yarns to give color to garments. However, I have always loved to knit stripes. I think of it as painting with yarn and it can be fun. There are many patterns written with stripes as an element, but you can stripe any plain pattern with a little planning.

I have a walk-in cedar closet that has allowed me to save many of the knitted garments made over the years. One favorite is a red, tan and grey striped sweater I made my son over 30 years ago. When he asked me to knit a light weight sweater for him, I thought of that as an inspiration.

To make my son’s striped sweater, I used Valley Pattern B1, which is a basic pull-over in different weights. I was making the DK weight and it gave me the approximate amount of yarn needed. I knew I wanted it to have red as the main color and then selected grey, gold, black and tan to match his earlier sweater. Cascade 220 Sport had the perfect shades and was the weight yarn I wanted. It is difficult to judge the amount when buying yarn for striped garments because not all colors will be used equally. To make this sweater I only needed one skein of each color (other than red).

When you knit stripes you can form a repeating pattern (8 rows color A, 2 rows color B, 3 rows color C and then repeat order) or you can change colors randomly which I did in his sweater to give it a contemporary look.

I had no set sequence but planned to put the red between each color change. I carried the yarn loosely up the side when the color was going to be used 2-4 rows later. If as in the case of the red it was not needed until 15 or more rows later, I ended it and then reintroduced it. I tried to keep the colors evenly balanced as I worked up. The black and light tan were strong colors and I used them carefully.

You can be creative when you select your colors. Unless you are knitting a garment using left over yarn, select no more than 3-5 colors or you can use shades of one color. A great resource to help combine colors is Gail Callahan’s Color Grid.

In the past I have made a few sweaters that totally use left overs. I put all the colors together and just stripe away. I really do feel like I am painting. There can be different textures and some weight variation.

Since my 11 year old granddaughter Roley was going inherit my son’s original sweater, I wanted to make a companion for three-year old Beatrice. The pattern is also a basic one made from Ann Budd’s Book of Sweater Patterns. The book allows you to make a sweater for any size and weight of yarn. (Ann Budd will be teaching here at WEBS this summer. Don’t miss out on your chance to take a class with her!) The yarn is Plymouth Dream Baby. I decided to make the stripes in a repeating order with red as the main color. I used a slip stitch with the yellow and black to combine them. I reminds me of a bee’s stripe. Beatrice is used to that theme for her. She loves the sweater. It was a fun project and went quickly.

Finally, I wanted to knit something for Paula, my daughter-in-law and I saw the Henning Cowl by Megan Goodacre in Interweave’s 2012 Holiday Issue. I modified it to be smaller but still used the stripe pattern set up.

I am happy with all the garments and can’t wait to make another striped project.

What are your feelings on striped projects? Some love them, others do not. Do you have a favorite striped project?

Product vs. Process Knitting: What to do with finished projects if you’re a process knitter

Sunday, April 14th, 2013
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Lise works in our store and warehouse. She has shared this piece with us about how she is a process knitter who knits for the love of the project and what she does with the finished items. She also has some great easy-care selections from the Anniversary Sale. 

A few years back, I was introduced to the idea that there are differences in the types of knitters there are. Dori, who was one of the most knowledgeable knitters I have ever been blessed to take classes from, asked me the question. What did I think I was in regards to the types? Stephanie Pearl-McPhee actually has a test you can take in her book Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot’s Guide to the Land of Knitting.

It did not take me long to answer…PROCESS…of course! Every time I see a new pattern, my first thought is construction. Did the designer attach that border or was it knitted on? How did they work those cables in the decrease section? Is this shawl complicated to knit, or does it just look complicated? Most of knitting is done as a gift and not something I keep.

Then there is the whole mystery shawl craze! Being a puzzle maker, I absolutely love getting involved in mystery knit-a-longs; shawls especially. Crochet is just the same. It goes faster so it is usually my go-to for a quick shawl when needed.

Of course there are also all the beautiful patterns that are designed by our own designer Kirsten Hipsky, and more recently our beautiful crochet selections designed by our crochet expert, Sara Delaney. I am always amazed at the quality and beauty of the pieces that they design season after season.

Being a Babci (grandmother in Polish) I have had to succumb to washable wools and acrylics. It is amazing what you will do for your grandkids! So, my stash does include some acrylics…large bags of some acrylics. Working at WEBS will put you in contact will some of the most amazing yarns at unbelievable prices and yes…. the stash grows and grows.

This year’s anniversary sale has been extremely tempting with yarns like Plymouth Encore, Berroco Vintage, Cascade 220 Superwash, Cascade Heritage Paints, K1C2 DungarEASE, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Plymouth JelliBeanz, Plymouth Merino Superwash, Regia Hand Dyed Effect, Rowan All Seasons Cotton, Valley Yarns Longmeadow, and Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK! These prices make giving to others an affordable option for many.

Maybe you can afford to purchase the yarn but do not knit or crochet. I am sure you can find someone who cannot afford the supplies and would gladly knit it for you.

In an effort to not have a stash that I only collect and don’t dig into, I have set two goals for 2013: First, to knit only from my stash and not purchase new yarns for myself. NOTE: this does not mean that I will not purchase yarns for others as gifts. :) Second, I have started at Prayer Shawl Ministry at our church. Our congregation consists of many that are aged 70-98 and with that comes many hospital visits, sicknesses, and of course, deaths. I have brought all my stash of anything that would make a shawl to the church and placed it in a cabinet. It was so freeing to get it there and have women help making shawls.

So, back to the process vs. product knitting. If you are like me and have made all these shawls, yet find yourself only wearing a few, find a prayer shawl ministry near you and donate them.

I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to see someone received one of these works of art and how thankful they are.

I mentioned the ministry while teaching my crochet class and one of my students, Corki, brought in a large bag filled with shawls. You have no idea how thankful I was to immediately be able to start giving them out.

So if you find that you are now collecting a stash of finished objects and not wearing them, know that you can contact me at and I will put them to good use.