Author Archive

Ribbon Twill Towel from Carol Birtwistle

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
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Today we’re excited to reveal the third of our twelve Guest Weaver Drafts, the Ribbon Twill Towel. Carol was a WEBS employee when we were still located on Kellogg Ave in Amherst and has been a favorite weaving teacher for years.

Carol offers the following advice for the newer weaver. “Pay close attention to the color arrangement of the warp and take your time winding the warp. After beaming the warp, count the total number of heddles needed on each shaft (you don’t want to have to add heddles in the middle of threading your warp). The threading draft shows you will be threading either a straight draw, a point twill or M & W. Watch the direction of the straight draw – it changes. Before you begin threading the heddles, it’s a good idea to study the threading draft and count off, from the cross, the number of warp ends you feel comfortable threading at one time. Then count the number of heddles needed on each shaft and begin threading the warp. If you find an extra warp end, it can be eliminated by just throwing it off the back beam. On the other hand, if you need to add a warp end, measure the designated color 2 ½ yards long, thread it through its proper heddle and weight it off the back beam. If, after threading the small group of warp ends you have heddles left over or not enough heddles, you have probably made an error in counting the number of warp ends, counting the number of heddles or made a threading error. You should correct these errors before continuing. After completing the threading, carefully sley the warp through the reed, tie the warp onto the cloth beam, check for threading errors, sleying errors and crossed warp ends. Then adjust your tension and you are ready to weave your towel. Enjoy!”

About her history with WEBS she says, “In 1984 we moved from California to Amherst. That spring my daughter and I flew east to find housing and look into schools. Driving around Amherst (and yes we did get lost and couldn’t find any street signs) we passed a big yellow house on Main Street with a WEBS sign out front. Having done a little research I knew there was a yarn store in Amherst and we had found it! Coming to an abrupt halt we found a parking spot and found our way into WEBS. It was an exciting moment talking to Barbara and I knew that I was going to be perfectly happy moving to Amherst. By the time we returned in the late summer WEBS had moved to the large grey house on Kellogg Ave. I renewed my acquaintance with Barbara and she asked me to teach a section of the Beginning Weaving Class. Thus my association with WEBS began. I also worked for a time at the store on Kellogg Ave. before it made the big move to Northampton. Through out all these years I have been teaching various weaving classes and enjoying every minute. My thanks to Barbara and WEBS for the opportunity.”

If you’re a weaver be sure to check out our weaving contest, there’s still time to enter!

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Invisible Single Crochet

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
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This week our focus is invisible single crochet decreases. This is a great way to decrease when you’re working in the round making stuffed animals or amigurumi.

Most single crochet decreases leave you with a gap in the fabric on either side of the decreased stitch which can be really unsightly when that fabric is stuffed. This decrease keeps the same density of stitches to your fabric and is nearly invisible.

This is a great stitch to use on our Valley Yarns Spring animals, the bunnylamb and Robin! Try it out and let us know what you think.

Ready, Set, Knit! 349: Kathy talks with Betsy Perry

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with Betsy about the line of new Spring yarns from Classic Elite.

New Yarns include Meadowlark and it’s patterns, Bella Lino with its pattern book and a free wrap pattern, Cerro (a dyed version of Canyon) and the accompanying pattern book. And Kathy’s favorite patterns of the season are the Geneva Shawl in Soft Linen(check out the Classic Elite blog post about choosing colors!) and the Lady of Grace sweater knit in Ava, both of which appeared in our Spring 2014 catalog. Keep an eye out for brand new yarns from Classic Elite in June and July as well as new pattern books each month of the year!

Reminder:

Be sure to stop into the store and see all the new Spring garment models! And don’t miss the Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows.

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events:

Our 40th Annual Anniversary Sale is coming up, April 1 – May 31!

The Boston Marathon runs on April 21st and you can help the Boston Marathon Scarf Project. They are working towards  providing a scarf for each participant in the marathon this year. Check out the Ravelry group for more details on how to help!

Boston Strong Hat pattern from designer Lisa McFetridge is a colorwork hat design featuring the words “Boston Strong” and the Boston Skyline. Lisa has included additional charts so you have options to really make this hat your own. All proceeds from the sale of this cap pattern will go to OneFundBoston to help the victims.

Join the KNIT-IN with Lisa McFetridge, designer of the Boston Strong Hat, Rebecca Lane of “Blankies for Boston” & the Old South Knitters/Crocheters Saturday April 5, 2014 2-4 pm at the Old South Church in Boston – the church at the Finish Line 645 Boylston Street, Boston – at the Copley T

Have you knit a Boston Strong Hat or a Blanket to donate to a survivor? Do you have a scarf to drop off for the Boston Marathon Scarf Project? You are cordially invited to bring your handcrafted treasures to Old South Church …stay and knit, meet and exchange stories with fellow crafters. If you haven’t begun a hat, scarf or blanket (or two or three), there is still time. A special Boston Strong Hat in progress will be there. Anyone dropping off a hat, scarf or blanket is invited to add a stitch or two to the hat and place their signature on the roll. Truly a group project, this hat will find a special home in the future.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

The Thornes Pullover from Amy Herzog

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
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Your response to our first two guest designer patterns has been wonderful. It’s time to highlight the third pattern from our first round of specialty yarns and designers. Amy Herzog designed the Thornes Pullover to be a classic silhouette with special details.

 

About the design Amy says, “The Thornes Pullover from Valley Yarns is a classic, comfortable turtleneck pullover that adds understated elegance to any outfit. The reverse stockinette stitch fabric lends a soft, approachable look to the sweater and makes the color changes in this slightly variegated colorway more subtle. The ribbed trim and twisted stitch detailing give a bit of flair to an otherwise basic staple. I was thrilled to be given such lovely materials for my design for WEBS’ 40th Anniversary celebration. Thornes is worked in their Valley Yarns Superwash DK, in a special color dyed by Madelinetosh called “Magnolia Leaf”. To me, this is the perfect blend of autumn colors. It’s slightly darker than shown in these pictures, like looking at the pattern of fall foliage across a hillside. Incredible.”

And while the gorgeous Magnolia Leaf colorway of the 40th Anniversary Valley Superwash DK hand-dyed by Madelinetosh has sold out this sweater works up beautifully in the solid colors of our Valley Superwash DK, like the Forest colorway.

 

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Extended Stitches

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
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This week our focus is extended stitches. You can extend almost any crochet stitch with one simple step, when you have finished the set up for your stitch yarn over and pull through just one loop on your hook first, then finish the stitch as you normally would.

To make an extended single crochet stitch: insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and bring up a loop, yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over and pull through two loops. The right side of a few stitches have been highlighted above so you can see the difference in length.

Extended single crochet still gives you the nice dense fabric that you usually get with single crochet but with a bit more movement and drape. And since the stitches are a bit taller the work goes quicker! This is a great stitch for crochet socks, like our Cosmos pattern!

To make an extended half-double crochet stitch: yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and bring up a loop, yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over and pull through all three loops.

Extended half-double crochet gives you the height of double crochet stitches without being as open as double crochet. Again you can see the difference in length in the highlighted stitches.

To make an extended double crochet stitch: yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and bring up a loop, yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over again and pull through two loops.

Extended double crochet stitches give you the height of triples/trebles without being terribly leggy. You can see the difference in the highlighted stitches above.

Have you ever used extended stitches?

 

Ready, Set, Knit! 348: Kathy talks with Linda Pratt

Saturday, March 15th, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with Linda about the line of new Spring yarns from Rowan.

Rowan Truesilk graces the cover of our Spring 2014 catalog with a pattern from the Truesilk Collection. We’re also now carrying Rowan Silky Stones, and the accompanying pattern collection, Rowan Pure Linen and pattern collectionRowan Pure Wool Worsted and two dedicated pattern collections, and longtime favorite Rowan Cotton Glace which is featured in Rowan magazine 55.

Reminder:

Be sure to stop into the store and see all the new Spring garment models! And don’t miss the Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows.

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events:

Our 40th Annual Anniversary Sale is coming up, April 1 – May 31!

The Boston Marathon runs on April 21st and you can help the Boston Marathon Scarf Project. They are working towards  providing a scarf for each participant in the marathon this year. Check out the Ravelry group for more details on how to help!

Boston Strong Hat pattern from designer Lisa McFetridge is a colorwork hat design featuring the words “Boston Strong” and the Boston Skyline. Lisa has included additional charts so you have options to really make this hat your own. All proceeds from the sale of this cap pattern will go to OneFundBoston to help the victims.

Join the KNIT-IN with Lisa McFetridge, designer of the Boston Strong Hat, Rebecca Lane of “Blankies for Boston” & the Old South Knitters/Crocheters Saturday April 5, 2014 2-4 pm at the Old South Church in Boston – the church at the Finish Line 645 Boylston Street, Boston – at the Copley T

Have you knit a Boston Strong Hat or a Blanket to donate to a survivor? Do you have a scarf to drop off for the Boston Marathon Scarf Project? You are cordially invited to bring your handcrafted treasures to Old South Church …stay and knit, meet and exchange stories with fellow  crafters If you haven’t begun a hat, scarf or blanket (or two or three), there is still time. A special Boston Strong Hat in progress will be there. Anyone dropping off a hat, scarf or blanket is invited to add a stitch or two to the hat and place their signature on the roll. Truly a group project, this hat will find a special home in the future.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Tunisian Simple Stitch

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
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This week our focus is Tunisian Crochet. This is an older technique that’s getting plenty of love lately. While there are lots of great pattern books out there now it can be hard to decide if it’s a new technique you’d enjoy. For a short piece like we’re practicing with today you can use a regular crochet hook but for anything larger than 10 stitches you’ll need a Tunisian or afghan hook. These typically look like straight knitting needles with a hook on the end instead of a point, or a version that looks like a regular crochet hook with a long cord on the back. This second type of Tunisian hook is also available in an interchangeable version with different length cords that you can attach to different hook sizes.

 

Tunisian crochet begins like almost every other crochet project, with a foundation chain. In the samples here I’m working with a very short chain, just 9 chains long! Each completed row of stitches is made up of two rows of actions; the Forward Row puts loops on your hook and the Return Row works them off again.

For the first Forward Row, insert your hook into the second chain from your hook and pull up a loop, leave this loop on your hook! Insert your hook into the next stitch and pull up a loop leaving it on your hook. Repeat this process for each chain stitch.

Now that Your first Forward Row is done you should have 9 loops on your hook and you’re ready to begin the Return Row. To start, yarn over and pull through just one loop on your hook. Yarn over again and pull through two loops. Repeat this step, yarning over and pulling through two loops, until you have worked all the way back to the beginning and only one loop remains on your hook.

Your first full row of stitches in now complete! The Forward Row changes a bit now but your Return Rows will stay the same as what you’ve just done.  If you look at the row you’ve finished you’ll notice stitches that are straight up and down, these are called “vertical bars” and this is the part of the stitch that you’ll be using. Insert your hook under the first vertical bar, yarn over and pull a loop back through that bar. Repeat that step, inserting your hook under the next bar, yarning over and pulling up a loop, until you have used all the vertical bars (the last one lives right on the edge of your work at the left hand side).

Now you’ll repeat your Return Row, yarn over and pull through one loop first, then yarn over and pull through 2 loops at a time until you’re back to just one loop. Repeat those last two rows and you get a substantial fabric with great texture. Tunisian wants to curl in on itself so don’t be surprised by that! The larger your finished object the less curl there will be. And since Tunisian fabric is a bit more dense than regular crochet you’ll want to use a hook that is a size or two larger that what you might normally use.

Swatching is a great way to try out new techniques and stitches but no one wants a basket or drawer full of little squares of crochet or knit fabric so what do you do with them? I like to make fingerless gloves, I use them all the time. For this pair I started with a chain of 25, and worked 25 rows of Tunisian Simple Stitch to for a square, and then seamed the edges, leaving a gap for the thumb. For the work pictured here I used Katia Azteca in color 7840 and a size J/10/6.00mm hook.

If this technique appeals to you and you’re looking for more check out Tunisian Crochet by  Sharon Hernes-Silverman, Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet by Sheryl Thies or The New Tunisian Crochet – Dora Ohrenstein.

Ready, Set, Knit! Flashback

Saturday, March 8th, 2014
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Kathy and Steve are taking a late winter break so there’s no show this week but you can enjoy Kathy’s interview with author and designer Sally Melville from March2013.

 

And don’t forget that Sally will be here at WEBS at the end of this month! There are still open seats in her First Choices, Basic Shapes class and in her Knit to Flatter and Fit class. If you can’t make it to one of her classes you can still join us for her Why we do what we do! Workshop on March 29th. Registration is free but sign ups are required, a short reception will follow her talk.

Upcoming Events:

Our 40th Annual Anniversary Sale is coming up, April 1 – May 31!

12th Annual Tent Sale is happening May 17th and 18th with our Fleece Market on Saturday the 17th!

Valley Yarns featured in Knitter’s Magazine!

Friday, March 7th, 2014
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In the Spring 2014 issue of Knitter’s Magazine you’ll find the Blue Helix pullover knit in our very own Colrain in the Blue Lapis colorway. Designed by the lovely Fiona Ellis, this sweater features asymmetrically placed cables on the body and sleeves that make this fitted pullover a must-knit.

knitters

Which color of Valley Yarns Colrain would you choose?

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Surface Crochet

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
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This week we’re focusing on Surface Crochet. This is a great technique to use with both knit and crochet fabrics.  In its simplest form it’s a chain of slip stitches that appears on the surface of your fabric. It can be used for simple stripes or for more complex and free-form shapes.

This tutorial video shows you how to add vertical stripes to your knitting, and when combined with horizontal stripes it forms a simple plaid, the technique is used in two projects from our Soft Landing e-Book, the Hen Plaid Wrap and the Viola Plaid Pillow

This video shows you how the technique can also be used to create unique shapes, allowing you to draw on the surface of your project and it’s easy to accomplish. The Sprig Mittens are adorned with whimsical flowers but with surface crochet you could add almost any image.

 

The Nordic Tiles scarf features floating squares that are joined by simple lines of surface crochet along 2 edges and through the center.

Have you ever tried surface crochet?