Author Archive

Ysolda Teague, June 15th! New Class Just Added

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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When we heard that designer Ysolda Teague is going to be in our area in June, we jumped at the chance to schedule a class with her!  Her book Little Red in the City has such helpful information on garment customization and fit, in addition to containing great patterns, that it’s become a must-have resource.  The Whimsical Little Knits books are also staff favorites, filled with adorable quick projects.

On Friday, June 15, from 1pm – 4pm, join Ysolda for the class “The Perfect Sweater“:

In this workshop we’ll go through everything you need to successfully make perfectly fitted sweaters. We’ll cover matching the right yarn to your pattern, how to get the most out of swatching, and taking accurate measurements. Then we’ll put that information to use learning how to shape your sweater for the perfect fit and a flattering visual effect. This is a great chance to discuss the techniques and information in Little Red in the City and ask questions about shaping for your body. There will also be an opportunity to get hands on help with shaping techniques that you’d like help with, such as short rows.

Then, from 4pm – 5:30pm, Ysolda will stick around for a meet-and-greet where she’ll chat, answer questions, sign books and maybe even sit and knit.

Register quickly as we have a feeling that seats for Ysolda’s class will go quickly, and it isn’t often that this Scottish designer comes to the East Coast!  You can find all of the details about the class here and can find event information here.

Summer Classes at WEBS

Sunday, May 27th, 2012
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Registration is now open for the classes available this summer! Once again we have a lot of our customer favorites available, like Knitting I & II, Fiber Camp for Kids, Steeking and Weekend Weaving.

And since we know how busy everyone can get during our lovely New England summers, we’re also offering a bunch of workshop-style classes, which can be completed in just a session or two:

We’ve got a little something for everyone!  For more information about these and all of the other classes we are offering, please visit our website or give Customer Service a call.

 

Guest Teacher Spotlight: Caro Sheridan

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
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When Caro Sheridan offered to teach a class at the store, we jumped at the chance!  Not only did we know that our customers would enjoy spending time with her because she is so lovely, but she also offered great ideas for how to bring crafts to life through styling and photography.  Between blogs, Ravelry, other social networks and physical craft journals, we find ourselves taking pictures of our finished objects all the time.  It is great when the photo shows just how wonderful the handmade item is! But it can be disappointing when the image doesn’t do the object justice.   Photos can be even more important for anyone designing a pattern – the image is the first impression a person gets of what the pattern holds. 

If you want to learn the tips for capturing a photo that is just right, you’ll want to check out Caro’s workshop on Saturday, March 17th from 1:00pm – 3:00pm!  This is all about staging – no camera needed!

We recently chatted with Caro about her class:

What do you enjoy most about styling and photographing knit and crochet projects? 

Caro: I love highlighting the hard work and technical details that go into handmade items. Every centimeter of fibre has passed through a maker’s hands to build an everyday object like a sweater. I’m a knitter, so I know how just how much time is in each of the objects I photograph. To me, getting to photograph that FO is so much more than just documenting something you made. If I do my job well, it’s honouring the knowledge and experience surrounding that object by showing the beauty in the details.

Photos by Caro Sheridan

(Photos by Caro Sheridan)

Why is styling important?

Caro: Styling helps set a mood and ultimately will help you sell more patterns. Be it inspirational or aspirational, if you can help people see the finished item in their own closet (or their own dream closet) you’ll be more likely to reach them. I liken it to selling a house. Some people can walk into an empty house and picture their own furniture and paint colours on the wall and know whether it would fit their lifestyle. Other people need a sprinkling of furniture here and there to spark their inspiration and imagine themselves living there. Styling your pattern photographs works the same magic as staging a house to sell.

What can students expect to learn in your class?

Caro: There will be a little colour theory, some composition recommendations, tips on posing, choosing backgrounds. They’ll learn to look at a scene and see it from the camera’s eye.

If someone isn’t a designer, what will they take away from this workshop?

Caro: They will come away with plenty of ideas on how to improve their everyday photography and improve even snapshots that they take with their camera phones. A lot of the methods we discuss are applicable to photos of family life, so they’ll improve not only their finished object shots for Ravelry, but also their photos of friends and family for Facebook.

Can you give us one quick tip for improving the styling of our finished objects?

Caro: I can do better! I can give you ten!  The one biggest thing I would recommend is to tidy up. Not your whole house, not even a whole room; just the two feet around where you’re shooting. Nothing spoils the mood you’re trying to create faster than a pile of junk mail or dirty dishes in the background.

For more information about Caro Sheridan’s class, visit our website.

Nelkin Designs Patterns

Thursday, October 13th, 2011
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Designer Laura Nelkin is one busy lady!  In addition to designing wonderful beaded accessories (you can find them as pdfs here), creating two new patterns for our Valley Yarns (Selata and Gears) and releasing a new collection of patterns based on a single stitch, she’ll be teaching here at WEBS in November! Even with all of that on her plate, Laura was excited to take some time to highlight a few of her favorite patterns for us.

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Ennoble:

Ennoble is a rectangular lace scarf with pre-strung beads worked at the bottom to create an elaborate border. The pattern has both charts and written directions, and lots of helpful hints for working with beads.  My class [on November 5th] will focus on teaching you the skills you’ll need to make this scarf AND develop a love for knitting with beads!

(Laura will also be teaching Beading 101 on November 4th.)

Cayden:

Cayden is an over-sized vest meant to throw on over jeans and a t-shirt, your favorite dress, or whatever suits your mood.  Seamless and worked from the bottom up, decreases occur along the bobble edge all the way up to the neckline so that the front hem falls gracefully downwards.  I knit Cayden with Fibre Company Road to China Light, one of my favorite yarns because of it’s incredible hand and fluidity.

Iota Collection:

My latest project, the Iota Collection, is based on the Iota stitch which I developed last spring.  The patterns in this collection play with this stitch, both in the round and flat.  The cowl and scarf pattern is written for three different sizes of yarn, Fingering, DK and Bulky and plays with working the stitch both in the round (cowl) and flat (scarf).  The capelet and sweater are both seamless, worked top down, and are written for worsted weight yarn, like Valley Yarns Stockbridge, or Swans Island Worsted.

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We are excited to be carrying so many patterns by Nelkin Designs and can’t wait to have her in the store as a teacher in November!  Thanks, Laura, for giving us so many options to put on our must-knit list!

Double-Knitting with Alasdair Post-Quinn

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
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We are excited to announce an addition to our fall class line-up!  A talented designer and teacher, who just happens to be coming through town in October, offered to teach a class – so we, of course, took him up on it!

Alasdair Post-Quinn will be joining us on Tuesday, October 18th from 1pm – 4pm to introduce participants to the beautiful and fun technique of double-knitting!

Alasdair says:

Double-knitting is a unique method of making a fabric with no “wrong” side and a built-in reversible colorwork pattern. Significantly different from the standard intarsia and Fair Isle colorwork that are so well known, double-knitting is a wholly worthwhile technique to have in your repertoire.

By the end of this class, you’ll be ready to tackle your own double-knitting project! This technique is great for reversible scarves, hats, blankets, and so much more.

You’ll also have the foundation of skills you need to work on many of the projects in Alasdair’s upcoming book, Extreme Double-Knitting, which he will have for sale at the Cooperative Press Event, on the same day! (You can get a sneak peek at his book in the Fall issue of Interweave Knits!) On October 18th, from 11am – 1pm, Alasdair Post-Quinn and Shannon Okey will be in the store chatting about knitting, designing and publishing during this free event.

For more information about the Introduction to Double-Knitting class, and Shannon Okey’s class Sewing Patterns for Knitting, visit the classes section of our website!

Knit Custom Fitted Socks with Andi Smith

Monday, September 19th, 2011
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On October 18th, we are excited to welcome some of the designers from Cooperative Press to the store.  Shannon Okey, Andi Smith and Alasdair Post-Quinn will be signing books, showing garments and answering questions from 11am – 1pm in the store.  Then, Andi and Shannon will shift gears to teach two great classes, “Big Foot Knits” and “Sewing Patterns for Knitting“.  It is going to be an exciting day in the store!

We recently chatted with Andi Smith about her class and her upcoming book.

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Andi, tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in South Yorkshire surrounded by generations of crafters, knitters and gardeners. The process of making something from nothing, be it a Fair Isle sweater from a few balls of wool or a patch of vegetables from a handful of seeds, this was an intrinsic part of my childhood. My mum taught me at an early age to find my own answers, that discovery is an integral part of any creative process. I think that’s why I design. I love discovering how things work, how to manipulate elements to get the desired effect, to learn from mistakes and love the process.

What is your favorite aspect of knitting?

I’m definitely a process knitter. The rhythmic motion of physically creating stitches is sheer joy! Having those individual stitches become something is also greatly pleasing.

Tell us about the inspiration for your upcoming book, Big Foot Knits 

The whole thing started out as a conversation, which led to emails and then into an essay and finally into a book. My goal throughout the book has been to encourage knitters to create their own custom fit socks, breaking down all aspects of sock design and showing how, through simple math, you can make it all your own. The patterns in the second half of the book are all specifically designed to be changed. I was fortunate to have some incredible yarns to work with to showcase the patterns, and can’t wait for the knit-alongs to start so that I can knit them all again!

 

You are going to be teaching a class at WEBS on October 18th! What can a student expect from your class?

I’ll run through the basics of sock design and together we will create an individual, well-fitting sock pattern for every student. It’s a fairly fast-paced class, but there are lots of hand-outs and worksheets to keep it all fresh in your memory.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

That’s an easy one! It’s that moment after the “lightbulb” moment. You know the one, when you see that someone really “gets” what you’re saying, and then they pause, pause for a second or two more and then say, “what if we took that and did this to it?” I LOVE THAT! I’m all about people finding their own way to make things work! It’s such a thrill to see it in action, to know you’ve had a part in expanding horizons and then seeing those horizons multiply! Gets me every time.

Are you a multi-crafter? Do you have any other craft passions?

I am indeed! Crochet, sewing, embroidery, a little crazy quilting when the mood strikes. I really enjoy just seeing where the craft takes me. Taking that blank canvas and seeing where it takes me – that’s the joy! I would desperately like to be able to draw and paint and transfer what I see with my eyes to paper, but I have a hard time drawing a straight line with a pencil and ruler, so I have to content myself with other mediums. There’s always hope though…

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Our thanks to Andi Smith for taking some time to answer our questions!  You can register for this fun custom-fit sock class here, and find out more about the book signing event here.

Craft Activism Event

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
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Join us on October 6th for an event celebrating the release of the book Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In

Gale Zucker, an amazing photographer (and teacher of our recent Photographing Your Fiber and Finished Objects classes) will join us from 6pm – 7:30pm for a discussion of the book, a slide show and a trunk show.

This event is free!  But we ask that you register by calling or emailing Customer Service so that we can be sure we have enough chairs and snacks.   You can find all of the info you need on our website.

Instructor Profile: Beth Altimari

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
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Back-to-school season is upon us!  While many are preparing by stocking up on notebooks and dorm furniture, we are digging out our yarn and crafty tools in anticipation of our fun line-up of fall classes!  This also feels like a great time to return to introducing readers to our many wonderful WEBS Teachers-in-Residence.  Today we meet Beth Altimari:

Beth, what are some of the classes you are teaching here at WEBS this season?

This fall I’m offering a popular class on felted knitted hats with 4 brim styles to choose from, and a wonderful 3-color all-over-patterned hat reminiscent of a pillbox shape.  It’ s a great starting point for Fair Isle, but challenging too. Then I have Knitting I and Knitting II classes which I always love, as new knitters are a lot of fun.  I’m also doing a second round of a new Afghan Square of the Month Club,  12 squares offering a wide variety of techniques and stitch patterns using a few colors.

How did you learn to knit?

My maternal grandmother taught me to knit, as well as almost all the needle arts of her time.  I was about 8 or 9, and since I am left handed, she sat in front of me so I could mirror her hand motions.  It was 25 years later before I figured out all the little things I wasn’t doing!  I teach classes right handed as that makes the most sense for the majority of knitters, but I’m still most comfortable knitting left handed for myself.

What is one bit of advice you would offer to all new knitters?

Be kind to yourself, you’re learning something new, and don’t let panic take control as most anything can be fixed one way or another.

What is your favorite thing about teaching knitting?

Seeing the sparkle in people’s eyes when they experience a success!  I tend to have a lot of patience, a trait that, in teaching, seems to let people feel at ease as they struggle to learn something they may have given up on in the past. Being in a class setting brings up a lot of mixed memories for people, so it’s important for me to help knitters to come away feeling good about it.

If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?

Assessment/trouble-shooting. I have a Human Service background that required developing those skills. But I hate to fly so I hope it wouldn’t involve flying and tights.

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You can find all of Beth’s classes, and more, on our website.

Have you ever taken a class with Beth? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

3 Tips from Gale Zucker for Getting Great Photos

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
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This summer, it has been our pleasure to welcome Gale Zucker as a guest instructor!  Gale is a commercial & editorial photographer whose photos have appeared in the books Shear Spirit: Ten Farms, Twenty Projects and Miles of Yarn and Mason Dixon: Knitting Outside the Lines.  She is the co-author and photographer of the upcoming book, Craft Activism: People, Projects & Ideas from the New Community of Handmade, which will be released in September!  We asked Gale to share a few tips for making the beauty of our finished objects shine through in images we can share with the world.

Photography for Knitters: 3 Tips for Photographing Your FO’s on Real People

The GOAL –

Have one goal for your photo.

You can only have one goal for every photo.  Let’s say you knit a fabulous cashmere cowl. You’ve got your beautiful friend/daughter/neighbor posing in it. What’s your goal? To show us that cowl looking luxurious and soft. You need to concentrate on that and not get caught up in making a killer portrait of your model. Here’s the thing: either you’re making a photo of a cowl or you’re making a photo about your friend. Who happens to be wearing a cowl. It’s not the same photo most of the time. It’s almost impossible to be trying to do both at the same time. Work on making the cowl look amazing, shooting from different angles, coming in close and lopping off your friend’s head, photographing from behind, or maybe from above. When you think you’ve got some good stuff, then you can concentrate on making a nice portrait of your model, just for fun.

The LIGHT –

The light.

Turn off that flash. No excuses! Use natural light, whether you are indoors or can step outside. If you’re outdoors, try to stay in the shade, or do your photography early, or late, in the day. That’s when the light is warmer in color and coming at a lower angle.  Sidelighting really brings out the thing we love most about fiber/knits: the texture. If you need to stay indoors, try getting close to a window, or open the door, and let the light hit your FO as you stand with your back to the light source. Or try standing to the side, parallel to the light source(the window or door) and place a white foamcore board opposite it , just outside of your frame, to bounce the light back in. Instant studio!

Be BOSSY –

Tell your model what to do. Think about it – someone sticks you in a sweater or mittens that you weren’t planning on wearing – and maybe are totally out of season – and then tells you to….act natural? Awkward! The more awkward your model feels in front of the camera, the more uncomfortable they will look. Keep talking to the person posing and tell them what to do — turn around, walk, sit, floof their hair, wave the knits around, jump, twirl, pick up twigs…whatever. You can even create a little scenario and have them move through it, like packing a picnic, or cutting flowers or getting on a bicycle. Being told what to do gives them something to focus on, a way to move and then you get a natural-looking model in knitwear.

And, finally, shoot A LOT. Pixels are free, so keep shooting.

For more tips, and lots of hands-on practice, join Gale Zucker next week, in her class Photographing Your Finished Objects on Real Life Models.  Our thanks to Gale for writing this guest post, and for letting us use her gorgeous images.

Graduation

Saturday, July 9th, 2011
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Recently, we added another group of talented knitters to our growing line-up of graduates of the Expert Knitter Certification Program!  The evening of celebration was wonderful and the garments designed by each program member are inspirational.

Some of the amazing details:

Congratulations to all of the graduates! We are so proud of all of your hard work, and in awe of your creations!

Thanks, also, to all of the current program members, friends and family of the graduates, store staff and mentors who were able to join us for the graduation ceremony.  You helped to make graduation a splendid event!