Archive for the ‘Authors & Designers’ Category

Design Inspiration with Fiona Ellis

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
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My goodness half of my Designer in Residence year is over and my fourth pattern was just launched! So I just did a quick review of what I’ve chatted with you about over the past few months; geometry, the humble I-cord and Morphing Cables. I guess it’s time I talked a little about how I find my inspiration. The best way I have found of generation my ideas is by taking photographs. Back on Sept 1st 2007 BI – that is “Before Instagram” (I can hardly believe it), I committed to taking photos to illustrate my journals. Up until that point my photo taking was more haphazard, but from that day on I have tried (and mostly succeeded) in taking a photo every single day. This kind of practice helps you develop a more artistic view of the, mostly mundane, everyday things that surround us. Or put another way it forces you to look at things that you see all the time (and mostly overlook) in a new light.

Ironwork - design inspiration for Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

As you can imagine I have amassed quite the collection of photos over these past 8 years. And through this process my fascinations have become very apparent. I have become very aware of my re-occurring themes/sources of inspiration. Collar Your Dreams springs from one of my favourites – ironwork, and more specifically the Eiffel Tower. OK you got me…the Eiffel Tower is hardly mundane and everyday, but the practice of looking at those objects transfers into my picture taking when I’m somewhere exotic like Paris.

Design inspiration with Fiona Ellis, WEBS 2015 Designer in Residence. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ve used ironwork as an inspiration source many times, but what is a little different with this design is that I wanted to incorporate the openwork feel that the tower, for me, epitomises. It’s not just about the lines, but the spaces in between the lines. There is almost a lightness or airiness to the structure,and that was what I wanted to try to capture. If you have ever been lucky enough to see it up close, maybe it has struck you as it did me, that when you walk around it each vantage point produces yet another beautiful curve or line with amazing geometric shapes nestled in between the main structural braces. So I placed arcs of eyelets holes between the cables, cables that I hope capture something of the graceful lines of this beautiful structure. If you are interested in hearing about my latest fascinations I would love for you to join me on my website on the 9th of each month when I post about what I’m currently finding inspiring. This month it’s all about my recent trip to the UK.

Emerging Designer – Debbi Stone

Monday, July 20th, 2015
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WEBS Emerging Designer Summer 2015 eBook: Sproutlet, from Debbi Stone. eBook and individual PDFS now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

We’re excited to bring you the second installment of our WEBS Emerging Designer series with the Summer 2015 Sproutlet eBook! Debbi Stone, who you may know from the Stitches of My Life Designs, has put together a mini collection of everything you need to bring that new baby home in style and keep them warm for the first few years! We’re always excited by Debbi’s fantastic accessory patterns and we couldn’t be happier with these designs! We asked her to tell us a bit about her process and inspiration.

WEBS: When did you learn to knit and what prompted you to start designing?

Debbi: I learned to knit from my grandmother the summer I was 7. She taught me to cast on and knit, no purling, and bind off. That summer I made a lot of garter stitch headbands! A few years back I was looking for a simple cabled cowl to knit for my daughters for Christmas and realized that I couldn’t find what I wanted on Ravelry. I knew how I wanted that cowl to look and how I wanted to construct it so I just started knitting. The next thing you know I had designed my first (very basic) pattern.

WEBS: Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

Debbi: Someone once referred to me as a “noun girl”. I take my inspiration from the people, places and things in my life. I’ve used everything from relatives, to places I love, and objects of my affection. Once I started keeping my eyes open the world of inspiration opened up to me.

WEBS: Tell us about your design aesthetic.

Debbi: I love to design accessories to pair with a simple, basic wardrobe. I wear a lot of basic black and love to put an accessory on to pull those basics together. I have found that this gives my mix and match wardrobe infinite possibilities, and creates many different looks with the same basic pieces.

The Sproutlet Sweater is an easy, top-down cardigan that you’ll reknit, in each size, every time they outgrow it. Paired with the Sproutlet Hat, and the Sproutlet Blanket, you’ll have one stylish baby ready for that first car ride home or an early autumn family picnic. All three patterns were designed in our line of Valley Superwash yarn, each using a different weight: DK, worsted, and bulky. With 12 colors available in all 3 weights you could make this set in a shade perfect for any baby, from the vibrant Spring Leaf green that Debbi chose to Soft Yellow, Natural or Misty Lilac. Or choose from over 20 other colors and create a set of hand knits in bold tones to gift with your favorite baby accessories.

WEBS Emerging Designer Summer 2015 eBook: Sproutlet, from Debbi Stone. eBook and individual PDFS now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Download all three patterns together in the WEBS Emerging Designer, Summer 2015 Sproutlet eBook for just $9.99 or download any individual pattern for just $3.99 each. You can find more of Debbi’s designs here on our site, and on Ravelry and don’t forget her collaborative designs with her friend Marcy under Adventures Du Jour. And check out WEBS Emerging Designer Spring 2015 eBook by Angelia Robinson with three stunning crochet accessories perfect for every season.

Genius is Everywhere

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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Hey! If you stop by the store through June 29, you’ll see our resident genius designer Emma Welford’s work in a trunk show of some of her many beautiful designs. Emma has worked at WEBS for a few years, as our Purchasing Coordinator and now in the store. She may have helped you pick out yarn or you may have stopped by our Thursday evening Drop-In and had her show you how to pick up stitches or do a decrease.

The Coronation Tank and more designs by Emma Welford on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

If you check out our website, you’ll see Emma’s new ebook of patterns, “Let Them Knit Cake,” which was released in early spring. It contains what I think is the most beautiful tank ever, the Coronation Tank, knit in Malabrigo Arroyo. The combination of color and texture (the cables making a shapely trim waist and the bright color announcing “summer’s here!” are irresistable. Plus–it’s a tank! It’ll take maybe a week to knit.

Elektrocute and more designs by Emma Welford on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

All of Emma’s designs are thoughtful and make me want to abandon everything I have on the needles to start her garments. Just when I think I’ve got her figured out (she designs great textural sweaters!) she comes up with something like Elektrocute, a cowl with the most shocking colorwork that looks like it’s not only doable but imperative that it be made.

Check her out on Ravelry, on her blog, and please come to the store to see her trunk show. You’ll be inspired and awed.

Reading for Inspiration

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
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Greetings from the Weaving Room! I love books and my personal reference library is full of everything from pattern dictionaries to technique books, structure-focused tomes and classics from weaving icons. I keep an eye out for new books coming in to the store, looking for inspiration and education.

I have found myself restless of late, yearning for my weaving to be more than just squares and rectangles. And then…..Simple Woven Garments, by Sara Goldenberg and Jane Patrick arrived this spring. Filled with gorgeous photography and layouts, this book is a great springboard into the world of sewing handwoven cloth. The project photos, of course, fall into the category of eye candy but I really loved that they took equal care in providing detailed, close up photos of techniques. Another nice feature is the use of side bars with suggestions for other fabric ideas and alternate styles. I’m a big fan of projects that encourage you to say “what if” and offer suggestions for making it uniquely your own.

The book starts with an introduction to sewing handwovens with information about shaping, sizing, cutting and sewing. I found the techniques to be simple and a great place to start (as opposed to feeling faint and intimidated at the thought that I need to learn French seams right away!). All the projects can be woven on either rigid heddle or shaft looms and the authors discuss the considerations for using one or the other. Some of the projects also incorporate knitting and I gotta say I love a good bi-craftual project.

Flame Lace Top from Simple Woven Garments by Sara Goldenberg & Jane Patrick - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Of course I checked to see which projects used WEBS/Valley Yarns and found the Flame Lace Top with 8/2 Tencel and Variegated 8/2 Tencel combined as the weft. I love the lacy texture of the weave and the clever pulled threads to provide shaping. I wasn’t sure, however, that the blouson look  was for me. After reading suggestions in the “Alternate Styles” box, I realized I could make one of those long open vests I’ve been coveting by increasing the length and cutting it down the center front (and perhaps making an inkle facing?). I could also use Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo for the warp (single stranded) to give it that wonderful drape……………

See, this is what happens when you read books – you get inspired and start to dream of what you can create!

And to further inspire you, Jane Patrick will be in town this summer to teach at NEWS (New England Weavers Seminar) and she will be signing books in our booth (bottom floor of the Campus Center at Smith College) on Thursday, July 9th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. We will have Simple Woven Garments in addition to her other books – The Weaver’s Idea Book and  Woven Scarves. We hope you can join us!

Designer in Residence – the Lace Stole from Doris Chan

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
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June is here and summer is just around the corner! While we might all be ready for poolside barbeques and heat waves, Mother Nature seems to have different plans. It’s been rather chilly in the Northeast lately and the newest design from Doris Chan might be the perfect thing to keep you warm at that Graduation or late Spring wedding! The Lace Stole, crocheted in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel is the third design from Doris Chan as WEBS Designer in Residence.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her third design the Lace Stole in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel - learn more at blog.yarn.comLace accessories are not about warmth or coverage; they’re all about drama. Yes, in the cold you could gather up the Lace Stole and softly twist it around your head and neck for a scarf and enjoy the cozy feeling of silky wool yarn. But the glorious nature of a lace weight stole is truly revealed when you think of it as a statement piece. This whisper-light, crush proof, packable stole is born for travel. Simply stash it in a compact bundle in your bag (hopefully protected from snagging on anything), and when the moment is right to transition from dress-down casual to dress-up drama, pull it out, shake it loose with a flourish, and fling it around your shoulders. Graciously accept all the compliments!

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her third design the Lace Stole in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel - learn more at blog.yarn.comWhether you prefer classic neutrals, or rich jewel tones, there’s a shade of 2/10 Merino Tencel that’s perfect for your own version of the Lace Stole. Which color will you choose?

Shaping Your Knits with Increases and Decreases

Friday, May 22nd, 2015
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When I taught my oldest son to knit, he got the basic knit and purl stitches down and one day we sat together, knitting (believe me, this happened maybe twice) and he saw me do a series of decreases to make a raglan sleeve. Just like that, he was fascinated, and spent the next six months increasing and decreasing a ratty piece of knitting that he kept in my knitting bag.

I can understand his amazement at how simply increasing or decreasing stitches can make a round shape out of a square swatch. I can never remember, however, which increases slant right or left, which decreases should be done in the center of a row, as opposed to a few stitches from the edge, and what to do when faced with the pattern instruction, “PFB twice in one stitch, turn, k2 bobble stitches, turn, and work p2tog, p2tog tbl, pass decrease.” WHAT?

Increase Decrease - available now at yarn.com

The guidebook for the 21st-century knitter is the newest book from Storey Publishing, Increase Decrease: 99 Step-by-Step Methods by Judith Durant. Judith has edited all the “One-Skein Wonders” books made so popular by Storey, so I know she’s a fount of knitting knowledge. Increase Decrease has the best possible construction for a craft book: a spiral binding so that the book lays flat while you try out all those irresistible new ways of shaping your knits. Judith gives readers the topology of the increase or decrease, and at the same time, she lets you know what it’s best use is. Single increases and decreases work well for knit/purl stitch patterns, while Yarnover Multiple Increases tend to be best used in a lacy garment as they show up as openwork. Twist-and-Hide Decreases are great for garments with a twisted-stitch pattern where you want to hide the decrease. Some increases and decreases show up on both the knit and purl sides, some are completely hidden, and many of the double increases and decreases can be used for knitting that is shaped on two sides at once.

Increase Decrease by Judith Durant - available now at yarn.com

Increase Decrease also gives you “something special” extra-credit reading, with Increases and Decreases for Decorative Effect, such as bobbles, ruching, closed-ring cables, or lace. There are even increases and decreases for colorwork! Like all those great craft books from Storey, there is a list of common abbreviations, and symbols that you’ll see in charted knitting, as well as a very thorough index.

Much like it’s sister book, Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor, I’m pretty sure I’ll be carrying this book in my knitting bag for any project I’ll start.

Longmeadow featured in Twist Collective

Thursday, May 7th, 2015
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The Windley pullover from the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of Twist Collective is knit in our very own Valley Yarns Longmeadow in the bright, and sunny, melon colorway.

Windley from Twist Collective Spring/Summer 2015 issue knit in Valley Yarns Longmeadow - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This perfect for summer pullover is worked in one piece from the top down with easy rolled hems, and a darling lace inset. With almost 20 colors of Longmeadow‘s cool cotton/mircofiber blend to choose from there’s sure to be a Windley in your future!

Emerging Designer – Angelia Robinson

Friday, April 17th, 2015
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We’re thrilled to be revealing the first ever WEBS Emerging Designer eBook!

WEBS Emerging Designer Spring 2015 eBook - featuring designs by Angelia Robinson - available now at yarn.com

Knit and crochet designer Angelia Robinson has created three crochet accessories ideal for adding a pop of color, a twist of style and the perfect extra layer of warmth to any wardrobe.

Infinity Cowl Promo

The cozy Infinity Cowl begins with a set of simple ring motifs joined into a single chain-link ring that becomes an optical illusion-like central focus of this piece. Bands of sectioned double crochet are then worked in the round from the rings outward on both sides giving the cowl the perfect depth and body. Crocheted in Valley Yarns Colrain this perfect blend of 50/50 merino wool and tencel give the cowl great bounce and warmth as well as shine and crisp stitch definition.
Ladder Ponchette launch
The quick and easy Ladder Ponchette features a ladder mesh pattern stitch crocheted in our Valley Yarns Longmeadow into a versatile shape that allows in to be worn two ways. Two identical pieces are made and then seamed with a simple reverse single crochet border applied to the neck and bottom edges.  Wear it points centered for a traditional poncho silhouette or pull the points over your shoulders for a more modern look.
Pear Trellis Shawl launch
The gorgeous Pear Trellis Shawl triangular shawl is crocheted from the top down in a repeated pineapple lace pattern stitch that takes advantage of the best qualities of our Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel. The shine and drape that the tencel lends to the stitches is partnered with the warmth, body and slight halo from the merino. The mesh panels worked along the outer edge add a delicate and lightweight finish to the whole piece. Large enough wrap fully around the wearer, the open and lacy stitches combined with the fiber content of the yarn means that you’ll be keep warm on cool days and not overheat when it’s warmer.
Get your copy of the WEBS Emerging Designer Spring 2015 eBook now to get going on these great patterns!
Angelia is a southern California based designer with featured patterns in Vogue Knitting: Crochet, Interweave Crochet, I like Crochet, I Like KnittingLove of Knitting and Love of Crochet magazines. you can find her online on Ravelry as Quaternity, on Twitter as @quaternityknits, and on Facebook.

Designer in Residence – Motif Bolero from Doris Chan

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
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April has arrived already and the next design from Doris Chan is here! The Motif Bolero is crocheted in two colors of our Valley Yarns Charlemont,  a lovely sock/fingering weight blend of superwash Merino wool and silk, the color sequence tends to emphasize the geometry of the motifs. For a less patchwork look go with a single shade, or choose your own color combination!

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her second design the Motif Bolero in Valley Yarns Charlemont - learn more at blog.yarn.com

The Motif Bolero is a unique, open-front jacket constructed from granny-style motifs that have been updated with open stitch rounds for a lacy look and pretty drape. Pentagons form the V-neck and shaped shoulders. Squares fill in the underarms and complete the boxy body, which falls just below the waist.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her second design the Motif Bolero in Valley Yarns Charlemont - learn more at blog.yarn.com

This is a great piece to layer for Spring. Pair this little jacket with a flirty spring dress or your favorite t-shirt and jeans. What colors of Charlemont will you choose?

 

 

 


Doris Chan – a Designer in Residence in her own words

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
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Our 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, Doris Chan, took some time to write about the program, her history with WEBS, and how you can help her decide what Valley Yarns to use next and what to design, over on her website.

The Shawl Collar Stole from Doris Chan, one of six new designs available at yarn.com

About her first design, the Shawl Collar Stole, she says, “Anyone who has wrapped this baby around the shoulders does not want to take it off. Truth be told, I enjoyed the lush softness of the piece while I was creating the sample; this from a crocheter who has allergies, among them wool. Thick yarn, big hook, zero finishing, quick work, nearly instant gratification.”

Have you tried our Valley Superwash Bulky yet?