Archive for the ‘Authors & Designers’ Category
Join designer, Vickie Howell for a holiday prep Crochet-along!
Starting November 17th you’ll chain on for the Kitschmas Stocking, a granny-striped decoration that can be crocheted in mere hours — that’s right, folks, hours! That means it may actually be attainable for more than one person in your family to get a handmade stocking this year. (Vickie will attempt to make enough for her family of 5. Can she do it? Nobody knows — least of all her!)
We’ll be using Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Super Bulky in any 2 colors. Use the code VHCal1 at checkout to get the Kitschmas Stocking Pattern for the discounted price of just $2.99 when you purchase 3 balls of Valley Superwash Super Bulky!
You’ll need 3 balls of Valley Superwash Super Bulky (2 balls of the main color and 1 ball of the contrast color), and a U.S. M (9.0mm) crochet hook.
Head on Over to Vickie’s Facebook Page and join the CAL event! Just post a comment letting her know, “I’m in!”
Feel free to post photos on the events page for others to see. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions and share tips. Vickie will be there to lead the conversation, answer questions, and fawn over your mad crochet skills!
Both of these designs were knit in Valley Yarns Northampton. This is one of our core yarn lines and it’s available in over 40 colors. With a wide variety of heathers and solids with an incredible depth of color, there’s no end to the possible color combinations you can add to your wardrobe.
First up is the cozy, textured Cabello Cowl by Lori Wagner. Lori learned to knit back in 7th grade as part of 4-H, but didn’t pick her needles up again until years later. A Designing Cowl class with Laura Nelkin sparked her interest in creating her own knit designs and started self-publishing in 2014. For the Cabello Cowl, Lori was daydreaming of hiking trips with friends…the twists and turn of the trails, the hills and all the rocks along the way. Lori says, “I loved working with this yarn! The Northampton was squishy and had fabulous stitch definition…exactly what I envisioned for my design. I then started to look at the other Valley Yarn available and could not believe how many lines were available!”
This long-sleeved open front cardigan is knit in one piece with the sleeves set in. A reversible textured stitch is worked throughout the body and the sleeves are worked in stockinette stitch. A simple garter ribbing adorns the Hems, cuffs, and collar. Even the largest size, which needs only 7 skeins of Northampton, is a project that tops out at $50! I’m thinking I need a Valentina Cardigan in Charcoal and maybe another in Apple Green.
What projects have you planned in Northampton?
We’ve got two fantastic new patterns the month for our Valley Yarns Brimfield!
The Blurry Lines Scarf by Kim Bridgeo is a truly unisex piece with a bold geometric texture, but an easy to memorize stitch repeat. We asked Kim to tell us more about herself, how she designs, and her experience with Brimfield.
When did you learn to knit? I learned to knit back in 2008. I had been crocheting since I was young but wanted to give knitting a try, so I taught myself using the Teach Yourself Visually book series. Over the last few years, though, my passion for knitting has grown exponentially. As I continue to be exposed to new fiber content, yarn brands and independent dyers, I get so inspired to find the perfect pattern/yarn combination. My stash is a bit out of control!
What prompted you to start designing? I guess I’ve always been designing without really knowing it. It’s common for me to modify patterns as I’m making them, or combine different elements of one stitch pattern with another. The first design I ever created for sale came about after I knit a baby blanket for my cousin a few years ago and lots of friends and family members asked if I could share the pattern. I’ve had the designing bug ever since.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration? I’m constantly jotting down notes that aren’t fully formed designs initially, but more about different ideas for shapes, stitches, and combinations of increases & decreases. I also chart the majority of my designs whether or not I include them in the final published design. In my “non-knitting life” I analyze and visualize data for a living, so, when I’m designing I constantly think about visual balance and spacing, and how to make the math work to achieve the look I want. After that it’s really all about the yarn. I have skeins that I know I want to design something with, so I review my design notes and figure out what would work best with the yarn given its weight, fiber and color.
Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories. For me, knitting has become all about community and camaraderie. When I first started knitting, I was in my 20s, and it was rare that I came across others who knit. But now I feel like it’s much more mainstream across age and gender. I started teaching a knitting class at a local chain craft store a couple years ago, and though I no longer teach, I still get together weekly with three women who were some of my very first students. The four of us were born in 3 different decades and have had very different life experiences, yet we have developed an awesome friendship built initially on our love for knitting. Also, with the popularity of Ravelry & Instagram, it is so great to make lots of new “fiber friends” every day who continue to inspire and challenge me. I design to create something that others want to make and enjoy.
Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with? During my very first trip out to WEBS, I fell in love with Brimfield and couldn’t resist buying a full 10-skein bag! I’ve always been a huge fan of merino and silk blends. The texture of Brimfield makes for amazing stitch definition but also feels so soft! I also really love the rich and deep color choices. Perfect for fall!
We also have the lovely Hendrie Park Cardigan from Karen Marlatt. The sweater features an sweet lace pattern in the yoke, 3/4 sleeves and a relaxed tunic-length fit. Valley Yarns Brimfield is the perfect yarn to balance the polished simplicity of stockinette stitch and the structural beauty of the lace. Karen tells us about her love of this yarn and her journey from new knitter to designer.
When did you learn to knit? I first learned to knit in Brownies, I wish I still had that first uneven, hole-filled square. I have always been crafting, rug hooking, cross stitch, jewelry, etc., but did not pick up needles again until 2006.
What prompted you to start designing? It was the Think Outside the Socks competition and their $5,000 prize, I thought to myself, ‘How hard could it be to knit a pair of socks?’. I obviously had a lot to learn! Off I went to my local LYS, Spun Fibre Arts, and the owner Danielle worked with me to find the perfect yarn for the project and offered a bit of guidance along the way! My Apple of my Eyelet socks did not win the competition, but I was honoured to be included in the publication of the same name.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration? Oh that is a tough question to answer. I would say it is an even split between seeing a beautiful yarn and being completely inspired vs. doodling in my fashionary and then enjoying the challenge of bringing that flat image to life (sometimes unsuccessfully). I think the fact that I am a bit of a math geek helps in the design process as well.
Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories. I was very lucky to have Pat McClymont in my life, as a neighbour, friend and knitting guru. Pat was one of the original Eaton’s yarn department demonstration staff in the late 1950’s, had a long career creating samples for Spinrite/Paton’s as well as many designers. It is very easy to experiment and challenge yourself with new knitting techniques knowing your safety net lives next door. Many a time I would show up with my mess and she would walk me through how to correct it and send me away even more confident. Unfortunately Pat passed away this September, but each time I pick up my knitting I know she is close by!
Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with? For the Hendrie Park Cardigan I worked with the scrumptious Brimfield. The Merino/Silk blend was such a pleasure to work with, the stitch definition was fantastic and the silk gives the garment a wonderful drape. I fell so much in love with this yarn that I am currently working on my second Hendrie Park Cardigan (this one’s for me)!
It’s always interesting to see the ways that knitting comes into our lives and what paths different knitters take to becoming designers and how our yarns inspire them. What have you been inspired to knit or design with Valley Yarns?
We’re beyond thrilled to have partnered with DIY Queen and craft enabler, Vickie Howell for a collection of fun, modern patterns as well as an exclusive set of colors for our NEW Valley Superwash Super Bulky!
These quick knit and crochet accessories are the perfect projects for gifts, travel or just treating yourself before the first snow flies! The Arrow Head Hat features a simple combination of Fair Isle and textured stitches in 3 colors that is a terrific first colorwork project. The Ziggy Scarf get’s its twisty pop from the simplest cable, another great starter project! The Upward Spiral Beanie is a fun crochet tube of post stitches, cinched at the top for that great slouchy look and topped with a lively pom pom. And the Curvaceous Cowl is a cozy and warm combination of cables and seed stitch, perfect for bridging the seasons.
Vickie also designed the Kitchmas Stocking to add a bit of her signature style to your holidays. Chose two of Vickie’s exclusive colors: Cast Away Coral, Aqua Oasis, Moontower Mustard, Gray Gardens, Tiki Turquoise and Boss Byzanthium, or combine them with one of our 12 other colors!
Which of these new patterns will you make first?
I learned a new craft this weekend–well really, I learned about three crafts this weekend: making block prints, printing on fabric, and embellishing the prints with embroidery. What really stuck with me was learning to embroider, and I think that if you can knit or crochet, you can embroider. The stitches are so intriguing, and easy to do. You use yarn, or crewel wool which is basically yarn. And there are NO RULES so you don’t have to worry about breaking any.
It’s intoxicating, I tell you. Kristin Nicholas, who led our weekend retreat, is a local treasure and frankly, a national fiber and color cheerleader. She challenged us to experiment with color, and highlight the prints we made by outlining, filling in blank spaces with interesting stitches, and making negative space pop by using color as an accent.
Embroidering on knitted or crocheted projects is for the color-obsessed among us who can’t leave well enough alone. It’s so fun and makes a ho-hum accessory or garment super-special. Check out these adorable mittens designed by Kristin and imagine the possibilities. Or these cuties. How about jazzing up your phone holder?
The book that got it all started is her Colorful Stitchery. It has all kinds of ideas for using embroidery on fabric, knitted accessories and garments, and tons of how-to instruction.
Experiment with gilding the lily and make your knits colorful and exciting. Tell us in the comments below what you end up with!
I love a good wrap. A nice wide shawl that I can snuggle into like a great knitted hug is a real comfort, but I don’t necessarily want to look like I’m wearing a blanket. The new Shenandoah Valley Shawl designed by Katharine Malcolm is that perfect shawl! Knit in our Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk it is gauzy and ephemeral but amazingly warm and cozy.
The silk give the yarn strength and shine, while the alpaca give it that surprising warmth and a soft fuzzy halo. With a decreasing pattern of cables forming a mountain shaped border at each end and a gentle striping effect of stockinette and yarn overs, reminiscent of the rivers and streams, you get to see the best of the Shenandoah Valley in this shawl, the gorgeous Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains as well as the James and Potomac rivers. And with the bonus of the incredible yardage of the 2/14 Alpaca Silk being offered on cones you will only have 2 tails to weave in at the ends of this project!
Katharine talked to us about herself and how this design came to be.
When did you learn to knit?
I taught myself how to knit before I was ten years old, a long time ago. The first article I can remember knitting was a woolen turtleneck, shaped, full fashioned sweater with mock cables on the front and the back. I was 12 at the time. In my college years, everyone knit in class. I knit my model train loving fiance a pair of socks with an original train on the side, but never thought of it as designing. The same was true as I knit for my sons and nephews, including whole animal families of hand puppets. It wasn’t until I became a TKGA Master Hand Knitter that I realized that what I had been doing for years was designing. I have been knitting my own designs ever since.
What prompted you to start designing?
I tend to find a design that I want to create in knitting and as I proceed, my ideas grow. That was the case with the Shenandoah Valley Shawl. It started as a project to work on a train trip and as I knit, I did not want it to be the same throughout, so I created the triangles. As I worked the shawl that you see I realized, looking out the window that the color matched the Blue Ridge Mountains. From another window I can see the Appalachian range and the Shawl fit in perfectly. Many of my designs evolve as I knit.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
When I was working towards the Masters Program for The Knitting Guild Association, I decided that since I lived on an alpaca farm, that I would create the yarn for the project. As a result, it was not only an original design for the vest and the long coat, but they were both knit from a one of a kind yarn.
What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?
I loved the feel of the Alpaca/Silk. The silk adds a sheen to the alpaca and I loved working in color. I have been knitting with my hand spun, but none of the alpacas come in Whipple Blue!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Baby Cashmerino has long been one of my go-to yarns when I want to enjoy my knitting as much as the finished baby garments. This Spring Debbie Bliss has introduced Baby Cashmerino Tonals and I’m thrilled by the possibilities of combining these colors with some of my favorite solids. Never one to disappoint, Debbie Bliss has released a full pattern collection of tiny sweaters perfect for the little one in your life, and this yarn!
If you’re looking to knit for yourself this spring try the new Cotton Denim DK. Not only is it a machine washable, 100% cotton, but it’s available in almost a dozen soft, summer shades. I have my eye on the several of the patterns from the accompanying collection.
And for a little fun in your wardrobe try the two new yarns from Conway + Bliss!
A soft chainette tube, Cleo feels like t-shirt material! This will make terrific warm-weather garments and accessories in bright, solid colors. Lolli is another chainette-type yarn in bright, solid hues, but with surprise bursts of color throughout! This one will knit up into fun hats, scarves, cowls or other accessories, and there’s great pattern support for both.
You can read more about these yarns and see lots of pattern ideas in our new Spring 2016 Catalog.
Hello Designers! We are looking for original, never before published, designs for Spring 2016 to showcase four of our favorite Valley Yarns.
Think you don’t like knitting with cotton? Let Longmeadow show you cotton in a whole new light. Microfiber blended with cotton gives this yarn some wool-like forgiveness while being soft enough for even the pickiest recipient. A true DK weight, recommended at 5.5 sts per inch, and available in a sunny, colorful palette, Longmeadow is fantastic for baby items and multi-season garments and accessories.
Looking for great softness in a worsted weight, machine-washable and dryable wool? Look no further than our brand new Valley Yarns Haydenville. Mostly merino and blended with microfiber, these 100g/220 yard skeins are perfect for blankets of all sizes and for all recipients who need to machine wash and dry. Large projects, baby sets, stuffed animals, hoodies and other often-washed articles are great for this yarn.
Deadline: Submissions will be due Sunday December 27, 2015 by 11:59pm EST
Designers will be notified if their submission has been accepted, with yarn shipping out, by January 8th. Samples are due in-house by Friday March 4th.
Featuring Peruvian cotton, modal, and silk, Valley Yarns Goshen is a luxurious treat with loads of shine. Our heaviest cotton blend, we recommend knitting Goshen at 4.5 sts to the inch for structured women’s garments or dazzling accessories that make use of its weight and drape.
Soft and drapey Valley Yarns Southwick, slightly lighter at 5 sts to the inch, is a perfect choice for flowing, airy garments, accessories and blankets. The combination of cotton and bamboo is smooth and cool on the skin, while the warm and sunny colors can’t help but make you smile.
Deadline: Submissions will be due Sunday December 27, 2015 by 11:59pm EST
Designers will be notified if their submission has been accepted, with yarn shipping out, by January 8th. Samples are due in-house by Friday April 1st.
All accepted submissions will receive yarn support, assigned by our in-house team. Valley Yarns will pay for the finished sample of the pattern on a sliding scale ($50–$200 depending on size and complexity). Payment will be made within 2 weeks of on-time receipt of finished sample. Valley Yarns and the designer will benefit from a 50/50 revenue share of all patterns sales during the exclusivity period, with quarterly payments made to the designer during the exclusivity period, preferably via Paypal.
If your proposal is accepted, Valley Yarns requires a six month period of exclusivity after which rights will be shared and the designer may republish. Valley Yarns will retain their version of the pattern until such a time as they decide to discontinue the pattern or the featured yarn. The Valley Yarns version of the design will be sold only through yarn.com, and may be used in social media and print media advertising, and may be featured in one or more of our catalogs. After the six month period of exclusivity has ended the designer will have full control of the Ravelry page and may use our photography as long as Valley Yarns is credited for the images.
All proposals should be submitted in a one-page PDF format and include:
• your contact information, including your full name, email, mailing address, website and/or Ravelry designer page, and phone number. A short bio is encouraged if we haven’t worked with you before (tell us why you’re great!).
• sketches of your proposed design
• photographs of a generous-sized swatch, it’s not necessary to use a Valley Yarns yarn in your swatch but try to use a yarn with a similar fiber content and stitch gauge
• schematic measurements
• the Valley Yarns yarn you wish to work with
• a short description of the design, including construction, shaping, ease and fit, special techniques and stitch designs
Special reminder, please put everything you want us to see/read into the actual submission PDF, not into the body of your email. Also make sure that all parts of your submission are part of a single pdf.
Please email PDF submissions to:
ValleyYarnsDesigns (at) yarn (dot) com with the subject line: April/May Submissions
If you have questions please contact us at the same e-mail but use the subject line: April/May Questions
• Decisions are made and designers with accepted submissions will be contacted approximately one week after the submission deadline. Submissions that are not accepted will be contacted 2-3 weeks after the deadline.
• If your proposal is accepted, Valley Yarns requires a 6 month period of exclusivity, after which shared rights begin.
• You will need to grade/size your patterns, and format with our style guide (will be provided once a pattern is accepted) but they will be tech edited by our excellent team.
• We are primarily looking for knit designs but will never turn away a stellar crochet submission
• You may submit more than one design. Each submission must be in an individual PDF, multiple PDFs may be sent with your submission e-mail
• If you have any questions about sizing and schematic please see the Craft Yarn Council’s Guidelines.
Valley Yarns is the in-house brand of yarn at WEBS – America’s Yarn Store and at yarn.com, with each yarn named after one of the towns in our beautiful Pioneer Valley. These carefully selected, affordable yarns are perfect for knitters and crocheters.