Archive for the ‘Authors & Designers’ Category

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?

Yarn Tasting,Trunk Shows and Fun…Oh My!

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
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Have you ever wanted a chance to sample a yarn before you buy it? Well now you can! We are hosting a Cascade Yarn Tasting on February 12 from  6-7:30 pm. Come try out the wide variety of Cascade yarns that we carry, including their new Spring yarns and check out all the wonderful pattern support. You might get inspired to start a new project! We’ll raffle some fabulous prizes throughout the evening and provide snacks for you to enjoy, you’ll even have the opportunity to get a free set of Colonial Blonde circular needles when you purchase $40 of regularly priced Cascade yarn! This event is free, but registration is required

Cascade Yarn Tasting February 12th 6:00pm-7:30pm at WEBS retail Store in Northampton MA - more details at yarn.com

If you visit the store in mid February you’ll see the stylish and cozy garments from knitwear designer Cirilia Rose in the trunk show from her new book, Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads. Cirilia began her knitwear career at WEBS while a student at UMASS, and has worked with important knitwear companies such as Berroco, Skacel and currently , New Zealand mill Woolyarns. Over 20 garments and accessories will be available for you to discover in this trunk show, and you can pick up a copy of her book while you’re here.

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads Trunk Show at WEBS retail store in February - more details at blog.yarn.com

 

There are always book signings, trunk shows and special events happening in our store, be sure to check our calendar and the Events listing to see what’s coming!

 

Designer in Residence – Doris Chan

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
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Our new Designer in Residence program is off to an amazing start! This month we reveal the first design from our Crochet Designer in Residence Doris Chan, The Shawl Collar Stole.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her first design the Shawl Collar Stole in Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky - learn more at blog.yarn.com

With a bit of clever shaping, The Shawl Collar Stole is a meltingly soft stole that drapes beautifully and securely around the shoulders. The wide top band in gentle ribbing turns over to form a snuggly collar. The back is curved to create some roominess through the arms and allow the fronts to sit properly. The stole is just wide enough for comfortable coverage, but not so wide that you’re constantly sitting on the back, and the fronts have enough wrap-around length without getting in your way. Valley Superwash Bulky makes the crocheting quick and smooth, while the relaxed gauge and open lacy stitch pattern keep this stole surprisingly lightweight yet cozy without being stuffy.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

We asked Doris to tell us about about how she designs, what she finds inspiring, and to give us a hint about what we can expect to see throughout the year.

Tell us a bit about your design process. Do you have design ideas in your head that inspire you to search out the right yarn or do you find a yarn and let the design grow from there?

Unless an editor requests a specific silhouette or style, I will always begin with yarn. Yarn in the hands speaks to me in ways I don’t completely understand and begins a process not easily explained. I have referred to this process as organic designing rather than technical designing. A technical designer may create a completed project in the mind, perhaps to the point of being able to write a pattern, before ever picking up a hook. That designer has only to plug in an appropriate yarn and crochet according to the plan, or have a contract crocheter make the sample. An organic designer grows things from yarn. Sounds idiotic and overly simplistic when put that way, but it does describe how it feels to me. It’s not that technical designers don’t care about yarn or that organic designers are space cadets. Designers aren’t totally one or the other, just as no person is totally right brained or left brained. Good design is a cocktail of the two in different proportions, plus a dash of individual skill and aesthetics.

On my technical side, I possess a personal bag of crochet tricks or techniques on which I often fall back; years of experience (trial and error) have granted me a feel for seamless construction, working lace stitch patterns in relaxed gauge, shaping and manipulating fabric. But for me there can’t be design until I grok the yarn in a fairly intense, hands-on way. I sometimes take the yarn for a series of test drives(some call it swatching) before I arrive at the place I need to be. Once there is good fabric, then the project can grow from there.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you hike? jog in the city? take your camera everywhere you go? have a studio full of inspiring color and images? 

Surely you jest. I am a serious slug and hardly leave my home. As an admitted sci-fi fan geek I immerse myself not in colors and fashion or artistic images, but in works of fantasy. Not that I design sci-fi fangeek crochet (not much anyway!), but I do tap into the sense of wonder, the outside-the-box possibilities that are at the core of my favorite guilty pleasures. My friends and readers inspire me. I may ask what sort of crochet they’d like to see, and then make it so. I also look backwards quite often, seeking out images and descriptions of vintage or retro pieces that can be translated into crochet-speak and given contemporary appeal. But what inspires me most is meeting a yarn that doesn’t want to live in my usual comfort zone. This pushes me to work even farther outside the box and leads me to different techniques, fresh approaches and new solutions in order to make that yarn happy in crochet.

Tell us about your design aesthetic. What can our customers expect to see from you this year?

My aesthetic is governed by what I believe looks and feels right on the body. Wearable, doable garments and accessories in flexible, forgiving fabrics that are shaped to fit and flatter are what I love to design. I prefer working in one single solid color, the better to showcase the crochet stitchwork. BUT…occasionally I wander over to the dark side and design afghans. That’s where I play with color. Nothing is as satisfying as making something amazing for your home to look at and enjoy every day

Tell us about your favorite Valley Yarn, is there a Valley Yarn you are excited to work with? 

My favorite Valley Yarn to date, mainly for the reason that I am allergic to and cannot wear wool, is Goshen. I have designed extensively in this lovely cotton blend, and it is my go-to medium worsted yarn for my own personal crocheted garments. I eagerly anticipate working again with fine gauge Charlemont and the growing family of Valley Superwash, now in DK, worsted and bulky weights.

What designers do you like/follow? Are there designs you wish you had time to knit/crochet/sew?

Majorly unfair question. Honestly I’d rather NOT know what everyone else is doing, so as not to be unduly influenced by anyone. If you want to accuse me of being a lazy slug, that’s another way to say it. I do follow with understandable interest the work of my boss at DesigningVashti.com, Vashti Braha. She often takes her crochet in directions I fear to tread and with enviable passion.

And don’t forget, we’ll have a new design from Fiona Ellis next month and each odd numbered month of the year. Check out her designs here. And we’ll reveal the next crochet design from Doris Chan in April, and in each even numbered month this year! You can see all her designs here.

Fiona Ellis – a Designer in Residence in her own words

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
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Artist or designer in residence programs are set up to foster close ties between an artist, their work and a particular establishment or organization. They are devised to allow time & space for the artist to explore their work, maybe even from a new perspective. It helps builds a closer relationship between the artist and the establishment and also allows everyone to see the behind the scenes workings and progress that ultimately leads to the end product. So I was absolutely thrilled when the wonderful people at WEBS invited me to be one of their Designers in Residence. The team at WEBS and I are hoping that our collaboration will foster not only wonderful patterns to showcase their gorgeous yarns, but also give knitters some context to those patterns along with some fun peaks behind the scenes. The pattern that I came up with for the January launch includes three ideas that are part of my designer philosophy or involve an aspect of my work that I have been recently developing.

Shapes & Motifs

Way back in school I hated mathematics. So it amuses to see how much, and with what relative ease, I now use those principles that I struggled so hard to learn. Somehow the fog surrounding them just lifted once I applied them to knitting. Case in point; when I’m designing a shape or motif I lean on simple geometry to figure out the angle of the line. Even a curved line, when you break it down, is in fact made up of the hypotenuse of series of triangles. And you have no idea how smart it makes me feel to be able to say that!

A sample graph for charting stitch increases from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence - read more at blog.yarn.com

Let me explain a little further. If you need a steep angle for your line you move (add or subtract) by just one stitch at a time each row. If you need a shallower angle (closer to horizontal) then you move by two or maybe three stitches at a time. The real fun begins when you use these angles in combination with each other to create different shapes. I have been using this rule (see how bossy I’m getting about this now) for quite some time to design non-symmetrical, organic looking shapes such as Paisleys. These kinds of shapes, rather than even geometric shapes like triangles, diamonds etc., require the incorporation of several different angles to create the curved line that defines the overall shape. The leaves I have incorporated into the I Feel Vine cardigan are an extension of this experimentation.

A sample chart, with knit swatch, for charting curved lines from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence - read more at blog.yarn.com

Using needles to changes gauge

I know that you all do gauge swatches. And also follow the instruction that tells you to change your needle size so that you obtain the same gauge that my test knitter used when making the sample. But have you thought about how needle size, along with stitch structure, changes the fabric that you are creating? I know many of you have, and understand the effect, but for those of you who might be new to the concept here is how I used this principle for this cardigan. Apart from allowing for achieving correct gauge, the other cool thing about changing needle sizes is that you can use the changes to create different fabric properties within the same garment. I did this for the ribbed section of the I Feel Vine cardigan. Ribbed fabric is very elastic and causes the fabric to compress widthwise. This is why it’s often used for cuffs when we need a snug fit at the lower edge of a piece. Combining this type of structure with a smaller needle for that section produces a lovely snug, but comfortable, waist shaping without having to change the stitch count at all.

A collage of inspiring floral imagess from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence - read more at blog.yarn.com

Finishing

For me a project isn’t over until all the little details have been dealt with; the seaming, closures, and finishing details. In some cases I need to take a less is more approach. There is quite a bit of patterning within each garment piece of the I Feel Vine cardigan so to add bulky or attention-grabbing bands I felt would have taken away from the design. I wanted the focus to be on the mid-section & the leaf patterning above. The closure for this cardigan therefore had to be minimal but elegant, so I used a “pick-up & then bind off immediately” trim with button loops that are created during the bind-off.

I do so hope that you like the design and enjoy making (and wearing it).

– Fiona

Designer in Residence – Fiona Ellis

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
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We’re so excited about our new Designer in Residence program for 2015! We’ve teamed up with two truly talented designers to bring you gorgeous knit and crochet designs that showcase some of our favorite Valley Yarns. This month we’re debuting the I Feel Vine Cardigan from knitwear designer Fiona Ellis and we’ll have a new design from her each odd numbered month of the year. And we’ll reveal the first crochet design from Doris Chan in February to be followed by a new design from her each even numbered month this year!

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence, her first design the I Feel Vine Cardigan in Valley Yarns Amherst - learn more at blog.yarn.com

This long-line cardigan worked in Valley Yarns Amherst is perfect for all seasons; cozy for the chilly months but also great to slip on over a sleeveless top in warmer months to fend off the chill of air conditioning. It’s clever use of stitch patterning utilizes the elasticity of rib patterning at the waist and cuff to give gentle shaping. The rib then morphs into a unique leaf pattern & finally into eyelet lace stitch work which adds to the overall femininity of this garment.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

We asked Fiona to tell us about about her process and inspiration, and to give us a bit of a sneak peek into what we can expect to see throughout the year.

Tell us about your design process. Do you have design ideas in your head that inspire you to search out the right yarn or do you find a yarn and let the design grow from there?

I keep an on-going archive, of sorts, for design ideas and projects that I want to work on. So mostly it’s the idea that comes first and then I search out the perfect yarn for the project/design rather than the other way around.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you hike? jog in the city? take your camera everywhere you go? have a studio full of inspiring color and images?

I find inspiration everywhere so I always carry a camera (or my phone) and try to bring a small notebook with me wherever I go. I find inspiration can strike at very strange times – sometimes it’s at 3am! And I find it’s a process that you can’t really command. The ideas just seem to appear of their own accord and can sometimes be fleeting or hard to pin down. So I end up with pockets full of ideas scribbled on coffee shop napkins because I forgot to bring my notebook with me that day. On the other hand I also have this mindfulness practice of taking a photo every day even if nothing seemingly exciting is happening. I’ve been doing this since Sept 2007 and have found some great ideas have emerged from this habit of encouraging myself to closely observe the world. I believe that somehow the two elements work off of each other.

Tell us about your design aesthetic. What can our customers expect to see from you this year?

I studied fashion knitwear design at University so my aesthetic has a lot to do with current (wearable) fashion trends in terms of garment silhouette. I have been a knitter practically my whole life so I like pattern-work that challenges me, though I do try to include sections in each project where there is less challenge, that way some parts of the project can be carried around or worked on in front of the TV (or even in a bar maybe).

Tell us about your favorite Valley Yarn, is there a Valley Yarn you are excited to work with?

It’s so hard to choose because they are all great and each one perfect for specific projects. So I’m going to choose Amherst for entirely personal reasons- see my answer to the next question.

How did you discover Valley Yarns, what is your history with WEBS?

I used to live in Massachusetts very near to WEBS, but this was in the days when I designed for ready to wear fashion houses, before I designed for the independent home knitter. I used to shop at WEBS for my personal projects but I had moved away from the area before I became intimately acquainted with the Valley Yarns.  Since then I have used them when they have been selected for magazine editorials such as the designs I have done for Twist  Collective, Knitters Magazine and others: Sugarbeach in Longmeadow,  Blue Helix in Colrain, Athabasca in Northampton,  and Paula in Stockbridge.

What designers do you like/follow? Are there designs you wish you had time to knit/crochet/sew?

I tend to look at couture designers and my most favorite is the late Alexander McQueen. In terms of knitwear designers that I admire, boy this is actually a long list. I admire so many of the designers working today, but if I had to pick just one I would chose Norah Gaughan. She always comes up with such eye-catching and wonderful designs, ones that I’m almost jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea myself. If I had time to knit for myself from somebody else pattern it would definitely be one of Norah’s…or maybe an Alice Starmore pattern.

Color Me Amazed

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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A lot of knitters like to use hand-dyed yarns like Madelinetosh, Lorna’s Laces, or Prism. A fair number of those knitters are disappointed when they experience color pooling, or when they don’t like the way one color in the skein works with another one. artful color, mindful knitsMaybe they’ve done a broken rib stitch and noticed that what they had hoped would be specks of dark blue against a rose background turned into big blotches of purple. There are lots of ways to learn how to work with hand-dyed yarns and I’ve found the absolute best resource of all to not only learn to work with those variegated yarns but to actually plan for how those colors show up in your garment. Laura Militzer Bryant, the founder of Prism Yarns, has written a new book entitled Artful Color, Mindful Knits: A Definitive Guide to Working with Hand-Dyed Yarns, and it goes beyond any other book I know to show fiber artists how to craft with color.

As an art-school graduate, Laura became fascinated with hand-dyed yarns when she first saw them at a trade show in the early 1980’s, and learned how to dye yarns as a result. She founded her own hand-dyed yarn company, photo by Amy StephensPrism, and out of the necessity of having to showcase those yarns, she became a knitwear designer. Both of those talents are shown to amazing advantage in Artful Color, Mindful Knits. She can show you how to stack your colors, how to splash your colors, even how to create an argyle pattern with your skein, all by using her Magic Number system that uses the length of a color repeat, the amount of yarn used for a single stitch, and the total number of stitches. Period. When I learned how to anticipate and even plan when a color shows up in your knitting to form a pattern, I wanted to award Laura a Nobel Prize. The designs that accompany the various color schemes are gorgeous. Jackets, hats, scarves, vests, and sweaters, all in vivid colors and patterns that show a master’s touch are readily accessible to any knitter or crocheter.

Artful Color, Mindful Knits includes a thorough color tutorial in the front of the book, which is eye-opening. Laura shows readers in simple language how colors interact with each other and how we perceive them. This helps us plan how to use color and what colors work best in hundreds of different patterns and yarns.  The book also has a wonderful technique section in the back of the book, showing how to do various cast-ons, increases and decreases, and bind-offs, as well as crochet techniques. It’s really a treasure trove of information, one that will be used again and again.ArtfulColor-7

Hey, local blog-readers: Laura will be coming to WEBS on June 7 to sign copies of her new book from 3:30–4:30pm. Come by to see the Prism Yarns trunk show or sign up for her Introduction to Color class. You will be amazed at what you can do!

Valley Yarns Southwick featured in Knitscene Summer 2014

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
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The newest design from Julia Farwell-Clay, in the Summer 2014 issue of Knitscene magazine, is knit with our Valley Yarns Southwick. I-cord ties worked into the sleeves of this wide-necked raglan pullover allow you to choose how much shoulder peeks through. This fantastic cover-up is worked from the bottom up in the round to the underarms.

Available in 20 rich colors, the 52% Pima Cotton/48% Bamboo fiber content of Valley Yarns Southwick makes for summer garments that feel cool on the skin but the worsted weight gauge means your projects will work up quickly. What color will you choose?

Valley Yarns featured in Knit Simple

Monday, March 31st, 2014
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The Spring/ Summer 2014 issue of Knit Simple is out and features 2 great designs with Valley Yarns Amherst and Longmeadow.

The feather-and-fan lace gently scallops the bottom edge of this charming capelet, while dotted ribbing adds flattering vertical lines. Knit with just 4 balls of Amherst this is a quick and inexpensive project to brighten your spring wardrobe. Which color will you choose?

To work this charming striped blanket, start at the center and knit your way out. Increases form symmetrical diagonal lines, while punchy colors and super-soft yarn make it a perfect companion for your favorite tot.  With almost 20 colors of Longmeadow to choose from you can pick 6 of your favorites for endless color combinations.