Archive for the ‘Authors & Designers’ Category

First Watch Pea Coat – new design and a giveaway!

Monday, January 9th, 2017
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Marie Greene, from Olive Knits has just released a new design knit in our Valley Yarns Berkshire. Her First Watch Pea Coat is a lovely modern take on the classic pea coat, with subtle, crisp details that make this sweater a classic piece that you will wear for years. We asked Marie to share the story of this design.

First Watch Pea Coat from Olive Knits, read about the design journey of this knit, and enter to win the yarn and pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Design Insights:

For me, knitwear design usually always begins with a structure or a place – a bridge, a coastline, an outdoor marketplace. I am always open to inspiration in unexpected places, and more often than not it’s the littlest things that kick off an idea.

My philosophy is simple: I want my designs to be timeless and wearable, but equally important – I want them to be portable. I’m a knitter on the go, and I design with this in mind. I knit during meetings, at the beach, when I travel, when I’m visiting friends – I am never without a project. Some projects travel well and some don’t, but I find that the more portable a project is, the easier it is to finish. (And the sooner I finish, the sooner I can wear it, right?)

First Watch was inspired by my home near the Oregon Coast – a place where the ocean breezes can cut right through several layers (even when you think you’ve bundled up enough).  I’ve always loved the minimal style of a pea coat; it’s a perfect example of form and function, and this one – knit with Valley Yarns Berkshire at a relatively dense gauge makes for a toasty fabric that holds its own on a cold day. The yarn blocks beautifully and provides clear stitch definition for ribbing and details. The result is a sturdy, totally wearable piece that you’ll find yourself reaching for again and again throughout the cold season. Best of all, it’s a quick, seamless knit with the button band worked right along as you go.

Designed for sizes 32-52 with a little ease for layering, First Watch is a versatile piece that you’ll love so much you’ll wear it every time the temperature drops.

First Watch Pea Coat from Olive Knits, read about the design journey of this knit, and enter to win the yarn and pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

 

I have to agree with Marie, I love it, and  I just have to decide what color of Berkshire I’m going to use. For more info on Marie or her Olive Knits designs please follow her on Ravelry or Instagram.

THANKS TO EVERYONE THAT PARTICIPATED! This Giveaway is now closed.

Now for the Giveaway! Tell us what color of Berkshire you’d like to use and where you heard/saw about this giveaway in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the pattern and a full sweater quantity of Berkshire to knit your own First Watch! The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada, and closes at 11:59pm EST Sunday, January 15th.

Please use a valid email address when creating your comment account, anonymous comments prevent us from contacting you if you are the winner. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator,  the comment with that number will be the winner.  If the winner has not responded to requests after 1 week a new winner will be chosen using the same method.

(No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Only comments on this blog post count as an entry. Entries must include a preferred color of Valley Yarns Berkshire and the platform where the entrant learned about the giveaway. The winner will be announced here on the WEBS Blog on Monday, January 16th.)

Valley Superwash Bulky in two new patterns!

Thursday, December 15th, 2016
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Just in time for the holidays you can whip up a bright and colorful cardigan for the little person in your life! The Honeycomb Child’s Cardigan features bright, striped sleeves and a whimsical honeycomb pattern on the body. Valley Superwash Bulky is a soft, machine-washable yarn that is perfect for kids, and with ingenious knit-in buttons this one is safe for your curious toddler! Designer Melissa Metzbower learned to knit as a teen and started creating her own patterns when she couldn’t find the right clothes for her sensitive skinned daughter. She says her designs are need driven, and very practical. Since they are geared toward busy people most of the designs call for washable yarns, and are meant to be as knitter-friendly as possible. Melissa really enjoyed getting to work with this yarn, “I absolutely love the squishiness of Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky. This project was one I was sorry to see finished. The colors are so rich, the yarn knits up quickly, and the squish!!! Yum! The bonus to this yarn is that it is washable. Love that!”

The Honeycomb Child's Cardigan in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And everyone needs a great last minute knit that looks fabulous, and the Firelight Shawl fits the bill! Whether you need a gift or something for yourself, just 3 skeins of Valley Superwash Bulky becomes a stunning little shawl, and when worked in a bold color it’s the ideal accessory to make you holiday outfit pop. Worked bottom up so the lace is worked through first this shawl finishes with short-row shaping and nearly mindless stockinette! With an interesting combination of color and texture, designer Kimberly Voisin has created a classic layering piece that really spans the seasons. A trained designer that found herself constantly making changes to other people’s patterns, Kimberly began designing her own patterns and hasn’t looked back. For her first Valley Yarns design she says, “The thing I loved most about this yarn was the rich color. It was beautiful.  The yarn was also incredibly soft which made it a pleasure to work with.”
The Firelight Shawl in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com
What quick, bulky patterns are you casting on this week?

Introducing the Blue Quartz Cowl

Friday, December 9th, 2016
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It’s the perfect time of year to wrap yourself up in the squishy comfort of an extra long cowl. Whether you prefer to wear it long like a scarf or scrunch it up doubled for extra warmth the Blue Quartz Cowl is the ideal piece to add to your winter wardrobe.

The Blue Quartz Cowl in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky now available. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Designer Fatimah Hinds drew on her background as a geologist to craft an interlocking matrix of cables and lace that evokes the beauty of a quartz crystal. Worked sideways and seamed this pattern can be easily customized to your perfect length. And when knit in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky, with it’s combination of incredible loft and softness, it easily becomes a go-to knit for that perfect holiday gift.

How will you wear your Blue Quartz Cowl?

New designs in Valley Yarns Sunderland

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016
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Just in time for the cooler Autumn weather we have two new designs in Valley Yarns Sunderland, our 100% baby alpaca in a super versatile DK weight!
The Rays Cardigan designed by Nataliya Polyakov is really the perfect outer layer for Fall.  With it’s 1×1 ribbing throughout, and the super soft baby alpaca, this piece is equally stylish with a decorative cami or  over your favorite sweater! Nataliya learned to knit from her grandmother and started designing to create pieces she just couldn’t find anywhere else.  With an abundant yarn stash and an eye for design inspiration in everyday life, Nataliya designed the Rays Cardigan to take advantage of the incredible softness and drape of Sunderland, “This yarn rocks!”
Get your copy of the Rays Cardigan PDF and Valley Yarns Sunderland at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com
We’ve already been lucky enough to publish two designs from Tian Connaughton this year and are thrilled to add one more! The Ansonia Shawl gets all of the hard work out of the way first with a gorgeous twisted stitch lace border and then it’s smooth sailing through a stockinette stitch body to the end. Knit in next-to-the-skin soft Sunderland this shawl is just the right extra layer over a longsleeve to or under your coat. Tian is planning a full wardrobe of knitted items for herself this holiday season. The Ansonia Shawl is a great project to start with!
Get your copy of the Ansonia Shawl PDF and Valley Yarns Sunderland at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com
What will you make with Valley Yarns Sunderland this holiday season? Will it be a gift for yourself, someone else? Will it be an original design or an old favorite?

Join the Kitschmas Stocking CAL!

Monday, November 7th, 2016
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Join designer, Vickie Howell for a holiday prep Crochet-along!

Join the Kitschmas Stocking CAL Nov 17th - 22nd. Find out more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

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!

New designs in Valley Yarns Northampton

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
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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.

Get your copy of the Cabello Cowl PDF and Valley Yarns Northampton at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com

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!”

Just one skein of Northampton is all you need for the Cabello Cowl, making it a project that cost under $12.00! Get your needles ready and get some holiday gift knitting started!

Get your copy of the Valentina Cardigan PDF and Valley Yarns Northampton at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com

For a larger project, one that will expand your wardrobe for the winter, try the Valentina Cardigan designed by Andrea Sanchez.

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?

New Patterns for Valley Yarns Brimfield!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
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We’ve got two fantastic new patterns the month for our Valley Yarns Brimfield!

blurry lines fb

 

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.

blurry lines and brimfield fb

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!

hendrie park fb

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.

hendrie park and Brimfield fbWhen 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?

New Valley Yarns designs from Vickie Howell!

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
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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!

NEW! Valley Superwash Super Bulky in exclusive Vickie Howell colors, read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

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.

NEW! Valley Superwash Super Bulky in exclusive Vickie Howell colors and 5 brand new designs! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

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!

NEW! Vickie Howell patterns! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Which of these new patterns will you make first?

Embellish That Stuff!

Friday, August 5th, 2016
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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.

Amy's suggestions for adding embroidery to your knits, on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

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!

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
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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 Shenandoah Valley Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

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!

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

With a gorgeous combination of lace and cables, this light and airy yet scrumptiously warm shawl could be the perfect accessory, and with almost 30 colors of 2/14 Alpaca Silk to choose from you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you. Download your copy of the pattern now and cast on!