Archive for the ‘Authors & Designers’ Category

Guest Teacher Spotlight: Caro Sheridan

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

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

We recently chatted with Caro about her class:

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

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

Photos by Caro Sheridan

(Photos by Caro Sheridan)

Why is styling important?

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

What can students expect to learn in your class?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready, Set, Knit #253: Kathy talks with Kate Atherley

Saturday, February 11th, 2012
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Guest: Kate Atherley, author of Beyond Knit & Purl. Kate studied mathematics and has always been a knitter. She worked in the tech industry for 15 years and knit throughout. 10 years ago she started teaching knitting. Kate created the book as a follow-up to the questions she receives after teaching someone the basics of knitting.

The book is available online as a digital PDF and also available as a physical copy.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

KAL with Kirsten

Hearts of Oak Hat

It’s a simple, straight-forward hat. You’ll need just one ball of Valley Yarns Northampton in red. For the cast on, Kirsten recommends knitting the first couple rows of the ribbing flat, and then joining it. This way, it’s easier to join in the round without twisting. Next week, Kirsten will get into the stitch pattern.

Facebook Party will be Friday, February 17th from 3:00pm-4:00pm. Ask us questions and we’ll be online answering your questions.

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Beyond Knit & Purl Blog Tour

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
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Hi Everyone,

We’re participating in the blog tour for Kate Atherley’s new book Beyond Knit & Purl, released by Cooperative Press (and available in an easy PDF download).

Beyond Knit & Purl is the answer to the questions asked of Kate after 10 years teaching knitting – the questions that come after learning the two basic stitches, like “What’s a good first project?” and ” I’m tired of scarves. What’s next?” Not only will you find a wealth of tips, tricks, and advice, you’ll also find a wonderful collection of patterns to try out your new skills.

The chapters are set-up by topic: Choosing a Pattern, Prepping for Success, Working from a Pattern, What Patterns Don’t Tell You, Frequently Asked Questions, Shaping, In the Round, Socks, Cables, Lace, and Colorwork.

You’ll find great tips throughout the book, such as how to select the right size. There is also “Knitterly Advice” sprinkled throughout provided by knitters from all over.

Beyond Knit & Purl has fantastic step-by-step pictures of the skills that are detailed in the book. Not only is it great for new knitters, it is a splendid reference for the more seasoned knitter out there.

As if the tips, tricks, and skills weren’t enough, there are also fantastic patterns for everything from socks and lace to accessories.

Hop on over to the Cooperative Press website and take a peek at the preview!

What is the best advice you received as a new knitter or crocheter?

Kate Atherley will be on Ready, Set, Knit with Kathy this Saturday!

Ready, Set, Knit #251: Kathy talks with Stephannie Tallent

Saturday, January 28th, 2012
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Guest: Stephannie Tallent, author of the upcoming California Revival Knits. Her first book is set to be released soon with Cooperative Press. It in inspired by the colors and architecture of southern California. Think beautiful, bright, Spanish-influenced tiles and wrought iron. There are projects in the book for everyone! Several of the projects would be great for your first colorwork project.

Stephannie also shares a bit of her background and how she got into knitting.

Find Stephannie at www.sunsetcat.com and on Ravelry as stephcat.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Trends from TNNA

Ruffle yarns were everywhere! Lots of different variations on the ruffle yarn theme, including new ideas. If you prefer classic yarns, don’t worry, those aren’t going anywhere. Lots of cotton/linen designs for spring.

Facebook Party – Friday, February 10th 3:30pm-4:30pm EST. We’ll be answering questions and chatting about what you’re working on.

Pre-Game Party at the store Sunday, February 5th

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Deep South Knitting Blog Tour and Review

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
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Hi Everyone,

We’re participating in the blog tour for Deep South Knitting by Beth Moriarty.

This new book from the creator of the site planetpurl.com is a fantastic collection of patterns inspired by the South. You’ll also find great facts and delicious recipes. The book is divided by states and each state includes a great introductory page, facts about the state, and fantastic pictures.

Here are just a few of the patterns.

I love that the book includes the sizes of the models so you can get an idea of what the project looks like on a person who is similarly sized. I wish every book did that.

I also want to try all of the recipes in the book. I was very excited to see that the Red Velvet cake and frosting were nearly identical to the recipe I grew up enjoying, so I can say that this recipe is worth trying!

We sent some questions over to Beth and she was kind enough to answer them. Enjoy!

What’s your knitting history? When did you start? Who taught you, etc.?
I learned to knit in Junior High from a lovely lady who owned a knitting shop in Cocoa Beach. It was when acrylic yarn (scratchy stuff in crazy colors) first came out and I knit a hideous fluorescent green scarf. I gave up knitting when I became interested in boys and didn’t start again until about 6 years ago. After “feeling” my way through a local shop, I was hooked. I am hopelessly, hopelessly addicted to soft, fluffy yarn, and not afraid to admit it.

Tell us a little about your inspiration for Deep South Knitting.
That credit, or blame, goes to my niece Erin, who did a lot of the design and programming work on PlanetPurl.com. It was her idea to do a regionally-inspired book, since Planet Purl is all about travel and knitting. Or rather, it was her idea that I do a book. Since I consider myself a Southern woman, and I love this section of the country, it was a natural first choice. My love letter to the South. Plus, I was going to include some of my own recipes in the book, and who doesn’t love southern cooking?

What made you decide to separate the designs by states?
On family trips, I always play the role of tour guide, I love to research where I’m headed, the history, things to see and do. In Deep South Knitting, I get to take the reader on a journey through the South. We arranged the states as if we were taking a driving tour from the North through the Deep South. We’ve included some travel tidbits, like where to see the best camellias in Alabama, Florida’s best beaches, New Orleans’ celebrations, bourbon tasting in Kentucky, and the Mississippi Blues Trail, for example. I hope it gives readers a taste (no pun intended) of a really special part of America.

Did all of the delicious recipes come from your kitchen? Which one is your favorite?
All the recipes in the book are mine, and the pictures are of food that came right from my own kitchen. I love to cook and bake (Austrian Goulash is simmering on the stove while I write this) even though you can’t knit while you’re up to you elbows in flour. As for a favorite, it’s hard to beat my Red Velvet Cake. But if I need something in a hurry to take to a friend or contribute to a potluck, my Chocolate Toffee Pecan Pie (10 minutes of prep!) or my Pralines are my go-to dishes. Both are highly addictive, though. Consider yourself warned….

If you could only have one yarn in your stash what would it be and why?
That’s tough! If money were no object, my first thought was vicuna, but it only comes in one color. Next thought — muskox. More colors, but then it’s all lace-weight. Maybe cashmere? The left side of my brain says that since I love color and variety, and assuming I’m paying for this yarn, I would have choose a light worsted alpaca/wool blend. Soft, great color selection, double it up for chunky or knit on big needles for lace. The wool helps it keep its shape. I used your Valley Yarns Stockbridge doubled for the Blue Ridge Lap Throw in the book. So that’s the choice the left side of my brain would make. The right side is saying: “Shut up and go for the cashmere!” Rowan and Classic Elite have really yummy cashmere yarns.

How many projects do you currently have going? What are you currently knitting?
I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how many are my needles…over 20 (gulp!). I have personal projects that I rarely get time to work on, I’m already working on projects for the next book, I’m launching my own downloadable pattern line this year under the PurlQueen Patterns label, plus, I’m working on projects for Planet Purl’ s online classes. The two projects that I’m most actively working on are the Snow Princess Capelet for the upcoming Fair Isle and steeking class, and a little cotton cropped jacket inspired by a sweet, defunct “happy whale” attraction on Route 66.

What constitutes a perfect day for Beth Moriarty?
Oh, this one’s easy! I was a trial attorney for 25 years and finally “retired” to work at something I love. So for me, any day I don’t have to practice law is a perfect day. I tell people who knew me then that my very worst day writing, designing, knitting or even doing website database maintenance (that last one is my least favorite) is better than the best day I ever had as a lawyer. Occasionally, I do put my lawyer hat back on to help a friend or family member; my husband definitely notices the difference in my mood. So for me, a day surrounded by yarn, my dogs, and the friendship of other knitters is a perfect day. If there are pralines or Red Velvet Cake on the evening’s menu, even better!

Check out this new book!

Mary

Ready, Set, Knit #244

Saturday, November 19th, 2011
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There will be no show next week. Happy Thanksgiving to our customers in the U.S.!

Guest: Mathew Gnagy, author of Knitting Off the Axis, which features a great collection of patterns created with sideways knitting. Check out the unique designs and techniques in this interesting book! Kathy and Mathew discuss how he became a knitwear designer and how he began with sideways knitting. Mathew also gives a peek at his design insight for some of the patterns: Lynette (Ravelry link), Jose (Ravelry link).

Steve’s Yarn Picks

WEBS will be closed on Thanksgiving, but on Sunday, November 27th, our Sunday Holiday Hours start. We’ll be open 12:00pm-5:00pm.

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Weekend Hats

Monday, November 7th, 2011
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Hi Everyone!

Did you catch Ready, Set, Knit this past weekend? Kathy talked to Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre about their new book Weekend Hats. If features 25 knitted hats in styles to make everyone happy, including caps, berets, cloches, and more.

Hats are great because they usually take only one or two balls of yarn and they’re small projects that are super portable. Since they’re smaller than sweaters, hats are also a fun way to try out new techniques.

Melissa and Cecily have some of their own great designs in the book, but you’ll also find chapeaus from many wonderful designers, including WEBS-alums Elisabeth Parker and Cirilia Rose (as well as Melissa herself). Elisabeth’s hat is even knit in Valley Yarns Semi-Solid Hand Dyed.

If you’re looking to use up some of your stash, perhaps for holiday gifts (can you tell what my plan is?), Weekend Hats is a great book to have on your shelf.

Mary

P.S. If you love Melissa and Cecily’s hats, check out their patterns – Knitting School Dropout PDFs and Winged Knits Patterns.

Ready, Set, Knit #242: Kathy talks with Melissa LaBarre and Cecily Glowik MacDonald about their new book Weekend Hats

Saturday, November 5th, 2011
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Guests: Melissa LaBarre and Cecily Glowik MacDonald talk about their new book Weekend Hats. Hats are great small projects and this book is full of wonderful patterns! Make sure you check this one out, and check back to the blog on Monday for a peek at the book.

Find Melissa: knittingschooldropout.com

Find Cecily: cecilyam.wordpress.com, cecilyam on Twitter and Ravelry

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Gwen Steege will be here November 10th for her book The Knitter’s Life List

Bag Day is November 19th at WEBS – grab a bag and save locally.

 

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Nelkin Designs Patterns

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

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Ennoble:

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

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

Cayden:

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

Iota Collection:

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

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

Knit Custom Fitted Socks with Andi Smith

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

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

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Andi, tell us a bit about yourself.

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

What is your favorite aspect of knitting?

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

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

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

 

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

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

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

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

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

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

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