Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week3

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
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This week we’re making the head and arms of the Polar Bear. These pieces are worked from the bottom up.

WEBS #PolarBearKAL Week3 - knitting the head and arms - visit yarn.com for more details

You’ll increase for both at a sharp angle and then decrease at a much slower rate towards the top for a tapered look. Remember to tuck the ears down to the outside as you bind off for the head or his ears will be stuck on the inside! Give yourself generous tails when you cast on and after you bind off, that way you’ll have plenty of yarn to work with when seaming these pieces closed and when sewing them onto the body.

Seam the bottom of the head and the bottom of the arms closed carefully, I like to use a faux grafting stitch so they appear seamless. Then it’s time to stuff.

week 3 two

Be careful of over stuffing! Just like we talked about last week, you want to be sure to have enough stuffing to give your knitting shape and stability but not so much that it’s over stuffed. And for the arms I only put the smallest amount of stuffing down at the fingers. This helps the arms to lie a little flatter on his tummy.

Next week we’ll get his legs knit and talk about assembly!

If you missed the materials list and you want to join in check out the first post for this KAL here, and we knit the body in last’ week’s posts here. How are your bears coming along?

#HotChocolateHolidays Workshops Are Open for Business!

Friday, October 10th, 2014
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As many of you know, WEBS is a big supporter of Safe Passage, an organization here in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts that helps women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Safe Passage produces what is arguably the most fun way of raising money every year, and that is The Hot Chocolate Run, a 2-mile walk/5K run in early December. The Hot Chocolate Run (and yes, Virginia, there IS hot chocolate at the finish!) has grown from a few hundred intrepid runners in its infancy to over 5,000 runners and walkers, all of whom are united in raising money to help this worthy cause, and in their dedication to drinking hot chocolate from the mugs that are handed out to each participant.

Your customized lip balm

WEBS has sponsored this event for many years, and this year, fresh off some exhausting fund-raising I did last year for Safe Passage, I thought I’d join in the spirit of giving in a bigger way and conceived the #HotChocolateHolidays Workshops. Three local crafting entities have joined with WEBS to host a fun-night-out to teach a DIY skill  that can be a gift for a special someone for the winter holidays or even a gift you give yourself. The best part is that a percentage of the kits bought to make the crafts will go right to Safe Passage.

hot chocolate beads and charmsThe Haberdashery is a way-cool space in a neighboring town and they bill themselves as “Gifts and Guidance for Crafty Homesteaders,” and that encapsulates their mission. Melody Litwin will teach budding fashionistas how to make lipstick and lip balm on October 30. The Northampton Beadery ‘s Brenda McGirk will showcase some hot-chocolate colored beaded bracelets with AMAZINGLY CUTE hot chocolate and running shoe charms on November 13.

gorgeous gift bags

 

And Tess Poe from Beehive Sewing Studio, a maker-space right down the street from us, will help attendees make a gift-bag set and give out beautiful handmade gift tags. All the workshops are only $10 each, and are held right here at WEBS.It would be great to have theseworkshops fill right up, and that’s where you come in! Sign up, bring a friend, learn a craft, give a wonderful organization a chance to help as many victims as possible. It’s not to soon to start stockpiling those gifts for the moment you realize that you need a fun stocking-stuffer or gift bag and it’s 8:00pm on a Sunday night. Join us!

 

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week 2

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
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Now that you’ve got all your materials assembled let’s get to knitting!

Polar Bear KAL on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

If you’re working on double pointed needles for this project you’ll be using 4 for the body since the stitches are divided into three sections, stitches on three needles and the forth for working the stitches. Keep in mind that the body is worked from the top down, you’re starting up at the neck area. The increases will build the body into a pyramid shape and once you finish the increases the additional rows that are worked evenly(with no increases or decreases) will begin to round out the body for the bear’s belly.

Keep an eye on the pattern in the early rounds! The number of rounds knit between the increase rounds changes, a sure to mark the beginning of your round in some fashion. If you’re using double pointed needles you can pop a stitch marker right into the knit fabric itself, if you’re using two circulars, or the magic-loop method, you can place it right on the needle.

Watch your gauge! When knitting garments or accessories with a bulky yarn you want to make sure that your stitches aren’t so densely packed that the finished fabric is stiff but that is EXACTLY what you’re aiming for in a stuffed animal. The pattern specifies 4 sts per inch on US size 8 needles and while you wouldn’t want to go up a needle size and have less stitches per inch you certainly could go down a needle size and aim for even more stitches per inch. Remember that you’re going to have to stuff this bear so the tighter your stitch gauge the better.

Here you can see a comparison of knit fabrics, one that is right on gauge and one that is even tighter.

Polar Bear KAL on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Once your tail is done there is one purl round and then you start the decreases for the bottom. The underside of the bear’s body is flat so he can sit without falling over. Near the end of your decreases you’ll pause to stuff the bear. Be sure to stuff the top part of the bear well but don’t over-stuff towards the bottom, remember you want him to be able to sit flat! You’ll want to be very careful not to over-stuff your bear. You don’t need a bear that will bounce, you just need enough stuffing to fill the knit piece and give it stability.

Polar Bear KAL on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Finish up the bottom and weave in your ends, week two is done! Next week we’ll work on the head and the arms. Feel free to post about your progress in a comment on this and future posts, on our Facebook wall, on YOUR Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram, and use the hashtag #PolarBearKAL We may feature your in-progress and finished bears in a future post!

If you missed the materials list and you want to join in check out the first post for this KAL here.

 

 

It’s KAL Time – Join us in knitting the Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
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It’s time for another WEBS KAL (Knit Along)! This month we’re working on the Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear. All the proceeds from the sale of this pattern go directly to Safe Passage,  and you can learn more about that organization and our commitment to it here. Each Thursday this month we’ll be here talking about knitting the different parts of the bear, the assembly, his adorable face and his super cute accessories!

HCRPB KAL promo

To join us you’ll need 4 skeins of Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky (2 skeins of Natural, one of Red and one of Black), US size 8 (5.00mm) double-pointed needles, polyfil stuffing, stitch markers, a tapestry needle, scissors, and a copy of the pattern.  Get your materials assembled and meet us back here next Thursday!

Follow along each week:

Week 2 – making the body of the bear.

 

Local Weavers “Help Our Kids”

Monday, April 14th, 2014
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January 30, 2014 -- Local weaver Vicki Patillo weaves the first of 5 blankets that will be donated to Help Our Kids, a local nonprofit organization for foster children. Patillo is one of several members of the Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild who are donating their time.

January 30, 2014 — Local weaver Vicki Patillo weaves the first of five blankets that will be donated to HelpOurKids, a local non-profit organization for foster children.  She is one of several guild members who donated their time.

Members of the Pioneer Valley Weavers guild recently completed a service project in which they handwove approximately 20 blankets for foster children and babies in the Western Massachusetts area.  Five of the blankets were woven right here at WEBS America’s Yarn Store and donated, along with over 15 other handwoven, knit and crocheted blankets to local non-profit organization HelpOurKids.  

WEBS founder Barbara Elkins began thinking about the project in October of last year and was pleased by the response from the guild and other customers at WEBS.  “There will be some children that will have something of their own and that’s very special.  When they are transferred to a new foster home, a (security) blanket can be very helpful,” Elkins said.

HelpOurKids director Noryn A. Resnick said that the focus of foster care is “too often limited to just being sure that they (foster children) have a place to sleep and enough food.  The part that is missing is athletic equipment to enable them to join a team, music lessons, a prom dress a backpack etc.”  Resnick decided to start HelpOurKids to help foster children fill in specific needs beyond the basics “that make every child feel like a ‘normal’ part of society.”

Guild weaver Pat Kapitzky of Florence, MA chose to participate in the project because she knows how special blankets can be for growing children.  She said, “the idea is that the foster children, when they move around, they have a pretty blanket they can take with them.  I remember my blankie and my two children’s blankies, and they were very important”.  They offered “comfort and security,” she said.

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February 17, 2014 — Dorothy Schimel of Florence, Massachusetts, measures the length of a blanket to donate to foster children at local non-profit, HelpOurKids. 

Elkins volunteered use of an 8-shaft Schacht loom on display in the store and all of the necessary materials for the project.  During the months of January and February weavers came into the store during normal shopping hours to work on their blankets.  Elkins said, “I volunteered the loom and materials because it is in line with WEBS’ values of contributing where we can.  We have a history of donating yarn to causes we support.”  Guild members who could not weave on the loom at WEBS chose to weave individual blankets at home.

March 3, 2014 -- WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, left, and Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild Representative, Deb Adamczyk, right, cut hand woven blankets from the loom.

March 3, 2014 — WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, left, and Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild Representative, Deb Adamczyk, right, cut handwoven blankets from the loom.

The loom was dressed with enough warp to weave up to five blankets.  Elkins and store manager Leslie Ann Bestor set up a striped 3/2 cotton warp with accenting stripes of variegated cotton flake.  All blankets needed to be machine washable and soft and have a finished size of 30 inches wide by about 36 inches long.  Elkins kept the terms and conditions of the project pretty loose allowing weavers to showcase their creativity and skill.

News of the project spread throughout the various social groups at WEBS, inspiring knitters and crocheters who were not connected to the guild to also participate.  Local customers in the weekly drop-in groups at WEBS donated another dozen knit and crocheted blankets.

Elkins said that the blanket project is one of several socially worthwhile projects the guild takes on every year.  “I can’t say the effort was a surprise; it wasn’t.  We have a history of concern for others and an interest in spreading the word about weaving.  I was very pleased by the amount of participation.  Weavers are a generous bunch of people,” she said.

According to Elkins, over WEBS’ 40 year history they have always tried to contribute where they could.  In the years since Kathy and Steve took over those efforts have only grown exponentially.  “It is important that we give back because we have received such overwhelming support from our customers,” she said.

March 3, 2014 -- WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, surges hand woven blankets.

March 3, 2014 — WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, prepares handwoven blankets to be cut and finished by weavers at home.

Blankets were hand delivered to HelpOurKids Director Noryn A. Resnick at the once a month guild meeting held at WEBS.  When she addressed the group, she thanked them for their donated time and effort.  According to Resnick, foster children are often moved around without any belongings.  “This will stay with them when they go to their emergency foster home and then when they go into their permanent foster home.  It provides them stability and some consistency.”

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March 11, 2014 — Director of local non-profit, Help Our Kids, Noryn A. Resnick, (center), received over 20 handmade blankets from weavers, knitters and crocheters at the once a month guild meeting held at WEBS America’s Yarn Store.

Acknowledging the amount of care and skill woven into these blankets, Resnick said that these pieces will likely be heirlooms for the children as they grow older.  “I said to Barbara, you’re not only warming their bodies, but you’re warming their minds because they’re afraid, they’re frightened and just to have something that’s their own and that they can depend on and cuddle, it’s just really wonderful.  Someday when they’re in a stable environment, they’ll get to keep this and know that someone really did care about them and that they were not forgotten.”

For more information about HelpOurKids or to make a donation, please visit http://www.helpourkidsinc.org/.

Boston Strong Hat

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
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Boston Strong Hat designed by Lisa McFetridgeWe were recently contacted by Lisa McFetridge, who designed the Boston Strong Hat. She asked if we would be interested in offering the pattern for sale on our website and donating the proceeds to OneFundBoston (which continues to offer support to the families effected). We didn’t have to consider our answer for very long.

Many of us on the WEBS staff are runners, and even more of us grew up in Massachusetts. Having grown up in Massachusetts myself, my family and I spent a lot of time visiting Boston while growing up and loved it (so much that I considered going to school there and moving to that side of the state). Many of us recall last April 15th and watching the frightening events. Several of us even knew people who were running or in Boston to support their runner. Even more, we recall the victims and the incredible strength that the survivors and first responders showed, and continue to show.

The hat includes instruction on making a close fitting skull cap or a taller ski cap style. It features the Boston skyline, the phrase “Boston Strong,” and four stars to commemorate the victims of that day. The suggested yarn is Cascade 220 in Blue Velvet and Goldenrod.

With this year’s Boston Marathon approaching in a couple months, we hope you’ll consider purchasing the pattern and supporting OneFundBoston.

Ready, Set, Knit #274: Kathy Talks with Pam Heschke

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
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Guest: Pam Heschke, Founder and President of Halos of Hope and 8 year cancer survivor, talks with Kathy about her organization and her mission to comfort patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Our own Valley Yarns Valley Superwash would be a great yarn to use for hats to donate to Halos of Hope. 

They also talk about the incredible volunteers who have made and donated over 72,000 handmade hats and the ongoing fundraiser that will culminate at Stitches East in October.

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events
Listen close, Steve mentions a brand new Valley Yarn that will debut at Stitches Midwest!

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Charity Knitting All-Star

Monday, January 9th, 2012
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Susan is a familiar face in our store and our weekly drop-in sessions, and she is a graduate of our Expert Knitters Program. You could say she’s an all-around WEBS girl! We have seen her progress on a long-term charity knitting project and have finally gotten some much needed details of this enormous undertaking! Be inspired!! What is your New Year’s resolution?

Here’s what she has to say….

Appalachian Sweater Project

Question: What happens when you combine a large yarn stash with a career retirement and an insightful story about Appalachian children?

Answer: A most unexpected project that took me on a two-year journey.

In 2009, Diane Sawyer of ABC News presented a special entitled A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains. I found this special to be an extraordinary story of Appalachian children and the challenges they face each day. The stories of these children lingered with me for a long time as their poverty is something I cannot imagine. I wondered what I could do to help.

Months before, I retired from a near thirty-year career with a health services organization. The retirement came earlier than planned due to long-term medical conditions and admittedly, I was a bit lost going from a ten-to-twelve hour workday to a non-structured day. My focus was to do what was needed to improve my health, but there was still something missing — I kept thinking about the children of Appalachia and what I could do to help them.

Late one Saturday night, I had an idea. What if I used the large yarn stash I had built to help those children? What if I were to knit sweaters for these children to help keep them warm? I searched the internet for an organization in Appalachia and found many. I focused on an organization that services 30,000 in Appalachia and was established since 1952. I wrote them a note on their website asking if they would accept and distribute 100 hand-knit children’s sweaters. My goal was to send the sweaters in groups of twenty-five over the course of two years. I received a response from Sister Robbie who was excited and grateful for the offer. Thus, a project was born.

I began knitting, accumulating patterns, and was excited to see my yarn stash slowly decrease. The first group of 25 sweaters were sent to Appalachia early in 2010 with another batch in late 2010. June of 2011 rolled around and group three was sent and as of December, 2011, the last group of sweaters is making its way to Kentucky.

What I Learned

This project began as something to help me to look forward to when not feeling well (most of the time) and to assist with the transition into retirement. It ended up being so much more. Here’s a bit of what I learned:

  • Children’s sweaters are a great way to learn new techniques or use new yarn you’ve been meaning to try.
  • Blocking a sweater is when the ‘magic’ begins. Each and every time I was amazed to see a heap of knitted pieces transform into a beautiful sweater.
  • The buttons are critical and make-or-break the look of the sweater. It is important to select and purchase the best possible buttons that you can to finish the garment.
  • Call me crazy if you wish, but the biggest discovery is that I LOVE FINISHING WORK! Yes, it’s one of my most favorite parts of knitting. What a surprise.
  • I began the project with gathering patterns from various sources. Somewhere around sweater #70, an interesting thing occurred. I began designing the sweaters myself! That was not the plan, but an outcome of the process itself.

Fun Facts

A Few Thanks

Thanks to all the folks who not only cheered me on to complete the project, but also those who donated their extra yarn from previous projects. Such a thoughtful gesture is much appreciated.

Some of my fellow Thursday morning drop-in friends donated knitted items for the project. Each time, I was surprised with these lovely items (sweaters, a snuggle sak, and two dolls) and more than happy to include them in the boxes being sent. Thank you.

Thanks to Webs for having an outstanding button selection, an unbeatable yarn selection, and allowing me to share my story.

Final Thought

Charity knitting has been an amazing experience for me at a challenging time in my life. If you have bits of yarn leftover from other projects, combine them to knit up a small sweater and give it to the charity of your choice. You’ll be making someone warm and in return you may have some delightful discoveries of your own.

Susan, The Sweater Lady

Pictures:

(1) Charcoal Grey Cable and Seed Stitch vest made with Cascade 220 Superwash

(2) Light Blue Angora Bolero from page 39 of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies using Valley

Yarns Deerfield

(3) V-Neck Cardigan using Crofter Fair Isle Baby DK and steel blue Charming Raglan Pullover from page 69 of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies made with Encore DK

Brrr…Hot Chocolate Run

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
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We’ve raised funds. We’ve ordered T-shirts. We are 40 strong and counting.

Yes, I’m talking about the WEBS Hot Chocolate Run team! We will think of you all as we walk for Safe Passage on Sunday, so add a little comment of support. I’ll print them all up and share them with the staff as we shiver on Sunday morning!

We are lagging behind as the lead team and with a staff like ours and generous loyal customers like you I know that can’t last for long. If you were meaning to give make sure to pledge before Sunday, December 4th, either in the store or at www.PledgeReg.com under the WEBS team.

We’ve been so touched by the support of our customers at every charity effort we’ve ever endeavored, and this is no different. Thanks for being a community that we can be proud of!

Cara

Helping the Homeless

Monday, November 21st, 2011
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There are a million ways to give back during the winter months and the holiday season. If you have been looking for a crafty way to give back look no further! Lise, a long time employee, has been organizing a collection of knitted/crocheted/woven items for donation to the area homeless.

A word from Lise, “With all the crazy weather we have experienced this past year, most of us still will not experience what it is like to live on the streets.  There is not a night where all the shelters do not have a waiting list of people to get in. Even though we didn’t have electricity we did have plenty of clothes to warm us up in those cold homes.”

Last year we received an overwhelming response and were told that there was still need. Maybe this season we can break our record! A local man who works with people living on the streets will use these items to make sure those without shelter are warm and safe.

We are always thankful for the generosity of our customers and cannot wait to see what lovely things come our way. Feel free to donate in person or mail to the store.

Last year our customers mailed and dropped off the following items: 105 hats, 81 scarves ( woven, crocheted & knit), 5 hat/scarf sets, 6 blankets, 12 pairs of gloves, 1 knit slippers, 2 baby sweater and 6 Christmas stockings.  There was also a bag left with wrapped presents to be given to the homeless.

Thanks to everyone for their many generous offerings!

Cara