Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Buy a sheep, feed a family.

Sunday, November 29th, 2015
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Susan at Juniper Moon Farm is doing something spectacular this year, she’s selling these adorable wooden sheep and animals, that you can decorate, and donating the proceeds to Heifer International. So when you buy a sheep, you really help to buy a sheep!

Purchase your own Sheep Stash from Juniper Moon Farms through 12/15/15, proceeds go to Heifer International. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

She shared some of the sheep with friends and has asked them to give folks an idea of how they could be used and decorated. Susan B Anderson has made some adorable sweaters and shared the pattern so you can make them, too! Mary Jane Mucklestone worked some fair isle magic, and there are lots more ideas on the Juniper Moon Farm blog, and on their Facebook page.

Purchase and decorate your own Sheep Stash from Juniper Moon Farms through 12/15/15, proceeds go to Heifer International. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

We decided we were all in a nostalgic 80’s kinda mood and dressed ours up with some leg warmers and headbands and a little glitter.  Go get yourself a single sheep, or a set, or even a T-rex! Supplies are limited so grab them while you can, they’re only available through December 15th, 2015.

How will you decorate your Sheep Stash?

Help Us Save Lives with Safe Passage

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
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Each year WEBS sponsors the Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage. WEBS sponsors lots of events, both large and small each year, but this one is different. This one affects the heart of our community and has far reaching effects not just for the individuals and families that benefit from the services that Safe Passage can provide but for the people who participate each year. Many of our staff members, their family and friends, walk and run, and work to raise additional funds in the lead-up to this event. We tease each other at work about our fundraising efforts and egg each other on to more. Individually we post on social media to extend the reach of our call for help, we offer special handmade items, and services like knitting and yoga classes, in exchange for donations. We spend our spare time crafting and creating additional products whose sales benefit an organization we believe in. And each year there are new Valley Yarns Patterns, the purchase price of $3.99 PDFs ($4.49 paper patterns) going to Safe Passage, as one more way to help. All of this happens because it is important to us.

We decided to round up those Valley Yarns Patterns, and introduce you to the new patterns, as a way to really kick-off our efforts.

The Safe Passage Hat and Mittens Set - patterns sales benefit Safe Passage. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comSafe Passage Hat and Mitten Set PDF available here.

The Sixth Button Mittens - patterns sales benefit Safe Passage. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comThe NEW! Sixth Button Mitten PDF available here.

The Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear and the Hot Chocolate Run Penguin - patterns sales benefit Safe Passage. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comThe Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear PDF available here and the NEW! Hot Chocolate Run Penguin PDF available here.

The Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage happens on December 6th this year but we’ll be fundraising right up to the end on Dec. 31st. There’s one last way that you can help Team WEBS, you can make a donation to our team here. Every dollar DOES make a difference and every dollar that’s raised by our team will be matched by WEBS so your donation will be doubled!

Knit and Crochet for the Cure

Thursday, September 24th, 2015
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Once again, this October, WEBS, together with our friends at the Cancer Connection of Northampton, will be hosting our 12th annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure event. On Sunday, October 4th, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., yarn lovers can gather here at the store to knit or crochet fingerless mitts and cowls for cancer patients. I was so happy to be asked to be a part of this event, despite the fact that I have not done a great deal of charity knitting myself. My life, like so very many others, has been touched several times over by cancer, and being able to collaborate with an organization like Cancer Connection is so exciting!!

Join us for the 12th Annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure at WEBS. More details on the WEBS Blog at

Cancer Connection is a non-profit organization that provides care and support for cancer patients and their loved ones. They are fully funded by donations and all of their offerings, such as education, complementary therapies, peer support and creative programs, are free of charge. By working with Cancer Connection, the WEBS community has the opportunity to share our love of knit and crochet and offer some comfort to others who are dealing with the hardships of life with cancer.

The projects we will be knitting and crocheting this year are fingerless mitts (the ones donated last year were very popular!!) and neckwarmers (read: shorter, closer fitting cowls). The patterns are free and WEBS will be providing the yarn!!

We are so looking forward to this afternoon of charity and community and hope to see you here!! This is a free event, but registration is required, so please, sign up on our website!

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week 5

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
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We’re almost done!! Now that you’ve got your bear assembled we can add the last few bits that give him personality and really bring him to life.

#PolarBearKAL Week 5 at

Take the time to map out your bears’s features. You can use tailors chalk, or small pieces of felt, or paper, pinned in place. Once you know where you want his nose and eyes to be start by sewing on his nose. I use the tails from casting on and binding off for this and I made sure they were extra long. I use one tail to sew almost the whole nose onto the face leaving a small opening, then I secure that tail and tuck the rest inside the nose as a bit of stuffing. With the other tail I finish securing the nose to the face and then use it to embroider the eyes. Once that’s done I’ll use the remaining tail to give the fingers definition with two simple stitches at the end of each arm.

#PolarBearKAL Week 5 at

Now you only have to make the red hat and striped scarf and you’ve completed the project! The scarf is super simple garter stitch and when you’re ready to change colors you just bring the new color up along the side, being careful not to pull too tightly, and knit the new row. The hat is also very easy and should take almost no time at all!

And there is our completed bear! Thanks so much for joining in, be sure to post your finished Polar Bears here, or to our Facebook wall, on Instagram with the hashtag #PolarBearKAL, or in the All Things WEBS Group on Ravelry. Remember that the cost of every pattern purchased goes directly to charity. Thanks to all of you buying the pattern we have already raised over $500.00 for Safe Passage – you all are AMAZING! You can follow our Polar Bear‘s fundraising efforts here.

#SnowFamilyKAL starts on November 4th join in at

And get ready for our next big project, the #SnowFamilyKAL. Pick up your copy of the pattern, your yarn (I’ll be making mine with Huntington) and your needles and meet me back here on November 4th!

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week4

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
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It’s time to knit the legs and get our Bears assembled! The legs are knit top down and can be stuffed a bit more than the arms and head. Once they’re stuffed seam the legs by folding the opening in half and using a quick whip stitch to close the opening.

#PolarBearKAL Week 4 - assembling the bear. Join in the KAL at

Now for the Assembly! Here you can see we’ve indicated where each part should be placed. The head gets seamed to the front of the body so that the point of the body is about 3/4 of the way up the back of the head. The arms should them be sewn on along the two visible increase lines along the bear’s side, and the legs can be sewn on at the purl ridge at the bottom of the body.

#PolarBearKAL Week 4 - assembling the bear. Join in the KAL at

It may be useful to pin every piece in place before you begin seaming so you can see the relative proportions of the bear and make any adjustments before you begin sewing. We used a simple whip stitch to bring our bear together.

#PolarBearKAL Week 4 - assembling the bear. Join in the KAL at

If you’d like to join in the pattern can be found here. We began the KAL here, we knit the body here, and last week we knit the head and arms here. Next week we’ll add his face and his accessories. Remember that the price of every pattern purchased will go directly to fund Safe Passage through the Hot Chocolate Run. You can track how much the Polar Bear has raised, or make an additional donation, on his fundraising page.

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 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 -

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 -

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 -

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!


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.


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.”


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