And since we know how busy everyone can get during our lovely New England summers, we’re also offering a bunch of workshop-style classes, which can be completed in just a session or two:
And since we know how busy everyone can get during our lovely New England summers, we’re also offering a bunch of workshop-style classes, which can be completed in just a session or two:
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.
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.
Tina and Kathy discuss upcoming classes. Check out our class listing on our website!
Steve’s Yarn Picks
Registration opened today for our Winter/Spring 2012 classes. We have a nice mix of longtime favorites with some classes that we’re offering for the first time. Look for the new tag highlighting these first timers. Below are a few classes that the staff at WEBS is buzzing about.
Advanced Lace with Beads & Butin: A Beaded Necklace with guest teacher Laura Nelkin – I am super excited to host Laura here at WEBS! She is an absolutely fabulous person and her beaded designs are absolutely stunning. Her classes aren’t until April but you will want to sign up early to ensure you get a spot! > Kathy E.
Sock Basics – I wish I had access to a class like this when I was learning how to knit socks. It was really hard to try to teach myself and this would have made the learning process so much more fun. In this class, Lindsey walks you through each step of making a sock from cuff to toe. Socks are great projects and they’re one of my favorite things to knit. There’s nothing better than putting on a pair of hand knit socks that fit your feet perfectly! > Grace H.
Design Your Own Crocheted Cowl – WEBS offered this class for the first time earlier this year but the time didn’t work out with my schedule. Two of my office mates did take the class and it was so exciting to hear about it and see the progression of their designs. Sara Delaney is a great crochet teacher. Her classes are always so much fun. This class would be a great way to spend my Friday evenings in February. > Dena C.
Weaving for the Advanced Beginner with Scott Norris – I’m really excited for this class with Scott. He’s a great teacher and this is a wonderful way to learn more about different weave structures. The class is geared for those who have taking beginning weaving and want to move on from that. > Leslie Ann B.
Pattern Photography and Styling for the Indie (and Budding) Designer with guest teacher Caro Sheridan – I’ve long been a fan of the photos featured on Caro Sheridan’s site and of the photos she has taken for other knitwear designers. So I can’t wait to discover all of her tips and tricks for styling items in a way that makes knitters want to run off and grab their needles and yarn to get started! > Tina M.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…
1. Contemporary Irish Knits by Carol Feller – Finally, a traditional knitting book with whimsy, history and garment fitting considerations. Chapter openings give you a peak into the local knitting industry followed with a fresh combo of traditional and modern garments. Filled with versatile knits for the whole family in glorious tweeds (and a couple ones bookmarked for yourself too). > Cara S.
2. Madelinetosh Tosh DK has now made my list of favorite yarns. I was looking for a yarn with deep, varied shades of purple for a friend’s birthday gift and this yarn, in the color Clematis, jumped right off the shelf at me. The yarn is soft, easy to knit and has a lovely bit of spring to it. It also blocked beautifully. (The pattern I used is Springtime Bandit, but I didn’t knit the edging.) > Tina M.
3. I am truly excited about the Exploring Tunisian class! I’m mulling over new color combinations for the work I will do with the class and I can’t wait to see their Ah-ha! moments with this technique. > Sara D.
4. I just finished a last minute gift for my great aunt out of Valley Yarns Northfield Hand Dyed in Denim. I absolutely love hand dyed yarns and how each skein is unique. This particular one had more purple and dark blue tones than the other skeins and I love the way the colors flowed. Northfield is a great yarn to work with and the shawl worked up quickly, but was still soft and warm. I used the basic triangle shawl pattern by Kirsten Hipsky and made my own crocheted edging. > Grace H.
5. Knitting America by Susan M. Strawn – Melanie Falick’s foreword to this book drew me in and I am loving the historical aspect of knitting it presents. I sometimes forget what a historical section of the country we live in and loved reading about the collections from Historic Deerfield. Not only are there wonderful stories like the rallying of wives and mothers to help knit socks for the bloodied feet of the men under George Washington but there is poetry, prose and some wonderful old patterns. I must admit, I have been knitting long enough that some of the old patterns are in my stash! In the disposable product age we live in today, it is refreshing to read about making things that were necessary to every day life and used to threadbare stages. > Lise G.
We are excited to announce an addition to our fall class line-up! A talented designer and teacher, who just happens to be coming through town in October, offered to teach a class – so we, of course, took him up on it!
Double-knitting is a unique method of making a fabric with no “wrong” side and a built-in reversible colorwork pattern. Significantly different from the standard intarsia and Fair Isle colorwork that are so well known, double-knitting is a wholly worthwhile technique to have in your repertoire.
By the end of this class, you’ll be ready to tackle your own double-knitting project! This technique is great for reversible scarves, hats, blankets, and so much more.
You’ll also have the foundation of skills you need to work on many of the projects in Alasdair’s upcoming book, Extreme Double-Knitting, which he will have for sale at the Cooperative Press Event, on the same day! (You can get a sneak peek at his book in the Fall issue of Interweave Knits!) On October 18th, from 11am – 1pm, Alasdair Post-Quinn and Shannon Okey will be in the store chatting about knitting, designing and publishing during this free event.
October starts with a bang this year as we celebrate National Spinning and Weaving Week here at WEBS October 3–8. We have a fun week of activities and events planned to highlight these wonderful fiber crafts. It’s a great time to see just how enjoyable it is to weave and spin and to enjoy the beautiful creations that are possible.
First up we will have daily demonstrations in the store. These are free and will give people a chance to see weaving and spinning up close and ask questions. The demos are from 11am–1pm each day and will be at the front of the store. Stop by and watch the fun unfold, as experienced crafters spin fleece into yarn and turn yarn into woven fabric.
We will also feature a variety of mini workshops for $5 each. If you’ve wondered about getting into weaving or spinning or are looking for a refresher, these workshops offer a taste of these techniques. Workshops offered include:
On Tuesday night we will have a Spinning Open House in conjunction with the monthly meeting of the local spinning group. The store will be open late until 9 pm and we will showcase our spinning wheels with hands on demonstrations of the various brands we carry. This is a great chance to try out different wheels and see how they work. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet other spinners and connect with local folks who get together each month to spin together (and talk yarny talk!).
Wednesday is our big Spinning & Weaving Meetup Day because we know how much fun it is to hang out with other people who share our passion. We welcome weavers and spinners from near and far to meet each other and enjoy the company of like-minded fiber fiends. We will have goodie bags, raffles, a room to hang out in (with refreshments!) and more. Barbara Elkins will give a demonstration of weaving on a computer loom from 11am–12pm and Gail Callahan, the Kangaroodyer, will demonstrate dyeing roving for spinning from 12–1pm. We encourage people to bring show and tell and look forward to lots of laughter and fun.
It’s a full week, yet it just scratches the surface of what is possible with these crafts. We look forward to meeting friends old and new, to being inspired by each other and to sharing the richness of spinning and weaving. Come join us!
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.
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…
Back-to-school season is upon us! While many are preparing by stocking up on notebooks and dorm furniture, we are digging out our yarn and crafty tools in anticipation of our fun line-up of fall classes! This also feels like a great time to return to introducing readers to our many wonderful WEBS Teachers-in-Residence. Today we meet Beth Altimari:
Beth, what are some of the classes you are teaching here at WEBS this season?
This fall I’m offering a popular class on felted knitted hats with 4 brim styles to choose from, and a wonderful 3-color all-over-patterned hat reminiscent of a pillbox shape. It’ s a great starting point for Fair Isle, but challenging too. Then I have Knitting I and Knitting II classes which I always love, as new knitters are a lot of fun. I’m also doing a second round of a new Afghan Square of the Month Club, 12 squares offering a wide variety of techniques and stitch patterns using a few colors.
My maternal grandmother taught me to knit, as well as almost all the needle arts of her time. I was about 8 or 9, and since I am left handed, she sat in front of me so I could mirror her hand motions. It was 25 years later before I figured out all the little things I wasn’t doing! I teach classes right handed as that makes the most sense for the majority of knitters, but I’m still most comfortable knitting left handed for myself.
Be kind to yourself, you’re learning something new, and don’t let panic take control as most anything can be fixed one way or another.
What is your favorite thing about teaching knitting?
Seeing the sparkle in people’s eyes when they experience a success! I tend to have a lot of patience, a trait that, in teaching, seems to let people feel at ease as they struggle to learn something they may have given up on in the past. Being in a class setting brings up a lot of mixed memories for people, so it’s important for me to help knitters to come away feeling good about it.
If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
Assessment/trouble-shooting. I have a Human Service background that required developing those skills. But I hate to fly so I hope it wouldn’t involve flying and tights.
You can find all of Beth’s classes, and more, on our website.
Have you ever taken a class with Beth? Tell us about your experience in the comments!