Archive for the ‘Classes’ Category

National Spinning and Weaving Week

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
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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:

  • Rigid Heddle Weaving for Knitters (Monday 2–4pm): Dip your toe into the weaving pool with this brief introduction to weaving on a rigid heddle loom. Knitters will learn how easy it is to use the yarns in their stash to create beautiful scarves, shawls and more. Leslie Ann will show how the loom works and discuss how to select yarns and finish projects.
  • Loom Dressing (Tuesday 2–4 pm): WEBS founder Barbara Elkins will lead this workshop on getting your loom set up to weave. This is a great chance to learn (or re-learn) a simple, reliable way to warp your loom. Barbara will start with a wound warp and cover all the steps from getting it on the loom to being ready to weave.
  • Drafting for Spinners (Thursday 2–4 pm): In this workshop, Ashley will teach the difference between worsted and woolen style yarns and how to draft for each. Learn how the way the twist enters the fiber can determine the behavior of your finished yarn.

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!

Leslie Ann

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.


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…


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.

Instructor Profile: Beth Altimari

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
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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.

How did you learn to knit?

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.

What is one bit of advice you would offer to all new knitters?

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!

Ready, Set, Knit #232: Fall Classes and more Valley Cowl CAL

Saturday, August 20th, 2011
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Tina our Education Manager talks with Kathy about our fall classes.

Upcoming Events

Steve’s Yarn Picks
New Yarns

Closeouts Yarns

Doris Chan Valley Cowl Crochet-A-Long

So, today we’re joining this cowl in the round!

Some tips I found useful: When you’re making the foundation chain, don’t omit the stitch marker at the beginning. It’s very, very useful. Work on a flat surface – it’s a lot easier to see when there’s a twist and to tell up from down

Here are the joining directions in my words: When chain’s the right length, lay it flat, then bring the beginning together with the end that’s on the hook without twisting – the marked stitch is at the bottom (closer to you) and the hook is at the top (further from you) Put one twist in it by bringing the marked stitch up to the hook and work a slip stitch in the marked stitch

Now the top of the foundation is connected, but the bottom is still split. So let’s join that together: Rotate your work on the table 180 degrees, so the marked stitch and the hook are at the bottom and the split ends are at the top.
Work 3 slip sts in the chain above the marked stitch Slip stitch into the base of the last FDC Now you’re ready to go!

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Fall Classes at WEBS

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
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Registration is now open for all of our fall classes. We have our usual great classes to get you started such as Knitting I and II, Crochet I and II, Beginning Weaving, and Spinning with a Drop Spindle.

We also have some new classes never offered before at WEBS.

Design a Pi Shawl with Annie Foley

Design Your Own Knitted Cowl with Kirsten Hipsky

Exploring Tunisian Crochet with Sara Delaney

These classes may fill up fast, so sign up early if you’re really interested.

September is right around the corner, so check out these classes first up in our fall schedule – Stitches II: Terrific Textures, Mix & Match Socks, Crochet IKnitting I and II, Spinning with a Drop Spindle, Helix Knitting, and Bring Out Your Best in Variegated Yarns.

Stay tuned to the blog to hear more details from Tina about guest teachers coming to WEBS this fall such as Margaret Radcliffe, Laura Nelkin, Shannon Okey, Andi Smith, Courtney Kelley & Kate Gagnon Osborn.


Saturday, July 9th, 2011
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Recently, we added another group of talented knitters to our growing line-up of graduates of the Expert Knitter Certification Program!  The evening of celebration was wonderful and the garments designed by each program member are inspirational.

Some of the amazing details:

Congratulations to all of the graduates! We are so proud of all of your hard work, and in awe of your creations!

Thanks, also, to all of the current program members, friends and family of the graduates, store staff and mentors who were able to join us for the graduation ceremony.  You helped to make graduation a splendid event!

Guest Teacher Spotlight: Drew Emborsky, aka The Crochet Dude

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
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On Thursday, June 23rd, we are excited to be one of the stops on The Crochet Dude’s New England Summer Boot Camp Tour!

The Crochet Dude Boot Camp

Drew Emborsky has been busy this week getting ready to head out for a summer of crochet, but we managed to fit in a quick conversation about the upcoming class:

Tell us a bit about your Summer Boot Camp Tour!

Drew: I started the concept of teaching crochet “boot camp style” when my book Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! came out. Every project in the book uses post stitches and my local yarn shop asked me to teach an intensive two-hour workshop just on that stitch. That first Boot Camp was so much fun and so successful that I developed an entire list of Boot Camp workshops.

That concept translated well into doing a multi-city tour!

What can students expect in the Post Stitch Boot Camp you will be running here at WEBS?

Drew:  They can expect to learn some skills that will make their crochet experience even more satisfying. They will learn some of the tricks that I use to make my crochet projects more professional. Most of all they can expect to have a lot of fun!

What makes crochet fun for you?

Drew:  Even after crocheting since I was 5 years old, I still find it fascinating that with just a little hook I can transform a ball of yarn into such amazing projects. It still feels like magic each time!

What is your favorite bit of advice for fiber craft newbies?

Drew:  Always, and without exception, use yarn that you love love love. There is no happy ending to an unhappy process. If you adore the yarn that you are working with then the project will be amazing no matter what.

Thanks so much to Drew for taking some time away from packing his suitcase full of hooks and yarn to answer our questions!
Post Stitch Boot Camp will be on Thursday, June 23rd, from 5pm – 7pm.  There will also be a free book signing event from 7pm – 8pm.  Click here for all the details!

Capstone Projects – A Sneak Peek

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
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As I mentioned in the recent post about the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program, the final project before graduating the program is the Capstone Project.  This project challenges knitters, who have completed all of the required coursework , to design and knit an original sweater from scratch! Over the course of five months, and with the support of an assigned mentor, program members sketch, swatch, knit, rip out and re-knit, all in the pursuit of a well-constructed, lovely garment that shows off the many skills they have acquired throughout the program.

So far, two groups have completed Capstone Projects and graduated the program.  Their finished projects are an inspiration:

2009 Capstone Sweaters

2010 Capstone Sweaters

Tomorrow, the 2011 sweaters will be due, and I am so excited to see the culmination of all the hard work the current program members have been putting in over these past few months.  (A few have already made it to my desk and they are gorgeous!)

Here is a sneak peek of where this year’s Capstone Projects were just a few short weeks ago!



Show #220: Interview with Laura McSweeny from Creative Fibers

Saturday, May 21st, 2011
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Guest: Laura McSweeny of Creative Fibers in Windsor, CT. Laura is the creator of the Shop Hop and she chats about how she came to open her yarn shop. She focuses on changing the negatives she found while yarn shopping and turning them into positives in her shop. The have great classes, a living room with a fireplace, and offer help to customers. They’re also a big part of the community, both locally and across the globe.

Some of the yarns Creative Fibers loves and carries includes a huge selection of Koigu, and Tahki Cotton Classic in over 80 colors! They also stock Jade Sapphire Moonlight. Creative Fibers also has a twice a year retreat.

Make sure you stop by Creative Fibers on your Shop Hop, and if you can’t make it to the Shop Hop, visit Creative Fibers when you can!

Summer Classes are up!

Tina, our Education Manager chats about classes

June 23rd, The Crochet Dude will be here!

Gale Zucker will teach you how to take pictures of your fiber and projects!

We’ve got great crochet classes, knitting classes, spinning class, and weaving classes, plus fiber camp for kids!

Steve’s Yarn Picks


History of WEBS

Art taught Business Management at UMASS and retired in 1988 and went to work at WEBS and help it grow. One busy Saturday, Art wanted to use the restroom at the back of the house. He had to physically leave the building and go in a different door! That was the turning point for a move. There was also yarn stashed off-site, which was difficult.

They started looking for new places, and Art brought Barbara to 75 Service Center Rd. and her first reaction was “no way!” It was an old telephone company building that housed trucks and it needed a lot of cleaning. Where our front window and door is now was a garage door. They moved into the building in 1991.

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Expert Knitter Certification Program

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
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One of the fun things about working at a shop that so many people consider their local yarn store, is watching all of the different communities that pop up.  There are informal communities such as the regulars at our various Drop-In sessions,  employees who join together in impromptu knit-a-longs, weavers who know they can stop by and get some advice from the store’s founder, Barbara, and people who travel from far and wide with a group of friends to shop at the store on a regular basis.

Another community we have happily worked to build here at WEBS is made up of the members of our WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program.  Knitters who join this program are interested in taking their craft to the next level by following a course of 18 classes designed to take them from their current skill level (many are beginners) through confidently designing a sweater from scratch.

Just a few of the great classes in the program:Some of the Expert Knitter Certification Classes

All of the classes are taught on-site, here at the store, by a team of wonderful Teachers-in-Residence, as well as by nationally and internationally known Guest Teachers.  Each instructor brings a unique perspective to the craft, as well as many tricks and tips!  Most classes are open to all customers, but members of the Expert Knitter Certification Program get a head start on registering each season during a special preview period.

After completing the coursework, program participants begin an independent final project, the Capstone Project, designing and knitting a sweater to fit.  Once that sweater is completed and reviewed by the Capstone Committee, participants are awarded the WEBS Expert Knitter Certificate during a lovely graduation event! The sweaters created through this process are an inspiration. (We’ll give you a sneak preview of this year’s Capstone Projects in-progress in an upcoming post.)

Beyond the usual course and materials fees for each class,  a yearly fee of $50 is the only additional cost for participating in the program.

Knitters join the program for a variety of reasons.  Some are looking to take classes that might be a challenge and out of their comfort zone,  some friends join together and see it as a great way to spend regular time together sharing a craft they adore, others want to be able to look at a bag of yarn and declare “I know exactly what that will be!”  Whatever the reason for joining, all members of the program find they have joined a welcoming community of people who enjoy yarn, and who want to learn as much about fiber crafts as possible while having lots of fun in the process.

If you would like more information about the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program, you can download the brochure here (pdf) or contact us using the info on this page. You can also check out our newly formed Ravelry forum and meet some of the current members!