Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Weaving on my Rigid Heddle

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
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In celebration of National Spinning and Weaving week, we’re highlighting four different WEBS staff members and their spinning or weaving tool of choice. Here, Heidi tells us how the rigid heddle brought her into the world of weaving.

I first started weaving when I took Leslie Ann’s rigid heddle class.  Weaving always intrigued me, but using a rigid heddle as opposed to a floor loom seemed more approachable.  Since then I have taken several rigid heddle classes.  I love using my rigid heddle loom, and it gave me an insight into and familiarity with weaving that encouraged me to try Beginning Weaving, where a floor loom is used.

WEBS sells the Schacht flip loom or rigid heddle in three sizes: 15,” 20,” and 25.”  The 20” and 25” are the most versatile in what you can make with them.  I own a 20” rigid heddle.  These numbers refer to the width of the loom and determine how big projects can be.  Rigid Heddle looms are so named, because the warp yarn is threaded through the heddles, which are rigid and part of the reed.  As a point of interest, the heddles on floor looms are mobile and separate from the reed.  In the floor loom weaving scenario, the threading of heddles determines the pattern, and the reed allows for consistent tension so your project isn’t wavy gravy in one area and wired tight in another (an extreme for illustration purposes).  On rigid heddles, however, the “heddle-reeds” determine pattern and tension since the reed contains the heddles.  These “heddle-reeds” eliminate some steps of warping since there are less parts!  Warping my rigid heddle, which is putting yarn on the loom in a longitudinal direction, takes me about an hour or so, and the weaving part can be done pretty quickly as well.  If I want to make a scarf that wraps around my neck twice, I can warp and weave in about 5-6 hours.  This means you could make a scarf for someone for Christmas or Hannukah in one afternoon!  I don’t know how fast you knit or crochet, but this beats my time for knitting a scarf with interesting detail.

It is so much fun to pick different yarns for the warp and weft.  On the rigid heddle, the reeds come with different dents.  The reed that comes with purchase of the rigid heddle is called a 10 dent reed, and this is good for yarns that are of DK or double knitting weight.  Since I wanted to experiment first before buying additional reeds, I spent a lot of time selecting from the lovely DK section at WEBS.  Some of my choices that worked really well included Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, Noro yarns, Madelinetosh Tosh DK, Abstract Fibers Alto, Rowan Felted Tweed, and even Valley Yarns Northampton, which is a worsted weight but fine enough to use.  Recently, I bought the 8 dent and 12 dent reeds, which are great for worsted weight yarns and fingering weight yarns, respectively.  My options have opened up, and I am very excited to experimenting with more yarns.

Weaving on the rigid heddle can be in plain weave or with a pattern, making use of a pattern stick.  One positive aspect of rigid heddle weaving is that plain weave, where there is no “pattern”, is very quick.  In contrast with floor looms where you must go through a longer warping process whether or not you have a complicated pattern, warping for and weaving plain weave on a rigid heddle is very efficient!  By plain weaving I do not mean your project will be boring.  In fact, plain weave can be very exciting, because not only can you pick from many yarns for warp and weft, you can introduce one weft pick (like a row in knitting) of fiber or yarn as well.  This means that you could have several weft picks then one of a different texture popping up every so often.

I have done a lot of exploration with scarf-making on my rigid heddle.  Scarves are always a good place to start.  There are a myriad of lovely projects to weave besides scarves, such as place mats, table runners, pillows, or fabric for clothing like a skirt!

Spinning on my Ladybug

Monday, October 1st, 2012
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In celebration of National Spinning and Weaving week, we’re highlighting four different WEBS staff members and their spinning or weaving tool of choice. Here, Sara tells us how the Ladybug changed her thoughts on spinning for the better.

I learned how to spin one night with my knitting group 9 years ago. One of our members brought in drop spindles made from dowels, rubber bands and old CDs. We spent a few hours laughing, growling,learning the basics of spinning and plying and we all went home with remarkably wonky mini skeins. At the time I was a busy working mom with 2 toddler girls and not a lot of time to sit still so I thought it would be perfect for me. Unfortunately, I was ignoring how much I detest stop/start progress on any project. I don’t sit down to work on anything unless I can dedicate some serious time and brain resources to it. After a few dismal tries I gave up on the spindle and decided that spinning just wasn’t for me. 

About a year later Schacht introduced the Ladybug. They are adorable and compact, the wheel is the same color as my VW Beetle, I instantly wanted one. A spinning wheel can be quite an investment when you are wholeheartedly interested in spinning and I had already abandoned the craft once so I waited. I would try the wheel out in the store occasionally and think how much I liked it and that I would totally use it but then I would remember the spindle and I’d go back to waiting. Two years ago a friend of mine got a Ladybug and made the mistake of telling me to take it for a spin, I was in love and a few short weeks later my Mathilde came home. (Yes, I named my new Ladybug!)

I spun my way through a pound of fiber the very first evening. I had no plans, no technique to speak of just a desire feel the fiber move through my fingers and become something new. I spun through 3 braids and 1 bat of fiber the next week and watched as the yarn I produced became markedly more consistent and even. I explored long-draw, worsted and spinning from the fold and I liked them all. I liked the WHOLE process because it was a whole process. With a little bit a prep work to the fiber I could sit and spin 1, 2, even 3 whole bobbins in one sitting and with the attached Lazy Kate I could swap a full one for an empty and just keep going! When I was ready to ply all my bobbins were right there ready to go.

I love the compact style and portability of my Ladybug but I love MORE that I can complete the whole process in one spot and almost all at one time.

Check out Sara’s review of the Ladybug in the video below!

National Spinning and Weaving Week at WEBS

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
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October 1 – 7 is National Spinning and Weaving Week and WEBS is celebrating with a week of events, special activities and discounts! WEBS was founded and grew out of Barbara Elkins’ passion for weaving and we hope to share and spread that enthusiasm to weavers and spinners from novice to experienced (and perhaps entice some others to try their hand at it for the first time!).

In the spirit of sharing these time-honored arts, we will be featuring daily demonstrations of both weaving and spinning in the store from 11 am – 1 pm. These demos will be free and, we hope, will spark questions and conversation between the weavers and spinners and those watching. A great variety of techniques will be presented – both wheel and drop spindle spinning, floor looms, frame looms, rigid heddle and more. If you’ve ever wanted to see fleece spun into yarn or watch yarn woven into cloth, come on over and check it out!

In addition to the daily demos, we are also offering mini workshops to present a sampling of different techniques so that people can try something new and add to their toolbox of skills. If you’ve been curious about trying something new or just want to expand your skills, this is a great way to start. All mini workshops will run from 2 – 4 pm and cost $5. The schedule will be:

Monday: Spinning Exotic Fibers – Musing about mohair? Confused about cotton? This mini-workshop will explore several different exotic fibers like camel down, silk and cotton. We will also look at the different drafting styles that may suit each fiber.

Tuesday: Hand Techniques for Rigid Heddle Looms – Looking for some new techniques to add some pizzazz to your rigid heddle weaving? Join us for this workshop as we look at both hand-manipulated laces and pick-up stick patterns. We will also cover how to hemstitch your weaving while it is on the loom.

Thursday: Inkle Weaving –In this inkle loom workshop, you’ll see how to make heddles, dress the loom, start and end weaving, and, of course, how to actually weave.  If time permits, we’ll talk about how to plan a warp. There will be an opportunity for a little bit of hands-on work.

Wednesday is our big Meetup Day as we encourage weavers and spinners to come together and celebrate the beauty and joy that these crafts bring. We will have a space to hang out (with refreshments!) and socialize with others who understand what it means to weave at 56 epi or drool over handpainted BFL roving. There will be goodie bags plus the allure of the warehouse and store (have you seen the new Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo and the spinning fibers that have recently arrived?). Bring show and tell and share your stories of fibery adventures and inspirations.

Also on Wednesday, Barbara Elkins will be doing a computer loom demo from 1pm – 3pm.

In addition to all of the fun things happening at the store each day, throughout the week we will be offering a 10% discount in-store (in-stock only) on weaving and spinning tools and equipment.

So join us for a fun week as we celebrate the richness and diversity of spinning and weaving. Whether you’ve never tried it before or have been spinning and weaving for years, there’s something for everyone.

– Leslie Ann

Valley Yarns Trunk Show Event

Monday, September 10th, 2012
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We are excited to kick off our Fall 2012 events season with a celebration of all that is new for Valley Yarns on September 20th at 6pm!

Join us as we hear from some of the people who knit the garment samples you see in the catalog,

as well as from some of the designers of this year’s line!

Kirsten - Valley Yarns Designer

We’ll have all of the fall garments to try on (and maybe even a little sneak peek at the garments from the upcoming holiday catalog.)

Valley Yarns Designs

We’ll also be debuting our newest yarns, with a chance to try them out for yourself!

Join us for an informal evening of fun, snacks and yarn while finding out more about what goes into putting together a line of fun things to knit, crochet and wear.  The event is free, but we do ask that you register here.
Catalog Prep

 

Valley Yarns Photo Shoot

 

Ready, Set, Knit #273: Kathy Talks with Andra Asars

Saturday, July 21st, 2012
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Guest: Andra Asars, our Berroco Yarns Rep., talks with Kathy about the new Fall yarns from Berroco.

They chat about the new engineered yarns, Cirrus and Elements as well as Boboli and Boboli Quick.  Andra mentions a pattern she’s working on from Norah Gaughan Vol. 11, and two free pattern from the Berroco website: the Checkerboard Throw and the Woodhaven mittens.

They also discuss Andra’s conversion to Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable Needles, Stitches Midwest and Kathy’s second Super-Big-Exciting announcement for the Fall schedule.

Kathy and Andra’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events

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Expert Knitter Certification Program Graduation, 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012
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Each year we celebrate members of the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program who have completed all of their required classes and have taken on the challenge of designing and knitting an original sweater. This final phase of the program is known as The Capstone Project.

This year three people spent the months of January through May sketching, swatching, knitting, ripping and reknitting a garment that reflected their shape, style and skill. From elegant bead work to ornate cables, these cardigans are stunning projects and expertly constructed.

This year’s Capstone Projects (from left to right) are the works of Diane, Harriett and Kathy:

2012 Capstone ProjectsCapstone Projects 2012

(Click on the photos to view them larger.)

Expert Knitter Graduation is one of the best events we hold all year. Filled with knitters, staff members, and friends and family of the graduates, it never fails to be fun, lively and inspiring. You can press play below for a slideshow of images from this year’s graduation.

You can view last year’s Capstone Project sweaters here, and sweaters from years past here.

June Events!

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
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If you are local to WEBS and are looking for some fun things to do with your fiber friends, we have plenty of events to keep you busy in June!

On Thursday, June 14th we are excited to host the book launch for our very own Leslie Ann Bestor’s book Cast On, Bind Off! Join us from 6pm – 8pm to celebrate this comprehensive collection of all of her tips and tricks for dressing up the beginning and end of every project. (Leslie Ann is also teaching some of these techniques this summer! Find out more about her classes here.)

 

On Tuesday, June 5th Iris Schreier will join our regular Drop-In session!  Iris Schreier is the founder and designer of Artyarns, and author of One + One Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs. Stop in to meet and chat with her between 10am and 12pm and see many of the beautiful garments from the book.  Then feel free to stick around for a little advice on your current project.

 

On Friday, June 15th we will welcome designer Ysolda Teague to the store! From 4pm to 5:30pm Ysolda will hang out in the store for a meet-and-greet after she finishes teaching her class (more information on that class here). Swing by and say hello, she’ll be happy to answer a few questions or sign your book!

 

And, of course, there is the I-91 Shop Hop!  Eleven local yarn shops located along I-91 from Putney, VT to New Haven, CT are joining together for the second annual I-91 Shop Hop! This event is a fun way to visit new and interesting yarn shops in our area.

The I-91 Shop Hop will take place June 29th – July 1st.  All participating shops will be open from 10am–6pm on Friday & Saturday and 12pm–5pm on Sunday.  Find out how to purchase your passport and all of the other details here.

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June is going to be such an exciting way to kick off the summer!  For details about registering for any of the events above, click the event image or visit our events page.

Ysolda Teague, June 15th! New Class Just Added

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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When we heard that designer Ysolda Teague is going to be in our area in June, we jumped at the chance to schedule a class with her!  Her book Little Red in the City has such helpful information on garment customization and fit, in addition to containing great patterns, that it’s become a must-have resource.  The Whimsical Little Knits books are also staff favorites, filled with adorable quick projects.

On Friday, June 15, from 1pm – 4pm, join Ysolda for the class “The Perfect Sweater“:

In this workshop we’ll go through everything you need to successfully make perfectly fitted sweaters. We’ll cover matching the right yarn to your pattern, how to get the most out of swatching, and taking accurate measurements. Then we’ll put that information to use learning how to shape your sweater for the perfect fit and a flattering visual effect. This is a great chance to discuss the techniques and information in Little Red in the City and ask questions about shaping for your body. There will also be an opportunity to get hands on help with shaping techniques that you’d like help with, such as short rows.

Then, from 4pm – 5:30pm, Ysolda will stick around for a meet-and-greet where she’ll chat, answer questions, sign books and maybe even sit and knit.

Register quickly as we have a feeling that seats for Ysolda’s class will go quickly, and it isn’t often that this Scottish designer comes to the East Coast!  You can find all of the details about the class here and can find event information here.

Ready, Set, Knit #265: Live from Tent Sale!

Saturday, May 19th, 2012
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Steve is live from Tent Sale without Kathy! This is a fun show, so enjoy listening.

Guest: Kristin Nicholas, author and owner of Leyden Glen Farm. Kristin was visiting our Fleece Market selling her delicious lamb. Steve and Kristin chat about her farm, her classes at the farm, and how she started.

Steve also previews some of the yarns under the tent. If you’re close and didn’t get a chance to make it on Saturday, there’s still Sunday! Come on down May 20th 10:00pm-4:00pm.

You still have one more day to get 20% off of spinning wheels too (at the store only), so if you’ve been thinking about getting one, come visit!

Karen, our Store Manager, and Pete, our Operations Manager chat with Steve about the prep done for Tent Sale. It’s a great inside peek to how they decide what goes in the sale as well as Karen and Pete’s jobs.

Check out the fun photos from Saturday on our Facebook page here!

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Tent Sale and Fleece Market This Weekend!

Friday, May 18th, 2012
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This weekend at our store, we have the event everyone looks forward to – our Tent Sale and Fleece Market! It’s a great time with great deals, and one of the rare times we’re open on a Sunday. Come see us Saturday, May 19th 10:00am-5:30pm, or Sunday, May 20th 10:00am-4:00pm (or both days!)

Check out our tents going up for this weekend!

If you’ve never been to our Tent Sale, it’s a pretty spectacular event – both in huge yarn savings and in the amount of fun. We set up a huge tent in front of the store and Steve packs it with incredible yarn savings – amazing prices on full bags of yarn. So, you can get a whole sweater of yarn at a price below even what you find in our closeout section!

As you know, we’re moving our shipping and Customer Service departments just a few miles down the road to Easthampton soon, and we’re not going to want to move all of this yarn, so I have a feeling there are going to be some pretty impressive savings.

There will also be discounted books, patterns, and accessories that are definitely worth a peek!

They’re predicting spectacular weather for this weekend, so if you’re within driving distance, hop in the car and take a trip to enjoy some outdoor (and indoor) yarn shopping!

Not only will you save on yarns in the tent, we also have all of our May Anniversary Sale yarns, so you can shop them in person. Need to stock up on some stash staples? Now’s the perfect time!

There will be registers set up in the tent and in the store, but you don’t have to pay for your purchases separately. Browse the tent, head into the store for Anniversary yarns, and pay in the store, or the other way around. Or, you can pick the shortest line! There will be lots of staff members around to assist you too.

Another helpful tip: If you have reusable shopping bags, they’re super handy for carrying your purchases around. We do have our regular shopping baskets, but they have a tendency to get scooped up, so if you bring your own tote, you can get right to the browsing!

Are you a spinner? Are you looking to get a wheel, some equipment, or some fiber? All of our in-stock spinning wheels, supplies, and fiber will be 20% off for this weekend only (and only in the store).

As if all of this weren’t enough, on Saturday we have our annual Fleece Market! We have 18 vendors coming with fiber, yarn, bags, and more.  This year, joining us we have:

From Fiber to Fashion
Jean Willmann
Red Barn Alpacas
Barberic Farm
Sojourner Design
Foxfire Fiber & Designs
Leyden Glen Lamb (Kristin Nicholas)
Galloping Jester LLC
Brook’s Bend
Tassawassa Ridge Fiber Farm
Artemisia Ink Studio Arts
Rag Hill Farm
Moonshine Design at Keldaby
Whispering Winds Alpaca Farm
Stitched by Jessalu
The Celadon Studio
Kama Suutra Fiber Arts
Winterberry Farm

They’ll be located around our parking lot, so make sure you stop by and check out their amazing products.

We hope that you can join us for this fun, fiber-filled weekend!