Archive for the ‘Holiday knits’ Category

Holiday Catalog Spotlight: Gifts to Make – Smaller Projects

Monday, November 23rd, 2015
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I’ve been paging through our Holiday catalog and there are so many great ideas for gifts this year! And with Thanksgiving happening in a few days I’m looking forward to a long weekend of gift making. The most requested items on my list this year are mittens and stuffed animals.

Quick gift knits, piles of mittens on the WEBS Blog, read more at

Thankfully there are quite a few great Valley Yarns mitten patterns to choose from. The Sprig Scarf and Mittens set in Berkshire Bulky features a basic mitten pattern with easy, fun embellishments. The Color Pop Mittens, in Berkshire, are a great neutral accessory that feature a bright pop of color! The Last Minute Mittens, also in Berkshire Bulky work up quick and easy for last minute gifts. The Sixth Button Mittens, in Huntington, are a bit more adventurous with Latvian braids and Fair Isle but the purchase price of each pattern sold goes to our favorite community organization, Safe Passage. And I love the Got You Covered Mittens in Northampton, they’re a great way to try out fair isle in an easy worsted weight yarn.

Quick gift knits, stuffed animals on the WEBS Blog. Read more at

What about the kids? We have 3 great patterns for the younger folks in your life. The Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear and Hot Chocolate Run Penguin are a welcome and squishy addition to any child’s favorite pile of stuffies. These patterns also benefit Safe Passage so you’re doing TWO good things when you make these projects. We also have our new Holiday Bears that were featured on the cover of the catalog.  I have a couple babies in my life that these would be perfect for, I’m going to tuck a jingle bell in the ends of their hands and feet so they’ll double as rattles! And all 3 of these patterns are easy to customize by changing the color of the bears themselves, and all of the accessories.

What are the smaller projects on your gifts-to-make list this year?

Oh, So Fast, The Holidays Come…

Friday, November 6th, 2015
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I went downtown today to run an errand, and what did I see? Evergreen garland being put up on several storefronts and lightposts. It’s just too soon! Every year, I kick about this and nobody listens.

If we’re going to front-load the holiday season, at least let us have beautiful knits to make our holiday crafting better. I got a fun email from our friend Kristin Nicholas with the news that Yankee Magazine, the bible of New Englanders, is featuring some of her holiday patterns as well as the cutest video of her Pom Pom Garlands. This is a craft that can be done by anyone with the dexterity of a 3-year-old with the Clover Pom Pom makers sold in our store. Her Pom Poms are characteristically Kristin, made with her striking color choices.

Colorful holiday gift ideas from Kristin Nicholas on the WEBS Blog. Read more at

I always try to point folks making Christmas stockings to Kristin’s Creative Christmas Stockings pattern, available in PDF form. The colors are not what you’d call “Christmas-sy” but to me, that makes them way more appealing. The bright contrasts are as joyful as the spirit of the holidays; and aren’t you all getting a wee bit tired of red, green, blue, and white? Yankee magazine is also featuring Kristin’s Heart to Heart Mittens, which we carry in PDF as well. The word “happy” doesn’t begin to cover how these fun mittens make one feel. Not only does the pattern give you two options, one for one heart, one for many hearts, but Kristin’s clear directions even show the knitter how to embroider the accents onto the mittens before the top is closed, making them even easier to knit.

If all holiday designs could be knit in Color By Kristin yarn, I’d be much less Grinchly. What makes your holiday knitting happier?

It’s Time to Start…

Thursday, October 29th, 2015
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Although it’s not quite Hallowe’en, it’s time for us crafters to start working on our holiday gifts.  We all know that starting early gives us time to plan the perfect present for the perfect person. So why don’t most of us actually do this? I can only speak for myself but procrastination is my middle name. I convince myself that I have way more time than I do, rarely taking into account that life is full of surprises and uncontrollable events.  Not keeping this fact in mind derails a fair number of plans I make with the best of intentions.  If you’re even a teeny bit like me, this tendency makes holiday knitting even more stressful than it needs to be.  To assist you with this issue, I’d like to show you a few new yarns that have arrived at the store within the past couple of weeks. Best news: they’re beautiful and bulky.  At 2-3 stitches to the inch, these yarns provide us with a fair chance of finishing our gift knitting in time to actually relax over the holidays.  All of these yarns contain enough yardage to work up some fast gifts in no time.  Think warm hats, toasty cowls and colorful arm warmers.

Last minute gift ideas in super bulky yarns. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

First up is my new winter favorite, Noro Kureyon Air, available in six smashing colors. This yarn will perform like other Noro yarns you love, striping in glorious and unexpected color combinations. 110 yards is plenty to whip up a quick hat or a pair of mittens for the person who loves accessories with a splash of color.  

And while we’re talking about Noro, Transitions is another late fall addition with lots of interesting possibilities. The fiber content surely has something for everybody to love: wool, silk, cashmere, angora, mohair and camel hair.  The resulting one-ply yarn is soft to the touch and the colors shift in a more muted range than the Kureyon Air, mentioned above. How about a cowl?

Funky Chunky from The Third Piece, in thirteen solid colors, offers more possibilities for our friends and family members with more traditional tastes.  This yarn is so soft that a next-to-skin cowl would work just fine.  Throw in a cable or two and you’ve got a classic gift that’s sure to please. At two stitches to the inch, you could knit or crochet a few pairs of fingerless mitts in no time at all.  

Last minute gift ideas in super bulky yarns and projects to treat yourself with. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

The last item I want to mention is a new collaboration between Rowan yarns and Swarovski beads.  And crystals!  This is not for gift-giving–you owe it to yourself to indulge in something special after all that knitting and crocheting for other people.   The projects range in size from tiny wrist and hair accessories and small shawls to sweaters and even an evening dress.  We’ve got a display in the front of the store to give you lots of inspiration.

I hope you’re inspired to work up a few quick projects before the first snow falls! Let us help you find just the right yarns and patterns for your holiday presents. And don’t forget, we’re open five Sundays this year, November 22, 29, December 6, 13 and 20 from 12-5, to help you find everything you need for those last minute gift projects!

Holidays in July: Which Project? What Yarn?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
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You’ve decided who you’re going to make gifts for, but what exactly are you going to make them, and what yarn are you going to use. Usually we have at least a general idea of what we want to make someone. Using my examples from last week, I know I want to make my mom socks, my sister would love something kooky, my nephew a dinosaur, and coworker 1 a shawl. My cousin needs a pair of mittens or gloves and we’ll add a boyfriend who needs another hat in there too (since he liked the last one so much).

Holidays in July - Looking for projects on and Ravelry

Where do you go now? I think the easiest way to proceed is to choose a specific pattern that you want to make the person. You could search through the patterns on our site, use the search feature, and search for, say dinosaur. Oh look! Danger Crafts Basil the Boogie-Woogie Brontosaurus PDF. It’s adorable and going on the list for the nephew. Something kooky for my sister may be a little bit longer of a search. I would start this search on Ravelry. The ‘advanced search’ feature is great for this. I started by clicking on ‘softies’ (all), then ‘knitting’, and ‘worsted’ (because I don’t want to spend forever knitting it). Next, I sorted by ‘most popular.’ I didn’t see anything on the first page that screamed her name, but what I did see was a fox, and my sister loves foxes. So, I added fox to the search box and found a great project for her – Backyard Bandits. Hey, I could make her all three! Well that’s settled. On to searching for the other projects.

Holidays in July - Searching for yarns

So, now that I have that projects settled, it’s time to pick the yarn. I have all the pattern information and a general idea of what I’m looking for. Again, I take to the search section on our site. We’ll use that Boogie-Woogie Bronto for this example. I know I want something washable, since it’s a stuffed animal, and my nephew is 3. Under the yarn category, I click ‘Yarn by Fiber’ and select ‘Washable Wool.’ Scrolling through, I spot Berroco Vintage. I’ve used this yarn before with loads of success, and I know there are lots of color options, so I’ve found my yarn for the Bronto. I just need to decide on colors.

Another option, is of course, knitting from the stash. My stash happens to be a lot of sock yarn that’s perfect for socks, shawls, and mittens. So, taking a look at the requirements for those projects, and looking at the yarn I have in my stash, I’m sure to find just what I need. And if not, there’s always

What’s your favorite way to search for yarns and patterns?

Holidays in July: Making a List, Checking it Twice

Monday, July 6th, 2015
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When planning your holiday projects, the first step is to decide who you want to gift with your precious handmade projects. Well, the first step is deciding if this is something you want to undertake, but even if you’re only planning one or two projects, a plan is always helpful. Anyway, because your time is important, you do not want to spend that time working on a project for someone who is just going to shove it into the bottom of a drawer, or won’t be able to properly care for it, or who could lose it.

Holidays in July - Making a List, Checking it Twice - Deciding who's on the list

For example, I love my dad. He is amazing and can fix anything. I would love to make him a hat, but I also know how many hats he goes through in a winter. It’s not because he makes a habit out of losing things, or because he’s absent-minded. He has a tough, busy job where he doesn’t stop and is responsible for things like snow removal. In the process of doing a hundred things at once, things like hats get misplaced. I know he would be afraid to accidentally misplace it, so I don’t want to make him something, that I know he’ll love, but will be afraid to use.

Another gift recipient type is the kind that won’t actually be excited about receiving something you spent your time creating. I’ve seen this happen with family members who don’t know anything about crafting, or think it happens overnight. I’ve also seen stunning handmade gifts be cast aside at baby showers because the recipient just wasn’t interested. I’ve been very lucky because nearly every single one of my projects has been excitedly received. Sometimes you don’t know if the person is going to be excited about your gift, but it’s a chance you need to decide if you want to take. Most of the time, you can tell if the person will be thrilled.

So, make a list of the people you want to craft for. Really look at that list. Then, prioritize based on who you really want to knit for. Will my mom, sister, and cousin love those things I’m planning on making? Yup! They stay on the list and move right up to the top. As I mentioned, Dad would love it, but wouldn’t use it, so he gets crossed off. Is my 3 year old nephew really going to be excited about something I make? Possibly, if it’s a dinosaur. He’ll go in the middle, because I can always pick something out equally fun from the local toy store. Coworker 1 would love a project, but since they aren’t family, they’ll also be moved to the middle of the priority list. Coworker 2 would appreciate it, but probably won’t use it, so they’ll get some other awesome trinket. Friend 3 would be just as happy with some store-bought mittens and can’t tell the difference, so I won’t be spending my time knitting for them.

How do you prioritize your gift list?

Holidays in July: Planning Ahead, So You Won’t Stress Later

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
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I know, you probably don’t want to hear it, but we’re just 5 months away from the winter holidays. This year is going to be different! I say that every year, but this year, I actually mean it. I’m going to make a plan for holiday projects and I’m going to stick to it. I really am. (Please stop laughing! :))

If you’re anything like me, organization goes a long way to making things easier, and so does checking stuff off of lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than having a to do list with everything crossed off. So, this month, we’re going to take a look at some planning tips. Every week we’ll have a different post focusing on the things you can do to make planning and completing those projects you want easier.

Holidays in July - Tips for Planning Ahead

I know this makes holiday projects sound like a big undertaking, and there are lots of you who don’t feel the need to make anything for anyone. (And there’s nothing wrong with that, the entire rest of the year, I’m happily selfish with my crafting!) I have found, there’s nothing better than watching the face of someone who truly wants a handmade gift as they open the package and are thrilled with the contents.

What are we going to cover? Well, we’ll talk about putting the right people on the list, the actual planning (for yarn and patterns), and the best ways to keep track of your progress.

What are some of your favorite tips for planning holiday projects?

The Bleak Season

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
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Now that the holidays are in the rearview mirror, it seems like time to embark on a project to make winter pass a little more quickly. I’ll drop a hint here that we’ll be helping you find a big project to go through the bleak season in a few weeks, so stay tuned! You’re going to learn stuff that is fun, and you’ll have a big ol’ yummy blanket to give or keep by the time the lilacs start to creep out.

Flares and Graces PDF, Plymouth Cashmere Passion and Filatura Di Crosa Zara Kid - all available at

In the meantime, I’m going to cast on for a sweater–I haven’t had a big project like that on the needles in almost a year! I thought I’d give our “Flares and Graces” pullover a try. I love the shape of this textured knit designed for us by Guest Designer Fiona Ellis. The sleeves and yoke have a really intriguing cable pattern that will stand up to some binge-watching of “Grey’s Anatomy,” my new addiction. The waist shaping makes it appear slightly fitted, but I’m going to knit it with a bit more ease, in order to put a silky tee-shirt underneath for total comfort.

I am having a tough time choosing between two yarns that seem perfect for this project, which needs a yarn that will clearly define those chevron cables. Zara Kid is a really soft, springy combination of wool and polyamide, and I like the pine-green color that caught my eye in our store. Cashmere Passion is also a contender; the blend of merino and cashmere create a fabric that would be heavenly to wear. The mauve-y pink is a go-to for me lately.

What are you knitting to help you through the holiday let-down?

What to buy with your WEBS Gift Card – Project Bags

Monday, December 15th, 2014
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Every knitter, and crocheter, I know has multiple projects going at any one time and project bags are the perfect way to help corral the clutter that can result. Whether you’re looking for the perfect little last minute gift for a friend or contemplating your after-holiday gift card purchases here are a few of our favorite bags.

Project Bags available in all sizes and styles at - Namaste Harlow Bag, the Attenti Caddy in peacock, and the Hadaki Multitasker Pouch

For your smaller projects the Hadaki Multitasker Pouch and the Blue Sky Alpacas Pretty Cheep project bags can handle anything from socks to large lace shawls, scarves and hats. For your larger sweaters and baby blankets the Atenti Caddy and our exclusive 40th Anniversary Della Q Large Eden Drawstring Bags have a surprising amount of room for yarn supplies and your growing project. The Lantern Moon Repurposed Plastic Tote would be perfect for large afghan projects and is one of the sturdiest bags we carry. And if you’re just looking for something stylish that can double as the perfect purse we highly recommend the Harlow Bag from Namaste. Not only does it have plenty of room inside for your wallet, keys, tablet(or laptop!), and gloves but you fit a couple small projects in there as well! How do you transport your projects?


Gifts to Make – When there’s just days to go!

Monday, December 8th, 2014
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When your remaining days of gift knitting can be counted on your fingers you know it’s crunch time. Our Essential Accessories eBook has five quick and simple wardrobe staples that everyone needs and loves!

Valley Yarns Essential Accessories eBook - available exclusively at yarn.comThe Knit and Purl Cowl, knit in Amherst, offers four different stitch patterns to choose from, stick with one for the whole projects or change it up with textured stripes. The Simple Shawl is just that! An easy triangle shawl knit from the top down in Valley Yarns Huntington. The Essential Fingerless Gloves, knit in Stockbridge are just the thing to stave off the chills at the office, in the car or shopping around town. The Basic Hat from measurements, shown in Northampton, is THE hat pattern to have in your stash. Knit whatever hat size you need in whatever yarn you have on hand with this handy pattern! And the Basic Heel-Flap Sock may be the perfect basic sock pattern, and it shows of the colors in Franklin so beautifully.

Valley Yarns Essential Accessories eBook - available exclusively at

Which will you knit first?

Gifts to Make – When you only have a few weeks.

Monday, November 24th, 2014
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With Thanksgiving being celebrated this week in the States the bell has been rung for the final round of gift making. While there may be a few of you out there who still have time for larger projects like a sweater, most of us need patterns for small or quick gifts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be special! Our Great Gifts eBook has patterns perfect for the special people in your life and you still have time to make all of them.

The Great Gifts eBook from Valley Yarns, 5 knits perfect for giving  - available at

The Basic Scarf from Measurements, knit in Northampton Bulky, is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure scarf that even a beginning knitter can play along. With 5 stitch patterns to choose from and easy calculations to change the width and length of your scarf this may become your go-to pattern. The Welcome Home Blanket may be the perfect  gift for the new baby in the family. The classic feather and fan pattern gets a modern update with bold blocks of color and the incredible squishiness of the Valley Superwash Bulky make this one a joy to knit. One of our newest yarns, Leyden, is show off to great effect in the Cobblestone Socks. The subtle pebbled surface of these socks works wonderfully with the variegated hues in the yarn and with some of the richer jeweltone colorways of Leyden these could be just the right pair of socks for the special guy in your life. The Rail Trail Mitts knit with two colors of Valley Yarns BFL Fingering would certainly be appreciated by the outdoorsy types in your life, the die-hard cyclist that’s still out on their bike in the snow or the early morning dog-walker. And the Forget-Me-Not Cowl is a beautiful, airy cowl perfect for a little extra layering. Knit in our 2/10 Merino Tencel which is available on cones with over 1,000 yards you could easily knit cowls for several friends or co-workers from the same cone.

The Great Gifts eBook from Valley Yarns, 5 knits perfect for giving  - available at yarn.comEach pattern is available as an individual PDF for $3.99 or you can download the whole collection in the Great Gifts eBook for just $11.99. Who will you make these great gifts for?