Archive for the ‘Inside WEBS’ Category

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Lindsey

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
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Lindsey portraitYou’re probably most familiar with Lindsey’s work out of anyone here at WEBS, you just don’t know it! Lindsey is the Multimedia Coordinator for us, and every image and video you see has been shot, edited, and perfected by her. It seems like Lindsey is constantly moving. If she’s not photographing yarn in her office or editing video, she’s out and about with her camera in hand to document the WEBS experience. She’s constantly looking for new locations and stories to share with our customers. Lindsey has an incredible drive that makes her work well rounded and certainly impressive to say the least. Outside of WEBS, her interests include hiking, running, and documenting some of the amazing stories “regular” people have to tell. She wasn’t always so outgoing, and has found photography the perfect tool to help her come out of her shell.

How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit? I learned to knit soon after I started working at WEBS two years ago.  I was editing so many learn to knit videos that I started to build enough confidence to try it myself.  My coworkers were an incredible help, of course.  I likely would not have picked up this craft without their enthusiasm and support.  I started with a striped hat knit out of Valley Yarns Northampton.

What is your favorite yarn to work with? Can I say Madelinetosh, or does everyone say that?  My winter hat, THE winter hat (Rikke Hat) that I wear for half of the year here in New England is knit out of Madelinetosh Merino DK.  So I guess my favorite yarn to work with is Madelinetosh.  The colors are beautiful and it feels really good in my hands.  My husband also has a favorite hat that happens to be knit out of Madelinetosh Merino light held double.

Ken's hatTosh Merino Light

What’s your favorite fiber project? Last year I knit the Valley Yarns 487 Dappled Shawlette for my mother’s birthday.  It was the first triangle shawl I knit and it involved yarn overs and knit two togethers and knit front and backs maybe?  It was all new to me and was definitely a challenge and a test to my patience.  It came out nice, despite all of the dropped stitches that my coworkers helped me sew down.

What fiber project are you working on right now? Right now I’m trying to knit up all of the random skeins of yarn I’ve acquired in giveaways and yarn swaps as an employee of WEBS.  That means, some squares for a baby afghan out of Valley Superwash DK (bottom left) and a cowl out of Noro Kirara and Classic Elite Silk (bottom right).

SwatchesCowl in progress

Tell us about your photography and video! How did you get interested in this art? What do you most enjoy about it? Do you prefer one over the other? I studied film at the University of California in Santa Cruz and worked as a script coordinator on a documentary about Sputnik after I graduated.  I had always been interested in Documentary film making and photography, so when I was accepted into the Masters program for Photojournalism at Boston University, I came back to the East Coast to study.  After a year as a photographer at a local newspaper, I saw a job opening at a large yarn store in Northampton for a Multimedia Coordinator.  I had no idea what WEBS was or what exactly they were looking for but I thought I’d apply and see what happened.  I was qualified for the job and it seemed like a new position that I could shape to my skills, so when they offered me the job, I couldn’t say no.  When I’m not doing photography or video for WEBS, I shoot a lot of sports, mostly trail running.  This year I covered the very first 100 mile ultramarathon in the state of Massachusetts and a slew of other 50 milers scattered about the New England area.

Ultra Runner

I love how photography and video can be a gateway to meeting new people.  I was a really shy kid growing up and it took some time and travelling for me to come out of my shell.  Since I started doing photography and video I’ve had to take even bigger steps out of my comfort zone and connect with total strangers.  It’s a terrifying thing, but can be very rewarding when you make a solid connection with someone.  Photography and video have led to many special experiences from sitting down with Holocaust Survivors  to this project about erosion on Plum Island and my work with the ultrarunning community .  I don’t really have a preference of photo or video, both are really powerful mediums for expression and storytelling in their own way.

Santa Teresa Stretch

A surfer stretches on a tree washed ashore on Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed? This year has been full of exciting races for me.  Every weekend I’m driving somewhere in New England to photograph a trail race and when I have time, run some myself.  I paced at the Vermont 100 Endurance Run in July and was fortunate to  bring in the last finisher of the race.  He was 64 years old and ran 100 miles through the state of Vermont in 29 hours and 50 minutes.  It took us 8 hours to go the last 26 miles, but he made it just in time!  Last Sunday, I decided to take to the trails without my camera and run my first 50k in New Hampshire.  It was a great run and I can’t wait to do more like it.

Lindsey Ginger Running

Lindsey running through the woods with her dog Ginger.

How do you like to spend your free time? I love to travel.  I run and hike a lot with my husband and dog Ginger.  We spend a lot of time in the green mountains of Vermont, but have had very memorable hikes in Yosemite, Big Sur, Hawaii, Iceland, Utah, and Costa Rica.

Collage

If you could cover any photojournalism story, what would it be? I would love it if I was strong enough and had the endurance to work some of the ultramarathons out West.  The Western States Endurance Run  in California and the Hardrock 100 in Colorado are legendary races that I would love to photograph.

What’s your favorite video series you’ve shot for WEBS? I love shooting the Valley Yarns video series.  It’s fun to shoot on location in Western, Massachusetts with WEBS staff who are excited about our yarn line.  These videos have really evolved into a collection that I’m excited about.  The videos for Valley Yarns Southwick and Valley Yarns Stockbridge were especially fun.

Lindsey has managed to find a parallel between her knitting and running. “It’s that ‘one more mile, one more row’ mentality, There’s an endurance to knitting that’s really overlooked.”

Lindsey lives in the Pioneer Valley with her husband, Ken and their Redbone Coonhound, Ginger.  You can view more of her work at www.lindseytopham.com.

Is Wool Scratchy?

Friday, September 20th, 2013
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Whether in our retail store, or on the phones in our Customer Service Department, we get asked this question quite frequently!

Unfortunately the answer is yes. And no, and sometimes!

How something feels against your skin is truly subjective and not only changes from person to person but can change depending on where on your skin we’re talking about. We set up a blind “taste-test” recently and pulled 10 employees in to get their descriptions of how the yarn felt. We used 4 different wool and wool blend yarns and one non-wool:

Lopi – a 100% Icelandic Wool, Zealana Willow – a 70%Wool/30%Cashmere blend, Plymouth Encore – a 75%Acrylic/25%Wool blend, Valley Yarns Northampton-a 100% wool, and Berroco Comfort a 50%Acrylic/50%Nylon blend

Each employee was blindfolded and wore mittens during the first part of the test. They were asked to hold each yarn against their face and neck and give 3 words to describe how the yarn felt against their skin. They were then allowed to hold the yarn in their hands without the mittens and asked if they would wear that yarn next to their skin. Most were surprised when they learned which yarns they had handled and how they had felt! Many repeated some of the same words and other words were used for all the wool and wool blends as you can see below.

Lopirustic, scratchy, bristly, coarse, itchy, hairy, fuzzy, lofty, rough, tickly, furry, wooly, steelwool, prickly

100% of participants said they would not wear this next to their skin.  Lopi is intended as an outerwear yarn and none of the participants were surprised that this was the roughest yarn of the bunch (several participants even guessed correctly that this was Lopi with the blindfold on!).

Willow: smooth, wooly, mild, organic, soft, halo-ey, cozy, fuzzy, dense

70% said yes, 20% said no and 10% said maybe they would wear this next to their skin. Even cashmere isn’t a guarantee of comfort against the skin! Our no voter was surprised that they hadn’t felt like they could wear a 30% cashmere blend and only said no after touching the yarn with their hands.

Encore: smooshy, soft, squishy, fuzzy, not super itchy, wooly, picky, furry, squeaky, rough, itchy

30% said yes, 50% said maybe and 20% said no to wearing this next to their skin. With only 25% wool lots of knitters choose this year with the belief that the acrylic makes it softer in addition to its washability. Again the no voters were tipped to no votes after handing the yarn with their hands.

Northampton: soft, squishy, fuzzy, hairy, scratchy, picky, smooth, itchy

50% said yes, 20% said maybe and 30% said no to wearing this next to their skin, but the no votes needed consideration and were not as vehement as the no votes for the Lopi.

Comfort: soft, downy, fluffy, smooth, silky, cozy, slick, squishy

80% said yes, 10% said maybe and 10% said no to wearing this next to their skin. Surprise! Not even a super-soft and smooth acrylic blend feels good against everyone’s skin. One participant said, “I wouldn’t like to knit with this, it feels bad on my hands, but I would wear it next to my skin”

So they next time you think you don’t like wool because it’s scratchy, take a moment to reconsider. There are lots of wool breeds and blends out there and there may be one that’s perfect for you.  Tell us if you’ve found your perfect wool or if you’ve changed your mind about using wool.

Be Sweet yarns featured in Interweave Knits

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
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The new Interweave Knits  Fall 2013 issue  features a great pattern using yarn from our friends at Be Sweet.

The No. 6 Shrug, designed by Maria Leigh, is knit using the new Skinny Wool.

Worked from each sleeve cuff toward the center back, this shrug has a great lacy detail at the cuffs and around the collar.

Which color of Skinny Wool would you use?

Schachenmayr My Mountain Yarns and Hats

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
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Have you heard about Schachenmayr’s My Mountain collection? It is a great collection of quick to knit and quick to crochet yarns and patterns geared toward the active lifestyle.

Schachenmayr is offering loads of free hat patterns to knit and crochet. Our own designers Kirsten Hipsky and Sara Delaney also designed a few hats that are available for free on our website. You’ll want to check them out!

In conjunction with the launch, Schachenmayr held a hat design contest. There were 215 entries and 18 semifinalist were chosen. Voting is now taking place for the top 5. You can head over to Facebook to vote. (Mobile users can vote here.)

My hat, Punctuated, was chosen as one of the semifinalists (Hi! I’m Mary, the Marketing Manager here at WEBS. We may not have met, but you may have seen me in our Show & Tell features on the blog, at a Stitches event, or read some of my past posts here on the blog.) and I couldn’t be more excited. I haven’t designed many items, so for this to be chosen was huge for me.

Here’s a little back story about my design: My favorite colors are pink and gray, so when we received Schachenmayr Boston and I saw the neon pink, I knew I had to do something with it (I’m a sucker for bright pinks and fuchsias). It may seem silly, but I have a favorite punctuation and it is the interrobang, which is this: ?! (it is also expressed as a single, combined character, but I prefer this version). My friends know that I love using it and it usually shows up at least once in an email or text conversation. The interrobang asks a question in an excited manner, expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or asks a rhetorical question.

The last two years haven’t been easy for me personally, so the interrobang and its expression of disbelief in the form of a question really resonated with me and fit in to how I was feeling. In the end, the hard stuff (and there was a lot of it) was worth it because I know how many amazing people I have in my life who truly care about me. So in a way, the interrobang will always be a reminder to me that even when stuff gets crazy and stops making sense, there are folks to ground me and let me know that it’s going to be okay.

You can vote for photo one per IP address, per day. I’d appreciate it if you would vote for my hat when you’re selecting your favorites.

Make sure you also check out all of the My Mountain yarns and patterns from Schachenmayr. It’s a great way to get a jump start on your gift-making! :)

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Amy

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
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This is our Mother/Daughters Knit-a-Long. Hannah Fettig’s Medium Weight Pullover, knit in Madelinetosh Vintage.

Amy has been with us at WEBS for almost two years now, and she quickly dazzled us all with her incredible creativity and enthusiasm. Amy has completely embraced the handmade lifestyle, and does everything she can to always give handmade gifts. The desire to create her own gifts is what got Amy knitting in the first place. She and her husband started with making candles for everyone they knew, then Amy branched out into making dolls. Handmade holidays are a tradition in her family, even her children exchange handmade gifts. “I love giving people handmade gifts. Giving someone something you sat down to make just for them is a feeling you can’t replicate. They actually sat down, and looped a million loops of yarn just for you!” 

How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit?
I’ve been knitting for about 13 years.  Years before I learned to knit, I was friends with a woman from Germany who was knitting, what I now know is, the Dale of Norway Ladybug sweater and hat.  I thought I might like to learn someday and knit that sweater.  Several years later, we had just moved to Northampton, MA and my oldest daughter was learning to knit in school.  I didn’t have many local friends and needed a distraction, so I picked up Melanie Falick’s Kids Knitting book and taught myself.  I still recommend that book to anyone wanting to learn to knit.

1: Arm Warmers from Handmade Holidays. Knit out of Valley Yarns Huntington
2:  This is the first version of “Rooshed”  the one that didn’t quite work out!  The bowl is crocheted in linen and finished with yarn leftover from other projects.  I have a ton of these and use them for knitting baskets around the house.

3. These are glycerin soaps that I make every holiday.  They are both scented with peppermint essential oils.  I make different soaps for every season.  I’m about to make the pumpkin soaps and fall leaf soaps!  I can’t wait.
4. Stacking felted bowls for my Handmade Holidays Class at WEBS this fall.  They are made with Berkshire Bulky with needle felted dots out of Berkshire Bulky as well.
5. Bramble Cowl in Madelinetosh Vintage.
6. This is a shadow box that I made a while back.  Gladys is made of pleather with a beaded udder.  The grass and fence are felt.

What other fiber arts do you do?
I will try just about anything.  I currently still sew, needle-felt, crochet (a little)  and recently started weaving.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
It’s impossible for me to choose!  I have the great fortune of being surrounded by all kinds of amazing yarns at work.  If forced, I would say Madelinetosh, Spud and Chloe, Rowan, Berkshire Bulky, and… See what I mean?

What’s your favorite fiber project?
One of my favorite fiber projects is the “Yarn Lamp”.  We have two at the store and I have two at home.  The lamps might quickly be supplanted by the headboard that my dad is designing for me to yarn bomb, however.  I can’t wait to get started.  I’m planning on using all my leftover little balls of yarn that seem to multiply around my studio. My new motto, “Yarn. It’s not just for sweaters.”

1.  Birch trees are my favorite.  Each leaf painted, hand cut and tied to the nail with string.  The leaves actually blow if there is a breeze.
2. This is a little piece I created for a banner for my blog.  That’s Ms. Ellaneous knitting the spring. Made with fabric, acrylic paint, fabric and yarn.
3. Another multi-media creation on wood.  I have tons of these little blocks.  You can rearrange them and stack them.  These were made for a friend’s bird themed nursery.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right now I’m finishing up the samples for a Handmade Holidays class I’m teaching this fall, along with putting the finishing touches on some new patterns for shawls and cowls.  I’m obsessed with cowls.  There’s a long list lined up after that, including a cowl challenge at work, the aforementioned ‘yarn bombed’ headboard and a sheep footstool with a needle felted fleece.

How else do you like to express yourself?
In addition to the fiber arts, I also paint in acrylics, make shadow boxes, fool around with carving stamps and printing.  I also have a habit of making seasonal glycerin soaps for gifts and the guest bathroom.  Recently, I bought a better camera to take pictures of my finished projects.  I’m still trying to figure out the camera but I am enjoying taking pictures.

1. These are carved out of a big eraser then used with a stamp pad.  The cards were for a friend’s baby shower.  We all wrote wishes for the baby on the cards and then hung them on a ribbon.  They are still in the baby’s room.
2. This is a slouchy hat that I designed out of Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy socks.  There’s a slightly slouchy version and a super slouchy version
3.  These are the Lost Tooth Monsters out of Berkshire Bulky.  They provide a convenient “pocket” to put the tooth in and the reward!
4. This is my newest design “Rooched”.  It’s knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Treacle Toffee.
5. My dad and I made this lamp, and three others with balls of Rowan Fine Tweed.  The lampshade is also knit out of Rowan Fine Tweed.  The full Lamp Story is here on my blog.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
Some of my favorite non-fiber projects are the “art blocks” that I paint, and the larger paintings for over the fireplace.  I am very “seasonally motivated” in terms of what I make when, and how the seasons are reflected around the house. Every season I change the art and most of the other decorations, soaps included.  It’s a little crazy, but sometimes that’s the only way I know what time of year it is!


Rooshed worn as a shawl. Knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Treacle Toffee.

How do you like to spend your free time?
We still have three children at home so most of my “free” time is spent trying to maintain some sort of healthy balance between work, kid’s activities, creative endeavors, family time, and rest, with some fun too.  I haven’t figured it out yet but I’m still trying!

If you weren’t working at WEBS, what would you like to be doing? What is your dream job?
My dream job keeps changing the more I learn.  I love “styling” photos and videos of knitwear.  I like thinking about setting, color, outfits that complement the piece you are photographing and even adding in a little humor.  Luckily, I get to do that with my own designs.  I would love to do it on a bigger scale though.

This is our doppelganger family of Love Monsters. As I was designing the pattern I tried a bunch of different yarns and shapes. It turned out to be our family!

If Amy could, she would do it all. She loves styling her home and would even weave her own drapes if she had the time! She began designing out of necessity. Her daughter needed a Valentine’s Day gift, so the Love Monsters were born! She really enjoys creating a special environment with her handmade projects; changing the decorations in the house with the seasons lets her home match the mood outside. “I don’t buy ‘high art’, I just make it myself!” 

Originally from Kentucky, Amy now lives in the Pioneer Valley with her husband, four children, and two dogs. 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Greta

Friday, July 26th, 2013
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Groove by Stephen West knit in Fiber Company Acadia

For Greta, knitting isn’t just a hobby she loves, it’s a tool she has used to focus and concentrate; as well as relax and express her creativity. Greta’s Aunt Mary Ann gave her a learn to knit kit one year. She had tried so many different crafts at the guidance of her artistic Aunt, but knitting really seemed to click. She’s been knitting for ten years now, and has created countless gifts while allowing herself to keep a few treasures for herself! Knitting even helped Greta get through college. While studying at Smith, she found knitting helped her ADD; “Giving my hands something to do allows my brain to focus. I was able to pay attention in class much better while knitting.”

Do you do any other fiber arts?
I’ve dabbled in spinning and rigid heddle weaving, but I recently took Sara Delaney’s crochet class this spring here at WEBS and now I’m hooked (literally)!

How did you learn to knit?
I initially taught myself the rudimentary skills using a Boye kit my Aunt, Mary Ann, gave me for Christmas. Then I picked up Debbie Stoller’s Stitch and Bitch and that was the beginning of my knitting addiction. When I was in college at Smith my knitting friends all used to joke that knitting was the perfect hobby for a Smithie, saying “you can be productive even when you’re relaxing!”

The Berry Bramble Blanket knit in Valley Yarns Northampton

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
It’s really tough to choose a favorite, especially with all of the choices we have available to us in the store, but I’d have to say my favorite yarn is Acadia from The Fibre Company. I really like all Fibre Company yarns; I’ve worked with Terra, Organik, Road To China Light, Canopy, Canopy Worsted, and Tundra. But I really like the light weight, fiber content, and ply structure of Acadia. Don’t even get me started on their colors, either, because I could go on for days.

Tundra Sailor Hat knit in Fibre Company Tundra

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I think my favorite fiber project is my Daybreak Shawl. I made it out of Blue Moon Socks That Rock Medium in some truly beautiful colors picked by my friend Debbi. It’s my favorite handknit to wear and to this day it’s the project I get the most compliments on.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Only about a million things! My main focus right now is a crocheted afghan for my cousin’s wedding in August. However, I’m really more of a process knitter (read: ADD knitter) so I tend to start a great many things but finishing them can be a real hurdle for me.

How else do you express yourself artistically?
I’ve never felt I had much in the way of artistic talent, so knitting (and crochet) really fills that void for me. When I was young my mom had my brother, sister and I take art lessons from a woman a few blocks away. We used to do all kind of projects in a wide range of mediums, but I never felt I had a knack for any particular medium until knitting came along. But she did teach me that there are no rules when it comes to artistic creation, and no idea too small.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
When I’m not knitting and I want to make something I make these pretty origami paper stars. I did origami in high school and stopped for a few years, but recently picked it back up. It’s easy and quick and the results are beautiful. It takes about a minute to make each star.

How do you like to spend your free time?
It’s no secret to just about anyone who knows me that my main passion (other than knitting) is Roller Derby! I skate for the Pair O’ Dice City Rollers in Springfield, MA where I practice 3 days a week. Roller Derby is a great sport because it’s a ton of fun (we’re an awesome group of ladies) but also takes a lot of athletic skill. Plus, since Roller Derby grew out of a very DIY culture, you wouldn’t believe how many knitters/crafters there are on the team!

Greta has been working at WEBS for three years now, and has a wonderfully adventurous attitude about life. “I’m going to try all the things and if i don’t like something, I just won’t do it.” She’s taken juggling classes and has recently taken up kung fu. Greta really enjoys team sports, and loves the challenging, fast paced and aggressive environment. Roller derby has taught her great skills on how to work with people and win. Winning definitely isn’t everything to Greta though, “If we don’t win the game, at least we win the after party!”

Greta lives in the Pioneer Valley with her boyfriend Justin, while missing her nephew dog back home, Pretzel.

The Story Behind the Valley Yarns Collection

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
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This originally appeared in our Valley Yarns 2011 catalog.
Kathy and Steve Elkins, owners of WEBS – America’s Yarn Store, established the Valley Yarns brand in 2004. But the exclusive line existed prior to their taking over the company from Steve’s parents. Read Steve’s story below about the creation of the brand.

What’s in a name?
When Kathy and I took over the business from my parents in 2002, they were already sourcing yarns directly and had been doing so for many years. At that time, they were focused primarily on weaving yarns, but there were several knitting yarns in the collection. Anyone remember Peru, Quabbin, or Monterey? They were branded along with the weaving yarns as the WEBS Permanent Line. It was a functional name, but it didn’t give Kathy and me much to work with in terms of marketing. So we set out to come up with a new name and tossed around a lot of different ideas. We had a long list of possibilities, but we ultimately chose Valley Yarns.

Why where you come from matters
My parents started the tradition of naming yarns after local towns. My three favorites are Prescott, Dana, and Enfield. You won’t find these towns on any modern map as they were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The Pioneer Valley is where I was born and lived until I left for college, it’s where my extended family has been for a long time, it’s where Kathy and I call home, and most importantly it’s where WEBS has always been. Paying tribute to the local culture by naming our yarns after the lovely towns found in the valley and surrounding hills only seemed fit.

A yarn is born
Bringing a yarn to market is one of our favorite aspects of our job. We work with mills from all over the world. Most often the process starts out with a mill sending us or visiting us with a set of samples. When looking at samples, we can quickly eliminate any fancy or novelty yarns that don’t fit under the Valley Yarns umbrella, any yarns that duplicate what we already have, or any yarns we simply don’t like. We sometimes end up with nothing in our “like” or “need” pile. Other times, we might have two or three, or more yarns that we are interested in looking at further. At this point, we ask for full samples of the yarn. We swatch the yarn at different gauges, test the yarn for wear and durability, and wash the swatches – basically we really put the yarn through its paces. We spend time discussing how any potential new yarn will fit into the line. Naturally, pricing is always an issue, especially in challenging economic times. We may sometimes love and want a yarn desperately, but if the pricing structure doesn’t work, we sometimes have to walk away.

Color my world
Once the base yarn is selected, we then go through the color selection process, which is not as easy as it sounds. We have to consider how the yarn will be used and what we feel is an appropriate palette. It’s important to have an interesting but functional color range that works as well in depth of color as it does in coordination of color.

New kid on the block
Once the order is placed, we finalize a name. Sometimes a name is crystal clear; other times we have to try a few on for size. The label artwork then gets created, and then we wait. We wait anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks or more, depending on lead times from the mill. We usually have some advance bags flown to us so that we can start designing. The balance of the shipment usually comes by boat. When a new yarn arrives, it is everyone’s new BFF, and we all have to remind ourselves not to ignore all of the other beautiful yarns in our Valley Yarns collection.

WEBS Retail Store is getting a fresh new look!

Sunday, July 14th, 2013
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Starting on Monday, July 15th we’ll be doing a bit of remodeling in our Northampton Store. We’ll be open during all the work but thought we’d let you know what to expect as we work through these changes.
Early in the week we’ll be relocating and shifting some of the yarns as we make room for a new register area at the front of the store. By Wednesday we’ll be removing our old register desks and settling into our new space.

Later in the week we’ll be setting up some new fixtures and moving all the yarns into their new homes.

We’ll be quite busy with lots of extra people in the store to help with all the moving and shifting of yarns and fixtures and our amazing Store staff will be there the whole time to make sure your experience is still friendly, helpful and knowledgeable; exactly what you expect when you come to WEBS.

 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Meghan

Monday, June 24th, 2013
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Meghan is an artist, musician, amateur chef and yes, even a knitter! She has been a shipper with WEBS since October, 2010. “I love the people I get to work with here, and the hours are so flexible. Working at WEBS allows me to peruse almost any artistic endeavor I can think of!”

She is the epitome of creativity and expresses herself through screenprinting, graphic design, painting, photography and music on a daily basis. When asked what her dream job was, Meghan says, “I’d love to be able to sustain myself through art and music someday, maybe even making movie soundtracks! And having my own Vegan restaurant would definitely be a dream!” Meghan’s favorite dishes to create are steamed vegetables (fresh from the farm stand) and rice with a sauce, blueberry muffins, brownies and vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. She even collects vegan cookbooks!

She started knitting about eight years ago, and likes to stick with mostly scarves for her projects. Like a lot of knitters, Meghan gives away almost everything she makes, but was still able to share some of her current projects with us.

How did you learn to knit? Did someone in particular teach you, did you take a class or are you self taught?
When I was growing up my mother used to knit, and I used to watch her sometimes but it didn’t really sink in until recently. My friend Melissa was over my house eight years ago and had a knitting project with her and she taught me how to cast on and do both knitting and purling.

Left: Meghan’s scarves in progress
Right: Meghan working in WEBS shipping. 

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I am actually allergic to wool, so I tend to use mostly cotton fibers. I think some of the Blue Sky Organic Cotton is really nice and I am also really interested in recycled fibers and started a ribbed scarf with a skein of Berroco Remix that I really like.

Ampere album art created entirely by hand. Paintings were layered over each other to create this stunning effect.

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I have made a few scarves for friends and for myself. The ones I have been most proud of were a basic rib design that I did for most of them. Being at a beginner skill level, I always really liked doing a rib design on a scarf because it was easy to accomplish and it also looks great!

 What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on a scarf that incorporates a lace stitch, which I learned recently from my co-worker Andrea at WEBS. The pattern is just something I came up with myself and it incorporates knitting, purling, ribbing and the lace stitch. I used a skein of Debbie Bliss Eco Aran and I really like how it is coming out so far. I am very interested in lace and would like to do more with that in the future.


Above: Meghan screenprinting pink text for an event poster.

How else do you express yourself artistically? 
I got my first camera when I was ten years old and I was living outside of Frankfurt, Germany. I continued to take pictures through middle school, high school, college and beyond. After graduating from high school I attended Maine College of Art in Portland, ME and started focusing on drawing, printmaking, painting, photography and art history. Currently, I mostly focus on screenprinting. I have also been playing music for a long time and I have played bass and synth in several different local bands for the past eleven years.


Left: Mounment near Snaefellsnes Glacier, Iceland
Right: Around the Vatnajokull glacier, Iceland 

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
I screenprint a lot of show posters, especially for shows that I book locally at places like the Flywheel in Easthampton, MA. Recently, I was selected to be a part of a poster tour that a friend of mine organized called the National Poster Retrospecticus. The traveling art tour went to seven different cities for one night only and showcased 75 +  talented screenprinters from all over the country. I submitted five posters for this show and I was really excited about how all of them turned out. They are some of my favorite screenprints that I have made so far.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I play a lot of music, book local all ages shows, and screenprint with a lot of my spare time. I’m vegan and really enjoy cooking and baking at home. I have been a volunteer at Flywheel in Easthampton for the past ten years and am very active in the local music community. I also enjoy hiking, canoeing, traveling and going to art museums.

Meghan creates art, music and amazing vegan food in her free time while living in the Pioneer Valley with her boyfriend, Will. Check out http://meghanminior.com/ to see more of her amazing work.

New Valley Yarns Catalog Now Online

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
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I think out of all of the catalogs we do every year, our Valley Yarns catalog is my favorite. It gives us a chance to really showcase our own yarn line. Kirsten and Sara always do an amazing job with the designs, and this time they do not disappoint!

The photoshoot was held at the Wisteriahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA. Wisteriahurst is the former home of two generations of the William Skinner family, manufacturers of silks and satins. The museum is gorgeous and open for guided tours of the 26-room estate. Visit www.wisteriahurst.org for more.

The inside and outside of the museum were just stunning. There was also an interesting art installation while we were there! The gardens are beautiful and seeing the wisteria covering the building was just lovely.

It’s always fun to see how the photoshoot and catalog come together, but you won’t just find pretty projects. Kirsten and Sara both have interesting articles, and our WEBS <3s feature showcases Kristin Nicholas. You don’t want to miss that!

If you’re on our mailing list, your copy of the catalog should be hitting your mailbox soon. In the meantime, you can check the catalog out online here.

What’s your favorite new project?