Archive for the ‘Inside WEBS’ Category

New Valley Yarns Catalog Now Online

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Share Button

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?

Improved search options on our website

Monday, June 17th, 2013
Share Button

Some of you may have noticed that we’ve recently added a few categories to help refine your search on our website.  Lots of you have asked for a simpler way to find New, Closeout, and Sale items.

Once you’ve begun a search, by entering a yarn name or key word into the search box at the top of the page,  you’ll notice the new options in the left-hand column.

You can now narrow your search specifically to these 3 categories bringing you right to the yarns you’re looking for. We’re always looking for ways to improve your experience with our website. What has been your favorite addition?

 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Jamie

Monday, May 20th, 2013
Share Button

Jamie lasted about a month of working at WEBS before diving in to knitting. Learning has been a combination of taking classes here, asking questions of patient co-workers and getting help from books and online videos. It’s never easy to learn a new skill, but Jamie jumped right in with the perfect attitude. “I have no problem trying something new and failing. I’m always trying to learn new things. I’m a lifelong learner. You just have to recognize that you can try something and not be good at it, and that’s okay.”
(Above) Bandana Cowl knit in Tosh Chunky in Amber Trinket.

How long have you been knitting? Do you do any other fiber arts?
I started learning to knit this past September (2012) by taking Knitting I and Knitting II here at WEBS. I’ve also had a lot of help from my wonderful and talented office-mates! I haven’t picked up any other fiber arts yet, but I’m hoping to take Crochet I in the near future.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I haven’t worked with that many yarns yet, but I have a not-so-secret fondness for Madelinetosh yarns. I really love the subtle variations in some of their greyed-out colorways like Opaline.


(Left) Eternity Scarf, by Michele Wang (published by Brooklyn Tweed). Knit in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran in Pebble.
(Right) Romney Kerchief, by Jared Flood (published by Brooklyn Tweed). Knit in Tosh DK in Antique Lace.

What is your favorite fiber project?
So far it’s really been that my favorite project is whichever one (or three) I’m working on at that moment. I try to pick a project that’s exciting to me, whether because of the color and fiber of the yarn, or new techniques I have to learn or how great the finished object looks. I’m really happy with a Romney Kerchief, designed by Jared Flood, that I made with Tosh DK (above right). I had to learn a Provisional Cast On, Kitchener Stitch and Elizabeth Zimmermann Sewn Bind-Off to complete it, and I love how simple but elegant the design is.

(Left) Greta’s Neon Cowl pattern knit in Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Locura Fluo.
(Right) Irving Hat, by Melissa LaBarre knit in Tosh Vintage in Nassau Blue

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Currently I’m working on a super-bright cowl using Manos del Uruguay Alegria sock yarn. WEBS’ own Greta Shaver designed a nifty little cowl pattern using a neon colorway of Alegria (above left). I think it’s a loud, silly and awesome accessory, and I’m making it for a loud, silly and awesome friend! I’m also working on an Irving Hat, designed by Melissa Labarre (above right). I love her hat patterns, and so far it’s been really helpful for me to get experience doing a more complicated lace motif with an easier-to-handle worsted weight yarn.


One of the first beds Jamie made himself.

How else do you express yourself artistically? 
I majored in Visual Art at a relatively small college, so while I mainly focused on photography, I studied a bit of everything, including painting, drawing and sculpture. Before coming to work at WEBS, I worked for a small hardwood furniture manufacturer. As a result, over the past three years I’ve spent less time making images and a lot of my free time learning woodworking (and now knitting). Making images continues to be important to me though, and I always keep a sketchbook where I’m working on or planning prints, paintings and photographs.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
My wife, Elena, is a printmaker and painter, and this past September we worked together to make a large (6’ x 3’) woodblock print for BIG INK, a large-scale woodblock printing public art event put on for Northampton’s Arts Night Out. The print shows a scene from family friends’ blueberry farm in Maine. (above)

How do you like to spend your free time?
What’s free time? When not working on arts/crafts projects, I really enjoy spending time outside with Elena and our dog, Ginger. We like to go for day hikes up Mt. Skinner, Mt. Toby and Mt. Tom. I find exercise to be a great way to unwind and oscillate between running and playing ultimate Frisbee. Right now I’m training to do some triathlons this summer! While I do love to exercise, the secret reason I do it is so that I can bake and eat as many scones and muffins as possible.

When I asked Jamie what his dream job was, he had a hard time coming up with an answer. “I really like working here so don’t really spend any time thinking about it.”

“My absolute dream job would be working in Nick Offerman’s woodshop. He plays Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation and seems like a really cool dude. He has a woodworking studio in L.A that makes really beautiful stuff. I’m not actually experienced or talented enough at woodworking, but that’s why it’s a dream job, right?”

Jamie has been the E-mail Marketing Coordinator for WEBS since July 2012. He currently lives in the Pioneer Valley with his wife Elena, and their dog, Ginger.

What Does Discountable Mean?

Monday, May 6th, 2013
Share Button

We get a lot of questions about our discount, so we thought it might be handy to share some details about it.

What is WEBS’ discount?
If you spend $60 or more on yarn and books that are marked “discountable,” you receive 20% off of your order. If you spend $120 or more on yarn and books that have the “discountable” tag, you receive 25% off of your order.

Items that are marked “no further discount,” have a sale price, or not marked with the “discountable” tag are not discountable and do not count toward your discountable total. So, if you have $50 worth of yarn in your cart and you find a closeout that would bring your total up to $62, you would not receive the discount because that extra $12 is “no further discount.”

Often times, it is worth it to throw an extra skein in you cart because you’ll get some big savings. Let’s take a customer favorite – Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. This yarn sells for $20.99 per skein. If you buy two skeins, the total is $41.98. If you throw another skein into your cart, your total would be $62.97, so you would receive 20% off bringing your total down to $50.38. Not only are you saving over $12, that third skein only costs $8.40.

The discount is also a great thing to think about when buying yarn to create gifts. I get a little giddy thinking about giving the people I love gifts made out of Jade Sapphire Cashmere 2-Ply, especially since one is enough to make a lovely gift. Two skeins would cost $94, so you would get the 20% discount, which is a great deal, but if you throw that third skein in there, your total would be $141, but after the 25% discount, it would only be $105.75, so you save $35.25 and can create three gifts!

Free Shipping vs. Our Discount
A lot of people ask about free shipping, but in most cases, our discount will save you more than free shipping does! Let’s use the examples above and say that you live in UPS zone 8, since it’s the farthest from us. The shipping, at most, would cost $6.50. So, without the discount and with free shipping, those three skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light would cost you $62.97. With the discount, however, your total is $56.88, so you’re still saving $6.09 on the three skeins!

We hope that this helps you understand our discount a little better!

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Deb

Monday, April 15th, 2013
Share Button

Deb is an incredibly well rounded artist, and expresses herself through crocheting and knitting, as well as drawing, painting, jewelry making, singing and even creating her own puppet. My absolute favorite creation of Deb’s is her currently un-named owl puppet, with eyes that bring his personality to life the instant you see him. If Deb weren’t working with us at WEBS, she’d be banging down the door at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for a job. (Her favorite Muppet is Pepe!)

You can read more about how Deb’s owl came to life in her interview below.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I love anything with alpaca, merino, and yes, even Nylon. Berroco Vintage is a favorite, along with Madelinetosh and Dream in Color yarns.

What fiber crafts do you do? Do you have a favorite?

Crochet is my go-to, but I also knit and spin on a drop spindle occasionally. I’ve also wet-felted beads. I get inspired by the raw materials, the fiber or the yarn.  Usually it tells me what it wants to be.  For example, if a yarn colorway reminds me of a semi-precious stone color, I try to utilize it in jewelry.  Mesh-tube constructed yarn is really fun to experiment with!

How long have you been knitting and crocheting? 
My mom had been trying to teach me to crochet for years. (My father’s mother had taught her how to crochet when my father was stationed with the Army in Vietnam, to use up nervous energy.)  About 8 years ago while watching my favorite holiday movie “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” with my mom,  I noted that one of the Muppets was wearing a granny square scarf, and that I wanted one.  The next thing I know I have a bag of yarn in my lap and a hook in my hand.  Within a few days, I finished my first project!

Left: Deb and her Owl puppet smile for the camera. He’s made from Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks.
Right: Deb’s paintings of Bill Murray, Steve Buschemi, Christopher Walken, and Steve Martin in progress. Painted on small wooden tiles. 

What fiber project are you working on right now?
I am racing to finish a yarn bombing project!  Basically, “yarn-bombing” is fiber-art graffiti. My project is part of an art festival in Holyoke, MA, and will be installed on a bench outside of the public library on the second floor of their city hall.  I am crocheting morning glories to cover this bench that sits in front of beautiful stained glass windows.

Do you have a favorite fiber project? 
I’m proud of the Nevermore Window Panel that appears in the Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders book.  It was my first published pattern, and though it took a while, it was really fun to chart out and watch it come to life with the Malabrigo Sock yarn.

Nevermore Window Panel from Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders

How else do you express yourself artistically?
Everything I do is an artistic expression!  I majored in visual art in college, I have been drawing and painting all my life.  I make jewelry, crocheted with wire.  I’ve done some scrapbooking, paper-making, and sewing.  I love mixing mediums!  My paintings will sometimes include fiber or collage, my crocheted items will have beads…

Oh!  And I’ve started to build puppets.  Basically, my dream job for years has been to work for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.  My current project is an owl.  There is paper mache, Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks involved in its construction!

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you have completed?
Well, I guess my favorite one(s?) of the past few months is my series of tiny portraits on wood tile beads.  Bill Murray, Christopher Walken.  It takes a few sessions for each one to get to the point where I’m satisfied with it.  I still have a few in progress.

Left: Rings made by Deb
Right: Deb’s design; Around-the-Post Hat from Crochet One Skein Wonders


Deb has been working with us at WEBS for about five years now, and loves to talk about color with our customers. Her talents don’t stop at the arts. She’s recently taken on the challenge of training for roller derby. She says, “I’ve never been athletic, and it’s different from anything I’ve ever done. It’s a challenge in a whole new way.” She’s managed to find some parallels between derby and her comfort zone of the arts. Learning how to crochet is all about building muscle memory, learning to skate is the same idea. Keep building muscle memory. She boils it down really well, it’s all about practice. “When I can’t hit a note in a song, it’s just more practice. When you try anything new, all it takes is just more practice.”

 

Deb’s Yarn Bombing in Holyoke, MA

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Kristin

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Share Button

Kristin is one of our fantastic Customer Service Represenatives. She’s been with us for 5 years this summer! When she’s not knitting, Kristin likes to read and has even dabbled in bookbinding. She just can’t resist making things and has done all sorts of crafts. With two little ones at home, her time is limited so her scope of hobbies isn’t quite as wide as it used to be. But Kristin does whatever she has to do to get in some fiber time whenever possible!

Tangled Yoke Cardigan knit in Rowan Felted Tweed

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
Ohh gosh this is a hard one. I love wool, and especially woolly wools. The Cascade 220 Fingering is a current favorite of mine. I aspire to all kinds of colorwork projects when I see it. Another yarn I’ve been loving lately is Malabrigo Twist with its soft and squishyness. Then I have to mention Rowan Felted Tweed as a really great yarn that holds up well over time. I just love yarn really.

Do you have a favorite project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I think my Tangled Yoke Cardigan (above) has really stood the test of time. It was a lot of fun to knit, and it was actually my first big garment. I’m really proud of those horizontal cables. The Rowan Felted Tweed I used still looks great today several years later. No pilling at all.

How long have you been involved in your fiber crafts? Are you self taught or did you have someone special show you?
I learned to crochet from my Mom when I was in elementary school. I’m a lefty and she’s not, so it was a bit of a challenge but she managed to get the point across. I did a bit of crochet here and there, but my love of fiber crafts didn’t really start until about 2005. I’m not sure what happened, but I decided out of the blue that I needed to learn to knit. I got a book from my local library, bought some cheap wool, and borrowed some needles from a friend. I started a scarf that was about 16 inches wide…yep I frogged that one. After that, someone introduced me to spinning and I started collecting spindles. I started working at Webs and took the Intro to Rigid Heddle course and couldn’t resist getting a loom for myself.

The Wilder Cowl knit in Malabrigo Yarns Rios

You design such beautiful pieces! What draws you to design?
I like figuring things out. Designing for me is kind of like solving a puzzle. I really do like knitting other peoples’ patterns and you can learn a lot that way, but sometimes I need a mental challenge. The designs that get me the most excited and creative are the ones where I’m working within a narrow set of parameters. The Wilder cowl (above) came about because I wanted a cowl that would look great in one of Malabrigo’s highly variegated yarns. Stitch patterns can get lost with hand dyed yarns like that, so I wanted to find a way around it.

With my most recent pattern, the Tree Bark Mitts (below right), I was playing around with moving stitches in different directions in the knitting, and thought it would be interesting to have the knit/purl stitch pattern move in the opposite direction. This had the added benefit of creating a stitch pattern that draws in a little and keeps my hands warm. I’m learning a lot about pattern writing and the design process and it has been a lot of fun!

What are you working on right now?
I’ll stick to the highlights, because I’m not really a monogamous knitter. I’m designing a fun little hat right now with Dream in Color Smooshy Sock which has been lots of fun. It has knitted pleats and slipped stitch patterning. I try to keep some non-design projects on the go too. I’ve always got a pair of socks going because they’re just so easy. I’m working on a simple lace shawl with Queensland Rustic Tweed which has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to wrap it around my shoulders on a cold day.

(Left) Basic Rigid Heddle Scarf with Knotted Fringe. Hand dyed Colrain Lace by Kristin.
(Right) Tree Bark Mitts knit in Northampton Sport

In Kristin’s own words, “I love to make things. I’ve always looked around for something I can make. I knit, crochet, spindle spin, dye my own yarn, sew, weave… anything I get in my mind I want to do. Whether it’s making food, designing a webpage or crafting, I just enjoy creating things. It may sound cliched, but there really is something meditative about it.”

 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Andrea

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Share Button

Andrea works in the WEBS shipping department and absolutely loves knitting with Madelinetosh yarns. Today, we’re highlighting Andrea and her talent for turning these hand dyed yarns into stunning projects.

Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang knit in Tosh Sport in Bloomsbury

What’s your favorite Madelinetosh base to work with?
I’d have to say it’s a tie between Merino Light and Vintage. First of all, I love the way both take the dye.  The Merino Light knits up into a drapey, light fabric that doesn’t pill easily, despite being a single-ply. Vintage is an awesome workhorse yarn – it softens up nicely after blocking and keeps its amazing color, will not pill and can stand up to more abuse!

What colorway do you like to work with the most?
Now this is pretty impossible to answer, but I’ll try. As all Madelinetosh fans know, the colors are indescribably beautiful. Always complex, the color can be deep and saturated – or subtle and soft. I have some favorites, but picking one (or five) is just not possible: Tart, Fathom, and Forestry are usually at the top of my list, but I could keep going…

Top left: Norie knit in Pashmina in Tart
Top right:  The Amanda Hat knit in Tosh Vintage in Mansfield Garden Party

Bottom left: Column of Leaves knit in Tosh Vintage in Forestry
Bottom right: Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts knit in Tosh DK in Night Bloom 

You must have a favorite project. What is your favorite thing to make out of Madelinestosh?
Mostly sweaters, but I have made hats, scarves, stoles and cowls I love just as much out of Madelinetosh.

What is it about Madelinetosh yarns that you connect with? What separates it from other yarns?
Again, I’d say the complexity and saturation of the colors. Of course there are many beautiful yarns out there, but the Madelinetosh colors have their own distinctive character. The process that Amy uses is magical! I think she calls it some kind of “glazing” process. It creates multi-layered, subtle color variations that are fascinating and can be found on every centimeter. The bases are very high quality and lovely - they are the perfect canvas for the colors. I love the yarn itself, but for me the colors are what I fell in love with.
Before I worked at WEBS, I was (of course) a customer. My love for Madelinetosh started a few years ago with one skein of Tosh Sock in the Cedar colorway, which I noticed in the store from across the room – seriously.

Left: Citron knit in Tosh Prairie in Bloomsbury
Right: Francis Revisited knit in Tosh Merino DK in Mourning Dove

Andrea has been knitting for six years and hasn’t yet tried out any other fiber crafts, but weaving is next on the list!

What’s your favorite thing to make out of Madelinetosh yarns?

New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, December 31st, 2012
Share Button

We’ve asked our staff members what their fiber related resolutions are for 2013 and we’ve gotten a great range of ideas from more spinning and stash-busting to learning new techniques and planning projects.

What are your Fiber Resolutions for 2013?

My fiber resolution for 2013 is to knit at least one item for myself. – Jamie

I resolve to use up my stash! – Linda

I want to make a multi-colored felted rabbit without using a wool pets kit. – Kyle

I’m determined to learn how to use Photoshop Elements to develop fabulous weaving drafts! – Barbara

I resolve to spend a little time every day doing fiber art, I’d like to make art a daily, restorative habit. – Kirsten

My resolution is to get better at spinning on my wheel this year. – Jackie

I resolve to dust off my spinning wheel and put it back into action. – Tina

 

I now have a basket Full of handspun that I NEED to use up in 2013! – Sara

My resolution is to buy the yarn for, and start (and try to get significant progress on) my epic fingering weight fair isle sweater. – Kristin

Self publish a sweater design! – Emma

I plan to weave a blanket! – Karen

I resolve to finish the hat I started last February! – Kendra

I plan to spin down A LOT of my fiber stash. It’s out of control! – Mary

I resolve to knit from MY stash and use MY patterns. – Lise

This year I’m going to be a slightly selfish knitter and make sure I have a nice hand made hat and cowl.  - Grace

I want to use up many of my coned yarns to make room for new yarns. – Debbie

My only resolution right now is to finish the hexagon blanket. This WILL be the year I do it. I swear! – Dena

I will encourage Tina to have quicker project turn-around times. – Bryan

I plan to spin more, maybe with camel! – Heather

New Video Section on Our Website

Friday, December 28th, 2012
Share Button

Some of you may have noticed that we’ve recently added a new video section to our website. You can find a handy link in our top navigation bar right after Classes & Events.

We have over 140 product, technique, and behind-the-scenes videos to watch with convenient links to other related videos and products in each description. Some video highlights you’ll find are:

  • Newest Videos - Keep an eye out here to catch all of our latest videos like our Year-End Sale preview and the new WEBS Blooper Reel from the past two years.
  • Knitting Videos – From beginning knitting to advanced techniques, you’ll find a collection of knitting videos to help you with your latest project.
  • Crochet Videos - Great videos from learning how to single crochet, to Tunisian crochet, to finishing can be found here.
  • Weaving Videos - Learn how to warp a loom back to front from WEBS founder Barbara Elkins.
  • Spinning Videos - Learn how to spin with a drop spindle.
  • Valley Yarns Videos - Dive in to what makes Valley Yarns so special with yarn reviews and our latest Valley Yarns designs.
  • Product Review Videos - Find out more about some of our favorite or newest yarns, tools, and accessories that we carry.
  • Classes & Events Videos - A look at some of the fun things happening at WEBS.
  • Inside WEBS - Go behind-the-scenes of WEBS – America’s Yarn Store to learn more about the people, store, warehouse, and more.
We’re always looking for suggestions for new video ideas. What knitting or crochet technique do you want to learn? What kinds of products do you like to see a video for? Share your video ideas in the comments below of new videos you would want to see in 2013.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Weavers

Friday, November 30th, 2012
Share Button

If you’re still wondering what to get the weaver in your life Leslie Ann has some great ideas for you.

Gifts for the Weaver:

The Weavers CompanionThe Weavers’s Idea BookCustomer Woven InteriorsInterlaced 90The Schacht Cricket loom,  the Schacht Inkle LoomSchacht Cherry Boat ShuttlesValley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo, and Jade Sapphire Cashmere yarns