Archive for the ‘Inside WEBS’ Category

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – Hen Plaid Wrap

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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We thought we’d start a new, regular feature post to show off some of the Valley Yarns Patterns that we love. First up is my personal favorite from our e-Book Soft Landing, the Hen Plaid Wrap.

Hen Plaid Wrap knit in Valley Yarns Goshen - available exclusively at yarn.com

This cozy shawl takes advantage of the next-to-the-skin softness of Valley Yarns Goshen and combines a neutral and jewel tone palette for versatile wearability. The construction of this simple plaid couldn’t be easier! Knit in mostly stockinette with an occasional stacked purl, horizontal stripes are added as you knit and the vertical stripes are added afterwards with surface crochet in the purl ditches. And don’t worry about having ends to weave in from the color changes, those become part of the fringe.

Check out our video tutorial for this technique!

Steve’s Deal of the Day – Dana: Project Ideas

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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Steve’s Deal of the Day for this weekend is Valley Yarns Dana, a limited edition, worsted weight superwash wool available in 8 rich colors. This yarn is very similar to our permanent Valley Superwash and can be used interchangeably in the patterns.

Valley Yarns Dana - available eclusively at yarn.com - While supplies last!

Because it is a superwash, Dana is perfect for classic go-to sweaters and households goods. Try the Rosewood Henly, the Laurel Top-down Hoodie, or the Thaw Cabled Blanket. It’s also great for baby items that call for a worsted weight yarn!

For even more ideas, click over to Valley Superwash page on our website and then choose the “Related Patterns” tab. And don’t forget! Valley Yarns Dana is Steve’s Deal of the Day through 11:59pm EDT Sunday, May 25, 2014. Use Promo Code FBVYDANA at checkout to get the special price, $2.39/ball (reg $3.59). 

Steve’s Deal of the Day – Stockbridge: Project Ideas

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Each weekday Steve chooses a yarn to feature as his Deal of the Day and knocks it down to a special low price. And each Friday he chooses a yarn to keep at that special price for the whole weekend.

This weekend Steve’s Deal of the Day is Valley Yarns Stockbridge, a 50/50 blend of Superfine Alpaca and Wool that results in a yarn with bounce and drape, and a soft, subtle halo. We thought we’d give you some pattern ideas to mull over for the weekend that feature this versatile yarn.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous sweater there is the Tarian Pullover from Thayer Preece Parker. It looks great in the original Natural color or in the Light Grey that Ravelry user MollyMcCorry chose.

Tarian Pullover

For a smaller project try the Fabric Stitch Mittens by Kirsten Hipsky, almost any combination of colors works! Try the blues and brown that Raverly user tomatoesoup used or the green and greys combo from sebaenen.

Fabric Stitch Mittens knit in Valley yarns Stockbridge

There’s the Stoker sweater from Amy Herzog’s book Knit to Flatter. A wardrobe staple that is equally appealing in rich Chocolate brown or the vibrant Deep Teal colorway chosen by Ravelry user splityarn.

Stocker knit in Valley Yarns Stockbridge

For even more ideas, click over to the yarn page on our website and then choose the “Related Patterns” tab.

Choose the Related Patterns Tab at yarn.com for more pattern ideas!

And don’t forget! Valley Yarns Stockbridge is Steve’s Deal of the Day through 11:59pm EDT Sunday, May 18, 2014.

Customer Spotlight – Malabrigo Blanket

Monday, April 21st, 2014
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Last week one of our local customers, Peggy, brought in a blanket she’s been working on for a friend. She says, “It is a very old pattern that my friend’s mother made for her many years ago. She has been searching for several years to find it.” The pattern was found, an old magazine clipping, and Peggy got to work.

Customer Blanket

Peggy chose to work with Malabrigo Rastita, a soft and cozy merino wool, and 41 skeins later she ended with a gorgeous, Full-sized bedspread. “It is indeed a labor of love and I can’t wait to take to Maryland to its new owner and see her face when she sees it.”

Thanks for bringing in this lovely blanket Peggy! And for those of you curious about the pattern, it was originally published in 1946 in the Complete Book of Crochet, but the pattern is available online as well.

Have you taken on any large scale projects this year?

Local Weavers “Help Our Kids”

Monday, April 14th, 2014
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January 30, 2014 -- Local weaver Vicki Patillo weaves the first of 5 blankets that will be donated to Help Our Kids, a local nonprofit organization for foster children. Patillo is one of several members of the Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild who are donating their time.

January 30, 2014 — Local weaver Vicki Patillo weaves the first of five blankets that will be donated to HelpOurKids, a local non-profit organization for foster children.  She is one of several guild members who donated their time.

Members of the Pioneer Valley Weavers guild recently completed a service project in which they handwove approximately 20 blankets for foster children and babies in the Western Massachusetts area.  Five of the blankets were woven right here at WEBS America’s Yarn Store and donated, along with over 15 other handwoven, knit and crocheted blankets to local non-profit organization HelpOurKids.  

WEBS founder Barbara Elkins began thinking about the project in October of last year and was pleased by the response from the guild and other customers at WEBS.  “There will be some children that will have something of their own and that’s very special.  When they are transferred to a new foster home, a (security) blanket can be very helpful,” Elkins said.

HelpOurKids director Noryn A. Resnick said that the focus of foster care is “too often limited to just being sure that they (foster children) have a place to sleep and enough food.  The part that is missing is athletic equipment to enable them to join a team, music lessons, a prom dress a backpack etc.”  Resnick decided to start HelpOurKids to help foster children fill in specific needs beyond the basics “that make every child feel like a ‘normal’ part of society.”

Guild weaver Pat Kapitzky of Florence, MA chose to participate in the project because she knows how special blankets can be for growing children.  She said, “the idea is that the foster children, when they move around, they have a pretty blanket they can take with them.  I remember my blankie and my two children’s blankies, and they were very important”.  They offered “comfort and security,” she said.

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February 17, 2014 — Dorothy Schimel of Florence, Massachusetts, measures the length of a blanket to donate to foster children at local non-profit, HelpOurKids. 

Elkins volunteered use of an 8-shaft Schacht loom on display in the store and all of the necessary materials for the project.  During the months of January and February weavers came into the store during normal shopping hours to work on their blankets.  Elkins said, “I volunteered the loom and materials because it is in line with WEBS’ values of contributing where we can.  We have a history of donating yarn to causes we support.”  Guild members who could not weave on the loom at WEBS chose to weave individual blankets at home.

March 3, 2014 -- WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, left, and Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild Representative, Deb Adamczyk, right, cut hand woven blankets from the loom.

March 3, 2014 — WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, left, and Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild Representative, Deb Adamczyk, right, cut handwoven blankets from the loom.

The loom was dressed with enough warp to weave up to five blankets.  Elkins and store manager Leslie Ann Bestor set up a striped 3/2 cotton warp with accenting stripes of variegated cotton flake.  All blankets needed to be machine washable and soft and have a finished size of 30 inches wide by about 36 inches long.  Elkins kept the terms and conditions of the project pretty loose allowing weavers to showcase their creativity and skill.

News of the project spread throughout the various social groups at WEBS, inspiring knitters and crocheters who were not connected to the guild to also participate.  Local customers in the weekly drop-in groups at WEBS donated another dozen knit and crocheted blankets.

Elkins said that the blanket project is one of several socially worthwhile projects the guild takes on every year.  “I can’t say the effort was a surprise; it wasn’t.  We have a history of concern for others and an interest in spreading the word about weaving.  I was very pleased by the amount of participation.  Weavers are a generous bunch of people,” she said.

According to Elkins, over WEBS’ 40 year history they have always tried to contribute where they could.  In the years since Kathy and Steve took over those efforts have only grown exponentially.  “It is important that we give back because we have received such overwhelming support from our customers,” she said.

March 3, 2014 -- WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, surges hand woven blankets.

March 3, 2014 — WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, prepares handwoven blankets to be cut and finished by weavers at home.

Blankets were hand delivered to HelpOurKids Director Noryn A. Resnick at the once a month guild meeting held at WEBS.  When she addressed the group, she thanked them for their donated time and effort.  According to Resnick, foster children are often moved around without any belongings.  “This will stay with them when they go to their emergency foster home and then when they go into their permanent foster home.  It provides them stability and some consistency.”

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March 11, 2014 — Director of local non-profit, Help Our Kids, Noryn A. Resnick, (center), received over 20 handmade blankets from weavers, knitters and crocheters at the once a month guild meeting held at WEBS America’s Yarn Store.

Acknowledging the amount of care and skill woven into these blankets, Resnick said that these pieces will likely be heirlooms for the children as they grow older.  “I said to Barbara, you’re not only warming their bodies, but you’re warming their minds because they’re afraid, they’re frightened and just to have something that’s their own and that they can depend on and cuddle, it’s just really wonderful.  Someday when they’re in a stable environment, they’ll get to keep this and know that someone really did care about them and that they were not forgotten.”

For more information about HelpOurKids or to make a donation, please visit http://www.helpourkidsinc.org/.

New Store Samples to Inspire You

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
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When you first walk through WEBS’s doors, you might be overwhelmed by the wide array of colorful yarns and sample garments on view. Sample garments are the first impression you’ll get of a yarn and we try to offer as many samples as we can for you to enjoy. You’ll find the garments and accessories located throughout the store; often you’ll have to look up to see samples on the tops of bookcases!

From now on, we’re making our sample sweaters in the medium size, rather than the typical small size, to accommodate a more realistic range of body types and sizes. If you’re interested in a particular design, please feel free to try on the sample and ask questions about it. Our associates are always happy to help you.

We try to keep our store samples updated and fresh for each new season. This month we’ve added several garments and accessories that show off some of our new spring yarns and familiar yarns as well.

When Katia Big Ribbon arrived for spring, I was bowled over by the variety of colors and knew this yarn was made for a fun, summer-y accessory. This free crocheted slipper pattern, modeled by Mary Anne, is available free of charge on the Knitting Fever website. One ball of this super bulky yarn is sufficient for a pair of solid color slippers. But if you buy two colors, you can mix and match them as we’ve done and have enough yarn for two pair!

katia slippers     katiacloseup

We’ve carried Freia Fine Handpaints Ombre Lace for several months and, as gorgeous as it was in the ball, it needed to be knit to truly illustrate its’ beauty. I chose KnitWhits “Sonoma Scarf” which is available as a PDF on our website. Our laceweight sample was knit in the Grapevine colorway but please check out the other beautiful colorways we carry.

freiashawl   freiaclose

Our next store sample was knit in one of the most sumptuous yarns we carry—Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere which comes in over 20 solid and variegated colorways. I chose Ravelry pattern, “Boxy” by Joji Locatelli, for a few reasons: it’s a contemporary design that can be casually worn with jeans or dressed up when paired with your favorite skirt; it can be knit with a variety of fine gauge yarns; and most important, many women of all shapes and sizes have knit this pattern and they look fantastic! Mary Anne is sporting our sassy version of the pattern in Silk Cashmere color #201, aptly named “Seeing Red.”

boxy      boxyside

“Surf,” designed by Martin Storey and featured in the newest Rowan magazine 55, is an explosion of spring and summer color! Knit in Rowan’s mercerized Cotton Glace in 11 glorious shades, this slightly cropped pullover is classic but stylish and looks perfect on our model, Bonnie.

surf              surfside

We’re excited about these new store samples and we hope you do too—please visit the store soon and check them out!

 

The Thornes Pullover from Amy Herzog

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
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Your response to our first two guest designer patterns has been wonderful. It’s time to highlight the third pattern from our first round of specialty yarns and designers. Amy Herzog designed the Thornes Pullover to be a classic silhouette with special details.

 

About the design Amy says, “The Thornes Pullover from Valley Yarns is a classic, comfortable turtleneck pullover that adds understated elegance to any outfit. The reverse stockinette stitch fabric lends a soft, approachable look to the sweater and makes the color changes in this slightly variegated colorway more subtle. The ribbed trim and twisted stitch detailing give a bit of flair to an otherwise basic staple. I was thrilled to be given such lovely materials for my design for WEBS’ 40th Anniversary celebration. Thornes is worked in their Valley Yarns Superwash DK, in a special color dyed by Madelinetosh called “Magnolia Leaf”. To me, this is the perfect blend of autumn colors. It’s slightly darker than shown in these pictures, like looking at the pattern of fall foliage across a hillside. Incredible.”

And while the gorgeous Magnolia Leaf colorway of the 40th Anniversary Valley Superwash DK hand-dyed by Madelinetosh has sold out this sweater works up beautifully in the solid colors of our Valley Superwash DK, like the Forest colorway.

 

Behind the Skeins

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
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The fantasy of working at a yarn store conjures up images of frolicking through bins of beautiful yarn, caressing skeins of luxurious cashmere, hobnobbing with the knitterati and knitting behind the counter while chatting with customers.  The reality includes all that (except for the knitting at work, alas, and without the symphonic soundtrack and dream sequences) plus the mundane and pedestrian tasks of running a retail business. We thought you’d like to see a Day in the Life at the store, so join us “Behind the Skeins” for a look at what goes on behind the scenes.

vacuuming WEBS

 

 

 

 

  We start the day wearing our housekeeping hats – vacuuming, putting things back in their places, wiping counters, getting things ready so we can open the doors.

 

 

 

 

 

Garment on WEBS blog

J tries on garment on WEBS blog

Often we have early morning meetings with reps from the yarn companies to learn about the new yarns and patterns for the season.  We get to try on sample garments – a great way to see how they actually look on real people.

 

 

 

Every day Bill brings us boxes loaded with new products and restocks.

Bill delivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, it’s fun to see and touch the New.

3/7/14 A new shipment of Madelinetosh has arrived in the store!

3/7/14 A new shipment of Madelinetosh has arrived in the store!

 

 

 

 

And then we have to put it all away!

 

 

 

 

And, of course,  we have to find it again! We put a lot of time into staying organized, a big challenge considering how often we move the yarn. We map the store and update our lists and just when we think we know where everything is, we get a shipment of the next season’s yarns and we start moving and updating again. Ever wonder what happens when we disappear to find more yarn for you?

stockroom

We are practicing our orienteering skills in the stockroom!

We all learn pretty quickly that the one constant in our jobs at WEBS is constant change. Interruptions are part of the job as we move back and forth between helping customers and stocking shelves. Customer service is our priority and the other tasks take a back seat to that, so never hesitate to ask us for help!

It all makes for a lively day. It’s great to be surrounded by all the colors and textures and we are continually inspired by the creativity of our customers and colleagues. And, thus it is nice to turn off the lights at the end of the day and head home, because we can hardly wait to work on our latest project while relaxing in a comfy chair!

Turning out the lights

March is National Crochet Month

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
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Valley Yarns Pickwick Cowl Crocheted in Valley Yarns CharlemontI love checking out obscure days and months (today, March 3rd is ‘If Pets Had Thumbs Day,’ among several others). It’s always fun to see what have days, or months. It’s also fun to check out the far less obscure days and months, like this month! March is National Crochet Month, and we’ll be celebrating it here on the blog all month long.

This month on the blog you’ll find weekly special crochet technique features (surface crochet and Tunisian crochet are just a couple that well be looking at), patterns suggestions, and a few surprises. So, keep checking back!

Do you love to crochet?

Meet the Store Crew

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
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Feb. 11, 2014- Store staff photo. Photo by Mary Kubasek

Walk in the door of WEBS’ retail store in Northampton and you will be greeted by one of the folks pictured above. This is our crew and they represent countless years of experience in the fiber arts. On any given day we have 6 – 9 staff on hand to keep things running smoothly and the cast of characters varies from day to day, as this is no ordinary 9-5 job.

I am Leslie Ann and I co-manage the store with Stephanie, helped by our Assistant Manager Bonnie. We work as a team, balancing our strengths to keep the skeins spinning and things on course. Stephanie is the Master Yarn Mover, Bonnie is known for her customer service and I am fluent in the language of weaving, with special emphasis on translating for beginners.

We are lucky to have a crew with great expertise. In addition to being skilled knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners and felters, our staff possess hidden talents and super powers that they use to help our customers.  Marion is our Button Maven and can help you find the perfect match among our vast collection, while Maryanne excels at helping people pick patterns and yarn colors that will flatter.  Can’t remember the name of that pattern you saw 3 months ago? J will come to the rescue! Likewise, Ashley can identify random yarn faster than a spinning spindle.

We also have Mary the Gauge Whisperer and Gail, who dyes every day.  Katie claims to have laser vision and Marthe tames the unruly shelves in the warehouse, while many others possess the strength of great and friendly customer service. Nancy keeps us laughing with her sense of humor, we have an in-house animal rescue league and an expert yarn untangler often found at the winding station.

Our diverse interests, both fiber-related and outside of work keep things lively in the store. We share our projects – WIPs, FOs, and pipe dreams.  We laugh about crazy patterns we’ve seen and ooh and ahh over the new yarns.  One and all, we are super yarn enablers and egg each other on when we see someone petting a skein or making piles of colors.

It’s a people-loving bunch and we enjoy getting to know our customers, so introduce yourself when you’re in the store and let us help you with your fibery needs.