Archive for the ‘Inside WEBS’ Category

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.

The Windchill Cardigan from Melissa LaBarre

Friday, February 7th, 2014
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We’ve been so thrilled with your response to our first specialty yarn and dedicated patterns. We thought it was time to share another pattern highlight with you. Melissa LaBarre designed the Windchill Cardigan for us and it’s just stunning!

About her relationship with WEBS:

I’m so happy to be one of the designers for Webs’ 40th anniversary. Webs has been a big part of my life for more than a decade.
I discovered Webs when I started knitting again, just over 10 years ago. What a place to discover when you’re a new knitter. I think I started by buying 2 of everything and making a bunch of fancy scarves.
Years later, knitting had become a big part of my life. I started designing and picked up a part-time job at Webs. During my 2 years there, I co-wrote 2 knitting books, New England Knits and Weekend Hats.
Now I’m a work-at-home designer and mother of a toddler girl, with another baby girl on the way. My designs had shifted from adult garments to accessories and baby designs in the last year, so it was fun to design my first adult sweater in a year for Webs’ anniversary.
You can check out more of Melissa’s patterns on our site, on her Ravelry page or follow her on Facebook!

Selfish Project Month

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
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The holidays are now a distant memory, and while some of the more organized and enterprising members of our crafting community have already started planning, and possibly even working on projects for the end of this year, many of us just want to take a little time to focus on ourselves. I am included in that second group. I didn’t make nearly as many projects as I was planning for gifts, but as I was working on them, all I could think of was projects I wanted for myself – legwarmers, mittens, hats. (It has been really cold!)

Since February also happens to feature Valentine’s Day, we thought it might be nice to show ourselves a little love and focus on selfish knitting and crocheting. In the next month, we’ll feature patterns and ideas that you can make for yourself (or someone else if you really wanted to).

You’ll also want to keep an eye out here and our other social media sites next week because we’re going to be doing something special.

Are you planning on knitting or crocheting for yourself?

Staff Favorites: Patterns

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
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In the store, we often get to see customers come through with great finished projects made with stellar patterns. We realized recently that several of us have finished some really great patterns and wanted to share them with you. Some of them are new, some are old, and some are even designed by our staff. Take a look at what we’ve worked on.

Elektrocute designed by Emma Welford

Elektrocute by Emma Welford
Like most of my design ideas, Elektrocute started out as a hastily-scribbled sketch on a post-it note while I was working. From sketch to chart to FO, it turned out exactly as I was picturing it and that makes it my latest favorite! I think the evolving colorwork pattern is fun and youthful while Madelinetosh Pashmina makes it luxe. Go wild with color combinations…I dare you! - Emma W.
I test knit this for Emma, and I must say, it’s a super fun pattern! – Mary

Cabled Baby Sweater designed by Rebecca L. Daniels

Cabled Raglan Baby Sweater by Rebecca L. Daniels
Made in Louet Gems Sport, a wonderful springy yarn that had a lot of personality and showed cabling nicely. This was my first top-down raglan sweater (believe it or not) and they each knit up in less than a week. Not only did I love the pattern, I loved learning this technique and I can’t believe I didn’t come around to it sooner. I’m contemplating making another pair as a first-birthday present. - Amy G.

Cladonia Shawl designed by Kirsten Kapur

Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur
I love knitting the Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur.  It was a simple shawl with a very nice lacy details to finish it off.  I knit it up in the Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light as the main color and Madelinetosh Tosh Lace for the lace detail in a different color. - Bonnie L.

Rooshed designed by Amy Stephens

Rooshed by Amy Stephens
I have always loved lace weight yarn but my attempts at knitting lace have always ended in tears. Rooshed is my answer! It’s an asymmetrical shawl/scarf that is practically weightless. It’s long enough to style a number of different ways. I’ve knit three already, in a silk/merino blend and have plans to knit another one in black. They’ve been popping up on a number of people who work in the store too. I love seeing everyone’s fiber and color choice. - Amy S.
I’m pretty excited about this pattern. It’s definitely on my to-knit list! – Mary

Crossroads Hat designed be Elena Nodel

Crossroads Hat by Elena Nodel
I knit this hat while start to finish while watching a football game. It was a super quick knit and it was also a really fun knit. I’m not a huge fan of purling, so it seems silly to have chosen this particular pattern, but the slipped stitches and cabling helped to break it up and move it along. Once you get going, the location of the slipped stitches and cables just flows. I knit it in two colors of Madelinetosh Tosh DK. - Mary K.

Elementary Cowl designed by Amy Stephens

Elementary Cowl by Amy Stephens
One of my favorite patterns, right now, is the Elementary Cowl. I think I’m knitting the 12th one. I just can’t stop! The pattern is incredibly easy. What I’m drawn to is picking out different colors and working with yarns that have a chainette construction like Classic Elite Chalet/Chateau, Cascade Eco Cloud, and Rowan Lima/Lima Colour.  The fabric is so warm, soft and squishy. It’s a perfect knit for watching TV, a knitting group project, or watching swim meets. - Amy S.

What’s your favorite pattern that you’ve recently completed? Do you like seeing our finished projects and patterns recommendations?

 

It’s our 40th Anniversary!

Monday, January 20th, 2014
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Windchill PromoWe’re so excited to officially launch our 40th Anniversary celebrations and to share with you our first round of spectacular specialty products.

WEBS has teamed up with Madelinetosh to bring you our own Valley Yarns Superwash DK dyed in 19 of your favorite Madelinetosh colors and an exclusive Ruby colorway for our 40th year. This yarn is only available at WEBS and in limited quantities so get it while you can!

We’ve also partnered with 3 amazing designers who have worked their magic with this yarn.

Doris Chan designed the Cousteau Shawl that shows off the drape and movement of the Superwash DK beautifully and just seems to shimmer in the Cousteau colorway.

Melissa LaBarre’s  Windchill Cardigan, designed using the Baroque Violet colorway, is an easy, open front cardigan with great hem and neckline details.

And Amy Herzog worked with the Magnolia Leaf colorway to design a classic wardrobe staple with a few simple, yet  modern twists in the Thornes Pullover.

And this is just the start. We’ll have new and exclusive designs from some of your favorite designers throughout the year in some of our favorite Valley Yarns and each quarter we’ll bring you a new and exclusive hand dyed yarn.

As if all this amazing yarn and patterns weren’t enough, you can tote your new project around in a brand new, exclusive to WEBS, della Q bag! There will be a new bag from della Q each quarter.

We’ll also be unveiling new weaving drafts from long-time friends of WEBS, and some of our favorite weaving instructors throughout the year. Additionally, as part of our year-long celebration, we’re sponsoring a Weaving Contest with 4 different categories and 3 prizes per category! Full details and contest rules are available on our website.

We’ve got so much more for you this year. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, and on Ravelry for all the latest.

Thank you for 40 years and thank you for making us America’s Yarn Store!

New Years Resolutions for 2013 – How did we do?

Monday, December 30th, 2013
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Last December we asked our staff if they had any resolutions for 2013 – let’s check in and see how they’ve done.

My fiber resolution for 2013 is to knit at least one item for myself. – Jamie – Jamie made it out of 2013 with a hat for himself. Way to go Jamie!

I resolve to use up my stash! – Linda – Linda made a dent but says she has a long way to go.

I’m determined to learn how to use Photoshop Elements to develop fabulous weaving drafts! – Barbara – Barbara did take a class on using Photoshop and is well on her way to implementing her new skills.

I resolve to spend a little time every day doing fiber art, I’d like to make art a daily, restorative habit. – Kirsten – Kirsten started strong but lagged a bit towards the end of the year.

My resolution is to get better at spinning on my wheel this year. – Jackie – Jackie didn’t spend anytime with her wheel but did dive into weaving and crochet this past year.

I now have a basket Full of handspun that I NEED to use up in 2013! – Sara – Sara did not use up her handspun stash, she spun more and now it’s twice the size it was. (but really, who’s complaining about MORE yarn?!)

Self publish a sweater design! – Emma – Emma didn’t manage to self-publish a sweater pattern this year but she has been quite busy!

I plan to spin down A LOT of my fiber stash. It’s out of control! – Mary – While Mary did spin quite a bit she added even more fiber, it’s still out of control!

I resolve to knit from MY stash and use MY patterns. – Lise – Lise did a great job of working through a large portion of her stash this year.

This year I’m going to be a slightly selfish knitter and make sure I have a nice hand made hat and cowl.  – Grace – While Grace didn’t make the hat and cowl she envisioned she did end up with a lovely shawl.

I want to use up many of my coned yarns to make room for new yarns. – Debbie – Debbie did quite a bit of weaving this year, there’s definitely room for new yarns!

My only resolution right now is to finish the hexagon blanket. This WILL be the year I do it. I swear! – Dena – Dena did manage to finally finish the Amethyst Brook Afghan and with gorgeous results!

I will encourage Tina to have quicker project turn-around times. – Bryan – Sadly, since Tina has moved on we’ll never know how well Bryan would have done!

Kyle, Tina, Kristin, Karen, Kendra and Heather have all moved on from the WEBS family this year, we miss them and wish them all the best in their new endeavors!

Even More Employee Wishlists

Monday, December 16th, 2013
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We’ve asked one last bunch employees what’s on their personal wishlists. After all, if it’s on the wishlist of a WEBS employee you know it’s a good choice for the fiber enthusiast in your life!

Hi, I’m Kirsten and I’m a designer! Kirsten is our Valley Yarns Design Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1. 1/20nm Wool Cashmere Mill End – I’ve spent most of my life working in yarn stores, so believe me when I say this stuff is special! It’s an amazing value and a great thickness for weaving, lace knitting or crocheting, or for plying into a thicker yarn. Closeouts like this don’t come around much anymore.

2. Run Run Run Italian Shopper – The more sturdy tote bags in my life, the better. Since this one can fold up and go in my purse, I’ll never be without a shopping bag.

3. Lavishea Lotion Bars – So important for keeping my hands in good condition in the winter. Make mine lavender, please!

4. Debra’s Garden Needle Gauge Pendant – I have a number of inexpensive needle sizing tools, but they’re never to be found when I need them. I bet this awesome pendant would solve that problem.

5. Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Crochet Hook Set – It feels like I’m discovering a new use for crochet hooks every day: threading garment tags, fixing knit stitches, weaving in ends, actual crocheting. Time to ditch the hodgepodge of hooks in my toolkit and grab a great, color-coded set.

 

Hi, I’m Bonnie and I’m a knitter and spinner. Bonnie is our Assistant Store Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1.Knitters Pride Symfonie Rose Interchangeable Needle Set- I’m in love with the needles.  They are light weight and have a great point for working with lace weight.  I also love the nice case they come in so they are easy to store and keep organized.

2. Highlighter Tape is a must-have for any project.  It helps me keep my place on projects, whether it be with charts or just keeping my place on a pattern.  This has been a life saver for me because I tend to have many projects going and I know right where I left off, because I have it marked with the tape.

3. Madelinetosh Merino Light - This would be a great gift for me because I have many scarves/shawls in my Ravelry Queue.  This yarn is one of my top choices for yarns in this weight.

4.Camel Down- One of my favorite fibers to spin up.  Feels like cashmere but half the price.

5. Artyarns Ensemble 4- wonderful high end yarn that is a blend of silk and cashmere.  I would NEVER turn this yarn away!  Hint Hint!

 

Hi, I’m Stephanie and I’m a knitter and spinner. Stephanie is one of our Store Co-Managers.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1. Schoppe Zauberball Starke 6 – This is sport weight sock yarn,  which is not all that easy to find, and it comes in a gorgeous array of colors. Since I’m a frequent sock knitter, I’m partial to color #2082 if you want to buy me a present.

2. The Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius – I love reference books and this would be a welcome addition to my bookshelves.  100 sheep breeds and their fibers are featured in this small volume, in addition to clear photos and suggestions for best uses of each fiber.  A must for fleece shopping at wool festivals.

3.  The Reisenthal small Allrounder – Like many folks, I can’t have too many bags and these are well-made, reasonably priced and come in a variety of bold prints.  It can be used as a project bag and a purse with lots of roomy pockets for doodads and necessities.

4. Bobbins for my Schacht Matchless and my Lendrum DT. Since I don’t get around to plying my spun singles very often, this way I can have as many unfinished spinning projects as I do knitting projects.

5. New fiber from Sweet Georgia – 100%  superwash Blue Faced Leicester, caught my eye as soon as it arrived. Rich saturated colors ensure a spun yarn with lots of character and interest.

 

Hi, I’m Dena and I’m a knitter who wants to be a better crocheter. Dena is our E-Commerce Marketing Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1. 6 oz of Jaggerspun Zephyr in Turquoise – So I can knit the Shetland Trader Laar cardigan.

2. Clover Soft Stitch Ring Markers – My stitch markers are always disappearing. I think my sofa is eating them.

3. Knitter’s Pride Karbonz Interchangeable Circular Starter Set – I love my Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles. And this Karbonz Starter Set would be a nice addition to my collection.

4. Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chachula – I love so many of the blankets from this book and think it would be a fun way to expand my crochet skills.

5. Be Sweet Skinny Wool – Surprise me with 3 colors so I can make a stripy shawl. But it can include the Sea Green color, I would be extra happy.