Archive for the ‘Tips & Techniques’ Category

Tuesday’s Tip – Knit and Crochet Easily with Coned Yarn

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
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Coned yarns aren’t just for weaving! Yarns wound onto a cone are wonderful to knit and crochet with. They generally come in fairly large quantities, which means fewer joins and weaving in ends. The only tricky part can be getting the yarn off the cone easily while you’re working with it. You could put the cone on the floor, but your seat may not be high enough to be effective. A great solution is to run the yarn over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.

Knit and Crochet Easily with Coned YarnRun the yarn from a cone over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.

Here, I used a tall computer monitor, but a desk lamp would work really well too. If you haven’t worked with coned yarns before, you can try the Valley Yarns 496 Greenway Shawl knit in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel (Colrain Lace) and Valley Yarns 456 Sumac Berry Shawl crocheted in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk.

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip – Using a Salad Spinner

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
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Have you ever held a dripping sweater in your hands and wonder what is the best way to remove the excess water before blocking? Just the right tool may be found in your kitchen.

Use a salad spinner to get out excess water from your knitting or crochet project before blocking.

After I finish knitting or crocheting a project, I like to give it a good soak in some water with wool wash. I’ve tried a number of ways of removing the extra water before pinning it to a blocking board. My favorite and probably the quickest method is to use a salad spinner. It’s a lot more gentle than the spin cycle in my washing machine. I’ve used the towel method, but I don’t love the big pile of wet towels I have at the end. So if the project isn’t too big, I grab my salad spinner.

I’m always impressed by how much excess water I can get out with the salad spinner. (Yay centrifugal force!) A large salad spinner is big enough for many projects such as scarves, shawls, baby garments, lightweight sweaters, and gauge swatches (you do swatch, right?).

What is your favorite method of getting out the water from your project? Leave a note in the comments.

 

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Block Colorwork or Lace Mittens

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from Sara Delaney, designer of the Valley Yarns Safe Passage Hat and Mittens and Valley Yarns Frost Rime Cowl and Mitts.

When blocking mittens or fingerless mitts with color-work or lace, the stitches may need to be stretched a bit during blocking to settle into shape. Instead of just soaking your project and laying it flat to dry, you can use blocking wires (or long single point needles in a pinch!) to pull the edges evenly. This lets you block the mittens with minimal pin use and virtually no distortion to the pattern!

How to Block Colorwork or Lace Mittens

All proceeds from the sale of the Safe Passage Hat and Mittens benefit Safe Passage.

Amy Herzog Can Help You Make the Perfect Sweater

Friday, October 25th, 2013
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Do you remember your first sweater? I remember mine. I actually learned how to knit by making a sweater. I got such satisfaction from showing it to people and saying airily, “yeah, I just made that.” Well, I don’t know who I was fooling. Of course you could tell I made it. The shoulders had a Michael Jackson-esque largeness from clumsy seaming, and one sleeve was a tad (noticeably) longer than the other. And I guess I didn’t notice myself that for one inexplicable row I changed from knit to purl and stopped halfway through and returned to knit. Plus, it was about five sizes too big.

There are 2 main reasons why most sweaters don’t fit:

Measurements (yours, incorrectly done)

Gauge (also yours, maybe incorrect)

Amy Herzog, designer of the best-ever sweaters and author of the groundbreaking book Knit to Flatter, has developed a software program that she just rolled out called CustomFit. By the way, this link takes you to my CustomFit home, so don’t go messing around with my measurements! She’ll be at WEBS on Saturday, November 2 from 11:00am – 2:00pm to show off the site and show customers our unique partnership with her website.

acorn-trail-2

Amy herself, in Acorn Trail

 

Here’s how it works: users establish an individual online account that contains their detailed body measurements.  Based on that information, knitters have the opportunity to design a customized sweater from a seemingly infinite number of styles and design details.  Here are a few examples to whet your appetite. I am a CustomFit account holder myself and am about to get busy on a gorgeous scoop-neck pullover with hemmed neck, bottom edge, and sleeves that will fit me like a glove because I spent quite a bit of time making sure my measurements were correctly done.

Amy’s store event will make that part of it a breeze, since WEBS is partnering with her to have our very own CustomFit account. We will record customers’ measurements and this information will be stored under the WEBS account in CustomFit. This gives WEBS the opportunity to provide personalized service in the form of sweater choices and yarn consults on your customized patterns.

If you love Amy’s iconic designs, you can use an existing pattern of hers, which now have CustomFit adaptations and instructions. She even has an FAQ section (which she’ll answer in-store on Saturday, November 2) so that you don’t get frustrated or lost.

It’s really perfect. So we’ll see you on November 2 from 11:00am – 2:00pm, tape measure in hand and ill-fitting knitwear in the trunk of your car, en route to a landfill or Goodwill.

 

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Wrap and Turn

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
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If you’re looking for a great handmade gift to give this holiday season, try socks! Socks can be quick and easy while still making a big impact. If you’re new to the world of knitting socks, tackling the heel may be the most intimidating part. Once you master the wrap and turn technique, they’re a cinch! You can see the wrap and turn demonstrated below, and you’ll be on your way to making socks in no time.

Valley Yarns B-3 Basic Socks are a great pattern to get started with if you’re never tried knitting socks before.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Select the Right Length Circular Needle

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from WEBS Design Manager, Kirsten. She helps us solve the mystery of what length circular needle to use for our projects.How to Select the Right Length Circular Needle

Finding the right length of circular needles can be confusing to even experienced knitters. As a general rule, the length of the needles should be shorter than the circumference of your knitting. You can always scrunch the stitches up on a short needle, but you can’t stretch them out. For example, if you’re knitting a 38″ sweater, you would use 32″ circular needle. Any longer and the stitches won’t reach all the way around, and any shorter wouldn’t leave enough room for the stitches on the needle. Of course, there’s an exception to this rule. You can use a needle longer than the length of your stitches if you’re doing magic loop. With the magic loop technique, you could actually work a hat on 40″ needles.

 

Spinning & Weaving Week: Blending Fiber for Spinning

Thursday, October 10th, 2013
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Bonnie Lemme, our Assistant Store Manager has a great recommendation for prepping small amounts of fiber.
Colonial Needle Co. Fiber BlendersThe Colonial Needle Company Fiber Blenders are used mostly for preparing fibers before you needle felt. I have used them many times in my spinning process. They are a great tool for preparing a raw fleece to comb out the locks before you spin. It will help remove some vegetable matter and align the fibers before you spin. They are like having a mini hand carder. I also recommend these Fiber Blenders for a newbie. They are an inexpensive and great for beginners who may just want to try their hand carding before purchasing an expensive pair of hand carders. Great for young children to handle too!

Spinning & Weaving Week: Must-Have Weaving Book

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
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Today, Debby Cook shares with us her the must-have book for her weaving shelf.

Deb Chandler's Learning to WeaveMy “must-have” weaving item is Deborah Chandler’s Learning to Weave. Because I also knit, work full time AND part-time and have a full family life, I can sometimes have months go by between starting new projects.   Deb Chandler’s book always has the answers I need to jumpstart my memory!  It keeps me on track from winding my warp, warping back to front, right through treddling and finishing techniques.  Oh, and the reed substitution page is well worn! This is the one book I would be lost weaving without.

What’s your must-have weaving book?

Tuesday’s Weaving Tip – How to Warp a Loom from Back to Front

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
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In honor of Spinning and Weaving Week, this week’s tip shows us how to warp a loom from back to front. As weavers, we warp much less frequently than we actually weave, and not just beginners need a refresher sometimes. Barbara goes into wonderful detail and has clear, easy to follow instructions to help you get your project started.

Spinning & Weaving Week: Make Sleying Easier

Monday, October 7th, 2013
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Make Sleying the Reed Easier

This week, we’ll be sharing with you a few spinning and weaving products that WEBS staffers can’t live without. First up, we have Amy Stephens. Amy is an incredible crafter and you may remember seeing her in one of our staff spotlights. Check out what she has to say about the Harrisville Designs Combo Threading/Sley Hook in Brass

Soon after taking the beginning weaving class at Webs, I purchased a loom. Weaving is still a very new craft for me and dressing the loom can still be a little stressful. During the class I used the 7 ½” Schacht Heddle Hook to thread the heddles and the reed. When I moved to my bigger loom I appreciated the length of the Schacht even more for threading the heddles. I did have trouble threading the reed with it though. I mentioned my issue to a seasoned weaver at work and she suggested the Harrisville Designs Combo Threading/Sley Hook in Brass. It made sleying the reed so much easier! When I weave, I have both tools on hand and it makes dressing the loom that much easier for me.