Archive for the ‘Products at WEBS’ Category

The Bleak Season

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
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Now that the holidays are in the rearview mirror, it seems like time to embark on a project to make winter pass a little more quickly. I’ll drop a hint here that we’ll be helping you find a big project to go through the bleak season in a few weeks, so stay tuned! You’re going to learn stuff that is fun, and you’ll have a big ol’ yummy blanket to give or keep by the time the lilacs start to creep out.

Flares and Graces PDF, Plymouth Cashmere Passion and Filatura Di Crosa Zara Kid - all available at yarn.com

In the meantime, I’m going to cast on for a sweater–I haven’t had a big project like that on the needles in almost a year! I thought I’d give our “Flares and Graces” pullover a try. I love the shape of this textured knit designed for us by Guest Designer Fiona Ellis. The sleeves and yoke have a really intriguing cable pattern that will stand up to some binge-watching of “Grey’s Anatomy,” my new addiction. The waist shaping makes it appear slightly fitted, but I’m going to knit it with a bit more ease, in order to put a silky tee-shirt underneath for total comfort.

I am having a tough time choosing between two yarns that seem perfect for this project, which needs a yarn that will clearly define those chevron cables. Zara Kid is a really soft, springy combination of wool and polyamide, and I like the pine-green color that caught my eye in our store. Cashmere Passion is also a contender; the blend of merino and cashmere create a fabric that would be heavenly to wear. The mauve-y pink is a go-to for me lately.

What are you knitting to help you through the holiday let-down?

New Year – New Weaving

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
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Greetings from the Weaving Room! As 2014 winds down and we wrap up our 40th Anniversary celebrations, I am looking forward to the new year and the new beginnings that it will bring. I am not much of one for making resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals. I am easily distracted so having goals helps me to stay focused and to move forward. And, of course, there is such a great sense of accomplishment when I achieve them – another chance to celebrate!

Tablet Weaving Made Easy DVD with John Mullarkey - available at yarn.comIn the next year I am looking to stretch myself as a weaver – try new weave structures, looms, fibers. One thing that has been grabbing my interest lately is card weaving, also called tablet weaving. I am fascinated and mystified by how it works. I love the beautiful bands you can weave, and can see many ways to incorporate them into projects. We have a great DVD from John Mullarkey – Tablet Weaving Made Easy – that’s filled with instruction and inspiration. Schacht recently started making cards for tablet weaving that look perfect for beginners – the edges are color coded to help you keep track of which way to turn them. If I really get into it I may even try the six-hole cards from Unicorn.

 

One of the things I love about working at WEBS is the easy access to a great line up of classes and instructors. For those who live in our ‘neighborhood’ (which seems to include most of the Northeast, judging from the folks who have taken classes with me), our weaving classes offer the ideal setting to learn new techniques with hands on instruction. I am excited to take the Rug Weaving class with Jason Collingwood. His designs are beautiful and I look forward to learning from such an acclaimed teacher.

Valley Yarns #37 Finnish Pattern #1 Draft PDF - available for download at yarn.comAnother perk of WEBS is the daily inspiration of my colleagues and our customers. Several years ago a few of us decided to do a weaving challenge and we all chose the same draft and then individually picked our yarns. I took the word ‘challenge’ very seriously and decided to use 60/2 silk (and even chose colors that I never use). It was both terrifying and exhilarating and though I loved the end result, I have stayed away  from fine threads since then. Until now. In the spirit of new (or re-newed?) beginnings, I am going to weave with 60/2 silk again. We have a 4-shaft variation on that snowflake twill I made before and I am going to weave some new scarves.

Many years ago, on the “Cast On” podcast by Brenda Dayne, I heard the phrase “Begin as you mean to go on” and I think of it every time the new year cycles around. I am beginning my weaving year with a warp on the loom and new things to learn. How about you – what will you begin with your weaving in 2015?

 

I’m Looking Ahead

Monday, December 22nd, 2014
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This year, I didn’t throw myself into the knitted-gift frenzy that has made the last few years a little dicey in terms of holiday engagement. (That means I was the Grinchiest Grinch ever as I glared at every recipient of the scarves, hats, mittens, and cowls that I was knitting for them. Poor planning is my defense.) I’m taking the long view this time around. I’m looking ahead to 2015, because I’m thinking about what I might want to do differently in the coming year.

I don’t make resolutions. Too much commitment. I make vague goals and if (when) I don’t end up fulfilling them, well…lesson learned. Move on.

Most thorough technique book ever!Next year, I’m really going to concentrate on the details. I’m going to move past my go-to Long Tail Cast-On and Knitted Bind-Off. I’m going to experiment with cast-ons and bind-offs that are complementary to my project and look beautiful.

I’m going to learn how to do Kitchener Stitch. I’ve done so much to avoid this necessary fact of knitting life, and it now seems ridiculous. How hard can it be? (stop laughing). I’m also going to learn to read charts. I can protest all I want but I love stitch patterns and cables and those babies are charted. Once again, how hard can it be? (see above.)color chart

Lastly, I’m going to stop making the thought of perfection ruin a perfectly good knitted piece. Only I know that I bumbled a knit stitch into a purl. Nobody will ever see the mismatched decrease except me. I want my knitting to be fun and comforting, not a showpiece. That’s why I started knitting in the first place.

I might add, in a self-serving way, that some of these things can be learned in a class. And that leads me the now open-for-business winter/spring class registration! Check out our offerings and see what you might like to tackle in 2015.

WEBS Gift Cards

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
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This week finds us in the midst of Hanukkah and just a week from Christmas. It may be too late for us to get an order shipped out to you in time for gift giving but WEBS Gift Cards and eGift Cards could save the day!

WEBS Gift Cards and eGift Cards available at yarn.com

Gift Cards can be purchased and used both online and in our retail store. If you are purchasing through yarn.com Gift Cards are typically mailed by the next business day, and there is no shipping charge if you choose Standard Shipping. If you’re local to the store be sure to check our store hours and you can stop in to pick up as many as you need!

eGift Cards can be purchased online and immediately shared with the recipients.

Please note – WEBS eGift Cards can ONLY be used online and cannot be used in our retail store or over the phone.

What to buy with your WEBS Gift Card – Project Bags

Monday, December 15th, 2014
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Every knitter, and crocheter, I know has multiple projects going at any one time and project bags are the perfect way to help corral the clutter that can result. Whether you’re looking for the perfect little last minute gift for a friend or contemplating your after-holiday gift card purchases here are a few of our favorite bags.

Project Bags available in all sizes and styles at yarn.com - Namaste Harlow Bag, the Attenti Caddy in peacock, and the Hadaki Multitasker Pouch

For your smaller projects the Hadaki Multitasker Pouch and the Blue Sky Alpacas Pretty Cheep project bags can handle anything from socks to large lace shawls, scarves and hats. For your larger sweaters and baby blankets the Atenti Caddy and our exclusive 40th Anniversary Della Q Large Eden Drawstring Bags have a surprising amount of room for yarn supplies and your growing project. The Lantern Moon Repurposed Plastic Tote would be perfect for large afghan projects and is one of the sturdiest bags we carry. And if you’re just looking for something stylish that can double as the perfect purse we highly recommend the Harlow Bag from Namaste. Not only does it have plenty of room inside for your wallet, keys, tablet(or laptop!), and gloves but you fit a couple small projects in there as well! How do you transport your projects?

 

Gifts for Weavers

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
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Stumped by what to get for the weaver in your life? It can be tricky when you do not speak the language or know the tribal customs of this particular breed of fiber enthusiast. But fear not, for I am a professional weaving enabler and I can provide insight into this dilemma. As with most of my gifting, I try to look for something special, something that the giftee might not necessarily buy for her/himself. The choices range from tools to enhance the weaving process to luxury fibers to make a unique woven piece.

Schacht variable dent heddle for rigid heddle looms - available at yarn.com

 

Schacht’s Variable Dent Heddle (for the Flip Rigid Heddle Loom) allows weavers to create one-of-a-kind pieces by combining different yarns together in a single warp. The heddle consists of a frame with sections of varying dents that can be combined in any order, providing limitless possibilities for beautiful woven projects!

 

Yarn to Yards Balance - available at yarn.com

 

Those of us who have been grabbed by fiber lust often find ourselves with mystery cones and skeins with no labels, leaving us to wonder if we have enough yarn to weave that special *thing*. The Yarn to Yards Balance is here to answer those questions with a simplicity that is ingenious. A length of yarn is balanced on the device and then measured to find yards per pound. No fuss, no muss, and no batteries needed.

Another tool new weavers often delay getting is the indispensable Bobbin Winder. Sturdy and simple, these tools last forever and take the drudgery out of winding bobbins of thread to weave. They offer a distinct advantage over homemade options by allowing a degree of control that produces a better wound bobbin (one of the keys to good selvedges).

Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere - available at yarn.com

 

Silk. Cashmere. Need I say more? Okay, maybe some specifics – how about a skein of Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere, the epitome of luxury in a skein. These skeins have great yardage, with enough in one skein for weft for a softer-than-soft scarf. It pairs beautifully with our 2/10 Merino Tencel as warp (ask me how I know).

Schacht Inkle Loom - available at yarn.com

 

Then we have a fun loom for kids and adults alike – the Inkle Loom. This loom is for weaving narrow bands that are great for belts, guitar and camera straps, and as strips to piece or weave together into larger projects. We sell the Schacht Inkle Loom individually, or as a gift set that adds in a shuttle to weave with and Anne Dixon’s great book, The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory, which is filled with colorful, inspiring designs in addition to basic weaving instructions. A smaller version of the loom is also available, the Ashford Inklette.

And, finally, no wish list would be complete without mentioning gift cards, the present that fits everyone regardless of size, color and fiber preferences!

Surprise your favorite weaver with something special and watch the fun as the creativity is unleashed!

What to buy with your WEBS Gift Card or eGift Card – Blocking Tools

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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Hopefully you’ll be the happy recipient of more than one WEBS Gift Card or eGift Card this holiday season. Deciding what to spend them on can be overwhelming with so much to choose from, but whether you’re a veteran knitter or a newbie crocheter there is nothing that finishes your work quite like a good blocking, and the right tools can make all the difference.

Blocking tools for every knitter and crocheter available at yarn.com

First you’ll need a surface to block on and we carry 4 great options. Our large and small Blocking Boards feature a grid that helps you easily lay out and measure your work and they fold up for easy storage. The Blocking Mats from Knitters Pride can be arranged in different shapes to accommodate shawls and sweater pieces, and the Block n Roll Mat also features a grid to keep your edges even while blocking and rolls up for convenient storage.

Once your blocking surface is all set up you’ll need something to keep your finished piece in place while you steam or while it dries after a good soaking. If you’re working on a lace piece the Lace Blocking Wires can turn a tedious job of pinning out points into a quick and easy task! If you’re working on a larger and more substantial piece you may want to consider the Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers, these easy to handle tabs have multiple pins to make the process go even faster. And there’s always the standard T-pins, perfect for every project!

Consider what blocking tools are right for you as you plan your after holidays shopping, and remember you can always add items to your wishlist to share with family and friends as well!

Candle’s Glow

Friday, December 5th, 2014
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It’s almost Hanukkah! Hanukkah is really such a minor holiday in the Jewish lineup, but it gets a lot of play because it usually happens within a month or so of Christmas, which obviously gets major play. I think a lot of folks think it’s the counterpart to Christmas. In any case, it starts on December 16th. I’m sure a lot of you will be giving knitted, crocheted, or woven gifts for the Festival of Lights. I’ve compiled a few ideas that would go well with latkes and sufganyiot (the delicious fried jelly doughnuts that are traditional at Hanukkah).

knitted menorahNo discussion of menorah-craft would be complete without an homage to this fantastic pattern designed by my dear friend Ping Wood: A knitted menorah with knitted candles, and a pocket to keep them in! Genius, I tell you. She even designed a spin-off, a knitted Advent Candle hanging. Candles and pine boughs are always classy.candles and pine boughs

While poking around on Ravelry, I found this menorah pillow in Melanie Falick’s beautiful book Handknit Holidays, which has gorgeous knitted gifts for every winter holiday. This pillow is knit in creamy white, and I think it’s set off beautifully.

creamy white menorah pillow

Photo credit: Moontea

Quirky woodcut holiday cardsLastly, my enormously creative co-workers have designed some holiday fun that you’ll enjoy year-round. Jamie Sweeney did quirky and cool woodcut cards that would be fun to include with a gift or sent on their own to friends to say “howdy.” Gail Callahan, AKA KangarooDyer, dyed these luxurious silk scarves that are not only gorgeous but useful (under a scratchy turtleneck, or to add flair to a woolen overcoat). Proceeds from both of these gifts goes to Safe Passage, a local institution that provides shelter and necessities to women and families who have been victims of domestic violence.hand-dyed silk scarves for Safe Passage

Enjoy this winter’s joys!

Optical Twill Rug – new draft from Jason Collingwood

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
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Weaving a rug is one of the great satisfactions of a weaving life and we are happy to feature the striking Optical Twill  Rug from Jason Collingwood in our series of drafts celebrating WEBS 40th Anniversary. Jason is known internationally as a teacher and weaver, and continues the family legacy of rug design and weaving.

Optical Twill Rug draft designed by Jason Collingwood, woven with 8/5 Wetspun Linen Warp and Valley Yarns Collingwood Rug Yarn - draft and fibers available exclusively at yarn.com

What I love about this rug is that Jason has set it up as a simple 2/2 twill and then shows how to add motifs that reverse the direction of the twill. His version has a central motif with two smaller ones at each end, but the instructions show how you can vary the size and placement of the motifs to create a unique rug.

The rug features Collingwood Rug Wool, an exclusive line offered by WEBS, with 36 beautiful colors. The broad color range allows you to match the decor of any room. And the wool is spun specifically for rugs so it will hold up to any tap dancing hordes that inhabit your home.

Optical Twill Rug draft designed by Jason Collingwood, woven with 8/5 Wetspun Linen Warp and Valley Yarns Collingwood Rug Yarn - draft and fibers available exclusively at yarn.com

The other feature of this rug that I find so beautiful is the edge finish. Jason uses a half-Damascus edge which creates a braided look along the edge that matches the braided fringe. The result is a professionally finished edge that looks beautiful and will wear well.

One of my goals as a weaver is to ‘clothe’ my house with handwovens. I’ve made the piles of dishtowels, some lovely table runners and blankets and I’m working on the design for lace curtains. This rug would look great in my front entry and I may have to wander past the rug yarn today and contemplate colors. What have you woven for your home?

Seeing Red

Friday, November 21st, 2014
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Red is not only a very Christmas-y color, it’s also one of my personal favorite colors. It has to be the right red, however; not orange or blueish red. I like a rich, true, warm red, and maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems to make prettier presents.

I looked through the store for some eye-catching reds to knit a little holiday fun and came up with quite a few that I’ll tell you about. Folks from my tribe, never fear: I’ll do a Hanukkah blue-and-white post next time and include a little pattern fun in that one!soft and squishy warmth

HiKoo Zumie is a big luscious hank of yarn. It’s a bulky yarn that knits up at 2 or 2.5 stitches/inch on a US 13 needle, but it really goes a long way. It’s an acrylic/wool/nylon amalgam, with a slight fuzz. We’ve made the cowl pattern that you’ll find on the inside label of the yarn (free gift for you!) in Crimson and this would be a great quick knit for when you’re heading down the finish line for gifts.

loft and warmth make great giftsLouisa Harding Susurro is a chainette constructed 100% alpaca yarn, so it’s light and lofty and will knit up in a jiffy. It’s a true worsted-weight, with a gauge of 4.5 sts/inch on US size 10 needles. Louisa Harding yarns are so reliable and I’ve used several over the years. The color of this skein is called Rosehip, which makes it sound like yummy tea. This would make such a nice, warm hat for a favorite cousin, or a throw for sitting in front of a fire as you roast chestnuts. Does anyone actually do that? I hope so.luxurious cashmere and silk

For your beloved, go get a skein or two of Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in Seeing Red. Don’t even think about it. It’s just the softest, silkiest, most true red I’ve seen. You’ll have to take a deep breath to reconcile the price ($37.00 a skein), but it’s a whopping 400 yards, at a fingering weight, so a lacy short shawl or scarf is just right for one skein.

I’m breaking with tradition for my last pick–Rowan Brushed Fleece. It doesn’t have a great warm red, but there is a snowy, ivory color called Cove that would make a great accent. You could stripe a hat, knit the heel and toe of a sock, or make a long candy-cane swirled scarf. I just love Rowan and this bulky behemoth would knit up in a flash if you’ve left a gift for the night before Christmas.halo of creamy white

To paraphrase the Starks on Game of Thrones…Christmas is coming. What will you be making for the holidays?