Archive for the ‘Products at WEBS’ Category

Cashmere, Of Course

Friday, January 27th, 2017
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Continuing my love affair with yarn that is not sport or fingering weight, I have been anxiously waiting to get our new Valley Yarn Wachusett on my needles. If you haven’t caressed this yarn yet, you are missing a very comforting experience. A very luxurious blend of merino wool and cashmere (the magic word!) makes knitting with Wachusett a treat. Getting a gauge of 19 stitches to 4 inches in stockinette makes a sweater fly off the needles, and a very generous 163 yards in a ball will let you settle in for hours of fun. A very slight halo and a range of clear brights and smoky neutrals give you lots of choices if you like colorwork or color blocks; of course, any of those colors could stand on their own as well.

Amy's loving Valley Yarns Wachusett, read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Backstage Boss hat from Advenure Du Jour Designs would be a great test knit for Wachusett–with two colors that can either complement or contrast, you’d get a real feel for what this yarn can do. I’m a fan!

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Friday, January 13th, 2017
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I realized that my last two substantive projects (sweaters, that is) were both knit in teeny, tiny yarn. Usually I’m a fan of a gauge that is smallish, but it just takes too darn long. And my hands ache by the time I’m seaming.

I went back to an old fave, Rowan Big Wool. About 10 years ago, I knit a sweater in this yarn and I remembered that feeling of being able to finish not one, but two sleeves in an evening. It’s BIG. In a good way. Less than 2 stitches to 1 inch on size 17-19 needles. It’s like knitting with two broomsticks! But for a small project like a hat, a cowl, a scarf, even a vest, you’ll get that superhero feeling of making a garment in no time at all. Big Wool is 100% merino wool, tightly plied, so it’s not fuzzy. A generous 100-gram ball gives the knitter plenty of bang for not a lot of bucks. Even more enticing, when you buy 5 skeins of Big Wool, we’ll give you the Rowan Archive Collection Big Wool book FREE! Lots of great patterns that use this lovely stuff to its best advantage are in this treasure trove.

Rowan Big Wool and Amy's plans for a quick knit on the WEBS Blog, read more at blog.yarn.com

Because I love the feeling of being wrapped up in a blanket, I might make the Pioneer Cape, a really smart shoulder covering that will stay in place, unlike a shawl or a scarf. The color palette is muted but expansive, giving you just the range you’d like for a conspicuous yarn like this. Now go, knit like the wind!

A Scarf As Big As You Want

Friday, December 30th, 2016
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At this time of year, I think many of us crave a huge scarf, big enough to envelop one from head to toe. While the gorgeous Mentolat Scarf isn’t quite that big, it’s a generous helping of love from Manos del Uruguay, knit in their Silk Blend yarn. WEBS has made it easy for you to knit this uniquely-constructed scarf by making a kit-our Mentolat Kit comes in 4 different colorways, each with 6 colors of Manos del Uruguay’s Silk Blend yarn.

Manos del Uruguay Mentolat Scarf Kits available at yarn.com More on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This DK-weight single ply blend of 70% merino and 30% silk is dreamy, both in color and texture. The kit provides you with 1500 yards, plenty to make the largest-sized scarf in your choice of color blocks. Since we’re officially at the tail end of the holiday season, this might make a great gift for a knitting friend who would rather DIY next year’s presents. Each kit comes with a free Mentolat Scarf pattern, making it a one-stop gift item, although frankly, I’d covet this for myself, and not ever give it away.

Mind Over Matter

Friday, December 16th, 2016
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I’ve been unsettled lately. The universe seems to be sending me (and lots of people I know) signs that we need to simplify, focus, cultivate warmth and compassion. Of course, I turn to knitting, as it is one of the crafts I can count on to engage my mind without leaving much room for thinking about what seems to be a bleak next few months. A yarn I’ve been loving is West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious, a serious wooly wool that isn’t scratchy or fuzzy. West Yorkshire Spinners are based in England (of course!) and source their wool locally, processing it in a very traditional way on state of the art equipment. It’s the best of both worlds or handmade craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. The result is a tightly spun DK-weight yarn in 12 delicious colors to use as you’d like. Stranding, cables, textures, open-work; Illustrious can do it all.

West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious yarn and pattern collection. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

West Yorkshire Spinners commissioned designer Emma Wright to come up with a series of garments, accessories, and wearables to showcase Illustrious, and her 11 patterns reflect the design process from start to finish. I’ve been eyeing a fantastic colorwork cardigan called Hermione so I can use as many of those 12 colors as possible.

What kind of knitting takes you to a happier place? Let us know in the comments.

It’s the little things

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
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I love unusual little things – handy tools that tuck into pockets or small pouches, ordinary accessories that are made with a special touch, small gifts that don’t break the bank yet bring smiles and joy. Naturally, that means I delight in the holiday season and the chance to search for little treasures to surprise my family and friends. Part of the joy for me is finding something special that the giftee can use in creating things. Don’t get me wrong, nothing beats a box of bonbons, but I am a practical person and want the gift to be useful and long lasting.

With that in mind, I cast my eye around the weaving and spinning realm to see what little delights fit the bill. First there are the unsung heroines of weaving – the Floating Sues, made by Jim Hokett. These beautiful gadgets fall into the category of “that’s so simple, I could have made it myself”, which then leads to “but why would I make them when these are so beautiful and such a great deal”. Floating Sues look like a spindle with hooks on both ends and a beautiful chunk of wood in the middle. They are made to hang on floating selvages or to weight down broken warp ends. After years of dealing with canisters of pennies and fishing weights, I love the simplicity and ease of these. They come in 2 size options and if I need more weight I can add something on the bottom hook.

Floating Sues from Hokett make a wonderful addition to any weaver's tool box. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

For spinners, we recently started carrying Snyder Spindles, wonderful little Turkish drop spindles made from beautiful woods or with colorful 3D printed arms. I wrote about them in the this post last month, so it felt like cheating to go on about them again, so I turned my gaze farther afield and spied the shimmery braids of 50/50 Merino Tencel Top from Frabjous Fibers. I know it’s a bit fluffy to stuff into a pocket, but it’s a wonderful gift, nonetheless. It’s something new and different, the colorways are dreamy and that shine! I envision spinning a lightweight 2-ply to knit into a sensuous shawl.

And for those of you in our neck of the woods, drop by the store to see the gift table up front. There are many small trinkets we brought in just for the holidays, all of them fiber-related and fun – gift tags, mugs, laser-carved wooden gauges and ornaments and more. They are here for now and in small quantities, so you will only find them in the store. Come in and take a look!

Arranmore by The Fibre Co.

Friday, November 25th, 2016
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I wanted to write about this wonderful stuff a few months ago, but we went through a dry spell and didn’t have it in stock (that’s the sign of a great yarn–you have to suffer through a drought before the good stuff rains down). Now we are fully stocked and you should know about it because once you try it, you won’t want to knit with anything else.

Arranmore is a beautiful example of a true Donegal tweed yarn, spun in Ireland. In colors that capture the Irish coast, it’s a true aran-weight yarn, meaning it is toothy and authentically wooly, with flecks of color throughout highlighting the earth, sky, and water tones of the yarn. Composed of wool, cashmere, and silk, Arranmore has a springy, sturdy feel and a substantial crispness that relaxes and blooms once wet-blocked. at 3.5 stitches to 1 inch on US size 8 needles, your projects will fly off your needles quickly, and the twist ensures no splitting or catching on your needle tips.

The Fibre Co. Arranmore on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Of course, The Fibre Co. has great pattern support, and thoughtful garments and accessories showcase this colleen of a yarn to it’s finest. I think if I wasn’t drowning in gift-knitting, I’d probably be casting on The Lake Isle tunic. It’s a fascinating combination of plain stockinette and colorwork, with an unexpected funnel neck to keep one warm in the chilly UK winter weather. Or the chilly New England weather. Try it and see; you won’t want to stop knitting.

The More You Know

Friday, November 11th, 2016
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I tried out a new circular needle recently and it was a game-changer. Knitter’s Pride Royale fixed circular needles are wood with metal tips, which I like (somehow, metal seems pointier). What I really love about the Royales are that they SWIVEL at the join. Come on! Yes, they do. No kinking up, no twisted joins, just smooth sailing. This swivel is only available in the fixed circular needles, not in the interchangeable sets, alas. But what a great reason to stock up on sizes you may need for your holiday knitting! They’d be a great stocking stuffer for a knitting group buddy, or an in-law at a gift exchange.

Knitter's Pride Royale Needles on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ve been making some deadline projects lately, but once I free up my time and buy the right size Royale, I’ll be casting on the Genevieve Baby Cardigan for a special baby arriving in December. So fast, so delightful on the right needles. Check them out!

3D What??!!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
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When I was at Convergence this summer I looked across the aisle and saw a table piled with what looked brightly colored UFOs. Imagine my surprise when I saw the person at the booth pick one up at start spinning yarn with one! My curiosity was piqued and I went over to check it out.

Snyder Spindles now available at yarn.com  Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I met Scott Snyder, the spindlemaker, and he told me the brightly colored arms on his drop spindles are made on a 3D printer. Talk about a modern twist on an ancient craft! I wondered about the plastic he used and he said he uses Polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from renewable resources like cornstarch and tapioca roots and is biodegradable.

These spindles are like a Turkish-style drop spindle, with arms that slide out of the cop, giving you a beautiful center-pull ball of handspun yarn.The Destiny features 4 arms that interlock on the shaft and is a hybrid variable weight spindle. It’s made of 3D printed plastic arms, hand turned hardwood shafts and steel screws. The combination of materials used allows for the mass to be on the outside of the spindle, to increase duration of the spin. The screws are removable so you can fine tune the weight of the spindle. You can choose either Mini or Medium depending on your size needs.

Scott also makes a Turkish Glider, available with either 3D printed arms or finely polished wood. The Glider arms swoop outward with a slight upward tilt at the end, allowing the spinner to spin a lot of fiber in one cop.

In addition to the fun and playful colors of the 3D printed spindles, we are also carrying the beautiful wood spindles that Scott makes. These also feature a shaft that is hand-turned on a lathe and have a small final at the top to hold the half-hitch. The wooden spindles are available in turkish and glider styles and, because I love anything sheep-ish, we brought in some that have sheep cut outs on the arms.

If you like to carry your spinning with you and want a beautiful, portable tool, be sure to check out our new toys!

Noro For Grownups

Friday, October 28th, 2016
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One of the first sweaters I made, for my then-7-year-old son, was in Noro Kureyon. He loved the colors but it was a tad scratchy, and after he grew out of it, I couldn’t find any child that would love that sweater like he did. Noro has always been the gold standard for eye-catching, long color repeats and brightly-hued blues, pinks, reds, and greens. At least, I thought that’s what I loved about Noro yarns.

Read more about Noro Tennen on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com

What did I spot in one of my hoarding window-shopping expeditions into the store? Why, Noro Tennen, a gorgeous blend of wool, silk, and alpaca in colors evocative of nature in late November. The color names bring to mind images of stone, smoke, wood, and salmon, and the yarn brings those images onto your needles. Each worsted-weight skein is a very generous 275 yards, making the possibility of a hat, cowl, ear-warmer, or fingerless mitts out of one of those skeins very real. But I think this slightly fuzzy, rustic yarn demands a sweater, and our Shay Cap Sleeve Pullover would be perfect to show off the muted colors and unique texture of this special yarn. Perfect to throw on over a slim long-sleeve shirt or under a heavier jacket, Tennen will be a savvy investment for moments of quiet, contemplative stitching.

Spinning my Wheels

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
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My passion for fiber and color runs deep and I love to knit, weave and crochet, but I resisted the siren song of spinning because I was afraid. And then, two years ago I accidentally volunteered to be captain of the WEBS Spinzilla team and my worst fears were realized – I loved spinning! Down the rabbit hole I went and another fiber obsession has been added to my bag of tricks. I was afraid that spinning would distract me from weaving – and it has – but it has also given me another way to create and deepened my understanding of fiber and yarn and how they work and interact – useful information for my other creative outlets.

Of course, learning to spin opened me to a whole new world of color, texture and fiber and the overwhelming desire to have it all at my fingertips! I kept finding more things I wanted WEBS to carry and started organizing spinning events to learn more about the craft. More fiber, more spinners, life is good, right? The success of Spinzilla and the feedback from spinners at our events has brought a resurgence in spinning at WEBS. Steve and Kathy want to further strengthen our spinning area and decided to create a position to oversee that. I am honored that they asked me and excited to add spinning to my role at WEBS as Weaving and Spinning Manager.

Spinning fibers from Louet, Spunky Eclectic and more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We still have a few fiber specials from Spinzilla to take advantage of. The fiber packs we put together with Louet are a great way to learn about how to spin different breeds. Each pack has just enough of each breed  to develop your skill in spinning and enough variety to keep boredom at bay. There’s also some great colorful braids from Spunky Eclectic in the Autumn Welcome colorway she designed for us with 2 fiber options – easy to love and spin BFL or a luscious Polwarth/Mohair/Silk blend. To round out the sweet deals, we have what my friend Liz calls a box of crayons – the Lamb’s Tail Medleys from Frabjous Fibers. Also in 2 bases – superwash BFL or Merino/Bamboo/Nylon – these are a random assortment of colors with unlimited possibilities.

I am looking forward to expanding the fibers, tools and classes for spinners. Please feel free to contact me with suggestions; I want to hear what you’d like to see here!