Archive for the ‘Products at WEBS’ Category

Help Us Save Lives with Safe Passage

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
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Each year WEBS sponsors the Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage. WEBS sponsors lots of events, both large and small each year, but this one is different. This one affects the heart of our community and has far reaching effects not just for the individuals and families that benefit from the services that Safe Passage can provide but for the people who participate each year. Many of our staff members, their family and friends, walk and run, and work to raise additional funds in the lead-up to this event. We tease each other at work about our fundraising efforts and egg each other on to more. Individually we post on social media to extend the reach of our call for help, we offer special handmade items, and services like knitting and yoga classes, in exchange for donations. We spend our spare time crafting and creating additional products whose sales benefit an organization we believe in. And each year there are new Valley Yarns Patterns, the purchase price of $3.99 PDFs ($4.49 paper patterns) going to Safe Passage, as one more way to help. All of this happens because it is important to us.

We decided to round up those Valley Yarns Patterns, and introduce you to the new patterns, as a way to really kick-off our efforts.

The Safe Passage Hat and Mittens Set - patterns sales benefit Safe Passage. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comSafe Passage Hat and Mitten Set PDF available here.

The Sixth Button Mittens - patterns sales benefit Safe Passage. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comThe NEW! Sixth Button Mitten PDF available here.

The Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear and the Hot Chocolate Run Penguin - patterns sales benefit Safe Passage. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.comThe Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear PDF available here and the NEW! Hot Chocolate Run Penguin PDF available here.

The Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage happens on December 6th this year but we’ll be fundraising right up to the end on Dec. 31st. There’s one last way that you can help Team WEBS, you can make a donation to our team here. Every dollar DOES make a difference and every dollar that’s raised by our team will be matched by WEBS so your donation will be doubled!

Sparkle and Shine with Rowan Swarovski Create Your Style

Monday, October 12th, 2015
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We all love a little sparkle and a little shine. This year, the folks at Rowan are teaming up with the folks at Swarovski for their new CREATE YOUR STYLE collection.

Rowan Swarovski CREATE YOUR STYLE at yarn.com

Two pattern books, Daytime and Evening, and a collection of free patterns, feature some of Rowan’s best yarns combined with beautiful Swarovski crystals and beads. You’ll find patterns for both garments and accessories that are simply stunning.

Rowan Swarovski Star Hat & Mitts at yarn.com Rowan Swarovski Betty at yarn.com

These patterns are absolutely spectacular. Depending on the pattern, the beads are sewn on later for embellishment, or they’re added as a crocheted lace border. Combining the ethereal feel of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and the brilliance of Swarovski crystals and beads creates a wonderful, classic, and sophisticated finished project.

Rowan Kidsilk Haze Shine at yarn.com

In addition to the patterns the combine the yarns and crystals, Rowan has also introduced Kidsilk Haze ShineRowan Kidsilk Haze Shine is a special, luxurious yarn that’s perfect for making exceptional accessories that sparkle, shimmer and reflect light in all directions. It combines Kidsilk Haze with approximately 100 sparkling 3mm Swarovski bicone crystals pre-strung along the length, one every 4″. It’s perfect for delicately feminine hair accessories, bracelets, collars and little accents with Rowan Kidsilk Haze Shine.

If you love sparkle, Rowan Swarovski CREATE YOUR STYLE is definitely something you want to check out. We hope you love it!

An Unexpected Treat

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
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I get the WEBS emails, just like you do. Last week, one sprang out at me, featuring a yarn I had heard about but not really seen (I work tucked away in one of the offices and am not out in the store as much as I want to be!). Amano is a lovely group of yarns in enough weights to satisfy any knitter, crocheter, or weaver, all featuring some iteration of alpaca–baby, royal, and an important-sounding alpaca designated “Imperial,” which obviously makes it the Homecoming King this year. Late-breaking news: Royal is the TOP 1% of alpaca fiber, Imperial is the next 2-10%. So, royal is the Homecoming King and imperial, obviously, is the guy who fixes the overhead projector.

Amano Ayni is my new best friend. 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk, this sport-weight dream of a skein has a hint of halo, enough to say “I’m soft, but not scratchy.” I am imagining a drapy A-line sweater, soft enough to wear next to the skin. Warmi (is that the best name for a yarn? yes.) is a worsted-weight workhorse, perfect for sweaters, shawls, hats, or scarves. It’s got a lush color palette inspired by fruits and vegetables.

The new Amano yarns now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Puna means “Andes Mountains” in the native language of the Incas, and is the essence of the Andes, made from 100% baby alpaca in a beefy 273-yard skein. It’s got a little more halo than Ayni, so I’d treat it a bit more gently, and my perfect project for this sport-weight wonder is the Delia Cowl in Amano’s pattern book for Fall/Winter. The simple openwork contrasts with the warmth of the alpaca to make a very useful garment.

The dip-dyed colorways of Mayu would be a wonderful vehicle for a body-conscious sweater– the addition of cashmere and silk to alpaca makes it almost criminally soft, and the heathery tones almost gleam, showing off the myriad shades in the skein. Puyu means “cloud” in the language of the Incas, and it does look very cloudlike. Baby alpaca is blown into a mesh tube made of silk for an almost two-tone appearance that will make luxurious accessories like hats, scarves, and even ponchos look expensive. Rounding out the Amano family is Apu (“Simpsons” fans will join me in a round of giggles), a dainty ball of imperial alpaca that I can’t stop holding. The Maria Cowl in Amano‘s pattern collection seems like the perfect project in Apu, with startling stitch definition and a drapy texture that caresses the skin.

Check out this new family online or in the store–you’ll want to make friends immediately. What project are you looking forward to knitting in an Amano yarn?

The Art of Slip Stitch Knitting Review

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
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The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting by Faina Goberstein and Simona Merchant-Dest arrived recently and this book is not to be missed. Slip-stitch knitting is a simple and versatile technique that can be used to create stunning projects that look a lot more complicated than they are. Create stunning colorwork, amazing texture, and more.

The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting

The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting includes a complete overviews of all of the basics of slip-stitch knitting. Stitch formation, reading charts, customizing stitch patterns, selecting yarns, and tips for designing are all included in this book. Not only that, you’ll also find 16 patterns for garments and accessories that use slip-stitch knitting.

The Fialka Boot Toppers look like complicated Fair Isle, but there are worked in a fairly simple slip-stitch pattern that plays with the placement of stitches, how floats are carried, and color changes. It’s super easy to customize for your favorite color, too. The Šiška Hat looks like a complex cable, but instead it is made up of crossed slip stitches. The reverse is a basketweave pattern, so you get two hats for the price of one. It’s knit in Malabrigo Worsted, so you know it’s super soft, and this one may end up the next project on my needles.

Accessories from The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting

Not only will you find great accessories, like those above, The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting also includes gorgeous garments. I’m a big fan of hoodies, and with a finished size range of 36 ½” – 57 ¼” the Kromka Hoodie would fit an array of sizes. The body of the sweater is worked in a single color in stockinette stitch, and the cuffs and front bands are worked in a two-color slip-stitch pattern, with a different two-color pattern at the hem. It’s colorful without being overwhelming. The Koketka Sweater is a classic yoke sweater knit in the round from the bottom up. There is a two-color slip-stitch pattern on the edges as a border, and another slip-stitch pattern is used on the yoke. This pattern teaches you how to shape without disturbing the pattern, and it’s a beautiful option knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk.

Garments from the Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting

Whether you’re new to slip-stitch knitting, or already a fan, The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting is definitely a book to pick up for you bookshelf, and explore these great techniques.

Crochet Aspirations

Friday, September 11th, 2015
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I got a sneak peak at the Fall catalog before it got mailed out to our eager customers, and it struck me how beautiful the featured crochet garments and projects are. I used to skip right over the crochet projects in catalogs and magazines, because I had a nightmarish recollection of a certain red, white, and blue granny-square vest I was forced to wear my entire 5th-grade school year because some distant cousin had found the ugliest yarn available and dusted off her rusty crochet skills to torture it into a garment for me.

Stylish and contemporary crochet garments for Fall. What are you crocheting? Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Crochet is far different now; the projects I see are sophisticated and fashion-forward. I know how to crochet but I think I need to brush up on my skills before I follow a pattern (hey, there’s a class for that!). Once I feel more confident, the first thing I want to make is Sara Delaney’s Alexandrium Cardigan. I’ve worn it all over the store whenever I needed something to cover my shoulders from our sometimes-aggressive air conditioning. It’s lovely and appropriate for any season.

Our catalog features some aspirational projects for me: the Crossroads Pullover is ingenious, two squares that start from a center point and increase outward. It’s lacy and could be worn over a tank top or under a jacket. Crochet superstar Doris Chan has created an openwork jacket in Goshen, a smooth, delicious cotton blend Valley Yarn. I love the dolman shape and the sturdy collar that wraps down to the hem. My favorite project of all just might be the Valley Yarns Mystery Crochet-A-Long Blanket that we ran as a class last winter. In several different colorways, each square has its own personality and the blanket can be customized to fit any bed or sofa you make it for.

What are you crocheting this fall? Show us your FOs!

The Shawl’s the Thing for Fall

Thursday, September 10th, 2015
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We knitters and crocheters are very fortunate–we have an endless number of accessory options to keep ourselves stylish throughout the year. Over the past few of years, it seems that shawls have become the go-to accessory for knitters world-wide. You’ve probably got one or two or five favorites that see frequent use throughout the year. Clearly the definition of shawl has evolved from frilly triangles knit with traditional lace weight yarns to quite modern silhouettes rendered in interesting shapes, stitch patterns and yarn choices.

Our sample knitters have been working furiously to create more beautiful garments for you to try during your next visit the store. All of these shawls work as casual wear or dressed-up accessories. Here are a few members of staff modeling several of their favorites for fall.

Shawls of all shapes and styles for Fall 2015. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

First up is Aventine by Carol Feller, worked in Baa Ram Ewe’s Dovestone DK. Beth fell in love with the yarn color, the drapey fabric, and the generous size of this crescent-shaped shawl. This project is also a great opportunity to shop for buttons, too!

Mayla by Rowan, the most elegant shawl of the bunch, is knit in the ever-popular Rowan Kidsilk Haze. This triangular shawl worked in classic lace stitches is lightweight but deceptively warm. The front detail keeps the traditional features fresh and eye-catching.

Shawls of all shapes and styles for Fall 2015. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We wanted to use of one of our new gradient packs with an ingenious pattern: Joker and Thief by Melanie Berg knit in Wonderland Yarn’s Mad Hatter in #21, Too Much Pepper and Koigu KPM #1100 was an obvious choice. Emma’s modeling our interpretation of the pattern. The red makes an already compelling pattern pop and the stitch detail (I think it’s called Indian Cross stitch from Barbara Walker’s first Treasury) provides a striking contrast to the garter fabric.

Alyssa’s showing off the Treble Clef Shawl in Zen Serenity DK. This shawl is special to WEBS because Zen Yarn Garden hand dyed over 15 colors just for us. This wrap is worked in the colorways Mystic Ocean, Lakeside, and Truffle. Here’s your chance to create a one-of-a kind accessory in a WEBS-exclusive yarn in 90% superwash merino and 10% cashmere.  You need to see the colors in person to truly appreciate their beauty and depth.

I fell in love with this shawl, Holey Square, over a year ago. I’ve always been drawn to simple shapes and the pattern name grabbed my attention too.   I waited and waited for just the right yarn in the perfect color. My patience paid off. WEBS recently introduced three pure alpaca yarns and the laceweight version, Valley Yarns Hatfield, was the obvious choice for this pattern. The fabric is next-to the-skin soft; it’s hard to choice which of the 25 colors to use. Or you could knit an even more luxurious version in our limited edition Greylock, our 100% cashmere!

Come visit soon and see these beauties for yourself!

Something New!

Friday, September 4th, 2015
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One of the best parts of my job this year has been helping with the development of a new line of coned yarn for weavers. We looked for something close to home and are proud to say that the cotton is grown, spun and dyed in the USA. The fun really began, however, with creating the color palette. It was equal parts giddy excitement (I can pick any color I want!) and challenging (the colors have to play well together). I was satisfied with what we we put together, but even more so when I saw them all on the shelf – it just looks happy. And now that it’s here, it’s time to launch our newest Valley Yarn – 6/2 Unmercerized  Cotton in 30 gorgeous colors.

Valley Yarns 6/2 unmercerized cotton now available at WEBS and online at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

A little heavier than the 8/2 cotton we know and love for dishtowels and and other household handwovens, the 6/2 is deliciously soft and cozy and will be perfect for blankets, throws, shawls and, of course, thicker towels. We have been sampling it in a variety of weave structures and the hand is lovely and shows great definition for laces and twills.

We began brainstorming ideas for projects as soon as we got the first samples of the yarn and asked a few weaving friends to design drafts for us. Chris Hammel’s Summer Garden Towel was in our booth at NEWS and now you can buy the draft and weave it yourself. Thick and absorbent, this delightful towel combines the new Valley Yarns 6/2 Cotton with our Valley Yarns 10/2 Cotton and is woven in a Summer and Winter structure. I love the feel of it and I think I may expand the draft to weave bath towels for our house.

Valley Yarns 6/2 unmercerized cotton now available at WEBS and online at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We have more drafts to come – a summer shawl in a blended draft of lace with overshot borders, a dishtowel in a crepe weave and warm color palette, and here’s a sneak peek of the cuddly cozy baby blanket that is guaranteed to be the favorite lovey for a special little one.

So join us in welcoming our new ‘baby’ – Valley Yarns 6/2 Cotton. What will you make with it?

Back To School

Friday, August 28th, 2015
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Even though it’s still hot enough to be annoying, school is in session here at WEBS. Fall classes are available online even as we speak! Fall has always been my favorite season, because I’m way better at starting things than finishing them. Our Handmade Holiday workshops will guarantee that you’ll have a finished project in a day or two; quickly enough that you can make all kinds of gifts and decorations for the last part of fall without breaking a sweat.

Fall classes are open! If you're near to Northampton learn a new skill, master an old one or just have fun making gifts for the holidays. Register in-store now or online at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

For instance…Amigurumi Halloween Monsters. How cute are they? So cute. This three-hour class teaches the basics of amigurumi (small crocheted figures, monsters, food, etc) and you’ll end up with a Frankie, a Mrs. Frankie, and a baby Candy Corn. Amy Stephens, our resident photography coordinator, will be teaching her very popular Snow Families and Evergreens class, and you may remember those from last year’s Holiday Catalog cover. It won’t take long for you to be enraptured with these fun, simple projects to decorate your home, or give to a special friend.

Fall classes are open! If you're near to Northampton learn a new skill, master an old one or just have fun making gifts for the holidays. Register in-store now or online at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We haven’t left out the traditional favorites, either. Challenge yourself with Carol Feller’s Barkentine pattern in Intermediate Sweater Skills. Finally delve into the world of woven cloth in Weekend Weaving. Learn intricate stitch patterns and how to conquer them once and for all in Stitches: Textures. Or whip up a seamless sweater custom-fit to you in Top Down Raglan Sweater from Measurements.

Fall classes are open! If you're near to Northampton learn a new skill, master an old one or just have fun making gifts for the holidays. Register in-store now or online at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our guest instructors are pretty awesome this fall–returning for a second visit is Kate Atherley, author and technical editor at Knitty.com. She’ll be teaching a day of design and pattern-writing skills, as well as showcasing techniques from her new book, Custom Fit Socks. And for spinners, Shannon Herrick from Frabjous Fibers will be here in November to play with 3-D Fiber spinning.

Even if you aren’t near enough to WEBS to take a class, you can choose from tons of great pattern and technique books on our site, or go to our YouTube Channel to learn a new skill! What would you like to master this fall?

I Love Greylock

Friday, August 14th, 2015
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Mount Greylock is located in the far northwestern corner of Massachusetts, abutting New York state. I used to work in that area, and even though a 75-minute commute was horrible, it always cheered me up to see the mountain all four seasons of the year. I hiked the trails on weekends in the fall, when it seemed like I could stand just about any terrible commute for the expanse of nature I was treated to.

Of course, eventually, I had to leave that job because nobody can do a commute like that forever. And now that I’m back at WEBS (third time, see “Hotel California”) I get to see all the new Valley Yarns as they come out onto the sales floor. I have a particular fondness for Valley Yarns Greylock, which is as close to perfect (for me) as a yarn can be.

Valley Yarns Greylock - 100% Cashmere available for a limited time at yarn.com

Greylock is only in the store for a limited time, so snap it up now. There are 27 beautifully heathered colors of this 100% cashmere yarn, wound into generous 300-yard balls. The colors are soft and blendable, and I can’t imagine a single thing that wouldn’t knit up into a gorgeous project. The fingering gauge of 7 sts/inch on a US size 2 needle is perfect for shawls, cowls, scarves, and hats. I will personally be knitting my college-bound son a hat and mitten set in his school colors as he journeys far away. Why not try crocheting the Valley Yarns Pickwick Cowl out of Greylock? It would be the most luxurious garment, perfect as a gift for a special friend or family member…or just keep it for yourself.

What will you knit or crochet with Greylock?

Knitting Through the Years

Friday, July 31st, 2015
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Recently, a friend told me about her mother, a knitter and crafter, who has been having some memory problems. She wants to keep knitting but she has problems counting her stitches, and following patterns if they aren’t right in front of her, clearly marked. It made me think about what we carry here that would be helpful, and I thought I’d let you in on what I found.

Knitting tools to help with memory and keeping track of projects, on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

First of all, the Knitter’s Pride Large Pattern Holder seems like a lifesaver. It’s big enough to hold a pattern straight up, or any series of charts so that you don’t have to keep shuffling papers around (my friend’s mother has NO use for technology, so unfortunately paper patterns are her go-to). The magnetic straight-edge holds everything firmly against the backing, and also can be used as a row marker so she doesn’t lose her place.

The Bryspun Rainbow Rings are great stitch markers; colorful enough to stand out from your stitches, and rubber, so they stay put. They come in a variety of sizes, so they’ll fit on pretty much any size needles. The Clover Split Ring Markers are good for hanging on your stitches; if you have a pattern repeat you can mark it off so that you don’t have to remember where to start or how many stitches are in the repeat. They’re easy as pie to move around, too, so that if you increase or decrease, you don’t need to worry that you’ve lost any stitches.

Everyone’s favorite row counter, the Clover Kacha Kacha Knitting Counter, makes a very definitive CLICK and goes up to 99, which is a lot of satisfying clicking. I’ve used one of these since I started knitting and I’ve never had to replace mine. They last forever. Clover also makes a locking row counts, called a Mini. The beauty of this one is that if it gets pushed around in your knitting bag, it won’t change numbers accidentally. It also has a little loop that you can thread some yarn or string through to  make it a pendant so you don’t forget about it if you get up from your knitting chair to get a cocktail glass of iced tea.

The CocoKnits Knitter’s Keep is the most brilliant thing ever. It’s a slap bracelet (that makes SUCH a satisfying sound) that comes with metal cable needle, stitch markers, all kinds of things you need to keep track of while knitting or crocheting. And you just attach them to your bracelet and it holds it for you. Genius. No more turning around in circles while you try to locate a stray needle.

If you are a crocheter, Addi makes ergonomic hooks that don’t tax arthritic fingers. I’m told that the Knitter’s Pride Cubics needles serve the same function, but I bet there are needles specifically for sore hands and wrists out there.

The last thing I thought might be a great addition to a knitting bag are the Nancy’s Knit Knacks Project Cards. You can note what the project you knit was, for whom it was knit, the start and finish date, and any notes – for instance, if you cut out a set of increases, or made the sleeves shorter. Frankly, I could use these myself, since once I finish a project, I often throw it right out of my mind as I hurtle onto the next knitted object.

What have you seen in your LYS that might help you keep crafting as you age? Because I certainly want to keep crafting!