Archive for the ‘Valley Yarns’ Category

Gift Ideas: Blankets

Monday, October 28th, 2013
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Great Blankets to Knit and Crochet from Valley YarnsBlankets are a wonderful option for gifting. They do take a while to complete, but once they’re done and gifted, you know that the person you’ve given them to will be so thrilled to wrap up in something you created for them.

We’ve recently released several Valley Yarns blanket patterns that are perfect for gift giving, as well as many older favorites. We have options in both knit and crochet for everyone from babies to adults.

Valley Yarns 566 Mitchella Blanket is knit in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky. It is comprised of great lace counterpane squares with a crochet border. It looks great in a bright color, like on of the ones in Berkshire Bulky, but would also look stunning in a neutral. It is written for three sizes, so you can pick the one that best suits the recipient, or your time constraints.

If you like the Mitchella Blanket, but you’re looking to knit something for a baby, check out Valley Yarns 567 Maria Baby Blanket. It is knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK. This blanket is also written for three sizes, so if you’re looking for one that would be great to keep in the car for car seat cuddles, this would be a great option.

Great Baby Blankets to Knit and Crochet from Valley Yarns

If you’re a crocheter and want to make a baby blanket, take a look at Valley Yarns 561 Varve Baby Blanket. It is worked in three colors of Valley Yarns Valley Superwash. We have two color options shown on our website, but you can use your imagination and get creative with color combinations. One of the best things about making your own projects is that you get to choose the colors.

Another great option for gifting is Valley Yarns 512 Timber Blanket. It is designed in Valley Yarns Berkshire and has a lovely minimalist design. Four large garter stitch mitered squares are surrounded by a log cabin border. This is a perfect blanket for the back of the couch. I’d love to wrap on this on a snowy day!

Want to crochet a blanket that the recipient can cozy up in on a cold day? Valley Yarns 494 Berry Bramble Blanket is a super easy to memorize two pattern row repeat. Worked in three colors of Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky, you can spice up a neutral living room, or work it in your favorite single color. What else is there to love about this blanket? The fringe means you don’t have to weave in ends!

Will you be knitting or crocheting blankets for anyone on your list? 

Valley Yarns in Knit Simple

Monday, October 21st, 2013
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Knit Simple Holiday 2013 issue has a great section on dual-purpose patterns, you can have a vest or sweater a pullover or a cardigan! One of the designs, the Cowl Vest/Cowl Pullover by Cheryl Murray, uses our very own Valley Yarns Northfield.

Cowl Vest and Pullover pattern knit in Valley Yarns Northfield for Holiday 2013 Knit Simple

What combination of colors from our line of Northfield would you choose?

 

 

Valley Yarns in knit.wear magazine

Monday, October 14th, 2013
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The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of knit.wear is on the shelves now and features over 20 thoughtful patterns as well as tips and tutorials for biasing cables and color blocking. We’re thrilled to see our Valley Yarns Sheffield used in the Swaying Cable Scarf pattern by Talitha Kuomi.

Swaying Cables Scarf knit by Talitha Kuomi in Valley Yarns Sheffield

What color of Sheffield would you use?

 

Knitscene featuring Valley Yarns

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
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The Winter 2013 issue of Knitscene magazine is out and in it’s pages you will find the Purpureus Shawl designed by Maria Leigh and knit in Valley Yarns Charlemont Kettle Dye.

Pupureus Shawl designed by Maria Leigh and knit in Valley Yarns Charlemont Kettle Dye

What color of Charlemont Kettle Dye would you use?

 

Valley Yarns 550 Road Trip Cowl

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
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Our Store Associate, Ping Wood, designed this fun cowl. She shares with us a few fun modifications and the inspiration behind the design.

road trip cowlWhy design a cowl that looks like a road?
My commute to WEBS is approximately 50 minutes. Besides singing my favorite songs at the top of my lungs, what I like about my commute are the rare moments of solitude and reflection. It was during one of these drives, when I was struck by metaphors about the road, and the journey of life, and the importance of enjoying the journey – not just the destination–that the Road Trip Cowl was conceived. I wanted a clever, wearable, gender-neutral reminder to enjoy life’s journey.

As with all journeys, each is unique. One of the beauties of this cowl is that it can be easily personalized. Have some fun and take a little creative journey.

The #550Road Trip Cowl is modeled after Interstate 91 in New England. You can change the stripes to reflect 2- lane rural or suburban roads by changing the position of the yellow and white stripes. On 2-lane roads, the solid white stripes frame the two sides of the road and yellow solid or dashed lines mark the lanes.

If you live in a region where it snows, you are familiar with potholes. Why not add a few potholes? Potholes are like little setbacks, sometimes you just can’t avoid them. Grab some black yarn and embroider some circular shapes. Just like real potholes, they don’t have to be pretty. In the adaptation below, I call this “Cross Bronx Expressway”.

Add potholes to your road

Many of our highways are adorned with fields of native flowers. Many of these fields were planted in the late 1960’s as part of the Highway Beautification Act. It was a cause championed by Ladybird Johnson. How about a little reminder to enjoy the view by adding some flowers to your cowl? You can embroider flowers on your cowl using yarn scraps. Even easier, you can add flower-shaped buttons.

Add flower buttons to your cowl

Here is a great no-sew method to add buttons to your cowl: use magnets as button fasteners. Grab a collection of flower shaped buttons and regular flat buttons. Purchase small magnets at your local craft or hardware store. (Warning: these magnets are strong and should be kept away from children less than 3 years of age). Use a strong adhesive, such as super glue, hot glue or E6000. Glue the magnet onto the flat button:

Using magnets to secure button decoration

Repeat, gluing a magnet to the back of the flower shaped button. After the glue sets, the flower-shaped button can be secured to the front of the cowl with the flat button.

With this no-sew method you can change decorative accents on your cowl based on your mood, season or message. Here are a few ways you can add clever elements:

  • Use leaf-shaped buttons to create an autumnal theme.
  • Express your love of wool and make a sheep crossing.
    roadtrip sheep
  • Glue a magnet to small Matchbox car, and you’ll have a car and track available to keep a child occupied during a doctor’s appointment or meal at restaurant.
  • Create a zombie highway. Raid your child’s toy chest or purchase small toy plastic figures (available at toy and craft stores). Use a gray and black permanent marker and some red nail polish, and voila, you have a zombie.

Whether you keep it simple or trick out your ride, the cowl design enables you to personalize the piece. Take the creative journey with the Road Trip Cowl, and most of all, enjoy the ride!

Valley Yarns featured in Knit Simple

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
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Not only were our Valley Yarns used for 2 great projects in the Fall 2013 issue of knit simple but one of them is an adorable crochet hat!

The Crocheted Arrows Beanie designed by Janet Brani uses our Valley Yarns Colrain in three rich, fall colors and you only need one skein each of grape jelly, mauve, and rich purple!

Fran Gross designed a simple blanket with great textural details for the Knit Block Afghan using our Valley Yarns Berkshire in a striking shade of Lime green. With just 13 skeins, and over 40 colors to choose from, you could have a bright or subtle addition to your decor with stunning graphic appeal.

What colors would you choose for these projects?

Valley Yarns featured in Twist Collective 5th Anniversary Issue

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
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We can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Twist Collective debuted. The Fall 2013 issue is out and we’re thrilled that it features two great patterns using our own Valley Yarns! Valley Yarns have been featured in many issues and we’re always excited to see what other designers are doing with our yarns.

First up is the Doverfell Cardigan, a zippered hoodie pattern available in both adult and child sizes.

We love the simple textured stitches that frame the zipper and continue down onto the inset pockets. The adult version is made in Northfield while the child’s version was knit in Valley Superwash DK.

Second is the Ossel dress knit in Valley Yarns Northampton.

This pattern features some gorgeous cables in combination with moss stitch for a body hugging dress that really shows off your curves, and with the saddle shoulder construction those sleeve cables aren’t interrupted at the shoulder.

What’s your favorite pattern from this collection?

If you haven’t begun following them on Facebook yet you may just want to! Twist Collective is celebrating their 5 year anniversary with all kinds of goodies and give-aways.

The Story Behind the Valley Yarns Collection

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
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This originally appeared in our Valley Yarns 2011 catalog.
Kathy and Steve Elkins, owners of WEBS – America’s Yarn Store, established the Valley Yarns brand in 2004. But the exclusive line existed prior to their taking over the company from Steve’s parents. Read Steve’s story below about the creation of the brand.

What’s in a name?
When Kathy and I took over the business from my parents in 2002, they were already sourcing yarns directly and had been doing so for many years. At that time, they were focused primarily on weaving yarns, but there were several knitting yarns in the collection. Anyone remember Peru, Quabbin, or Monterey? They were branded along with the weaving yarns as the WEBS Permanent Line. It was a functional name, but it didn’t give Kathy and me much to work with in terms of marketing. So we set out to come up with a new name and tossed around a lot of different ideas. We had a long list of possibilities, but we ultimately chose Valley Yarns.

Why where you come from matters
My parents started the tradition of naming yarns after local towns. My three favorites are Prescott, Dana, and Enfield. You won’t find these towns on any modern map as they were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The Pioneer Valley is where I was born and lived until I left for college, it’s where my extended family has been for a long time, it’s where Kathy and I call home, and most importantly it’s where WEBS has always been. Paying tribute to the local culture by naming our yarns after the lovely towns found in the valley and surrounding hills only seemed fit.

A yarn is born
Bringing a yarn to market is one of our favorite aspects of our job. We work with mills from all over the world. Most often the process starts out with a mill sending us or visiting us with a set of samples. When looking at samples, we can quickly eliminate any fancy or novelty yarns that don’t fit under the Valley Yarns umbrella, any yarns that duplicate what we already have, or any yarns we simply don’t like. We sometimes end up with nothing in our “like” or “need” pile. Other times, we might have two or three, or more yarns that we are interested in looking at further. At this point, we ask for full samples of the yarn. We swatch the yarn at different gauges, test the yarn for wear and durability, and wash the swatches – basically we really put the yarn through its paces. We spend time discussing how any potential new yarn will fit into the line. Naturally, pricing is always an issue, especially in challenging economic times. We may sometimes love and want a yarn desperately, but if the pricing structure doesn’t work, we sometimes have to walk away.

Color my world
Once the base yarn is selected, we then go through the color selection process, which is not as easy as it sounds. We have to consider how the yarn will be used and what we feel is an appropriate palette. It’s important to have an interesting but functional color range that works as well in depth of color as it does in coordination of color.

New kid on the block
Once the order is placed, we finalize a name. Sometimes a name is crystal clear; other times we have to try a few on for size. The label artwork then gets created, and then we wait. We wait anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks or more, depending on lead times from the mill. We usually have some advance bags flown to us so that we can start designing. The balance of the shipment usually comes by boat. When a new yarn arrives, it is everyone’s new BFF, and we all have to remind ourselves not to ignore all of the other beautiful yarns in our Valley Yarns collection.

Valley Yarns Berkshire featured in Stitching in the Stacks

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
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One of the newest collections available from Cooperative Press is Stitching in the Stacks – Librarian Inspired Knits. In that collection you’ll find the lovely Book Woman Jacket, by Sarah Barbour, which is worked in our Valley Yarns Berkshire in the Tan Heather colorway.

It features a cabled, double-breasted front closure and shawl collar as well as moss stitch hem details and pockets to keep you cozy. With over 40 colors of Berkshire to choose from this may just be the perfect jacket for all book women!

What color of Berkshire would you use?

Valley Yarns Southwick featured in Interweave Crochet Summer 2013

Monday, July 1st, 2013
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Interweave Crochet just release their Summer 2013 issue. The Palm Tunic, designed by Cristina Mershon, is crocheted using our Valley Yarns Southwick.

Constructed from triangle motifs that come together in a great starburst on the bodice, and wide ribbed band at the hem, it’s perfect to slip on over a bathing suit or pair with a cami and flirty, summer skirt.

Have you checked our the Summer 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet yet?