Archive for the ‘Yarn & Craft News’ Category

Are you ready to spin? It’s Tour de Fleece time!

Monday, June 29th, 2015
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Team WEBS Tour de Fleece spinning challenge, read more on the WEBS Blog -

Attention Spinners! Team WEBS Tour de Fleece 2015 registration is now open! If you’ve never heard of the Tour de Fleece, it’s a Ravelry spin-along that shadows the Tour de France bike race during the month of July. This is not a competition! It’s a chance to come together with other spinners, set personal challenges for yourself but, most importantly, have fun.  If you don’t have a consistent spinning habit, the Tour is a great incentive to spin on a regular basis for a month.  You’re welcome to use wheels and/or spindles and there will be prizes at the end of the Tour.  If you’d like to join us, please pop over to the All Things WEBS group on Ravelry and let us know you’re participating by this Friday, July 3.

Here are some guidelines, not rules,  for those of you just joining in this year – and a refresher for returning spinners:

  • Try to spin every day that the Tour is riding, July 4-26. There are days of rest, July 13th and 21st, so feel free to take those days off.
  • There are challenge days, when the riders are climbing. Give yourself a challenge on those days by spinning a new fiber or try a new spinning style, but save your biggest challenges for the second climbing stage, like when they tackle Alpe d’Huez on July 25th  – seriously LOOK at the climb up that mountain! See the full route here.
    • Climbing stages 10 -12 from July 14, to 16
    • Climbing stages 17-20 from July 22, to 25
  • Celebrate as you go with the colors you wear.
    • Wear Green: green is for sprinters, if you’ve been spinning FAST this color is for you!
    • Wear Polka-dots: dots are for climbing so break them out whenever you’re taking on a challenge!
    • Wear White: white is for rookies so this is the color for you if this is your first Tour!
    • Wear Yellow: the leaders wear the Maillot jauneor Yellow Jersey, following each stage of the race, so wear it whenever you feel particularly successful. And be sure to wear it on July 26th to announce your victory in completing the Tour!

The Tour runs Saturday July 4th through Sunday July 26th, this year. And don’t worry about how much you have to do to participate! There is no minimum, or maximum amount of fiber you need to spin through. You don’t have to spin every day and you don’t even have to measure what you DO spin. The whole idea is just to get you spinning and to have fun with it! However we will be announcing some prizes on July 1st and there will be specific minimums or types of fibers and yarns you’ll need to spin to win. Keep an eye on the Ravelry group for specifics!

I’ll be spinning from my stash which includes Hello Yarn club fiber, some Spunky Eclectic fiber, some great stuff from Into the Whirled, and maybe something from Abstract Fibers or Frabjous Fibers! What will you be spinning and what will you challenge yourself with?


Thursday, June 11th, 2015
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If you haven’t participated in the Shop Hop in the past years joining in is super easy, all you need is $5 to purchase your passport and a sense of adventure! The I-91 Shop Hop runs Thursday, June 25th through Sunday, June 28th and you can purchase a passport at one of the 12 shops participating this year, and you still have time to purchase your 2015 passport! We are looking forward to welcoming more than 300 Shop-Hoppers to our store over the weekend.

The Annual I-91 Shop Hop is just around the corner. Get your passport now! Read more at

Why participate in the Shop Hop? At each store you visit your name will be entered in the daily prize drawing. Each of the daily prizes contains a variety of wonderful yarns, patterns, needles and accessories. Once you’ve visited all 12 shops and have your passport stamped just turn it in at the last shop on your trip and you will be entered into a grand prize drawing! On Sunday, there are two drawings: the daily basket and a chance to win a wooden swift and ball winder.  As an added bonus, each shop will have a special knit kit for sale just for Shop Hop! So be sure to hit all the shops during the long weekend and keep your fingers crossed for the daily prize and grand prize on Sunday. Hope to see you then!

The Annual I-91 Shop Hop is just around the corner. Get your passport now! Read more at

Participating Shops:
Green Mountain Spinnery- Putney, VT
Handknits- Brattleboro, VT
Sheep & Shawl-South Deerfield, MA
Northampton Wools, Northampton, MA
WEBS America’s Yarn Store-Northampton, MA
Marji’s Yarncrafts-Granby, CT
Creative Fibers-Windsor, CT
Village Wool-Glastonbury, CT
Country Yarns-Wallingford, CT
The Yarn Barn,LLC-Woodbridge, CT
Knit New Haven-New Haven, CT
The Yarn Basket-Branford, CT

I Love a Good Mystery

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
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I don’t know about you, but my summer knitting seems to consist mostly of MKALs (Mystery Knit-a-longs). There’s something about the surprise that is more appealing to me during the warmer months than any other time of year. I like having a pattern handed to me in chunks. It also sometimes helps me to finish sections, since I know the next one is coming.

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light

There are several MKALs starting up (or that have recently started) that I’m already signed up for, or thinking of signing up for. Kirsten Kapur’s Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2015. I have quite the stash of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light that I’m planning on going through and choosing two colors to make this shawl. It’s one of my favorite yarns for shawls, so I’m excited to get going on this one.

The Fibre Co. Meadow

Next up is the Hydrangea MKAL 2015 by the fine folks from Kelbourne Woolens in The Fibre Co. Meadow. I did their MKAL last summer that featured Meadow and I loved it. They include great tips on the different techniques, so it’s awesome if you’re trying to pick up new skills and really learn something. I’m still trying to decide on a color though. After the winter we had, I still don’t want any dull or netural colors, but the Queen Anne’s Lace is calling to me!

The Shetland Trader MKAL is also appealing to me. I like that it’s more of a focus on texture than on lace. Gudrun Johnson designed one of our 40th Anniversary patterns, Valley Yarns 40th Anniversary 14 Tirrick Shawl, and this one is still on my to-knit list. I just love the pattern and I have no doubt that Gudrun’s MKAL would be a fun one. Maybe in three colors of Valley Yarns Charlemont?

So, what do you think about MKALs? Are they something you’re interested in? Obviously from my three picks, I’m a shawl knitter, but there are lots of other MKALs out there. What is your ideal MKAL project?

Craft and Social Media

Friday, April 10th, 2015
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Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at

I’ve realized lately that every time I check my social media sites, the first thing I do is see what WEBS is doing there. There is a rich treasure trove of websites that are devoted to putting people in touch with other people, and you can find someone, for instance, who is a left-handed crocheter who only does stuffed animals in the blink of an eye. Knitting is a pretty social craft, as is crochet; less so, unfortunately, are weaving and spinning. Weavers and spinners, I know you are lovely and sociable, but there aren’t many sightings of folks dragging an 8-harness loom to the local Starbucks for Craft Night. In that way, sometimes it’s easier for knitters and crocheters who don’t know each other to get to know each other. I thought I’d walk you through our social media sites so that you can check out what we post, and who talks to whom through our newsfeed. In this post, I’ll spotlight Ravelry and Facebook, and in some subsequent posts, I’ll walk you through some of our other social media platforms.

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at

No mention of fiber social media is complete without Ravelry. This is the first place I look each day. I check our “All Things WEBS” group to see how the knitters and crocheters doing our Mystery Knit-A-Long and Mystery Crochet-A-Long are doing, what new yarns or needles have been added to our Anniversary Sale, or any information about store events that I might have missed. You can also search for Valley Yarns patterns, or see if anyone is knitting the same design you are, and if they made any modifications to the pattern. You can see how many folks are using Valley Yarns for different projects. And, best of all (to me), you can search for a group that might be tailored to your own particular interest. Once again, left-handed crocheters, I just searched and found not one, but TWO groups devoted to left-handed crocheters, both with large memberships. It’s a wonderful time-suck, and in my position as Education Manager, I’ve tracked down guest teachers, connected with students who’ve requested interesting class ideas, found some great designs to have our instructors use as teaching ideas, and lots more.

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at

Facebook is a great place to find information but it’s also a fun place to find interesting blog posts from other designers and yarn companies, see some deals before they make it onto the website, and hear from our customers around the world. Dena, who manages our social media presence on all sites, manages to find the most beautiful images our in-house photo and video team has produced to complement each post. I love to read the comments folks post about what we share on Facebook; I’ve learned about locally-sourced, allergy-free yarn as well as some variations on Tunisian Simple Crochet stitch from various customers who chime in with their knowledge from time to time.

What groups do you like on Ravelry? Do you follow any designers or yarn companies on Facebook? Let us know!

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?


Hot Gifts -Gild your Knits!

Friday, December 12th, 2014
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Last Fall we noticed a trend on fashion runways that we thought was super exciting, gilded knitwear! Sweaters and accessories where sections had been covered in silver or gold leaf. And while we’ve seen a few pieces in some high end department stores and online shops we thought this is something we can do for ourselves and so can you!

Gild Your Knits! Learn how to add metal foil accents to your knits on the WEBS blog.

We started with some bulky yarns – there are only days left to Hanukkah and Christmas after all! We knit up the Lodge Pole Cowl in Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky, the project was blocked before we began the next step.

Then we stopped by our local craft store and picked up sizing(the glue), pouncing sponges, and gold foil all from Martha Stewart. Be sure that you are using the right glue for your project! Just any old glue won’t do the job!

Working at a nice flat and stable work surface, dab the sizing onto the areas you’d like to highlight with the foil. We used a liberal amount of the sizing since the fiber will absorb some of it and you need enough on the surface to dry and become tacky before applying the foil. Once that was done we left it to dry according to the package instructions. The time may vary depending on how humid it is where you are so check on your glue every 10 minutes or so until it is tacky without being sticky.

Once the sizing had dried enough to be tacky we started to gently apply the gold foil. It will only stick to the glue but you may find that tiny pieces will tear off and float around your work area. You may want to keep a vacuum handy! Once the foil is applied and has covered all the glue use another one of your sponges to press it firmly into the fabric removing any excess foil and fly-away bits. This not only helps to set the foil in place, but burnishes the surface giving it some extra shine and helps to break up the foil so the shapes of the individual stitches show.

Gild Your Knits! Learn how to add metal foil accents to your knits on the WEBS blog.

This technique should work on most smooth yarns so avoid mohair, alpaca, angora or anything with a halo. The sizing is also water soluble so this is not a washable surface, you’ll need to spot clean any projects made with this technique. This could easily work on crochet and woven fabrics as well. So go forth and gild your knits and crochet! Make something just to try out the technique or use it to spiff up an older, but well loved accessory, and show us what you’ve made!

CGOA 2013 Design Competition

Monday, November 11th, 2013
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WEBS couldn’t be happier to be a sponsor of the Crochet Guild of America’s annual Design Competition. This year we sponsored the Accessories Category and the First Place winner was Joyce Lewis who designed  the Dragon Wing shawl, a gorgeous combination of traditional and tunisian crochet.

dragon wing shawl

Two of our other favorites from the competition were the the third prize winner from the Small Accessories Category: “Is that a platypus?” scarf designed by Laurinda Reddig.

perry platypus scarf

And the First Prize winner from that same category: Fair Isle Love Beanie designed by Deja Jetmir

heart fair isle hat

You can learn more about the CGOA at their website and see all of the contest winners on their blog.

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.


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.


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?