Archive for the ‘Yarn & Craft News’ Category

How to Dress a Bull

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
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Hi Everyone

Overnight I received a comment on my “Feeling Bullish” post that included a link to a video showing Olek dressing the bull!!!  Here’s the link:

http://vimeo.com/18306137

bull

Amazing!  Thanks to PATP for sending this link along.

Enjoy!

Kathy

Feeling Bullish

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

I was cruising around Twitter and found this via Guy Kawasaki, founder of Alltop.com among other things:

bull

New York-based artist Agata Olek aka “Crocheted Olek” covered the entire Wall Street Bull in crochet.  According to Ms. Olek’s blog this was her  “. . . Christmas gift to NYC and a tribute to the sculptor of the bull, Arturo di Modica, who in another guerrilla act, placed the bull on Wall Street in Christmas of 1987 as a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people” following the 1987 Stock Market crash.”  Reports are that the covering was removed after about 2 hours by city officials, which is unfortunate.

I only wish Ms. Olek gave more background into the design process, how long it took to make, what yarn was used, etc.    The piece fits the bull so perfectly. . . . . .

What do you think?

Kathy

Happenings

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

I have a couple of industry tidbits to share with you all today.

First up is some exciting news from Artyarns.  Owners Iris & Eliot.  They were selected by American Express to participate in a brand makeover that was video taped.  There are three episodes that have been posted on Amex’s OpenForum and are described as follows:

“This video is part of our Project RE:Brand web series in which small businesses undergo brand makeovers from design experts. “

Below is the link to episode 1 of 3.  The other two are shown as thumbnails to immediately to the right – just click on them to see them as well:

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/video/understanding-the-brand

As someone who has and MBA in Marketing and has spent the better part of 20 years in the field one way or another, I was completely intrigued by this.  Iris & Eliot recently visited and shared the link along with many aspects of the project.  They had mentioned this to us at TNNA but we really didn’t “get” what the project was about.  The insight from the design team they received along with the collateral materials are amazing.  What a tremendous opportunity for them.  Check out the videos and watch the process and learn more about Artyarns!  Also, be sure to check out Iris’ new blog at www.irisschreier.com.   There you will find out about her latest designs and escapades.  Plus there are a bunch of great FREE Patterns!  Congratulations again to them and we couldn’t be happier to carry their gorgeous, luxury yarns!

Next up, I received a link to Amazon’s “Best Books of 2010: Crafts:

http://tinyurl.com/3xrbw93

First and foremost, let’s all give our very own Gail Callahan, a.k.a. The Kangaroo Dyer a HUGE round of applause!  Her book, “Hand Dyeing Fleece & Yarn” was ranked #3!!!  Way to go Gail!  We all knew her book would be tremendously awesome, even when she was doubting the book.  Although it’s her baby, we are a proud group of aunties & uncles at WEBS!

What is even more exciting is that Gail is in very good company!  Congratulations also go out to:

Kari Chapin author of “The Handmade Marketplace“.  This is a great book.  We were fortunate enough to host a book signing with Kari and we are just tickled that she came in at #1!

Fellow shop owner Joelle Hoverson checks in at #4 with her much anticipated follow up to “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” with “More Last Minute Knitted Gifts“.  We all loved the first book and we all love the second just as much!

In at #7 is “Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders” from Judith Durant and the lovely folks at Storey Publishing.  We love the entire One Skein series particularly because there are many designs across the series that were submitted by members of our faboo staff!

Rounding out the list at #10 is Julie Turjoman’s acclaimed “Brave New Knits“.  Another fabulous author that we had the pleasure of hosting, Julie’s book has been a great hit!

We are thrilled for all of these authors and the success they have enjoyed this year.  Any of these books would make great holiday gifts.  Don’t forget that books count towards the WEBS discount!

Enjoy!

Kathy

Yankee Candle Mob Dance

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
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The Yankee Candle Flagship Store (and their corporate offices) are located just 15 minutes north of us.  The story of Yankee Candle is inspiring whether you have entrepreneurial tendencies or not.  Steve & I are big fans of the store not only because we love their products but we love just walking through the store – watching and observing (I know -we’re a barrel of fun on a Saturday night, aren’t we?).

This morning one of J2′s baseball coaches sent along a link to a video that his son wrote, sung, directed, choreographed, and produced.  Tyler is also featured front and center in most of the video.  Producing a piece like this is no small feat and Tyler did a great job.

If you are like me, then the concept of a “mob dance” was not something I was familiar with until this morning.  In doing a little research, I found out this:  A “flash mob” occurs when groups of people come together for a spontaneous demonstration after an alert is sent out through a social network, such as Facebook or Twitter.  Obviously this video was pre-planned and not organized via any social media platform but I still love it.

How much fun would it be for a mob dance to erupt in our warehouse??

Enjoy!

Kathy

Odds & Ends

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

Just a few things to share today.  This is been a crazy week at WEBS – both yarn and beads!

1.  I came across this great “yarn bombing” on Craftzine.com:

The photo was taken in Rome by Flickr user Start The Day.  It is just so cool and I love that it’s crochet!  No more tea cozies – it’s a car cozy!  This smart car looks adorable.  I don’t think my SUV would look nearly as darling and think about how much yarn I’d need!

2.  We recorded this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit and our guest is our lovely Berroco rep Andra.  She did a training session this morning for the staff.  The best part is getting to see many of the garments in person and to try them on.  While at the shop she picked buttons for a darling sweater she knit using Remix:

It’s on the cover of the dedicated Remix pattern book #303:

Andra owns her individuality with a fierceness I just love.  Here’s her “stamp” on this sweater:

I only wish my boys were small enough to wear it!  The buttons are from JHB for anyone who is interested.

3.  We’ve added a great selection of large-hole beads to the bead site.  These will fit perfectly on those cool bracelets that everyone is sporting these days and they are MUCH more affordable – only $6.99 each!  Be sure to check them out!

Enjoy!

Kathy

Elle Decor & The Kangaroo Dyer

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
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Hi Everyone

Late last week I received a lovely email from Gail, The Kangaroo Dyer.  It’s always lovely to hear from her and recently our paths have not been crossing as much lately as I would like in the store.  She wanted to share a link with me that she thought I would like:

http://www.elledecor.com/image/tid/5648?pause=0&page=2

Check out the url above.  Yes.  That is THE Elle Decor Magazine URL.  This is what you see when you click the link:

That is a hand dyed silk scarf done by Gail and featured in the “Trend” section of  http://www.elledecor.com/.  I flipped out. This is HUGE!!!  Elle Decor is one of the leading home dec publications out there!

Over the weekend I had a chance to indulge in a little R&R on our back deck.  It was stunning lizard weather on Sunday and I enjoyed catching up on a variety of magazines and catalogs.  In my pile was this:

Yes, I am an Elle Decor subscriber.  As I perused the magazine I came upon page 64:

Trend Alert.  The top left corner caught my eye and THERE WAS GAIL’S HAND DYED SCARF!!!  Look at it up close:

That’s her scarf, her name and her url on page 64 of Elle Decor magazine!  That is huge!  That is cooler than cool!  Go Gail!  Go Gail!  Go Gail!!!

I realize my enthusiasm may be a tad biased but just stop and think about this for a minute.  Think about how many budding designers, established designers for that matter would kill for the opportunity for one of their products to be featured in a magazine of this statue, never mind on the “Trend Alert” page!  Having previously worked in marketing for a large footwear company, these types of editorial placements were gold nuggets.  Yes, of course in some instances there is a little quid pro quo going on but trust me –  Gail will not be running a full page ad or any ad or anything anytime in the near future in Elle Decor.

This is cool.  I have no idea what it means for Gail – maybe she’ll spend the next 6 months dyeing fabric for someone, maybe she’ll get a handful of orders for silk scarves.  Regardless of the metrics, I think it’s just awesome and I am absolutely thrilled for Gail.  Let’s give Gail some much deserved love in the comments!

I wonder if she could hand dye me some pom-poms?

Kathy

2010 Needle Artist Survey Sponsored by TNNA

Monday, March 29th, 2010
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Hi Everyone:

The National Needlearts Association is in the process of conducting an industry-wide survey.  Both wholesalers and retailers have been asked to participate and now it’s your turn!

Please complete the 2010 NeedleArts survey at www.Needlearts2010.net. The needlearts community needs your advice and opinions, whether you are a beginner or an expert! This survey is only conducted every few years. Your input is very important and will be included in a published national report.

Your answers are anonymous. No one will use your survey responses to market to you.

In return for your participation, you will receive valuable benefits:

  • Gain a chance to win one of five $100 needlearts gift certificates.
  • Ensure stores and suppliers provide what you want.
  • Explore your needlearts interests.

Your valuable input will help the needlearts community, too:

  • Advocate for more programs to support the needlearts, such as Helping Hands Needlearts Mentoring, Stitch N’ Pitch, and Stitching for Literacy.
  • Help independent retailers and family-owned suppliers succeed by giving them the customer feedback they need.

As a thank-you for completing the survey, The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) is offering the chance to win one of five $100 needlearts store gift certificates. To enter the sweepstakes simply fill out the survey at www.Needlearts2010.net and then click on “Sweepstakes Entry” on the page you see after submitting the survey.  The sign up for the contest is separated from your responses to ensure anonymity.

The 10-minute survey asks about your experiences with the needlearts you enjoy: crocheting, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, or needlepoint. Let us know which types of projects you prefer, the kinds of new products you want, and what you’d like to see needlearts shops do better.

The survey is sponsored by The National NeedleArts Association, a business organization dedicated to supporting the needlearts community. Hart Business Research is conducting this survey for TNNA and compiling the results into a major national report, The State of Specialty Needlearts 2010. Please complete the survey right away at www.Needlearts2010.net. Survey closes April 19, 2010.

We are members of TNNA and we have already completed the “retailer” survey.   Please consider taking a few minutes to complete the survey and enter the contest!

Thank you!

Kathy

Knitting on The Today Show

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
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On The Today Show this morning,  a new segment was launched.  “Your Life Calling” with Jane Pauley will be a monthly segment focusing on the question “what’s next” for folks over 50.  The segment is being sponsored by AARP.org. 

 The inaugural segment that aired this morning was a feature on Betsy Lee McCarthy, LYS owner and author of Knit Socks.  Here is the link to the segment and other information:

http://www.aarp.org/money/work/your_life_calling/?CMP=KNC-360I-MSN-MON&HBX_PK=today_show_jane_pauley&utm_source=MSN&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=today%2Bshow%2Bjane%2Bpauley&utm_campaign=MSN-AARP%2BAmabassadors

I was just so tickled to see that this was about knitting!  As the segment was being set-up I thought of the many stories in our fiber-focused world that fit the bill and nearly fell out of bed when it was knitting-related.  (Note:  We are on vacation – I am not normally lounging in bed at 8:30am unless I”m deathly sick).

Enjoy!

Kathy

Full Disclosure

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
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The Federal Trade Commission recently revised their “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials” to encourage bloggers who review products to discolose if they received the products for free when making a favorable review.    Breaking these new rules could result in fines or other liability.  These guidelines were developed specifically for bloggers who participate in pay-per-review programs.  Given these new guidelines, I feel it’s important to clarify my stance on this topic.

It is rare that I review or discuss a product that we don’t carry.  I define “carry” as product that we have purchased at wholesale to sell at retail.  Occasionally I may reference a yarn that is used in a project in a magazine or book that we don’t carry, but that is about the extent of it.

We often receive advance samples of yarns – some that we buy, some that we don’t.   Again, it’s rare that I would reference a yarn on the blog that I was sent for free, as a sample to consider for purchase.  It’s not out of the realm, just not common.

As for books, I receive a lot of advance copies of books.  We are on what is called “autoship” for pretty much every new book that is published meaning we have a standing order for X copies of each new book.  They are automatically sent to us and we are charged for them.  The advance copies I receive are free but ultimately our autoship arrives and we then sell the purchased copies at retail.  I may review or discuss a book in advance of our autoship, based on the advance copy I received.

Going forward I will notate in my posts if any products I am talking about are products I received for free or as an advance sample and whether we will be carrying the product for resale, if it’s not in stock already.

I have never reviewed or discussed any products on this blog for payment nor can I imagine a time when I would do that.  If that ever were to happen, I would disclose that information.

I do not view the sending of advance copies or samples as compensation.  There is no expectation by any of our partners that I will discuss or review their products here on the blog nor do I feel any obligation to do so.  If I do discuss a product, I do not feel any obligation to write positively about the product unless I genuinely feel that way.

This policy is less applicable to this blog as it’s associated with our retail business.  Still, I wanted to state my position so that you were all clear.  This blog is a very positive place – I like to talk about yarns and books and products that I like, if not love.

Now, back to our regular programming.  Wait until you see the new Malabrigo yarn that came in today!  It will be up on the website tomorrow!  More then!  Plus I’m going to be announcing a great new contest!

Kathy

Guest Blogger – Carol Sulcoski

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
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When I posted a couple of weeks back about the loss of our friend Jamie, I was touched by the outpouring of lovely comments and emails from so many of you.  Thank you for keeping us and more importantly our friends in your thoughts.  I will be forever grateful to all of you.

One person who emailed me was the lovely Carol Sulcoski – you know, faboo designer, rockstar author and creator of Black Bunny Fibers.  She asked what she could do – offered to write a blog post for me.  I readily agreed.  During our exchanges she mentioned her dad was undergoing some tests.  I wished her well, thanked her for helping me out and went about doing what I could to help Sarah, JP and Peyton.  What I didn’t know was that Carol was dealing with a crisis of her own – her father was diagnosed with end-stage pancreatic cancer and died last week.

I am so grateful for her support and so sorry for her loss.  I only hope I can find a way to help her, the way she has helped me.  Here is Carol’s post:

I’m honored to be guest-blogging for Kathy today, and I know that everyone is thinking about her and her family, and wishing them peace this holiday season.

Every December, when a new year  is right around the corner, I start to think about the year that is coming to a close.  I read all the articles with titles like “2009: A Look Back” and “The Year In Review,” and somewhere along the line it became a tradition with me to do a retrospective look at the knitting world, too.  So without further ado, I present “2009:  A Knitter’s Look Back.”

The economy.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think back over the past twelve months is the profound impact of the American and global economic recession.  The struggling economy was a topic on everyone’s mind, and it had tangible impact on  the knitting world.  It seems to me that people became much more mindful about their fiber pursuits:  purchasing less, yes, but also reshaping their attitudes.  Knitters and crocheters  went back and fell in love with their stashes.  They seemed to delay purchasing items, waiting for sales or saving up for special events and fiber festivals.

It seems to me, too, that the economy pushed a lot of folks into fiber-related commerce. Etsy and Ravelry made it easy to sell handdyed yarn or fiber, handcrafted items like stitch markers and knitting bags, and knitting patterns, and people faced with cuts in their pay or hours, or who were laid off, began trying to leverage their passion for fiber into a means of generating some income.  It seemed as though the number of vendors selling fiber-related items, whether stitch markers, handsewn project bags or yarn and wool, went through the roof.  My suspicion is that, as the economy starts to improve (we hope), the sheer number of vendors will start to decrease.

2010 will likely be a tight financial year for many of us, and we’ll no doubt see some signs of budget-tightening in the fiber world. Expect to see fewer new yarns, more discontinued colors and yarns, and a renewed focus on the workhorse yarns, staples like Cascade220 and perennial favorites like Noro and Malabrigo.  We may see more emphasis on small-gauge projects and more intricate styles of knitting, like colorwork and lace, given that these projects take longer and thus provide knitters with more hours of knitting relative to the cost.  We may also see a focus on one-skein projects, providing a relatively inexpensive way for knitters to treat themselves to a new project to try a new yarn.

The continued growth of the PDF and self-publishing.
Pattern sales became as easy as point and click once the internet facilitated the use of the PDF document.  While there is still a sizeable contingent of knitters and crocheters who want hard copies of their patterns, the growth in PDF patterns continued throughout 2009, aided by sites like Patternfish and Ravelry, as more designs, old and new, were put on the market in digital form.  Websites like Patternfish continued to add to impressive collections – including archived designs  from venerable pattern companies like Classic Elite – and major magazines  and yarn companies began offering their own PDF delivery, or expanded their existing offerings.  One interesting  sidelight of this is the effect on knitting designers.  PDF publishing rights took center stage in negotiating contracts, and many designers started insisting that they have the option of retaining future publishing rights, instead of signing away all publication rights forever.

Another interesting development that I’ve just noticed:  offering magazine subscriptions in either traditional print or digital formats.  European magazine Verena offers subscribers a choice of digital delivery or traditional print, as does Yarn Forward, a UK-based magazine.  We’ll have to see if any of the big American magazines follow suit in 2010.

Self-publishing pattern collections (as opposed to individual, single patterns) has also continued to  grow. We saw some excellent, high quality offerings from designers who decided to forgo the traditional publishing companies in order to retain more control over the end product and receive a higher rate of return for their work.  Risky, yes, because the designer has to pay for the production and printing process herself, but if the book or booklet is successful, the designer doesn’t have  to share the profits with anyone.  Top quality offerings we saw from the self-publishing world include Janel Laidman’s The Enchanted Sole; Chrissy Gardiner’s Toe-Up!; and Grace Anna Farrow’s The Fine Line.

Comings and goings
As always, during the past year we made new friends and lost some old ones.  I was particularly said to see Knotions, a great on-line knitting magazine, cease publication at the end of the year.  Knotions’ motto was “Knit smarter,” and contained lots of technical information as well as free patterns.  However, the patterns will remain archived for the foreseeable future.  Several  other of the new e-zines also discontinued publication, including Metapostmodern Knitting (on hiatus; not clear if it will be permanent or return) and Black Purl.  Is the on-line knitting magazine model is harder to sustain than we thought, is it a function of the struggling economy or some combination of both? In a slight twist (or do I mean “slightly twisted”?), parody site Regretsy burst forth in late 2009, showcasing handcrafted items of dubious distinction taken from Etsy, and combining them with trenchant captions.

When it comes to yarn companies, although Westminster Fibers apparently is folding its RYC label into Rowan,  selling under one name in the future, and while the large conglomerate Coats got rid of its Moda Dea brand,  I’m not aware of any other yarn companies or major brands going out of business.  On the other hand, an exciting addition to the field is St-Denis Yarns, a company headed by fabulous designer Véronik Avery.  Avery’s first yarn offering, released this past fall, was Nordique, a vintage-feeling wool that is categorized as a sportweight,but is versatile enough to be knit at many gauges.  Nordique’s palette begs for stranded knitting, and Avery’s first St-Denis magazine received rave reviews.  Look for a second yarn and another pattern magazine this spring.

Another brilliant 2009 debut was the Spud and Chloe line, from Blue Sky.  Spud and Chloe took an interesting approach, giving us three basic yarns: fingering-weight wool Fine, wool-cotton worsted-weight Sweater, and thick wool Outer. Pattern support is strong, and everything about the Spud and Chloe line is stylish and appealing, including the patterns’ paper envelopes reminiscent of sewing patterns.   This is another new line that I expect exciting things from.

When it comes to people, Shannon Okey left the helm of Yarn Forward, lovely Tanis Gray left Vogue/Soho Publishing; and Véronik Avery left JCA/Reynolds; Cathy Payson joined JCA/Reynolds; Michael “Tricky Tricot” DelVecchio joined Universal Yarns; WEBS’ own Cirilia Rose joined Berroco and produced a lovely collection of teen/tweener designs for girls, as well as several other designs for Berroco’s strong fall collection.  Jared “Brooklyn Tweed” Flood released  his first collection, “Made in Brooklyn,” in conjunction with Classic Elite – and a knockout collection it was.

Knitting Get-togethers
If you didn’t hear about the first Sock Summit, a gathering of sock-knitters that took place this past summer in Portland, Oregon, you must live under a rock.  The Sock Summit brought together an amazing assortment of the sock-knitterati, providing classes, networking opportunities and a large vendor’s market.

2009 also saw an expansion in the number of knitting-themed travel options, as  all sorts of workshops, cruises and retreats were planned for locations like Tuscany, southern France, Morocco, the Carribbean and many other locations in the US and elsewhere.   We’ll see if this trend continues given the current economic climate.

Books
Last but not least, knitting publishing remained strong, producing perhaps fewer titles overall, but lots of high-quality and mouth-watering choices for the book-loving knitter.  In addition to the self-published titles mentioned earlier, sock knitters got  to enjoy Cookie A’s  Sock Innovations; blogger Wendy Johnson’s  Socks From The Toe Up;  and my own Knitting Socks in Handpainted Yarns.  Three books with eastern themes were released:  Haiku Knits, by Tanya Alpert, Japanese-Inspired Knits, by Mariane Isager, and Knitted Socks East & West, by Judy Sumner.

Some other top-notch titles released this past year:
•    Clara Parkes’ The Knitter’s  Book of Wool;

•    Color by Kristin, by Kristin Nicholas;

•    Green Mountain Spinnery’s 99 Yarns and Counting;

•    French Girl Knits, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes;

•    Classic Knits, and Inca Knits, also by the very talented Mariane Isager (what a fabulous trifecta of titles for one designer in a single year!); and

•    Vintage Baby Knits by Kristen Rengren.

Alice Starmore fans were thrilled to see her seminal Book of Fair Isle Knitting finally republished and updated; and crochet fans rejoiced when they saw the spectacular Crochet In Color, by Kathy Merrick.  Spinners got to enjoy an updated All-New Homespun Handknit; Amy King’s Spin Control; and Respect the Spindle, by Abby Franquemont, among others.

It was an eventful year in the fiber world, and you’d best buckle your seatbelts, for who knows what a new year and a new decade will bring…

Carol Sulcoski

********************

Thanks so much Carol!  It has been such a strange December.  So much sadness in the air.  The Yarn Harlot has something going on with her family, Annie Modesitt has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and our lovely town of Northampton has been rocked by a string of 11 fires this past Saturday night that destroyed several homes and cars and killed two people.

I normally love this time of year, but I cannot get my tree down fast enough, get the decorations packed away and move on.  That’s not to say that 2009 hasn’t been a lovely year for us overall or that the past decade hasn’t been equally wonderful.  I just hope that whatever is misaligned in the universe gets itself straightened out.

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog, listening to our podcast and for shopping with us.  I also want to say a big “thanks” to our team who have kept things moving along these past couple of weeks (and all year long for that matter) and have allowed us the time and space to be with our friends.

I hope you all have a very Happy New Year.

Kathy