July 18th, 2016

Valley Yarns Hatfield

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Hatfield is one of my top 5 yans from Valley Yarns! 100% super soft, baby alpaca in a sturdy, yet lofty,  2-ply laceweight with 437 yds, means you have a versatile yarn with almost endless possibilities.

Get to know Valley Yarns Hatfield! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We already have some incredible pattern support for this yarn, with more planned! It’s perfect for lightweight, yet incredibly warm garments and accessories, and with that extensive yardage you’ll only need a few skeins. Pictured clockwise from top left: Lina Shawl(just 2 skeins), Fruits of the Forest Scarf (also only 2 skeins), Poet’s Corner Shawl – NEW! (2 skeins!), Traversina Shawl (1 skein in each of 6 colors, but only 2 skeins in yardage), Breezeway Pullover (2-4 skeins depending on size), and the Crisanta Shawl – NEW! (only 1 skein!)

Get to know Valley Yarns Hatfield! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This is an amazing yarn for summer knitting. It’s lightweight nature means you won’t have a bulky project heating up your lap while you enjoy some beach time, but you’ll finish with a great piece to ward of the chill come Fall. Do you have Valley Yarns Hatfield on your needles?

July 16th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 451: Kathy talks with Talitha Kuomi

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This week Kathy talks with Talitha Kuomi, author of the new book The Voyages of Vivian.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #451 - Kathy talks with Talitha Kuomi. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Talitha learned to knit as a child and was fascinated by the Mrs Crosby line of yarns and Mrs. Crosby’s back story. She worked with the staff at Mrs. Crosby to tell the story of her childhood friend Vivian and turned it into a real world mystery adventure with fantastic patterns and stories

Kathy also talks with local knitter, designer and photographer, Caro Sheridan about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Upcoming Events:

WEBS will be at Convergence in Milwaukee, WI August 2-6.

It’s not too early to book your seat on the bus to Rhinebeck!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

July 15th, 2016

Best In Class

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Every June, I am honored to celebrate another class of graduates from the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program. We just had our graduation and 9 new designers have been launched into the knitting universe! Our very swanky ceremony was held at a very nice hotel/conference center nearby for the first time ever–because we’ve outgrown our former celebration venue otherwise known as “the back classroom.” Want to see some eye candy?

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our graduates this year are, from left to right, Lorraine McGough, Sara Gibbons, Liz Frosch-Dratfield, Andy Tarr, Alexis Price, Lindsey Lindequist, Susan Baron, Donna Smith, and missing from the photo is graduate Cindy Romaniak. Each created a masterpiece of design and construction using the skills learned in the 16 required classes that make up the WEKP, as we call it.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This year’s sweaters ran the gamut of texture and construction. Susan Baron made an absolutely perfect coat in Madelinetosh Chunky; the detail was incredible. From the complicated math she used to figure out how to end a cable at the shoulder seam, to the ingenious use of a sport-weight yarn as a facing for the heavier front panel of the jacket, Susan made a garment that any professional designer would be proud to call their own. And, she got the stamp of approval from the designer herself when Amy Hendrix, the co-owner of Madelinetosh, saw Susan’s Capstone at her appearance at WEBS and loved it.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Alexis Price made a lovely cabled pullover, keeping it traditional in her yarn and color choice, but making it her own with shaping and textural details. You can see the pride she takes in her Aran sweater (as well she should!).

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Cindy Romaniak’s complex paneled design contains a number of elements completely unique to her design sensibility. Her use of several different stitch patterns, unique Empire shaping, directional knitting, and eye-catching colorwork made this garment stand out.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Sara Gibbons created an exquisite saddle-shoulder lace-and-cable sweater with 3/4 sleeves and knit it in a heathery green that beautifully complements her coloring. Sara was the most independent of our designers, needing only to consult her mentor Kirsten Hipsky for a few final questions about her finishing. Sara’s design was inspired by a sweater of her mother’s and she really nailed the essence of that earlier sweater.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Lindsey Lindequist achieved the impossible – she finished her Capstone sweater while caring for a 2-year-old and a newborn. My hat is off to her! Her 2-color cable and sweet “Tree of Live” design on her front pockets (pockets! yes!) add standout elements to a reverse-stockinette background. Congrats, Lindsey!

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Lorraine McGough’s “Butterfly Sweater” (as she and I both called it) reflects her sunny personality as well as her perseverance. She knit the front as one piece and then steeked it (in order to preserve the unity of her butterfly eyelet stitch pattern), and knit intarsia butterflies around the shoulders and hem. Her sunny yellow color choice and bright bursts of color were exactly what she planned.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Donna Smith made a designer’s dream sweater: she used stitch patterning to shape the back design of her cabled rib cardigan. The placement of her buttons emphasized the vintage look of her swing design and the blue color she chose added the perfect final touch.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Andy Tarr had a tough year but still managed to pull off one of the most beautiful sweaters we’ve seen–and the complexity involved in her yarn and design made her dedication to her project even tougher. Andy hand-dyed Valley Yarns Huntington in shades of lavender and purple to achieve a gradient pattern, and she knitted a contrasting lace overlay as the front panel of her cardigan. It can be worn either buttoned on both sides as a fitted cardi, or open, as a draped open piece. Either way she wears it, the craftsmanship is evident in every detail.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Liz Frosch-Dratfield had a rough year as well–and almost decided to wait to finish her sweater. However, with some persuasion, she decided to forge ahead (since I knew she’d been planning her Capstone design for over a year!) and her finished design is absolutely exquisite. Knit in Valley Yarns Northfield in purple and heathery green, she used a leaf motif throughout. The ties in front, the hemline, and the sleeves showed off hand-crafted leaves, and the lace patterning echoed the leaves, climbing like vines up the front and back panels of her cardigan. The final result is a flattering and eye-catching work of art.

I’m so proud of this year’s grads. Huge thank yous go to our Capstone mentors: Stephanie Gibbs, Cyndi Shepard, Erin Holman, Ping Wood, Kirsten Hipsky, and Sara Delaney. A thank you as well to Kris Potasky of KP&Co Designs, who hand-made lovely, lovely matching bracelets as our gift to the graduates. And a final thanks to Kathy and Steve Elkins, who started the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program in 2008. It’s grown to almost 100 folks at present, and 34 have graduated since 2009. I hope you find inspiration in these designs.

July 14th, 2016

Valley Yarns Brimfield in Vogue Knitting

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We’re always excited to see our Valley Yarns featured in the knitting and crochet community and this month the highlight is certainly the Early Fall 2016 issue of Vogue Knitting.

The Cable Detail Vest designed by Theresa Schabes in Valley Yarns Brimfield is a modern, open front vest with stunning details.

Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2016 featuring the Cable Detail Vest in Valley Yarns Brimfield. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

A combination of sleek shaping and yarn give this vest an ultra-modern look. At the back, fully fashioned shaping worked throughout the wide ribbing subtly shifts the twin braided cables outward, creating a flattering bias in the fabric. The fronts are picked up and knit crosswise with welt pockets, braided cable embellishments and garter-stitch edgings. A trim shawl collar is worked along the top edge.

We think this design looks lovely in the versatile neutral of the Silver colorway but would be equally stunning in the Peridot or Eggplant colorway for a splash of color in your wardrobe.

July 13th, 2016

Spin Cycle

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We are nearly halfway through July and the Tour de Fleece. The what?! You mean you haven’t heard that spinners are spinning along with the Tour de France? We are and it’s great fun as well as a great way to get into a rhythm of spinning every day. I know it is making a big difference for me as the daily workout helps me spin more consistent yarn and improve my technique. I made some adjustments in my hand position after our workshops with Beth Smith last month and having dedicated time every day allows me to practice and become comfortable with that. On the challenge days I am working on plying, trying some new methods to spin a 3-ply. There’s still some room in our Tour de Fleece SpinShops on July 17th, so check out the event page for descriptions of the array of fantastic spinning workshops and join us for some fiber fun!

Tour de Fleece Spinshops at WEBS retail store. Details on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’m also looking lustfully at some of the travel wheels we have in our spinning section, thinking about upcoming summer trips. We have 2 nice options with another on the horizon. The Louet Victoria is delightfully compact and light, folds with ease and even has a built in carrying handle. The spinning is smooth and it has accessories including a jumbo flyer for plying or creating art yarns. The Sidekick by Schacht is another contender that features its own carrying strap, folds easily into a snug shape and is a dream to spin on. Later this summer we will have a new loom from Schacht – the Flatiron, which is a folding Saxony wheel with many options for set up. I plan to try it out as soon as it arrives and will let you know how it spins.

Will you be taking your spinning on the road this summer?

 

July 12th, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure – Hat KAL: Week 2

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Let’s get started!

You’ve swatched and you’ve got gauge, it’s time to determine what size hat you’ll be making and cast on!

Measure the circumference of yours, or the wearer’s, head, this is the size you’ll make. Measure all the way around your head, just at the tips of your ears. If you measure 21” you can go down a size for a slightly more snug fit, or up a size for a more loosely fitting hat.

Now measure from the bottom of the ear to the top of the head. This is your desired depth, this number will be important next week!

Sizes to make – 18(20, 22, 24)” around

Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - choosing a cast on and brim! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Choose a Cast-on method:

Cast on 90(100, 108, 120)sts using one of these methods.

1 – Classic long-tail – here’s a quick refresher! 

2 – Two-color long-tail – a twist on the classic! 

3 – Old Norwegian – A great alternative! 

And now that you’ve cast on, and you’re ready to knit, you might be nervous about joining to work in the round, but don’t be! Here’s a quick tutorial!

 

Now choose a brim style!

1 – Classic Ribbing 1×1

Work [k1, p1] rib for 2 inches, or desired length.

Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - choosing a cast on and brim! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

2 – Corrugated Ribbing – in 2 colors

Work [k1 in color A, p1 in color B] corrugated rib for 2 inches, or desired length.

Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - choosing a cast on and brim! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

 3 – Folded Brim

Knit in stockinette stitch for 2 inches, purl one round, knit in stockinette for 2 inches more. Now fold the brim along that purl ridge and seam your cast on edge to the inside of the hat using the purl ridges just below your needle.

Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - choosing a cast on and brim! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

 4 – Garter Brim

Knit in alternate rounds of knit and purl for 2 inches, or desired length. *Alternately – you could knit rows for 2 inches and join to work in the round AFTER the brim. You’ll need to seam the edges closed.

Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - choosing a cast on and brim! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And here’s a quick tutorial for working the garter edge flat before joining in the round!

Next week you get to choose the stitch pattern for the body of your hat. Be sure to post your pics to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag it with #chooseyourownadventure #WEBSKAL  #Myhatadventure  #CYOAKAL

July 11th, 2016

Crisanta Shawl

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Another wonderful new pattern this month, in our Valley Yarns Hatfield, is the Crisanta Shawl by Tian Connaughton.

The Crisanta Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Knit on a larger than expected needle for this fine, baby alpaca lace, the Crisanta Shawl is worked side to side with a delicate, leafy lace border that ripples and moves like leaves in a breeze. The perfect little something extra for chilly summer nights, this shawl is just enough to keep you warm with a long sleeved tee.

We asked Tian to tell us more about how she designs and what she enjoyed about working with this yarn.

When did you learn to knit?
I was first introduced to the fiber world via crochet. I learned to crochet in September 2001 from an older co-worker to pass the hour-long lunch breaks. For years I was content just making blankets to give away for every occasion. But that all changed in 2006, when quitting my day job as a Credit Manager to stay home with my then 2-year old son. I discovered the wonders of knitting after watching HGTV’s Knitty Gritty. Knitting opened up an even wider world for me in the fiber arts.

What prompted you to start designing?
After discovering knitting, designing was soon to follow. The television show, Knitty Gritty, was the catalyst for my starting to design. I clearly remember the episode when Shirley Paden was a guest on the show, a talented knitwear designer creating fantastic patterns. I wanted to be like her. In her, I saw myself and a whole world of possibilities beyond my corporate life. Like many designers, I began by modifying existing patterns to fit my needs and then quickly evolved to creating my own original designs.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
Design inspirations come to me in many different forms and from many sources. I get inspirations on walks with my dog, Charlie, through the snow. It could be the texture of a tree bark or the canopy of trees over head in the woods. Or sometimes, inspiration strikes at weird times such as during Downward Dog at Pilates class while staring at the pattern on the map. Usually the idea comes first, inspired by my surrounding, then I search for the yarn that will best compliment the texture and drape of the design.

What did you love about the Valley Yarns Hatfield?
I’m not a huge fan of lace weight yarns, or so I thought. When I proposed this design to WEBS, I had resigned myself to the idea and to just grit my teeth as I work through the sample because I loved the design idea so much. After winding the yarn, slowly and carefully, I set off to cast-on for the Crisanta Shawl and immediately fell in love with the yarn, Hatfield. I thought I wouldn’t like the lace weight yarn because I don’t work with that weight of yarn often. And I don’t work with that weight of yarn often because I am an impatient knitter. But working up this thin yarn on bigger needles was a match made in heaven. The stitches simple flew off the needles. The yarn now has a special place in my heart. I can see so many more projects in the future.

The Crisanta Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This yarn has a special place in our hearts, too! With over 400 yds per skein, warm and lightweight, Valley Yarns Hatfield is ideal for garments and accessories.

July 9th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 450: Kathy talks with Trisha Malcolm

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This week Kathy talks with Trisha about the newest book from Soho, Noro Silk Garden, the 20th Anniversary Collection.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #450 - Kathy talks with trisha Malcolm. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

This book contains a beautiful forward by Mr. Noro about the importance of silk in Japan and the creation of this iconic yarn, as well as 30 patterns in Silk Garden, Silk Garden Lite, Silk Garden Sock and Silk Garden Solo.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Flashsale – An additional 20% off all Closeouts and Grandpa’s Garage Sale yarns Sunday and Monday ONLY! Check the site and stop by the store.

Reminder:

Welcoming the Stranger: Building Understanding through Community Based Art. Kathy interviewed the founder, Jo Israelson,  last year, listen now.

Seeking donations of hand spun or wool yarns - any gauge, any color, at least 42” in length – to weave additional panels to enlarge “Abraham’s Tent”  at the North Carolina Folklife Festival. DEADLINE for receipt of the yarn: July 1 – September 1, 2016. Please send your yarn (and include your name, email address and your family’s country of origin) to:

Welcoming the Stranger

Guilford College Art Gallery

5800 West Friendly Ave.

Greensboro, NC 27410

ATTN: Jo Israelson

Upcoming Events:

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Join us for our Spinshops on July 17th 10-4, sign up now!

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

July 6th, 2016

Poet’s Corner Shawl

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It’s time to introduce the first of our new designs for July! The Poet’s Corner Shawl designed by Jess Gagnon for Valley Yarns and knit in Hatfield is a surprisingly lightweight and warm triangle shawl with a delicate lace and ruffle detail.

The Poet's Corner Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The 100% baby alpaca, laceweight Hatfield has a subtle lustrous sheen and slight halo that adds an extra layer of softness to your knits. With it’s mostly stockinette stitch body, a simple lace border and graceful little ruffle detail, the Poet’s Corner Shawl is a quick summer knit that you’ll love wrapping around your shoulders when the cooler air of Autumn settles in.

We asked Jess to tell us a bit about herself and what she enjoyed about working with Hatfield.

When did you learn to knit? 
10 years ago, working as a children’s librarian, I was shelving books and noticed a children’s learn-to-knit book.  I figured if a child could learn to knit from a book, surely I could as well!  It worked, and I’ve been knitting since!  At the time, I was an avid cross-stitcher looking to broaden my crafty horizons.  Knitting fit the bill.  I’ve neglected my cross-stitch for years – might be time to cross breed the two.  Hmm…inspiration may be striking here…
 
What prompted you to start designing?
I continually want to learn new things, so I reached a point where designing seemed a good natural step to continue my learning process.  And designing helps me create a precise garment or accessory that I can’t seem to find elsewhere – I can satisfy my own need for a particular piece, and then refine it in pattern form for others.  Honestly, I used to be afraid (literally, afraid) of the idea of designing.  Math is not my forte, so was frankly intimidated by the idea of it.  Once I put a name to it, realized what I felt was fear, I make a conscious step to move past it.  I feel like the floodgates of creativity have been opened, and it’s so refreshing!
 
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
Designs come at me from all angles.  Typically when I’m my most relaxed, and when I’m not trying for it, a concept will hit me (while hiking, doing yoga, going for a run, petting my cat, etc.).  Sometimes I’ll spot a design element out in public or on the news, and I’ll try to puzzle out how to take that element and translate it into knitting.   I try to keep a notepad handy so I can draft a quick sketch as soon as possible to keep the idea fresh.  I’ve been know to resort to using a sticky note and ball-point pen if those are the only resources available!
 
Tell us your favorite fiber related story.
In the 10 years I’ve been knitting, my husband has never asked for anything.  Never.  He will volunteer admiration, or ask about what I’m working on, but will never ask.  Finally, he asked if I’d make him a sweater.  He’s had a hard time finding a work-appropriate, comfortable, attractive sweater.  So, we picked out a yarn color, and worked together on design elements, and I made him his very own sweater.  Literally, his very own, as I designed it but haven’t written it up.  I love that he finally asked for something, and that we could collaborate on something to meet his exact needs.
 
What did you love about Valley Yarns Hatfield?
The softness.  It’s so important to me to have a yarn that feels good to work up.  For me, knitting is about the process, and the tactile experience.  The critical component to a fulfilling experience is the yarn touch.  Hatfield fit the bill, and then some – so soft, and delightful.
The Poet's Corner Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com
Which color of Hatfield will you choose for a Poet’s Corner Shawl of your own?
July 5th, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure – Hat KAL: Week 1

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Let’s get some yarn on the needles!

Choose your favorite worsted or DK weight yarn from Valley Yarns and swatch on different needles until you’ve got 5 sts per inch. I swatched 4 different Valley Yarns  (Northfield, Sunderland,  Colrain and Valley Superwash) and found that I got 5 sts per inch on a US size 7/4.5mm needle, so I would recommend that you start there.

Because this hat is worked in the round you’ll want to swatch in the same manner!

Prepping for our Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - swatching in the round. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Cast 30 sts onto your circular needles, or one dpn.

*Slide your stitches to the right-hand side of the needle.

Gently bring your working yarn across the back of the work, making sure to leave plenty of slack, and knit the next row of stitches.

Repeat from *

Continue in this manner till the swatch measures 4” from the cast on edge.

Loosely cast off and block your swatch! Here’s a quick tutorial on swatching with this method.

Time to Block!

Not sure about blocking? Take a look at the care instructions on your ballband.

Machine Wash Regular? – Toss that swatch in the machine!

Hand Wash? – Give it a gentle soak and swish in Eucalan, then pin it to dry without too much tension on the stitches.

Dry Clean? – Steam is your friend, pin your swatch out and steam away.

The key with blocking and washing your swatch is to treat it the EXACT SAME way you plan to treat your finished knit.

Now to check your gauge!

Now that you’ve blocked you can measure for gauge.

DO NOT MEASURE FOR GAUGE UNTIL AFTER YOUR SWATCH HAS BEEN BLOCKED AND DRIED! Seriously, please.

Did you measure 5 sts per inch? Yes – then please proceed! (Make sure your swatch is no longer pinned in place when you measure!)

No – Then you’ll need to re-swatch

If you got more than 5 sts per inch you need a bigger needle. Try swatching on a US 8.

If you got less than 5 sts per inch you need a smaller needle. Try swatching on a US 6.

Keep swatching until you get to 5 sts per inch!

Prepping for our Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - measuring your gauge. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

You may need to make several swatches to get the right gauge. It’s totally worth it because you’ll end up with a hat that FITS! And don’t worry about row gauge, you’ll be working the hat length to measurements. 

This is a good time to mention that I like to swatch with 3 different needles. Start with the size smaller than you think you’ll need, the size you’re pretty sure you’ll get gauge with, and the next size bigger and purl a row of stitches between each section for a visual break. This way if your gauge is off by just a touch you’re only swatching and blocking once. I know it may seem silly to make a swatch that’s three times as big as you need but if you have to make a swatch anyway, and you really do (every time!), why not make one that works for you.

Next week we cast on our hats! Here’s a sneak peek of some of the CYOA Hats that our staff knit up!

Prepping for our Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL - sneak peek of some of the finished hats! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Be sure to post your pics to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag it with #chooseyourownadventure #WEBSKAL #Myhatadventure #CYOAKAL