March 13th, 2015

My Favorite Child

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I’m not one of those people who can’t choose a favorite yarn. I know that many will say that it’s like being asked to pick which of their children they like the best. But my children know who I like the best, and it’s a yarn child: Shibui. Almost any Shibui. And we just got some new children Shibui in the store that I’m already playing around with to figure out the perfect pattern pairing.

Shibui Linen available at yarn.com

Shibui Linen is an anomaly for me, because I normally don’t like plant fibers. They can be a little too unyielding for me, and a bit hard on the hands holding the needles. However, Shibui Linen is softer and silkier than most linens, with a chainette construction that gives it some…well, give. I love the Apple color and would absolutely make myself a cap-sleeve tee or loose vest for summer concerts in the park.

Shibui Twig available at yarn.com

Shibui Twig is Linen’s next-door neighbor, or cousin, or step-sister. It’s a more matte version of Linen, with a mix of linen, recycled silk, and wool in a slubby, tweedy amalgam that would stick to most wooden needles. It’s a true DK weight, getting 5.5 stitches to 1″ on a US size 4/3.5mm needle. What would I make from this yarn? It has so much personality in the skein that I’d want to let that shine. Maybe a drapy open cardi? Or a simple summer shawl for when our air-conditioning gets a little too aggressive.

Shibui has some beautiful pattern support for these two newbies. I really like the Japanese aesthetic in their design; it speaks to my love for clean, uncluttered simplicity. Take a look and see what inspires you!

March 12th, 2015

National Crochet Month – a new adventure

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I should probably start by saying that I am a life-long knitter. My passion for playing with two sticks and some string has been with me for as long as I can remember. In fact, I was crafting with yarn long before my grandmother ever taught me to knit. So it seems odd to me, in retrospect, that my deep and abiding love of all things yarn never made the jump to crochet. Perhaps it’s because there simply wasn’t a crocheter close at hand to steer me in that direction. At any rate, as time went on, I found that I was quite happy knitting away and gave very little thought to including crochet in my skill set.

Find everything you need to learn to crochet, or just to get started again, at yarn.com

Since joining the team at WEBS, however, I have found that it just might be helpful to have some understanding of the crochet questions and conundrums that arise from time to time, and in order to do that, I should probably begin to acquire some functional knowledge of the craft. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got the conceptual basics down, you know, things like: crochet projects require more yarn than knitting projects; recommending the proper hook size for a particular yarn; and making (very) basic estimates about gauge. Herein was the sum total of my understanding of crochet. Until now.

Over the past month or two, I have begun a new adventure into the world of chains and half-double crochets, and find myself chomping at the bit to unravel such mysteries as pattern reading and crocheted lace. Fortunately, I am firmly committed to the notion of swatching as a means of acquiring skill, and I have created several lovely (and with mostly straight edges, I might add) single crochet swatches. Feeling confident that it is time to expand my repertoire, I am celebrating National Crochet Month by incorporating a new stitch or two into my next few swatches and investigating our crochet class offerings here at WEBS. How lucky I am to spend my days in the company of truly accomplished crocheters who are happy to answer questions and take the time to help a newbie progress. Whenever I get stuck or make a mess (I even crocheted so tightly that I once broke my swatch – don’t ask), my co-workers patiently get me back on track and tell me how well I’m doing. Encouragement for which I am truly grateful. They point me in the direction of the instructional videos on our website, suggest wonderful tools of the trade (the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz hooks are my favorites so far), and some beautiful patterns to whet my appetite – Valley Yarns Crocus Lace Stole and Fluvial by ChickenBetty both have piqued my interest. They tell me the motion of the hook and my tension will begin to feel more comfortable soon, it just takes a bit of practice. I know they’re right, after all, I’ve said very similar words to many a burgeoning knitter. I just have to relax and and enjoy the process.

March 10th, 2015

Ask WEBS – small pin loom squares

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Ask WEBS Feb. 24, 2015 - Using pin loom or Zoom Loom woven squares on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

Pin looms, like the Zoom Loom from Schacht, are a great and portable way to satisfy your weaving itch, they’re also a terrific way to use up scraps of yarn! I hear lots of people asking, “But what can I do with a pile of little 3×3″ woven squares?” and the answer is anything!

Ask WEBS Mar 10, 2015 - Using pin loom or Zoom Loom woven squares on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

From simple coasters and fingerless mitts to bags, cowls, shawls and even sweaters, the possibilities are almost endless. Check out the Looms to Go and Zoom Loom Club groups on Ravelry for great project ideas and support or pick up a copy of Pin Loom Weaving or 100 Pin Loom Squares for even more ideas.

March 9th, 2015

Start a New Crochet Project Today

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The long winter has me itching to start new things, which is terrible for my WIP list, but great for discovering new (and new to me) patterns. Since March is National Crochet Month, I decided maybe I’d flex my crochet muscles and took a peek at what we have for crochet PDF patterns. I love PDF patterns for several reasons. They don’t clutter up my house, I can store them on my phone or iPad, so I have them right there with me, and I can make notes on the patterns with several of the PDF apps that are out there (and save my notes for future projects).

Perusing our collection of PDF crochet patterns, I have encountered a small problem. I want to make every pattern I’ve looked at. I guess I haven’t been keeping up with our PDF patterns because, wow! There are some incredible patterns available.

Sweet Clementine by ChickenBetty

I’m a big fan of hats, because I’m often cold, and if you’re having a less than stellar hair day, you can always throw a hat on! Sweet Clementine by ChickenBetty (who happens to be our own Sara Delaney) is high on my to-crochet list. I have loads of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in my stash, and already have two hats made from it, so I know it’s great for just this purpose.

Fresh Stitches Crochet Patterns

I want to crochet every single one of the adorable amigurumi patterns from Fresh Stitches by Stacy Trock. Flavia the Unicorn, Forrest the Gnome, Murray the Squirrel, Jackie the Cow, the Choose Your Own Adventure Dragon – I don’t know where to start! These are a great gift for your favorite child. One of my favorites (my godson) is turning two later this month, and he may be getting at least one of these as part of his gift.

Crochet Patterns by Linda Permann

All the time I’ve been spending inside lately has made me want to make some changes around the house, and Linda Permann, in addition to having some spectacular garment and accessory patterns (we did a CAL with her Sugar Sparkles Shawlette), has a lovely pillow that I can picture on my couches. The Everyday Lace Pillow has a fabric cover underneath, and since I’ve also been dabbling in some sewing, this project will be a great way for me to combine that in.

What PDF patterns do you want to download right now and start?

March 7th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 393: Kathy talks with Kennita Tully

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This week Kathy talks with first time guest, designer Kennita Tully of Wildflowerknits.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 393 - Kathy talks with Kennita Tully - listen now at blog.yarn.com

Kennita started as a photographer and transitioned to textile design with a focus on machine knits but turned to hand knit designs to indulge her love of short rows and intarsia, she even owned a small yarn store for over a decade.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Shop Hop Bag Day is next Saturday March 14th,  present a shop hop bag from any of the past I-91 Shop Hops and receive 15% off your entire purchase! In store purchases only.

Upcoming Events:

American Red Cross Blood Drive March 17th at our Northampton MA retail location – Give on St. Patrick’s day with a donation of blood for those in need! Donate blood or platelets. Give blood and you could help save up to three lives.

There are still open seats in classes with Margaret Radcliffe on April 12, Slipped Stitch Patterns and the Lazy Knitter’s Guide to Pattern Stitches!

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

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
March 6th, 2015

Designer in Residence – In the Loop from Fiona Ellis

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It’s time to reveal another wonderful design from Fiona Ellis. This time around we have a stunning transitional sweater in a vibrant color that’s perfect to help shake off those winter blues.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence, her second design the In the Loop sweater in Valley Yarns Southwick - learn more at blog.yarn.com

In The Loop is a longer-line fitted top with cap sleeves worked in Valley Yarns Southwick in the rich African Violet colorway. Both the back and front feature an intricate cable pattern that incorporates textured stitches within the loops. And the neckline has a unique I-cord feature which gives the appearance of the cable pattern spilling out of the fabric and looping around on itself, while the cap sleeves have simple rope cables.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.comWear In the Loop with a bold print skirt, pair it with a long-sleeve t-shirt and some khakis, or a flirty floral top that peeks out at the hem and a simple denim skirt. This one is a great wardrobe staple that you’re sure to keep coming back to.

March 5th, 2015

We’ve got crochet hooks!

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Of every shape and color! Whether you use a traditional hook, or prefer tunisian, we have a hook to fit your style.

Crochet hooks available at yarn.com - read more at blog.yarn.com

From the classic Susan Bates Silvalume and Quicksilver hooks, to steel hooks for fine thread work and large plastic hooks for for super bulky and rug working projects you’re sure to find the crochet tools you’ll need on our site or in our retail store.

addi color coded crochet hooks available at yarn.com - read more at blog.yarn.com

Skacel offers some great hook options in their addi line. The color coded hooks are available individually and in a full set. Their ergonomically shaped Swing hooks can help ease hand strain and they even have a set of click hooks for your tunisian work.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz crochet hooks available at yarn.com - read more at blog.yarn.com

Knitter’s Pride offers an almost unbelievable assortment of hooks. In the Dreamz line you have individual classic hooks and tunisian hooks as well as full classic sets and tunisian sets and you can purchase additional cables for your tunisian hooks. the also offer a specialty Symfonie Rose set with decorative Swarovski Crystals. Their newest Waves hooks feature color coded comfort grips and are also available individually and as a set. There’s also the line of Bamboo hooks, individual or in sets and as well as individual tunisian hooks and tunisian hook sets.

Do you have a go-to hook brand? Do you change it up based on the project or fiber your using? Tell us all about your favorite hooks!

 

March 4th, 2015

Weaving Community

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I love meeting the weavers who come into the store. Weaving is a somewhat solitary pursuit as many of our looms are large and not portable, so it’s great to talk to other weavers about what they are making and share our enthusiasm (and frustrations) with the craft. Although we often set up looms at fairs and schools to showcase weaving, I have yet to hear of a “Weave in Public” day similar to what knitters do. (Though I must admit I chuckled as I pictured weaving on my 36″ 8-shaft loom at the bus stop, library or park.)

Learn about weaving guilds, seminars and conferences on the WEBS blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

Nevertheless, we weavers are also social creatures and it’s wonderful to spend time with others who speak the language and share the passion for making cloth. Weaving guilds are a great resource and provide the opportunity to share, inspire and learn. I belong to two local guilds and love the way they enrich my weaving life. We have time to socialize and catch up with each other, show what we’ve been working on, and listen to speakers on a broad range of topics. Guilds often have study groups for those who want to immerse themselves in a particular structure and members learn much from each other. Check your area for guilds as a way to connect to other weavers, and do not worry if you are a beginner – we are more than happy to welcome new members and grow the weaving community.

Another place to gather with like-minded artisans is at the numerous weaving seminars and conferences that take place each year. These events provide the opportunity to take classes with nationally known teachers. Classes are a terrific way to not only learn new techniques and/or structures, but to observe other weavers at work on their looms. I always pick up some good tidbits by seeing how other folks throw the shuttle, wind a bobbin or sit at the loom. Even if you don’t take any classes, most of these affairs will have gallery shows filled with eye candy and inspiration. In my corner of the world we will have the New England Weavers Seminar this summer and I am looking forward to meeting up with fellow weavers and engaging in lively discussion.

For those who live remotely and far from guilds there are still ways to connect. There are several online communities such as Ravelry and Weavolution that have discussion groups, weave-alongs and more. They bring together people from all over the world who share the love of weaving and allow them to post pictures of their projects, pose questions, chat about ideas, techniques and sources for supplies, and make long-distance friendships. The trick with this platform is to avoid the rabbit hole of over-posting/reading while your loom sits lonely (ask me how I know).

Community is important to our craft. It keeps strong our connections to other weavers, refreshes the wellsprings of inspiration, and provides a bridge to pass generations of weaving knowledge into the future.

March 2nd, 2015

March is National Crochet Month

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We’re always excited when March rolls around and we have the added incentive to feature extra crochet content! While we do work to make sure that crochet is represented throughout the year it’s really nice to make it our focus for a month each year.

Celebrate National Crochet Month on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

We’ll be talking about the different crochet hooks we carry, we’re introducing a new styling guide on the blog for our Valley Yarns patterns and the first featured pattern is crochet. Our Ask WEBS posts will focus on answering your crochet questions this month, and we’ll launch the 2nd square in our WEBS Mystery Crochet-a-Long (It’s not too late to get started, you can join the CAL at anytime!)

Be sure to check out the hundreds of crochet patterns available on our website, with almost 200 FREE crochet patterns there’s sure to be something for everybody. And if you’re able to visit our retail store this month be sure to check the yarn swatches for all our new yarns, there are knit and crochet swatches for each!

February 28th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 392: Kathy talks with Norah Gaughan

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This week Kathy talks with author and designer Norah Gaughan about her last collection with Berroco as well as her work with Brooklyn Tweed and teh Fibre Company

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 392 - Kathy talks with Norah Gaughan - listen now at blog.yarn.com

Norah talks about overbooking herself with independent design work as she settled into her new work schedule, working with new yarn companies, and all the teaching she’s been doing. You can check out her teaching schedule here and if you can’t make it to one of her workshops you can knit along with Norah on Creativebug.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Shop Hop Bag Day is next Saturday March 14th,  present a shop hop bag from any of the past I-91 Shop Hops and receive 15% off your entire purchase! In store purchases only.

Upcoming Events:

American Red Cross Blood Drive March 17th at our Northampton MA retail location – Give on St. Patrick’s day with a donation of blood for those in need! Donate blood or platelets. Give blood and you could help save up to three lives.

There are still open seats in classes with Margaret Radcliffe on April 12, Slipped Stitch Patterns and the Lazy Knitter’s Guide to Pattern Stitches!

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

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