October 12th, 2014

Weaving Contest Gallery Show

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Our yearlong celebration of WEBS 40th Anniversary has included a wide variety of fiber-related events, special yarns, drafts and patterns. One of my favorite parts has been the 40th Anniversary Weaving Contest, which focused on WEBS’ beginnings as a weaving store.

cones tencelThe concept of a contest sounded great to us – show us the beauty you can create with our yarn. However, we had no idea what kind of a response we’d get and as the months passed by with only a few responses, we felt like the kid wondering where the party guests were and had everyone forgotten? And then the floodgates opened and we were overwhelmed with the huge outpouring of ideas that had been developing on the looms of our weaving friends. We ended up with more than 140 entries from 30 different states across the country!

Aside from the sheer volume of entries, we were amazed and impressed by the skill of the weavers and beauty and workmanship of their pieces. Although we specified four categories for entries, the works spanned everything from scarves, shawls and clothing, to towels, table linens and curtains, to decorative and artistic wall hangings, rugs and bowls.

 

 

beautiful woven jacketWhat I found equally fascinating were the stories that came with the pieces. I grew up surrounded by classical music so I was delighted when I read that Deborah Lewis-Idema designed the cloth she wove for her beautiful jacket using the first four measures of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata. Another design, from Cindie Kitchin, came out of a weaving guild challenge. They each pulled the name of a country out of a hat and designed something inspired by that. The result is her lovely Iranian Tiles Scarf.

 

beautiful woven tencel scarf

 

 

The 40th Anniversary Weaving Gallery Show will present all of the weavings that were selected as finalists in the contest. Free and open to the public, the show will take place at WEBS retail store at 75 Service Center Rd, Northampton, MA. The show will kick off with an opening reception from 6 – 7:30 pm on October 16th and then be open from 10 am – 5 pm on October 17 & 18. Please join us to see the exquisite beauty and to celebrate 40 years of WEBS and weaving.

 

woven runner

 

October 11th, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! 375: Kathy talks with Steve from Stitches East

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This week Kathy talks with Steve from the Stitches East market floor.

booth at Stitches

We have a new set up this year, we’re featuring lots of small projects and unique yarns from Mrs. Crosby, Zen Yarn Garden, and Zauberball, our last 40th Anniversary YarnCharlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color, Noro Yarns, our new yarns Valley Superwash Bulky and Leyden, Madeline Tosh and the new Knitter’s Pride Marblz needles are in the booth. There are also exclusive Stitches East Specials!

Keep an eye on the blog and facebook for a great promotion that we’re running with Classic Elite next week!

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Upcoming Events:

Later this month you can check out the WEBS 40th Anniversary Weaving Contest Gallery Show. We have an opening reception on Thursday Oct 16th 5:30 – 7:30, and the exhibit will be open to the public October 17 and 18th 10-5pm.

Don’t miss out on a weekend full of classes with the amazing Dora Ohrensten in November! And be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Don’t forget that we’re collecting Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bears for Safe Passage, you can read all the details 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
October 10th, 2014

#HotChocolateHolidays Workshops Are Open for Business!

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As many of you know, WEBS is a big supporter of Safe Passage, an organization here in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts that helps women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Safe Passage produces what is arguably the most fun way of raising money every year, and that is The Hot Chocolate Run, a 2-mile walk/5K run in early December. The Hot Chocolate Run (and yes, Virginia, there IS hot chocolate at the finish!) has grown from a few hundred intrepid runners in its infancy to over 5,000 runners and walkers, all of whom are united in raising money to help this worthy cause, and in their dedication to drinking hot chocolate from the mugs that are handed out to each participant.

Your customized lip balm

WEBS has sponsored this event for many years, and this year, fresh off some exhausting fund-raising I did last year for Safe Passage, I thought I’d join in the spirit of giving in a bigger way and conceived the #HotChocolateHolidays Workshops. Three local crafting entities have joined with WEBS to host a fun-night-out to teach a DIY skill  that can be a gift for a special someone for the winter holidays or even a gift you give yourself. The best part is that a percentage of the kits bought to make the crafts will go right to Safe Passage.

hot chocolate beads and charmsThe Haberdashery is a way-cool space in a neighboring town and they bill themselves as “Gifts and Guidance for Crafty Homesteaders,” and that encapsulates their mission. Melody Litwin will teach budding fashionistas how to make lipstick and lip balm on October 30. The Northampton Beadery ‘s Brenda McGirk will showcase some hot-chocolate colored beaded bracelets with AMAZINGLY CUTE hot chocolate and running shoe charms on November 13.

gorgeous gift bags

 

And Tess Poe from Beehive Sewing Studio, a maker-space right down the street from us, will help attendees make a gift-bag set and give out beautiful handmade gift tags. All the workshops are only $10 each, and are held right here at WEBS.It would be great to have theseworkshops fill right up, and that’s where you come in! Sign up, bring a friend, learn a craft, give a wonderful organization a chance to help as many victims as possible. It’s not to soon to start stockpiling those gifts for the moment you realize that you need a fun stocking-stuffer or gift bag and it’s 8:00pm on a Sunday night. Join us!

 

October 9th, 2014

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week 2

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Now that you’ve got all your materials assembled let’s get to knitting!

Polar Bear KAL on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

If you’re working on double pointed needles for this project you’ll be using 4 for the body since the stitches are divided into three sections, stitches on three needles and the forth for working the stitches. Keep in mind that the body is worked from the top down, you’re starting up at the neck area. The increases will build the body into a pyramid shape and once you finish the increases the additional rows that are worked evenly(with no increases or decreases) will begin to round out the body for the bear’s belly.

Keep an eye on the pattern in the early rounds! The number of rounds knit between the increase rounds changes, a sure to mark the beginning of your round in some fashion. If you’re using double pointed needles you can pop a stitch marker right into the knit fabric itself, if you’re using two circulars, or the magic-loop method, you can place it right on the needle.

Watch your gauge! When knitting garments or accessories with a bulky yarn you want to make sure that your stitches aren’t so densely packed that the finished fabric is stiff but that is EXACTLY what you’re aiming for in a stuffed animal. The pattern specifies 4 sts per inch on US size 8 needles and while you wouldn’t want to go up a needle size and have less stitches per inch you certainly could go down a needle size and aim for even more stitches per inch. Remember that you’re going to have to stuff this bear so the tighter your stitch gauge the better.

Here you can see a comparison of knit fabrics, one that is right on gauge and one that is even tighter.

Polar Bear KAL on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Once your tail is done there is one purl round and then you start the decreases for the bottom. The underside of the bear’s body is flat so he can sit without falling over. Near the end of your decreases you’ll pause to stuff the bear. Be sure to stuff the top part of the bear well but don’t over-stuff towards the bottom, remember you want him to be able to sit flat! You’ll want to be very careful not to over-stuff your bear. You don’t need a bear that will bounce, you just need enough stuffing to fill the knit piece and give it stability.

Polar Bear KAL on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Finish up the bottom and weave in your ends, week two is done! Next week we’ll work on the head and the arms. Feel free to post about your progress in a comment on this and future posts, on our Facebook wall, on YOUR Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram, and use the hashtag #PolarBearKAL We may feature your in-progress and finished bears in a future post!

If you missed the materials list and you want to join in check out the first post for this KAL here.

 

 

October 7th, 2014

Our final Round of 40th Anniversary Celebrations!

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It’s the Fourth Quarter of our 40th Anniversary year and we’re excited to share a whole new batch of products and designs with you.

Valley Yarns Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color - available exclusively at yarn.com

The wonderful team at Dream in Color has worked magic on our Charlemont yarn and we have 12 amazing colors, including an exclusive Ruby colorway!

The Tirrick Shawl designed by Gudrun Johnston and knit in Valley Yarns Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color

The Tirrick Shawl from Gudrun Johnston is one of her favorite garter-based, shetland patterns worked in an ever decreasing series of wedges that form a soft crescent that hugs your shoulders.

The College Park Shawl designed by Edie Eckman and crocheted in Valley Yarns Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color - available exclusively at yarn.com

Edie Eckman has designed the College Park Shawl to be one of the most versatile accessories you could have, it works as a shawl, a scarf, a kerchief and more!

Clivia Hat and Mittens set knit in Valley Yarns Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in color - available exclusively at yarn.com

The Clivia Hat and Mitten Set has fun, decorative buttoned details and the pattern includes a fingerless mitts version.

Of course we’ve got another exclusive project bag from Della-Q, there will be three more weaving drafts as well as a few additional patterns and surprises before the end of the year! Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle +Instagram, or on Ravelry for all the latest.

October 4th, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! 374: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Weaving Manager Leslie Ann Bestor about the upcoming Spinning and Weaving Week, Monday Oct 6 – Saturday Oct 11.

Spinning and Weaving Week events at yarn.com

Be sure to stop into the store for lots of activities during the week, LA did a great post that details all the demonstrations and mini-workshops here, and if you’re on a Spinzilla Team get ready to start spinning! More details on the Spinzilla event can be found here.

Later this month you can check out the WEBS 40th Anniversary Weaving Contest Gallery Show. We have an opening reception on Thursday Oct 16th 5:30 – 7:30, and the exhibit will be open to the public October 17 and 18th 10-5pm.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Upcoming Events:

It’s time for our 11th annual Knit & Crochet for the Cure! Join us TOMORROW from 1-4pm.

8th Annual Bus Trip to Rhinebeck – Saturday Oct 18th. the buses are almost full, get your ticket now!

We have an amazing line-up of guest teachers this year!
Susan B Anderson will be here Columbus Day WeekendDora Ohrensten is doing a weekend of crochet classes in November! And be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Don’t forget that we’re collecting Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bears for Safe Passage, you can read all the details 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
October 3rd, 2014

We Can’t Say Thank You Enough!

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Another amazing quarter of our Anniversary year is almost complete and we have so many special people to thank!

Exclusive designs for WEBS 40th Anniversary in Valley Yarns Northfield hand dyed by Malabrigo - available at yarn.com

To Linda Permann, Emma Welford, and Carol Sulcoski

Thank you for bringing our yarn to life with your detailed and classically wearable designs.

Valley Yarns Northfield hand dyed by Malabrigo - available exclusively at yarn.com

To Malabrigo,

Thanks you for taking one of our already favorite Valley Yarns and imbuing it with your incredible colors. There are still some skeins left, get them while you can!

Exclusive designs for WEBS 40th Anniversary in Valley Yarns  - available at yarn.com

To Debbi StoneDebbie Bliss, and Fiona Ellis

Thank you for stunning designs that bring three more Valley Yarns into our celebrations.

Exclusive weaving drafts for WEBS 40th Anniversary in Valley Yarns  - available at yarn.com

To Sharon Alderman, Micala Sidore, and Chris Hammel 
Thank you for creating timeless woven textiles perfect for adorning our homes and expressing our love of the craft.

Exclusive designs from Classic Elite Yarns for WEBS 40th Anniversary  - available at yarn.com

To Classic Elite Yarns
Thank you for a beautiful collection of revamped classics and a lovely new design just for us!

WEBS 40th Anniversary 4th Quarter Specialty product sneak peek!

Next Tuesday, October 7th, our last round of Anniversary products will be revealed, don’t miss out!

October 2nd, 2014

It’s KAL Time – Join us in knitting the Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear

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It’s time for another WEBS KAL (Knit Along)! This month we’re working on the Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear. All the proceeds from the sale of this pattern go directly to Safe Passage,  and you can learn more about that organization and our commitment to it here. Each Thursday this month we’ll be here talking about knitting the different parts of the bear, the assembly, his adorable face and his super cute accessories!

HCRPB KAL promo

To join us you’ll need 4 skeins of Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky (2 skeins of Natural, one of Red and one of Black), US size 8 (5.00mm) double-pointed needles, polyfil stuffing, stitch markers, a tapestry needle, scissors, and a copy of the pattern.  Get your materials assembled and meet us back here next Thursday!

Follow along each week:

Week 2 – making the body of the bear.

 

October 1st, 2014

Spinning and Weaving Week

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We have transitioned from the warmth and busyness of summer to the fall routines of school and harvest. I am enjoying the crisp mornings and the orange and red palette spreading through the trees. And, of course, I am looking forward to October, the month of fiber revelry! So many events and opportunities to connect with fiber and fiber fanatics!

HGA WS wk imageAt WEBS, we kick off the month with a weeklong celebration. International Spinning and Weaving Week is October 6 – 12 and in our little corner of the world that means an abundance of ways to experience fiber and textiles from fleece to finished handwovens.

Central to the week are daily demonstrations and workshops covering a wide range of techniques. Demonstrations are free and open to all who come in to the store. They take place from 11 am – 1 pm and will feature spinners using wheels and spindles to create yarn from fleece and roving. Weavers will also be showcasing their skills on a wide variety of looms. It’s a great opportunity to watch the process up close and talk with the artisans about how they create. It’s not just children who are fascinated by the rhythm (although they are welcome to check it out as well)!weaving demo1

 

Mini-workshops will also be offered daily from 2 – 4 pm. These workshops offer a taste of a new technique, a chance to learn a different way to do things or maybe expose yourself to something new. The mini workshops cost $5 each and you can register online, over the phone or in the store.

temple

 

 

Mini Workshop Schedule:

Monday, October 6

Plying Workshop with Ashley Flagg

 Using a Warping Mill to Wind Warps with Scott Norris

Tuesday, October 7:

Temple Temptations – Create Beautiful Selvages with Chris Hammel

Wednesday, October 8

Creating Texture on the Rigid Heddle Loom with Marthe Young

Fiber Blending for Spinning Unique Yarns with Pamela Darrow

Thursday, October 9

Log Cabin Weaving with Paula Veleta

Friday, October 10

Variable Dent Reed with Paula Veleta

Two special demonstrations during the week will highlight the huge range of possible styles of weaving. On Tuesday from 12 – 1 pm, Weaving Manager Leslie Ann Bestor will demonstrate weaving on a computer-assisted loom. And on Friday we will showcase Saori weaving with Mihoko Wakabayashi from 11 am – 1 pm.

And a WEBS celebration would not be complete without some great deals and discounts! Weavers can look forward to 15% off reeds, warping mills, and Schacht Flip rigid heddle looms; 20% off all weaving DVDs and new additions to the Great Cone Sale. spinningFor spinners we will have 20% off all fiber, Howard hand cards, and spinning DVDs; 15% off spinning wheels and 30% off 8 ounce bags of Louet Dyed Corriedale Top.

Join us to celebrate, learn and be inspired!

September 30th, 2014

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – Banded Yoke Pullover

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The Banded Yoke Pullover  is a set-in sleeve, boat-neck sweater that features a band of simple color-work across the front and at the sleeve cuffs. Worked in easy, and fast half-double crochet, this hip length pullover features slit side seams and split cuffs for a preppy but casual look.

Banded Yoke Pullover crocheted in Valley Yarns Northampton - available exclusively at yarn.com

Crocheted in Valley Yarns Northampton, available in forty colors, on a neutral background of natural, the six colors in the yoke band and sleeve cuffs mean you can experiment with all kinds of combinations and use up those scraps of yarn you love too much to give or throw away.