February 26th, 2014
Today we reveal the second of our twelve Guest Weaver Drafts.
Judie designed the lovely Lake Superior Sandstone Scarves in both 16 and 8-shafts and each has wonderful drape because of the 8/2 Tencel. With the sandstone cliffs of her childhood vacation spot in mind Judie pulled together the saturated colors of tencel and gently undulating curves for the 16-shaft draft and while the 8-shaft version lacks the waves, there are stunning ripples and bands of color.
Judie discovered WEBS in the ’80s and says, “I first met WEBS in 1986 when visiting my late in-laws, Hugh and Lucy Raup. They lived in a big house on the Common in Petersham, and a friend of theirs, whose daughter was a weaver, told me about this Wonderful Yarn Store over in Amherst. We took an afternoon and drove over to see the place – and it was love at first sight. For several years, my big treat on our semiannual visits to Massachusetts was a trip to WEBS.
Somewhere in there I approached Barbara about teaching a color class on our next visit, a plan to which she readily agreed. I don’t remember the date, but I do remember the kids-in-a- candy store looks on the faces of the students when I announced that their materials fee included anything in the warehouse – the deal was “all you can weave” during the two days of the class. “
Judie teaches and lectures nationally, and writes about weaving and related topics for magazines. Notable for its use of color and blending, her woven work, polymer clay jewelry and Temari have been featured in Handwoven
, Weavers’ magazine and Complex Weavers Journal
, and seen at a variety of fiber shows, galleries and shops.
If you’re a weaver be sure to check out our weaving contest!
February 25th, 2014
This week’s post comes from Jackie; a knitter, weaver, new crocheter and one of our fabulous Customer Service Representatives.
When I’m using a knitting yarn that comes in balls or one I wound into a ball for warping my rigid heddle loom, I put the yarn in a shoe box and thread it through a hole poked in the box. This lets me warp the loom without the yarn rolling around on the floor. It also has the added bonus of keeping my “helpful” pets away from it.
Knitting yarns can be wonderful to use in weaving. I like using hand dyed yarns especially or yarns with long color repeats because they look really interesting in weaving. My favorites include: Classic Elite Liberty Wool Print, Tosh Vintage, Sweet Georgia Trinity Worsted, and Malabrigo Rios made some awesome scarves last year!
February 24th, 2014
Part of our Anniversary celebrations this year includes new designs for some of our favorite Valley Yarns. Today we’re highlighting our Valley Yarns Colrain Lace.
The Mixed Tide Shawl from Janice Kang is a stunning, lacy wrap made with cleverly arranged, elongated stitches framed by easy garter stitch. Janice is a longtime friend of WEBS who never ceases to stun our staff with her beautiful knitwear when she visits our booths at Stitches West each year.
She was excited to work with our Valley Yarns Colrain Lace. The merino and tencel blend yarn has beautiful drape and subtle shimmer, and with 20 different colors to choose from there’s a shade for everyone. You can find more of Janice’s designs on Ravelry.
February 22nd, 2014
This week Kathy talks with Alasdair about the failed origami class that led to his life in knitting, how he discovered double knitting, teaching classes and his new e-book Parallax.
Alasdair will be at WEBS on April 12th and 13th teaching Intro to Double Knitting, Double Knitting Off the Grid and Two Pattern Double Knitting. There are still spots open so sign up today!
Be sure to stop into the store and see all the new Spring garment models! And don’t miss the Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows.
Steve and the crew are at Stitches West this weekend in the 400 aisle, if you’re in the Santa Clara, CA area check out the show Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4
Steve’s Yarn Picks:
February 21st, 2014
This is one of the little surprises we’ve had tucked up our sleeve since the beginning of the year and we’re excited to reveal it. To help us celebrate our 40th Anniversary our friends at Berroco pulled together a collection that is exclusive to Webs until June! Best of Berroco from WEBS features 4 classic patterns that have been reworked in new colors and yarns.
The first pattern is Chantal. Originally published in Norah Gaughan Vol. 1 in 2007, and knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Ultra Alpaca Light it has been reworked in a bright aqua color perfect for Spring.
The Deran hat which made it’s debut in Berroco booklet #303 is the second pattern, and though originally knit in Berroco Remix in a creamy natural color it has been updated in the new and vibrant Poppy colorway.
The third pattern, a classic cabled aran sweater, Paddy has been reworked in Blackstone Tweed. It was originally knit in Comfort and appeared in Berroco booklet #269.
And my favorite, Rhodocrosite, which graces the cover. Knit with their new yarn Folio, this pattern originally appeared in Norah Gaughan Vol. 7 knit in Ultra Alpaca Fine.
Which pattern will you cast-on first?
February 20th, 2014
We were recently contacted by Lisa McFetridge, who designed the Boston Strong Hat. She asked if we would be interested in offering the pattern for sale on our website and donating the proceeds to OneFundBoston (which continues to offer support to the families effected). We didn’t have to consider our answer for very long.
Many of us on the WEBS staff are runners, and even more of us grew up in Massachusetts. Having grown up in Massachusetts myself, my family and I spent a lot of time visiting Boston while growing up and loved it (so much that I considered going to school there and moving to that side of the state). Many of us recall last April 15th and watching the frightening events. Several of us even knew people who were running or in Boston to support their runner. Even more, we recall the victims and the incredible strength that the survivors and first responders showed, and continue to show.
The hat includes instruction on making a close fitting skull cap or a taller ski cap style. It features the Boston skyline, the phrase “Boston Strong,” and four stars to commemorate the victims of that day. The suggested yarn is Cascade 220 in Blue Velvet and Goldenrod.
With this year’s Boston Marathon approaching in a couple months, we hope you’ll consider purchasing the pattern and supporting OneFundBoston.
February 19th, 2014
Walk in the door of WEBS’ retail store in Northampton and you will be greeted by one of the folks pictured above. This is our crew and they represent countless years of experience in the fiber arts. On any given day we have 6 – 9 staff on hand to keep things running smoothly and the cast of characters varies from day to day, as this is no ordinary 9-5 job.
I am Leslie Ann and I co-manage the store with Stephanie, helped by our Assistant Manager Bonnie. We work as a team, balancing our strengths to keep the skeins spinning and things on course. Stephanie is the Master Yarn Mover, Bonnie is known for her customer service and I am fluent in the language of weaving, with special emphasis on translating for beginners.
We are lucky to have a crew with great expertise. In addition to being skilled knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners and felters, our staff possess hidden talents and super powers that they use to help our customers. Marion is our Button Maven and can help you find the perfect match among our vast collection, while Maryanne excels at helping people pick patterns and yarn colors that will flatter. Can’t remember the name of that pattern you saw 3 months ago? J will come to the rescue! Likewise, Ashley can identify random yarn faster than a spinning spindle.
We also have Mary the Gauge Whisperer and Gail, who dyes every day. Katie claims to have laser vision and Marthe tames the unruly shelves in the warehouse, while many others possess the strength of great and friendly customer service. Nancy keeps us laughing with her sense of humor, we have an in-house animal rescue league and an expert yarn untangler often found at the winding station.
Our diverse interests, both fiber-related and outside of work keep things lively in the store. We share our projects – WIPs, FOs, and pipe dreams. We laugh about crazy patterns we’ve seen and ooh and ahh over the new yarns. One and all, we are super yarn enablers and egg each other on when we see someone petting a skein or making piles of colors.
It’s a people-loving bunch and we enjoy getting to know our customers, so introduce yourself when you’re in the store and let us help you with your fibery needs.
February 18th, 2014
The Magic Loop method is a great way to knit socks, but it can be tricky to pick up stitches for the heel flap. It’s often hard to get enough slack to make it comfortable to pick up stitches without undoing the magic loop. Try using an interchangeable needle tip to pick up stitches instead. In the image on the left, the stitches are being picked up with the interchangeable tip. On the right, you can slide the stitches off the interchangeable tip by placing the tip of your working needle up against the back of the interchangeable tip. This is an easy way to slide the stitches off one needle and onto the other.
February 15th, 2014
This week Kathy talks with Deborah Tomasello, author of Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century. Deborah talks about growing up, learning to knit and rediscovering knitting in her adult life.
She also talks about bringing her book to the market and how stranded knitting can seem daunting but it is almost as simple as stockinette.
Spring 2014 Catalog is online now! If you’re on the mailing list it should be arriving in your mailboxes this week. If you’re not on the mailing list you can request a catalog here. This one is jam-packed with over 20 new yarns for Spring, a great editorial piece on the founding of WEBS and our first ever eBook: Soft Landing.
WEBS will be open regular hours, 10:00am – 5:30pm, on Presidents’ Day, Monday February 17th.
Steve’s Yarn Picks:
Stitches West, next week! February 20-23 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
February 14th, 2014
This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).
We had a Snow Day last week, when WEBS closed for the biggest snowstorm we’ve had since last year’s blizzard. It felt like an unexpected school vacation day, and since I’d gotten all my work obligations taken care of the day before, I gave myself permission to enjoy the day like a teenager. One of my most hedonistic pleasures is reading knitting reference books, so I had a wonderful few hours spent thumbing through my old classics as well as some recent contenders for BKF (Best Knitting Friend). I thought I’d share a few and see what some of your go-to answer books are.
A book that has saved my life again and again is the timeless The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt. June came here about a year ago on a very snowy day, and the delight on the faces of those who were here and happened to meet her was infectious. She has a trick for every knitting conundrum you might find yourself in and her information is delivered with a dry wit that makes her sound like your favorite fifth-grade teacher.
A volume small enough to keep in my knitting bag is Margaret Radcliffe’s The Knitting Answer Book, which I turn to again and again. Even though the answers are short, they give you the most information in the fewest words, and the clever illustrations speak volumes. It’s a small book that is completely portable.
No collection should be complete without Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmermann. Barbara Walker’s 4-book series of knitting pattern and charted stitch designs is used by literally every knitwear designer at some point in their career, and they are priceless for brevity and a sense of history. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s The Knitter’s Almanac and The Opinionated Knitter are the cornerstone of any knitter’s bookshelf.
Some recent favorites worth a look are Clara Parkes’ books The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, for the care and beautiful language she uses to describe fiber. Stitch ‘N Bitch by Debbie Stoller, the founder of Bust Magazine, almost single-handedly brought knitting to a new high over 10 years ago. And no knitter can really call themselves a knitter unless they have some Harlot on their nightstand.
What are your favorite fiber reads? Let us know in the comments what you like to page through on a snow day.
PS. This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).