November 1st, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! – Flashback

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There’s no new show this week but we dug into the archives and found a great interview with Clara Parkes when her book, The Knitter’s Book of Socks, was brand new. And be sure to check out Clara’s other titles, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, all excellent titles that will expand and enhance your knowledge of fiber and there’s quite a few great patterns as well!

Ready, Set, Knit! November 1, 2014 - Flashback to an interview with Clara Parkes from Oct of 2011

Upcoming Events:

Check out the #HotChocolateHolidays crafting evenings and get a jump on your holiday gift crafting!

Nov. 22 – Is Bag Day in Northampton! Get your shopping lists planned.

WEBS will be open on Sundays, noon-5pm, starting on November 23rd through December 14th!

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.

October 31st, 2014

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – Rail Trail Mitts

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The Rail Trail Mitts aren’t just convertible – they’re convertibly convertible! The pattern includes directions for fingerless mitts, full mittens, or convertible mitts that turn into mittens with a flip of its top. The fun colorwork pattern pulls double duty, providing both visual interest and extra warmth and durability.

The Rail Trail Mitts, knit in Valley Yarns BFL Fingering hand dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer - Available exclusively at yarn.com

The rich colors of BFL Fingering will be a hit with outdoorsy folks who need to keep their hands warm. (HINT: Anyone who bikes to work in cold weather)

October 30th, 2014

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week 5

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We’re almost done!! Now that you’ve got your bear assembled we can add the last few bits that give him personality and really bring him to life.

#PolarBearKAL Week 5 at yarn.com

Take the time to map out your bears’s features. You can use tailors chalk, or small pieces of felt, or paper, pinned in place. Once you know where you want his nose and eyes to be start by sewing on his nose. I use the tails from casting on and binding off for this and I made sure they were extra long. I use one tail to sew almost the whole nose onto the face leaving a small opening, then I secure that tail and tuck the rest inside the nose as a bit of stuffing. With the other tail I finish securing the nose to the face and then use it to embroider the eyes. Once that’s done I’ll use the remaining tail to give the fingers definition with two simple stitches at the end of each arm.

#PolarBearKAL Week 5 at yarn.com

Now you only have to make the red hat and striped scarf and you’ve completed the project! The scarf is super simple garter stitch and when you’re ready to change colors you just bring the new color up along the side, being careful not to pull too tightly, and knit the new row. The hat is also very easy and should take almost no time at all!

And there is our completed bear! Thanks so much for joining in, be sure to post your finished Polar Bears here, or to our Facebook wall, on Instagram with the hashtag #PolarBearKAL, or in the All Things WEBS Group on Ravelry. Remember that the cost of every pattern purchased goes directly to charity. Thanks to all of you buying the pattern we have already raised over $500.00 for Safe Passage – you all are AMAZING! You can follow our Polar Bear‘s fundraising efforts here.

#SnowFamilyKAL starts on November 4th join in at blog.yarn.com

And get ready for our next big project, the #SnowFamilyKAL. Pick up your copy of the pattern, your yarn (I’ll be making mine with Huntington) and your needles and meet me back here on November 4th!

October 29th, 2014

Celebration – Overshot Runner draft by Ute Bargmann

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This month’s special 40th Anniversary Draft, the Celebration Overshot Runner, was designed by Ute Bargmann and is worked in our 10/2 Valley Cotton and our 5/2 Valley Cotton.

Celebration draft promo

About designing the draft Ute says, “I’ve known Barbara Elkins as a weaving wonder since the 1980’s. I wanted to create a design that reflected my respect while celebrating this wonderful 40th anniversary. This runner is an overshot name draft derived from the phrase: WEBS – 40 Great Years for Weavers. I hope it conveys my best wishes for the next 40 years!”

Celebration FB size promo2

 

She also suggests, “Wind a 2-yard warp of 368 ends. This includes 1 floating selvedge, Use the last warp end on the left as your left floating selvedge (do not thread through heddle, but sley in its own dent). And you will have enough warp to weave a sample to practice your beat and familiarize yourself with the treadling. I suggest this!”

 

October 28th, 2014

Shuttle Shenanigans

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Beginning to weave is an exciting adventure that opens the door to so much – creativity, color, texture, pattern and more. It is also overwhelming at times to learn the new language (sley? heddle? tromp as writ?!) not to mention the huge variety of tools.

One of the most basic tools is the shuttle, which holds and carries the yarn to weave the cloth. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why are there so many different ones and how am I supposed to know which one to use?! It’s enough to make you cry, but that will stain the wood, so let me break it down for you. We’ll start with the major types of shuttles.

boat shuttlesBoat Shuttles

Boat shuttles are longish, narrow wooden shuttles that are open in the center with a long metal shaft that holds the bobbin of yarn. Boats can be open underneath the bobbin or closed (solid wood) underneath. The profile of a shuttle refers to its height; a slim shuttle will be shorter and fit into a narrower shed (the opening between the threads that the shuttle passes through). Double boat shuttles can hold two bobbins of yarn. The yarn in a boat shuttle feeds off the bobbin and through a slot or hole in the side of the shuttle.

Stick Shuttles

stick shuttlesStick shuttles are thin flat pieces of wood that have notches at both ends. They also come in a variety of lengths, anywhere from 6” up to 30”. It is much easier to work with a shuttle that is slightly longer than the width of your project. If it is too long, you will end up whacking the walls and doing a bit of flailing; too short and you will have to reach into the shed  to grab the shuttle. A Belt shuttle is a short stick shuttle that has one beveled edge so that it can be used to beat the yarn in. Belt shuttles are often used with inkle, card and backstrap weaving.

Rag, Rug & Ski Shuttles

rag, rug & ski shuttlesRag shuttles look like two thin tapered pieces of wood with columns in between. This is so you can wind a lot of strips of cut or torn rags, which are rather bulky, onto the shuttle.

A rug shuttle is used as its name suggests – to weave rugs. It is a solid, square-ish piece of wood with groves along the sides and notches at the end to hold the yarn (I think of it as a stick shuttle on steroids); it needs the extra heft to carry the heavier rug yarns. As with stick shuttles, choose a rug shuttle based on the width of your project.

A ski shuttle has a wooden base with upturned ends (like a ski!) and an upright center to wrap the yarn around. It can be used for yarns that are too bulky for a boat shuttle, but it slides along the warp which is an advantage over a stick shuttle.

How to Choose a Shuttle

First you have to choose the type that is suitable for your loom and project. Boat shuttles feed yarn more evenly and quickly because of the bobbin and are generally the shuttle of choice for multi-harness looms. Rigid heddle weavers will sometimes use boats, though in my  personal experience I limit them to narrower warps as they can nose dive to the floor on wider warps. Stick shuttles work well for rigid heddles and other smaller looms, as well as for some hand-manipulated weaves on larger looms. Rug and rag shuttles – self-explanatory.

Photo by Lindsey TophamBoat shuttles have a number of variables to further influence your choice. Open or closed bottom? Closed bottom will glide more smoothly, open bottom allows you to use your fingers as a brake on the bobbin and are lighter in weight. Weight is an important factor in choosing a shuttle. In general, you want to pick the lightest shuttle that serves your weaving needs, to lessen the strain on your hands, though on occasion you may need something heavier to throw across a wider warp.

If you have the chance to try shuttles in person, take advantage of it. Hold it in your hand and mimic your throwing motion. Evaluate how it fits in your hand, how easy it is to grasp. As with many fine tools, it often comes down to personal preference so listen to your body and don’t be afraid to experiment with different shuttle types. You will probably also find that different projects require different shuttles (which is how we end up with a variety on the shelf next to the loom!).

WEBS 40th Anniversary Shuttle

 

 

October 27th, 2014

Celebrate WEBS 40th Anniversary with Rowan Yarns!

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Our friends at Rowan have pulled together three great patterns knit in Rowan Fine Art to help us celebrate this year. The Verdant Lace Shawl is a wonderful wrap knit in a simple eyelet pattern, perfect for keeping you cozy without being too warm. The Lace Panel Cowl is knit flat with a provisional cast on to make it easier to join into a cowl, and with a simple 8-row lace repeat this one will fly off your needles. Finally, the Cable and Lace Scarf has an intriguing stitch pattern that alternates between cables and lace, and can easily be made wider to be worn as a stole.

Rowan 40th Anniversary Patterns for WEBS - available exclusively at yarn.com

Any of these pattern would make a wonderful and quick Holiday gift or just a little something special for yourself! Which color of Fine Art will you use?

October 25th, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! 377: Kathy talks with Heather Zoppetti

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This week Kathy talks with designer and author Heather Zoppetti. Her new book, Everyday Lace, is just out and she talks with Kathy about how she learned to knit and her journey to create the book.

Ready, Set, Knit! Episode 377 with Heather Zoppetti - listen at yarn.com

In this episode they discuss Kathy’s favorite pattern from the book – The Millersville Blouse, as well as the Narvon Wrap, the Bellmont Cardigan and the Engleside Cowl-Neck Pullover.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Upcoming Events:

Tomorrow is the start of Free Shipping Week! Free shipping for you on orders of $75.00 or more – Continental US only – everyone else will receive a $10 shipping credit. Check the website tomorrow for more details.

Nov. 22 – Is Bag Day in Northampton! Get your shopping lists planned.

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 24th, 2014

Winter Is Coming

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I’ve had that line from “Game of Thrones” in my mind for a while. For me, it’s excited anticipation, but I understand that there are some folks for whom winter is a dirty word. I’m sympathetic, but when I think about winter, I think about luxurious small knits and quick projects that keep me warm. I usually knit about one Big Thing (sweater, throw) each winter, but I really like projects that are fun, fascinating, and don’t take up too much of my time. I have a lot of yarn, people. It has to get used up before I die.

In that vein, I thought I’d showcase a few projects I’m going to try to get done before the winter holidays this year. I’d love to make Melissa LaBarre’s September Circle cowl, knit in a self-striping sock yarn or a variegated or hand-dyed Melissa LaBarre's textured cowl patternfingering weight yarn. I am not a sock knitter, so I don’t have sock yarn on hand, but I’d use Madeline Tosh Merino Light in a deep colorway, like Wicked. At first, it looks brown, but a closer peek reveals rusty pink, gold, and dark purple accents. It would be amazing paired with a camel-colored sweater or jacket.

I love Kristen Nicholas‘s color sense and simple but eye-catching designs. The Coleus Scarf is just my cup of tea, a warm, not-too-long scarf in her signature deep colors. Even though it qualifies as “colorwork,” it’s just not as headachey as Fair Isle or Estonian stranded knitting. Of course, I’d use Kristen’s Color by Kristen yarn, distributed by Classic Elite, in some yummy blues and greens, with some fuschia pops here and there to liven things up.

Rich colors in a simple pattern

Photo credit: Kevin Kennefick

I’d also love to go back to that thing I never did: socks. I have knit exactly 3 socks in my whole life, and even though 2 of those socks were supposed to be a pair, they were entirely different sizes. I’m going to give the lame excuse of lack of focus and young children, and since my children are older now and I have the wherewithal to concentrate on it, I think I might make one last attempt at knitting a pair that look like a pair. My choice? Susan B. Anderson’s Popsicle Socks, in a bunch of different colors of Spud and Chloe Fine. I made some long fingerless mitts in this beautiful yarn a few years ago, and I have some colors left over, so I could scout around for a few that complement my existing shades of deep orange and pine-y green; I’d love to throw some purple or dark brown in there for a wintry feel.fun stripes in a quick pattern

What’s your winter knitting? And what is your dream project or yarn?

October 23rd, 2014

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week4

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It’s time to knit the legs and get our Bears assembled! The legs are knit top down and can be stuffed a bit more than the arms and head. Once they’re stuffed seam the legs by folding the opening in half and using a quick whip stitch to close the opening.

#PolarBearKAL Week 4 - assembling the bear. Join in the KAL at yarn.com

Now for the Assembly! Here you can see we’ve indicated where each part should be placed. The head gets seamed to the front of the body so that the point of the body is about 3/4 of the way up the back of the head. The arms should them be sewn on along the two visible increase lines along the bear’s side, and the legs can be sewn on at the purl ridge at the bottom of the body.

#PolarBearKAL Week 4 - assembling the bear. Join in the KAL at yarn.com

It may be useful to pin every piece in place before you begin seaming so you can see the relative proportions of the bear and make any adjustments before you begin sewing. We used a simple whip stitch to bring our bear together.

#PolarBearKAL Week 4 - assembling the bear. Join in the KAL at yarn.com

If you’d like to join in the pattern can be found here. We began the KAL here, we knit the body here, and last week we knit the head and arms here. Next week we’ll add his face and his accessories. Remember that the price of every pattern purchased will go directly to fund Safe Passage through the Hot Chocolate Run. You can track how much the Polar Bear has raised, or make an additional donation, on his fundraising page.

October 21st, 2014

Shop our Holiday 2014 Catalog!

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Our Holiday 2014 Catalog is online now. You can shop for gorgeous luxury fibers from Jade Sapphire, brand new Marblz needles from Knitter’s Pride, and new patterns from Valley Yarns, Classic Elite and more. And have fun decorating for the season with our Snow Family and Evergreens pattern featured on our cover.  Stock up on everything you need to make the perfect gifts this year. If you’d like to get a physical copy of the catalog you can sign up here. If you’re already on our mailing list the catalog should arrive in your mailbox in about 2 weeks.

Webs Holiday 2014 Catalog - online now at yarn.comSnow Family and Evergreens, Marblz Interchangeable Needles set, Cobblestone Socks in Valley Yarns Leyden and Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in the Seeing Red colorway.