October 11th, 2016

New Patterns for Valley Yarns Brimfield!

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We’ve got two fantastic new patterns the month for our Valley Yarns Brimfield!

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The Blurry Lines Scarf by Kim Bridgeo is a truly unisex piece with a bold geometric texture, but an easy to memorize stitch repeat. We asked Kim to tell us more about herself, how she designs, and her experience with Brimfield.

blurry lines and brimfield fb

When did you learn to knit? I learned to knit back in 2008. I had been crocheting since I was young but wanted to give knitting a try, so I taught myself using the Teach Yourself Visually book series. Over the last few years, though, my passion for knitting has grown exponentially. As I continue to be exposed to new fiber content, yarn brands and independent dyers, I get so inspired to find the perfect pattern/yarn combination. My stash is a bit out of control!

What prompted you to start designing? I guess I’ve always been designing without really knowing it. It’s common for me to modify patterns as I’m making them, or combine different elements of one stitch pattern with another. The first design I ever created for sale came about after I knit a baby blanket for my cousin a few years ago and lots of friends and family members asked if I could share the pattern. I’ve had the designing bug ever since.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration? I’m constantly jotting down notes that aren’t fully formed designs initially, but more about different ideas for shapes, stitches, and combinations of increases & decreases. I also chart the majority of my designs whether or not I include them in the final published design. In my “non-knitting life” I analyze and visualize data for a living, so, when I’m designing I constantly think about visual balance and spacing, and how to make the math work to achieve the look I want. After that it’s really all about the yarn. I have skeins that I know I want to design something with, so I review my design notes and figure out what would work best with the yarn given its weight, fiber and color.

Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories. For me, knitting has become all about community and camaraderie. When I first started knitting, I was in my 20s, and it was rare that I came across others who knit. But now I feel like it’s much more mainstream across age and gender. I started teaching a knitting class at a local chain craft store a couple years ago, and though I no longer teach, I still get together weekly with three women who were some of my very first students. The four of us were born in 3 different decades and have had very different life experiences, yet we have developed an awesome friendship built initially on our love for knitting. Also, with the popularity of Ravelry & Instagram, it is so great to make lots of new “fiber friends” every day who continue to inspire and challenge me. I design to create something that others want to make and enjoy.

Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with? During my very first trip out to WEBS, I fell in love with Brimfield and couldn’t resist buying a full 10-skein bag! I’ve always been a huge fan of merino and silk blends. The texture of Brimfield makes for amazing stitch definition but also feels so soft! I also really love the rich and deep color choices. Perfect for fall!

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We also have the lovely Hendrie Park Cardigan from Karen Marlatt. The sweater  features an sweet lace pattern in the yoke, 3/4 sleeves and a relaxed tunic-length fit. Valley Yarns Brimfield is the perfect yarn to balance the polished simplicity of stockinette stitch and the structural beauty of the lace. Karen tells us about her love of this yarn and her journey from new knitter to designer.

hendrie park and Brimfield fbWhen did you learn to knit? I first learned to knit in Brownies, I wish I still had that first uneven, hole-filled square.  I have always been crafting, rug hooking, cross stitch, jewelry, etc., but did not pick up needles again until 2006.

What prompted you to start designing? It was the Think Outside the Socks competition and their $5,000 prize, I thought to myself, ‘How hard could it be to knit a pair of socks?’. I obviously had a lot to learn! Off I went to my local LYS, Spun Fibre Arts, and the owner Danielle worked with me to find the perfect yarn for the project and offered a bit of guidance along the way!  My Apple of my Eyelet socks did not win the competition, but I was honoured to be included in the publication of the same name.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration? Oh that is a tough question to answer.  I would say it is an even split between seeing a beautiful yarn and being completely inspired vs. doodling in my fashionary and then enjoying the challenge of bringing that flat image to life (sometimes unsuccessfully).  I think the fact that I am a bit of a math geek helps in the design process as well.

Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories.  I was very lucky to have Pat McClymont in my life, as a neighbour, friend and knitting guru.  Pat was one of the original Eaton’s yarn department demonstration staff in the late 1950’s, had a long career creating samples for Spinrite/Paton’s as well as many designers. It is very easy to experiment and challenge yourself with new knitting techniques knowing your safety net lives next door. Many a time I would show up with my mess and she would walk me through how to correct it and send me away even more confident. Unfortunately Pat passed away this September, but each time I pick up my knitting I know she is close by!

Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with? For the Hendrie Park Cardigan I worked with the scrumptious Brimfield.  The Merino/Silk blend was such a pleasure to work with, the stitch definition was fantastic and the silk gives the garment a wonderful drape. I fell so much in love with this yarn that I am currently working on my second Hendrie Park Cardigan (this one’s for me)!

 

It’s always interesting to see the ways that knitting comes into our lives and what paths different knitters take to becoming designers and how our yarns inspire them. What have you been inspired to knit or design with Valley Yarns?

October 8th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 461: Kathy talks with Donna Woolam

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This week Kathy talks with Donna G. Woolam, Director of Agriculture and Education at the Eastern States Exposition, about the upcoming Fiber Festival of New England.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #461 - Kathy talks with Donna Woolam. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

The Festival is taking place November 5+6 at the Big E Fairgrounds in the Mallory Complex. Make a Fiber Filled Weekend out of it! Visit WEBS on Saturday, stay a night at one of the hotels in Springfield and visit the Festival on Sunday! Sell or buy fleeces, take classes, watch the fashion show, participate in the Make it Yourself With Wool contest,  shop vendors from all over New England and the surrounding states, watch sheep shearing demos and more!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Visit the Paradise City Arts Festival this weekend in Northampton.

Take a seat in the Adventure Du Jour Designs design class or visit their trunk show on Friday October 14.

WEBS retail store has extended it’s hours until 6:00PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. Thursdays the store will remain open until 8pm, and Saturdays until 5:30.

If you haven’t yet seen our new Website – check it out!

Upcoming Events:

We’ll be celebrating 10 years of Ready, Set, Knit!next month!

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

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

October 7th, 2016

Sometimes Bigger IS Better

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Knitting folk, you know I am usually all about the smaller yarn. I think somehow it looks nicer, you can do more with it, the stitch definition is usually better, and also, those are the needle sizes I have lots of. So…expedience.

I recently was lucky enough to be in on a presentation given by Stacy Charles, whose name is probably familiar to all of you knitters. Their new yarn, Sherpa, was really popular at our recent Knitting Retreat, and at first glance, I thought “absolutely NOT.” It’s everything I thought I didn’t like in a yarn: fuzzy, big, random little boucle dots of natural color along the fiber. However, I then saw this yarn knit up in this absolutely gorgeous pullover with matching cowl, and it’s the antithesis of what I don’t like in bulky yarn.

Stacy Charles with Tahki Yarns Sherpa, available at yarn.com Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Zest Pullover has a drapiness that I could compare to a superstar sportweight or DK yarn, not boxy or puffy, but smooth and shapely. The fuzziness of Sherpa is soft, not like a fuzzy yarn that you don’t want next to your skin. That cowl is about to be on my needles and I’ll finish it in a day, I bet.

What’s the last yarn that changed your opinion? Let us know in the comments, below.

October 5th, 2016

Weaving as art

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Woven wall hangings and art pieces have really made a comeback in the last year. This is a craft that is portable and perfect for a quick burst of creative expression. Rachel Denbow’s new book “Woven Art” breaks down the process beautifully and walks you through not only the processes of creating woven art, but the steps needed to make your own small projects looms.

Rachel Denbow's  Woven Art and the Hokett Hand Loom make a great gift! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

If you’re not ready to construct your own loom we have some excellent options for you! From the Harrisville Designs Peg Loom and Lap Loom for small projects, to the Schacht School Loom and Tapestry Loom for larger projects. The Hokett Hand Loom (or full Kit) makes a beautiful gift when paired with this book.

Have you created your own woven art?

October 3rd, 2016

New Valley Yarns designs from Vickie Howell!

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We’re beyond thrilled to have partnered with DIY Queen and craft enabler, Vickie Howell for a collection of fun, modern patterns as well as an exclusive set of colors for our NEW Valley Superwash Super Bulky!

NEW! Valley Superwash Super Bulky in exclusive Vickie Howell colors, read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

These quick knit and crochet accessories are the perfect projects for gifts, travel or just treating yourself before the first snow flies! The Arrow Head Hat features a simple combination of Fair Isle and textured stitches in 3 colors that is a terrific first colorwork project. The Ziggy Scarf get’s its twisty pop from the simplest cable, another great starter project! The Upward Spiral Beanie is a fun crochet tube of post stitches, cinched at the top for that great slouchy look and topped with a lively pom pom. And the Curvaceous Cowl is a cozy and warm combination of cables and seed stitch, perfect for bridging the seasons.

NEW! Valley Superwash Super Bulky in exclusive Vickie Howell colors and 5 brand new designs! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Vickie also designed the Kitchmas Stocking to add a bit of her signature style to your holidays. Chose two of Vickie’s exclusive colors: Cast Away Coral, Aqua Oasis, Moontower Mustard, Gray Gardens, Tiki Turquoise and Boss Byzanthium, or combine them with one of our 12 other colors!

NEW! Vickie Howell patterns! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Which of these new patterns will you make first?

October 1st, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 460: Kathy talks with Vickie Howell

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This week Kathy talks with Vickie Howell. Learn about Vickie and Kathy’s process to developing the new Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Super Bulky and Vickie’s exclusive colors!

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #460 - Kathy talks with Vickie Howell. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Check out Vickie’s designs for this yarn. And be sure to check out the FREE Super Scarf design! Look for the WEBS booth at Vogue Knitting Live in Minneapolis, and Vickie’s Make and Take!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Our 11th Annual Knit for the Cure is happening tomorrow, Sunday 10/2, from 12-4!

WEBS retail store has extended it’s hours until 6:00PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. Thursdays the store will remain open until 8pm, and Saturdays until 5:30.

If you haven’t yet seen our new Website – check it out!

Upcoming Events:

Book your seat on the bus to Rhinebeck! Spaces are running out and the trip is in just 2 weeks!

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

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

September 27th, 2016

Have you joined the Pioneer Valley Blanket KAL?

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Yesterday the first clue for the Pioneer Valley Blanket KAL from Adventure du Jour Designs was released!  This mystery Knit-A-Long is an intermediate project that requires minimal finishing work for maximum fun! Knitting with four colors of either Valley Yarns Northampton or Haydenville will allow a customized look for every blanket.

pioneer valley blanket

New clues will be released on the following dates: 10/10/16, 10/24/16, and 11/7/16. Just log in and check your account to find the updated copy of the PDF.  And you have two great options for yarn. With our warm and wooly Northampton you’ll need 12 skeins, and with our new, washable Haydenville you’ll need just 13 skeins. Click here to see kits we’ve put together to make choosing your colors easy!

And hop over to the support thread in our All Things WEBS Ravelry Group. Which yarn and colors will you choose for the Pioneer Valley Blanket?

 

September 24th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 459: Kathy talks with Barry Schacht

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This week Kathy talks with Barry Schacht of Schacht Spindle Company.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #459 - Kathy talks with Barry Schacht. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Barry talks about their new Spinning Wheel the Flat Iron, WEBS will have it in stock soon!
This saxony Style wheel, with a left/right flyer design, and your choice of tension, was inspired by the geology of their hometown.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

WEBS retail store has extended it’s hours until 6:00PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. Thursdays the store will remain open until 8pm, and Saturdays until 5:30.

If you haven’t yet seen our new Website – check it out!

Upcoming Events:

Our 11th Annual Knit for the Cure is happening next Sunday, 10/2, from 1-4. The event is free but we ask that you register.

Book your seat on the bus to Rhinebeck! Spaces are running out!

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

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

September 23rd, 2016

Time For A New Bag!

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My favorite project bag is falling apart. It’s the cutest Erin Lane bag ever, in a fabric that I think they don’t use anymore–white skulls on a black background. The best part is that some of the skulls have little pink hair ribbons and it is just subversive and cute at the same time. However, I’ve carried it from East to West and it might have even traveled to another country and it’s shredding. Time for a new bag!

Binkwaffle Dumpling bags and more favorite project bags on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I certainly have a lot from which to choose. I’m a bit picky about my bags, because I like the kind that can stand (or sit) on their own, without falling over and taking up a lot of room. This Binkwaffle Dumpling bag comes in two sizes and seems highly useful in both. They’re both reversible and close ingeniously by simply pulling the handle through a grommet. Ta dah! comfy on your wrist and the big one is sturdy enough to sit quietly without misbehaving beside my chair.

Erin Lane is always reliable (and the fabrics they use are delightful). I particularly like Self-Standing Bucket Tote, big enough to throw my wallet, keys, and sunglasses in along with a project or two. Lots of choices of color and print, too.

If I was going to give a wishlist to a caring husband, I’d certainly encourage a Namaste purchase. The Hermosa Bag is big enough to throw a laptop in and maybe a sweater in case it gets cold (along with the sweater you’ll be knitting, of course). These bags last forever and they are easily mistake for a high-end handbag.

You know, there’s a lot of knitting time before the holidays hit us. Why not indulge in a new bag now for all those gifts you’ll be creating?

September 17th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 458: Kathy talks with Trisha Malcolm

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This week Kathy talks with Vogue Knitting Editor, Trisha Malcolm.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #458 - Kathy talks with Trisha Malcolm. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Launched in 1932 for just $.35 per issue, it was chock full of just patterns! Vogue Knitting, as we know it now, was relaunched in 1982. Trisha talks about the ups and downs between, some of the great Editors and the exciting new redesign of the magazine.

And Vogue Knitting Live! is happening in Minneapolis in just a few weeks!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

WEBS retail store has extended it’s hours until 6:00PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. Thursdays the store will remain open until 8pm, and Saturdays until 5:30.

Upcoming Events:

Book your seat on the bus to Rhinebeck! Spaces are running out!

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