January 27th, 2015

Ask WEBS – Hemstitching

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AskWEBS - January 27, 2015, Hemstitching technique, tips and tricks - more details at blog.yarn.com

One of the best ways to add a professional finishing touch to your weaving is with a hemstitched edge. Here our Weaving Manager, Leslie Ann Bestor, shows you how.

Leslie Ann even has a few quick tips to make the hemstitching even easier!

Have questions? Leave us a comment and let us know how we can help!

January 26th, 2015

Get in on the Mystery and Fun!

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We’re so excited about our upcoming WEBS Mystery Crochet-A-Long Blanket and WEBS Mystery Knit-A-Long Blanket!
WEBS Mystery Crochet-A-Long Blanket and WEBS Mystery Knit-A-Long Blanket, the fun starts February 26, 2015 - more details at blog.yarn.com

You can join us each month as a new mystery square is revealed. Each mystery square can be crocheted or knit in 9 colors to form a unique patchwork blanket. You’ll learn new stitches and techniques, different joins, a simple border treatment to tie it all together, and even learn how to care for a large heirloom project like this. We’ll have photo and video tutorials for the more complicated techniques as well as tips and tricks for making your blanket shine! When finished, the squares can be assembled into a 42” X 58” or 50” X 50” blanket.

Be sure to follow along here on the WEBS blog for video tutorials and join the discussion in our Ravelry Group All Things WEBS to see the progress of your fellow crocheters and knitters!

Materials Required:
9 colors of Valley Yarns Northampton, 2 skeins each (see suggested colorway selections below)
Size H/8 hook (Or size to get your gauge) – Gauge about 16 sts and 17 rows = 4” in sc

or

US size 7 (4.5 mm) needles (Or size to get your gauge) – Gauge about 18 sts and 27 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch

Each colorway is shown above in knit and crochet. The colors used are listed below but feel free to create your own color palette! You’ll need 500yds in each of 9 colors.

Colorway 1 – Neutrals:
Light Grey, Medium Grey, Dark Grey, Sage Heather, Natural, Fawn, Brown Heather, Chocolate, Chestnut Heather
Colorway 2 – Jewel Tones
Amethyst, Ocean Heather, Merlot Heather, Twilight Heather, Burgundy, Dahlia, Midnight Heather, Dark navy, Pacific Teal
Colorway 3 – Pastels
Sage Heather, Natural, Lake Heather, Spring Purple, Denim Heather, Deep Periwinkle, Bright Pink, Raspberry Heather, Light Grey
Colorway 4 – Autumn
Sunset Orange, Light Green Heather, Dark Green Heather, Garnet, Merlot Heather, Rust, Burgundy, Gold, Dark Olive Heather

Dates to Remember
February 26, 2015 – First Square revealed
March 19, 2015 – Second Square revealed
April 23, 2015 – Third Square revealed
May 14, 2015 – Fourth Square revealed
June 18, 2015 – Joining, edging and care instructions revealed

No need to sign up, and the pattern is FREE! Join in whenever is convenient for you. Stay with the monthly timeline or work on the squares at your own pace.

Beginner crocheter or knitter?
No worries! We’ve put together video tutorials for the trickier stitches and techniques that we’ll reveal with each new square pattern, and have a library of basic technique videos on our Youtube channel to help you brush up your skills. You can even ask questions here on our blog, in our Ravelry Group, or on our Facebook Page.

And be sure to post pictures of your project! If you’re using Facebook or Instagram be sure to use #WEBSMCAL or #WEBSMKAL

Get your yarn ordered and get your swatch made now so you’re ready to dive in on February 26th! Tell us what colors you’ll be using.

January 24th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 387: Kathy talks with Fiona Ellis

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This week Kathy talks with WEBS 2015 Knitting Designer in Residence, Fiona Ellis. Fiona’s first design in the series, the I Feel Vine cardigan, is available now.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 387 - Kathy talks with Fiona Ellis about the WEBS Designer in Residence program - listen now at blog.yarn.com

To learn more about the Designer in Residence Program read our blog post here, and to learn more about Fiona’s design process read her blog post here.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Sign up now for the WEBS Mystery KAL or Mystery CAL classes before they fill up!

Upcoming Events:

Our 9th Annual Pre-Game Event is coming up on Feb 1st – It’s free but be sure to register!

Join us for a Yarn Tasting with Cascade Yarns on Feb 12th.

Don’t miss your chance to meet and talk with Norah Gaughan on March 7th!

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
January 23rd, 2015

Welcome to the store!

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This is the store’s first official blog post! Our bi-monthly entries will give us an opportunity to share what’s new and upcoming in the store. If you’re lucky enough to have visited us in the past, you know that WEBS offers a jaw-dropping variety of inspiring yarns, samples and patterns, as well as a helpful and courteous staff to assist you with whatever you want to knit, crochet, spin, felt, or weave. If you’ve not yet made it to the store, I hope that our entries will inspire you to plan a trip to see us very soon.

A customer plans a project with a rainbow of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool at WEBS retail store.

We’ve got some exciting and inspiring plans for 2015. We’ll use this space to share what’s new in the store–event and sales, new yarns and patterns we’re excited about, designer trunk shows, current staff projects and more. I’d also like to use this space to show off  some of the beautiful work that you do. Feel free to email me photos and details of your latest creation. Your work could be featured in this space!

I’m so grateful to each of you who’ve decided to make WEBS your LYS, no matter where you live. Please introduce yourself when you come visit.

 

Please send images of projects you’ve completed with yarn or a pattern you purchased at WEBS, and don’t forget to tell me about your projects! to Sgibbs@yarn.com

January 22nd, 2015

Fiona Ellis – a Designer in Residence in her own words

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Artist or designer in residence programs are set up to foster close ties between an artist, their work and a particular establishment or organization. They are devised to allow time & space for the artist to explore their work, maybe even from a new perspective. It helps builds a closer relationship between the artist and the establishment and also allows everyone to see the behind the scenes workings and progress that ultimately leads to the end product. So I was absolutely thrilled when the wonderful people at WEBS invited me to be one of their Designers in Residence. The team at WEBS and I are hoping that our collaboration will foster not only wonderful patterns to showcase their gorgeous yarns, but also give knitters some context to those patterns along with some fun peaks behind the scenes. The pattern that I came up with for the January launch includes three ideas that are part of my designer philosophy or involve an aspect of my work that I have been recently developing.

Shapes & Motifs

Way back in school I hated mathematics. So it amuses to see how much, and with what relative ease, I now use those principles that I struggled so hard to learn. Somehow the fog surrounding them just lifted once I applied them to knitting. Case in point; when I’m designing a shape or motif I lean on simple geometry to figure out the angle of the line. Even a curved line, when you break it down, is in fact made up of the hypotenuse of series of triangles. And you have no idea how smart it makes me feel to be able to say that!

A sample graph for charting stitch increases from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence - read more at blog.yarn.com

Let me explain a little further. If you need a steep angle for your line you move (add or subtract) by just one stitch at a time each row. If you need a shallower angle (closer to horizontal) then you move by two or maybe three stitches at a time. The real fun begins when you use these angles in combination with each other to create different shapes. I have been using this rule (see how bossy I’m getting about this now) for quite some time to design non-symmetrical, organic looking shapes such as Paisleys. These kinds of shapes, rather than even geometric shapes like triangles, diamonds etc., require the incorporation of several different angles to create the curved line that defines the overall shape. The leaves I have incorporated into the I Feel Vine cardigan are an extension of this experimentation.

A sample chart, with knit swatch, for charting curved lines from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence - read more at blog.yarn.com

Using needles to changes gauge

I know that you all do gauge swatches. And also follow the instruction that tells you to change your needle size so that you obtain the same gauge that my test knitter used when making the sample. But have you thought about how needle size, along with stitch structure, changes the fabric that you are creating? I know many of you have, and understand the effect, but for those of you who might be new to the concept here is how I used this principle for this cardigan. Apart from allowing for achieving correct gauge, the other cool thing about changing needle sizes is that you can use the changes to create different fabric properties within the same garment. I did this for the ribbed section of the I Feel Vine cardigan. Ribbed fabric is very elastic and causes the fabric to compress widthwise. This is why it’s often used for cuffs when we need a snug fit at the lower edge of a piece. Combining this type of structure with a smaller needle for that section produces a lovely snug, but comfortable, waist shaping without having to change the stitch count at all.

A collage of inspiring floral imagess from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence - read more at blog.yarn.com

Finishing

For me a project isn’t over until all the little details have been dealt with; the seaming, closures, and finishing details. In some cases I need to take a less is more approach. There is quite a bit of patterning within each garment piece of the I Feel Vine cardigan so to add bulky or attention-grabbing bands I felt would have taken away from the design. I wanted the focus to be on the mid-section & the leaf patterning above. The closure for this cardigan therefore had to be minimal but elegant, so I used a “pick-up & then bind off immediately” trim with button loops that are created during the bind-off.

I do so hope that you like the design and enjoy making (and wearing it).

– Fiona

January 21st, 2015

‘Tis a Gift to be Simple

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Some see the rigid heddle loom as a gateway loom – a great way to check out weaving that eventually leads to more and more complex structures and looms and a lifelong addiction passion for fiber. Others love these looms for their speedy set up, accessible and easy weaving style and economy of space, warp yarns and investment. I came to rigid heddle weaving after learning to weave on a multi-shaft floor loom, so I consider myself to be pretty loom-neutral and simply dodge the question when asked which one I like better.

Weaving with knitting yarns on your rigid heddle loom can have fantastic results!

I will tell you, however, that one of the things I love about my RH is working with knitting yarns. Because, frankly, knitting yarns get a lot more exciting and different every day. The beautiful hand dyes! The wild and wacky textures and fiber combinations! A lot of times the yarn doesn’t need anything more than plain weave to showcase its beauty. (By the way, I hate the term ‘plain weave’ because plain implies mundane and boring, which it is not!)

The Variable Dent Reed for the Schacht Flip Loom - available at yarn.com

One of the new ‘toys’ that has come our way is the Variable Dent Reed (VDR) made by Schacht for their Flip Rigid Heddle looms. Ever wanted to mix it up with different weights of yarns in one piece? Then this is your tool! It comes with an assortment of the plastic sections of the heddle in various dents, which you then fit into the heddle in any order you wish. One of our weaving instructors, Paula Veleta, designed and wove this beautiful scarf that combines hand dyed sock yarn with bulky novelty yarns. The result is a stunning and fashionable scarf that is lots of fun. We will have this draft available for sale in February, or you can create your own version. If I were more inclined to math, I would tell you how many different combinations you can make with the VDR, but you’ll have to settle for my approximation – an awful lot!

Plainweave with a variable dent reed - read more at blog.yarn.com

And if you want to take your rigid heddle weaving down other adventurous paths, Paula is teaching a new class – Advanced Beginner Techniques for Rigid Heddle Looms – that will take you through a multitude of techniques to create unique and beautiful pieces. Each month will focus on a topic such as color and weave, finger manipulations to create lace and texture, using pick-up sticks and more. It will open your eyes and give you the skills to take your weaving to a new level.

What will you weave next?

January 19th, 2015

What’s Happening in the Warehouse

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Wow! And just like that it’s mid-January. You would think that would mean a bit of a lull for us here at WEBS, a time to recharge and rest up from the craziness of the holidays, but we’re always getting ready for the next round.

Orders being processed in the WEBS Warehouse - read more at blog.yarn.com

Over in our warehouse, where the folks from Customer Service answer your question online and on the phones, and where all your orders are picked, packed and shipped, they’re cleaning up from our End of Year Blowout Sale. Shelves are being cleared and aisles swept to make room for the new Spring yarns that have already begun to arrive. Our Spring 2015 catalog will be available online in just 2 short weeks, and in mailboxes shortly thereafter!

WEBS Warehouse gets cleaned and reorganized to prepare for 2015 events and sales - read more at blog.yarn.com

On top of that the warehouse crew has to start planning and making space for all the great yarns that Steve will be bringing in for our 41st Annual Anniversary Sale that begins on April 1st. It might seem like a long way off right now but the next 10 weeks will fly by!

What are you doing to settle into the new year?

January 17th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 386: Kathy talks with Kristin Nicholas

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This week Kathy talks with author and knitwear designer Kristin Nicholas about her newest book, Crafting a Colorful Home.

RSK 386

This is Kristin’s 11th book and while not knit or crochet focused, it does contain a great scrappy knit afghan and geometric crocheted granny square blanket patterns, as well as great lessons for learning to use color in your life.  Read all about the process of writing this book on Kristin’s blog and click here to read the Houzz magazine article that was the inspiration for the book! You can follow Kristin on Facebook or Instagram.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Check out the brand-new design from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence .

Sign up now for the WEBS Mystery KAL or Mystery CAL classes before they fill up!

Winter/Spring 2015 Classes are on the website now, register before they fill up!

Upcoming Events:

Our 9th Annual Pre-Game Event is coming up on Feb 1st – It’s free but be sure to register!

Join us for a Yarn Tasting with Cascade Yarns on Feb 12th.

Don’t miss your chance to meet and talk with Norah Gaughan on March 7th!

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
January 16th, 2015

It’s A Mystery…

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For our fiber friends in the Northern Hemisphere, winter often finds us burrowed into our homes, or trudging from our house to our car to our office to our car to our house. Here at WEBS, we’re hatching a mystery knit- and crochet-a-long to spice up your short days and long nights. It accomplishes a number of good things: you’ll learn some fascinating new techniques that you’ll use forever, you’ll have something fun to look forward to every month as a new square is revealed, and you’ll have a beautiful keepsake blanket that will be just the thing to use as a wedding gift, a graduation present, a baby-shower goodie, or an early holiday present.

WEBS Mystery Knit-A-Long Blanket Class - register at yarn.com

We’ve even picked out four different colorways in our Valley Yarns Northampton for you. Neutrals will go with anything, Autumns are for those (like me) who crave the heathery tones of October orange, green, and burgundy. Jewel Tones are bold splashes of clear sapphires, garnets, and emeralds, and Pastels are deliciously light and baby-friendly. Each month a new knit and crochet technique will be taught by Sara in her classes here at WEBS. Those students will get hands-on help from the fabulously talented Sara as well as the fun of learning with like-minded folks, and as my mother would say, “you might make a friend.”

WEBS Mystery Crochet-A-Long Blanket Class - register at yarn.com

A week later the square’s pattern will be released online in our blog, along with photos and a technique video so that you can go it alone, if you live too far away to travel to our Northampton store. We’ll be sharing your squares-in-progress on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and anywhere else knitters pop up to visit with us.

We have some spaces in both the Knit-A-Long class and the Crochet-A-Long class. Why not take a step out of your comfort zone and join us?

January 15th, 2015

WEBS Big Game Day Escape

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superbowl event2

Once again, we’re planning a relaxing afternoon of yarncrafting, snacks and camaraderie for the hours leading up to the Big Game!! On Sunday, February 1, 2015, from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. join us at WEBS retail store in Northampton. MA for our 9th Annual pre-game escape, and be sure to bring your current knitting, crocheting, spinning or weaving project along to work on while you’re here!! You’ll be surrounded by beautiful yarns, yummy nosh and lots of like-minded folks – football chat is entirely optional. This is a free event, but registration is required, so please sign up on our website or call Customer Service to let us know you’re planning to be here. We look forward to seeing you!!