April 5th, 2016

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – Yarn for socks!

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Our 42nd Anniversary Sale is in full swing and with over 80 yarns and accessories at incredible discounted prices and it can seem daunting to wade through that much information! In the coming weeks we’ll break down the yarns in our sale, highlight some of our favorites and give you some great project ideas. This week we’re all about socks!

Sock yarns from Regia and other top brands in WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The fine folks at Regia are constantly rolling out fantastical new combinations of colors and stripes and we have four of their yarns in this sale! Mood Color 4-ply and Relax Color 4-ply are both classic sock weight yarns at 8 sts per inch on US 1-3, with a blend of 75% superwash wool and 25% polyamide for durable, longlasting socks with plenty of yardage in each skein for a pair. Regia Colorito Color 4-ply blends wool and polyamide 75/25 into a slightly heavier yarn, 7.5 sts per inch on US 1-3 with a fantastic colorplay of stripes over a variegated background color. And for a pair of super cozy, winter weight socks try Regia Blue Zone Color 6-ply. This almost DK weight yarn knits up at 5.5 sts per inch on US3-6 sock socks that will fly off your needles!

Sock yarns from Lorna's Laces and other top brands in WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

A long time favorite of sock knitters and the WEBS staff, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock is a fantastic blend of superwash wool and nylon available in 3 dozen scrumptious hand-dyed colorways! Want to sneak a little luxury into your life? Try Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere! 25 subtly tonal hand dyed colorways that you will enjoy knitting as much as you do wearing. Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox combine alpaca, merino and nylon into one of the softest sock yarns we’ve ever felt and the delicate variations of color create a beautiful dappled effect in the finished socks.

Needle and Hook sets from Knitter's Pride in WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And don’t forget your solids! Whether you need a bit extra for heels and toes or you need a good range of colors for some fantastical fair isle these two yarns fit the bill perfectly. Valley Yarns Charlemont combines superwash merino, silk and polyamide in a silky smooth yarn that feels great against the skin. Louet Gems Fingering is a 100% wool yarn with just the right amount of bounce and squish for colorwork that really pops! And now is the perfect time to upgrade your tools! Our Knitters Pride Karbonz 6″ DPN Sets are on sale as well.

Stock up on yarns and needles now and set yourself up for a summer full of sock knitting fun! What’s your favorite sock yarn from this year’s sale? Or do you have plans for other projects with these yarns? Tell us all about it!

April 4th, 2016

The Honza Baby Blanket

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Our first new Valley Yarns pattern for Spring 2016 is the incredibly versatile Honza Baby Blanket, designed by Ann Klimpert, the perfect, easy-care blanket, knit in Valley Yarns Haydenville, for any baby in your life!

Honza blog fb

This cozy, squishy blanket is knit all in garter stitch with bold, modern intarsia blocks of color, and a crisp pinstripe of color added along the edges with surface crochet. And don’t let that crochet technique give you pause, we’ve got a quick tutorial to help you out.

We asked Ann to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit?

I began knitting when my kids were in elementary school. It filled a void in that it let me work with my hands but was still portable. It was both creative and practical.

What prompted you to start designing?

After knitting for a few years, I found I was making small changes in patterns, the length, sleeve style, stitch patterns, etc. After a while, it was a small jump to actually designing an entire project.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration.

Just about anything can spark an idea, from the lines of a bridge to the colors in a painting. Once I have a rough idea, I swatch for days!

Tell us about your design aesthetic. 

My background is in industrial design so I tend to favor pure, clean designs. I love garter stitch for its squishy playfulness and simplicity. It’s rugged and elegant at the same time.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I used Valley Yarns Haydenville for my baby blanket and it has the perfect blend of wooliness and practicality for baby items. Machine washable and soft but substantial. And the color selection is fantastic!

Honza blog

The Honza Baby Blanket is knit in Valley Yarns Haydenville, a washable and dryable blend of superwash merino and acrylic microfiber, for a truly easy care knit. You can try one of our colorways or choose your own from over 30 different shades. The original blanket was knit with Light Grey, Pompeii, Navy, and Natural, but we think it would also look adorable in Chocolate, Natural, Pink, and Burgundy, or Yellow, Teal, Lake, and Sage, or Sage, Purple, Red Purple, and Grey.

The combination possibilities are almost endless! What colors of Haydenville will you choose?

April 2nd, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 439: Kathy talks with Deborah Norville

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This week Kathy talks with first time guest Deborah Norville! The longtime host of Inside Edition, and Emmy winner, is also an avid crafter.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #439 - Kathy talks with Deborah Norville. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Listen in as they discuss Deborah’s lifelong love of crafting and how it has shaped her personal philosophy, and find out how her own line of yarns came to be. And be sure to check your local TV listings for Deborah’s newest gig as host of Knit and Crochet Now!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

WEBS is at DFW Fiber Fest this weekend! Stop by and say hello!

You can still get on the waitlist for our first ever WEBS Retreat in September.

Upcoming Events:

The 14th Annual Tent Sale happens May 14th and 15th, and don’t forget the 12th Annual Fleece Market on May 14th.

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

March 31st, 2016

What We’re Working on Now

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You’ve all benefited from the expertise of our knowledgeable, highly-skilled staff when shopping in the store, but you rarely have the opportunity to see some of the work we do in our free time. It’s been several months since I’ve shown off our staff’s work and we’ve been quite productive lately.

WEBS employee projects on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Ashley is one of our spinning teachers and often combines fibers in unusual and pleasing ways. WEBS carries a few varieties of cashmere mill ends and Ashley has used them to their best advantage in her hand spun yarn.  The maroon hank is a marled, 2 ply crepe with singles spun from Frabjous Fibers’ BFL Sparkle and plied with a heather-y black and maroon strand of our 2/45 mill end. The lighter hank began as individual singles spun from Sweet Georgia Superwash BFL and Kraemer’s Sterling, then plied with a teal strand of the 1/45 mill spun. This is a great way for spinners to enjoy these luxury cashmere mill ends.  Weavers can’t have all the fun!

If you’ve been to the store this season, you know that our Assistant Store Manager Bonnie loves her ponchos.  She probably has about a dozen of them and has just finished her third Briza Breeze in Berroco’s Briza.  Bonnie loves a portable, easy project that she can knit anywhere.  The yarn is lightweight but warm and works up into a great poncho for cool evenings, and even better–the pattern is FREE.

WEBS employee projects on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

In addition to being an accomplished seamstress, Marthe is also a terrific knitter. She’s recently amped up her skills in Erin’s Fearless Finishing class, in which finishing techniques are taught by knitting and assembling a baby sweater using Valley Superwash DK.  Marthe learned many finishing details in the class and plans to use them in making her daughter a cardigan using the Custom Fit program. This program, developed by Amy Herzog, and administered here in the store by Marthe and Assistant Store Manager, Beth Decker, creates individual knitting patterns to fit any body type. Marthe’s daughter Lilah is tall with very long arms and now she’ll have a cardigan that fits her just right!

Beth is working on a mitered square blanket in one of her favorite brands, Noro. She started the Kureyon blanket five years ago and she says, “the project is off the back burner now.” If you’re playing around with mitered squares, Noro’s the perfect yarn to show off the technique.  Beth states, “This is my second afghan design – only 9.5 squares to go before I can write up the pattern and share it!” We can’t wait to see the finished project!

WEBS employee projects on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Meg and her husband Dan are sheep farmers, raising a small flock of Tunis in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She’s a terrific spinner and is now teaching Dan to spin. He’s clearly been learning to spin by watching Meg because his first hank of handspun is really impressive! Meg’s also a talented knitter, either improvising existing patterns or designing her own garments. She was inspired enough by Madelinetosh Sock in the Cousteau colorway to design this hand warmer for herself (the second one’s in progress).

Knitting socks is a passion for Maryanne and the yarn she loves most for this is Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool. Using two sets of#2 Knitter’s Pride Nova Platinas and the Magic Loop technique, Maryanne knits both socks at the same time to produce dense, warm pair. The lucky recipient of most of these beauties—Maryanne’s husband Bill—lucky guy!

WEBS employee projects on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Carreen and I are both taking Erin’s Fair Isle Mitten class.  The pattern is from Alice Starmore’s Fair Isle Knitting and calls for eight colors of fingering weight yarn. Both of us agonized for several weeks (I’m not exaggerating—ask the rest of the staff) over the all the colors of Cascade 220 Fingering. Carreen decided to play it safe with the one of the recommended colorways for the project.  I picked my own colorways with much-appreciated assistance from more folks than I can count on one hand.  Carreen and I are really excited to finish our mittens!

Are you inspired? I hope your knitting is giving you joy. Happy Spring!

March 30th, 2016

Rigid Heddle Revels

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Spring is here and with it is the 2016 Weaving Sourcebook. Our annual weaving catalog is not only filled with color cards of our coned yarns – oh so helpful – but features pictures and links to our new crop of weaving drafts. This year we are especially proud of the stunning array of projects for Rigid Heddle looms. These drafts run the gamut from beautiful colorwork to textured weaves and unique finishing techniques. It’s a great time to be a rigid heddle weaver!

The Textured Towel (Draft 92) uses double heddles to handle both the fine size of the 8/2 cotton as well as add great texture to make these towels really pop. Our 8/2 cotton  has such a great range of colors, you can match the décor of any kitchen. I’ve got a family wedding coming up and a set of these towels will be perfect for a gift to the young couple. As many of you know, I love to make sets by varying the weft colors and this plaid design will be great for playing with stripe placement.

The Nightscape Pillow - draft now available at yarn.com Read more about this and other new drafts and products in the 2016 Weaving Sourcebook on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Another fun textured design is the Nightscape Pillow (Draft 98) woven with Brimfield. The decorative popcorns are created by pulling up loops across a single pick in a bright color that makes it really pop. The background stripes are in plain weave with a syncopated color order that keeps things lively. Brimfield is one of our newer yarns and is soft and squishy with a color palette that continues to expand.

We round out the hand manipulated drafts with the Comfy Couch Throw (Draft 100) made with the supersoft Superwash DK in both solid and hand dyed colors. The unique construction of the throw is set up in the warp, where some slots are left empty. This creates channels of weft floats in the middle of the cloth and loops along the edges. The panel is woven in two pieces which are then joined together by pulling the edge loops through each other to form a decorative seam and finished selvedges. Surface texture is added by using the weft floats to anchor crochet chains in a color pattern of choice.

So celebrate your rigid heddle loom and add some new techniques to your weaving vocabulary!

What is your favorite thing to weave on your rigid heddle loom?

March 30th, 2016

2016 Anniversary Sale preview!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Don't miss out on fantastic deals in the WEBS Anniversary Sale starting April 1st. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

That’s right it’s time for WEBS Anniversary Sale and have we got some great deals for you! Starting April 1st you’ll save on yarns from Cascade, Plymouth, Classic Elite, Lorna’s Laces, Regia, Dream in Color and more! We’ve got special prices on needle and hook sets, limited edition sock and hand dyed yarns, unbelievable coned yarns for weavers and some of your favorite Valley Yarns. Check out the full Sale Preview here for all the details and visit Yarn.com on April 1st to fill your cart!

March 28th, 2016

Fresh Picks for Spring

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We’re always working behind the scenes to design, write,  knit/crochet samples, and photograph beautiful new patterns in our Valley Yarns. We’ve partnered with some big name designers in the past few years to bring you some stunning patterns for our 40th Anniversary in 2014 and as part of our Designer in Residence Series for 2015. This year we thought we’d change things up a bit and share our Valley Yarns with some independant designers and see how they were inspired. And boy, were they!

fresh picks

Throughout 2016 we’ll be featuring 2 Valley Yarns each month along with some great new designs, and designers! Starting in April we’ll be sharing our love of Longmeadow and Haydenville. You can look forward to yarn reviews, pattern features for some of our most beloved patterns and the newest designs for these yarns!

What is your favorite Valley Yarn?

March 25th, 2016

My New Yarn Crush

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The newest yarns from Skacel, HiKoo Seuno and Sueno Tonals. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Although you all know that I’m not the biggest fan of plant fibers, I found a yarn that might help me over that bias: HiKoo Sueno and it’s twin sister, Sueno Tonals. It’s a mix of 80% Merino Superwash and 20% Viscose from bamboo. Bamboo is a light, silky, slippery fiber for the most part, and it tends to grow a bit when knit, but I think the merino in this combo smacks that bamboo into submission with the power of wool. Even better, it’s a yarn that spans multiple gauges, from a worsted to a sport weight, needles sizes between US 3 and US 7. What a shape-shifter! The Sueno comes in 14 spring-y colors like Dusty Lilac and Mud Puddle; the Sueno Tonals are delicate and beautifully shaded variations of the original line. I’m already thinking about what I’d make with either one. The pattern support from Skacel is superior, as usual. Since we’re on the cusp of spring, I might make this beanie, which can be worn in these last raw days of March on into the chilly nights of April.

Check out this intriguing fiber blend, and get it on your needles!

March 24th, 2016

New yarns from Kristin Omdahl!

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Kristin Omdahl is one of our favorite crochet designers and we’ve recently started carrying her two yarns, Be So Fine and Be So Sporty.  Both yarns are 100% bamboo, in bright, saturated colors inspired by tropical flowers and the sea. There’s great pattern support for these yarns including the FREE Beachy One eBook which contains six fantastic patterns including the Sunny Isles Soft Yellow Crochet Shawl.

Kristin Omdahl Be So Fine Yarn - learm more about this yarn and the fantastic pattern support on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

One of our store staffers, Mary, recently crocheted a sample of this shawl in the Lilac Memories colorway of Be So Fine and at  a whopping 650 yards per skein you only need one! This is one of the most beautiful shawl samples we’ve ever, if you’re near our retail store in Northampton MA stop by and check it out!

March 22nd, 2016

Valley Yarns for Dyers

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Did you know that some of your favorite yarns from Valley Yarns are available specifically in undyed, natural hanks for your own dyeing experiments?

100g hanks of your favorite Valley Yarns for all your dyeing needs. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our Franklin has been available on cones for dyers for years but many of you don’t know that we carry other Valley Yarns in 100g hanks.

Try Berkshire,  Berkshire BulkyColrainStockbridgeDeerfieldNorthfield, BFL Worsted,  and Valley Superwash.

Or experiment with any of our other Valley Yarns in the natural color, though you’ll find these in skeins,balls or cones that need to be wound into hanks, or in smaller 50g hanks.