June 22nd, 2016

Get Ready to Choose Your Own Adventure!

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Will you choose adventure this summer? It’s time to gather your supplies for our Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL!

Choose Your Own Adventure - Hat KAL Cast on July 5th,  2016 on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

You’ll need:

120-250 yds of DK or light worsted weight yarn – this will depend on what type of hat you choose to make. We’ll be aiming for a gauge of 5 sts per inch, in stockinette in the round. On July 5th we’ll have tips and tutorials on how to swatch in the round!

(There’s colorwork, cables, and stripes to choose from. A simple hat with an all over texture might only use 120 yds of one color, but if you’d like to do colorwork  you’re going to need more yardage and in all the colors you might want to use! Think about what kinds of colors and textures you might like and plan accordingly. And don’t worry about having too much yarn. You can always take off on another adventure with what’s left!)

 Needles (Size US 7/4.5mm recommended) –  double points ,  a 16″ circular2 circulars, or magic loop, however you normally would knit a hat.

additionally you may need:

stitch markerstapestry needlescissorscable needlepom pom makertassel maker

Choose Your Own Adventure - Hat KAL Cast on July 5th,  2016 on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ll be making a striped hat in Valley Yarns Sunderland, I prefer double pointed needles for the whole sh’bang. I’m going to need a stitch marker to denote the beginning of the round, and I plan to top it off with a tassel. So, there I am all set and ready for July 5th when we’ll swatch for gauge!

Join us for the Choose Your Own Adventure – Hat KAL here on the WEBS Blog in July!

One pattern. Hundreds of possibilities. Cast on July 5th.

June 21st, 2016

Tour de Fleece

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Most people know about the Tour de France, but – hang onto your yellow jersey – have you heard of the Tour de Fleece? Spinners have taken it upon themselves to take their wheels (and spindles) for a spin and follow the great race. Unlike what happens in France, this Tour has no rules, just guidelines: spin each day the cyclists ride and rest on their rest days; on the mountain climb days challenge yourself with a new fiber, technique or yardage. Mostly just have fun and use the race as a way to pace yourself and spin almost daily for a month.

Tour de Fleece events at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

WEBS is hosting a team again this year, so check our thread on our Ravelry page to join and be part of the fun. We will encourage and inspire each other to spin and have fun, share pictures and chat about spinning and why we love it so much.

And because I love a party with a purpose, we’ll be hosting a day of workshops and activities on July 17th at our store in Northampton. Join us for the day and spend time learning, shopping, gathering and spinning together with the folks that understand our love of twisting fiber into yarn. The daylong event (10 am – 4 pm) will feature workshops in the morning and afternoon with a slate of 4 different classes for both time slots. Options include hand carding, Navajo plying, spinning lace yarns, long draw, fractal spinning and more. All workshops are hands on and you will be able to sign up for your choices ahead of time.

The mid-day break will provide more activities as well as a chance for lunch (bring your own and we will provide cookies and fruit). Sit and spin, relax and shop (special spinning deals for the day), chat with spinning friends old and new. And because we’re trying to pack in as much as possible (it is a challenge day for the Tour, after all), we’ve got a couple more activities. Gather ’round the wheel display to hear about why spinning wheels have different drive styles and tensioning options and learn which features work best for the types of yarns you want to spin. Or stretch out with some gentle yoga focused on the muscles we use in spinning.

We hope you can join us for our special spinning day. I know I’m looking forward to it and to spinning along with the cyclists throughout the month of July.

June 20th, 2016

Valley Yarns Charlemont

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We’ve been in love with Valley Yarns Charlemont since the first sample skeins came in! With a blend of superwash merino, mulberry silk, and polyamide, this yarn has an incredible depth of color, a silky sheen and drape that you won’t believe! A wonderful choice for both knit and crochet projects,  as well as weaving, with 439yds per skein, you’ll keep coming back to Charlemont.

Get to know Valley Yarns Charlemont! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’m fairly partial to our Amethyst Brook Afghan, having designed it!, but Dena’s version in Charlemont is one of my most favorite finished projects from this pattern. Combining some of our solids with hand dyed colors of Charlemont, and using all cool tones, makes these interlocked hexagons look like the ripples from raindrops on a pond. What a fantastic combination of pattern and yarn!

Get to know Valley Yarns Charlemont! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Whether you prefer knit or crochet, accessories or sweaters, we have a full ines of patterns just for Charlemont!

left – right: the Colorfall Cardigan, the Katya Pullover, the Veranda Tam, the Sequoyah Shawl, and the Chapel Falls Shawl

Dena tells us why she loves Charlemont! Have you knit or crocheted with it? Tell us all about your favorite project.

June 18th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 448: Kathy talks with Andra Asars

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This week Kathy talks with our Berroco rep, Andra Asars, about all the new Fall yarns and patterns!

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #448 - Kathy talks with Andra Asars. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Check out Cotolana, Ginko, Millefiori, Macro, Noble and Tuscan Tweed, and watch for all the great new pattern books like Portfolio 2, Cozy and Country Side that will be arriving soon. There are also new colors in almost every line of Berroco Yarns, check out the refreshed color palettes!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Be sure to check our Facebook page on Monday to see Steve’s Yarn picks from this week!

The I-91 Shop Hop will take place next weekend, June 23–26th! Get your passport now and plan your weekend!

Our retail Store is closed on Independence Day, Monday, July 4th.

Join us for the 2016 Tour De Fleece! Join our  Group on Ravelry or join us in the store during our Spinshops on July 17th 10-4, sign up now!

Upcoming Events:

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

June 17th, 2016

Babies = Blankets

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I know of two babies on the horizon, one arriving in September and one arriving in December. Both of the new mothers are good friends, good enough that a tiny baby sweater isn’t enough. I decided to go full-on baby blanket with these special wee ones. I have just enough time (I think) to make crib-sized blankets for each, and I’ve settled on two patterns that are calling to me.

Valley Yarns Haydenville and great baby projects on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Miss September Baby is a much-anticipated girl who has two older brothers. I want her to have her very own special gift so I’m making a Valley Yarns pattern, the Snowdrop Blanket. However, you know how I feel about plant fibers, so no go on the Longmeadow. Instead, I’m going to use some lovely Valley Yarns Haydenville, probably in Silver, because White, or even Natural, seems like a set-up for disaster, since you all know what babies do on blankets. It’s neutral enough to match her nursery and distinctive enough to be an eye-catcher in a Mommy and Me group.

Baby #2 is a mystery, so I’m going to go with a bold pattern I love, the Valley Yarns Pattern Grayson Set. The stitch is simple enough to be knit while watching “Game of Thrones,” and the color changes are just challenging enough so the project won’t be tedious to finish. I’m going to use Haydenville for this one, as well. I’m going to completely switch up the colors, however, and go with Slate Blue as the main color, banded with Natural and to make it pop, a stripe of Yellow. Could read as masculine or feminine, and I am so hoping it becomes the blanket that baby can’t sleep without.

What is your favorite baby pattern? Let me know in the comments, below!

June 16th, 2016

Sequoyah Shawl

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Valley Yarns Charlemont is a fantastic yarn for transitional garments, like the Sequoyah Shawl by Mary Joy Gumayagay.

The Sequoia Shawl from Valley Yarns at yarn.com. More at blog.yarn.com

 

This generous half circle shawl is worked from the neck down and features bands of stockinette and modified Roman Stripe textured stitches divided by raised garter ridges. Easy increases help to keep the circular shape resulting in a shawl that rests beautifully on the shoulders.

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

When did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit in 2003, when an injury forced me to stop climbing for a few months. To pass the time I decided to try something crafty.

What prompted you to start designing?
I fell into designing accidentally, when I had a ball of worsted yarn and an urge to make something unique. Pre-Ravelry, it was a challenge to find patterns for a specific weight, or yardage, or project. So I looked through one of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns books, found something I liked, and made a leaf lace worsted weight scarf. A fellow knitblogger named Liesel asked me for the directions, and I ended up self-publishing my very first pattern, Liesel.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by experiences, which translate into color and texture, then by necessity, which translate into structure. If a stitch pattern and color are lovely together, I think of what sort of object the combination would be most appropriate as. Lately my inspiration has been the specific physical features––color, texture, shape—of the rock climbing areas I’ve visited, and I am translating that into a series of hat patterns. The Destination Series currently has three: Antalya, St. Leger, and Siurana.

Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories.
I don’t have specific stories… But I’ve met a few climbers who are also knitters; that’s a specific sub-group.

Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with?
I worked with Valley Yarns Charlemont, a lovely yarn with enough silk to create a subtle sheen and drape. I particularly adore the jewel tones, but there are enough neutrals to satisfy every knitter.

The Sequoia Shawl from Valley Yarns at yarn.com. More at blog.yarn.comCharlemont has fantastic drape and shine from the silk, strength and durability from the Polyamide, and the merino keeps it soft and warm. Wrap up this Fall in a beautiful shawl, after spending a bit of your Summer knitting with a yarn that you’ll truly enjoy! Have you worked with Charlemont in the past?

June 15th, 2016

Project Planning – Color me Happy

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How do you decide what colors to use in your weaving? Sometimes I have a sense of color family – towels to match the kitchen, a throw to complement the couch, my sister’s favorite color for a shawl. But even then I have to decide which shade to use, which colors to combine in warp and/or weft. I talked in a previous post about the Color Grid, which helps me come up with a palette that is both interesting and harmonious. The next step is to look at how to place those colors to achieve the look and feel that I want.

I recently fell in love (again) with a lovely cotton/linen yarn from Juniper Moon called Zooey. One of the things that drew me to this yarn was the incredible depth and saturation of the colors. It is also soft and cool and I knew I wanted to weave fabric for a simple summer top. I started by choosing an assortment of colors and went to work on figuring out out to arrange them in a way to showcase their vibrant beauty.

Planning your next weaving project - choosing colors on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Because the colors will be the focus, I decided to weave this on my rigid heddle in plain weave. A great and inexpensive way to look at color combos is to do a wrap – take a piece of cardstock or an index card and fold it into a strip that is approximately 1-2″ tall and 5-6″ wide. Warp several strips with different color combos and compare them to see what you like. Here are the wraps that I tried. In the top one I wrapped the colors randomly in stripes of varying widths. While I didn’t like the asymmetry, it did help to see how the colors played next to each other. For the next one, I wrapped five of the colors as single stripes repeating in the same order – didn’t like that at all, it was muddy and boring. The bottom wrap shows stripes of green separated by a progression of the other colors. That was a winner for me; I liked the strong lines of green and it looked good with all of the other colors.

The next step was choosing the weft. For this step I put a 10″ wide warp on the loom. I wanted it to be big enough to really see the effect of the weft, plus I wanted to check the hand of the fabric. My test weft yarns were all lighter weight than the warp because I wanted a fabric with a light hand and good drape. I tested 3 different yarns, using a different color in each (and was absurdly proud of covering 2 facets in one warp). After weaving the samples, I serged the edges and cut them apart, then washed and dried them.

Here’s what they looked like. The top sample was woven with Brassard 8/2 Cottolin (Royal c0963), the swatch in the middle used Valley Cotton 8/2 (Algiers Blue 2194), and the bottom was with Valley Cotton 6/2 (Aubergine). The verdict? I eliminated the bottom swatch because it was too heavy and the colors looked indistinct. The other two were equally nice in terms of drape and hand, so it came down to the colors. Although I liked the light blue in the middle swatch, it felt a bit washed out and I really wanted to see the vivid colors. The result is that the top swatch came out on top because it captures both the look and feel I want for my summer top.

I know many weavers groan about the idea of sampling.  It is time-consuming, not to mention yarn-consuming, to sample. But for me it’s a good investment, because I’m not gambling with my project. I know that the cloth I take off the loom will be what I wanted to create. I’ve got the loom warped up and I’ll give you a peek when I’m done with the next step.

How do you decide on colors?

June 13th, 2016

Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts

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Summer is a fantastic time to knit small projects with stunning stitch work. The new Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts, in Valley Yarns Huntington by Irina Anikeeva are just that! A gorgeous combination of yarn, color and a spectacular, leafy cable and lace panel.

The Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

These mitts are knit from the bottom up, with stockinette stitch at the palm for a bit of break on your hands and brain as you knit. The flowing leaf and lace cables twine their way up the backs of these mitts to your fingertips, and seamlessly blend with the ribbing bands at top and bottom. Whether you knit these to stay cozy and warm at the office, for a peek of stunning pattern work and color peeking out of your coat this Autumn, or as a gift for someone who will treasure your work, you’ll enjoy the whole process of knitting the Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts.

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

When did you learn to knit? 

I was probably 6 or 7 at that time. I grew up in Russia with my Mom who knit and sewed for a living. Knowing my Mom didn’t have much time to make anything else, I asked her to teach me.

What prompted you to start designing?

Well, it was quite natural for me. As many other Russian crafters, driven by necessity, I have never used patterns as a rule, more like an inspiration. When I had a knitted garment in mind, I have immediately started to sketch, looking for stitch patterns, yarn, etc. and I was never thinking about it as a designing process per se. But when I have discovered Ravelry (awfully late, just 3 years ago!), I was so impressed with the work of independent designers so I have decided to come and see if my work would be interesting for knitters and I was pleasantly surprised by their reaction.

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

Oh, everything around me is an inspiration! Nature, architecture, literature, movies. Once you tune your mind to be open this way, you are just fascinated to see how the ideas are triggered by everyday world that surrounds us.

 Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories.

Once I challenged myself to knit a whole sweater on size 1 mm needles. I just desperately wanted one. It took some time and effort but I did like it so much!

 Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

The Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts I have designed are made with beautiful Valley Yarns Huntington. It is a fingering-weight yarn, softest and nicest to work with merino/nylon blend, which makes it great yarn not only for socks, but for mittens, shawls, even lightweight summer tops. It has an incredible color range and it’s machine washable which makes it a excellent yarn for baby projects, too.

The Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Irina is right, Huntington is a great choice for baby and easy care knit and crochet projects! With it’s superwash and nylon blend it is not only completely washable, but durable as well, for handknits that will last for years. With an array of 24 rich, solid colors to choose from this yarn is the ideal choice for finer gauge knits, both for textured stitch details and colorwork.  This is a wonderful chance to try this yarn! With just 2 skeins and the pattern you’ve got a project that costs less than $15.00!

June 11th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 447: Kathy talks with Linda Ries

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This week Kathy talks with the co-owner of Knit New Haven, Linda Ries, about the upcoming I-91 Shop Hop.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #447 - Kathy talks with Linda Ries. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Linda and her co-owners used to work together at another yarn shop and knew that they needed to keep knitting in New Haven, so they opened Knit New haven downtown. They carry a fantastic array of yarns from indie dyers, small dyelot yarns that you can’t find at bigger stores, as well as lots of classes and events! The I-91 Shop Hop will take place June 23–26th. Get your passport now and plan your weekend!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Be sure to check our Facebook page for throughout this weekend for live streams from Kathy during TNNA!

Our retail Store is closed on Independence Day, Monday, July 4th.

Upcoming Events:

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Join us for the 2016 Tour De Fleece! Join our  Group on Ravelry or join us in the store during our Spinshops on July 17th 10-4, details will be up soon!

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

June 10th, 2016

Valley Yarns Huntington

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Valley Yarns Huntington is an amazing yarn for socks, and it can be worked up into shawls, hats, and even sweaters. Not only does it knit beautifully but it crochets like a dream! A durable and soft combination of Superwash Merino wool and Nylon mans that you can work up beautiful projects that will last for years to come.

Get to know Valley Yarns Huntington! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Crocus Lace Stole has long been one of my favorite projects. Originally crocheted in our slinky and soft 5/2 Bamboo, it makes a fantastic summertime accessory. But I got to thinking that it might be nice to have a more transitional piece for Spring and Fall, warm enough to ward off the chill of an errant breeze, but not so much that you start to overheat. Then I thought about stripes, and colorblocking and I wanted to redo this pattern with something that wasn’t too heavy but that had great colors choices. Huntington was the perfect choice, great stitch definition, easy to work with, lots of colors, durable and warm.

Get to know Valley Yarns Huntington! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

One of the best things about this pattern is that it’s just one row! Once you’ve done it a few times through it’s easily memorized. For the Huntington version I used 2 colors, Arctic and Seagull, and alternated color every 2 rows. I carried each color up the side of the work as I went rather than cutting the yarns and having a pile of ends to weave in afterwards! I knew that 2 skeins wouldn’t be quite enough for the whole piece, but I didn’t want to break into a 3rd skein and then I remembered that I had also thought about color blocking, so I decided to do the last third in just the seagull colorway and then edge the whole thing in that same color.  I worked 40 inches in the stripes, 20 inches in the solid grey and then did 2 rounds of single crochet around the edge. Remember how I said that I just carried the color up the edge when I made the stripes? I crocheted over those little floats of yarn as I added the edge! I pinned it all out and gave it a good steam block to set the stitch pattern, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Total project cost for 3 skeins and the pattern was only $19.33, and I had it done in less than a week.

Get to know Valley Yarns Huntington! On the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

There’s fantastic pattern support for this yarn, both in knit and crochet, and lots of choices if you love knitting socks!

top l-r: Got You Covered Socks, Sunny Day Socks, Five College Socks, French Vine Socks.

bottom l-r: Simple Shawl, Hyannis Cardigan, Alexandrium CardiganSermilik Shawl

Give Huntington a try with your favorite sock pattern, or be a bit adventurous and remake a favorite accessory with a new twist! Tell us all about it in the comments