February 11th, 2015

Berroco Spring is Here!

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Have you had a chance to check out the Spring yarns and patterns from Berroco? If you haven’t yet, you’ll want to take a peek!

Berroco Mixer

Berroco Mixer is featured on the cover of our Spring catalog. (Have you looked at the online version? It should be hitting mailboxes soon!) This blend of cotton, polyester, viscose, and nylon has a shimmery and matte finish and a great texture. It works up into a flowing fabric and is featured in Berroco 354 Mixer pattern book.

Berroco Espresso

Berroco Espresso is a bulky blend of cotton and acrylic that works up at 3 stitches per inch. It is a colorful yarn that is machine washable, so it’s perfect for easy-care projects that will fly off your needles or hook. You can find patterns in Berroco 356 Espresso.

Berroco Indigo

Berroco Indigo is made of recycled cotton fibers and is super soft – like a favorite pair of jeans. It is slightly tweedy and comes in a great palette of colors. It is a machine washable yarn that’s perfect for garments and accessories. You can find patterns for both in Berroco 353 Indigo.

Berroco Fiora

Berroco Fiora is a soft blend of cotton, viscose, alpaca, nylon, and wool. It has a wonderful heathered look because of the different fibers. There is fantastic pattern support for this classic yarn in Berroco 355 Fiora and Berroco Norah Gaughan Vol. 16.

Check out the Berroco Spring 2015 video we have on our YouTube channel!

February 10th, 2015

Ask WEBS – Projects using two yarns at once

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Ask WEBS Feb.10, 2015  Using two strands of yarn in a non-color-work project - Read more at blog.yarn.com

When you first read through your pattern you may see a note that says to “hold the yarn doubled throughout” or “yarn is doubled throughout”, this means you’ll carry 2 strands of yarn and knit with them as if they are one strand. This allows you to knit at a bulkier gauge or to combine yarns for a completely different look and texture, like transitions of color. The Lodge Pole Cowl uses two strands of Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky for a chunkier gauge than one strand would have yielded and the Gradient Cowl from Shibui transitions colors easily by changing just one at a time.

Knitting two strands together as one - read more at blog.yarn.com

If your pattern is made up of short stripes, usually only 2 or 4 rows of each color, it may make more sense for you to “carry the yarn up the side” of your work rather that cutting and starting with new yarn for every new row – think of weaving in ALL those ends! The trick to this method is carrying the yarn up the side of the work each time you change color for the stripes. You’ll finish a row, and when you turn the piece over you’ll let the color you just finished with hang to the front of your work and bring the new color up behind to begin the new row. If you remember to change your colors this way for each color change it will be nearly invisible. The Garter Trap scarf, and the Chevron Tube Cowl are great examples of this technique!

Working with 2 colors in a project and carrying the yarn up the side - read more at blog.yarn.com

What techniques or stitches are you struggling with? Ask WEBS, we can help!

 

 

 

February 9th, 2015

Just in time for Valentine’s Day

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Our new Heart Pops Hat pattern is not only adorable but FREE!

The Heart Pops Hat pattern - FREE at yarn.com

Just two skeins of Valley Yarns Berkshire is actually enough to make two hats (in opposite colors). And try the Clover Heart-Shaped Pom-pom maker for the perfect topper to this little hat. What colors would you use?

February 7th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 389: Kathy talks with Benjamin Levisay

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This week Kathy talks with President of XRX and Knitter’s Magazine, Benjamin Levisay, about the upcoming STITCHES WEST show.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 389 - Kathy talks with Benjamin Levisay about STITCHES WEST 2015 - listen now at blog.yarn.com

Kathy talks to Benjamin about his now retired podcast, the Fiber Hooligan, and what you can expect at STITCHES WEST this year, from classes to market sessions and what to expect on the market floor.

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:

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
February 6th, 2015

Will you join the KAL or the CAL?

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Are you joining us in making a WEBS Mystery Blanket? There’s a Knit-A-Long and a Crochet-A-Long, something for everyone!

Our first square will be revealed, FREE!, on February 26th right here on the WEBS Blog. So get your yarn ordered and get swatching!

You can find all the information about yarn, needles, hooks and gauge here. We can’t wait to share this project with you!

February 5th, 2015

Yarn Tasting,Trunk Shows and Fun…Oh My!

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Have you ever wanted a chance to sample a yarn before you buy it? Well now you can! We are hosting a Cascade Yarn Tasting on February 12 from  6-7:30 pm. Come try out the wide variety of Cascade yarns that we carry, including their new Spring yarns and check out all the wonderful pattern support. You might get inspired to start a new project! We’ll raffle some fabulous prizes throughout the evening and provide snacks for you to enjoy, you’ll even have the opportunity to get a free set of Colonial Blonde circular needles when you purchase $40 of regularly priced Cascade yarn! This event is free, but registration is required

Cascade Yarn Tasting February 12th 6:00pm-7:30pm at WEBS retail Store in Northampton MA - more details at yarn.com

If you visit the store in mid February you’ll see the stylish and cozy garments from knitwear designer Cirilia Rose in the trunk show from her new book, Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads. Cirilia began her knitwear career at WEBS while a student at UMASS, and has worked with important knitwear companies such as Berroco, Skacel and currently , New Zealand mill Woolyarns. Over 20 garments and accessories will be available for you to discover in this trunk show, and you can pick up a copy of her book while you’re here.

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads Trunk Show at WEBS retail store in February - more details at blog.yarn.com

 

There are always book signings, trunk shows and special events happening in our store, be sure to check our calendar and the Events listing to see what’s coming!

 

February 4th, 2015

Pattern Dictionaries – Springboard to Creativity

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Greetings from the Weaving Room!

As the daughter of a reference librarian, I grew up loving books and using them to learn about the world. It was only natural, then, when I moved into the fiber world to continue to rely on books for knowledge and inspiration. One of my favorite things to do is sit down with a pile of pattern dictionaries and page through them looking for ideas, leaving a path of colorful page markers in my wake.

Weaving pattern directories - available at yarn.com

Weaving pattern dictionaries are books that present a plethora of pattern ideas that you can then use to create a project. They will show the threading, tie up and treadling for one repeat of the pattern and usually include photos of the resulting cloth. Oftentimes you will see multiple variations in treadling or tie up to produce different patterns from the same threading. My favorite books for weaving include the vintage and ever-popular A Handweaver’s Pattern Book  by Marguerite Davison and The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon which are both for 4-shaft looms. A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patternsedited by Carol Strickler is great for the 8-shaft looms and for rigid heddle weavers there is Jane Patrick’s wonderful Weaver’s Idea Book.

Four Shaft Twill Towels, Valley Yarns Draft #33 - available at yarn.com

One of the things I love about these books is seeing the variety of patterns that can be achieved with one threading, just by changing the tie up or treadling. I feel like I’m getting more bang for my warp, so to speak, and can put on a long warp and weave lots of things without getting bored with the pattern. When I designed the Four Shaft Twill Towels (Draft #33), I put on a long warp in natural and then varied things by changing the weft colors and also by changing the tie up. It felt like each towel was new, which kept it fun, and it allowed me to make sets of towels (and you know how much I love sets that are matchy but still uniquely individual!)

Exploring huck patterns with Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo - available at yarn.com

Learning this process of translating a weaving pattern into a project draft has been very liberating for me. I often fall in love with the feel of a specific yarn and then get stuck trying to find a draft that fits. Last summer as we prepared for Convergence, I knew I needed to dress a 4-shaft loom for the floor model. I wanted to use our Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo which is soft and drapey and perfect for scarves and shawls. I looked through my pattern dictionaries, fell in love with a huck pattern and the result is the Lemongrass Scarf (draft will be available for sale in April).

So cozy up with a good book and start translating inspiration into handwovens! I’d love to see what you create.

February 3rd, 2015

Designer in Residence – Doris Chan

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Our new Designer in Residence program is off to an amazing start! This month we reveal the first design from our Crochet Designer in Residence Doris Chan, The Shawl Collar Stole.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her first design the Shawl Collar Stole in Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky - learn more at blog.yarn.com

With a bit of clever shaping, The Shawl Collar Stole is a meltingly soft stole that drapes beautifully and securely around the shoulders. The wide top band in gentle ribbing turns over to form a snuggly collar. The back is curved to create some roominess through the arms and allow the fronts to sit properly. The stole is just wide enough for comfortable coverage, but not so wide that you’re constantly sitting on the back, and the fronts have enough wrap-around length without getting in your way. Valley Superwash Bulky makes the crocheting quick and smooth, while the relaxed gauge and open lacy stitch pattern keep this stole surprisingly lightweight yet cozy without being stuffy.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

We asked Doris to tell us about about how she designs, what she finds inspiring, and to give us a hint about what we can expect to see throughout the year.

Tell us a bit about your design process. Do you have design ideas in your head that inspire you to search out the right yarn or do you find a yarn and let the design grow from there?

Unless an editor requests a specific silhouette or style, I will always begin with yarn. Yarn in the hands speaks to me in ways I don’t completely understand and begins a process not easily explained. I have referred to this process as organic designing rather than technical designing. A technical designer may create a completed project in the mind, perhaps to the point of being able to write a pattern, before ever picking up a hook. That designer has only to plug in an appropriate yarn and crochet according to the plan, or have a contract crocheter make the sample. An organic designer grows things from yarn. Sounds idiotic and overly simplistic when put that way, but it does describe how it feels to me. It’s not that technical designers don’t care about yarn or that organic designers are space cadets. Designers aren’t totally one or the other, just as no person is totally right brained or left brained. Good design is a cocktail of the two in different proportions, plus a dash of individual skill and aesthetics.

On my technical side, I possess a personal bag of crochet tricks or techniques on which I often fall back; years of experience (trial and error) have granted me a feel for seamless construction, working lace stitch patterns in relaxed gauge, shaping and manipulating fabric. But for me there can’t be design until I grok the yarn in a fairly intense, hands-on way. I sometimes take the yarn for a series of test drives(some call it swatching) before I arrive at the place I need to be. Once there is good fabric, then the project can grow from there.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you hike? jog in the city? take your camera everywhere you go? have a studio full of inspiring color and images? 

Surely you jest. I am a serious slug and hardly leave my home. As an admitted sci-fi fan geek I immerse myself not in colors and fashion or artistic images, but in works of fantasy. Not that I design sci-fi fangeek crochet (not much anyway!), but I do tap into the sense of wonder, the outside-the-box possibilities that are at the core of my favorite guilty pleasures. My friends and readers inspire me. I may ask what sort of crochet they’d like to see, and then make it so. I also look backwards quite often, seeking out images and descriptions of vintage or retro pieces that can be translated into crochet-speak and given contemporary appeal. But what inspires me most is meeting a yarn that doesn’t want to live in my usual comfort zone. This pushes me to work even farther outside the box and leads me to different techniques, fresh approaches and new solutions in order to make that yarn happy in crochet.

Tell us about your design aesthetic. What can our customers expect to see from you this year?

My aesthetic is governed by what I believe looks and feels right on the body. Wearable, doable garments and accessories in flexible, forgiving fabrics that are shaped to fit and flatter are what I love to design. I prefer working in one single solid color, the better to showcase the crochet stitchwork. BUT…occasionally I wander over to the dark side and design afghans. That’s where I play with color. Nothing is as satisfying as making something amazing for your home to look at and enjoy every day

Tell us about your favorite Valley Yarn, is there a Valley Yarn you are excited to work with? 

My favorite Valley Yarn to date, mainly for the reason that I am allergic to and cannot wear wool, is Goshen. I have designed extensively in this lovely cotton blend, and it is my go-to medium worsted yarn for my own personal crocheted garments. I eagerly anticipate working again with fine gauge Charlemont and the growing family of Valley Superwash, now in DK, worsted and bulky weights.

What designers do you like/follow? Are there designs you wish you had time to knit/crochet/sew?

Majorly unfair question. Honestly I’d rather NOT know what everyone else is doing, so as not to be unduly influenced by anyone. If you want to accuse me of being a lazy slug, that’s another way to say it. I do follow with understandable interest the work of my boss at DesigningVashti.com, Vashti Braha. She often takes her crochet in directions I fear to tread and with enviable passion.

And don’t forget, we’ll have a new design from Fiona Ellis next month and each odd numbered month of the year. Check out her designs here. And we’ll reveal the next crochet design from Doris Chan in April, and in each even numbered month this year! You can see all her designs here.

January 31st, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 388: Kathy talks with Andra Asars

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This week Kathy talks with Andra about new Berroco Spring yarns and designs, check out all four of the new yarns here. And all the wonderful pattern support.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 388 - Kathy talks with Andra Asars about the new Spring 2015 Beroco yarns program - listen now at blog.yarn.com

And check out our review of Berroco Spring 2015 yarns with Amy S!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Our 9th Annual Pre-Game Event is Tomorrow! Come by and craft, snack and maybe win some prizes with us before the game!

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

Upcoming Events:

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 30th, 2015

Road to China Lace

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Road to China Lace from The Fibre Company available at yarn.com
I will often have a chat with Stephanie, our Store Manager, and paw through her desk to see what’s new. Sometimes I’m not bowled over, but this afternoon when I stopped by to say howdy (well, actually, I stopped by because she keeps an excellent cookie stash), she just held up a gorgeous skein in a warm topaz color of the most delicate laceweight yarn I’ve seen in a long time. This beautiful new friend is The Fibre Co’s newest, Road To China Lace, and it comes in 14 smoky jewel tones. I took at look and thought that Peridot would be my go-to, but it was a hard choice. The combo of baby alpaca, silk, camel, and cashmere wound into a drapey 2-ply laceweight version of one of my favorite yarns to paw, Road To China Light, would make delicate and warm hats, shawls, scarves, cowls, or sheer sweaters to layer over a long-sleeve tee. I might use it for this cowl I’ve been thinking about making for my yoga buddy. It would be perfect to throw on under a jacket on the way to class.
How do you treat yourself with yarn? What’s your favorite luxury fiber?