My personal knitting lately has been cowls, mittens, fingerless gloves, and hats. Occasionally, for a good cause, I’ll work my way into a scarf. I just keep making excuses for not knitting a sweater, and I tell myself (and everyone else) that I just don’t have the time. That’s what knitters say when they are unmotivated, I think…”Oh…(sigh)…I wish I had the time to knit that sweater with the shawl collar, the mirrored cables and the steeked cardigan front. But…sigh…I’ve just been so BUSY.”
Well, forget it. When wandering in the store a few days ago, the most gorgeous sweater caught my eye, and once I turned it inside-out to check the construction, I realized that there was nary a seam to be found. And, it was completely flattering on anyone who put it on, no matter their shape or size. Here you see it modeled by Andrea, our Website Coordinator. The pattern is called “Caramel” by Isabell Kraemer, and it’s available as a free download on Ravelry. If you click on the project gallery for the sweater, you’ll see it in the most adorable striped in a wide variety of fibers. Our test knitter, Susan Drew (hanoverknitter on Ravelry) used Shalimar Homage DK in Byzantium (the purple stripes) and Black Truffle (the gray background color). I wish you could feel how soft and delicious this sweater is, and see how beautiful the combination of superwash merino, cashmere, and silk can be.
I hope that you local folks will check this garment out if you are in the store; and if you’re more than a car-ride away from us, take a peek at who on Ravelry is working on this superstar sweater. It’s going in my queue! What’s your next project? Sweater, socks, or more winter woolies? Let us know in the comments below!
Judie designed the lovely Lake Superior Sandstone Scarves in both 16 and 8-shafts and each has wonderful drape because of the 8/2 Tencel. With the sandstone cliffs of her childhood vacation spot in mind Judie pulled together the saturated colors of tencel and gently undulating curves for the 16-shaft draft and while the 8-shaft version lacks the waves, there are stunning ripples and bands of color.
Judie discovered WEBS in the ’80s and says, “I first met WEBS in 1986 when visiting my late in-laws, Hugh and Lucy Raup. They lived in a big house on the Common in Petersham, and a friend of theirs, whose daughter was a weaver, told me about this Wonderful Yarn Store over in Amherst. We took an afternoon and drove over to see the place – and it was love at first sight. For several years, my big treat on our semiannual visits to Massachusetts was a trip to WEBS.
Somewhere in there I approached Barbara about teaching a color class on our next visit, a plan to which she readily agreed. I don’t remember the date, but I do remember the kids-in-a- candy store looks on the faces of the students when I announced that their materials fee included anything in the warehouse – the deal was “all you can weave” during the two days of the class. “
Judie teaches and lectures nationally, and writes about weaving and related topics for magazines. Notable for its use of color and blending, her woven work, polymer clay jewelry and Temari have been featured in Handwoven, Weavers’ magazine and Complex Weavers Journal, and seen at a variety of fiber shows, galleries and shops.
This week’s post comes from Jackie; a knitter, weaver, new crocheter and one of our fabulous Customer Service Representatives.
When I’m using a knitting yarn that comes in balls or one I wound into a ball for warping my rigid heddle loom, I put the yarn in a shoe box and thread it through a hole poked in the box. This lets me warp the loom without the yarn rolling around on the floor. It also has the added bonus of keeping my “helpful” pets away from it.
Part of our Anniversary celebrations this year includes new designs for some of our favorite Valley Yarns. Today we’re highlighting our Valley Yarns Colrain Lace.
The Mixed Tide Shawl from Janice Kang is a stunning, lacy wrap made with cleverly arranged, elongated stitches framed by easy garter stitch. Janice is a longtime friend of WEBS who never ceases to stun our staff with her beautiful knitwear when she visits our booths at Stitches West each year.
She was excited to work with our Valley Yarns Colrain Lace. The merino and tencel blend yarn has beautiful drape and subtle shimmer, and with 20 different colors to choose from there’s a shade for everyone. You can find more of Janice’s designs on Ravelry.
This is one of the little surprises we’ve had tucked up our sleeve since the beginning of the year and we’re excited to reveal it. To help us celebrate our 40th Anniversary our friends at Berroco pulled together a collection that is exclusive to Webs until June! Best of Berroco from WEBS features 4 classic patterns that have been reworked in new colors and yarns.
The Deran hat which made it’s debut in Berroco booklet #303 is the second pattern, and though originally knit in Berroco Remix in a creamy natural color it has been updated in the new and vibrant Poppy colorway.
We were recently contacted by Lisa McFetridge, who designed the Boston Strong Hat. She asked if we would be interested in offering the pattern for sale on our website and donating the proceeds to OneFundBoston (which continues to offer support to the families effected). We didn’t have to consider our answer for very long.
Many of us on the WEBS staff are runners, and even more of us grew up in Massachusetts. Having grown up in Massachusetts myself, my family and I spent a lot of time visiting Boston while growing up and loved it (so much that I considered going to school there and moving to that side of the state). Many of us recall last April 15th and watching the frightening events. Several of us even knew people who were running or in Boston to support their runner. Even more, we recall the victims and the incredible strength that the survivors and first responders showed, and continue to show.
The hat includes instruction on making a close fitting skull cap or a taller ski cap style. It features the Boston skyline, the phrase “Boston Strong,” and four stars to commemorate the victims of that day. The suggested yarn is Cascade 220 in Blue Velvet and Goldenrod.
With this year’s Boston Marathon approaching in a couple months, we hope you’ll consider purchasing the pattern and supporting OneFundBoston.
Walk in the door of WEBS’ retail store in Northampton and you will be greeted by one of the folks pictured above. This is our crew and they represent countless years of experience in the fiber arts. On any given day we have 6 – 9 staff on hand to keep things running smoothly and the cast of characters varies from day to day, as this is no ordinary 9-5 job.
I am Leslie Ann and I co-manage the store with Stephanie, helped by our Assistant Manager Bonnie. We work as a team, balancing our strengths to keep the skeins spinning and things on course. Stephanie is the Master Yarn Mover, Bonnie is known for her customer service and I am fluent in the language of weaving, with special emphasis on translating for beginners.
We are lucky to have a crew with great expertise. In addition to being skilled knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners and felters, our staff possess hidden talents and super powers that they use to help our customers. Marion is our Button Maven and can help you find the perfect match among our vast collection, while Maryanne excels at helping people pick patterns and yarn colors that will flatter. Can’t remember the name of that pattern you saw 3 months ago? J will come to the rescue! Likewise, Ashley can identify random yarn faster than a spinning spindle.
We also have Mary the Gauge Whisperer and Gail, who dyes every day. Katie claims to have laser vision and Marthe tames the unruly shelves in the warehouse, while many others possess the strength of great and friendly customer service. Nancy keeps us laughing with her sense of humor, we have an in-house animal rescue league and an expert yarn untangler often found at the winding station.
Our diverse interests, both fiber-related and outside of work keep things lively in the store. We share our projects – WIPs, FOs, and pipe dreams. We laugh about crazy patterns we’ve seen and ooh and ahh over the new yarns. One and all, we are super yarn enablers and egg each other on when we see someone petting a skein or making piles of colors.
It’s a people-loving bunch and we enjoy getting to know our customers, so introduce yourself when you’re in the store and let us help you with your fibery needs.
The Magic Loop method is a great way to knit socks, but it can be tricky to pick up stitches for the heel flap. It’s often hard to get enough slack to make it comfortable to pick up stitches without undoing the magic loop. Try using an interchangeable needle tip to pick up stitches instead. In the image on the left, the stitches are being picked up with the interchangeable tip. On the right, you can slide the stitches off the interchangeable tip by placing the tip of your working needle up against the back of the interchangeable tip. This is an easy way to slide the stitches off one needle and onto the other.