December 11th, 2014

Ask WEBS – We want your questions!

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Early in 2015 we’re going to start answering your fiber queries twice each month but first we need to know: What do you want to know?!

Ask WEBS! Tell us what you really want to know. http://blog.yarn.com

Tell us what you have trouble with. What totally stumps you? What do you wish you could understand more clearly? We have experts on hand in knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving so bring on the questions! Ask WEBS and let us offer you some expert answers.

December 10th, 2014

Gifts for Weavers

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Stumped by what to get for the weaver in your life? It can be tricky when you do not speak the language or know the tribal customs of this particular breed of fiber enthusiast. But fear not, for I am a professional weaving enabler and I can provide insight into this dilemma. As with most of my gifting, I try to look for something special, something that the giftee might not necessarily buy for her/himself. The choices range from tools to enhance the weaving process to luxury fibers to make a unique woven piece.

Schacht variable dent heddle for rigid heddle looms - available at yarn.com

 

Schacht’s Variable Dent Heddle (for the Flip Rigid Heddle Loom) allows weavers to create one-of-a-kind pieces by combining different yarns together in a single warp. The heddle consists of a frame with sections of varying dents that can be combined in any order, providing limitless possibilities for beautiful woven projects!

 

Yarn to Yards Balance - available at yarn.com

 

Those of us who have been grabbed by fiber lust often find ourselves with mystery cones and skeins with no labels, leaving us to wonder if we have enough yarn to weave that special *thing*. The Yarn to Yards Balance is here to answer those questions with a simplicity that is ingenious. A length of yarn is balanced on the device and then measured to find yards per pound. No fuss, no muss, and no batteries needed.

Another tool new weavers often delay getting is the indispensable Bobbin Winder. Sturdy and simple, these tools last forever and take the drudgery out of winding bobbins of thread to weave. They offer a distinct advantage over homemade options by allowing a degree of control that produces a better wound bobbin (one of the keys to good selvedges).

Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere - available at yarn.com

 

Silk. Cashmere. Need I say more? Okay, maybe some specifics – how about a skein of Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere, the epitome of luxury in a skein. These skeins have great yardage, with enough in one skein for weft for a softer-than-soft scarf. It pairs beautifully with our 2/10 Merino Tencel as warp (ask me how I know).

Schacht Inkle Loom - available at yarn.com

 

Then we have a fun loom for kids and adults alike – the Inkle Loom. This loom is for weaving narrow bands that are great for belts, guitar and camera straps, and as strips to piece or weave together into larger projects. We sell the Schacht Inkle Loom individually, or as a gift set that adds in a shuttle to weave with and Anne Dixon’s great book, The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory, which is filled with colorful, inspiring designs in addition to basic weaving instructions. A smaller version of the loom is also available, the Ashford Inklette.

And, finally, no wish list would be complete without mentioning gift cards, the present that fits everyone regardless of size, color and fiber preferences!

Surprise your favorite weaver with something special and watch the fun as the creativity is unleashed!

December 9th, 2014

What to buy with your WEBS Gift Card or eGift Card – Blocking Tools

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Hopefully you’ll be the happy recipient of more than one WEBS Gift Card or eGift Card this holiday season. Deciding what to spend them on can be overwhelming with so much to choose from, but whether you’re a veteran knitter or a newbie crocheter there is nothing that finishes your work quite like a good blocking, and the right tools can make all the difference.

Blocking tools for every knitter and crocheter available at yarn.com

First you’ll need a surface to block on and we carry 4 great options. Our large and small Blocking Boards feature a grid that helps you easily lay out and measure your work and they fold up for easy storage. The Blocking Mats from Knitters Pride can be arranged in different shapes to accommodate shawls and sweater pieces, and the Block n Roll Mat also features a grid to keep your edges even while blocking and rolls up for convenient storage.

Once your blocking surface is all set up you’ll need something to keep your finished piece in place while you steam or while it dries after a good soaking. If you’re working on a lace piece the Lace Blocking Wires can turn a tedious job of pinning out points into a quick and easy task! If you’re working on a larger and more substantial piece you may want to consider the Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers, these easy to handle tabs have multiple pins to make the process go even faster. And there’s always the standard T-pins, perfect for every project!

Consider what blocking tools are right for you as you plan your after holidays shopping, and remember you can always add items to your wishlist to share with family and friends as well!

December 8th, 2014

Gifts to Make – When there’s just days to go!

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When your remaining days of gift knitting can be counted on your fingers you know it’s crunch time. Our Essential Accessories eBook has five quick and simple wardrobe staples that everyone needs and loves!

Valley Yarns Essential Accessories eBook - available exclusively at yarn.comThe Knit and Purl Cowl, knit in Amherst, offers four different stitch patterns to choose from, stick with one for the whole projects or change it up with textured stripes. The Simple Shawl is just that! An easy triangle shawl knit from the top down in Valley Yarns Huntington. The Essential Fingerless Gloves, knit in Stockbridge are just the thing to stave off the chills at the office, in the car or shopping around town. The Basic Hat from measurements, shown in Northampton, is THE hat pattern to have in your stash. Knit whatever hat size you need in whatever yarn you have on hand with this handy pattern! And the Basic Heel-Flap Sock may be the perfect basic sock pattern, and it shows of the colors in Franklin so beautifully.

Valley Yarns Essential Accessories eBook - available exclusively at yarn.com

Which will you knit first?

December 6th, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! 381: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Weaving Manager, Leslie Ann Bestor, about the perfect gifts for the fiber enthusiast in your life.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 381 - Kathy Talks with Leslie Ann Bestor about the best gifts for the knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers in your life this holiday season. Find these gifts and more at yarn.com

Kathy and Leslie Ann discuss the following products this week:

Yarns: Sweet Georgia Cashsilk Lace, Artyarns Beaded Silk and Sequins Light, Artyarns Ensemble 4

Bags: Hadaki Travel Essentials kit, Della Q Rosemary bag, Namaste Poppins bag

Needles/Hooks: Knitters Pride Symfonie Rose Crochet Hook setKnitter’s Pride Marblz Interchangeable Needles set

For Spinners: The Spinners Book of FleeceThree Feet of Sheep, Spinning Fibers, Spinning Wheels, Schacht Niddy-Noddy

For Weavers: Bluster Bay Shuttles will be available in 2015, Schacht Variable Dent Reed

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Reminder:

Tomorrow is the 11th Annual Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage! Our team will be walking and running and we’re still taking donations through December 31st. You can donate to the team here. Or you can purchase a copy of the Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear patten, the cost of each pattern is donated to Safe Passage.

Upcoming Events:

Winter/Spring 2015 Classes will be on the website next week!

Next week Steve and Kathy wrap up our 40th Year!

WEBS retail store will be open only two more Sundays – through December 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
December 5th, 2014

Candle’s Glow

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It’s almost Hanukkah! Hanukkah is really such a minor holiday in the Jewish lineup, but it gets a lot of play because it usually happens within a month or so of Christmas, which obviously gets major play. I think a lot of folks think it’s the counterpart to Christmas. In any case, it starts on December 16th. I’m sure a lot of you will be giving knitted, crocheted, or woven gifts for the Festival of Lights. I’ve compiled a few ideas that would go well with latkes and sufganyiot (the delicious fried jelly doughnuts that are traditional at Hanukkah).

knitted menorahNo discussion of menorah-craft would be complete without an homage to this fantastic pattern designed by my dear friend Ping Wood: A knitted menorah with knitted candles, and a pocket to keep them in! Genius, I tell you. She even designed a spin-off, a knitted Advent Candle hanging. Candles and pine boughs are always classy.candles and pine boughs

While poking around on Ravelry, I found this menorah pillow in Melanie Falick’s beautiful book Handknit Holidays, which has gorgeous knitted gifts for every winter holiday. This pillow is knit in creamy white, and I think it’s set off beautifully.

creamy white menorah pillow

Photo credit: Moontea

Quirky woodcut holiday cardsLastly, my enormously creative co-workers have designed some holiday fun that you’ll enjoy year-round. Jamie Sweeney did quirky and cool woodcut cards that would be fun to include with a gift or sent on their own to friends to say “howdy.” Gail Callahan, AKA KangarooDyer, dyed these luxurious silk scarves that are not only gorgeous but useful (under a scratchy turtleneck, or to add flair to a woolen overcoat). Proceeds from both of these gifts goes to Safe Passage, a local institution that provides shelter and necessities to women and families who have been victims of domestic violence.hand-dyed silk scarves for Safe Passage

Enjoy this winter’s joys!

December 2nd, 2014

The Tirrick Shawl by Gudrun Johnston

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The Tirrick Shawl, designed by Gudrun Johnston in our 40th Anniversary Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color, is a lacy semi-circular shawl knit from the widest edge in five wedge sections, with each section decreasing until you end up with just a few stitches. Based off of a simple Shetland lace pattern with a background of stockinette, not garter as is most common in Shetland lace patterns, this shawl is sure to fly off your needles as each row goes faster than the last!

Tirrick Promo

Gudrun was born in Shetland in the 70’s while her mother was running the successful knitwear design company, The Shetland Trader. Gudrun has revived the use of The Shetland Trader name and often includes aspects of her Shetland heritage in her designs, mostly utilizing traditional lace patterns in a contemporary context. Gudrun is local to WEBS, is one of our favorite customers,and has even taken classes with us!

Tirrick Promo FB

December 1st, 2014

Gifts to Make – Perfect Crochet

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Whether you’re in need of a few last minute gifts for friends and family, or searching for the perfect gift for yourself, we have what you’re looking for. Cowls and shawlshave been very popular this year and there are so many patterns to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to three of our favorites.

crochet post_edited-1

The Vanda Stole from Valley Yarns features a center out construction and an open lacey design that’s sure to work up quickly and would be a perfect project to pick up a few skeins of our 40th Anniversary Northfield hand dyed by Malabrigo.

The Valley Cowl designed by Doris Chan is a luscious, lacy  infinity style cowl, worked from the center out in a figure 8 with no seams! . Worn as a shoulder wrap or double-twisted around the head as a hood, it makes a lovely, practical and quick-to-crochet gift.

Linda Permann’s Zigzag Cowl not only takes advantage of the long color repeats of Cascade Yarns Tangier but it’s all worked with a single skein!

November 29th, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! Flashback

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We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Kathy and Steve are off this week celebrating the holiday with friends and family but you can enjoy a classic Ready, Set, Knit!  from way back in November of 2011 when Kathy interviewed Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. Listen Here now.

rsk flashback for 11 29 2014

Upcoming Events:

WEBS retail store will be open Sundays through December 14th.

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

Don’t forget that we’re collecting Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bears for Safe Passage, you can read all the details here.

November 28th, 2014

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – The Welcome Home Blanket

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A fresh and modern interpretation, the Welcome Home Blanket knits up quick with Valley Superwash Bulky to make a soft and machine washable heirloom in your favorite colors.

The Welcome Home Blanket pattern knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky - PDF download available at yarn.com

Perfect for a warming up a new house, welcoming family back, or bringing new family members home, the Welcome Home Blanket can be knit in different sizes for any occasion. Cheery, unisex colors and the classic feather and fan stitch pattern just feel like home. (HINT: Newborns, graduations, consolations or house warmings)