November 8th, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! 378: Kathy talks with Julie Turjoman

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This week Kathy talks with returning guest, Julie Turjoman, about her latest book:  A Head For Trouble: What To Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 378 - Kathy interviews Julie Turjoman about her new book, A Head for Trouble-What to Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders - available at yarn.com

In this episode they discuss Julie’s inspiration, the plucky lady detectives from roaring 20’s themed mystery novels, as well as the actual fashion of the 1920’s that informed her designs.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Upcoming Events:

Nov. 22 – Is Bag Day in Northampton! Get your shopping lists planned.

WEBS retail store will be open Sundays from 12-5 starting Nov 23rd – 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.

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
November 7th, 2014

Valley Yarns Brimfield Voted Most Congenial!

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As I was passing a co-worker’s desk yesterday, I saw a yarn I hadn’t seen before, being knit in a cute seed-stitchy pattern in the round. Something about the way the yarn seemed to hug the needles and at the same time, jump out in a beautifully defined stitch pattern called to me. I could not resist squishing it for the longest time until I had to be called off like a dog with a bone he just found in the back yard.

jewel tones and rich neutrals in Valley Yarns Brimfield.

Valley Yarns Brimfield might be the bestest thing ever-smooth, cool to the touch because of the combination of merino and silk, and best of all, most congenial in that it could be used for just about anything on just about any kind of needle. Bamboo? Bring it on. Karbonz? Of course. The colors are straightforward no-nonsense neutrals and jewel-tones, so you could make a great scarf and hat set, or, my preference, this lovely sweater by Norah Gaughan called East Lake, found in Volume 3 of her Berroco collection of patterns.

Stitch patterns in a cunningly constructed sweater.

photo copyright Berroco

 

What would you knit in this user-friendly yarn? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 6th, 2014

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – Deep Woods Poncho

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The Deep Woods Poncho is a fantastic layering piece for chilly autumn evenings and cold winter days. Toss it on over your shoulders for that extra bit of warmth or wear it tucked up around your neck under your coat for super insulation.

The Deep Woods Poncho from Valley Yarns, crocheted in Valley Yarns BFL Worsted - available at yarn.com

Crocheted in Valley Yarns BFL Worsted this top-down, high-necked poncho combines three simple stitches to create a beautifully textured and fluid fabric that hugs the shoulders without being restrictive. The secret to avoiding the pooling that can happen when crocheting with hand dyed yarns is to alternate skeins. Since this project calls for 3 skeins of the BFL Worsted you’ll work with all your skeins right from the beginning, changing yarn at the beginning of each row instead of using skein #1 from beginning to end and then using skein #2  and then skein #3.

November 4th, 2014

Snow Family KAL! – Week 1

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We’ve had so much fun with our Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear KAL that we thought we’d keep going with the adorable Snow Family and Evergreens that graced the cover of our Holiday 2014 Catalog!

#SnowFamilyKAL on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

The pattern calls for 4 Valley Yarns: Huntington, Valley Superwash DK, Valley Superwash and Northampton. The great thing about this pattern is that you can make the members of the Snow Family with almost any yarn! Just knit with the recommended needles at the recommended gauge.

#SnowFamilyKAL on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

This week you’ll want to get the body, or bodies, of your snow people knit. I’m making mine in Huntington and it’s only taking me about 2 hours per snow person, they work up pretty quick! Next week we’ll stuff and shape the snow people and add their adorable faces.

November 1st, 2014

Ready, Set, Knit! – Flashback

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There’s no new show this week but we dug into the archives and found a great interview with Clara Parkes when her book, The Knitter’s Book of Socks, was brand new. And be sure to check out Clara’s other titles, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, all excellent titles that will expand and enhance your knowledge of fiber and there’s quite a few great patterns as well!

Ready, Set, Knit! November 1, 2014 - Flashback to an interview with Clara Parkes from Oct of 2011

Upcoming Events:

Check out the #HotChocolateHolidays crafting evenings and get a jump on your holiday gift crafting!

Nov. 22 – Is Bag Day in Northampton! Get your shopping lists planned.

WEBS will be open on Sundays, noon-5pm, starting on November 23rd 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.

October 31st, 2014

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – Rail Trail Mitts

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The Rail Trail Mitts aren’t just convertible – they’re convertibly convertible! The pattern includes directions for fingerless mitts, full mittens, or convertible mitts that turn into mittens with a flip of its top. The fun colorwork pattern pulls double duty, providing both visual interest and extra warmth and durability.

The Rail Trail Mitts, knit in Valley Yarns BFL Fingering hand dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer - Available exclusively at yarn.com

The rich colors of BFL Fingering will be a hit with outdoorsy folks who need to keep their hands warm. (HINT: Anyone who bikes to work in cold weather)

October 30th, 2014

Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear – KAL Week 5

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We’re almost done!! Now that you’ve got your bear assembled we can add the last few bits that give him personality and really bring him to life.

#PolarBearKAL Week 5 at yarn.com

Take the time to map out your bears’s features. You can use tailors chalk, or small pieces of felt, or paper, pinned in place. Once you know where you want his nose and eyes to be start by sewing on his nose. I use the tails from casting on and binding off for this and I made sure they were extra long. I use one tail to sew almost the whole nose onto the face leaving a small opening, then I secure that tail and tuck the rest inside the nose as a bit of stuffing. With the other tail I finish securing the nose to the face and then use it to embroider the eyes. Once that’s done I’ll use the remaining tail to give the fingers definition with two simple stitches at the end of each arm.

#PolarBearKAL Week 5 at yarn.com

Now you only have to make the red hat and striped scarf and you’ve completed the project! The scarf is super simple garter stitch and when you’re ready to change colors you just bring the new color up along the side, being careful not to pull too tightly, and knit the new row. The hat is also very easy and should take almost no time at all!

And there is our completed bear! Thanks so much for joining in, be sure to post your finished Polar Bears here, or to our Facebook wall, on Instagram with the hashtag #PolarBearKAL, or in the All Things WEBS Group on Ravelry. Remember that the cost of every pattern purchased goes directly to charity. Thanks to all of you buying the pattern we have already raised over $500.00 for Safe Passage – you all are AMAZING! You can follow our Polar Bear‘s fundraising efforts here.

#SnowFamilyKAL starts on November 4th join in at blog.yarn.com

And get ready for our next big project, the #SnowFamilyKAL. Pick up your copy of the pattern, your yarn (I’ll be making mine with Huntington) and your needles and meet me back here on November 4th!

October 29th, 2014

Celebration – Overshot Runner draft by Ute Bargmann

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This month’s special 40th Anniversary Draft, the Celebration Overshot Runner, was designed by Ute Bargmann and is worked in our 10/2 Valley Cotton and our 5/2 Valley Cotton.

Celebration draft promo

About designing the draft Ute says, “I’ve known Barbara Elkins as a weaving wonder since the 1980’s. I wanted to create a design that reflected my respect while celebrating this wonderful 40th anniversary. This runner is an overshot name draft derived from the phrase: WEBS – 40 Great Years for Weavers. I hope it conveys my best wishes for the next 40 years!”

Celebration FB size promo2

 

She also suggests, “Wind a 2-yard warp of 368 ends. This includes 1 floating selvedge, Use the last warp end on the left as your left floating selvedge (do not thread through heddle, but sley in its own dent). And you will have enough warp to weave a sample to practice your beat and familiarize yourself with the treadling. I suggest this!”

 

October 28th, 2014

Shuttle Shenanigans

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Beginning to weave is an exciting adventure that opens the door to so much – creativity, color, texture, pattern and more. It is also overwhelming at times to learn the new language (sley? heddle? tromp as writ?!) not to mention the huge variety of tools.

One of the most basic tools is the shuttle, which holds and carries the yarn to weave the cloth. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why are there so many different ones and how am I supposed to know which one to use?! It’s enough to make you cry, but that will stain the wood, so let me break it down for you. We’ll start with the major types of shuttles.

boat shuttlesBoat Shuttles

Boat shuttles are longish, narrow wooden shuttles that are open in the center with a long metal shaft that holds the bobbin of yarn. Boats can be open underneath the bobbin or closed (solid wood) underneath. The profile of a shuttle refers to its height; a slim shuttle will be shorter and fit into a narrower shed (the opening between the threads that the shuttle passes through). Double boat shuttles can hold two bobbins of yarn. The yarn in a boat shuttle feeds off the bobbin and through a slot or hole in the side of the shuttle.

Stick Shuttles

stick shuttlesStick shuttles are thin flat pieces of wood that have notches at both ends. They also come in a variety of lengths, anywhere from 6” up to 30”. It is much easier to work with a shuttle that is slightly longer than the width of your project. If it is too long, you will end up whacking the walls and doing a bit of flailing; too short and you will have to reach into the shed  to grab the shuttle. A Belt shuttle is a short stick shuttle that has one beveled edge so that it can be used to beat the yarn in. Belt shuttles are often used with inkle, card and backstrap weaving.

Rag, Rug & Ski Shuttles

rag, rug & ski shuttlesRag shuttles look like two thin tapered pieces of wood with columns in between. This is so you can wind a lot of strips of cut or torn rags, which are rather bulky, onto the shuttle.

A rug shuttle is used as its name suggests – to weave rugs. It is a solid, square-ish piece of wood with groves along the sides and notches at the end to hold the yarn (I think of it as a stick shuttle on steroids); it needs the extra heft to carry the heavier rug yarns. As with stick shuttles, choose a rug shuttle based on the width of your project.

A ski shuttle has a wooden base with upturned ends (like a ski!) and an upright center to wrap the yarn around. It can be used for yarns that are too bulky for a boat shuttle, but it slides along the warp which is an advantage over a stick shuttle.

How to Choose a Shuttle

First you have to choose the type that is suitable for your loom and project. Boat shuttles feed yarn more evenly and quickly because of the bobbin and are generally the shuttle of choice for multi-harness looms. Rigid heddle weavers will sometimes use boats, though in my  personal experience I limit them to narrower warps as they can nose dive to the floor on wider warps. Stick shuttles work well for rigid heddles and other smaller looms, as well as for some hand-manipulated weaves on larger looms. Rug and rag shuttles – self-explanatory.

Photo by Lindsey TophamBoat shuttles have a number of variables to further influence your choice. Open or closed bottom? Closed bottom will glide more smoothly, open bottom allows you to use your fingers as a brake on the bobbin and are lighter in weight. Weight is an important factor in choosing a shuttle. In general, you want to pick the lightest shuttle that serves your weaving needs, to lessen the strain on your hands, though on occasion you may need something heavier to throw across a wider warp.

If you have the chance to try shuttles in person, take advantage of it. Hold it in your hand and mimic your throwing motion. Evaluate how it fits in your hand, how easy it is to grasp. As with many fine tools, it often comes down to personal preference so listen to your body and don’t be afraid to experiment with different shuttle types. You will probably also find that different projects require different shuttles (which is how we end up with a variety on the shelf next to the loom!).

WEBS 40th Anniversary Shuttle

 

 

October 27th, 2014

Celebrate WEBS 40th Anniversary with Rowan Yarns!

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Our friends at Rowan have pulled together three great patterns knit in Rowan Fine Art to help us celebrate this year. The Verdant Lace Shawl is a wonderful wrap knit in a simple eyelet pattern, perfect for keeping you cozy without being too warm. The Lace Panel Cowl is knit flat with a provisional cast on to make it easier to join into a cowl, and with a simple 8-row lace repeat this one will fly off your needles. Finally, the Cable and Lace Scarf has an intriguing stitch pattern that alternates between cables and lace, and can easily be made wider to be worn as a stole.

Rowan 40th Anniversary Patterns for WEBS - available exclusively at yarn.com

Any of these pattern would make a wonderful and quick Holiday gift or just a little something special for yourself! Which color of Fine Art will you use?