Many years ago, while listening to a New Year’s podcast of Cast On with Brenda Dayne, she uttered the phrase “Begin as you mean to go on” and it has stuck with me to this day. I reflect on it every year as January 1st approaches, this idea of anchoring intentions with action, solidifying new beginnings by consciously working on them. Some choose to make resolutions or set goals, but for me the simplicity of that phrase means that I begin by doing.
The first step is reflection, looking back at this year and forward to the one to come. And then I plan for a New Year’s Day that includes the things I want to nurture in my life. Weaving and spinning are both on the list, of course. It’s easy to get carried away with a 3-page list of ideas, but I’m narrowing it down so that I can enjoy some quality time with my creative side as well as my family.
I want to make something for my sister so I dusted off my inkle loom and weaving cards and pulled out Candace Crockett’s great book , Card Weavingfor inspiration. I forgot how quick and easy it is to set this up and get weaving! I’ve started a narrow band (1/4″) to use as a strap to hold her thread snips while weaving. It will be a fun project and small enough that I’ll be able to weave serious yardage that day.
On the spinning side, I’ve just about finished spinning a bundle of Frabjous Fibers 3 Feet of Sheep and I’ve been pondering how I’m going to ply it. Lo and behold, I walk past the spinning area today and see the new issue of PLY magazine, with the theme of plying! I love this magazine for its in-depth articles and tutorials and I’m looking forward to curling up with it tonight and exploring ideas for what to do with my singles. My project for January 1st will be to ply these gorgeous colors into a stunning yarn.
So that is how I plan to begin the new year, doing the things I love and will continue to do throughout the year. What will you begin as you mean to go on?
It’s that wonderful time of year when Steve needs to clear the shelves to make room for the incoming inventory of new yarns for 2017, and that means incredible prices on closeouts, discontinued colors, overstock yarns and more. Stock up on favorites from Cascade, Berroco and Plymouth, as well as over a dozen yarns from Rowan and a great selection from Noro, K1C2 and other favorite brands. Don’t believe me? Here’s Steve to tell you more!
With over 100 items in the sale you’ll find just what you need for a winter’s worth of fantastic knitting, crochet and weaving projects! The Sale starts online tomorrow, December 20 and in our retail store December 26, and ends Monday, January 2, 2017. Check the Preview flyer for all the details!
WEBS closes at 4pm on Saturday Dec. 24th and Saturday Dec. 31st.
WEBS is closed Sunday Dec. 25th and Sunday Jan. 1st.
Some of these yarns are closeouts and no further inventory is available, please make note of second and third color choices in the special instructions during checkout, so you don’t miss out on yarn you really want!
Shannon and Jane both learned to knit as a children but didn’t start designing until they were moms. They met back in 2010 when they both lived on Vancouver Island and this is their 4th book together. They worked to get all of the photography done in a single day and each hard copy of the book comes with a unique code to get your e-copy of the book as well as PDFs of the patterns that are easier to print.
I’ve been unsettled lately. The universe seems to be sending me (and lots of people I know) signs that we need to simplify, focus, cultivate warmth and compassion. Of course, I turn to knitting, as it is one of the crafts I can count on to engage my mind without leaving much room for thinking about what seems to be a bleak next few months. A yarn I’ve been loving is West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious, a serious wooly wool that isn’t scratchy or fuzzy. West Yorkshire Spinners are based in England (of course!) and source their wool locally, processing it in a very traditional way on state of the art equipment. It’s the best of both worlds or handmade craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. The result is a tightly spun DK-weight yarn in 12 delicious colors to use as you’d like. Stranding, cables, textures, open-work; Illustrious can do it all.
West Yorkshire Spinners commissioned designer Emma Wright to come up with a series of garments, accessories, and wearables to showcase Illustrious, and her 11 patterns reflect the design process from start to finish. I’ve been eyeing a fantastic colorwork cardigan called Hermione so I can use as many of those 12 colors as possible.
What kind of knitting takes you to a happier place? Let us know in the comments.
Just in time for the holidays you can whip up a bright and colorful cardigan for the little person in your life! The Honeycomb Child’s Cardigan features bright, striped sleeves and a whimsical honeycomb pattern on the body. Valley Superwash Bulky is a soft, machine-washable yarn that is perfect for kids, and with ingenious knit-in buttons this one is safe for your curious toddler! Designer Melissa Metzbower learned to knit as a teen and started creating her own patterns when she couldn’t find the right clothes for her sensitive skinned daughter. She says her designs are need driven, and very practical. Since they are geared toward busy people most of the designs call for washable yarns, and are meant to be as knitter-friendly as possible. Melissa really enjoyed getting to work with this yarn, “I absolutely love the squishiness of Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky. This project was one I was sorry to see finished. The colors are so rich, the yarn knits up quickly, and the squish!!! Yum! The bonus to this yarn is that it is washable. Love that!”
And everyone needs a great last minute knit that looks fabulous, and the Firelight Shawl fits the bill! Whether you need a gift or something for yourself, just 3 skeins of Valley Superwash Bulky becomes a stunning little shawl, and when worked in a bold color it’s the ideal accessory to make you holiday outfit pop. Worked bottom up so the lace is worked through first this shawl finishes with short-row shaping and nearly mindless stockinette! With an interesting combination of color and texture, designer Kimberly Voisin has created a classic layering piece that really spans the seasons. A trained designer that found herself constantly making changes to other people’s patterns, Kimberly began designing her own patterns and hasn’t looked back. For her first Valley Yarns design she says, “The thing I loved most about this yarn was the rich color. It was beautiful. The yarn was also incredibly soft which made it a pleasure to work with.”
What quick, bulky patterns are you casting on this week?
This week Kathy talks with Amy Small, owner of Knit Collage.
Amy designed sweaters for Free People just out of college and learned to spin during that time. After living and working in Hong Kong as a freelance designer she founded her company in 2010. Check out her website to learn all about the collective of woman that handspin every skein of her yarns!
WEBS carries Spun Cloud, a super chunky roving style yarn plied with gold and silver lurex and Cast Away a blend of 10+ colors all spun into the same yarn with a quirky core-spun think n thin texture.
It’s the perfect time of year to wrap yourself up in the squishy comfort of an extra long cowl. Whether you prefer to wear it long like a scarf or scrunch it up doubled for extra warmth the Blue Quartz Cowl is the ideal piece to add to your winter wardrobe.
Designer Fatimah Hinds drew on her background as a geologist to craft an interlocking matrix of cables and lace that evokes the beauty of a quartz crystal. Worked sideways and seamed this pattern can be easily customized to your perfect length. And when knit in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky, with it’s combination of incredible loft and softness, it easily becomes a go-to knit for that perfect holiday gift.
I love unusual little things – handy tools that tuck into pockets or small pouches, ordinary accessories that are made with a special touch, small gifts that don’t break the bank yet bring smiles and joy. Naturally, that means I delight in the holiday season and the chance to search for little treasures to surprise my family and friends. Part of the joy for me is finding something special that the giftee can use in creating things. Don’t get me wrong, nothing beats a box of bonbons, but I am a practical person and want the gift to be useful and long lasting.
With that in mind, I cast my eye around the weaving and spinning realm to see what little delights fit the bill. First there are the unsung heroines of weaving – the Floating Sues, made by Jim Hokett. These beautiful gadgets fall into the category of “that’s so simple, I could have made it myself”, which then leads to “but why would I make them when these are so beautiful and such a great deal”. Floating Sues look like a spindle with hooks on both ends and a beautiful chunk of wood in the middle. They are made to hang on floating selvages or to weight down broken warp ends. After years of dealing with canisters of pennies and fishing weights, I love the simplicity and ease of these. They come in 2 size options and if I need more weight I can add something on the bottom hook.
For spinners, we recently started carrying Snyder Spindles, wonderful little Turkish drop spindles made from beautiful woods or with colorful 3D printed arms. I wrote about them in the this post last month, so it felt like cheating to go on about them again, so I turned my gaze farther afield and spied the shimmery braids of 50/50 Merino Tencel Top from Frabjous Fibers. I know it’s a bit fluffy to stuff into a pocket, but it’s a wonderful gift, nonetheless. It’s something new and different, the colorways are dreamy and that shine! I envision spinning a lightweight 2-ply to knit into a sensuous shawl.
And for those of you in our neck of the woods, drop by the store to see the gift table up front. There are many small trinkets we brought in just for the holidays, all of them fiber-related and fun – gift tags, mugs, laser-carved wooden gauges and ornaments and more. They are here for now and in small quantities, so you will only find them in the store. Come in and take a look!
This week Kathy talks with Della Q about the origins of her company and the great products she makes for knitters and crocheters.
Learn all about how she sources her fabrics, and how hard she’s worked to make sure she’s making the best, most useful product. Browse the full line of bags and needle/hook organizers at WEBS and be sure to check out Della’s Ultimate Needle Tracker.
In what has become a yearly tradition for WEBS, our employees will be walking and running in the Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage on December 4th. Now in it’s 13th year, and with this being our 6th year of participating, this event has become an important part of our lives.
Some of us walk with our knitting, or spinning, some with our mothers, some with our spouses and children, or pets, some of us walk to support survivors we know, and in the hope that someday we won’t need fundraisers like this.
We participate for the good-natured competitiveness of the fundraising (you can make a donation here), for the team building excitement on race day, and for the positive impact it has in our community. We’re on track to meet our goal this year, $15,000!
To all of you who have donated in the past, and those of you who have participated yourselves, we say, “Thank You.”