March 22nd, 2016

Valley Yarns for Dyers

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Did you know that some of your favorite yarns from Valley Yarns are available specifically in undyed, natural hanks for your own dyeing experiments?

100g hanks of your favorite Valley Yarns for all your dyeing needs. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our Franklin has been available on cones for dyers for years but many of you don’t know that we carry other Valley Yarns in 100g hanks.

Try Berkshire,  Berkshire BulkyColrainStockbridgeDeerfieldNorthfield, BFL Worsted,  and Valley Superwash.

Or experiment with any of our other Valley Yarns in the natural color, though you’ll find these in skeins,balls or cones that need to be wound into hanks, or in smaller 50g hanks.

March 21st, 2016

2016 Weaving Sourcebook

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Each year we work behind the scenes to bring you a weaving catalog chock full of new and exciting products and this year we’ve outdone ourselves! Flip through the new Weaving Sourcebook now!

weaving

In these pages you will find new yarns, like our Hatfield and Sunderland, both 100% Baby Alpaca, or our 6/2 Cotton in 29 stunning colors! Our new favorite tool is the Swatch Maker from Purl & Loop. Plan out your next weaving project with confidence! And speaking of next projects, we have 18 Brand New drafts for you in this catalog with 6 that are perfect for Rigid Heddle!

What exciting weaving projects will you create in 2016? Join our email list now to make sure you don’t miss out on any great deals, and if you don’t already receive a copy of our catalog you can request one here.

March 19th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 438: Kathy talks with Susan B. Anderson

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This week Kathy talks with Susan B. Anderson about her newest book, Kids’ Knitting Workshop. This is Susan’s 6th book, her first was published 10 years ago!

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #438 - Kathy talks with Susan B. Anderson. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

This is her first book targeted at a young audience. Easy-to-follow illustrated tutorials and 17 progressively challenging knitting projects include step-by-step text and photographs that kids can read and follow on their own.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Join the Knitventures Stitches KAL on Ravelry

You can still get on the waitlist for our first ever WEBS Retreat in September.

Upcoming Events:

WEBS will be at DFW Fiber Fest April 1-3! just two weeks away!

Our 42nd Anniversary Sale begins April 1st.

The 14th Annual Tent Sale happens May 14th and 15th, and don’t forget the 12th Annual Fleece Market on May 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

March 18th, 2016

Valley Yarns challenges at Design Wars

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Have you seen some of the fantastic patterns coming out of the Design Wars challenges?

Valley Yarns Hunting challenge at Design Wars. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Each challenge features two designers using the same yarn, readers get to vote on their favorites and enter to win prizes. And don’t miss each designer’s review of the yarn. This week’s challenge featured our own Valley Yarns Huntington and we’re so thrilled with the resulting designs! We’re loving the bold graphic design of the Heart Sweater from Accessorise and wish we had a pair of the cozy Mint Chocolate Chip Socks from ACCROchet.

Valley Yarns Hunting challenge at Design Wars. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Be sure to check out the Valley Yarns Superwash Challenge from February and sign up for the Design Wars newsletter to find out when the next Valley Yarns challenge will happen!

March 17th, 2016

We Swatch for Spring

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You’ve been reading about some of our new Spring yarns in previous blog posts and our staff has been busily swatching them to find out what they’re like. We make a determined effort to provide you with knitted and crocheted examples of all of our yarns, either through samples or swatches. Often a yarn knits or crochets much differently than you’d imagine from its appearance in the skein. And all of our swatches are washed (which can change the yarn’s appearance even more) to provide an idea of how your garment or accessory will hold up according to its care instructions.

New Spring Yarns at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This season, we present an array of weights and fibers! You’re bound to find a summer yarn that pleases you, even if you’re partial to animal fibers. The prize for most unusual fiber combination goes to Rowan’s Softyak DK, a blend of cotton, yak and nylon. Mary M. loved the chainette construction, and said the yarn has “excellent stitch definition,”  making it “perfect for lace, cables or any other texture work. The yak transforms this summery yarn into a three season favorite.” Mary is thinking of using Softyak DK for one of the season’s popular t-shirts, tank tops or lightweight cardis.

New Spring Yarns at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Ashley F. chose to swatch Plymouth’s Cashmere de Cotone and she describes it as “soft cotton and dreamy cashmere coming together in a cable-plied construction that offers durability and amazing stitch definition.”  Ashley declares that the yarn “was pure pleasure, and after blocking, the sample draped beautifully.”  She would suggest using Cashmere de Cotone for a “year-round top or a sumptuous wrap, ideal for the changing seasons.”

New Spring Yarns at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Marthe Y. experimented with two very different yarns. Pima Splash from Mirasol is a “terrific choice for summer garments such t-shirts, tanks and beach cover-ups.” A colorful, worsted weight cotton, the chainette construction creates a lighter, more flexible fabric than other cottons in its weight class.  Marthe’s swatch is 4.5 stitches to the inch on a US 8 needles and she  suggests working the yarn on a slighter bigger needle for loose, springy fabric.

New Spring Yarns at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Marthe’s second swatch was knit in Euro Baby Maypole DK, a machine washable, 100% polyester yarn with a “self-striping effect, suitable for babies and children, due to its hypo-allergenic quality.” At 262 yards per skein, it wouldn’t take many balls to knit or crochet a baby blanket or child’s garment.

New Spring Yarns at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Beth D. opted for Juniper Moon Farm’s spring offering, Cumulus. She states, “Cumulus  is everything its name implies – soft and fluffy like a puffy, white cloud on a summer day! This 100% cotton yarn is perfect for a cool, lightweight tank or tee, and because it is a heavy worsted weight, it’ll knit up in no time.”  The vibrant color palette provides lots of options for the perfect warm weather project.

New Spring Yarns at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Although not a spring yarn, Malabrigo Rueca is a handspun dream.  Beth says that “Rueca is a delight to knit with. In spite of the variations in yardage and gauge from skein to skein, its softness and stitch definition make this yarn a treat to use for a special gift or a little pick-me-up. And…it is dyed in some of Malabrigo’s most luscious colorways.   Rueca is only available in the store so you must come visit to experience it!

As always, I invite you to spend a little time with us in Northampton this season.  In addition to new seasonal yarns, we have an ever-changing variety of accessories, tools, buttons, patterns and sample garments to tempt you.  Let WEBS be your LYS, wherever you call home. Thank you for your continued support of, and loyalty to, our store.  We wouldn’t be here without you!

March 16th, 2016

Lifelong Learning and New Opportunities

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You have probably heard me proclaim the joys of learning new things in weaving, so it will not surprise to hear that I am quite excited about Convergence 2016, the conference put on by the Handweavers Guild of America. Convergence is held in alternate years and moves locations to create access for as many regions as possible. This year it will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from July 30 – August 6 and I’m happy to report that we will have a booth (several, actually).

WEBS will be at Convergence 2016. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I must admit, I’m kind of a conference junkie. They make me feel like I’m at an all-you-can-eat buffet created by master chefs – such an array of delicious choices and even if I can’t try them all, I can talk to others who taste the ones I haven’t. The scheduling is also very flexible, allowing one to dip a toe in with an afternoon workshop or go for total immersion with a multi-day class. One of the great advantages of a national conference is the chance to take a class with a teacher you might not get to experience otherwise. I have a friend who has taught weaving for several decades and she always signs up for Convergence classes because she wants to keep learning, both weaving techniques and teaching styles. I take this advice to heart and try to fit in at least one class amidst the busyness of our booth.

We’ll also have our booth loaded up with yarn, tools, books and more. Will we see you there?

March 14th, 2016

#learntoknit

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Have you always wanted to learn how to knit, but were intimidated by classes or didn’t think you had the time? Did you learn to knit oh-so-long ago and want a refresher?

Two-night Learn to Knit workshops at WEBS, sign up today! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We have the perfect option for you! Learn To Knit is a 2-session workshop that walks you through the knit stitch and the purl stitch; depending on your learning curve, you might get some instruction in casting on and binding off, or learning knit/purl combinations. Patient, understanding instructors will give you just what you need (including needles and yarn!) to accomplish this craft-building skill. You’ll be off and stitching in no time!

Our first session starts tonight, but you can sign up for April:Wednesdays, 4/13, 4/27 6-8pm, or May: Tuesdays, 5/5, 5/19 6-8pm, now.

March 12th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 437: Kathy talks with Becky Caraco

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This week Kathy talks with first time guest, and glass designer, Becky Caraco. Kathy and Steve discovered Becky’s glass work stitch markers and buttons at TNNA in January.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #437 - Kathy talks with Becky Caraco. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Becky began with ceramics classes but after a back injury turned to glass work and hasn’t looked back.  We’re thrilled to be carrying her work!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

This Weekend is our Spring Training Spinning Event! Tomorrow March 13th noon – 5. And don’t forget to take advantage of our limited Special Fiber Packs for the event!

You can still get on the waitlist for our first ever WEBS Retreat in September.

Upcoming Events:

WEBS will be at DFW Fiber Fest April 1-3!

Our 42nd Anniversary Sale begins April 1st.

The 14th Annual Tent Sale happens May 14th and 15th, and don’t forget the 12th Annual Fleece Market on May 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

March 11th, 2016

My Discomfort Zone

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I’m making a gorgeous cowl (yes, another one) that features stranded colorwork. In case you want a visual, it’s this beautiful thing, The Wallpaper Cowl designed by WEBS’ own Emma Welford, our Social Media Coordinator. In case you’ve seen our latest Instagrams, Facebook posts, and our new venture into Periscope, she’s the genius behind those lovely images.

I decided to knit it in our Kangaroo Dyer’s hand-dyed Valley Yarns Northfield, in a charcoal gray as the main color and a cool chartreuse-green as the contrast. They look gorgeous. Here’s what doesn’t look gorgeous: my hideous floats. Here, because I’m honest, is what I started with:

Amy learns to tame her floats for the Wallpaper Cowl. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Not so great.

So, off to the Internet went I. But because I’m more of a “I need to do it to learn it” kind of brain, that was a bust. I saw what to do but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Reader, I went to Drop-In. I felt a little odd about it, because I work in a yarn store and I’ve been knitting for quite a while, but I just couldn’t do it! I didn’t know how to trap those floats! Beth Altimari, savior of my knitting, came to my rescue once again and in about five minutes, showed me exactly what to do so that I didn’t have big screwy loops all over the place. Now my floats are even, manageable, even, I daresay, tidy.

The main reason I’m writing about this is to say that if you’ve been coasting along with your stockinette scarves and your ribbed hats, maybe it’s time to get out of your comfort zone. Try something new, shake up your routine, maybe even dip into another craft. Crochet, weaving, spinning…use a different side of your brain.

And when you come back to knitting, make the Wallpaper Cowl. It’s going to be amazing.

March 11th, 2016

Raising The Bar

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In February, I worked at the WEBS booth at Stitches West, in California. So many folks wandered into our booth to see what goodies we had, and I had a blast helping them find great yarns (not hard) and walking them through patterns for projects they wanted to make. I kept hearing the same thing, which was usually a variation of “I’m not a very good knitter, I can’t make that pattern because it’s too hard, are you sure I can handle that yarn/pattern/needle size/stitch pattern?”

The first thing I ever knit was a sweater, and it remains the ugliest sweater ever, but because I started with something sort of difficult, I think I have a bit more confidence about some things in the knitting world than I might if I had just stuck with scarves or hats. I would never say I’m a fantastic knitter, but I can get a project done without much whining and I love stitch textures like cables and knit/purl combos.

The Mill River Cardigan knit in Valley Yarns Sunderland. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

In that vein, I am encouraging all knitters who have ever wanted to knit a sweater to choose our Valley Yarns pattern 668, the Mill River Cardigan. First of all, it’s knit in Sunderland, which is the softest, coziest, DK-weight baby alpaca I’ve ever felt. The lace panels on either side of the front button bands won’t weigh the sweater down, but will let air and light filter through the panels to create movement and loft. I personally think it’s a triumph of sweater design by our own Kirsten Hipsky.

It’s a classically shaped cardigan, knit in pieces and seamed at the shoulders, sides, and sleeves; you’ll pick up stitches for the two bands on each front piece and you can choose to put in buttons and buttonholes, or leave it open. Either way, you’ll get a sweater’s worth of fiber and finishing education. If you get stuck on anything, check out our website for technique videos – we’ve got a lot of help for you! Or go to your LYS, which, hopefully, is WEBS. Either way, once you finish this charming garment, you’ll be filled with a new confidence and ready for more!

What knitting challenge will you take on this year?