April 16th, 2015

Keeping Track

Share Button

Greetings from the Weaving Room! I am re-energized by the signs of spring popping up outside and excited to get started on new projects, both on my loom and in the garden. I am finishing up a rather complex weaving project, one that taught me patience and helped me refine my process for keeping track of my place. It is easy to get lost when your threading or treadling sequence is long, so I thought I’d share some tips that have helped me.

Keeping track of your treadling in weaving drafts - Leslie Ann has some great tips on the WEBS Blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

Break it into manageable bits. I have read that our brains retain information in groups of 4 or 5, so I break the sequences into sections that are either 4-5 threads/treadles long, or contain a run such as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. I find that I can keep this chunk of information in my mind while working and then look back at my notes for the next chunk.

Write it out in a way that makes sense to you and display it so you can see it while weaving. Rather than working off a a typical charted draft, I rewrite my treadling on paper using thick markers (my eyes need all the help they can get!). I use the Knitter’s Pride Magma Chart Keeper to hold my notes and place it on the castle or on a table next to my loom. It has magnets to hold the paper on, and I can use the strip magnet to mark my place. It keeps my notes close at hand and easy to see and read.

Use visual cues to remind you where you are. The scarf I just finished was an advancing twill with many repeating sequences (see picture) and sometimes I’d have a momentary lapse in attention (okay, it’s true. Sometimes I just zoned out.) and couldn’t remember if I had repeated 3-4-1 two or three times. The sett was 56 epi which added to the challenge of finding my place, plus it just slowed me down to squint at those interlacements! What I did was to mark which side of the loom my shuttle would be on at the beginning of each chunk. You can see in the picture that I used Highlighter Tape (another indispensable tool in my kit) to mark the sequences where my shuttle would begin on the left. It really helped me to quickly identify which point I was at.

Stop only at the end of sequences and mark where you will resume. I try to work through a full pattern repeat before I step away from the loom. In the case of long repeats I will at least finish a complete chunk. And do not fall prey to the voice in your head that says you will remember/will be right back – always write down where to start again. In words that you will understand – cryptograms are best saved for code breakers.

A toolkit of techniques is great to help you stay on track whether your draft is simple or complex. What tips work for you?

April 15th, 2015

A New Spin on Things

Share Button

The new Spinning Area at WEBS retail store in Northampton MA, chock full of color and fiber! read more at blog.yarn.com

As the craft of spinning continues to grow in popularity, we wanted to re-vamp our existing space into a beautiful, welcoming area in the store. And we’ve done just that. It’s our hope that experienced spinners and beginners alike will visit us to explore our enticing fibers on offer from workhorses like Blue Faced Leiceister and Romney to more luxurious blends like Frog Tree Meriboo Top (which comes in 10 shades and is on closeout for $2.29 per ounce, by the way). There’s an open space to try out a variety of wheels from Schacht’s popular Ladybug and elegant Matchless to the staff favorite, the Lendrum DT Complete. The back wall features an array of eye-popping color which is sure to inspire lots of new spinning projects! We’ve had such fun putting this new space together, and as the sole member of the store management team who does not (yet) spin, I have definitely caught the bug! Next time you visit the store, please stop by our new spinning area – even if you’re not (yet) a spinner, you’ll likely find yourself enticed to learn – ask me how I know…

April 14th, 2015

First FLASH SALE – Last Chance

Share Button

Have you taken advantage of our first ever Anniversary FLASH Sale? If you haven’t yet today is your last chance!

Now is the time to finally pick up a set of Addi Turbo Click or Addi Lace Click needles at only $143.99 for either set. Always have the right needle size and cord length with circular needles that click together! With the Addi Turbo Click Set you’ll get 8 tip sizes and three cord lengths as well as a cord connector to make your cord even longer. Ten needle sizes, five cords of differing lengths and a cord connector are included with the Addi Lace Click Set and both come in a compact carry-along organizer.

Flash Sale pic And not only do we have two cashmere yarns at incredible prices – S Charles Collezione Cashmere 100 at just 34.99 for each 154yd/50g ball(originally $5o.oo) and S. Charles Collezione Blossom 50%Cashmere/50%Silk at just $29.99 for each 177yd/50g ball(originally $43.00), but the ever popular Berroco Ultra Alpaca has been marked down to just $8.39 with over 40 colors to choose from! These yarns are perfect stash builders and never go out of style.

And don’t forget our Deluxe Grab Bags! Each bag contains ten skeins of the same yarn, either 50 or 100 grams per skein, and you can choose a five or ten bag Grab Bag. These are high quality closeout yarns that are available only for a very limited time, get them while you can!

April 13th, 2015

How to Wear It – The Reflection Cardigan

Share Button

Warmer weather has finally arrived in the Northeast and it’s got us thinking thoughts of summer! While me might be ready to trade in our pullovers and jeans for flirty summer dresses and shorts it’s not quite warm enough to go sleeveless just yet. The Reflection Cardigan is a fantastic cozy layer to get you through to those hot summer days. This flowing and elegant shawl-like cardigan is knit in a single piece with only two short side seams to sew!

Valley Yarns: How to Wear It - The Reflection Cardigan read more at blog.yarn.com #VYwearit

The cool and smooth fiber content of Valley Yarns Southwick feels fantastic even on warm days. The combination of soft pima cotton with the beautiful shine and drape of bamboo fiber makes Southwick is a joy to knit, and the feel improves even more once finished. This yarn is perfect for spring and summer basics.

Valley Yarns: How to Wear It - The Reflection Cardigan read more at blog.yarn.com #VYwearit

We’d love to see your finished garments! Anytime you’ve made a Valley Yarns pattern be sure to tag it with #VYwearit and we may feature you here on the blog, highlight you on Facebook, or repost you on Twitter or Instagram!

April 11th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 397: Kathy talks with Jo Israelson

Share Button

Play Now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week Kathy talks with first time guest Jo Israelson. A sculptor by trade, Jo is also a crocheter who has begun a new weaving project in Portland Maine.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode 397 - Kathy talks with artist Jo Israelson- listen now at blog.yarn.com

To participate in the Welcoming a Stranger art installation you can donate yarn by mail or in person.

Send 42″ lengths of handspun yarn to:
Welcoming the Stranger
Po Box 10419
Portland ME 04104

Or if you are in the area you can deliver the yarn to:

Port Fiber in Portland Maine
50 Cove St.
Portland ME 04104

Check their Facebook page for all the details, and be sure to join the Ravelry group!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

400th Episode Giveaway!

Be sure to comment on this post and tell us about a project you have made from anniversary sale yarn, or a yarn from our anniversary sale that you have in your stash right now, and don’t forget to include the hashtag that Kathy mentions in the show! Comments will close at 11:59pm EDT on Tuesday April 14th, and a random commenter will be chosen to win a $100 WEBS Gift Card. Be sure to listen to the show next week when we’ll reveal the winner!

(Please note: Each winner will have one week to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen. Remember to leave us a way to contact you when commenting!)

Reminder:

You can join in the WEBS Mystery Blanket Knit-A-Long or Crochet-A-Long at anytime, grab the patterns that have already been released and join in the conversation on Ravelry.

Upcoming Events:

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

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

Mark your calendars, WEBS Tent Sale is happening May 16th and 17th, and don’t miss the 11th Annual Fleece Market on May 16th!

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
April 10th, 2015

Craft and Social Media

Share Button

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

I’ve realized lately that every time I check my social media sites, the first thing I do is see what WEBS is doing there. There is a rich treasure trove of websites that are devoted to putting people in touch with other people, and you can find someone, for instance, who is a left-handed crocheter who only does stuffed animals in the blink of an eye. Knitting is a pretty social craft, as is crochet; less so, unfortunately, are weaving and spinning. Weavers and spinners, I know you are lovely and sociable, but there aren’t many sightings of folks dragging an 8-harness loom to the local Starbucks for Craft Night. In that way, sometimes it’s easier for knitters and crocheters who don’t know each other to get to know each other. I thought I’d walk you through our social media sites so that you can check out what we post, and who talks to whom through our newsfeed. In this post, I’ll spotlight Ravelry and Facebook, and in some subsequent posts, I’ll walk you through some of our other social media platforms.

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

No mention of fiber social media is complete without Ravelry. This is the first place I look each day. I check our “All Things WEBS” group to see how the knitters and crocheters doing our Mystery Knit-A-Long and Mystery Crochet-A-Long are doing, what new yarns or needles have been added to our Anniversary Sale, or any information about store events that I might have missed. You can also search for Valley Yarns patterns, or see if anyone is knitting the same design you are, and if they made any modifications to the pattern. You can see how many folks are using Valley Yarns for different projects. And, best of all (to me), you can search for a group that might be tailored to your own particular interest. Once again, left-handed crocheters, I just searched and found not one, but TWO groups devoted to left-handed crocheters, both with large memberships. It’s a wonderful time-suck, and in my position as Education Manager, I’ve tracked down guest teachers, connected with students who’ve requested interesting class ideas, found some great designs to have our instructors use as teaching ideas, and lots more.

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

Facebook is a great place to find information but it’s also a fun place to find interesting blog posts from other designers and yarn companies, see some deals before they make it onto the website, and hear from our customers around the world. Dena, who manages our social media presence on all sites, manages to find the most beautiful images our in-house photo and video team has produced to complement each post. I love to read the comments folks post about what we share on Facebook; I’ve learned about locally-sourced, allergy-free yarn as well as some variations on Tunisian Simple Crochet stitch from various customers who chime in with their knowledge from time to time.

What groups do you like on Ravelry? Do you follow any designers or yarn companies on Facebook? Let us know!

April 8th, 2015

Designer in Residence – Motif Bolero from Doris Chan

Share Button

April has arrived already and the next design from Doris Chan is here! The Motif Bolero is crocheted in two colors of our Valley Yarns Charlemont,  a lovely sock/fingering weight blend of superwash Merino wool and silk, the color sequence tends to emphasize the geometry of the motifs. For a less patchwork look go with a single shade, or choose your own color combination!

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her second design the Motif Bolero in Valley Yarns Charlemont - learn more at blog.yarn.com

The Motif Bolero is a unique, open-front jacket constructed from granny-style motifs that have been updated with open stitch rounds for a lacy look and pretty drape. Pentagons form the V-neck and shaped shoulders. Squares fill in the underarms and complete the boxy body, which falls just below the waist.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her second design the Motif Bolero in Valley Yarns Charlemont - learn more at blog.yarn.com

This is a great piece to layer for Spring. Pair this little jacket with a flirty spring dress or your favorite t-shirt and jeans. What colors of Charlemont will you choose?

 

 

 


April 4th, 2015

Ready, Set, Knit! 396: Kathy talks with LeslieAnn Bestor

Share Button

Play Now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week Kathy talks with WEBS Weaving Manager, LeslieAnn Bestor, about our 2015 Weaving Sourcebook.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode 396 - Kathy talks with LeslieAnn Bestor- listen now at blog.yarn.com
LA, and WEBS Founder Barbara Elkins, worked to update some of our older drafts and put together a great collection of new drafts, as well as finding a balance between 4-shaft, 8-shaft and rigid heddle drafts. Request your copy of our weaving catalog on our website or by contacting Customer Service.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

400th Episode Contest!

Be sure to comment on this post with your favorite Anniversary sale memory and don’t forget to include the hashtag that Kathy mentions in the show! Comments will close at 11:59pm EDT on Tuesday April 7th, and a random commenter will be chosen to win a $100 WEBS Gift Card. Be sure to listen to the show next week when we’ll reveal the winner!

(Please note: Each winner will have one week to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen. Remember to leave us a way to contact you when commenting!)

Reminder:

You can join in the WEBS Mystery Blanket Knit-A-Long or Crochet-A-Long at anytime, grab the patterns that have already been released and join in the conversation on Ravelry.

Upcoming Events:

Classic Elite Yarns Trunk shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

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

Mark your calendars, WEBS Tent Sale is happening May 16th and 17th, and don’t miss the 11th Annual Fleece Market on May 16th!

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
April 2nd, 2015

Weaving Sourcebook

Share Button

Greetings from the Weaving Room! I hope you have seen our new weaving catalog – the Weaving Sourcebook 2015! I’m especially excited because we have so many new drafts to inspire you. Barbara and I went through all of our drafts last fall and talked about which needed to retire or hibernate for a while and – most importantly and most fun – we had a creative brainstorm and came up with lists of new projects to try. We looked at new yarns, different weave structures that we haven’t featured before, changing up the colorways from the blue spectrum that both us love to work with, and new tools for weavers.  The result is a collection that we are really proud of.

WEBS 2015 Weavers Sourcebook, shop online now at yarn.com

We also have some talented local weavers who created designs especially for WEBS and after keeping these pieces under wraps for a few months, I’m happy to share them with you. Elisabeth (Lisa) Hill has spent years delving into and developing designs in deflected double weave. She came up with the Labyrinth Lap Robe – a beautiful blanket woven with Jaggerspun Heather with strong geometric lines and a wonderful intermingling of colors in this intriguing weave structure. The yarn weaves up into a thick and cozy wrap that is snuggly soft and the heathered colors infuse it with richness and depth.

Dishtowels are a staple item for many weavers – it’s easy to churn out a stack on a long warp and have plenty for gifts and for home. Chris Hammel worked with our new 8/2 Cottolin from Brassard and designed the Cabana Towel – a towel that is refreshingly different, with great texture and pops of color. Easy to weave on 8 shafts, the towel features Canvas and Basket weaves. The Cottolin comes in 37 colors, which means lots of fun colorways to play with. And the cotton portion of the yarn is organically grown, always a plus for me.

One of more recent tools to hit the scene is the Variable Dent Reed from Schacht for use with their rigid heddle looms. It allows you to easily combine yarns of different sizes in the warp and Paula Veleta came up with a stunning scarf that showcases this. The Ginger Chocolate Scarf combines hand painted sock yarn with several novelty yarns to produce a scarf that is stylish and hip. Rigid Heddle weavers have so many possibilities to work with in the explosion of colors and textures these days; let this draft be a jumping off point for your creative appetites.

These drafts are just the tip of the iceberg. The Weaving Sourcebook features 5 more new drafts, 3 updates with new colorways of old drafts and Barbara and I are still weaving many more things from our creative confab last fall. What’s next on your list?

April 1st, 2015

Shop our 41st Anniversary Sale Now!

Share Button

It’s time for the best sale of the year, and that’s no joke! Our 41st Anniversary Sale has begun and we’ve got so many amazing deals for you this year.

WEBS 41st Annual Anniversary Sale runs April 1 - May 1, 2015 - read more at blog.yarn.com

If you’re new to the WEBS Anniversary Sale then you’re in for a treat. Not only do you have the opportunity to save on our regular-priced yarns for the entire month of April, but once May 1st rolls around you’ll have a whole new collection of wonderful yarns to choose from. And we have 3 of our most popular yarns on sale for BOTH months, Cascade 220, Cascade 220 Superwash and Plymouth Encore!

In April you’ll save on yarns from Rowan, Berroco, Noro, Valley Yarns and more! We have great yarns on sale for weavers like our Valley Cottons 3/2 and 5/2, 20/2 Silk, and Collingwood Rug Wool. And Knitter’s Pride Dreamz, Karbonz and Marblz needle and hook sets, as well as needles from the Colonial Needle Company, are on sale this month as well. You can shop the whole sale here.

Replenish your yarn stash or start building one. Plan your holiday gift projects. Whatever your needs you don’t want to miss out on these incredible savings!

What’s on your must-buy list this month?