This week Kathy talks with Andrea Rangel about her new book, Rugged Knits.
Andrea learned to knit as a child, but didn’t really make it part of her life until college and had her first pattern published in Knitty in 2009. This book has been in process since it’s proposal in 2014, and the yarn choices as well as the functionality of the patterns was super important to Andrea. Listen in to learn how function, beautiful details and yarn choices came together in these 24 designs.
Long hot summer days are sometimes the best time to take a break from the everyday and learn something new. Besides time with like minded fiber folk, it means a few hours in a cool, air conditioned space! We have an extensive offering of classes this summer from truly basic, beginner courses all the way up to expert level skill building. Whether you knit or spin, crochet or weave, all of the above or none at all yet, we have the right class for you!
Many years ago, when I discovered my passion for fiber, I yearned to study it in a focused way. I found there actually are colleges with such programs, but the circumstances of my life did not allow for being a full-time student. Thankfully, my mother (a resourceful reference librarian) sent me a stack of knitting books which became my textbooks for intensive home study.
Now that my fiber focus has expanded to include weaving I look for similar books to recommend to eager weavers wanting to learn more. I am happy to say that there are more than a few and here are two of my new favorites.
I love Next Steps in Weaving because it is beautifully laid out for a progressive study of weave structures. The text is clear and straight forward and easy to understand for all levels of weavers. In addition to thorough descriptions of how the threads interact, she offers basic weaving tips to build overall skills and knowledge. There are plenty of samples to weave, which is a great way to reinforce the conceptual learning, and a few projects for each section of weaves.
Just released this spring, Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom offers similar learning opportunities for rigid heddle weavers. The subtitle is “For Beginners and Beyond” and it is certainly true as the book starts with the basics of warping and learning to weave, then progresses to more complex and beautiful techniques. A home study of this book would be a great way to learn how to get the most out of your rigid heddle and deepen your knowledge of both technique and design.
You’ve told us you love quick, portable and lightweight projects for summer. In June we released a stunning trio of accessories in our Valley Yarns Huntington and Charlemont.
The Olivenhain Fingerless Mitts and Oblique Hat are fantastic projects to stitch on summer road trips and beach days, and the Sequoyah Shawl is perfect for cool summer evenings at music festivals or family picnics. Not only will you enjoy making each of these patterns but you’ll be filling your holiday gift basket as you do!
The fun summer knitting continues in July with a trifecta of stunning projects! We’ll be releasing all the details for these new patterns on July 1st, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of knitting with our Hatfield or 2/14 Alpaca Silk you’re in for a treat!
As our second CustomFit workshop gets underway, it occurs to me to stop and take note of how much fun we are having with the whole CustomFit program at WEBS! We launched our new offerings in January, and since then we’ve had so many customers make appointments to get started on CustomFit sweaters. I think the appeal, apart from knitting a sweater that’s designed to fit perfectly, is the notion that knitters may choose any yarn and knit it to a gauge that works for them. And, once the measurements are in our system, knitters can make a new swatch and purchase a new pattern any time.
In addition, Amy Herzog has been making changes and modifications to her makewearlove.com website. She has added options for no shaping and a-line shaping to the traditional hourglass shaping offerings. She has also added the ability to use more generic measurements, and added some great patterns for men and kids so that we have the ability to knit beautifully fitting sweaters for our loved ones. Her library of CustomFit patterns continues to grow as well. Many of Amy’s own sweater designs may be generated to a knitter’s particular measurements – and even the ever popular Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (aka Knitbot) may be knit CustomFit! How cool is that?
If you have ever lamented a sweater project because it just didn’t fit properly, or you just want to have a better understanding of sweater construction and how all the pieces and pattern instructions work together to make a beautifully fitting garment, then CustomFit is the way to go! Check out all of the levels of CustomFit available here in the store to see which one best suits your needs. If you have questions, just email us at email@example.com – we look forward to having you knit your perfect sweater with us!
Will you choose adventure this summer? It’s time to gather your supplies for our Choose Your Own Adventure Hat KAL!
120-250 yds of DK or light worsted weight yarn – this will depend on what type of hat you choose to make. We’ll be aiming for a gauge of 5 sts per inch, in stockinette in the round. On July 5th we’ll have tips and tutorials on how to swatch in the round!
(There’s colorwork, cables, and stripes to choose from. A simple hat with an all over texture might only use 120 yds of one color, but if you’d like to do colorwork you’re going to need more yardage and in all the colors you might want to use! Think about what kinds of colors and textures you might like and plan accordingly. And don’t worry about having too much yarn. You can always take off on another adventure with what’s left!)
I’ll be making a striped hat in Valley Yarns Sunderland, I prefer double pointed needles for the whole sh’bang. I’m going to need a stitch marker to denote the beginning of the round, and I plan to top it off with a tassel. So, there I am all set and ready for July 5th when we’ll swatch for gauge!
Join us for the Choose Your Own Adventure – Hat KAL here on the WEBS Blog in July!
One pattern. Hundreds of possibilities. Cast on July 5th.
Most people know about the Tour de France, but – hang onto your yellow jersey – have you heard of the Tour de Fleece? Spinners have taken it upon themselves to take their wheels (and spindles) for a spin and follow the great race. Unlike what happens in France, this Tour has no rules, just guidelines: spin each day the cyclists ride and rest on their rest days; on the mountain climb days challenge yourself with a new fiber, technique or yardage. Mostly just have fun and use the race as a way to pace yourself and spin almost daily for a month.
WEBS is hosting a team again this year, so check our thread on our Ravelry page to join and be part of the fun. We will encourage and inspire each other to spin and have fun, share pictures and chat about spinning and why we love it so much.
And because I love a party with a purpose, we’ll be hosting a day of workshops and activities on July 17th at our store in Northampton. Join us for the day and spend time learning, shopping, gathering and spinning together with the folks that understand our love of twisting fiber into yarn. The daylong event (10 am – 4 pm) will feature workshops in the morning and afternoon with a slate of 4 different classes for both time slots. Options include hand carding, Navajo plying, spinning lace yarns, long draw, fractal spinning and more. All workshops are hands on and you will be able to sign up for your choices ahead of time.
The mid-day break will provide more activities as well as a chance for lunch (bring your own and we will provide cookies and fruit). Sit and spin, relax and shop (special spinning deals for the day), chat with spinning friends old and new. And because we’re trying to pack in as much as possible (it is a challenge day for the Tour, after all), we’ve got a couple more activities. Gather ’round the wheel display to hear about why spinning wheels have different drive styles and tensioning options and learn which features work best for the types of yarns you want to spin. Or stretch out with some gentle yoga focused on the muscles we use in spinning.
We hope you can join us for our special spinning day. I know I’m looking forward to it and to spinning along with the cyclists throughout the month of July.
We’ve been in love with Valley Yarns Charlemont since the first sample skeins came in! With a blend of superwash merino, mulberry silk, and polyamide, this yarn has an incredible depth of color, a silky sheen and drape that you won’t believe! A wonderful choice for both knit and crochet projects, as well as weaving, with 439yds per skein, you’ll keep coming back to Charlemont.
I’m fairly partial to our Amethyst Brook Afghan, having designed it!, but Dena’s version in Charlemont is one of my most favorite finished projects from this pattern. Combining some of our solids with hand dyed colors of Charlemont, and using all cool tones, makes these interlocked hexagons look like the ripples from raindrops on a pond. What a fantastic combination of pattern and yarn!
Whether you prefer knit or crochet, accessories or sweaters, we have a full ines of patterns just for Charlemont!
I know of two babies on the horizon, one arriving in September and one arriving in December. Both of the new mothers are good friends, good enough that a tiny baby sweater isn’t enough. I decided to go full-on baby blanket with these special wee ones. I have just enough time (I think) to make crib-sized blankets for each, and I’ve settled on two patterns that are calling to me.
Miss September Baby is a much-anticipated girl who has two older brothers. I want her to have her very own special gift so I’m making a Valley Yarns pattern, the Snowdrop Blanket. However, you know how I feel about plant fibers, so no go on the Longmeadow. Instead, I’m going to use some lovely Valley Yarns Haydenville, probably in Silver, because White, or even Natural, seems like a set-up for disaster, since you all know what babies do on blankets. It’s neutral enough to match her nursery and distinctive enough to be an eye-catcher in a Mommy and Me group.
Baby #2 is a mystery, so I’m going to go with a bold pattern I love, the Valley Yarns Pattern Grayson Set. The stitch is simple enough to be knit while watching “Game of Thrones,” and the color changes are just challenging enough so the project won’t be tedious to finish. I’m going to use Haydenville for this one, as well. I’m going to completely switch up the colors, however, and go with Slate Blue as the main color, banded with Natural and to make it pop, a stripe of Yellow. Could read as masculine or feminine, and I am so hoping it becomes the blanket that baby can’t sleep without.
What is your favorite baby pattern? Let me know in the comments, below!