February 19th, 2014
Walk in the door of WEBS’ retail store in Northampton and you will be greeted by one of the folks pictured above. This is our crew and they represent countless years of experience in the fiber arts. On any given day we have 6 – 9 staff on hand to keep things running smoothly and the cast of characters varies from day to day, as this is no ordinary 9-5 job.
I am Leslie Ann and I co-manage the store with Stephanie, helped by our Assistant Manager Bonnie. We work as a team, balancing our strengths to keep the skeins spinning and things on course. Stephanie is the Master Yarn Mover, Bonnie is known for her customer service and I am fluent in the language of weaving, with special emphasis on translating for beginners.
We are lucky to have a crew with great expertise. In addition to being skilled knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners and felters, our staff possess hidden talents and super powers that they use to help our customers. Marion is our Button Maven and can help you find the perfect match among our vast collection, while Maryanne excels at helping people pick patterns and yarn colors that will flatter. Can’t remember the name of that pattern you saw 3 months ago? J will come to the rescue! Likewise, Ashley can identify random yarn faster than a spinning spindle.
We also have Mary the Gauge Whisperer and Gail, who dyes every day. Katie claims to have laser vision and Marthe tames the unruly shelves in the warehouse, while many others possess the strength of great and friendly customer service. Nancy keeps us laughing with her sense of humor, we have an in-house animal rescue league and an expert yarn untangler often found at the winding station.
Our diverse interests, both fiber-related and outside of work keep things lively in the store. We share our projects – WIPs, FOs, and pipe dreams. We laugh about crazy patterns we’ve seen and ooh and ahh over the new yarns. One and all, we are super yarn enablers and egg each other on when we see someone petting a skein or making piles of colors.
It’s a people-loving bunch and we enjoy getting to know our customers, so introduce yourself when you’re in the store and let us help you with your fibery needs.
February 18th, 2014
The Magic Loop method is a great way to knit socks, but it can be tricky to pick up stitches for the heel flap. It’s often hard to get enough slack to make it comfortable to pick up stitches without undoing the magic loop. Try using an interchangeable needle tip to pick up stitches instead. In the image on the left, the stitches are being picked up with the interchangeable tip. On the right, you can slide the stitches off the interchangeable tip by placing the tip of your working needle up against the back of the interchangeable tip. This is an easy way to slide the stitches off one needle and onto the other.
February 15th, 2014
This week Kathy talks with Deborah Tomasello, author of Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century. Deborah talks about growing up, learning to knit and rediscovering knitting in her adult life.
She also talks about bringing her book to the market and how stranded knitting can seem daunting but it is almost as simple as stockinette.
Spring 2014 Catalog is online now! If you’re on the mailing list it should be arriving in your mailboxes this week. If you’re not on the mailing list you can request a catalog here. This one is jam-packed with over 20 new yarns for Spring, a great editorial piece on the founding of WEBS and our first ever eBook: Soft Landing.
WEBS will be open regular hours, 10:00am – 5:30pm, on Presidents’ Day, Monday February 17th.
Steve’s Yarn Picks:
Stitches West, next week! February 20-23 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
February 14th, 2014
This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).
We had a Snow Day last week, when WEBS closed for the biggest snowstorm we’ve had since last year’s blizzard. It felt like an unexpected school vacation day, and since I’d gotten all my work obligations taken care of the day before, I gave myself permission to enjoy the day like a teenager. One of my most hedonistic pleasures is reading knitting reference books, so I had a wonderful few hours spent thumbing through my old classics as well as some recent contenders for BKF (Best Knitting Friend). I thought I’d share a few and see what some of your go-to answer books are.
A book that has saved my life again and again is the timeless The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt. June came here about a year ago on a very snowy day, and the delight on the faces of those who were here and happened to meet her was infectious. She has a trick for every knitting conundrum you might find yourself in and her information is delivered with a dry wit that makes her sound like your favorite fifth-grade teacher.
A volume small enough to keep in my knitting bag is Margaret Radcliffe’s The Knitting Answer Book, which I turn to again and again. Even though the answers are short, they give you the most information in the fewest words, and the clever illustrations speak volumes. It’s a small book that is completely portable.
No collection should be complete without Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmermann. Barbara Walker’s 4-book series of knitting pattern and charted stitch designs is used by literally every knitwear designer at some point in their career, and they are priceless for brevity and a sense of history. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s The Knitter’s Almanac and The Opinionated Knitter are the cornerstone of any knitter’s bookshelf.
Some recent favorites worth a look are Clara Parkes’ books The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, for the care and beautiful language she uses to describe fiber. Stitch ‘N Bitch by Debbie Stoller, the founder of Bust Magazine, almost single-handedly brought knitting to a new high over 10 years ago. And no knitter can really call themselves a knitter unless they have some Harlot on their nightstand.
What are your favorite fiber reads? Let us know in the comments what you like to page through on a snow day.
PS. This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).
February 12th, 2014
Our new Spring 2014 catalog went up online last week and the paper version is heading to your mailbox and should arrive sometime next week. We’re pretty excited about all of the great new yarns and projects. We’re also thrilled with the editorial content that we’ve included in this catalog.
Spring 2014 is the first catalog we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary with and inside you’ll find a great article by Kathy and Barbara about the beginnings of WEBS. There are also some great photos from the archive that are fun to check out.
You’ll also find our first Valley Yarns ebook. Soft Landing features five projects that will be right at home in your house. All of these patterns are available individually for $3.99, but the ebook is just $11.99. I’m loving the Hen Plaid Wrap and Viola Plaid Pillow, because I’m a big fan of plaid.
For crocheters, you’ll find patterns as well as a fantastic piece by Sara Delaney about spicing up a simple design with different yarn choices.
If you want to flip though the catalog before it hits your mailbox, you can check it out online here.
What’s your favorite new product in the catalog?
February 11th, 2014
Today’s tip comes from Kerry; one of our wonderful Customer Service Representatives.
Instead of using a cable needle when knitting cables, Kerry likes to use an interchangeable needle tip. It’s best to use a tip one size smaller than the needles you’re using for the rest of the project. Once you’ve knit your cable, you can stick the needle into the tail of the interchangeable tip to put the stitches back on your needle.
February 10th, 2014
It is amazing to us that we’ve reached 40 years in this business and we wanted to take a week to say thanks. Thank you to all our amazing customers, you are the reason we’re here!
Over the course of the next week we’ll be giving away one $40 WEBS gift card each day on a different social media site.
Winners will be randomly drawn and may only win once, though you can enter to win on each site.
At the end of the week we’ll be giving away a Della Q bag stuffed with 5 skeins of our Limited Edition Madelinetosh dyed Valley Superwash DK in our 40th Anniversary Ruby colorway to one random winner selected from everyone who entered.
Participation is open between 12:00am(midnight) and 11:59pm EST on the day indicated. Any entries posted before or after that time period will be disqualified from entry.
Here’s the schedule:
2/10 WEBS Blog – And our winner is Michele, who commented, “I connect with Webs mostly via Facebook but also check the blog and Ravelry group.” Congratulations!
2/11 Twitter - And our winner is Kristen, who tweeted, “Love Color by Kristin! #WEBS40th ” Congratulations!
2/12 Google+ – And our winner is Heather, who said, “I love Tonia Barry’s designs. From sweaters and wraps to shawlettes and scarves her patterns are always an enjoyable knit, clearly written, flattering and have a great attention to detail. Doesn’t hurt that she is a super-wonderful person as well! There always seems to be at least a few of her patterns in my favorites or my queue.” Congratulations!
2/13 Ravelry – And our winner is jchant, who said, “Last year at the WEBS booth Stitches West I purchased a skein of Kangaroo Dyer BFL Fingering Hand Dyed specifically to knit Kirsten Hipsky’s Burning Branch Shawl. I am knitting the shawl now (I’m on the last leaf) and I’m really enjoying both the pattern and the yarn.” Congratulations!
2/14 Facebook - And our winner is Shari, who said, “About three years ago my local knitting group became yarn enablers and recommended WEBS. I also found links to WEBS – America’s Yarn Store on Ravelry.com” Congratulations!
2/15 Pinterest - And our winner is Tracie, who said, “I love webs – so nice to have such a variety available and to hear them on their podcast.” Congratulations!
2/16 Instagram - And the winner is thepesin, who said, “#WEBS40th berrocco zazanna, almost done.” Congratulations!
And our Grand Prize winner is Kathleen who entered on Pinterest on Saturday and said, “I love WEBS discounts and the fact that I can find ANYTHING I need there! #contest #WEBS40th” Congratulations!
February 8th, 2014
This week Kathy talks with Kelly, co-owner of namaste bags and accessories, about the origins and growth of their small, family owned business. From their start at the sewing machine in her home 8 years ago to some of the great new products they are now offering, from the new Harlow bag to Kathy’s favorite Monroe bag.
Spring 2014 Catalog is online now! If you’re on the mailing list it should arrive in your mailbox in the next week or so if you’re not you can request a catalog here.
Steve’s Yarn Picks:
Stitches West, February 20-23 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
February 7th, 2014
We’ve been so thrilled with your response to our first specialty yarn and dedicated patterns. We thought it was time to share another pattern highlight with you. Melissa LaBarre designed the Windchill Cardigan for us and it’s just stunning!
About her relationship with WEBS:
I’m so happy to be one of the designers for Webs’ 40th anniversary. Webs has been a big part of my life for more than a decade.
I discovered Webs when I started knitting again, just over 10 years ago. What a place to discover when you’re a new knitter. I think I started by buying 2 of everything and making a bunch of fancy scarves.
Years later, knitting had become a big part of my life. I started designing and picked up a part-time job at Webs. During my 2 years there, I co-wrote 2 knitting books, New England Knits and Weekend Hats.
Now I’m a work-at-home designer and mother of a toddler girl, with another baby girl on the way. My designs had shifted from adult garments to accessories and baby designs in the last year, so it was fun to design my first adult sweater in a year for Webs’ anniversary.
February 4th, 2014
This week’s tip comes from Jackie, one of our fabulous customer service representatives.
When I do any project with a chart, I like to put the pattern in a plastic page protector and then mark my place in the chart with a dry erase marker. If I make a mistake and need to frog a couple rows, it’s a lot easier to update my place than if I had written on the pattern itself; and pencil marks can get confusing if my eraser doesn’t work well enough. As long as I’m careful about not putting anything on top of the page protector, the dry erase marks are still there weeks later when I pick up the project again after indiscriminately abandoning it!