May 7th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 443: Kathy talks with Franklin Habit

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This week Kathy talks with Franklin Habit about his brand new coloring book! I Dream of Yarn, a knit and crochet coloring book will be available June 7th.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #443 - Kathy talks with Franklin Habit. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Franklin talks about creating the images for the book, his favorite colored pencils and Kathy encourages Franklin to have a Color-a-long! For a first look at the book stop by Vogue Knitting Live! next weekend in Pasadena!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

The 14th Annual Tent Sale happens NEXT WEEKEND! May 14th and 15th, and don’t forget the 12th Annual Fleece Market on May 14th! Check out the vendor list for our Fleece Market this year.

And don’t forget that our show is broadcast LIVE next Saturday morning at 9am on WHMP, the podcast version of our show will be up just a little bit later than usual because of the remote broadcast.

Our first Facebook Live Video from our Summer Valley Yarns catalog photoshoot went up this past week – check it out!

Upcoming Events:

The I-91 Shop Hop will take place June 23–26th. Get your passport now and plan your weekend!

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

May 6th, 2016

Get Schooled

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All of the WEBS Summer Classes have opened up for registration, and I love looking to see what gets the fastest sign-ups because it’s different every semester. Last semester, folks couldn’t get enough weaving. Floor looms, table looms, rigid heddle looms, you name it. Weaving is still pretty popular, especially rigid heddle weaving, but I’m happy to see that lots of people are signing up for our beginning crochet classes. I personally don’t think crochet gets enough love, so the more hooks the better! Some advanced knitting techniques are also climbing up the charts, including colorwork and lace.

Knit top-down sweaters that fit, and learn other skills in knitting classes at WEBS this summer. read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This inspired me to take a look at some gaps in my own knitting education. I really don’t like lace knitting so much–I get all screwed up when each row has a different stitch count, which can happen in a lace pattern. At this point, with at least one child still around to bother me  ask my advice and sage counsel, I need something that can be abandoned at a moment’s notice and picked up again without having to think deeply about where I ended. I can really get behind the idea of a top-down sweater, as taught in our Top-Down Raglan Sweater From Measurements, mainly because I am short and many conventionally knit sweaters are too big, as in too long and too droopy, in the shoulders for me. A top-down sweater can be tried on throughout the process to make it custom-fit to my shape.

What do you guys think about a top-down summer pullover? The Valley Yarns Park Pullover has my favorite elbow-length sleeves and a dependable stitch pattern for the day after the night I had to help edit a term paper. Knit in Valley Yarns Goshen, a smooth cotton/modal/silk blend on US size 7 needles, this will knit up in a flash and I’ll have the sweater you’ll all be jealous of; one that fits my shoulders AND my waist AND the sleeves aren’t hanging off my fingertips.

What will you challenge yourself to learn this summer?

May 5th, 2016

New Hope Pullover

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One of our newest patterns from Valley Yarns is the New Hope Pullover designed by Nadya Stallings. Knit in Goshen, our worsted weight, cotton/modal/silk blend, this a-line top is cozy enough for cool Spring evenings but cool enough for breezy, Summer beach days. Broad rolling waves fill the cable panels of this warm weather sweater, and the set in sleeve construction helps to give it structure and stability without hampering the flow and drape of the fabric.

The New Hope Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Pair this with jeans and chunky boots for a weekend hike or toss it on over your favorite shorts and tank when a cool breeze kicks up. Shown here in crisp summer white it would be equally stylish in classic Navy, a neutral like Fawn or Linen, or add a pop of color to your wardrobe with Green Apple or Persimmon.

We asked Nadya to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit? 

I learned to knit, when I was 10. And it was not my mother who taught me, although she was doing all kind all crafts, but I was stubborn enough to not let her. Instead, I watched a TV show (in Russian) , called “Magic Yarn Ball”. That is how I learned to cast on the stitches, and I just kept doing it until I could without even looking at my needles.

What prompted you to start designing?

Since I grew up with  just a few magazines that could give me some ideas of knitting, and not much else, I just was making them up for my own needs and desires. I had no feeling that it would be called “designing”! I moved to USA and looked through all those knitting magazines, I thought: “I know I could do this kind of work!’, but I just did not know how to approach the editors. In 2009, I was laid off, and very soon after that I received a catalog with announcement that they accept independent designers’ submissions. So, I went on-line, made my first submission and dared to send it out. Surprisingly, it was accepted!

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

Inspiration comes from everywhere: watching TV, fashion shows, other designers’’ work, very often from some words, or music, and nature. Sometimes (more often) I come up with just a detail, an element, and try to figure out what silhouette would work with it. Very often, I develop a few variations of the design because I think the general idea would be good for them all. I tend to design garments with a bit more challenge,  it makes the design work more interesting. Besides, I wear my garments, my daughter and granddaughter do too!

Tell us about your design aesthetic.

I admire people who dress themselves thoughtfully. I keep this in mind while designing, too. I do love vintage, but not being old-fashioned. I love to discover new color combinations that bring joy to my eyes. My recent favorite is the combination of different shades of brown with different shades of blues. And I love to design dresses and skirts! Or, at least the tops that are styled with skirts.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I love to touch it, it feels so natural. I love to look at them, because the colors make me happy. I love how smoothly stitches slide from one needle to the next, and  I love its drape.

The New Hope Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

Valley Yarns Goshen is an ideal yarn for warm-weather knits! With it’s unique blend of fibers you get the sturdy durability of cotton, the memory and softness of modal , and the incredible shine and drape of silk. This versatile yarn feels cool against the skin but is squishy and cozy when knit into bouncy fun cables! What color of Goshen will you choose when you knit the New Hope Pullover?

April 30th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 442: Kathy talks with Beth Hansen

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This week Kathy talks with first time guest, Beth Hansen. She, and her husband Kevin, are the owners of Hansen Crafts, makers of the Hansen miniSpinner.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #442 - Kathy talks with Beth Hansen. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Learn how a sailing trip in the South Pacific lead to the creation of their signature product and how their “retirement” has turned into a successful business venture.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

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

Upcoming Events:

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

The I-91 Shop Hop will take place June 23–26th. Get your passport now and plan your weekend!

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

April 29th, 2016

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – Last Chance on April Yarns

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Don’t miss your chance to stash some amazing yarns from the April portion of our 42nd Anniversary Sale! These yarns, and needle and hook sets, go back to full price on Sunday morning at 12:00am EDT!

WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale - April. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Take advantage of incredible deals on hand-dyed yarns from Dream in Color and Lorna’s Laces,  great sock yarns from Regia, and coned yarns perfect for weavers. Get these while you can or you may have to wait another whole year to see savings like this again!

And don’t forget to take a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the May portion of our Sale!

April 28th, 2016

Shaping up with CustomFit

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I’m so excited about just having wrapped up our first CustomFit Workshop here at WEBS! We had so much fun throughout the course of the 11 weeks, knitting our sweaters and discussing different techniques and schools of thought on decreasing, increasing and seaming. We talked about how yarn selection would affect the types of garments we’d have, the importance of seams for stability in a properly fitting garment, and shaping in a specific stitch pattern. Most importantly, we had the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences. And, as a very special treat, Amy Herzog was here for the last class to see all of our hard work for herself! We got to show off our pattern and yarn choices and even to ask her some questions – not only about the CustomFit program, but about knitting in general!

Custom Fit Workshops at WEBS - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

There are so many things I love about teaching this workshop. Getting to work with students on choosing their sweater style and yarn; planning out the methods of casting on and shaping that might work best; and discussing sweater construction and assembly – just to name a few. I also enjoy seeing the progress from meeting to meeting as rows of knitting become garment pieces, and discussions and solutions evolve organically as we knit together. It is wonderful to see the confidence that students gain as they being to see sweater construction from a new perspective – how the combination of proper body measurements, yarn selection and gauge work in concert to influence the final shape of a sweater. In addition, students acquire the understanding to adapt other patterns to knit a sweater that fits. I’m so looking forward to future sessions of the CustomFit Workshop to see where each new journey will take us!

April 27th, 2016

Help for the Color Challenged

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Color can be one of the most challenging aspects in planning a weaving project. It is often hard to predict how colors will interact in a woven pattern. This task is even more difficult for those coming from a knit/crochet background as the threads intersect in a completely different way. I know I can fall into a rut of using formulas from the traditional color wheel – complementary colors for contrast, analogous colors because they all go together. The resulting cloth usually looks okay, though not always as exciting or rich as I would like.

Liven up your color choices with the Color Grid! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This is why I love the Color Grid from Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer. She has taken the color wheel and transformed it into a color palette in a flat grid. It has an overlay that allows you to select color combinations that are both harmonious and interesting. Start by choosing your base color and the overlay shows the close family, those colors that are closely related and work well together. These colors are safe and what we often rely on because we know they look good together.

It’s great to add some of those to the project, but the real secret is to find the spark that will make your design pop. That’s just what the Color Grid does by highlighting an accent color through a window in the overlay. These sparks of color can be used in small proportions to liven things up, to take a piece from ‘okay’ to ‘wow!’. Working with this tool I have become more adventurous in my color choices and my weaving has become more engaging.

There are some drafts in our 2016 Weaving Sourcebook that illustrate the idea beautifully. In the Summer Garden Towel (Draft 85), blue and green predominate and the thin stripes of brick color draw the eye and make the design really pop out. The Waffle Weave Buddies (Draft 86) also have a striping pattern, this time on a background of white. The aqua and periwinkle are related and look lovely together and the rust adds a spark that keeps the colors from looking monotonous.

Give it a try and send us some pictures, I’d love to see how you work with colors.

P.S. True confession – I also use the Color Grid to help plan my flower beds and the results have been gorgeous!

April 26th, 2016

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – April Favorites

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The April portion of our Anniversary Sale is winding down and these yarns will be back to full price on Sunday morning. Don’t miss your chance to snap up some incredible deals! I thought I’d share 3 of my favorite yarns from this part of the sale, and the projects I might be stashing them for (wink, wink).

eco wool

Cascade Eco Wool. When they were younger my kids used to call these my yarn babies, because they are absolutely huge skeins! 478 yds, of a bulky weight, gorgeously lofty Peruvian wool in the earthy, natural colors of the wool itself, this yarn is fantastic for warm and cozy sweaters and as a beautifully neutral backdrop for blankets. The Pop Blanket from Tin Can Knits is the perfect example. Shown here with Noro Kureyon as the bright center circles, this could easily be a scrap busting pattern with the Eco Wool gloriously framing those bits and bobs of yarn you just couldn’t let go of. Think of it as a memory quilt, here are little framed bits of yarns you loved to work with, and for projects like that the frame can be just as important!

alpaca sox

Classic Elite Alpaca Sox. I remember making a pair of socks as a store sample in this yarn when it first arrived. I did not want to give them back! The yarn felt amazing in my hands as it glided across my needles and the finished fabric was soft and cozy. While it makes amazing socks this yarn also knits up into beautiful shawls and lightweight but warm accessories! The Wavelength Shawl features a center panel of stunning lace bordered by easy-peasy garter stitch, with a delicate lace border. This is a great project to cut your teeth on lace! The lace panel is isolated in the middle of the shawl giving your brain and hands lots of time to relax in the garter stitch sections.

silk garden sock

Noro Silk Garden Sock. A perennial favorite, this yarn glows with all the amazing color changes that Noro has become famous for, and at the lighter sock weight it becomes the perfect choice for lightweight accessories with tons of color impact! For knitters the Mitered Wrap showcases those color changes in the meandering corners of a wrap that will result in  oohs and aahs everywhere you go.  And crocheters can experience equal public curiosity and excitement with Linda Permann’s Circles Scarf. While this may look like a pile of tiny yo-yo’s that have been joined together after being made, Linda actually has a genius way of making these as you go along – only two ends to weave in!

knitters pride

And don’t forget your tools! We have some pretty spectacular hooks and needles in the sale and you’ll want to grab a set. The Knitter’s Pride Dreamz line of needles and hooks feature a different color of laminated birchwood for each different size, making it easy to see which size is which at a glance! The Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set includes 9 pairs of 4.5″ tips from US sizes= 4, 5 – 11, 4 cables (one 24″, two 32″, and one 40″), a case to hold your cables, 8 end caps, 4 cable keys, and a set of needle size ID tags, all organized in a clear vinyl case. And the Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Hook Set  includes US sizes E – L,  4 cables (one 24″, two 32″, and one 40″), 8 end caps, 4 cable keys, a clear vinyl case and tunisian hook connectors to join two hooks together.

What exciting deals will you take advantage of in the April portion of the Sale? Or have you already! And don’t forget, a whole new selection of yarns goes on Sale May 1st!

April 25th, 2016

The Rose Sorbet Tank

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With summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to get to work on a beautiful and fun new piece for your wardrobe. The Rose Sorbet Tank by Krystalle Diaz is knit in our scrumptious Valley Yarns Longmeadow, a blend of cotton and microfiber that is ideal for warm-weather knits. This lovely and delicate tank starts as a top down shawl, so you get the beautiful centered lace panel, and is then joined in the round to complete the body of the piece. Top it off with a couple quick straps and you’ve got a super cute summer top!

The Rose Sorbet Tank from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

We asked Krystalle to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit?

Rosewood_ravatar

I learned to knit when I was 12, from a book I begged my mom to buy me from the fabric store.  I had always admired knitting and wanted to learn, but something about that day- maybe the book cover featuring happy kids making these fantastic sweaters- made me actually want to sit down and learn!  I convinced her to get me a crochet hook, a pair of knitting needles, the book, and a cheap ball of acrylic, and began a six month journey of frustration and constant giving up.  Those six months include the time it took to read the book, get the guts to start, tear out my swatches, and repeat the cycle for about a month, a long break in between of stuffing everything into the corner of my bedroom, and getting it out again to suddenly find that everything “clicked”!  I could cast on 20 stitches and knit the same number without accidentally decreasing or increasing for a full square, I could purl and knit, and I could increase and decrease!  After that it was just a natural progression of trying new things to knit.

What prompted you to start designing?

I can’t ever follow directions.  I don’t think I ever followed a pattern.  My first garment was only loosely based off a shrug in a pattern book I have- I used the pattern to determine my cast on number, then promptly proceeded to ignore almost everything else.  I still wear that dress every year, and except for some awkward bunching at the sleeves, which I did block out eventually, it is a beautiful and serviceable garment. I’m not sure how I got onto crazy things like lace and such- probably my love of shawl knitting.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

I’m always doodling designs in several sketchbooks.  When I do decide to actually make on a reality, it typically starts with the yarn, then a gathering of a inspirational images, which can be anything from fashion photographs to nature photography, depending on the design.  I will usually doodle several ideas on the sides of a page, then sketch the final concept and put notes on it. Then I swatch, keeping detailed notes on my computer, and eventually I will turn that swatch into a finished piece.

Tell us about your design aesthetic.

I never thought about it until now, but it’s quite feminine and classy.  I love 80s, Victorian, and roaring 20s fashions especially, and emblems and inspirations from these constantly creep into my designs, whether in the stitch pattern or the silhouette.  I think there may also be something of a seaside cottage look to the designs I’ve actually published and made available, too- something very nature-y but decidedly boutique-like.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I have deliberately avoided working with plant fibers the entirety of my knitting and crochet repertoire, unless they are blended with silk or wool.  So working with Longmeadow was a learning experience, since it is a microfiber and cotton blend.  And much to my joy, I did not hate it!  I was surprised by how soft it was, and that it did not hurt my hands as I knit with it.  It had good stitch definition, which for me is always a plus, given my lace and cable obsession.  The only real hurdle I had to conquer was blocking- I had to steam block my design to get it to even out and lay flat, but I did enjoy seeing the transformation take hold.

The Rose Sorbet Tank from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

In bright beachy colors, like purple haze and willow, Valley Yarns Longmeadow is a wonderful yarn for light layers. Knit the Rose Sorbet Tank and wear it with a strappy sundress, or a cami and shorts and stay cool and stylish all summer long! Which color will you choose?

April 24th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 441: Kathy talks with Clara Parkes

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This week Kathy talks with New York Times Best-Selling author Clara Parkes! Kathy and Clara reminisce about their first experience with Jeni’s Ice Cream as they discuss all the familiar and favorite places from Clara’s new book Knitlandia.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #441 - Kathy talks with Clara Parkes. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Read all about the landmarks and legends, as well as major touchpoints of the knitting world from the last decade in this fabulous book. And check out Clara’s new favorite shoes!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

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

Upcoming Events:

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