December 4th, 2015

Knitting for Pleasure

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If you read the title and think that I’m talking about knitting for the pleasure of knitting, you’re wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I do love to knit and I do it  instead of as therapy sometimes. What I love more is knitting something FOR someone and giving it to them. Hand-knitted gifts often trump more elaborate “store-bought” gifts by virtue of the hand-knitting. You actually created something for someone.

I was reminded of this when I gave my son a simple hat and scarf I knit out of Valley Yarns Sunderland. He doesn’t care one bit about the fiber content (as long as it’s not itchy) or how luxurious or locally sourced or hand-dyed that yarn is. He needed a hat and I had enough yarn left for a scarf.

Knitting joy, gifts and more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The pleasure for me was that as soon as he saw that hat he put it right on his head and it didn’t leave that head anytime he was outside. He even wore it inside (our house is a bit chilly). That’s why you knit gifts and give them away — because it feels good.

Valley Yarns Sunderland is my current obsession. Check out this soft, heathery ball of lovely and knit a gift for a friend. It’ll make you feel SO much better!

December 3rd, 2015

Holiday Catalog Spotlight: Gifts to Give

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In these last few days and weeks before your holiday celebrations you may have to begin paring down your list of gifts to make. If you have fiber enthusiasts on your list we have some wonderful products from our Holiday Gift Guide that might be just the perfect thing.

Gifts for Knitters - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

For the knitter in your life we have the gorgeous new Royale interchangeable needle set from Knitter’s Pride, and they can try out the new needles with a Messenger Hat kit from Wonderland Yarns. If you include a cocoknits Knitter’s Keep set, with a magnetic wristband, stitch markers, tapestry needles and more, they’ll be all set for a year of great knits!

Whether your gift recipient is a knitter weaver or crocheter they’ll love the Gleener. It’s the ultimate fuzz and pill remover for your sweaters and home goods with 4 different surfaces to tame those fly-away fibers.

Gifts for Fiber Enthusiasts - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Yarn bowls are always great for smaller projects. whether knitting a hat, crocheting a shawl or weaving on a Zoom Loom, the adorable animals yarn bowls from Pawley Studios are the perfect addition to your project. And no matter who is on your gift list this year a WEBS Gift Card is always a hit!

Be sure to check out Holiday Gift Guide for even more ideas.

December 2nd, 2015

Designer in Residence – the Lace Motif Afghan

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The sixth, and final, design from Doris Chan as WEBS Designer in Residence is the Lace Motif Afghan. A lovely square-shaped throw worked in supremely soft Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK, in three colors. Handily sized for a decorative throw or shawl, this little beauty is constructed with two related lace motifs, a square and an octagon. For a larger afghan, simply add more motifs!

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence December design, the Lace Motif Afghan. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Doris says, “I particularly enjoy crocheting afghans when the weather turns cold. And if they’re lightweight, pretty, and not too large or cumbersome, I enjoy wearing them as well. ”

The Lace Motif Afghan is made of two motifs arranged in alternating placements in rows and columns. Motifs are connected to each other while crocheting, joining as you go. For some measure of portability crochet the centers of all motifs first, weave in those agonizing ends in advance, then do the last rounds with assembly when you can spread out.

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence December design, the Lace Motif Afghan. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

A simple, small scallop trim adds balance, stability and a pretty finish to the afghan edges. With over 2 dozen colors available in the Valley Superwash DK you can work up a Lace Motif Afghan to match any decor. Stay with Doris’ suggested 3 colors or go monochromatic! Who will you make this afghan for?

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence December design, the Lace Motif Afghan. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

December 1st, 2015

A gift that gives back

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It’s always nice to think about the next generation of knitters and crocheters. Who will they be? Where will they learn?  Well, the National Needle Arts Association isn’t waiting to find out, they’re making it happen through their Needle Arts Mentoring Program. This year they’ve teamed up with Custom Bee for a unique fundraiser that will certainly appeal to many fiber enthusiasts.

An exclusive cell phone case from TNNA that benefits their Needle Arts Mentoring Program, on sale through Dec 7th 2015. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

An exclusive cell phone case cover is on sale through Monday, December 7th. You can choose from over 30 case styles with this print for only $20.00 ea. Buy one for yourself or as a gift! A portion of proceeds from each sale will go to purchasing needle arts supplies for The Needle Arts Mentoring Program.

November 30th, 2015

Design Inspiration with Fiona Ellis – The power of color

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Color, especially when it’s related to clothing, is fascinating to me. It is a powerful thing, triggering emotional responses in all of us. Each color creates a mood or feeling, can demonstrate the personally behind the wearer and evoke memories. I have been researching color for a while for a series of articles I have written for Twist Collective.  So when I came to choose the shade for my final Designer in Residence pattern I knew I should pick something that said WOW! So it had to be Red.

Fiona Ellis - color inspiration for her 6th and final WEBS Designer in Residence pattern. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Red evokes emotions ranging from passion and power to rage and romance. Viewing red increases blood pressure, pulse and heart rates, and even stimulates appetite. These physical reactions may be why we associate red with activity. But red is also considered seductive…think of lipstick & blush colors. Being the shortest wavelength on the spectrum, red is the first color the eye sees, making it attention- grabbing— the reason that it is used for warning signs. Our learned emotional responses to red are equally varied. Red can signify a mark of honor (think red carpet), we “see red” when we’re angry, are “in the red” when business is bad, and are “caught red handed” (originally a reference to blood on the hands) when guilty.  “Red herrings” divert our attention and we “paint the town red” when we let loose after a long workweek (the origins of that particular phrase are a source of debate).

Fiona Ellis designs with Valley Yarns. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

pictured left to right: Red Letter Day, Athasca, Sugarbeach and Paula all in Valley Yarns available in spectacular reds!

In naming this design I thought about how red is also linked to special occasions…my year as WEBS Designer in Residence has had, of course, many special days. Red letter days are so called because important festivals, holidays, and saints’ days were inked in red on medieval church calendars. So while I have your attention may I ask you to join me over on my website. I post a piece on the 9th of each month where I chat about design ideas and inspirations along with photos of what is fascinating me, I call it On-line, On-nine.

Thanks for following my wonderful year at WEBS!

– Fiona

November 29th, 2015

Buy a sheep, feed a family.

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Susan at Juniper Moon Farm is doing something spectacular this year, she’s selling these adorable wooden sheep and animals, that you can decorate, and donating the proceeds to Heifer International. So when you buy a sheep, you really help to buy a sheep!

Purchase your own Sheep Stash from Juniper Moon Farms through 12/15/15, proceeds go to Heifer International. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

She shared some of the sheep with friends and has asked them to give folks an idea of how they could be used and decorated. Susan B Anderson has made some adorable sweaters and shared the pattern so you can make them, too! Mary Jane Mucklestone worked some fair isle magic, and there are lots more ideas on the Juniper Moon Farm blog, and on their Facebook page.

Purchase and decorate your own Sheep Stash from Juniper Moon Farms through 12/15/15, proceeds go to Heifer International. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We decided we were all in a nostalgic 80’s kinda mood and dressed ours up with some leg warmers and headbands and a little glitter.  Go get yourself a single sheep, or a set, or even a T-rex! Supplies are limited so grab them while you can, they’re only available through December 15th, 2015.

How will you decorate your Sheep Stash?

November 28th, 2015

Valley Yarns 670 Holiday Bears KAL Week 4

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The final accessories of your bear use all the skills you’ve used in previous weeks of the KAL. We would love for you to share your bears with us on Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram, or Twitter. We can’t wait to see how you’ve accessorized yours!

Share your finished bears with us!

November 25th, 2015

High Speed Projects

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With the holidays staring me in the face, I’m thinking about quick gifts – something small that I can weave in quantity on a single warp,  yet lovely enough to be personal and appreciated. Although I’m in the tribe of weavers that believes one can never have too many handwovens in the kitchen, towels are more than I can bite off at this point. But what about…potholders?!And mug rugs? Narrow warps (fast threading) and small pieces (fast weaving), easy to make in sets by changing weft or treadling. And if I’m really down to the wire, I can full or felt the woven fabric and cut into individual pieces without having to hem because it won’t ravel.

Alternate uses for your weaving drafts: quick holiday gifts on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

For design ideas, I looked at some scarf drafts because they, too, are woven on a narrow warp and I can change to a heavier yarn to make them a good size for potholders. The two drafts that jumped out immediately are Draft #3 Pinwheel Scarf and Draft #58 Shepherd’s Check Scarf. Both are examples of Color and Weave, a technique that involves alternating stripes of light and dark colors in the warp and weft. I love the pinwheel, which is an 8-shaft pattern, because the shapes are so much fun. You can find many other treadling and tie up variations online to play with and make non-identical sets. The Shepherd’s Check uses 4 threads per stripe and the good news is that it can be woven either on a 4-shaft loom or a rigid heddle loom! With 4 shafts, you can weave a straight draw twill by threading and treadling 1-2-3-4, which will give the weave a diagonal slant. On a rigid heddle, you weave plain weave and still get the wonderful checked houndstooth look.

Then we have the yarn choices. I would go with a wool for this project because it will make a thick potholder that will protect the cook’s hands from the heat. Jaggerspun Heathers is a wonderful (and too often overlooked) wool with 498 yds in 100 gram skeins. One skein each of 2 colors will give you enough for dozens of small gifties like these. I chose a couple of color  combinations from their beautiful range of heathery tones to show in this drawdown. ( For the Pinwheel use Teal and Midnight and for the Shepherd’s Check use Chokecherry and Walnut) Another great option would be Valley Yarns Northampton which has a huge color spectrum ( For the Pinwheel use Lake Heather and Ocean Heather; for the Shepherd’s Check use Garnet and Fawn). Sett at 8 epi, this yarn will make thicker potholders. And both of  these yarns will felt wonderfully!

Do you have any ideas for last minute gift weaving?

November 24th, 2015

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

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Last week we started putting up some holiday decorations in the store and displaying our new items for holiday shopping. We’re featuring a wide range of gift-giving ideas sure to please your crafting friends and some nice things for you to include on your own holiday wish list.

We continue to carry old favorites like Kristin Nicholas’s ever-popular lamb cards, the best travel knitting light around, and hand moisturizer that should be in every knitter’s bag, particularly during the cold winter months. Laura Nelkin offers two new holiday ornament kits featuring a beaded star and beaded lights called Adornments. And don’t miss the adorable selection of Mochimochi toy kits in styles ranging from tiny ballet dancers to miniature Santas.

WEBS Store staff decorates with handmade ornaments each year. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

If you’re looking for one large item to splurge on, don’t miss the Knitter’s Pride Royale Interchangeable Needle set containing 9 sets of birch wood needles (sizes #4-#11) with smooth metal tips, color-coded cables, and a carrying pouch. This is the perfect gift for the special knitter in your life.

Please stop by and see what’s on offer–you’re sure to find something for the crafters in your life.  Don’t forget that we’re open four more Sundays this year: November 29, December 6, 13 and 20 from 12-5.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2015

Holiday Catalog Spotlight: Gifts to Make – Smaller Projects

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I’ve been paging through our Holiday catalog and there are so many great ideas for gifts this year! And with Thanksgiving happening in a few days I’m looking forward to a long weekend of gift making. The most requested items on my list this year are mittens and stuffed animals.

Quick gift knits, piles of mittens on the WEBS Blog, read more at blog.yarn.com

Thankfully there are quite a few great Valley Yarns mitten patterns to choose from. The Sprig Scarf and Mittens set in Berkshire Bulky features a basic mitten pattern with easy, fun embellishments. The Color Pop Mittens, in Berkshire, are a great neutral accessory that feature a bright pop of color! The Last Minute Mittens, also in Berkshire Bulky work up quick and easy for last minute gifts. The Sixth Button Mittens, in Huntington, are a bit more adventurous with Latvian braids and Fair Isle but the purchase price of each pattern sold goes to our favorite community organization, Safe Passage. And I love the Got You Covered Mittens in Northampton, they’re a great way to try out fair isle in an easy worsted weight yarn.

Quick gift knits, stuffed animals on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

What about the kids? We have 3 great patterns for the younger folks in your life. The Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear and Hot Chocolate Run Penguin are a welcome and squishy addition to any child’s favorite pile of stuffies. These patterns also benefit Safe Passage so you’re doing TWO good things when you make these projects. We also have our new Holiday Bears that were featured on the cover of the catalog.  I have a couple babies in my life that these would be perfect for, I’m going to tuck a jingle bell in the ends of their hands and feet so they’ll double as rattles! And all 3 of these patterns are easy to customize by changing the color of the bears themselves, and all of the accessories.

What are the smaller projects on your gifts-to-make list this year?