Posts Tagged ‘Crochet!’

Customer Spotlight – Malabrigo Blanket

Monday, April 21st, 2014
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Last week one of our local customers, Peggy, brought in a blanket she’s been working on for a friend. She says, “It is a very old pattern that my friend’s mother made for her many years ago. She has been searching for several years to find it.” The pattern was found, an old magazine clipping, and Peggy got to work.

Customer Blanket

Peggy chose to work with Malabrigo Rastita, a soft and cozy merino wool, and 41 skeins later she ended with a gorgeous, Full-sized bedspread. “It is indeed a labor of love and I can’t wait to take to Maryland to its new owner and see her face when she sees it.”

Thanks for bringing in this lovely blanket Peggy! And for those of you curious about the pattern, it was originally published in 1946 in the Complete Book of Crochet, but the pattern is available online as well.

Have you taken on any large scale projects this year?

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Invisible Single Crochet

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
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This week our focus is invisible single crochet decreases. This is a great way to decrease when you’re working in the round making stuffed animals or amigurumi.

Most single crochet decreases leave you with a gap in the fabric on either side of the decreased stitch which can be really unsightly when that fabric is stuffed. This decrease keeps the same density of stitches to your fabric and is nearly invisible.

This is a great stitch to use on our Valley Yarns Spring animals, the bunnylamb and Robin! Try it out and let us know what you think.

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Extended Stitches

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
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This week our focus is extended stitches. You can extend almost any crochet stitch with one simple step, when you have finished the set up for your stitch yarn over and pull through just one loop on your hook first, then finish the stitch as you normally would.

To make an extended single crochet stitch: insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and bring up a loop, yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over and pull through two loops. The right side of a few stitches have been highlighted above so you can see the difference in length.

Extended single crochet still gives you the nice dense fabric that you usually get with single crochet but with a bit more movement and drape. And since the stitches are a bit taller the work goes quicker! This is a great stitch for crochet socks, like our Cosmos pattern!

To make an extended half-double crochet stitch: yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and bring up a loop, yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over and pull through all three loops.

Extended half-double crochet gives you the height of double crochet stitches without being as open as double crochet. Again you can see the difference in length in the highlighted stitches.

To make an extended double crochet stitch: yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and bring up a loop, yarn over and pull through one loop, yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over again and pull through two loops.

Extended double crochet stitches give you the height of triples/trebles without being terribly leggy. You can see the difference in the highlighted stitches above.

Have you ever used extended stitches?

 

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Tunisian Simple Stitch

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
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This week our focus is Tunisian Crochet. This is an older technique that’s getting plenty of love lately. While there are lots of great pattern books out there now it can be hard to decide if it’s a new technique you’d enjoy. For a short piece like we’re practicing with today you can use a regular crochet hook but for anything larger than 10 stitches you’ll need a Tunisian or afghan hook. These typically look like straight knitting needles with a hook on the end instead of a point, or a version that looks like a regular crochet hook with a long cord on the back. This second type of Tunisian hook is also available in an interchangeable version with different length cords that you can attach to different hook sizes.

 

Tunisian crochet begins like almost every other crochet project, with a foundation chain. In the samples here I’m working with a very short chain, just 9 chains long! Each completed row of stitches is made up of two rows of actions; the Forward Row puts loops on your hook and the Return Row works them off again.

For the first Forward Row, insert your hook into the second chain from your hook and pull up a loop, leave this loop on your hook! Insert your hook into the next stitch and pull up a loop leaving it on your hook. Repeat this process for each chain stitch.

Now that Your first Forward Row is done you should have 9 loops on your hook and you’re ready to begin the Return Row. To start, yarn over and pull through just one loop on your hook. Yarn over again and pull through two loops. Repeat this step, yarning over and pulling through two loops, until you have worked all the way back to the beginning and only one loop remains on your hook.

Your first full row of stitches in now complete! The Forward Row changes a bit now but your Return Rows will stay the same as what you’ve just done.  If you look at the row you’ve finished you’ll notice stitches that are straight up and down, these are called “vertical bars” and this is the part of the stitch that you’ll be using. Insert your hook under the first vertical bar, yarn over and pull a loop back through that bar. Repeat that step, inserting your hook under the next bar, yarning over and pulling up a loop, until you have used all the vertical bars (the last one lives right on the edge of your work at the left hand side).

Now you’ll repeat your Return Row, yarn over and pull through one loop first, then yarn over and pull through 2 loops at a time until you’re back to just one loop. Repeat those last two rows and you get a substantial fabric with great texture. Tunisian wants to curl in on itself so don’t be surprised by that! The larger your finished object the less curl there will be. And since Tunisian fabric is a bit more dense than regular crochet you’ll want to use a hook that is a size or two larger that what you might normally use.

Swatching is a great way to try out new techniques and stitches but no one wants a basket or drawer full of little squares of crochet or knit fabric so what do you do with them? I like to make fingerless gloves, I use them all the time. For this pair I started with a chain of 25, and worked 25 rows of Tunisian Simple Stitch to for a square, and then seamed the edges, leaving a gap for the thumb. For the work pictured here I used Katia Azteca in color 7840 and a size J/10/6.00mm hook.

If this technique appeals to you and you’re looking for more check out Tunisian Crochet by  Sharon Hernes-Silverman, Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet by Sheryl Thies or The New Tunisian Crochet – Dora Ohrenstein.

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Surface Crochet

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
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This week we’re focusing on Surface Crochet. This is a great technique to use with both knit and crochet fabrics.  In its simplest form it’s a chain of slip stitches that appears on the surface of your fabric. It can be used for simple stripes or for more complex and free-form shapes.

This tutorial video shows you how to add vertical stripes to your knitting, and when combined with horizontal stripes it forms a simple plaid, the technique is used in two projects from our Soft Landing e-Book, the Hen Plaid Wrap and the Viola Plaid Pillow

This video shows you how the technique can also be used to create unique shapes, allowing you to draw on the surface of your project and it’s easy to accomplish. The Sprig Mittens are adorned with whimsical flowers but with surface crochet you could add almost any image.

 

The Nordic Tiles scarf features floating squares that are joined by simple lines of surface crochet along 2 edges and through the center.

Have you ever tried surface crochet?

Tuesday’s Crochet Tip – Quick and Decorative Potholders

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
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Tuesday's Crochet Tip - Quick and Decorative PotholdersIt’s National Crochet Month! To celebrate, we have some wonderful crochet tips to share with you. This week’s tip is from Sara, WEBS Marketing Coordinator and crochet designer.

I often find myself making one crochet motif, to try out a pattern or yarn, that never actually becomes anything. This is a great way to use up those lonely motifs. Pair them with a solid back piece in the same shape and join them along the edges. These make great last minute gifts! Edie Eckman’s Beyond the Square is a great resource for different shaped motifs. Note: Potholders should be made with 100% Cotton, 100% Wool or a blend of those 2 fibers only, other fibers may scorch, burn or even melt. The two shown are the same pattern with the top potholder made with Tahki Cotton Classic and the Bottom with a combination of Valley Yarns Northampton and Cascade 220.

March is National Crochet Month

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
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Valley Yarns Pickwick Cowl Crocheted in Valley Yarns CharlemontI love checking out obscure days and months (today, March 3rd is ‘If Pets Had Thumbs Day,’ among several others). It’s always fun to see what have days, or months. It’s also fun to check out the far less obscure days and months, like this month! March is National Crochet Month, and we’ll be celebrating it here on the blog all month long.

This month on the blog you’ll find weekly special crochet technique features (surface crochet and Tunisian crochet are just a couple that well be looking at), patterns suggestions, and a few surprises. So, keep checking back!

Do you love to crochet?

Spring 2014 Catalog

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
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WEBS Spring 2014 CatalogOur 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?

Selfish Project Month

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
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The holidays are now a distant memory, and while some of the more organized and enterprising members of our crafting community have already started planning, and possibly even working on projects for the end of this year, many of us just want to take a little time to focus on ourselves. I am included in that second group. I didn’t make nearly as many projects as I was planning for gifts, but as I was working on them, all I could think of was projects I wanted for myself – legwarmers, mittens, hats. (It has been really cold!)

Since February also happens to feature Valentine’s Day, we thought it might be nice to show ourselves a little love and focus on selfish knitting and crocheting. In the next month, we’ll feature patterns and ideas that you can make for yourself (or someone else if you really wanted to).

You’ll also want to keep an eye out here and our other social media sites next week because we’re going to be doing something special.

Are you planning on knitting or crocheting for yourself?

The Cousteau Shawl from Doris Chan

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
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As WEBS enters it’s 40th year we’ve been lucky enough to enlist some amazing designers to help us celebrate. We’ll be highlighting each designer throughout the year, first up we have Doris Chan who has crafted the gorgeous Cousteau Shawl for us.

About her relationship with WEBS:

I have been a WEBS customer for over a decade. Before I was a crochet designer, before I knew much about yarn at all, it was at a WEBS vendor booth at a knitting event where I was first introduced to the joys of buying great yarn by the bag. I must have browsed that display for an hour before taking the plunge and grabbing up 10 hanks of a lusciously luxe DK weight chrome yellow silk I and haven’t looked back since.

Much later I began receiving WEBS print catalogs. The first one I saw was in 2010. I was impressed at how Kathy Elkins openly and enthusiastically welcomed crocheters to her store by including crochet in her editorial comments, in WEBS design offerings, and on the pages of the catalog and website. I wrote and told her so, and was completely charmed by her reply. It didn’t take much coaxing on her part to start me thinking about designing with the WEBS house brand Valley Yarns. I felt confident that my work would be in good hands. In 2011, much to my delight, my Valley Cowl debuted in the WEBS line-up, along with full pattern support and tutorials.

In June 2011 I finally met Kathy at a TNNA industry event. I remember laughing. A lot. Our professional connection and personal friendship continues to grow out of mutual admiration. It didn’t take much coaxing on my part to get Kathy to support the Crochet Guild of America; WEBS is now a major sponsor of the CGOA Design Competition. It is an honor to be invited to participate in the WEBS 40th Anniversary and a pleasure to present this design, the Coutsteau Shawl, in a special hand-dyed edition of Valley Superwash DK. Congratulations to Kathy and to WEBS!

About her design for our 40th Anniversary Doris offers these tips:

Stitch Pattern Notes

Although the stitch pattern and trim have designated RS and WS rows, the faces of the fabric are so similar that the shawl is viewable and wearable from either side.

Advanced Tips for Working With Custom Dyed Colors

These special hand-dyes can vary from hank to hank. To avoid the stripes or blocks that may appear if you completely work each new hank in turn, you may wish to work a couple of rows, then switch hanks. For fewer cut ends, I prefer to work with three feeds at the same time; one feed is wrapped and carried up as you go at each end, every row. Because of the increasing stitch pattern at the end of every row, the best place to change yarn feeds is not in the very last stitch, but a couple of stitches before the end. This interior wrap and carry, if done neatly and fairly relaxed, is nearly invisible and should not hamper the stretchiness of the edge shells.