Posts Tagged ‘Crochet!’

National Crochet Month – a new adventure

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
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I should probably start by saying that I am a life-long knitter. My passion for playing with two sticks and some string has been with me for as long as I can remember. In fact, I was crafting with yarn long before my grandmother ever taught me to knit. So it seems odd to me, in retrospect, that my deep and abiding love of all things yarn never made the jump to crochet. Perhaps it’s because there simply wasn’t a crocheter close at hand to steer me in that direction. At any rate, as time went on, I found that I was quite happy knitting away and gave very little thought to including crochet in my skill set.

Find everything you need to learn to crochet, or just to get started again, at yarn.com

Since joining the team at WEBS, however, I have found that it just might be helpful to have some understanding of the crochet questions and conundrums that arise from time to time, and in order to do that, I should probably begin to acquire some functional knowledge of the craft. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got the conceptual basics down, you know, things like: crochet projects require more yarn than knitting projects; recommending the proper hook size for a particular yarn; and making (very) basic estimates about gauge. Herein was the sum total of my understanding of crochet. Until now.

Over the past month or two, I have begun a new adventure into the world of chains and half-double crochets, and find myself chomping at the bit to unravel such mysteries as pattern reading and crocheted lace. Fortunately, I am firmly committed to the notion of swatching as a means of acquiring skill, and I have created several lovely (and with mostly straight edges, I might add) single crochet swatches. Feeling confident that it is time to expand my repertoire, I am celebrating National Crochet Month by incorporating a new stitch or two into my next few swatches and investigating our crochet class offerings here at WEBS. How lucky I am to spend my days in the company of truly accomplished crocheters who are happy to answer questions and take the time to help a newbie progress. Whenever I get stuck or make a mess (I even crocheted so tightly that I once broke my swatch – don’t ask), my co-workers patiently get me back on track and tell me how well I’m doing. Encouragement for which I am truly grateful. They point me in the direction of the instructional videos on our website, suggest wonderful tools of the trade (the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz hooks are my favorites so far), and some beautiful patterns to whet my appetite – Valley Yarns Crocus Lace Stole and Fluvial by ChickenBetty both have piqued my interest. They tell me the motion of the hook and my tension will begin to feel more comfortable soon, it just takes a bit of practice. I know they’re right, after all, I’ve said very similar words to many a burgeoning knitter. I just have to relax and and enjoy the process.

Start a New Crochet Project Today

Monday, March 9th, 2015
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The long winter has me itching to start new things, which is terrible for my WIP list, but great for discovering new (and new to me) patterns. Since March is National Crochet Month, I decided maybe I’d flex my crochet muscles and took a peek at what we have for crochet PDF patterns. I love PDF patterns for several reasons. They don’t clutter up my house, I can store them on my phone or iPad, so I have them right there with me, and I can make notes on the patterns with several of the PDF apps that are out there (and save my notes for future projects).

Perusing our collection of PDF crochet patterns, I have encountered a small problem. I want to make every pattern I’ve looked at. I guess I haven’t been keeping up with our PDF patterns because, wow! There are some incredible patterns available.

Sweet Clementine by ChickenBetty

I’m a big fan of hats, because I’m often cold, and if you’re having a less than stellar hair day, you can always throw a hat on! Sweet Clementine by ChickenBetty (who happens to be our own Sara Delaney) is high on my to-crochet list. I have loads of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in my stash, and already have two hats made from it, so I know it’s great for just this purpose.

Fresh Stitches Crochet Patterns

I want to crochet every single one of the adorable amigurumi patterns from Fresh Stitches by Stacy Trock. Flavia the Unicorn, Forrest the Gnome, Murray the Squirrel, Jackie the Cow, the Choose Your Own Adventure Dragon – I don’t know where to start! These are a great gift for your favorite child. One of my favorites (my godson) is turning two later this month, and he may be getting at least one of these as part of his gift.

Crochet Patterns by Linda Permann

All the time I’ve been spending inside lately has made me want to make some changes around the house, and Linda Permann, in addition to having some spectacular garment and accessory patterns (we did a CAL with her Sugar Sparkles Shawlette), has a lovely pillow that I can picture on my couches. The Everyday Lace Pillow has a fabric cover underneath, and since I’ve also been dabbling in some sewing, this project will be a great way for me to combine that in.

What PDF patterns do you want to download right now and start?

We’ve got crochet hooks!

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
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Of every shape and color! Whether you use a traditional hook, or prefer tunisian, we have a hook to fit your style.

Crochet hooks available at yarn.com - read more at blog.yarn.com

From the classic Susan Bates Silvalume and Quicksilver hooks, to steel hooks for fine thread work and large plastic hooks for for super bulky and rug working projects you’re sure to find the crochet tools you’ll need on our site or in our retail store.

addi color coded crochet hooks available at yarn.com - read more at blog.yarn.com

Skacel offers some great hook options in their addi line. The color coded hooks are available individually and in a full set. Their ergonomically shaped Swing hooks can help ease hand strain and they even have a set of click hooks for your tunisian work.

Knitter's Pride Dreamz crochet hooks available at yarn.com - read more at blog.yarn.com

Knitter’s Pride offers an almost unbelievable assortment of hooks. In the Dreamz line you have individual classic hooks and tunisian hooks as well as full classic sets and tunisian sets and you can purchase additional cables for your tunisian hooks. the also offer a specialty Symfonie Rose set with decorative Swarovski Crystals. Their newest Waves hooks feature color coded comfort grips and are also available individually and as a set. There’s also the line of Bamboo hooks, individual or in sets and as well as individual tunisian hooks and tunisian hook sets.

Do you have a go-to hook brand? Do you change it up based on the project or fiber your using? Tell us all about your favorite hooks!

 

March is National Crochet Month

Monday, March 2nd, 2015
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We’re always excited when March rolls around and we have the added incentive to feature extra crochet content! While we do work to make sure that crochet is represented throughout the year it’s really nice to make it our focus for a month each year.

Celebrate National Crochet Month on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

We’ll be talking about the different crochet hooks we carry, we’re introducing a new styling guide on the blog for our Valley Yarns patterns and the first featured pattern is crochet. Our Ask WEBS posts will focus on answering your crochet questions this month, and we’ll launch the 2nd square in our WEBS Mystery Crochet-a-Long (It’s not too late to get started, you can join the CAL at anytime!)

Be sure to check out the hundreds of crochet patterns available on our website, with almost 200 FREE crochet patterns there’s sure to be something for everybody. And if you’re able to visit our retail store this month be sure to check the yarn swatches for all our new yarns, there are knit and crochet swatches for each!

Yarn Tasting,Trunk Shows and Fun…Oh My!

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
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Have you ever wanted a chance to sample a yarn before you buy it? Well now you can! We are hosting a Cascade Yarn Tasting on February 12 from  6-7:30 pm. Come try out the wide variety of Cascade yarns that we carry, including their new Spring yarns and check out all the wonderful pattern support. You might get inspired to start a new project! We’ll raffle some fabulous prizes throughout the evening and provide snacks for you to enjoy, you’ll even have the opportunity to get a free set of Colonial Blonde circular needles when you purchase $40 of regularly priced Cascade yarn! This event is free, but registration is required

Cascade Yarn Tasting February 12th 6:00pm-7:30pm at WEBS retail Store in Northampton MA - more details at yarn.com

If you visit the store in mid February you’ll see the stylish and cozy garments from knitwear designer Cirilia Rose in the trunk show from her new book, Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads. Cirilia began her knitwear career at WEBS while a student at UMASS, and has worked with important knitwear companies such as Berroco, Skacel and currently , New Zealand mill Woolyarns. Over 20 garments and accessories will be available for you to discover in this trunk show, and you can pick up a copy of her book while you’re here.

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads Trunk Show at WEBS retail store in February - more details at blog.yarn.com

 

There are always book signings, trunk shows and special events happening in our store, be sure to check our calendar and the Events listing to see what’s coming!

 

Designer in Residence – Doris Chan

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
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Our new Designer in Residence program is off to an amazing start! This month we reveal the first design from our Crochet Designer in Residence Doris Chan, The Shawl Collar Stole.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her first design the Shawl Collar Stole in Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky - learn more at blog.yarn.com

With a bit of clever shaping, The Shawl Collar Stole is a meltingly soft stole that drapes beautifully and securely around the shoulders. The wide top band in gentle ribbing turns over to form a snuggly collar. The back is curved to create some roominess through the arms and allow the fronts to sit properly. The stole is just wide enough for comfortable coverage, but not so wide that you’re constantly sitting on the back, and the fronts have enough wrap-around length without getting in your way. Valley Superwash Bulky makes the crocheting quick and smooth, while the relaxed gauge and open lacy stitch pattern keep this stole surprisingly lightweight yet cozy without being stuffy.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

We asked Doris to tell us about about how she designs, what she finds inspiring, and to give us a hint about what we can expect to see throughout the year.

Tell us a bit about your design process. Do you have design ideas in your head that inspire you to search out the right yarn or do you find a yarn and let the design grow from there?

Unless an editor requests a specific silhouette or style, I will always begin with yarn. Yarn in the hands speaks to me in ways I don’t completely understand and begins a process not easily explained. I have referred to this process as organic designing rather than technical designing. A technical designer may create a completed project in the mind, perhaps to the point of being able to write a pattern, before ever picking up a hook. That designer has only to plug in an appropriate yarn and crochet according to the plan, or have a contract crocheter make the sample. An organic designer grows things from yarn. Sounds idiotic and overly simplistic when put that way, but it does describe how it feels to me. It’s not that technical designers don’t care about yarn or that organic designers are space cadets. Designers aren’t totally one or the other, just as no person is totally right brained or left brained. Good design is a cocktail of the two in different proportions, plus a dash of individual skill and aesthetics.

On my technical side, I possess a personal bag of crochet tricks or techniques on which I often fall back; years of experience (trial and error) have granted me a feel for seamless construction, working lace stitch patterns in relaxed gauge, shaping and manipulating fabric. But for me there can’t be design until I grok the yarn in a fairly intense, hands-on way. I sometimes take the yarn for a series of test drives(some call it swatching) before I arrive at the place I need to be. Once there is good fabric, then the project can grow from there.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you hike? jog in the city? take your camera everywhere you go? have a studio full of inspiring color and images? 

Surely you jest. I am a serious slug and hardly leave my home. As an admitted sci-fi fan geek I immerse myself not in colors and fashion or artistic images, but in works of fantasy. Not that I design sci-fi fangeek crochet (not much anyway!), but I do tap into the sense of wonder, the outside-the-box possibilities that are at the core of my favorite guilty pleasures. My friends and readers inspire me. I may ask what sort of crochet they’d like to see, and then make it so. I also look backwards quite often, seeking out images and descriptions of vintage or retro pieces that can be translated into crochet-speak and given contemporary appeal. But what inspires me most is meeting a yarn that doesn’t want to live in my usual comfort zone. This pushes me to work even farther outside the box and leads me to different techniques, fresh approaches and new solutions in order to make that yarn happy in crochet.

Tell us about your design aesthetic. What can our customers expect to see from you this year?

My aesthetic is governed by what I believe looks and feels right on the body. Wearable, doable garments and accessories in flexible, forgiving fabrics that are shaped to fit and flatter are what I love to design. I prefer working in one single solid color, the better to showcase the crochet stitchwork. BUT…occasionally I wander over to the dark side and design afghans. That’s where I play with color. Nothing is as satisfying as making something amazing for your home to look at and enjoy every day

Tell us about your favorite Valley Yarn, is there a Valley Yarn you are excited to work with? 

My favorite Valley Yarn to date, mainly for the reason that I am allergic to and cannot wear wool, is Goshen. I have designed extensively in this lovely cotton blend, and it is my go-to medium worsted yarn for my own personal crocheted garments. I eagerly anticipate working again with fine gauge Charlemont and the growing family of Valley Superwash, now in DK, worsted and bulky weights.

What designers do you like/follow? Are there designs you wish you had time to knit/crochet/sew?

Majorly unfair question. Honestly I’d rather NOT know what everyone else is doing, so as not to be unduly influenced by anyone. If you want to accuse me of being a lazy slug, that’s another way to say it. I do follow with understandable interest the work of my boss at DesigningVashti.com, Vashti Braha. She often takes her crochet in directions I fear to tread and with enviable passion.

And don’t forget, we’ll have a new design from Fiona Ellis next month and each odd numbered month of the year. Check out her designs here. And we’ll reveal the next crochet design from Doris Chan in April, and in each even numbered month this year! You can see all her designs here.

Ready, Set, Knit! 386: Kathy talks with Kristin Nicholas

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
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This week Kathy talks with author and knitwear designer Kristin Nicholas about her newest book, Crafting a Colorful Home.

RSK 386

This is Kristin’s 11th book and while not knit or crochet focused, it does contain a great scrappy knit afghan and geometric crocheted granny square blanket patterns, as well as great lessons for learning to use color in your life.  Read all about the process of writing this book on Kristin’s blog and click here to read the Houzz magazine article that was the inspiration for the book! You can follow Kristin on Facebook or Instagram.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Check out the brand-new design from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence .

Sign up now for the WEBS Mystery KAL or Mystery CAL classes before they fill up!

Winter/Spring 2015 Classes are on the website now, register before they fill up!

Upcoming Events:

Our 9th Annual Pre-Game Event is coming up on Feb 1st – It’s free but be sure to register!

Join us for a Yarn Tasting with Cascade Yarns on Feb 12th.

Don’t miss your chance to meet and talk with Norah Gaughan on March 7th!

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

Ready, Set, Knit! 381: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Weaving Manager, Leslie Ann Bestor, about the perfect gifts for the fiber enthusiast in your life.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 381 - Kathy Talks with Leslie Ann Bestor about the best gifts for the knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers in your life this holiday season. Find these gifts and more at yarn.com

Kathy and Leslie Ann discuss the following products this week:

Yarns: Sweet Georgia Cashsilk Lace, Artyarns Beaded Silk and Sequins Light, Artyarns Ensemble 4

Bags: Hadaki Travel Essentials kit, Della Q Rosemary bag, Namaste Poppins bag

Needles/Hooks: Knitters Pride Symfonie Rose Crochet Hook setKnitter’s Pride Marblz Interchangeable Needles set

For Spinners: The Spinners Book of FleeceThree Feet of Sheep, Spinning Fibers, Spinning Wheels, Schacht Niddy-Noddy

For Weavers: Bluster Bay Shuttles will be available in 2015, Schacht Variable Dent Reed

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Reminder:

Tomorrow is the 11th Annual Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage! Our team will be walking and running and we’re still taking donations through December 31st. You can donate to the team here. Or you can purchase a copy of the Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear patten, the cost of each pattern is donated to Safe Passage.

Upcoming Events:

Winter/Spring 2015 Classes will be on the website next week!

Next week Steve and Kathy wrap up our 40th Year!

WEBS retail store will be open only two more Sundays – through December 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

Gifts to Make – Perfect Crochet

Monday, December 1st, 2014
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Whether you’re in need of a few last minute gifts for friends and family, or searching for the perfect gift for yourself, we have what you’re looking for. Cowls and shawlshave been very popular this year and there are so many patterns to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to three of our favorites.

crochet post_edited-1

The Vanda Stole from Valley Yarns features a center out construction and an open lacey design that’s sure to work up quickly and would be a perfect project to pick up a few skeins of our 40th Anniversary Northfield hand dyed by Malabrigo.

The Valley Cowl designed by Doris Chan is a luscious, lacy  infinity style cowl, worked from the center out in a figure 8 with no seams! . Worn as a shoulder wrap or double-twisted around the head as a hood, it makes a lovely, practical and quick-to-crochet gift.

Linda Permann’s Zigzag Cowl not only takes advantage of the long color repeats of Cascade Yarns Tangier but it’s all worked with a single skein!

The College Park Shawl by Edie Eckman

Friday, November 14th, 2014
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The College Park Shawl from Edie Eckman is a deceptively simple to make, and truly versatile accessory. With just two skeins of our 40th Anniversary Valley Yarns Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color you’ll be able to whip up this perfect layering shawl in less than a week!
The College Park Shawl pattern designed by Edie Eckman and crocheted in Valley Yarns 40th Anniversary Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color - available exclusively at yarn.com
Edie, like many of you, used to get a catalog in the mail from WEBS, and was a customer long before creating this lovely design for us. Of the College Park Shawl she says, “I love playing with stitch patterns and experimenting with lovely yarns to find the right pattern for the yarn. It took me a while to settle on just the right stitch pattern for the Charlemont, because every one I tried worked so well!”
The College Park Shawl pattern designed by Edie Eckman and crocheted in Valley Yarns 40th Anniversary Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color - available exclusively at yarn.com
The simple L shape of this crochet shawl means that there’s no actual shaping worked in your stitches! The College Park Shawl can be worn with both ends draped over your shoulders to the front so it looks like a traditional scarf, or with one end tossed casually over your shoulder. You can also turn the shawl around and wear it bandana style for even more warmth around your neck and shoulders. however you wear it, this is sure to become one of your favorite accessories.