Posts Tagged ‘Crochet!’

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Linda

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
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LindaLinda is the Customer Service Manager at WEBS and goes well beyond the fiber arts with her creativity. Seemingly endless hobbies just weren’t enough to satisfy this self proclaimed “do-it-yourselfer”, so Linda now runs the Pioneer Valley Vineyard with her family. “Making wine really falls along the lines of crafting to me. It’s just so much fun to create things from scratch and I love being outside in the vineyard.” Linda definitely keeps herself busy. There is work to be done in the vineyard all year round!

How long have you been knitting? 
I learned to knit at age 8, but I learned to weave when I began working at WEBS. In between, I played with crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, needlepunch, quilting, sewing, and wood working

How did you learn?
My grandmother taught me the basics of knitting and I just took it from there. I took some classes but don’t have a lot of “formal” training. Mostly I prefer to just figure it out for myself. The same with crochet. Weaving on the other hand, I knew was not something I could learn well from reading a book.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I really like wool cotton blends, like Spud and Chloe Sweater or Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. I like the softness of the cotton on my skin and the wool gives the yarn memory and warmth.

Linda's Afghan 2

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I recently completed an afghan in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that took a lot of time and I am glad I stuck with it. My plan is to make a special afghan for each of my grandchildren and to give it to them when they are older.

What is your favorite fiber art?
If I could only pick one it would have to be knitting. I can’t imagine not knitting.

Would you consider yourself artistic?
I wouldn’t say that I am artistic, it’s more crafty, or a do-it-yourself-er. I once built a large 2-sided gazebo type swing from scraps of wood. I enjoy making candy, tempering chocolate and dipping different flavored fillings in pretty molds and giving them as gifts.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
I’ve made some crocheted critters for my grandchildren and am working on a few small gifts for Christmas.

Pioneer Valley Vineyards

How do you like to spend your free time?
Most of our time is spent in our winery and 3 acre vineyard; Pioneer Valley Vineyard. We offer free wine tastings at the winery on weekends in the fall and spend the spring and summer caring for the grapes so they will give us the best wine possible. It’s an incredible amount of work and equally rewarding. It still gives me goose bumps when we harvest in the fall and press the grapes and taste the sweet juice that pours out of the press.

Big E's Medals

Linda started working at WEBS 14 years ago. “I answered an ad in the paper for ‘one of the Valley’s best knitters’. It was an ad I could not resist! I started part time and I never could have imagined it would lead to what I am doing now.” Linda has helped WEBS grow into the company we are today. What started as a part-time job to help combat a little empty nest syndrome as evolved into a 14 year career. We don’t know what we would do without her!

Great ideas for our Valley Lace Jar Covers

Monday, November 18th, 2013
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The Free Knit Lace and Crochet Lace Jar Covers from our Holiday Gift Guide have been quite popular.

Whether you knit or crochet, these projects work up quick and are made with just a little bit of yarn so they’re perfect for using up some of your stash.

Decoration

These jars, set in clusters, can really pull together a seasonal display on a dining room table or mantelpiece, and they can easily be filled with seasonal greens or berries for a pop of color.

Gifts

They also make for great gift presentation! Whether you’re giving a decorative candle, a delicious cookie-in-a-jar mix or a few sets of colorful double pointed needles, these jar covers make the most beautiful gift wrapping.

Have you knit or crocheted and jar covers yet? How will you use them?

CGOA 2013 Design Competition

Monday, November 11th, 2013
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WEBS couldn’t be happier to be a sponsor of the Crochet Guild of America’s annual Design Competition. This year we sponsored the Accessories Category and the First Place winner was Joyce Lewis who designed  the Dragon Wing shawl, a gorgeous combination of traditional and tunisian crochet.

dragon wing shawl

Two of our other favorites from the competition were the the third prize winner from the Small Accessories Category: “Is that a platypus?” scarf designed by Laurinda Reddig.

perry platypus scarf

And the First Prize winner from that same category: Fair Isle Love Beanie designed by Deja Jetmir

heart fair isle hat

You can learn more about the CGOA at their website and see all of the contest winners on their blog.

Getting the Right Fabric in Crochet

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
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Today we have a guest post by Dora Ohrenstein

Floating Tee, lacy open work and cashmere yarn.

Floating Tee, lacy open work and cashmere yarn.

Consider this: when you create an item, whether knit or crochet, do you think about the fabric you’re making? Sometimes we yarn lovers get so caught up in a the look of a particular design or stitch, we forget about the tactile feel of it, the way it hangs and moves.

What are some of the characteristics of fabric? Its smoothness or texture, stiffness or fluidity, weight, solidity, warmth, elasticity, breathability on the skin, washability, durability. You probably think about such things when purchasing items for your wardrobe or home. If it’s a blanket, you want it to be warm, soft enough to feel good but hardy enough to survive washing. A jacket might also be warm, but needs to be fluid enough to allow ease of movement for the wearer. A top for wearing indoors would need other qualities: breathable fabric that is comfortable to wear and soft against the skin, and that drapes nicely around the body. At the other end of the spectrum is a bag, which works best with a more rigid, structured fabric that will hold its shape over time.

Eleganza Raglan, made with very soft Pima cotton in DK weight

Eleganza Raglan, made with very soft Pima cotton in DK weight

A variety of fabrics can be created in both knit and crochet, but how it’s done is quite different depending on the craft. Since my expertise is in crochet, and since many knitters, and even some crocheters, don’t quite understand how fluid fabric can be achieved in crochet, let me amplify!

Several factors are significant: Firstly, the size of stitches, which means the size of the hook. I tend to use a larger hook than what is called for on the ball band. Typically, for a fingering weight yarn, I use a D or E, for a DK, a G or H, and for worsted, a J or K. There are no hard and fast rules, and a lot depends on the stitches you will be using. If you habitually crochet tightly, your stitches may look very neat and tidy, but your fabric will be dense and rigid. Loosen up those stitches and you’ll be amazed at the improvement in the feel of your fabric.

Shawled Collar Tunic, made with a large hook and mohair blend yarn

Shawled Collar Tunic, made with a large hook and mohair blend yarn

Our chosen stitches make a huge impact on fabric too. In crochet, there is no default stitch like stockinette, but rather, an infinite number of stitch patterns that result in closed or open work fabrics. To make closed fabric that drapes well, avoid short dense stitches like single crochet. Instead, use taller stitches to improve drape in the fabric. Working in one loop only also increases drape. The more open and lacy the stitch pattern used, the more drape. The more dense and textured, the more rigid the fabric. So, any time you use cables, puffs, bobbles or other dimensional stitches, you are working towards structure and away from drape. That’s why these stitches are great for hats and bags.

Of course the fibers in your yarn make a difference too: alpaca, bamboo, pima cotton are examples of fibers that enhance drape. Here are some photos of sweaters from my book entitled Custom Crocheted Sweaters. In each case, the yarns and stitches were carefully chosen so that the sweaters would drape in a flattering way. I hope this shows how crochet fabric can be just as suitable for wearables as is knit. I think both are lovely and both have a place in our lovely yarn universe!

I’m happy to answer any questions you post here about crochet fabric! If you want to delve further into the topic, I invite you to my classes at Vogue Knitting Live, January 17 – 19, 2014, click here for the complete schedule.

_________________
Dora Ohrenstein is a crochet designer, author and publisher. Her books include The New Tunisian Crochet (Interweave, 2013), Custom Crocheted Sweaters (Lark, 2012), the first in-depth book on sweater construction and alteration for crocheters, Creating Crochet Fabric (Lark, 2010), and Crochet Insider’s Passion for Fashion (Leisure Arts, 2009). Dora’s chic and innovative designs appear regularly in Interweave Crochet, Crochet! and Crochet Today. She is Co-Editor of Annies.com widely read Talking Crochet column, and she writes for various other publications about crochet history, international traditions, and techniques. Dora is the founder and editor of Crochet Insider, (www.crochetinsider.com) an online magazine that has won the Flamie Award three times. She is also a professional singer and voice teacher.

Gift Ideas: Blankets

Monday, October 28th, 2013
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Great Blankets to Knit and Crochet from Valley YarnsBlankets are a wonderful option for gifting. They do take a while to complete, but once they’re done and gifted, you know that the person you’ve given them to will be so thrilled to wrap up in something you created for them.

We’ve recently released several Valley Yarns blanket patterns that are perfect for gift giving, as well as many older favorites. We have options in both knit and crochet for everyone from babies to adults.

Valley Yarns 566 Mitchella Blanket is knit in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky. It is comprised of great lace counterpane squares with a crochet border. It looks great in a bright color, like on of the ones in Berkshire Bulky, but would also look stunning in a neutral. It is written for three sizes, so you can pick the one that best suits the recipient, or your time constraints.

If you like the Mitchella Blanket, but you’re looking to knit something for a baby, check out Valley Yarns 567 Maria Baby Blanket. It is knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK. This blanket is also written for three sizes, so if you’re looking for one that would be great to keep in the car for car seat cuddles, this would be a great option.

Great Baby Blankets to Knit and Crochet from Valley Yarns

If you’re a crocheter and want to make a baby blanket, take a look at Valley Yarns 561 Varve Baby Blanket. It is worked in three colors of Valley Yarns Valley Superwash. We have two color options shown on our website, but you can use your imagination and get creative with color combinations. One of the best things about making your own projects is that you get to choose the colors.

Another great option for gifting is Valley Yarns 512 Timber Blanket. It is designed in Valley Yarns Berkshire and has a lovely minimalist design. Four large garter stitch mitered squares are surrounded by a log cabin border. This is a perfect blanket for the back of the couch. I’d love to wrap on this on a snowy day!

Want to crochet a blanket that the recipient can cozy up in on a cold day? Valley Yarns 494 Berry Bramble Blanket is a super easy to memorize two pattern row repeat. Worked in three colors of Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky, you can spice up a neutral living room, or work it in your favorite single color. What else is there to love about this blanket? The fringe means you don’t have to weave in ends!

Will you be knitting or crocheting blankets for anyone on your list? 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Debby

Thursday, October 24th, 2013
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Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos knit in Valley Yarns LongmeadowDebby is part of our amazing store staff team, and happens to be an incredibly talented knitter and weaver. She continues to impress us all by her projects despite a very busy life outside of WEBS. Debby’s family owns Cook Family Farm, where she lives and works every day of the week. Their restaurant, Flayvors of Cook Farm is a local favorite, especially for the ice cream!  With 5 children, 2 dogs, many chickens, 13 turkeys and about 200 cows to tend to, it’s amazing she finds the time to knit and weave.

How long have you been knitting and weaving?
I’ve been knitting for almost 9 years and I’ve been weaving for just over 2 years.

How did you learn to knit?
I’m a self taught knitter. After I learned how to knit, I realized how much I didn’t know! So then I took classes here at WEBS. I was inspired to knit by my Mom, but it was my grandmother in law, Mimi, who pushed me to learn. I had told Mimi that “someday I’ll learn to knit and make sweaters”. And she said, “Don’t wait for someday because you don’t know what the future holds.You may loose your sight or maybe have severe arthritis, whatever it may be. If you want to learn or do something, do it now!” She was a very wise woman.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I love Malabrigo yarns!  They are such a joy to knit with that it never feels like “work”. I have grown very fond hand dyed yarns, especially monochromatic styles.

Dishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.Dishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
Some of my favorite projects that I’ve finished are hand woven dishtowels. They get used every day and somehow in their functionality,  any “flaws” seem lost. I just love having them around.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right I’m working on the Feather weight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I’m also weaving a small rug for our bathroom…and hoping that I am able to get 2 or 3 rugs from this warp so that I may also get a Christmas present or 2 done.

What is your favorite fiber art?
I like weaving, but honestly don’t seem to make the time to  get a project started. So knitting is my favorite fiber art…it’s just so  portable!! Quick to find a project, which then becomes a birthday gift,  baby shower present or Christmas gift.

The Amanda Hat by Gina House in Classy with CashmereDishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.

How else do you like to express yourself artistically?
Well, I don’t know how artistic I am, but I really enjoy photography. I got the chance of a lifetime this year to venture down to Argentina, the Falkland Islands and then onto Antarctica. It was so amazing and the pictures I came home with made me fall in love with photography. I’ve started making cards with some of my favorite pictures from our family farm. Now if I just had some more time…

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
My best marathon time is just 13  minutes shy of qualifying for Boston!

Knitting Pure and Simple 9724 in Plymouth Encore

How do you like to spend your free time?
I work full time at our family farm store. I work at WEBS 1 day a week. We have 5 children, 2 dogs, many chickens, 13 turkeys and about 200 cows. I have no free time. However, I love spending time with my family, especially outdoors. So we go for bike rides, hikes and day trips.

Debby has been working at WEBS for about 5 years now, and says she hopes to be here forever! “My husband encouraged me to apply  in order to support my yarn addiction and to be able to spend more time with  fiber crazy people.  And I’m so grateful that he did.”

Ready, Set, Knit! 331: Kathy talks with Sara Delaney

Saturday, October 19th, 2013
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Marketing Coordinator, Sara Delaney, about the October KAL/CAL.

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Kathy and Sara discuss the October KAL/CAL happening in the All Things WEBS group on Ravelry, this month’s theme is Stuffed Toys.

Details
What are we making?: knit and/or crocheted stuffed toys
What’s the timeline?: Begin anytime in October, post your finished pictures in the October KAL/CAL Entry thread by 10/31 at noon Eastern.
What’s the prize?: One randomly selected entry will be chosen and will receive a $50 WEBS gift card.

Rules

  • Must be a member of the All Things WEBS group.
  • Must be a stuffed animal (or monster, doll, etc.) – knit or crocheted (or both).
  • Must cast on October 1st (or after) and finish by October 31st at noon Eastern.
  • Must include a photo of the finished object in the KAL/CAL Entry thread. Only one entry (post) per project, but you can enter with more than one project. Just create a new post with the picture.
  • We encourage you to use a yarn (and/or) pattern that you’ve purchased from us, or one that we carry (your handspun is okay too), but it isn’t required.
  • We will lock the thread at noon Eastern on October 31st and the winner will be chosen randomly and posted the next day.

You can find a great selection of knit toy patterns here, crochet toy patterns here as well as the Valley Yarns Creatures! both knit and crochet. And check out our Pinterest Board for even more ideas.

Coming up in November we’ll be running a KAL with our NEW! Safe Passage Set. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern go to Safe Passage. Get your copy of the pattern and yarn today so you can cast on November 1st!

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events:

Stitches East is coming up! November 8-10 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT.  There are still lots of open seats in classes and the Market is not to be missed!

Adventures in Yarn Farming Book signing with Barbara Parry, November 14th from 6:30 – 8:00pm

Reminder:

Ready, Set, Knit! listeners are you up for a challenge?!   The KnottyGirls Knitcast issued a challenge and started the Ravelry Podcaster Throwdown. They claimed that their listeners will turn in more hats for Halos of Hope by the end of Stitches West 2014 than any other podcast out there. You all know that Kathy has a competitive streak a mile wide and can’t resist a challenge! Steve has even stepped in and said that he will ship all the collected hats to Stitches West! Here’s what you need to do:

Make as many knit and/or crochet hats as you can (check here for preferred fibers and free patterns) and get them to us by February 1, 2014. Make sure each hat and package is labeled with “Team RSK!” Please mail all packages to:

WEBS
Attn: TEAM RSK!
6 Industrial Pkwy.
Easthampton, MA 01027

If you’re posting about your progress on Facebook or Twitter please use #PodcastThrowdown. And please join the Podcasters Throwdown Group on Ravelry and show your support in the Team RSK thread! If you’ve sent in hats let us know who you are.

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! 329: Kathy talks with Kirsten Hipsky

Saturday, October 5th, 2013
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Design Manager, Kirsten, about the WEBS Fall 2013 Catalog.

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Kathy and Kirsten talk about some of their favorite patterns from this catalog.

The Foxfire Shawl knit in Charlemont Kettle Dyed and Charlemont Hand Dyed, this shawl would look great in lots of different color combinations.

Valley Yarns Foxfire Shawl and additional color options

They also discussed the Whistler Cardigan, The Basic Crochet Pullover, The Morning Bells Shawl,  The Chandelier Shawl, Papyrus Cardigan and Monarda Pullover

If you do not yet receive our catalog you can request one here.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Our 10th Annual Knit & Crochet for the Cure event is happening in store TOMORROW October 6 from 1-4pm.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, is joining us to offer two classes the week of October 19th! We’re so excited to have her back at WEBS.

Upcoming Events:

WEBS is open regular hours on Columbus day weekend, closed on Sunday and open on Monday, while you’re here you should check out the Paradise City Arts Festival Oct 12-14 at the 3-County Fairgrounds.

Registration is open for our 7th Annual Bus Trip to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck on October 19th – just 2 weeks away! Are you on the bus?

Stitches East is coming up! November 8-10 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. There are still lots of open seats in classes and the Market is not to be missed!

Reminder:

Ready, Set, Knit! Listeners get ready for a challenge!   The KnottyGirls Knitcast issued a challenge and started the Ravelry Podcaster Throwdown. They claimed that their listeners will turn in more hats for Halos of Hope by the end of Stitches West 2014 than any other podcast out there. You all know that Kathy has a competitive streak a mile wide and can’t resist a challenge! Steve has even stepped in and said that he will ship all the collected hats to Stitches West! Here’s what you need to do:

Make as many knit and/or crochet hats as you can (check here for preferred fibers and free patterns) and get them to us by February 1, 2014. Make sure each hat and package is labeled with “Team RSK!” Please mail all packages to:

WEBS
Attn: TEAM RSK!
6 Industrial Pkwy.
Easthampton, MA 01027

If you’re posting about your progress on Facebook or Twitter please use #PodcastThrowdown. And please join the Podcasters Throwdown Group on Ravelry and show your support in the Team RSK thread! If you’ve sent in hats let us know who you are.

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

Valley Yarns featured in Interweave Crochet

Thursday, September 26th, 2013
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Have you seen the Fall 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet yet? With almost 20 projects ranging from cowls and shawls to blankets and sweaters there is plenty to choose from to keep you busily hooking through the Fall months. Our favorite project, and we admit our bias! is the Obi Scarf crochet in our very own Valley Yarns Northampton Sport.

Obi Scarf from Fall 2013 Interweave Crochet using Valley Yarns Northampton Sport

Designed by Shelby Allaho this versatile design can be worn as a scarf or a belt and features a subtle blending of surface crochet, texture, and color-work creates a clever ribbon of fabric

Obi Scarf from Interweave Crochet Fall 2013 using Valley Yarns Northampton Sport

What colors of Northampton Sport would you use?

Valley Yarns featured in Knit Simple

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
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Not only were our Valley Yarns used for 2 great projects in the Fall 2013 issue of knit simple but one of them is an adorable crochet hat!

The Crocheted Arrows Beanie designed by Janet Brani uses our Valley Yarns Colrain in three rich, fall colors and you only need one skein each of grape jelly, mauve, and rich purple!

Fran Gross designed a simple blanket with great textural details for the Knit Block Afghan using our Valley Yarns Berkshire in a striking shade of Lime green. With just 13 skeins, and over 40 colors to choose from, you could have a bright or subtle addition to your decor with stunning graphic appeal.

What colors would you choose for these projects?