Posts Tagged ‘Crochet!’

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?

Yarn Cake

Friday, August 2nd, 2013
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In the retail store, customers sometimes look at our ball-winder-and-swift set-up and ask us if we can wind their skeined yarn for them. “No,” we say gently. “We can show you how to do and you can get right on it.” There’s usually a look of panic, or a plea (“just for me? I can’t possibly.”) but we’re firm–because the beauty of a ball winder and a swift is that you can wind up any skein of yarn with less than three minutes of instruction, and it will usually take about 17 seconds for a long, twisty skein to turn into a firm, compact yarn cake. In my first years of knitting, I used to make my husband hold his arms out like a robot to wind a skein into a ball, and when he wasn’t around, I’d have my kids do it. However, it didn’t take long for them to become bored and annoyed at the constant demands on their time (very important things to do! Pokemon cards to look at! Legos to leave on the floor so that I step on them, barefoot, and cry!), and I’d start bribing them with candy, and then with cold, hard cash.

A tasty skein of Northampton Sport, wound into a cake!

A friend and co-worker convinced me to invest in a ball-winder and swift combo. I was really hesitant about doing this, because for some reason I thought that once I had the tools, I was expected to be a SERIOUS KNITTER. But the first time I hooked a skein onto that plastic swift and twirled the handle of the ball winder around for less than a minute, I was hooked. It was amazingly simple and the results are instantaneous. Ball winders, by the way, have a hilarious instruction manual in the packaging that is translated from Japanese and makes it all worthwhile. I have the plastic and metal swift, but we also sell a beautiful wooden swift that is much larger, and will probably be around when you teach your granddaughter or grandson how to knit. Spinners, weavers, dyers, and knitters can all benefit from a little fiber help, and these two indispensable tools will make your life a billion times easier.You can use either of these products separately–swifts can be used to wind spun fiber, and ball winders are great for coned yarns. Webs offers a fantastic deal on the two if bought together.

Now you can eat the M&Ms by yourself without having to parcel them out to the child who complains about how itchy the baby alpaca feels.

Debbie Bliss Crochet Living

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
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Debbie Bliss has released a new collection of crochet projects for the home, Crochet Living.

There are some simple but visually stunning blankets and home accessories, like pillows and table linens, as well as cozy, wearable accessories. With lots of colors available in Baby CashmerinoCashmerino Aran and Rialto DK you can take any of these patterns and make them your own.

I’m really loving the simple grey poncho with that pop of color from the orange buttons.

 

Reading Crochet Charts

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
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Reading crochet charts can seem daunting to a crocheter that’s never used one before, but they’re not as scary as you might think. Crochet charts are a map of your stitches, they are a visual guide to the stitches you need to create.

The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the standard crochet symbols, these are the symbols you’ll see in every charted design, no matter what language the written pattern is published in! The Craft Yarn Council has a great list of the most commonly used symbols on their site. You’ll notice that most of the symbols have a physical resemblance to their stitch counterparts.

Know Your Symbols: Check the Legend

As with anything new start simple and familiarize yourself with the process before tackling more complicated projects. Let’s walk through a small swatch in one of the most basic stitches, single crochet.

Here we have a simple, single crochet swatch.

Single Crochet Swatch

The written pattern:
To begin: Ch16
Row 1: Turn, 1sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1sc in ea ch across
Row 2: Ch1, turn, 1sc in ea sc across.
Repeat Row 2 three times more. Fasten off.

The charted pattern:

You’ll see that the charted pattern builds upwards from the foundation chain just like your swatch.

Each row begins with a number that tells you which row you are on and alternate rows change color to help you see which stitches are part of that row and to avoid confusion between rows.

When you compare the chart with the swatch you can see the tail from where you began the chain in the bottom left corner which corresponds to the “Start” symbol and the tail from where you fastened off in the upper left corner which corresponds to the “End” symbol.

Reading Crochet Charts: Charts are a map of your stitches

Take your time and build your experience. The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda P. Schapper is a great resource for transitioning to using charts. Each stitch pattern includes an image of the pattern, the written version of the pattern as well as the chart.

What’s your favorite tip for reading crochet charts?

 

Crochet Trends in June

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
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Summer is in full swing and having a lightweight, portable project is ideal in the heat and humidity of the coming weeks. It’s also nice to have a few finished projects that you can use and wear in the warmer months.  Crocheted mesh is a great fabric choice to fill both these needs!

The Michel Vest would look great paired with a bright tee and capris. Made from half double crochet and chain stitches and worked in a single piece to the armholes this one will fly off your hook. The Longmeadow is a fantastic blend of cotton and microfiber that is soft and cool against the skin.

The Tokyo Vest  in Tahki Cotton Classic Lite, a free pattern, is a wonderful layering piece to toss on over a flirty summer dress in the evening. This top is made from 2 simple rectangles and is creatively seemed to create the illusion of a wrap top.

Finally, you’ll need something to carry all your summer finds, be they sea shells, fresh fruits and veggies from the Farmer’s Market, or treasures from a yard sale. Classic Elite has the perfect Market Bag pattern (also Free!) worked up on their Provence yarn.

What’s your favorite lightweight pattern for summer?

 

 

Crochet Trends in May

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
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Local and regional Fiber Fairs can be wonderful places to discover new yarns and Indie Dyers that you won’t find at Big Box stores, or your local yarn stores.

While the knitting world has embraced hand-dyed yarns crocheters seems to be a bit hesitant. I say go for it! Hand dyed yarns are perfect for crochet. Where knitters can sometimes run into issues of color pooling, with the short colors sections of these yarns, the very nature of crochet stitches takes advantage of these color changes.

There are plenty of wonderful patterns out there that would be perfect for a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind skein of  yarn picked up at a fair. Mary Beth Temple’s  Arches Cowl would be perfect as it can be worked till you run out of yarn. Sometimes you get lucky and find a hand-dyed bulky weight yarn; the Berme pattern from Berroco could help you turn that into a quick and perfect sweater.

And don’t forget socks, there are so many hand-dyed choices in sock yarn it can make your head spin, but it’s not just for socks. Linda Permann’s Stellar Beret and our own Iris Shawl can be made with sock weight yarns.

This weekend is the annual Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, I’ll be there looking for yarns that inspire me to crochet. For a list of Fairs in your area check the Knitter’s Review calendar of upcoming events.

So choose a few patterns, check the yardage you’ll need, and hit the fairs!

 

Crochet Trends in April

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
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April is a big transitional month here in New England. We’re moving from Winter, through mud season and into Spring!  It can also be be a big transitional time in terms of project choice. Big projects tend to give way to ones that are smaller and more portable.

This is the perfect time of year to start work on a larger project made from smaller parts or to experiment with something small and fun.

Square motifs, like Granny squares, are the perfect vehicle to use up leftover bits of yarn from previous projects or pair them up with other square motifs to practice new stitches and pull them all together into a blanket. Here you can see my Summer Squares Blanket using Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky and 13 different square motifs from Jan Eaton’s wonderful book 200 Crochet Blocks.

For quick easy ways to join granny squares as you go check out Kathy’s favorite join here and mine here.

Motifs are also a great way to spiff up your summer jewelry selection. Choose a few motifs and a finer cotton thread yarn and make earrings or a pendant.

These motifs are from another great book by Edie Eckman: Beyond the Square.

And sometimes you just need a quirky little gift,  motifs can make great picture frames!

What’s your favorite use of motifs?

Ready, Set, Knit! 308: Kathy talks with Carol Alexander

Saturday, April 20th, 2013
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Play Now:

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Guest:
 Kathy talks with Carol Alexander, editor of Crochet World and Crochet! magazine.

Carol talks about her path from designer to editor of 2 major Crochet magazines and the insights she gained during that journey into the inner workings of bringing a magazine full of great patterns and useful knowledge to market, as well as how many people and just how much time it takes to do so.

They also discuss the resurgence of Tunisian crochet, the best yarns to crochet with and why knitters should try crochet.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

New Yarns

39th Anniversary Sale Highlights

Check out all the great Weaving Yarns in our 39th Anniversary Sale.

Thanks to everyone who joined us at Stitches South! you always make us feel so welcome!

Upcoming Events: 

The full line-up of Summer classes is now online and printed booklets should have already begun to arrive in mailboxes. Check out some of this year’s amazing guest teachers: Ann Budd, Stephen West, Gail Zucker and Jason Collingwood!

Don’t forget about the Tent Sale on May 18th and 19th. There will be some great grab bags as well as some Noro on sale, we’re cleaning out the warehouse, folks!

The Third Annual I-91 Shop Hop is happening June 27-30th.

The New England Weavers Seminar (NEWS) is happening July 11-14, on the Smith College campus.

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

 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Deb

Monday, April 15th, 2013
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Deb is an incredibly well rounded artist, and expresses herself through crocheting and knitting, as well as drawing, painting, jewelry making, singing and even creating her own puppet. My absolute favorite creation of Deb’s is her currently un-named owl puppet, with eyes that bring his personality to life the instant you see him. If Deb weren’t working with us at WEBS, she’d be banging down the door at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for a job. (Her favorite Muppet is Pepe!)

You can read more about how Deb’s owl came to life in her interview below.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I love anything with alpaca, merino, and yes, even Nylon. Berroco Vintage is a favorite, along with Madelinetosh and Dream in Color yarns.

What fiber crafts do you do? Do you have a favorite?

Crochet is my go-to, but I also knit and spin on a drop spindle occasionally. I’ve also wet-felted beads. I get inspired by the raw materials, the fiber or the yarn.  Usually it tells me what it wants to be.  For example, if a yarn colorway reminds me of a semi-precious stone color, I try to utilize it in jewelry.  Mesh-tube constructed yarn is really fun to experiment with!

How long have you been knitting and crocheting? 
My mom had been trying to teach me to crochet for years. (My father’s mother had taught her how to crochet when my father was stationed with the Army in Vietnam, to use up nervous energy.)  About 8 years ago while watching my favorite holiday movie “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” with my mom,  I noted that one of the Muppets was wearing a granny square scarf, and that I wanted one.  The next thing I know I have a bag of yarn in my lap and a hook in my hand.  Within a few days, I finished my first project!

Left: Deb and her Owl puppet smile for the camera. He’s made from Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks.
Right: Deb’s paintings of Bill Murray, Steve Buschemi, Christopher Walken, and Steve Martin in progress. Painted on small wooden tiles. 

What fiber project are you working on right now?
I am racing to finish a yarn bombing project!  Basically, “yarn-bombing” is fiber-art graffiti. My project is part of an art festival in Holyoke, MA, and will be installed on a bench outside of the public library on the second floor of their city hall.  I am crocheting morning glories to cover this bench that sits in front of beautiful stained glass windows.

Do you have a favorite fiber project? 
I’m proud of the Nevermore Window Panel that appears in the Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders book.  It was my first published pattern, and though it took a while, it was really fun to chart out and watch it come to life with the Malabrigo Sock yarn.

Nevermore Window Panel from Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders

How else do you express yourself artistically?
Everything I do is an artistic expression!  I majored in visual art in college, I have been drawing and painting all my life.  I make jewelry, crocheted with wire.  I’ve done some scrapbooking, paper-making, and sewing.  I love mixing mediums!  My paintings will sometimes include fiber or collage, my crocheted items will have beads…

Oh!  And I’ve started to build puppets.  Basically, my dream job for years has been to work for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.  My current project is an owl.  There is paper mache, Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks involved in its construction!

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you have completed?
Well, I guess my favorite one(s?) of the past few months is my series of tiny portraits on wood tile beads.  Bill Murray, Christopher Walken.  It takes a few sessions for each one to get to the point where I’m satisfied with it.  I still have a few in progress.

Left: Rings made by Deb
Right: Deb’s design; Around-the-Post Hat from Crochet One Skein Wonders


Deb has been working with us at WEBS for about five years now, and loves to talk about color with our customers. Her talents don’t stop at the arts. She’s recently taken on the challenge of training for roller derby. She says, “I’ve never been athletic, and it’s different from anything I’ve ever done. It’s a challenge in a whole new way.” She’s managed to find some parallels between derby and her comfort zone of the arts. Learning how to crochet is all about building muscle memory, learning to skate is the same idea. Keep building muscle memory. She boils it down really well, it’s all about practice. “When I can’t hit a note in a song, it’s just more practice. When you try anything new, all it takes is just more practice.”

 

Deb’s Yarn Bombing in Holyoke, MA