Posts Tagged ‘Doris Chan’

Doris Chan – a Designer in Residence in her own words

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
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Our 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, Doris Chan, took some time to write about the program, her history with WEBS, and how you can help her decide what Valley Yarns to use next and what to design, over on her website.

The Shawl Collar Stole from Doris Chan, one of six new designs available at yarn.com

About her first design, the Shawl Collar Stole, she says, “Anyone who has wrapped this baby around the shoulders does not want to take it off. Truth be told, I enjoyed the lush softness of the piece while I was creating the sample; this from a crocheter who has allergies, among them wool. Thick yarn, big hook, zero finishing, quick work, nearly instant gratification.”

Have you tried our Valley Superwash Bulky yet?

Ready, Set, Knit! 390: Kathy talks with Doris Chan

Saturday, February 14th, 2015
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This week Kathy talks with our 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, Doris Chan. Her first design, the Shawl Collar Stole is out now.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 390 - Kathy talks with Doris Chan our 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence - listen now at blog.yarn.com

Kathy and Doris talk about how Doris designs, her first trip to the store and warehouse, and the crochet friendly vibe at WEBS. You can find more of Doris’ designs on Ravelry and at Designing Vashti.

And for those of you wondering what all the snow up here look like, here’s Steve next to our monstrous snowbank!

Steve Elkins and the snowbank outside WEBS yarn store on Feb 13, 2015!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Sign up now for the WEBS Mystery KAL or Mystery CAL classes before they fill up! Classes Start February 21st!

Upcoming Events:

The Magpies Homebodies and Nomads Trunk Show from Cirilia Rose is on display in the store through Feb 23rd. Stop by and check it out!

Stitches WEST is happening at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA Feb 20-22, stop by the WEBS booth and say hi!

Try your hand at Japanese knitting with Donna Druchunas, classes run Feb 28th and March 1st!

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

There are still open seats in classes with Margaret Radcliffe on April 12, Slipped Stitch Patterns and the Lazy Knitter’s Guide to Pattern Stitches!

Classic Elite Yarns Truck shows are ongoing and there’s always something new to see! Stop by the store to see what’s on display.

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

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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.

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!

Thank You

Friday, April 4th, 2014
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With the first quarter of 2014 is coming to a close we wanted to take a moment to thank some of the people that have made it such a success.

To Amy Herzog, Melissa LaBarre and Doris Chan,
Thank you for your creative vision, and for turning our yarns into works of wearable art.

To Madelinetosh,
Thank you for sharing your gorgeous colors with us.

(If you haven’t yet gotten any, there are just a few skeins left of our 40th Anniversary Valley Superwash DK hand dyed by Madelinetosh. When they’re gone, they’re gone!)

To Della Q,
Thank you for the perfect project bag.

(There are just a few of these limited edition bags left. Get one while you can!)

To Barbara Elkins, Judie Yamamoto, and Carol Birtwistle,
Thank you for creating amazing textiles with our yarns.

To Norah Gaughan and the Berroco team,
Thank you for breathing new life into some classic Berroco designs, just for us.

To Stamell Stringed Instruments,
Thank you for letting us come home one more time, and for being a beautiful location for photography.

(The house that Stamell’s occupies is the former home of WEBS)

And thanks to You, our customers,
You have made the start of our 40th Anniversary year just amazing. Thanks for being here with us.

We’ve got so much more to share with you! Our second round of celebrations launch next Monday, April 7th. More yarn, more designs, and more specialty products!

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.

It’s our 40th Anniversary!

Monday, January 20th, 2014
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Windchill PromoWe’re so excited to officially launch our 40th Anniversary celebrations and to share with you our first round of spectacular specialty products.

WEBS has teamed up with Madelinetosh to bring you our own Valley Yarns Superwash DK dyed in 19 of your favorite Madelinetosh colors and an exclusive Ruby colorway for our 40th year. This yarn is only available at WEBS and in limited quantities so get it while you can!

We’ve also partnered with 3 amazing designers who have worked their magic with this yarn.

Doris Chan designed the Cousteau Shawl that shows off the drape and movement of the Superwash DK beautifully and just seems to shimmer in the Cousteau colorway.

Melissa LaBarre’s  Windchill Cardigan, designed using the Baroque Violet colorway, is an easy, open front cardigan with great hem and neckline details.

And Amy Herzog worked with the Magnolia Leaf colorway to design a classic wardrobe staple with a few simple, yet  modern twists in the Thornes Pullover.

And this is just the start. We’ll have new and exclusive designs from some of your favorite designers throughout the year in some of our favorite Valley Yarns and each quarter we’ll bring you a new and exclusive hand dyed yarn.

As if all this amazing yarn and patterns weren’t enough, you can tote your new project around in a brand new, exclusive to WEBS, della Q bag! There will be a new bag from della Q each quarter.

We’ll also be unveiling new weaving drafts from long-time friends of WEBS, and some of our favorite weaving instructors throughout the year. Additionally, as part of our year-long celebration, we’re sponsoring a Weaving Contest with 4 different categories and 3 prizes per category! Full details and contest rules are available on our website.

We’ve got so much more for you this year. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, and on Ravelry for all the latest.

Thank you for 40 years and thank you for making us America’s Yarn Store!

Ready, Set, Knit #229: Kathy talks with Beth Casey; Kirsten announces our next CAL

Saturday, July 30th, 2011
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Guest: Beth Casey of Lorna’s Laces chats with Kathy about the newest yarn from Lorna’s Laces – Solemate. This is a sockweight yarn that’s a blend of superwash merino, nylon, and Outlast. Outlast is a technological fiber that helps regulate your temperature – cools when it’s too hot and warms when it’s too cool. The yarn has a very high twist, similar to the Shepherd Sock because it’s such a well-wearing, popular yarn. There is some springiness in the new yarn, but it is a little bit smoother because of the content. Beth also talks about the newest colors named after iconic Chicago landmarks.

Check out the Lorna’s Laces blog.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

 

Our next Crochet-a-long is Valley Yarns #414 Valley Cowl. This cowl was designed by Doris Chan and is written to be crocheted in nearly any of the Valley Yarns!

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The Buzz at WEBS – July 29, 2011

Friday, July 29th, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann – A powerful book packed with tips and tools for independent knitters. It’s got everything from winding a skein of yarn to designing seamless sweaters. If a knitter were to have just one book, it should probably be this one. > Kirsten H.

2. Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL 2011 – I’ve never done a mystery knitalong before. But I’ve been itching to knit a shawl lately, particularly a westknits pattern. So I’m super excited to join this KAL on August 1st. Now the hard decision…what yarn? Suggested yarns like Fibre Company Road to China Light, Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, Madelinetosh Pashmina, or Tosh Merino Light would all be wonderful to work with. But I do have plenty of Charlemont from the crochet scarf leftover that would make a shawl with great drape. Hmm, decisions, decisions. > Dena C.

3. Valley Cowl crochet pattern by Doris Chan – I love this cowl designed by Doris Chan. The sample is done in Valley Yarns Deerfield, but there are directions for any gauge yarn, so you can use your favorite Valley Yarns yarn. I’m thinking of making one for myself in Charlemont. It’s also our next crochet-a-long on Ready, Set, Knit, so you can crochet along with Kirsten. > Mary K.-H.

4. Blue Sky Alpacas Five Inch Double Points – I love the feel of these in my hands. They have such a smooth finish that it makes the needles glide easily through the stitches. The tin they come in makes for great storage for these little lovelies! > Karen M.

5. Both of my girls spent a week at our Fiber Camp this year and my youngest daughter fell in love with weaving. While I’m not quite ready to buy her a Baby Wolf, I do want to encourage her weaving. So, as an early present for her birthday she got a Schacht Cricket Loom this past Tuesday. She’s already woven 26 inches and has been flipping pages in my copy of the Weaver’s Idea Book to find her next project! > Sara D.

Ready, Set, Knit #228: Kathy talks to Doris Chan

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
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Guest: Doris Chan talks with Kathy about crochet designs and more! Doris tells us how she started crocheting and designing in crochet. She also shares a little bit of her background – what she did before she became a crochet designer. You’ll find a new book from Doris in late 2012. You can find Doris at the Crochet Guild of America Conference in September.

Find Doris

 

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Sock Summit preview – we’ll be in booths 502, 504, 506, 508. It opens Thursday, July 28th for students and for everyone else Friday, July 29th. We’ll have sock yarns, tools, accessories, and exclusive products just at WEBS. We’ll also have a new setup at this show. We’d love to hear what you think about it. There will be Sock Summit Plinko in our booth too! Make sure you wear your handknit socks and show them to us!

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