Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

On the bookshelf this week: Knits at Home

Friday, November 15th, 2013
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As the colder days of Fall begin to settle in across New England we start wanting cozy throws and squishy pillows to cuddle up with.

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Ruth Cross’s Knits at Home: Rustic Designs for the Modern Nest guides you through a range of stitch patterns and techniques that can be adapted to different shapes and sizes, adding personality and interest to any room with beautifully designed and handcrafted knitted pieces. You’ll enjoy exploring different hand knit patterns – from throws to fitted covers, elegant wall hangings to floor rugs – that have a beautiful, organic feel.

Ruth not only offers elegant and appealing home decor projects; she also gives you the techniques to design organic and freeform home items of your own. Taking an experimental approach. Dive into a must-have for handknitting and interior design enthusiasts. Makes a perfect gift, too!

Leave a comment below and tell us which home decor accessory you’ve been wanting to knit and you could win a copy! All comments must be posted by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Please make sure to leave us a way to contact you if you win! The winner will be drawn randomly and posted here the following day.

Edited, Wednesday November 20, 2013:

And our Winner is –  Michelle who said, “A throw. As a keepsake for my daughter. With cables.

Congratulations Michelle! Keep an eye on your inbox, we’ll be contacting you soon.

Some Holiday Thoughts

Friday, November 8th, 2013
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Tis the season, as they say. My family celebrates Hanukkah, which comes way too early this year (November 28, to be exact). I’m postponing it until Decemberish, when I can get my wits about me. While I have time, I’m casting a curious eye through the store to store up some holiday gift ideas for some knitters or lovers of knitwear on my list. I like to make small projects like fingerless mitts, hats, or cowls, since they’re fast. I also like to use some unusual yarns that I wouldn’t ordinarily use for my personal knitting, to keep it festive.

Any gift I give this year will be accompanied by these stunningly beautiful gift cards featuring photographs by the very talented Debbie Cook, who runs the Flayvors of Cook Farms store, and works at our retail store (lucky us!). The photos are spare and charming at the same time, and perfect with some elegant silvery or dark wrapping paper.

Buffalo Wool Company has a yarn called Sexy, and how can you not give someone a lacy shawl made with Sexy yarn that’s half Bison down and half silk? Very festive.

The colors are deep and lush, and even though it’s a laceweight yarn, I could probably whip out an open-work pattern for a shoulder-covering shawl in no time, from this often-used book.

I’d also use a Blue Sky Alpacas yarn I’ve been mulling over for a long time, Metalico. It’s another 50/50 yarn, this time alpaca and silk. It’s got a sheen that is tempered by the fuzziness of the alpaca, and I think it would make a great cowl or hat to go with a Little Black Dress.

And since the holidays are glittery and fun, I’d think about using a one-off sparkler like Artyarns Silk Mohair Glitter. Lots of fun colors and a shot of silver or gold thread will give you tons of ideas for lacy scarves or ornamental cuffs to wear with a holiday dress to a caroling party.

 

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? 

Valley Yarns Featured in Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts

Monday, September 30th, 2013
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The 2013 issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts is out and we couldn’t be happier. Our own Valley Yarns are featured in two projects!

First up are the Sailor’s Mittens designed by Michele Moskaluk, and knit in Valley Yarns Huntington. Worked from the cuffs up with increases to form the thumb gussets, these women’s mittens boast lively three color patterns on the palms and backs of the hands.

Second is the Southern Cross Afghan designed by Ann McDonald Kelly and knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash. This afghan is made of mitered triangles made into squares. The squares are then sewn together with borders, making an interesting and cozy blanket.

Which projects are you excited to make as gifts this year?

 

 

Knitting Season is Open

Friday, September 13th, 2013
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My last post, which ran a few weeks ago, had a glaring error, and it is this: I took it for granted that I am famous enough for the entire world to know who I am.  I am indeed the new Education Manager, and my name is Amy Greeman. This is what I look like:

Amy Greeman, Education Manager

Amy Greeman, Education Manager

Ok, on to my pick this week. I lovelovelove Fall and Winter, which makes me an outcast in most groups. Knitters, however also love these seasons, because crisp air and cool temperatures mean lots of knitting. As I wander around the store, a few new yarns caught my eye and I thought I’d share them with you for your Fall knitting pleasure.

Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino is the Queen of the fingering-weight set. We haven’t had this particular yarn in the store for a VERY long time and I am thrilled it’s here now. There are loads of beautiful colors and it’s just begging to be knit into socks or hats, or a gorgeous shawl.

Shibui Pebble reached it’s sporty-weight hand out and grabbed me as I walked by our showcase for it. I’m a sucker for a sport-weight, and this blend of silk/wool/cashmere is balanced just right–not too stiff and not too drapey. I would make any sweater that incorporated a lacy or knit/purl pattern stitch with this.

Clockwise: Infusion Handpaint, Koigu, Eco Highland Duo, and Pebble

Clockwise: Infusion Handpaint, Koigu, Eco Highland Duo, and Pebble

Universal Yarn Infusion Handpaint was a surprise to me. I’m not that thrilled with a lot of variegation, because I like to do very textured knitting, but this wool/acrylic blend feels beautifully soft and the colors are really blended nicely. I could see a nice, thick winter scarf or shrug to keep in a chilly office in this superwash yarn.

Finally, my new favorite yarn, I must confess, isn’t new at all. It’s a luscious Cascade standby I recently discovered, Eco Highland Duo. I’ve knit a cabled cowl in it, and am using it for a much more technical knit now, this Kira K design that will be a gift for my mom.

What is your new Fall discovery? What will you be knitting while you watch football (or the new season of Homeland) on TV?

On the bookshelf this week, Great Little Gifts to Knit

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
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In the coming months we’re going to share some new releases and some of our older, but favorite titles, to help get you inspired to try different techniques and discover new designers or just to motivate you to get some gift projects going.

Our first book just happens to be Great Little Gifts to Knit by Jean Moss, a wonderful collection of quick gift projects that are perfect for almost every occasion and every person in your life. We’re thrilled to be the second stop on the blog tour for this book.

The book is broken down into 4 chapters with projects for the home, baby, his and hers. We’re going to share two of our favorite projects with you.

The Hugs Socks, worked in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran, feature fun stripes on the toes and heels and a simple but graphic fair isle pattern on the leg, and since they’re worked in an aran weight yarn they will fly of your needles.

We also really like the Will-o’-the-Wisp Shawlette. You can customize this one by doing a bit of stash diving for contrasting fibers or colors, as Jean suggests in the book, or by adding a beaded accent.

Leave a comment below and tell us what little projects you’re excited to knit or crochet this year and you could win a copy of Jean’s book! All comments must be posted by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Please make sure to leave us a way to contact you if you win! The winner will be drawn randomly and announced on the blog later next week.

Edited, Wednesday September 11, 2013:

And our Winner is –  Ellen who said, “I am going to do socks, scarves and maybe gloves. (okay fingerless gloves.)”

Congratulations Ellen! Keep an eye on your mailbox, your copy of Great Little Gifts to Knit will be arriving soon.

It’s never too early to get started on those holiday gift projects and with the first day of Autumn less than three weeks away the clock is ticking! Be sure to check out the project gallery to see all the projects from this book and be sure to check out the next stop on the blog tour and all those that follow.

Blog Tour Schedule
Mon 2 Sep       Wendy Knits
Wed 4 Sep       WEBS
Fri 6 Sep          Getting Stitched on the Farm
Mon 9 Sep       Stolen Stitches
Tues 10 Sep     Knittedbliss
Wed 11 Sep     Black Bunny Fibers
Thur 12 Sep     Rhythm of the Needles
Fri 13 Sep        Tiny Owl Knits   
Mon 16 Sep     Just Call Me Ruby
Tues 17 Sep     Zeneedle
Wed 18 Sep     Redshirt Knitting
Thur 19 Sep     A Friend to Knit With
Fri 20 Sep        Craft Sanity
Mon 23 Sep     Connieleneknits
Tues 24 Sep     Knitsofacto
Wed 25 Sep     Ulla Bella
Thur 26 Sep     A Really Good Yarn
Fri 27 Sep        Urban Yarns
Sat 28 Sep       Linda Marveng
Mon 30 Sep     Yarnings
Tues 1 Oct       Tentenknits

 

Are 4 (or 5) Needles Better Than One?

Friday, August 16th, 2013
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Although my poor grandmother tried to teach me to knit when I was nine years old, I had absolutely no patience for fine motor skills at that point, and was much happier playing with her jewelry. I didn’t learn to knit until I was an adult, and I learned very traditionally: straight needles, follow a pattern, make a bottom-up sweater with set-in sleeves and a crew neck. When I started working at Webs shortly after I had gained some mastery of the craft, I was astounded at the variety of designs, techniques, and yarns I encountered. It was overwhelming, but I wanted to try it all. The one thing I stuck to was knitting any sort of tube with double-pointed needles. I honestly tried to use Magic Loop, two circulars, anything but DPNs. However, I don’t love knitting socks ( I have made exactly three socks) and I loved the way my DPNs made hats, baby booties, and sleeves on sweaters look. I’m always on the lookout for really great needles, and I think I have found my DPN mecca: Knitters Pride Karbonz. I recently knit baby sweaters for twins to be born in September, and the pattern was a beautifully easy top-down raglan with the sleeves picked up and knit on DPNs. I did one sweater with my old faithful Dreamz needles, but picked up a set of the Karbonz to try on sweater #2.

Reader, it was heaven.

All kinds’a’Karbonz at Webs!

The Karbonz shaft gripped the yarn just right–it slid easily but didn’t slide off. The tips are sharp and glide-y but they didn’t split the yarn, and there was no discernable bump or glitch at the place where the tip met the body of the needle. Best of all, they look super-badass. Shiny silver tip attached to a matte black needle made me feel a little naughty, even though the project they were attached to was the most adorable peach and lime green baby kimono. Karbonz are available in circulars as well, and we’ve just added interchangeable sets, too. They are well worth the slightly higher price point, and will last until your granddaughters refuse to learn to knit with them.

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.

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?

A Heartfelt Valentine

Monday, February 4th, 2013
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Knitting and Crochet are a huge part of our lives here at WEBS and this year we wanted to bring them together for a quick Valentine’s Day project that is accessible to everyone from the most advanced to newest beginners. Valley Yarns Pattern #526 Heartfelt Coasters.

With just 3 skeins of our Valley Yarns Northampton Sport you can make 6 coasters with enough yardage left over for quite a bit of embellishment.  Here you can see Kirsten’s mug on her basic coaster and mine on my fancy one. Kirsten knit hers and I crocheted mine, then we swapped hearts, so each of our coasters contains knit and crochet! All it takes is two simple squares, knit or crocheted, that have been felted. Cut out a heart shape from the center and swap the hearts, then sew them back into place in their new home.

For the sewing you’ll need an embroidery needle with an eye big enough to accommodate the yarn and a tip sharp enough to pierce your felted square, as well as the third color of Northampton Sport. Here I have a square in natural and a heart in burgundy, so I’m using the merlot heather to sew everything together.  And don’t worry if your heart doesn’t fit exactly into the cut out space, your stitches should pull everything together nicely. If you’re feeling fancy you can do a blanket stitch around the edge and then add a decorative crochet border.

Swap hearts with a friend or get your knitting group/circle to swap hearts.