Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

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.

Ready, Set, Knit! 293: Kathy talks with WEBS Assistant Store Manager, Leslie Ann

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012
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Guest: 
Kathy and Leslie Ann talk about some great last minute gift ideas. Bulky yarns will work up quickly for a few more handmade gifts.

Greta’s hat in Fibre Company Tundra - or try a simple ribbed hat in Cascade Magnum or a cute earflap hat crocheted in Berroco Souffle

Leslie Ann and Kathy also discuss great little gifts to put together; washcloths in soft cottons with fancy soaps, potholders with cookbooks, or coasters with some special mugs. Don’t forget sheep themed, little, stocking stuffers!

And for the weaver you can’t go wrong with a new shuttle or a beautiful and unique shawl pin.

For more ideas check out our videos: Holiday Gift Ideas for Knitters and Crocheters and Holiday Gift Ideas for Weavers

WEBS Annual Year End Blowout Sale is happening online now through January 1st and  In-Store December 26th – 31st.

Steve’s Year End Blowout Sale Yarn Picks

There will be special In-Store Specials not available online, like a massive $2.00 Bin sale and a large pattern purge, look for discontinued patterns at great prices with the green dots.

Reminder:

WEBS is open tomorrow,  Sunday, 12/23, from 12 to 5PM EST for your holiday shopping convenience.

WEBS will be closing early, at 4:00PM, on 12/24 and will be closed Tuesday, 12/25

Upcoming Events:

Classic Elite Yarns Shawls, Wraps and Scarves book launch on January 24th, register now.

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

Holiday Project: Quick Projects

Monday, December 10th, 2012
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I realized this weekend that there aren’t many crafting days left to get all the gifts finished that I want to make. Are you in the same boat? We’ve got a few Valley Yarns patterns that are great for last-minute knitting and crocheting.

If you’re thinking about crocheting something that will give the wearer a great pop of color, 508 Kassar Cowl is a perfect option. This soft and stunning cowl is crocheted in lace hexagons and triangles that glow in contrasting hand-dyed colors of Valley Yarns BFL Fingering Hand Dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer. The yarn is just stunning on its own, and it looks fantastic crocheted.

Want to keep your gift recipient’s hands toasty? 483 Wavy Gravy Mittens knit in Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky are super quick and will fly off your needles. Adorned with an easy geometric pattern, these colorwork mittens feature a thumb gusset for comfort.

Think you’re too late to knit that special stocking for someone? Knit in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky, 283 Spotted Christmas Stocking is a speedy project that you’ll have cast-on and bound-off in no time. This holiday stocking is perfect for hanging by the fireplace or used to hold a gift.  Use the festive colors shown, choose your favorites, or coordinate with your holiday décor. It is a free download on our site! Check out our Buzz post that includes this project.

Know someone who could use a new hat? The free pattern 483 Chrysanthemum Hat is a quick one that is great for men or women. It’s a super simple, bright and stretchy beanie knit in the round from the brim up with a ribbed welt stitch pattern. Knit in Valley Yarns Buckland, this hat is warm, cozy, and a bit luxurious.

How is your list shaping up? Do you have a pile of completed projects wrapped and ready to go?

 

The Buzz at WEBS – December 7, 2012

Friday, December 7th, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week, the staff at WEBS is buzzing about fantastic holiday gift ideas!

I have been making these sheep for years, mostly for friends and fundraising events.  Each one seems to have its own distinct personality. I’m particularly fond of the one I like to call “little black dress”. The sheep are made with sewn felt, stuffed with wool roving and have needle felted coats. They are fun to dress up with knitted accessories. The stacking trees are crocheted and then felted.  The yarn is an Araucania closeout from a couple of years ago but they would be great in any heavy worsted weight yarn, particularly one with a little bit of a halo after felting like Valley Yarns Berkshire.  I keep them up all year round. > Amy S.

(Left) During this season of love and giving, there is always someone that I have forgotten…it’s a Babci thing! I usually have a bag in my car with a crochet hook and some VY Greenfield, VY Goshen, Linen, carpet warp..and work on them while travelling. These bath puffs/kitchen scrubbies make a great last minute gift. I pair each one with a home made bar of Goat soap from a local family that sells their soaps so reasonable for all the scents they make and I am covered one more time.
(Right) A few year ago, Louisa Harding came to the store. I had a wonderful conversation with her about her relationship with her husband and how well they work together. In late September I was reading an article about her where she shared about her husbands recent bout with cancer. Her thankful heart wanted to reach out to others and she started designing patterns to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research. The pattern for the blue hat is Sardi by Louisa Harding and was made with Pashmina worsted and the multi-pink hat pattern is Parju by Louisa Harding and was knit in Artyarns supemerino.
To read more about  The Himalayan Project and her patterns you can go to: http://www.louisaharding.co.uk/macmillan/
Being more of a process knitter versus product knitter, I decided that this would be a great way to support Louisa and have a wonderful resource for some beautiful hat patterns.  Having just lost a dear friend after 14 years of dealing with cancer, this will be a very special Christmas gifting time for those of us who will miss her dearly.
Just a note: I have completed those hats and back to my all time favorite collection of hats “Weekend Hats” > Lise G.

I absolutely love the Madelinetosh Vintage.  It’s super soft, the colors are great, and it’s machine washable, which is great for bigger projects like sweaters and blankets. I made my mom a sweater from it in Fathom, and she loves how it’s lightweight and warm all at the same time. I adapted the pattern Melia by Ysolda Teague. > Jackie V.

Susan Bates yarn bobs – I’m using the smaller ones with some fingering weight yarn, and it fits quite a bit of yarn. The large ones can fit a lot of a thicker yarn too. It’s so much easier than working from the ball of yarn and having to change colors every few rows. I don’t have to worry about my different colors tangling and getting in the way when I’m not working with them while doing colorwork. They hold the yarn so it doesn’t unwind, but it’s very easy to unwind a length when you need to. > Kristin L.

 

Fun Ideas for Valley Yarns Knit Stars

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
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Our Valley Yarns Knit Stars has been a popular free pattern download. We love them here at the store too! So, now that you’ve knit all of these stars, what do you do with them? We have gathered a few great ideas!

Decoration

 

(left) There are so many options for hanging your stars – wire for ornament hooks, stretchy, glittery cord for a simple loop, and of course, ribbon. Hang them on your tree, garland, in your windows – anywhere!

(right) Use your stars as decoration on gift packaging to add a little whimsy to your gifts. If you attach a hanger, the recipient can use the package decoration as decoration in their home.

Gifts 

 

J, one of our store associates, is using the stars as sachets and cat toys. He has two easy methods for stuffing them. Tea diffusers are a great option. Another easy way is to lay out a 1″ x 1″ square of polyfil, place you “ingredients” inside, roll it up to surround them, and stuff your star.

Some stuffing suggestions: catnip, lavender, and a moth repellent that includes cedar chips, cinnamon, clove, and lavender (and smells amazing).

Accessorize

 

Headband (left)
Simply stitch your star to a headband and you have a fun accessory. It doesn’t take much time at all – just a couple of minutes and you’re ready to go!

Barrettes (right)
If headbands aren’t your thing, the stars also attach well to barrettes. I prefer the snap/contour style of barrettes. All you have to do is a quick whipstitch around the barrettes and through the star. The snap barrettes make it easy to add to your hair. Simply slide in and press the star to secure.

Have you knit any stars yet? What would you do with them?

 

Schacht Ladybug and Sidekick spinning wheels.

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
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With their characteristic solid construction and unique design that is both functional and charming,  Schacht Spinning wheels make great gifts.

The Ladybug Spinning Wheel is friendly to entry-level spinners, easy to treadle and easy to take with you. Carrying handles built into the legs and light weight make the Ladybug easy to pick up and transport.

Included with each Schacht Ladybug Spinning Wheel are:
a poly drive band
threading hook
three bobbins
medium and fast whorls
double drive band

The Sidekick Spinning Wheel is designed to fold easily, to 21 1/2″ H x 8 1/4″ W x 15″ D, yet be a solid spinner with long, comfortable treadles. Integrated storage of bobbins, flyer, and whorls makes for easy transport.

Included with each Schacht Sidekick Spinning wheel are:
a poly drive band
threading hook
3 bobbins
2 whorls
an adjustable carrying strap

Holiday Gift Ideas for Weavers

Friday, November 30th, 2012
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If you’re still wondering what to get the weaver in your life Leslie Ann has some great ideas for you.

Gifts for the Weaver:

The Weavers CompanionThe Weavers’s Idea BookCustomer Woven InteriorsInterlaced 90The Schacht Cricket loom,  the Schacht Inkle LoomSchacht Cherry Boat ShuttlesValley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo, and Jade Sapphire Cashmere yarns