Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

The Buzz at WEBS – November 18, 2011

Friday, November 18th, 2011
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This week, the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…

1. These Weaving Journals are blank graph paper pages with a marbled cover in a hardbound format. The marbling and the book binding are done by a local company with one of our reeds! On the inside back cover is a description of how the marbling is done with credit to WEBS for the reed! These would be a great gift. We now also have a Knitting Journal and Blank Journal too. > Barbara E.

2. Great Adirondack Mulberry Silk Roving – This wonderful fiber comes in eight deeply saturated colorways that are a pleasure to spin. The roving drafts beautifully and works into soft, lustrous yarns. Add some to your fiber stash today! > Ashley F.

3. Katia Ondas and Ondas Lux – So last night I took home a ball of Ondas to try out and I’d have to say it is kind of fun! I think that it’s a great yarn for a beginner, like me, who can only knit and purl, and doesn’t care about luxury fibers but wants something that looks fancy. [Don't miss our video tutorial on how to knit with mesh ruffle yarns.] > KA

4. The Knitter’s Book of Socks – With my ever-expanding sock knitting addiction, this book caught my eye as soon as it came into the store. Clara Parkes has done it again with this book, following the nearly indispensable The Knitter’s Book of Yarn. With thoroughness and engaging writing, this book is a compendium of sock knowledge, orienting one to all the techniques, fibers and tricks to making socks that will not only fit perfectly, but last through a lifetime of wear. > Ashley F.

5. I treated myself to a spinning wheel and a loom last year and both interests have converged in my favorite (so far) holiday gift. I spun the Abstract Fibers Targhee in the Bandon colorway into a worsted 2-ply. I warped my Schact Flip Loom with Valley Yarns Stockbridge in the dark grey and the Bandon became my weft. I used a simple pattern that I learned in Leslie Ann’s Weaving with Pick-up sticks workshop last winter. I LOVE how this turned out! > Sara D.

The Buzz at WEBS – November 11, 2011

Friday, November 11th, 2011
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At WEBS, we’ve ramped up our knitting and crochet and are now in prime gift making mode. Here’s a peek at a few of the projects we’ve been busy with or buzzing about making this holiday season.

Great for Any Guy
There’s something extra special about giving someone a hand knit sweater. Sweaters take more time to make than a scarf, mittens or a hat, and they get worn pretty often. Making a sweater for a man can be a tricky task. It can be tough to figure out just what they would actually wear. I got around trying to figure out what he would like by just asking him! I gave my recipient three patterns to chose from, and then let him pick the color for the yarn.

I ended up with a pretty simple project, Knitting Pure and Simple Neckdown Pullover for Men in Valley Yarns Northampton in Dark Grey. It might not be the most exciting project to knit, but I like having a simple project on hand to knit at the movies and for some relaxation. It’ll be completely worth it when he unwraps it and I see it get plenty of wear. > Grace H.

Cashmere for Someone Special

I needed a special gift but one that was quick and easy. I found it in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere yarn Rain Drops Beaded Socks (free pattern on Ravelry!). I chose color 505 Dark Current and matching beads. With the softness of cashmere, the strength of merino wool and nylon, and colors that blend beautifully these socks are beautiful, luxurious and durable. I planned on making only 1 pair, but I love the easy pattern and yarn so much I can’t wait to begin another pair! > Linda B.

A Whimsical Knitted Hat

The Gnomey Earflap Hat makes a great holiday project. Since it only takes 2 balls of Valley Yarns Cold Spring, it’s an affordable way to pamper yourself or a loved one this season. If you’ve never done stranded colorwork before, don’t fear! This hat features a large and easy motif that flies off your needles, and the earflaps are perfect for cold weather. Warm ears, warm heart–isn’t that how the saying goes? > Emma W.

Feminine Lace Shawlette

Shibui Draper is a sweet little shawlette that knits up quickly with just two skeins of the lovely Shibui Staccato. I really enjoyed knitting our store sample. > Greta S.

Simple and Fun to Knit

I love the twist and the silk slubs of The Fibre Copany Acadia and the slighter than dk-gauge this yarn has to offer. The color choices and combinations are intriguing. Knitting the Katahdin Hat was a treat: not only is it a free download pattern, but it offers an interesting technique for striping in the round, one that I had never used. The stripe sequences were seamless, and no “jog” in the stripe when you change colors.  The slight slouch to the design is so current and looks adorable. This hat was simple, but fun to make – you will want to make more than one, guaranteed! > N. P.

Wrapped in Love

Anzula Cloud is lofty and squishy in a lovely semi-solid variegation. The Aecor shawl is worked from the center top down with a knitted on border. The drop-in ladies were ooh-ing and aah-ing over this, so I know it’s not just me! > Cara S.

A Touch of Silk and Angora

Simple stranded knitting and fuzzy, luxurious Valley Yarns Sheffield make this Snow Day Hat and Mittens set a really special winter time treat. Since color work is so visually impressive, I think these would make a great gift for knitters and non-knitters alike. > Kirsten H.

Cute as Can Be

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitters Almanac is always a go to pattern book for me when the holidays roll around. The Ganomy Hat and Mitered Mittens make such a great set and have been gifted to almost ever child in my family. Noro Silk Garden does magical things when worked up in those two patterns. > Sara D.

The Buzz at WEBS – October 14, 2011

Friday, October 14th, 2011
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This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…

1. Artyarns Shawl for All Seasons Kits – Luxury yarn, sparkle and killer packaging? That’s what you’ll get with the Artyarns Shawl for All Seasons Kit.  Featuring five mini skeins of Rhapsody Light and Beaded Silk Light, this shawl kit is available in three stunning color combinations. The best part after the yarn, sparkle and packaging? The price – $68.00 for a gorgeous, luxurious shawl kit. Love it! > Kathy E.

2. Weekend Hats – The latest book by Melissa LaBarre and Cecily Glowick MacDonald Weekend Hats was on the top of my list for purchasing!  Not only is it a wonderful collection of hats by a start studded cast of designers, there are many hats I would wear personally.  I nabbed a book the minute it came in and purchased some Manos Silk Blend Semi Solid to start my first hat which will be the Greenery Beret.  The book has some very helpful Tips and Techniques throughout, which is a very nice touch. > Karen M.

3. Knitter’s Pride Cubics Interchangeable Circular Needle Tips – I recently got a Dreamz Deluxe Set and noticed all the extra space and roomy pockets in the case. So I’ve been supplementing the set with Cubix interchangeable tips as I need them. It’s really handy to have 2 pairs of frequently used sizes. I love using the Cubix, and I love the easy color-coded sizes of the Dreamz, so it’s the best of both worlds! > Kirsten H.

4. WEBS Gift Cards – Every year it seems like the holidays sneak up on us and leave us scrambling to get all of our shopping done in time. WEBS Gift Cards make a great holiday gift for any knitter, crocheter, weaver, or spinner. As we get closer to the holiday rush, we know that we’ll be making out a ton of these gift cards for our customers to help make the holiday season even better for someone special.  Why not get a jump on the holidays and order yours today or start nudging your friends and family towards a great gift idea? > Mike W.

5. Plymouth Yarn Tweed Closeout – Rustic and simple, with fun little bits of tweedy color, I’ve always liked the look of this yarn, but haven’t gotten around to using it.  I just spotted it in the warehouse on closeout, so I think I’ll grab a few to play with. I’m thinking a warm, simple Fair Isle hat to wear in the snow! > Tina M.

Holiday Knitting

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
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I dread to bring up the inevitable. “It’s barely Halloween,” I hear people say. But then again, the seasoned knitter starts when the weather is warm. Customers vow each year to start in January, and I wonder, does anyone ever really do this? I’ve been trying to sidestep the hand crafted gift giving because it quickly spirals into fantasy regarding what can be done in a certain period of time.

I wonder sometimes if all this work is worth it. It’s doubtful that my brother will ever wear the cabled scarf I spent countless hours making him. My father will likely lose the hat I made, so I can make the same blaze orange hunting hat year after year. My mother will just add to the pile of special knits that are too nice to wear. Thankfully my sister wears the stitches out of everything I knit for her, but she’s always easy to give to.  Family knitting is truly selfless knitting.

Despite my misgivings, as time approaches my thoughts return to gift knitting. It’s almost impossible to resist the handmade gift. What better way to show love? Or strike envy into the hearts of non-knitters at our skill? (Or so I imagine).  So my next challenge is to come up with a good “assembly line” gift. One I can plug out in a relatively short period of time and just keep running full speed until I’m done.

One year I made miniature stocking ornaments, which were well received. The new book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, by Arne and Carlos, has me considering this again. There’s more to this book than you might imagine with ample opportunity to mix and match themes. I could make a strangely large amount with the new Cascade 220 Fingering or Rowan Fine Tweed!

55 Christmas Balls to Knit

Felted slippers are another good contender. Although I’m leaning towards knitted slippers like Prairie Boots by Cocoknits to give my washing machine a rest. Northampton Bulky, anyone?

Cocoknits Prairie Boots

I can also see making a variety of hats, each to fit the style of the recipient. With the brand spanking new Weekend Hats this is bound to be a hit. This book is the newest volume edited by Melissa Labarre and Cecily Macdonald.

Weekend Hats

So many lovely publications this fall my head is spinning with ideas! What are your plans for holiday crafting?

Cara

The Buzz at WEBS – September 9, 2011

Friday, September 9th, 2011
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This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…

1. Malabrigo Twist – The drop in temperatures has got me thinking about the two perennially unfinished sweaters I have in my stash shelf, especially the one in Malabrigo Twist. The yarn is so luxurious: perfectly soft, bouncy, and beautifully dyed, and I love the halo it gets as it wears. There is no real reason that I haven’t finished this sweater, but I think this is its year – I can’t wait to be able to take advantage of this yarn’s unparalleled coziness on the upcoming crisp fall days! > Elisabeth P.

2. 55 Christmas Balls to Knit – I know it’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but I am so excited for this book! The first book of knitting patterns by Norwegian knitwear designers Arne & Carlos is a beautiful (and funny) collection of traditional Nordic style patterns. I also like the idea of doing ornaments because they will make quick, fun, simple projects! My goal is to make a different ornament for my whole family by the big day. > Greta S. (Also don’t miss these fun commercials of Arne & Carlos.)

3. Erin Lane Bags Needle Cases – I love color and print, especially together, so I had to snag an Erin Lane needle case for myself as soon as they arrived! The Double Duty needle case has two rows to hold interchangeable needle tips, with additional pockets for cords and notions. I managed to squeeze my fixed circulars into the extra pockets so my entire circular collection is now in one handy case. The ladies at Erin Lane rotate through fabrics–which means if you see one you like, get it before it’s gone! > Emma W. (Note: Due to the rotation of fabrics, we are only available to offer these in our store. Stop by and check them out.)

4. Mountain Street Arts Care Labels – These are a must have finishing touch for any project. When you give a hand made gift, you want it to last. These labels take the pressure off the recipient to remember how they’re supposed to clean it! That beautiful striped wool hat won’t have to be accidentally felted this winter if it has a “Hand Wash” label sewn on. They’re great to remind yourself how to care for your own finished projects too. > Grace H.

5. I am so excited about our first ever Valley Yarns Trunk Show!  Join us on Thursday, September 15th from 6-8pm for an evening with our Valley Yarns Designer Kirsten Hipsky. Kirsten will highlight our Fall 2011 Collection and share her design process & inspiration. Garments will be on hand to try and as always, light refreshments will be served! > Kathy  E.

Talkin’ Turkey

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
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Hi Everyone

I am so tickled that the penguins & polar bears on our holiday cover have had such a great response!

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It’s always scary to release a design that we *love*, not knowing if you will all love it too.

Even though we were feeling a wee bit of trepidation, our own enthusiasm pushed our worries away.  In fact, I was so downright excited I went immediately back to Kirsten, our ValleyYarns Designer and Penguin Creator Extraordinaire for this:

turkey2

Can you stand it?  He’s so adorable.  He’s been sitting on my desk since he was completed and every time he catches my eye I can help but smile.  You can get the pattern here.

Our only problem is that our turkey doesn’t have a name.  I think he’s a “he” and not a “she”.  Not sure why but that’s where I’m at.  Tom is the obvious choice but seems so, expected and the one thing about this turkey and his holiday buddies is that they are not your average cute critters.

Leave your suggestions in the comments and if there’s a name that strikes us as the right one for Mr. Turkey then that person will win a lovely prize from us.

Enjoy!

Kathy

P.S.  I’ll be posting the winner of the della Q contest tomorrow!

Holiday Catalog

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Time to starting thinking about the holidays.  I know, for many of you it’s still too early.  Now that the temperature has cooled here and the leaves are changing color, I’ve succumbed.  A third reason to stop fighting and just accept the inevitable is that our holiday catalog is on it’s way to you as we speak.  We’ve already go it up on line for you to preview.

One of my favorite things about our holiday catalog is the cover.  It’s the one cover each year that doesn’t feature a garment.  Instead, it tends to have a more whimsical flare.  Our first holiday catalog featured Wooly:

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I love Wooly right down to his Susan Bates Crystallite Needle Nose.  All holiday covers are measured against Wooly.  We’ve done okay since then:

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The sweater in the gift box is my least favorite.  Not the sweater itself, that I love.  The cover is just not exciting or full of fun.

Last year as we were finishing the catalog, I had a “vision” for this year’s cover.  I told the team what I wanted, they all smiled nicely thinking (a) this is a year away, stop bugging us already and/or (b) you have lost your mind.

Needless to say I was stuck on the concept and refused to let it go.  Finally in late summer, while on vacation, I received a snapshot from Mary.  I guess they decided I wasn’t going to give up and that they better come up with something.  The design was PERFECT!  Kirsten, our in-house designer readily admits this project nearly pushed her to the brink.  This from the woman who can knit lace, walk around the office and chew gum/carry on a conversation without missing a beat.  Trying to design something whimsical or even worse, cute was almost too much.  But she did it and I love the results:

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I love the penguins, which was my request – the polar bear is just an added bonus!  I *heart* this cover.  I cannot wait to have it framed and hanging in my office.  Of course, the catalog is filled with lots of great gift ideas too!

What do you think of this year’s cover?  How is your holiday knitting coming along?

Enjoy!

Kathy

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts Review

Monday, October 11th, 2010
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I learned to knit almost 6 years ago, about the same time Joelle Hoverson’s book Last-Minute Knitted Gifts came out.  This was one of my first knitting books and I’ve poured over the pages countless times looking for gift ideas and inspiration.  I was super excited when her latest book More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts came across my desk.  It’s another great collection of quick knits for the whole family and home.

I’m always looking for new gift ideas for babies and toddlers and these two stood out for me.  The Easy Baby Cardigan is knit in one of my favorite yarns, The Fibre Company Terra.  I love knitting cardigans for babies—easier to get on them than a pullover, and fun to find just the right buttons.  The Nesting Squares Blanket is the kind of pattern perfect for color improvisation.  Knit from the center out, you can change colors when you want—play around with the width of the stripes and striping pattern.  Or knit the whole blanket in a great hand-dyed color.

Probably the best thing about scarves and cowls as gifts is that you don’t need to worry about sizes.  The Movie Star Scarf, Soft as a Cloud Cowl, and Very Pretty Lace Scarf are excellent examples of simple shapes and patterns that let special yarns shine.  I have 1 skein of Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere that has been waiting for just the right pattern to come along like this cowl.  And one hank of Louet Mooi will make 5 Movie Star Scarves!

Other accessories include cool Sideways Fingerless GlovesCabled Fingerless Gloves, and Beret and Ribbed Hat patterns with directions for multiple gauges.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with containers.  So the Soft Baskets knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton caught my eye.  The Cozy Coasters in Blue Sky Alpacas Melange would be the perfect addition to a gift of special hot chocolate or teas.

I may never find enough time to make a fingering weight sweater as a gift for someone, but Leah’s Lovely Cardigan would be a special treat for me someday.

Happy gift knitting!

Dena

Holiday Inspiration

Friday, November 13th, 2009
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Well, despite my best efforts involving avoidance and denial, the holidays are nearly upon us.  I love the holiday season, but this year everything is moving so fast I’m worried I’m just going to miss it all as it flies by in a blur.  I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and I’m not even talking about knitting projects.

This morning, our Store Manager Karen came in with a new project that lifted my spirits:

Isn’t he adorable?  Karen made him from one of the Woolpets kits that we stock.  These needle felting kits come with everything you need to make the Woolpet shown on the package.  Karen simply added a loop of Plymouth Goldrush to Sock Monkey’s head and voila – a tree ornament!

I think these would make a great gift either as a completed project or just the kit itself!   Here are a couple of other options to consider (we have 27 different Woolpets to choose from):

The holiday inspiration did not end with Sock Monkey.  When Steve & I returned from recording this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit, Karen came back into my office to show me this:

Isn’t it beautiful?  The pattern is Nancy Lindberg’s  “Christmas Socks” and the yarn is Valley Yarns Amherst.   It only took 5 balls which works out to just under $25 for a stocking that will last a life time.

Ready or not the holidays are coming.  I hope these projects awaken your holiday spirit!

Kathy

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
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We have just received in the latest “special” issue from Interweave Knits.

This year’s Holiday Gifts issue is HUGE!  It has nearly 60 patterns – twice as many as most issues.  There are lots of great gift ideas, as you would expect.  Many are quick knits others are more involved.   There are several that spoke to me that I’d like to highlight below:

First is the Ripple Cardigan designed by Coralie Meslin and knit in Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

This is a gorgeous cardigan that has a simple style but very interesting construction.  It is knit in multi-directional pieces.  The pattern has 6 sizes and depending on your size, you’ll need 4-7 skeins of Kidsilk Haze.

Next is the Little Majolica by Kristin Nicholas.  Without even showing a picture of this pullover, you know it’s going to be a colorwork masterpiece.

Told you so!  This stranded piece utilizes two colors.  As if that weren’t enough, Kristin introduces a two additional colors by utilizing the duplicate stitch.  Duplicate stitch is one of those underrated embellishing techniques.  I think this garment gives the duplicate stitch instant credibility.  Little Majolica is knit using Kristin’s signature yarn Julia – named after her beautiful daughter.

I’m also lovin’ Slip-Stitch Layers by Simona Merchant-Dest.  Knit in Mission Falls 136 Merino  Superwash, this simple but stylish pullover is absolutely a sweater I would wear.

Unlike stranded work, slip stitch only uses one color per row and the knitter “carries” or “slips” stitches from row to row.  In addition to creating a beautiful result, the fabric is also warm.  Perfect for folks like me who freeze all winter!  Slip-Stitch Layers is generously offered in 7 sizes and requires 7-11 skeins of MC and 4-6 skeins of CC.  Just remember our yarn discounts apply!

The “story” in this issue that really spoke to me was “One, Two, Three” – beautiful projects that utilize 3 or fewer skeins.  Here are the ones that I particularly like.

The Quicksilver Bag by Norah Gaughan.

Really, do I need to say more than that?  Probably not, but I will!  Adorable and functional with a simple construction.  The picture shows the bag as a casual accessory.  With the sheen and texture of Bonsai, I can imagine it sophisticated and dressy as well – change the handles and such and Poof!  A completely different bag.  It would also be beautiful knit in Bonsai Colors.  A great and easy gift too that is affordable!

As I’ve said previously, I freeze all winter.  When temps dip below 70 degrees I’m not happy.  Also well documented is my affection for cashmere.  Let me show you one of the ways I get through our long, cold New England Winters:

Cashmere.Fingerless.Mitts.  The delicate and feminine Wine and Roses Mitts were designed by Jolene Treace and were knit in Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply.   That would be One Skein of Cashmere.  I know, times are tight and even one skein of this lovely yarn is a bit pricey at $41.00.   Maybe this is your splurge, maybe it’s the project you find a nice substitution from your stash for.  I love the design and I think we all deserve a bit of luxury if possible.

Next up is a lovely project that features one of our Valley Yarns!  Building Block Scarves by Sarah Hoadley are knit in our Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf is 52% Merino and 48% Acrylic Microfiber.  It’s super soft, knits at 4 sts/inch and has a nice drape.  I’m tickled with the results!  The construction is pretty neat too.  If utilizes a long cast-on to form the perimeter and then knit in the round to the center and features mitred corners.  Also, if you scroll back up to the cover image, guess what you’ll see!  One of the scarves!  I knew the scarves would be in this issue but I was simply tickled to see one of them on the cover!  Woohoo!  Congratulations Sarah and thank you Interweave!

Last but not least are the Kumara Red Socks.  How could I not favorite a sock pattern?  I think it has unofficially been the year of the sock.

The Kumara Red Socks are a quick knit and will wrap your feet in warmth and luxury.   Kumara is a merino/camel blend from Classic Elite which is super soft and lofty.   These socks only require 2 skeins and what a great gift they will make!  I’m just not sure I’d be giving them away.

I have just highlighted 7 of the 57 projects in this issue.  There are just over 60 days until Christmas (fewer if you are knitting for Hanukkah) and these are all possibilities in that time frame for most of you (some are beyond my reach at this point, but I’m slow and steady so don’t go by me).

I hope these ideas have inspired you!  What do you like in this issue?  Are one of my faves one of yours too?

Kathy