Here’s a few items the WEBS staff is buzzing about this week.
1. Valley Yarns Spotted Christmas Stocking – It’s a really fast, cute knit that’s a great way to welcome a new family member into your Christmas traditions. The main body is in a simple slip-stitch pattern which is easy to customize for different people. This pattern is available for free on our website. And we have stocking kits set up available in two color combinations. > Kirsten H.
2. Autumn Vines Beret in Madelinetosh Tosh Sport (color well water): This yarn was a joy to work with, which is no surprise. This colorway is so often backordered that I jumped at the chance to work it up. The Never Not Knitting pattern (available as a downloadable PDF) was easy to follow and a gratifying knit. Definitely a great gift knit. > Cara S.
3. Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen – After I knitted the monkey from this book, I knew I would do more. I’ve made the zebra, panda, elephant and penguin. I am knitting my way through this great book. The giraffe is the latest. He is Eli and named for my favorite quarterback. All the animals live in Chicago with my family. What shall I make next? > Marion H.
4. Rollie StitchKeepers – Your project never comes off the DPNs with these stitch keepers. Reaching into my knitting bag and pulling out a project is not frightening anymore. > Gail C.
5. Standard Design Timberrr! Animal Prints – I love this new sheep print. Made by a local artist, this cutie would be perfect in a craft room or in the bedroom of a little future fiber-enthusiast! I like the look of the wood grain, and the little sticks as legs is an adorable detail. > Tina M.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
So many lovely publications this fall my head is spinning with ideas! What are your plans for holiday crafting?
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.
I am so tickled that the penguins & polar bears on our holiday cover have had such a great response!
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:
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.
P.S. I’ll be posting the winner of the della Q contest tomorrow!
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:
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:
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:
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?
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 Gloves, Cabled 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.