Posts Tagged ‘how to’

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Invisible Single Crochet

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
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This week our focus is invisible single crochet decreases. This is a great way to decrease when you’re working in the round making stuffed animals or amigurumi.

Most single crochet decreases leave you with a gap in the fabric on either side of the decreased stitch which can be really unsightly when that fabric is stuffed. This decrease keeps the same density of stitches to your fabric and is nearly invisible.

This is a great stitch to use on our Valley Yarns Spring animals, the bunnylamb and Robin! Try it out and let us know what you think.

Adult Snow Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014
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This snow sculpture entitled "Knitting Family Poems" was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).

This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).

We had a Snow Day last week, when WEBS closed for the biggest snowstorm we’ve had since last year’s blizzard. It felt like an unexpected school vacation day, and since I’d gotten all my work obligations taken care of the day before, I gave myself permission to enjoy the day like a teenager. One of my most hedonistic pleasures is reading knitting reference books, so I had a wonderful few hours spent thumbing through my old classics as well as some recent contenders for BKF (Best Knitting Friend). I thought I’d share a few and see what some of your go-to answer books are.

A book that has saved my life again and again is the timeless The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt. June came here about a year ago on a very snowy day, and the delight on the faces of those who were here and happened to meet her was infectious. She has a trick for every knitting conundrum you might find yourself in and her information is delivered with a dry wit that makes her sound like your favorite fifth-grade teacher.

A volume small enough to keep in my knitting bag is Margaret Radcliffe’s The Knitting Answer Book, which I turn to again and again. Even though the answers are short, they give you the most information in the fewest words, and the clever illustrations speak volumes. It’s a small book that is completely portable.

No collection should be complete without Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmermann. Barbara Walker’s 4-book series of knitting pattern and charted stitch designs is used by literally every knitwear designer at some point in their career, and they are priceless for brevity and a sense of history. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s The Knitter’s Almanac and The Opinionated Knitter are the cornerstone of any knitter’s bookshelf.

Some recent favorites worth a look are Clara Parkes’ books The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, for the care and beautiful language she uses to describe fiber. Stitch ‘N Bitch by Debbie Stoller, the founder of Bust Magazine, almost single-handedly brought knitting to a new high over 10 years ago. And no knitter can really call themselves a knitter unless they have some Harlot on their nightstand.

What are your favorite fiber reads? Let us know in the comments what you like to page through on a snow day.

PS. This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).

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.

Ready, Set, Knit! 335: Kathy talks with Ellen Gormley

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
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This week Kathy talks with first time guest Ellen Gormley, crochet expert from Knit & Crochet Now! – check your local PBS station for availability.

Ellen talks about prepping for each season and the work that goes into presenting a project. Currently in it’s 4th season, Knit & Crochet Now! has a great mix of projects that range from beginner to advanced each season and features patterns and techniques from some of the industries top designers.

We have 2 copies of the Season 4 DVD to give away! Leave us a comment and tell us if you’re a knitter, a crocheter or both, by 11:59pm on Tuesday, Nov 27th. The winners will be announced the following Saturday, Nov. 30th.

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events:

Northampton Bag Day is happening TODAY!  20% off any one item,  in store only

Our November KAL on Ravelry has just one week to go but there’s still time to participate! Join us in making the Safe Passage Set and be entered to win a $50 WEBS Gift Certificate.

WEBS is closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday but will begin opening on Sundays, from 12-5, starting December 1st and running through December 22nd.

Team WEBS is running and walking in the Annual Hot Chocolate run to benefit Safe Passage on December 8th. Please make a donation to any member of our team and remember: Steve and Kathy will match all funds raised!

Reminder:

Ready, Set, Knit! listeners are you up for a challenge?!   The KnottyGirls Knitcast issued a challenge and started the Ravelry Podcaster Throwdown. They claimed that their listeners will turn in more hats for Halos of Hope by the end of Stitches West 2014 than any other podcast out there. You all know that Kathy has a competitive streak a mile wide and can’t resist a challenge! Steve has even stepped in and said that he will ship all the collected hats to Stitches West! Here’s what you need to do:

Make as many knit and/or crochet hats as you can (check here for preferred fibers and free patterns) and get them to us by February 1, 2014. Make sure each hat and package is labeled with “Team RSK!” Please mail all packages to:

WEBS
Attn: TEAM RSK!
6 Industrial Pkwy.
Easthampton, MA 01027

If you’re posting about your progress on Facebook or Twitter please use #PodcastThrowdown. And please join the Podcasters Throwdown Group on Ravelry and show your support in the Team RSK thread! If you’ve sent in hats let us know who you are.

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

Your yarn.com Wish List, it’s as easy as 1,2,3.

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
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If you have an account at yarn.com then the Wish List is a great place to save items you’re not quite sure you’re ready to buy, but you don’t want to loose track of. It’s also an easy way to put together a list of can’t-lose gifts for your family and friends.

Step 1: Add items to your Wish List

Wish List Step 1

Step 2: View and edit your Wish List

Wish List Step 2

Step 3: Share your Wish List with friends and family

Wish List Step 3

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.

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip – Using a Salad Spinner

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
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Have you ever held a dripping sweater in your hands and wonder what is the best way to remove the excess water before blocking? Just the right tool may be found in your kitchen.

Use a salad spinner to get out excess water from your knitting or crochet project before blocking.

After I finish knitting or crocheting a project, I like to give it a good soak in some water with wool wash. I’ve tried a number of ways of removing the extra water before pinning it to a blocking board. My favorite and probably the quickest method is to use a salad spinner. It’s a lot more gentle than the spin cycle in my washing machine. I’ve used the towel method, but I don’t love the big pile of wet towels I have at the end. So if the project isn’t too big, I grab my salad spinner.

I’m always impressed by how much excess water I can get out with the salad spinner. (Yay centrifugal force!) A large salad spinner is big enough for many projects such as scarves, shawls, baby garments, lightweight sweaters, and gauge swatches (you do swatch, right?).

What is your favorite method of getting out the water from your project? Leave a note in the comments.

 

On the bookshelf this week: Vintage Design Workshop

Friday, November 1st, 2013
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NaKniSweMo – National Knit a Sweater Month is in full swing and it’s not too late to get started.

Geraldine Warner has put together a wonderful book that allows you to adapt vintage patterns into the perfect fit for modern-day style!

Vintage Design Workshop is divided into two sections, the first half teaches you how to update any vintage pattern to accommodate modern sizes and gives advice on choosing substitutes for yarns that are out of production. The second section demonstrates how to adapt modern patterns to create a vintage silhouette, teaching how to mix and match sleeves, necklines, or collars to the pattern of your choice to achieve a vintage look.

Leave a comment below and tell us if you’ve held onto a vintage pattern that you’d like to update and you could win a copy! All comments must be posted by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, Nov. 5. 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 6, 2013:

And our Winner is –  Michelle who said, “I’ve updated an already “updated” pattern from the 30′s with good results, but I’d love to have even more ideas. This book looks great.”

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

On the bookshelf this week: The Art of Seamless Knitting

Friday, October 18th, 2013
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Did you know that November is NaKniSweMo – National Knit a Sweater Month? That means it’s the perfect time to give away a copy of The Art of Seamless Knitting by Simona Merchant-Dest and Faina Goberstein

This book walks you through the ins and outs of seamless knitting with chapters on lace, cables and textured stitches as well patterns worked with top-down and bottom-up construction. You’ll find pullover and cardigan sweaters as well as accessories and loads of tips and tricks for increasing and decreasing in pattern.

Leave a comment below and tell us why you’d love to make a seamless sweater and you could win a copy! All comments must be posted by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, Oct. 22. 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 October 23, 2013:

And our Winner is –  Carmen who said, “I would love to make a seamless sweater. I have yet to finish a sweater for myself because I’m too worried about how I’m going to put it all together!”

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

Blocked!

Friday, July 19th, 2013
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I know there are many of you out there who block their FO’s on the living room carpet, an unused couch, your guest bed’s mattress, or (I don’t want to know) not at all. I also know that many of you come through the fire with garments that are curly, ravelly, mis-sized or misshapen, or crooked. Your lace is delicate and airy when blocked, scrunchy and meh-looking when unblocked. Your sweaters are rolling at the edges, with one sleeve longer than the other and too tight in the hips until you loosen up the fibers with a cool bath and some Eucalan.

I used to do all of that, too. My garments looked so much better once I invested in a blocking board, which has changed my knitting. Really. It has clearly marked measuring squares for perfect symmetry for sleeves or waist shaping. It is big, so you could potentially block a scarf or medium-ish-sized shawl on it. It is padded, so pins really dig in and don’t move or pop out. It has a felt backing, so it won’t slide around on whatever surface you use. The most genius part: It folds in half and has a convenient handle so you can tote it to the craft room, the den, the deck, or to your drop-in class at Webs to show off your fibery skills.

This could be your sweater!

We carry these boards in two sizes, the small, which measures 18″ x 24″ and is more portable, and the larger size, measuring 33″ x 51″. I really recommend the larger one, since you’ll be able to use it for so many different projects, and you won’t regret the investment. For most garments, a dunk in some cool water to which a capful of wool wash has been added is the way to start. Don’t swirl it around, and for heaven’s sake, don’t squish it dry–if it’s anything but cotton or superwash wool, it will felt. I drain my wet garments in a colander for an hour and then roll them in a towel to just damp. Then, pin away–these T-pins are the best I’ve found. Let it dry, and voila! Art has been made.