Posts Tagged ‘how to’

Spinning tips – Navajo or Chain plying

Monday, September 28th, 2015
Share Button

Time to go back and visit the single that I spun from the fiber that I hand carded. I did a lot of work to create a gradient, or ombre, in that single and I want to maintain those color transitions in my final yarn. To do that I’m going to Navajo ply my single. This is also known as Chain plying because you are basically making a crochet chain with your hands instead of a hook! You can see how to do that in the 6 images below.

How to Navajo/Chain Ply yarn on the WEBS Blog. Read more at

1 – I like to start with a leader that ends in a loop, then I catch the end of my single between the strands but keep the loop of the leader open with one hand.

2 – With the hand that is holding the loop open reach through the loop and grab your single

3 – Pull the single through the loop while continuing to hold the loop open

4 – Pull your new loop so it’s rather large and let the upper part of the loop start to ply together with what remains of your leader (that’s your 3 strands!)

5 – Here I’ve paused so you can see just that little bit of leader that’s left

6 – And now you’re right back to where you started.

Keep repeating these steps until you’ve used up your whole single and you’ll have a beautiful 3 ply yarn that keeps the integrity of your ombre spin. There’s are lots of tutorial videos out there for Navajo and chain plying, and lots of variations on the technique. Find the one that works for you and go for it!

Navajo/Chain Ply yarn on the WEBS Blog.

Here’s my finished yarn. Because I spun this worsted from rolags, my single was slightly underspun and I over plied by just a bit to help it all stay together, then I fulled the yarn in the skein. For those of you that don’t spin, I basically felted the surface of my yarn! I know that sounds scary but it really helps to finish a woolen spun yarn. I dropped my finished skein into a bowl of hot water with dish soap and squished and agitated it around for about 30 seconds, rinsed it in cold water and then repeated the wash and rinse twice more. Then I let my yarn soak in a tepid bowl with Eucalan for about 15 minutes, squeezed out the excess water and hung it up to dry. I’ll be crocheting a simple shawl with the finished yarn so you can see those beautiful color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever used Navajo plying? Are you ready for Spinzilla yet? Just one week to go!

Spinning tips – 2-ply without a lazy kate

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
Share Button

When I sat down at my first wheel I was SO excited to get spinning that I didn’t take the time to make sure I had all the tools I’d need. I spun up my first full bobbin of yarn and then I was stuck, I only had one bobbin. I knew that the single on that bobbin wasn’t good enough to survive on it’s own, that it needed to be plied to be a semi-successful yarn. I carefully, and sadly, wound that single off the bobbin with my ball winder thinking that it was a loss until I was able to get my hands on a second and third bobbin and then I would need a lazy kate…

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

And then I looked at the ball I’d wound, it had 2 ends. I COULD do a 2ply! So I set that ball between my feet, tucked it up to the edge of my treadles and plied away. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned that this was an actual thing other people did and I wasn’t alone. It’s important to remember that you still have to ply against the twist of your original spin to help balance your yarn, so make sure you check the twist on those ends before you begin plying.

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

Thankfully my Ladybug has an attached lazy kate and I’ve always got at least 5 bobbins now, but every once in a while I like to wind up a single and ply from the ball. This method is actually how I’ve plied the fractal yarn I’m spinning from this post. I’ll be knitting this up into a simple cowl so you can see the fractal effect on the color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever plied from a center-pull ball? What’s your favorite plying method?

Spinning Tips – fractal spinning

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
Share Button

When I first learned how to spin fractal spinning was my favorite fancy thing to do. While it’s based on complicated mathematical sets, an endless pattern of fragmented geometric shapes that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole, it’s actually quite simple!

Creating a fractal yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

You will want to start with fiber that is dyed in bold and contrasting colors, I’m using Frabjous Fibers Hand-dyed Merino in the kaleidoscope colorway. If your fiber color progression/combo is too subtle then you’ll miss out on the fantastic effect this has in your final yarn. Loosen your braid or bundle and then split it, as evenly as possible, lengthwise into two parts and set one half aside. Now split the remaining half in half again(you now have 3 lengths of fiber), and each of those in half again (giving you 5 lengths of fiber). Be careful to keep all 5 lengths of fiber oriented the same way, you can lay them together and make sure that the colors match, you’re going to want to spin each length starting at the same end. Now spin that first half all by itself from beginning to end onto one bobbin, then spin the other 4 lengths, one at a time, onto a second bobbin.

Creating a fractal yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

When these two singles get plied together you’ll end up with a yarn that has varying sections of solid colors and barber-poling because of how the split fibers line up, but which colors are solid and which barber-pole will change because of the way you split and spun the fiber! Keep an eye on the blog later in the month and I’ll show you how it’s done! Are you planning on any special spinning techniques, or new fibers to try out during this year’s Spinzilla?

Check out this post to see how the finished yarn looks in the skein and to learn how it was plied!

Spinning Tips – making a gradient from a hand dyed braid

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Share Button

This month we’ll be offering a few tips and tricks to make your spinning for Spinzilla, and the rest of the year, even more fun and interesting. First up, rearranging the colors in a pre-dyed fiber braid. You will need a braid of fiber with distinct colors and a set of hand cards for this.

Creating a gradient yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

I love the colors in this Gaston colorway on Targhee from Abstract Fiber but I wish they were more gradual, like an ombre, so I decided to make that happen. I unwound the braid and then fluffed the fibers at each color change before gently pulling them apart, don’t worry if you don’t get a clean color separation you can blend that out. Then I made piles with each major color. Once I had the whole braid separated I began laying fiber on one hand carder until it was full, but not so full that I couldn’t see the tines anymore, and used the other card to blend with a few strokes. Remove the fiber from the carder (pay attention to how the tines are bent and roll with that bend to get the fiber off the carders) and roll up your fiber into a rolag for spinning. If your fiber isn’t blended enough for you, or feels a bit rough, you can re-card it until you’re happy. Once I got halfway through carding and rolling I was able to layout all my little rolags in a clear gradient!

Creating a gradient yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at

Now I just have to finish carding so I can get to spinning! I’m going to want to preserve the gradient that I worked so hard to make, so I’ll navajo ply the single into my finished yarn. Keep an eye on the blog later in the month and I’ll show you how it’s done! You can now see the finished yarn here!

Are you planning on any special preparations or different spinning techniques to try out during this year’s Spinzilla?

I’m Looking Ahead

Monday, December 22nd, 2014
Share Button

This year, I didn’t throw myself into the knitted-gift frenzy that has made the last few years a little dicey in terms of holiday engagement. (That means I was the Grinchiest Grinch ever as I glared at every recipient of the scarves, hats, mittens, and cowls that I was knitting for them. Poor planning is my defense.) I’m taking the long view this time around. I’m looking ahead to 2015, because I’m thinking about what I might want to do differently in the coming year.

I don’t make resolutions. Too much commitment. I make vague goals and if (when) I don’t end up fulfilling them, well…lesson learned. Move on.

Most thorough technique book ever!Next year, I’m really going to concentrate on the details. I’m going to move past my go-to Long Tail Cast-On and Knitted Bind-Off. I’m going to experiment with cast-ons and bind-offs that are complementary to my project and look beautiful.

I’m going to learn how to do Kitchener Stitch. I’ve done so much to avoid this necessary fact of knitting life, and it now seems ridiculous. How hard can it be? (stop laughing). I’m also going to learn to read charts. I can protest all I want but I love stitch patterns and cables and those babies are charted. Once again, how hard can it be? (see above.)color chart

Lastly, I’m going to stop making the thought of perfection ruin a perfectly good knitted piece. Only I know that I bumbled a knit stitch into a purl. Nobody will ever see the mismatched decrease except me. I want my knitting to be fun and comforting, not a showpiece. That’s why I started knitting in the first place.

I might add, in a self-serving way, that some of these things can be learned in a class. And that leads me the now open-for-business winter/spring class registration! Check out our offerings and see what you might like to tackle in 2015.

Stay Classy

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Share Button

It’s back-to-school time — the time of year that Staples and Office Max love the most. It’s also “back-to-knitting/crocheting/weaving/spinning” time around WEBS, and we have some great classes for anyone wanting to learn a new craft or brush up on a current one. When I plan the classes for each semester, I try to come up with something entirely new at least once or twice each time, something that I’d tell my friends about or that I’d want to hear about from a fiber friend. This time around I have a few that I’d love to take myself, so I’m going to tell you about them so that you’ll feel cnabled compelled to take them yourselves!

jazerant, cabled and beaded

Emma Welford’s Jazerant Set was designed especially for our Fortieth Anniverary and the pattern is knit in the most beautiful Valley Yarns Northfield, hand dyed by Malabrigo just for us. We are so lucky that Emma works here at WEBS and is generous enough to teach a class to show knitters how to make this gorgeously cabled and beaded hat and cowl. You don’t have to use Northfield, of course, because no matter what you use, the end result is going to be stunning. That class starts soon, so hurry before all the seats are filled! (NOTE:  Unfortunately, this class has been cancelled.)

Another class I’d take in a heartbeat is Heather McQueen’s Tunisian Crochet Infinity Scarf class. Tunisian Crochet is so fascinating–it’s fast, like crochet, and produces a really unique-looking fabric that resembles knitting. This 4-week class will have students using up those novelty yarns hiding in your stash as well as learning some more advanced Tunisian techniques. The scarves are fast and fun, and look amazing.silky lace and tunisian stitch

I am completely impressed with myself for hunting down some great guest teachers this semester–none more so than Susan B. Anderson, who is a designer, author, knitter, spinner, and all-around-lovely-person. She’ll be here for a weekend in October to teach not only some great garment classes, but we are lucky enough to have her show her students how to make her knitted toys, which are a great holiday gift as well as ideal decor for a nursery or little one’s room.Sock Yarn dragon fun!

Check out all our classes here, and just remember: Shopping at WEBS for supplies is way more fun than shopping at Staples for binders and notebook paper!

Camp That Doesn’t Involve Mosquitoes, Tents, or a Lake…

Friday, July 18th, 2014
Share Button

I did not go to summer camp when I was a kid. I lived on a farm and worked every summer. When I moved to New York and went to college, I was amazed at the fact that parents let their kids go away every summer to swim, kayak, make friendship bracelets, and most of all, not have to coax 100 chickens into a pen twice a day, every day.

Here at WEBS, we have summer camp, and it’s the best kind of summer camp: Fiber Camp. Run by teacher extraordinaire Lindsey Lindequist, these kiddos start every day with a knitting project, and move on to wet felting, fiber dyeing, drop spindle, and (it wouldn’t be camp without them) friendship bracelets. We had a lot of kids who signed up this summer and we’re in Week Two of Fiber Camp. Some of these ladies are very serious about their fiber love!Our first week of Fiber Camp!

You could certainly do your own fiber camp, and you don’t even have to invite anyone if you don’t want to. Try some wet felting–all you’ll need is some roving, a dish or pie plate, some dish soap, and water. Combine some colors that you find pleasing, drop them in the water in your dish, add dish soap to make the fibers adhere and mesh with each other and just mash away until you see a roving, water, and dish soap creates emerge that you like.

You could do some fabric dyeing or yarn dyeing, as well. Just use food coloring and some vinegar, soak your skein or fabric, microwave it for a few minutes, and then hang it up to dry. Instant color!Annabelle Wood creates dyed silk fabric

What camp do you think you’ll want to do this summer? Reading a good book camp? Knitting or crocheting a summer tee camp? Or maybe you could try my favorite camp, naptime camp. Enjoy!

Steve’s Deal of the Day – Circulo Tecido Trico

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Share Button

Steve’s Deal of the Day for this weekend is Circulo Tecido Tricot – $9.99/hank (reg $19.95). One of our most popular ribbon-like ruffle yarns, Tecido Tricot from Circulo is available in over 30 different fabric prints.

Circulo Tecido Tricot available at

While ruffle scarves are still quite popular and a great way to whip up a quick gift (check out our video tutorials!) there are other ways to use this unique yarn.

Circulo Tecido Tricot available at

The Cascading Ruffle Clutch by Christina Behnke is a great way to use this type or ruffle yarn which is just what Ravelry user dcknitwhit did.

Circulo Tecido Tricot available at

Ravelry user 1skeinwonderwoman whipped up The Party Dress, a great little pattern to celebrate the little one in your life, and it’s a FREE pattern!

Don’t forget! Circulo Tecido Tricot is Steve’s Deal of the Day through 11:59pm EDT Sunday, June 29, 2014.  Use Promo Code FBTECTRIC at checkout to get the special price, $9.99/hank (reg $19.95)

Ready, Set, Knit! 361: Kathy talks with Wendy Bernard

Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Share Button

Play Now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week Kathy talks with Wendy Bernard, author of the new book Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary. Wendy talks about her journey from Marketing to knit design.

Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary, the new book from Wendy Bernard - available at

This book is packed full of over 100 stitch patterns that Wendy presents in four different ways: top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round, as well as 11 patterns into which you can easily insert your own choice of stitch patterns.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Reminder: Our yearly Capstone ceremony happened earlier this week with 6 new graduates from our WEBS Expert Knitter Program. You can learn more about the program here.

Upcoming Events:

The 4th Annual I-91 Shop Hop is happening NEXT WEEKEND! – June 26th-29th, get your Passport Today!

Stop by and check out current the Classic Elite Yarns Trunk Show.

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

National Crochet Month Special Techniques – Invisible Single Crochet

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Share Button

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.