Posts Tagged ‘knitting pattern’

My Discomfort Zone

Friday, March 11th, 2016
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I’m making a gorgeous cowl (yes, another one) that features stranded colorwork. In case you want a visual, it’s this beautiful thing, The Wallpaper Cowl designed by WEBS’ own Emma Welford, our Social Media Coordinator. In case you’ve seen our latest Instagrams, Facebook posts, and our new venture into Periscope, she’s the genius behind those lovely images.

I decided to knit it in our Kangaroo Dyer’s hand-dyed Valley Yarns Northfield, in a charcoal gray as the main color and a cool chartreuse-green as the contrast. They look gorgeous. Here’s what doesn’t look gorgeous: my hideous floats. Here, because I’m honest, is what I started with:

Amy learns to tame her floats for the Wallpaper Cowl. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Not so great.

So, off to the Internet went I. But because I’m more of a “I need to do it to learn it” kind of brain, that was a bust. I saw what to do but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Reader, I went to Drop-In. I felt a little odd about it, because I work in a yarn store and I’ve been knitting for quite a while, but I just couldn’t do it! I didn’t know how to trap those floats! Beth Altimari, savior of my knitting, came to my rescue once again and in about five minutes, showed me exactly what to do so that I didn’t have big screwy loops all over the place. Now my floats are even, manageable, even, I daresay, tidy.

The main reason I’m writing about this is to say that if you’ve been coasting along with your stockinette scarves and your ribbed hats, maybe it’s time to get out of your comfort zone. Try something new, shake up your routine, maybe even dip into another craft. Crochet, weaving, spinning…use a different side of your brain.

And when you come back to knitting, make the Wallpaper Cowl. It’s going to be amazing.

Handspun, now what? What to knit with your handspun yarn.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
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I have plenty of yarn to work through in my handspun stash this year thanks to Tour de Fleece and Spinzilla but deciding what projects to make can be simultaneously tedious and overwhelming.  There is one website and one important tool that I use when deciding on a project, Ravelry and my yarn gauge.

Spinzilla wrap up, what to knit with your handspun yarn. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

First I use my yarn gauge to figure out what my yarn is. Is it worsted, DK, bulky? I wrap the yarn loosely around my gauge and count how many wraps per inch (wpi) I have. I’m using the Fractal spun yarn that I plied from a center-pull ball back in Sept. I ended up with 15 wpi, so I have a fingering weight yarn. Here’s a handy chart that will help to translate wpi into more useful information.  You’ll notice that the stitch gauge is roughly 1/2 the wpi.

Spinzilla wrap up, what to knit with your handspun yarn. Using Ravelry.com to narrow your pattern search. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Now you know your yarn gauge and you can go looking for patterns! Ravelry not only has a fantastic pattern library but they have an advanced pattern search feature that lets you narrow down your search by gauge, yardage, fiber, and more! Go to the pattern tab at the top of the page and you can choose the advanced pattern seach – right there on the left of the screen under the binoculars. Then you can scroll down the categories on the left hand side and narrow down your choices! By choosing Fingering, 300-450 yds and Merino I was still left with over 9,000 pattern choices. So I narrowed it further by choosing a cowl, shawl or scarf pattern and that knocked it down to 3,000 options, but still too many! So I chose adult only patterns and then narrowed my search one more time to Free patterns and that left me with 164, not too bad.

Spinzilla wrap up, what to knit with your handspun yarn. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I didn’t want anything with colorwork or with too much texture since I really want the handspun to shine, I want the fractal color shifts to be the star of the show. I found the Terraform Shawl and it fits the bill! Not only is there a bit of stitch work to keep me interested (no worries about miles and miles of mind-numbing stockinette stitch), but the pattern will show off my yarn, and I can just keep going until I run out of yarn. It couldn’t be more perfect! How do you decide what projects are right for your handspun? Have you made anything with your Spinzilla yarns yet?

How to Wear It – The Park Pullover

Monday, March 30th, 2015
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As Winter finally begins to loosen it’s grip on New England we’re thinking about great, wearable Spring and Summer knitting, and the Park Pullover may just be the perfect project.

The Park Pullover is based on one of our most popular children’s patterns the Picnic Child’s pullover. Alternating stripes of 1×1 ribbing and stockinette create a soft and casual sweater with flattering elbow-length sleeves. It’s as fun to knit as it is to wear, and since it’s top-down, the lengths of the sleeves and body are easy to modify!

Valley Yarns: How to Wear It - The Park Pullover

Knit in Valley Yarns Goshen you get the strength of cotton, durability from the Modal and a gorgeous sheen from the silk content. Available in over 2 dozen colors, you’re sure to find the one that’s perfect for your wardrobe!

Valley Yarns: How to Wear It - The Park Pullover read more at blog.yarn.com

We’d love to see your finished garments! Anytime you’ve made a Valley Yarns pattern be sure to tag it with #VYwearit We may feature you here on the blog, highlight you on Facebook, or repost you on Instagram!

How to wear it – The Plesti Fair Isle Pullover

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
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Our Spring 2015 Catalog is online and is making it’s way to your mailboxes and with it comes a whole new bunch of Valley Yarns patterns.  We thought we’d share some styling suggestions for some of our patterns this year to help make these sweaters and accessories a part of your everyday wardrobe.

How to wear it - The Plesti Fair Isle Pullover on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

First up is our Plesti Fair Isle Pullover, knit in Valley Yarns Northampton. This sweater features a wide scoop neck and a slightly over sized fit making it feel more like a comfy boyfriend sweater, but it can easily be dressed up. This sweater would also look great as an extra layer over a shirtwaist dress with a pair of knee boots!

How to wear it - The Plesti Fair Isle Pullover on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

Though the fair isle work may look complicated there are never more than 2 colors in any row and the motifs are fairly large and easy to memorize as you knit. If you feel you need some practice before tackling the sweater the pattern includes a matching hat that ‘s not only a great to practice your color-work but makes a perfect swatch as well! You have over 3 dozen colors to choose from in Valley Yarns Northampton so the options are nearly endless.

Ask WEBS – Projects using two yarns at once

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
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Ask WEBS Feb.10, 2015  Using two strands of yarn in a non-color-work project - Read more at blog.yarn.com

When you first read through your pattern you may see a note that says to “hold the yarn doubled throughout” or “yarn is doubled throughout”, this means you’ll carry 2 strands of yarn and knit with them as if they are one strand. This allows you to knit at a bulkier gauge or to combine yarns for a completely different look and texture, like transitions of color. The Lodge Pole Cowl uses two strands of Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky for a chunkier gauge than one strand would have yielded and the Gradient Cowl from Shibui transitions colors easily by changing just one at a time.

Knitting two strands together as one - read more at blog.yarn.com

If your pattern is made up of short stripes, usually only 2 or 4 rows of each color, it may make more sense for you to “carry the yarn up the side” of your work rather that cutting and starting with new yarn for every new row – think of weaving in ALL those ends! The trick to this method is carrying the yarn up the side of the work each time you change color for the stripes. You’ll finish a row, and when you turn the piece over you’ll let the color you just finished with hang to the front of your work and bring the new color up behind to begin the new row. If you remember to change your colors this way for each color change it will be nearly invisible. The Garter Trap scarf, and the Chevron Tube Cowl are great examples of this technique!

Working with 2 colors in a project and carrying the yarn up the side - read more at blog.yarn.com

What techniques or stitches are you struggling with? Ask WEBS, we can help!

 

 

 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 9th, 2015
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Our new Heart Pops Hat pattern is not only adorable but FREE!

The Heart Pops Hat pattern - FREE at yarn.com

Just two skeins of Valley Yarns Berkshire is actually enough to make two hats (in opposite colors). And try the Clover Heart-Shaped Pom-pom maker for the perfect topper to this little hat. What colors would you use?

Designer in Residence – Fiona Ellis

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
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We’re so excited about our new Designer in Residence program for 2015! We’ve teamed up with two truly talented designers to bring you gorgeous knit and crochet designs that showcase some of our favorite Valley Yarns. This month we’re debuting the I Feel Vine Cardigan from knitwear designer Fiona Ellis and we’ll have a new design from her each odd numbered month of the year. And we’ll reveal the first crochet design from Doris Chan in February to be followed by a new design from her each even numbered month this year!

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence, her first design the I Feel Vine Cardigan in Valley Yarns Amherst - learn more at blog.yarn.com

This long-line cardigan worked in Valley Yarns Amherst is perfect for all seasons; cozy for the chilly months but also great to slip on over a sleeveless top in warmer months to fend off the chill of air conditioning. It’s clever use of stitch patterning utilizes the elasticity of rib patterning at the waist and cuff to give gentle shaping. The rib then morphs into a unique leaf pattern & finally into eyelet lace stitch work which adds to the overall femininity of this garment.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

We asked Fiona to tell us about about her process and inspiration, and to give us a bit of a sneak peek into what we can expect to see throughout the year.

Tell us about your design process. Do you have design ideas in your head that inspire you to search out the right yarn or do you find a yarn and let the design grow from there?

I keep an on-going archive, of sorts, for design ideas and projects that I want to work on. So mostly it’s the idea that comes first and then I search out the perfect yarn for the project/design rather than the other way around.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you hike? jog in the city? take your camera everywhere you go? have a studio full of inspiring color and images?

I find inspiration everywhere so I always carry a camera (or my phone) and try to bring a small notebook with me wherever I go. I find inspiration can strike at very strange times – sometimes it’s at 3am! And I find it’s a process that you can’t really command. The ideas just seem to appear of their own accord and can sometimes be fleeting or hard to pin down. So I end up with pockets full of ideas scribbled on coffee shop napkins because I forgot to bring my notebook with me that day. On the other hand I also have this mindfulness practice of taking a photo every day even if nothing seemingly exciting is happening. I’ve been doing this since Sept 2007 and have found some great ideas have emerged from this habit of encouraging myself to closely observe the world. I believe that somehow the two elements work off of each other.

Tell us about your design aesthetic. What can our customers expect to see from you this year?

I studied fashion knitwear design at University so my aesthetic has a lot to do with current (wearable) fashion trends in terms of garment silhouette. I have been a knitter practically my whole life so I like pattern-work that challenges me, though I do try to include sections in each project where there is less challenge, that way some parts of the project can be carried around or worked on in front of the TV (or even in a bar maybe).

Tell us about your favorite Valley Yarn, is there a Valley Yarn you are excited to work with?

It’s so hard to choose because they are all great and each one perfect for specific projects. So I’m going to choose Amherst for entirely personal reasons- see my answer to the next question.

How did you discover Valley Yarns, what is your history with WEBS?

I used to live in Massachusetts very near to WEBS, but this was in the days when I designed for ready to wear fashion houses, before I designed for the independent home knitter. I used to shop at WEBS for my personal projects but I had moved away from the area before I became intimately acquainted with the Valley Yarns.  Since then I have used them when they have been selected for magazine editorials such as the designs I have done for Twist  Collective, Knitters Magazine and others: Sugarbeach in Longmeadow,  Blue Helix in Colrain, Athabasca in Northampton,  and Paula in Stockbridge.

What designers do you like/follow? Are there designs you wish you had time to knit/crochet/sew?

I tend to look at couture designers and my most favorite is the late Alexander McQueen. In terms of knitwear designers that I admire, boy this is actually a long list. I admire so many of the designers working today, but if I had to pick just one I would chose Norah Gaughan. She always comes up with such eye-catching and wonderful designs, ones that I’m almost jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea myself. If I had time to knit for myself from somebody else pattern it would definitely be one of Norah’s…or maybe an Alice Starmore pattern.

Gifts to Make – When there’s just days to go!

Monday, December 8th, 2014
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When your remaining days of gift knitting can be counted on your fingers you know it’s crunch time. Our Essential Accessories eBook has five quick and simple wardrobe staples that everyone needs and loves!

Valley Yarns Essential Accessories eBook - available exclusively at yarn.comThe Knit and Purl Cowl, knit in Amherst, offers four different stitch patterns to choose from, stick with one for the whole projects or change it up with textured stripes. The Simple Shawl is just that! An easy triangle shawl knit from the top down in Valley Yarns Huntington. The Essential Fingerless Gloves, knit in Stockbridge are just the thing to stave off the chills at the office, in the car or shopping around town. The Basic Hat from measurements, shown in Northampton, is THE hat pattern to have in your stash. Knit whatever hat size you need in whatever yarn you have on hand with this handy pattern! And the Basic Heel-Flap Sock may be the perfect basic sock pattern, and it shows of the colors in Franklin so beautifully.

Valley Yarns Essential Accessories eBook - available exclusively at yarn.com

Which will you knit first?

The Tirrick Shawl by Gudrun Johnston

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
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The Tirrick Shawl, designed by Gudrun Johnston in our 40th Anniversary Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color, is a lacy semi-circular shawl knit from the widest edge in five wedge sections, with each section decreasing until you end up with just a few stitches. Based off of a simple Shetland lace pattern with a background of stockinette, not garter as is most common in Shetland lace patterns, this shawl is sure to fly off your needles as each row goes faster than the last!

Tirrick Promo

Gudrun was born in Shetland in the 70’s while her mother was running the successful knitwear design company, The Shetland Trader. Gudrun has revived the use of The Shetland Trader name and often includes aspects of her Shetland heritage in her designs, mostly utilizing traditional lace patterns in a contemporary context. Gudrun is local to WEBS, is one of our favorite customers,and has even taken classes with us!

Tirrick Promo FB

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – The Welcome Home Blanket

Friday, November 28th, 2014
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A fresh and modern interpretation, the Welcome Home Blanket knits up quick with Valley Superwash Bulky to make a soft and machine washable heirloom in your favorite colors.

The Welcome Home Blanket pattern knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash Bulky - PDF download available at yarn.com

Perfect for a warming up a new house, welcoming family back, or bringing new family members home, the Welcome Home Blanket can be knit in different sizes for any occasion. Cheery, unisex colors and the classic feather and fan stitch pattern just feel like home. (HINT: Newborns, graduations, consolations or house warmings)