Posts Tagged ‘knitting tips’

Some Holiday Thoughts

Friday, November 8th, 2013
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Tis the season, as they say. My family celebrates Hanukkah, which comes way too early this year (November 28, to be exact). I’m postponing it until Decemberish, when I can get my wits about me. While I have time, I’m casting a curious eye through the store to store up some holiday gift ideas for some knitters or lovers of knitwear on my list. I like to make small projects like fingerless mitts, hats, or cowls, since they’re fast. I also like to use some unusual yarns that I wouldn’t ordinarily use for my personal knitting, to keep it festive.

Any gift I give this year will be accompanied by these stunningly beautiful gift cards featuring photographs by the very talented Debbie Cook, who runs the Flayvors of Cook Farms store, and works at our retail store (lucky us!). The photos are spare and charming at the same time, and perfect with some elegant silvery or dark wrapping paper.

Buffalo Wool Company has a yarn called Sexy, and how can you not give someone a lacy shawl made with Sexy yarn that’s half Bison down and half silk? Very festive.

The colors are deep and lush, and even though it’s a laceweight yarn, I could probably whip out an open-work pattern for a shoulder-covering shawl in no time, from this often-used book.

I’d also use a Blue Sky Alpacas yarn I’ve been mulling over for a long time, Metalico. It’s another 50/50 yarn, this time alpaca and silk. It’s got a sheen that is tempered by the fuzziness of the alpaca, and I think it would make a great cowl or hat to go with a Little Black Dress.

And since the holidays are glittery and fun, I’d think about using a one-off sparkler like Artyarns Silk Mohair Glitter. Lots of fun colors and a shot of silver or gold thread will give you tons of ideas for lacy scarves or ornamental cuffs to wear with a holiday dress to a caroling party.

 

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.

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Block Colorwork or Lace Mittens

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from Sara Delaney, designer of the Valley Yarns Safe Passage Hat and Mittens and Valley Yarns Frost Rime Cowl and Mitts.

When blocking mittens or fingerless mitts with color-work or lace, the stitches may need to be stretched a bit during blocking to settle into shape. Instead of just soaking your project and laying it flat to dry, you can use blocking wires (or long single point needles in a pinch!) to pull the edges evenly. This lets you block the mittens with minimal pin use and virtually no distortion to the pattern!

How to Block Colorwork or Lace Mittens

All proceeds from the sale of the Safe Passage Hat and Mittens benefit Safe Passage.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Wrap and Turn

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
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If you’re looking for a great handmade gift to give this holiday season, try socks! Socks can be quick and easy while still making a big impact. If you’re new to the world of knitting socks, tackling the heel may be the most intimidating part. Once you master the wrap and turn technique, they’re a cinch! You can see the wrap and turn demonstrated below, and you’ll be on your way to making socks in no time.

Valley Yarns B-3 Basic Socks are a great pattern to get started with if you’re never tried knitting socks before.

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.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Select the Right Length Circular Needle

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from WEBS Design Manager, Kirsten. She helps us solve the mystery of what length circular needle to use for our projects.How to Select the Right Length Circular Needle

Finding the right length of circular needles can be confusing to even experienced knitters. As a general rule, the length of the needles should be shorter than the circumference of your knitting. You can always scrunch the stitches up on a short needle, but you can’t stretch them out. For example, if you’re knitting a 38″ sweater, you would use 32″ circular needle. Any longer and the stitches won’t reach all the way around, and any shorter wouldn’t leave enough room for the stitches on the needle. Of course, there’s an exception to this rule. You can use a needle longer than the length of your stitches if you’re doing magic loop. With the magic loop technique, you could actually work a hat on 40″ needles.

 

The Harlot is Coming!

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
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My first career was in publishing–I did publicity for authors and books, and I worked in New York City, for a fairly well-known set of publishing houses (Random House and Simon & Schuster). My strength was celebrity authors, and I got to work with lots of them. When I moved to western Massachusetts, I worked at a smaller publisher, Storey Publishing, in the Berkshires, and I got to work with another celebrity: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Believe me, I was more excited to work with the Yarn Harlot than almost any other so-called “celebrity.” She’s a beautiful writer, she’s a lovely person, and most importantly, she is totally relatable to her audience and she’s an AMAZING knitter and teacher.

The Yarn Harlot is coming!

The Yarn Harlot is coming!

I’m super-duper excited that Stephanie is coming to WEBS right before Rhinebeck to teach for us!! She will run two classes, Grok the Sock (Thursday, October 17) and Knit Smart (Friday, October 18). Grok the Sock is a 6-hour sock intensive, not difficult, and integral to understanding basic construction of the sock.  Knit Smart is a lecture-style class with Stephanie’s trademark humor and smarts, about how to figure out where you might encounter knitting pitfalls and how to make ensure they don’t derail you.

There is limited space available in these classes, so sign up now and beat the Rhinebeck rush!

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Kitchener Stitch

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
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The Kitchener stitch is essential to knitting socks from the top down, and even opens the door to symmetrical shawls and wraps. This technique takes live stitches, and grafts them together in a way that mimics the what a real knit stitch looks like. A properly executed Kitchener stitch looks like it’s not even there! You can see the Kitchener stitch in action below!

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Get the Best Fit for Hand Knit Gloves and Mittens

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
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How to Measure for Gloves and MittensThis week’s tip comes from our Design Manager, Kirsten. She helps us understand how to get the best fit for our hand knit gloves and mittens

To choose the best size glove to make, you should measure around your hand above the knuckles, including the tip of the thumb, and pick the size that’s closest to this measurement. This will give you just the right amount of wiggle room and help account for the thickness of the fabric. I avoided sizing like that for the longest time, thinking I wanted really snug gloves and mittens, but they never felt quite right until I added the thumb tip.