Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Ready, Set, Knit! 386: Kathy talks with Kristin Nicholas

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
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This week Kathy talks with author and knitwear designer Kristin Nicholas about her newest book, Crafting a Colorful Home.

RSK 386

This is Kristin’s 11th book and while not knit or crochet focused, it does contain a great scrappy knit afghan and geometric crocheted granny square blanket patterns, as well as great lessons for learning to use color in your life.  Read all about the process of writing this book on Kristin’s blog and click here to read the Houzz magazine article that was the inspiration for the book! You can follow Kristin on Facebook or Instagram.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Check out the brand-new design from Fiona Ellis, 2015 WEBS Designer in Residence .

Sign up now for the WEBS Mystery KAL or Mystery CAL classes before they fill up!

Winter/Spring 2015 Classes are on the website now, register before they fill up!

Upcoming Events:

Our 9th Annual Pre-Game Event is coming up on Feb 1st – It’s free but be sure to register!

Join us for a Yarn Tasting with Cascade Yarns on Feb 12th.

Don’t miss your chance to meet and talk with Norah Gaughan on March 7th!

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

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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 1 pinterest draft 1

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 DiR January

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?

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)

Gifts to Make – When you only have a few weeks.

Monday, November 24th, 2014
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With Thanksgiving being celebrated this week in the States the bell has been rung for the final round of gift making. While there may be a few of you out there who still have time for larger projects like a sweater, most of us need patterns for small or quick gifts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be special! Our Great Gifts eBook has patterns perfect for the special people in your life and you still have time to make all of them.

The Great Gifts eBook from Valley Yarns, 5 knits perfect for giving  - available at yarn.com

The Basic Scarf from Measurements, knit in Northampton Bulky, is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure scarf that even a beginning knitter can play along. With 5 stitch patterns to choose from and easy calculations to change the width and length of your scarf this may become your go-to pattern. The Welcome Home Blanket may be the perfect  gift for the new baby in the family. The classic feather and fan pattern gets a modern update with bold blocks of color and the incredible squishiness of the Valley Superwash Bulky make this one a joy to knit. One of our newest yarns, Leyden, is show off to great effect in the Cobblestone Socks. The subtle pebbled surface of these socks works wonderfully with the variegated hues in the yarn and with some of the richer jeweltone colorways of Leyden these could be just the right pair of socks for the special guy in your life. The Rail Trail Mitts knit with two colors of Valley Yarns BFL Fingering would certainly be appreciated by the outdoorsy types in your life, the die-hard cyclist that’s still out on their bike in the snow or the early morning dog-walker. And the Forget-Me-Not Cowl is a beautiful, airy cowl perfect for a little extra layering. Knit in our 2/10 Merino Tencel which is available on cones with over 1,000 yards you could easily knit cowls for several friends or co-workers from the same cone.

The Great Gifts eBook from Valley Yarns, 5 knits perfect for giving  - available at yarn.comEach pattern is available as an individual PDF for $3.99 or you can download the whole collection in the Great Gifts eBook for just $11.99. Who will you make these great gifts for?

 

Valley Yarns Pattern Feature – The Coppice Cardigan

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
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The Coppice Cardigan, in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk, may be one of the easiest lace cardigans there is to knit!

The Coppice Cardigan knit in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk - available at yarn.com

Kirsten says, “The Coppice Cardigan was a lot of fun to design. It combines one of my favorite Shetland lace patterns (seen with built-in increases in the recent Hazel Shawl) with one of my favorite cardigan structures – the folded rectangle! Funny how a simple, rectilinear shape can create flowing dolman sleeves and a gently curving neckline and hem. It defies all logic, but it’s a shape that seems to fit everyone no matter how big or small you make it! So don’t worry too much about gauge here, and feel free to block it as big as you like to open up the lace.”

Gifts to Make – When you still have more than a month to go.

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
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It’s that time of year when the holidays seem to start coming at us fast enough to give you whiplash, but there’s still plenty of time to finish some larger gift projects. Whether you’re looking for a great baby blanket, the perfect pillow for a splash of color, or a cozy wrap to take the chill off those late fall evenings, the Soft Landing eBook has just the right patterns for you. We’ve paired simple, but visually stunning stitches with some of the coziest fibers in our Valley Yarns collection.

The Soft Landing eBook from Valley Yarns, 5 comforting knits for the home  - available at yarn.com

The Hen Plaid Wrap is knit in Goshen with a surprisingly easy crochet embellishment. The Snowdrop Baby Blanket in Longmeadow is knit on the bias for a fast finish. The Viola Plaid Pillow in Goshen is the perfect small project to practice the same crochet embellishment that’s used in the wrap and it’s great project to play with color. The Seed Plaid Throw in Valley Yarns Southwick achieves the look of plaid by combining textured stitches. And the Thaw Cabled Blanket in Valley Superwash is knit holding 2 strands for a cozy squishiness you won’t believe until you feel it.

The Soft Landing eBook from Valley Yarns. Soft goods designed for comfort in Valley Yarns Longmeadow, Goshen, Southwick, and Valley Superwash  - available at yarn.com

All of these patterns are available in the Soft Landing eBook for $11.99 and as individual PDFs for $3.99 each. Which would you knit first?

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Knit! 378: Kathy talks with Julie Turjoman

Saturday, November 8th, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with returning guest, Julie Turjoman, about her latest book:  A Head For Trouble: What To Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 378 - Kathy interviews Julie Turjoman about her new book, A Head for Trouble-What to Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders - available at yarn.com

In this episode they discuss Julie’s inspiration, the plucky lady detectives from roaring 20’s themed mystery novels, as well as the actual fashion of the 1920’s that informed her designs.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Upcoming Events:

Nov. 22 – Is Bag Day in Northampton! Get your shopping lists planned.

WEBS retail store will be open Sundays from 12-5 starting Nov 23rd – December 14th.

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Don’t forget that we’re collecting Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bears for Safe Passage, you can read all the details here.

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

Celebrate WEBS 40th Anniversary with Rowan Yarns!

Monday, October 27th, 2014
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Our friends at Rowan have pulled together three great patterns knit in Rowan Fine Art to help us celebrate this year. The Verdant Lace Shawl is a wonderful wrap knit in a simple eyelet pattern, perfect for keeping you cozy without being too warm. The Lace Panel Cowl is knit flat with a provisional cast on to make it easier to join into a cowl, and with a simple 8-row lace repeat this one will fly off your needles. Finally, the Cable and Lace Scarf has an intriguing stitch pattern that alternates between cables and lace, and can easily be made wider to be worn as a stole.

Rowan 40th Anniversary Patterns for WEBS - available exclusively at yarn.com

Any of these pattern would make a wonderful and quick Holiday gift or just a little something special for yourself! Which color of Fine Art will you use?

Winter Is Coming

Friday, October 24th, 2014
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I’ve had that line from “Game of Thrones” in my mind for a while. For me, it’s excited anticipation, but I understand that there are some folks for whom winter is a dirty word. I’m sympathetic, but when I think about winter, I think about luxurious small knits and quick projects that keep me warm. I usually knit about one Big Thing (sweater, throw) each winter, but I really like projects that are fun, fascinating, and don’t take up too much of my time. I have a lot of yarn, people. It has to get used up before I die.

In that vein, I thought I’d showcase a few projects I’m going to try to get done before the winter holidays this year. I’d love to make Melissa LaBarre’s September Circle cowl, knit in a self-striping sock yarn or a variegated or hand-dyed Melissa LaBarre's textured cowl patternfingering weight yarn. I am not a sock knitter, so I don’t have sock yarn on hand, but I’d use Madeline Tosh Merino Light in a deep colorway, like Wicked. At first, it looks brown, but a closer peek reveals rusty pink, gold, and dark purple accents. It would be amazing paired with a camel-colored sweater or jacket.

I love Kristen Nicholas‘s color sense and simple but eye-catching designs. The Coleus Scarf is just my cup of tea, a warm, not-too-long scarf in her signature deep colors. Even though it qualifies as “colorwork,” it’s just not as headachey as Fair Isle or Estonian stranded knitting. Of course, I’d use Kristen’s Color by Kristen yarn, distributed by Classic Elite, in some yummy blues and greens, with some fuschia pops here and there to liven things up.

Rich colors in a simple pattern

Photo credit: Kevin Kennefick

I’d also love to go back to that thing I never did: socks. I have knit exactly 3 socks in my whole life, and even though 2 of those socks were supposed to be a pair, they were entirely different sizes. I’m going to give the lame excuse of lack of focus and young children, and since my children are older now and I have the wherewithal to concentrate on it, I think I might make one last attempt at knitting a pair that look like a pair. My choice? Susan B. Anderson’s Popsicle Socks, in a bunch of different colors of Spud and Chloe Fine. I made some long fingerless mitts in this beautiful yarn a few years ago, and I have some colors left over, so I could scout around for a few that complement my existing shades of deep orange and pine-y green; I’d love to throw some purple or dark brown in there for a wintry feel.fun stripes in a quick pattern

What’s your winter knitting? And what is your dream project or yarn?