Posts Tagged ‘lace’

Bouquet of Hearts Baby Blanket draft designed by Leslie Ann Bestor

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
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We began our 40th anniversary series of drafts with a beautiful 16-shaft twill design from Barbara Elkins and end the year with a lovely baby blanket woven on a rigid heddle loom and designed by Leslie Ann Bestor, the new Weaving Manager for WEBS. It is a set of bookends that describes the weaving community in so many ways, touching on the breadth of experience, fibers and looms available.

Draft 12

The Bouquet of Hearts Baby Blanket, woven with Valley Yarns Longmeadow, showcases both the simple beauty of plain weave and the ability to add intricate details that rigid heddle looms do so well. Brook’s Bouquet is a technique of wrapping small bundles of threads to create lace-like windows in the cloth. In the blanket, the motif is a heart, but you can graph out and add your own motif – anything from the baby’s initials to other shapes.

Another key piece of the design, says Bestor, was to encourage weavers to work beyond the width of their looms and weave panels that can be seamed together. The seam can be done by hand or machine, invisibly or as a decorative accent. However it’s done, putting woven panels together expands the width – and the possibilities – of your loom.

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

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.”

Ready, Set, Knit! #287: Kathy talks with Anna Dalvi

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
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Kathy and Anna discuss how she got into knitting, designing and writing her own patterns as well as her new e-book, Ancient Egypt in Lace and Color.

Printed copies can be purchased through Cooperative Press.

Anna researched ancient Egyptian art and decided to work with the 6 main colors. She designed two shawls for each color in this collection and let the designs develop from the associated meanings of each.

          Kathy’s favorite design,  Nefer                               Anna’s favorite,  Ra and Apep

Anna also discusses her yarn choices, how designs develop after the materials are chosen and how she works to support many independent dyers and smaller yarn companies.

Check out Anna’s first pattern collection:  Shaping Shawls

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Upcoming Events:
Franklin Habit will be here for classes and an event this week!
Event and book signing with Carol Sulcoski this week, as well!

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

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Use a Lifeline

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
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Have you ever dropped a stitch when knitting lace?

Do you get lost in your lace patterns? Today’s tip is one you don’t want to miss.

When knitting lace, it can be a big pain trying to fix mistakes when yarn overs are involved. Sometimes you might even find that you get so lost or confused in your lace pattern that it seems easier to just frog the whole project and start over.

But if you use a lifeline, or safety line in your knitting, it can take away a lot of the stress and frustration of mistakes. A lifeline is a way of marking a particular point in your knitting where you can easily rip back to in case you make a mistake. Think of it as knitting insurance.

This video shows you how to insert a lifeline in your knitting and how to rip back to a lifeline if needed.

Use thin, smooth yarn in a contrasting color for lifelines. I like to use crochet thread or cotton weaving yarns. But in a pinch, dental floss also works really well. I mostly use a lifeline in lace knitting, placing it in the last repeat of my pattern. But you can use a lifeline in any knitting project such as cable work or other complicated stitch patterns.

Some knitting needles (Addi Lace Click Long Tips and Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable Needles) even include a hole or slot where you can thread a lifeline through. You’re able to then insert a lifeline into a row as you knit, saving you the step of threading a lifeline through your stitches with a tapestry needle.

If you knit with interchangeable knitting needles, you could use a spare cable as your lifeline. After knitting the row where you want a lifeline placed, replace the needle tips with end caps or stoppers. Connect the needle tips onto a new cable and continue knitting, leaving the old cable in your project as a lifeline.

Lifelines make lace knitting much more fun and relaxing for me. How have lifelines saved your knitting? Share your lifeline tips and stories in the comments.

Happy Knitting!


Free Pattern Thursday:Dandelion Lace Shawl from Classic Elite

Thursday, October 20th, 2011
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Hi Everyone,

This week’s free pattern is the Dandelion Lace Shawl from the folks at Classic Elite. It is knit in Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace. It is a beautiful blend of alpaca and silk that works up into lightweight and airy projects.

The pattern offers three different shawl sizes each taking just one back of the main color and one of the contrasting color. The sample is a size small, which is a great size for a little shawlette or to wear as a scarf. The largest size is 54″ wide and 21 ½” deep at the center point.

The dropped stitches on the lace border are fun. If you’ve ever knit a Clapotis (from, you know how much fun it is to drop stitches on purpose!

I love that you can make this shawl your own by choosing the color you like, or even knitting it in just one color. It would make a lovely gift too, since it is time to start thinking about that. (I’ve already started making a list in my head, we’ll see how much of it I get done.)

Click here for a link to the free pattern. If you’re not already subscribed to Classic Elite’s Web-Letter, sign up. It’s a great way to get a free pattern delivered to your inbox every week!

Happy Knitting!

Free Pattern Thursday: Lace Shawl in Regia Lace

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
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Hi Everyone,

The free pattern this week is the beautiful Lace Shawl from Regia.

It is knit in Regia Lace which is a blend of superwash wool and polyamide with a lovely color effect that transitions from color to color. It is a charted pattern, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. I love working lace from charts. To me, it is a great representation of what the pattern looks like and it makes more sense to my brain looking at that rather than a jumble of words.

Click here for a link to download the pattern.

Happy Knitting,


The Buzz at WEBS – September 16, 2011

Friday, September 16th, 2011
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This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…


1. Wendy Knits Lace – I’m a fan of knitting lace and Wendy D. Johnson’s blog, so when this book arrived, I was super excited. There’s a great range of projects – lots of shawls and scarves, but also hats, mittens, socks, and more that use a variety of weights of yarn. I happen to have a rather large sock yarn stash, so I’m looking forward to knocking some of that down with projects from this book (Esplanade Mittens and Mairi Tam, I’m looking at you!) The Vortex Spiral Shawl or Afghan is stunning! Knit in fingering weight, it’s a lovely shawl, but knit in worsted, it’s a spectacular blanket! The first part of the book also features great information for knitting lace – decreases, increases, joining, picking up stitches, and so much more. > Mary K.-H.

2. Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 4ply – My dreams have finally come true, we have a heavier weight cashmere in a whopping 34 colors. I love everything this company makes, especially their high quality, lustrous cashmere. Customers have long clamored for heavier cashmere in a range of colors, so have at it! > Cara S.

3. I’m excited about Kirsten’s Valley Yarns Silverscape Cardigan. It is such a simple silhouette but with clean, dramatic lace details. I don’t often knit sweaters but I’m working this one up for my Mom for the holidays. > Sara D.

4. Classic Elite Panache pattern book – This is a great pattern book for scarves, shawls and wraps. Different yarns can be used. I made the Grace shawl in Pirouette. It made a lovely lace shawl. > Marion H.

5. When Leslie Ann brought her latest weaving project, I immediately fell in love with her woven set of towels. I love how soft they feel and the beautiful twill pattern repeated in each towel. She put a long warp of Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton on her loom. And then switched colors of Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton Linen for each towel. I just happen to have both of these yarns at home and a very lonely loom that would be happy to have a little attention again. > Dena C.

Valley Yarns on Ravelry Issue #6

Sunday, August 7th, 2011
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Inspired by Cara’s recent blog post Lace Boot Camp, I looked around and found some incredible lace projects on Ravelry in some of our Valley Yarns.

1. Shawl for Pelion knit by Chilicoco uses just a little more than 1/2 a cone of the Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk to make the Knitty free pattern Cold Mountain.

2. Spanish Moss knit by hlf in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel makes a lovely shawl with great drape. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry from Designs by Romi.

3. Rosalind Shawl knit by Fyreball in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk Hand Dyed has a stunning center cable strip that really stands out from the cable pattern. Amazing! The Sivia Harding pattern is also available as a Ravelry download.

4. Wedding Stole for Megan knit by sunfishknitter in Valley Yarns 10/2 Bamboo is a great example of what you can create with a yarn normally intended for weaving, making a delicate lace fabric perfect for an extra special event. Ann Hanson’s Twinings Stole is available as a Ravelry download too.

5. Birthday Marrowstone knit by knittinggolfer with just one skein of Valley Yarns Charlemont Kettle Dyed, shows off the subtle variation you get with a kettle dye yarn. The Marrowstone Shawl is a Marcy Vandale design available for purchase on Ravelry.

6. Graphite Remember Me crocheted by CraftyCSW in Valley Yarns Huntington displays how sock yarn is not just for feet. Great pattern from LilyGo available on Ravelry.

7. Willow crocheted by herbivore100 in Valley Yarns 5/2 Valley Cotton is another good example of what else you can do with our weaving yarns.

8. Down by the Sea knit by donnabriz in Valley Yarns Colrain is a slightly heavy shawl than the others, but equally gorgeous with the oversized scallop edge detail. The Captiva Wrap pattern by Carol Feller is available for download on Ravelry.

The Buzz at WEBS – August 5, 2011

Friday, August 5th, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Valley Yarns Silver Lining Hat – I just knit this hat for my Dad’s birthday, and it’s perfect! I used Valley Yarns Huntington in black and grey and I love how the hat is reversible. He can wear it as a grey hat with black brim, or black hat with grey brim. It’s a great summer knit but a nice warm and cozy hat. > Grace H.

2. Atenti Betty – These purses are fabulous and I got one as soon as they came in! They are colorful, roomy, and stylish. > Stephanie G.

3. Freia Fine Handpaints yarns – With the flood of new yarns coming in for fall, sometimes it’s all just a blur. But this new yarn stood out immediately as something unique. Freia’s sport and lace weight yarns come in an Ombré color range that is hand painted to create a really long color run. I can’t wait to see what folks make with these yarns. > Dena C.

4. Milk and Honey Lotion Bar – Wonderful fragrance, would be a great foot lotion too! Amazing packaging. I love the “employee of the month”. > Gail C.

5. Shetland Lace Knitting from Charts by Hazel Carter – Even though it looks humble, this is one of my favorite lace books. It lists a large number of traditional garter-stitch based Shetland lace patterns, along with giving you the tools to rearrange those elements into fans, diamonds and chevrons, and it has some very interesting construction methods for shawls and other objects. > Kirsten H.

Lace Boot Camp

Sunday, July 31st, 2011
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Lace is a not-so-secret obsession of mine. There’s just something about the intricate look, the deceptively easy (or difficult!) stitches, the beautifully delicate yarns. I can’t help but see lace in everything and during the sticky summer months it’s hard not to think of light airy knitting. I mean, what’s more perfect than the portable one skein projects that lace knitting provides?

This obsession within obsessions finds me with an obnoxious stash of lace yarn. I just can’t help myself. Like sock yarns it offers a one skein project buy and it comes in such wonderful hand dyed colors and textures. So it’s really time to get cracking.

While I was sifting through patterns and gift ideas I realized that a lot of customers I talk to are intimidated with the prospect of beginning their first lace project. Somewhere between the delicate hand and complicated look of lace most people pass. But if you can increase and decrease you’re mostly there! To demystify this process a bit I thought I’d pass along a couple of tips and recommendations I’ve found along the way.

Image of Bison Shawlette in 101 Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders, knit in Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere #18.

Helpful Tips

First, familiarize yourself with following a chart, Charts Made Simple by JC Briar is a great new resource for just this, and many lace resources offer a good primer as well. I was such a neophyte on my first chart I ended up reworking a lot of sections. Why didn’t I just take the time to learn it? Perhaps I was just impatient to cast on! Learn from my mistakes, please.

Another way to simplify chart visibility is to stock up on highlighter tape. This product is priceless for following tiny charts that so often accompany lace knitting. This semi-tacky tape brightens the line you are concentrating on and easily transfers to the next row without marring your pattern. It helps to enlarge the chart as well, for easy reading. (Your local copy shop can help with this).

Next, choose an appropriate needle for your project. Nothing is more difficult than trying to pierce your stitches with a dull needle. Especially for newbies having adequate tools makes learning easier. I recommend Skacel Addi turbo Lace needles, they have a bit more grip than the standard Addi Turbos to keep from slipping stitches and a much sharper point to allow for ease of knitting. I generally work a US size 5 on lighter yarns, but everyone has a different preference.

One underestimated tool for repetitive charts is stitch markers, allowing you to mark repeats with ease. We have handy lace and sock stitch markers that are smaller in size and have a little grip. You could also try the locking stitch markers to easily move your markers when repeats change.

Finally and most importantly for beginners, the lifeline! Buy a small skein of undyed mercerized cotton yarn, such as Nazli Gelin Garden 3, to strand through your stitches after each repeat or section. A mercerized cotton will not stick to or shed on your knitting (yes, I learned the hard way).With this handy and simple step you can save hours of frustration. If you drop stitches or find yourself impossibly stuck you can rip back to your lifeline and start fresh! I usually include lifelines at the start of a new section or after a sizable section… or when I decide I’d cry if I had to rip back!


If you are looking to start a beginning lace project find a simple repetitive lace stitch, like Valley Yarns pattern 120, Falling Leaves. It utilizes a heavier yarn and allows you to build confidence before working with finer yarns and more complex patterns. Another simple approach is Valley Yarns Basic Triangle Shawl (B6), a simple clearly written shawl with a lace border knit with Valley Yarns Semi-solid Handdyed sock yarn.


There is such a wealth of lace books it’s hard to choose, but here are some of my favorites:

Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
The Haapsalu Shawl by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi
Wrapped in Lace by Margaret Stove

Check out individual patterns by Fiber Trends and Fiber Dreams for some truly inspiring lace creations. And yes, Ravelry too!


Most lace patterns use fingering or lighter weight yarns. Generally speaking the more complicated the shawl the less nuanced the color. Let your stitches do the talking and the hand dyes take a back seat, simpler shawls can accommodate lots more color variation. As with other projects there’s a yarn for every color and fiber preference.

Don’t miss our very own Kangaroo Dyer’s 2/14 Alpaca Silk in gorgeous and hefty skeins! Or our new Valley Yarns Charlemont in solid and kettle dyed colors. I personally cannot keep my hands off of Jade Sapphire’s Cashmere Silk blend. The colorways are brilliant and the feel is unmatchable. One of my go-to lace yarns is Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace. It comes in beautiful solid and handpaint colors with a polished finish, buoyant drape, and silky hand. The new Juniper Farms Findley is an extremely comparable yarn with bright colors and a merino/silk blend. The new Rowan Fine Lace looks like a lovely alternative as well with an alpaca and merino composition. Most importantly, find one that inspires you.

Happy Knitting!



Yarns listed above:

Top left to right: Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in 140, 82 and 69

Middle left to right: Valley Yarns Charlemont in whipple blue, 2/14 Handdyed Alpaca Silk in pansies and atlantis

Bottom left to right: Rowan Fine Lace #926, Juniper Farm Findley 04 and Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace 2454