Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

The Buzz at WEBS – July 20, 2012

Friday, July 20th, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about a beautiful, lightweight shawl that’s perfect for warm weather knitting. Also, a warm and cozy cowl for when winter finally returns! And two fantastic book reviews from our weaving expert Barbara and our spinning expert Ashley.

For my first mystery shawl KAL, I decided to be good and went stash-diving. I unearthed a forgotten skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino and gave it some love by knitting up this airy lace shawl. The Lace Merino blocks out better than I dreamed, soft and drapey with crisp stitch definition. And as luck would have it, the autumnal red tones and lacy leaf motif go together perfectly! > Emma W.

It might be 100 degrees out right now, but we can’t forget that winter will come again eventually. Cowls are my favorite accessory and I wear them outside under a warm coat, as well as around the office on chilly mornings. The Valley Yarns Bell Lace Cowl is the perfect length. I can wear it long as an accessory, or wrapped around twice to be kept extra warm. It’s knit in super soft Northfield so its perfect to be worn up against the sensitive skin on your neck and face. > Grace H.

I like to spin on my Ladybug in the summer while I sit out on the deck in the evenings and I realized the other day that all my bobbins were full so I’ve been plying up a storm! From Left to right: Creatively Dyed Yarn fiber in the colorway Goat, Optim Merino from Ms. Gusset (a gift Kirsten H. brought back from Sock Summit last summer) and a batt of mystery fiber from Kathy Elkins massive destash event back in May. Now I have 7 empty bobbins to fill with singles! > Sara D.

The weavers among us are excited about a new book that just came in. It is Custom Woven Interiors, by Kelly Marshall, a Minnesota weaver and the owner of a production company of the same name. The book is part pictures of the warp rep rugs, throws, blankets, pillows, curtains and table fabrics in her home and part instructions for those projects. The drafts are mostly for 8 shafts, with some 6-shaft and some 10-shaft projects. Because the fabrics use a lot of colors of 5/2 cotton, but not a lot of each color in the warps, this seems like a great study group project. If each participant provides a few colors, the cost can easily be shared and everyone would come out with a great fabric. Sturdy looms required for the sett of 48 epi! > Barbara E.

Entering the complex world of natural dyeing can seem daunting, but Jenny Dean welcomes her readers to the exploratory process with clear and engaging information in Wild Color. All the equipment you’ll need and how to make sure your choice of dyepot doesn’t change your color results, how to mordant different types of fiber and choose the safest one to use for the color results you want, and how to safely work with toxic chemicals and plants without worry for your family or the environment. Color modifiers, Ph charts and a cool recipe for achieving 25 different color results from one dyebath! My favorite feature of this book is the copious information on the dye plants themselves, from flowers and leaves to barks and roots, with how to grow and/or harvest for the best color results, how much plant material is needed and the many different colors that can be drawn from the same plant. Last year’s dye experiments, guided by this wonderful compendium, yielded great results. I’m already harvesting new plants to add to my dyepot and looking forward to exploring all these wild colors. > Ashley F.

The Buzz at WEBS – July 6, 2012

Friday, July 6th, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week, the staff at WEBS is buzzing about some old yarn favorites, as well as a brand new addition to the Valley Yarns line. Ashley is buzzing about the Know Your Wheel DVD and has written a fantastic review for all the spinners out there!

I am knitting a Catkin (designed by Carina Spencer) for a friend (shhh don’t tell!) in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light colorways Wicked and Manor. This pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry, and although the length of the pattern may seem daunting, it is very well written and easy to follow. Carina Spencer has her own site with video tutorials to aid your Catkin creation. It can be worn as a shawl with the buttons down the front or side and as a cozy scarf. I had so much fun picking colors! The Tosh Merino Light is very soft and great to work with, too. > Heidi R.

Reynolds Soft Linen – This yarn caught my eye in our warehouse! This hot coral/tangerine color is very popular this season, and I thought it would be great for accessories. I grabbed three balls of it, two of which I am making a cute clutch purse with. The linen will help make this a durable bag for years to come! > Deb S.

I had a lot of fun joining westknits Earth & Sky Mystery knitalong last summer and was super excited to see there will be another mystery shawl KAL starting soon. The Rockefeller Mystery Shawl knitalong starts July 13th, so you’ll want to purchase the pattern before then. After browsing through many fingering weight yarns, I finally decided to knit my shawl in Swans Island Fingering in Seasmoke and Tide Pool. > Dena C.

Valley Yarns Buckland – I am absolutely smitten with the newest addition to our Valley Yarns line. Buckland features the same fiber content as our Charlemont but rather than being plied, Buckland has a chain construction which creates a light, lofty fabric. It has 109 yards in a 50-gram skein and knits at 4.5 sts on a #7. My head is spinning with ideas for this yarn! > Kathy E.

I always forget how much I love Valley Yarns Amherst. Right now I’m working on a project for Kirsten for our next catalog out of Amherst and it’s incredible. It’s easy to knit with and super soft. I think it’s time to dig the Amherst out that I have in my stash and make something for myself! > Mary K-H.

Know your Wheel DVD with Alden Amos and Cindy Lair with Linda Ligon – This two-disc set is chock-full of amazing spinning wheel knowledge, from master wheel maker Alden Amos, who talks with Interweave’s Linda Ligon on the first disc, which will delight tinkerers, wheel makers and aficionados of antique double drive wheels as well as new spinners wanting to really dive into the mechanics of this fascinating tool. The second disc features Cindy Lair of Schacht Spindle Co., sharing copious wisdom on the best ways to set up your wheel, its lubrication needs, and how that applies to many different types of commonly produced modern wheels. Both discs feature tips, tricks and hints to help better understand your wheel and alleviate any trouble you might be experiencing while offering new and experienced spinners the maintenance know-how to enjoy a lifetime of worry-free spinning! > Ashley F.

The Buzz at WEBS – May 4, 2012

Friday, May 4th, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week the staff at WEBS has a lot to Buzz about! Our Anniversary Sale is in full swing with our new May sale yarns, and we have a fantastic new video to share!

Valley Yarns Goshen – I’m not a big fan of cotton yarns, but our Goshen is a blend of cotton, modal and silk and it’s a dream to work with. It’s happy being knitted and it crochets beautifully! On sale this month only for $2.79! Be sure to check out the great designs we have too! > Kathy E.

This week I’m buzzing about a video I shot with the Kangaroo Dyer, Gail Callahan. Gail hand dyes Valley Yarns FranklinCharlemontNorthfield, and 2/14 Alpaca Silk in her basement, which she’s converted into a working studio. Hearing her story and seeing her workspace left me feeling inspired to rethink color and design with my own work in multimedia. This is a video I am sure to revisit when I’m needing a little inspiration. > Lindsey P.

Berroco Ultra Alpaca is a wonderful workhorse yarn. The alpaca content gives it some extra warmth as well as some drape, while the wool content gives it body and memory. With a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch you can use it for worsted weight patterns, as well as some DK weight patterns. I have some Ultra Alpaca stashed for a crocheted sweater that I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and now that it’s on sale I may just have to buy some more to make a knit sweater too. > Liz A.

Freia Sport comes in four lovely colors. My favorite color is denim. I especially like the monocromatic graduation in this colorway. This yarn would be perfect for a shawl or scarf or perhaps a cute handbag. It could make an interesting felting project too. Check out projects made with this on Ravelry. > Heidi R.

Hand Spun: New Spins on Traditional Techniques - A great new book from Pluckyfluff  (a.k.a. Lexi Boeger) with fantastic photos and fleece-to-finished yarn instructions for a plethora of art yarns, as well as some great projects to knit up with your stash of handspun goodies. With an eye for inspiration, this book is a smorgasboard of techniques, easy to follow instructions and interviews with some of the hottest fiber professionals around. A great addition to the adventuresome spinner’s library. > Ashley F.

I love the video on our Kangaroo Dyer, Gail. I like to add images and video to my Pinterest boards and browse through them when I need to get my creative juices flowing. What do you use when you need a little inspiration?


The Buzz at WEBS – March 23, 2012

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week, the staff at WEBS is buzzing about so many different things! Weaving, spinning, knitting and yarns all make an appearance.

We’re excited about this addition to our weaving inventory. Dovetail Tapestry Beaters are elegant, beautifully finished tools to aid detail work in many aspects of your weaving. Think weaver controlled techniques as well as tapestry weaving. The contoured shape and silky feel make them a pleasure to hold. The tines are smoothly finished so they will not snag your warp or weft and the finely pointed handles allow for delicate placement in the weft. They are made in four sizes: 2”, 1 ½”, 1” and ¾”. Size refers to width at the tines. See our website for prices and ordering information. > Barbara E.

The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn by Brenda Gibson offers a complete picture of the craft of spinning.  This book has everything from historical perspective and the basics of fiber preparation and handling, to the techniques for spindle and wheel spinning, and “recipes” to create many different kinds of yarns, all in one place. An excellent introductory book for someone just starting out in the exciting world of spinning and full of information even an experienced spinner can appreciate. > Ashley F.

I have to admit it–I don’t own any Noro! So why not start with Noro Shiraito? This luxurious yarn pairs Noro’s gorgeous colors with incredible softness. Since it’s perfect for next to the skin wear, a shawl or cowl would allow me to cuddle up to it while showcasing the shifting color changes. > Emma W.

A customer came to the shop wearing the pattern Courting Sophia which she’d knit in Valley Yarns Huntington. I fell in love with the variety of straightforward lace stitches and figured this was an oppportunity to use Madelinetosh  Tosh Lace in my new favorite color, Curiosity. This project, with its generous amount of stockinette stitch, works up quickly and I couldn’t be happier with my yarn choice. > Stephanie G.

I tend to knit with yarns that are in the fingering to DK range, but this winter when my sister showed me a super bulky circular scarf and asked for a similar one, I was happy to oblige.  I unexpectedly fell in love with the scarf I made her, (partially due to how quickly it grew!) and decided to make one for myself. It gave me a chance to try out Berroco Vintage Chunky, held doubled.  This yarn is so squishy, is easy to work with, and blocks beautifully. > Tina M.

With winter behind us and the warm weather here to stay, I’d love to know what’s on your hooks, needles and looms.  Do you stick to cotton and lace in the summer months or prepare for winter with warm woolies all year round?

The Buzz at WEBS – September 29, 2011

Friday, September 30th, 2011
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This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…

1. Craft Activism is a gorgeous book with fun projects representing the many different ways crafters are working to positively impact their environments, create community or support a cause!  The book is filled with interesting stories and colorful projects – I especially like the choose-your-own-chart colorwork mittens, and the tin can flowers are adorable. I can’t wait to see some of these projects in person at the Craft Activism event next week! > Tina M.

2. Cascade Yarns 220 Fingering – The notoriously reliable 220 line introduces another versatile basic in a fingering weight. Soft and lightly plied at 7.5 stitches per one inch on a US 2.  We are carrying a lovely range of 57 shades!! Visions of colorwork are dancing in my head! > Cara S.

3. Swans Island Fingering yarn is a magical combination of soft, sturdy, and sproing-y that you don’t see too often. I just knit up a sweater in it on size 6 needles, and the yarn not only held its own at the bigger gauge, but made an incredibly light, soft fabric – in fact, my boyfriend and roommate now make fun of me every time I pick it up because I’ve raved about it so much!

4. Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Rose Crochet Hook Set – I fell hard for this set of hooks when I first saw them. They are simply stunning and are embellished with Swarovski crystals! Sparkly crochet hooks that look and feel great – what more can a girl ask for? > Kathy

5. I am buzzing with excitement about the National Spinning and Weaving Week here at WEBS. We will be having a wide variety of activities including daily demonstrations, mini-workshops and more. Tuesday night will be a spinning open house and the store will be open until 9pm, with demonstrations of all our spinning wheels. Wednesday we will welcome weavers and spinners from near and far for a meetup day with raffles, goodies bags and more. > Leslie Ann B.

National Spinning and Weaving Week

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
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October starts with a bang this year as we celebrate National Spinning and Weaving Week here at WEBS October 3–8. We have a fun week of activities and events planned to highlight these wonderful fiber crafts. It’s a great time to see just how enjoyable it is to weave and spin and to enjoy the beautiful creations that are possible.

First up we will have daily demonstrations in the store. These are free and will give people a chance to see weaving and spinning up close and ask questions. The demos are from 11am–1pm each day and will be at the front of the store. Stop by and watch the fun unfold, as experienced crafters spin fleece into yarn and turn yarn into woven fabric.

We will also feature a variety of mini workshops for $5 each. If you’ve wondered about getting into weaving or spinning or are looking for a refresher, these workshops offer a taste of these techniques. Workshops offered include:

  • Rigid Heddle Weaving for Knitters (Monday 2–4pm): Dip your toe into the weaving pool with this brief introduction to weaving on a rigid heddle loom. Knitters will learn how easy it is to use the yarns in their stash to create beautiful scarves, shawls and more. Leslie Ann will show how the loom works and discuss how to select yarns and finish projects.
  • Loom Dressing (Tuesday 2–4 pm): WEBS founder Barbara Elkins will lead this workshop on getting your loom set up to weave. This is a great chance to learn (or re-learn) a simple, reliable way to warp your loom. Barbara will start with a wound warp and cover all the steps from getting it on the loom to being ready to weave.
  • Drafting for Spinners (Thursday 2–4 pm): In this workshop, Ashley will teach the difference between worsted and woolen style yarns and how to draft for each. Learn how the way the twist enters the fiber can determine the behavior of your finished yarn.

On Tuesday night we will have a Spinning Open House in conjunction with the monthly meeting of the local spinning group. The store will be open late until 9 pm and we will showcase our spinning wheels with hands on demonstrations of the various brands we carry. This is a great chance to try out different wheels and see how they work. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet other spinners and connect with local folks who get together each month to spin together (and talk yarny talk!).

Wednesday is our big Spinning & Weaving Meetup Day because we know how much fun it is to hang out with other people who share our passion. We welcome weavers and spinners from near and far to meet each other and enjoy the company of like-minded fiber fiends. We will have goodie bags, raffles, a room to hang out in (with refreshments!) and more. Barbara Elkins will give a demonstration of weaving on a computer loom from 11am–12pm and Gail Callahan, the Kangaroodyer, will demonstrate dyeing roving for spinning from 12–1pm. We encourage people to bring show and tell and look forward to lots of laughter and fun.

It’s a full week, yet it just scratches the surface of what is possible with these crafts. We look forward to meeting friends old and new, to being inspired by each other and to sharing the richness of spinning and weaving. Come join us!

Leslie Ann

The Buzz at WEBS – September 2

Friday, September 2nd, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Classic Elite Fresco has been sadly overlooked in my opinion. A lightweight yarn with a beautiful color range that has a beautiful halo of angora. This yarn is perfect for colorwork (we used this in Nancy Bush’s Estonian Mittens class) as well as simple projects that showcase the yarn. I made the store sample Capistrano cowl by Fiber Dreams in my favorite color (#45)! Hannah Fettig also uses it in her Knitbot Lightweight Pullover pattern, so soft!! > Cara S.

2. I love flipping through the fall issues of knitting magazines, and it’s even more fun when I see a name I know!  Our very own Elisabeth Parker has a design in the Fall 2011 Knitscene!  I really enjoy working with Elisabeth, and this cozy menswear-inspired cardigan is adorable in pink and brown and very much her style. > Tina M.

3. A trip to the beach always involves knitting…be it a day or a week…knitting is right by my side. Hopefully I am not driving so I am able to get in some quality time with my needles. I realized this summer that Eucalan is also a staple in my packing. I not only use it to block items while I am away but I am counted on to have it in case anyone needs something washed quickly and I always rinse out my bathing suit after being in the ocean or the pool. > Lise G.

4. Classic Elite Tobaggan – This new bulky yarn is a soft plied bulky yarn with a lofty stitch. I knit the Elf Hat as a store sample from the new Toboggan booklet (#9147). With a single skein of this new squishy yarn you can make this cute pixie-ish little hat too! Your next bulky project will be perfect and cozy in these brilliant colors.> Cara C.

5. Louet Baby Camel Top – Super soft, warm and longer staple than the camel down, this luxurious fiber is currently on my medium weight Schacht spindle, and I’m loving the smooth draft and I can’t wait to ply and finish the yarn! > Ashley F.

Fall Classes at WEBS

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
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Registration is now open for all of our fall classes. We have our usual great classes to get you started such as Knitting I and II, Crochet I and II, Beginning Weaving, and Spinning with a Drop Spindle.

We also have some new classes never offered before at WEBS.

Design a Pi Shawl with Annie Foley

Design Your Own Knitted Cowl with Kirsten Hipsky

Exploring Tunisian Crochet with Sara Delaney

These classes may fill up fast, so sign up early if you’re really interested.

September is right around the corner, so check out these classes first up in our fall schedule – Stitches II: Terrific Textures, Mix & Match Socks, Crochet IKnitting I and II, Spinning with a Drop Spindle, Helix Knitting, and Bring Out Your Best in Variegated Yarns.

Stay tuned to the blog to hear more details from Tina about guest teachers coming to WEBS this fall such as Margaret Radcliffe, Laura Nelkin, Shannon Okey, Andi Smith, Courtney Kelley & Kate Gagnon Osborn.

Show 146: Interview with Abby Franquemont

Saturday, September 26th, 2009
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Guest: Abby Franquemont of Abby’s Yarns.  October 5th begins National Spinning and Weaving Week, and Abby is a fantastic spinner, with a soon-to-be-released book titled Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool. Abby shares her experience with spinning and how she began.
Abby will also be releasing DVDs later this year on spinning! A great addition to your collection.

Guest: Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts helps us announce that WEBS will be the exclusive retailer of Blue Moon Fiber Arts (including the favorite Socks That Rock) yarn at Stitches East in Hartford! This will be the first time Blue Moon Fiber Arts is at a Stitches East in several years. There will be a new yarn for BMFA called Devine (100% merino!).
There will also be patterns, the Grinchy Sock kit, Funky Sock Monkey Kits, the sportweight Blue Faced Leicester, Silkie Socks That Rock, shawl kits. After Stitches East, if there is yarn left, it will be available in the store. We will also be carrying the yarn ONLY IN THE STORE (not online), so if you’re close to WEBS, you can stop in an purchase it. They will also not be eligible for the discount, or count toward your discountable total.

Don’t forget to visit us at Stitches East in Hartford October 23-25 booths 301-309 & 400-408.

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Show 86: Interview with Barbara Parry

Saturday, June 28th, 2008
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New Yarns

New Shipments of Valley Yarns in!

Valley Yarns catalog should be hitting your mailbox now!


Barbara Parry of Foxfire Fibers and Springdelle Farm in Shelburne Falls, MA

Barbara shares with us the process of sheep to yarn and the advantages to spinning your own yarn.

Barbara feels that every spinner should learn on a drop spindle. She feels you really get the drafting technique down when doing it this way. You don’t have to worry about treadling, so you can really concentrate.
Knitalong with Pixie

You don’t have to use standard colors for your chart – Pixie’s will be pink!

CO 55 stitches, purl one row and begin following chart.

Row 1: (RS) Read chart from right to left. With first butterfly knit 27 stitches in Color A.Add second color (B). Place new strand of yarn under the old strand and hold a 6” tail to the left along the left needle. Knit next stitch with working end of yarn as close to the needle tips as you can manage, so you won’t stretch stitches. DON’T LET GO OF TAIL. This will interlock old and new yarn. Put tail of new yarn up and over left needle. Don’t pull it through with the stitch. Keep the tail on the left needle. It’s anchored by knitting one stitch with the tail up and one with it down.

You have completed the 4 stitches in color B. Cut yarn, but not too short. Add new butterfly of color A using same technique. Work tail up, tail down technique for about 1.5”
Row 2: (WS) Read chart from left to right. Using the color A butterfly you just ended with, purl 23 stitches. Drop color A and bring color B up under color A to interlock. Purl 6 stitches with color B. Drop color B over color A and purl remaining stitches.
Row 3: (RS). Repeat row 1, but knit 25 in color A, 8 in color B and 22 in color A.
Next time – notes, tips and Row 4.

Part 1 – What is Intarsia?
Chart – Palm Tree
Part 2
Parts 3, 4, 5
Parts 6, 7

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