Posts Tagged ‘Staff Spotlight’

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Linda

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
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LindaLinda is the Customer Service Manager at WEBS and goes well beyond the fiber arts with her creativity. Seemingly endless hobbies just weren’t enough to satisfy this self proclaimed “do-it-yourselfer”, so Linda now runs the Pioneer Valley Vineyard with her family. “Making wine really falls along the lines of crafting to me. It’s just so much fun to create things from scratch and I love being outside in the vineyard.” Linda definitely keeps herself busy. There is work to be done in the vineyard all year round!

How long have you been knitting? 
I learned to knit at age 8, but I learned to weave when I began working at WEBS. In between, I played with crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, needlepunch, quilting, sewing, and wood working

How did you learn?
My grandmother taught me the basics of knitting and I just took it from there. I took some classes but don’t have a lot of “formal” training. Mostly I prefer to just figure it out for myself. The same with crochet. Weaving on the other hand, I knew was not something I could learn well from reading a book.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I really like wool cotton blends, like Spud and Chloe Sweater or Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. I like the softness of the cotton on my skin and the wool gives the yarn memory and warmth.

Linda's Afghan 2

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I recently completed an afghan in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that took a lot of time and I am glad I stuck with it. My plan is to make a special afghan for each of my grandchildren and to give it to them when they are older.

What is your favorite fiber art?
If I could only pick one it would have to be knitting. I can’t imagine not knitting.

Would you consider yourself artistic?
I wouldn’t say that I am artistic, it’s more crafty, or a do-it-yourself-er. I once built a large 2-sided gazebo type swing from scraps of wood. I enjoy making candy, tempering chocolate and dipping different flavored fillings in pretty molds and giving them as gifts.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
I’ve made some crocheted critters for my grandchildren and am working on a few small gifts for Christmas.

Pioneer Valley Vineyards

How do you like to spend your free time?
Most of our time is spent in our winery and 3 acre vineyard; Pioneer Valley Vineyard. We offer free wine tastings at the winery on weekends in the fall and spend the spring and summer caring for the grapes so they will give us the best wine possible. It’s an incredible amount of work and equally rewarding. It still gives me goose bumps when we harvest in the fall and press the grapes and taste the sweet juice that pours out of the press.

Big E's Medals

Linda started working at WEBS 14 years ago. “I answered an ad in the paper for ‘one of the Valley’s best knitters’. It was an ad I could not resist! I started part time and I never could have imagined it would lead to what I am doing now.” Linda has helped WEBS grow into the company we are today. What started as a part-time job to help combat a little empty nest syndrome as evolved into a 14 year career. We don’t know what we would do without her!

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Debby

Thursday, October 24th, 2013
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Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos knit in Valley Yarns LongmeadowDebby is part of our amazing store staff team, and happens to be an incredibly talented knitter and weaver. She continues to impress us all by her projects despite a very busy life outside of WEBS. Debby’s family owns Cook Family Farm, where she lives and works every day of the week. Their restaurant, Flayvors of Cook Farm is a local favorite, especially for the ice cream!  With 5 children, 2 dogs, many chickens, 13 turkeys and about 200 cows to tend to, it’s amazing she finds the time to knit and weave.

How long have you been knitting and weaving?
I’ve been knitting for almost 9 years and I’ve been weaving for just over 2 years.

How did you learn to knit?
I’m a self taught knitter. After I learned how to knit, I realized how much I didn’t know! So then I took classes here at WEBS. I was inspired to knit by my Mom, but it was my grandmother in law, Mimi, who pushed me to learn. I had told Mimi that “someday I’ll learn to knit and make sweaters”. And she said, “Don’t wait for someday because you don’t know what the future holds.You may loose your sight or maybe have severe arthritis, whatever it may be. If you want to learn or do something, do it now!” She was a very wise woman.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I love Malabrigo yarns!  They are such a joy to knit with that it never feels like “work”. I have grown very fond hand dyed yarns, especially monochromatic styles.

Dishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.Dishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
Some of my favorite projects that I’ve finished are hand woven dishtowels. They get used every day and somehow in their functionality,  any “flaws” seem lost. I just love having them around.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right I’m working on the Feather weight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I’m also weaving a small rug for our bathroom…and hoping that I am able to get 2 or 3 rugs from this warp so that I may also get a Christmas present or 2 done.

What is your favorite fiber art?
I like weaving, but honestly don’t seem to make the time to  get a project started. So knitting is my favorite fiber art…it’s just so  portable!! Quick to find a project, which then becomes a birthday gift,  baby shower present or Christmas gift.

The Amanda Hat by Gina House in Classy with CashmereDishtowels woven with Valley 5/2 Cotton.

How else do you like to express yourself artistically?
Well, I don’t know how artistic I am, but I really enjoy photography. I got the chance of a lifetime this year to venture down to Argentina, the Falkland Islands and then onto Antarctica. It was so amazing and the pictures I came home with made me fall in love with photography. I’ve started making cards with some of my favorite pictures from our family farm. Now if I just had some more time…

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
My best marathon time is just 13  minutes shy of qualifying for Boston!

Knitting Pure and Simple 9724 in Plymouth Encore

How do you like to spend your free time?
I work full time at our family farm store. I work at WEBS 1 day a week. We have 5 children, 2 dogs, many chickens, 13 turkeys and about 200 cows. I have no free time. However, I love spending time with my family, especially outdoors. So we go for bike rides, hikes and day trips.

Debby has been working at WEBS for about 5 years now, and says she hopes to be here forever! “My husband encouraged me to apply  in order to support my yarn addiction and to be able to spend more time with  fiber crazy people.  And I’m so grateful that he did.”

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Lindsey

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
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Lindsey portraitYou’re probably most familiar with Lindsey’s work out of anyone here at WEBS, you just don’t know it! Lindsey is the Multimedia Coordinator for us, and every image and video you see has been shot, edited, and perfected by her. It seems like Lindsey is constantly moving. If she’s not photographing yarn in her office or editing video, she’s out and about with her camera in hand to document the WEBS experience. She’s constantly looking for new locations and stories to share with our customers. Lindsey has an incredible drive that makes her work well rounded and certainly impressive to say the least. Outside of WEBS, her interests include hiking, running, and documenting some of the amazing stories “regular” people have to tell. She wasn’t always so outgoing, and has found photography the perfect tool to help her come out of her shell.

How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit? I learned to knit soon after I started working at WEBS two years ago.  I was editing so many learn to knit videos that I started to build enough confidence to try it myself.  My coworkers were an incredible help, of course.  I likely would not have picked up this craft without their enthusiasm and support.  I started with a striped hat knit out of Valley Yarns Northampton.

What is your favorite yarn to work with? Can I say Madelinetosh, or does everyone say that?  My winter hat, THE winter hat (Rikke Hat) that I wear for half of the year here in New England is knit out of Madelinetosh Merino DK.  So I guess my favorite yarn to work with is Madelinetosh.  The colors are beautiful and it feels really good in my hands.  My husband also has a favorite hat that happens to be knit out of Madelinetosh Merino light held double.

Ken's hatTosh Merino Light

What’s your favorite fiber project? Last year I knit the Valley Yarns 487 Dappled Shawlette for my mother’s birthday.  It was the first triangle shawl I knit and it involved yarn overs and knit two togethers and knit front and backs maybe?  It was all new to me and was definitely a challenge and a test to my patience.  It came out nice, despite all of the dropped stitches that my coworkers helped me sew down.

What fiber project are you working on right now? Right now I’m trying to knit up all of the random skeins of yarn I’ve acquired in giveaways and yarn swaps as an employee of WEBS.  That means, some squares for a baby afghan out of Valley Superwash DK (bottom left) and a cowl out of Noro Kirara and Classic Elite Silk (bottom right).

SwatchesCowl in progress

Tell us about your photography and video! How did you get interested in this art? What do you most enjoy about it? Do you prefer one over the other? I studied film at the University of California in Santa Cruz and worked as a script coordinator on a documentary about Sputnik after I graduated.  I had always been interested in Documentary film making and photography, so when I was accepted into the Masters program for Photojournalism at Boston University, I came back to the East Coast to study.  After a year as a photographer at a local newspaper, I saw a job opening at a large yarn store in Northampton for a Multimedia Coordinator.  I had no idea what WEBS was or what exactly they were looking for but I thought I’d apply and see what happened.  I was qualified for the job and it seemed like a new position that I could shape to my skills, so when they offered me the job, I couldn’t say no.  When I’m not doing photography or video for WEBS, I shoot a lot of sports, mostly trail running.  This year I covered the very first 100 mile ultramarathon in the state of Massachusetts and a slew of other 50 milers scattered about the New England area.

Ultra Runner

I love how photography and video can be a gateway to meeting new people.  I was a really shy kid growing up and it took some time and travelling for me to come out of my shell.  Since I started doing photography and video I’ve had to take even bigger steps out of my comfort zone and connect with total strangers.  It’s a terrifying thing, but can be very rewarding when you make a solid connection with someone.  Photography and video have led to many special experiences from sitting down with Holocaust Survivors  to this project about erosion on Plum Island and my work with the ultrarunning community .  I don’t really have a preference of photo or video, both are really powerful mediums for expression and storytelling in their own way.

Santa Teresa Stretch

A surfer stretches on a tree washed ashore on Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed? This year has been full of exciting races for me.  Every weekend I’m driving somewhere in New England to photograph a trail race and when I have time, run some myself.  I paced at the Vermont 100 Endurance Run in July and was fortunate to  bring in the last finisher of the race.  He was 64 years old and ran 100 miles through the state of Vermont in 29 hours and 50 minutes.  It took us 8 hours to go the last 26 miles, but he made it just in time!  Last Sunday, I decided to take to the trails without my camera and run my first 50k in New Hampshire.  It was a great run and I can’t wait to do more like it.

Lindsey Ginger Running

Lindsey running through the woods with her dog Ginger.

How do you like to spend your free time? I love to travel.  I run and hike a lot with my husband and dog Ginger.  We spend a lot of time in the green mountains of Vermont, but have had very memorable hikes in Yosemite, Big Sur, Hawaii, Iceland, Utah, and Costa Rica.

Collage

If you could cover any photojournalism story, what would it be? I would love it if I was strong enough and had the endurance to work some of the ultramarathons out West.  The Western States Endurance Run  in California and the Hardrock 100 in Colorado are legendary races that I would love to photograph.

What’s your favorite video series you’ve shot for WEBS? I love shooting the Valley Yarns video series.  It’s fun to shoot on location in Western, Massachusetts with WEBS staff who are excited about our yarn line.  These videos have really evolved into a collection that I’m excited about.  The videos for Valley Yarns Southwick and Valley Yarns Stockbridge were especially fun.

Lindsey has managed to find a parallel between her knitting and running. “It’s that ‘one more mile, one more row’ mentality, There’s an endurance to knitting that’s really overlooked.”

Lindsey lives in the Pioneer Valley with her husband, Ken and their Redbone Coonhound, Ginger.  You can view more of her work at www.lindseytopham.com.

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Amy

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
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This is our Mother/Daughters Knit-a-Long. Hannah Fettig’s Medium Weight Pullover, knit in Madelinetosh Vintage.

Amy has been with us at WEBS for almost two years now, and she quickly dazzled us all with her incredible creativity and enthusiasm. Amy has completely embraced the handmade lifestyle, and does everything she can to always give handmade gifts. The desire to create her own gifts is what got Amy knitting in the first place. She and her husband started with making candles for everyone they knew, then Amy branched out into making dolls. Handmade holidays are a tradition in her family, even her children exchange handmade gifts. “I love giving people handmade gifts. Giving someone something you sat down to make just for them is a feeling you can’t replicate. They actually sat down, and looped a million loops of yarn just for you!” 

How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit?
I’ve been knitting for about 13 years.  Years before I learned to knit, I was friends with a woman from Germany who was knitting, what I now know is, the Dale of Norway Ladybug sweater and hat.  I thought I might like to learn someday and knit that sweater.  Several years later, we had just moved to Northampton, MA and my oldest daughter was learning to knit in school.  I didn’t have many local friends and needed a distraction, so I picked up Melanie Falick’s Kids Knitting book and taught myself.  I still recommend that book to anyone wanting to learn to knit.

1: Arm Warmers from Handmade Holidays. Knit out of Valley Yarns Huntington
2:  This is the first version of “Rooshed”  the one that didn’t quite work out!  The bowl is crocheted in linen and finished with yarn leftover from other projects.  I have a ton of these and use them for knitting baskets around the house.

3. These are glycerin soaps that I make every holiday.  They are both scented with peppermint essential oils.  I make different soaps for every season.  I’m about to make the pumpkin soaps and fall leaf soaps!  I can’t wait.
4. Stacking felted bowls for my Handmade Holidays Class at WEBS this fall.  They are made with Berkshire Bulky with needle felted dots out of Berkshire Bulky as well.
5. Bramble Cowl in Madelinetosh Vintage.
6. This is a shadow box that I made a while back.  Gladys is made of pleather with a beaded udder.  The grass and fence are felt.

What other fiber arts do you do?
I will try just about anything.  I currently still sew, needle-felt, crochet (a little)  and recently started weaving.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
It’s impossible for me to choose!  I have the great fortune of being surrounded by all kinds of amazing yarns at work.  If forced, I would say Madelinetosh, Spud and Chloe, Rowan, Berkshire Bulky, and… See what I mean?

What’s your favorite fiber project?
One of my favorite fiber projects is the “Yarn Lamp”.  We have two at the store and I have two at home.  The lamps might quickly be supplanted by the headboard that my dad is designing for me to yarn bomb, however.  I can’t wait to get started.  I’m planning on using all my leftover little balls of yarn that seem to multiply around my studio. My new motto, “Yarn. It’s not just for sweaters.”

1.  Birch trees are my favorite.  Each leaf painted, hand cut and tied to the nail with string.  The leaves actually blow if there is a breeze.
2. This is a little piece I created for a banner for my blog.  That’s Ms. Ellaneous knitting the spring. Made with fabric, acrylic paint, fabric and yarn.
3. Another multi-media creation on wood.  I have tons of these little blocks.  You can rearrange them and stack them.  These were made for a friend’s bird themed nursery.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right now I’m finishing up the samples for a Handmade Holidays class I’m teaching this fall, along with putting the finishing touches on some new patterns for shawls and cowls.  I’m obsessed with cowls.  There’s a long list lined up after that, including a cowl challenge at work, the aforementioned ‘yarn bombed’ headboard and a sheep footstool with a needle felted fleece.

How else do you like to express yourself?
In addition to the fiber arts, I also paint in acrylics, make shadow boxes, fool around with carving stamps and printing.  I also have a habit of making seasonal glycerin soaps for gifts and the guest bathroom.  Recently, I bought a better camera to take pictures of my finished projects.  I’m still trying to figure out the camera but I am enjoying taking pictures.

1. These are carved out of a big eraser then used with a stamp pad.  The cards were for a friend’s baby shower.  We all wrote wishes for the baby on the cards and then hung them on a ribbon.  They are still in the baby’s room.
2. This is a slouchy hat that I designed out of Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy socks.  There’s a slightly slouchy version and a super slouchy version
3.  These are the Lost Tooth Monsters out of Berkshire Bulky.  They provide a convenient “pocket” to put the tooth in and the reward!
4. This is my newest design “Rooched”.  It’s knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Treacle Toffee.
5. My dad and I made this lamp, and three others with balls of Rowan Fine Tweed.  The lampshade is also knit out of Rowan Fine Tweed.  The full Lamp Story is here on my blog.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
Some of my favorite non-fiber projects are the “art blocks” that I paint, and the larger paintings for over the fireplace.  I am very “seasonally motivated” in terms of what I make when, and how the seasons are reflected around the house. Every season I change the art and most of the other decorations, soaps included.  It’s a little crazy, but sometimes that’s the only way I know what time of year it is!


Rooshed worn as a shawl. Knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Treacle Toffee.

How do you like to spend your free time?
We still have three children at home so most of my “free” time is spent trying to maintain some sort of healthy balance between work, kid’s activities, creative endeavors, family time, and rest, with some fun too.  I haven’t figured it out yet but I’m still trying!

If you weren’t working at WEBS, what would you like to be doing? What is your dream job?
My dream job keeps changing the more I learn.  I love “styling” photos and videos of knitwear.  I like thinking about setting, color, outfits that complement the piece you are photographing and even adding in a little humor.  Luckily, I get to do that with my own designs.  I would love to do it on a bigger scale though.

This is our doppelganger family of Love Monsters. As I was designing the pattern I tried a bunch of different yarns and shapes. It turned out to be our family!

If Amy could, she would do it all. She loves styling her home and would even weave her own drapes if she had the time! She began designing out of necessity. Her daughter needed a Valentine’s Day gift, so the Love Monsters were born! She really enjoys creating a special environment with her handmade projects; changing the decorations in the house with the seasons lets her home match the mood outside. “I don’t buy ‘high art’, I just make it myself!” 

Originally from Kentucky, Amy now lives in the Pioneer Valley with her husband, four children, and two dogs. 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Greta

Friday, July 26th, 2013
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Groove by Stephen West knit in Fiber Company Acadia

For Greta, knitting isn’t just a hobby she loves, it’s a tool she has used to focus and concentrate; as well as relax and express her creativity. Greta’s Aunt Mary Ann gave her a learn to knit kit one year. She had tried so many different crafts at the guidance of her artistic Aunt, but knitting really seemed to click. She’s been knitting for ten years now, and has created countless gifts while allowing herself to keep a few treasures for herself! Knitting even helped Greta get through college. While studying at Smith, she found knitting helped her ADD; “Giving my hands something to do allows my brain to focus. I was able to pay attention in class much better while knitting.”

Do you do any other fiber arts?
I’ve dabbled in spinning and rigid heddle weaving, but I recently took Sara Delaney’s crochet class this spring here at WEBS and now I’m hooked (literally)!

How did you learn to knit?
I initially taught myself the rudimentary skills using a Boye kit my Aunt, Mary Ann, gave me for Christmas. Then I picked up Debbie Stoller’s Stitch and Bitch and that was the beginning of my knitting addiction. When I was in college at Smith my knitting friends all used to joke that knitting was the perfect hobby for a Smithie, saying “you can be productive even when you’re relaxing!”

The Berry Bramble Blanket knit in Valley Yarns Northampton

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
It’s really tough to choose a favorite, especially with all of the choices we have available to us in the store, but I’d have to say my favorite yarn is Acadia from The Fibre Company. I really like all Fibre Company yarns; I’ve worked with Terra, Organik, Road To China Light, Canopy, Canopy Worsted, and Tundra. But I really like the light weight, fiber content, and ply structure of Acadia. Don’t even get me started on their colors, either, because I could go on for days.

Tundra Sailor Hat knit in Fibre Company Tundra

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I think my favorite fiber project is my Daybreak Shawl. I made it out of Blue Moon Socks That Rock Medium in some truly beautiful colors picked by my friend Debbi. It’s my favorite handknit to wear and to this day it’s the project I get the most compliments on.

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Only about a million things! My main focus right now is a crocheted afghan for my cousin’s wedding in August. However, I’m really more of a process knitter (read: ADD knitter) so I tend to start a great many things but finishing them can be a real hurdle for me.

How else do you express yourself artistically?
I’ve never felt I had much in the way of artistic talent, so knitting (and crochet) really fills that void for me. When I was young my mom had my brother, sister and I take art lessons from a woman a few blocks away. We used to do all kind of projects in a wide range of mediums, but I never felt I had a knack for any particular medium until knitting came along. But she did teach me that there are no rules when it comes to artistic creation, and no idea too small.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
When I’m not knitting and I want to make something I make these pretty origami paper stars. I did origami in high school and stopped for a few years, but recently picked it back up. It’s easy and quick and the results are beautiful. It takes about a minute to make each star.

How do you like to spend your free time?
It’s no secret to just about anyone who knows me that my main passion (other than knitting) is Roller Derby! I skate for the Pair O’ Dice City Rollers in Springfield, MA where I practice 3 days a week. Roller Derby is a great sport because it’s a ton of fun (we’re an awesome group of ladies) but also takes a lot of athletic skill. Plus, since Roller Derby grew out of a very DIY culture, you wouldn’t believe how many knitters/crafters there are on the team!

Greta has been working at WEBS for three years now, and has a wonderfully adventurous attitude about life. “I’m going to try all the things and if i don’t like something, I just won’t do it.” She’s taken juggling classes and has recently taken up kung fu. Greta really enjoys team sports, and loves the challenging, fast paced and aggressive environment. Roller derby has taught her great skills on how to work with people and win. Winning definitely isn’t everything to Greta though, “If we don’t win the game, at least we win the after party!”

Greta lives in the Pioneer Valley with her boyfriend Justin, while missing her nephew dog back home, Pretzel.

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Meghan

Monday, June 24th, 2013
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Meghan is an artist, musician, amateur chef and yes, even a knitter! She has been a shipper with WEBS since October, 2010. “I love the people I get to work with here, and the hours are so flexible. Working at WEBS allows me to peruse almost any artistic endeavor I can think of!”

She is the epitome of creativity and expresses herself through screenprinting, graphic design, painting, photography and music on a daily basis. When asked what her dream job was, Meghan says, “I’d love to be able to sustain myself through art and music someday, maybe even making movie soundtracks! And having my own Vegan restaurant would definitely be a dream!” Meghan’s favorite dishes to create are steamed vegetables (fresh from the farm stand) and rice with a sauce, blueberry muffins, brownies and vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. She even collects vegan cookbooks!

She started knitting about eight years ago, and likes to stick with mostly scarves for her projects. Like a lot of knitters, Meghan gives away almost everything she makes, but was still able to share some of her current projects with us.

How did you learn to knit? Did someone in particular teach you, did you take a class or are you self taught?
When I was growing up my mother used to knit, and I used to watch her sometimes but it didn’t really sink in until recently. My friend Melissa was over my house eight years ago and had a knitting project with her and she taught me how to cast on and do both knitting and purling.

Left: Meghan’s scarves in progress
Right: Meghan working in WEBS shipping. 

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I am actually allergic to wool, so I tend to use mostly cotton fibers. I think some of the Blue Sky Organic Cotton is really nice and I am also really interested in recycled fibers and started a ribbed scarf with a skein of Berroco Remix that I really like.

Ampere album art created entirely by hand. Paintings were layered over each other to create this stunning effect.

Do you have a favorite fiber project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I have made a few scarves for friends and for myself. The ones I have been most proud of were a basic rib design that I did for most of them. Being at a beginner skill level, I always really liked doing a rib design on a scarf because it was easy to accomplish and it also looks great!

 What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on a scarf that incorporates a lace stitch, which I learned recently from my co-worker Andrea at WEBS. The pattern is just something I came up with myself and it incorporates knitting, purling, ribbing and the lace stitch. I used a skein of Debbie Bliss Eco Aran and I really like how it is coming out so far. I am very interested in lace and would like to do more with that in the future.


Above: Meghan screenprinting pink text for an event poster.

How else do you express yourself artistically? 
I got my first camera when I was ten years old and I was living outside of Frankfurt, Germany. I continued to take pictures through middle school, high school, college and beyond. After graduating from high school I attended Maine College of Art in Portland, ME and started focusing on drawing, printmaking, painting, photography and art history. Currently, I mostly focus on screenprinting. I have also been playing music for a long time and I have played bass and synth in several different local bands for the past eleven years.


Left: Mounment near Snaefellsnes Glacier, Iceland
Right: Around the Vatnajokull glacier, Iceland 

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
I screenprint a lot of show posters, especially for shows that I book locally at places like the Flywheel in Easthampton, MA. Recently, I was selected to be a part of a poster tour that a friend of mine organized called the National Poster Retrospecticus. The traveling art tour went to seven different cities for one night only and showcased 75 +  talented screenprinters from all over the country. I submitted five posters for this show and I was really excited about how all of them turned out. They are some of my favorite screenprints that I have made so far.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I play a lot of music, book local all ages shows, and screenprint with a lot of my spare time. I’m vegan and really enjoy cooking and baking at home. I have been a volunteer at Flywheel in Easthampton for the past ten years and am very active in the local music community. I also enjoy hiking, canoeing, traveling and going to art museums.

Meghan creates art, music and amazing vegan food in her free time while living in the Pioneer Valley with her boyfriend, Will. Check out http://meghanminior.com/ to see more of her amazing work.

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Jamie

Monday, May 20th, 2013
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Jamie lasted about a month of working at WEBS before diving in to knitting. Learning has been a combination of taking classes here, asking questions of patient co-workers and getting help from books and online videos. It’s never easy to learn a new skill, but Jamie jumped right in with the perfect attitude. “I have no problem trying something new and failing. I’m always trying to learn new things. I’m a lifelong learner. You just have to recognize that you can try something and not be good at it, and that’s okay.”
(Above) Bandana Cowl knit in Tosh Chunky in Amber Trinket.

How long have you been knitting? Do you do any other fiber arts?
I started learning to knit this past September (2012) by taking Knitting I and Knitting II here at WEBS. I’ve also had a lot of help from my wonderful and talented office-mates! I haven’t picked up any other fiber arts yet, but I’m hoping to take Crochet I in the near future.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I haven’t worked with that many yarns yet, but I have a not-so-secret fondness for Madelinetosh yarns. I really love the subtle variations in some of their greyed-out colorways like Opaline.


(Left) Eternity Scarf, by Michele Wang (published by Brooklyn Tweed). Knit in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran in Pebble.
(Right) Romney Kerchief, by Jared Flood (published by Brooklyn Tweed). Knit in Tosh DK in Antique Lace.

What is your favorite fiber project?
So far it’s really been that my favorite project is whichever one (or three) I’m working on at that moment. I try to pick a project that’s exciting to me, whether because of the color and fiber of the yarn, or new techniques I have to learn or how great the finished object looks. I’m really happy with a Romney Kerchief, designed by Jared Flood, that I made with Tosh DK (above right). I had to learn a Provisional Cast On, Kitchener Stitch and Elizabeth Zimmermann Sewn Bind-Off to complete it, and I love how simple but elegant the design is.

(Left) Greta’s Neon Cowl pattern knit in Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Locura Fluo.
(Right) Irving Hat, by Melissa LaBarre knit in Tosh Vintage in Nassau Blue

What fiber project are you working on right now?
Currently I’m working on a super-bright cowl using Manos del Uruguay Alegria sock yarn. WEBS’ own Greta Shaver designed a nifty little cowl pattern using a neon colorway of Alegria (above left). I think it’s a loud, silly and awesome accessory, and I’m making it for a loud, silly and awesome friend! I’m also working on an Irving Hat, designed by Melissa Labarre (above right). I love her hat patterns, and so far it’s been really helpful for me to get experience doing a more complicated lace motif with an easier-to-handle worsted weight yarn.


One of the first beds Jamie made himself.

How else do you express yourself artistically? 
I majored in Visual Art at a relatively small college, so while I mainly focused on photography, I studied a bit of everything, including painting, drawing and sculpture. Before coming to work at WEBS, I worked for a small hardwood furniture manufacturer. As a result, over the past three years I’ve spent less time making images and a lot of my free time learning woodworking (and now knitting). Making images continues to be important to me though, and I always keep a sketchbook where I’m working on or planning prints, paintings and photographs.

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
My wife, Elena, is a printmaker and painter, and this past September we worked together to make a large (6’ x 3’) woodblock print for BIG INK, a large-scale woodblock printing public art event put on for Northampton’s Arts Night Out. The print shows a scene from family friends’ blueberry farm in Maine. (above)

How do you like to spend your free time?
What’s free time? When not working on arts/crafts projects, I really enjoy spending time outside with Elena and our dog, Ginger. We like to go for day hikes up Mt. Skinner, Mt. Toby and Mt. Tom. I find exercise to be a great way to unwind and oscillate between running and playing ultimate Frisbee. Right now I’m training to do some triathlons this summer! While I do love to exercise, the secret reason I do it is so that I can bake and eat as many scones and muffins as possible.

When I asked Jamie what his dream job was, he had a hard time coming up with an answer. “I really like working here so don’t really spend any time thinking about it.”

“My absolute dream job would be working in Nick Offerman’s woodshop. He plays Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation and seems like a really cool dude. He has a woodworking studio in L.A that makes really beautiful stuff. I’m not actually experienced or talented enough at woodworking, but that’s why it’s a dream job, right?”

Jamie has been the E-mail Marketing Coordinator for WEBS since July 2012. He currently lives in the Pioneer Valley with his wife Elena, and their dog, Ginger.

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Deb

Monday, April 15th, 2013
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Deb is an incredibly well rounded artist, and expresses herself through crocheting and knitting, as well as drawing, painting, jewelry making, singing and even creating her own puppet. My absolute favorite creation of Deb’s is her currently un-named owl puppet, with eyes that bring his personality to life the instant you see him. If Deb weren’t working with us at WEBS, she’d be banging down the door at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for a job. (Her favorite Muppet is Pepe!)

You can read more about how Deb’s owl came to life in her interview below.

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
I love anything with alpaca, merino, and yes, even Nylon. Berroco Vintage is a favorite, along with Madelinetosh and Dream in Color yarns.

What fiber crafts do you do? Do you have a favorite?

Crochet is my go-to, but I also knit and spin on a drop spindle occasionally. I’ve also wet-felted beads. I get inspired by the raw materials, the fiber or the yarn.  Usually it tells me what it wants to be.  For example, if a yarn colorway reminds me of a semi-precious stone color, I try to utilize it in jewelry.  Mesh-tube constructed yarn is really fun to experiment with!

How long have you been knitting and crocheting? 
My mom had been trying to teach me to crochet for years. (My father’s mother had taught her how to crochet when my father was stationed with the Army in Vietnam, to use up nervous energy.)  About 8 years ago while watching my favorite holiday movie “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” with my mom,  I noted that one of the Muppets was wearing a granny square scarf, and that I wanted one.  The next thing I know I have a bag of yarn in my lap and a hook in my hand.  Within a few days, I finished my first project!

Left: Deb and her Owl puppet smile for the camera. He’s made from Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks.
Right: Deb’s paintings of Bill Murray, Steve Buschemi, Christopher Walken, and Steve Martin in progress. Painted on small wooden tiles. 

What fiber project are you working on right now?
I am racing to finish a yarn bombing project!  Basically, “yarn-bombing” is fiber-art graffiti. My project is part of an art festival in Holyoke, MA, and will be installed on a bench outside of the public library on the second floor of their city hall.  I am crocheting morning glories to cover this bench that sits in front of beautiful stained glass windows.

Do you have a favorite fiber project? 
I’m proud of the Nevermore Window Panel that appears in the Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders book.  It was my first published pattern, and though it took a while, it was really fun to chart out and watch it come to life with the Malabrigo Sock yarn.

Nevermore Window Panel from Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders

How else do you express yourself artistically?
Everything I do is an artistic expression!  I majored in visual art in college, I have been drawing and painting all my life.  I make jewelry, crocheted with wire.  I’ve done some scrapbooking, paper-making, and sewing.  I love mixing mediums!  My paintings will sometimes include fiber or collage, my crocheted items will have beads…

Oh!  And I’ve started to build puppets.  Basically, my dream job for years has been to work for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.  My current project is an owl.  There is paper mache, Prism Plume yarn, paint, and Shrinky Dinks involved in its construction!

Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you have completed?
Well, I guess my favorite one(s?) of the past few months is my series of tiny portraits on wood tile beads.  Bill Murray, Christopher Walken.  It takes a few sessions for each one to get to the point where I’m satisfied with it.  I still have a few in progress.

Left: Rings made by Deb
Right: Deb’s design; Around-the-Post Hat from Crochet One Skein Wonders


Deb has been working with us at WEBS for about five years now, and loves to talk about color with our customers. Her talents don’t stop at the arts. She’s recently taken on the challenge of training for roller derby. She says, “I’ve never been athletic, and it’s different from anything I’ve ever done. It’s a challenge in a whole new way.” She’s managed to find some parallels between derby and her comfort zone of the arts. Learning how to crochet is all about building muscle memory, learning to skate is the same idea. Keep building muscle memory. She boils it down really well, it’s all about practice. “When I can’t hit a note in a song, it’s just more practice. When you try anything new, all it takes is just more practice.”

 

Deb’s Yarn Bombing in Holyoke, MA

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Kristin

Monday, March 18th, 2013
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Kristin is one of our fantastic Customer Service Represenatives. She’s been with us for 5 years this summer! When she’s not knitting, Kristin likes to read and has even dabbled in bookbinding. She just can’t resist making things and has done all sorts of crafts. With two little ones at home, her time is limited so her scope of hobbies isn’t quite as wide as it used to be. But Kristin does whatever she has to do to get in some fiber time whenever possible!

Tangled Yoke Cardigan knit in Rowan Felted Tweed

What is your favorite yarn to work with?
Ohh gosh this is a hard one. I love wool, and especially woolly wools. The Cascade 220 Fingering is a current favorite of mine. I aspire to all kinds of colorwork projects when I see it. Another yarn I’ve been loving lately is Malabrigo Twist with its soft and squishyness. Then I have to mention Rowan Felted Tweed as a really great yarn that holds up well over time. I just love yarn really.

Do you have a favorite project you completed or one you’re most proud of?
I think my Tangled Yoke Cardigan (above) has really stood the test of time. It was a lot of fun to knit, and it was actually my first big garment. I’m really proud of those horizontal cables. The Rowan Felted Tweed I used still looks great today several years later. No pilling at all.

How long have you been involved in your fiber crafts? Are you self taught or did you have someone special show you?
I learned to crochet from my Mom when I was in elementary school. I’m a lefty and she’s not, so it was a bit of a challenge but she managed to get the point across. I did a bit of crochet here and there, but my love of fiber crafts didn’t really start until about 2005. I’m not sure what happened, but I decided out of the blue that I needed to learn to knit. I got a book from my local library, bought some cheap wool, and borrowed some needles from a friend. I started a scarf that was about 16 inches wide…yep I frogged that one. After that, someone introduced me to spinning and I started collecting spindles. I started working at Webs and took the Intro to Rigid Heddle course and couldn’t resist getting a loom for myself.

The Wilder Cowl knit in Malabrigo Yarns Rios

You design such beautiful pieces! What draws you to design?
I like figuring things out. Designing for me is kind of like solving a puzzle. I really do like knitting other peoples’ patterns and you can learn a lot that way, but sometimes I need a mental challenge. The designs that get me the most excited and creative are the ones where I’m working within a narrow set of parameters. The Wilder cowl (above) came about because I wanted a cowl that would look great in one of Malabrigo’s highly variegated yarns. Stitch patterns can get lost with hand dyed yarns like that, so I wanted to find a way around it.

With my most recent pattern, the Tree Bark Mitts (below right), I was playing around with moving stitches in different directions in the knitting, and thought it would be interesting to have the knit/purl stitch pattern move in the opposite direction. This had the added benefit of creating a stitch pattern that draws in a little and keeps my hands warm. I’m learning a lot about pattern writing and the design process and it has been a lot of fun!

What are you working on right now?
I’ll stick to the highlights, because I’m not really a monogamous knitter. I’m designing a fun little hat right now with Dream in Color Smooshy Sock which has been lots of fun. It has knitted pleats and slipped stitch patterning. I try to keep some non-design projects on the go too. I’ve always got a pair of socks going because they’re just so easy. I’m working on a simple lace shawl with Queensland Rustic Tweed which has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to wrap it around my shoulders on a cold day.

(Left) Basic Rigid Heddle Scarf with Knotted Fringe. Hand dyed Colrain Lace by Kristin.
(Right) Tree Bark Mitts knit in Northampton Sport

In Kristin’s own words, “I love to make things. I’ve always looked around for something I can make. I knit, crochet, spindle spin, dye my own yarn, sew, weave… anything I get in my mind I want to do. Whether it’s making food, designing a webpage or crafting, I just enjoy creating things. It may sound cliched, but there really is something meditative about it.”

 

WEBS Staff Spotlight – Andrea

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
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Andrea works in the WEBS shipping department and absolutely loves knitting with Madelinetosh yarns. Today, we’re highlighting Andrea and her talent for turning these hand dyed yarns into stunning projects.

Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang knit in Tosh Sport in Bloomsbury

What’s your favorite Madelinetosh base to work with?
I’d have to say it’s a tie between Merino Light and Vintage. First of all, I love the way both take the dye.  The Merino Light knits up into a drapey, light fabric that doesn’t pill easily, despite being a single-ply. Vintage is an awesome workhorse yarn – it softens up nicely after blocking and keeps its amazing color, will not pill and can stand up to more abuse!

What colorway do you like to work with the most?
Now this is pretty impossible to answer, but I’ll try. As all Madelinetosh fans know, the colors are indescribably beautiful. Always complex, the color can be deep and saturated – or subtle and soft. I have some favorites, but picking one (or five) is just not possible: Tart, Fathom, and Forestry are usually at the top of my list, but I could keep going…

Top left: Norie knit in Pashmina in Tart
Top right:  The Amanda Hat knit in Tosh Vintage in Mansfield Garden Party

Bottom left: Column of Leaves knit in Tosh Vintage in Forestry
Bottom right: Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts knit in Tosh DK in Night Bloom 

You must have a favorite project. What is your favorite thing to make out of Madelinestosh?
Mostly sweaters, but I have made hats, scarves, stoles and cowls I love just as much out of Madelinetosh.

What is it about Madelinetosh yarns that you connect with? What separates it from other yarns?
Again, I’d say the complexity and saturation of the colors. Of course there are many beautiful yarns out there, but the Madelinetosh colors have their own distinctive character. The process that Amy uses is magical! I think she calls it some kind of “glazing” process. It creates multi-layered, subtle color variations that are fascinating and can be found on every centimeter. The bases are very high quality and lovely - they are the perfect canvas for the colors. I love the yarn itself, but for me the colors are what I fell in love with.
Before I worked at WEBS, I was (of course) a customer. My love for Madelinetosh started a few years ago with one skein of Tosh Sock in the Cedar colorway, which I noticed in the store from across the room – seriously.

Left: Citron knit in Tosh Prairie in Bloomsbury
Right: Francis Revisited knit in Tosh Merino DK in Mourning Dove

Andrea has been knitting for six years and hasn’t yet tried out any other fiber crafts, but weaving is next on the list!

What’s your favorite thing to make out of Madelinetosh yarns?