Posts Tagged ‘Valley Yarns’

It’s A Mystery…

Friday, January 16th, 2015
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For our fiber friends in the Northern Hemisphere, winter often finds us burrowed into our homes, or trudging from our house to our car to our office to our car to our house. Here at WEBS, we’re hatching a mystery knit- and crochet-a-long to spice up your short days and long nights. It accomplishes a number of good things: you’ll learn some fascinating new techniques that you’ll use forever, you’ll have something fun to look forward to every month as a new square is revealed, and you’ll have a beautiful keepsake blanket that will be just the thing to use as a wedding gift, a graduation present, a baby-shower goodie, or an early holiday present.

WEBS Mystery Knit-A-Long Blanket Class - register at yarn.com

We’ve even picked out four different colorways in our Valley Yarns Northampton for you. Neutrals will go with anything, Autumns are for those (like me) who crave the heathery tones of October orange, green, and burgundy. Jewel Tones are bold splashes of clear sapphires, garnets, and emeralds, and Pastels are deliciously light and baby-friendly. Each month a new knit and crochet technique will be taught by Sara in her classes here at WEBS. Those students will get hands-on help from the fabulously talented Sara as well as the fun of learning with like-minded folks, and as my mother would say, “you might make a friend.”

WEBS Mystery Crochet-A-Long Blanket Class - register at yarn.com

A week later the square’s pattern will be released online in our blog, along with photos and a technique video so that you can go it alone, if you live too far away to travel to our Northampton store. We’ll be sharing your squares-in-progress on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and anywhere else knitters pop up to visit with us.

We have some spaces in both the Knit-A-Long class and the Crochet-A-Long class. Why not take a step out of your comfort zone and join us?

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 Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence, her first design the I Feel Vine Cardigan in Valley Yarns Amherst - learn more at blog.yarn.com

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 Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

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.

The Long Collared Vest by Sally Melville

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
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As we approach the end of 2014 we still have a few exciting 40th Anniversary projects to share with you and one of our favorites is the Long Collared Vest by Sally Melville. We were so thrilled when Sally expressed an interest in being part of this year’s celebrations! Working with the Burgundy color of our Berkshire Bulky she has designed a cozy knee length vest that we all wanted to curl up in when it arrived in the office.

Long Collared Vest pinterest promo

The large shawl collar hugs you around the shoulders and neck while the textured bodice stitch helps to give the vest structure and visual interest. And just for fun there’s a decorative button band on each side of the ribbing that makes a great place to showcase your favorite decorative buttons. The Long Collared Vest is a great winter knit and the perfect layering piece. With over 3 dozen colors of Berkshire Bulky to choose from which will you cast on with?

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?

The Tirrick Shawl by Gudrun Johnston

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
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The Tirrick Shawl, designed by Gudrun Johnston in our 40th Anniversary Charlemont hand dyed by Dream in Color, is a lacy semi-circular shawl knit from the widest edge in five wedge sections, with each section decreasing until you end up with just a few stitches. Based off of a simple Shetland lace pattern with a background of stockinette, not garter as is most common in Shetland lace patterns, this shawl is sure to fly off your needles as each row goes faster than the last!

Tirrick Promo

Gudrun was born in Shetland in the 70’s while her mother was running the successful knitwear design company, The Shetland Trader. Gudrun has revived the use of The Shetland Trader name and often includes aspects of her Shetland heritage in her designs, mostly utilizing traditional lace patterns in a contemporary context. Gudrun is local to WEBS, is one of our favorite customers,and has even taken classes with us!

Tirrick Promo FB

Gifts to Make – Perfect Crochet

Monday, December 1st, 2014
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Whether you’re in need of a few last minute gifts for friends and family, or searching for the perfect gift for yourself, we have what you’re looking for. Cowls and shawlshave been very popular this year and there are so many patterns to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to three of our favorites.

crochet post_edited-1

The Vanda Stole from Valley Yarns features a center out construction and an open lacey design that’s sure to work up quickly and would be a perfect project to pick up a few skeins of our 40th Anniversary Northfield hand dyed by Malabrigo.

The Valley Cowl designed by Doris Chan is a luscious, lacy  infinity style cowl, worked from the center out in a figure 8 with no seams! . Worn as a shoulder wrap or double-twisted around the head as a hood, it makes a lovely, practical and quick-to-crochet gift.

Linda Permann’s Zigzag Cowl not only takes advantage of the long color repeats of Cascade Yarns Tangier but it’s all worked with a single skein!

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)

Snow Family KAL! – Week 4

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
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And here we are at the end of our KAL. Your Snow Family is all done and now they just need some trees to set the scene.

#SnowFamilyKAL Week 4 , time for the evergreens! Join the knit-along on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

There are three sizes of tree to make in this pattern and they’re all really simple cones that just fly off your needles. Once they’re finished you can lightly stuff them to hold their shape but since they’re knit with 2 strands of Northampton held together, they may not even need it! You can even stack the individual trees to create one big evergreen.

And since you had so much fun customizing their accessories why not customize the trees? A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my favorite holiday specials so I decided to take Lucy’s advice and make a, “big, shiny aluminum tree… maybe painted pink.” Well, it’s not aluminum OR painted but it sure is pink!

#SnowFamilyKAL Week 4 , time for the evergreens! Join the knit-along on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

Thanks for joining the #SnowFamilyKAL How did you personalize your snowfamily?

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.”