Posts Tagged ‘Valley Yarns’

Get Schooled

Friday, May 6th, 2016
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All of the WEBS Summer Classes have opened up for registration, and I love looking to see what gets the fastest sign-ups because it’s different every semester. Last semester, folks couldn’t get enough weaving. Floor looms, table looms, rigid heddle looms, you name it. Weaving is still pretty popular, especially rigid heddle weaving, but I’m happy to see that lots of people are signing up for our beginning crochet classes. I personally don’t think crochet gets enough love, so the more hooks the better! Some advanced knitting techniques are also climbing up the charts, including colorwork and lace.

Knit top-down sweaters that fit, and learn other skills in knitting classes at WEBS this summer. read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This inspired me to take a look at some gaps in my own knitting education. I really don’t like lace knitting so much–I get all screwed up when each row has a different stitch count, which can happen in a lace pattern. At this point, with at least one child still around to bother me  ask my advice and sage counsel, I need something that can be abandoned at a moment’s notice and picked up again without having to think deeply about where I ended. I can really get behind the idea of a top-down sweater, as taught in our Top-Down Raglan Sweater From Measurements, mainly because I am short and many conventionally knit sweaters are too big, as in too long and too droopy, in the shoulders for me. A top-down sweater can be tried on throughout the process to make it custom-fit to my shape.

What do you guys think about a top-down summer pullover? The Valley Yarns Park Pullover has my favorite elbow-length sleeves and a dependable stitch pattern for the day after the night I had to help edit a term paper. Knit in Valley Yarns Goshen, a smooth cotton/modal/silk blend on US size 7 needles, this will knit up in a flash and I’ll have the sweater you’ll all be jealous of; one that fits my shoulders AND my waist AND the sleeves aren’t hanging off my fingertips.

What will you challenge yourself to learn this summer?

New Hope Pullover

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
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One of our newest patterns from Valley Yarns is the New Hope Pullover designed by Nadya Stallings. Knit in Goshen, our worsted weight, cotton/modal/silk blend, this a-line top is cozy enough for cool Spring evenings but cool enough for breezy, Summer beach days. Broad rolling waves fill the cable panels of this warm weather sweater, and the set in sleeve construction helps to give it structure and stability without hampering the flow and drape of the fabric.

The New Hope Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Pair this with jeans and chunky boots for a weekend hike or toss it on over your favorite shorts and tank when a cool breeze kicks up. Shown here in crisp summer white it would be equally stylish in classic Navy, a neutral like Fawn or Linen, or add a pop of color to your wardrobe with Green Apple or Persimmon.

We asked Nadya to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit? 

I learned to knit, when I was 10. And it was not my mother who taught me, although she was doing all kind all crafts, but I was stubborn enough to not let her. Instead, I watched a TV show (in Russian) , called “Magic Yarn Ball”. That is how I learned to cast on the stitches, and I just kept doing it until I could without even looking at my needles.

What prompted you to start designing?

Since I grew up with  just a few magazines that could give me some ideas of knitting, and not much else, I just was making them up for my own needs and desires. I had no feeling that it would be called “designing”! I moved to USA and looked through all those knitting magazines, I thought: “I know I could do this kind of work!’, but I just did not know how to approach the editors. In 2009, I was laid off, and very soon after that I received a catalog with announcement that they accept independent designers’ submissions. So, I went on-line, made my first submission and dared to send it out. Surprisingly, it was accepted!

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

Inspiration comes from everywhere: watching TV, fashion shows, other designers’’ work, very often from some words, or music, and nature. Sometimes (more often) I come up with just a detail, an element, and try to figure out what silhouette would work with it. Very often, I develop a few variations of the design because I think the general idea would be good for them all. I tend to design garments with a bit more challenge,  it makes the design work more interesting. Besides, I wear my garments, my daughter and granddaughter do too!

Tell us about your design aesthetic.

I admire people who dress themselves thoughtfully. I keep this in mind while designing, too. I do love vintage, but not being old-fashioned. I love to discover new color combinations that bring joy to my eyes. My recent favorite is the combination of different shades of brown with different shades of blues. And I love to design dresses and skirts! Or, at least the tops that are styled with skirts.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I love to touch it, it feels so natural. I love to look at them, because the colors make me happy. I love how smoothly stitches slide from one needle to the next, and  I love its drape.

The New Hope Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

Valley Yarns Goshen is an ideal yarn for warm-weather knits! With it’s unique blend of fibers you get the sturdy durability of cotton, the memory and softness of modal , and the incredible shine and drape of silk. This versatile yarn feels cool against the skin but is squishy and cozy when knit into bouncy fun cables! What color of Goshen will you choose when you knit the New Hope Pullover?

The Rose Sorbet Tank

Monday, April 25th, 2016
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With summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to get to work on a beautiful and fun new piece for your wardrobe. The Rose Sorbet Tank by Krystalle Diaz is knit in our scrumptious Valley Yarns Longmeadow, a blend of cotton and microfiber that is ideal for warm-weather knits. This lovely and delicate tank starts as a top down shawl, so you get the beautiful centered lace panel, and is then joined in the round to complete the body of the piece. Top it off with a couple quick straps and you’ve got a super cute summer top!

The Rose Sorbet Tank from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

We asked Krystalle to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit?

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I learned to knit when I was 12, from a book I begged my mom to buy me from the fabric store.  I had always admired knitting and wanted to learn, but something about that day- maybe the book cover featuring happy kids making these fantastic sweaters- made me actually want to sit down and learn!  I convinced her to get me a crochet hook, a pair of knitting needles, the book, and a cheap ball of acrylic, and began a six month journey of frustration and constant giving up.  Those six months include the time it took to read the book, get the guts to start, tear out my swatches, and repeat the cycle for about a month, a long break in between of stuffing everything into the corner of my bedroom, and getting it out again to suddenly find that everything “clicked”!  I could cast on 20 stitches and knit the same number without accidentally decreasing or increasing for a full square, I could purl and knit, and I could increase and decrease!  After that it was just a natural progression of trying new things to knit.

What prompted you to start designing?

I can’t ever follow directions.  I don’t think I ever followed a pattern.  My first garment was only loosely based off a shrug in a pattern book I have- I used the pattern to determine my cast on number, then promptly proceeded to ignore almost everything else.  I still wear that dress every year, and except for some awkward bunching at the sleeves, which I did block out eventually, it is a beautiful and serviceable garment. I’m not sure how I got onto crazy things like lace and such- probably my love of shawl knitting.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

I’m always doodling designs in several sketchbooks.  When I do decide to actually make on a reality, it typically starts with the yarn, then a gathering of a inspirational images, which can be anything from fashion photographs to nature photography, depending on the design.  I will usually doodle several ideas on the sides of a page, then sketch the final concept and put notes on it. Then I swatch, keeping detailed notes on my computer, and eventually I will turn that swatch into a finished piece.

Tell us about your design aesthetic.

I never thought about it until now, but it’s quite feminine and classy.  I love 80s, Victorian, and roaring 20s fashions especially, and emblems and inspirations from these constantly creep into my designs, whether in the stitch pattern or the silhouette.  I think there may also be something of a seaside cottage look to the designs I’ve actually published and made available, too- something very nature-y but decidedly boutique-like.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I have deliberately avoided working with plant fibers the entirety of my knitting and crochet repertoire, unless they are blended with silk or wool.  So working with Longmeadow was a learning experience, since it is a microfiber and cotton blend.  And much to my joy, I did not hate it!  I was surprised by how soft it was, and that it did not hurt my hands as I knit with it.  It had good stitch definition, which for me is always a plus, given my lace and cable obsession.  The only real hurdle I had to conquer was blocking- I had to steam block my design to get it to even out and lay flat, but I did enjoy seeing the transformation take hold.

The Rose Sorbet Tank from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

In bright beachy colors, like purple haze and willow, Valley Yarns Longmeadow is a wonderful yarn for light layers. Knit the Rose Sorbet Tank and wear it with a strappy sundress, or a cami and shorts and stay cool and stylish all summer long! Which color will you choose?

Coned Yarns Love Knitters (and vice versa)

Friday, April 22nd, 2016
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I had a brief, ugly learning-to-weave moment about ten or so years ago…I had a full-time job that was a long way away, I had two young children, and I had to travel constantly. Of course that was a perfect time to learn a very complicated, time-consuming (albeit fascinating and beautiful) fiber craft…NOT.

Valley Yarns Colrain Lace on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

After that, I passed coned yarns without a second glance. However, I saw an oldie but goodie today that made me reassess the coned-yarn prejudice. Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel, aka Colrain Lace, seems to me to be an eminently sensible yarn to knit or crochet (or weave) just about anything in any season. And luckily for all of us, it’s part of the Anniversary Sale this month, priced at $17.49 a cone, reduced from $24.99.

Although technically a lace weight yarn, it has been knit reliably at about 7 stitches per inch, which to me is fingering and that makes a big difference. It’s not a fine, fine yarn that will slide off your needles and flummox you in a stitch pattern. It will hold on to those needles, and give you some feedback as you stitch, which I don’t find in a lot of lace weight yarns. The blend of merino and tencel gives it both body and a subtle sheen, making it drape beautifully.

My fascination for cowls would be satisfied with the Valley Yarns Forget-Me-Not cowl, made in Colrain Lace. It’s a quick knit and because you have so much yardage on a cone, you could make several from one purchase! I would probably choose a nice neutral such as Grey Olive, but you could really make a design pop with some of the brighter colors; there are a lot to choose from.

Have you ever knit with a coned yarn? Tell us your projects in the comments, below.

Twist Collective Spring 2016

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
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We always look forward to new issues of Twist Collective and not only is this issue full of the stunningly creative designs that we’ve come to expect but two of them are in our Valley Yarns!

Twist Collective 2016 Spring

Ormond is a flattering, wonderfully light and airy seamless jacket that will keep you warm when you take a stroll on a cool night. A 2×2 rib front band is worked concurrently with an overall Rickrack Lace pattern. This gentle and slimming jacket is knit flat in one piece up to armholes to minimize seams, and the waist shaping is done by changing needle size. Knit in Valley Yarns Deerfield a 80% Baby Alpaca/20% Silk blend that results in a lightweight but snuggly and warm cardi with incredible drape and shine.

Cedri is a fun and flirty summer top, with a slightly cropped length, that features an eyelet lace chevron pattern across the yoke and sleeves and up the sides . This shell is worked in two pieces from the bottom up with minimal shaping, then sewn together. Valley Yarns Longmeadow is the ideal yarn for an active top like this. Cool cotton will keep you from overheating and the microfiber helps the yarn to keeps it’s memory and shape.

What pieces are you excited to knit from this issue?

Love for Longmeadow

Monday, April 18th, 2016
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Longmeadow is longtime favorite from the Valley Yarns family of yarns, it’s blend of cotton and microfiber gives you a soft and washable yarn that really stands up to use and wear. It’s ideal for babies and kids knits as well as sweaters and home goods and I thought I’d share some of my favorite patterns for this yarn with you today.

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The Snowdrop Baby Blanket features a delicate, eyelet lace pattern reminiscent of Snowdrop petals and it’s just one of the sweetest baby blanket patterns we have. This one is knit corner to corner which is perfect for knitters like me who tend to get bored about halfway through a project at the prospect of more of the same. With this kind of construction, just as you get to the middle the blanket starts getting smaller again so it feels like it races along to the finish with shorter and shorter rows!

A fantastic sweater for any child in your life, the Picnic Pullover is a soft and comfortable sweater that they’ll love to wear. With simple, textured stripes of ribbing and stockinette, this top-down, sweater is easy to adjust for length in the body and sleeves. Knit it all in one color or change it up and switch colors when you switch textures!

Finally, the Manta Tee is one of those sweaters that you fall in love with and wear over and over.  Let me tell you why I love this sweater! First, it’s top down which means NO SEAMS, but our clever Kirsten Hipsky has also given us simultaneous set-in-sleeves for a more flattering fit. Second, there’s a slight a-line flare in the shaping of this sweater that beautifully allows that extra bit of room for those of us with ample hips. Third it’s so, so comfortable in the Longmeadow, like your favorite pair of jeans. This yarn feels like butter against the skin and it’s not too warm! A tank, jeans and this sweater are enough to get me through most Spring and Fall days.

What have you knit with Longmeadow? What was your favorite project?

Introducing Southampton!

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
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We’re really excited to share our newest member of the Valley Yarns family with you, Southampton!

Southampton, the latest from Valley Yarns. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This incredibly versatile yarn is a blend of kid mohair and mulberry silk, with a shiny plied core surrounded by a fluffy, fuzzy halo of loose fibers. This yarn can easily be worked at multiple gauges from lace to worsted, and if you double, or triple, stand your work you can even knit at bulky and chunky gauges. Knit or crochet beautiful, lightweight garments and accessories, or even colorful and cozy throws!

What kind of projects are you excited to make with Southampton?

 

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – Cashmere!

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
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I have to tell you, even I was surprised by the luxury fibers in this year’s sale! We have 6 yarns with cashmere!

Cashmere yarns in WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

If you’re looking for a workhorse yarn for incredible garments that has just a little extra oomph we’ve got two choices for you.  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran is a classic,  a machine washable blend of 55% Merino Wool/33% Microfibre/12% Cashmere in over 3 dozen saturated solids is perfect for trend defying garments and accessories that you’ll wear for years. And if tweed is your thing then Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed couldn’t be better. A softly plied and lofty blend of wool, silk and cashmere in tonal tweeds for classically rustic garments, and shawls you want to wrap up in all year long.

Cashmere yarns in WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

DK is a versatile weight equally suited to adult and children’s garments and accessories and there’s no reason to shy away from a little bit of luxury there. Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK is a touchably soft blend of merino wool, silk and cashmere for a yarn with lots of bounce and shine! With over 30 colors to choose from it’s ideal for colorwork projects. And if you want a little hand dyed color in your cashmere stash, pick up a few skeins of Mrs. Crosby Hat Box. the color wizards at Lorna’s Laces have dreamed up all new colorways reminiscent of exoctic locales and travels.

Cashmere yarns in WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

On the finer side, if you’re a lace or shawl person Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere is another gorgeous hand-dyed yarn with a superwash merino, cashmere and nylon blend that would be gorgeous for shawls and durable enough for incredible socks! But my favorite of the cashmere yarns in this sale has to be the Greylock from Valley Yarns. This beauty is 100% cashmere, lightly spun and plied for an airy yarn with the slightest halo. It’s soft and squishy with an incredibly generous 300 yds in each ball.

That Greylock is honestly calling my name, and the JoSharp has my wheels turning. Which yarns will you be adding to your stash?

The Ascending Leaves Pullover

Monday, April 11th, 2016
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Our Valley Yarns Longmeadow is the perfect yarn to bridge the seasons, and the new Ascending Leaves Pullover designed by Ashwini Jambhekar is the ideal springtime sweater! Cool and soft against the skin, but fluffy enough keep you warm on breezy April days, this pullover features a climbing vine lace pattern that circles the hem and flared sleeves.

The Ascending Leaves Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

 

 

Ashwini Jambhekar talks Valley Yarns and design inspiration on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We asked Ashwini to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit? 

My “learn to knit” story is pretty traditional: my mom taught me when I was quite young, around age 4. And in keeping with tradition, my first project was a garter stitch scarf. The yarn was a department-store acrylic in a lovely coral color. I made the scarf for my grandmother, who lived in the heat and humidity of Mumbai, India!

What prompted you to start designing?

I started designing in graduate school, when I discovered the lovely LYS Artfibers in San Francisco (now closed). The shop samples were very youthful and shapely, unlike the large, bulky acrylic or wool samples on display at the time in the east coast chain stores, which were my only other exposure to yarn and garment design. The Artfibers staff used to create new designs for their samples, and after learning a bit from them, I began by making minor modifications to patterns and was soon creating whole designs from scratch.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

I like to think about the different kinds of shapes and lines that can be created in a garment, and what features they emphasize. For ideas, I often browse sewing patterns. I also look through stitch pattern dictionaries and try to imagine various ways to arrange a pattern on a garment, and how the placement affects the overall look of the garment. Unfortunately, the latter can’t easily be determined by swatching, but I definitely swatch to get a sense of how a pattern looks in a particular yarn (and to calculate my gauge, of course!).

Tell us about your design aesthetic.

I primarily knit women’s garments, and strive for a look that’s elegant and feminine. My work as a scientist isn’t compatible with too many frills, so I try to keep the silhouettes pretty sleek. This design is one of my first ones to incorporate flared sleeves, which I love in theory, but perhaps not so much when I’m working.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I loved the smooth, crisp stitch definition of the cotton in Longmeadow, coupled with the wool-like resiliency provided by the microfiber.

The Ascending Leaves Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

Valley Yarns Longmeadow has long been one of our favorite Valley Yarns, both for it’s versatility and durability. With a washable 60% Cotton/40% Microfiber blend and all-purpose DK weight, this yarn is ideal for everything from baby knits to homegoods. Which color will you use for the Ascending Leaves Pullover?

Valley Yarns Feature – Haydenville

Thursday, April 7th, 2016
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haydenville 1

Valley Yarns Haydenville is one of our newest yarns and we’re still marveling over it! An extraordinarily soft blend of superwash merino and acrylic microfiber, it’s just about the perfect yarn for everything! It knits at a worsted weight and has a wonderful sheen that adds to the fantastic stitch definition. And just look at the projects we’ve already created up for you with a yarn that is fast becoming one of our favorites.

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A diminutive chevron stripe accents all 3 pieces in the Grayson Baby Set. The pullover is worked in the round from the top down and is easily adjusted to different lengths.

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The Leaves and Lines Afghan is cleverly constructed from bias-knit counterpane squares, adorned with embossed leaves, eyelets and textured ridges. Try laying them out in different arrangements for totally different looks!

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Our newest pattern, the Honza Baby Blanket is a minimalist garter stitch blanket with intarsia blocks in pops of contrasting colors. Perfect for a crib or as a cushy play mat for the floor this lovely blanket has us dreaming of garter stitch goodness!

How will you use Valley Yarns Haydenville?