Posts Tagged ‘Valley Yarns’

Design Inspiration with Fiona Ellis – The power of color

Monday, November 30th, 2015
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Color, especially when it’s related to clothing, is fascinating to me. It is a powerful thing, triggering emotional responses in all of us. Each color creates a mood or feeling, can demonstrate the personally behind the wearer and evoke memories. I have been researching color for a while for a series of articles I have written for Twist Collective.  So when I came to choose the shade for my final Designer in Residence pattern I knew I should pick something that said WOW! So it had to be Red.

Fiona Ellis - color inspiration for her 6th and final WEBS Designer in Residence pattern. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Red evokes emotions ranging from passion and power to rage and romance. Viewing red increases blood pressure, pulse and heart rates, and even stimulates appetite. These physical reactions may be why we associate red with activity. But red is also considered seductive…think of lipstick & blush colors. Being the shortest wavelength on the spectrum, red is the first color the eye sees, making it attention- grabbing— the reason that it is used for warning signs. Our learned emotional responses to red are equally varied. Red can signify a mark of honor (think red carpet), we “see red” when we’re angry, are “in the red” when business is bad, and are “caught red handed” (originally a reference to blood on the hands) when guilty.  “Red herrings” divert our attention and we “paint the town red” when we let loose after a long workweek (the origins of that particular phrase are a source of debate).

Fiona Ellis designs with Valley Yarns. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

pictured left to right: Red Letter Day, Athasca, Sugarbeach and Paula all in Valley Yarns available in spectacular reds!

In naming this design I thought about how red is also linked to special occasions…my year as WEBS Designer in Residence has had, of course, many special days. Red letter days are so called because important festivals, holidays, and saints’ days were inked in red on medieval church calendars. So while I have your attention may I ask you to join me over on my website. I post a piece on the 9th of each month where I chat about design ideas and inspirations along with photos of what is fascinating me, I call it On-line, On-nine.

Thanks for following my wonderful year at WEBS!

– Fiona

High Speed Projects

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
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With the holidays staring me in the face, I’m thinking about quick gifts – something small that I can weave in quantity on a single warp,  yet lovely enough to be personal and appreciated. Although I’m in the tribe of weavers that believes one can never have too many handwovens in the kitchen, towels are more than I can bite off at this point. But what about…potholders?!And mug rugs? Narrow warps (fast threading) and small pieces (fast weaving), easy to make in sets by changing weft or treadling. And if I’m really down to the wire, I can full or felt the woven fabric and cut into individual pieces without having to hem because it won’t ravel.

Alternate uses for your weaving drafts: quick holiday gifts on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

For design ideas, I looked at some scarf drafts because they, too, are woven on a narrow warp and I can change to a heavier yarn to make them a good size for potholders. The two drafts that jumped out immediately are Draft #3 Pinwheel Scarf and Draft #58 Shepherd’s Check Scarf. Both are examples of Color and Weave, a technique that involves alternating stripes of light and dark colors in the warp and weft. I love the pinwheel, which is an 8-shaft pattern, because the shapes are so much fun. You can find many other treadling and tie up variations online to play with and make non-identical sets. The Shepherd’s Check uses 4 threads per stripe and the good news is that it can be woven either on a 4-shaft loom or a rigid heddle loom! With 4 shafts, you can weave a straight draw twill by threading and treadling 1-2-3-4, which will give the weave a diagonal slant. On a rigid heddle, you weave plain weave and still get the wonderful checked houndstooth look.

Then we have the yarn choices. I would go with a wool for this project because it will make a thick potholder that will protect the cook’s hands from the heat. Jaggerspun Heathers is a wonderful (and too often overlooked) wool with 498 yds in 100 gram skeins. One skein each of 2 colors will give you enough for dozens of small gifties like these. I chose a couple of color  combinations from their beautiful range of heathery tones to show in this drawdown. ( For the Pinwheel use Teal and Midnight and for the Shepherd’s Check use Chokecherry and Walnut) Another great option would be Valley Yarns Northampton which has a huge color spectrum ( For the Pinwheel use Lake Heather and Ocean Heather; for the Shepherd’s Check use Garnet and Fawn). Sett at 8 epi, this yarn will make thicker potholders. And both of  these yarns will felt wonderfully!

Do you have any ideas for last minute gift weaving?

Designer in Residence – Red Letter Day from Fiona Ellis

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
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We’ve reached the last big reveal for our 2015 WEBS Knitting Designer in Residence Fiona Ellis, The Red Letter Day cardigan.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her sixth design, the Red Letter Day cardigan, in Valley Yarns Northampton - learn more at blog.yarn.com

Knit in Valley Yarns Northampton, in a classic holiday Red, this sweater features ribbing in the lower section of the body that slowly morphs into a panel of cables that include magical-looking closed loops, reminiscent of Celtic knot patterning. With over 3 dozen colors of Northampton to choose from you’ll have no trouble finding just the right shade for you.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her sixth design, the Red Letter Day cardigan, in Valley Yarns Northampton - learn more at blog.yarn.com

The slightly flared cuffs and lower body ribbing give Red Letter Day a very feminine shape. The featured cable panel from the back and sleeves is divided in half to flank the center front opening so it can join back together when buttoned, and move effortlessly upward around the V-neck shaping.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her sixth design, the Red Letter Day cardigan, in Valley Yarns Northampton - learn more at blog.yarn.com

This cardigan goes to great lengths for style, but you don’t have to! Choose from any one of the 6 sweaters that Fiona has designed for us this year and you’ll be knitting your way to a stylish and comfortable sweater that’s all your own! Which design has been your favorite?

WEBS Holiday 2015 eCatalog is here!

Monday, October 19th, 2015
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The holiday gift preparation doesn’t really begin for me until my copy of the WEBS Holiday catalog arrives, and this year’s edition is spectacular!

WEBS 2015 Holiday Catalog. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Not only is there an adorable Holiday Bears duo on the cover, with perfect little sweaters and hats to knit and personalize them with (keep an eye on the blog for an upcoming KAL), but the pages are full of so many new knit and crochet patterns that are inspiring me to get yarn on my hooks and needles. New patterns from Doris Chan and Fiona Ellis from the WEBS Designer in Residence series, the new Got You Covered eBook from Emerging Designer Marcy Vandale, and over a dozen New Valley Yarns patterns. Gorgeous gradient yarns sets from Wonderland Yarns, kits from the CREATE YOUR STYLE collection (a collaboration between Rowan Yarns and Swaraovski!), holiday ornament kits from Laura Nelkin, and the Royal Petites from Blue Sky Alpacas. New yarns from Amano, Classic Elite and more!

WEBS 2015 Holiday Catalog. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ve started a list of what I’d like to make and I’m gathering supplies so I can get started. What will be the first project you cast on for from this year’s Holiday catalog? And don’t worry! If you’re waiting for the paper catalog to arrive in your mailboxes they’re just starting to ship and should be there within the next 2 weeks. If you don’t yet receive our catalogs but would like to you can sign up right here!

Emerging Designer – Marcy Vandale

Friday, October 16th, 2015
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It’s time for the third and final installment of our  WEBS Emerging Designer series for 2015 with the Got You Covered eBook from Marcy Vandale, who you may know from Steppingstone Fiber Creations. Marcy has put together a collection of wonderful, transitional knits that bridge the gap between the seasons for this eBook. We asked her to tell us a bit her inspiration and designing process.

WEBS Emerging Designer Fall 2015 eBook: Got You Covered, from Marcy Vandale. eBook and individual PDFS now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

WEBS: When did you learn to knit and what prompted you to start designing?

Marcy: I learned to knit as a freshman in college. There was an upperclassman on the hall who basically had a Lopi yarn shop in her room, needles, accessories, patterns and yarns. I picked out yarn colors and started my first project, an iconic Lopi sweater. I didn’t know anything other than the knit stitch but learned as I went along. By the end of the first semester, I had a new sweater and had started on the next one. Funny, the one thing I never learned anything about until YEARS after I was out of college was gauge! Not until about 10 years ago did I become a Knitter with a capital K as I like to say. I was doing a lot of knitting for my kids and knitting constantly. I started sample and tech knitting and then contract knitting. It was at that point that I decided that I was interested designing my own creations.

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

Marcy: My design process usually starts with a great yarn. From there, I usually gravitate to designing something I want to wear, whether it be a sweater or accessory. I do love color so I am always looking at great color combos for colorwork. I’m in a purple mood lately.

WEBS: Tell us about your design aesthetic.

Marcy: I am by nature a very practical person and that’s incorporated into how I design. I like to design things I need in my wardrobe or would want to knit, whether it be a garment or an accessory. It’s like gift giving, I always give a gift I’d love to have myself. Because I have a very busy life chasing around after my 4 kids, I tend to design things that are easy to take along to games and on car rides as well as projects I can put down without fear of losing my place. My knits usually are simple but may have one element that may make them seem more difficult or polished, like a simple crochet edging for a neckline. I also am a fan of minimizing finishing work so I design with that construction in mind.

WEBS Emerging Designer Fall 2015 eBook: Got You Covered, from Marcy Vandale. eBook and individual PDFS now available at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

You’ll keep your core cozy’s and warm with the Got You Covered VestValley Yarns Deerfield is a perfect fit for this long vest with feature cables and a hidden pocket for your phone! Your toes will thank you for knitting the The Got You Covered Socks, not only does the cable pattern coordinate with the vest but with a pattern that looks complex and works up effortlessly in Valley Yarns Huntington these are socks you’ll have for years to come. Finally the Got You Covered Mittens and Hat pattern, in Valley Yarns Northampton, features colorwork motifs in shades to coordinate with your vest.

Download all three patterns together in the Got You Covered eBook for just $9.99 or download any individual pattern for just $3.99 each. You can find more of Marcy’s designs here on our site, and on Ravelry and don’t forget her collaborative designs with her friend Debbi under Adventures Du Jour. And check out WEBS Emerging Designer Spring 2015 eBook by Angelia Robinson with three stunning crochet accessories perfect for every season. And the Summer 2015 WEBS Emerging Designer eBook: Sproutlet, by Debbi Stone, a beautiful layette set perfect for your little ones.

Designer in Residence – the Superwash Hat and Scarf from Doris Chan

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
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Just in time for for crisp Autumn days, the Superwash Hat and Scarf set from Doris Chan is the perfect extra layer to keep you comfortable at your favorite sporting events, the local corn maze, or apple picking adventure. And if you’re just getting started on holiday crocheting this set would make a great gift for the men, women or children in your life.

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence October design, the Superwash Hat and Scarf set. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

With a simple twist on the classic single crochet stitch, and an easy to achieve biased fabric, WEBS Crochet Designer in Residence Doris Chan has created a hat and scarf set with the flexibility you expect from a knit ribbing and the cushy softness of a full-bodied superwash fabric.

Doris Chan, WEBS Designer in Residence October design, the Superwash Hat and Scarf set. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Valley Yarns Valley Superwash is available in over 2 dozen colors so not only can you choose just the right shade for gift sets for everyone in your family but you can even try this set in bold stripes or a soft ombre transition. Who will you be making this set for?

Valley Yarns Flash Sale is Here!

Monday, October 5th, 2015
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Are you a fan of Valley Yarns? Have you been meaning to try it for a while but just haven’t gotten around to it? Now’s the perfect chance during our Valley Yarns Flash Sale. You have through October 6, 2015 at 11:59pm EDT to save 30% on Valley Yarns!

Valley Yarns Flash Sale at WEBS

Valley Yarns is our own brand that we source from all over the world. We look for beautiful yarns that will last, and strive to have them at affordable prices. You may want to take this chance to check out our two newest yarns, Valley Yarns Hatfield and Valley Yarns Sunderland. Both of these 100% alpaca yarns are super warm.

Maybe merino is more your style? Take a look at Amherst. It’s one of my favorite Valley Yarns yarns because it is so soft. Prefer something without wool? Valley Yarns Southwick, Valley Yarns Longmeadow, and Valley Yarns Goshen are all wonderful cotton blends. I have a hard time knitting with cotton, but I must say, Goshen is one of my favorite yarns, and I’ve done several projects with it.

If you’re hoping for something machine washable, we have three weights of Valley Superwash, Worsted, DK, and Bulky, that are sure to fit whatever project you are looking to make. I’m actually thinking about some quick accessories in Valley Superwash Bulky, since the weather turned a bit chilly over the last few days, and we have some great bright colors that we’ve recently added to the line.

This is just a small sampling. No matter what Valley Yarns yarn you choose, you’ll love working with it. If you need inspiration, we also have a wonderful collection of Valley Yarns patterns designed exclusively for the yarn.

Don’t forget, until October 6, 2015 at 11:59pm EDT, you can save 30% on your purchase of Valley Yarns.

Crochet Aspirations

Friday, September 11th, 2015
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I got a sneak peak at the Fall catalog before it got mailed out to our eager customers, and it struck me how beautiful the featured crochet garments and projects are. I used to skip right over the crochet projects in catalogs and magazines, because I had a nightmarish recollection of a certain red, white, and blue granny-square vest I was forced to wear my entire 5th-grade school year because some distant cousin had found the ugliest yarn available and dusted off her rusty crochet skills to torture it into a garment for me.

Stylish and contemporary crochet garments for Fall. What are you crocheting? Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Crochet is far different now; the projects I see are sophisticated and fashion-forward. I know how to crochet but I think I need to brush up on my skills before I follow a pattern (hey, there’s a class for that!). Once I feel more confident, the first thing I want to make is Sara Delaney’s Alexandrium Cardigan. I’ve worn it all over the store whenever I needed something to cover my shoulders from our sometimes-aggressive air conditioning. It’s lovely and appropriate for any season.

Our catalog features some aspirational projects for me: the Crossroads Pullover is ingenious, two squares that start from a center point and increase outward. It’s lacy and could be worn over a tank top or under a jacket. Crochet superstar Doris Chan has created an openwork jacket in Goshen, a smooth, delicious cotton blend Valley Yarn. I love the dolman shape and the sturdy collar that wraps down to the hem. My favorite project of all just might be the Valley Yarns Mystery Crochet-A-Long Blanket that we ran as a class last winter. In several different colorways, each square has its own personality and the blanket can be customized to fit any bed or sofa you make it for.

What are you crocheting this fall? Show us your FOs!

Something New!

Friday, September 4th, 2015
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One of the best parts of my job this year has been helping with the development of a new line of coned yarn for weavers. We looked for something close to home and are proud to say that the cotton is grown, spun and dyed in the USA. The fun really began, however, with creating the color palette. It was equal parts giddy excitement (I can pick any color I want!) and challenging (the colors have to play well together). I was satisfied with what we we put together, but even more so when I saw them all on the shelf – it just looks happy. And now that it’s here, it’s time to launch our newest Valley Yarn – 6/2 Unmercerized  Cotton in 30 gorgeous colors.

Valley Yarns 6/2 unmercerized cotton now available at WEBS and online at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

A little heavier than the 8/2 cotton we know and love for dishtowels and and other household handwovens, the 6/2 is deliciously soft and cozy and will be perfect for blankets, throws, shawls and, of course, thicker towels. We have been sampling it in a variety of weave structures and the hand is lovely and shows great definition for laces and twills.

We began brainstorming ideas for projects as soon as we got the first samples of the yarn and asked a few weaving friends to design drafts for us. Chris Hammel’s Summer Garden Towel was in our booth at NEWS and now you can buy the draft and weave it yourself. Thick and absorbent, this delightful towel combines the new Valley Yarns 6/2 Cotton with our Valley Yarns 10/2 Cotton and is woven in a Summer and Winter structure. I love the feel of it and I think I may expand the draft to weave bath towels for our house.

Valley Yarns 6/2 unmercerized cotton now available at WEBS and online at yarn.com. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We have more drafts to come – a summer shawl in a blended draft of lace with overshot borders, a dishtowel in a crepe weave and warm color palette, and here’s a sneak peek of the cuddly cozy baby blanket that is guaranteed to be the favorite lovey for a special little one.

So join us in welcoming our new ‘baby’ – Valley Yarns 6/2 Cotton. What will you make with it?

Designer in Residence – Changing Tack from Fiona Ellis

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
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Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her fifth design, the Changing Tack Pullover, in Valley Yarns Brimfield - learn more at blog.yarn.com

September always seems to sneak up on you. The last heatwave of August rolls right into the first frosts of autumn.  To celebrate the changing of the seasons why not knit Changing Tack, the newest pattern from our  Designer in Residence, Fiona Ellis. The Valley Yarns Brimfield is a gorgeous blend of extrafine merino and silk with a shine you won’t believe. Be adventurous and use the peridot color in the sample or try one of a dozen other shades.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her fifth design, the Changing Tack Pullover, in Valley Yarns Brimfield - learn more at blog.yarn.com

Changing Tack is a perfect between-season sweater, inspired by traditional cabled sweaters but with a modern twist. The pattern placement and repeats are set asymmetrically on the figure-flattering silhouette to give an updated look. The slightly flared sleeves add to the feminine appeal. Knitting with Valley Yarns Brimfield takes this pullover to the next level with gorgeous stitch definition and a wonderful sheen from the silk.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her fifth design, the Changing Tack Pullover, in Valley Yarns Brimfield - learn more at blog.yarn.com

Five gorgeous patterns already this year. Where does the time go?! You have just enough time to knit Changing Tack before we reveal the final design from Fiona in this Series. Which design has been your favorite?