Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

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.”

In Which I Became a Weaver for 2 Hours

Friday, October 11th, 2013
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If you’ve been reading this blog you know it’s Spinning and Weaving Week. We’ve had some fantastic demos and the store has been filled with new faces. I barely have time to take classes these days, but I remembered a favorite class from a few years ago, Introduction to Rigid Heddle Weaving with Leslie Ann Bestor. I had a lot of preconceptions about weaving–the looms are gigantic!! You need a ton of fiber!! It takes months to make a napkin!

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom.

Leslie Ann proved all those things wrong. I had the most gorgeous scarf ever in less than two hours, and in Madeline Tosh Pashmina Worsted, to boot! Using it as both warp and weft resulted in a very cool plaid-like fabric, and I wear it all the time now. Weaving on a rigid heddle loom is very manageable, it sits very neatly on a tabletop and barely takes up any room at all. There’s no warping board necessary, no intricate warp-winding, no cones of yarn rolling around. The back-and-forth action of the shuttle is very satisfying, as is the way you slam the heddle down on your fabric to make it nice and firm. And did I mention a scarf in 2 hours? with lovely tasseled ends?

Check out our looms–we have some very un-intimidating rigid heddle looms and if those are too much for you, check out these cuties.  Bonus: if you buy a loom (or a spinning wheel) within a week of taking a class, you get a 10% discount.

Check out our weaving and spinning class schedules. I know we have one that will get you looking at fiber in a different way.

Spinning & Weaving Week: Must-Have Weaving Book

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
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Today, Debby Cook shares with us her the must-have book for her weaving shelf.

Deb Chandler's Learning to WeaveMy “must-have” weaving item is Deborah Chandler’s Learning to Weave. Because I also knit, work full time AND part-time and have a full family life, I can sometimes have months go by between starting new projects.   Deb Chandler’s book always has the answers I need to jumpstart my memory!  It keeps me on track from winding my warp, warping back to front, right through treddling and finishing techniques.  Oh, and the reed substitution page is well worn! This is the one book I would be lost weaving without.

What’s your must-have weaving book?

Spinning & Weaving Week: Make Sleying Easier

Monday, October 7th, 2013
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Make Sleying the Reed Easier

This week, we’ll be sharing with you a few spinning and weaving products that WEBS staffers can’t live without. First up, we have Amy Stephens. Amy is an incredible crafter and you may remember seeing her in one of our staff spotlights. Check out what she has to say about the Harrisville Designs Combo Threading/Sley Hook in Brass

Soon after taking the beginning weaving class at Webs, I purchased a loom. Weaving is still a very new craft for me and dressing the loom can still be a little stressful. During the class I used the 7 ½” Schacht Heddle Hook to thread the heddles and the reed. When I moved to my bigger loom I appreciated the length of the Schacht even more for threading the heddles. I did have trouble threading the reed with it though. I mentioned my issue to a seasoned weaver at work and she suggested the Harrisville Designs Combo Threading/Sley Hook in Brass. It made sleying the reed so much easier! When I weave, I have both tools on hand and it makes dressing the loom that much easier for me.

Spinning and Weaving Week Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
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Spinning and Weaving WeekOctober is filled with fiber-related activities from beginning to end, which makes us very happy at WEBS. We kick off the month with Spinning & Weaving Week October 6 – 12. This annual celebration gives us a chance to showcase the beautiful creations being made on looms, wheels and spindles. The week will feature demonstrations, mini-workshops, a day-long gathering of weavers and spinners and special discounts on weaving and spinning tools, roving, coned yarns, and more.
Each day we will have demonstrations of these time-honored arts in the store from 11 am – 1 pm. These demos are free and a great chance to see techniques close up and ask questions of the artisans. Have you wondered how yarn gets from the fleece of a sheep into the fine threads we work with? Or how someone creates a pattern that becomes a beautiful woven shawl? We will present a great variety of techniques – from drop spindle to wheel, floor loom to rigid heddle and more. Join us and be amazed at how so much beauty is created by tools so simple!
Also on the schedule this year are mini-workshops, which will offer a taste of techniques for both weavers and spinners. Try something new, or deepen your understanding of a specific area. All mini-workshops will be from 2 – 4 pm and cost $5 each. You can register online, by phone or in the store.

The scheduled line up is:
Monday: Creating Texture on the Rigid Heddle Loom
Try your hand at manipulating the weave on the rigid heddle loom to create some interesting textures. We will explore using a pick up stick to create lace weaves, Danish medallions and techniques to add beading to your work.

Monday: Plying Mini Workshop
Explore the basics of plying – joining multiple strands of yarn together – and learn how the different creative choices made in this step can yield amazing results, increasing the strength and durability of your handspun yarns, while also adding unique textural possibilities. Both wheel and spindle techniques will be discussed. Bring yours or practice with one of ours.

Tuesday: Clasped Weft
Clasped weft is a weaving technique that emphasizes the weft. Using this technique you can create unique color patterns and design as you go. It is great for creating block, stepped and zigzag patterns. Paula will teach the technique using a rigid heddle loom, but it can be woven on multi-harness looms as well.

Thursday : Fun with Zoom Loom
Weaving on the go! Have fun with this great little hand loom. Portable, easy to weave on and capable of creating all sorts of projects. Everyone will learn how to warp and weave and then get crazy making fun squares with an assortment of scraps (each square only takes 8 yards!). This workshop is suitable for kids (age 8 & up) and adults.

Friday : Fiber Preparation for Spinning Unique Yarns
Get a quick lesson in hand carding fibers for color and texture in preparation to spin. Using pre-dyed and natural roving we’ll mix up the wool and other fibers to make new blends and create some fantastic yarn.

Wednesday is our Gathering/Meet Up day and we invite weavers and spinners to join us as we celebrate our community. From 10 – 3:30 we will gather in one our classrooms to share stories and inspiration, show and share the beautiful things we have made this year and generally just have a good time with those who understand fiber obsession. We will provide refreshments and a comfy space to hang out and look forward to meeting friends old and new.

So join us for a week of festivities and fun and rejoice in the richness and diversity of weaving and spinning. From the novice to the experienced, we hope to share with you a taste of what the spinning and weaving world has to offer.

How are you celebrating Spinning and Weaving Week?

 

 

Ready, Set, Knit! 328: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

Saturday, September 28th, 2013
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Store Manager Leslie Ann Bestor about the upcoming National Spinning and Weaving Week.

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National Spinning and Weaving Week

Kathy and Leslie Ann discuss the free demonstrations running from 11am – 1pm each day and  all the great mini workshops you can participate in over the course of the week:

Monday: Creating Texture on a Rigid Heddle Loom or Plying Mini Workshop, 2-4pm

Tuesday: Clasped Weft Mini Workshop 2-4pm

Wednesday is the Big Meet-up day from 10-3:30pm! Come on in and spin or weave and bring show and tell projects. We’ll have snacks and lots of fun!

Thursday: Fun with the Zoom Loom, 2-4pm

Friday: Fiber Preparation for Spinning Unique Yarns, 2-4pm

There will also be special deals and sales on select weaving/spinning tools and supplies – in store only. Remember the mini workshops are only $5.00 and you must pre-register.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

Note:

The Cover Sweater from our Fall 2013 Catalog has been hugely popular and has cleared out ALL stock of the yarn available in the US! WOW! Noro has actually put this one yarn color at the top of their production list because of your demand! and new shipments of Obi color #05 should be in stock by mid-November. If you don’t mind the wait, feel free to place an order for this color that will remain on back order until it is restocked, or check out some of the other color selections in the Obi yarn.

Reminder:

Ready, Set, Knit! Listeners get ready for a challenge!   The KnottyGirls Knitcast issued a challenge and started the Ravelry Podcaster Throwdown. They claimed that their listeners will turn in more hats for Halos of Hope by the end of Stitches West 2014 than any other podcast out there. You all know that Kathy has a competitive streak a mile wide and can’t resist a challenge! Steve has even stepped in and said that he will ship all the collected hats to Stitches West! Here’s what you need to do:

Make as many knit and/or crochet hats as you can (check here for preferred fibers and free patterns) and get them to us by February 1, 2014. Make sure each hat and package is labeled with “Team RSK!” Please mail all packages to:

WEBS
Attn: TEAM RSK!
6 Industrial Pkwy.
Easthampton, MA 01027

If you’re posting about your progress on Facebook or Twitter please use #PodcastThrowdown. And please join the Podcasters Throwdown Group on Ravelry and show your support in the Team RSK thread!

Upcoming Events:

Our 10th Annual Knit & Crochet for the Cure event is happening in store October 6 from 1-4pm. Please register!

WEBS is open regular hours on Columbus day weekend, closed on Sunday and open on Monday, while you’re here you should check out the Paradise City Arts Festival Oct 12-14 at the 3-County Fairgrounds.

Registration is open for our 7th Annual Bus Trip to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck on October 19th! Are you on the bus?

Stitches East is coming up! November 8-10 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. There are still lots of open seats in classes and the Market is not to be missed!

 

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Yarn Cake

Friday, August 2nd, 2013
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In the retail store, customers sometimes look at our ball-winder-and-swift set-up and ask us if we can wind their skeined yarn for them. “No,” we say gently. “We can show you how to do and you can get right on it.” There’s usually a look of panic, or a plea (“just for me? I can’t possibly.”) but we’re firm–because the beauty of a ball winder and a swift is that you can wind up any skein of yarn with less than three minutes of instruction, and it will usually take about 17 seconds for a long, twisty skein to turn into a firm, compact yarn cake. In my first years of knitting, I used to make my husband hold his arms out like a robot to wind a skein into a ball, and when he wasn’t around, I’d have my kids do it. However, it didn’t take long for them to become bored and annoyed at the constant demands on their time (very important things to do! Pokemon cards to look at! Legos to leave on the floor so that I step on them, barefoot, and cry!), and I’d start bribing them with candy, and then with cold, hard cash.

A tasty skein of Northampton Sport, wound into a cake!

A friend and co-worker convinced me to invest in a ball-winder and swift combo. I was really hesitant about doing this, because for some reason I thought that once I had the tools, I was expected to be a SERIOUS KNITTER. But the first time I hooked a skein onto that plastic swift and twirled the handle of the ball winder around for less than a minute, I was hooked. It was amazingly simple and the results are instantaneous. Ball winders, by the way, have a hilarious instruction manual in the packaging that is translated from Japanese and makes it all worthwhile. I have the plastic and metal swift, but we also sell a beautiful wooden swift that is much larger, and will probably be around when you teach your granddaughter or grandson how to knit. Spinners, weavers, dyers, and knitters can all benefit from a little fiber help, and these two indispensable tools will make your life a billion times easier.You can use either of these products separately–swifts can be used to wind spun fiber, and ball winders are great for coned yarns. Webs offers a fantastic deal on the two if bought together.

Now you can eat the M&Ms by yourself without having to parcel them out to the child who complains about how itchy the baby alpaca feels.

The Buzz at WEBS – April 5, 2013

Friday, April 5th, 2013
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week, the staff at WEBS is buzzing about…

I have been loving my Schacht Zoom Loom over the last week! I used Tahki Cotton Classic for a coaster and a Noro yarn that’s been sitting in my stash for a while to make a coaster and then a trivet by sewing 4 squares together. The Zoom Loom is easy to use, and the finished squares are versatile. You can use them as coasters, pockets, tech cases, or washcloths. Then, sew them together to make potholders, blankets, purses, scarves, or even add a knit or crocheted border to a finished square! > Jackie V.

(Left) I have been having a lot of fun crocheting coasters with the 8/2 Warp Linen. It works up such a nice rustic and sweet little project. It would be kind of fun to go even further with this idea and make a couple doilies or placemats. They’re perfect for coffee coasters because it doesn’t show the stains. You can find the pattern here or at www.greenkri.com  > Kristin L.

(Right) I have a new cowl pattern, Fluvial, that I’ve been working on for a bit and I had to try it in a few different yarns to find the right one. I was most happy with the Rowan Felted Tweed in the Peony. It’s a DK weight with a great halo and tweedy pops of color and just enough body to hold up in an open stitch pattern. > Sara D.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Weavers

Friday, November 30th, 2012
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If you’re still wondering what to get the weaver in your life Leslie Ann has some great ideas for you.

Gifts for the Weaver:

The Weavers CompanionThe Weavers’s Idea BookCustomer Woven InteriorsInterlaced 90The Schacht Cricket loom,  the Schacht Inkle LoomSchacht Cherry Boat ShuttlesValley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo, and Jade Sapphire Cashmere yarns

Schacht Cricket, the perfect starter loom.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
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Are you thinking about buying a Schacht Cricket loom for yourself or as a gift this year? Let WEBS Assistant Store Manager, Leslie Ann show you how easy it is to assemble.

Available in a 10″ or 15″ width, the Cricket is made of high quality apple ply and hard maple, and it’s left unfinished. Both sizes come with an 8-dent reed (sorry, no substitutions), a threading hook, warping peg, table clamps, two shuttles, and two balls of yarn.

The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick is an amazing resource for weaving on a rigid heddle loom and there’s a free weaving draft from S. Charles to try once you’ve got your loom assembled and you’re ready to weave.