Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

National Spinning and Weaving Week at WEBS

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
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October 1 – 7 is National Spinning and Weaving Week and WEBS is celebrating with a week of events, special activities and discounts! WEBS was founded and grew out of Barbara Elkins’ passion for weaving and we hope to share and spread that enthusiasm to weavers and spinners from novice to experienced (and perhaps entice some others to try their hand at it for the first time!).

In the spirit of sharing these time-honored arts, we will be featuring daily demonstrations of both weaving and spinning in the store from 11 am – 1 pm. These demos will be free and, we hope, will spark questions and conversation between the weavers and spinners and those watching. A great variety of techniques will be presented – both wheel and drop spindle spinning, floor looms, frame looms, rigid heddle and more. If you’ve ever wanted to see fleece spun into yarn or watch yarn woven into cloth, come on over and check it out!

In addition to the daily demos, we are also offering mini workshops to present a sampling of different techniques so that people can try something new and add to their toolbox of skills. If you’ve been curious about trying something new or just want to expand your skills, this is a great way to start. All mini workshops will run from 2 – 4 pm and cost $5. The schedule will be:

Monday: Spinning Exotic Fibers – Musing about mohair? Confused about cotton? This mini-workshop will explore several different exotic fibers like camel down, silk and cotton. We will also look at the different drafting styles that may suit each fiber.

Tuesday: Hand Techniques for Rigid Heddle Looms – Looking for some new techniques to add some pizzazz to your rigid heddle weaving? Join us for this workshop as we look at both hand-manipulated laces and pick-up stick patterns. We will also cover how to hemstitch your weaving while it is on the loom.

Thursday: Inkle Weaving –In this inkle loom workshop, you’ll see how to make heddles, dress the loom, start and end weaving, and, of course, how to actually weave.  If time permits, we’ll talk about how to plan a warp. There will be an opportunity for a little bit of hands-on work.

Wednesday is our big Meetup Day as we encourage weavers and spinners to come together and celebrate the beauty and joy that these crafts bring. We will have a space to hang out (with refreshments!) and socialize with others who understand what it means to weave at 56 epi or drool over handpainted BFL roving. There will be goodie bags plus the allure of the warehouse and store (have you seen the new Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo and the spinning fibers that have recently arrived?). Bring show and tell and share your stories of fibery adventures and inspirations.

Also on Wednesday, Barbara Elkins will be doing a computer loom demo from 1pm – 3pm.

In addition to all of the fun things happening at the store each day, throughout the week we will be offering a 10% discount in-store (in-stock only) on weaving and spinning tools and equipment.

So join us for a fun week as we celebrate the richness and diversity of spinning and weaving. Whether you’ve never tried it before or have been spinning and weaving for years, there’s something for everyone.

– Leslie Ann

The Buzz at WEBS – July 20, 2012

Friday, July 20th, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week the staff at WEBS is buzzing about a beautiful, lightweight shawl that’s perfect for warm weather knitting. Also, a warm and cozy cowl for when winter finally returns! And two fantastic book reviews from our weaving expert Barbara and our spinning expert Ashley.

For my first mystery shawl KAL, I decided to be good and went stash-diving. I unearthed a forgotten skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino and gave it some love by knitting up this airy lace shawl. The Lace Merino blocks out better than I dreamed, soft and drapey with crisp stitch definition. And as luck would have it, the autumnal red tones and lacy leaf motif go together perfectly! > Emma W.

It might be 100 degrees out right now, but we can’t forget that winter will come again eventually. Cowls are my favorite accessory and I wear them outside under a warm coat, as well as around the office on chilly mornings. The Valley Yarns Bell Lace Cowl is the perfect length. I can wear it long as an accessory, or wrapped around twice to be kept extra warm. It’s knit in super soft Northfield so its perfect to be worn up against the sensitive skin on your neck and face. > Grace H.

I like to spin on my Ladybug in the summer while I sit out on the deck in the evenings and I realized the other day that all my bobbins were full so I’ve been plying up a storm! From Left to right: Creatively Dyed Yarn fiber in the colorway Goat, Optim Merino from Ms. Gusset (a gift Kirsten H. brought back from Sock Summit last summer) and a batt of mystery fiber from Kathy Elkins massive destash event back in May. Now I have 7 empty bobbins to fill with singles! > Sara D.

The weavers among us are excited about a new book that just came in. It is Custom Woven Interiors, by Kelly Marshall, a Minnesota weaver and the owner of a production company of the same name. The book is part pictures of the warp rep rugs, throws, blankets, pillows, curtains and table fabrics in her home and part instructions for those projects. The drafts are mostly for 8 shafts, with some 6-shaft and some 10-shaft projects. Because the fabrics use a lot of colors of 5/2 cotton, but not a lot of each color in the warps, this seems like a great study group project. If each participant provides a few colors, the cost can easily be shared and everyone would come out with a great fabric. Sturdy looms required for the sett of 48 epi! > Barbara E.

Entering the complex world of natural dyeing can seem daunting, but Jenny Dean welcomes her readers to the exploratory process with clear and engaging information in Wild Color. All the equipment you’ll need and how to make sure your choice of dyepot doesn’t change your color results, how to mordant different types of fiber and choose the safest one to use for the color results you want, and how to safely work with toxic chemicals and plants without worry for your family or the environment. Color modifiers, Ph charts and a cool recipe for achieving 25 different color results from one dyebath! My favorite feature of this book is the copious information on the dye plants themselves, from flowers and leaves to barks and roots, with how to grow and/or harvest for the best color results, how much plant material is needed and the many different colors that can be drawn from the same plant. Last year’s dye experiments, guided by this wonderful compendium, yielded great results. I’m already harvesting new plants to add to my dyepot and looking forward to exploring all these wild colors. > Ashley F.

The Buzz at WEBS – June 29, 2012

Friday, June 29th, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

It’s been a very busy start to the summer here at WEBS! We’ve just moved into our new warehouse, and we’re working on getting everything settled. Fall yarns are already starting to arrive, and the staff at WEBS is buzzing about some of the new goodies we’ve received so far. Amy learned a new skill and managed to turn her first project into a fantastic zippered bag! Kathy’s buzz reminds us of why we love our Knitter’s Pride Dreamz needles and Dena shares one of her favorite new books.

I had the privelege of taking LA’s weaving class this winter. Our second project was a twill sampler out of 2/10 Merino Tencel.  I was not happy with mine until I realized I was weaving cloth that could be cut up to make things like zippered bags.  (I can be a little slow sometimes) I made seven bags out of my sampler and have plans for many more! > Amy S.

Frog Tree Ewetopia – As a spinner, I love to examine the new yarns and how they are constructed, and this one caught my interest. One single strand of superwash treated Merino wool is plied with a single of untreated Merino wool, giving a slightly marled quality to the yarn as both plies have absorbed the color a little differently. The superwash treated ply has a subtle shine against the matte quality of the untreated wool. The different treatments will add a unique texture to this yarn after blocking and the finished fabrics it works into will have a lovely squishy softness. A really interesting yarn, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the amazing projects folks will create with it! > Ashley F.

Imperial Yarn Columbia 2-Ply – I am in love with this yarn! The big 4oz hanks are so squishy and soft, I can imagine knitting a sweater I’d have forever. And I really like the fact that this yarn is from American wool, spun on old-school mule spinners, in a tiny town in Oregon. Imperial Stock Ranch is dedicated to sustainable land stewardship, so this yarn reflects my values. The colors are great, too– most of them are subtly heathered, and deep. I want a sweater in every color! Maybe it’s time to learn fair isle… > Kendra C.

I am so excited that our new 5/2 Bamboo has arrived! This yarn will be great for weaving all sorts of projects. The colors are vibrant and shimmery and the hand is soft and fluid. I think it is going to make wonderfully drapey fabric and can hardly wait to get it on my loom. I have been planning a rigid heddle project – a scarf with some lace details, I think. And speaking of lace, I think this will knit up into some beautiful lacework. The colors choices are incredible. > Leslie Ann B.

Dreamz Needles from Knitter’s Pride – We’ve had these needles for several months but after using them for my latest project I was reminded how great they are. These beautiful wooden needles are smooth and the yarn slides easily along and over the joins. I love the points – not to dull but not too sharp. If you’ve yet to try these needles, consider them for your next project! You can also check out a great video review here. > Kathy E.

I was impressed by how much information was packed into The Handknitter’s Yarn Guide book – all things yarn weights, yarn fibers, and yarn construction. If you enjoy shopping our yarn closeouts or are curious how different fibers such as camel or alpaca will knit up, this book is the perfect guide to helping you make yarn substitution decisions when choosing a yarn for your next project. > Dena C.

The Buzz at WEBS – March 23, 2012

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
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The Buzz at WEBS

This week, the staff at WEBS is buzzing about so many different things! Weaving, spinning, knitting and yarns all make an appearance.

We’re excited about this addition to our weaving inventory. Dovetail Tapestry Beaters are elegant, beautifully finished tools to aid detail work in many aspects of your weaving. Think weaver controlled techniques as well as tapestry weaving. The contoured shape and silky feel make them a pleasure to hold. The tines are smoothly finished so they will not snag your warp or weft and the finely pointed handles allow for delicate placement in the weft. They are made in four sizes: 2”, 1 ½”, 1” and ¾”. Size refers to width at the tines. See our website for prices and ordering information. > Barbara E.

The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn by Brenda Gibson offers a complete picture of the craft of spinning.  This book has everything from historical perspective and the basics of fiber preparation and handling, to the techniques for spindle and wheel spinning, and “recipes” to create many different kinds of yarns, all in one place. An excellent introductory book for someone just starting out in the exciting world of spinning and full of information even an experienced spinner can appreciate. > Ashley F.

I have to admit it–I don’t own any Noro! So why not start with Noro Shiraito? This luxurious yarn pairs Noro’s gorgeous colors with incredible softness. Since it’s perfect for next to the skin wear, a shawl or cowl would allow me to cuddle up to it while showcasing the shifting color changes. > Emma W.

A customer came to the shop wearing the pattern Courting Sophia which she’d knit in Valley Yarns Huntington. I fell in love with the variety of straightforward lace stitches and figured this was an oppportunity to use Madelinetosh  Tosh Lace in my new favorite color, Curiosity. This project, with its generous amount of stockinette stitch, works up quickly and I couldn’t be happier with my yarn choice. > Stephanie G.

I tend to knit with yarns that are in the fingering to DK range, but this winter when my sister showed me a super bulky circular scarf and asked for a similar one, I was happy to oblige.  I unexpectedly fell in love with the scarf I made her, (partially due to how quickly it grew!) and decided to make one for myself. It gave me a chance to try out Berroco Vintage Chunky, held doubled.  This yarn is so squishy, is easy to work with, and blocks beautifully. > Tina M.

With winter behind us and the warm weather here to stay, I’d love to know what’s on your hooks, needles and looms.  Do you stick to cotton and lace in the summer months or prepare for winter with warm woolies all year round?

Tuesday’s Weaving Tip – Using Fishing Line for Your Selvages

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
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Recently my co-worker Sara told me about using fishing line for your selvages to produce straight edges. I’ve always struggled with trying to keep the edges of my weaving even. So I couldn’t wait to try this in my next project.

The green towel I wove without fishing line, producing my usual uneven edge.

For the purple towel, I added fishing line (20 lb) to the selvages and weighted each to keep the tension taut. Not only was I able to easily weave an even edge, I was able to weave a lot faster. I could throw my shuttle across the shed without worrying about my edges pulling in unevenly. Weaving suddenly became a lot less fiddly.


Valley Yarns 4-Shaft Twill Towels

Once you take the weaving off of the loom, the fishing line can easily be slipped out of the finished fabric.

Edit: I’ve had some requests for additional information regarding this tip.

  • Tie the fishing line to the front apron rod.
  • Thred the fishing line along side the first and last warp ends in the reed.
  • Since the fishing line is a floating selvage, it does not go through any heddles.
  • If your pattern is a twill or other weave structure that would result in floats along the selvages, use the fishing line along next to your yarn floating selvage. (Thanks for pointing this out Sandra.)
  • The fishing line hangs over the back beam, weighted to keep the tension tight.
  • If you want to, you can reuse the fishing line for your next project after pulling it out.

I will definitely be using fishing line again for my next weaving project.

Happy Weaving!

-Dena

Tuesday’s Weaving Tip – How to Deal with a Sticky Shed

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
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This week’s tip comes from Barbara Elkins (founder of WEBS) as a result of a call from a customer who is weaving with mohair, but it applies to any sticky yarn.

When weaving with mohair or any fuzzy yarn, it is easier to get a clean shed with a direct tie-up.

Step on the treadle that lifts the first part of the shed, say, shaft 1. Keep that shaft up and then step on the second shaft you want to lift. It is easier to lift one-quarter of the ends in the warp and then join them with the second treadle rather than trying to lift half the ends at one time.

It may also be helpful to reach in back of the shafts from time to time to clear the shed and disconnect any ends that might be too friendly with each other.

Ironstone Yarns Brushed Mohair on Cones available at yarn.com

How do you deal with a sticky shed when you find your shuttle catching the wrong threads?

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Valley Yarns on Ravelry #12 – Charlemont for Accessories

Monday, February 6th, 2012
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I’m wrapping up the Valley Yarns Charlemont series with a collection of great projects, many of them available for free on Ravlery. There are cozy socks, cute fingerless mitts, a lacy shawlette, and two self-designed weaving projects. Really nice work everyone.


Bouton d’or socks
by Nicole Masson, knit by klynnknits
(pattern available for free on Ravelry)


Elm
by Cookie A, knit by chapala
(pattern from The Knitter’s Book of Socks)


Stepping-Stones
by Clara Parkes, knit by tinkrbell
(pattern from The Knitter’s Book of Socks)


Straightforward Mitts
by Simone Draeger, knit by MissusVonkysmeed
(pattern available for free on Ravelry)


Gallifrey
by Velma Aho, knit by Nileinthesky
(pattern available for free on Ravelry)


Holden Shawlette
by Mindy Wilkes, knit by whylion
(pattern available for free on Ravelry)


Waffle Scarves,
 woven by carpeyarnum
(Leslie Ann combined random skeins of fingering weight yarn for the warp and used a single color of  Charlemont in the weft.)


Defense Against the AC Shawl woven by knit4fun972
(Joanne gives details of her shawl on her Ravelry page.)

All of this love for Valley Yarns Charlemont has got me itching to start another project using this yarn. I’ve knit and crocheted with it. I think it’s time to finally trying weaving with it too. Leslie Ann has created some spectacular woven pillows using Valley Yarns Charlemont Hand Dyed. She’s working on writing up a draft for them now. Maybe that should be my next project.

What would you like to make with Charlemont?

The Buzz at WEBS – January 13, 2012

Friday, January 13th, 2012
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Check out what the staff at WEBS is buzzing about this week.

I recently knit a Danger Crafts monster with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted and I really enjoyed the yarn. It is super soft and I love that it’s machine washable. The next time I’m working on a project that needs to be easy to care for, I think I’ll take a closer look at Shepherd Worsted. I just love the colors too! > Mary K.-H.

I’m really excited about my new pattern Myceria! Both the mittens and hat are made top-down so you can customize the fit and the little ridges at the cuffs and brim have an interesting construction and add surprising detail. I enjoyed working with Valley Yarns Williamstown. It’s so soft, has great drape, even in fairly dense crochet work, and the little pops of tweedy color kept me smiling through the whole project. > Sara D.

I wanted to knit a cowl for a friend and was searching my stash for the softest yarn I could find. Filatura di Crosa Superior was the clear winner with its lofty cashmere. A quick search on Ravelry and I found a simple free cowl pattern by Patricia Scribner and was off to knitting in no time. Now that its finished I know I will need to make one for myself. It’s so light and airy, and crazy soft. It was also a great simple project I could work on if I only had a few minutes. No counting or concentrating required. Sometimes you just need that kind of project. > Dena C.

My New Year’s resolution is to get at least one holiday gift done each month of 2012. For January I’m working on a pair of Gnome Mittens by SpillyJane for my sister. I’m using mostly Valley Yarns Huntington and a few colors in Cascade Yarns 220 Fingering. I’m also using my go-to mitten needles, US size 2 Pony Pearls. I can be kind of rough on dpns and these have great strength as well as flexibility. > Sara D.

Best of Handwoven Technique Series: Twills on Four Shafts – This soon-to-be released eBook from Handwoven features a set of placemats in Valley Yarns 10/2 Valley Cotton designed and woven by Barbara Elkins and originally published in the March/April, 2001 issue of Handwoven. The pattern is an advancing point twill on 4 shafts that could easily be mistaken for a lot more shafts! It’s really easy to weave and takes just one cone each of 3794 Burgundy and 2629 Ink. Or adapt it to a 60/2 silk scarf using 666 Burgundy and 635 Navy.

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The Buzz at WEBS – January 6, 2012

Friday, January 6th, 2012
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Check out what the staff at WEBS is buzzing about this week.

Our Valley Yarns Longmeadow is one of my favorite yarns. It’s a wonderful cotton/acrylic blend that behaves nicely when knitting or crocheting with it. We’ve added two lovely new colors — Winter Lake & Persimmon. There are also lots of pattern choices for this yarn as well! > Kathy E.

The Manos del Uruguay Molly Vest is a wonderful project. My daughter knitted it while she was home visiting for a week. She used the Wool Clasica and the finished garment was great. She wore it home. I have recommended it to many customers and have received only positive reviews. It is high up on my list of knitted projects. If only I can get the time! > Marion H.

I’ve fallen in love with the new natural yarn closeouts we’ve received. Plymouth Yarn Earth Homestead is buttery soft with a lofty twist. I’m toying with the idea of making a cabled jacket out of this. Something that I can run my hands over frequently. Fibra Natura Shepherd’s Own is begging to be made into a blanket, something I can throw across my lap while I’m working with it. Both worsted yarns come in a beautiful range of natural hues, with lovely stitch definition and generous yardage. > Cara S.

Just before Christmas, I found my copy of Tot Toppers Plaid Hatter by Kate Oates and decided to make my kids and grandkids each one. Thankfully I had already stocked up on Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage Limited Edition Short Skeins and they worked out beautifully. Hopefully all the hats will be done by Sunday when we get together to exchange gifts. > Lise G.

I’m so excited that we have Gail Callahan’s new The Kangaroo Dyer’s Colorgrid in stock! The Colorgrid is a variation on the color wheel that really demystifies color for me. It’s a great tool for seeing what colors work together and how to add in other colors for pizzazz. I’m giving them to all my sisters, even the ones who don’t do fiber arts — the flower arranger and scrapbooker will use it as well! > Leslie Ann B.

I’m having fun playing with the Harrisville Designs Potholder Loom. Yes, making potholders with the included cotton loops is easy, nostalgic fun. But I’ve also been using the loom to make small soumac tapestry pictures. > Kirsten H.

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The Buzz at WEBS – December 9, 2011

Friday, December 9th, 2011
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This week the WEBS staff is buzzing about quick holiday knitted gifts, limited edition yarn and more.

1. With just a couple of weeks left for holiday knitting I was looking for a quick project. I had some Cascade Yarns Eco Cloud in my stash and I thought it would work up into a nice cowl. After a Ravelry search I found the Infinitude Scarf to be just the right project. Wow! I was amazed how quickly I finished this project, just two nights. I made the large size (skipping the last repeat) and used 2 skeins. I fell in love with Eco Cloud, so soft and squishy. I can’t wait to use this yarn again. I have a new favorite yarn. > Dena C.

2. Blocking Boards – Most knitters are givers, and don’t usually spend a lot of money on themselves. We use mattresses, carpets, and anything else soft and flat to block our projects on to stand in for a blocking board. But a blocking board is so much easier to use. It folds up neatly to be tucked away when not in use, and it has a grid on it so you can easily block to the right measurements. This would definitely be a treat for the knitter or crocheter in your life! > Grace H.

3. The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center 2012 Calendar – I love the new weaving calendar produced by the Harftford Artisans Weaving Center. Each month features a beautiful close-up photo of weaving which I find wonderfully inspiring. But wait, there’s more! The calendar also lists the dates of the various fiber festivals on the East coast making it easy to plan for fiber adventures! > Leslie Ann B.

4. I am making these Monstah Pants for my 8 month old Grandson, Jack.  What a wonderful, fun pattern to knit.  This pattern is by the Wandering Lady and is a free download on Ravelry.  One of the best things for me was picking wild and crazy colors for these pants.  The pants are knit in Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash and Valley Yarns Valley Superwash for ease of care. > Theresa B.

5. My niece turned 10 yesterday and no matter what I did, I could not come up with the perfect present! An eleveth-hour search on Ravelry brought me to the Shroom Hat from the Winter 2009 issue of Knitty. It’s a great slouchy hat knit in Spud & Chloë Outer. The yarn is super soft and warm and (the best part!) the hat took only two hours to knit! I even tried it on myself and it was super comfortable. I think I might need to whip one up for myself. It calls for two hanks of Outer, and I think I may be able to squeak out another hat with my leftovers if I buy one more hank. If you’re looking for a great, really last minute gift, this is a great choice. > Mary K.-H.

6. CISA Yarn – We have partnered with a local shepherd and our own Kangaroo Dyer to create a very special, but limited edition yarn.  It is 85% wool and 15% nylon.  All sales of this yarn will benefit CISA, which is a non-profit group dedicated to sustaining agriculture right here in Western MA. > Kathy E.

7. O-Wool Legacy DK – I recently used O-Wool Classic for some non-WEBS-related knitting, and fell in love with it. Then, I came in to the store to work a couple of days ago and saw that we had a closeout of O-Wool Legacy DK in some gorgeous muted colors! The hand is similar to the Classic, but it is just a bit lighter weight – for those of you out there planning your early spring knitting, this would make a great light sweater knit at a slightly loose gauge. I know that’s what I’m going to do with it, and I can’t wait until I’m able to pick some up! > Elisabeth P.