Posts Tagged ‘WEBS Designer in Residence’

Designer in Residence – Collar Your Dreams from Fiona Ellis

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
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Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her third design, the Collar Your Dreams Cardigan, in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK - learn more at blog.yarn.com

Wow! July already and with all that glorious, hot summer weather, but before you know it a chill will settle into our evenings and the leaves will begin to change color as Autumn approaches. Once it does you’re going to wish you had a fantastic cardigan to ward of that cool weather. Fiona’s newest pattern as our Designer in Residence, Collar Your Dreams, may just be that perfect cardigan!

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her third design, the Collar Your Dreams Cardigan, in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK - learn more at blog.yarn.com

The Collar Your Dreams cardigan is the experienced, or adventurous, cable knitters dream, intricate and fun with just enough challenge! The cables, that incorporate eyelet holes alongside the crosses, were inspired by iron work and form shapes reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. This multi-season cardigan sports a shawl collar worked in short rows and elegant, feature waist shaping.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her third design, the Collar Your Dreams Cardigan, in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK - learn more at blog.yarn.com

Knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK, with over 20 colors to choose from this one is sure to become a favorite wardrobe staple! Which color will you choose?

Designer in Residence – the Lace Stole from Doris Chan

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
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June is here and summer is just around the corner! While we might all be ready for poolside barbeques and heat waves, Mother Nature seems to have different plans. It’s been rather chilly in the Northeast lately and the newest design from Doris Chan might be the perfect thing to keep you warm at that Graduation or late Spring wedding! The Lace Stole, crocheted in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel is the third design from Doris Chan as WEBS Designer in Residence.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her third design the Lace Stole in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel - learn more at blog.yarn.comLace accessories are not about warmth or coverage; they’re all about drama. Yes, in the cold you could gather up the Lace Stole and softly twist it around your head and neck for a scarf and enjoy the cozy feeling of silky wool yarn. But the glorious nature of a lace weight stole is truly revealed when you think of it as a statement piece. This whisper-light, crush proof, packable stole is born for travel. Simply stash it in a compact bundle in your bag (hopefully protected from snagging on anything), and when the moment is right to transition from dress-down casual to dress-up drama, pull it out, shake it loose with a flourish, and fling it around your shoulders. Graciously accept all the compliments!

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her third design the Lace Stole in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel - learn more at blog.yarn.comWhether you prefer classic neutrals, or rich jewel tones, there’s a shade of 2/10 Merino Tencel that’s perfect for your own version of the Lace Stole. Which color will you choose?

Made to Border – Exploring Cables with Fiona Ellis

Thursday, May 21st, 2015
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It’s no secret that I am a big fan of cable patterns, and ever since my designs were first published (1999) I have been exploring creative ways to update the classics.

Exploring cables with Fiona Ellis on the WEBS Blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

I have long held the notion that maybe cables don’t have to be strictly vertical in placement with the same row pattern being repeated over and over. Maybe they can change, or morph, into new patterning so that they appear to determine their own path through the garment piece. I have played with this notion a lot over the years – Made to Border is my latest in this series of what I call “morphing cables” designs.

Along the way I have designed patterns where the cable gets wider and wider until it forms a yoke, attached I-cords to give the appearance of the cables beginning outside of the fabric piece, cables that have just given up and become simple stockinette, or ones that extend beyond a hemline or have parts cut away. The idea is always to make it look deliberate, rather than something odd happening because the knitter forgot to follow the pattern. In order to achieve this look I have found that each section has to relate to each other rather than simply introducing (in the words of Monty Python) “something completely different”.

What this means for the knitter is that there is often a complete change of pace part way through a garment, which I hope makes for interesting knitting – a carrot being dangled as it were. Of course there is a comfort to a learned pattern being repeated over and over, but sometimes we want something a little more challenging or to break up the regularity. The downside is that the charts for this type of patterning can be large and somewhat daunting at first glance. But they always build on the patterning that you have already worked (remember Monty Python), so when you do reach the point of change it seems like a natural progression.

Exploring cables with Fiona Ellis, Made to Border, on the WEBS Blog - read more at blog.yarn.com

In Made to Border I have lightened the overall look of the cabled garment by adding lacy elements. Nestled in between the lace are simple rope cables, which slowly begin a journey through the piece, first defining the border and then playfully diminishing in size, before finally becoming the simple rope once again. The lacy element comes along for the ride by being reintroduced in the center of each diamond shape. The cardigan is edged with an elegant attached I-cord, which you will know from my earlier posts is a personal favourite in combination with cables, but is also a minimal finishing look which doesn’t detract from the cables within the piece.

I hope that you have as much fun knitting this project as I had designing it! If you would like to hear more about what inspires me please join me on my website where I post on a new theme on the 9th of each month – I call it On-line, On-nine.

Happy cabling!

Designer in Residence – Made to Border from Fiona Ellis

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
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With the warmer weather finally starting to settle in we couldn’t be happier to present the latest design from Fiona Ellis, Made to Border! This cute little cap sleeve cardigan is perfect for throwing on over a tank top or light summer dress. The main feature of this design is the border patterning which morphs into gradually diminishing cables. The top is completed with simple edging and a knitted tie closure.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence. Her third design, the Made to Borger cardigan, in Valley Yarns Northfield - learn more at blog.yarn.com

 

Made to Border will soon become your go to layering cardigan! The silk content of the Valley Yarns Northfield gives your stitches shine which enhances your stitch definition, a total plus with cable work, while the baby alpaca give it the softest halo, and the merino ties it all together into a springy yarn that is a joy to knit.

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

Which of Fiona’s designs is your favorite so far? Which sweater are you working on?

Designer in Residence – Motif Bolero from Doris Chan

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
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April has arrived already and the next design from Doris Chan is here! The Motif Bolero is crocheted in two colors of our Valley Yarns Charlemont,  a lovely sock/fingering weight blend of superwash Merino wool and silk, the color sequence tends to emphasize the geometry of the motifs. For a less patchwork look go with a single shade, or choose your own color combination!

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her second design the Motif Bolero in Valley Yarns Charlemont - learn more at blog.yarn.com

The Motif Bolero is a unique, open-front jacket constructed from granny-style motifs that have been updated with open stitch rounds for a lacy look and pretty drape. Pentagons form the V-neck and shaped shoulders. Squares fill in the underarms and complete the boxy body, which falls just below the waist.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her second design the Motif Bolero in Valley Yarns Charlemont - learn more at blog.yarn.com

This is a great piece to layer for Spring. Pair this little jacket with a flirty spring dress or your favorite t-shirt and jeans. What colors of Charlemont will you choose?

 

 

 


Designer in Residence – In the Loop from Fiona Ellis

Friday, March 6th, 2015
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It’s time to reveal another wonderful design from Fiona Ellis. This time around we have a stunning transitional sweater in a vibrant color that’s perfect to help shake off those winter blues.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence, her second design the In the Loop sweater in Valley Yarns Southwick - learn more at blog.yarn.com

In The Loop is a longer-line fitted top with cap sleeves worked in Valley Yarns Southwick in the rich African Violet colorway. Both the back and front feature an intricate cable pattern that incorporates textured stitches within the loops. And the neckline has a unique I-cord feature which gives the appearance of the cable pattern spilling out of the fabric and looping around on itself, while the cap sleeves have simple rope cables.

Fiona Ellis WEBS 2015 Knitwear Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.comWear In the Loop with a bold print skirt, pair it with a long-sleeve t-shirt and some khakis, or a flirty floral top that peeks out at the hem and a simple denim skirt. This one is a great wardrobe staple that you’re sure to keep coming back to.

Designer in Residence – Doris Chan

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
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Our new Designer in Residence program is off to an amazing start! This month we reveal the first design from our Crochet Designer in Residence Doris Chan, The Shawl Collar Stole.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence, her first design the Shawl Collar Stole in Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky - learn more at blog.yarn.com

With a bit of clever shaping, The Shawl Collar Stole is a meltingly soft stole that drapes beautifully and securely around the shoulders. The wide top band in gentle ribbing turns over to form a snuggly collar. The back is curved to create some roominess through the arms and allow the fronts to sit properly. The stole is just wide enough for comfortable coverage, but not so wide that you’re constantly sitting on the back, and the fronts have enough wrap-around length without getting in your way. Valley Superwash Bulky makes the crocheting quick and smooth, while the relaxed gauge and open lacy stitch pattern keep this stole surprisingly lightweight yet cozy without being stuffy.

Doris Chan WEBS 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence - learn more at blog.yarn.com

We asked Doris to tell us about about how she designs, what she finds inspiring, and to give us a hint about what we can expect to see throughout the year.

Tell us a bit 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?

Unless an editor requests a specific silhouette or style, I will always begin with yarn. Yarn in the hands speaks to me in ways I don’t completely understand and begins a process not easily explained. I have referred to this process as organic designing rather than technical designing. A technical designer may create a completed project in the mind, perhaps to the point of being able to write a pattern, before ever picking up a hook. That designer has only to plug in an appropriate yarn and crochet according to the plan, or have a contract crocheter make the sample. An organic designer grows things from yarn. Sounds idiotic and overly simplistic when put that way, but it does describe how it feels to me. It’s not that technical designers don’t care about yarn or that organic designers are space cadets. Designers aren’t totally one or the other, just as no person is totally right brained or left brained. Good design is a cocktail of the two in different proportions, plus a dash of individual skill and aesthetics.

On my technical side, I possess a personal bag of crochet tricks or techniques on which I often fall back; years of experience (trial and error) have granted me a feel for seamless construction, working lace stitch patterns in relaxed gauge, shaping and manipulating fabric. But for me there can’t be design until I grok the yarn in a fairly intense, hands-on way. I sometimes take the yarn for a series of test drives(some call it swatching) before I arrive at the place I need to be. Once there is good fabric, then the project can grow from there.

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? 

Surely you jest. I am a serious slug and hardly leave my home. As an admitted sci-fi fan geek I immerse myself not in colors and fashion or artistic images, but in works of fantasy. Not that I design sci-fi fangeek crochet (not much anyway!), but I do tap into the sense of wonder, the outside-the-box possibilities that are at the core of my favorite guilty pleasures. My friends and readers inspire me. I may ask what sort of crochet they’d like to see, and then make it so. I also look backwards quite often, seeking out images and descriptions of vintage or retro pieces that can be translated into crochet-speak and given contemporary appeal. But what inspires me most is meeting a yarn that doesn’t want to live in my usual comfort zone. This pushes me to work even farther outside the box and leads me to different techniques, fresh approaches and new solutions in order to make that yarn happy in crochet.

Tell us about your design aesthetic. What can our customers expect to see from you this year?

My aesthetic is governed by what I believe looks and feels right on the body. Wearable, doable garments and accessories in flexible, forgiving fabrics that are shaped to fit and flatter are what I love to design. I prefer working in one single solid color, the better to showcase the crochet stitchwork. BUT…occasionally I wander over to the dark side and design afghans. That’s where I play with color. Nothing is as satisfying as making something amazing for your home to look at and enjoy every day

Tell us about your favorite Valley Yarn, is there a Valley Yarn you are excited to work with? 

My favorite Valley Yarn to date, mainly for the reason that I am allergic to and cannot wear wool, is Goshen. I have designed extensively in this lovely cotton blend, and it is my go-to medium worsted yarn for my own personal crocheted garments. I eagerly anticipate working again with fine gauge Charlemont and the growing family of Valley Superwash, now in DK, worsted and bulky weights.

What designers do you like/follow? Are there designs you wish you had time to knit/crochet/sew?

Majorly unfair question. Honestly I’d rather NOT know what everyone else is doing, so as not to be unduly influenced by anyone. If you want to accuse me of being a lazy slug, that’s another way to say it. I do follow with understandable interest the work of my boss at DesigningVashti.com, Vashti Braha. She often takes her crochet in directions I fear to tread and with enviable passion.

And don’t forget, we’ll have a new design from Fiona Ellis next month and each odd numbered month of the year. Check out her designs here. And we’ll reveal the next crochet design from Doris Chan in April, and in each even numbered month this year! You can see all her designs here.

Ready, Set, Knit! 387: Kathy talks with Fiona Ellis

Saturday, January 24th, 2015
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS 2015 Knitting Designer in Residence, Fiona Ellis. Fiona’s first design in the series, the I Feel Vine cardigan, is available now.

Ready, Set, Knit! ep. 387 - Kathy talks with Fiona Ellis about the WEBS Designer in Residence program - listen now at blog.yarn.com

To learn more about the Designer in Residence Program read our blog post here, and to learn more about Fiona’s design process read her blog post here.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Sign up now for the WEBS Mystery KAL or Mystery CAL classes before they fill up!

Upcoming Events:

Our 9th Annual Pre-Game Event is coming up on Feb 1st – It’s free but be sure to register!

Join us for a Yarn Tasting with Cascade Yarns on Feb 12th.

Don’t miss your chance to meet and talk with Norah Gaughan on March 7th!

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

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.