Posts Tagged ‘yarn’
The 2013 issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts is out and we couldn’t be happier. Our own Valley Yarns are featured in two projects!
First up are the Sailor’s Mittens designed by Michele Moskaluk, and knit in Valley Yarns Huntington. Worked from the cuffs up with increases to form the thumb gussets, these women’s mittens boast lively three color patterns on the palms and backs of the hands.
Second is the Southern Cross Afghan designed by Ann McDonald Kelly and knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash. This afghan is made of mitered triangles made into squares. The squares are then sewn together with borders, making an interesting and cozy blanket.
Which projects are you excited to make as gifts this year?
Have you seen the Fall 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet yet? With almost 20 projects ranging from cowls and shawls to blankets and sweaters there is plenty to choose from to keep you busily hooking through the Fall months. Our favorite project, and we admit our bias! is the Obi Scarf crochet in our very own Valley Yarns Northampton Sport.
Designed by Shelby Allaho this versatile design can be worn as a scarf or a belt and features a subtle blending of surface crochet, texture, and color-work creates a clever ribbon of fabric
What colors of Northampton Sport would you use?
Whether in our retail store, or on the phones in our Customer Service Department, we get asked this question quite frequently!
Unfortunately the answer is yes. And no, and sometimes!
How something feels against your skin is truly subjective and not only changes from person to person but can change depending on where on your skin we’re talking about. We set up a blind “taste-test” recently and pulled 10 employees in to get their descriptions of how the yarn felt. We used 4 different wool and wool blend yarns and one non-wool:
Lopi – a 100% Icelandic Wool, Zealana Willow – a 70%Wool/30%Cashmere blend, Plymouth Encore – a 75%Acrylic/25%Wool blend, Valley Yarns Northampton-a 100% wool, and Berroco Comfort a 50%Acrylic/50%Nylon blend
Each employee was blindfolded and wore mittens during the first part of the test. They were asked to hold each yarn against their face and neck and give 3 words to describe how the yarn felt against their skin. They were then allowed to hold the yarn in their hands without the mittens and asked if they would wear that yarn next to their skin. Most were surprised when they learned which yarns they had handled and how they had felt! Many repeated some of the same words and other words were used for all the wool and wool blends as you can see below.
Lopi: rustic, scratchy, bristly, coarse, itchy, hairy, fuzzy, lofty, rough, tickly, furry, wooly, steelwool, prickly
100% of participants said they would not wear this next to their skin. Lopi is intended as an outerwear yarn and none of the participants were surprised that this was the roughest yarn of the bunch (several participants even guessed correctly that this was Lopi with the blindfold on!).
Willow: smooth, wooly, mild, organic, soft, halo-ey, cozy, fuzzy, dense
70% said yes, 20% said no and 10% said maybe they would wear this next to their skin. Even cashmere isn’t a guarantee of comfort against the skin! Our no voter was surprised that they hadn’t felt like they could wear a 30% cashmere blend and only said no after touching the yarn with their hands.
Encore: smooshy, soft, squishy, fuzzy, not super itchy, wooly, picky, furry, squeaky, rough, itchy
30% said yes, 50% said maybe and 20% said no to wearing this next to their skin. With only 25% wool lots of knitters choose this year with the belief that the acrylic makes it softer in addition to its washability. Again the no voters were tipped to no votes after handing the yarn with their hands.
Northampton: soft, squishy, fuzzy, hairy, scratchy, picky, smooth, itchy
50% said yes, 20% said maybe and 30% said no to wearing this next to their skin, but the no votes needed consideration and were not as vehement as the no votes for the Lopi.
Comfort: soft, downy, fluffy, smooth, silky, cozy, slick, squishy
80% said yes, 10% said maybe and 10% said no to wearing this next to their skin. Surprise! Not even a super-soft and smooth acrylic blend feels good against everyone’s skin. One participant said, “I wouldn’t like to knit with this, it feels bad on my hands, but I would wear it next to my skin”
So they next time you think you don’t like wool because it’s scratchy, take a moment to reconsider. There are lots of wool breeds and blends out there and there may be one that’s perfect for you. Tell us if you’ve found your perfect wool or if you’ve changed your mind about using wool.
The No. 6 Shrug, designed by Maria Leigh, is knit using the new Skinny Wool.
Worked from each sleeve cuff toward the center back, this shrug has a great lacy detail at the cuffs and around the collar.
Which color of Skinny Wool would you use?
My last post, which ran a few weeks ago, had a glaring error, and it is this: I took it for granted that I am famous enough for the entire world to know who I am. I am indeed the new Education Manager, and my name is Amy Greeman. This is what I look like:
Ok, on to my pick this week. I lovelovelove Fall and Winter, which makes me an outcast in most groups. Knitters, however also love these seasons, because crisp air and cool temperatures mean lots of knitting. As I wander around the store, a few new yarns caught my eye and I thought I’d share them with you for your Fall knitting pleasure.
Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino is the Queen of the fingering-weight set. We haven’t had this particular yarn in the store for a VERY long time and I am thrilled it’s here now. There are loads of beautiful colors and it’s just begging to be knit into socks or hats, or a gorgeous shawl.
Shibui Pebble reached it’s sporty-weight hand out and grabbed me as I walked by our showcase for it. I’m a sucker for a sport-weight, and this blend of silk/wool/cashmere is balanced just right–not too stiff and not too drapey. I would make any sweater that incorporated a lacy or knit/purl pattern stitch with this.
Universal Yarn Infusion Handpaint was a surprise to me. I’m not that thrilled with a lot of variegation, because I like to do very textured knitting, but this wool/acrylic blend feels beautifully soft and the colors are really blended nicely. I could see a nice, thick winter scarf or shrug to keep in a chilly office in this superwash yarn.
Finally, my new favorite yarn, I must confess, isn’t new at all. It’s a luscious Cascade standby I recently discovered, Eco Highland Duo. I’ve knit a cabled cowl in it, and am using it for a much more technical knit now, this Kira K design that will be a gift for my mom.
What is your new Fall discovery? What will you be knitting while you watch football (or the new season of Homeland) on TV?
This week Kathy talks with Linda Pratt of Westminster Fibers about Schachenmayr Yarns and the exciting My Mountain yarn and hat pattern promotion.
Kathy and Linda talk about the bright crochet and knit hat trend that began last Spring in Germany and is taking off here for the Fall. Lots of colorful and fun, FREE hat patterns are available from Schachenmayr. They’ve also been running a design contest through their Facebook page which ends this week.
Steve’s Yarn Picks
- TSCArtyarns Vanessa
- TSCArtyarns Tranquility Glitter
- Pagewood Farms Garden Party
- Fable Fibers Novel
- Katia Oxford
- Classic Elite Solstice – Closeout
- Debbie Bliss Bella – Closeout
- Louisa Harding Mulberry – Closeout
Our Fall class schedule is live on the website and should be arriving in mailboxes soon, classes begin in mid-September.
It’s Labor day weekend! WEBS will be open normal hours today, 10:00am – 5:30pm but closed, tomorrow, Sunday Sept. 1 and Monday Sept 2. for the holiday.
Registration has opened for our 7th Annual Bus Trip to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck on October 19th!
We can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Twist Collective debuted. The Fall 2013 issue is out and we’re thrilled that it features two great patterns using our own Valley Yarns! Valley Yarns have been featured in many issues and we’re always excited to see what other designers are doing with our yarns.
First up is the Doverfell Cardigan, a zippered hoodie pattern available in both adult and child sizes.
This pattern features some gorgeous cables in combination with moss stitch for a body hugging dress that really shows off your curves, and with the saddle shoulder construction those sleeve cables aren’t interrupted at the shoulder.
What’s your favorite pattern from this collection?
If you haven’t begun following them on Facebook yet you may just want to! Twist Collective is celebrating their 5 year anniversary with all kinds of goodies and give-aways.
Although my poor grandmother tried to teach me to knit when I was nine years old, I had absolutely no patience for fine motor skills at that point, and was much happier playing with her jewelry. I didn’t learn to knit until I was an adult, and I learned very traditionally: straight needles, follow a pattern, make a bottom-up sweater with set-in sleeves and a crew neck. When I started working at Webs shortly after I had gained some mastery of the craft, I was astounded at the variety of designs, techniques, and yarns I encountered. It was overwhelming, but I wanted to try it all. The one thing I stuck to was knitting any sort of tube with double-pointed needles. I honestly tried to use Magic Loop, two circulars, anything but DPNs. However, I don’t love knitting socks ( I have made exactly three socks) and I loved the way my DPNs made hats, baby booties, and sleeves on sweaters look. I’m always on the lookout for really great needles, and I think I have found my DPN mecca: Knitters Pride Karbonz. I recently knit baby sweaters for twins to be born in September, and the pattern was a beautifully easy top-down raglan with the sleeves picked up and knit on DPNs. I did one sweater with my old faithful Dreamz needles, but picked up a set of the Karbonz to try on sweater #2.
Reader, it was heaven.
The Karbonz shaft gripped the yarn just right–it slid easily but didn’t slide off. The tips are sharp and glide-y but they didn’t split the yarn, and there was no discernable bump or glitch at the place where the tip met the body of the needle. Best of all, they look super-badass. Shiny silver tip attached to a matte black needle made me feel a little naughty, even though the project they were attached to was the most adorable peach and lime green baby kimono. Karbonz are available in circulars as well, and we’ve just added interchangeable sets, too. They are well worth the slightly higher price point, and will last until your granddaughters refuse to learn to knit with them.
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 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.