We’re always excited when March rolls around and we have the added incentive to feature extra crochet content! While we do work to make sure that crochet is represented throughout the year it’s really nice to make it our focus for a month each year.
We’ll be talking about the different crochet hooks we carry, we’re introducing a new styling guide on the blog for our Valley Yarns patterns and the first featured pattern is crochet. Our Ask WEBS posts will focus on answering your crochet questions this month, and we’ll launch the 2nd square in our WEBS Mystery Crochet-a-Long (It’s not too late to get started, you can join the CAL at anytime!)
Be sure to check out the hundreds of crochet patterns available on our website, with almost 200 FREE crochet patterns there’s sure to be something for everybody. And if you’re able to visit our retail store this month be sure to check the yarn swatches for all our new yarns, there are knit and crochet swatches for each!
Norah talks about overbooking herself with independent design work as she settled into her new work schedule, working with new yarn companies, and all the teaching she’s been doing. You can check out her teaching schedule here and if you can’t make it to one of her workshops you can knit along with Norah on Creativebug.
Shop Hop Bag Day is next Saturday March 14th, present a shop hop bag from any of the past I-91 Shop Hops and receive 15% off your entire purchase! In store purchases only.
American Red Cross Blood Drive March 17th at our Northampton MA retail location – Give on St. Patrick’s day with a donation of blood for those in need! Donate blood or platelets. Give blood and you could help save up to three lives.
Not to belabor the point, but we’ve had more snow in the last month than we had all last winter. As much as I like winter, I’m now throwing up my hands and admitting defeat. This week, I thought I’d spotlight some fun yarns in vibrant, warm colors to get us all thinking about spring. Even though some of my picks are built for cold-weather projects, it will still lighten my thoughts to see these intense shades on the needles.
Debbie Bliss Paloma is a bulky-weight yarn but the slightly tubular chainette construction makes it feel super-light. And the rich dark pink that caught my eye would make a great-looking tam to take you from freezing outdoors to cozy inside. Cascade Avalon Multi in a sweet pastel palette would be perfect for a pullover vest or shrug to layer over a long-sleeve tee. And who doesn’t love Madeline Tosh? Tosh DK in Fluoro Rose makes a bold statement, so just a little will go a long way. Maybe a loose cowl or some fingerless mitts? It’s never too early to plan your garden, and to help with that, take a peek at Schachenmayr Tahiti in a variegated green/yellow/teal color combo. It can’t help but bring lacy flowering shrubs and lilac bushes to mind.
Are you thinking of spring? What would be your dream color or project?
It’s finally time to cast-on, or chain to begin your squares!
Knitters: We’re making a tiled pattern of embossed diamonds with ALL of the shaping happening on the wrong side of the work! That’s right you’ll be increasing and decreasing on the purl side. It’s also a perfect background for some duplicate stitch embroidery, or a monogram, and this square is even reversible!
Crocheters: We’re making yo-yos! And before you fret about having to make lots of little circles and sew them together make sure you watch our tutorial video. These little circles are made in two parts and joined as they are created!
This week, I’m thrilled to show off this beautiful colorwork sweater Oranje, which was knit by one of our loyal customers, Martha. You can see her project notes here on Ravelry.
Not only was this Martha’s first colorwork sweater, it was her first steeked project as well. She eased her nerves about steeking by reading lots of information about how other knitters approach the technique. Martha adapted the pattern to incorporate a fair amount of ease and modified the sleeves to a 3/4 length. The pattern calls for yarns that WEBS doesn’t carry, but Martha substituted Madelinetosh Pashmina, and WEBS’ own Valley Superwash DK.
Martha says, “The finished sweater is warm and soft and feels more like a favorite sweatshirt!” Hopefully you’ll be sufficiently inspired by Martha’s work to cast on for a project that includes some new techniques you’ve been curious about. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you can accomplish!”
If you’re proud of a project you’ve recently completed, tell me about it! Please send all your info, and images, along to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for supporting WEBS and I hope to see you in the store soon.
Our Spring 2015 Catalog is online and is making it’s way to your mailboxes and with it comes a whole new bunch of Valley Yarns patterns. We thought we’d share some styling suggestions for some of our patterns this year to help make these sweaters and accessories a part of your everyday wardrobe.
First up is our Plesti Fair Isle Pullover, knit in Valley Yarns Northampton. This sweater features a wide scoop neck and a slightly over sized fit making it feel more like a comfy boyfriend sweater, but it can easily be dressed up. This sweater would also look great as an extra layer over a shirtwaist dress with a pair of knee boots!
Though the fair isle work may look complicated there are never more than 2 colors in any row and the motifs are fairly large and easy to memorize as you knit. If you feel you need some practice before tackling the sweater the pattern includes a matching hat that ‘s not only a great to practice your color-work but makes a perfect swatch as well! You have over 3 dozen colors to choose from in Valley Yarns Northampton so the options are nearly endless.
Kathy and Shirley talk about the design process, how to make a meaningful swatch, to slow down with your knitting, and Shirley’s upcoming Design Retreat at WEBS in May(please note the retreat is currently full). You can find Shirley on Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter.
Stitches WEST is happening today and tomorrow at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Stop by the WEBS booth and say hi!
The Stitch Sprouts Trunk Show is this Thursday night from 5:30-7:30! Meet designers Gudrun Johnston, Heather Zoppetti and Angela Tong, grab copies of their books and patterns, check out samples, and purchase their new yarn Yellowstone. The event is free but please register in advance!
It’s that time of year! New yarns are rolling in and the new yarns and patterns from Rowan have us itching for warmer weather. (The frigid weather and feet upon feet of snow isn’t helping matters much either!)
Rowan Cotton Lustre blends cotton, modal, and a touch of linen into a tape yarn that is super light. This worsted weight yarn is machine washable and comes in an array of colors that have us thinking Spring and the beach. There’s a dedicated pattern book where you’ll find 13 gorgeous designs. Rowan Cotton Lustre includes garments that have loads of beautiful texture.
Rowan Tetra Cotton is another tape-style yarn. This 100% cotton yarn is light and airy and comes in variegated colors. The dedicated pattern book, Rowan Tetra Cotton, features projects for men and women that range from openwork cardigans to textured sweaters.
Rowan Summerlite 4-Ply is a machine washable, 100% cotton. It is fingering weight, so it’s perfect for lighter garments and accessories. Rowan Summerlite 4-Ply is a collection of garments designed by Martin Storey. You’ll find cables, lace, and other textures in the featured garments.
And, of course, you can’t forget Rowan Magazine 57. Always a wonderful collection of patterns, this book features three stories: daydream, relic, and essentials. Daydream is a collection of feminine knits inspired by romanticism. The designs have a fun, modern feel with a slight 1950s retro influence. Relic is a collection of men’s and women’s knits inspired by the past and the colors and textures of ancient architecture. In Essentials, you’ll find key shapes and textures on trend, designed into easy to wear styles.
The Year of the Sheep, according to the the Lunar New Year, begins tomorrow and I am excited to celebrate. Partly because the sheep is described as a sign of creativity, but mostly because I love the soft, curly, squishy fleece sheep produce. Wool fiber and yarn are staples of the textile arts and for good reason. Wool is warm, making it perfect for winter blankets and throws, scarves and shawls and wraps. And it dyes beautifully, giving us colorful palettes of vibrant hues with which to weave cloth.
I love to weave blankets and wool is my fiber of choice, especially this year as I stare at the mountains of snow that are piled outside my New England home. Jaggerspun Heather is a beautiful 100% wool with stunning heathered colors and a true bargain with 498 yds per 100g skein. The sett is 12 – 16 epi, which makes a cozy, warm blanket that weaves up incredibly fast. And – spoiler alert! – we will have a fantastic draft for a lap robe in deflected doubleweave available in early April!
Another of my favorite wool blends is Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel. The tencel in this yarn adds a lovely sheen and drape, making this a great choice for shawls that feel like a warm, comforting hug. We have experimented with the care on this yarn and have had good success washing hand wovens on a gentle cycle in cool water following by air drying. Check out Draft #61 Plaited Twill Shawl for an 8-shaft weave (I love the plaited effect that makes it seem like a weave within a weave) or try the Dornik Twill Throw, Draft # 7, for 4-shaft looms. Barbara just wove a new version of this throw in a different colorway; the color range of the yarn lends itself to many great combinations.
For pure luxury it’s hard to beat Jaggerspun Zephyr, which is a 50-50 blend of merino wool and silk. Although the sett is not too fine (20 – 30 epi), the yarn is soft and light and feels like sinking into a cloud. We combined two closely related colors to create a lacy shawl that is almost iridescent, with warp and weft floats that shimmer. There are lots of colors to choose from, so you can create your own combination to weave the Zephyr Shawl in Atwater-Bronson, Draft #67.
So start counting sheep and the ways we love them (as an aside – it’s lambing season, which is about as lovable and cute as it gets! Visit the website of your favorite sheep farmer to confirm this and say “awww”.). And since it is the Year of the Sheep, how will you celebrate with wool in your weaving?
About her first design, the Shawl Collar Stole, she says, “Anyone who has wrapped this baby around the shoulders does not want to take it off. Truth be told, I enjoyed the lush softness of the piece while I was creating the sample; this from a crocheter who has allergies, among them wool. Thick yarn, big hook, zero finishing, quick work, nearly instant gratification.”