May 26th, 2016

Want to be Inspired?

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Do you have a knitter in your life who consistently amazes and inspires you? Someone who tackles challenging projects and actually finishes them on a timely basis? As Store Manager, I’m fortunate to get to know lots of WEBS customers and their work. Sometimes I’m so impressed that I ask them to be sample knitters for the store. I’d like to introduce you to one of these ladies today. Her name is Susan Drew and if you’ve been in the store and admired one of our samples, there’s a good chance that she knit it.

Susan and I have had many occasions to talk and when I hit on the idea of featuring some of our customers and their beautiful work as an occasional feature of my blog posts, I immediately thought of her. Susan is one of the smartest, accomplished and conscientious knitters I know. We sat down a couple of weeks ago to talk about her knitting life.

Customer project spotlight on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Clockwise from top left: Russian Medallion Shawl by Inna Voltchkova(Piecework Sept/Oct 2015) in JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, Curry. Kowhai and Fern Shawl by Margaret Stove from Wrapped in Lace in Juniper Moon Farm Findley, White. Daydreams in Lace by Brooke Nico(Knitter’s Magazine 100, Fall 2010) in Jojoland Ballad, Coffee Beaded Diamond Shawl by Catherine Devine in Schaefer Yarn Company Andrea Beaded Wedding Purse by Susan Rainey in Red Heart Fashion Crochet Thread (size 5), Silver This shawl was knit by my mother in the early 1960’s. I do not know the name of the pattern or yarn.

 

Like many of us, Susan’s mother taught her to knit at the age of eight. After a 20 year hiatus (during which she worked and raised a family), Susan picked up the craft again, exploring a new world of fibers, teaching herself new techniques, attending Stitches conventions, and enrolling in our WEKP program five years ago. After some initial difficulty with a complicated lace shawl using 100% silk yarn, she realized two things: she was intrigued by lace knitting and, lace was not the type of knitting she’d be able to do for the rest of her life (fine yarn and tiny charts!). Susan wanted to create a collection of exquisite knits to pass on to future generations who would wear them and appreciate the art and craft of knitting.

Susan has built her Heirloom Collection around projects that she loves the most. A stole that her mother knit was the piece that launched her Collection. She is drawn to traditional lace from around the world and is intrigued by the stories behind the designs, particularly Estonian and Russian creations. She’s even made her peace with nupps using bamboo needles that she sharpens herself! Susan credits Ravelry as a research tool for upcoming projects and as a means of communication with other knitters and designers world-wide. A portion of Susan’s Heirloom pieces are featured in the photos here. All knit with luxurious fibers, being able to appreciate them in person was a real treat.

I join Susan in her belief that knitting is one of the most rewarding things that we do. Knowing that we’ve used our own hands to make something unique is a pleasure that all crafts people share. We are all very privileged in perpetuating a centuries-long art and making it our own.

If you know of knitters or crocheters who inspire you, drop me a note.  I’d love to share their work here.

Knit away!

May 25th, 2016

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – Favorites!

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This week I thought I’d share some of my favorite yarns from the Anniversary Sale this year. I knit and crochet but these yarns are versatile enough to be perfect for both and they all make great stash yarns for future, unknown projects!

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - staff favorites. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I love a good one skein project and Frosted Leaves from Louisa harding is just that! A simple, repeating leaf motif with a garter stitch border that shows off the stunning self-striping colors of Amitola Grande, this pattern is one I keep in the last minute gifts folder. Not only is it a free pattern but the yarn is a heavy worsted weight and one skein completes the project. During the sale that means this whole project only costs you $17.49! Amitola Grande is a single ply yarn with a blend of 80% wool and 20% silk, you get warm fluffyness from the wool and strength and shine from the silk, and there are some gorgeous colorways here.

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - staff favorites. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’ve made several projects with yarns from Mrs. Crosby and Train Case is one of the best.  A blend of  superwash merino, nylon and Outlast – that futuristic rayon fiber technology that continuously interacts with your body to moderate your temperature and keep you from being too hot or too cold. The future is here! not only that but it’s machine washable. The hand dyed colors of this yarn are just stunning and sometimes you really need to just let them take center stage. And sometimes you need a project that has lots of visual interest when finished but doesn’t take a lot of brain power in the making, I can’t keep track of a complicated project and pay attention at my daughter’s softball game! The Color Affection Shawl is just the right fit, lots of easy-peasy garter stitch and simple stripes to keep you going without too much effort, and the result is a stunning shawl!

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - staff favorites. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Jo Sharp yarns are just some of the classiest yarns I have in my stash. Silk Road DK Tweed is an incredible blend of 85% wool, 10% silk, and 5%cashmere in earthy, organic tones with pops of tweedy color. The two-ply structure and fiber blend knit up into a fabric with a beautiful hand and great drape but it still has a good amount of body. I love this yarn for garments. I am also a big fan of versatile patterns and the Wide Collar Vest and Cardigan pattern is just that. Take your pick of a cropped cardigan or a longer vest, both with generous lapels. The vest seems like the kind of layering piece that I would wear a lot! Loose and casual with a tshirt and jeans around the house, or more tailored and belted with dress pants and a button down shirt for the office.

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - staff favorites. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Finally, Berroco Ultra Alpaca is one of the first yarns that I stashed and I keep finding ways to use it, it’s just that good. With over 40 incredible colors, in soft heathered solids from striking jewel tones to classic neutrals, there’s color for almost every project you can imaging.  The Avocet B sweater, a free PDF, is one that’s been in my queue for a long time and this might just be the right time to cast on. An incredible comfy cardigan in all-over garter stitch, I might just live in this one!

So there you have 4 of my favorite yarns from the May portion of our Anniversary Sale. What are some of your favorites and what plans are you hatching for them?

May 24th, 2016

Introducing Valley Yarns Bromley

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Everytime I turn around we have a brand new Valley Yarns pattern or a new Yarn and I think it can’t get any better than this. And then it does! This past week Bromley arrived and I can’t stop dreaming about ways to use it.

Valley Yarns Bromley on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Let me tell you about this yarn. Two gently spun singles are loosely plied around one another for a yarn that works beautifully at a DK weight when knit a bit on the loose side and as a sport weight if knit a little tightly. This stuff is so soft! The cashmere is, cashmere, with all the inherent soft-as-a-cloud-ness that you would expect. The super kid mohair brings 2 important qualities to the yarn, a fiber that takes the dye differently than the cashmere base for a more deeply heathered look and an underlying shine to the finished yarn. There’s a faint shimmer to this yarn, an almost opaline quality.

Valley Yarns Bromley on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Once I swatched this beauty I knew that I wanted to wear it next to my skin, a lot! I wear fingerless mitts at work almost every day to keep my hands warm while I’m at my desk and I remembered the Orchid Mitts pattern for our now discontinued Northampton Sport. This yarn and pattern were made for each other! I’m working with the #09 Natural and the #18 Willow and I am enjoying every stitch. I can’t wait to finish these so I can wear them while I make more pairs! I only need 2 balls of Bromley to complete the pair and at just $13.99 a ball, that means I have a gorgeous pair of mitts for only $27.98!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, everybody deserves a little cashmere in their life! Which Valley Yarns are you working with? Tell us in the comments.

May 23rd, 2016

Vertical Pullover

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With the warm days of Spring rolling in it’s tempting to think only of tank tops and cute summer shorts but those chilly May nights will remind you right quick that it’s not quite time to be without an extra layer or two.

The Vertical Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the design, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The new Vertical Pullover from Valley Yarns is that perfect layer! A roomy sweater with 3/4 length sleeves, and it’s namesake vertical bands of stockinette and textured stitch patterns, that’s worked from the bottom up and seamed for structure. Being a little longer than usual, hip length, makes this pullover a comfortable and casual, mid-season layering piece.

The Vertical Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the design, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Knit in Valley Yarns Southwick, a 52% Pima Cotton/48% Bamboo blend, this pullover will last through a lifetime of wear and the surprising shine from the bamboo means that your stitches won’t lose definition over time! With 20 colors, from bright and cheerful to muted neutrals, there’s a color of Southwick for everyone.

Be sure to check out all the new patterns from Valley Yarns here. Tell us which one is your favorite and what kinds of designs you’d like to see  in the comments.

May 21st, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 445: Kathy talks with Vickie Howell

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This week Kathy talks with Vickie Howell about her new book, Wee Garter Stitch. She was brave enough to do a fashion show for the book at VK Live in Pasadena last week!

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #445 - Kathy talks with Vickie Howell. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Vickie talks about her path to the crafting industry, when she learned how to knit, and how this book reflects what she’s learned about crafters and knitters during her career.

And stay tuned for a big exciting new project here at WEBS with Vickie Howell later in the year!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

Our retail Store Closed Memorial Day,  Monday May 30th.

Seats are going fast in our Color Theory Class with the amazing Amy Hendrix of Madelinetosh! If you can make it to the class you can join us for a meet and greet, please register so we know how many to expect.

Upcoming Events:

The I-91 Shop Hop will take place June 23–26th. Get your passport now and plan your weekend!

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

May 20th, 2016

Closeout Gold

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Because I have been affected by our Anniversary Sale, I have been prowling around the warehouse like a thief, looking for something extraordinary to add to my ever-growing stash. (Mind you, it’s not that I need yarn. Oh no, no, no.) I found Classic Elite Fresco in some discontinued colors in our closeout row and it made me unreasonably happy. First of all, favorite gauge, hands down, is sport weight. Second of all, it’s a happy combo of 60% wool, 30% baby alpaca, and 10% angora. That means that the wool keeps the alpaca in line, not allowing it to get drapy and saggy. The alpaca keeps the angora in line, toning down what sometimes is an unruly halo to a fine shadow around each nicely-twisted strand.

My mother-in-law once made my notoriously picky youngest son a gorgeous argyle vest in Fresco, and try to remember that you like me when I tell you that I stole it right out from under him. He doesn’t even know where that vest lives, but when he sees me wearing it, he gets a resigned expression and no doubt, plots his escape to college and how he’ll hide that vest in his sheets and make a clean getaway.

Great discontinued colors at WEBS, like Classic Elite Fresco. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I saw just the thing that will restore family harmony: this vest, designed by my knitting idol, Veronik Avery. You can find it in Classic Elite’s Saturday Afternoon pattern booklet, and it’s dreamy. A deep V-neck and soft, heathery colors make this so appealing right now, when it’s freezing cold in the morning, and warm and spring-like in the afternoon.

Fresco is a top-quality yarn and we have lots of colors on sale! Come check out Aisle 600 in our warehouse, or shop it online and stock up. You’ve got some knitting to do!

May 19th, 2016

Introducing Valley Yarns Pocumtuck

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I’m  so excited to share our newest yarn with you! Valley Yarns Pocumtuck is a 100% Cashmere yarn in a super versatile DK weight and in 24 bold and modern colors.

Valley Yarns Pocumtuck on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I am an admitted fiber snob, most of the time, and I was gobsmacked by the incredible softness and squooshyness of this yarn. It has a cable plied construction which helps to give some strength to the yarn and lends the stitches a crisp definition without making the hand of the yarn too crunchy or stiff. I’m not sure if there’s a staff member here who didn’t take a few skeins home this week and immediately cast on with hooks or needles!

Valley Yarns Pocumtuck on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our Design Manager Kirsten pulled together two lovely colors for a beautifully unisex pattern, the Petra Cowl, and it’s FREE! Just two skeins of Pocumtuck and an incredibly simple stitch pattern, worn in reverse, gives you an accessory with  bold architectural lines and a surprisingly lush feel that’s perfect for anyone on your gift list. Everybody deserves a little cashmere in their life! How will you work Pocumtuck into your project plans? Tell us in the comments.

May 18th, 2016

Summer School for Weavers

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Here’s my true (and unashamed) confession – I chose to go to summer school in high school. As an overachiever with a competitive streak I certainly didn’t need it for academic success; I just found fascinating classes that weren’t taught at other times and knew I didn’t want to miss out. I feel the same when I look at our summer schedule for weaving classes here at WEBS – there’s some unique classes and teachers that are not to be missed.

Weaving classes for beginners and advanced techniques this summer. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Jason Collingwood is one of the rock stars of the weaving world, known for his masterful rug weaving and teaching skills. We are lucky to have him at WEBS for a 3-day weekend workshop which will cover 4-end blockweave for rug weaving, starting with simple two-color designs and moving on to designing within the blocks as well as the addition of a third color. He will also talk about techniques such as clasped wefts and summer and winter.

Closer to home, we have our local weaving superstars offering classes in their areas of expertise. Scott Norris is known for the beautiful linen textiles he weaves and sells throughout the Northeast. He says of his favorite fiber: “I weave with linen whenever possible, because it remains resilient and lustrous as it fades and softens over time. When treated respectfully, cloth woven from linen can last nearly forever, providing an element of permanence that I admire.” Scott designed a class that will give weavers experience in handling, weaving and caring for linen yarn using a variety of weave structures. The class meets once a month starting in August, giving participants time to weave samples between class sessions. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn from a master and learn the tricks to tame and befriend linen.

For the rigid heddle weavers there is also an excellent chance to learn from an expert. Paula Veleta has been teaching RH weaving for years and has developed our curriculum for advanced beginner and intermediate weavers. In July she will teach a 2-day workshop on weaving with double heddles. This advanced-beginner class will teach students to weave using finer yarns to make more sophisticated projects. You’ll learn how to thread your loom using two rigid heddles, how to determine a proper sett, and how to created texture and pattern. Another don’t-miss event for deepening your skills.

For those looking to begin to weave, we will have our One-week Intensive for Beginning Weaving, also taught by Scott Norris. The class gets you started with all of the basics of weaving on a multi-shaft loom – warping, weaving, project planning and more. There are also a few spots left in our Introduction to Rigid Heddle Weaving 1-day class, which teaches you the basics of warping and weaving on a rigid heddle loom.

Summer is coming! School yourself in new ways to use your loom and expand your weaving horizons.

May 17th, 2016

Anniversary Spotlight: Color and Texture

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Our Anniversary Sale isn’t just for knitters looking to stock up on stash-building workhorse yarns! Each year we have quite a selection of unique yarns that are perfect for garments and accessories with incredible texture and color, and these yarns are often an excellent addition to the weavers stash.

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - yarns with texture and color. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Tempo from Filatura Di Crosa works up into wide stripes of color, but these stripes are no plain-jane solid colors! The yarn is made from 3 plys, one is a two-ply, multicolored print with nubby tweedy bits, wrapped with two different colored thick-thin plys that gradually change color. While that seems like a lot happening in one yarn it results in a muted blending of colors that give your knits a sophisticated yet rustic quality. And, it’s a cotton blend so it’s perfect for warmer weather! Working with 2 colors of Tempo, and creating wedges with short rows, the Boticelli Top is an interesting but not overly complicated pullover to knit. Interchangeable front and back are seamed at the sides and shoulders for a reversible top that is eye catching and comfortable.

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - yarns with texture and color. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Another great cotton yarn for summer is Schachenmayr Tahiti. This fingering weight yarn has beautiful color shifts in variegated shades and it’s totally machine washable! Just 4 balls of this yarn knit into the gorgeous Sundowner Shawl. The pattern is FREE and you can choose from two sizes. This yarn would also make a beautiful warp yarn for a shawl or scarf with a gradient effect!

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - yarns with texture and color. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

With subtle, tonal colors and a shifting series of fibers, the chainette or woven tape-like construction of Classic Elite Yarns Sanibel lends textural interest to even the simplest stockinette pieces. The Lady Londonderry capelet is a lovely layering piece for when it’s not quite warm enough to wear your favorite summer dresses but you just can’t wait! Worked from the bottom up in a classic feather and fan stitch, this little piece features a wide rib neckline and a button closure for a fun retro look.

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - yarns with texture and color. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Also from Classic Elite is Santorini, the same base yarn as Sanibel but in a cheerful array of variegated colors. Put the two together for fun accessories with tons of colorful drama. Nonamesset scarf does just that with modular knit triangles that are joined as you go!

WEBS Anniversary Sale yarns - yarns with texture and color. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And don’t forget that I mentioned the weavers! These yarns create beautiful texture and color in your weaving. Here you can see we’ve used them as weft yarns paired with a simple warp of Juniper Moon Farms Zooey, a gorgeous linen blend.

So how will the colors and textures of these yarns inspire you? Tell us in the comments!

May 16th, 2016

All Dressed Up Wrap

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Not only is our Valley Yarns Goshen part of our May Anniversary Sale but we’ve also got exciting new designs in this yarn for you, and the All Dressed Up Stole is the newest!

The All Dressed Up Stole from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and design, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Drape this stole loosely over your shoulders and secure with a bright shawl pin over a floral summer dress, or let it hang long and loose with a stylish belt for a more tailored look. This piece is a truly versatile addition to your wardrobe that works as a perfect extra layer in Spring and Fall.

The All Dressed Up Stole from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and design, and where you can get a copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

Knit in Valley Yarns Goshen, the All Dressed Up Stole takes advantage of the silky drape of the yarn for a garment with beautiful fluid movement. With 25 colors to choose from you could go with an understated neutral like the sample, which was knit in #26 Steel, or add a bright splash of color to your summer wardrobe with #12 Lake or #10 Green Apple. Which color is calling your name?