April 30th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 442: Kathy talks with Beth Hansen

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This week Kathy talks with first time guest, Beth Hansen. She, and her husband Kevin, are the owners of Hansen Crafts, makers of the Hansen miniSpinner.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #442 - Kathy talks with Beth Hansen. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Learn how a sailing trip in the South Pacific lead to the creation of their signature product and how their “retirement” has turned into a successful business venture.

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

You can still get on the waitlist for our first ever WEBS Retreat in September.

Upcoming Events:

The 14th Annual Tent Sale happens May 14th and 15th, and don’t forget the 12th Annual Fleece Market on May 14th.

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

April 29th, 2016

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – Last Chance on April Yarns

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Don’t miss your chance to stash some amazing yarns from the April portion of our 42nd Anniversary Sale! These yarns, and needle and hook sets, go back to full price on Sunday morning at 12:00am EDT!

WEBS 42nd Anniversary Sale - April. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Take advantage of incredible deals on hand-dyed yarns from Dream in Color and Lorna’s Laces,  great sock yarns from Regia, and coned yarns perfect for weavers. Get these while you can or you may have to wait another whole year to see savings like this again!

And don’t forget to take a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the May portion of our Sale!

April 28th, 2016

Shaping up with CustomFit

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I’m so excited about just having wrapped up our first CustomFit Workshop here at WEBS! We had so much fun throughout the course of the 11 weeks, knitting our sweaters and discussing different techniques and schools of thought on decreasing, increasing and seaming. We talked about how yarn selection would affect the types of garments we’d have, the importance of seams for stability in a properly fitting garment, and shaping in a specific stitch pattern. Most importantly, we had the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences. And, as a very special treat, Amy Herzog was here for the last class to see all of our hard work for herself! We got to show off our pattern and yarn choices and even to ask her some questions – not only about the CustomFit program, but about knitting in general!

Custom Fit Workshops at WEBS - read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

There are so many things I love about teaching this workshop. Getting to work with students on choosing their sweater style and yarn; planning out the methods of casting on and shaping that might work best; and discussing sweater construction and assembly – just to name a few. I also enjoy seeing the progress from meeting to meeting as rows of knitting become garment pieces, and discussions and solutions evolve organically as we knit together. It is wonderful to see the confidence that students gain as they being to see sweater construction from a new perspective – how the combination of proper body measurements, yarn selection and gauge work in concert to influence the final shape of a sweater. In addition, students acquire the understanding to adapt other patterns to knit a sweater that fits. I’m so looking forward to future sessions of the CustomFit Workshop to see where each new journey will take us!

April 27th, 2016

Help for the Color Challenged

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Color can be one of the most challenging aspects in planning a weaving project. It is often hard to predict how colors will interact in a woven pattern. This task is even more difficult for those coming from a knit/crochet background as the threads intersect in a completely different way. I know I can fall into a rut of using formulas from the traditional color wheel – complementary colors for contrast, analogous colors because they all go together. The resulting cloth usually looks okay, though not always as exciting or rich as I would like.

Liven up your color choices with the Color Grid! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This is why I love the Color Grid from Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer. She has taken the color wheel and transformed it into a color palette in a flat grid. It has an overlay that allows you to select color combinations that are both harmonious and interesting. Start by choosing your base color and the overlay shows the close family, those colors that are closely related and work well together. These colors are safe and what we often rely on because we know they look good together.

It’s great to add some of those to the project, but the real secret is to find the spark that will make your design pop. That’s just what the Color Grid does by highlighting an accent color through a window in the overlay. These sparks of color can be used in small proportions to liven things up, to take a piece from ‘okay’ to ‘wow!’. Working with this tool I have become more adventurous in my color choices and my weaving has become more engaging.

There are some drafts in our 2016 Weaving Sourcebook that illustrate the idea beautifully. In the Summer Garden Towel (Draft 85), blue and green predominate and the thin stripes of brick color draw the eye and make the design really pop out. The Waffle Weave Buddies (Draft 86) also have a striping pattern, this time on a background of white. The aqua and periwinkle are related and look lovely together and the rust adds a spark that keeps the colors from looking monotonous.

Give it a try and send us some pictures, I’d love to see how you work with colors.

P.S. True confession – I also use the Color Grid to help plan my flower beds and the results have been gorgeous!

April 26th, 2016

Anniversary Sale Spotlight – April Favorites

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The April portion of our Anniversary Sale is winding down and these yarns will be back to full price on Sunday morning. Don’t miss your chance to snap up some incredible deals! I thought I’d share 3 of my favorite yarns from this part of the sale, and the projects I might be stashing them for (wink, wink).

eco wool

Cascade Eco Wool. When they were younger my kids used to call these my yarn babies, because they are absolutely huge skeins! 478 yds, of a bulky weight, gorgeously lofty Peruvian wool in the earthy, natural colors of the wool itself, this yarn is fantastic for warm and cozy sweaters and as a beautifully neutral backdrop for blankets. The Pop Blanket from Tin Can Knits is the perfect example. Shown here with Noro Kureyon as the bright center circles, this could easily be a scrap busting pattern with the Eco Wool gloriously framing those bits and bobs of yarn you just couldn’t let go of. Think of it as a memory quilt, here are little framed bits of yarns you loved to work with, and for projects like that the frame can be just as important!

alpaca sox

Classic Elite Alpaca Sox. I remember making a pair of socks as a store sample in this yarn when it first arrived. I did not want to give them back! The yarn felt amazing in my hands as it glided across my needles and the finished fabric was soft and cozy. While it makes amazing socks this yarn also knits up into beautiful shawls and lightweight but warm accessories! The Wavelength Shawl features a center panel of stunning lace bordered by easy-peasy garter stitch, with a delicate lace border. This is a great project to cut your teeth on lace! The lace panel is isolated in the middle of the shawl giving your brain and hands lots of time to relax in the garter stitch sections.

silk garden sock

Noro Silk Garden Sock. A perennial favorite, this yarn glows with all the amazing color changes that Noro has become famous for, and at the lighter sock weight it becomes the perfect choice for lightweight accessories with tons of color impact! For knitters the Mitered Wrap showcases those color changes in the meandering corners of a wrap that will result in  oohs and aahs everywhere you go.  And crocheters can experience equal public curiosity and excitement with Linda Permann’s Circles Scarf. While this may look like a pile of tiny yo-yo’s that have been joined together after being made, Linda actually has a genius way of making these as you go along – only two ends to weave in!

knitters pride

And don’t forget your tools! We have some pretty spectacular hooks and needles in the sale and you’ll want to grab a set. The Knitter’s Pride Dreamz line of needles and hooks feature a different color of laminated birchwood for each different size, making it easy to see which size is which at a glance! The Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set includes 9 pairs of 4.5″ tips from US sizes= 4, 5 – 11, 4 cables (one 24″, two 32″, and one 40″), a case to hold your cables, 8 end caps, 4 cable keys, and a set of needle size ID tags, all organized in a clear vinyl case. And the Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Hook Set  includes US sizes E – L,  4 cables (one 24″, two 32″, and one 40″), 8 end caps, 4 cable keys, a clear vinyl case and tunisian hook connectors to join two hooks together.

What exciting deals will you take advantage of in the April portion of the Sale? Or have you already! And don’t forget, a whole new selection of yarns goes on Sale May 1st!

April 25th, 2016

The Rose Sorbet Tank

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With summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to get to work on a beautiful and fun new piece for your wardrobe. The Rose Sorbet Tank by Krystalle Diaz is knit in our scrumptious Valley Yarns Longmeadow, a blend of cotton and microfiber that is ideal for warm-weather knits. This lovely and delicate tank starts as a top down shawl, so you get the beautiful centered lace panel, and is then joined in the round to complete the body of the piece. Top it off with a couple quick straps and you’ve got a super cute summer top!

The Rose Sorbet Tank from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

We asked Krystalle to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit?

Rosewood_ravatar

I learned to knit when I was 12, from a book I begged my mom to buy me from the fabric store.  I had always admired knitting and wanted to learn, but something about that day- maybe the book cover featuring happy kids making these fantastic sweaters- made me actually want to sit down and learn!  I convinced her to get me a crochet hook, a pair of knitting needles, the book, and a cheap ball of acrylic, and began a six month journey of frustration and constant giving up.  Those six months include the time it took to read the book, get the guts to start, tear out my swatches, and repeat the cycle for about a month, a long break in between of stuffing everything into the corner of my bedroom, and getting it out again to suddenly find that everything “clicked”!  I could cast on 20 stitches and knit the same number without accidentally decreasing or increasing for a full square, I could purl and knit, and I could increase and decrease!  After that it was just a natural progression of trying new things to knit.

What prompted you to start designing?

I can’t ever follow directions.  I don’t think I ever followed a pattern.  My first garment was only loosely based off a shrug in a pattern book I have- I used the pattern to determine my cast on number, then promptly proceeded to ignore almost everything else.  I still wear that dress every year, and except for some awkward bunching at the sleeves, which I did block out eventually, it is a beautiful and serviceable garment. I’m not sure how I got onto crazy things like lace and such- probably my love of shawl knitting.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

I’m always doodling designs in several sketchbooks.  When I do decide to actually make on a reality, it typically starts with the yarn, then a gathering of a inspirational images, which can be anything from fashion photographs to nature photography, depending on the design.  I will usually doodle several ideas on the sides of a page, then sketch the final concept and put notes on it. Then I swatch, keeping detailed notes on my computer, and eventually I will turn that swatch into a finished piece.

Tell us about your design aesthetic.

I never thought about it until now, but it’s quite feminine and classy.  I love 80s, Victorian, and roaring 20s fashions especially, and emblems and inspirations from these constantly creep into my designs, whether in the stitch pattern or the silhouette.  I think there may also be something of a seaside cottage look to the designs I’ve actually published and made available, too- something very nature-y but decidedly boutique-like.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I have deliberately avoided working with plant fibers the entirety of my knitting and crochet repertoire, unless they are blended with silk or wool.  So working with Longmeadow was a learning experience, since it is a microfiber and cotton blend.  And much to my joy, I did not hate it!  I was surprised by how soft it was, and that it did not hurt my hands as I knit with it.  It had good stitch definition, which for me is always a plus, given my lace and cable obsession.  The only real hurdle I had to conquer was blocking- I had to steam block my design to get it to even out and lay flat, but I did enjoy seeing the transformation take hold.

The Rose Sorbet Tank from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn and designer and where you can get a copy of the pattern  on the WEBS Blog at blog..yarn.com

In bright beachy colors, like purple haze and willow, Valley Yarns Longmeadow is a wonderful yarn for light layers. Knit the Rose Sorbet Tank and wear it with a strappy sundress, or a cami and shorts and stay cool and stylish all summer long! Which color will you choose?

April 24th, 2016

Ready, Set, Knit! 441: Kathy talks with Clara Parkes

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This week Kathy talks with New York Times Best-Selling author Clara Parkes! Kathy and Clara reminisce about their first experience with Jeni’s Ice Cream as they discuss all the familiar and favorite places from Clara’s new book Knitlandia.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #441 - Kathy talks with Clara Parkes. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Read all about the landmarks and legends, as well as major touchpoints of the knitting world from the last decade in this fabulous book. And check out Clara’s new favorite shoes!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder:

You can still get on the waitlist for our first ever WEBS Retreat in September.

Upcoming Events:

The 14th Annual Tent Sale happens May 14th and 15th, and don’t forget the 12th Annual Fleece Market on May 14th.

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

April 22nd, 2016

Coned Yarns Love Knitters (and vice versa)

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I had a brief, ugly learning-to-weave moment about ten or so years ago…I had a full-time job that was a long way away, I had two young children, and I had to travel constantly. Of course that was a perfect time to learn a very complicated, time-consuming (albeit fascinating and beautiful) fiber craft…NOT.

Valley Yarns Colrain Lace on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

After that, I passed coned yarns without a second glance. However, I saw an oldie but goodie today that made me reassess the coned-yarn prejudice. Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel, aka Colrain Lace, seems to me to be an eminently sensible yarn to knit or crochet (or weave) just about anything in any season. And luckily for all of us, it’s part of the Anniversary Sale this month, priced at $17.49 a cone, reduced from $24.99.

Although technically a lace weight yarn, it has been knit reliably at about 7 stitches per inch, which to me is fingering and that makes a big difference. It’s not a fine, fine yarn that will slide off your needles and flummox you in a stitch pattern. It will hold on to those needles, and give you some feedback as you stitch, which I don’t find in a lot of lace weight yarns. The blend of merino and tencel gives it both body and a subtle sheen, making it drape beautifully.

My fascination for cowls would be satisfied with the Valley Yarns Forget-Me-Not cowl, made in Colrain Lace. It’s a quick knit and because you have so much yardage on a cone, you could make several from one purchase! I would probably choose a nice neutral such as Grey Olive, but you could really make a design pop with some of the brighter colors; there are a lot to choose from.

Have you ever knit with a coned yarn? Tell us your projects in the comments, below.

April 21st, 2016

Twist Collective Spring 2016

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We always look forward to new issues of Twist Collective and not only is this issue full of the stunningly creative designs that we’ve come to expect but two of them are in our Valley Yarns!

Twist Collective 2016 Spring

Ormond is a flattering, wonderfully light and airy seamless jacket that will keep you warm when you take a stroll on a cool night. A 2×2 rib front band is worked concurrently with an overall Rickrack Lace pattern. This gentle and slimming jacket is knit flat in one piece up to armholes to minimize seams, and the waist shaping is done by changing needle size. Knit in Valley Yarns Deerfield a 80% Baby Alpaca/20% Silk blend that results in a lightweight but snuggly and warm cardi with incredible drape and shine.

Cedri is a fun and flirty summer top, with a slightly cropped length, that features an eyelet lace chevron pattern across the yoke and sleeves and up the sides . This shell is worked in two pieces from the bottom up with minimal shaping, then sewn together. Valley Yarns Longmeadow is the ideal yarn for an active top like this. Cool cotton will keep you from overheating and the microfiber helps the yarn to keeps it’s memory and shape.

What pieces are you excited to knit from this issue?

April 20th, 2016

It’s a Flash Sale!

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Just when you thought the Anniversary Sale couldn’t get any better we’re topping it off with a Flash Sale on some fantastic yarns and needles!

Take advantage of fantastic sale prices now through April 23, 2016 at yarn.com. read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Tosh Vintage(Grab Bags), Tosh Merino Light (Grab Bags), Hikoo CoBaSi, Hikoo CoBaSi DK, Trekking XXL

Now through April 23rd save on Madelinetosh Grab Bags in some of your favorite bases, and WEBS Deluxe Grab Bags.These are always super popular, so get your order in early and take advantage of this deal while supplies last! You can also get your hands on Hikoo Cobasi and Cobasi DK, both yarns with incredible bounce and stretch from their elastic content! Perfect for the non-wool knitters. A longtime favorite of sock knitters is back! Trekking XXL is here in over a dozen colorways. And now is a great time to stock up on needles with our entire inventory of Blackthorn Double Points and Kollage Square needles on sale!