Launching My Crochet for WEBS: The Designer in Residence Experience

Logo DiRWEBS, America’s Yarn Store. WEBS, my Yarn Store. They opened wide their doors and their hearts to me and I stumbled in. Kid in a candy store, only I emerge not with a face smeared with chocolate and pockets crammed with Jelly Babies, but with an entire catalog of WEBS Valley Yarns to feed my crochet design engine. I can only assume/hope that Kathy Elkins and Sara Delaney (WEBS owner and marketing coordinator, respectively) know what they’re doing, inviting me to serve as their crochet designer-in-residence for 2015. Although they are majorly supportive of crochet, appreciative of my work, and tell me anything goes, I fully understand that this means anything within reason.

Spoiled for yarn choice and reeling from the responsibility, I have no idea what this year’s six designs will bring, except for #1, obviously, because it is launching right now. New this season to the Valley Yarns Superwash family, Superwash Bulky lends itself perfectly to a super-exploded lace stole with a shawl collar.

Shawl Collar Stole back Shawl Collar Stole front

I forget who first described it as meltingly soft. 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. The pattern is available as a printed copy or digital download here. Sara has already blogged about the launch, the program and leaked my answers to a few designer questions on the WEBS blog here.

What comes next depends mostly on how the yarns speak to me. I will definitely be playing with two Valley yarns I have come to know and love: Goshen, my go-to non-wool worsted weight favorite, and Charlemont, a sock weight beauty.

Doris Chan DiR FebruaryIf you have any thoughts about how I should fill in those question marks, I’d enjoy hearing about them and might even pay attention. Visit the Valley Yarns pages at WEBS to peruse the materials I have at my disposal, and let me know if there’s something specific (within reason!) you’d like to see in crochet design by leaving a reply to this blog. And please follow here as my year-long Designer in Residence adventure unfolds.


16 thoughts on “Launching My Crochet for WEBS: The Designer in Residence Experience

  1. Doris, I was going to suggest doing something in Charlemont…then I reread your post and see you have already pegged it for experimentation! In any case, I vote for some designs in lace/fingering/sock yarn…as I tend to favor the skinnies these days…I like intricate lace designs! How about a Bolero?

  2. A whole year, and only six designs?? Sounds like they’re holding you back. ^__^

    Congratulations and much crochet happiness in your new position.

  3. Congrats! Love this design. What a cool gig. I am sooo looking forward to seeing each and every one of your masterpieces.

    How about a scarf with sleeves…aka a shrug? Could be something elegant or just flirty and fun.

  4. So glad to see that Webs is adding a top-tier crochet designer, and I hope it continues to recognize the evolution of crochet. The pattern I would like to see: a hoodie-cowl that’s fluid, drapey and light enough so that it’s not too bulky with the hood down (not a fan of spare-tire bulky stuff). And please, no pointy peak at the top of the hood. Whatever you design, I’ll be looking for it.

  5. Dear Doris, I am thrilled to see you are the crochet designer in residence at Webs this year! I was so hoping you and they would work together, and that you could help them increase their crochet pattern selection, but this exceeds my wildest hopes. I love your new pattern, and I can’t wait to see what else you’ll be creating this year!

    For their Valley Yarns, I hope you can look at working with some of their cone yarns, e.g. the Colrain Lace (2/10 Merino Tencel) (maybe double it? maybe two colors together?) or Bamboo, and some of the less expensive natural fibers like Amherst or Southwick. And anything dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer. Beautiful! (pricy, but heirloom stuff)

    Webs is where I learned to weave and spin in the ’80s, while I was going to U Mass. Barbara (Kathy’s mom) taught me to weave, and I have been grateful to their family and their shop ever since. You are going to have so much fun this year!

  6. Hello Doris! I love the Lapa Top & intend to make one. It took a while for me to find out about the yarn, but it turns out that it is discontinued! Can you tell me about a substitute? I sure appreciate any help you can give me!

    • Yes, Spa is discontinued. Many sport/DK weight yarns may be substituted for Spa; it is up to the crocheter to test for correct gauge and a happy fabric. One yarn I especially like, that works very well for most of my designs in Spa, is DesigningVashti Lotus (one of the many reasons Vashti and I needed to create Lotus!). Available exclusively at Please calculate the approximate yardage for your size and have at least that amount of Lotus on hand. Best of luck!

  7. I love your patterns! And I can honestly say that I aspire to your level of creativity. I only started creating designs for blouses and cardigans a year ago, and I love it.
    I look forward to seeing more of your designs 🙂

  8. Congratulations and best wishes!

    I love Webs as well. I went there yesterday and bought 8 skeins of Valley Yarns Hatfield baby alpaca lace, that’s 3,500 yards, and I’m definitely going to find inspiration through you! Any suggestions on the perfect project?

    Take care!

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