close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Colorful Cascade

The huge boxes from Cascade Yarns last month included these colorful new friends.
The Cascade 220 Superwash Aran Splatter looks like fun, doesn't it? The Cascade website shows all of the shades and how they knit up. Many work up with flecks of color and a very subtle stripe sequence, but a few are little more bold in their striping. The Primary one in the middle there is very stripey indeed. This yarn is begging to be knit into a kid sweater. Machine washable, fun colors, Aran weight...done in no time at all.
I was also excited to see the new Cascade Heritage Prints sock yarn in some fun self-patterning shades. I love this yarn. It solid, inexpensive, and the colors are always vibrant. Each 100g ball will make a pair of adult socks for just $13.25. It's a good deal. The label on each ball shows how it will knit up, but the website gives you even more detail. 
The pattern will change slightly depending on how many stitches you cast on, but these kinds of yarn always manage to look cool. I find that working with self-patterning yarns like these keep me very engaged in my knitting, as I'm always excited to see what the pattern is going to do next.

Grey skies mean it's time for some colorful yarn! Stop in and find your favorites. We will be closed on Thursday this week, but open on Friday to feed your yarn habit. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ultra Alpaca Turns Ten

Berroco is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Ultra Alpaca line with a gorgeous and collectible compilation of patterns from several independent designers: Berroco Portfolio Vol. 1.  

We have been carrying Ultra Alpaca, the original worsted weight, since the very beginning. It is truly a classic yarn, working up into a soft and supple fabric. I've used Ultra Alpaca for hats, mittens, and sweaters for my daughters. This new book has me thinking I need a sweater for myself, too. Take a look at some of these gorgeous designs.

Helen is a perfect yoked pullover from Amy Christoffers. It's knit-top down with Bohus style colorwork, incorporating knitting and purling. So cozy.
We have a sample of Thea Colman's Rye in the shop, also worked up in Ultra Alpaca. Such a great design with lovely details such as the shoulder details and the textured panels.

 I'm loving Bristol Ivy's Gorse. Swingy, lacey, just right.
Emily worked up a sample of Fishbones by Mary Jake Mucklestone in Ultra Alpaca Light, the sport/DK weight. Such a cute little hat, perfect for a first colorwork project.
Mrs. Watson is also worked up in Ultra Alpaca Light. The squishy garter stitch shawls are all the rage these days, and this one is a good one.

We began carrying Ultra Alpaca Chunky a few years back, and I love it. I knit up a little hat sample last fall, and I really enjoyed working with this yarn.
Etruscan looks like the perfect scarf, doesn't it? Big and oversized and cabled. A great gift idea, for sure.
I love an unusual pullover, and Banner has lots of good details: colorblocking, textured panels, swingy shape. That one is definitely going on my list. Here's a little peek at a few more designs from the book.
Ultra Alpaca has been serving us well for a very long time at our shop. I hope you all enjoy the designs in this collection. Berroco calls it Volume 1, so maybe that means we will be seeing even more Ultra Alpaca designs soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Queen Bee in the Shop

We love these bags. You are going to love them, too, I think.
These lovely pieces are all hand made here in Northeast Portland, right over on Williams, in the super cool studio of Rebecca Pearcy of Queen Bee Creations. The little bags are great for storing all the little bits and bobs associated with knitting, and the big buckets are just the thing for those large projects that need some room to breath. I am sort of in love with those medium-sized waxed canvas bags. They would be ideal for a sock project or a little baby sweater.

Stop in to choose your favorite or send in a loved one to select one for you as a gift. We will do our best to keep these in stock through the holidays, so don't be shy! You are going to love these awesome bags as much as we do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fresh Goods on the Sock Wall

Our wall of sock yarn has been freshened with a few old favorites this fall.
Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball does a really cool marled-fade-slow-color-change sort of thing. It would be great for funky socks, scarves, hats, baby sweaters...all kids of cool stuff.
Photo borrowed from Ravelry pattern page.
There is a great design in Weekend Hats (the best hat book ever) using just one ball of this yarn, the Brier Toque.
Ambiente has been freshly-restocked as well. This is always a popular yarn. You can see an example of the self-patterning action in our sock sample. I know a few of our knitters were using Ambiente to make Sock Yarn Bunnies a few years back. One ball makes a bunny, if I'm remembering things correctly.

Photo borrowed from Ravelry project page.
The little mascot for the new Opal Classics sock yarn line is adorable, isn't she?
The sock yarn is good, too. I've knit a few pairs of socks with Opal yarns, and they just don't wear out. I like the range of color in these new shades. They would be really great for man socks, too...plenty of yarn for some big socks.

It's always nice to replenish some of our favorite sock yarns. What else would you like to see back in stock?

Saturday, November 7, 2015


We don't stock a lot of fur yarn, but this one is really good. Soft, luxurious, not all staticy and plastic (like so many of them were back when I was learning to knit). This is Arequipa Fur and Arequipa Worsted, a coordinating set of fur and lovely merino yarns from Plymouth. The worsted is a superwash merino and silk blend, and the fur is alpaca and merino. It's unusual to find a fur that is all natural fibers, so we had to give this one a go.
We currently have six shades of the worsted and three of the fur, and they play together very nicely. Sally used the grey to whip up a sample cowl. This fancy cowl is available in-store as a free pattern with the purchase of the yarn. I was very impressed by the stitch definition of the worsted yarn. Maybe it's the silk that adds the crispness to the ribbing.

The astute among you will see the continuation of the theme of furry alpaca yarns in natural shades. We know what we like.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Emily Knit a Knee Sock

Emily knit a knee sock from just one ball of yarn.
It's pretty, and it's patterned, and it will keep her nice and warm.
She used a festive sport yarn, so it didn't take too long.
On US3s and up to her knees, how could she go wrong?
Okay, I'll stop with the rhyming now (I mean it). This yarn is so pretty! Self-patterning yarns seem to come and go in terms of popularity, but I love how they knit up. Lucky for us, Regia is putting out some really cool colorways right now. And for those of you who balk at knitting socks on tiny needles, this yarn might be just the ticket.
This sport weight yarn works really well on a US3, so you won't be knitting forever. I have knit several pairs of socks over the years, and the ones knit with Regia yarns wear like iron.
Emily has been kind enough to make her knee sock pattern available to all of us as a freebie with the purchase of the yarn. This sturdy sock yarn is a real winner. Stop on by, and you'll see why! (Uh oh, more rhyming...)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Llovely Llama Cowl

We spoke about the beautiful neutral alpaca Cascade Nevado earlier this month. Well, in no time at all, we have a free pattern to offer you.
Sally's Lovely Llama Cowl uses just one skein of Nevado, US11 needles, and a few short evenings of your time. We are offering the pattern for free with the purchase of the yarn, and it's a good one. Perfect for gift knitting, I would say. The stitches are all pretty simple, and you get to choose three big, awesome buttons. Who doesn't love big, awesome buttons?
This yarn really looks so much more interesting knit up in person than it does in the skein. The stitches are surprisingly crisp for a brushed sort of yarn, and there is much less halo than I would have expected. This is likely due to the nylon content, which gives it added durability and structure.

Stop and by and say hello to the yarn, the buttons, and the fabulous Emily, who graciously modeled the cowl for me. She is new to our shop this fall and is already contributing great ideas, samples, and a fabulous energy to our little corner. Welcome, Emily!