close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brown Sheep Yarns and a Free Cowl Pattern

We are cramming yarn in every nook and cranny we can find. We have restocked the much-loved Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky and Worsted in a wide range of colors. These yarns are great for pretty much everything from hats and sweaters to felted slippers and bags. May the holiday stocking knitting commence.

New to Close Knit, Brown Sheep Burly Spun, a pure wool single ply in some fabulous colors. Looking for a quick knit? How about 2.5 stitches per inch on a US13 needle? It practically knits itself.
Sally created this beautiful seed stitch cowl using one skein of the Burly Spun. It is very warm and cozy. Tuck one of these into your rain coat, and you'll stay nice and warm when those bone-chilling winds pick up. Enjoy the pattern and stay warm!

Close Knit Seed Stitch Cowl

By Sally Palin

Yarn: 1 skein Brown Sheep Burly Spun
or Cascade Magnum
Needles: US17 24" circular

Finished Size: 10" high by about 32"
Gauge: about 8 stitches over 4" in seed stitch

Seed stitch in the round:
Round 1: *K1, P1* until 1 stitch remains. K1.

Round 2: *P1, K1* until 1 stitch remains. P1.
Basically, after round 1, you will simply knit your purls and purl your knits, so it's not crucial to know what row you are on.

Cast on 65 stitches.
Twist once, place marker, and join for knitting in the round. (This twist is what you usually try to avoid when joining to knit in the round. You could also join normally to create a non-twisted cowl if you prefer, but the drape is not as nice.)

Seed stitch your heart out for about 10".

Bind off and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Snacks at Open Knit Night

Okay, so this is not yarn. It's a taco. Cruzroom, Alberta's newest eating and drinking establishment, will be providing a little sample plate at Open Knit Night on Wednesday, October 27. Open Knit Night is from 6-10 PM every Wednesday, so stop by and enjoy a little snack this week.

In other news, I've created a list of the knitting classes available at Modern Domestic. Check out the links at the top of the right sidebar here on the Close Knit blog. If there is anything in particular that you'd like to see offered, please leave us a comment or mention it to us at the shop, and we'll do our best.

I have added a few of our free patterns to Ravelry. If you're a member, check out our Close Knit design page. We will continue to add patterns as we release them here on the blog. We also have a Close Knit Flickr page, and we would love to see your work there as well. If you have knit one of our designs, please add your project so we can see all of your beautiful knitting!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


We are happily welcoming more and more yarn into the shop. Here's what's rolling in.

We restocked our selection of yarns from Manos del Uruguay. One whole corner of the shop is now devoted to Manos yarns. We have much more Wool Clasica, a favorite for so many projects from blankets to hats to felted bags.

I used the Wool Clasica Naturals shown above to make this cool Destroyed Cowl, which I have donned every time the weather has warranted a scarf so far this fall.
We also have more of the Rittenhouse Merino 5-ply. This yarn keeps trying to come home with me, especially the red one. We have this in variegated and somewhat solid colorways. I told you about it back in March, and I still think it's a winner.

A nice new selection of the Silk Blend arrived, as well. It is ideal for sweaters, scarves, hats, and these welted fingerless gloves that Ann will teach you to make at Modern Domestic. The pattern was written for Silk Blend, and they turn out just right.
We just received Maxima, the newest yarn from Manos. It's softer than the Wool Clasica, and the colors are just as fabulous. With 218 yards per skein, it is great for all kinds of projects, including those satisfying one-skeiners.

Misti Alpaca also arrived this week. This yarn is soft and squishy and knits up so fast. We have the Misti Alpaca Chunky and Hand Paint Chunky, which a lot of knitters love for hats (one skein) and scarves (only two skeins).
Misti Super Chunky (the 3-ply shown above) is now only available in variegated colorways, which are new to the shop and quite pretty. If you love the solids, come on down while we have some left.

Last but not least, we have all of our Rowan. The fall big book, Rowan 48 is here.
We are stocked up on Kidsilk Haze, Kidsilk Aura, and Felted Tweed, as well as Amy Bulter's Belle Organic Aran and DK, which I wrote about last week.

We have a few pretty samples from Rowan:
Lochalsh from Rowan 46, Lombard from Rowan 44, and Bourne from Rowan 46.

If you like to sew, too, you might be interested in the big sale happening next door at Bolt Neighborhood Fabrics. Come spend part of your rainy weekend on our corner.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Waffle Hat for You

I took home a skein of Misti Tonos Chunky a few weeks ago to make a sample for the shop, but I wasn't exactly sure what it would become. I knew I wanted to make a hat, and I wanted to use just one skein of this chunky alpaca/merino yarn. Since we often have requests for a good men's hat pattern, I was hoping to come up with a pattern that would work for a man or a woman.

I trolled around Ravelry until I found something that seemed almost right. I started with Aaron's Hat by UptownPurl, and I was inspired by several Ravelers who had made a some modifications to the original design. After a few false starts, I ended up with what I wanted. UptownPurl kindly gave me permission to rework the pattern and make it available.

The waffle stitch has a great texture and it's even reversible. The hat would work in any of our bulky yarns at Close Knit, and I've included a list of suggestions at the end of the pattern.

This is a quick knit on big needles, so whip up a few and stash them away for holiday gifts. Enjoy!

Waffle Hat (an adaptation of Aaron's Hat by UptownPurl)
by Leah Bandstra

Yarn: 1 skein Misti Tonos Chunky, Avocado #TTC05
Needles: US10 16" and double-pointed needles
Finished Size: 18" with plenty of stretch for my 22" noggin, 8" high
Gauge: 3.5 stitches/inch in stockinette on US10 (standard bulky weight)

Waffle Pattern:
Round 1 and 2: *K2, P2* Repeat between *s around until the marker.
Round 3: Knit all stitches
Round 4: Purl all stitches

Cast on 64 stitches with your 16" circular needle.

Join in the round (don't twist), placing marker at the beginning of the round.

*K2, P2* Repeat between *s around until the marker. Do this until you have 6 rounds of ribbing.

Begin the waffle pattern. (Note that the first 2 rows of the waffle pattern look just like the K2, P2 ribbing you have been doing.) Complete the waffle pattern 6 times total. You should see 6 purl ridges on your hat. You should have enough yarn to add an extra repeat of the waffle pattern to add about 3/4" if you'd like.

Begin the decrease rounds,
repeating between *s around each round, switching to DPNs when it gets too tight for the circular needle:
Round 1: *K2, P2tog, K2, P2*
Round 2: *K2, P1, K2, P2*

Round 3: *K5, K2tog*
Round 4: Purl all stitches
Round 5: *K2tog, P1, K2, P1*
Round 6: *K1, P1, K2, P1*
Round 7: *K2, K2tog, K1*
Round 8: Purl all stitches
Round 9: *K2tog, K1, P1*
Round 10: *K2, P1*
Round 11: *K1, K2tog*
Round 12: Purl all stitches
Round 13: *K2tog* (8 stitches left)
Break yarn and pull the tail through the 8 remaining stitches.
Weave in your ends and block if desired.

Alternative yarn suggestions:
Berroco Cuzco, Cascade 128 Superwash, Classic Elite Ariosa, Classic Elite Duchess, Debbie Bliss Glen, Karabella Margrite Bulky, Karabella Superyak, Malabrigo Chunky, Rowan Cocoon, Rowan Purelife Renew, Rowan Purelife Sheep Breeds Chunky

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amy Butler Knits

Amy Bulter has been inspiring quilters and apparel sewists for years with her stunning fabric collections and patterns. In fact, her graphic modern designs were part of what attracted me back to sewing several years ago. Amy is a knitter as well, and she has brought her eye for color and design to her first book of knitting patterns and her own line of yarn from Rowan.

Rowan Belle Organic is a blend of organic cotton and wool dyed in the rich, vibrant shades we love from Amy's fabric collections. The colors are meant to coordinate with her fabric lines, so you can mix and match knitting and sewing and stay within the same color palette. The combination of wool and cotton in this yarn really highlights the best properties of each of these fibers. The yarn is soft with a nice drape, yet durable to wear and forgiving to knit. Rowan is producing this yarn in both aran and DK weights, and we have both at Close Knit.

Midwest Modern Knits is loaded with projects and inspiration. There are several sweaters, legwarmers, scarves, wraps, fingerless gloves, and headbands to keep you toasty. Amy has included designs to beautify your home, as well, with a blanket, mug cozies, and several pillows, including the amazing colorwork covers shown below. The photography and styling are clean and beautiful, as you might expect from such a talented and experienced designer.
If you love Amy's work from the fabric world or are just discovering it for the first time through knitting, you won't be disappointed in her amazing new collection of patterns and her beautiful new yarn.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chloe Cowl

Nancy has another free pattern for us, as well as the helpful photo tutorial below. We just received a fresh shipment of Silky Flamme at the shop, so you have your choice of gorgeous colors for this sweet little project.

This fancy little cowl has an all over shadow cable pattern and ends with several rows of seed stitch. In this design, I have incorporated buttons which have no function aside from being cute, so no buttonholes are needed.

This is a pretty simple and straight forward knit, with some sewing at the end. Its length is easily adaptable; the longer you make it, the looser it will drape around your neck.

The yarn used is Silky Flamme by Elsebeth Lavold, a luscious bulky weight alpaca and silk blend with an organic feel and look to it.

You will need one ball of Silky Flamme, needle size US #10.5 and US #9 and a cable needle. If you wish, you can add some cute little buttons for fun!

The shadow cable pattern consists of 8 rows. Cables slanting to the left and slanting to the right create a soft curvy look. Your first 8 rows will look like this:

You will repeat those 8 rows 9 times all together or until your piece measures about 15" from cast on edge:

Now switch to the smaller needles. You can see in the picture below how much yarn you will have left to do the last part. Plenty!

Time to finish your piece with several rows of seed stitch. In the last two rows, decreases are used to make the edges curve. If everything went okay, your piece is about 16" long.

When you are finished binding off, make sure you leave a tail of approximately 45-50". With this tail you are going to sew the ends of your cowl together.

Sewing the ends together

The ends of your piece should overlap by 1"making sure the seed stitch part is on top:

Start sewing all round the edge of the seed stitch part using your darning needle. In the picture below I used a contrasting color yarn to show you along which line to sew, but of course you are going to use your long tail in the same color of your piece:

Because you are sewing in the seed stitch area, your sewing stitches will be quite invisible. So don't worry about being overly neat!

Now that you are done with sewing, you can opt to leave your piece as is or embellish with buttons! For this cowl I choose to work with 4 little filigree buttons:

You can also use just one big button on top your piece. Use your imagination and make sure to have some fun!

Silky Flamme comes in many beautiful saturated jewely colors, and I couldn't resist trying a bunch of them:
To download the pattern, click on the link below:

Have fun knitting this pattern!

Note: A mistake (egad!) was found in the pattern, but this version has been corrected.  In row 3, there should NOT be a K3 as the first instruction inside of the *s.  Sorry for any confusion, and thank you to our knitters who found this!

Monday, October 4, 2010


I love to check out new designers on Ravelry, and I recently stumbled upon a great design label from Austria called Umschlagplatz created by these two lovely and very friendly ladies, Kat and Vera. (If you don't read German, here's the link to their Ravelry page.)

In 2007, they formed a knitting group in Vienna as a way to socialize and perhaps drink a few beers while knitting. Their group grew quickly, and they were soon asked to sell their original knitted hats at an art fair during the holidays. They met with great success at the market, and they branched out to sell their knitted items in their Etsy shop as well. Lucky for us knitters, they have made their patterns available online as well, several for free.

Kat and Vera are both working while they finish their graduate studies, and knitting helps them to relax and think about their studies while taking a break. Their designs are inspired by everything from their beautiful city to small details on plants, clothing, and flowers. I recently knit one of the newest designs from Umschlagplatz, Anna Karenina. I love the architectural little towers and the nice slouch.

I used Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000 for my hat. It's a great machine washable merino. We have a nice range of colors from bright and variegated to some dark and subtle solids. It is soft and smooth, and would be perfect for kids and those sensitive folks. This is one of those yarns in the shop that just doesn't get the attention it deserves. Several of their hats would be great in Cool Wool, as well as Rowan Pure Wool DK, the new Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, and Rowan Wool Cotton.

I'm working on Bloom (a free pattern) in Misti Tonos Chunky. Kat and Vera's version is below, and mine will be in the shop soon.

In German, Umschlag literally means yarnover, but the definition has evolved to mean a sudden change as well. Their design label, Umschlaplatz, can be interpreted to mean the place where sudden changes or movements meet, and that seems very appropriate for a knitting label.

Thanks to Kat and Vera for all photos except my Anna Karenina hat.