close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Garter Goodness

Thank you to all of you wonderful Close Knitters who came to us for all of your holiday knitting needs.  We appreciate your smiling friendly faces and your business through this knitting season.  

We will continue to be open on Mondays from 10-6 because we love to see you!  We will be closed on Sunday, New Year's Day, and we are skipping our Wednesday night Open Knit Night tonight.  Don't worry, it will be back on January 4.

I have a little free scarf recipe for you all!  I'm calling it a recipe rather than a pattern because it's very open to interpretation and variation, and it will work for pretty much any yarn.

At first glance, it looks like your basic garter stitch scarf, but it's more than that.  Half of the scarf is worked lengthwise, and then you pick up stitches along one edge and knit until you run out of yarn.  I used Rowan Purelife Renew for mine, a yarn produced from recycled fabric, but I think this would look so cool with a self-striping yarn or one with a long color repeat.

My scarf ended up about 60" long and about 6" wide, and I'll explain how to figure it out for any weight yarn.

1. Figure out the gauge of your yarn in stitches per inch (not stitches over 4 inches).  Multiply the gauge of your yarn by 30.  Don't worry about a gauge swatch or anything.  It's a scarf.  Cast on that many stitches with a nice long circular needle.  Knit back and forth (not in the round) for about 6 inches (or however wide you'd like your final scarf to be).

2.  Bind off all but the last stitch.  Do this as loosely as humanly possible, or your scarf will be all pinched on one side.  I like to use the Decrease (or Lace) Bind Off, as described here.  When you get to the last stitch, don't bind it off, but pick up one stitch for each garter ridge along the end of the scarf.

3.  Knit until your scarf it as long as you'd like or until you run out of yarn.  Bind off loosely.

I would love to try this with something that gives an ombre effect like Debbie Bliss Glen, Kauni Effectyarn, or Classic Elite Liberty Wool.  A variegated yarn would add a cool touch, too.  I used 3 balls of the Rowan Renew (about 250 yards), which knit up at 3.5 stitches per inch on a US10.5.  I'm not promising that my yardages below are perfect, but they are just to give you an idea.

Fingering: 7 sts/inch, about 550 yards, cast on 210 stitches.
Sport: 6 sts/inch, about 500 yards, cast on 180 stitches.
DK: 5.5 sts/inch, about 450 yards, cast on 165 stitches.
Worsted: 5 sts/inch, about 350 yards, cast on 150 stitches.
Aran: 4.5 sts/inch, about 300 yards, cast on 135 stitches.
Bulky: 3.5 sts/inch, about 250 yards, cast on 105 stitches.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Cast on for this easy scarf and knit away on New Year's Day.  Happy New Year!

P.S. Want to Ravel it?  Here you go!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tosh for the Holidays

Hi friends!  Our much-anticipated shipment of Madelinetosh arrived this week, just in time for you to treat yourself.  We have a healthy supply of Tosh Merino Light (above), plenty of Tosh Merino DK, and little bit of Tosh Merino and Tosh Vintage.

Ann used the Tosh Merino Light to make Stephen West's Daybreak Shawl.  I know that several of our knitters have also used it for Veera's Stripe Study Shawl to great effect.

We unpacked a few big boxes today, too.  More Cascade Magnum, Lana Grande, Cloud, and Eco Cloud came to join us, as well as more needles and notions.  If you're looking for something specific, give us a call.

Chocolate oranges and candy canes are delicious, but wouldn't a few skeins of Tosh be a lovely "surprise" in that stocking you stuffed for yourself?  We're open from 10AM until 3PM on Saturday, December 24.  Just a thought.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Scrumptious and Holiday Hours

Fyberspates, a UK yarn company, has recently started distributing some of their beautiful yarns through our friends at Lantern Moon.  We are trying out two yarns from their Scrumptious line, Scrumptious Lace and Scrumptious 4ply Sport.

This is some pretty yarn, friends.  A silk and merino blend with some amazing yardage: over 1000 yards in each skein of laceweight and about 400 yards in the 4ply sport.  The 4ply sport is machine washable, too.

The pattern book, the Scrumptious Collection Volume 1, is really fabulous.  I am particularly smitten with the hat on the cover, Arncott, and this beautiful little pullover, Tirrold.  

There is a short and long version, and most sizes require only one skein of the lovely laceweight.  The book is full of some great sweaters and accessories.

We have some special holiday hours in the next few weeks, too.  We'll be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and we will be closing early on the 24th and 31st.  We are going to skip Open Knit Night on the 28th, too.

Sally made a pretty little sign with all the details.  Don't forget, we are open until 10 PM on Wednesday, December 21st for any knitting emergencies that might arise.

While there isn't really enough time to crank out a Scrumptious lace shawl before Sunday, there is still plenty of time to create some handmade gifts with some of our favorite bulky yarns.  We have a lot of Cascade Magnum, Lana Grande, and Twinkle Soft Chunky on the shelves for your last minute knitting needs.

And, if someone you know is looking for a gift for you (their favorite knitter) just send them to the shop and tell them to say Scrumptious.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fridays are for New Stuff (Wednesdays, Too)

I love working on Fridays.  I used to miss out on all of the big packages when I only worked weekends.  Last week was especially good.

The new Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 50 is at the shop.  The Rowan site has a great slide show with all of the important details.  These are some of the pretties that caught my eye.

Have you guys seen this stuff?

Rowan Kidsilk Creation is a pre-knitted tube of Kidsilk Haze that you can use to make these crazy twisty scarves in about 20 minutes.

Seriously.  You can knit or crochet them, and the yarn comes with a pattern.  Rowan offers a tutorial on their website, which I highly recommend checking.  The process is not really even knitting, but the results are getting a lot of attention.  This yarn is a limited edition offering from Rowan, and we have all available colors at the shop right now, so get it while we have it.  It might not come back.

New and well-loved books arrived as well.  Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City continues to be a popular choice.  The two copies we had left are likely gone by now, but we do keep ordering it.  Classic Elite Quick Knits is chock full of some of the best little projects that Classic Elite has offered over the past several years.  This would make a great gift, too, for a fellow knitter.

Connie Chang Chinchio's Textured Stitches is hot off the presses.  She has designed some very popular sweaters for Interweave Knits, Twist Collective, and a variety of books.  Her designs are classic with a little something to keep you engaged.  We are also freshly stocked with the ever popular Last Minute Knitted Gifts and More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, if you are so inclined.

Brand new to Close Knit: Cascade Lana Grande.  This yarn is similar to Rowan Big Wool for half the price.  At two stitches per inch on a US15, I think this is going to be a popular choice for our last minute knitters.  Sally used two balls of Lana Grande and a US15 to whip up Nancy's Charly Infinity Scarf

Also new to us, we have Cascade Kid Seta and Kid Seta Noir.  The Noir has little sparkles, which are notoriously difficult to photograph.

These would be great for Nancy's Poppy Flowers.  They knit up quickly and work really well as gift toppers or as gifts on their own.  We also have a shelf full of Magnum, some new colors of Noro Silk Garden, and these beautiful interchangable Dreamz needle sets from Knitter's Pride.  They are really reasonably priced, and they are very nice to work with.

And this week, a whole bunch of Classic Elite Liberty Wool!  If you fell in love with the little hats we have at the shop, come and get some while it's here, because the Liberty Wool does not last long.  These are the Umbilical Cord Hats from Stitch n' Bitch, and they are adorable.  These hats came from the same ball of yarn (yes, one ball = two baby hats), and they are definitely fraternal rather than identical.

Next time I will tell you about something beautiful that starts with "S" and ends with "crumptious".  I love Fridays.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Magazines

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for the Winter Frolic last week!  Our little shop was sure hoppin', and we truly appreciate your business.

Now for a little peek at the new books and magazines.  First up, Malabrigo Book 3.  We are in general agreement at the shop that this is by far the best Malabrigo pattern book yet.  The Scalloped Shawl on the cover was enough to get my attention.  It calls for three skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino.  We are not carrying this particular yarn, but the Manos del Uruguay Silky Wool is a pretty close substitute, and we have a lovely stock of this yarn.

Sally whipped up a sample of the Rasta Neckwarmer in about two hours.  I'm not usually drawn to these super bulky yarns, but Rasta is really satisfying.  Stephen West's Purl Ridge Hat, designed with Malabrigo Worsted, looks pretty fabulous.  Keep your eyes out for a sample of this one, too.

I'm also loving the Twisted Cowl, the Leaf Border Hooded Jacket, the obligatory Stuffed Ostrich, and these bright and beautiful Floor Pillows.

The newest Knit Simple had a few good ones, including this Knitted Triangle Sampler Afghan.

Interweave Crochet Accessories arrived recently, too.  The cover features the big ol' Rapunzel Scarf for you crocheters who want to jump on the chunky bandwagon.

The are several cute kid's accessories, including these cupcake hats and the dino set.

The Fancywork Cloche is so sweet and romantic, as is the pretty Edie Cowl.

Check out the Twist Bag; it's fully lined with crochet for an extra little pop of color.

We also have Interweave Knits Accessories for the knitters.

There is a beautiful section on wedding-appropriate shawls.  The Cowry Shell Shawl is my favorite.

The sock/slipper patterns are pretty great, too.  The thrummed slipper boots look so toasty.

There is a crazy-good spread of man hats with something for every guy on your list.  Mustache not required.

Of course, there are plenty of pretty hats, scarves, cowls and gloves.

Interweave Knits Winter 2011 is here, too.  I had to take a copy of this one home with me for two reasons: the Meriwether Wrap Jacket, knit with a respectable amount of worsted weight yarn (maybe Cascade Eco?),

and the Petite Facile sweater knit with just two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted.

These are other good ones, too.  Including the Tempest Coat, the Pan Am Jacket, Bettie's Pullover, and Shirley Paden's Fauna Pullover.

Whew, that was a lot of stuff.  I hope you found something that inspires you.  Come on by the shop and flip through one of these great new publications.  We love to see your shining faces.