close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Babies, Babies Everywhere

We have two really special new baby books at the shop right now.

Vintage Baby Knits contains heirloom projects from the 1920s to the 1950s. More than 40 vintage patterns have been reworked and rewritten in modern knitting terms using currently available yarns. There is really something for everyone in this book. Here are a few of my favorites.

Check out the compete gallery over at STC Crafts.

Vintage Knits for Modern Babies is full of really sweet projects, too. Caps, booties, blankets, toys, are some of the good ones.

We always have a nice selection of baby soft machine washable yarns, and we are happy to help you find the right yarn for your project.

I love the classic designs in both of these books, the styling is beautiful, and you'll really be able to create an heirloom piece from either one. If you are expecting or if it seems like everyone you know is having babies right now, come take a look.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Classes

Interested in learning something new? We have some great classes coming up in the next few months.

If you're starting from the very beginning or pushing yourself to the next level, spend your Thursday evenings with Adrienne in her Knitting: Beginning and Beyond class. She has a March session and an April session, and you can knit whatever interests you.

Ann offers a Learn to Knit workshop on Tuesday nights if you can't commit to the three-week class or just need a little refresher. She has space on March 15th and April 12th. Grab a group of friends and sign up!

Already comfortable with the basics of knitting and purling? We have great options for you, too!
If you are ready to try knitting in the round, check out the Sally Hat class. The Sally Hat was designed by Nancy Ricci, and it's one of the most popular designs at the shop. You can knit a cap or a slouchy beret, depending on the size you choose. Ann will walk you through the basics of knitting in the round on circular and double-pointed needles.

Ann is also offering a class on the Turkish Bed Socks from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. You get to learn all of the basics of sock knitting in half the sock!

I've had short rows on the brain lately, so I'm going to do a few one-shot workshops.

In one workshop, I'll show you how to make this great little washcloth using short rows. We will accomplish a wrap and turn (W&T) and get rid of those pesky little holes left behind. If you don't want to knit a washcloth, this design makes a great pillow cover or afghan square.

I'm also offering a workshop on short row shoulder shaping and the 3-needle bind off. If you have trouble seaming sweater shoulders with those funky stair-steps from binding off (seen above), this is a great way to make them easy and beautiful.

Any seamed sweater pattern can be altered with short-row shoulders, and I'll teach you how to do it so you can apply your new skill every time.

We have had some requests for introductory crochet classes, parent/child knitting classes, and fair isle technique classes. Stay posted, and I'll let you know when those are being offered.
Anything else you have a hankering for?

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Sparkle Fairy

The Sparkle Fairy has been busy at Close Knit.

Flicker, new from Berroco, is an alpaca blend chainette yarn with a super soft thread of tinsel running through it. The texture of the yarn reminds me of Rowan Lima, and each skein is as light as a cloud. I like that the gold or silver metallic bits are coordinated to the shade, too. At this moment we have all six earth-toned colorways, but they are going to go fast.

Luna from Tahki Stacy Charles is a mohair/silk blend with tiny little sparkles. This is our replacement for Rowan Kidsilk Night, which, sadly, has been discontinued. This is great for lacy shawls, simple shrugs, lightweight tops...anything that you might make with Kidsilk Haze would be beautiful with Luna.

Kollage Glisten, an alpaca/silk blend, knits up with a pretty halo. We have several rich jewel tones right now. Perfect for hats, scarves, cowls, and sweaters.

If you like the big stuff, try the Plymouth Grande Glow, which is the ever-popular Baby Alpaca Grande with a little glimmer. Nancy's Venessa Headband or her Tristan Scarf would be really cool with this.

If you loved the Plymouth Baby Llama Glow the first time around, you will be happy to see more on the shelves again.

Come and claim your favorites while they last. Who knows how long until the Sparkle Fairy makes her (his?) way back to our little shop.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vintage Modern Knits

I have been waiting for Vintage Modern Knits from Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley at Kelbourne Woolens. The book features the beautiful yarns of The Fibre Company, and we have a nice selection of several of their yarns. I wanted to share a few of my favorite designs.

The beautiful cover sweater is the Adelaide Yoke Pullover in Terra.

Maple Bay Cardigan in Organik: Yangtze Cardigan in Canopy Fingering: Cady Twisted-Stitch Mittens in Canopy Fingering: Ajiro Scarf in Road to China Light: Margarethe Lace Shawl in Road to China Light: Whitby Stockings in Canopy Fingering: The projects in the book employ a wide range of techniques: fair isle, intarsia, twined knitting, Swedish bohus, cabling, lace, and Estonian roositud. This book would be perfect for your collection if you're interested in trying something new in some fabulous yarns. Come by and take a look.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Something For You

I made a little something for you guys.

We have some really pretty silk ribbon that has been flirting with me for months, and the deep red inspired me. I paired it with the beautiful Rowan Belle Organic DK from Amy Butler's line of yarn in the creamy white Moonflower colorway.

I knit this cowl with DK yarn on US8 needles, two sizes larger than recommended, to achieve a nice drape.
If you choose to use a different weight yarn, I would suggest going up a few needle sizes from the recommended needle as well. This cowl is close-fitting, but casting on more stitches will result in a larger piece with more drapes and folds. You could add more eyelets and more ribbon to create more ruching. Enjoy!

Close Knit Ruched Cowl

by Leah Bandstra

Yarn: 2 balls Rowan Belle Organic DK (Moonflower, #13)
Needles: US8 16" circular
Other: stitch marker, 1 yard of silk ribbon (machine or hand stitch the ends to prevent fraying)

Finished Size: 13” long and about 22” around
Gauge: 4.5 stitches/inch in stockinette on US8

Cast on 100 stitches with your 16" circular needle.
Join in the round (don't twist), placing marker at the beginning of the round.

Purl 2 rounds.

Knit 2 rounds.

At the beginning of the next round:

*K2, YO, K2TOG, knit until 4 stitches remain, K2TOG, YO, K2. (eyelet round)

Knit 6 rounds.*

Repeat between the *s until your piece measures about 13”, ending with and eyelet round. I have 12 eyelet rows at this point.

Knit 2 rounds.

Purl 2 rounds.

Bind off (loosely) in purl. Weave in your ends. Thread your ribbon through the eyelets. Pull the ends to gather up the side.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dreamy Color

We have a new batch of Classy from Dream in Color in some luscious new handpainted shades.

I love this for pretty much everything. The colors are saturated and semi-solid, but not crazy variegated. You get the interest and depth of the changing tones without any overwhelming pooling or flashing you might get from other handpainted yarns.

I've used it for kids sweaters, blankets, hats, and adult sweaters. Each skein contains 250 yards of pure merino, and it is machine washable. I also love that the yarn resists pilling quite nicely, so you won't end up with little fuzzballs all over your piece.

We only received ten skeins of each color, and some have already found a new home. Come and get it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've been working away on my Americano vest, shown above (on a rather petite model). I loved this design the moment I saw it, and I was really looking forward to throwing it on over a long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans.

After I finished the fronts and back, I thought I'd baste up the side seams and see how it fit. I did a quick and dirty seaming job here...just enough to hold the pieces together.
I tried it on, using a big stitch holder in place of the top button. I walked to the mirror. Fail. Way too tight around the tummy. I could barely close it.
What to do? I considered knitting some panels for the sides to add a little extra width, but the length didn't feel quite right either. The close tailoring and waist-cinching fit looks great on the model, but the last thing I need right now is a vest squeezing my belly. Think gaping button holes...not good.

When it comes right down to it, the overall style doesn't really work for my post-baby, mid-Oregon winter physique. I love the vest, through, so I think I'll try it again in the fall in a larger size with added length. Maybe I'll even have a bit more of a waist to accentuate at that point! As for this (too) little vest, it will be ripped out to become something even better that I can wear right now.
While this particular project was a bust for me, I really enjoyed the yarn. I used Berroco Peruvia Quick, and it has quickly become one of my favorite yarns at the shop. For the vest, I intentionally used a US10, a smaller needle than recommended for the yarn, to achieve a dense fabric. I've swatched the Peruvia Quick on a US11, and the fabric is very different, but I like it. I have a few patterns in mind for this yarn, so it certainly won't languish in the stash for long.

Lesson learned. I must knit body-appropriate items if I ever hope to get any use out if them. If you are a new knitter, please take solace in the fact that it has taken me more than ten years of knitting and three years working at a yarn shop to figure this out.