close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Heart Urchins

Check out our new window designed by Jenni and featuring the work of the fabulous Calley Dodero!

Calley has created a flock of urchins and hearts for us.

What's that?  You'd like to make your own?  Well, do I have some good news for you!

Calley is teaching a class on her Urchin Pillow at the end of February.  Many people have commented on the poufs at the shop, and quite a few seem to recall seeing them in design magazines.  Calley says she has yet to be featured in any magazines, but maybe this exposure will change that!
If you are a non-crocheter, we have a Learn to Crochet Workshop with Ann on Monday, February 6 to get you started.  Ann will teach you all of the basics you need for Calley's class on February 20th and 27th.

Calley's class will focus on the big Urchin Pillow, crocheted with Cascade Lana Grande, but I'm guessing the little urchins are closely related.  She'll be able to give you the run down in class.  At this point, the pattern is only available to the students in the class, but it's possible that she will release it for purchase at a later date.  I'll keep you posted.

We do have the pattern for her sweet little Bullion Hearts at the shop right now.  Also worked up in Cascade Lana Grande, they are soft, cute, and fast.  We have the pattern for these at the shop and nice range of Valentine's Day Colors of Lana Grande.

If you are a knitter ready to branch out, let Ann and Calley gently lead you into the wild world of crochet.  If you already know what you're doing, come create something fabulous.  Stop on by or give us a call at the shop to sign up, 503.288.4568.  See you soon!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fresh Batch from Rowan

Rowan sent us some pretty things last week.  

We have a few cubbies full of the very unusual Rowan Kidsilk Creation. This yarn was a big hit before the holidays, mainly because you can create a scarf in about 20 minutes.  I won't call it knitting, and I won't call it crocheting, but I can call it creating.  Crazy stuff, people.

Our Lima shelves are full again.  Oh my, this is lovely yarn.  It was one of the first chained yarns to hit the market several winters ago, and, being Rowan, it is definitely one of the most luxurious.  At more than 80% alpaca, it is lofty and soft.  And that smokey is going to go quickly.  We have a beautiful sweater sample knit up in this yarn.

Brea is from Rowan's Lima Collection book.  It is fabulously soft, dense, and so very warm.  I made myself a little Calorimetry with one ball of Lima, and it sees a lot of use.  Jennifer Lang, designer of your favorite A Little Ruffle scarf, has used Lima in several of her lovely designs.  (Her patterns are available through Ravelry and Etsy, and the photos are used with permission.)

Drifted Pearls
Wandering Cowl
Drifted Pearls and the Wandering Cowl (above) each require three balls, and the Jasper Wrap (below) requires only five.  There is a lot of luxury packed into this yarn, making it ideal for gifty items like these.

Jasper Wrap
Felted Tweed DK is one of my favorite yarns from Rowan.

This yarn knits up at a nice light DK or sport gauge, and the knitted fabric is warm but lightweight.  I often turn to this yarn for our knitters who want something a little lighter for layering.

Photo from dear sweet Emily
One of my dear friends used it for the Minimalist Cardigan last winter (her first sweater), and she was thrilled with the results.  I have visions of using it for this amazing cowl/capelet/thing.

Photo from Lamandorla Designs Ravelry Shop
I discovered the Urban Troubadour at some point last winter and fell instantly in love.  (I'll blame the novel I was reading at the time.)  I have four balls of orange Felted Tweed waiting at home for me already, so I just need to decide on the other colors.  There are so many possible color combinations; I am having difficulty.

Speaking of color combos, have you all seen the Ships & Seaside cowl?

Photo from Tiny Owl Knits
This big loop cowl uses Kid Classic, another favorite from Rowan.  We have a nice stock of neutral shades, and plenty of colors to play around with when it comes to the stripes.  We normally stock this pattern at the shop, too, so give us a call if you are interested.

Rowan really knows what they are doing over there.  Come take a look.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Ideas for You

Sally and I spent a lovely morning unpacking boxes on Friday.

We unpacked loads of yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloe.  I have lots of ideas for these yarns.  Above and below we have a beautiful color range of Sport Weight and Melange from Blue Sky Alpacas.  These are essentially the same yarn, but the Melange has a little more depth of color with a subtle heathered look.

Would someone please make the Short Row Sweater from The Purl Bee?

Photo from The Purl Bee
A free pattern, five or six skeins of Sport Weight or Melange, and some serious short row action, and you will have a beautiful and unusual little layer.  Look at the back.  Wouldn't this be perfect over a long-sleeved tee shirt?  Must make.

Photo from The Purl Bee

We also received more Worsted Hand Dyes.  This yarn is squishy and ohsosoft.  It's a merino/alpaca blend, sure to please even the most sensitive skin.  The structure of the yarn is interesting, too.  It is very round, so cables and textured stitches really pop.  We love it for the Diezel Seedie Ribbie Beanie from Tante Sophie.  Just one skein will make a hat for almost any head size.

Photo from Tante Sophie
Photo from Tante Sophie
One of our knitters (Hi, Mary!) was in on Sunday collecting yarn to make another Diezel Beanie, because her first was, uh, commandeered by her sister.  She chose a skein of the Worsted Hand Dyes and a complementary skein of Brushed Suri to hold together to soften the look of the hat.  I might need to blatantly rip that idea off and make one for myself.

Our Spud & Chloe shelves are full again, too.  They've released some new bright colors of Outer for the spring, including Wave (blue) and Giggle (purple).  Spud & Chloe has great pattern support for their yarns, and the Buga Baby Bunting continues to stand as my favorite Outer pattern.

Photo from Spud & Chloe
There's a great Double Garter Cowl freebie on their blog, too.  Looks pretty easy, and you'll only need two skeins.

Photo from Spud Says!
Finally, the Sweater is back.  This yarn is such a great balance of organic cotton and superwash wool.  I have had the Twister Cowl on my repeat list since I made one two years back in a different yarn.  I need to make one in Sweater next.

Photo from Spud Says!
This stuff is great for sweaters (duh) since it's machine washable.  There are grand plans around here to make Shellseeker from Pipibird.

Photo from Pipibird's Ravelry Shop

I have a deep love of stripes, and this looks like it might be the most comfy sweatshirt-replacing handknit ever.  It has a pocket.  And stripes.  Did you see the stripes?

So many ideas, so little time!  Please help me satisfy my creative needs and knit some of these great patterns in these fabulous yarns.  Thank you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Malabrigo, Fibre Company, and Liberty Wool

Some new goodies have arrived at the shop recently.  We received a few boxes from Malabrigo with some old favorites and a new beauty.

Malabrigo Arroyo is brand new and so pretty.  They call it a sport weight, but the label says 20-22 stitches over 4 inches on a US4 to 6.  I think you could knit it up at a range of gauges, so I highly recommend swatching before you get started.  Each lovely skein contains 335 pretty yards.

This one is called Glitter and it's my favorite.  Arroyo seems like a lighter version of Rios, which we also restocked in this shipment.  Plus, Arroyo is machine washable just like Rios.  If you guys like it, we will likely get more, so let us know.  We also restocked some Malabrigo Worsted and Rasta.  

Last, but not least, Malabrigo Sock!  This is some addicting yarn.  

We have nine or ten pretty colors, and these are my favorites.  This yarn is great for socks and shawls, but it gets used often for sweaters, too.  Check out all of the cardigans and pullovers on Ravelry.

We also restocked a few yarns from The Fibre Company.  We have more Road to China Light and Organik, and we have a pretty little Ishbel knit up for you to enjoy the beauty of Road to China Light.

I know some of you have been waiting for the Classic Elite Liberty Wool, and it's back!

We even have the colorway we used in for our little sample hats, which has been very hard to get in stock.

Come and get yours while we still have it on the shelves.  See you soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the Needles

Hello, yarn loving friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season full of knitting, eating, and relaxation.  It seems like no matter how low I set the bar for holiday expectations around my house, I still seem to be "needed" much more than I would like by many short (and tall) people.  Sadly, the knitting suffers a bit.  Now, after many lovely people in my house, too much cleaning, multiple colds, and way too many no-school days, things seem to be returning to a more manageable pace.  Time to evaluate what's in the bag and on the needles.

I have been working on a sweater for myself since October, and the end is in sight.  Kaari has been on my list ever since Berroco released Norah Gaughan Volume 1 several years ago (still the best volume in my opinion).  

After much internal debate on yarn and color, I decided on Manos del Uruguay Rittenhouse in Brick.  I love the A-line shape of the sweater and the big smock pockets.  I just have to finish seaming and crank out the neckband.  I hope to be wearing it by next week.  I'm a bit concerned that it's going to be a little tight under the arms, but hopefully a good blocking will relax it a bit.  This yarn is so soft and wonderful, and I only needed 5 skeins for the sweater.

I have been working on felted Elf Shoes for my big girl, and she is getting impatient.  I'm using Manos Wool Clasica for the main body of the slipper, and a little Cascade 220 for the sweet little trim.  These things go so fast, especially in the kid's sizes; I really have no excuse for these taking so long.  I blame the fat double-pointed needles for slowing me down.  The pattern is free and very satisfying.  Even though elf season is closed, I think my girl will still love them.

Because she is cold when we play outside, I started a sweater for her, too.  The littlest girl gets all the good handmade hand-me-downs, but the big girl is sporting a ratty hoodie passed down from our neighbor.  I had three skeins of beautiful purpley blue Dream in Color Classy laying around, so I started Rubble from Alison Brookbanks of 6.5 Stitches.  I like the swingy quality of the design, perfect for a girl who gets hot and itchy in clingy sweaters.  I plan to block the bejezus out of all of the ribbing to keep it loose and relaxed.  It's going pretty fast, so hopefully I can show you some modeled shots soon.

I have a few other sweaters for myself on the needles, too.  Apparently I am a selfish knitter.

I started a cardigan last spring, and I put it down over the summer when it got too hot to have a big wad of sweater on my lap.  I'm not sure why I didn't pick it up again in the fall.  I guess I was seduced by new projects, but I do love my V-Yoke Cardigan from Interweave Knits Spring 2011 by Amy Christoffers.  I chose to stripe the lower portion, because I really like how the stripes show off the unusual construction of this sweater.  I'm making mine in sport weight wool (maybe that's why I stalled out), although the original was designed with Classic Elite Firefly, a linen blend.  I need to finish the body of the sweater, complete a serious I-cord bind off, and make some sleeves.  I'm hoping to have this by February, but please don't hold me to it.

I'm also working on a really unusual pullover from Amy Christoffers (I love her stuff), and it's striped, too, in a way.  It's the Division Pullover, knit with fingering weight yarn held both single and double to create a really interesting texture.  I'm using some silk/cotton we had in stock years ago, but any fingering or sock weight would be perfect.  I screwed up the armhole shaping, so I needed a little break from this project.  I'd love to have it ready for spring, which seems pretty reasonable at this point.

I am working on a little headband pattern for you all, too.  Hopefully I'll have that in the next week or two, provided I don't get taken down by another holiday or school closure.