close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Would Jane Knit?

We have the Summer 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits from Interweave.  This is the second Jane Austen issue, and I like this one is even better than the first.  There are some interesting historical articles in each issue, and the designs are all inspired by the novels and characters of Jane Austen.  I was never a huge fan of the Regency-era novels, but I have been known to stay up too late on a Sunday night watching a little Jane on Masterpiece Theater.  Here are some of my favorites from this most recent issue.

The sweet little lacy Summer Pelisse is knit with Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo, perfectly soft and shiny for the little miss in your life.

The Beloved Baby Bonnet is really something special, and the adorable infant doesn't hurt the look either.  We have several beautiful colors of Karabella Lace Merino Silk, so delicate and sophisticated.  This would be great in many laceweights, but the Lace Merino Silk is just a little bit thicker and very luxurious.

Emma's Chemise and Miss Bingley's Feathered Head Wrap and Lace Wrist Warmers really embody the whole Jane Austen feel.


My favorite from this issue is the Margaret Dashwood Shawl.  It was designed using a lovely tweedy lace yarn, similar to Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift.  This is on my list for summer knitting.  The pattern is really simple, but the results are so pretty.

We have a few issues of the original Jane Austen Knits on the shelves, too.

Here are some of my favorites from last year's issue.  The Fitz mitts are knit in Jamieson's, too.

The Meryton Coat would be quite an accomplishment.

Looking back at last year's issue makes me want to go grab both issues and curl up with my knitting.  Since it can be difficult to knit and read at the same time, I'll have to stick with my PBS habit.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


When I first met the Classic Elite Firefly, I wasn't so sure that you guys would like it.  It's kind of fine and slinky with an unusual texture, and I had a hard time believing that it would get much love.  I was wrong.  So very wrong.

I took some home to play, which resulted in the perfect summer project, the Firefly Bias Scarf.

The scarf is all stockinette stitch (knit on the front and purl on the back), but the biased fabric prevents any major rolling.  The pattern is simple (and free), but not so mindless that you want to give up.  And the fabric that Firefly creates is really perfect for summer.  So many of our Close Knitters nabbed up three balls of this beautiful yarn to make their own, so Sally ordered even more colors for you this summer.  

The dark gray is still my favorite, but that gorgeous gold is starting to wink at me, and even the pink has been chatting me up, too.  Ann recently used the lighter grey to make the Fringed Scarf from the Picnic Book (#9109).

The newest Firefly booklet from Classic Elite, Peabody Path (#9174) has a few pretties, too.

I think the drapey open-front cardigan and net-like shawl are nice, but I loved Redbud from the moment I saw it.  The dolman sleeves, the boatneck, the understated lace.  True love.

One of my favorite designers is a fan of Firefly, too, and she has designed a few lovely pieces you might like.  Amy Christoffer'Robin Tank from the latest issue of Knitscene and her V-Yoke Cardigan from last spring's Interweave both play up the best qualities of Firefly: its flow and drape.

Look at the biasing!
Apparently you all are pretty good judges of yarn, and I'm glad you all fell for Firefly, too.  Come get yours at 15% off through Sunday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Louet also produces KidLin, a pretty linen and mohair blend.  While this yarn is 49% linen, the mohair definitely dominates the texture and the look of the knitted fabric.  KidLin lace weight, which we have in stock, knits up into a light fabric with the signature mohair halo.

Image from Louet
I know several of our knitters were quite taken with the sample of Cia that we had in the shop for a bit, and the lacey Monica stole was also quite popular.  We have a pattern for Myra at the shop, as well.

Image from Louet
Personally, I would stick to some simpler textures with this yarn.  A few clever Ravelers used KidLin to create some stunning versions of Amiga from last summer's Knitty (a free online pattern magazine).  The Ravelers who tried this used US7 needles and just three skeins of KidLin.

Photo from KnitSwiss, used with permission
I love the En Pointe Pullover from last spring's Interweave Knits, too.  The construction of this sweater is really unusual; the front is knit sideways, twisted, and attached to the back.  I'm pretty sure the sleeves are then picked up and knit down to the cuff, so the seaming is pretty minimal.
Image source
I think this sweater would be really flattering on a lot of body types, and it would be a great low-key knitting project, since it is all stockinette.

You could just keep it simple and knit a garter stitch scarf or a big ol' infinity scarf.  What will you make?

Monday, May 21, 2012


Our collaborative linen sale starts today!  From now through May 27, Close Knit and Bolt Neighborhood Fabric are offering 15% off all linen and linen blend fibers.*

I gave you a little glimpse of our linens last week, and I'd love to give you a few ideas.  Let's talk about the pure stuff first, Louet Euroflax.

Louet produces high quality yarns, and Euroflax is one of the best summer yarns out there.  The colors are vibrant, the yardage is generous, and the yarn softens up unbelievably after a good wash.

I have used the Euroflax for face cloths and luxurious hand towels in the past, and we have a sample of one at the shop.  Little cloths like these make great gifts and are a fun way to play with a new stitch pattern or just make up your own.  The sample at the shop shows how far one skein will go, but you can easily produce two good size face cloths from one skein.  I love the Eight Linen Washcloths set from Knitter's Stash, but the sky is the limit here.

For something slightly more involved, you could try the Lacey Stole.  Feather and fan in pure linen?  So nice.  

This is a great beginning lace pattern, and the weight and texture of the finished product are so satisfying.  The results look pretty impressive, but the lace repeat is easy to memorize, all of the wrong side rows are purled, and the chart is only a few rows long.  I thought this was available as a free pattern on Knitting Daily TV, but it looks like that might not be the case any longer.  Either way, it is available as a download from Patterrnfish, and it requires three skeins of your favorite color.

We have the pattern for Patricia, a classic cabled tank that would fit into any summer wardrobe, whether you are going to the park or the office.

Image source.
Cocoknits' Liesl was very popular last summer, and I think it will be again.  The interesting hemline and unusual pockets appealed to many of our uber-cool Close Knitters.

Image source.
I think Kat Coyle's Linen Top is a great option for some mindless summer knitting, and mindless dressing for that matter.

Image source.
Okay, so this is a knitted skirt, I know.  I'm not usually drawn to things like this, but the Linen Kilt from Knit 2 Together is pretty stunning.

Image source.
I also lovelovelove Pipit from Pipibird.  Pretty much everything this woman puts out is amazing.  

I could go on and on: bags, cardigans, dresses(!), tanks, tees, pullovers.  For more ideas, take a look at what so many Ravelers have made with this beloved yarn.  The yarn changed names at one point, so be sure to look at the Euroflax Sport Weight, Originals, and Barcelona projects for maximum linen inspiration.

*On in store-items only, and please don't combine this generous offer with other offers.  Thanks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Playing With Others

We had such a nice time sharing with our friends at Bolt Neighborhood Fabric during their last big sale, we decided to play again.

Firefly Fringed Scarf and Patricia in Euroflax
We are going to collaborate with Bolt next week to showcase linen, perhaps my favorite summer fiber.  Starting on Monday, May 21st, all linen and linen blend yarns will be 15% off at Close Knit.  Bolt is offering the same 15% discount on their linen fabrics.  The discount will be in effect through Sunday, May 27th at both shops, so next week is the time to get your hands on some linen fiber.

Classic Elite Firefly
Linen is really ideal for summer clothing, and we have some pretty choices at Close Knit: Classic Elite Firefly, Classic Elite Soft Linen, Louet Euroflax Sport, Louet KidLin Lace, and Fibre Company Savannah DK.

Louet Euroflax Sport
Linen creates such a nice drapey fabric with a satisfying weight and texture.  Some people find pure linen a little scratchy in the skein, but it softens up so much after the first wash.  One clever knitter I know has even washed the skein before she knit with it.  She tied the skein in several places, soaked it, and let it drip dry before winding it into a ball.

We have samples of all of our linen yarns at the shop, and I'll be sharing many more suggestions with you in the next week or so.
Dream Stripe Shawl in Classic Elite Soft Linen
Firefly Bias Scarf
You really need to handle these pieces to fully appreciate the loveliness of our linen yarns, and the same is true of the linen fabrics at Bolt.  Make a date with some linen and spend some time in our little corner of the world next week.  Stay tuned for more ideas and inspiration!

Also, both shops will be closed on Monday, May 28th for Memorial Day.  See you soon!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Plymouth Glow

Plymouth has sent more sparkles!  You all seem to love this stuff, so we are happy to announce the arrival of more Glow.

The original Baby Llama Glow is a worsted weight, working up at 5 stitches per inch on a US7.  It's 95% baby llama and 5% sparkly stellina, with 273 yards in each pretty skein.

I used it for a slouchy sparkly hat a few winters back.  My hat was based on the Simple Pleasures Hat from the Purl Bee.  I just skipped the mohair since the llama gives a nice halo all on its own.

Adrienne used it for a sweater, and I know she inspired several of you to do the same.  This is Teal from Kim Hargreaves' Winter Blooms.  She made this whole beautiful sweater with only four skeins.

Photo by Adrienne
Not only do we have the Baby Llama Glow, we are also happy to see a new laceweight version, Suri Alpaca Merino Glow.  

As the name implies, this one is suri alpaca, merino, and stellina.  The suri alpaca makes it even softer than the original, and this one is much finer, with 1094 yards per skein.  It is brand new this season, and I'm very interested to see what you all choose to do with it.  I'm thinking shawls and scarves, but you all might come up with something even more fabulous.

These yarns are part of Plymouth's Dye For Me series, and they are made specifically for hand-dyers.  If you are so inclined, you could create some amazing and colorful yarn.  Personally, I love it as is.  What do you think?

Friday, May 11, 2012

For the Love of Liberty

We have discussed the Liberty Wool.  It is a fun yarn which does some interesting color shifting and fading over the course of the ball.  

Several months back, Sally signed up for a Liberty Wool subscription service.  That means that we receive two bags of their newest colorways every month or so.

There have been colorways with a definite pastel feel, several bold pinks and purples, greens and blues, and quite a few of the sunset tones I used in my cowl.

I opened a box last week with my new favorite.  May I introduce you to #7869, Leaf and Bumblebee?

Hidden in those little balls is golden yellow, natural, gray, and a weird pea green.  Fabulous!  And the names of these new colorways are great, too.  Art Deco Wavelength?  Sonic Lavender?  Ultra Violet Autumn?  Whoever is doing the naming over at Classic Elite sounds like a lot of fun.

Classic Elite is working hard to support the local yarn shop (LYS), so they have made several Liberty Wool patterns available free through participating shops with the purchase of Liberty Wool.  The newest free-with-purchase pattern we have is for these super cool Liberty Wool Pillows.

These pillows are fabulous for so many reasons.  They really give you the opportunity to play with colors and combinations that you would probably not put on your body, and the small scale of these make them ideal for summer projects.  Pillows also give you the chance to try out new techniques and hone some new skills, like creating cables and interesting textures, while adding a pop of (easy-to-change) color to your home.

These garter stitch squares are fun, too.  Big or small, lots of squares or just a few.  Think of the possibilities!

Pillows also free you from major fit worries.  If your gauge is a little off, the pillow is not concerned.  And mistakes can become design features without too much fuss.

There are several other beautiful designs available through the subscription service, as well.

Mitered Cowl and Easy Moebius Cowl
Easy Striped Tam
Technicolor Scarf
Fingerless Mitts
Hooded Scarf
Double-Breasted Baby Cardigan

We have a shelf full of Liberty Wool, pattern books, samples, and access to these great patterns for free!  Stop by and take a look.  I think you will really like playing with the Liberty Wool, too.

(ETA...The photos of the free pattern projects are all from the Classic Elite Yarns website and Ravelry pages.)