close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Royal Petites

Our knitters have been going crazy over the new Royal Petites from Blue Sky Alpacas.  So much so that we've had a difficult time keeping the yarns and patterns in stock!
Royal is pure royal alpaca, the finest grade of alpaca yarn available, and it is a true luxury.  The color range has a bit of an old-fashioned feel, too, perfect for the newest line of patterns.  Most of these sweet little designs use just two balls of Royal Petites.

We have the Windsor Mitts, the Tiny Empress Set (which includes little tiny mitts, too), the Westminster Hat, the Buckingham Hat, the Catherine Cowl, and the Mitini Mitts.  So many of you have fallen in love with our lovely sample of the Windsor Mitts that Ann so graciously knitted up for us.  I am quite smitten with the Westminster Hat, myself.
Take a look at the pattern links for photographs of the designs.  A little set of yarn and a pattern would make a great gift for your favorite knitter, and the finished items should please any recipient.  Come see these pretty petites while they last!

Also, our favorite neighbors are celebrating seven years of amazing business.  Enjoy the deals at Bolt for the rest of the weekend while you're on our little corner!

Also, we're skipping Open Knit Night this week since it's Halloween.  Enjoy the sugar rush!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Liberty Wool

The shelves are stocked with fresh Liberty Wool and Liberty Wool Light from Classic Elite Yarns.
If you know this yarn, you probably already love it.  We've used it for baby hats, crocheted beanies, cowls...all sorts of things.  I'm still itching to try some of these amazing pillows.
If you don't know Liberty yet, you should come take a look at the beautiful (machine-washable) colorways.

Yarn photo from our own lovely Lisa and pillow beauty shot from Classic Elite Yarns.  Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jane Austen Knits Again

The newest Jane Austen Knits is here!
I must admit, I scoffed a bit when the first issue arrived last year.  How many Austen-inspired knits could people actually design?  Quite a few, it turns out.  And there have been really lovely pieces in each and every issue.
I love the Sensible Shawl.  Garter stitch, a little sawtooth edge, and some ties in the perfect and cozy.  We just received boxes of Berroco Peruvia, which would be ideal for this lovely shawl.
I like the Delaford Wrap and the Walking to Meryton Bonnet, too.
The wrap is L-shaped, so I feel like it would stay put, and the bonnet has some interesting construction and shaping details.  This would be really nice in Dream in Color Classy or Schaefer Chris.
Emma's Overdress, shown in red below, is such an unusual design, and the Kellynch Tunic is so pretty and feminine in Classic Elite Soft Linen.
These are painfully adorable: the Regency Bolero and Bonnet and Wristlets for Baby Emma.  The bolero would be perfect in Cascade 220 Sport, and the baby items are knit with sock weight yarn.
Of course, there is a tea cozy.
And a vest that is a true labor of love.
I find this military-inspired spencer sweater quite intriguing, although I doubt I would wear it in the garden.  It's designed with Cascade 220, which we have in great supply right now.
This hat cracks me up.  I'm not so sure that I could pull it off, but I'm guessing many of you all could.
Fanny's Chemisette is an interesting little piece.
The Misses Bertram Wrap is unusual and pretty, too.
Wouldn't the Netherfield Evening Bag make a lovely gift?  Knit with just 2 balls of Louisa Harding Mulberry Silk, it would be a quick knit, too.
The Pleated Neck Scarf is knit with Kid Silk Haze, and the Lady Russel Shawl is generous and beautiful.
The Jane magazines always contain some really interesting historical articles, too.  I know many of you have begun collecting these magazines, so come see us!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Berroco Explosion

Adrienne spent her lovely Wednesday afternoon and evening in the shop this week unpacking, pricing, and stocking Berroco yarns.  I'm guessing she needs a massage or a wrist brace at this point, because that was a lot of yarn.  

I'll have more photos next week, but I know that several of you were waiting on some of these great yarns.  Here's what arrived: Ultra Alpaca, Ultra Alpaca Tonal, Peruvia, Peruvia Quick, Comfort, Vintage, and Flicker.  We have all of our old favorite colors and some gorgeous new ones, too.  Go forth and find your yarn.  Have a great rainy weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Yarns and Some Thoughts on Gauge


Sally has been experimenting with a few new yarn companies this fall, and we have some really amazing new offerings for you.  The stuff above is so vibrant (and attention-grabbing), but first I want to tell you about the beautiful natural shades of the Jarbo Gastrike.
We have a 2-ply and a 3-ply version of this lovely sheepy stuff in some of my favorite colors: grey, black, and white.  So good.  In addition to being great yarns, these guys are very economical.  Like 330 yards for under $10 economical.

It seems to be a trend with some of these smaller companies to make the gauge a bit of a fun little game, and the Gastrike is no different.  Sally created a few very useful swatches to help us decide how we might use these yarns.  The Gastrike 3-ply, pictured above, is described as a worsted yarn on Ravlery, but the label suggests a gauge of 15-22 stitches over 4 inches on a US6-10.5.  That is some serious range.  The swatch below shows the yarn knit up on a US5 (at the top), 6, 7, and 8 (bottom).
The fabric is really nice on each needle, but the differences in gauge could make or break a project.  Sally is a very consistent, true-to-gauge knitter and here's what her swatch tells me: US5=5.5 stitches and 8 rows/inch, US6=5 stitches and 7 rows/inch, US7=4.75 stitches and 6.5ish rows/inch, US8=4.5 stitches and 6 rows/inch.
The finer version, Gastrike 2-ply, is described as a fingering weight on Ravelry, and a DK by the yarn company, with a gauge of 18-27 stitches over 4 inches on a US 2-10.  That's just confusing.  Here is what Sally found with her swatch: US3=7 stitches and 10 rows/inch, US4=6.5 stitches and 9 rows/inch, US5=6 stitches and 8 rows/inch, US6=5.5 stitches and 8.5 rows/inch.
It's a good idea to think about the final fabric you'll achieve with a given needle before you jump into a project.  You'd likely want a hat to be knit at a tighter gauge than a shawl, unless you like a really loose and slouchy hat (which I don't).  Mittens and gloves will want to be tight, but a scarf can be a little looser.  The gauge on a sweater really depends on the style and your personal preference.  A thick sweater coat will need to be knit more tightly than and drapey dolman sleeve top.  You get the idea.  The swatch not only tells you what your gauge is in stitches per inch, but you'll learn a lot about the resulting fabric.  Seeing these little swatches knit with four different needle sizes really drives that point home for me.  In short, please swatch.  Okay, off my soapbox and on to that gorgeous stuff you saw up above.


Elemental Affects is a small California-based company offering a few select yarns produced and processed in the US.  The Shetland Fingering that we have in the shop is grown in Montana, spun in the USA (not sure where), and hand-dyed in California.  I'm afraid that I am pretty much in love with the Old Gold colorway (bottom left corner) and would like to knit everything with it.  However, I will look jaundiced if I do that, especially in a few months when the freckles are gone, so maybe a little colorwork is in order.


Sally has cast on for her long-awaited Selbu Modern, a free pattern from the generous people at Kelbourne Woolens.  She is using the Old Gold and the deep tealy navy blue.  This yarn also pairs very nicely with the Gastrike 2-ply.  Since we are on a swatch kick today, here's a little striped swatch of the grey Gastrike and the pretty copper Elemental Affects.  Look how well they play together.


I have spent too much time thinking about Breton from Brooklyn Tweed (photo borrowed from Brooklyn Tweed site).
How beautiful would this be with the Gastrike as the main color and a pop of bright pink, green, or blue?  Very beautiful, I think.  There are so many possibilities for these yarns.  If you are the kind of person who knits fair isle sweaters in fingering weight wool, you will be thrilled.  If you want to make a light weight stripey scarf or little beanie with lots of colors or just a few natural shades, we can please you, too.  Come take a look at these new friends!

All photos involving the Elemental Affects are snagged with permission from the Flickr page of Lisa Weisman, aka Our Lady of the Really Nice Lens.  Thanks, Lisa!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


There is more Kauni on the shelves!  I was so excited to see it that I completely forgot to price it!  Doh!  Fortunately, my lovely coworkers picked up my slack.  Thanks, ladies.
Take a look at some of the great colorways we have in shop.
The color fades slowly from one shade to the next, creating a really unusual effect.  I used this to make the September Circle cowl earlier this year.  This is a great first lace project, and the Kauni adds such a cool effect with the gradual color changes.
Adrienne used two colorways to create a cowl version of the Wiggle Wrap.  The fading colors plus the stripes plus the subtle wave pattern work together to create such a striking piece.  And it's big and cozy, too.
If you haven't seen this yarn yet, it's worth a trip to check it out in person.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cascade Favorites

Our newest shipment from Cascade Yarns was full of goodies.
We have a well-stocked shelf of Cascade 220 sport.  I love the color range of this yarn, so many rich solid shades and beautiful heathers, and the sport weight is great for the Oregon climate.  I have several sweaters on my wishlist that I would love to knit with this yarn.  Like these...
Flurry (photo from Classic Elite website)
Drops Tailored Cardi (photo from Drops website)
Pipit (photo from Heidi's Ravelry Shop)
Pomme de Pin (photo from Savory Knitting)

If I had eight arms and unlimited knitting time I would cast on for all of these right now.  Alas, I do not, so will one of you please help me out and get started?  Thanks.  Also, it's $5 for a skein of 164 yards, so you're getting a screaming deal.

If you prefer a little thicker yarn for a little faster gratification, perhaps you'd like to see the Eco Wool and Eco +?
Same great Cascade colors, but at 3.5 stitches per inch rather than 6.  Still a great value yarn at $20 for 478 yards!  I have ideas for this one, too.
Boxed Pullover (photo from Interweave)
Cobble Hill Pullover (photo from Interweave)
August Pullover (photo from Rain Knitwear Designs)
Shalom Cardigan (photo from Involving the Senses)
We also filled in our supply of 220 Superwash Paints in some beautiful colors.
I am particularly smitten with the yellow, the red, and the dark purple.  This yarn is ideal for kids and babies, but it's great for adult items, too, if you like the variegated look. 
We use it for our learn-to-knit socks class.
This would be a perfect, easy-care baby blanket, sweater, hat, booties, whatever.  How about a February Baby Sweater?  Or one of the many many designs from Knitting Pure and Simple?  Their top-down designs are great for first time sweater knitters.

We have a nice deep stock of colors in all of these beauties right now.  I f you have knitting on the brain on this windy afternoon, come by the shop and take a look.