close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Monday, August 26, 2013

I made a hat.

This is Mix No. 10 from Shibui.  It took a minute, with all of that slipping of stitches, but it was worth it.  I love the texture, I love the soft halo, and I especially love the colors.
I used Shibui Cima in Suit, Ivory, Poppy, and Lumen.  Cima is a laceweight, but the yarn is held double for the whole pattern, so it goes a little faster than you might think.  Cima is also one of the softest yarns I have ever used.  Shibui is putting out more Cima patterns, and I am really looking forward to getting them in the shop.  Any excuse to use more Cima.

The pattern calls for a US2 for the ribbing, but I used a US1, based on the suggestions of several Ravelers who have also made this.  The body of the hat is knit on a US3, and I highly recommend a needle with a very smooth join at the cable.  The tiny yarn and the slipped stitches really need it if you are going to have an enjoyable time knitting this.
The hat requires four skeins, obviously, but I have enough left to make another hat.  I need to switch out the Ivory and the Poppy, but I think that will be equally awesome.

You really need to see this hat in person to appreciate the yarn and the texture.  It's at the shop waiting for you to admire it.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Galler Alpaca

I love it when Joseph Galler sends us boxes of yarn.  The lovely alpaca inside tells me it's time to start thinking about fall knitting.
The Peruvian Tweed, in particular, makes me want to cast on for a big, snuggly wrap.  Maybe Mara (freebie from Madelinetosh), or the November Ruffle Wrap from Kate Jackson's Ravelry shop, or the well-loved A Little Ruffle from Jennifer Lang.
I would recommend a pretty simple stitch pattern for this yarn, as the halo from the alpaca will probably obscure any lace or cables.  The marled colorways will really look their best in a simple stitch pattern, too.  Each skein contains almost 600 yards of light worsted/DK weight buttery soft alpaca, so you get some serious bang for your buck.

If you like your alpaca a little more refined, the boxes from Galler contained something for you, too.
The rich colors of the Heather Prime Alpaca always take my breath away.  I see this as a sport weight alpaca, although the label, website, and Ravelry all seem to think different things.  Either way, you are getting 660 yards in each of these hefty skeins, enough to make a sizable scarf or about a Groovy?  What a fabulous gift that would know I love mine.
One skein should be plenty for a kid or baby sweater, and two will make a medium adult-sized sweater.  The colors are so rich and varied, it is difficult to do them justice with a photograph.
Come on by the shop to truly appreciate these beautiful yarns and get ready for some fall knitting!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Alpaca Grande

So, I mentioned that we received a nice big shipment from Plymouth Yarn Company.  Well, about half of the huge boxes were packed with Baby Alpaca Grande and all of its variations.
I have Baby Alpaca Grande, Baby Alpaca Grande Hues, Baby Alpaca Grande Tweed, Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye, and Grande Glow.  We have all been pleasantly surprised at how quickly you all have been grabbing this yarn up while it's still so warm.  It is one of the most popular yarns in the shop...soft, chunky, gorgeous colors.  What's not to love?  It's great for scarves, hats, sweaters...why not try my Waffle Hat pattern?  

I have not tried this hat in Baby Alpaca Grande, but it would be great.  It's the perfect first hat pattern, too.  We have a well-stocked cabinet right now, so if you have a project in mind for some chunky alpaca, come and get yours.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Solids or Stripes?

We are starting to see some things trickle into the shop as we near this half-way point of August.  Soon enough, we will all be thinking about snuggling up with the knitting again.  I, for one, love knitting season, and I am thrilled to see the woolies returning to the shop.  Let me show you a few things.
The Bateaux Mouches Scarf has been a popular one this summer, and we have a fresh batch of the Malabrigo Silkpaca for you.  Sally used just two skeins and a US7 to create hers.  This yarn is so fluid and drapey, I had difficulty getting to stay put on the bench for a photo.
Plymouth Yarns was gracious enough to send us our fall yarns on the early side, so we have been enjoying a few new offerings this month.  
Plymouth Revel (also known as Grignasco Revel) shows a slow color change of the course of the ball, much like the Freia Ombre Lace we have in stock.  The Revel seems to think it's a sport weight, but it seems much finer.  Another fine candidate for the scarf of the summer, if you ask me.
There are still plenty of soccer games, swim lessons, and road trips on the docket before fall hits...a garter stitch scarf in some luscious yarn will make them fly by.  Come on in and choose your favorite!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Knitcol Cowl

We received Adriafil Knitcol a few weeks back, and we needed a nice sample to show off the cool yarn.  So I made one for you.  And then I wrote up a free pattern for you.  
Knitcol is a self-patterning, worsted weight, machine washable wool, and it does some cool stuff.  Depending on how many stitches you cast on, you'll get different patterns.
It's nice and long, so you can wear it scrunched down like this...

or folded over to show off one colorful end or the other like this.  I hope you like it!
Knitcol Cowl
by Leah Bandstra

Yarn: 3 balls Adriafil Knitcol (colors 057, 061, and 064 used)
Needles: US7 16" or 24” circular needle
Finished Size: 23” around, about 22” long
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch

Cast on 130 stitches with your circular needle.
Join in the round (don't twist), placing marker at the beginning of the round.

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Purl
Round 3: Knit
Round 4: Purl

Stockinette stitch (knit every round all the time) until you run out of your first color.  Knit with the second color until you run out of it.  Knit with the third color for about 6 inches, then add garter stitch border as follows:

Round 1: Purl
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: Purl
Round 4: Knit
Bind off loosely in purl stitch.

Block it lightly to flatten out the ends.  Cozy up and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Harry Potter and Debbie Bliss

A few new magazines arrived in the shop.
The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits from Interweave is full of designs inspired by the books.  It's a little nerdy, but we like nerdy.  Let's take a look...

The classic House Scarf has been updated with some cool striping.
There is a very large, very cabled sweater for Hagrid.
I really like the Heliopath Vest, mostly because Luna Lovegood is a great character.  (Oops, my nerd is showing.)
Tracery is pretty incredible, too.
My favorites by far are the Mudblood Cardigan and the Lestrange Cloak, both classic pieces even without the HP influence.
If you have a Harry Potter fan in the house, maybe it's time to start gift knitting?  No pressure.
On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, the new Debbie Bliss Magazine is here, too.  It's so fresh that I can't even find any online information yet.

There is a section of really soft and sweet designs with beaded embellishments.  Some of these look right up your alley, Melissa...
There is a whole Chanel-inspired section, but the cover sweater is by far the best one of that lot.
There are a few cute kids things that would be fun for back-to-school.  Legwarmers and armwarmers are always a hit, especially in bright colors.
There is a wacky holiday section with things like these...
Then there is the section that took my breath away...
I love each and every one of these so very much, but the black cardigan will be mine...and then the red boxy pullover...I love it when the new magazines inspire new knitting!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Little Color

Need a little color on this surprisingly gray day?  How about a slouchy hat?
Adrienne used the beautiful Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock to knit her Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure.  It's a freebie from Bohoknits, and she used a US4 and less than one skein of yarn.
Adrienne likes her hats VERY slouchy, and this one is just that. See?
The colors in the Misti Alpaca Sock play together so nicely, creating a nice variegated look with no striping or pooling.
We have four colorways in right now, and they are all so pretty.  Who would have thought a hat would feel good on the first of August?  Nice job, Portland.