close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cascade Fresh

We have been busy restocking the shelves with a fresh batch of goodies from Cascade Yarns.

We have more Cascade 128 Superwash, a soft chunky yarn perfect for hats, scarves, blankets, sweaters...pretty much everything that you might want to have finished by yesterday.

The Cascade 220 Superwash Sport bins are full, too. This yarn is basically the sport weight little sister of the much-loved Cascade 220. The name is a little misleading though, as there are only 136 yards in a skein of the sport weight. But, at only $5.85 a skein, I suppose I'll forgive them. It is soft and durable enough for kid and baby items, and it comes in a great range of colors. I have a colorwork hat brewing using this stuff.

Last but not least, more Cascade 220. We have a whole box of new colors (very tall four-year-old for scale), so if you've been waiting for something specific, come and get it now.

Cascade Yarns has a nice selection of free patterns on their website, too. You can search by yarn, which is convenient if you found one you simply cannot live without.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Did you get a gift certificate from a clever loved one this season? Ready to treat yourself to something just for you after months of holiday knitting? We have some good stuff coming in these days.

We received a slew of new books over the last few weeks.

Modern Top-Down Knitting from Kristina McGowan is absolutely beautiful. It's full of dresses, sweaters, and hats, all knit from the top down.

Sally is working on a top-down hat right now, so stay tuned for that.

If you are a knitblog reader, you will recognize most (if not all) of the designers in Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere by Julie Turjoman. There are several projects in this book that I am having a hard time resisting.

Ann Weaver's Johnny Rotten Jacket is killer, and the Button Tunic from Julie Weisenberger (aka Cocoknits) is perfect for a little collector.

Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting is an updated edition of a classic. This is a beautiful reference for all things cabled.

We also have the newest Stitch n' Bitch SuperStar Knitting, Vogue Knitting Mittens & Gloves, Knitting it Old School, Touching Elegance from Kim Hargreaves, and many more.

I was pleased to see several knitters hanging out at the shop on Sunday, and it was nice to feel like the crazy gift rush had passed enough for people to sit and knit for a little while. Please come by to see us and stay for a bit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Special Treat Knits, Holiday Hours, and Classes

The holidays always make me a little edgy. I find that a nice soothing knitting project really helps take the edge off those delayed flights, long car rides, and extended family bonding experiences. A recent Yarn Harlot post really struck home with me on this subject, and I have to admit that I need all the help I can get this time of year.

While I still have holiday gifts to finish and wrap, I am itching to cast on a little special treat for myself. I have a few basic requirements for my (almost) post-holiday knitting:

1. It needs to be mindless. Stockinette or garter stitch, no fancy lace or cables, minimal counting.

2. It needs to be forgiving. If I make a mistake, I would like to be able to call it a design element and move on.

3. It needs to be a put-down-pick-up project. I have to be able to steal a few stitches here and there without taking time to figure out where I am or what I was doing when I put it down.

4. It needs to be in a fabulous yarn. It is a special treat, after all.

Last winter, I made A Little Ruffle Scarf from Sadie & Oliver for Sally. I used Plymouth Hillside Linen, and Adrienne used Cascade Eco Alpaca for a very similar effect. This scarf is great in so many different yarns, and I might have to make another to keep for myself.

But first, here's what I have planned to maintain my sanity this year:
Twister is a free pattern from Spud & Chloe. It takes two skeins of Spud & Chloe Sweater and a nice long US9 needle. It fits all of my criteria, and I think I will get a lot of use out of it.

The yarn is a machine washable wool/organic cotton blend, and it is so soft. Spud & Chloe is associated with Blue Sky Alpacas, so you know the colors and the quality are going to be top notch. They keep it simple with just three high quality yarns, and lots of pattern support. We have all three yarns and many of their patterns at Close Knit, and the Spud says! blog (curated by the great Susan B. Anderson) has a huge assortment of free patterns.

A few points of business...

We have classes ready for you! Check out the top of the right sidebar for our January and February offerings and information on how to sign up. We are trying some new things this time around, so please let us know what you think and what you'd like to see available. We appreciate your patience with all of these changes, and we look forward to getting back into the swing of things with the classes.

We'll be open until 3:00 on Friday, December 24th, closed on December 25th, and closed on January 1st. We will no longer be open on Mondays, but we are still around Wednesday nights for Open Knit Night. Otherwise, we will be available to help you choose your own sanity to cast on before the weekend hits.
See you soon.

Thanks to Susan of the Spud says! blog for use of the Twister photo.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bringing it Home

Misti Hand Paint Sock in the most fabulous colorway.

We held several of our knitting classes at Modern Domestic this fall, and we hope you enjoyed working in their spacious studio. We have decided to bring all of our classes back to Close Knit starting in January. We all have so many exciting things happening in our shops, that it works best for all of us if knitting classes come home to Close Knit.
We will be trying a few new things with our classes in an effort to make the most of our space and teachers.

*For the most part, classes will be held during hours when Close Knit is closed to avoid the hubub of knitters learning plus knitters shopping.

*We hope to refresh our offerings more often than in the past. Keep your eyes on the blog and sign up for the mailing list to stay on top of our current classes and workshops.

*We will be slimming down our offerings so we can focus on the classes that you really seem to love. We welcome your suggestions, so
please tell us what you'd like to see offered. Feel free to let us know at the shop or leave a comment here on the blog or our Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our 5th anniversary in November. Ann has graciously shared the recipe for the yummy scones she brought in on Saturday of our sale week. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you at the shop and in class!

Chocolate Chip Orange Scones
dry wet
2 cups flour 1/4 cup orange juice (squeezed
1/3 cup sugar from orange used for peel)
2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (cube)
1 egg white mixed with 1/2 tsp water for glaze
Preheat oven to 425* F. Butter a cookie sheet.
Mix the first four dry ingredients with a fork.
Cut butter into 1/2" cubes, and distribute over flour mixture. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, stir together the wet ingredients: eggs, orange juice, vanilla, and orange peel.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky. With lightly floured hands, knead in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
With lightly floured hands, pat dough into a flattened area about 3/8 or 1/2" thick. If desired, brush egg mixture over the top and sides of dough. If you have a convection option on your oven (speed bake fan) this glaze will give them a nice glow.
Bake for 9-10 minutes. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Knit a Hat

If you are still hoping to knit up a few handmade lovelies for holiday giving, may I suggest a hat? Just a few skeins of yarn and a few movie nights, car rides, or plane trips, and you have a finished gift! We have many great samples at the shop to help you make a choice. Here are some good ones.

Canape in Classic Elite Kumara:
Trellis in Classic Elite Ariosa:
Close Knit Waffle Hat in Misti Tonos Chunky:
Thistle in Classic Elite Lush:
Windschief in Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran:
Watch Cap in Karabella Superyak:
Earflap Hat in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande:
We have all of these yarns and patterns available at Close Knit. We are open on Mondays for the next few weeks, and we're open until 10PM every Wednesday. Come on in and get knitting!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Fibre Company

The newest shipment of yarn from The Fibre Company has arrived. We have carried these yarns in the past, and our knitters fell in love with the unique blends of fibers and subtle color palette. So, now we have more!

Terra and Organik, both worsted weight alpaca/merino/silk blends,
are back on the shelves. Even though these yarns are made from the same fibers, the ratios of each ingredient and the spinning process make for two distinct yarns. Organik is a smooth and shiny single-ply, while Terra highlights the silk with a rustic, slubby texture which you can really see in the photo below. We also have Road to China Light, a light sport weight alpaca/silk/camel/cashmere blend. Look at those beautiful colors. Finally, there is Canopy Fingering. This alpaca/merino/bamboo blend has a bit of a following among our knitters. The alpaca and merino make this soft and drapey, and the bamboo adds such a nice shine. I claimed a skein of the Obsidian to play with, and I think I'll have to go back for more.
Kelbourne Woolens, distributor of The Fibre Company yarns, is a joint venture of popular knitwear designers Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley. They have designed a wonderful range of pieces specifically for these yarns. We have several of their hat patterns at Close Knit, and the Kelbourne Woolens website has a generous offering of patterns as well.

Here are a few of their patterns for Terra (click on the photo for more information),
Road to China Light,
and Canopy Fingering.
Courtney and Kate have a new book coming out soon featuring The Fibre Company yarns, Vintage Modern Knits. They also include a page on their website with designs published in other sources using their yarns, and we have many of these books and magazines at Close Knit. Come on in to the shop, and we will help you find the perfect Fibre Company yarn to match your newest favorite pattern.

Thanks to Kelbourne Woolens for the beautiful pattern and yarn photos!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ysolda Teauge and Stephen West

I've been waiting for these new books. Ysolda Teauge is a very popular designer right now. Her collections, Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2, contain shawls, mitts, berets, caps, booties, dolls, and critters, all with her signature style. We have a few of her patterns as individuals, too, including the Snapdragon flip-tops, Ishbel, and Damson. Stephen West designs accessories with unique and thoughtful details. I think his shawls are unlike anything out there right now. Westknits Book 1 has many shawls, scarves, slouchy hats, and beanies. I love the way the increases on Pogona are shaped to hug your shoulders. Ever since seeing this one on Ravelry, I have been wanting to knit it up in a pure silk. (Louisa Harding Mulberry would be really beautiful for this.)
We also have several of his individual patterns: Herbivore, Clockwork, Botanic Hat, and Daybreak. His shawl patterns really show off variegated yarns, so if you love sock yarn but not sock knitting, perhaps a lovely new shawl is in order.
We also have a fresh batch of needles, and we are expecting more soon. Our ball winder is back, too, so bring your yarn in if you'd like to have it wound. Stay tuned for more updates on our new goodies!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thank You, Classic Elite Yarns!

Classic Elite Yarns loves us! They are holding a very generous giveaway for fiber lovers who support their local yarn stores. If you spend $40 on yarn and/or books at Close Knit, they will send you one of their fabulous recent pattern books and three mini-skeins of their yarns.

You'll need to send them an itemized receipt to receive your gift, and it looks like you'll need the Close Knit address on the receipt, too, so please remind us when you check out. Their generous offer ends December 15, so take a look at the CEY
website for more information.

Between this, 10% off yarn this week, and our special Monday hours, we might as well just knit your holiday gifts for you! As long as you come clean my house and cook dinner, okay?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Five Years! and Mondays!

Close Knit opened five years ago, and we want to celebrate with a sale for all of our wonderful customers. From Monday, November 29th through Sunday, December 5, enjoy 10% off all yarn in the shop.* Thank you so much for making Close Knit such a wonderful place to knit, shop, and work. Treat yourself to something special next week!

We will also be open on Mondays from 10-5 starting November 29th through December 20th. Hopefully, this will give you a little extra time to come in and get what you need for all of your handknit gifts. Don't forget that we are open until 10 PM every Wednesday, too.

Sally just hand-picked some lovely knitterly gifts from one of our favorite Portland companies, Lantern Moon. We have silk notion bags, the best rice baskets, brocade project boxes, silk needle cases, and much more. Perhaps treat a fellow knitter...perhaps just drop a few hints to your family and friends when you conveniently wander past the yarn store after breakfast...

*This one week sale is only on yarn, and please do not combine this offer with other discounts. Thanks!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Berroco Booklets

The Berroco fall pattern books are here. We have Blackstone Tweed & Chunky (#298), Norah Gaughan Volume 7, Sundae & Peruvia Quick (#299), Lustra (#289), and Vintage & Vintage Chunky (#302).

These books are chock full of pretty patterns. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Astor in Peruvia Quick,

Baudelaire in Blackstone Tweed Chunky,

and Americano in Vintage Chunky.

I actually cast on for this little vest as soon as possible. We don't have the Vintage Chunky at the shop, but Peruvia Quick is working out just perfectly. It's a little bit thicker than the yarn used in the pattern, so I am getting the nice dense fabric I was hoping for using size 10 needles. I'll post some photos as soon as it's finished. I'm hoping it will class up my jeans and t-shirt uniform...

Since we aren't currently stocking several of the yarns from these books, I wanted to list a few nice alternatives so you're prepared when you fall in love with one of these great booklets.

Lustra: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Cascade Venezia Worsted, Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran
Blackstone Tweed: Classic Elite Portland Tweed, Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed, Kathmandu Aran
Blackstone Tweed Chunky: Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Chunky, Debbie Bliss Glen, Rowan Purelife Renew
Vintage Chunky: Cascade 128 Superwash, Rowan Cocoon

Monday, November 15, 2010

Knit Night at Cruzroom

If you are in need of a little more scheduled creative time in your busy week, stop by the Cruzroom tonight for some tacos, drinks, and some crafting camaraderie. The bar is just a few blocks from Close Knit on NE Alberta and 24th Ave. We'll get started around 8:00, and there will be drink specials just for the crafters. The owner has promised a special corner for us with good lighting.

We'll be doing this every Monday night, except for the last Monday of each month. In December, our very own Melissa will host a knit-along for one of our popular free patterns. This week, I will have a few samples from the shop to show off to get you thinking about your next project.

Any and all skill levels are welcome, and Jenni and I will be available to help with any knitting questions or emergencies. Any kind of crafting is welcome, too, although we aren't really set up for glassblowing or anything...