close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Cabinets Are Overflowing...

Adrienne unpacked 72 new colors of Cascade 220 last week. We now have close to 100 shades in stock. If you have a something specific in mind, this is where to start your search.
This is one of my all-time favorite yarns. I often recommend it to beginners for its durability, and it is excellent for colorwork, cabling, and felting.
The yardage is fabulous, and the price can't be beat. We also stocked up on Pastaza, another great stand-by from Cascade. A wool and llama blend, this yarn has a nice rustic, fuzzy quality. It knits up a little heavier than 220 at 4 stitches per inch, and colors are saturated and vibrant.

The cabled sample sweater really shows off the yarn nicely.

I don't know what else to say, except that the poor cabinets are very, very full. Please come in and relieve them of some yarn.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Classic Elite Booklets

Classic Elite is trying something new with their pattern booklets this fall. They have released yarn-specific books for some of their most popular yarns. Lucky for you, we have all of the booklets at the shop!
Each booklet features one Classic Elite yarn with projects at a range of commitment levels. There is at least one adult-sized sweater in each book, and many contain a vest as well. Each one also has a small project using just two or three balls: socks, fingerless gloves, a hat, a cowl. The designs include colorwork, cabling, lace, and some very interesting textured stitches. At less than $10 for four patterns, the booklets are a great investment if you have fallen in love with a certain yarn and want to try out a few different kinds of projects.

We are working on samples from different books, so stay tuned or come into the shop to check them out in the next few weeks.

Here's a little peek at some of my favorites.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Solid Socks

I appreciate a variegated or self-striping sock yarn as much as the next gal, but sometimes you need a solid sock yarn in the repertoire.
As part of our latest shipment from Cascade, we received a nice selection of Heritage Sock in beautiful range of solid colors. This is a great standard superwash sock yarn.
Alpaca Sox is a lofty alpaca blend with a little halo, perfect for socks, scarves, shawls, gloves...
Artyarns Ultramerino 4 is machine washable and very soft.
Summer Sox is a squishy cotton/merino blend in some nice bright colors.
(We have most of these in handpainted and variegated versions, too.)
We'll be receiving more Spud & Chloe Fine, a washable merino/silk blend, in the next month or so.
If you're thinking about socks but aren't into the flashy colors, these lovely solids might just fit the bill.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Royal Alpaca

We have a brand new alpaca yarn at the shop, Royal Alpaca from Aslan Trends. They tout this as the finest alpaca you can buy, and they actually have numbers to prove it!

The softness of a yarn is determined by the thickness of the fibers that make up the yarn: the smaller the diameter of the fibers, the softer the yarn. Fiber diameter is measured in microns, or thousandths of a millimeter, and Royal Alpaca boasts a micron count of 19, making it as soft as cashmere, which typically ranges from 14-19.

The hollow core of the alpaca fiber makes this yarn a great insulator. A cabled turtleneck might not be the best choice with this yarn unless you plan to wear it as an outer layer. Alpaca tends to be a very drapey fiber, so a project with less structure would be a good choice.

The natural shades at the top of the photo are undyed alpaca colors, and the dyed shades are rich and saturated with a nice sheen.
With 220 luscious yards per skein, two or three of these would make an amazing scarf or wrap. Perhaps it's time to start thinking about gift knitting?

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Books!

We have recently received some amazing new books here at Close Knit. Whether you are looking to soak up some knitting history, learn a new technique or just start knitting something beautiful, come by the shop and pick your poison.

We have some great inspiration for lace knitters and crocheters.

Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle contains patterns and historical information for a variety of shawls, each with charted and written instructions. Oberle uses everything from fine laceweight to thick tweed yarns to create some stunning pieces. I made the Kimono Shawl with laceweight yarn for a dear friend’s wedding last year.
The Haapsalu Shawl delves into the history of lace knitting in Estonia. While it does not contain complete shawl patterns, there are dozens of charted stitch patterns paired with photographs of knitted samples. The abundant photos of finished shawls and their knitters are beautiful and inspiring.

The Art of Knitted Lace is a nice collection of lace garments and accessories from many popular designers.
Crochet So Fine is beautiful, too. It makes me wish my crochet skills weren’t so atrocious.
And, we have books for sock knitters.
Want to try knitting socks toe-up? Socks a La Carte 2 can help you design your own socks by combining the details that you choose for the foot, leg, and cuff. In Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, Wendy Johnson breaks down everything from argyles to lace socks to knee socks in a variety of sizes. She discusses how working toe-up allows you to achieve the perfect fit for any foot. Or, if you aren’t a fan of double-pointed needles, try out The Magic Loop technique with Sarah Hauschka’s concise and helpful booklet.

Erica Knight’s Men’s Knits and Knits Men Want are full of great sweaters and accessories for the chilly men in your life.

It seems like Veronik Avery is everywhere right now. Her newest book, Knitting 24/7 is gorgeous and Knitting Classic Style is full of just that.

We also have this cool book from Helga Isager called Strikketoj.
Isager provides a decade-by-decade breakdown of what was happening in fashion during each decade of the twentieth century and provides designs for each era. There are even a few patterns for children. Take a look at some of these designs and details.
With so many new books, we have plenty of inspiration waiting for you. Jenni has displayed these new books for easy perusal. So, stop by this week, take a look at our new books and get inspired!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Value of Handwork

On this rainy Wednesday morning, the act of contemplation (in this case, about fiber arts) seems fitting. In this short video, Renate Hiller articulates what I have always felt, but have never been able to explain in such a profound and eloquent way. Hiller expounds upon handwork - knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, handsewing - and discusses why it is affirming, why it has value and how it gives meaning, purpose and satisfaction to our lives. Enjoy...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Knitting for the Big Kids

Last week, Elizabeth shared her perfect little baby vest and wrote about some of our wonderful baby yarn options. There are so many baby patterns, but what to do as the babies grow into big kids? Fortunately, more designers are thinking about those years between cute baby and adult.
Rowan recently published Rowan Kids, with some very stylish patterns for kids from ages six to twelve.
This collection fits nicely between Rowan’s sweet toddler patterns and their sophisticated designs for adults.

Berroco has expanded the sizing in some of their pattern booklets as well. Berroco Family Comfort (#284) features hats, scarves and sweaters ranging from infant sizes to adult XL.
Berroco Comfort is available at the shop in DK, worsted and chunky weight. I have machine washed and dried the Comfort Chunky with great results.

Berroco Comfort Book for Girls (#291) also features Comfort in some adorable designs for girls ages four to ten.
Vintage Arts and Crafts (#290) includes sizes ranging from eight years to women’s XL. The designs are fun and youthful and would fit nicely into any girl's wardrobe.
Berroco Vintage is a worsted wool/acrylic blend, and we carry an array of colors - everything from pale pink to charcoal gray. I had a special request for a hooded sweater, and I’m halfway through Gondry (shown above) using Vintage. The yarn is very nice to work with and it’s machine washable as well. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

So, the next time you're in the shop, take a look at some of our kids' patterns and kid-friendly yarns. There are many options that will keep you knitting while the kids continue to grow.