close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blue Sky and Spud & Chloe

The shelves are once again full of yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloe.
Jenni made the Bulky Baby Blanket, a free pattern from The Purl Bee, using four skeins of Spud & Chloe Outer and two skeins of Sweater. It's basically a garter stitch square with a picked up edging, and they give instructions for a seed stitch version as well. I watched her crank through one skein of the Outer in about an hour on US15 needles. As an added bonus, it's all machine-washable.

Also from The Purl Bee, the AMAZING Big Herringbone Cowl. Talk about drama. It takes five skeins of the Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes, and the texture of the stitch really accentuates the soft squishiness of the yarn.

Photo from The Purl Bee, used with permission.

Nancy has sent us a fresh batch of patterns for her Sally Glove and Sally Hat, knit with Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino. These designs are stylish and modern, deceptively simple to make, and great for beginning knitters.

I've been eyeing the Brushed Suri, too. We have the free pattern for these little mitts from Blue Sky available for free at the shop.

Knitty recently featured the Brushed Suri with the creamy cabled wrap pictured below, Gweneria. (This yarn would also be perfect for the Rebecca wrap sweater I showed you earlier this month.)

Photo from Knitty, used with permission.

Blue Sky Alpacas
has revamped their website, and it looks so nice. You can search for patterns by your favorite yarn, your experience level, or type of project. In the news section, you can check out patterns from magazines, books, and blogs that use Blue Sky Alpacas yarn.
As always, Spud says! (the Spud & Chloe blog), curated by the fabulous Susan B. Anderson, features lots of free patterns and tutorials.

We love the luxurious yarns from Blue Sky and the "yarns for real life" from Spud & Chloe. Come check out the good stuff.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Classic Elite Goodies

Several boxes from Classic Elite have arrived. We have the five new books shown above: Seaside (9141), Perennials (9139), High Seas (9142), Cricket (9132), and Meadow (9136).

Want to see some of my favorites? I knew you would.
Treasure (above) and Parkhurst (below), both from High Seas in Silky Alpaca Lace. Such a pretty yarn for some really classic lace shawls. Appledore in Firefly, also from High Seas. You already know my love of this yarn. Add a ruffle, and I'm sold. Wisteria, Veronica, and English Ivy, all in Soft Linen from Perennials. Great layers.
Manana and Green Point in Sprout from Seaside. Who doesn't need a cotton cardigan for summer? I could stand to have about five. I wasn't so sure about the huge cotton lace wrap at first, but now I'm kind of obsessed with the idea.
We're still waiting on a few summer yarns from Classic Elite, but we did get a nice stock of Portland Tweed and Alpaca Sox.
Does it get any better than orange tweed?

One of our knitters (Hi, Vicki!) used one of the dark greens to make a sweater for her husband. She used the Elizabeth Zimmermann recipe for the Seamless Hybrid, and it turned out beautifully. Her husband's expression did not accurately reflect how much he loves the sweater, so I altered it slightly. (I hope you don't mind, Vicki, and thanks for the photo.

Alpaca Sox is great for socks, obviously, but it also makes lovely scarves and shawls. This sweet little one is a free pattern from Classic Elite. Be warned, however, that it takes more than the one skein stated in the pattern. You'll need at least one and a half to make the sample we have in the shop.

Two skeins will also get you the Lace Ribbon Scarf, one of the most popular patterns from the free online magazine, Knitty.

It seems like Classic Elite just keeps getting better and better over the years. Let's hope they continue to bring us more great yarns and designs in the future!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


So many people are feeling helpless in the face of everything that has happened in Japan. As many have in the past, several Ravelry designers are donating proceeds from pattern sales to aid organizations such as Mercy Corps, the Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders.

Shown above are squared from the Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting (photo by Kay).

Eiki from Janel Laidman (photo by Janel):

Comfort Slippers by Reiko Arato (photo by Reiko):

Cherry Blossom Socks by Heatherly Walker (photo by Susan Layne):

Depending on the immediate need, funds donated to these organizations may or may not go directly to Japan, but you can be sure they will go to help people in need during future disasters. Either way, it seems like a good idea.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Knitting

I have to admit, I don't often get too jazzed about the spring and summer issues of the knitting magazines. My knitting doesn't really seem to follow the seasons; I tend to knit all year with whatever yarns and patterns inspire me at the time. It also seems like the warm weather issues are just trying a little too hard sometimes, ya' know? Well, I am changing my tune this spring.

The Spring 2011 issue of Interweave Knits has several great designs in some of my favorite yarns.

The En Pointe Pullover is knit with just four skeins of Louet KidLin, and we have several colors at the shop right now. This knitting is perfectly simple stockinette, but the end product is so much more.

The V-Yoke Cardigan by Amy Christoffers uses some really interesting details, and I love the professional-looking result. I can see this becoming a wardrobe staple. (Amy is one of my favorite designers on Ravelry...more on her soon.)

This cardigan is knit with Classic Elite Firefly, perhaps my favorite summer yarn ever. I experimented with it last summer and created our Bias Scarf, and I am looking forward to using it again. We are expecting a batch of Firefly this week in some lovely new colors.

The multi-directional Pinkerton Shawl is another simple knit with a stunning result. The designer discusses options for adding stripes, too. A few skeins of your favorite sock yarns, and you have the prefect shawl.

If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, the Leaf and Picot Cardigan by Laura Grutzeck (the cover sweater) would also be a really nice layer as the seasons change. Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool would be ideal, and we have such a nice range of colors.

The newest Norah Gaughan Collection, Vol. 8, is really pretty, too. The Schwann tunic on the cover is fabulous, and I love the Nespelem cardigan with the ribbed cable along the front. To see the rest, take a look at the Berroco site.

Oddly enough, we also recently received Rebecca 43, from winter 2010. There are rumors that this will be the last Rebecca translated into English, so if you love those German designs, you might want to grab one.

Sally and I both gasped a little when we saw this military jacket. (There is a longer coat option, too.) We have been brainstorming yarn options, and we decided that Berroco Peruvia Quick, Rowan Sheep Breeds Chunky, and Cascade 128 Superwash would all be just right.

I am longing for this beautiful wrap sweater...perhaps in Rowan Kid Classic?

Several of the designs use GGH Kid Melange, and we are expecting more of that soon, as well. In addition to this cozy tunic, there is a long wrap sweater, a pullover, and a few more.

Do you knit summer sweaters in the warm months? Do you prefer wool all year round? Either way, we have something to keep those fingers busy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

New for March

Lots of new stuff coming in. Check it out.

This just in: Dream in Color Starry.

It's sparkly sock yarn. Seriously.

We've restocked some of our favorites from The Fibre Company, including Road to China Light, Organik, and Terra.

We now have Savannah, an interesting blend of wool, cotton, linen, and soya. It's a little bit crunchy with a really nice texture. As usual, The Fibre Company colors are sophisticated and rich.

More Angora from Plymouth Yarns. Melissa used one wee ball to make these sweet little booties for her little girl on the way. We have the pattern available for free at the shop.

Coffee Beenz, also from Plymouth Yarns.
Machine washable, worsted weight tweed. Perfect for the itch-sensitive recipients in your life who cannot handwash to save their lives. Plus, it's $7.25 for more than 200 yards.

More Brown Sheep Burly Spun is on the shelves, too. If you are one of the four people in Portland who has not made the Close Knit Seed Stitch Cowl, come and get it.

Also, don't forget to turn your clocks one hour forward this weekend! Even though the rain seems to be teasing us again for the time being, spring must be just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Flicker and Tonal: Free Patterns!

Wow, that was a busy weekend. Thanks so much to everyone who made Close Knit one of their stops on the Portland Yarn Crawl. We had quite a few first-timers, and we hope to see you all again. If you signed up for our mailing list, keep your eyes open for notices of our sales and events. If you entered our raffle, Sally will be contacting you soon if you are one of our winners!

The brand new Berroco Flicker received a lot of attention this weekend, thanks to Sally's simple little hat on display, and at least a few knitters picked up a skein to make Laura Irwin's Side Slip Cloche. Berroco has just released six free Flicker patterns, which you can download individually or as a nice compact eBook. They've included a cardigan, gloves, a hat, a capelet, and scarf, and a crocheted cowl. Take a look...

Also new form Berroco, Ultra Alpaca Tonal. They have taken Ultra Alpaca, one of the greatest worsted weight go-to yarns, and added a little tonal variation. Brilliant.

I know it looks like it might stripe, but I assure you it does not. Of course, there are free patterns for this, too. Ann whipped up a sample of Ostrom for the shop. The pattern calls for three skeins, but Ann found that two skeins made it just perfect.

I love this sweater, Runcorn, which combines the classic Ultra Alpaca and the Tonal.
Ditto is another really nice cardigan. Berroco originally released this for a different yarn, but they have since written it up for the Ultra Alpaca Tonal, too.
Berroco's free pattern library is full of great designs. If you sign up for their Knitbits newsletter, you'll receive instant notice of their newest offerings. Then you'll be able to race down to Close Knit for the newest Berroco goodies!

Thank you to Berroco for the use of the pattern photos (aside from Ostrom).