close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raffle, Selvedge, and the Newest Interweave

First things first. Did you enter the raffle for the swift and ball winder? You have until the end of the day on Tuesday to enter. Hurry!

The latest Selvedge is in the shop right now. This isn't a knitting magazine, but more of a fiber-textile-design lovers magazine. This is one of the only magazines I've ever encountered where the advertising is as beautiful as the features. These go quickly.

The Summer 2011 Interweave Knits arrived earlier this month. Pretty, pretty things with interesting details. Maybe it's time to try something new this year...learn a new skill or try out an unusual construction technique?

The lacey wrap sweater on the cover, the Coral Cardigan, would be beautiful in Belle Organic DK or Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton.

The Dockside Cardigan is constructed in a very unusual way. I can't even explain it. You'll want to see the diagrams. It's knit with sock yarn on US6 needles, so it will be a light layer that doesn't take forever to knit.

The Pebble and Reed Tunic is knit with Rowan Revive, a recycled cotton and silk blend. I used this yarn to make a little slouchy hat last summer. I have been dreaming of a comfy summer pullover using this yarn, and apparently I'm not the only one.

The Nantucket Vest uses Tahki Ripple, which we cannot keep on the shelves. As soon as we get a new color, it's gone. I think this is going to be this year's must-have summer yarn.

Lace, check. Colorwork, check. This sweet little Cat's Eye Tam from colorwork expert Mary Jane Mucklestone combines just a little of each. What a great introduction to two techniques in one project. Using Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, this is a nice little project that won't break the bank.

While I can't really pull off the spaghetti straps anymore, I am very interested in these raised seams on the Al Fresco Camisole.

Come on by, enter the raffle, flip through a few magazines. The rain appears to be holding on for the time being, so we might as well make the best of it with a little more knitting.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I know summer seems like a silly time to be thinking about blankets. For me, though, summer is kind of the perfect time for knitting blankets. Okay, maybe not at the park on a muggy August afternoon, but how about in the evenings, enjoying your beautiful garden, watching a movie with the kids, or sipping a cocktail on the porch?

Blanket knitting tends to be repetitive and a little mindless, which I love in the summer. In my mind, the ladies from Mason-Dixon Knitting are the queens of blankets. They have designed some of my favorite blanket projects, which you can find on their blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting, and in their books, Mason-Dixon Knitting and Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines.

Many of their blankets employ the log cabin technique, a method borrowed from quilting. The thing I like about log cabining is that you don't have to seam up a bunch of pieces at the end. You pick up stitches along the side of each block as you finish and just keep going with another color.

Check out this pretty rainbow blanket, Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors.

This classy little denim number, The Courthouse Steps Denim Blanket, uses just a few colors to great effect.

I made the Moderne Baby Blanket for my little one a few years back. This style is a half log cabin technique, so the final product is asymmetrical and fabulous.

The Purl Bee recently published the Half Log Cabin Ombre Blanket in beautiful alpaca earth tones. I'm planning to make this as a wedding gift for a dear friend using Cascade Eco Alpaca.

Photo from the Purl Bee. Thanks!

The Purl Bee has published several blanket patterns that are high impact but easy to make. Check out these simple color-blocked examples of the Super Easy Baby Blanket.

Photo from the Purl Bee. Thanks!

The Cuddly Cotton Baby Blanket is a simple garter square with a lacy edging. This would be fun in Classic Elite Sprout. Organic and machine washable, perfect for a baby shower gift.

Photo from the Purl Bee. Thanks!

The Granny Stripe Blanket might just turn me into a crocheter.

Photo from the Purl Bee. Thanks!

If you feel like a little bit of seaming and finishing, the Mason-Dixon gals have a few other great options. Here's the Mitered Square Blanket from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book.

I told you about the Mitered Crosses Blanket back in March. A little mitering, a little log cabining, a little seaming, a lot of fabulous.

Photo from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Thanks!

If you really want to challenge yourself, they even have fair isle blankets, finished with steeking and edging. These guys stray a bit from the mindless summer knitting criteria, but they are pretty amazing. Baby Dotty and Liberty.

Get started this summer, spend those cool summer evenings knitting, and by the time fall rolls around, you'll be glad to have a nice big blanket project almost done.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some Very Collectible Pattern Books

New pattern books at the shop. These are the kinds of books that are so nice to have on the shelf, whether you buy them for yourself or your favorite knitter. Aside from the beautiful designs, they are very inspiring. Published by independent designers (which is also pretty cool), they styling and photography are really something to see.

Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2 from Ysolda Teauge.

Peaks Island Hood from WLK2, which would be gorgeous in Rowan Kid Classic.

Veyla from WLK2 in The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering. We have a nice stock of this right now.
Smith, the knitted hedgehog, also from WLK2. The same pattern done up at three different gauges yields this little family. I feel these must be knit in tweed yarn in order for true hedgehoginess to be achieved.

Westknits Book Two from Stephen West. (We also have Book One.) So many cool accessories: hats, gloves, shawls, scarves, and other items that fit into several categories. The designs will give you lots of opportunities to play with color in whatever way makes you happiest.

(I'm linking to Ravelry for these because there are no details or photos on the designer's website yet.)

Bandwidth in Tosh Vintage.

Filbert, perfect in Debbie Bliss Glen or Rowan Purelife Renew.

Honegart, perfect for Spud & Chloe Sweater.

Transatlantic in Tosh Pashmina. We plan to restock this as soon as we can, but in the meantime, I'd suggest Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight pure alpaca.

Loxley would be great in Kathmandu Aran, perhaps the softest tweed I've ever used.

The Shetland Trader from Gudrun Johnston. So beautiful. Here are a few of the designs.

Norie in The Fibre Company Savannah DK, which we have in some pretty blues and a sunny yellow.
Shoormal, Shalder, and Solan.

I have several books in my collection that just make me happy, including the two St-Denis books, anything from Helga Isager, the Mason-Dixon Knitting books, Jared Flood's Made in Brooklyn, and the Last Minute Knitted Gifts books. I plan to make a few items from these collections, but I very often pull them out and flip through if I am in need of a little creative injection.

It seems like these new arrivals might have to find a place on the happy shelf, too. What knitting books do you turn to again and again to keep you inspired?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fabulous Linen and a Sock Class

The Louet Euroflax has arrived. This is such a gorgeous yarn, just the thing for casual summer knits.

I love this tunic, Liesl, from Cocoknits. I started working on this at the end of last summer, but the cool fall weather sort of stalled my progress. I really enjoy Cocoknits patterns. They are always well written with clever and unusual design details.

Simple mitered decreases result in the points at the sides, and the magic pockets are fun to make and look really cool when you're done. Yup, time to pick this up again. Note that the fabric you achieve with this pattern is very open, so a little something underneath will be necessary. Also, think about the sizing before you cast on. The stretchy fabric has a lot of give, so you might want to go down a size so the fit is nice.

Lacey is a basic feather and fan lace stole done up in Euroflax Linen. The weight of this shawl is so satisfying, and the linen makes it perfect for summer.

Linen is great for facecloths and hand towels, too. Mason-Dixon Knitting has some great ones, but you can pretty much just choose a stitch pattern and go for it.

The linen behaves so differently depending on the needles you use. The ball band suggests a US2 to 4 needle, but I would tend to go larger. This little blue swatch we have a the shop was knit on a US6, and it really brings out the drape and flow that we tend to associate with linen fabrics.

Knitters often find that linen is a little rough to work with, but our friend Nancy solved that problem. She washed the skein of yarn before she knit with it. Soak it in the tub for awhile, rinse it out, and hang it to dry. This won't make it soft as cashmere or anything, but it helps. Your finished item will continue to soften up with every wash and dry.

We have some great patterns from Lana Knits, originally written for hemp yarn. Hemp and linen share many properties, and the Euroflax Linen would substitute very nicely for any of these tanks, tees, and sweaters.

How nice would a linen pullover feel over a tank top this summer? I keep seeing linen sweaters in clothing catalogs (for several hundred dollars, usually), and I think it's time to make my own.

Speaking of making your own, I wanted to update you on our current classes.

I know a lot of you are looking forward to the Sock Summit in July, even though socks might not be your thing...yet. If you want to get the basics of sock construction under your belt before you sign up for all of those advanced classes, Ann has you covered. On Tuesdays, May 31st, June 7th and 14th, Ann is teaching a beginning sock class from 6-8PM. She will teach you all about heel flaps, turning a heel with short rows, picking up stitches for the gusset, and creating a nice little toe.

We also have:

Knitting: Beginning and Beyond on Thursdays May 26th, June 2nd and 9th from 6:30-8:30 PM
Learn to Knit Workshop on Tuesday, May 24th from 6-8PM
Learn to Crochet Workshop on Tuesday, May 17th from 6-8PM

Advanced Knitting Techniques Workshop on Sunday, May 29th from 10-11AM

Give a call or stop by to sign up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yarn for a Dollar?

Commence project planning...Wednesday is Sale Day!

Cascade Eco Alpaca. I'm planning a blanket with this.

We have so much fabulous yarn and so many wonderful books, patterns, notions, and needles, that we want to encourage you to keep knitting as the warm weather approaches. We miss you during the summer!

All day (10 AM-10 PM) on Wednesday, May 11, we are having our first Pop Up Sale of the summer. Here's the deal. When you purchase three full priced items, you will receive the fourth (of equal or lesser value) for just $1.00. It's like getting almost 25% off.

Unsuspecting (and oblivious) cute baby modeling my Tiny Baby Hat.
Thanks Baby M, and congrats to Mama on those beautiful cheeks!

This is the time to get yarn for that sweater that you have been planning, stock up on needles, stash away yarn for holiday gifts, or just treat yourself to something beautiful that has been on your mind.

The offer only applies to one discounted item on Wednesday, and we will still stamp your Stash Cards for full priced items, as usual. Also, if your total purchase is over $100, you can add your name to
the raffle for the ball winder and yarn swift, which retail for more than $100. We have had several entries so far, but your odds are still pretty good.

We are open until 10 PM on Wednesdays for Open Knit Night, so you will have 12 whole hours to take advantage of this offer. Blow off work, ignore the kids...yarn is only a dollar!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Projects Bags, Magazines, Books, and more Firefly

We have so much new stuff in the shop this week.

The fully lined project bags from Knit Purl Sew What? are pretty fabulous. Sally chose the fabric at Bolt, the bags are made here in Portland, and we have them for you at Close Knit. Good local happiness.

The Shetland Trader Book One from Gudrun Johnston. We have a few individual patterns, too, including the Moch Cardi and Hansel, a traditional hap shawl.

Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2 from Ysolda Teauge.

WestKnits Books One and Two. (Ravelry link with photos and details here.) There is discussion that the second might be even better than the first. Thoughts?

The brand new Interweave Knit & Spin. Details on this soon.

Interweave Summer 2011. More from that soon, too.

You people love the Firefly! We have increased our stock so everyone can make the Firefly Bias Scarf. I'm so glad you all like it.

A shelf full of Cascade Ultra Pima. So lustrous and soft.

If spring is going to keep us waiting, maybe we should knit some sunshine.

I'll be back soon with details about the books and magazines. Also dates for a beginner sock class to prepare you for the advanced stuff you all want to learn at Sock Summit. And perhaps a little surprise announcement this week? You'll have to stay posted...