close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello, Beautiful

Welcome back from the holidaze, friends!  We love the knitting season at the yarn shop, especially the last few weeks before Christmas.  There is so much excitement coming into the shop and so much big yarn leaving the shop as people rush to finish up the handmade gifts.  While those crazy weeks are high-energy fun, I love the return to normal that comes with the new year.  Also, I love getting back to projects knit on needles smaller than US17s.

On that note, we are thrilled to welcome Shibui Knits to the shop.  Shibui is a Portland yarn company, and they really know what they're doing.  The yarns are addictive, the pattern styling is amazing, and the colorways are irresistible. We are starting out with three yarns and a smattering of patterns.  Here's what's in the shop.
Silk Cloud is little bit like Rowan Kidsilk Haze, but with more silk and more yardage.  The colors that Sally has chosen are something else.  The purple is called UV, and the orange is Jumpsuit.  That bright green, Apple, is impossible to photograph to its fullest really just need to come see it.
The Merino Alpaca is ropy and thick and hefty.  It reminds us a bit of a slightly thinner version of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Merino.  On the day we opened the box, one lucky knitter snagged four skeins to make a simple and ample stockinette scarf.  I can't wait to see how it turns out.
Finally, the Staccato.  Gorgeous merino and silk in a fingering weight...I can see this working up beautifully.  You probably can't go wrong.

The designers at Shibui are really masters of mixing.  Many patterns use two yarns held together for some really cool effects.  Sally went with complimentary colors in all of these yarns so you (and we) can play around.  Let me show you the patterns we have right now using these pretty yarns.
From the Mix line, this is No. 9 , a sumptuous cowl made with Silk Cloud and Staccato, and No. 12 a crazy cool hood made with Silk Cloud and Merino Alpaca.
This is No. 4, No. 6, and No. 3, all knit with Silk Cloud paired with other lovely yarns.  All three are just perfect in their simplicity.

The Geometry Collection is pretty striking.  The styling and the photography really get me.  (Anyone recognize the local skate park?)  Right now we have Hypotenuse (cowl), Radii (cap and mitts), Segment (scarf), and Trapezoid (drapey cardigan).

We're pretty excited to try out these new yarns and patterns.  There are a few more colors on the way, so I'll let you know when they arrive.  Come by and let us know what you think!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bags, Yarns, and Holiday Hours

More cute bags arrived on Friday from Dig This Chick.  The bags are really high-quality, and the little appliques are so sweet.  We have five different color combos.  These are handmade by a Montana artist, and she does great work!
We also welcomed a few yarns from Berroco this week.  (Ooo, take a look at their new site!)  This is Boboli QuickWe have a nice little mitten pattern available at the shop for this yarn.
And this is Quasar.
Berroco has a really nice free cowl pattern using this yarn, Seyfert.  Just one ball makes a really generous cowl.  Perfect mindless holiday knitting.
Photo from
We have lots of new stuff, too, including fresh batches of Magnum, Gradient, Spud & Chloe, Blue Sky Alpacas, and a brand new yarn from Malabrigo called Rastita.  I'll have more ideas and inspiration for you all later this week.

As for the next week, we will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.  We will close up at 3PM on Christmas Eve and at 5PM on New Year's Eve.  Open Knit Nights on Wednesday night are on hold until January 9.  Otherwise, we'll be open regular hours.  Maybe you need to send someone in for a last minute gift?  Maybe you'll have a gift certificate to redeem this week?  Come and see us!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yarn Pop Bags

We have some really great knitting bags from Yarn Pop.  (Please excuse the lighting in these pictures.  It's December in Oregon, and there is only so much I can do with my little camera.)
These little guys, the Small Yarn Pops, have a nice zippered inner pocket and holes for your yarn (or headphones)!  These are the perfect size for the little projects like socks, hats, and gloves.  I think they'd be especially useful for travel, when you really need to keep everything contained.  

For those of you wondering, you pull the yarn through the hole when you start your project and knit away, keeping your ball in the bag (and not rolling down the aisle or under the car seat).  When you need to tuck your project away, just put it in the bag!  There is a thoughtfully-placed little gap at the end of the zipper to keep your yarn from getting snagged.  Great ideas, right?
The larger ones, the Totables, have more pockets!  And more holes!  And a nice handle.  (Ahhh...there's a little natural light.)  These bags are really well-made with big zippers, a full lining, and high-quality materials.  The little guys are only $20, and the big ones are $58.  We originally brought these in for the holiday shoppers, but I think they're nice enough to keep in stock on a regular basis, don't you?

If you are using plastic bags to store your projects (I know you're out there), please send your loved ones down to the shop and we'll help them pick out a nice one for you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last Minute

If you're still trying to crank out gifts by next week, I have a few options.
We've discussed Laura Irwin's designs in the past.  Her work is amazing, she is a Portlander, and she is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  She has complied several of her newest designs in Softwaves.  Four of the five are knit with super bulky wool, so you could probably crank out one of each in the next seven days.

The book features the Textured Marbled Beret (on the cover), the Snail Twist Headband and Cowl, the Pivot Ruffle Cloche, and the Softwaves Magnum Cowl.  Sally has fresh batches of Cascade Lana Grande and Cascade Magnum in the shop this week, which will work beautifully for all but the Pivot Cloche.
If you need even easier and faster, please join the club and make the Garter Gaiter from The Purl Bee.  Ann and Jenni have each produced one, and they are both great.  The one above is made with Debbie Bliss Paloma, and Jenni used Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in red and grey (photos on our Facebook page).  The pattern is free, you'll need one skein of each color, and the knitting is super easy.  You could even start and finish one on the plane or in the car.  Seriously.

In other news, Jenni is collecting hearts to mail to the community of Newtown, CT as part of the Hearts Across America movement (they have a Facebook page here).  Decorate a paper heart with art or words, and drop it off at the shop.  Jenni will send them off to Connecticut with the love and support of our community.  It's hard to know how to help in the wake of such tragedy, but this can't hurt.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Avert Your Eyes

Seriously, this yarn is so pretty it might hurt.  Say hello to Malabrigo Silkpaca in some stunning colors.
This is a true lace weight done up in alpaca and silk.  I had one lucky knitter take two skeins home for a Les Miserables Scarf last week.  The silk will resist the felting, leaving tiny boucle-like loops on the surface.  The effect is really beautiful.  And in this subtly tonal's going to be amazing.  Let's have another shot, shall we?
Yup.  It's still pretty.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh, Deer

This sweet little thing is currently living at the shop.  I think we have decided to call her Pearl.  Ann created her using just one skein of Berroco Peruvia, some stuffing, and good bit of patience.  There are many small parts, but the results are so worth it.  The pattern is even a freebie on Ravelry, My Dear - A Deer Trophy by Clare Garland.
I'd like to try her in a darker brown, but I'm afraid the stuffing will show through.  So, I might have to just blatantly copy Ann.  Why not, since she seems to be on such a roll with these great samples?  If you hear me muttering something about increases on the antlers, please show me these photos to remind me how stinkin' cute this little lady is.  Thanks.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Three Kinds of Scrumptious

Fyberspates Scrumptious yarns are back in full force!  We have three flavors at the moment in some lovely jewely shades.
This is the Lace.  So much lace.  Each one of these skeins holds more than 1000 yards of silk/merino.  A friend of mine slogged through the extensive 2x2 ribbing of Tirrold, which I am still hoping to make someday.  I just have to decide on a color.
This is the 4-Ply/Sport.  That gold one makes my heart go pitter patter every time I see it.  And that grey.  Hmmm...what can I make with those two together?  Stripe Study?  (Oh, look someone else with my color sense.)
And the Aran.  Look at that pink.  Oh, my.  Ysolda and Stephanie (Tiny Owl Knits) created the ridiculously cute BFF Cowls for Knitty with the Aran.  It would be fun to do this as a gift for/with someone.

These are all such beautiful yarns, it really is hard to decide which one I like best.  What will you make with these beauties?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick Crochet

Dear Crocheters,

I know we don't post many crochet ideas here, but it's not because we don't care.  It's because my crochet skills are atrocious, and I am sort of embarrassed.  But, when I saw these sweet little Snowflower Ornaments pop up on The Purl Bee, even I could tell they were good.
Photo from The Purl Bee
They suggest Blue Sky Metalico (which we have) for the background with little spots of color.  I might suggest the insanely beautiful Elemental Effects for the centers.  What about Kauni or Liberty Wool Light?  You would get so many colors from just one ball.  Just a few skeins of Metalico in different colors would be great, too.  I'd love to see a collection of these in natural earthtones.

Honestly though, my first reaction was Tahki Cotton Classic.  We have quite a bit of the pearly white and shimmery silver for the background and plenty of brights for the pops of color.  The Cotton Classic is a mercerized cotton, so it's shiny, too.  And machine washable, if that might become an issue at your house.
Photo from The Purl Bee
So, my dear crocheters, I hope these little ornaments speak to you, too.  I think they would be a lovely addition to any wintery decor.

If your crochet skills are on par with mine, perhaps you might consider Ann's Learn to Crochet Workshop next week.  I am certain she will have you cranking out wee snowflowers in just one class.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Around the Shop in Several Samples

We have some fun samples in the shop right now.  Let's browse.

Sally created this beautiful cowl with the Gradient yarn we discussed a few weeks back.  She used a 3x1 rib to really show off the color changes.  We are out of this colorway, but there is more on the way, and we still have several lovely options.  This would be fun in Liberty Wool, too.
This is Sirle, a great little slouchy hat knit with the beautiful Classic Elite Vista, a 50/50 merino alpaca blend in the natural colorways of the MountainTop collection.

Ann, Our Lady of So Many Samples, has been a busy bee.  I am IN LOVE with the Fumior mitts by Julie Hoover in Manos Maxima.  We are optimistic that we can get a pair out of one skein (even though the pattern suggests two), so Ann is giving it a go.
Les Miserables is coming out at the end of the month.  Is there time to crank out a Les Mis scarf to wear to the movie?  We have a fresh batch of Cascade Alpaca Lace to get you going.
Jenni figured out how to make the Softwaves Magnum Cowl!  The knitting is simple, but the seaming is a challenge.  Come see Jenni at the shop for a tutorial.
The Wurm hat is so awesome.  The brim is doubled, so it is nice and cozy on the ears.  The slouch factor is just perfect, too.  Our sample is knit in Malabrigo Arroyo, which we have in some truly gorgeous colorways.
I have been wearing my Anna Karenina all over town and getting compliments every time.  I used a yarn that we no longer have in the shop, but it would be great in Arroyo, too.

There is so much more!  Come see us at the shop for even more inspiration and lots of great suggestions.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Big Stuff Coming Through

The big yarns are rolling in (and out) of Close Knit at a pretty steady clip.
This is the Cascade Magnum, or it was the Magnum as of last week...I know that a few of these colors have already flown the coop.  Magnum is one of the bulkiest yarns we regularly stock, weighing in at 2 stitches per inch on a US17!  

It is a shimmering 100% wool single-ply in some of the most gorgeous colors.  Our sample of Sally's Seed Stitch cowl knit uses just one skein of Magnum, and it's one of our most popular samples.
We also have a great color range of Cascade Lana Grande, a 2-ply bulky yarn that knits up at a slightly lighter gauge.

I love these marled colorways...they knit up like tweed fabric.  I am pretty certain we are almost out of the lighter shade, but there will be more.
Want a few ideas?  Of course you do!  

Above is the Charley Infinity Scarf from the blog of our lovely friend Nancy.  Two balls of Lana Grande and some big'll have a cowl in no time.  This sample has been in the shop for some time, and I am really impressed at how little pilling there is on the scarf.
Photo from Laura's Ravelry Shop
I used the Magnum to make Laura Irwin's Snail Twist Cowl last winter.  This one was a bit of a challenge at the end, but I promise that it works.  Bring it on in, and I'll help you with the seaming.  It's all in the seaming.

I just checked her Ravelry pattern shop, and now I have to make the Softwaves Magnum Cowl with just one skein of Magnum and the Textured Marbled Beret with one ball of Lana Grande.  I was about to get a little overwhelmed by all of this inspiration when I realized that each of these projects will only take a few hours each.  Yay!  I can cast on as much as I want and still get it all done.

I am also loving the Vite Cowl, the Drop Stitch Cowl, and the Grey Owl Cowl.
Photo from the Shalimar Yarns Ravelry Page
Photo from Spiderwomanknits Ravelry page.
Photo From Loop Knit Lounge Ravelry Shop
What are you going to make with these big beautiful yarns?  Come on in and show us what you've been doing.  We love to see your projects!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Little Boxes

Thanksgiving has crept up on all of us at the shop this year.  Fortunately, the folks at Little Boxes were prepared.  This little grass-roots organization encourages us to spend our holiday shopping dollars at the little boxes rather than the big boxes.
Here's how it works.

Step 1: Start your day off shopping at one of the participating shops listed on the website.  There is a great map and a list broken down by neigborhood.  Enter the raffle, and get your map stamped.

Step 2: Go to another participating shop, enter the raffle again.  Repeat at as many shops at possible.  If you collect four stamps on your map, you get 15 extra raffle tickets.  Eight stamps get you 20 extra tickets, and 12 or more will get you 30 extra tickets.  The more purchases you make at the Little Boxes, the more raffle tickets you can earn.  Plus, if you show your stamped map, you can receive a 10% discount at the next shop (with some exceptions). 

The raffle prizes are kind of amazing.  Take a look at the list.  There are gift certificates, shopping sprees, prizes, and an iPad.  Not too shabby.

No opening at 9PM on Thursday, no Black Friday lines out the door, no crazy shopping cart wars.  We will all be open from 10AM-7PM on Friday and Saturday to give you plenty of time to make your way around town.  

This is a better style of holiday shopping, supporting the small businesses that make Portland the place was all love to live.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Check out the wacky new yarn from Schoppel called Gradient.  As you might expect, this yarn does some slow color changes over the course of the ball, a little bit like Noro, but it's much softer.
Gradient is a worsted weight, so you'll get about 4-5 stitches per inch on a US7ish.  The yarn itself has a really unusual texture.  It's almost like a lightly felted single ply, so the yarn is very round and springy.  And the colors...
These are my two favorites, the most outlandish and the most subtle.  The tonal ones are nice, too.
The Ravelers have used this yarn in some spectacular ways.  There are several versions of Carina Spencer's Zuzu's Petals that are really breathtaking.  This unusual item is a cowl meant to look like a lace shawl.  Brilliant!
Gradient would make a great hat, too.  Maybe Turn a Square or the beloved Felicity slouch?  If you'd like to try fingerless gloves, maybe Nancy's Leah Gloves?  One ball of this crazy cool stuff will get you a hat, a cowl, or a pair of gloves.  You might have to think about where in the color repeat you want to start if you want to try gloves.  Or they can be fraternal if that sort of thing doesn't bother you.

This yarn is new in the shop, but going fast!