close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rose City Yarn Crawl Starts Thursday!

The Rose City Yarn Crawl starts Thursday!  Nineteen Portland-area shops are participating this year, and there are goodies available all over town.  There is a lot going on, so let me break it down for you.

First of all, there will be giveaways.  We have four gorgeous sweater kits to raffle off, two from Cascade Yarns and two from Blue Sky Alpacas.  These beloved yarn companies have been very generous to us this year.

We will also have fabulous door prizes for the first five purchasers each day.  We've packaged up some nice little bundles for you, and each one includes a delicious chocolate truffle from our friends at Missionary Chocolates.

Each shop will have an enormous basket to raffle off.  I was poking around a bit, and there are so many great things from the amazing and generous sponsors.

If you make it to all 19 shops, you are eligible to win the raffle for the grand prize basket, which is even bigger than the individual shop baskets.  You'll need to print out a passport to make this happen.

Second, there will be free patterns.  Each and every shop has developed a one-skein pattern featuring a favorite yarn.  Sally designed the Him or Her Cowls using Cascade Eco Cloud.

Finally, we have some really amazing trunk shows and exclusive patterns for you to enjoy.  Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloe have sent us all of their good stuff.

Apparently we are getting some samples to show off our Scrumptious Yarns, too, but I haven't seen those yet.

Last, but not least, Laura Irwin is releasing three new patterns.  We will have samples and patterns of her three newest designs available for you.  This is the Pivot Ruffle Cloche in Rowan Kid Classic, the Snail Twist Cowl in Cascade Magnum, and the Snail Twist Headband in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande.

That snail twist trick looks really interesting.  I'm eager to get my hands on those patterns.  We'll have a sample of the Layered Cloche from Weekend Hats, too.

The crawling starts on Thursday, March 1st and continues through Sunday, March 4, and all of the shops will be open from 10AM until 6PM each day of the crawl.

There is a map to help you plan your day, and each shop has listed some of their favorite neighborhood places to grab a snack, a drink, or some non-yarn retail therapy.  If you'd like to connect with other participants, take a look at the carpooling set up on the crawl site.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Denali Sock Yarn

Pagewood Farms recently sent us a very lovely and colorful package from California.

Our sock yarn supply has been infused with some bright new life.  This is Denali, a hand-dyed superwash fingering weight yarn with 450 glorious yards per skein.  There are subtle tonal colorways and bright variegated colorways.

Obviously, this stuff is great for socks, but how about a Stephen West shawlHerbivore was designed to use just one skein of Denali.  

Photo from Westknits
I have used fingering weight yarn for several Baby Surprise Jackets, and the magic sweater turns out to be the perfect size for a newborn baby.  The unusual construction of the BSJ really plays well with the hand-dyed yarns.  Plus, most new parents will appreciate the gift of machine washability that comes with sock yarn.

When I made these sweaters, I managed to eek out a set of wee baby slippers to match with far less yarn than 450 yards.  Above are the sweet (and free) Saartje's Booties and below are the Magic Slippers, another freebie on Ravelry.

If you have a soft spot in your heart for hand-dyed sock yarn, I would suggest you put your hands on this sooner than later.  We don't get these small-batch hand-dyed yarns in very often, and who knows what the next round will look like.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Same Name, Different Yarns

If you walk into a yarn store and ask for the 220, pretty much anyone will know what you want.  We have a huge cabinet devoted to the good ol' classic worsted weight Cascade 220.  This is the yarn we often recommend to beginners for its durability, color range, softness, and price.

Last winter we began carrying Cascade 220 Superwash Sport.  Again, great colors, great price, and the added benefit of being machine washable.  I know quite a few people have used it for kid and baby items.  It's also great when knitting for the people in your life who can't quite grasp "hand wash only".

We have recently added Cascade 220 Sport to the shop as well.  The yarn looks significantly different from the superwash version, but they keep calling it 220.  I'm not going to complain, though...this stuff is really beautiful.  At only $5 per skein, it's hard to beat.

I am usually drawn to the more rustic yarns in the shop, and this one is right up my alley.  This yarn is ideal for colorwork, which I find really fun and satisfying.  The non-superwash version feels like it has a little more stick than its superwash cousin, which I find so helpful when working with multiple colors in a row.

There are a few books out right now focusing solely on the 220 range of yarns, including this lovely one for the 220 sport weights, 60 More Quick Knits.  The original, 60 Quick Knits, focuses on the worsted weight 220, and 60 Quick Baby Knits is pretty cute, too.  (Those are all Ravelry links...I can't find any other good project galleries for you.)

Check out a few of my favorites from 60 More Quick Knits.
Diamond Patterned Mittens
Hourglass Mitts
Embroidered Mushroom Cap
Multi-Lace Scarf
I have been thinking about legwarmers, and Some Cloudy Day from Tiny Owl Knits looks lovely, perhaps in golden mustardy yellow.  Free pattern + 3 skeins of 220 sport = $15 project.

Some Cloudy Day (Photo from Tiny Owl Knits)

My Pirate Hat (free pattern here) has been getting a lot of use lately, and I've been thinking about designing something new.  The 220 Sport would be perfect.

If you are the kind of knitter who knits sport weight sweaters, this lovely stuff is an excellent choice.  With the great yardage and reasonable price, you can make a pretty sizable adult sweater for $50 or much less, depending on your choice of design.

Oddly enough, the only one of these yarns that actually has 220 yards per skein is the original worsted version.  The 220 Superwash Sport has 136 yards, and the 220 Sport has 164 yards.  Who knows what they are doing over there at Cascade, but, like I said, I'm not complaining.  You'll just have to be a little more specific when you ask for the 220 next time you come in.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Books and Sock Yarn

Many lovely new things at the shop this week!

Four of our favorite books are back on the shelf: Weekend Hats, Textured Stitches, Boutique Knits, and Little Red in the City.

Ysolda Teague's Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2 have been restocked, too.

Itty Bitty Toys and Spud & Chloe at the Farm are here for those of you who like to knit adorable little creatures.

Helga Isager's Strikketoj is pretty amazing.

A few cool sock yarns, too.  We have fresh colors of Classic Elite Alpaca Sox in some really pretty shades.

We also have a new sock yarn from Opal inspired by the artwork of Vincent van Gogh.  This one will self-stripe as you knit, so you can really impress your friends.  (Check out the finished products here.)

See you soon!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Current Obsession: Merlin

Photo from Kieran Foley of knit/lab
I am currently obsessed with this beautiful thing, Merlin by Kieran Foley.  It looks like feathers!  The pattern is designed as a laceweight shawl, but that's not really my cuppa' tea.  I'm going to use Tosh Merino Light, which is more like a fingering weight than lace.  I think the hand-dyed tones will really play up the naturally blended feathery look that I'm going for.  I've been trying different combinations of the amazing colorways we have in stock.

Mica and Betty Draper's Blues
Saffron and Tart
Glazed Pecan and Well Water
Tart and Charcoal
I like some of these more subtle and natural combinations, too.

Badlands and Antique Lace
Antique Lace and Charcoal

Mr. Foley has a number of really cool lace patterns, all available for sale on Ravelry.  I really like his marriage of colorwork and lace.  The lace charts are clear and easy to read.

Kerchief (photo from knit/lab)

Shetland Ruffles (photo from knit/lab)
Dappled Diamonds (photo from knit/lab)
The pure lace shawls are lovely, too.  Take a look at his shop if you are a lace lover.

I think I'm going to try Antique Lace and Graphite for my Merlin.  There will be a nice contrast, but I think the colors will play well together.  I can't wait to give it a try.  Mostly I can't wait to just have it, but do I need to knit it first.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rose City Yarn Crawl

There's a big football game coming up this weekend, but we all know that the main event is happening a month from now.

Clear your calendars for the first weekend in March for the Rose City Yarn Crawl.  There are nineteen Portland-area shops participating in the crawl this year, and there are all kinds of goodies.

There will be prizes!  Each shop will have a fabulous basket to raffle off.  I've seen some of the goodies that are going into our basket, and you're going to be happy.  Check out the impressive list of sponsors.  If you make it to all of the shops on the crawl, you can enter the raffle for the grand prize basket, which is even bigger than the individual shop baskets.  You'll need to get your passport stamped at each shop to enter the grand prize raffle.  You can print one out from the Rose City Yarn Crawl website.

There will be free patterns and yarn discounts!  Every shop is offering up a one-skein pattern (free with any purchase) using a favorite yarn.  We'll be featuring Cascade Eco Cloud.  I wasn't completely sold on this stuff until I started working with it.  I am now a convert, and I have a sweater in the queue.  Sally has a lovely little something planned for you (sneak peak above).

We plan to feature a local designer during the crawl, and we will be offering door prizes for the first people through the door each day.  We'll be open from 10 AM to 6 PM Thursday, March 1 through Sunday, March 4 for maximum yarn enjoyment.  Start limbering up, and stay tuned for more information.