close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Thursday, January 31, 2013


The sparkles are here!  They refused to be photographed in their full glory, but they are here.
The Baby Llama Glow has always been popular in the shop.  It is part of a line from Plymouth Yarns called DyeForMe which was intended to be hand-dyed, so all the yarns are white as a base for the dyes.  I have yet to see any of it dyed up though, probably because it is so beautiful as it is.  The sparkles are subtle and well-distributed, the yarn itself is soft and lofty, and the finished knits are just perfect.  To top it all off, each skein contains 273 yards.
I used a skein to make a Simple Pleasures Hat, and I know Adrienne (and several others) used it to make Teal from Kim Hargreaves' Winter Blooms Collection.   
My friend Laura made my Bias Scarf using just two skeins.  She added some buttons to change it into more of a wrap.
Whatever you choose to make with it, I would decide soon.  The shelves might be full now, but this pretty stuff flies!

P.S. Bolt is having a little surprise sale on Saturday.  What a great weekend to come to our little corner.  See you soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Love, True Love

I think I'm in love.
The Shibui is amazing.  The sock yarns are great.  The Sweater, the alpaca, the Rastitia...all really wonderful.  But this.  This is my yarn.
Harrisville Highland.  I have not managed to take any home yet, mainly because my mind is swamped with possibilities.  Sweaters, hats, wraps, blankets...what to do?  And the colors.  I don't want to make the wrong choice.  I am drowning in inspiration, but I am okay with it.
This lovely stuff comes from the town of Harrisville, New Hampshire, where they have producing yarn and fleece for over 200 years.  The town itself has been declared a historic landmark and has been recognized as "the only 18th century textile village in America that survives in its original form." (From the HD website.)  Pretty cool, huh?
We have started with Highland, an Aran weight yarn (4.5 sts/inch) in some of the most beautiful heathered shades I have ever seen.  The yarn is "dyed in the wool."  This means that the fleeces are dyed prior to spinning the yarn, so the depth of color in each strand is really rich and interesting.  The colors are vibrant and lush, anything but flat.
Sally knit and washed a little swatch to show how much it softens up...quite a bit.  I have so many ideas, as I'm sure you will, too.  Let me get you started.

Maybe a blanket?  We have here the Hudson Bay Blanket, the Super Easy Baby Blanket, and the Moderne Baby Blanket.  I love the big blocks of color and miles of garter stitch on each of these.  Of course, there are many lacey or cabled blankets, too, but these are my favorite kind.
Photo from The Purl Bee
Photo from The Purl Bee

How about some hats?  Peacock from designer Karen Borrel.  Think of all the color combos!
Photo from Karen Borrel's Ravelry page
I like the Kami Hat quite a bit, too.  Simple and stylish.
Photo from Katie Schumm's Ravelry page
The Lazy Jacks Hat looks like fun.
Photo from Savory Knitting Ravelry page
And sweaters.  So many options.  This yarn is similar to the lovely Shelter that came out a few winters back, so it will work really well for all of the incredibly fashionable Shelter designs in the Spring Thaw, Wool People, and Brooklyn Tweed Collections from Jared Flood.  Some of my favorites include Holl, Guston, the Inversion Cardigan, ForesterBedford, and Tinder.  Go ahead and check them out.  I'll wait right here.
Photo from Heidi's Ravelry page
I myself am eager to try out Tea with Jam and Bread from Heidi Kirrmaier.  She has always been one of my favorite designers, and this sweater is exactly what I need right now..comfy to wear, easy to knit, striped, and pocketed.  Pretty much perfect in my mind.  The design includes sizes for little kids through full-grown men, so it will get a lot of use in my house.  Plus, I get to choose three colors, eliminating at least a bit of my anxiety over leaving any of them on the shelf.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


We have a fresh batch of Ambiente sock yarn from Schoppel-Wolle.  The colors are so much fun, and they do some great self-patterning.
This sock has been through several wash cycles, and it still looks great.  You'll need two balls for a pair of adult socks, one for a pair for kiddo socks, and one for a Sock Bunny.
This one was knit with a different yarn, but I know that several of our knitters used Ambiente with great results.  We had a sample of this little bunny at the shop, but it was stolen!  If you see him out in the world, ask him if he is lost.  

In the meantime, come check out this fun yarn!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Knitscene Spring 2013

I've been waiting for this since I saw the cover sweater.  The Spring 2013 Knitscene is here!
The folks at Knitscene continue to do such a nice job of staying modern and finding designs that are interesting to knit and quite wearable.  Spring issues can often be a little frightening, but this one has several really lovely designs.  Let's take a look!
The first section, Working It Out, features several accessories by designer Catherine Shields.  This cute little Chinook Hat would be great in Jamieson's Spindrift or the Elemental Affects we have right now.  What an unexpected way to play with color.
The Morning Glory Tam and Mitts make an elegant set, don't they?  What a lovely gift.  Perfect in Cascade 220 Sport Superwash or Debbie Bliss Baby soft and easy to care for.
On the Mezzanine features some beautiful flapper-inspired pieces.  The Biarritz Cloche is totally out of my comfort zone (of knitting and wearing), but I am loving it.  Knit with two colors of fingering weight yarn, the herringbone stitch takes on such an interesting dimension.  The knitted fabric will be dense and feel like woven fabric, ideal for this kind of fitted hat.  I would go to the sock yarn wall to find the right thing.  Or maybe the new Shibui Staccato or Isager Alpaca 2.  All the right weights, but the effects would be different with color choices and fiber content, obviously.
These two sweater dress/tunic pieces are quite the commitments.  They are really stunning, though, aren't they?  The Patou Tunic is above and the Grenadine Tunic below.
The bias section is my favorite.  Love these Caution Mitts.  Check out the thumb.  Everything lines up!
The Lightning Shrug starts out as a rectangle, believe it our not.  So elegant and casual.
The Rockfall Sweater (above) and the Salacia Cardigan (below) look so wearable, too.  The lace yoke on the pullover is asymmetrical, and the back of the cardigan comes together at the same angles as the front.
The Arc-en-Ciel Pullover is my favorite.
Knit with Noro Taiyo Sock, the biasing becomes very obvious.  The extra long sleeves, unusual neckline, and boxy shape are all calling to me.
The final story in the magazine is Pretty Tough, and the knits are pretty for sure.

The Sorority Shawl is lovely, and the Humboldt Raglan looks great.  I am working on a similar pullover with the lace panel up the front, and now I think I might need another.  This one was designed with Cascade 220 Sport, which is one of the most economical yarns we carry.  I could make this for about $35!

Finally, the Edelweiss Cardigan is just nothing but sweet.  It's another sock yarn sweater, and I think the Scrumptious 4ply Sport would be amazing.

That is a lot of good stuff for an $8 magazine, and I haven't even shown you everything.  Come take a look!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Honey Badger

I don't knit many toys.  As soon as I get started I remember many little bits and so much seaming.  Well, my friends, I think I have found the first knitted toy that I might actually make again.  Meet the Honey Badger.
Yup, it's a honey badger.  I love him.  I sent him off to live with a friend last week, and I had a difficult time parting with him.  Look at his stumpy little legs.
And his sweet little badgery face.  Oh man, I love him.
The clever pattern was designed by Miriam Felton, who generally designs very classy and respectable scarves, wraps, socks, and sweaters.  I'm not sure how the badger got into the mix, but she did not skimp on the thoughtful design with him.  The grey upper body is knit first and the lower body is knitted on, so the whole thing sort of comes together on your needles.  You even get to stuff as you go.

The only place I stalled out was with the legs.  I picked up and knit one, and then I had a little trouble convincing myself that he needed three more.  I persevered, though, and I'm glad I did.  Each leg only took me about 15 minutes, so I'm not sure why I put it off so long.

I used Cascade 220 Sport, which I highly recommend for badgers and other projects.  I think I have enough left over to make another one.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spud & Chloe Sweater

The Spud & Chloe shelf is exploding with color!

We received a big box of Sweater, a nice plump worsted weight yarn in a rainbow of colors.  It's a wool/organic cotton blend, and it's machine washable.  One of our new knitters is using this for the Super Easy Baby Blanket from The Purl Bee...the perfect beginner blanket.  Miles of garter stitch in bright blocks of color, one at a time.  Couldn't be better.

Way back when, the shop had a nice trunk show of S&C designs.  One of my favorites was the Best Friend Sweater, a sweet little button-up for kids from age 1 through 12.  Look at the awesome pockets (any my goofy kid when she was still so small).
Photo borrowed from Spud & Chloe website

The BeTween Cardigan is pretty awesome, too.  We often get knitters looking for sweaters for their older kids...I must remember to show them these designs.  They are timeless and easy, and I think they look great on all ages.
Photo borrowed from Spud & Chloe website

I don't know if we have this one in the shop, but I love the uber-nerdy Charlie Sweater by Ann Weaver.  She is one of my favorite designers, and her nod to Charlie Brown here makes me happy.
Photo borrowed from Spud & Chloe blog

If you're looking for accessory patterns for Sweater, I love the lushly cabled Rambling Scarf (perfect for guys) and the super-simple Twister Cowl.
Photo borrowed from Spud & Chloe blog
How about one more shot of the pretty yarn rainbow?  Okay.

Come take a look at this great stuff while the color selection is at its best!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Okay, now that we have all of the silly Portlandia eye-rubbing and doily-selling out of the way, let's get back to our regularly scheduled programming, shall we?

I wanted to share a few things that flew under the radar in the last month or so.
This is a really pretty and incredibly soft scarf that Sally has been cranking out using the new Debbie Bliss Riva.  There will be a free pattern eventually, and it's a super simple knit, I promise.  The yarn is another one of the slow-color-change beauties that have been getting so much attention lately.  The shades are subdued and flow nicely from one ball to the next.  The pattern book is cute...the little capelet piece on the cover is my favorite.
We received a fresh batch of Royal Alpaca from Aslan Trends as well as the new King Baby Lllama & Mulberry Silk (all one yarn).  You should really check out their explanation of the silk harvesting will have a new appreciation for mulberry silk.  The yarn is so soft with a nice sheen and halo all at the same time.  Perfect for a luxurious scarf or shawl.
Finally, the beautiful Malabrigo Rastita, the little sister of the beloved Rasta.  This is a single ply DK (about 5.5 stitches/inch) with more than 300 yards per skein.  Rastitia is great for hats, scarves, mitts, and even sweaters.
I normally shy away from single ply yarn for sweaters because of the pilling, but this one is slightly felted, so pilling does not seem to be an issue.  The bright colors would be so nice for a kid or baby sweater, and the variegated colorways knit up so nicely without pooling or flashing.  The people at Malabrigo know what they're doing.

We return to our regular schedules this week, with Open Knit kicking back up on Wednesday night and Knitting and Cocktails at the Cruzroom on Monday night.  Shop hours are all back to normal now, too.  Have a great week, friends!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Don't forget!  Tonight is the night to see our little shop on Portlandia on IFC at 7PM (and 10PM).  Mention the secret word DOILY to receive 10% off your purchase on Saturday and Sunday, January 5 and 6.  See you soon!