close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I had no business buying this book.  I don't have any babies zero to eighteen months.
But I bought it anyway.  And then I made Ballonbusker (balloon pants).
They don't look like much without a baby in them, I confess.  The baby for whom they were made is not ready yet, but her momma promises that we will put a baby in them as soon as possible.
Oh, they are so cute.  I used some nice soft Pagewood Farms sock yarn that I purchased a few years back, but any solid or semi-solid sock yarn would be perfect.  Perhaps Cascade Heritage, Malabrigo Sock, or Shibui Sock?  The book also suggests the Isager yarns, and these would be simply amazing in Spinni.

Knit on US2s, they were not a quick project.  They might have gone even faster had I not spent so much time admiring the little mock cable and the prefect sweetness of the reverse stockinette.  I love these.  I have plans to make more things from the book, too, for no real reason.

Maybe a Seed Stitch Top,
or sweet Smilla's dress,
or the perfectly nerdy Frederik's vest.
Or maybe all three.  If you know me and you are having a baby, feel free to place an order.  I can't seem to stop knitting these itty bitty things, and I need to justify buying the book.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter Knitting

I always have a little trouble figuring out what to put in the Easter baskets that won't make the kids bounce off the wall from a sugar high.  I have created several bunnies over the years, and the kids seem to love them.  Some have been more elaborate than others, but they do take up plenty of space in the basket, and they last forever.  I have a few ideas for you all at varying levels of skill and time requirements.

Easter is more than a week away, so you might have time to produce a sweet little creature from designer Sara Elizabeth Kellner.  She has a few amazing bunnies...
and a beaver and a robin, too, if you're into that sort of thing (I am).  Baby birds!
Check out her website for all of these free patterns and many many more.  (Thanks, Sara for letting me borrow your photos.)

There is also the adorable Mini-Reversible Duck to Bunny from Susan B. Anderson.  (Photos borrowed from Spud Says! The Blog.)
Wait for it...ta da!  I know, right?  So cute!
This little bunny begins life a square piece of knitting.  Easy peasy.  (Photo from Ravelry pattern page.)
If your knitting time is even more scarce between now and the 31st, fear not!  I have a few things for you, too.

Easter chick?  I suppose this doesn't solve the sugar issue, but it would be quick.  (Photo from Ravelry pattern page, too.  Sorry, I don't have time to make all of these to photograph for you guys.)
Last, least amount of knitting, and probably what I will be cranking out, Bunny NuggetsRebecca Danger designs so many amazing critters with so much personality, you should take a look at her other stuff, too.  (Photo borrowed from Ravelry pattern page.)
We are closed on Easter Sunday, March 31st, but we'd love to help you choose the perfect bunny supplies before then, so stop by and see us.  The handmade stuff is always fun, and these little buddies will still be around long after the sugar crash.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gradient Cowl and New Classes

We had such a great response to our Gradient Cowl during the Yarn Crawl, that knitters have asked us to make it available on our blog.
Close Knit Gradient Cowl
by Sally Palin
Yarn: 1 ball of Schoppel-Wolle Gradient
Needles: US8 24" circular
Cast on 200 stitches.  Join in the round, being careful not to twist.
Knit 3, purl 1 around until you have about 5 yards of yarn left.
Bind off loosely.
The pattern is pretty basic, but it's the yarn that really makes it something.  We have a nice supply of Gradient in the shop, and we are happy to ship out of town if you give us a ring.  Here is a shot of what we have in stock now, and we seem to be filling the shelves often.
Left to right, we have 2095, 1873, 1701 (also below), 1878, and 1508 (also below).  These are coming and going, obviously, so call the shop to find out what we have, 503.288.4568.
In other news, we have a fresh batch of classes up, including a brand new sock class.  Ann has mastered the art of knitting two socks at the same time!  Seriously, people, it's pretty cool.  She works from the toe-up using worsted weight yarn, and the results are amazing.  No more second-sock-syndrome!  We also have Learn to Knit, Learn to Crochet, and Knitting: Beginning and Beyond all lined up for April.  Take a look and give us a call!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Isager Trunk Show

Yup, you heard me.
I opened this box and immediately tried on all of the samples from the new Isager trunk show.  And now I love them all.  

The basic cardigan, appropriately named Vanilla for it's classic simplicity, features an interesting lateral braid that adds a subtle detail without distracting from the overall shape.  The fit is flattering and very wearable.  This would be a bit of a time commitment in terms of the knitting, but you know you would wear it every day.
Lemon also uses the lateral braid up the center front and back, and the construction is unusual.  The front and back panels are worked first, and then stitches are picked up for the sides and batwing sleeves.  I tried this one on, too, and I was really surprised at how flattering it was.
This sample was knit with Spinni, and it is lofty and light as a cloud.  We just restocked our supply of Spinni this week, so there are many fresh colors on the shelves for you.

Olive.  Oh, lovely Olive.  
I believe this piece is to blame for my obsession with Amimono and Isager.  I saw this popping up on the Ravelry pages of European knitters and I went a little crazy trying to put my hands on the pattern.  The original pattern book is out of print, but we have single copies of the pattern available at the shop for you.

The trunk show also features a few scarves and wraps.  The Zig Zag Scarf, available as a single pattern, is a classic.  The stitch pattern is so very supple in the Alpaca 2, also freshly restocked.  Wow, this is a nice yarn.  I never seem to have any scarves when winter hits, and this one is a winner.  I think it would make the prefect man scarf, too, in a nice dark color.
So many of you fell in love with the Bump Scarf during the yarn crawl, so we restocked the pattern book for you.
If you're feeling ambitious, the book also contains the Bump Stole, a larger, rectangular version with all the bobbles you could ever want.  Both of these are worked in Spinni, and they are light as air.
These will be with us for the rest of March, so come down and have your own little dress up party!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tweed is Good

We have been loving the Harrisville Highland Tweed.  Judging from the dwindling backstock, you all have discovered it, too.  We have been using it in place of the very-nice-but-hard-to-get Shelter, and now we have an alternative for Loft, too.  Please say hello to Rowan Fine Tweed.
The little balls of Fine Tweed are so stinkin' cute.  Imagine all of the delicate, intricate colorwork you could do with these stunning colors.  Or just lots of stockinette or garter. 
Whatever you choose, the Fine Tweed provides vibrant color, tweedy goodness, and such a soft knitted fabric.  Sally did up a little swatch in the fall when she was trying out every tweed yarn on the market, and this one was definitely one of my favorites.
Shall we talk about a few project ideas?  This yarn is sort of made for stranded colorwork, and Kate Davies puts out some of my favorite traditional designs.  (All of these lovely photos are borrowed from her Ravelry shop page.)

I love her geometric cowls like the Funchal Moebius and Hazelhurst, and her more traditional tams and beanies are spectacular.  Neep Heid, Peerie Flooers, and Sheep Heid are my favorites.  The Fine Tweed would be perfect for all of these projects.
If the colorwork scares the pants off of you, we can talk about stockinette stitch, too.  I have visions of a huge stockinette scarf in tweedy stripes, much like L.1, a freebie from Shibui (photo from the Shibui Knits Ravlery page) or Rivage from my newest designer crush, Julie Hoover.  (The rest of the photos are borrowed from the Brooklyn Tweed Collections and Wool People Ravelry pages.)

The Ticking Cowl is on my list, too.  Maybe sooner than's so perfect.
The hat possibilities are awesome, too.  What to do you think of Bayard?  Or maybe Oljett?  Someone stop me.
There are sweater and shawl possibilities, too, but I am getting overwhelmed.  What will you make using this pretty palette?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hello, March

Well, did you all have fun Yarn Crawling?  We had a great time seeing so many new faces and introducing people to our shop.  Thank you to everyone who participated!

Now that the dust has settled and we have caught our collective breath, let's get back to the yarn.  We have so many lovely new things at the shop right now.  Let's start with some Manos del Uruguay, shall we?  They have upped their game, my friends.  Over the last few years, their patterns have gone from dated and dowdy to stylish and modern, and I could not be happier to see the trunk show at the shop right now.
Um, garter stitch blanket?  That might be my middle name.  On Monday, I opened a large box with all of the colors for the Salida del Sol Throw, and I was so taken.  The highlighter yellow in the middle is pretty serious, and the dusky purple up at the top corner is gorgeous in person.  Worked in Manos Wool Clasica, the blanket is generous, too...perfect for wrapping up on the couch or by the fire.  I am trying to resist, but it might be futile.
I do plan to make Palette, but I think I need a brighter color.  The Cameo version is very pretty, but I think I'll use some Chartreuse Maxima that has been patiently waiting for me to settle on a project.  The original here was made with Wool Clasica, too, and I am surprised at how soft and cozy it is.  The length is perfect and the simple stitch pattern produces an interesting effect.  Maybe I'll make a few.
Quite a few knitters noticed the Oruga Scarf sample we had out over the weekend, too.  We now have the pattern in stock and many options for lace weight yarns.  Check out the cool detail running up the spine.
We also have samples of the Fumior gloves and Beaubourg, both knit in lovely lovely Maxima. (Both of these photos are from the Fairmount Fibers site.)

I really love what Manos del Uruguay stands for, so it makes me so happy to see these stunning designs and spot-on styling.  They are a cooperative that has been giving jobs and opportunities to women in Uruguay for decades, and they continue to establish new co-ops around the country.  They provide health insurance, vacations, maternity leave, and pensions to their employees, and they are responsible for the first kindergartens in Uruguay.  You can read more about their operation on the website.  

Each skein of yarn has a handwritten bit telling you the name of the person who dyed your yarn and the village where it was dyed.  The yarn has always been beautiful and high quality, and I hope these new designs will appeal to an even larger audience.  I know they have my attention!

Bringing the yarn focus a little closer to home, let's talk about a Portland yarn company.  If you are interested in playing with some Shibui yarn, please join us for the Mix Party Wednesday night!  There will be little mini skeins of the Shibui yarns to try out and mix and match, look books for the Shibui Mix line, and new spring patterns.  Give us a call at the shop to let us know you're coming (503.488.4568), and bring some needles, size US4 to 9ish.

See you soon!