close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Firefly Tunic

Hello, Firefly Tunic.
Photo from Espace Tricot Ravelry page.
The simple lines and elegant details of this not-so-basic pullover certainly grabbed me.  How about you?  The generous designers at Espace Tricot in Montreal have offered this up as a free pattern on their blog. (There are other nice ones, too.)  They have included a simple colorblocked cowl to top it off.
Photo from Espace Tricot Ravelry page.
Available in eleven sizes, simple knitting and finishing, and surprisingly minimal yarn requirements...why wouldn't you make one?  
We have some beautiful shades of Classic Elite Firefly, and our supply is still rather robust right now.  Go download the pattern and swing by to choose your favorite.  The rain can't last forever.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Garter Stitch is Good For Your Soul

Oh, Oregon we love thee.  The rains have returned and it is chilly willy again, so my thoughts return to warm scarves.  Garter stitch scarves, in particular.

The Bateaux Mouches Scarf has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Jenni used two and a half skeins of the light-as-air Isager Alpaca 2 on a US7 to create her denim blue/grey version.
Adrienne decided to play with the new Freia Ombre Lace that arrived a few weeks ago.
She used a US8 and lace yarn to achieve a very open knit, which squishes down into a warm cozy wrap.  The Ombre version is certainly more lofty and floaty than the Alpaca 2 version, but both are so soft and warm.
Garter stitch just feels like sustenance to me when it comes to knitting, you know?  It's not flashy or fancy, but it really serves its purpose and does the trick.  I feel this way when I'm knitting it and when I'm wearing it.  And with the weather doing what it is, a little satisfying warmth is just exactly what we all need right now.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Color Therapy

After a winter of grey sweaters, I needed some color.  I showed you my work-in-progress Palette Cowl in the brightest neon green I could find.  The Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Chartreuse certainly did the trick, and the cowl itself is perfect.  (Click on over to the stunning new Manos website.  It really highlights the yarns, patterns, and the company itself.  Such a great story.)
While I was knitting, I worried that it would be too small to double wrap, especially since my bind-off usually comes out way too tight.  I decided to experiment with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretch Bind Off.  It was perfect and totally worth the tiny bit of extra time it took to implement!  It looked a little wavy and wobbly at first, but I blocked it out to size, and then everything was right with the world.  I love this, but apparently my need for color therapy did not end with the cowl.
I immediately fell in love with the Chartreuse Royal Alpaca that arrived from Aslan Trends last month.  And I immediately needed to pair it with the Turquoise, obviously.  Completely inspired by this lovely thing on Ravelry, I'll try a colorblocked cowl with these three colors, maybe a fourth..either winter white or chocolate brown.  I'll cast on enough stitches to fit on a 16" circular and knit a tube until I'm done with my yarn.

And still, I keep buying neon-colored yarn.  I have had the colorwork itch lately, and Grettir from BrooklynTweed Winter 13 looks like it might satisfy.  
Photo from BrooklynTweed Ravelry page.
Bright blue body with yellow, white, and charcoal yoke?  Perfect.  There are two versions, and I'll do the men's, skipping the turtleneck and waist shaping.  I'm going for pure cozy comfort here.
Finally, the subdued color changes of the Freia Flux Lace were too much to pass up.  I pretty much bought this because the colorway was called Metal Earth, and that spoke to me.
I thought maybe a triangular shawl, maybe the Age of Brass and Steam.  But Heidi Kirrmaier's Windward is on my list, too.  I love the idea of playing with the color changes is unexpected ways.  So many possibilities.

I think I might have sated the color craziness for now.  The last thing that came home with me is a nice dusty shade of purple.  
This is two skeins of Manos Wool Clasica, destined to become another Palette, because I loved knitting the first one so much.  This colorway is called Slate, and it is definitely on the grey spectrum.  Ahhh, back to normal.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Shibui Linen

When the Shibui Linen arrived early this spring, I was curious.  It's a fingering weight linen, which I have not seen in the shop before.  The chained construction is also a little unusual in a pure linen.  It seems to make the yarn a little easier to work with than traditional linens...not so hard on the hands. 
Basically, I wasn't sure what to expect from this yarn.  And then this sample arrived.
This is L.1, a freebie from Shibui Knits featuring four colors of the linen in a simple, yet striking stripe sequence.  It's knit on a US7, so the fabric is open and flowy and drapey, yet crisp, perfect for a summer wrap like this.
Now that I have seen it in scarf form, I am even more curious about Linen.  I want to see how it works up on a smaller needle.  I have visions of a linen Lemon from the Amimono Knit Collection 2010.  If I have done my math correctly, I should need about six skeins.
Of course, there are several other lovely summer top options.  The latest issue of Knit.Wear features the beautiful Die Cut Vest on the cover.  (Did we talk about the newest Knit.Wear?  I don't think we did.  I will remedy that.)
I recall seeing Kage by Kirsten Johnstone pop up on Ravelry last summer, but, at the time, I couldn't think of any fingering weight yarns that might work for this.  Linen would be stunning.  The drape of the fabric on those  This one is a Ravelry download from the designer.
Photo from Assembladge Ravelry Shop
The Silken Straw Summer Sweater from our friends at The Purl Bee is pretty great, too.  Such a simple knit, but the perfect thing for summer knitting and wearing.
Photo from The Purl Bee
I have always love Heidi Kirrmaier's Boardwalk from Wool People Volume 3.  The wooly original is a great layering vest, but a linen version would be so floaty and breezy for summer.  I love the architectural neckline.
Photo from Wool People Vol. 3
Cocoknit's Belle is intriguing, don't you think?  It appears to be a large rectangle with some cuffs and a waistband.  The biasing adds some visual interest and really shows off what linen can do.  Plus, it's knit on US9, so you'd make some quick progress.
Photo from Cocoknits
Have you tried the Linen yet?  It has been disappearing from our shelves, so someone out there is playing with it.  Bring in your project so I can see what you're making!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Smilla's Linen Dress

Do you remember All You Knit is Love and my Balloon Pants?  Well, that book is chock full of great stuff.  We have a few samples at the shop right now, and my friend Laura was inspired by Smilla's Dress.
She is expecting her little bundle of baby any day now, so she chose a linen blend for her summer version.  Just two balls of Classic Elite Firefly made the smallest size, and she had a good bit left over.  She reports that it was a fast knit, too.  I can assure you that it is even cuter in real life, and might be unbearably adorable on an actual baby.
Sally ordered several copies of the book, so we have plenty on the shelves right now.  The new shades of Firefly are really lovely, too.
The hardest part of this project will be choosing a color, don't you think?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother's Day Special

Next Sunday is Mother's Day!  We are happy to see so many loving family members and friends coming into the shop for gift certificates this time of year.  So happy, in fact, that we are offering a little special from now through May 12, 2013.  If you mention Mother's Day while you are purchasing your gift certificate, we will give you 15% off.
The recipient of the thoughtful gift gets the full value of the gift certificate, but you, the generous giver, get the discount!  For example, you can purchase a $100 gift certificate for just $85, a $50 one for $42.50, and a $25 one for only $21.25.  We can make a gift certificate up in any denomination, of course.

Every knitter loves a gift card!  Swing by this week and take care of yours.

P.S. If you are the fiber enthusiast and are trying to drop a hint, just leave this open on your family computer or do a little Facebook sharing or whatnot.  You will all be happy you did.