close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Saturday, June 29, 2013


After finishing a few smallish projects in the last month or so, I was sort of reeling.  Normally, I have so many things on the needles, I can just pick up whatever is handy.  I found myself in a situation where the few things that are on the needles involved some serious concentration...picking up neckline stitches, miles of I-cord bind-off (including picking up stitches), and a complete reworking of the upper body of a sweater that I screwed up and need to salvage.  I was without a mindless, meditative project!  And now that I am home with the kiddos for summer "vacation," I was in need of one.

For the first time in a long time, I have had a hard time deciding what to make next.  It's like having Knitter's Block.  Does this ever happen to you all?  I am not lacking for options or inspiration, that's for sure.  I am just feeling a little scattered, so I have had trouble deciding where to go next.  

I decided it was time to trust my color instincts from earlier this spring and cast on for that Colorblocked Royal Alpaca Cowl that I designed in my head.  I don't really have a pattern, just a plan.
So far, I have cast 100 stitches onto a 16" US6.  I used a provisional cast on, so I will graft the ends together when it's long enough.  I'm very happy with what I have so far.

Working with this fabulous color has inspired my next project, the No. 10 hat from Shibui.  I'm going to use Suit, Ivory, Poppy, and Lumen.  The Shibui Cima is held double for the hat, so it will go pretty fast.  Good thing, too, since I'm knitting it as a shop sample.
Perhaps I just needed some color to get me back in the swing of things.  Looks like chartreuse is my color of the summer!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Little Things Completed. Repeated?

I finished a few little projects lately, and I would love to show them off.  My Groovy in Leinen Los is one of my favorite knitted items to date.  You can purchase and download the pattern through Ravelry, and it is worth every penny in my opinion.
It was fun to knit, with just enough counting and paying attention.  Otherwise, a lot of stockinette.  I know some knitters get a little bored with stockinette, but I love it.  It grows in sort of an unexpected way for a shawl, too.
I managed fourteen and a half repeats of the pattern with two balls of Leinen Los.  I decided to tempt fate and use white, but the other natural colors are really beautiful, too.  I was inspired by several versions on Ravelry to use a contrast color for the bind off.  I had some Euroflax Linen in orange that looked so great with the white.  My shawl is a really nice size, perfect for tucking into a jacket for a little extra warmth.

My next finished little thing is my Bristol Hat.  I love this hat.  
It's also available on Ravelry from Amy Christoffers, one of my favorite designers.  The stitch pattern is pretty simple, but I did have to pay attention.  I used stitch markers to mark each pattern repeat, and that certainly saved me some heartache.  I love the chevron pattern that emerges from the textured stitches.  I was concerned that it would be too small when I got started, but everything ended up just fine.
I used some discontinued Rowan yarn, but any fingering/sock weight in a nice solid color would be perfect.  Cascade Heritage or Heritage Silk would be amazing, and the stitch pattern would really pop.  My hat used just under 200 yards, so one skein of sock yarn would get you two Bristols.

I don't often repeat projects, but these two were so satisfying, I think there are several more of each in my future.  I'm thinking a tweedy Bristol in Rowan Fine Tweed, and maybe a tone-on-tone striped Groovy in some Silky Wool or Felted Tweed DK.  The possibilities are endless, but what am I going to do with all of these?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fresh Ombre

We have a fresh batch of Freia Ombre Lace in the shop.  Adreinne used one ball to make the Bateaux Mouches Scarf we spoke about last month.  We also received a bag of the beautiful blue grey Isager Alpaca 2 that Jenni used for her sample, too.  I know quite a few of you have been waiting for this shade.
Come claim your favorite!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Knitscene Accessories

With the temperature finally on the rise, my mind is turning to thoughts of little projects.  Fortunately, Knitscene read my mind.  Knitscene Accessories 2013 is full of great stuff.  Let's take a look!

First up, the Cimarron Shawl, which is actually an excerpt from Free Spirit Shawls.  We had the book in the shop, but it has been bought up.  There are many beautiful shawls in there, so I'll let you know when we get it back.  In the meantime, the Cimarron Shawl seems like a nice place to begin.  Who doesn't love chevrons?
The vibrant colors of the Back Road Scarf are certainly pretty.  There is even a fabulous article on how to execute that crocheted edging.
The leafy greenness of the Eloen Cowl looks luscious and cozy, don't you think?
I love the Morgantown Hat, knit with fingering weight wool.  The stripes pinch together periodically around the hat, adding just a little extra detail.
Truth be told, I bought the magazine for the Morgantown Hat and the Icelandic Star Cowl.  Oh, man, I love that crazy color combo and blown up scale of the traditional star motif.  Love love love.
There is a whole section of miters and stripes.  Check out the Zed Scarf and Resistance, just to name a few.
I really appreciate the techincal articles included in this magazine.  Not only are there patterns for these stunning pieces, but there are full articles explaining how to do the Latvian braid of the Riga Bonnet, the crazy cool knitweaving for the San Cristobal Shawl, and the roositud on the Rukkilill Mitts.


The Avesta Shawl combines ribbing, lace, and garter stitch.  Best of all worlds.
The Rosita Hat and Mittens will satisfy any kind of colorwork cravings you might have, and the cover shawl, the Valois, is nothing but lacey goodness.
There is a section of more modern designs, too, including the Preturnatural Hat, knit with Shibui Staccato and Silk Cloud, and the So Faux Cowl, which is just begging to be knit up in some crazy colors.

Accessories are great summer projects, in my opinion...highly portable, not too heavy, and quick gratification.  Things are finally warming up in our fair city.  Let's knit some fun little things!

Also, we are altering our hours a bit for the summer.  The new hours are: 11-6 M-F, 11-5 Saturday, 12-5 Sunday.  Open Knit Night is still in full swing on Wednesday nights from 6-9, and we are hanging out at the Cruzroom for Cocktails and Knitting on Monday nights from 8 until late.  See you soon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Project of the Summer?

I've been working at our little shop for almost six years, and in that time, I have noticed that certain projects catch like wildfire with our Close Knitters.  It's always hard to predict, but when it happens, it is enthusiastic.  I think Sally new she had a contender when she brought in the L.1 sample knit up in Shubui Linen.  We all fell head over heels in love, and now it seems that you all have, too.
What is it that has you all so smitten?  The yarn itself is unusual and luxurious...fingering weight chained linen.  But who would have thought that would grab you?  Maybe it is the sophisticated Shuibui color palette.  Perhaps it's the chance to play with color to such a stunning end.  With the lazy days of summer approaching, I'm sure the basic stockinette holds some serious appeal.  
It doesn't really matter what it is, but I know we will be sending many more knitters home with Linen before summer is out.  Sally recently restocked our supply with some fresh colors and old favorites.  
The Poppy at the top has been wildly popular, and I love Suit (navy) and Cascade (bright blue).  The Brick, Apple, and Scale (orange) are great, too.  So are the neutrals.  I'm going to have a hard time deciding.  The Ash (grey) in the sample scarf is on backorder until the end of July, but we have so many other shades to mix and match.  We will be happy to help you create your own color combination.  
I included this photo because the guy walking in the background gave me a weird look and laughed at me for taking photos of yarn outside.  I just needed someone else to know.  The things I tolerate for knitting...
I usually suggest that people look at the yarn in the natural light outside the shop to see how the colors play together...hopefully Dude from the above photo will walk by again and we can really mess with his head.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rowan Fine Art

Rowan's first sock yarn is certainly getting a lot of attention.  
No wonder, right?  Say hello to Rowan Fine Art, a blend of wool, mohair, silk, and enough nylon to give it strength and durability.  Each 100g skein will yield a standard pair of socks, but the Rowan designers have some vivid imaginations.  
The Fine Art Collection is chock full of some really creative sock patterns, including some of the best tall socks I've seen.  Take a look at Quail, Ibis, and Warbler.
The Grouse socks feature a little fancy colorwork, which looks really interesting in the subtle variegated yarn.
The scarves and lacey wraps are fabulous, too.  We have a sample of Lark Scarf at the shop, and the drop stitch design looks great in this yarn.  Plus, it's really fun to execute.
Sally and I agree that the Osprey Wrap is stunning.
You can read more about Rowan's first foray into the world of handpainted sock yarn on their website, but you really need to come see it in person to appreciate it for yourself.
Socks make great summer knitting!