close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Loopy Mango

Do you like big yarn?  We have some.  Sally took the plunge and ordered the Big Loop from Loopy Mango!  (Their site is gorgeous.  Go have a look.)  We have taken to calling these yarn babies.
Sally whipped up a blanket in about two hours with one ball of Big Loop and some US50 needles.  We have some in stock, since most of us don't have those in our collection.  You could just use broomsticks, I suppose.
The pattern is a freebie on the Loopy Mango site.  It starts out "cast on 18 stitches..."
I have to admit, I was not expecting to like this stuff as much as I do.  It is very snuggly.  We also have a few balls of the Big Loop Mini (13 oz balls) in stock.  Look at that pink.  Wowza.
Jenni used one to make the Eternity Cowl.  Cast on 4 stitches.  It's wrapped around three times here.
One of the Big Balls will make three of these, according to the pattern.  These patterns and several more are available for free on the Loopy Mango site.  I am loving the New Yorker Scarf.  There are a few crochet patterns, too...a super simple scarf and really nice round rug.
Photo borrowed from Loopy Mango.
We have more of this crazy cool stuff on the way.  Sally has ordered more of the naturals, some grey, and more Dirty Dirty Pink, and we are happy to special order.  I'll let you know when it arrives so you can come choose your own yarn baby.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why, yes! We do have classes!

Why, yes...we do have classes!  And our wonderful teachers are ready for you.
The flashy stuff first.  Calley Dodero wants to teach you how to crochet a wee urchin on Monday night.  She has been selling her vintage-inspired pieces of lovely at crafty markets and online, and this girl has an eye for cool/funky/pretty/lace/glitter...but not cutesy.  
Her big ol' pouf pillows have been crazy popular, so we thought it might be nice to try a scaled-back version.  Give a call to the shop to sign up.  You'll have a great time.
I know there are knitters out there who are just pining away over the gorgeous sock yarns at our shop.  Rightly so.  If you want to learn socks (with worsted weight yarn and US6 needles), our Beginning Socks class is for you.  You will learn the basics of sock construction, turning a heel, shorts rows, closing up the toes, all that scary stuff.  Then you'll be ready to tackle the fingering weight yarn and US1 needles, I promise.

If you are reading this blog, you likely know how to knit or crochet.  But maybe you'd like to learn the thing you don't know.  Maybe you have a friend who has been longing to learn one or the other (or both).  Well we have the classes for you, too.

Our lovely Ann will get you started with the basic skills in either craft in just two short hours.  She is that good.  In her Learn to Knit Workshop, you will learn the basic knit and purl stitches, as well as casting on, binding off, and increasing.  The next class is all set in March, and it never hurts to sign up early and get ready.

Want to try crochet?  She can teach you that, too.  There is a class on February 4 and one on March 18.  You will walk away knowing how to make a chain, crochet in a circle, and work a single and double crochet.  This workshop has been so popular, there is often a demand for a Crochet 2, which Ann will often offer as a follow up.  These classes are a great way to get your feet wet and learn some basic skills in a two-hour workshop.  Ann is a very patient teacher, and she will help you work through any difficulties.

If you'd prefer to dive into knitting head-first, Adrienne's Beginning and Beyond might be for you.  In this three-week session, she will teach you to make just about anything.  If you are a true beginner, you will learn enough to start (and complete?) a project with confidence.  If you have the basic skills but want someone to hold your hand as you try a new project, this class is for you, too.  A session just started this week, but the next one begins in the middle of February.  This class has been very popular, so we run it at least once a month.  Keep checking back for new dates.  (Added bonus...Adrienne is a lefty, so she can help all you left-handers out there who are frustrated!)

Give us a call or stop by the shop to sign up!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby Cashmerino 5

We see these Baby Cashmerino books every year or so, maybe.  I am not normally moved by any of them, but Baby Cashmerino 5 was particularly adorable.  Mostly it was the Gingham Bear on the cover that caught my eye.  And, yes, there is a pattern for that in the book.  The baby is wearing the Simple Crossover Top, which would be such a nice basic.
This Garter Stitch A Line Jacket looks so wearable over the inevitable layers of the Oregon winter.  And who doesn't like garter stitch on kiddos?  There's a sweet little contrast edging at the neck, cuffs, and sleeves.  A nice chance to play with some easy colorful touches.
The Artist's Smock has an unusual neckline and some soon-to-be-filled up pockets.
I like the simplicity of the Single Stripe Sweater.  And that Gingham Bear again.
Looks like an interesting construction on the Trellis Stitch Jacket.  The cropped style is so sweet, and the cables look like they would be fun to knit.
The Square Neck Top is the one that really got me.  Debbie Bliss has published similar designs in a few previous magazines, but something about the color-blocking and the swingy shape of this one really appealed to me.  And that face.
The Gingham Jacket is a classic, and would be great for a little girl or boy.  Imagine all the fun color combos.
Debbie Bliss always seems to include a nice basic raglan, like the Two Color Raglan Sweater.  Adorable.
There is a Rosebud Bear, obviously, and a Rosebud Crossover Top.
The shelves are fully stocked with Baby Cashmerino, and I've found the Cascade 220 Superwash Sport to be a pretty nice substitute, as well.  It's a little thicker, so the sweaters will come out a bit bigger.  Good thing babies grow so fast!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cold Shoulder?

I know it's been getting up into the 50s during the day, but I cannot shake the chill.  Maybe I'm still recovering from the ick, or maybe it's the short days that have me piling on the layers.  I love a scarf or cowl, but I'm thinking one of these Churchmouse Shoulder Cozies might be nice, too.
Sally made this pretty piece with just one ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and two balls of Noro Silk Garden in the most subtle neutrals.
I like that you can wear it as a capelet or as a cowl under a jacket.  A nice choice for a chilly office or drafty house.  The Silk Garden is lovely and interesting, and the Kidsilk Haze really adds a nice halo.
It's a Churchmouse pattern, and they know how to do classy.  The patterns are always well-written, too.
Stop by for a look.  We can help you choose the perfect combination to keep your cold shoulders cozy and warm!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wake Me Up Tea Cozy

Our dear Melissa worked up this wee tea cozy pattern right before the holidaze, and it totally got lost in my scramble.  Fortunately, it would be a lovey gift any time of year, for yourself or your favorite tea drinker.
The little tea pots are available at Townshend's Tea, just down the street from us on Alberta.  Each one uses just one ball of Classic Elite Liberty Wool, so the personality of each cozy will be unique!  Thanks, Melissa!

Warm Me Up Tea Cozy
by Melissa Tyler
Knitting side to side really punches up the impact of this self-striping yarn - making an adorable and vibrant cozy to keep your morning tea warm. 
Yarn: 1 skein Classic Elite Liberty Wool
Needles: US7
Gauge: 20 stitches over 4"

CO 29 Sts.  If you leave a nice long end, you can use it to seam the opening for the handle.
Slip first stitch, k to end.
Repeat for 57 rows or 6”.
Create Spout Opening: Sl1, k8, cast off 9, k11 to end.  (The longer side will be at the top of the spout opening.)
Next row: Sl1, k10, CO9 (I like the cable cast on for a neat edge), k to end.
Sl 1, k to end.
Repeat for 57 rows/until total length is 12”. Cast off.
Finishing: Weave in ends.  Seam the cast on and cast off edges together, leaving an opening for the handle.  Pinch together the top to create four equal crown points and use blanket stitch to close.  Brew a little pot of tea, cover in cozy, and settle in with your knitting!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just a Reflektor

Believe it or not, we are stocking reflective yarn at Close Knit.  This is Schachenmayr Lumio.
It's a nice bulky yarn in some rather loud colors.  No big deal.  Until...BAM!
Shine a light at this stuff and it shows off the reflective thread running through the strand.  There is nothing natural about this yarn, but that hasn't dissuaded our knitters!
It would make a great hat or mittens for a cyclist commuting in the dark or the kiddos walking home from school in the dark at 4:30PM.  We had someone take a few balls home to make a dog sweater, too.  There are a few free patterns for that sort of thing, if your furry friends need sweaters, too.

The ball band (well, most of them, we discovered) have a free pattern for this basic Lumio Hat, which requires just one ball of Lumio.  It's also available on the website for free.
Vampire-ish photo borrowed from Schachenmayer site.
Our friend Jami from The Knitting Bee designed the Big Brio Slouch, which also requires  just one ball of Lumio.  Another free pattern!
Photo borrowed from The Knitting Bee.
Obviously, you could make a scarf or a cowl out of Lumio.  But what about a SmittenThis smart lady made hers with just one skein of the pretty bright red.  Seems like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, doesn't it?
Some cozy legwarmers would be fun, too.  These are a nice basic choice.
Photo borrowed from Knit on the Net.
These are less basic, but still pretty cool.
Photo borrowed from Knit Freedom.
Some boot toppers would be nice, too.  Especially with all of this chilly, wet weather we have been seeing.  Those rain boots could use a little sprucing up, right?  Whatever your reflective yarn needs, we have you covered!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Have you all noticed the marled trend out in the knitwear world?  You probably have...I am never on the cutting edge.  But we can talk about it anyway.  I like the fact that it's a little bit lumberjack, a little bit sock monkey.  Unless you do it like Shibui, and then it's just pure sophistocation.
Photo borrowed from Shibui Knits
Marled yarn (or fabric) involves different colors held together during the spinning of the yarn or the knitting of the fabric.  We have quite a few nice marled yarns at the shop these days.  Sally used the marled Cascade Lana Grande to make this awesome Hat-Shaped Hat.  It makes me think sock monkey, for sure.
Nancy also used it in her Charly Infinity Scarf.

Classic Elite released Crestone this fall.  I like the all of the colorways, from the subtle to the high contrast.  It's a worsted weight, so it pairs nicely with Vista, its solid cousin, or any of the worsteds we have at the shop.
We have the hard-to-say-but-lovely-to-knit Panguipulli from Araucania, if you like a little more color in your marl.  Here it is knit up as a little ribbed beanie.
Cascade Eco Duo has also been a very popular choice at the shop.  The black and white one is my favorite, but they are all really pretty.  And silky soft.  We also have several marled colorways of the Cascade Eco Alpaca, shown below.
Another way to achieve a marled look is to knit with different colors held together, just like the gorgeous Shibui Mix. No. 8 at the top of the post.
Photo borrowed from Savory Knitting
I am very excited about the awesome Moxie from Savory Knitting.  In fact, it is next on my list of things to knit.  Swatching has begun.  Sock yarn held doubled on a US6 is squishy and soft, like a favorite sweatshirt.
I considered several color combinations but settled on a nice burnt orange Cascade Heritage Sock and some chocolatey brown sock yarn to create my own sock monkey sweater, very similar to the original.
Photo borrowed from Knittimo's Ravelry page.
I have also been dreaming about the Spring Kerchief from Portland Designer Sachiko Uemura.  She used two skeins of lace weight to create her colorblocked, marled shawl.  I would love to have one in red and white, or maybe blue and grey.  I love the light, airy feel of this piece.

Any of you inspired by the marled look?  Anything similar on your list?