close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Original Denim

For years now, there has been concern about Rowan Denim.  Apparently the mill that produced it was going out of business or some such thing, and Rowan was having a hard time finding a suitable replacement.  They eventually ended up discontinuing the beloved yarn.  This spring, however, it appears that Rowan has found a solution, because there is a fresh batch of Original Denim on our shelves.
It is only available in two shades, Memphis (above) and Nashville (below), but we still have a bit of the Ecru from the old line.
If you have never worked with this, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.  Denim is a light worsted (5 stitches per inch on a US6), about 100 yards per ball, and it wears and fades like woven denim fabric.  Who doesn't like worn-in denim?  It shrinks up about 20% in length with the first wash, so you'll want to think about that.  The patterns written specifically for Denim take this into account.
I have told you before of my love for this yarn.  I actually just pulled this big ol' sweater out for spring, and I was feeling sad that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on any more of the yarn.  Thank you, Rowan, for bringing it back!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Folio, Part Two

The rest of the Berroco Folio is on the shelves.  I liked it before, and I really like it now.
Those pinks..the blues..the golds..the neutrals..they look a little like Easter eggs all lined up, no?  I am loving the spring time color palette.
The details: DK weight (5.5 stitches per inch on a US5), alpaca/rayon blend, 219 yards for only $7.75 per ball.  I showed you lots of nice patterns from the book last time we chatted about this yarn, and I am still quite smitten with a few of them.
Graphite is on my list, for sure.  But for a smaller project, Iwo.  
I don't usually use the exact colors in the book (didn't I say that last time?), but I might have to here.
I'll race you for the charcoal know it's not going to last long.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I finished something!  A whole sweater!  And I love it.  This is my Moxie.  I thought that I had missed sweater weather, but it looks like I will still have plenty of time to wear this before summer actually hits.
Amy Christoffers is one of my favorite designers, and this sweater is another winner for sure.  Let me tell you about my version.
It took me awhile to choose colors, but I ended up blatantly copying Amy's original.  My orange is Cascade Heritage Sock, and the brown is Rowan 4 Ply Soft.  The 4 Ply Soft has been discontinued, but it's basically a nice washable fingering weight wool.  Almost any doubled sock yarns will do.  Here's my swatch, for an up-close look.
As I consider the next one (or several) that I'd like to make, I was thinking about how cool a color-blocked version would be.  I would choose one neutral to use for the whole sweater, and then three or four shades to create an ombre effect.  Or stripes.  So many possibilities.  A friend of mine is making her Moxie with a solid and a variegated sock yarn held together, and it's turning out great, too.
I was going for big, slouchy, throw-on-over-my-pajamas kind of sweater, so I sized up a bit.  I made the 41" with about 4 inches of positive ease from my actual measurements.  I also skipped all waist shaping and just knit the body straight.  Perhaps not as flattering, but just fine with me.
The pattern will also work perfectly with a single strand of standard worsted weight like Cascade 220 or Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  (I have recently re-fell in love with Ultra Alpaca...more on that soon.)  I used a US6 for this, which I originally thought would be way too small.  But, I swatched and washed my swatch like a diligent knitter, and I'm so glad I did.  The fabric relaxed so nicely with a little soak, my gauge was spot-on, and the texture is like a cozy, squishy sweatshirt.  Perfecto.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Mille Colori

I unpacked a big ol' colorful box of Mille Colori Baby this week.
Look at all the these pretty colors.  Nice.
Sally has been working on the Missoni-Style Scarf.  The pattern is written up on the Ravelry page of Raveler JadziaDax.  So nice of her to share!
Sally says the yarn is really nice to work with, soft and fluffy but sturdy.  It doesn't fall apart like it looks like it might.  And those colors.  There are my two favorites...the brightest one and the most subtle one.
This is the same beautiful stuff that Ann used for her crocheted shawl I showed you last week.  Crochet shawl, knit scarf, whatever you like, as long as its colorful!

Friday, April 11, 2014


I will readily admit that this blog is rather knit-centric.  I tend to lean away from the crochet side of things because I am a terrible crocheter and the patterns look like mosaics to me.  There.  I said it.  However, at Close Knit, we have some very talented crocheters who want to fill a gap in our shop.  A few of our girls have been hooking away to bring you some lovely things.  Let's take a look.
Ann's Half Granny shawlette using Mille Colori Baby has created quite the stir.  She used two balls of the lovely sock weight yarn, and the result is really impressive.  It would also be wonderful in Crazy Zauberball or Noro Taiyo Sock.
It's a free pattern from Ravelry, and it uses some pretty basic crochet stitches to great effect...just the thing if you're looking for something new.
Lisa used a ball of the brand-new-to-us Noro Taiyo Sport to make a beautiful Calm Cowl.  It seems like the stitches are suitable for a beginner, doesn't it?  I can't say for sure.
I can say that it's a lovely thing and feels really nice to wear.  The Taiyo Sport is a cotton/silk/wool blend, and it's going to be a great summer yarn.  
It has a nice crunch from the silk, and the colors are Noro-tastic.  That brown/black/grey/natural one looks like a tiger to me.  I love it.
Lisa also made a bright green scarf using Malabrigo Worsted and the One Skein Scarf pattern from Sitch n' Bitch Happy HookerThere are over 3,000 of these listed on Ravelry.  Seems like a winner.
And we have hats!  The Men's Beanie has been in our shop forever, but it's a good basic.  It's a good beginner pattern, too...all single crochet.  This one used Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, and I think it would be great in a weird bright color like Lemongrass or Tomato.
We also have the Boy Beanie from the Happy Hooker worked up in Cascade 220, a solid and a marled shade for a little fun bit o' contrast.  This one is less dense than the Blue Sky sample...great for summer.

If you're a crocheter and want to try a new class, take a look at Ann's Home Dec Crochet class starting at the end of April.  Crochet is ideal for so many home decor projects, from pillows to bags to blankets.  Ann will help you make it happen.

We hope you all enjoy seeing more crochet samples around the shop.  Maybe it will inspire a few of you to grab a hook and give it a go!  Maybe even me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Summer Knitscene

The summer issue of Knitscene is in the shop.  Summer is always a little dicey when it comes to a whole magazine's worth of designs, but I think there are several items in here that are cool and wearable.
The designer spotlight focuses on the work of Grace Akhrem, and she shows some cool, architectural stuff in this spread.  The Kaweah Tunic, above, has some fun pockets and an interesting hem.  It's done in sock yarn, and it would be great in something with drape like Cascade Heritage Silk.
The Morro Tank is worked in Shibui Staccato, and the asymmetry and colorblocking are really modern and cool.  The Tuolumne Tank, below, has a similar feel, but it worked up in a flowy linen.
These two are some of my favorites in the issue.  I love the big weird spot on the Helium Sweater, and the back shaping is really unusual, too.
I would probably skip that little i-cord tie at the bottom of the Argon Tee, but I love the pop of color at the shoulder.  I would need to find matching earrings, though.
These little shorty mitts are total winners.  Great gift idea, too.  I've been looking for a reason to take home some bright yellow Fyberspates Vivacious DK.  Perhaps I have found it.
The Radon Pullover is a show stopper, dontcha' think?  It was written for Tosh Sock, but Shibui Staccato is on the shelves and available in some bright and crazy colors.
I think the Stoxa Tank is kind of cute.  Again, done in a sock yarn.  I would look at Rowan Siena 4 Ply for this.  It's a crisp fingering weight cotton that would look nice in the lace and reverse stockinette.
The Lea Pullover looks like a goddess top to regal.  We have a great selection of Classic Elite Firefly on the shelves right now, too.
Amy Christoffer's Bokeh Tank uses Shibui Linen and Silk Cloud held together to create a luscious fabric.  There's the tiniest bit of lace detail, too, to keep things interesting.
I can't quite figure out the Gambeson Tunic.  The pattern schematic shows it as a rectangle, but there is obviously some interesting short row shaping and textural stuff going on with this.
And last, but not least, the Linum Tee (aka Will Be Mine).  I think this is really beautiful, and I can't wait to work it up in Shibui Linen.
I love the asymmetry at the front neckline with the fisherman's rib.  The back is really nice, too.
I was looking forward to trying out a flashy bright Shibui color, but then I walked away with three skeins of Field, basically the exact same color as the sample.  The army green was too good to pass up.

I guess this issue had more good stuff than I thought!  What caught your eye?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Already Done

Do you ever cast on for a project and then it's suddenly finished?  It almost never happens for me, but this little Angular Cap project seemed to do just that.
I didn't expect it to be finished so quickly.  I mean, sock yarn and US2 needles?  But as soon as I had cast on my 120 stitches, it seemed like I was decreasing and binding off.  This hat was meant for a seven-year-old, but it fits me just fine.  When I make another for me (and there will be at least a couple for me), I'll work a little longer before I do the decreases. 

I used two circular needles for the decrease section rather than my old stand-by double-pointed needles.  The flatness of the hat just seemed to call for them, but any method would work.
I used a three needle bind off to close up the top of the hat, since I always get stalled out on grafting.

When I told you about the Plymouth Neon Now yarn back in February, I grabbed a ball of the blue/green colorway that I knew my girl would love.  I can never seem to keep track of her on the playground, so hopefully this bright hat will do the trick.  She is quite pleased, and now the other girls want one, too.  Good thing these little caps practically knit themselves!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Berroco Folio

I am really excited to show you guys this beautiful new yarn from Berroco.  This is Folio, an alpaca and rayon blend with a beautiful shine and subtle halo.  
We have only received half of our order, but the remaining six colors are on their way.  I just couldn't wait any longer to show you.
Each of these pretty little balls is 219 yards of DK weight yarn (5.5 sts/inch) for only $7.75.  I know.  I had to double check the price when I was putting it out on the shelves.  And the pattern book?  Excellent.  Let me show you.
Nijo on the cover is such an unusual shape, and I love the look in Folio.
We are awaiting a sample of Kurama, too.  I know it's going to make many of you fall in love with this yarn, especially since it only requires three balls.  
I am excited to work up the Iwo shawl.  Only three balls of the main color and one of the contrast.  
Kita looks like a really great basic cardigan, and I love the little twist of the contrast sleeve.  Kind of weird and kind of cool.
Enso (above) and Iwi (below) really show off the nice drape and halo of Folio, too.  Lots of good stuff.
I just saw this gorgeous thing pop up on Ravelry as a freebie from Berroco.  Graphite looks like such a great lightweight sweater.  The size range goes from 34" to 50", using five to ten balls of Folio.  This is right up my alley.
I think Folio is going to be a real winner this spring.  Lovely yarn in beautiful colors at a great price with stunning pattern support.  What's not to love?  I'll let you know as soon as the rest of the colors arrive!