close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Hours and a Little (Big) Blanket

As we are all frantically finishing (or starting) gifts this week, I just wanted to give you a heads up on our holiday hours. And show you my fun new favorite project.

Here is what you need to know.
December 23: Open 10-6 (no Open Knit Night)
December 24: Open 10-3
December 25: Closed
December 30: Open 10-6 (no Open Knit Night)
December 31: Open 10-5
January 1: Closed

I don't know about you, but as the holiday whirlwind envelops me, I am thrilled to have a mindless project on the needles with nearly instant gratification.
I'm working on a big ol' blanket using Naturalia in five sheepy colors. On US19 needles, I'm able to knit up a skein each night, given a lot of movie watching and very little kitchen cleaning.

This blanket will be in the shop in January for you to oggle and enjoy, and the free pattern will be readily available with the purchase of the yarn. It's not a complicated pattern. The big yarn/chunky blanket trend is very in right now, and this will be a great way to make your own for just only $100.

Happy holidays to all of our Close Knitters!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Soft Donegal

When a new tweedy yarn arrives at the shop, I am usually drawn to it immediately. I zeroed in on the lovely baskets full of this beautiful new Aran tweed from Studio Donegal, expecting a rustic and crunchy wool...which is not what I found.
The Soft Donegal is as cushy as a cloud, my friends. Those of you who are little more aware of the "scratchy" wool feeling will surely approve.

This pure merino tweed yarn is produced in the Irish village of Kilcar, which can be reached by taking roundabouts outside of Killybegs after leaving Donegal. That sounds fun, doesn't it?
Photo borrowed from Ravelry pattern page.
This lovely yarn will be great for just about anything at all. I have been oggling the Baa-ble Hat for some time now. Soft Donegal would be the perfect choice for the sheep-centric design. We recently received a fresh batch of colors, and I have been dreaming about the possible combinations. Soft baby blue sky with a peaty green field, stormy dark grey skies and a golden field, or go a little crazy with a pink or purple sky. So many fun choices.

The pattern is currently available as part of the Shetland Wool Week 2015 Annual online magazine. So generous of them to offer it for free! The other designs in the publication are really lovely, too. If you have a soft spot for stranded knitting, you might just fall for each and every one.

Pop in and have a look at the Soft Donegal. If you like the look of a crisp tweed but not the crunch, this one will certainly surprise you. I hope you all fall in love with it, too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hello Future Yarn

We have a little photo update from our friend Kate of Ruby Peak Farms. We have been excited about this yarn for months, from Sally's initial discovery of the farm to meeting up with Kate at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Fest in September. It is truly a treat to see how the flock is doing out in snowy eastern Oregon.
Those sheep look warm and cozy in our future yarn, don't they? 
We have several skeins of Ruby Peak in the shop, with more on the way soon. The natural shades are rich and beautiful, and the marled skeins are so striking. Grown and processed all in Oregon, this yarn is a special item for sure.
What a beautiful flock of sheep she has out there in Lostine, not to mention the location. I am trying to figure out how to get myself out to eastern Oregon to see for myself. Road trip anyone?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

You Can Knit a Blanket

You all know about Adrienne's One Year Blanket Class, right? You really should.
Starting in January, class will meet once each month (usually the first Monday of the month) to work on a blanket square. The squares are lovely and fun and interesting, and many of them will offer you a chance to learn a new skill.
By December, you will have knit twelve squares, and then Adrienne will show you how to put everything together into an awe-inspiring blanket. You can give it as a gift, or keep it for yourself and wear it all over the place, beaming with pride.

If you are at all intimated by the idea of knitting a whole blanket, this class will help you stay motivated. To keep it easy for you (and us), we are asking that you sign up for each three-month session as you go along. Sign up for January through March now, then worry about the next session in early spring.
We are using Cascade Eco and Eco+ for this project, and we will need to know what colors you would like! Sally will be placing a very large order early next week, so please pop in and choose your colors this weekend. We have color cards at the shop for you to peruse. You can do all one color or mix it up with a variety of shades. 

If I were taking the class, I would order enough yarn for a few blankets and do several squares each month. Imagine having multiple hand-knit blankets by the end of 2016!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Harrisville Yarns: Welcome Turbine

We have been carrying yarns from Harrisville Designs for years now, and they never disappoint. The story of the town, the mill, and the company is an interesting one, too. The mill dates back to 1794, and the village of Harrisville, New Hampshire is a National Historic Landmark, recognized as the "only 18th century textile village in America that survives in its original form." Many good folks worked hard to keep the mill and the town functioning, and I am so happy that we are able to offer their yarns in our shop.
I just began an epic sweater project with their fingering weight yarn, Shetland. I have also been itching to break into the several skeins of Highland that are patiently waiting to become a Tea with Jam and Bread pullover for me.
The Watershed and Flywheel yarns have found a very happy audience with those of you who love tweeds and heathers. A few of our knitters recently held a mini-knit-a-long for the Bucheron Mitts using Watershed in a slew of colors. I'll see if I can procure a photo for you all. They are very cute and warm.
All of this leads me to the newest yarn from Harrisville, Turbine. It is a bulky one, my friends, knitting up at a range of gauges on needles US10.5 and larger.
We have several patterns for Turbine, and they will all work up in a jiffy. You can check out our sample of the Purl Dot Mittens in the shop. The patterns for the Corrugated Rib Hat, the Brick Cowl Wrap, and the Waving Rib Scarf are all in the shop, as well. (Photos below borrowed from the Harrisville site.)
We have loved every yarn from this historic company, and I know we are going to love Turbine as well. Especially as that last-minute-gift-knitting bug catches you all in the next few weeks!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Zealana Air

This hat is like a fluffy little cloud made from cashmere and possum.
Which is exactly what it's made from, actually.
We have been loving Heron and Rimu DK from Zealana, the New Zealand company we talked about earlier this fall. Their yarns are hard-wearing while remaining soft and interesting. And the rich, deep colors...I don't know how they do it. The slight halo is so pleasant, too. Just enough to glow but not overwhelm.

And then...Sally fell hard for Zealana Air, a blend of brushtail possum, cashmere, and mulberry silk. They call it their most luxurious yarn, and I believe it. Somehow it is even lighter than pure cashmere, and maybe even softer.
Air would make an ideal gift for the loved ones at the top of your list. A hat, a cowl, a scarf, fingerless gloves...pure luxury all wrapped around one of your favorite people.
We are currently only stocking the natural shade, and it is beautiful. If you all fall in love with this yarn as quickly as we have, maybe we can sneak a few more colors in to the shop. I'm thinking a classic watchcap in classic black with that nice halo. Yes please.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Cuteness

This cuteness has arrived at the shop. One sweet little kit holds almost everything you will need to make an adorable hippo named Hector...
a monkey called Marcel...
an elephant they call Emile...
or a rhino known as Rene.
Each box contains one ball of Royal Petites from Blue Sky Alpacas, the perfect amount of gold for the crown, and all the bits and bobs you will need to create a little stuffed friend. All you need to supply is a set of US2 needles and a little time and love.
What a fun gift for one of your favorite knitters. Or send a loved one in with instructions, and we will send them home with the prefect gift for you! Imagine finding one of these in your stocking this year. So cute.

The kits are only available in brick and mortar yarn shops, so please stop by and have a look. If you are out of town and must have one of these critters, please give us a ring. We are happy to ship to you!

All finished critter photos borrowed from Blue Sky Alpacas website.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Colorful Cascade

The huge boxes from Cascade Yarns last month included these colorful new friends.
The Cascade 220 Superwash Aran Splatter looks like fun, doesn't it? The Cascade website shows all of the shades and how they knit up. Many work up with flecks of color and a very subtle stripe sequence, but a few are little more bold in their striping. The Primary one in the middle there is very stripey indeed. This yarn is begging to be knit into a kid sweater. Machine washable, fun colors, Aran weight...done in no time at all.
I was also excited to see the new Cascade Heritage Prints sock yarn in some fun self-patterning shades. I love this yarn. It solid, inexpensive, and the colors are always vibrant. Each 100g ball will make a pair of adult socks for just $13.25. It's a good deal. The label on each ball shows how it will knit up, but the website gives you even more detail. 
The pattern will change slightly depending on how many stitches you cast on, but these kinds of yarn always manage to look cool. I find that working with self-patterning yarns like these keep me very engaged in my knitting, as I'm always excited to see what the pattern is going to do next.

Grey skies mean it's time for some colorful yarn! Stop in and find your favorites. We will be closed on Thursday this week, but open on Friday to feed your yarn habit. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ultra Alpaca Turns Ten

Berroco is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Ultra Alpaca line with a gorgeous and collectible compilation of patterns from several independent designers: Berroco Portfolio Vol. 1.  

We have been carrying Ultra Alpaca, the original worsted weight, since the very beginning. It is truly a classic yarn, working up into a soft and supple fabric. I've used Ultra Alpaca for hats, mittens, and sweaters for my daughters. This new book has me thinking I need a sweater for myself, too. Take a look at some of these gorgeous designs.

Helen is a perfect yoked pullover from Amy Christoffers. It's knit-top down with Bohus style colorwork, incorporating knitting and purling. So cozy.
We have a sample of Thea Colman's Rye in the shop, also worked up in Ultra Alpaca. Such a great design with lovely details such as the shoulder details and the textured panels.

 I'm loving Bristol Ivy's Gorse. Swingy, lacey, just right.
Emily worked up a sample of Fishbones by Mary Jake Mucklestone in Ultra Alpaca Light, the sport/DK weight. Such a cute little hat, perfect for a first colorwork project.
Mrs. Watson is also worked up in Ultra Alpaca Light. The squishy garter stitch shawls are all the rage these days, and this one is a good one.

We began carrying Ultra Alpaca Chunky a few years back, and I love it. I knit up a little hat sample last fall, and I really enjoyed working with this yarn.
Etruscan looks like the perfect scarf, doesn't it? Big and oversized and cabled. A great gift idea, for sure.
I love an unusual pullover, and Banner has lots of good details: colorblocking, textured panels, swingy shape. That one is definitely going on my list. Here's a little peek at a few more designs from the book.
Ultra Alpaca has been serving us well for a very long time at our shop. I hope you all enjoy the designs in this collection. Berroco calls it Volume 1, so maybe that means we will be seeing even more Ultra Alpaca designs soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Queen Bee in the Shop

We love these bags. You are going to love them, too, I think.
These lovely pieces are all hand made here in Northeast Portland, right over on Williams, in the super cool studio of Rebecca Pearcy of Queen Bee Creations. The little bags are great for storing all the little bits and bobs associated with knitting, and the big buckets are just the thing for those large projects that need some room to breath. I am sort of in love with those medium-sized waxed canvas bags. They would be ideal for a sock project or a little baby sweater.

Stop in to choose your favorite or send in a loved one to select one for you as a gift. We will do our best to keep these in stock through the holidays, so don't be shy! You are going to love these awesome bags as much as we do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fresh Goods on the Sock Wall

Our wall of sock yarn has been freshened with a few old favorites this fall.
Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball does a really cool marled-fade-slow-color-change sort of thing. It would be great for funky socks, scarves, hats, baby sweaters...all kids of cool stuff.
Photo borrowed from Ravelry pattern page.
There is a great design in Weekend Hats (the best hat book ever) using just one ball of this yarn, the Brier Toque.
Ambiente has been freshly-restocked as well. This is always a popular yarn. You can see an example of the self-patterning action in our sock sample. I know a few of our knitters were using Ambiente to make Sock Yarn Bunnies a few years back. One ball makes a bunny, if I'm remembering things correctly.

Photo borrowed from Ravelry project page.
The little mascot for the new Opal Classics sock yarn line is adorable, isn't she?
The sock yarn is good, too. I've knit a few pairs of socks with Opal yarns, and they just don't wear out. I like the range of color in these new shades. They would be really great for man socks, too...plenty of yarn for some big socks.

It's always nice to replenish some of our favorite sock yarns. What else would you like to see back in stock?