close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Freia Fresca

It's always a treat to receive yarn from hand-dyers. I know how much effort and love goes in to producing the gorgeous yarns they send us, and the colors and quality are always top notch. This is especially true of the more unusual yarns, such as the ombre lines from Tina at Freia Handpaint Yarns.

We have nice full shelves of Freia Ombre Lace and Freia Ombre Sport right now. 
The lace is lovely and lofty. We have a sample of the Bateaux Mouches scarf knit up with this yarn, and it's been wildly popular. The simple garter stitch wrap really shows off the full color range in each ball of yarn. Sort of the perfect pairing of yarn and pattern.
We have a great (and free) hat pattern for the sport as well. Lisa's Cool Hat uses just one ball of the sport. The turned hem is a nice way to keep the edge nice and clean without interrupting the beautiful color change of the yarn.
This hat begins at the crown, so make sure you choose your starting color carefully. If neon yellow is not a great color near your face, start with that end of the ball so it's up at the top of the hat.

The ombre yarns from Freia are truly made with love, but they are hard to keep in the shop. We are usually left just asking her to send whatever she has available. If you have been dreaming of an ombre project in some gorgeous hand painted yarn, get to the shop and find your favorite!

Saturday, August 22, 2015


This little sweater was such a joy to make. I loved choosing the colors. I loved knitting the rows of garter stitch. I loved the silky feel of the organic cotton yarn in my hands. 
I loved seeing the stripes pop every six rows. I even enjoyed picking up stitches for the sleeves and tiny button bands. And I loved stitching those tiny milky green buttons on at the very end.
The Bio Sesia 5 is a lovely yarn, perfect for a baby sweater. I was drawn to the bleached white, but I knew I could not knit the sweater in white. I paired it with the heathery grey, and I am so happy with the way the tiny stripes pop. The yarn is machine washable, organic, and so soft. We have a really nice color range, including some soft neutrals and rich colors.

I used the Little Baby Sweater pattern, a freebie from the Purl Bee. This is a great beginner pattern. The only tricky bit is picking up the stitches for the sleeves, but that wasn't so bad. Just a few stitches, really. I enjoyed knitting this tiny thing so much, I think I need to cast on for another.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fall Interweave Knits

The Fall Interweave Knits is here.
Did you see that? It says fall. That means we can start wearing sweaters and boots and jackets again. I cannot wait. There are some really nice items in the newest Interweave to get you inspired. 

The Tucker Sweater on the cover is so classic. I like the way they've paired it with a button-down.
The Yellow Gold Pullover is probably my favorite. Love all the cables and ribbing. Nice styling here, too.
I like the epic nature of the Wonderlake Shawl (above). Lots of cozy in that piece. The Deidre Shawl has such a nice delicate border, accentuated by the hand-dyed yarn.

The sweater patterns in this issue are really stylish...very Rowan.
The Zigzag Wanderer and the Gunnislake Pullover both look totally at home in the hunting cabin, don't they? I'm sure they'll be equally fabulous under your rain shell.
I love the classic gansey look of the St.Helier Pullover. Such a sweet lace detail at the hem, too.
Not quite sure about the leather harness, but the Agrotera Pullover is really pretty. The shawl collar on the Cotswold Henley looks so good.
I am so excited to think about knitting and wearing sweaters again. Come on fall!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Unicorn Farts?

Yup. Unicorn Farts, PDX Carpet, Autumn Rainbow, Fairy Garden, Witches many great names. 
We have a fresh batch of Knitted Wit Victory Sock yarn in the shop. I resisted the PDX Carpet last time, but I don't think I'll have the strength this round.
We also have a nice range of Gumballs, which work up so nicely when you need just a little pop of sock yarn color. 
Lisa used one skein of Victory Sock and three colors of Gumballs to make her lovely Hitchhiker shawl. This well-loved pattern is available on Ravelry.
The addition of the solid stripes was sort of a happy accident, but I love the way it highlights certain colors from the main body of the shawl. I wonder how choosing different Gumballs would affect the look.
Now it's time to see which Gumballs go with my new PDX carpet yarn.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bumblebirch Restocked!

There is a basket full of fresh Bumblebirch Heartwood sock yarn on the big table. Actually, there are two baskets full!
Sally has been working to stock the shop with locally-dyed yarns that reflect the personality of our little corner of Portland. All of the lovely products we have offered from Bumblebirch have been very popular with our loyal customers. 
We have been eagerly anticipating this batch of yarn, and the colors do not disappoint! I am partial to the Dandelion (above). I have a hat knit up in the worsted weight Forage in Dandelion. It may or may not be awaiting a puffy white pom pom. This latest round of Celestial (below) is really quite something, too. That's a lot of depth of color there!
I know several of you have fallen hard for this stuff, and it's no secret why. Sarah's colorways are rich and beautiful, and the yarn works up like a dream. If you have visions of that sock weight sweater for the fall, now is the time to stock up on these gorgeous colors. Our baskets are full!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Building Knitting Skills: Cables, Lace, and Colorwork

Many of you know Adrienne. I’m guessing she even taught several of you how to knit. Well, she wants to teach you more skills! Her newest class will take the basic skills you have learned in her Knitting: Beginning and Beyond class (or another beginning knitting class) and add more tools to your knitting arsenal. If you know how to cast on, knit and purl, you are ready to dive into this class. What all will you learn?

First up, cables. You will use a nice bulky alpaca to create this richly cabled cowl. It’s not nearly as hard as it looks, and you will catch on quickly. I promise.
Next, you will hone your increasing and decreasing skills to create this lovely glove. Increases and decreases form the basis of most lace knitting, so this little glove will be your first foray into the wide world of lace. Again, once you know the basics, you will be able to knit any lace pattern.
Finally, Adrienne will lead you through colorwork, or stranded knitting. This technique involves using multiple colors to create a design. Most often, only two colors are used in each row, with the unseen color loosely held behind the knitting. There are a few key tricks and tips that will help you to be successful with colorwork, and you will walk away prepared to knit the most complicated Fair Isle sweater. Or just lots of hats.
Adrienne has developed a class with your busy lives in mind. The class will meet three times on Monday evenings, once in September, once in October, and once in November. Take a look at the available dates over on our class page. There will be a little bit of homework for you to complete in order to be prepared to learn the new skill, but nothing crazy…cast on and knit a few rows before class. Mostly, you’ll just want to be at the right point to be able to get the most out of Adrienne’s teaching time. The class is $60 for six hours of instruction, which is a screaming deal, and your materials for the class will be 10% off during the duration of the class.

If you get your homework done and stay on top of your projects, you will finish this class with at least three lovely little gifts by the holidays! So, if you’ve been itching to try some new skills, give us a call or pop in the shop to sign up. I think this series of classes is going to be very popular.