close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Llovely Llama Cowl

We spoke about the beautiful neutral alpaca Cascade Nevado earlier this month. Well, in no time at all, we have a free pattern to offer you.
Sally's Lovely Llama Cowl uses just one skein of Nevado, US11 needles, and a few short evenings of your time. We are offering the pattern for free with the purchase of the yarn, and it's a good one. Perfect for gift knitting, I would say. The stitches are all pretty simple, and you get to choose three big, awesome buttons. Who doesn't love big, awesome buttons?
This yarn really looks so much more interesting knit up in person than it does in the skein. The stitches are surprisingly crisp for a brushed sort of yarn, and there is much less halo than I would have expected. This is likely due to the nylon content, which gives it added durability and structure.

Stop and by and say hello to the yarn, the buttons, and the fabulous Emily, who graciously modeled the cowl for me. She is new to our shop this fall and is already contributing great ideas, samples, and a fabulous energy to our little corner. Welcome, Emily!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Debbie Bliss Lara

Say hello to Debbie Bliss Lara! Which we have in lots of pretty neutrals, sticking with our unofficial fall theme.
Lara is an almost-boucle, superchunky alpaca/wool blend. The solids are subtle and heathered, and the variegated shades produce a mottled, almost tweedy fabric. 
You can see it paired with a solid black in the Long Line Waistcoat shown up top. Many designs in the Lara pattern book are really lovely, in fact. I liked the Tank Top, knit with only four balls.
The Sleeveless Top is cool, too. Dramatic and cozy.
I can imagine quite a few teenagers loving the Hooded Scarf (with mitts/pockets).
If none of these patterns are your thing, how about the fastest and easiest scarf ever? Sally dedicated two balls of Lara and one whole evening to this lovely scarf.
If you have a friend who is begging to learn how to knit or a young person who needs a little knitting kit for the holidays, this would be a great introduction. The yarn is gorgeous and soft. (Never start with yucky takes the joy out of it.) Aside from the cast on and bind off, it's all knitting. The thick yarn makes for nearly-instant gratification, too. A winner all around. Here's the free pattern for you.
Come down and check out this great new yarn while we still have a nice range of natural shades available!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Yes, this book is back in stock...All You Knit is Love: Knits for Babies 0-18 Months.
I know I talk about this book often, but it is just so good. My babies are all well out of the 0-18 month size range (and have been for about five years), but that didn't stop me from buying this book. A few of my most treasured projects were made from this collection. I like to think that the finished products will be treasured as well.
The Gry's Hoodie that I made as a shop sample has gone to live with its new owner, due to arrive in the outside world any day now. I have started a new sample using Bumblebirch Heartwood in the Dandelion colorway, another shop favorite. Keep your eyes peeled for that in the shop this winter.
I made these Ballonpants a few years back for one of my favorite small humans, and they will go down as one of my most precious knits. I loved every moment of work that I put into these, and I love how stinking cute they are on a big diapered baby bottom.
We have a lovely supply of Isager Spinni, Alpaca 1 and Alpaca 2 for these projects, although many work up beautifully in your favorite sock yarns.

If you have babies on the way, yours or otherwise, I cannot recommend this book enough. The instructions are clear, the designs are classic, and your finished work is sure to become a treasured family heirloom. What more could you ask?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

More Possum: Rimu DK and Heron

We are happy to be carrying Heron this fall, a new yarn from Zealana. This yarn is a little different from its sister yarn, Rimu DK, which is freshly stocked as well. We have been loving the Rimu DK for a little more than a year now, so it's great to see some more offerings from Zealana.
Heron is a worsted weight yarn with 80% merino and 20% brushtail possum fur. Heron is a handwash only fiber, so it will felt nicely if that's your kind of thing.  Heron is a great choice for a luxuriously soft sweater, hat, scarf, mittens...anything you can imagine! It holds up well in cables and lace work, and it seems like a great choice for colorwork, too.

I was curious about the New Zealand brushtail possum fiber, so I poked around the Zealana website. I found these fabulous Wool School videos explaining the virtues of the fiber and why they include it in their yarns. They are both informative and interesting, if you are a fiber nerd like me. And the yarn professor is adorable.
I am impressed by the colors, quality, and durability of both of these yarns from Zealana. I hope to see more from them in the shop. What do you all think of this unusual fiber?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cascade Nevado

Continuing our fall theme of naturally-colored fluffy yarns, we have Cascade Nevado!
This beautiful bulky yarn is a llama/wool blend with an interesting brushed texture. A little bit of nylon holds the whole thing together, and it is as soft as a cloud. The label recommends a US10, but I feel like this yarn would do well knit on slightly larger needles. And it looks like it will bloom beautifully with a good soak in wool wash.
Being a brand spanking new yarn, there are very few patterns and projects made up with this yarn. So I poked around a bit to find some inspiration for you all.
The Purl Soho Bandana Cowl was an obvious first choice. Free pattern, very stylish, just a few short rows to challenge your brain...perfect. And it seems like you could knit it with just one skein of Nevado.
I am also loving the Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond. This one is a $4.95 Ravelry download, but it is worth every penny. Two skeins of Nevado, a little bit of seaming and some very cool fringe. I can see this being a popular gift item. And so cozy!
Need something even faster? Try Kristen Hipsky's Last Minute Hat. She uses two strands of bulky yarn held together to make a quick and easy ribbed hat. I love the idea of using two of the natural shades of Nevado to create a pretty marled knit fabric. I can't make any promises, but it seems like you should be able to get two hats out of two skeins. I suppose it depends on how ambitious you go with the pom pom.

I am excited to see what you all make with this pretty new yarn! Any ideas popping into your heads?
All project photos borrowed from the associated pattern link.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mille Colori Baby

These pretty pieces have been very popular samples at the shop for some time now. The Half Granny Shawl and the ZickZack Scarf are lovely projects in their own rights, but it's the yarn that really makes them stand out.
Mille Colori Baby is a fingering weight single ply yarn with a slowly fading color pattern. You can see the long color change more easily in the crocheted shawl. The scarf is knit by alternating two different colorways, so the changes are broken up a bit more, creating the stripes. Both of these patterns are freebies on Ravelry, both tried and tested.
We have a nice full stock of this pretty yarn in the shop right now. There are some fabulous colorways, don't you think?
I know there are a lot of you out there who love this yarn. Now is the time to choose your favorite colors and make your own favorite piece.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Berroco Artisan

New samples always inspire me, and I know we have quite a few customers who feel the same way. It's always a treat to get a beautiful sample from the yarn company showing off a really unusual new yarn. So this lacy shawl in knit up in Berroco's new Artisan caught my eye right away.
The all-over lace pattern is really pretty. Delicate without being too much. And the sample had me searching for the yarn, which turns out to be really lovely.
Artisan is a wool and silk blend with lots of natural little silky slubs. Berroco calls this a dip dyed yarn, which I'm assuming gives it the subtle tonality.
The slubs and the color variations are more visible in some color ways than others, but they are all good.
The shawl that caught my attention is called Ceonothus, and it requires only four skeins of Artisan. 
Photo borrowed from The Brown Stitch Ravelry pattern page.
One of our knitters was inspired by this yarn and discovered the Gulf of Maine cowl, which requires four skeins as well, two of a main color and one of each contrasting color. Sally thinks the designer's colors are just right.
What gets you excited about a new yarn? Samples in the shop? Designers on Ravelry? Coming in and touching everything? Whatever it is, I hope you all stop in to check out this new arrival and find some inspiration.