New Year Knitting Resolutions

© Knit Purl

2017 is around the corner so I would like to be the first to say happy early New Year to all our wonderful readers. I hope 2016 was filled with many happy knitting, crocheting, and weaving experiences. 2016 was a teachable knitting year for me. I might have knit less than I did in 2015, but I learned so much more than I could’ve imagined. My confidence level has grown exponentially and I’m not scared to listen to my knitting intuition.

I was reviewing my 2016 knitting resolutions which were: 

  • Complete all my work in progress projects
  • Learn how to steek
  • Spend time with my knitting machine

 

I happened to complete all my WIPs except for two which I decided to frog. I’m actually more proud of frogging those projects than finishing all my WIPs. I’ve always had a hard time giving up on a project, but I realized I shouldn’t knit something just to finish it. Progress knitting doesn’t work for me and that’s totally okay. I finally found the confidence to tell myself to stop knitting if what I’m making doesn’t make me happy. I didn’t learn how to steek in 2016, but that’s because I didn’t come across a project that I wanted to knit where steeking would be involved. I will most likely not learn how to steek in 2017 either and that is totally okay by me. As for my knitting machine, I’m a little sad about this resolution. I didn’t spend enough time with my knitting machine. I was able to play around with a few swatches, but that was it.

My 2017 resolutions are less about learning new techniques or finishing projects and more about selfish knitting. I’ve already picked out my hand knitting projects for 2017. The rest of 2017 will be spent playing on my knitting machine and designing my own patterns. In other words, my 2017 knitting resolutions are all about me. I want to keep growing as a knitter and sometimes that means taking the time to explore things for myself and see where they take me. This doesn’t mean I won’t knit other items outside of the projects I already have planned. It just means I will be spending more time on me and what makes me happy.

 © Jared Flood / Norah Gaughan

Here are all my 2017 knitting projects:

Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry Lazulite

Hawser in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Thistle

Rivage Coat in Brooklyn Tweed Loft Cinnabar

Bellows in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry Obsidian

Snoqualmie in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry Hematite

 

Once again, Happy New Year to all and happy knitting in 2017!

 

December 30, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Shibui Knits Maai

© Knit Purl

My knitting journal is filling up with the prettiest swatches in all different colors. This week I added Shibui Knits Maai to my journal and I’m enamored. It was the first time I’ve knit with a chained link yarn and the result was not what I expected. I’ve seen chained link yarns before, but I always stayed clear of them thinking that I would be disappointed knitting with them. Silly me. Once again I’ve been happily proven wrong.

Maai was a delight to knit with. The blend of superbaby alpaca and fine Merino wool is lofty and soft in the skein. In fabric form, the yarn has an added spring that makes the fabric bouncy and light. The snapback, bounce that the fabric has, makes this yarn great for sweaters, cardigans, and accessories. What I really want to knit out of Maai is a robe and a pair of socks. Those probably aren’t the best uses for Maai, but it’s so soft that I can’t help but want to wrap myself in it from head to toe.


Here are a few practical knitting ideas for Maai:

© Shibui Knits

FW15 | Motif - A simple wrap with a bit of texture. My mom has been eyeing this pattern for a while now so I decided to make a kit for her. I paired it with Maai in Blueprint.

© Eric Mueller

Minne Mitts - I love fingerless gloves. I used to sew fingerless gloves with a friend of mine out of recycled cashmere sweaters. I finally knit my first pair this year which turned me into a fingerless glove knitting machine. Now whenever I see a pair of fingerless gloves that I love, I want to drop everything and start knitting. Minne Mitts are one of those pairs of gloves that have me dropping everything. They are small, cute, simple, and just waiting to be worn. Minne Mitts would look chic in Bordeaux.

© Julie Hoover

Cline Pullover - A dolman sweater with an oversize silhouette and three-quarter sleeves. This would be bouncy and airy knit in Maai. Have fun and knit Cline in a bright bold color like Poppy, or keep it classic and chic with Ivory.

© chickpeastudio

Erie Hat: A simple 1x1 ribbed, slouchy beanie. Perfect for a last minute gift and did I mention that the pattern is free?

December 23, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

The Laundress

 

© Knit Purl

We’ve added a new brand to our knitwear care collection called The Laundress, a brand of cleaning products from New York. The Laundress founders, Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, are fashion enthusiasts turned fabric care aficionados. We fell in love with the Laundress due to their dedication to proper clothing care, their commitment to sustainability, and their beautiful product packaging. Their products are cruelty-free, use recycled packaging, contain only natural scent and colors,  and are 100% biodegradable.


We currently carry four fantastic products from their line: Wool and Cashmere Shampoo (comes in two sizes: 2oz and 16 oz), Delicate Wash, Sweater Stone, and Sweater Comb.


The Wool and Cashmere Shampoo is a plant-derived PH-neutral fabric wash, perfect for washing wool, cashmere and other natural fibers. It has a gentle cedar scent that consists of sandalwood, orange and rose, all which act as a natural pest repellent. The wash is highly concentrated - I’d just add a capful or two to my wash basin.


The Delicate Wash is a wash designed for silks, synthetic fibers, and blends. Compared to the shampoo, the Delicate Wash is gentler, and works well on perspiration, stains, and odors.  It has a scent named “Lady” that I’d describe as floral. The ingredients are amber, bergamot, lavender, and musk, a blend well-known for its antibacterial properties. In addition to using the Delicate Wash on knitwear, I’d also recommend it for anything with a “delicates” or “dry clean only” tag.


The two pill removing products we carry from the Laundress are the Sweater Stone and the Sweater Comb. The Sweater Stone is made from natural volcanic pumice. It’s great for medium-weight knits that need a little touch-up.


The Sweater Comb has a cedar handle with two metal screens on either side. We found that the coarse metal screen is good for removing pills from heavy-duty knits, or perhaps refreshing a felted wool coat.


The Laundress products make great gifts, and are the perfect stocking stuffers. They’re not a brand that is carried everywhere, and it would be something appreciated by every knitter.

December 19, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

One Skein Is All You Need

© Knit Purl

I’ve always enjoyed knitting one-skein wonders. All you need is a pattern, one skein of yarn, knitting needles, and a few hours later you have a new knit accessory. Whenever I’m knitting a larger project like a sweater, leggings, or a cardigan, I’ll take a little break in the middle. I usually start to feel like I’m not making any progress midway through a sweater project and will decide to knit a project that only needs one skein. I use one-skein wonders as a refresh button. I just finished knitting a pair of thigh-high socks and was going to start a fairly time-consuming project. Instead of starting my coat right away, I decided to cast-on a Roku hat instead. I now have a super soft hat for the Portland winter weather and I feel rejuvenated and ready to start my Rivage coat.


Here are a few one-skein wonder projects:

© Verena Cohrs

Mistletoe Socks - I know socks aren’t a project that can be completed in a few hours, but they are still a one-skein wonder. I finished knitting my thigh-high socks this week and found the Mistletoe Socks while searching for new patterns. I’m usually not a fan of knitting socks, but these socks are really pretty. The pattern comes out in January, but I’m already picking the perfect skein for this project. It’s between Bumblebirch Glen or Wellspring in Puddle or Spruce.
© Olgajazzy
Saku - I love knitting hats and when Olga’s new pattern came out I had to have it. Simple patterns are where it’s at for me. I love intricate designs, but when it comes to selfish knitting I like simple and chic. Saku is knit in 2x2 ribbing, is completely reversible, and can be knit in worsted or Aran weight yarn. Yarn Options: Woolfolk Tov - 4, Woolfolk Far - 14, Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool - Storm

© Knit Purl

Trillium Reversible Cowl Kit - This cowl kit is the perfect gift for a beginner knitter. The pattern will keep the knitter intrigued and Woolfolk Hygge is the perfect lightweight bulky yarn to keep them warm.

© Knit Purl

Astoria Fingerless Mitts Kit - These mitts are great for the beginner knitter that wants to branch out from cowls and scarves. Knit in a soft cashmere yarn, these will be a must wear all winter long. Will make a great gift!

If you would like to read about more ideas, I wrote a post last year about one-skein wonders.

December 16, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

MY DESIGN INSPIRATION: NICOLE BOTHUM AKA MISKUNN

© miskunn

I remember watching Lady and the Tramp when I was very young and seeing Darling knit those sweet pink baby booties in her rocking chair - It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to learn how to knit. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn for many, many years later, but I always remembered how lovely I thought that scene was and how one day I wanted to know how to do it myself.

Now I don’t often make baby booties, but the joy of knitting is just as real as I had hoped it would be all those years ago. Creating something with your own two hands is such a satisfying thing. How much more so when what you’re working with is just string? It’s so crazy when you really think about it!

 

© miskunn

When I first started knitting I wasn’t concerned about the quality of my work. I just wanted to make something for the sake of making it. The last six months or so though, I have grown to care and take pride in the designs I create. I don’t mind putting in the extra work to create something I am truly pleased with. I find the whole process of creating new designs so rewarding now. Experimenting with different stitches and textures until I find something I am really happy with has become one of my favorite parts of the process.

 

© miskunn

I think the biggest joy and relief has come from learning what I personally enjoy creating. For so long I created pieces I felt like I was supposed to make based on what was popular among others in the community. It left me discouraged and unhappy with my work, many times it made me want to stop knitting all together, thinking it must be knitting that I actually didn’t enjoy. When I learned that I don’t have to use the yarn everyone else is using, or the same three stitches, or make the same types of hats, etc. I felt so free. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of me. Realizing that I was the only one holding myself back made all the difference for my work.

 

© miskunn

Now I want to be ever improving in my skills, challenging myself with each new project, and ultimately, creating designs that showcase all the things I have learned along the way. What an amazing thing that you never really stop learning! I find that to be one of the most beautiful things about knitting - That you never really will come to the end of knowledge. There will always be more to learn, new stitches to discover, new designs to create. What a beautiful reality that is.

Website: www.miskunn.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/miskunn/

 

December 12, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Brooklyn Tweed Winter 2017 Collection

© Brooklyn Tweed

Winter came a little early this year. We had a bit of snow on Monday and I’m not sure what ended up happening on Thursday since I escaped to Los Angeles before I could find out. I don’t remember when was the last time it snowed this early in Portland. Apparently, snow is still in the forecast for next week, so I prepared early in case I get snowed in. I have all my yarn and projects picked out from Brooklyn Tweed’s Winter 2017 collection that came out this week. The new collection has 16 patterns that were designed for a cozy, warm winter.

Here are the patterns I have lined up for my winter that will be filled with slow knitting, tea, wool blankets, and napping:  

© Brooklyn Tweed

Prime Pullover: Give me a boxy pullover any day of the week and I will start happily knitting away. Prime starts with a stockinette yoke that then transitions into a welted section of lateral braids, and ends with ribbing. I love trying new things and I’m really excited about the lateral braids. I will be knitting mine in Snowbound, but this would look great in a bright color as well.

© Brooklyn Tweed

Rivage Coat: I love this coat. It’s simple and a showstopper all in one. The coat is completely stockinette except for some small knit details like the ribbing on the cuffs and a purl gutter along the edge. The color-blocking is what stands out in this minimal effort knee-length coat. That being said, I decided to knit mine entirely in one color. This coat is simple in a perfect way and I immediately knew I wanted to knit one in Cinnabar. What better way to stop traffic and make a statement than in a vibrant fire orange-red coat.

© Brooklyn Tweed

Stonehaven: Is it odd that I want to make this my housecoat? All I can picture is me wrapped in this cozy, batwing, chunky knit cardigan while sitting in my favorite chair reading a book. The voluminous batwing arms are sweetly whispering “knit me”, and I’m not going to fight it. I’ve never knit eyelets in a chunky weight yarn before. Stonehaven will keep me engaged with all its textural details. I can’t wait to have the best housecoat ever! I will be casting on with Gypsum. I just need to remind myself to never spill anything while wearing my Stonehaven.

December 09, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Knit Purl Gift Guide

© Knit Purl

Looking for the perfect gift for the knitter in your life? Well, look no further! We have gone through our selection, and hand-picked several favorites that are sure to delight.

Stocking stuffers ($20 and under):

Unicorn Tails, $6. These fun mini-skeins of superwash Merino wool yarn from Madelinetosh can be used in a variety of ways - pom poms, tassels, stripes, toys, wrapping gifts, and more!

Stashbot, $6. This little guide from Knitbot is invaluable to any knitter with more than a few skeins in their possession. With a handy chart to match up yarn weight, gauge and yardage, it makes stash-busting enjoyable.

Lilly Brush, $12.50. The Lilly brush is an easy-to-use lint and pill remover that comes with its own carrying case. It’s a useful tool for anyone with knits (or pets!).

The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo, $19.50. With its smooth cedar scent, this soap makes the process of washing knits quite pleasurable.

Making Magazine, $20. This beautiful publication is full of gorgeous photography, interesting projects, and crafty inspiration.

Knitting kits ($30 - $90.50):

Astoria Fingerless Mitts Kit, $30. This fingerless mitts kit comes with a sumptuous ball of Cardiff Cashmere and a quick-to-knit mitts pattern. It's perfect for beginners or anyone who wants a relaxing knit.

Risoni Bias Scarf Kit, $33. This scarf kit comes with three balls of Risoni Thai silk and a simple scarf pattern that is great for knitting on the go.

Resille du Citronelle Scarf Kit, $33. A unique textural yarn from ITO, and an open lacy scarf pattern are great for lace beginners who desire an intriguing knit.

Roku Hat Kit, $36. A wool yarn and a classic ribbed hat pattern is sure to suit any wearer.

Lucy Cashmere Cowl Kit, $44. This colorful cashmere cowl kit is soft and stripey.

Becot Hat Kit, $90.50. An indulgent kit in Jones’ and Vandermeer’s Happy Mink (50% Mink, 50% Cashmere), which will spoil any knitter.

Unique gifts ($29.95 - $240):

Knitted Cable Sourcebook, $29.95. Give the gift of knowledge with this informative technique-based book by cable mastermind Norah Gaughan.

Knitter’s Keep, $40. This fun bracelet keeps knitting accessories handy with its magnetic steel base. Choose from several fun colors.

Field Bag, $65.00. From staff favorite Fringe Supply Co, this canvas bag has plenty of storage space for a project and accessories. A leather wrist strap makes carrying a breeze.

Wood yarn bowl, $70. In either Mahogany or Robles wood, these yarn bowls will keep yarn safe and sound while looking pretty to boot.

Addi Click Basic Interchangeable Needle Set, $185. This needle set contains just about all the needles one could ever need in one convenient case.

The Keep Bag, $240. Handmade locally in Portland, OR, this waxed canvas and leather tote makes an excellent project or travel bag that will last a lifetime.

And yes, we have gift cards! This year, we have them in two versions: online (perfect for using on our website), and our physical gift cards (perfect for shopping in-store).

Whether you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or a unique luxurious gift, we have something for everyone! Want to see everything all together? View our gift guide in a collection. Happy holidays!
December 05, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Within: Knitting Patterns to Warm the Soul

© K Good Photography

 

The first pattern book I purchased was Seasonless: Mini Collection by Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond. I remember walking into the store a couple of years ago and there was a Seasonless trunk show happening. I was immediately captivated by the Palladio pullover so I decided to flip through Seasonless. From the patterns to the photography, I was enamored with the entire booklet so I had to make it mine.

 

Flash forward two years later and Shannon and Jane outdid themselves with their new pattern book, Within: Knitting Patterns to Warm the Soul. The things that I appreciate so much about Shannon and Jane, are their aesthetic and attention to detail. Once again the photography is beautiful and transports you to another place. One second I was in the store thumbing through Within and the next I was in a field during golden hour, being warmed by the last bit of sun. Besides the inviting photos, Within is filled with six warm and cozy patterns. From pullovers to mittens, get ready to cast them all on.

© K Good Photography

 

For an ultra-cozy look and feel, I suggest knitting the Timber cardigan. Twisted ribbing is used in all the key areas of this sweater, drawing your eyes in. The lines on the back remind me of darts, adding a more tailored look. Timber will look fantastic in any color. If you are wanting something vibrant I would suggest knitting with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Cinnabar. The bright fire-orange, red will pop on the gloomy winter days. For a more neutral look go with Cast Iron, this deep charcoal will complement everything.

© K Good Photography

Another cozy pattern is the Hudson wrap. This is the year round shawl. When I see the Hudson I picture having it draped over my couch ready for me to swing over my shoulders the moment I feel a chill. I recently bought some color pencils and plan to draw a few Hudsons and play around with color options.

December 02, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

MY DESIGN INSPIRATION: OLGA BURAYA-KEFLIAN

© Olgajazzy

 

When did you learn to knit?

When I was 4 years old my seamstress mother was getting frustrated with me trying to get into all of her sewing notions and making a mess of things, and in order to keep me occupied she taught me how to knit. I distinctly remember using rusty orange color wool yarn and a pair of needles and it was garter stitch. I must say from what I remember it kept me busy for couple of days, but as any child my attention got switched to a next thing. Later in my late teen years she taught me how to calculate gauge and shared general idea about constructions. I was making myself some grunge looking cables and dropped stitch sweaters that were frowned upon by my mother, but they looked cool to me and I wore something no one else had.

 

© Olgajazzy

 

When did you decide that you wanted to design? 

Designing didn't really come to me as a matter of choice, I had to design if I wanted to make something. I grew up without access to much variety of yarns, needle sizes or patterns even! We had a tiny book of stitch patterns which I still have and my home ec book had some information about knitting in it. There was one magazine from Germany that was available in our town's library and it had a very long waiting list, so when the time was running out on using it or making something out of it one would have to hand write the remaining instructions before turning it in. So designing really was more freeing in that sense.

 

© Olgajazzy

 

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

When I started designing first and then later it was because I was trying to dress myself, to make something that no one else would have and in a way to be part of self-expression of my style and taste. To describe it, I prefer simpler easy silhouettes with intelligent construction and designs featuring unique stitch patterns that also turn the experience of making something from my pattern into a teaching moment for someone who wishes to learn more new techniques but also entertaining for those you like to think and enjoy the mathematics of the design. As well as have an accessory that makes a statement and uplifts otherwise a very minimalistic wardrobe. I imagine knitters who knit and wear my designs living from urban streets of a metropolis to a serene living of the countryside. I always strive for balance in my body of work while still realizing the ideas that make me excited the most.

 

© Olgajazzy

 

What things spark ideas and inspire your designs?

But being naturally a very observant person anything around me is inspiration Tiles, industrial design, architecture, geometry of the nature, textures on the most mundane everyday object that we might not normally notice. I like to think that inspiration source is not only a source, but it's that tiny trigger that sparks one imagination so far and wide that the eventual thought process wouldn't have anything reminiscent of the source. I feel that staying open to the ideas of the world and trying to see everything as shrewd as possible what makes that inspiration well ever flowing. 

After having lived in Japan for 4 years it, people watching is absolutely fascinating to me. Different cultures and various cities carry so much within an individual style. Even though early on I have had great fascination with fashion, these days I find it harder to relate as how commercialized it has become. It's harder to identify as it is more trends driven than style. So I like to look at fashions for some details and ideas for construction. Being a maker, a knitter, I believe in the longevity of a certain clothing item and its value because you have created it yourself. When you create you share a part of your soul while making it, that mood you have been in the certain moment in time but if it also helps to express your taste and style.

 

© Olgajazzy

 

What is your favorite part of the design process?

I don't think I can isolate just one part, but at least 2. I absolutely love the adrenaline rush that possibilities of a new design and right yarn choice present during the "blueprint" stage. I do my best to visualize the finished product while working out the correct specifications, fit and details. The agony and anticipation of casting on to knit it are quite high because this stage can't be rushed or you end up with needing to rip and rework. Finishing would be my other favorite part of the design process. Because when all knitting is finished, your knitting product "blob" is still in a stage of ugly duckling until you have given it proper care with washing and blocking, and of course seaming. This process of transforming the knit fabric into what it's intended to become is by far the most revealing. As once it dries and steamed again you get to see the result of what was in your head and you hope that others who make it would love it as much as you do.

Website: http://olgajazzy.com/

Ravelry Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/olga-buraya-kefelian

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/olgajazzyknits/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/olgajazzyknits/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/olgajazzyknits/

 

November 28, 2016 by Guest Blogger

By Hand

© Karen Dewitz

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I spent my holiday making a fancy feast for my family, knitting a few gifts, and ending it with my all-time favorite thing to do, curling up with a nice book and reading. It so happens that I started my holiday the way I ended it. I love knitting, but sometimes reading is what does the trick when I need a little bit of centering. What I chose to read to prep myself for hours of cooking complimented my holiday week perfectly.

I decided to spend a couple of hours indulging in By Hand by Andrea Hungerford. By Hand is a series of lookbooks, that focus on “making communities” around the country. They feature photo journals and interviews with yarn designers and dyers, local yarn stores, knitwear designers, fabric artists, and other makers. Lookbook No. 1 happened to focus on a range of Portland Oregon makers. I decided to flip through the pages before reading and by doing so I immediately stopped when I saw the piece on Sweetheart St. Johns. I’ve been an avid admirer of the beautiful pastry art that Anna Henrick creates, so I was eager to read about her background. Being that I have celiac I have never been able to try one of Anna’s creations. That has never stopped me from buying her treats for others and making them share every detail. Reading about Sweetheart St. Johns gave me the extra pep in my step for my baking endeavors that had been plaguing me. I was going to set-off to make individual cream cheese shortcakes with macerated cherries and an infused cream, so I needed all the centering I could get.

© Work/Shop

By Hand has less than 70 pages, but I took my time and enjoyed every photo, interview, project, and pattern. I loved all the interviews, but there were two that stuck out to me since I had never read about them before. They were JaMpdx and Work/Shop. I won’t share too much about them since you should read all about them in By Hand. I will say that JaMpdx involves ceramics and Work/Shop is a maker wonderland. After reading about them I had to check out their shops. There is a mug I must have from JaMpdx and there are more than a handful of classes I will be signing up for with Work/Shop.

I’m thoroughly happy that I started my holiday off with a little reading indulgence. It left me relaxed and excited to get my hands dirty and create a delicious meal for those that I love. It also left me anticipating the next By Hand release date. I heard it’s going to be on our Portland cousin over in Maine.

November 26, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin