Brooklyn Tweed Arbor

© Knit Purl

New, new, new. New yarn, new colors, and a new collection. This week, Brooklyn Tweed released their new yarn, Arbor. Keeping up with their Brooklyn Tweed tradition, Arbor is sourced, dyed, and spun within the USA. The purebred Targhee sheep come from beautiful Montana and South Dakota. These sheep have a distinctive fleece that resembles the softness of merino. Once the fleeces are collected they take a trip to Maine, where they get spun at the historic Jagger Brothers mill. Jagger Brothers have been producing high quality worsted spun yarns since the 1880’s. Lastly, the yarn takes a nice bath at the nearby organically certified, Saco River Dyehouse, where it’s transformed into a vibrant and lively custom color palette.

Arbor is a squishy, soft DK weight yarn that I was delighted to swatch with. Due to its worsted-spun construction, Arbor is denser and knits into a sturdier fabric. I didn’t have much yarn to experiment with so I made a super tiny swatch, and it was beyond pleasant to knit with. Unlike other Brooklyn Tweed yarn, it doesn’t have a rustic feel to it while you knit, and it has much more of a drape than Loft or Shelter. Arbor is a versatile yarn that will make great accessories and swoon-worthy sweaters.

The new color palette is probably my favorite out of the Brooklyn Tweed family. Usually, within a color palette, there are maybe a handful of colors I can imagine creating something with, but that is not the case here. I’m inspired by all 30 color choices. I love the fierceness of Firebrush and the tranquility of Sashiko. I swatched with Dorado, which is the most enticing, understated green that will make a gorgeous pullover. It won’t be hard to find a color for your project, but it will be near impossible to not try to take all of them home.

To go along with Arbor, Brooklyn Tweed also released a collection of patterns for this lovely yarn. Here are a few of my favorites:

© Brooklyn Tweed

High Pines : A high textured cowl mirroring the shape of pine trees. This is a great project for an advanced-beginner knitter that wants to try something a little bit more difficult, but isn’t ready to take the dive into sweater making yet.

© Brooklyn Tweed

Foundry: I love reversible pieces, and Foundry is beautiful from all sides. Foundry is a cabled scarf with three button closures that can be worn as a cowl or a wrap. I’m seeing mega scarves everywhere and I think I might have to add a bit more length to Foundry so I can have my own mega scarf.

© Brooklyn Tweed

Hirombe: Hirombe is a reversible hat with a branching motif of half-twisted rib. The pattern reminds me of vines crawling up a wall that have been manicured for max wow factor.

October 21, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Marie Greene

© Marie Greene

It's hard to remember my life before knitting. My grandmother taught me when I was about ten, providing me with scribbled notes of stitch counts for Barbie outfits and baby booties, a few pattern books from the 1940's and double point needles in the smallest sizes. I remember that when she first showed me English style knitting, I said to her, "I don't see why I can't hold the yarn in my left hand — it's a lot faster." I became a continental-esque knitter out of sheer stubbornness and youthful ignorance, and went on designing my own Barbie clothes and small things throughout my teen years. The great thing about learning the way I did was that I didn't know there was anything I should be wary of, so I went ahead knitting things that were a bit ahead of myself, but I didn't know the difference. I think the best gift we can give another knitter is permission to be fearless.

My foray into design came much later, and was — in part — a result of peer pressure. I was working in a yarn shop and wearing pieces I had designed for myself, when customers and friends started asking for the patterns. It's one thing to be able to write something for yourself, and quite another to write it for someone else. There was a learning curve, to be sure, and I refined my style and pattern writing as I observed the way my designs fit on real people in all shapes and sizes (having a large pool of test knitters really helped). It wasn't long before I was able to leave my day job and design full time — something I feel incredibly lucky to do.

© Marie Greene

Many of my design ideas come from structures made of wood, stone and steel — it's all about line and texture for me. You can see the way I used small textural details in minimal designs like Eavesdrop and Beckett. I usually start with a source of inspiration (a steel truss, for example) and translate it into a textural component within my design. Being able to knit on the go is also an important part of what I do, so keeping a design portable is always in the back of my mind.

© Marie Greene

I have a tendency to steer clear of color (my favorite is grey, if that tells you anything), except when bringing in a bright pop of something like this bright apple green in Bentley or the mustard yellow in Ellery — colors so punchy and bold that they work almost like neutrals, matching everything in my grey-black-white-navy closet. I don't get very brave with color, but when I do, I go big or go home, apparently.

I am an advocate of slow fashion, connecting to the land, and understanding my role in the fiber ecosystem. I think there is so much more to what we do as knitters than simply forming stitches and creating fabric. I love being part of an industry that supports the handmade process and empowers creative people to play a meaningful role in their own fashion.

© Marie Greene


Knit Purl was my first favorite yarn shop when I moved to Oregon, and – in fact — was where I bought the yarn that later became the French Oak Scarf. I love being part of the fiber community in the Pacific Northwest (so many wonderfully creative, generous and kind-hearted people!). Thank you for inviting me to share my design story and be part of the Knit Purl family!

Marie Greene



October 17, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Sweater Weather

© Heidi Kirrmaier

Last weekend I decided to escape Portland, and drive down to Yachats for a mini coastal getaway. There is nothing like being at the coast on a stormy, moody evening. I stayed at a house right off the beach and listened to the waves crashing and the wind howling, while I snuggled up in a cozy pullover and sipped on my tea. I brought a few knitting projects along for the ride, and I didn’t even knit a stitch. Instead, I spent the entire weekend visiting other towns along the coast, and taking in the coastal fall scents and views.

It was the perfect weather for the pullovers I brought with me. For the coldest of days I had a cashmere turtleneck that kept me nice and toasty, and on the warmest day, my vintage cotton Mickey Mouse sweater kept me company. Besides admiring the leaves changing colors during the fall, I get extremely excited about sweater weather. Fall allows for the few weeks where you can get away with only wearing your warmest pullover and not having to layer it with anything else.

© Hannah Fettig/Knitbot

There are so many options when it comes to pullovers, there are the perfect crew necks that are great for layering over a favorite button-up, like the Wool Trip Crew Neck. Then there are the pullovers that are meant to keep you warm on the coldest of days with high-necks and lots of texture, like the Such a Winter's Day sweater. There are also the elegant and airy mohair pullovers that were made for layering over the prettiest of dresses, like Garland.

Here are a few more pullovers that I can’t get enough of:

© Woolfolk

RIBBE: I have a few pullovers in my closet that aren’t meant for layering; they are made to be worn next to the skin since they are as soft as a cloud. RIBBE would be another one of those ridiculously soft sweaters I need to add to my collection. Knit out of Woolfolk Tynd (the softest of soft merino), RIBBE is a simple pullover with chic arm detail. I can see this knit in one of the paler Tynd colors like 9 or 13.

 © Alicia Plummer

Abate: This is the cutest little sweatshirt. I need to knit this for my friend that just had a baby. It’s chic, cozy, and ready for the outdoors. I love the added detail of the drawstring. My favorite sweatshirts as a child were the ones with drawstrings.

© Knitscene / Harper Point

Tongshan Sweater: I’ve had a crush on marled yarn since the first time I knit with it. So when I saw the Tongshan I lit up with joy. The majority of the sweater is knit in a marled yarn, except for the cuffs and a back panel that are knit in a contrasting color. It’s these added details that always make knitting sweaters so much fun. For color combinations, try out Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Narwhal and Sweatshirt.

October 14, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Woolfolk Tov Yarn

© Knit Purl

This past week, I had the delightful pleasure of swatching with the cushy, cozy Tov yarn, the newest from Woolfolk. I chose color 02, a perfect gray. While taking notes for the blog, I wrote "squishy" in big letters. It was so fun to knit with!

There are so many things to love about Tov. For one thing, the stitch definition is simply amazing! I swatched garter, stockinette, and seed stitch. Cables would be magnificent in it. This yarn seems to like texture, and lots of it. 

The Tov Collection is full of lovely knitwear. I want to knit all of the pieces! I am dreaming of Tov knit up in big, squishy fat cables, like a good old fisherman's sweater, with a modern twist. Kristin Ford's Vidje cardigan seems to fit the bill. See what I mean about that stitch definition? Incredible!

© Woolfolk

Tov is an aran weight yarn, making it a good match for quick fall and winter projects I have on my mind. It would make amazing gift knits, too.

© Alicia Plummer

The Bridgton hat by Alicia Plummer would make a great holiday gift knit (or gift for yourself!). It really shows off Tov's great stitch definition. It offers a great mix of knit-purl texture and cables, making for a really enjoyable knit. 

While thinking about what else to make with Tov, Chaleur came to mind. The herringbone stitches would be so well defined! And it would be so warm and soft - I'd want to live in it!

© Julie Hoover

There are so many projects that would be wonderful in Tov. With its soft hand, and beautiful neutral palette, I think I might have to get a skein in every color. 

October 10, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Picture Perfect

© Visual Hunt

Today I’m going to take a little break from yarn, patterns, and knitting. Instead I’m going to stroll on over to the world of photography. About 10 years ago my parents were extremely generous and bought me my first DSLR camera. Prior to this, I had gone through a slew of point-and-shoot cameras and a Polaroid that my grandmother bought me when I was ten.

Regardless of what camera I was using, I always enjoyed taking candid photos of friends and family. This later evolved to candid street photography, thanks to a phenomenal trip to China. When I started to take trips to less populated areas, my subject matter transformed once again to more of a candid people in the middle of nowhere type of thing. My favorite photos from all my trips typically have at least one unknowing person in them.

Once I started to knit more frequently I wanted to take photographs of my projects at various stages, but I didn’t want to use my DSLR so I started to use my iPhone. Going from taking photographs of living beings to inanimate objects was a little tricky. For help and inspiration I started taking mental notes of photographs on Ravelry that I really enjoyed and stood out to me. I tried perusing Instagram, but it was harder to find what I was looking for. Since taking my first knitting photo three years ago, I’ve started to pay more attention to what I’m trying to portray in my yarn stories.

Here’s what I've learned along the way:

© Laura Oriana Konstin

Yarn photos. When taking photographs of yarn, I try to find a pretty background to highlight the yarn or a quirky way to display it. I recently purchased some very large yarn from the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. To show off how large the skeins were I took a yarn selfie.

© Laura Oriana Konstin

WIP photos. Taking photographs of my WIPs is still a work in progress. I feel like I’m just starting to really produce results that I’m happy with. No matter what the WIP is, I try to take a photograph of what makes the project special. If it’s a top secret test knit I make sure to highlight the section of the pattern that will be the most enticing, if there is colorwork I will use a neutral background so that it won’t distract from the colors I’ve paired together, and if there is texture I take about 9000 photos until I finally produce one I like that shows off the texture.

© Laura Oriana Konstin

Finished project photos. These can be a little difficult to capture in all their glory. If it's a garment I’ve knit for myself I usually find a not so willing volunteer to take a photo (more like 100) of me. A few of the shawls I've photographed I've thrown in the air and how they landed (with a little bit of tweaking) is how I shot them. The hardest project I took a photo of was a pair of leggings I knit for myself. I tried having someone take a photo of me, but the detail wasn't showing up and the color was all wrong. What was my solution? I sat on the floor and put my legs against the wall for the most flattering leg photo I will ever have of myself. Seriously, my legs look so long.

Tools. I use a few iPhone apps when it comes to editing. I will use the main editing option within iPhone Photos if I need to add a little brightness, play with the saturation, correct the temperature, or straighten something out. I occasionally use the healing option in Snapseed when I want to make something disappear. I used it not too long ago when I wanted to remove a stitch marker from a photo I took. Last but not least is VSCO. I use VSCO when I want to use a filter that will add a little mood to the scene. I bought a fun little tripod for my iPhone that I just received in the mail. It will make photographing myself in finished garments much easier.

Location. My favorite place to knit is at home. It's my cozy, home-base activity. Since I do the majority of my knitting at home I also like to take photographs from my favorite spots in my house. My number one photographed location is my dining room table. I either use it as the background or I put different fabrics on top of it to change things up.

Next time you take a knitting photo, experiment and have fun with it. Remember just like knitting, photography is a personal artistic expression. I rarely get to keep my knitting projects so I like to use photography as a memento for all my projects that I'm unable keep. I've also created a little hashtag for myself (#MyYarnBook) on Instagram so that I'm able to see all my yarn stories.

Instagram: OrianaLK

Ravelry: OrianaLK

October 07, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Caitlin Hunter

© boylandknitworks

I believe that have always been a designer, but my career in knit design is something that happened a bit by accident. For as long as I can remember I have loved the challenge of making something new and functional out of raw material, and as a very small child I used to sit alongside my mom as she was sewing, using her discarded scraps to make clothing for my dolls. I started sewing my own clothing around the age of 8, and as a teenager I would often have my friends over before a school dance to sew us all dresses to wear that same night. I also learned to knit when I was in high school, teaching myself from a dusty old book of my mom’s I’d found buried in our basement. I absolutely loved knitting, but in those pre-Ravelry days and without a community of other knitters to learn from and be inspired by, my passion for the craft fizzled out after a year or so.

A little later on, for lack of any better ideas, I decided to make a career out of my love of design. I earned my degree in apparel design, which was followed by a couple of years working as a designer for a menswear company. While I enjoyed my education and career, it never really felt like a great fit for me because I was passionate about sustainability and slow-living- philosophies that aren’t really compatible with the traditional garment industry. I temporarily gave up my career to start a family, with the thought that I would probably pursue a different path when the time came.

Fast forward a few years to this past winter, and I was looking toward the coming year when my youngest would enter kindergarten, thinking about the possibility of working again. Around this time, I was gifted my first ever skein of luxury yarn by my mother, a beautiful grey fingering weight wool, and I was inspired to find a pattern that would do it justice. I was aware of Ravelry but hadn’t had much opportunity to use it since before my twins were born back in 2009. I was completely blown away by the number of patterns available there, and the community that had grown since I had last visited the site. I went on a bit of a rampage, ogling patterns and project pages, filling up my queue with everything from cardigans to fair isle pants (oh, yeah!). I also visited my very first LYS, and that was all it took to make my transformation into a fully obsessive knitter complete.

© boylandknitworks

After knitting my first couple of projects, I started feeling the creative itch. I wasn’t finding patterns that were exactly what I wanted, so I decided to design my own. My Rock Creek sweater is the first knitting pattern I designed, and it was born from my desire for a perfect modern and simple pullover with a few special details that I just couldn’t find in any of my searches.

After that first pattern the designs just started flowing and things really took off from there. At some point I realized that even though the medium and platform were different, the skills I had learned in my previous career actually translated perfectly and I could turn my love of knitting into a career. Hand knitting is the antidote to all of the things that had given me pause in the traditional world of apparel design. I love that wool is a sustainable fiber, that it is warm and comfortable and beautiful. When I touch a skein of artisan yarn it is easy to imagine the sheep grazing on a lovely pasture somewhere, the farmers who raised them and the dyers who lovingly and thoughtfully transform it into a work of art.

© boylandknitworks

I imagine the rich history of women spinning their own yarn and knitting for their families out of love and necessity. I love that knitting is such a slow process, and when you look at a hand-knitted item you can feel the love and care that went into every stitch. I love creating a well-written pattern that knitters put their own touch on when they select their colors and make personal modifications that I might never have thought of. The fact that knitters are willing to invest their time (the most precious resource we have, in my opinion) into knitting something I designed is the highest compliment I can imagine, and I am humbled every time I think about it.

Thank you, Knit Purl for inviting me to share my design story and love of knitting with your readers!






October 03, 2016 by Guest Blogger

First & Favorite Cardigan Patterns

© Laura Oriana Konstin

I hope all our Portland dwellers enjoyed the last few days of our extended summer. It’s the first time since I moved here, that I can finally say I’m ready for the rain and the cooler temperatures. It’s taken me quite a bit of time to acclimate to the Portland weather. I spent part of last year and most of my summer preparing my winter closet. I wish I had a good excuse on why it’s taken me so long to figure out how to not freeze my booty off when winter comes around. Sadly, I don’t.

Part of my preparation took place this summer. Instead of knitting garments to keep me cool, I decided to finish up some WIPs and work on my winter gear. Lucky for me, many of my WIPs happened to be fall/winter items. One project I worked on this summer that was not a WIP, was a test knit for the Gambier Jacket. The Gambier is a bulky knit cardigan with a cozy collar and colorwork in a diamond pattern. It is by far my favorite cardigan in my closet and fingers crossed it lasts a lifetime.

The Gambier is the first cardigan I’ve knit and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as knitting a sweater in the round, but I was so wrong. The part I feared the most, was picking up all the stitches for the collar, and it ended up being my favorite part. After knitting my first cardigan I now have a list of patterns that are on my must knit list.

Here are some of my favorites:

© Amirisu

Flaum: Flaum was going to be my first cardigan, but the Gambier sneakily snuck in. Flaum is a cropped cardigan in a ribbing pattern. It has two roomy pockets, but what I find the most intriguing is the shape. It is slightly lower in the back than the front. It also has an interesting drape that reminds me of a flower at the beginning stages of blooming.


© Sachiko Burgin

Fredericton: Fredericton is a unisex cardigan knit with two strands of sport weight yarn held together to create a marled effect. This cardigan is polished and rustic all in one. There is also the option to knit this in aran weight if you don’t want to work with two strands of yarn at the same time. I might get a little crazy and add elbow patches to this cardigan.


© Joji Locatelli

Madewell: I had a sweater once that was the perfect shade of navy and it had suede cognac color elbow patches. The sweater somehow made its way into the washer and was ruined. I then came across the Madewell cardigan and couldn’t believe my eyes. It is exactly like the sweater I used to have. Madewell is a simple cardigan with optional elbow patches. My option will be to make them. If I can figure out how to sew suede elbow patches on, even better!

September 30, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Shibui Knits Drift

© Knit Purl


Shibui Knits Drift is the newest yarn offering from Shibui, and it’s quite delightful.

I had a pleasant experience swatching with this cozy, fluffy yarn, imagining it for all sorts of fall and winter projects. The worsted weight makes it an excellent match for anything from cowls to sweaters. Its fiber content is 85% Extra Fine Merino, and 15% Cashmere. As you can imagine, it’s pretty amazingly soft. 

Here are some projects that I think would be wonderful in Drift:

© Tin Can Knits

Barley by Tin Can Knits. One skein is enough to make up to the child size of this adorable hat. Drift's drape would work really well in the slouchy version of the hat, too. This is a really good beginner project, using both stockinette and garter stitch. 

© Veera Välimäki

Smooth Edge by Veera Välimäki. I've admired this project for a while. I love the herringbone stitch pattern, and it would look so nice in Drift, with a light halo from the cashmere. I'm imagining it in Ash, light enough to show off the color. 

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

Lila by Carrie Bostick Hoge. This is the ultimate Sunday lounge-about-the-house sweater. It would be lovely in Drift – so soft and cozy! Drift would give it a nice drape, and feel warm and comforting. 

September 26, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2016 Collection

© Brooklyn Tweed


Yesterday was the autumnal equinox, and what better way to celebrate the first day of fall than with another great collection? Last week the Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2016 collection came out, and it was a special one. The collection is filled with intricate cables and tantalizing textures, making me eager to grab my knitting needles and start swatching. What makes this Brooklyn Tweed collection stand out, is that it has nine base patterns that have been interpreted for both women and men. Meaning one sweater with two different styles, his and hers so to speak.

Here are some of my favorites from the Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2016 collection:


© Brooklyn Tweed


Brighton (Hers): Let me just start off with the color of this sweater. After seeing a photo of this pattern, I want to knit everything in Cinnabar. I live for a bold fire orange/red. I think Cinnabar might be my new favorite color, and it might also be my new favorite yarn color name. Now that we establish that I’m obsessed with Cinnabar, I will chat about the pattern. Brighton is a slightly cropped sweater that hits at the waist. It has simple cables over the entire sweater, giving it a lively texture. The boat neck gives it a little extra feminine touch. Brighton would be a great layering piece over a dress or a tank. I already have an entire outfit picked out for this sweater. It might involve high-waisted jeans and a YSL silk scarf.


© Brooklyn Tweed


Auster (His): Whenever I go shopping for sweaters I always end up in the men’s section, sadly pawing at the sweaters that will never fit me. Well, I say no more to that. I’m going to make the Auster in size Laura Oriana, which is size petite, extra-small. I need to start doing quite a bit of math... I can’t get enough of the Auster. It’s a handsome raglan with a branching cable motif on the front and back, and the sleeves are left in a simple reverse stockinette. I have a few button-downs that Auster would be perfect for layering over.
© Brooklyn Tweed


Mohr (Hers): The ribbed collar was the first thing I noticed on the Mohr. The collar has this nice and cozy look to it. Then I noticed the dense woven fabric. I’m a huge fan of bulky knits and the choice of cables and ribbing give Mohr an extra cozy feel to it. The tailored shaping with the beautiful collar makes Mohr a beautiful little jacket for fall.


© Brooklyn Tweed


Vika (for Adults): Vika reminds me of a handknit sweater I purchased while I was visiting Ireland a few years ago. It has a different cable motif, but the same cozy and warm look to it. Vika is the sweater you want to take to the coast with you during the winter. The cold mist will just roll off Vika while you walk along the beach. Vika is an oversized sweater with multiple cable motifs that twine up the body and sleeves. Vika will keep you warm all winter long and for years to come.
September 23, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Illimani Yarn

ILLIMANI began its journey in the textile world back in 2004, with a collection of clothing knitted with alpaca and llama yarns, mostly by artisans in Bolivia and Peru.  We have worked for many years with knitters, crocheters and weavers from the Andes region, where some continue to use ancient traditional techniques.

It all began when I received a parcel with samples of an alpaca yarn spun in Bolivia that claimed to have similar softness as fine cashmere. I was very impressed with the quality and softness when comparing it to the more widely available pure Baby Alpaca from Peru that we were using as main material for our clothing.  It was then that I decided to switch the focus of the company, and to offer unique yarns for hand knitters that can truly understand and value an exceptional yarn when they see one. In a few months we were importing our first and most beloved yarn, “ROYAL I”. No wonder why Knit Purl has chosen this yarn to introduce it to knitters in Portland.

The secret behind this beautiful yarn is not only that we use the best selection of alpaca. It is also the de-hairing process that is also used in the Baby Llama which is simply taking away all the coarse hairs and leaving just the very fine ones using a new technology. The llama yarn that goes through this de-hairing process is now as fine as the finest baby alpaca. This is certainly changing the llama yarn industry in Bolivia making the baby llama (de-haired) one of the finest fibers in the world.

Take a close look at the label of ROYAL I. It is the same alpaca that we use along with our ILLIMANI logo: 



Royal I is the knitters dream come true.
The very best selection of alpaca, with 18.5 – 19.5 microns (1% of the alpaca wool production), you have a yarn as soft as cashmere plus all the treats of alpaca to make your knits not just incredible soft and luxurious but more durable and resistant.

Our heathered greys are the best sellers, and probably our signature colors.  These are melanges with natural undyed color and black. Blues and other jewel colors are also quite popular.

I was told by knitters all over the world that Royal I is an addiction. Once you knit with it, it is hard to go back to the other regular yarns. The good news is the price. The cost is significantly lower than any other comparable yarn.

There is no better place to launch this yarn in Portland than in Knit Purl.

- Alvaro Echazú

September 19, 2016 by Guest Blogger