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

Shibui Knits FW16 Collection

© Shibui Knits
Another week, another fabulous collection to admire. The Shibui Knits FW16 collection came out this week, and it’s filled with graceful essentials. They also released their new yarn, Drift, which will make fall and winter velvety soft. Drift is an extra-fine merino and cashmere blend that I can’t wait to get my hands on. I won’t say much more on Drift, since Oleya will be sharing a post about it later this month. I will share my favorite patterns from the new Shibui Knits FW16 collection.

© Shibui Knits
Boulevard: Is it a cape or is it a jacket, or maybe it’s a little bit of both? This is my favorite piece from the collection. Boulevard is chic and sophisticated. The textural pattern is an eye-catching addition to this refined cape. I would keep this simple and knit it in Ivory. It will allow for the pattern to stand out even more. Ash, Mineral, and Caffeine would also be great options.

 

© Shibui Knits

Midtown: I’ve been searching for the perfect cardigan for everyday wear and what do you know, Shibui answered me with Midtown. Midtown is modern and simple, and the yarn gives it a luxurious look and feel. Knit in a baby alpaca and merino blend, Midtown will be the cardigan you will want to take everywhere.

 

© Shibui Knits

Vista: There is something about clean lines and a simple knit fabric that I can’t help but gravitate towards. Vista is an effortless pullover with an asymmetric hem and knit in dual tones. The color pairings are endless for Vista. Keep it simple with Ivory and Fog or go bold with Tar and Bordeaux. There is also that option to make one in a solid color. I’m thinking about knitting one in Abyss.

September 16, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

On Keeping A Knitting Stash

© Knit Purl

I've kept a stash pretty much since the beginning of my knitting career. I'm not sure why - maybe it's because I've always been a collector, and I love daydreaming about all the possibility contained within the skeins. While I adore my collections, I don't really organize them in any sense. I see plenty of color-coordinated yarn closets and stash inspiration online, and sigh with envy. My stash doesn't even remotely resemble these well-manicured yarn galleries.

I've been stashing for about ten years now. The older stash skeins currently reside in unattractive plastic storage bins in my basement.  You know, the kind you would use for out-of-season clothing, or perhaps a comic book collection. Utilitarian, but not beautiful by any means. Within the storage bins, the yarn for each project is sorted into individual zip-top bags. I keep the more recent, most exciting skeins in my craft room, which has different projects separated out into Ikea wicker bins. But that is it, as far as organization goes. 

This isn't inspiring. Maybe I should tell you about how I would ideally organize my stash. Perhaps someday, I will whittle my yarn collection down to my most treasured skeins, focusing on the ones that bring me joy. (Read Marie Kondo, if you haven't already.) If I don't remember buying the yarn, or if I don't remember what I was going to use it for, out it goes. My ideal stash size  would contain enough yarn for a few months worth of knitting, and the yarn would be organized in a beautiful wooden hutch with a clear glass doors, to see inside. Maybe something like this:

© IKEA

I like the idea of having a stash. However, I feel like it's not doing anything for me if I am not actually using it. At this point in my life, my stash keeps growing, and I have trouble using my older skeins. There are too many beautiful tempting yarns to play with at work. I love to try the newest yarns that arrive, and I love to choose new projects based on things I see online, or what customers bring in. The yarn store is functioning as my second, more accessible stash. I fall in love with new beautiful skeins, and neglect the old ones. 

Maybe someday I will come up with projects to combine my old stash with new, and give some love to my older skeins. But until then, I will continue to enjoy new yarn projects and dream about my future yarn hutch. 

September 12, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Woolfolk FW16 Collection

© Woolfolk

The last weeks of summer are fast approaching and soon the air will become crisp and the leaves will change colors. I’ve lived in Portland on and off since 2002. It wasn’t until 2014 that I really started to conform and begin enjoying cooler temperatures. I will forever be a beach baby that wants to live where it never gets below 70 degrees, but I can now appreciate cozy sweater weather. I can thank knitting and my killer boot collection for my new found appreciation of fall and winter weather.

One of my favorite things about fall, since becoming a knitter, is when new collections come out. I eagerly await the days when my favorite lines and designers start dropping new patterns. I’ve had my eyes on Woolfolk and all their collection teaser photos they’ve been sharing the past couple of months. Finally, this week the Woolfolk FW16 Collection was released, and I’m politely calling dibs on all their yarn we carry so I can knit every pattern.


Here are a few of my favorites from the collection:

© Woolfolk

DRYS: When I saw the teaser photo of this wrap I knew it was going to be a favorite. I’m enamored with this chic wrap and I can’t wait to drape it around my neck and over my shoulder. I love the placement of all the eyelet type holes that are so precisely spread around. This is one dreamy wrap that I can’t wait to wear.

 

© Woolfolk

LOS: This sweater was quick to catch my eyes. I know what Woolfolk FÅR yarn feels like, so I know that LOS is one cozy sweater. Everything about this sweater says cozy, from the slightly oversized look to the ribbed cuffs you will want to wrap your hands in. I’ve tried zooming in to see the pattern on the sweater since it looks so inviting, but I can’t seem to figure it out. Besides the cozy factor that LOS is bringing, it’s also one classy-looking turtleneck.

 

© Woolfolk

ARKADE: There are two choices for ARKADE, a cowl, and a scarf. I love the cowl, but I’m going to talk about the mega mega mega scarf. I love the look of large scarves that I can wrap around multiple times for a super bulky look. Unfortunately, the patterns are never intriguing enough for me to commit to knitting a six-foot scarf. ARKADE is going to make me a scarf knitter. The pattern is unique, intriguing, and something I’ve never seen before, which makes me want to drop everything and start knitting ARKADE.


After sharing my favorites I realized something – all of them are knit in color no. 1. I think I might have a favorite color for the seasons to come.

September 09, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin
Tags: New Patterns

My Design Inspiration: Andrea Mowry

© Andrea Mowry

Ah, the design process. I think some designers thrive on organization, plans, and spreadsheets. I have to admit - that I am not one of them. Typically, an idea pops into my head, and I have to drop everything to either grab yarn from my stash (ideally), or find the perfect yarn at my LYS or online - ASAP. For me, once that idea flame is lit, I have to add fuel to the fire. I can think of nothing else, and it's almost like my body is just the design's translator - getting it to the world with my needles and pen. Okay, that probably sounds a little nutty, but I find this is how my best pieces have come to be.

When I set out to do a collaboration, such as my Wanderlust Collection with Knit Purl and North Light Fibers, I find I have to flex an entirely different set of muscles. In the beginning, I can feel myself fighting it. I try too hard to come up with ideas and end up staring at a blank page.

Thankfully, after a few deep breaths, I begin sketching. Slowly, but surely, that other side of my creativity that I don't use as often (let's call it "purposeful creativity") begins to stir and spark, and designs that otherwise may not have been born, get to see the light of day. I really love balancing my work by doing a little of each!

As the discussion for the Wanderlust Collection began, I just happened to be traveling to Portland and Seattle. My time in the Pacific Northwest left me feeling inspired (and itching to move!) I loved being surrounded by the giant trees and mountains. My sketches mirrored these feelings and I began to see textures repeating, namely, peaks, triangles, and chevrons. Which happen to be some of my trusty favorites.

© Andrea Mowry

I knew I wanted to offer a range of difficulty levels and focuses on different techniques. The Take Flight mitts are the easiest, and appropriate even for a new knitter. What I love most about them is their simplicity. I find that simple knits with a focus on modern texture, fit best into a real-world wardrobe. The Drift hat came to life on graph paper. I had mountains on my mind and their changing landscapes from base to peak. I wanted the peaks to grow right out from the brim, and finishing it off with a final point at the tip of 4 strong lines. The Ramble shawl is for the more adventurous knitter. Utilizing a beautiful brioche herringbone pattern created by the brioche queen, Nancy Marchant, and asymmetrical construction, this shawl is addicting to knit and fabulous to wear! As I worked on these patterns, I could easily imagine wearing them on my next trip to the West Coast, or on any of my future travels! Knit out of Water Street, they are luxuriously soft and warm, without being too heavy. As with all of my patterns, they fit easily into a modern wardrobe, and hopefully you will learn a new technique or two while knitting them up!!

© Andrea Mowry

Thank you, Knit Purl, for sparking my creativity and for letting me share a little bit of my design process!

Cheers!

Andrea

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September 05, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Leftovers

Leftovers. You either love them, or you’re not a fan. Then again, when most talk about leftovers it’s usually in reference to food. Personally I love leftover food and I could spend at least an hour sharing that love with everyone, but this post is about a different kind of leftover.
I finished a colorwork sweater a couple of weeks ago and didn’t use nearly as much yarn as I thought I was going to. The end result left me gifted with a decent amount of leftover yarn. I’m going to pause there for a second. As I mentioned before I love leftover food, unfortunately, I don’t share the same amount of enthusiasm for leftover yarn. Let me explain. It’s not that I don’t like all leftover yarn, it’s that I don’t like surprise leftover yarn. I want to know ahead of time whether the pattern I’m knitting will use up all the yarn, or if I will have a substantial amount at the end that I will be able to use. It’s more of a planning thing really. I like to start planning what I will be able to make with my leftovers. If I know I’m going to have leftovers, I will make sure to buy a color that I will want to use in another project.
Now back to the sweater leftovers. I based the colors I picked off an alpaca cardigan my dad purchased in Bolivia. He purchased it back in the '90s and has yet to find another like it. The sweater has a couple of large moth holes, but it doesn’t stop me from living in it when the weather takes a turn for the cold. The cardigan has a really nice pattern that I’ve been wanting to recreate before any other moths try finishing it off. My idea was to knit the original sweater I was knitting and use the leftovers to start making pattern swatches. I actually ended up with much more yarn than I anticipated, but it was ok since I double planned. I knew that if I had enough leftover yarn, I would also want to make a bulky beanie. It was perfect timing since my friend requested a bulky beanie minutes after I realized how much yarn I had leftover. I’m pretty excited about starting my creations from the ending of another project.
© Knit Purl

While there are many different options for using leftover yarn, I personally always make hats. This will be my first time that I branch out and do something different. I have seen some pretty blankets made with leftover yarn, and some amazing sweaters. I doubt I will ever have a leftover stash that will amount to either of those. I’m a planner, and if I don’t see a possible next project out of my leftovers I will give them away. I actually gift the leftovers I don’t want to a couple of ladies that make toys out of them. It’s nice to know that where my creativity ends, someone's inspirations begins.


What do you do with your leftovers?
September 02, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Choosing a Project: Yarn Vs. Pattern

© Knit Purl

 

One of the many things I love about knitting is the fact that there are so many ways to go about it. I can find an irresistible yarn, and then start dreaming about all the things I can possibly make. Or maybe I’ll fall in love with a sweater on Ravelry, and then spend weeks finding the perfect yarn to match. How I start a project really depends on my mood. How I chose the two projects I am working on now is a perfect example of my process (or lack thereof!).

© Tin Can Knits

One of the projects I am working on right now is a baby sweater called Playdate. For this project, the yarn called to me first. I kept eyeing the Scarlet color of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock every time I passed by it in the store. Even though I usually work with non-superwash yarn these days, the bright red color really attracted me. After a while, I couldn’t deny it any longer. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I would figure it out. 

I purchased the yarn, and spent some time considering what I could make with it. I decided that wanted a baby sweater, and the sweater had to use up just that one skein. I sifted through my Ravelry favorites, and looked at all the projects that would be a good match. I found Playdate, and it just so happened that we had a copy of the Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe book in the store. The gauge worked out well, and it was a perfect match!

 

 

© Shibui Knits

The other project I am working on is the Multigrain Scarf from Shibui Knits. With this project, the pattern called to me first. I loved the fact that it was a simple stitch pattern made engaging with gently shifting types of yarn. It helped that we have a lovely sample of it in the store. When I worked on the sales floor, I wore the sample so often that I thought it might be a good idea to make one. Then I got to work picking out the yarn. I used Silk Cloud, Cima, and Pebble as directed, but I chose different colors of yarn (Fjord, Graphite, and Abyss) for more of a gradient effect. I'm really pleased with how it's turning out so far!

So for me, there's no right or wrong way to pick out a project. It really does depend on the situation at hand! Both methods have resulted in some really satisfying projects. How do you choose a project?

 

 

August 29, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Shibui Knits: Staccato

© Knit Purl


Shibui Knits never ceases to amaze me. They produce some of my favorite yarns that always keep me coming back for more. Staccato happens to be next in line for me to try out. I’ve been hoarding about 20 skeins of it in my yarn stash and finally plan to do a few swatches with it. Staccato is an alluring blend of merino and silk fibers, that is smooth and soft to the touch. It has an elegant sheen that causes the vibrant colors to truly pop.

© Knitbot

I have a couple of ideas about what I would like to make with the Staccato I currently have stored away. I have an in-your-face, firey orange/red that I really want to squeeze a dress out of. I need to do a swatch and see what my options are. I also have a rusty copper that I was going to make a loose tee out of, but now I have new plans for a cropped cardigan. I purchased Home & Away recently, and I have been eyeing the Hancock cardigan ever since. The Hancock (shown above) does happen to take up much more yarn than I have, so I will need to do a little math to see if I can make it work.

Here are a few end of summer knitting projects on my list:

© Juju Vail

Michelada: A little summer pullover full of texture, that will transition effortlessly into fall.

 

© Knitscene / Harper Point Photography

Hanshi Wrap Kit: A simple wrap in ivory with short rows that mimic beautiful brush strokes in black.

© Knit Purl

 Tembetari Cowl Kit: Someone please teach me how to crochet so I can make pretty cowls like the Tembetari. I want to wrap myself in a pretty honeycomb pattern.

August 26, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin