Luft Collection Love

© Woolfolk

The latest pattern collection from Woolfolk all circles around their brand new yarn, Luft, and I must confess, I’ve never been more inspired to knit a bulky weight sweater in my knitting life. And what’s more fun than picking favorites and dreaming up new projects?!  These are my top picks from the new Woolfolk Luft Collection.

 

1.  MARMOR - by Regina Moessmer

© Woolfolk

This cardigan, to me, is the best combination of comfy and chic.  The structured shape and slip stitch details allow it to easily fit into a more professional wardrobe, but the ever-humble garter stitch lends this sweater to be perfectly paired with jeans and flats as well.

 

2.  SØLV - by Cecelia Campochiaro

© Woolfolk

From the brilliant mind that brought us the texture-game changing book Sequence Knitting, Cecelia Campochairo wins again with SOLV.  Knit on the bias, this wonderfully oversized wrap pattern is easy to memorize and completely reversible.  I’m dreaming of one in the black colorway for extra sassiness. Fair warning though, this is definitely a piece that runs a high risk of being “accidentally gifted”. *  Thank goodness this is one wrap you won’t mind knitting twice.

 

*An accidental gift happens when a friend or loved one asks to borrow a handknit “just for the evening!” and then they love it so much and look so happy wearing it that you end up letting them keep it.  You definitely didn’t knit it for them, but it’s theirs now, you gracious soul.

 

3.  KOBOLT - by Sarah Solomon

© Woolfolk

This is the sweater that whenever I see it, I wish I were already wearing it.  I love the oversized fit and mock-turtleneck!  Having played around with Luft, and experienced its softness in person, I daydream about how cozy it is to wear!  And I realize that I may be in the minority here, but I LOVE that it’s seamed.  It’s nice to have a “I want to live in this” sweater with a bit more structure so that you CAN actually LIVE in it and still look like you’re as fresh as a daisy.

 

What are your favorites from the new collection, and more importantly which color are you going to choose?

 

 

June 19, 2017 by Em Hanna

Father's Day Gift Guide

© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

Last month we gave love to mom, and now it’s time to shine a light on the dads in our life! We’ve got more great gift and project ideas for father’s day below.


© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas


Hats have always been my go-to gift idea, especially for men. They’re quick to knit, and I much prefer knitting in the round to knitting flat. We’ve got some simple, yet classic hats from Churchmouse in the shop—including their new Thinking Cap pattern, knit up in my all-time favorite Shibui Knits’ yarn, Pebble. (Cima would also be a great choice). Note: it is knit on a US size 0 needle. If that doesn’t appeal to you, consider the Ribbed Watch Cap and Beanie or Pressed Rib Cap and Muffler patterns knit up in fingering and worsted weights, respectively. Try Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft or Shelter for rustic, all-american texture, or lavish him in luxury with Woolfolk’s Tynd, Sno or Far. Consider knitting matching strands of Tynd and Sno together (both fingering weights) for a gorgeous speckle fabric at a light-worsted gauge.
 

© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas


Churchmouse also has easy-to-knit sock patterns such as Simple Toe-Up sock and Basic Sock. If you’re new to sock knitting, both of these patterns include clear visual diagrams to accompany already well-written instructions. We recently replenished our stock of Sunday Knits, so you can mix and match any color of Eden, Angelic, and Nirvana for the perfect pair of weekend socks for dad to cozy up in.

 

© Knit Purl


Did you know our wooden pom-pom tools aren’t just for knitting pom poms? Get the kids involved with Father’s day by helping them make mini weavings, friendship bracelets, tassles, key chains… there are infinite tiny gift possibilities with this fun gadget. Find some inspiration over at the Loome’s video tutorials or their meticulously curated Pinterest page. (When the kiddos are done, sneak it back into your stash for some well-deserved selfish knitting!) I love Shepherd’s Wool for kids’ crafts. Available in a wide range of colors, the reasonable price makes it easy to mix and match a variety of hues.
 

© Knit Purl


Our Okubo Wooly Rollers may be designed for knit supplies, but would also make a sophisticated pencil and tool case to pop into a laptop or messenger bag for work and creativity on the go. I’d grab one in charcoal/charcoal color combination for my dad.
 
Most of the father’s I know would agree that the icing on top of a well-thought Father’s Day gift is time spent together with family. Contrary to popular belief, the art of knitting is not restricted to women. We enjoy welcoming many male knitters to the shop all the time here at Knit Purl. If you’re local to Portland and your dad has an interest in knitting, consider joining us at one of our upcoming Fundamentals of Knitting: Absolute Beginner classes.
 
I wish a very happy Father’s day to you and your partner or father. What do you plan to knit for Father’s Day?

 

 

June 12, 2017 by Charli Barnes

mYak Story

@mYak

The changing seasons always have me thinking of exploration to distant lands, ideally with exotic fibers. One can’t always get out of town at the drop of a hat, though, and sometimes have to be content with a bit of armchair traveling – and few places on earth draw the imagination powerfully as the Tibetan highlands. Since Alexandra David-Néel’s journey to Lhasa in the 1920s, the first western female to visit the city, Tibet has been a magnet for adventurous females, and the story of mYak yarns epitomizes this sort of intrepidity.

 

@mYak

Co-founded by Paola Vanzo and Andrea Dominici, mYak demonstrates the best of a hybrid heritage – spinning together the natural fibers sourced from the nomadic herders of the Tibetan highlands with the founders’ native Italian attention to artistry. These two have spent years traveling in Tibet and working directly with herders, much in the same way the June Cashmere team does, with a deliberate focus on training and sustainability. This personal involvement in fiber sourcing and processing ensures that mYak yarns are ethically produced, eco-conscious, and fully traceable from the grasslands of Tibet to your project bag.

 

@mYak

mYak yarns, available in both worsted and lace weight, are made of 100% baby yak down. Due to the extreme cold temperatures of the Tibetan plateau, this down is exceptionally fine and warm – and exquisitely soft. The down is combed from the bellies of yak calves in the spring, before it is naturally shed for the summer, which means that the animals are not harmed in the process of collecting the fiber. This does mean that the supply of the yak down is limited, both because the number of suitable yaks in a herd is small, and because the process for collecting it labor-intensive. The down is sorted from the guard hairs in Tibet, then shipped to the town of Biella in northern Italy for processing and spinning.

 

@mYak

To enhance the sustainability and strength of their yarns, mYak chooses not to bleach the natural color from the fiber. Yaks are generally darker in color, and the down ranges from pale grey to nearly black. Dyeing the fiber unbleached gives depth to the colors of the yarn, as well as a rich heathered quality.

 

Where will your fiber travels take you this summer?

 

 

--Meaghan

 

 

May 29, 2017 by Guest Blogger

The Story of June Cashmere

© Jared Heveron

June Cashmere yarn appeals to the heart and head as well as the hands. The yarn, available in both a DK and a heavy laceweight, comes to Knit Purl from the mountains of the Kyrgyz republic in Central Asia via Belgium (for scouring), Scotland (for spinning), and Maine (for dyeing). If a transparent supply chain were all that made these yarns special, though, we wouldn't bother telling you the story – it's the human element (paired with the extraordinary quality of the yarn!) we want to highlight.

 

© Jared Heveron

Cashmere is a fiber born from adversity: the extraordinarily soft fiber we know and love comes from the insulating down of cashmere goats, allowing them to withstand the brutally cold winters in Mongolia and the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China which are the sources for most of the finest cashmere in the world. Exceptionally harsh and/or snowy winters in 1999–2002, 2010, and 2016 – known in Mongolian as dzud – have decimated the herds in Mongolia, though, and limited the cashmere supply. Suppliers have been forced to look to other countries to meet the demand for the fiber, including Kyrgyzstan, nestled among other former Soviet ’Stans on the western border of China. Most buyers, sent from Chinese mills, buy cashmere by the kilogram at a low price, putting no emphasis on the quality of the fiber they are buying, with the result that many Kyrgyz herders sheared their goats to increase the yield, thus mixing the cashmere down with the tougher guard hairs: this is where June Cashmere makes a difference.

 

© Jared Heveron

Starting in 2013, Sy Belohlavek – the founder of June Cashmere – became interested in bringing Kyrgyz cashmere to western knitters. Rather than trying to purchase cashmere at the lowest price per kilo, he and his buyers told the nomadic herders he would pay higher prices – for higher quality, pre-sorted fibers. At first, they focused on the proportion of down to guard hairs, but after three years of training, Sy and his team are able to focus on the quality of the cashmere down itself during their annual spring buying trip, paying the herders higher prices for softer fiber. This provides the shepherds with a much needed source of income in a country suffering from chronic underemployment, allowing them to pay debts and invest for their future.

 

© Jared Heveron

June Cashmere also engages in development work to support the welfare of the herders who produce the cashmere, installing heating in schools so children can pursue their education during the winter, as well as repairing water pipes so communities can have access to clean water. This is an essential business goal for the company, as Kanat Anarbaev, the Kyrgyz general manager, discusses in an interview on the June Cashmere blog. In addition to these infrastructure projects, the company also invests in community training, spending time and money to teach the herders not only how to sort fibers themselves, but how to train other shepherds to do so as well. The company is not interested in keeping these small, independent producers dependent on June Cashmere for income, but wants to see them – and Kyrgyz cashmere – become a real player in the global fiber community.

 

© Jared Heveron

What you really want to hear about, though, is the yarn. Both the DK and the laceweight yarns are plied, with five and three plies, respectively. Although both yarns bloom when washed, they do not have the tender halo of most cashmere yarns on the market, such as Cardiff Cashmere, making June Cashmere well-suited to gender-neutral patterns. Both yarns are a pleasure to knit with, having a dry, almost cottony hand, without much bounce, but with very good stitch definition; they are probably best knit at a tighter gauge, which will give the finished product greater resilience and elasticity. In working with the yarn, our tester had occasion to rip out and reknit, and the yarn softened up beautifully, but did not pill or become ragged. Be careful, though when combining colors: the samples we blocked did bleed, so at this stage in the development of these yarns you might want to focus on single-color projects. With this caveat in mind, though, we feel confident in saying that these yarns will only get better with time – and they are already pretty extraordinary!

 

© Jared Heveron

It’s important to think about where your yarn is coming from, as well as how it is produced. June Cashmere yarns are an interesting example of how it is possible for globalization to make a positive impact on the those living in emerging economies, while also bringing a very special pair of yarns to your needles. What's the story behind your favorite yarn?

 

-Meaghan

April 03, 2017 by Guest Blogger

Knitting from the North | Book Review

© Knit Purl

Knitting from the North by Hilary Grant is a beautiful collection of modern patterns that were inspired by traditional nordic and fair isle knitting, as well as the landscape these traditions (and the designer) originate from. Featuring 30 patterns that are bold, graphic and fun, this collection is a modern take on traditional stranded colorwork. The patterns are mostly chilly weather accessories, with a few sweaters. The accessories range from hats, headbands, scarves, cowls, mitts, mittens, cuffs, to mock turtlenecks. All of the patterns are knit in fingering weight yarn.

© Caro Weiss

I love the bold, geometric and graphic quality of the colorwork motifs combined with a palette that includes high contrast, ombres and bright pops of color. These knits are cozy and cheerful, sure to get you through the tail end of winter. This book would also be a great introduction to knitting with color.

© Hilary Grant/Kyle Books


The Arrow Circle Scarf is a wide, long cowl that is knit flat and grafted. I think it looks amazing in black in white. It would be lovely knit in Brooklyn Tweed Loft or Woolfolk Tynd. It would also be interesting to reimagine the pattern as a cowl that is half the length but knit as a tube in the round so the floats are hidden, adding an extra layer of warmth.

 

© Caro Weiss

The Beacon Pom hat is a simple slouchy, ribbed hat with a pom pom. Grant’s choice of color makes it a standout. It would be fun knit up in one of the brighter Ambrosia MCN colors, like Verdigris or Pink Flambe.


© Caro Weiss

I also think the Barley Twist headband is really cute and would look great in Isager Alpaca 2.


If you are interested in colorwork we highly recommend Knitting from the North. Grab your copy here.

 

 

March 20, 2017 by Kira Sassano

Sexy B

About two years ago we had a kit in the store that included the Jet Stream pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier and two skeins of Sexy B by Alpha B. I went ahead and bought the kit for my mom as a gift since I knew it would be something that she would enjoy. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I was going to fall for the Sexy B yarn the kit came with. The color of yarn the kit came with was an eye-catching deep fuchsia. If the color wasn’t enough to grab my attention, the moment I started to see the Jet Stream take form, I was hooked. The drape the wrap started to take was the perfect mix of light and delicate. Then one day I reached out and felt the fabric, and immediately knew there was no going back.


My mom could tell how much I loved the yarn, so she set aside a nice amount of leftovers that she gifted me. I was beyond elated. I have yet to use the leftovers and actually don’t have any plans on using it. I can’t seem to part with it, so it will end up being yarn that I will cherish and hold onto as a keepsake. This has not stopped me from purchasing new skeins of this amazing luxury yarn. I’m a sucker for alpaca, cashmere, and silk, and Sexy B is a combination of the three of these opulent fibers. Soft to the touch and dyed in vibrant colorways, Sexy B is definitely a yarn that all knitters should treat themselves to.

Here are a few pattern ideas for Sexy B:

© Marcin Duda

Masgot: A shawl with mesmerizing stripes and endless options for color choices. I’ve been eyeing this shawl for a while now, and I think I finally came up with my color scheme: Soot and Stainless Steel for the stripes, and Two Olives Please for the pop of color. Though, I might change my mind since all the completed projects on Ravelry are giving me great ideas.

© Veera Välimäki

Secret of Change: A simple garter stitch shawl with eyelet stripes. This shawl will drape effortlessly in any Sexy B colorway.

© cheryllfaust

Mirkfallon: A rectangular wrap with a modern touch that involves asymmetrical sections of a triangle lace pattern and texture.

June 20, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Madelinetosh Yarn

The first time I knit with Madelinetosh yarn, it was to rescue me from a possible custom order knitting disaster. I received a request for a neon pink cowl for a bike messenger in NYC and I couldn’t find the right pink anywhere. After a minor panic attack, Madelinetosh and their magical hand-dyed yarn entered the equation and saved the day. The bike messenger was beyond pleased by their super neon pink cowl, and I could breathe easy. After that introduction, I was hooked on Madelinetosh yarn. Their yarn is always soft, and the colors are hand-dyed pieces of a rainbow. Whenever I’m looking for a specific color to knit with, I go straight to Madelinetosh yarn, and I have yet to not find what I need.

If asked which yarn from the Madelinetosh line is my favorite, I wouldn’t be able to answer (as of yet), but I think that might change soon. I was walking around the store this week, and I noticed a beautiful raspberry red yarn that I had never noticed before. I reached for it, and the moment my hand touched it, I knew we were meant to meet. The yarn was Madelinetosh Pashmina in Heartbeat, and it was everything I ever wanted in yarn… soft, soft, soft, and colorful. I’m currently trying to figure out all the patterns I can knit with the lush mix of merino, silk, and cashmere that is Pashmina.

While I brainstorm on all my future projects with Pashmina, here are a few pattern ideas for a some of the Madelinetosh yarn we carry:

Vasa © Paper Tiger

Vasa - This summer, striped top would look great as a solid in Tosh Sock Vintage Sari.

Begonia Swirl - Free pattern. A beautiful lace shawl that is just right for Prairie or Pure Silk Lace.

 

 

Relax © amirisu


Relax - A flowy, oversized T-shirt that I plan on knitting in Pashmina in the not so distant future.

Tambourine - A feminine cardigan with a little vintage flair that is waiting to be knit in Tosh DK.

 

 

Free Spirit © NCL Knits

 

Herbarium and Free Spirit - Herbarium is a lace top that is airy and delicate, and Free Spirit is a shawl that I’m currently swooning over and need to get on my needles. Both of these projects are waiting to say hello to Tosh Merino Light.

 

 

June 10, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Shibui Linen

“Open windows, open doors
a breeze is warmly welcomed”

Nothing says summer more to me than Shibui Linen knit into a loose cooling top. The first time I worked with linen yarn was when I used Shibui Linen to knit the Otherside tank for a store sample, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Shibui Linen is a light and crisp yarn with a chain ply structure, that will give your garment the perfect drape. It also comes in bright, vibrant colors that are summer ready.

 

Here are a few summer tops that will knit up nicely in Shibui Linen:

© Laura Oriana Konstin
Otherside: This top is supposed to be slightly fitted, but the store sample I made was four sizes larger than my size, and it ended up turning out exactly how I would want to wear it. If you want the perfect drapey and flowy tank I suggest doing the same and going up multiple sizes.

 

 

© Andi Satterlund
Zinone: Your options are endless with this pretty lace top. Choose between a partial-lace back or a full-lace back, and a cropped length or a full, hip length to make the perfect breezy, summer top.

 

 

© Shibui Knits
Square: A modern statement piece with a unique neckline that is high in the front and lower in the back. The sheer side panels give it added contemporary flair.

 

 

© Knit Picks
Freebies: Split Back Tank is a free pattern that is perfect for summer and Book lover Valentine is a fun little bookmark to make with any leftover Shibui Linen yarn you might have.

 

June 06, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

A Few Favorites

 

I always have such trouble picking favorites. Ask me what my favorite food is and I will tell you that I love all food. Ask me what my favorite television show is and I will tell you anything that I can knit to. Ask me what my favorite ice cream is and I will tell you vanilla bean. The last one doesn’t prove my point one bit, but I really wish I had some ice cream right now to help me get through answering the next difficult question. Who is my favorite designer?

How does someone even answer that question? How can I only pick one designer? I can’t even choose ten without remembering another ten that I love just as much. So please bear with me as I try to share a few of my favorite designers. Maybe our readers should be the ones grabbing some ice cream right about now, because this is going to turn out to be a laundry list of favorites.

Power Trio: Norah Gaughan, Julie Hoover, and Michele Wang. If I see a pattern that I like, nine out of ten times it is designed by one of these three magnificent ladies. They are masters of intricate designs that are chic and still have a simplicity to them. Their patterns look like beautiful pieces of art, yet they aren’t overwhelming and still allow the knitter to have the confidence to be able to knit their designs. I’m currently knitting the Beatnik sweater by Norah, Frontenac dress by Julie, and I have Snoqualmie by Michele in my queue.

Little Ones: Pernille Larsen and Paelas Paelas. I get more joy out of knitting things for others than I do for myself and I like the idea of a fast knit. So I thought, why not combine the two and I came up with baby clothing. There are a few people I follow on Ravelry that have been knitting the prettiest baby clothing lately, which is how I found Pernille Larsen and Paelas Paelas. They both make designs that look fun to knit, and would look adorable on any child. I’m obsessed with the Clover tights by Pernille Larsen and the Quick Knit Suit by Paelas Paelas is the cutest little jumpsuit. Both of these designers are quickly becoming a favorite of mine for all things baby.

Rural Femininity: Pam Allen, Annie Rowden, and Carrie Bostick Hoge. I’m not sure what it is about these three designers, but their designs always make me think of a beautiful secluded farm, where I live part time in my imagination. Their designs are feminine and delicate, yet I still feel like I can get things done in them. These ladies are who I flock to when I want to feel beautiful and a little rugged all at once.

Some other staff favorites:
Summer adores Julie Hoover’s sweaters and photography.
Linda enjoys Melanie Berg’s shawls.

May 23, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

What I Listen To While I Knit

What do you do while you knit? Do you listen to music, watch television, or maybe you put your favorite podcast on? I do all three of these, but I find listening to podcasts while I knit the most enjoyable of the three.

These are the podcasts that I spend the most time listening to while I knit:

The Moth: A podcast dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Most have probably heard of The Moth and/or have been to one of their events. I started listening to The Moth about two years ago and haven’t stopped. The stories that are told are truly epic and many of them have made me laugh hysterically and sob uncontrollably. If you want to be thoroughly entertained while knitting, I suggest giving The Moth a listen. You won’t be disappointed. I also highly suggest going to one of their events as well, either as a listener or as a storyteller.

TED Talks: I went to an event in 2010 (possibly 2011) where the speakers were discussing neuroscience. I was chatting with a friend about the event and they sent me a link to a TED Talk asking if I had ever watched it. In fact, I hadn’t and I had no idea what TED Talks were. The TED Talk they sent me was Jill Bolte Taylor speaking about the insight she had when she had a massive stroke. It’s an amazing story and since then I have binged on TED Talks. The subject matter of TED Talks usually varies, but they mostly focus on technology, design, academic, cultural, and scientific topics. You can get the audio only version of TED Talks, but I enjoy putting the videos on and listening to them as I knit.

Gimlet Media: Where do I start?! Gimlet Media is a company that is focused on producing high-quality narrative podcasts. One of their podcasts and actually the first one I started listening to is StartUp, which is about the creation of Gimlet. They now have six podcasts that are all pretty amazing, but the two that I’ve listened to the most are Reply All and Mystery Show. Reply All is described as a show about the internet. The description might not sound very entertaining, but it is! There is an episode called The Rainbow Pug where the owner loses her dog on the internet, and PJ and Alex (the hosts) go looking for it. It’s an episode that will cause you to go through all kinds of emotions. Mystery Show is my other favorite Gimlet podcast and it’s about solving mysteries. I’m anxiously awaiting the next season. A friend of mine wrote to them giving them a mystery to solve and I’m curious to find out if they picked it.

I recently realized that I’ve never listened to a podcast about knitting or fiber so I tried giving it a shot the other day. So far I’ve listened to Woolful, which was recommended to me by Lacey, our Knit Purl marketing guru. She sold me on it by her lovely description. “I personally like Woolful because it gives insights into the makers of the fiber community. Learning more about the makers and how they came to love fiber. Also, it feels personal--as if the guests are chatting with you one-on-one telling their story.” I’m only one episode in so I can’t report back on much other than I plan on listening to another episode. The only other knitting related podcast I’ve had time to try out is The Fat Squirrel Speaks. They are actually YouTube videos that Amy Beth makes, so I guess it’s more like a vlog, but so far I’m enjoying them.

Images © Visual Hunt, Ted Talks, & Woolful.

April 22, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin
Tags: Favorites