Knitted Cable Sourcebook

© Abrams Books

Last week I hopped in the car with some friends and we made our way down to Bend for a wedding. I decided early on to call "not it" when it came to doing any of the driving. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel like driving, it was that I really wanted to get some light reading done. I purchased the Knitted Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan last month and this three–hour drive was going to be the perfect time to dive right into it.

© Jared Flood / Norah Gaughan

I refer to Norah as the Queen of Cables. Every time I see one of her designs my brain explodes out of utter awe. How does she do it? Well, lucky for us she created a sourcebook to teach us her ways. Upon opening the Knitted Cable Sourcebook the beautiful, crisp photos caught my eyes. Not only was I excited about reading the book prior to opening it, but the pages were filled with beautiful photos that highlight the cables in all their glory. I spent most of the car ride flipping through the pages admiring all the photos. After spending most of my time staring at photos I went back to the introduction and started to read. One section, in particular, stood out to me.

"This book is meant to be both a resource for existing cable patterns and a jumping-off point for making new cable discoveries. Honestly, after 40-plus years of working with them, I feel as if I have barely begun to uncover their potential."

I’m going to share a little something with all of you that I’m a little embarrassed about. Until I read those lines from Norah, I had no idea that one could create their own cables. I thought that there was a set amount of cables and they had all been created already. That from these set cables that one could mix and match what to add to their pattern. To know that the world of cables still has doors to be unlocked makes me giddy inside. It also makes me admire Norah even more. This whole time I thought she was a genius who knew how to expertly mix and match existing cables. I didn’t realize that she was also creating her own cables. This just further solidifies calling her the Queen of Cables.

© Jared Flood / Norah Gaughan

The Knitted Cable Sourcebook has so much information. It’s definitely a must–have for someone looking to expand their knitting knowledge. The six chapters are a progression of cables, starting with the basics and ending with drawing — with textures and openwork. Each chapter has pictures of swatches and the directions on how to knit the cables. There are also enticing garment and accessory patterns scattered throughout the book with instructions on how to substitute the cables for others. I didn’t get very far in the book since I spent most of the time flipping through each page to see what I had to look forward to, but what I saw left me excited and ready to learn all that Norah has to share.  

I’m currently about to start on Chapter 2, which is where the swatches begin. My plan is to slowly and thoroughly enjoy this book, by reading every sentence and knitting every stitch.

 

My favorite pattern from the book:

© Jared Flood / Norah Gaughan

Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan - A chunky knit grandpa cardigan with a bulky vine–like cable pattern crawling up.

November 11, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

North Light Fibers Atlantic Yarn

© Knit Purl

North Light Fibers Atlantic is a 3-ply worsted-weight yarn made out of Falkland Islands Superfine Merino Wool. Atlantic comes in an variety of solid colors, with sea-inspired names like Bull Kelp, and Teal Inlet. The yarn surely has an interesting story to tell, journeying from island to island as it is transformed from fleece to yarn. 

North Light Fibers, who we featured on the blog last year, is located on picturesque Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. The micro mill focuses on manufacturing minimally processed yarns. The wool for Atlantic originates from The Falkland Islands, a place quite famous for wool. 

Atlantic is soft, yet also feels quite sturdy. It doesn't feel as susceptible to pilling like a typical superfine Merino. Atlantic is a yarn that will wear well in both accessories and garments, for pieces that will hold up to the wear and tear of everyday life. It seems perfectly suited to creating fluid expanses of stockinette stitch, as well as for something with a little more texture. 

The colors are pretty. Atlantic is offered in neutrals along with some jewel tones to brighten up the palette. The colors probably mirror what is seen on a regular basis on Block Island. Teal Inlet is probably my favorite of the bunch. It's the perfect teal that strikes a nice balance between blue and green. I am also fond of Sea Lion. A gray with slightly brown undertones, a great neutral. 

Pattern suggestions:

Our Roku hat kit comes with one skein of the Atlantic in Teal Inlet. Knit in a 1x1 rib, the Roku Hat is a great match for the Atlantic yarn. The stitches are well-defined, and the yarn has a nice drape, making a good slouchy hat fabric.

Here are some other pattern ideas for the North Light Fibers Atlantic Yarn:

© Brooklyn Tweed

The Romney Kerchief by Brooklyn Tweed is a cute little kerchief pattern that would show off Atlantic's stitch definition and drape. 

 

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

The Shore Cardigan, designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, would be a great garment for this yarn. It would result in a warm and soft cardigan that would be an excellent addition to any wardrobe. Scots Thistle, a pretty purple, would be a wonderful color for it. 

 

November 07, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Knit Purl Minis

© Knit Purl

Have you ever wanted to experience new yarn without committing to an entire skein? There are so many beautiful yarns out in the world, and not enough time to try them all. I wish all of us were able to spend our days surrounded by yarn and get the opportunity to test and play with new yarns all the time. As much as I would love to spend my days lounging in a pile of fluffy yarn, I’m sadly unable to.

I do spend most of my working day in front of a computer or my iPhone, and this is how I get introduced to new yarn. I would say 90% of the time I’m introduced to new yarn, it’s because of a great photo on Instagram. The first thought I have when I see new yarn is, “I wonder what the yarn feels like?”, followed by wishing I could sample the yarn. Being able to try out yarn without having to commit to an entire skein has been something I’ve dreamt of. Knit Purl Minis came out earlier this year, and my dream became a reality.

For those that are new to Knit Purl Minis, they are a way to experience new yarn without commitments. Be warned though — our Minis include yarn you will want to purchase in bulk. Our first edition of Knit Purl Minis included North Light Fibers Water Street, which is some of the softest cashmere/merino yarn. I’ve committed multiple times to Water Street and don’t plan on ever stopping. We are now onto our second edition of Knit Purl Minis which includes the following:

How can one collect Knit Purl Minis? Well, you can either purchase them for $8, or we will gift them to you with any order $75 or more (while supplies last). I know it’s a little early to bring up, but the holidays are already on my mind. For those that are in need of gift ideas, Knit Purl Minis will make a great stocking stuffer!

November 04, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin
Tags: Kits New Yarns

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

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

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

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