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

Shibui Knits Maai

© Knit Purl

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

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


Here are a few practical knitting ideas for Maai:

© Shibui Knits

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

© Eric Mueller

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

© Julie Hoover

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

© chickpeastudio

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

December 23, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

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

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

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

Simple Tees

© Julie Hoover

I was going through my wardrobe the other day and realized my tee collection is nonexistent. I remember when I used to have a drawer full of tees that I could easily pick from, now I have four. My two favorites from the bunch were gifted to me. One is white with an image of Patti Smith wearing a tee with an image of Keith Richards, and the other is a pop art portrait of my past dog, Bijou. I’m slowly trying to rebuild my collection with tees that I will enjoy and wear all the time. Since I would like to keep my tee collection small, I plan on knitting most of them.

Here are a few patterns that are currently trying to make the cut:

Insouciant: A simple grab and go tee with a rolled neck and small side slits. This will easily become a favorite. (Photo above!)

© Olgajazzy

Francis: The fabric crosses over in the back, allowing the top to have a slight opening. I knit a tank similar to this top that I can’t get enough of.

© Juju Vail

Alcomar: I have a couple of high-waisted jeans and pretty skirts that are in need of a more feminine tee to join them, and Alcomar is that tee. The front is a simple stockinette stitch while the back is knit in a delightful lace pattern.

© Jessie Roselyn

Alen Shell: It’s hard to not look through patterns and not want to knit something for someone else. I found this boxy little tee that has a sleeve and collar detail that I really like. I already have someone in mind for this top. I might have to knit one for myself too.

August 19, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Woolfolk Sno

© Knit Purl

I'm pretty smitten with Sno. It's probably one of my favorite yarns. I am slowly working on Julie Hoover's Elmont pattern in color 1/15, with just the sleeves and yoke left to go. I started it before I hurt my wrists last year, and recently brought it back out after I recovered.

As much as I love that sweater and can't wait to finish it before the fall, I must say that got a little distracted when I saw the new Sno colors from Woolfolk.

© Knit Purl

The new colors are all great additions to the lineup: 1/11, a striking cream/navy, 12/15, an alluring maroon/black, and 1/17, a classic cream and mink.

One of the reasons why I love knitting with Sno is because of how amazing it feels. Sno is quite pleasing to knit with, and it makes a downy, soft fabric that you can't resist touching. I know it's been said before, but it really does feel comparable to cashmere. In addition how nice it feels, I cannot get enough of the marled colorways. The barber-poled strands add interest to any knitting project, and ultimately create a kaleidoscopic, mesmerizing fabric. 

© Knit Purl

The new colors are all equally amazing, but the one I want to start with immediately with is color 12/15, the maroon-black. There’s just something so intriguing about this color. It’s dark, but also interesting. My plans? League by Veronik Avery, with 12/15 as the main color, color 12 in Tynd for the saddles, and color 15 in Tynd for the sleeves. I love the idea of combining the marl with the solid colors it's derived from. 

 © Brooklyn Tweed

 

Here are some other ideas for using this beautiful marled yarn:

 

© Interweave Knits

Douillet Sweater by Noriko Ho. I love a good striped pullover, and I enjoy the visual patterning effect of using two different striped marls. 

© Melanie Berg

Mirkfallon by Melanie Berg. This shawl makes good use of the subtler marls, like color 1/2. The marl adds a bit of texture and depth to this beautiful piece, while allowing the lace to shine through.

© Woolfolk Yarn

Tryk Scarf, also by Melanie Berg. I would love to play with different colors in this scarf, perhaps using different colors of Sno for the blocks of contrast color, and Tynd for the main color. This scarf is a great combination of simple and challenging: it's mainly composed of mindless garter, with bits of intarsia to keep you on your toes. 

The splendid array of colors and irresistible softness make Sno a brilliant selection for your next project. 

 

August 15, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Risoni by The Loom

© Knit Purl

Next up on our Month of Lace yarn pick is Risoni by The Loom. The Loom has over 40 years in the silk yarn and fabric industry. They wanted to share their knowledge and passion by creating unique yarns for all to use. Risoni is one of the special yarns they came up with for weavers, knitters, and crocheters. Risoni is a thick-and-thin silk yarn, with slubs that add instant texture to the simplest of projects.


One of my pastimes is admiring projects on Ravelry to see the creative ideas other users concoct. During one of my daily doses, I found a woven scarf that incorporated Risoni in the design. The placement of the yarn allows the slubs to give the scarf a muted amount of texture that draws your eyes in. Another intriguing project I found used Risoni in the pattern Color Affection, by Veera Välimäki. This project gave me the idea of using Risoni in a pattern with stripes, but to only use it as one of the contrasting colors, to give the project a little extra flair.


Sometimes I forget that experimenting with yarn is an enjoyable part of the creative process. I tend to stick in my comfort zone and work on projects that I can foretell the results. Risoni reminded me to step out of my comfort zone and start to play around with yarn more, to relish the process and worry less about the product. I'm going to knit a few swatches holding Risoni double with different weights and fibers of yarn to see what kind of results it produces.


Here are a few free patterns that showcase Risoni:

© Knit Purl

Risoni Bias Scarf: A Knit Purl design. This chic, open knit scarf shows off Risoni in all its slubby glory. Using three balls of Risoni silk yarn, just knit until you run out!


Risoni Triangle Scarf: A simple asymmetrical wrap that is the perfect backdrop for Risoni. The pattern is written using two skeins, but you can effortlessly use more to make a larger wrap.

© RYN Yarn

Shifting Silk Scarf: This scarf includes two other Loom yarns. Each yarn is used in a section giving it the look of shifting from one yarn to another.

If you have any fun and creative ideas for Risoni, please do share. I love reading about what everyone else is working on.

July 15, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin