Labor Day Weekend Knits

© Andrea Mowry

Labor Day weekend is right around the corner, that means a three-day weekend of knitting, grilling, and hanging out with family and friends. It is supposed to be clear and sunny here in Oregon so many of us at Knit Purl are taking advantage of this beautiful extra day off and heading to the beach or the mountains.


I am planning on spending the whole day at the beach soaking up the last bit of summer sun and starting on some autumn knits! Right now I am debating on three different projects: Take Flight Mitts, Shinko Hat, and Polka Dot Scarf.

 

© Andrea Mowry

Andrea Mowry’s Take Flight Mitts came out last year and I have been dying to make them! They are a quick knit and only take 1 skein of North Light Fibers Water Street (60% fine merino and 40% cashmere). I am thinking of knitting them up in Goldenrod colorway because they will pop with my navy blue peacoat during the fall and winter months.

 

© Kirsten Johnstone

Another project I would like to start this Labor Day weekend is Kirsten Johnstone’s new hat pattern, Shinko. It seems like a fun portable brioche knit. I am thinking of knitting it up in Woolfolk’s luxurious worsted weight yarn Far in color #1.

 

© Churchmouse Yarns

Besides Take Flight Mitts and Shinko I would like to work on Churchmouse’s gorgeous Polka Dot Scarf in Isager’s Alapca 1. I love that it is a seasonless accessory, I can wear it all winter long and into spring and summer. The best part is that it looks timeless, in twenty years I’ll still be wearing it! It will probably take me longer than a weekend to finish this project but I would like to get a good start on it at least.  


What knit project do you plan on working on during Labor Day weekend?

 

 

August 28, 2017 by Lacey Link

Summer Knits

© Knit Purl

We’ve been experiencing the hottest week of the year so far here in Portland. The entire city is abuzz about it, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re putting our needles down. We are knitting right on through the heat, and we’re doing it in style. I cannot deny my love of wool, but summer knitting is all about cotton, silk and linen—fibers that breathe, and feel cool to the touch.

 

© Carrie Bostick Hoge - Penny Tank

I couldn’t possibly discuss summer knits without mentioning my absolute favorite Shibui yarn. Anyone with access to my wardrobe will know that I’m a sucker for yarns of the Tweed variety. Shibui’s stylish Twig mimics the speckled appearance of a tweed without that warm, fuzzy, rustic feel of a traditional tweed. Made up of 46% Linen, 42% Silk, and just a tiny 12% touch of wool, it feels great both to knit and wear on a warm summer day. It’s classified as a sport weight, but I have definitely worked it into a fingering weight pattern or two. This summer I knit Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Penny Tank, in the Brick colorway on a US size 4 needle, for a dense, yet breathable fabric that softens brilliantly with each wear. If you prefer a more open gauge, Shibui’s Slope is an elegant summer basic that can be dressed up or down.

 

© Oliver James Brooks - Kiyomi Burgin's Heya Tank

There are two new yarns in the shop from DanDoh this summer. Their Silk + yarn is a shining star. Another tweedy yarn in a 76% silk, 24% cotton blend with a subtle silky shine that peeks out in the sunlight. I have been having a summer romance with Silk + since the moment it arrived in the shop. Like a schoolgirl crush, I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I had it on the needles. I customized Kiyomi Burgin’s new Heya tank by adding a one-inch hem to the bottom edge, and a garter stitch selvedge edge for simpler seaming. The simple stockinette is a great canvas for displaying the depth of color and texture in the yarn, and also makes for great mindless knitting.

 

© Cocoknits - Paulina

I haven’t knit with DanDoh’s Cotton Fine yet, but I’ve been dreaming about it knit in Julie Weisenberger’s Paulina crop top—a lovely piece to wear over a summer dress. You can also mix and match colors with the yarn held double in a piece like Olgajazzy’s Oshima pullover. My next venture with DanDoh just might be to knit Yumiko Alexander’s River Ripples poncho or Forest weave pullover—two elegant pieces inspired by nature.

 

© Shibui Knits - Eames

Shibui Knit’s Rain is our go-to 100% cotton yarn. With bright sheen and sophisticated chainette ply, even the simplest of stockinette stitch yields an elegant, high-end fabric, as is evident in Shellie Anderson’s Eames, a modern short-sleeve cardigan from Shibui Knits’ Spring/Summer 2017 collection. A Long-sleeve version is included in the pattern too, if you’d like to wear it into Fall—which always seems to be just around the corner. Cotton wears well, whisks away moisture, and can even be machine washed. Start with a gentle cycle! I always recommend washing a large swatch first to figure out the perfect settings for your garments.

 

© Shibui Knits - Athens

If you still haven’t ventured to try Shibui Knits’ new Reed yet, it’s definitely worth it—a refined improvement on their discontinued Linen. Knit by itself, it yields a supremely elegant drape as seen in Shellie Anderson’s Athens Tank. Pair it with Shibui Knits’ new Lunar for extra depth, sheen, and super soft feel. No one at Knit Purl could resist Shellie’s Siena cardigan. We’re all knitting one!


Did you know you can search for yarns on our website by fiber? Just click “Yarns,” then “By Fiber,” and explore all of our cotton, linen and silk blends. Don’t let the heat keep your knitting down! There is still plenty of time to fit in a few more summer pieces.


What are your favorite yarns and patterns to knit in the summer?

 

 

North Light Fibers, Our Favorite American Made Yarns

© Knit Purl

Knitting with American-made yarn always seems bring me closer to my own American heritage. There’s a special joy I find in hand-knitting with fibers that have been made close to home. I feel more connected with my nation’s rich industrial textile history and the women drove it. Knitting American-made garments also help me strengthen my local and national economy, all while supporting small businesses and small agriculture. Fibers manufactured entirely in the USA also cut out the need for excessive overseas shipping of goods, thus I get to reduce my carbon footprint as an excellent bonus.

 

© North Light Fibers

If you haven’t tried knitting with North Light Fibers yarns, I encourage you to do so. With “100% made in the USA” stamped proudly on their tag, their entire selection of yarns are produced on Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The Micro Yarn Mill, situated right in the middle of their family-owned farm, takes the fiber straight “from shear to skeins.” They tumble, wash, pick, dye, de-hair, card, spin, ply and finish their yarns right on the island.

 

© North Light Fibers

Given the seasonal nature of the island, Block Island’s economy is limited to the summer season, and jobs opportunities are limited in the cooler months. The mill and farm at North Light Fibers create jobs and reinforces the small local island economy year-round. Our friends at North Light Fibers make it their mission to prove that despite the island’s seasonal nature, year-round manufacturing is not only possible but a viable economic boost. If that’s not enough good work, they also partner with communities near and far — from collaboration with local island knitters and weavers to partnering with Women for Women, a nonprofit group that helps women in war torn countries.

 

© Tolt Yarn and Wool

We have three charming yarns available from North Light Fibers. Atlantic, made from 100% Falkland Island’s Wool, is a bouncy worsted weight yarn that surprises when taken from skein to swatch. A yarn that feels strong and hearty in skein form creates a lovely, soft fabric with excellent stitch definition. Fellow Knit Purl staffer and blogger Em Hanna and I both knit ourselves some Lambing Mitts with only one skein of Atlantic each. Atlantic’s subtle heathery colors work wonders with the simple to knit sequence texture. I’d also love to try it out on Julie Hoover’s Dafne pullover for a great layering piece this fall.

 

© Knit Purl

Just like it’s worsted weight counterpart, Water Street also can seem deceptively simple in skein form, but absolutely astounds when knit. The softness of the cashmere balances with the hearty merino to create a soft, yet hearty fabric. Not quite a tweed, the subtle color variation throughout this 40% cashmere / 60% super Fine Merino make it unlike any other yarn we have in the shop. A simple mock-cable in tincanknits’s Gather cowl (short version) would make a great two-skein project for summer travel. Grab a third skein for the matching hat!

 

© Quince & Co

Just in time for our Month of Lace, we’ve just bumped up our supply of Forever Lace, the super-soft 80% baby alpaca 20% Bamboo blend yarn offered by North Light Fibers. The touch of bamboo will help this alpaca yarn maintain its shape overtime. With great tensile strength, it’s even recommended for weaving warps. I’d knit it in Hanna Fettig’s light-weight Wispy Cardigan or Assemblage's Kozue, a simple, yet refined scarf. During the month of July, you can enjoy 10% off Forever Lace, and all of our other Lace-weight yarns to celebrate all yarns light and airy.

 

What yarns do you knit with the feel closer to your heritage? Have you thought about the impact your favorite yarns might make on your local community?

July 03, 2017 by Charli Barnes

Sheila's WIP

© Knit Purl

This week we interviewed Sheila, Knit Purl’s merchandising guru and one of our fabulous sales floors staff. We asked her about what projects she has recently finished and what is she working on. Sheila said she has been on a colorwork kick ever since she read Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition. She loves that it tells the story about the history of colorwork. “Colorwork keeps my interest without being complicated. I can still watch TV and not lose track of what design pattern I am knitting.”

When we got Knitting from the North in the store Sheila was the first one to purchase it because of the modern colorwork patterns. Since then she has made three patterns from the book.  She just finished the Arrow Pom Hat in Sunday Knits Nirvana in colors Cream and Teal (photo below).

© Knit Purl

Sheila is now working on Barley Twist Cowl by Hilary Grant in Sunday Knits Nirvana (3 ply sport weight) yarn in the colors Earth and Cream (first photo). Sheila said she picked Sunday Knits for her recent projects because all of the color options in Sunday Knits' yarn lines. Knit Purl carries nineteen different colorways of Nirvana, thirty different colorways of Eden, and eighteen different colorways of Angelic. This gives you sixty-seven different colors to choose from, to make your colorway projects unique and one of a kind. Sunday Knits is also one of Sheila’s favorite yarn lines in the store, she loves it because it is pleasurable to work with and is the perfect weight for most of the projects she knits.


If you were knitting Barley Twist Cowl, which colors of Sunday Knits would you pick?

 

 

March 27, 2017 by Kira Sassano

Charli’s Watkins Cardigan

© Knit Purl

Charli, who is head of e-commerce and customer service at Knit Purl, recently finished knitting Watkins. Watkins is a chunky-weight colorwork cardigan designed by Whitney Hayward for Quince & Co.


Charli told me that she and Whitney are actually both from the same hometown in Missouri. The pattern was inspired by a nearby state park called Watkins Woolen Mill State park.

 

© Knit Purl

Charli used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, double stranded, to achieve the gauge. Her main color is Soot, with accents of Cast Iron, Blanket Fort and Hayloft. The cardigan is knit seamlessly, from the bottom up in the round and then steeked. This was Charli’s first time steeking, she was intimidated at first but got the hang of it quickly. The pattern comes with illustrated step-by-step instructions, geared towards the first time steeker. After reading those and watching a youtube video or two, Charli successfully steeked the cardigan. I love the colors she chose and I think it turned out beautiful. She is really happy with it!


Whitney Hayward is based in Portland, Maine. You can see her Ravelry page here, and follow her on Instagram here.

 

February 27, 2017 by Kira Sassano

WIP - Glacier Park Cowl

 

© Knit Purl


Today I am highlighting a work in progress that I started recently. I have been really excited about doing a colorwork project. I decided to knit the Glacier Park Cowl after meeting the designer, Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks, when she came into the store recently. She is a wonderful Oregon based designer and a very friendly person. You may recognize her name from the Camp Wilkerson shawl she designed, which we featured in Shibui Dune. Caitlin has published a handful of original patterns and is clearly very passionate about knitwear and design. I am excited to see what she comes out with next!


The pattern calls for fingering weight and I have been wanting to knit with the Sunday Knits 3ply yarns. I chose to knit the cowl in 4 colors instead of 2, mixing Sunday Knits Angelic and Eden. Angelic is 75% Ultra-Fine Merino, 25% Softest Angora and Eden is 100% Extra-Fine Merino Wool. My main color is Angelic in Midnight, a dark heathery blue. The main contrast color will be Eden in Bay, a seafoam green. Then I will use Angelic in Dijon and a bit of Shibui Pebble in Sidewalk as accent colors.

 

© Caitlin Hunter


I worked my gauge swatch in the two main colors and cast on to size 3, 24" circular needles. For my cast on, I used the twisted german to make the edge extra stretchy and then started the 2x2 rib. This was my first time using a Norwegian knitting thimble and once I got the hang of it I found it very helpful.  So far I am loving the yarn and I can't wait to start the colorwork part of the pattern.

 

 

February 06, 2017 by Kira Sassano

Favorite Cable Patterns

© Laura Oriana Konstin

I bought myself a present a couple of weeks ago that came in the form of the new Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook. I’m not going to say much about the book because I will be dedicating an entire blog post to it at a later date. I will say, that if you haven’t purchased this book yet pause from reading this post and go purchase it now. Norah’s talent is undeniable and I’m beyond ecstatic that she was ever so kind to create a wonderful book for the knitting community.

My fascination with cables started three years ago. I was headed to Ireland for an ultimate road trip with one of my friends. Before I left, my mom requested that I return with a sweater. At the time I didn’t realize how impossible my mom’s request was. We looked everywhere for a sweater. Every town we stopped in, I would ask around to see where I could purchase one. We were two days away from leaving Ireland to make our way to Northern Ireland, and I was empty handed. I hopped on the internet and started my online search for where to find a handmade sweater in Ireland. I magically landed on a forum that spoke about this lady named Sarah who was located on Inis Mór (part of the Aran Islands). Apparently, luck was on my side because it just so happens we were headed there the next day.

When we arrived on Inis Mór, we located a horse and buggy to take us to Dún Aonghasa (a must-see fort). Our driver mainly spoke Irish (Gaelic) so I started to fear I wouldn’t be able to find the sweater I was on the hunt for. After playing a hilarious game of charades I turned to my friend and said, “We are never going to find Sarah”. Apparently, I said the magic word because the moment I said “Sarah”, he knew what I was looking for. It just so happens that Sarah is located right where one would get dropped off when going to see Dún Aonghasa.

I was beaming with joy that I was finally going to find a sweater for my mom. I hadn’t anticipated the greatness of Sarah’s talent. We walked into her quaint shop and started chatting with her. I eventually told her of my journey that led me to her. I finally mentioned I was looking for a sweater for my mom and she pulled out this beautiful moss green pullover with magical cables. I about lost it when I saw the sweater. It was the first time I had seen a sweater with so many styles of cables perfectly blended together. It was at this moment that my obsession for cables started.

I love how the simplest of projects can be transformed by the addition of a cable flowing down a sleeve of a top, like the T-Shawl. Then there are the sweaters that have a multitude of chunky cables that look modern and chic. Whenever I see cables in a pattern, I want to wrap myself up in them. There is something instantly cozy and comforting about a cable sweater. There is a little secret about cables that I’m going to share with everyone. They are deceivingly easy to create. Don’t be fooled like me. For the longest time, I thought that knitting something with cables would be too difficult to accomplish. I mean they always look so intricate, how could they be easy to knit? Well, the secret is out, they are much easier to knit than I had ever anticipated. If you are a cable newbie, A Very Braidy Cowl is the perfect starting place.

 

Here is a list of some fun and enticing cable patterns:

© The Gift of Knitting

© Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood

Byway

 

© Joji Locatelli

Cozy head, happy head

 

© Jared Flood / Norah Gaughan

Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan

 

© Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood

Hawser

 

© Andrea Mowry

Winter Honey

October 28, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Picture Perfect

© Visual Hunt

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


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


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


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

© Laura Oriana Konstin

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

© Laura Oriana Konstin

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

© Laura Oriana Konstin

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

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

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

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

Instagram: OrianaLK

Ravelry: OrianaLK

October 07, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

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

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