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’s 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

Julie Hoover's Frontenac

It was January of 2015 and I was just about to leave Knit Purl after interviewing as a sample knitter and something caught my eye. There was a sample on the floor of a dress that made me stop in my tracks and investigate. The dress was the Frontenac by Julie Hoover, a two-toned tunic style dress with a plush collar. It was knit in a super soft baby camel yarn I hadn’t heard of before, Jones & Vandermeer Clever Camel. I couldn’t decide on a color scheme so I decided to purchase the pattern and wait until the right yarn found me.

 Flash forward one year later. I was in the store trying to find yarn for a test knit I was going to do for a designer and I couldn’t find exactly what I needed. What I did see was the beautiful sample of the Frontenac on display again. I went up to it after a year of not seeing it and instantly wanted to find the right yarn for it. I started to walk around seeing what color choices I had as options, and then I saw the section of Jones & Vandermeer Clever Camel. This time there was a new color choice that sealed the deal.

I chose Carbon as the contrast color (back of dress) and Carbon Twist as the main color (front of dress). Carbon Twist is a mesmerizing marled yarn. This is the yarn that solidified my color combination for what will end up being a piece I will forever cherish. I’ve been taking my time on knitting this project because I want to make sure it’s perfectly modified to my measurements. So far I’ve only knit my gauge swatch in Carbon Twist and I’m so pleased with how the swatch turned out. Originally I was a little nervous that my color combination might not work, but after seeing my gauge swatch I knew I made the right choice.

I’m currently finishing up the Yoga Shawl and then I plan on diving into knitting the Frontenac. I’m going to do a few more gauge swatches, but I’m going to do them on my knitting machine instead. I’ve been wanting to start using my knitting machine again for certain projects, and I’m pondering about using it for the Frontenac. Whether I use my knitting needles or my knitting machine, this is the first project in a while that I’m extremely excited to start.

March 11, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Knitting Resolutions, Old and New

I started 2015 with one goal—to spend every day knitting, even if I only had time for a few stitches. That goal led to me learning how to do simple color work, knitting my first sweater, my first, second, third, and fourth experience with cables, and taking on a test knit for a chunky brioche poncho to end the year on.

Now that 2015 is coming to an end, it’s time for new knitting resolutions. My number one resolution is to complete all my work in progress projects. I currently have seven projects that I would like to see off my needles in 2016. Besides trying to control my need for having to start a new project every week, I would like to learn how to steek, and I really want to spend time with my knitting machine.

I am not the only one that learned a lot this year. I asked a few of the Knit Purl sales staff to share the knitting techniques they learned during 2015 and what they have lined up for next year.

 

Erin
What I learned in 2015 My 2016 Knitting Resolution

1. German short rows. My new favorite technique for doing short rows. So easy to execute, shows clearly where you turned, and a totally invisible finish.

2. Tubular cast-on. I fought it at first, but this cast on is so stretchy and clean-looking when casting on for a rib. It was also not as hard to execute as I originally thought. Ysolda Teague has the best tutorial video if you want to give the tubular cast-on a try.

In the next year I want to work on improving my Fair Isle colorwork, and figure out how to shape in brioche stitch so I can finish my UFO Opari Hat that's been in my stash for the last year.

 

Keli
What I learned in 2015 My 2016 Knitting Resolution
I got to take a twined knitting workshop with Nancy Bushin 2015 and it was fascinating! In 2016, I really want to try 2-color brioche!

 

Sarah Castles
What I learned in 2015 My 2016 Knitting Resolution

1. Provisional long tail tubular cast-on. A great cast-on method used to make a stretchy neck when knitting top-down.

2. Sewn bind-off.  Used to make a stretchier bind-off.

3. Entrelac. I helped a friend who had a question about the Entrelac technique. This was the first time doing this so I learned a little, but would like to improve on this.

I would like to improve my color work technique using a color in both hands.

 

Oleya
What I learned in 2015 My 2016 Knitting Resolution
This year, I learned the brioche stitch (just one color) and Japanese short rows. Steeking!

 

Please share some of the new techniques you learned in 2015, and what you have planned for next year. If you are in need of some help setting 2016 knitting resolutions, take a peek at our classes—we have some great ones coming up early next year!

December 30, 2015 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Not the Typical Gift-Giving List

‘Tis the season for knitting, knit-related gifts, and lists of gift ideas. Instead of listing random gift ideas I thought I would share what’s on my gift list, what I will be gifting fellow knitters, and the handmade goodies I will be gifting.

Laura’s List: I wouldn’t have a list if it wasn’t for my mom. She asks me for my Santa list every year, even though I’m well past the years of staying up all night waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney. In all honesty, I love that my mom is keeping Santa alive for my brother and I. It warms my heart that she keeps a part of our childhood thriving. So what made my list for this year?

Double-pointed needles: This might be a bit of an extravagant request, because it’s for a complete set of double pointed needles, but I thought I would try.
Stitch markers: I can never have too many stitch markers, especially since I’m always losing them.
Yarn: My mom is also a knitter and we have very similar taste, so I asked for this to be a surprise.
Calendar: I get one every year, and I’m always excited to see what the theme is.

Knitters in my life: These are some of my favorite gifts to give.

Kits: Last year I bought my mom a kit that I knew she would love, but probably wouldn’t treat herself to. It was the Jet Stream by Heidi Kirrmaier, and it came with luxurious Sexy B yarn. My mom was over the moon with this gift. This year, I’m going to get her another kit. It’s between the Cirrus Pullover kit or a personalized kit. I really like the idea of finding a pattern I know my mom would love and making a kit for her.
Super-special yarn: I like gifting my fellow knitters with yarn that they wouldn’t typically treat themselves with. This year, a few lucky knitters will be receiving some special skeins of yarn including Happy Mink, Casbah, and Water Street.
Knitting 101: Earlier this month, one of my friends asked if I would teach him how to knit. I agreed to teach him, but little does he know I have bought him all he needs to start his first project.

Handmade with love: All my friends requested knitted gifts from me this year.

Oddly enough, they all requested hats. I thought this was very fitting, since last week I wrote a post about how much I love knitting hats.
I also gifted myself with a special treat. I bought eight skeins of Clever Camel in Carbon Twist and Carbon, and will be knitting the Frontenac by Julie Hoover. Sometimes you need to treat yourself to something nice too.

What are some of your favorite knitting gifts to give or receive? We would love to hear your ideas!

 

December 18, 2015 by Laura Oriana Konstin