Reminiscing my Favorite Yarn Shop

April 13, 2010

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My husband’s job allowed us to travel all over the USA, and oh lucky lucky me, I therefore visited many different yarn shops.

I have visited  yarn shops in Philly, Manhattan, Boston, San Francisco, Orange County, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and many more places I have long forgotten.

Of all the yarn shops I have visited, my absolute one and only  favorite one is Closeknit on Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon.

Closeknit’s charisma and friendliness

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I still remember how I was warmly welcomed when I first set foot in Closeknit back in November 2006. Sally, the owner, was so incredibly friendly and I felt at home immediately.

Sally’s entire staff embraced me with friendliness, always asking with genuine interest what I was working on, and always quick to help when I would run into a problem with my knitting.

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Closeknit soon became my favorite place to hangout, to find inspiration and to connect with other knitters. Within Closeknit, I found and built my community and made many friends.

And the yarn selection…OH MY GOD…it simply swept me off of my feet!

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Literally all of my designs have been inspired by Closeknit’s incredible yarn selection.

I started as a customer at Closeknit’s and soon came to be an employee.

Needless to say that I miss Closeknit terribly.

What makes you frequent a yarn shop?

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Closeknit is all I desire in a yarnshop. In that cute little shop I have found:

  • Friendliness and warm welcome
  • Charismatic, helpful and very knowledgeable staff
  • Community
  • A cozy place to sit and knit comfortably
  • Killer selection of yarn, notions, books and patterns

I am so curious to hear what you look for in a yarnshop.

This morning, I asked this very same question on Twitter, and several knitters responded. But I want to hear more stories…

Make me happy and make me smile… tell me, dear knitter, what is your favorite yarn shop and why?

I would LOVE to hear your stories…

As for knitting: progress on the Nettie Hat

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Today I have been working on a third prototype of the upcoming Nettie hat.

I have decided that I want to publish two versions.

The first version will be in the round and is pretty straight forward.

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The second version, however, will have an interesting twist to it.

It will be knitted flat:

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Then seamed up the side with the mattress stitch technique:

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Finally,  I will have you bunch up the lower part of the hat:

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I like how it comes out:

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If this is too much fuzz for you, no worries.

Nettie Hat Version 1 will be knitted in the round, but will not have those gathers in the back.

Patience, my pretties! Nettie will soon be ready for publication!

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!

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Not a Novice Knitter anymore…

September 28, 2008

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Getting Purly With It

Adventures and Yarn Lustings of a Novice knitter

When I started this blog in april 2007, I certainly was a novice knitter. And untill recently I kept on believing that I still was a novice.

Methinks I have to rephrase my title. I ain’t no novice knitter no more.

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It is here in Pittsburgh where I learned how to knit in February 2006. It is here in Pittsburgh where I fully admit and acknowledge that I no longer can be called a novice knitter.

I knit, teach knitting, design a little bit and write patterns. This does not mean I am there yet, there is still so much to learn, still so much to discover and I am ready to take it to the next level, whatever that may be.

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I will go where ever the yarn and needles take me, I am an obedient follower and eager student!

So from this day on the title of this blog will read:

Getting Purly With It

Adventures and Yarn Lustings of a Passionate knitter

Ha!

Whatcha working on, passionate knitter Nancy?

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I have been a good girl. A very good girl! I have been pattern writing and test knitting.

And I have also been improving some patterns that were in the works. My Kidsilk Haze/Aura Poppy Flower is a project I never blogged about but has been in the works since last winter:

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Next up are the fingerless gloves Sally. I have been working on them to get several sizes, S/M/L and I have been figuring out how to write the pattern as clearly as possible:

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And here is a fine project which have the knitters at Ewe Can Knit simply go gaga. The black silk scarf which I am knitting for my neighbor. It is almost finished and I am very very pleased with it:

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I am very happy that this scarf is evoking the reaction I wish it to evoke because I have had lots of trouble with knitting this black scarf… but I will save that for another blog post.

Besides these little projects I have been dabbling around with the Polar yarn I purchased at Ewe Can Knit. I am so attracted by this yarn. Don’t know exactly why. It just captures my attention:

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And last but certainly not least, I picked up some Rowan Tapestry at Ewe Can Knit and promised the knitters that I would have a project all done and knit up by this Monday. I did not tell them what project, it is a surprise.

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Tomorrow’s blog post is going to be all about the classes I am teaching this Fall at Close Knit’s in Portland, OR. All of the above mentioned projects are featured in my classes so check back tomorrow for more indepth information!

In love with my Poppy Flowers

I am so in love with my Poppy Flowers… It makes me happy just looking at them! Last night when I went to sleep, I took off my rings and placed them in one of the flowers. And when I woke up, I smiled from ear to ear when I saw my rings in that bright colored knitted cuteness…

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Yes, knitting gives me that much joy.

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!


Free Pattern: Seed Stitch Cowl with Colinette Point 5

September 24, 2008

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I was playing around with some huge yarn called Colinette Point 5 and needle size US#19 and showed it to my co-worker Adrienne. She was immediately interested in the yarn, purchased some and two days later she presented me her version which you can see in the pictures. Sweet!

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Unlike me, Adrienne chose to work with needle size #17 because she wanted a more dense and closer knit cowl. Seeing her cowl made me change to needle #17 too!

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Allthough this very thick and thin yarn is totally out of my comfort zone, I have to admit that I really like it. The seed stitch gives it a very textural look and all the bright colors will surely liven up a dark winters day. Me like…

The pattern: all it takes is seed stitch!

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I just finished one cowl and purchased some big buttons at Ewe Can Knit in Pittsburgh, PA to go with it and I am very satisfied with the way it turned out. I had so much fun making the cowl that I took some bright blue Colinette point 5 with me to make another one!

Are you ready? Let’s go:

Yarn: Just one skein of Colinette Point 5 Super Bulky
Needle size: US 17
Gauge: 7.5 stitches over 4 inches measured over seed stitch

Step 1:

With needle size US #17, cast on 15 stitches:

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Step 2:

Row 1) K1 and then (P1, K1) till end of row

Step 3:

Repeat row 1 every row untill there are 60 inches of yarn left:

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Step 4:

Cast of loosely and sew on 3 or 5 buttons at one side of your cowl. Just make sure that the buttons are not too big. If they are too big, than you will have to make buttonholes. I chose buttons that are just the right size so I that I did not have to make button holes. Just try if you can push the buttons in between the stitches easily and you will be fine.

Weave in all ends. How easy was that???? And so quick!!!! It took me and Andrienne only 2 hours to complete our projects.

Choosing the right buttons

I don’t know about you but my buttons have got to be just the right buttons!

As you can see in the very first picture, Adrienne decided to work with 3 very large buttons. Because they were a bit too large, Adrienne made button holes.

Me on the other hand, I am far too lazy to make button holes. So I picked up three buttons that are large but also narrow enough to push through my stitches.

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You may not see it in the picture in which I am wearing the blue colored cowl, but there are no buttons. I am still on the hunt for just the right buttons for my blue cowl. I might decide to work with 3 large ones, or I might decide to work with 5 smaller ones.

How to wear your Super Bulky Seed Stitch Cowl?

You can button your cowl all the way up and simply burry your face in it and pull it up to cover your ears. Oh heavens when the cold really hits you hard!

Or you can just button up the first top buttons and leave the last button down untouched so the cowl will flare a bit over your shoulders:

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Is all up to you, yeah? You’re the boss

Now get yourself some Colinette Point 5 and make your own cowl. The best part is that you are done with this project in just 2 hours!!!

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Thanks, Adrienne, for modeling and for “co-designing” this seed stitch cowl!

And for you, my dear reader, thanks for visiting once again and untill the next entry!

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Finished: Bamboo Vine Lace Tunic

July 2, 2008

Bamboo Vine Lace Tunic

Pattern: My own design.
Yarn: 3 skeins of Farmhouse Bonnie’s Bamboo
Needles: Addi’s circ 32″ US 7
Cast on date: Friday, June 27, 2008
Cast off date: Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bamboo, what a wonderful fiber!

I am in love with bamboo… and I am in love with my bamboo tunic! It shines so beautifully and its heavy drape I heart. I am so incredibly inspired by this strong yet elegant and feminine fiber.

Inspiration for this tunic I found in a book called Knitting Lingerie Style. While browsing through the patterns, I found this:

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I was especially taken by the little bit of Vine Lace used by the designer in the neckline and bottomline. So I took that idea and incorporated it into my own design:

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Bamboo is so incredibly drapey. It is the drapiest yarn I have ever worked with. You can see in these pictures what it does:

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But honestly, the photos do not do it justice. You should see how it hangs elegantly around the body and how it flows and moves while you walk. I am so taken by this fiber. More than I have ever been by any other fiber.

Bamboo grows considerably after washing!

Please keep in mind that bamboo’s gauge changes considerably after washing. It grows in length as well as in width so please do yourself a favour and make a gauge swatch and then WASH it before you measure your gauge! That way you will not face unpleasant surprises when you wash your finished garment for the first time!

Also I have come to the conclusion that bamboo has a very strong will of its own. It is not only heavy, but it has a heavy drape. So forget about very fitted garments in this fiber!

Very content with the outcome

At first I was not so taken by the outcome of my project. This however, changed once I washed it and blocked it! I am so content!

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Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!


Excited by Linen

June 11, 2008

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First of all thank you so much for all the nice comments on my top “Attitude”. It is so incredibly rewarding and so nice to receive compliments from other knitters!

Now that I have completed a project, it is time to dream about the next one… What next one? I still have so many unfinished projects! Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know…

Can I at least play with some yarn, then? Make a swatch? And just dream?

Euroflax by Louet: Wet Spun Linen

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I have never ever given it any thought. I have touched it, arranged it neatly in the yarnshop, sold it to costumers but never ever was I interested myself. That is untill yesterday.

When I passed by it, it just talked to me. I picked up a little skein and I just had to take it home with me!

At first this Euroflax by Louet seemed a bit harsh to the touch, but once washed with a bit of conditioner and then thrown in the dryer (yes, you read that correctly, just toss it in the dryer) with some fabric softener sheets, it is just fine to work with. And the sheen… it has a beautiful sheen to it!

I quickly handwound the skein into a ball and eagerly casted on… I just love the way it feels… it is cool to the touch, has a sturdy feel to it, and I am simply taken by this beautiful sportsweight linen…

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Day dreaming about numerous possibilities

Ah… this stage in the creative process I like almost the best. Nothing is set in stone yet, all is still fluid and the possibilities plentiful.

What size needles to use for my swatches? Recommended needle size #2 to #3 or use a much bigger needle for a more open knit?

What garment comes to mind when knitting up my swatch? Tanktop? Tunic? Short sleeves? Long sleeves? Or no sleeves at all?

All I know at this stage is that I want a summery garment with an fairly open knit so that it will let in cool Summer breezes! Oh the thought of feeling the coolness of linen on my skin during a hot Summer’s day!

I want a garment that hangs freely and relaxed on my body, no tightness, no fittednes. It will be a leisurely garment, that has room for movement and of course it must have that elegant and feminine touch. Mandatory.

Now if you all will excuse me… I got some design brewing to do…

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Thank you for reading and untill the next entry!


Finished: A top called “Attitude”

June 7, 2008

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Pattern: My own design based on Tubey! I named the top: Attitude.
Yarn: 5 skeins of Venezia Worsted
Needles: Addi’s circ 24″ US 5 and #7
Cast on date: November 21 , 2007
Cast off date: June 7 , 2008

Hurray! She is finished!

My, my… It sure has been a journey with this one! Because of all the attitude this top gave me, I accordingly named her “Attitude”.

Readers who have been frequenting this blog for a while, might remember it all started lasted november when I had an idea for a top design.

Choosing Venezia Cascade Worsted

My design was inspired by Cassie Rovitti’s Tubey Sweater as seen on Knitty.com.
After I drew out the design, I started swatching, casted on and soon enough I was well on my way.

Start of the shrug on dpns finished shrug Ribbing k1,p1 full twist HF4


Trials and Tribulations

This top gave me some serious attitude. The first bump in the road was when I increased waaaay too many stitches for gathering!

Too much pleads

Ooff, all the ripping back that I had to do… numerous times!

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Seriously… this project gave me a headache more than once…

Happy with the endresult

Looks good, huh? I am happy!

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I am so glad to finalize this project… It took me a long time to finish it!

If you want to read all entries on this project click here.

Here is a close up:

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Yay, I am so proud of myself!

Thanks for sticking with me on this one everybody… and thanks you so much for your tips and encouraging words. I really appreciate that, you all kept me going.

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Thank you for reading and untill the next entry!


Here we go again

June 2, 2008

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For the past couple of days I have been working on my grey top… I wish I could write to you this: “Hurray, she’s finished!”.

However… I lament. Dang it. Here we go again with this top…. Again not to my liking!

I made too much side increases at the end which resulted in way too much flare! Sigh. I know with how many intervals to increase to avoid too much flare, yet I did not apply it.

I could leave it like this, and simply don’t care. But I know I will not wear it. And dang it, I am going to wear this thing!!! So rip rip rip it went. AGAIN.

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That’s what you get when you want to knit a garment without a pattern!

Chase away the grey

Needless to say that I am not in a good mood tonight. I am so done with this top! “Stop it with the attitude already”, I want to say to her! Bah…

Oh well, let’s chase the grey away by looking at some pictures I took last weekend!

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Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!