Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Yarn Shop Crawl, day 4


A Loom with a View, Newburyport, MA

A Loom with a View

Before heading out to Maine, I had one final shop to visit in Newburyport, MA. A Loom with a View is a small yarn shop with a big presence. I arrived at opening time on Thursday morning and enjoyed a few minutes with Elaine and Betsy before their morning class arrived.

Vintage button
In addition to a diverse collection of yarn, they also offer a selection of vintage buttons. One of their customers shops estate and antique sales hunting for unusual buttons and provides them to the store. I ended up buying this gorgeous button with red glass.

After leaving A Loom with a View, I drove to Kennebunk, ME for a quick stop at The Ball and Skein. I arrived just as the morning UFO / Pick-Your-Own-Project class finished. I was impressed with the bright, natural light in the class area and selection of local yarns.

Knitwit Yarn Shop, Portland, ME

Knitwit Yarn Shop

My next stop was Portland, ME and Knitwit Yarn Shop. This unique shop reminds me of an old general store. The long, narrow shop is lined with tall, wood shelving and at the back is a knitting bar with stools (love!). Knitwit, as the original flagship store for Quince & Co. yarns, carries the full range of yarns and colours. It was a delight to meet Suzie who was so enthusiastic about the Flower Bell Stole that she wore it around the store for a while. I left with a skein of Swans Island fingering and a commemorative Knitwit project bag printed with their “yarn on the brain” artwork.

Portland Fiber Gallery

Ray spinning at the Portland Fiber Gallery

A few blocks away is Portland Fiber Gallery, a spinning and weaving studio and gallery space. If you can’t make it in person, you can purchase their hand-dyed fibers and yarn through their etsy shop.

Copper Buttons by Ray

Copper Buttons by Ray

Several avid spinners were on-site while I visited, including Ray who also makes stunning metal buttons. I couldn’t leave without these gorgeous copper hearts.

My final stop of the day was at Purl Diva in Brunswick, ME. I was welcomed by owner Ellen and Loki (the friendly shop dog). Ellen shared her difficult decision to close her shop after running it for the past seven years. She’s moving on to new adventures and is currently running her closing out sale. You can stay up-to-date on the store’s Facebook page. Wishing you all the best in your next endeavors Ellen!

Yarn Shop Crawl, day 3


Today was my day for visiting yarn shops in the Boston area to promote my designs. The first stop of the morning was at Black Sheep Knitting Co. in Needham, MA. This shop was recommended by Pam at Westport Yarns. A smaller shop, Black Sheep was busy when I arrived. They offer classes most days and one was in progress so I didn’t take any photos. Surrounded by historical buildings, Black Sheep Knitting Co. has a fantastic atmosphere.

Newbury Yarns

Newbury Yarns

From there I traveled to Newbury Yarns in the heart of Boston. Nestled below street level in an upscale shopping area, Aldrich Robinson has created an oasis of calm and yarn in the busy city. Newbury Yarns has just moved from the space next door and are still settling in but that hasn’t stopped local knitters from inhabiting the well-lit table in the back of the shop. Most of the samples at the front of the shop are of Aldrich’s designs.

Another Yarn, Winchester, MA

Another Yarn

Next stop was at Another Yarn in Winchester, MA. The shop is tucked away in a small plaza, next to Pairings Wine and Food (who have some great cheeses – a few followed me to my hotel). Another Yarn is an open shop with lots of seating and a wide selection of yarns and books. I found a “new to me” lace stitch dictionary that I was happy to pick up to tuck into my knitting bag.

From there it was off to Sit ‘n Knit in Melrose, MA. Tuck into a row of shops across from the commuter train station, this little shop has a vintage feel. The main room contains the commercial yarns and the back room features yarns for baby garments.

The Woolpack

The Woolpack

The Woolpack in Acton, MA was next on the list and is quite a busy shop. I received a warm welcome from both the staff and customers and managed to knit a few more rows on my Rhinebeck sweater while there. It was difficult to tear myself away from the cozy atmosphere but I still had one more stop for the day.

The final shop was Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe in Goffstown, NH where I finally managed to find some lace weight Lobsterpot cashmere. I arrived a few minutes before the shop closed for the day but Margaret (co-owner) was welcoming and I managed a quick browse through the nooks and corners in this split-level shop.

It was a long but very rewarding day.

Yarn shop crawl, day 2


Today, before heading off to Massachusetts, I fit in visits to two last shops in Connecticut.

The first stop of the day was Creative Fibers in Windsor, CT. Creative Fibers has a great selection of yarns and many lovely samples. I’m wishing I could crochet and make one of the fantastic scarfs out of Koigu KPPPM like they had on display.

From there I moved on to my second stop at Knit & Pearls in Avon, CT.

Knit & Pearls

This little gem of a shop offers a great selection of beads, as well as yarn. While there I was introduced to the beautiful hand dyed yarns of Yarns to Inspire. Janet Deneen, staffing Knit & Pearls when I visited, offers her range of yarns on Etsy as well as in the shop.

Branching Path Cowl


Branching Path Cowl
The Branching Path Cowl, my newest pattern, is now live.

Wrap your neck in lush alpaca. This cowl, written to be worked on circular needles in the round, can easily be knit using dpns or magic loop. The length of the cowl can be easily customized by adding/removing stitch repeats.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

Yarn shop crawl, Day 1


Yarn bombing at Nancy O in Ridgefield, CT

Fabulous yarn-bombed tree at Nancy O

When planning my fall vacation for the week after Rhinebeck, I decided to explore some of New England. I’ve always wanted to visit this part of the US and decided to combine fall foliage viewing with yarn shop visits to promote my designs.

Today’s plan was to visit shops in western Connecticut. I knew I had arrived at my first stop of the day when I spotted a yarn-bombed tree.

Nancy O in Ridgefield, CT

Nancy O Knitting Studio

Nancy O Knitting Studio in Ridgefield, CT is housed on the main floor of a lovely house. When I arrived, a knitting class was in progress in the lounge area of the shop. Nancy O’Connell was most welcoming, happy to discuss her stock and the types of projects her customers like to knit. When I explained my planned “yarn crawl”, she was pleased to provide a flyer from the Western Connecticut Yarn Council Yarn Crawl and suggested my next stop.

Visting with Pam (left) of Westport Yarns

Visting with Pam (left) of Westport Yarns

Once I stepped through the door at Westport Yarns, I immediately understood Nancy’s recommendation. Pam Grushkin, the manager, made me feel welcome and I found myself enjoying a knit and chat with Pam’s daughter (Happy Birthday!) and her sister Nancy (who makes beautiful glass beads, pins and jewelry). In between helping a steady stream of customers with knitting and crocheting questions, Pam very graciously reviewed my patterns. She also offered some further suggestions of shops to visit as I make my way into Massachusetts. After a pleasant hour knitting, I packed up and got back on the road.

Displays at Knit New Haven

Displays at Knit New Haven

My final stop of the day was at Knit New Haven, a bright, welcoming shop in the heart of New Haven. Julia Bogardus, one of the three women who own the shop, introduced me to the lusciousness of 100% mink combined with the colour artistry of Alchemy Yarns. Absolutely divine!

Lotus Yarn Mimi Hand Painted

Lotus Yarn Mimi Hand Painted

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting a few more shops in Conneticut before heading onto Massachusetts.

Flower Bell Stole – at long last.


Flower Bell Stole
I’m thrilled to announce the release of Flower Bell Stole, my newest pattern.

This stole features several raised Japanese stitch patterns that form a beautiful “flower bell” edging. The stole starts with the edging; the body stitches are picked up off that and worked to the middle. The stitches are put on waste yarn and the second half is worked. Finally, the two pieces are grafted together. The pattern includes instructions for two stole sizes and a scarf.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

I’ve been interviewed!


Robin Hunter has posted an interview with me on her fantastic blog. Once a week she posts interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. (That’s from her blog – I’m pretty excited to be counted as an interesting person.)

You can check out the interview here.

Whitman Cowl


Whitman Cowl
Please welcome Whitman Cowl to the Eclectic Closet pattern family.

Show off the beauty of your hand-painted yarn with this simple, graphic, lace pattern. The stitch pattern used for the body is a garter stitch version of the lace pattern “Leaves of Grass.”

The first edging is knit as a long strip. Stitches are then picked up along the length and the knitting is joined in the round to work the body of the cowl. Finally, additional stitches are cast on and the second edging (which is slightly different than the first) is worked, attaching the edging to the body as you knit.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

New Tech Cowl


My newest pattern, New Tech Cowl has just been released and is now available on Ravelry.

New “Tech” (Techniques) Cowl is a great way to use up leftover yarn or single skeins. The knitter starts with one block and then the rest of the cowl is built along the circumference from that first block until the last block connects the cowl into a circle. After that, the edges are picked up and knit and voila, there’s a cowl with no sewing to be done, just ends to weave in.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now!

Vieux Carré Stole


I’m pleased to present the Vieux Carré Stole – now live on Ravelry!

Vieux Carré is a rectangular stole worked in sections. The first edging is knit separately and then stitches are picked up along the length to work the body of the stole. Finally, additional stitches are cast on and the second edging (which is slightly different than the first) is worked, the attached edging effectively casting off the body stitches while the edging is worked.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now!

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Audrey II

Angular Path Scarf

Cartouche Stole

Fossetta Cowl

Fossetta Hat

Sargaço Shawl

Whitman Hat

Every Which Way Cowl

Every Which Way Hat

Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts

Gothic Forest Scarf

Valencia Scarf

Branching Path Cowl

Flower Bell Stole

Whitman Cowl

New Tech Cowl

Vieux Carré Stole

Stacks Socks

Anna Perenna Shawlette

Taming of the Fox

Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves

Amplification Stole

Combs Cowl

Mindfulness Cowl

Tipsy Scarf

Gridwork Scarf
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