Kyoto to Portland: amirisu Visits HK!

Posted by on May 22, 2015 / Leave a Comment

Have you ever looked at a Japanese knitting pattern? In case you are not Japanese, you probably felt like Bill Murray in ‘Lost in Translation’ by Sofia Coppola: Intrigued, stumped and slightly confused. Most likely Scarlet Johansson won’t be joining you to try and make sense of everything and life in general. But we actually have something better to offer!

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The two fabulous ladies behind amirisu knitting magazine are making their way from Kyoto to Portland for a weekend in June. Meri and Tokuko are bringing a trunk show of recent amirisu pieces for you to look at and will be teaching a workshop on how to read Japanese knitting patterns. The demand was so high that the workshop is already sold out, but don’t feel like you are missing out: On Thursday, June 4th from 4:30pm to 8:30pm Happy Knits is hosting a meet&greet with the Amirisu ladies, including refreshments (obviously!)! Stop by to talk to the ladies and explore knitting in a different culture than your own – and for the snacks, of course.

Prepping for Patio Season

Posted by on April 20, 2015 / Leave a Comment

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A basket full of Lina!

Hey friends! If you happen to live in the Pacific Northwest, I hope that you had some great Patio Time and maybe even barbecued this weekend. Failure to have done so would technically be a crime! Anyway, besides spending half of my paycheck at the birthday sale of my favourite local fabric shop I also swatched new yarns that we just got in/ will get in soon! In the spirit of the season it is a whole bunch of natural fibre goodness in the linen and cotton category (and maybe even viscose and ramie…psst, sit tight and wait!). Since I’m a nice girl, I will share my experiences with you.

New to our summer yarn family from Swedish Yarns is Järbo Garn Lina, a soft cotton and linen blend which I am using for our newest exclusive Happy Knits pattern by Miss Emma. Stay tuned, it will be released soon – after I am done with the test knit. All I can say now is that it is positively adorable and you will want to make it RIGHT NOW. While I am knitting away I can’t stop imagining kid and baby clothes out of this yarn – the neutral colours would look equally good on girls and boys.

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Villeneuve Tank Top in Flax

Last summer we started carrying Flax and Good Earth and both yarns became instant favourites, both of customers and staff. This time around, we added new colours to the mix!

You might remember the Villeneuve tank top Emma and I knit up last year out of the Allhemp3 and the Flax, respectively. We are really excited to soon be able to wear them again, but there are, for course, more tops to be made! I picked out these two colour combinations of the Flax for the Striped Summer Shirt on the Purlbee.

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Flax in Raspberry, Pearl, White and Pewter, Adriatic, Silver.

Also on my list: the Tulip Tank Top. Aaaannd the Cap Sleeve Lattice Top.

Good Earth is so soft and the drape is phenomenal. I did a little research on tops to make with this fabulous yarn and came across the patterns Brigitte Dress and Bris; both patterns (the Brigitte Dress especially, with its super simple and straightforward directions) sound like something you can knit up while you are having an afterwork drink with your friends on your favourite patio.

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Good Earth and Good Earth Multi in Sandscape, Desert, Jade, Aswirl, Custard, Sail. 

Fashion is Dead: A Spring Trend Report

Posted by on April 6, 2015 / 1 Comment

What a weird way to start a trend report! Let me begin with introducing you to Li Edelkoort (unless you already know who she is). You could say that Li ‘invented’ trend scouting or forecasting and made it her business to sell carefully researched and curated information (from all aspects of human life, i.e. politics, environment, socio-economics, culture, architecture, art, you name it) to fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands.

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Emma, very en vogue with her Cashmere Kätzchen

Twice a year her trend agency Trend Union publishes a dossier containing trend forecasts on colours, styles and themes. Needless to say, other companies followed and so I ended up working for a trend agency in Paris, fresh out of school and excited to dip my toes into the fashion world. It was an exciting time. I loved the tissu-teque (the library of the season’s new fabrics), finding the right fabrics for the theme we were working on, the street style hunts, the museum visits, scouring the book shops to find patterns in what they were displaying. Trend analysis and forecasting in a broader and more theoretical sense was like a social study about mankind, what was happening now and what was going to happen. In a practical sense, it became dull so very quickly, so back to Li Edelkoort who just put perfectly in writing what I have felt for years: Fashion is dead. Long live Clothing! What she states in the interview sums up the manifest titled Anti-Fashion, which she read instead of her usual trend report this spring season. It is about the failure of fashion schools to train students to work in a team oriented way rather than become megalomaniacal ‘geniuses’, biased editorials in fashion magazines showcasing only established brands that can afford to pay for product placement, inducement hungry bloggers who will praise any new collection, worthy or unworthy, and marketing agencies ruining the whole thing for everybody. She’s got to say something to everyone and it’s not good. Basically, the fashion industry has rendered itself obsolete, a farce of what is has once been.

Oh dear, sounds terrible doesn’t it? I think not. Fashion might have gone out of style, but clothes surely haven’t. Clothes provide warmth and shelter from the elements, clothes are practical and pretty, clothes existed before fashion was invented. As knitters and crocheters we can smile, nod – and continue doing what we’ve been doing all along: make high quality, long lasting, beautiful and practical garments and accessories that work for us and leave other people slightly envious of our skill, or better yet, keen to learn. I don’t know about you, but I’m always excited to try things I haven’t done/worked with before, so I did a little research on new products and patterns to share with you:

Colour

Yes, you heard correctly: Pastels are everywhere. Slightly skeptic at first, I actually love the composition of colours from our inventory (and the tissue paper, of course).

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Pastels for everyone! Top row from left: Twist Light by Madelinetosh in Neon Peach, Moonstone, Edison Bulb, Happiness and Fluoro Rose

Bottom row: Heirloom, 100% Romney by Elemental Affects in Butternut, Hysop, Mullein, Hubbard and Sweet Pea

Pattern/Style

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Evening Calm from Amirisu Spring 2015, image courtesy of amirisu

Cables and other textured stitches give character to springy tops and sweaters . Top favourite for me is Evening Calm from the new Amirisu Spring 2015 that just arrived in the shop. Runner-ups are Sous Sous, Margo Poncho and Allongé Tee. Style-wise vests are having a comeback, and who could be mad about that when you see PennyAll patterns mentioned are currently available at our brick and mortar, while supplies last. For the seamstresses and regarding vests, Purl Soho just released a very classic and stylish Quilted Wool Vest pattern that I am dying to make.

Fibre

The age old and the new are cropping up in form of raffia and soy or milk fibres. The two latter materials are spun in a viscose process to form versatile new age yarns and textiles, whereas raffia has been around for a long time and seems to be planning a serious comeback. Stay tuned to see what pops up in our shop!

American Made/Local

In response to overconsumption, mass production and consequently poor quality products, the shift towards the American made/ locally made does not only concern where our produce and food comes from, yarn and fibre are next. We carry many American and locally produced products like Jill Draper Makes Stuff, Nele K, needle gauges and Lucky U Leather stitch markers. And, of course our fantastic in-house patterns.

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And because we love it so much…another Cashmere Kätzchen!

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