Knit Purl Portland: I’m Moving

If one of the criteria for living in a particular city or town is an amazing local yarn store representative of your ideal fiber haven, than Knit Purl Portland is at the top of my shortlist.

When I arrived in Oregon on Tuesday, I aggressively climbed over my fellow passengers as soon as the cabin door was opened (it did take a little long to align it with the gate – I briefly considered performing my exit row duties, but ultimately decided a limited amount of available time to yarn shop did not constitute an emergency to most people; I sincerely hope society reconsiders its definition), sprinted down the gateway, ran beyond the security line, and practically commandeered the first taxi I could find to drive me into downtown Portland.

I checked into my hotel to drop off my bags before heading to Knit Purl Portland, and as soon as the task was completed, began frantically spinning around my iPhone in order to establish my bearings and successfully navigate my adventure.

The hotel I booked was a perfect  walking distance (.2 miles – literally about three blocks) to the store, and I was excited to be greeted by a sign that led to some of the most wonderful window displays I have ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes upon.

knit purl portland sign knit purl portland window 1 knit purl portland window 2

As if the fabulous displays weren’t enough, I was pleasantly delighted when I walked through the door and realized they were an accurately wonderful representation of the wonderful interior of the store, which was wonderfully organized, decorated, and stocked.

image_3 (2) image_5 (2) image_4 (2) image_6The selection was suburb and easy to browse – a wonderful balance of feeling inspired by the inventory but not overwhelmed. The entirety of the shop is surrounded by windows, allowing natural light to pour into the store, which enhances the experience exponentially.

After an hour of circling the floor of the shop, I was finally satiated enough to focus on my predetermined mission: purchasing a few skeins of Brooklyn Tweed yarn.

While most of the other displays are organized by yarn weight rather than brand, this special yarn had a corner dedicated to itself.

image_6 (2) image_7 (2)The binders on either side of the display are filled to capacity with all of Brooklyn Tweed’s available patterns, which made deciding on my purchase much more convenient, if not slightly more difficult (I was ready to lay down my credit card and purchase the entire stock – I’m grateful my bank knows better than to trust me with that kind of limit).

Honestly, I could have pulled up a chair and sat in this corner all day, but since time was limited, I honed in on my mission objective and was able to pick up a few skeins of loft in what I decided was my favorite color (thank you to both Sam and Diane for helping me make a choice, even though you needed to drag me kicking and screaming to the mirror so I could hold two colorways to my face in an effort to determine which would compliment my complexion the best). I apologize if I caused any physical harm to either of you (they assured me I didn’t) – I told you I wasn’t a fan of mirrors, and I meant it – but, the end result was worth the additional effort.

As I was completing my purchase, Diane casually mentioned a fun fact: Portland has no sales tax (this translated to me as everything in the city being at least 10% off), which meant I had a little money in the budget left over for something else. Knit Purl Portland also happens to be within walking distance of Powell’s Bookstore (the largest on the West coast), so I headed over knowing exactly what I wanted to keep me company on the plane ride home.


I couldn’t imagine a more perfect addition to my library, and as if the experience of Knit Purl Portland wasn’t enough, I could only feel as though I’d lived through a 24 hour fairytale as I settled into my seat Wednesday morning for my return flight, held a wound skein of Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft in my hand, and read through the first few passages of my newest book.


It was as close to heaven as I’ve ever felt. Thank you Knit Purl Portland, Powell’s, and the city itself for a truly magical trip. I cannot wait to come back . . . soon!

About Hunter Liam

Hunter's grandmother had him making buttons and threading her sewing machine at the age of three. Ever since then, he's been obsessed with making things with his hands as a form of creative expression.Knitter, spinner, designer, writer, photographer, dancer . . . or just a creative soul with ADD.

On This Traveling Eve

Tomorrow morning, a miracle will occur in my house. I will wake up on time AND be out of the house by 6 o’clock in the morning to board an early United Airlines flight to Portland, OR.

I say this act will be a miracle because I’m an avid alarm clock snoozer and complete caffeine whore, so waking up into enough of a semi-conscious to get myself together with the authority of a three year old (I have, in the past, walked out of the house with my left shoe on my right foot and vice versa due to the ungodly hour of the morning)  and getting to the airport on time will in fact be a complete miracle.

I do realize a healthy majority of the population does indeed have enough maturity to develop sound sleeping habits in their adulthood, easily (or even worse – happily) stirring themselves up to tackle their day at times even earlier than 6 AM.

To those people, I salute you while dreaming up ways of harming your physical being, for you are the reason society continues to subscribe to this idea of an 8AM-5PM work schedule. In fact, you’re the reason airlines think it’s okay to have 8:30 AM flights exist.

So, why the early flight? I did book the tickets myself, and my work obligations are reserved for the evening. I gain two hours traveling to the West coast from Chicago, so why leave so early?

Shopping. Specifically, yarn shopping.

Yes, the only carrot motivating enough to get this vampire knitter up to face the day this early is his yearning for an adequate amount of time (three to four hours, minimum) in a shop surrounding by wonderful fiber goodness, hopefully acquiring something amazing that, when knitted, will provide the finished garment with an exponentially significant amount of uniqueness.

So, you may ask, what’s so special about this particular yarn store in Portland? Well, I just so happen to have (purposely) booked a hotel three blocks away from Knit Purl, a local yarn store carrying lots of wonderful fiber goodies in addition to having the very special distinction of being a flagship store for Brooklyn Tweed‘s yarns Loft and Shelter.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft Brooklyn Tweed Shleter

If you haven’t heard of these wonderful yarn offerings and want to get an idea of why they are so special, click here for an explanation of how they are made.

Shopping for a yarn only sold in 10 flagship store locations throughout the United States? Being able to get an amazing micro-brew afterwards and drool over what I was able to pick up?

These are the things – the only things – capable of getting me out of bed before the winter sun rises to catch a flight in twenty-two degree weather.

Well, all of this and four hours of uninterrupted knitting time.

I already can’t wait for the flight back to Chicago on Wednesday. . .


About Hunter Liam

Hunter's grandmother had him making buttons and threading her sewing machine at the age of three. Ever since then, he's been obsessed with making things with his hands as a form of creative expression.Knitter, spinner, designer, writer, photographer, dancer . . . or just a creative soul with ADD.

Scarf Distraction 2.0

I started a tradition one year ago I am determined to continue this year: knitting Mr. Joseph a new scarf.

As someone who’s dating (and living – aka putting up with) a knitter, I know sometimes he feels like he defaults to the bottom of my knitting priority list. Generally, I’ve been okay with this for two reasons.

First, he sees me knitting constantly: I knit while I watch television, get a few rows done while food is simmering on the stove, in bed while watching more television, in the car – even if it’s just a trip down the street for a bottle of wine or cup of coffee – and even, once, while in the bathroom  (it was just to gauge swatch while I was applying a hair gloss-  yarn that has witnessed something this intimate can never be allowed to make its way into a finished garment – I don’t need fiber spreading my beauty secrets).

Because I’m knitting practically all the time, I’m always talking about who the item is for, why I’m giving it to them, asking his opinion on a pattern, etc. Until the day I say “This is for you,” more often than “this is for someone else,” (AND he knows exactly who this someone else is), he will always think I’m prioritizing gifts for other people rather than him. The fact is, he’s received more knitted gifts than anyone else. It’s his perception, not a true reality.

Secondly, I  never reply that I’m making something for me. Sadly, every garment, scarf, hat, glove, blanket, and sweater I have ever made has been for someone else, their home, or their child. I have never, in five full years, completed a project for myself (well, once, but then someone admired it so much I gave it away).

Christmas knitting transforms this perception into a seasonal reality, and even though it’s temporary, I try to start the season by getting his gift completed first before the feelings of fiber neglect take on a life of their own.

This year, I decided to combine his favorite color combination – brown and black – into a scarf I’ve called Chocolate Fudge Cocoa (an ode to his favorite ice cream), knit in Rowan Creative Focus Worsted (alpaca/wool – yay!).

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The main color is ebony, while the two contrasting colors are rust and espresso. It’s a wonderfully long infinity scarf, being able to wrapped around two or three times. If you wrap twice, both browns will showcase together; wrap three times, and you have the choice of featuring one brown or the other.

Even though this will be gifted early (today), I still consider it a Christmas gift, so it counts towards my holiday knitting total. One out of twelve projects have been completed, and I’m off to start the next tonight.

At this rate, I just may be able to snuggle in on Christmas Eve and enjoy watching White Christmas instead of knitting furiously while I grow increasingly envious of Vera Ellen’s waistline (I drink away my envy with hot chocolate spiked with Rumchata – it’s a great remedy for envy, you should try it).

Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll calmly work on a project I can gift to myself. One can only wish.


About Hunter Liam

Hunter's grandmother had him making buttons and threading her sewing machine at the age of three. Ever since then, he's been obsessed with making things with his hands as a form of creative expression.Knitter, spinner, designer, writer, photographer, dancer . . . or just a creative soul with ADD.