Friday, February 25, 2011

Of mice and monkeys.

For the past few weeks, Anne and I have been knitting animals. We worked on them during the quieter moments at the shop, and so they lingered, unfinished, for some time. Then, over the weekend, one mouse and one monkey emerged, knitted and stuffed, their features embroidered. You should see us morph into children as we hug our finished products, using tiny voices and giggling. Knitted animals are irresistible that way, it turns out. Anne's mother can attest to this, as well. No one is immune to the charms of a handknit monkey.

Anne designed this monkey for Averette of Purple Crow Books, a wonderful local bookstore on King Street in Hillsborough. Averette did the knitting and Anne did the finishing, and now the completed monkey sits in the window at the Purple Crow. In his lap is the children's book on which he was based, It's A Book, by Lane Smith.

Back at the shop, the mouse remains. Phoebe goes with a children's book that bears her name, Phoebe's Sweater, by Joanna Johnson. It's a sweet story about a mouse whose mother knits her a sweater, accompanied by knitting patterns for a matching child-sized sweater. Or, if you're the animal-knitting type, a mouse-sized sweater, and a stuffed mouse to wear it.

Look for Phoebe near the baby pattern books in the yarn shop, where you'll find many other stuffed animals to knit, if you're so inclined. Stop by Purple Crow Books, too, especially if you haven't yet had the pleasure of doing so.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What we've made room for, part 2.

 Another day, another bunch of new yarns to report on...

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A box arrived from Great Adirondack Yarn Co. recently, and tucked inside it were these four shiny colors of Sea Breeze, a dk weight blend of cotton, rayon, and linen. Also: a shimmery, summery shawl pattern to go with it.

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Great Adirondack is also responsible for our modest new collection of rainbow-colored roving. If roving is your thing, come in and take a look at these. If roving is not your thing, come in and take a look at these and wonder if roving should be your thing.

From Tedman & Kvist: Colina, a textured blend of cotton and linen. From Anne's knitting basket: two balls of Colina, soon to be two baby-sweaters-in-the-works for two particular babies-in-the-works.

New from Elsebeth Lavold, we have ViSilk, a dk weight blend of viscose and silk, soft, shiny, and light. 

That wraps up our introductions for the moment. See you at the shop!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What we've made room for, part 1.

Give a warm welcome to the newest yarns at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

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As I previously mentioned, Sawya is the latest from Mirasol: a worsted weight blend of pima cotton, alpaca, and silk in a bright bunch of colors. Just right for warm-weather knitting.

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Pictured below, hanging in two tiny baskets are two more warm-weather yarns: Haze and Mia, from the Queensland Collection and Takhi Yarns, respectively. Haze is a blend of corn viscose and cotton in a dk weight. Mia is a fluffy, thick-and-thin cotton, unusually textured for its fiber content, making it a nice substitute for wool where wool allergies are concerned.

Of course, we have plenty of new wooly yarns as well. From Cascade: Sitka, a bulky merino and mohair blend. We have three neutral colors, making the decision-making process simpler. Charcoal gray, brown, or beige?

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Also from the department of wooly wools: Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn, a self-striping fingering weight yarn with long color repeats, making a subtle gradation from one shade to the next. I find it particularly striking in fair isle patterns like this one. Or you might put it to use with a brioche pattern from Nancy Marchant's book, which we just got in last week. Much of our first order of Kauni has already escaped in the shopping bags of customers who fell completely in love with it on sight. A dangerous situation, indeed.


This should do for one post. Tomorrow: the rest of the newest. For now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The trunk.

There's a trunk in front of Anne's desk, at the back of the shop, with its lid propped open to reveal what's inside. Surprise: there's yarn in there. But not just any yarn: sale yarn.

Every once in a while, we have to face the fact that we must make room for new acquisitions. In order to make that room, something has to go. There are a variety of tempting yarns in the trunk. Self-patterning sock yarn by ONline, worsted weight wools from Mountain Colors and dk weight wools from Cleckheaton, Sarek, a super-bulky self striping wool, and assorted others, all marked down from their original price. We also have back issues of various knitting and crochet magazines tucked in there, also on sale, or free with a purchase of $25 or more.

This week we added SWTC Karaoke, a 50/50 soy and wool blend. Some colorways are solid, some are self-striping. Check out some of the 1,855 projects on Ravelry using Karaoke and see if you aren't convinced to come in and snag some at $6, down from $9. Keep your eye on the sale trunk, friends. The yarn is still good, we just need to make some room in here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm a copycat.

Remember my sock-crazed friend, Andrea? Well, I copied her. After the baggy gray socks, I was ready for a pair that would fit correctly. Hence, these copycat socks, knit, like Andrea's, in Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Fine, and embellished with contrasting reenforcement thread at the heels and toes.

Now I am completely obsessed with knitting socks. I'm halfway through the first sock of my next pair already. Look for me at the shop, wearing the copycat socks two, three, maybe four days in a row... because handknit socks are exactly as comfortable as sock knitters like to insist they are.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Last week, we were treated to a visit from Jill McCorkle, who we are lucky to know not only as a local author, but also as a crocheter and regular customer. Even better: she brought a friend, author Alice Hoffman. Anne and I had such fun showing them around the shop and helping them pick out yarn. Jill left with some beautiful pima cotton, knitting needles, and plans for a knitting lesson from Alice. We couldn't let them get out without a picture, though. Here they are with Anne:

Thanks so much for the visit, ladies!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The teacart.

Right as you walk into the shop, you'll find a small wooden teacart, though you may not recognize it as such. We've disguised it by keeping it piled high with the newest additions to the shop: kits, books, magazines, and yarn, along with the ever present swift and ball-winder. If you're curious about what's new, the teacart should be your first stop.

A few weeks ago, I took this picture of the teacart after I'd arranged the new books, put the Habu kits in a color order that pleased me, and displayed a new Mirasol yarn, Sawya, in a little basket by the ball-winder. I'd been meaning to post that picture, but then we'd get another box in the mail, and I'd put off the post until I'd taken an updated picture of the teacart, whose contents change every few days.

Without further ado: a photographic history of the teacart in recent weeks.

Books and magazines that have graced these photos:

Modern Top Down Knitting, by Kristina McGowan
Diagonal Knitting, by Katharine Cobey
Knit Kimono Too, by Vicki Square
150 Knit and Crochet Motifs, by Heather Lodinsky
Spinning Around, by Jeannine Bakriges
The Haapsalu Shawl, by Siiri Reimann & Aime Edasi
A Knitting Wrapsody, by Kristin Omdahl
Vintage Modern Knits, by Kate Gagnon Osborn & Courtney Kelley
Around the World in Knitted Socks, by Stephanie van der Linden
Socks From the Toe Up, by Wendy Johnson
Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders, by Judith Durant
Knitting Plus, by Lisa Shroyer

And: did you spot it, there in the last photo? The new Interweave Knits is in, as of this afternoon. Spring 2011, here we come.

Come and get it!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Michelle and Chloe.

Last Saturday, master knitter Michelle came into the shop with a dress-form (named Chloe) wearing her latest finished object, an intricately cabled pea coat from Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design Workshop: The Comprehensive Guide to Handknits. It blew us all away, to the point that I could not resist asking to take their photo for the blog. Witness:

Michelle, who has been knitting for eleven years, completed this sweater as a senior project. (I'm thinking A+. Just saying.) Go find Michelle and this incredible sweater on Ravelry, where her pictures are gorgeous and you can admire the perfect fit, the perfect seams, and the crazy amount of work that went into it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We got a very large box from Berroco.

After much unpacking, admiring, reorganizing, and rearranging, it's time to show off.

New colors of Berroco Sox, stuffed into their cubby but eager to get out. We also have a new pattern book to go with--brightly colored children's garments, taking advantage of the self-patterning quality of this yarn.

A bright spectrum of Pure Pima, lounging around on the fainting couch, ready for spring knitting. Also, the latest booklet from Norah Gaughan, which features patterns for Pure Pima.

Finally, the more subdued but equally lovely Jasper, its colors replenished.

Last week was a particularly very-large-box-filled week at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, so there's plenty more to share. I'll be back here soon with the rest of our haul.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Andrea knits socks.

My friend Andrea has been a sometime knitter for a few years now, completing a scarf here, a patchwork blanket there, but focusing primarily on her animation projects (a subject worthy of an entire blog; go there and see this if animated wool peaks your curiosity). Recently, however, she has taken up knitting in a more serious, dare I say, obsessive way. Since October, she has produced a handful of hats, a pair of colorwork mittens, two sweaters, a pair of self-designed fingerless gloves, and now she's knitting socks, too. First, she made these, with Lang Jawoll sock yarn:

Which warmed her feet while she made these, from Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Fine:

Only a handful of days later, those socks, too, were completed, making room for the next pair:

These socks are made from two shades of gray Jawoll yarn, made sporty with stripes of reenforcement thread in contrasting colors. All three pairs of socks are riffs on a simple Ann Norling pattern for beginner sock-knitters. I'd never been particularly interested in knitting socks until Andrea made it look so easy, and so good. For those of you feeling similarly inspired, we still have a couple of copies of that Ann Norling pattern, and plenty of sock yarn. Come by the shop and check it out.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cascade 220 Superwash Sport.

Allow me to introduce you to my favorite yarn of the moment. Simple, sturdy, yet soft, and suitable for most any project: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. A few weeks ago, we had only a handful of colors. I'd just begun a pair of socks in a light heathered gray when I overheard Anne on the phone, saying, "Yes, I'd like a bag of every color. Except gray." Every color? 

Oh yes. Every color. To me, this yarn suggests complicated fair isle sweaters, striped socks, many-colored hats and mittens... first, though, I had to finish my gray socks.

The completion of these socks brings mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's a success to have finished a pair of socks, where before I've been plagued by second sock syndrome. On the other hand, it's impossible to ignore that they are simply too big. Looks are deceiving: the socks appear to be the right size, yet they lack the negative ease that makes socks fit snugly, and so they feel oddly loose. I thought I'd try to shrink them in the wash, because, hey, it's machine washable yarn, but it's probably not machine dry-able. Bad news for my socks, good news for consumers of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport: the socks emerged from the dryer in exactly the same state they had entered it. This yarn is superwash, indeed.

Back to daydreaming about colorwork, then. Also, trying my hand at fingering-weight socks, which I'll show off here soon...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Katia Fabula.

A lot of days at the yarn shop begin with a box. 

This one arrived last Tuesday. Our UPS guy dropped it off in the back room where we could spread out its contents and find space to store them. 

Inside, I found a few replacement bags of Noro Silk Garden Sock in colors whose numbers have been dwindling, and beneath that, something new: three bags of Fabula, a superwash, super-bulky merino yarn by Katia. Fabula is not entirely new to us. Indeed, it first showed up several weeks ago but never made it out of the back room before it was sold out; the first few people that saw it simply had to have it, and so Anne reordered it the same day it arrived. 

This time, Fabula has lasted long enough to find its way into a display, sitting atop the sock books.

The thickness and softness of this washable yarn makes it perfect for accessories, as many knitters have shown--Fabula's Ravelry page is full of cozy-looking hats, cowls, and mittens. Our own Jodie has already begun a ruffly scarf in a rich red and purple colorway and is making quick progress.

Come by the shop to admire this new addition, and consider Fabula the next time you need to knit a hat in a hurry.