Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ruffle Scarf. Etc.

I've written before about our shop swatches. While some swatches are just little samplers with garter, stockinette, rib, and seed stitch, others take the form of actual garments.

Nordstrom Knock-Off Scarf.

They're always pretty simple, patterns that let the yarn do most of the work, are easily memorized, and quickly explained. Lately, though, we've begun to write them up.

Haze Kerchief.

Too often, I've found myself scribbling instructions for these projects on a post-it, or the back of a receipt. And while these patterns don't require much more information than a post-it could convey, a carefully written and clearly printed pattern is preferable, wouldn't you agree? If you're inspired enough by one of our swatch/samples to want to recreate it, you deserve a pattern. And now, for most, there is a pattern that we'll be happy to hand over, free when you buy the yarn.

Ruffle Scarf.
For the Ruffle Scarf, there is not only a pattern, but an upcoming class. Suitable for a beginner knitter, ready to take a step up from their first garter stitch scarf, the Ruffle Scarf class is a one-time evening class, taking place on Wednesday, June 15th. Take a look at the description on the website and sign up if you're interested!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


You can now find my finished Chambered Nautilus Tam on the teacart, draped over the book that inspired and instructed me to make it. I'm so pleased with it! The spiral construction was fascinating, the yarn was soft and pleasant, and the result is quite fetching. Anne's mother wears it well:

We're thinking that the Chambered Nautilus Tam would make a good class. What do you think? If you're interested in such a thing, get in touch with us and let us know.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Surprise! One-Weekend Sale: Jo Sharp.

Our four-week series of Going-To-Market sales continues! Week Two: Jo Sharp. That means all our Jo Sharp yarns are 25% off, starting today and ending on Sunday, May 29th.

Our Jo Sharp yarns vary in weight, fiber, and texture:

  • Alpaca Kid Lustre: a DK weight blend of mohair, merino wool, and alpaca
  • Alpaca Silk Georgette: a sport weight blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk
  • Classic Wool DK: a smooth DK weight wool
  • Silkroad Aran: a worsted weight blend of wool, silk, and cashmere
  • Silkroad Ultra: a bulky blend of wool, silk, and cashmere
  • Silkroad Aran Tweed: a soft worsted weight tweed, made of wool, silk, and cashmere
  • Silkroad DK Tweed: a soft DK weight tweed, made of wool, silk, and cashmere
  • Soho Summer Cotton DK: a silky 100% cotton in a DK weight

As wonderful as all of these yarns are, I'd like to make a personal recommendation: Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed, either in the aran weight or the DK weight. I spent all day playing with this stuff. Not knitting, but organizing it, making sure all the colors were represented in the front and all our bins and bags of it were in order in the back. The better to fetch it for you, my friends, when you decide what color you want to make your next Silkroad Tweed sweater.

Look how happy all those Aran colors are together, tucked into their basket.

It's the DK weight, though, that I'm really taken with. As I counted, priced, and sorted them, I played with color combinations, as these colors beg to be combined. Stripes? Colorwork? I didn't decide. I just played:

I recommend the tweeds not only because I myself like them, but because we have sweater quantities of most tweed colorways, making this one-weekend sale an excellent opportunity to get a good deal on a sweater's worth of truly luxurious yarn. Come and take a look! And keep your eyes on the blog this time next week for another sale announcement.

(A reminder: there will be no returns or exchanges on sale yarns. Thanks!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nautilus tam.

Last week, we got our biggest shipment of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knit One, Knit All, the shipment that is sure to keep the book safely in stock. We also got two giant boxes of Malabrigo. Anne noticed that we didn't have a swatch of the Malabrigo Rios, and as I got to work winding a skein, she put the two together. Why not knit a hat from the new EZ book as our Rios sample?

It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it.

I cast on for the cover project, the Chambered Nautilus Tam, in a dark blue-green colorway of Rios called Azul Profundo. If you've seen me at the shop lately, this is what I've been working on, stopping every so often to lay it flat on my lap, petting the squishy garter-stitch-and-icord fabric, admiring the spiral construction, the way the shifting shades of teal are evenly distributed due to the short rows. This is such a fun knit. In the first seven stitches, I had already learned something new: a built-in icord edging. It is such a pleasure to cast on for a new Elizabeth Zimmermann project, and to daydream about what I will knit next from the book.

So tell me, dear readers, if you're out there: what are you knitting lately? And if Knit One, Knit All has caught your eye, which patterns have you itching to cast on?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hello, Jitterbug.

While we're speaking reverently of sock yarn, I'd like to introduce you to Colinette Jitterbug.

Jitterbug is a fingering-weight superwash merino yarn with a tight twist and a bright range of variegated colorways. It's been a favorite at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop for socks and garments alike. Anne used Jitterbug to make a simple stockinette vest several years ago, and the yarn really shines. Another knitter we know is working on an elaborate intarsia cardigan using Jitterbug, another perfect use for the yarn. I've seen several Jitterbug hats, too. So many ways to use fingering-weight yarn besides socks!

Our only complaint about Jitterbug thusfar has been that its yardage is a little short for socks, weighing in at a mere 320 yards. However, that problem has been attended to. Our most recent shipment of Jitterbug came in new 400 yard skeins, with a price increase of only ten cents per skein. Something to celebrate, no?

Come by the shop to see these colors in person, as their depth and intensity are not quite captured by my camera. See you at the shop!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hello, Koigu.

Sock yarn can be addictive. "Remember," Anne sometimes says, "sock yarn doesn't count as stash." This makes it particularly, and perhaps even dangerously addictive. While many sock yarns are wonderful, there are some that are spoken of with reverence, names that you come into a shop looking for, rather than happen upon accidentally. Koigu is one of those.

Our own stash of Koigu lives in a little basket on the floor with many of the other sock yarns, beaming up at you as you wander past. The yarn has been here for some time now, but something new came in the mail this week and got us thinking about other uses for Koigu beyond socks.

The first-ever issue of Koigu Magazine is here, and it's full of garments. Sweaters, shawls, skirts, dresses, hats and mittens. This is a great source for patterns using fingering-weight yarn that look beyond socks.

Look for it on the teacart!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Surprise! One-Weekend Sale!

Each June, Anne makes a trip to the TNNA Summer NeedleArts Market to meet with distributors, looking at new yarns for the fall. As we prepare for her trip, we must make room for all the new yarn we plan to buy for the shop! For the next four weeks, we’ll be having one-weekend sales on select yarns. We’ll announce which yarns are discounted the Thursday before the sale, both on the Hillsborough Yarn Shop group on Ravelry and here on the blog. Make sure to check back for next week's sale, and the next week, and the next...

This week:

We’re having a sale on our entire line of Bergere de France yarns this weekend only!

Every Bergere de France yarn is marked 25% off:
  • Alpaga: a blend of 80% merino wool and 20% baby alpaca
  • Bergereine: a blend of 50% wool and 50% cotton
  • Berlaine: 100% superwash wool
  • Cachemire: a blend of 90% cashmere and 10% wool
  • Cotton: a lace-weight cotton
  • Natura: a thick-and-thin blend of alpaca and wool
  • Soie: 100% silk
Come to the shop to check them all out!

(A reminder: there will be no returns or exchanges on sale yarns. Thanks!)


Pick up the summer issue of Interweave Knits from the teacart!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hello, Malabrigo.

Here is a yarn with a fanbase.

Malabrigo Silky Merino and Malabrigo Rios are back in stock! It's been a long wait, and as we waited, our Malabrigo stash dwindled into a sad little stack of mismatching skeins. "Is the Malabrigo here yet?" became a common inquiry, always met with a sad shake of the head. Now that the full range of colors are back together, those sad skeins are looking much happier.

Above, you'll see a slice of the Rios spectrum, a washable worsted weight wool. Below: Silky Merino, a dk weight single ply blend of, as the name suggests, silk and merino wool.

Come by the shop to take a look!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flower Child.

Sometimes knitters come into the shop with something in mind. They have a pattern, they need some yarn. They have some yarn, they need a pattern. They have a problem, they need some help. They have an idea, they need some encouragement. Other times, though, knitters and crocheters make their way to the shop with nothing particular in mind, looking to be inspired. That's why we have samples lining every square inch of wall that isn't already occupied by yarn, books, needles, or hooks. "Flower Child," designed by Norah Gaughan, is one of our samples that has caught the eye of many a knitter in search of inspiration. 

Just right for spring and summer, this top is knit in Berroco Pure Pima. Pure Pima is a dk weight cotton yarn that comes in many hues, from the subdued to the crayon-bright.

It's the unusual construction that draws knitters to this sweater, a common trait among Norah Gaughan's designs. This one comes from her Berroco collection, Volume 4, which we just got back in stock.

Because the pattern has been out for some time, many Ravelers have already completed and posted pictures of this sweater, likely offering many helpful hints. Long sleeves have been a common modification to the pattern. Take a look at what's there, and come by the shop when you're seeking inspiration!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Knit One, Knit All.

It's here.

We've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new Elizabeth Zimmermann collection at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and today was the day. First there was excitement, then there was quiet. Anne and I each sat down with a copy and slowly paged through, admiring the inventiveness of the patterns. Vests, jackets, hats, gloves, socks, baby things, even a contribution from our good friend Nancy, who knit one of the sweaters photographed for the book. We couldn't believe just how many patterns there were in the book, how many new sweater-construction ideas to ponder, and projects to pursue.

Elizabeth Zimmermann is my hero, completely. To explain my admiration for her and her work would take more than one blog post. For now I'll say this: if you are a Zimmermann completist, you'll be needing a copy of this book and it will take no convincing on my part. To those of you are not (yet) so devoted, give Knit One, Knit All a thorough paging-through and you'll be amazed at what Elizabeth Zimmermann can do with good old garter stitch.

*** Edited 5/18/11 to add: All right, everybody, we've got Knit One, Knit All in stock again! Plenty of copies this time, so there's no chance of running out. See you soon, Zimmermann enthusiasts! ***

Marion Foale.

Something new has just settled in on the teacart.

Marion Foale, a British fashion designer, has just released a book of knitting patterns and a line of 3-ply wool yarn to go with it. The patterns are exquisite, finely tailored, and classic-looking. The yarn is soft and fine, a light fingering weight which Foale sometimes uses doubled or tripled in her patterns for different gauges. Take a peek inside:

Even if the patterns don't move you, the yarn has plenty of potential. It's the right gauge to substitute for many Marianne Isager designs, so if you've been poring over Japanese Inspired Knits, this gives you yet another option to consider where colors and textures are concerned. Meanwhile, I've been daydreaming about a sleeveless top, with red and white stripes, and this may well be the yarn for the job. You could even make socks with this yarn, as it's machine washable.

Come by the shop to check it out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply.

Last week we welcomed two new colors of a yarn we've had for a few years now, Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply. As with the rest of the Debbie Bliss yarns, Rialto 4 ply comes in a beautiful range of solid colors, and they're designed to look wonderful together. The more colors, the merrier.

Rialto 4 ply is the fingering-weight answer to Rialto Aran and Rialto DK, all springy 100% superwash merino yarns with excellent stitch definition. Debbie Bliss has great pattern support for all three, of course, but I've had great fun using Rialto 4 ply in my own design experiments. I've knit three pairs of socks with this yarn, and one crazy sweater. I've shared the socks here before, so now it's the sweater's turn.

Which is just to say, having spent a sweater's worth of time with this yarn, I feel I'm intimately familiar with it. It's wonderful for fair-isle knitting, though not in the classic sense; it's a smooth, superwash yarn, so you probably wouldn't want to steek it. Still, the true solids are just right for crisp colorwork patterns.

And now there are two more colors to choose from. The more, the merrier.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mission Falls baby sweaters.

Happy Mother's Day, folks. Speaking of which: look at what's hanging in our window.

Two tiny baby sweaters, one in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, and one in 1824 Wool. Perfect baby gifts for brand new mothers.

1824 Cotton.

As I mentioned before, the Mission Falls yarns are perfect for baby things. Each one is soft and machine-washable, and each comes in a range of subtle hues that look wonderful together. These sweaters, knit by myself and by Nancy, make for nice examples of the fine qualities of Mission Falls yarn. The fact that these two yarns are also currently on sale makes for another fine quality: these yarns are inexpensive.

1824 Wool.

The pattern is "Baby Sophisticate," by Linden Down, a simple, well-written, free Ravelry download that calls for only three skeins of Mission Falls. Nancy and I both knit the 0-3 month size in only two skeins, making for incredibly quick knitting. If I had to make a gift for a baby in a hurry, I'd turn to this yarn and this pattern.

We're busy cooking up a baby sweater class to take place sometime soon, for an intermediate knitter. If you're interested, don't hesitate to let us know. In the mean time, come by the shop to plan a Mission Falls baby sweater of your own!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Knit and Spin.

A special issue of Interweave just arrived:

Interweave Knit and Spin is full of wonderful information for spinners, to be sure, but is also worth a look even for those of us that don't create yarn. After all, as knitters and crocheters, yarn is our medium, and it behooves us to learn about some of the particulars of its production. Look for Interweave Knit and Spin on a little table near the check out, sitting by the Great Adirondack roving. A perfect pair.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


SWTC's Karaoke has been in our sale trunk for a little while now, but I only recently got around to knitting a swatch with it. My little stockinette swatch was so pleasant, and the color changes so enticingly long, that I decided to make it the center of a log cabin square, knitting until the ball of yarn ran out.

What fun color-changing yarn is! And how soothingly simple a log cabin square, particularly one whose particular dimensions are unimportant. I simply bound off one side and picked up the next whenever I felt like it, making some panels wider and others narrower.

If you've been curious how Karaoke knit up, you can find my sample/square/swatch tucked into the sale trunk, along with several other tempting yarns at reduced prices. See you at the shop!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Royal Alpaca.

There's been a lot of talk about cotton around here lately. Now, for something less seasonally appropriate, but equally if not more appealing: 100% alpaca, from Aslan Trends. We've carried this yarn for some time now, but recently received three new colors.

The combination of chocolate brown, golden yellow, and bubble-gum pink is purely accidental, but I think the three look quite happy together. Though they also look quite at home with the rest of the Royal Alpaca family, there at the top of the alpaca tree in the front room.

Those of you who love alpaca enough to knit with it in even the warmest months are encouraged to give this particular yarn a try. It's smooth, with a bit of a halo, and absolutely, incredibly soft. Royal Alpaca would shine in a garment worn close to the skin--a squishy scarf or cowl, fingerless mitts, or a warm hat. The yarn is lovely enough to stick with solid colors, but to me, they beg to be combined in stripes or stranded colorwork. Brown, yellow, and pink, perhaps?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cotton Supreme Batik.

Another new cotton yarn has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, just in time for spring and summer knitting. Cotton Supreme Batik, from Universal Yarns, is a machine-washable, worsted-weight, self-striping, and extremely soft cotton. The striping is unusual: the colors don't exactly fade into one another, it's more of an abrupt change, but there are little spots of the last color in the next, which makes for a lovely effect.

This yarn would be a perfect choice for baby things, not only for its cute stripes but also for its easy washability. At 16-18 stitches over 4 inches, it would make for a quick knit, as well. Take a look at what people are using it for on Ravelry; that will also give you a good idea of how the stripes tend to come out.