Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crochet Traditions.

A new magazine has arrived at the shop, something special for the crocheters among us.

Crochet Traditions is the crochet equivalent to the popular PieceWork special issue, Knitting Traditions. Like Knitting Traditions, Crochet Traditions places traditional techniques in a historical context, providing wonderful reading material as well as project ideas. Find it with the other newest books and magazines on the teacart.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kauni swatches.

Since we first got Kauni in stock, we're forever reordering it. Its long, slow gradation of colors is eye-catching, indeed, and has caught the attention of many. With our most recent order of Kauni, though, we got a little something extra.

People often ask us, "So, what does this yarn do?" They can sense that something special is happening in each skein, but it can be difficult to visualize exactly how the colors are going to play out in a gradually self-striping yarn like Kauni. Anne, understanding that a before-and-after might be necessary, ordered us this handy book of swatches, showing what each colorway looks like when it's knit up. Like so:

If you've been considering a skein of Kauni but need a more concrete idea of what exactly it does, come on in and play with these swatches.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Isager adoration.

As you know, we at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop are big Isager fans. We stock many books by designer Marianne Isager, from perennial shop favorite Japanese Inspired Knits to Inca Knits, Classic Knits, and Knitting Out of Africa. We are also quite enamored of her daughter, Helga Isager, whose designs are collected in a series of booklets called Amimono. We keep all the Isager pattern books together, wedged between baskets of Isager yarns, which themselves are quite special: lightweight, delicate yarns of many fibers, designed to be held double or triple when a larger gauge is desired.

If you've been to the shop lately, you've likely seen Anne hard at work on one of Helga Isager's designs from the latest Amimono collection, a lightweight wool top with unusual construction.

And, if you've been to the shop lately, you've likely heard that Anne has been invited to Denmark to attend a small workshop with Marianne and Helga Isager. Your jaw has likely dropped. Anne is leaving for her trip to Denmark in under a week, and could not be more excited. I'm almost as excited as she is just to hear all about it upon her return.

We can't all go to Denmark, unfortunately, but there is a bit of new Isager goodness in the shop this week. We received a box of Isager Alpaca 1, a 2 ply laceweight made of 100% alpaca, soft and delicate, with a fuzzy halo. For as long as we've had Alpaca 1 in the shop, we only stocked it in black and white. I don't know how we held out for so long, but this week, we opened up the Alpaca 1 spectrum to include a rainbow of colors.

A beautiful sight, to be sure, but even more remarkable to touch. Come by the shop to pet the Alpaca 1 and pore over the Isager pattern books if you haven't yet. Helga and Marianne Isager are truly unique knitwear designers, worth a look even if you don't plan to knit their patterns. See you at the shop!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A gentle reminder.

July is coming to a close, friends. The end of the month may mean many things to many people, but we can all come together on this one: the end of July brings the end of our July sale. I trust that you have all spent the last three weeks meticulously planning your next several knitting or crochet projects in order to save 15% on the yarn required to complete them. Right?

But really. There's one week left in the month, and if you'd been planning to do a little sale-shopping, but put it on the back burner, it's time to move it to the front. Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

From Lantern Moon.

Several times we've ordered these small drawstring project bags from Lantern Moon, embroidered with frolicking sheep. Several times we've sold out of them quickly. If you've seen these frolicking sheep and wanted one of your own, you're in luck. As of this week, they're back in stock, in a bright turquoise and a rich purple.

Also from Lantern Moon, but brand new to the shop: buttons! Shiny, unusual buttons, whose charm is hard to capture with a camera.

Come to the shop to take a look. See you soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Creative Knitting.

More Autumn inspiration arrived this week in the form of the September issue of Creative Knitting.

Look for it on the teacart. Keep the faith: sweater weather will come again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello, Sulka. Hello, K'acha.

From time to time, our yarn displays need what we call "fluffing." We pull the skeins down from their cubby, or out of their basket, and commence fluffing: we rewind loose skeins, make sure all colors are represented, and then stack them up in a pretty spectrum, that they might look their very best. I was doing just this when I rediscovered a pair of Mirasol yarns that looked so lovely, I thought I ought to direct some attention their way.

Sulka and K'acha are alike in fiber content, but different in weight. Because they are both single ply yarns made of merino wool, alpaca, and silk, they share neighboring nooks on the brown bookshelf in the corner. Sulka, the bulky weight one, takes the left half of these little cubbies, and K'acha, the dk weight one, takes the right.

I was poking around on Ravelry, seeing what folks were making with these yarns, and I saw all kinds of projects: sweaters for women, men, and children, scarves, shawls, hats, mittens, and cowls. To me, this is a perfect yarn for special accessories. The looseness of the single ply in this yarn makes for something exquisitely soft, but more likely to pill and shed than some other yarns. Sulka and K'acha may not be for everyday wear, but for a cowl or shawl, something soft to wear right around your neck on a special occasion, these luxurious yarns are the perfect choice. Particularly since they, like all our yarns, are 15% off during the month of July. Think about it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lavishea lotion bars.

In midsummer, with the promise of new fall yarns still months away, the tide of shipments recedes. We're not getting boxes of yarn in the mail every day, as we do in other seasons. Instead, we are preparing for the rush of shipments that is not so far away. We put all of our yarn on sale, to help make room for what's coming. We make the best of what space we have, carving out a cubby here and there for our newest acquisitions.

Occasionally, though, we get a little something new.

This week, it was a little box of Lavishea lotion bars, sweet-smelling and adorable in their round tins. Not your average hand lotions, these bars are rubbed onto the hands as if they were soap--but without adding water. They're made to moisturize without leaving a greasy residue, allowing you to get right back to your crochet or knitting project without mucking up your fiber. A nice little indulgence to tuck into your knitting bag, or a kind gift for a friend. Try one out and see what you think.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hello, Bearfoot.

Mountain Colors Bearfoot: here is a loveable sock yarn. It's not a new arrival; rather, we've had it at the shop for quite some time. However, having recently reorganized the sock yarn display, I've only recently come to admire its depth of color and its unusual fiber content. Bearfoot is easily our only sock yarn with mohair.

Mohair socks may sound almost torturous in mid-July, but I'm betting that later in the year, they'll sound cozy and comforting. Til then, perhaps Bearfoot wants to be a shawl. Come and admire these jewel-toned skeins at the shop!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great Adirondack roving.

Back in stock: brightly colored roving from Great Adirondack.

Spinners, take note!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not to brag, but.

Look what we just put up in the shop window!

We are delighted, and so proud to have received 1st place for "Best Yarn Shop" in the News of Orange County's Reader's Choice Awards, four years in a row! Thanks, everybody!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Another new Fall issue has found its way to the shop, incongrous though it may seem in mid-July:

The Fall issue of KnitScene is particularly conducive to sweater-weather fantasies. To this issue, popular knitwear designer and blogger Amy Herzog has contributed an article on modifying patterns to suit your individual shape, along with a handful of great sweater patterns. Upon thumbing through the magazine, I quickly settled on a favorite: the Pinstripe Pullover, knit in Berroco's Ultra Alpaca, a Hillsborough Yarn Shop staple.

Pretty, no? It has me daydreaming of color combinations, which is a day-long daydream with Ultra Alpaca. So many choices!

Come by the shop to see the latest KnitScene and start your fall sweater-knitting daydreams early. Remember: all of our yarn is 15% off during the month of July, except that which is already discounted! See you at the shop.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Knit Simple.

It may seem a little early for the Fall 2011 magazines to start showing up, but the cozy looking sweaters, hats, and scarves in the newest issue of Knit Simple are great fodder for autumnal knitting fantasies. 

Truly: summer is a good time to get small cold-weather accessories finished so that they're wearable as soon as the next season's chills set in. Thumb through the latest Knit Simple for some good ideas to that end. Find it on the teacart.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tools of the trade.

If you've been to our shop, you may already be familiar with the range of knitting needles and crochet hooks we stock. Addi Turbo and Lace circulars for those who prefer slick, quick, metal knitting needles, and Crystal Palace circulars, straights, and double points for those who prefer the smooth, slightly clingy quality of bamboo. Hooks of both persuasions, as well. Lantern Moon circulars, straights, double points, and crochet hooks for treating yourself to the absolute finest in hardwood tools: rosewood, blondewood, and ebony. And then we have interchangeable circular needle sets, for when you're tired of buying a new needle with each new project.

Can you spot the Addi Click interchangeable needle sets, peeking out there above the perpetual calendar of knitting stitches? This wooden box is where we've hidden our interchangeable circular sets, above the Noro yarns. Not only do we have Addi Lace Click and Addi Turbo Click interchangeable sets, we also carry sets by Hiya Hiya, KA, and Lantern Moon. These sets vary in material and price, but the concept is the same: a range of needle points and a range of cord lengths, which can be attached to one another in whatever combination you need at the moment. That way, you don't have to buy a 16" #6 as well as a 24" #6, you can just change out the 16" cord for the 24" cord when you need a longer one. A larger investment up front, but a sound economic decision for the avid knitter. As of this week, we now also carry the Addi Click Hook set.

These hooks are made to fit into the Addi Click cords, making it possible to create a hybrid tool, with a hook on one end and a needle on the other. When might you need such a beast? Consider picking up stitches: much easier with a hook, but they need to end up on a needle. Enter the circular hook/needle: problem solved. Skacel, the makers of Addi, also suggest that this tool might be useful for working Tunisian crochet, binding off stitches quickly, or creating new stitches at the end of a row, with a needle on the other end. Fascinating, no?

Also new to the shop: ergonomic crochet hooks, also by Addi.

Designed to be held, in sharp contrast to the narrow, straight-handled crochet hooks we're used to seeing. We received a sample of this hook from Skacel, to try out and see if we liked it. Anne tried it out, and asked other crocheters to do the same, and the consensus was clear: this is a better hook. Interested? We keep ours on the desk, tucked in with all the other tools of our trade, and you're welcome to give it a try.

See you at the shop!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Creative Knitting.

A brand new addition to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop magazine collection: Creative Knitting magazine.

Inside you'll find another batch of new, summery patterns, from cardigans to sleeveless tops to decorative scarves. Take a look inside and see what you think of this new-to-us magazine.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hillsborough Yarn Shop's Annual Summer Sale!

July is here again, and with it comes our annual summer sale: absolutely all of our yarns are 15% off during the month of July! Even that special skein whose temptation you've been resisting. Maybe it's Kauni. Maybe it's Schaefer. Maybe it's Malabrigo. Maybe it's yarn for a project you've been daydreaming about, say, a special sweater from Japanese Inspired Knits. Perhaps enough Marion Foale 3 ply to make one of the incredible sweaters from the Marion Foale book. Or maybe you just want to get a discounted price on the materials for your holiday gift-making. (To those of you who plan their holiday gift-making in July, I say: bravo! You are the ones who will finish on time!)

If ever you were to give in to tempting yarn, now is the time. See you at the shop!

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