Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Swans Island. Again.

Every time we get a box from Swans Island, Anne and I exchange an open-mouthed look of delight. It's so exciting to open those boxes, to see the new colors and welcome back those that we'd already sold out of. 

And those are just the reorders. Our joy is doubled when we pull aside a bag of Swans Island yarn to reveal a packet of Swans Island patterns! There were so many in our most recent shipment that we had to get a bigger binder.

Below, you can take a peek inside the Swans Island Patterns binder, though I must say, it really deserves a full-on browse. Start here and if you like what you see, come by the shop to see the rest! You'll be Swans Island junkies like us in no time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Interweave Knits.

What's that? Another new winter magazine already? Hello, Interweave Knits.

I like the look of Betty's Pullover... what are your favorite projects from this issue?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Creative Knitting.

We recently welcomed another winter knitting magazine to our growing collection.

Find the January issue of Creative Knitting on the teacart. Hope you're all enjoying the holiday weekend, sneaking a few stitches here and there between rounds of leftovers. See you at the shop soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Knit Noro, and Knit Noro Accessories.

A beautiful new book just landed on the teacart last week: Knit Noro Accessories, a sibling of the also-beautiful Knit Noro, which came out earlier this year. If you're a fan of Noro yarns, which gradually self-stripe in surprising color combinations, you should certainly take a look at both of these books. In fact, why don't you take a peek right now? From Knit Noro Accessories:

From Knit Noro:

If you like the look of those patterns, you're likely to enjoy both collections. Come by to take a closer look and admire our collection of Noro yarns, as well. See you at the shop!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. Again.

We first welcomed Claudia Hand Painted Yarns to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop only a few months ago, but already it's been such a hit that we decided to order more. We made up a few more kits for the Double Silk T-Shirt and Cardigan, replacing the color combinations that flew out of the shop when we first got them in stock. We also made up kits for the Warm Me Up pullover sweater, also knit with the Claudia Hand Painted Silk Lace.

For those of you who'd like to find other uses for the Silk Lace, we're also offering that yarn separately outside of the kit. Each shining skein is 1100 yards long, so one could easily get you through a sizeable lace shawl.

The most exciting part of the most recent Claudia shipment for me, however, was this:

A handful of new colors in the Fingering yarn. Anne generously let me pick out the colors from Claudia's tremendous selection, and as you might have predicted, I went with the semisolid colorways instead of the variegated. These colors are vivid, rich, and complement one another nicely, if I do say so myself. Any of them would make a stellar pair of Interrupted socks, no?

Come by to see these new beauties and the rest of the Claudia Hand Painted Yarns.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Knitter's Pride Cubics.

The Knitter's Pride Dreamz circulars have been a huge hit. We hadn't even received our complete order when it was time to reorder sizes we had already sold out of. I've not yet tried them myself, but the positive feedback I'm hearing suggests pointy points, smooth joins, and flexible cables: all good qualities to find in circular needles. This time when we reordered them, Anne decided to try out their single and double pointed needles as well. The double points aren't quite here yet, but if it's straight needles you like, take a look at these Knitter's Pride Cubics!

Like the Dreamz circulars, the Cubics straight needles are made from laminated birch. While they lack the rainbow of colors that Dreamz circulars boast, they have the advantage of a square shape, which is reportedly easier on the hands than your average needle. Try them out and tell us what you think!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Along with our Malabrigo Lace, we got a handful of bags of Malabrigo Rios in whatever colors were available. It wasn't a big Rios shipment, but it was enough to brighten the display, and to allow us to breathe easier, knowing there were sweater quantities of a few colors, if needed.

I just knit a very simple garter stitch cowl for my sister out of Rios and loved every stitch for its stretchy, springy softness. Next time you're shopping around for washable worsted weight yarn, consider Rios!

Hello, Malabrigo Lace.

Malabrigo is known for its rich colors and buttery softness, as well as for its own popularity. Because of its fine qualities and popularity among knitters and crocheters, it's hard to get a hold of, and it's hard to keep in stock. Periodically, we're able to replenish our collection of particular Malabrigo yarns, and this time around, we were able to finally get our hands on some Malabrigo Lace.

The Lace is a single ply made from baby merino wool, used as often for garments as it is for lace shawls. Faced with the pleasurable challenge of working up a shop sample in Malabrigo Lace, I spent at least an hour roaming around Ravelry looking at what others had used it for before I settled on a pattern. As of now, I'm about a dozen rows into Saroyan, a lovely, lacy, leafy scarf that's available as a free download on Ravelry. I'm not far enough along to share pictures yet, though I'll surely do so as it grows. When I started working on it, someone commented, "That's not really your kind of thing, is it?" and while it's not, that's part of why I chose it. I rarely knit lace patterns, I rarely knit scarves, I wouldn't have chosen this particular color for myself--but I'm having such fun! It feels good to reach out of my comfort zone and knit something different. If you'd like to make a lace-weight Saroyan of your own--or a Citron, or a Featherweight Cardigan, or any number of other things--come by the shop and we'll talk Malabrigo Lace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hello, Crock-O-Dye.

Recently, it became clear that we were getting low on Crock-O-Dye. Crock-O-Dye is a fingering weight yarn from Knit One Crochet Too, a variegated blend of wool, silk, and nylon. It's meant for socks, but does just as well in a shawl, scarf, sweater, hat, or fingerless mitts... or wherever else you'd like to use fingering weight yarn. Slowly over the past half year or so, our stock went down. We ran out of the hot pink colorway, then we ran out of the sage green, then the sky blue... and then last week, suddenly we realized we had only two colors left. Time to reorder.

It's always satisfying to replenish our inventory of any particular yarn. The colors look much happier when they're together. Come by the shop to welcome back Crock-O-Dye, and see what else is new!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Seamless Crochet.

Another new title from Interweave has arrived this week: Seamless Crochet, by Kristin Omdahl.

Omdahl offers up a series of crocheted motifs to be joined as they're made, rather than sewn together after the fact. The book is also filled with projects that put this technique to good use. Have a look at some of these pretty pictures, wont you?

Find this and other new books on the teacart.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Katia Fabula. Once more.

I know I've written about this yarn twice before, but it's time, once more, to remind you of the existence of Katia Fabula. Super-bulky, very soft, machine-washable merino wool which we now carry in a whopping  8 colors. Have a look!

I have a feeling that as the holidays grow nearer, this yarn will begin to look more and more appealing to those of us who've been putting off gift-knitting. A hat in Fabula could likely be a knit in two sittings, maybe one if you're really pressed for time, and a scarf wouldn't take too much longer if you cast on narrowly... just saying. 

See you at the shop!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cleaning up our act.

If you've been at the shop in the past few days, perhaps you noticed something missing. Something that used to sit behind Anne or myself at the checkout desk. Something large, gray, and dusty. Something with an internet connection which I've often described as "glacial." 

Yes: we got rid of the desktop computer. It served us well for the past five years, but now we're enjoying our speedy new laptop, as well as our new desk set-up. 

We sorted through Anne's personal book collection, too, creating a library of shop resources.

We're thrilled with the change in our little corner of the shop, and we hope you are, too!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coastal Knits.

Those of you who regularly cruise knitting blogs have probably already heard a lot about Coastal Knits, a collaboration by designers Hannah Fettig and Alana Dakos. I know I've been running into it online quite a bit lately. This book boasts the current most popular new pattern, according to Ravelry: the Rocky Coast Cardigan. If you haven't seen the book on Ravelry, perhaps you saw that Swans Island linked to it, and that Clara Parkes reviewed it. I admit, I was intrigued. If your interest is similarly peaked, come by the shop to take a look at it yourself, because we just got it in stock this week.

Surprise! It's exactly as beautiful as everyone has been saying it is. Coastal Knits is full of great patterns for sweaters and accessories, and studded with stories and photos showcasing the landscapes and places that inspired these designs. A nice touch: the book includes a bookmark with the yarn and yardage requirements for each pattern, making for easier yarn shopping. And they've given us another excuse to knit with the lovely Swans Island Organic Merino yarn in fingering weight!

(Like we need an excuse.) Come by the shop to take a look!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crochet Accessories and Jane Austen Knits.

Two new magazines arrived this week from the busy people at Interweave: a little something for the crocheters...

...and a little something for the knitters.

Find them on the teacart, where new books and magazines are constantly crowding one another out, competing for your attention.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two new colorwork resources.

It seems we've been getting tons of exciting new books this fall, one right after another. I confess, I've added about four new knitting books to my collection at home in the past month alone. Two of those have already been carefully reviewed here on the blog, but the other two have not yet had their moment in the sun. Given my proclivity towards stranded colorwork, it may come as no surprise that these two new titles focus on that technique in particular.

Alice Starmore's Charts for Color Knitting is exactly what it sounds like: a book of charts. Not a book of sweater or hat patterns with charts, just a book of charts. Starmore begins with a chapter on designing simply shaped, drop-shoulder colorwork sweaters, and ends with "A Word on Colour," but in between, she leaves the knitter alone with pages upon pages of charts. The charts are organized by place of origin, so that in flipping through the book, one can glimpse the color-knitting culture of Norway, then Sweden, then Russia, then South America, and onward. In addition, Starmore also offers charts she's adapted from ancient manuscripts, architecture, carpets, jewelry, and stonework, and encourages knitters to do the same. Colorwork charts are easily invented, after all--graph paper and a little color knitting experience is all that's needed.

Mary Jane Mucklestone's new 200 Fair Isle Motifs is similar to Starmore's Charts, but focused on the particular Scottish colorwork tradition for which it is named. The book begins with clear tutorials on all kinds of techniques used in Fair Isle knitting, from swatching to steeking to correcting mistakes. For those overwhelmed by the endless possible color combinations (all of us?), there is a little tutorial on color theory. Then come the 200 motifs. Mucklestone has organized these motifs by the number of rows and stitches in each pattern repeat, making it easy to find a pattern that divides evenly into the number of stitches you're working with on any given project--hat, socks, sweater, etc. Each chart is shown not only in the traditional black-dots-on-a-white-grid style, but also in a color photograph, a color variation, and an all-over version, giving the knitter a jump start on adapting these patterns for many uses.

These two books have me itching to cast on for something new. I am utterly overwhelmed by the number of half-formed knitting ideas rushing around in my mind, which is, by the way, a most pleasant experience. I am so excited by these two books, which complement one another beautifully. Until I figure out exactly what my next colorwork project will be, I'm enjoying simply poring over Starmore's black and white charts and Mucklestone's brightly colored motifs, inundated with ideas.