Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hello, Plant Fiber.

Last week, we welcomed a brand new Isager yarn to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Say hello to Isager Plant Fiber.

Plant Fiber is composed entirely of plant fibers, as you might have guessed: 70% ramie, 15% bamboo, and 15% hemp. It comes in 165-yard, 50 gram balls, has a nice shiny quality, and is available in 12 colors. As is typical for Isager yarns, the color palette is quite subdued, with a few standout colorways that pop out when combined with the others. These colors beg to be paired up.

We haven't yet worked up a Plant Fiber swatch or sample, but I'll be sure to post here when we do. I'm so curious to see how it knits up! Marianne Isager has designed two summer tops that use Plant Fiber, the patterns for which are tucked in with the yarn on the teacart.

Take a look, and consider Isager Plant Fiber for your warm-weather knitting projects.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A few Kauni colors.

We've been flush with Kauni inspiration of late. Anne's Wingspan shawlette and Nancy's Wiggle Wrap have gotten a lot of knitters thinking about Kauni, and the many uses for a self-striping yarn with a slow gradation of color. Now that you're thinking about Kauni, here are a few colors we haven't seen in a while, just in this week.

Interested in working with this colorful stuff? Check out the Kauni pattern binder for more ideas on how to make use of it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Knitter's Pride shawl pins.

The Knitter's Pride Dreamz circular needles have quickly become our bestselling circulars, and as such, are forever being reordered. This week's big box of Knitter's Pride circs had something else going for it, too. Alongside the usual needles were these pretty wooden shawl pins.

Like the Knitter's Pride needles and hooks, these shawl pins are lightweight, sturdy, and inexpensive. A nice addition to our shawl pin collection, I think, and a fine way to keep a scarf, wrap, or buttonless cardigan closed. Take a look at them when next you're seeking such a closure.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hello, Rialto Lace.

When the Spring/Summer issue of Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine arrived last month, we noticed that several of the patterns called for a brand new Debbie Bliss yarn: Rialto Lace. Debbie Bliss's Rialto line of yarns are all composed of springy 100% superwash merino wool, and we've had great luck at the shop with three weights: Rialto Aran, Rialto DK, and Rialto 4-ply, which I've used for many pairs of socks and one crazy sweater. The Rialto yarns are soft to the touch, wear well, wash easily, and have beautiful stitch definition. The mere existence of a lace-weight Rialto yarn meant that we had to have it at the shop, and so, of course, Anne ordered it.

This week, Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace arrived, and with it, a Rialto Lace booklet, which shows the yarn made up in sweaters as well as shawls. 

Take a peek at this new yarn and browse through the book for inspiration. You can find them both on the teacart.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The newest book by Danish designer Helga Isager has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Strikketøj is a pattern collection well-described by its subtitle: Knitting Designs Inspired by the Pop Culture of the 20th Century. Isager offers a pair of patterns for every decade of the 20th century, meant to reflect something of the style of the time.

Often, she pairs an adult pattern with a child's pattern, and both are equally chic. If you're interested in unusual children's knitting patterns, Helga Isager's designs are worth a look.

Strikketøj is a must-see for those seeking new uses for Isager yarns. Have a look next time you're in the shop!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Principles of Knitting.

Here is a book that has been much-anticipated, a healthily revised version of a classic knitting tome: The Principles of Knitting, by June Hemmons Hiatt.

As I've expressed here on the blog before, I have a great love of serious knitting resource books. I don't need a lot of beautiful photography, though I'm in no way opposed to it, and while pattern collections can be wonderfully inspiring, there is nothing more exciting to me than a knitting book packed full of text, charts, and diagrams. The Principles of Knitting is right up my alley in this manner, as it is something of an encyclopedia of knitting at 736 pages. It is a thick, heavy book, one best perused at a table, with time and concentration.

Hiatt takes an analytical approach to the craft, cataloguing many versions of many techniques and offering an informed opinion on their best applications. As the length of the book suggests, Hiatt does not use words sparingly, as so many knitting technique books do. Instead, Hiatt takes all the room that is necessary to clearly and deliberately explain a technique, even one as deceptively simple as holding the yarn.

For someone who learns best from written instructions, this is a real treat, a book tailored to that very learning style. For me, The Principles of Knitting is a perfect fit, a big, beautiful book that I'm happy to page through for pleasure as well as instruction. If you have ever wanted a book of every imaginable cast-on, or have wondered which kind of increase or decrease to use, and why there are so many, The Principles of Knitting deserves your attention. It is a book to grow with, and one that reflects how much there is to learn and to do with knitting needles and yarn.

If I've intrigued you, come by the shop and see the book for yourself, where you'll find it weighing down the teacart importantly, a mere stack of two copies tall enough to tower over all the other new releases. See you at the shop.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Works in progress: short row edition.

This month, perhaps more than most, Anne's desk at the shop has often been crowded by multiple works in progress. She has (ahem) a small handful of projects started, many of which will grow up to be shop samples, showing off particular yarns in patterns for which they are particularly well-suited. At the moment, I have only one project going at the shop, but more at home, lest you think I'm gloating. The impulse to cast on with an exciting new yarn is strong, and succumb to it we do. Here are two of the latest works in progress you're likely to catch us stitching on in quiet moments at the shop.

Anne is working on a shawl with the wooly, self-striping Kauni yarn, knowing that Nancy's Wiggle Wrap is not a permanent installation in the shop. When the Wiggle Wrap leaves us, we'll need something that shows what Kauni can do, and this shawl will do that very well.

The pattern is Wingspan, available as a free download on Ravelry, and it is an excellent example of just one of the many shapes that can be accomplished using short rows.

Myself, I'm at work on a ruffle scarf, another pattern full of short rows, albeit much shorter short rows. These rows are sometimes only 4 stitches long, short enough that I taught myself to knit backwards to save time on turning the needles around between short rows. If the pattern looks familiar, that's because we already have one ruffle scarf hanging in the shop, which I wrote about on the blog last May. That one was made with two yarns held together, and because of this, it's fuzzy, dense, and warm. With Spring on its way, and Cascade's Ultra Pima yarn unswatched, we thought a thinner cotton ruffle scarf was in order.

That's what we're up to, or part of what we're up to, at any rate. What are you working on lately?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interweave Knits.

The Spring 2012 issue of Interweave Knits is here!

Flipping through this new issue, I saw many familiar yarns in action. The bulky Cascade Eco Wool was put to good use in this textured vest.

Here's a little shawl made from Tahki Coast, and a vest from the ever-popular Malabrigo Rios.

Another Tahki yarn makes an appearance in this lace-edged hoodie: Tahki Cotton Classic, a worsted-weight mercerized cotton.

You can find this issue of Interweave Knits on the teacart, surrounded by all the latest books and magazines, and if any of these yarns move you, you can find them at the shop as well. See you soon!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hello, Araucania Ruca.

This drop stitch scarf, lent to us by Amy, has been getting a lot of attention since we put it up at the shop a few weeks ago. Like Nancy's Kauni shawl, it wont be at the shop forever, so I thought I'd document it here on the blog.

The yarn is Araucania Ruca, a dk-weight yarn made of 100% sugarcane fiber, and it's a particularly good match for the pattern. Plant fibers like sugarcane, bamboo, and cotton all lack elasticity, giving them a tendency to stretch out of shape. For some projects, that would be a disadvantage to account for by changing needle size or even adding an elastic thread, but for a drop stitch scarf, it's a perfect fit. The elongated stitches of the seafoam stitch pattern drape beautifully in a plant fiber.

Amy's scarf has gotten a lot of knitters interested in the Ruca yarn, so we ordered a few new colors to give aspiring drop stitch scarf makers more options. We were disappointed to discover that Araucania no longer produces the same colorway that Amy used, but we got two similar colorways for those that want the same look. 

Take a look at the Ruca when you're seeking a smooth, shiny plant fiber, and if you'd like to make a drop stitch scarf of your own, you can download the pattern for free on Ravelry. See you at the shop!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dream in Color.

Two new yarns arrived at the shop this week from Dream In Color, a Chicago-based producer of hand-dyed yarns. We've had their Classy yarn, a washable worsted weight wool that I've written about here on the blog before, as well as their fingering- and lace-weight wools, which are named Smooshy and Baby, respectively. This week, we got a Smooshy upgrade: eight colors of Smooshy With Cashmere, which boasts 400 yards and 20% cashmere content. This yarn is a real treat for the hands, a smooshier Smooshy.

We also received six colors of a new lace-weight yarn from Dream in Color called It's Native, so-called because the wool and mohair fiber it's made of is grown, spun, and dyed in the United States. Anne makes sure that we offer yarns manufactured in the U.S. whenever possible, and it's great to see more and more of them show up at the shop. It's Native comes in generous skeins, too: 1000 yards can get you through a lace shawl, several scarves, or an entire Whisper Cardigan

Check out these two latest offerings from Dream in Color next time you're seeking fingering-or lace-weight yarns. See you at the shop!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Malabrigo Sock.

A box from Malabrigo is always met with excitement on our part. The bigger the box, the more excitement, and this week's box was a big, big box. We got a few new colors in Malabrigo Lace and a few in Arroyo, but the big excitement with the big box was all about Malabrigo Sock.

Malabrigo Sock is always a hot commodity at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. The colors, the softness, and the long waiting period between shipments all conspire to make it disappear quickly from our shelves. It's always a relief to have Malabrigo Sock yarn in stock, and so appealing to see all the colors together. It has me daydreaming about colorwork socks, but what else is new.

Have you used Malabrigo Sock before? I'm always curious what people are making with it--socks, scarves, shawls, sweaters, hats, baby things--because it has so many applications. Let us know what you've used it for and how you like it, and if you haven't yet had the pleasure, give Malabrigo Sock a try and see what all the fuss is about!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For the hands and the feet: two new books.

From Martingale & Co. this week, we received two new books. One will help you clothe your hands, and the other, your feet. Let's take a closer look.

There are many ways to knit small circumferences in the round, and it's a good thing, too, because preferences vary from knitter to knitter. Some love double points and some loathe them. Some are happy using the magic loop on one long circular, while the mere thought of magic loop knitting sets others on edge. Some prefer knitting small circumferences like mittens or socks on two circular needles, and this new book is for them. Knitting Circles Around Mittens and More, by Antje Gillingham, is a collection of patterns for mitts and mittens using two circular needles.

Along with the patterns comes helpful information about modifying existing patterns to use two circulars instead of double points, as well as instruction on knitting two mittens at once. If knitting in the round on two circulars is your kind of thing, this book may be, too.

Now, for the feet: Knitting Scandinavian Slippers and Socks, by Laura Farson, is for lovers of colorwork. Many of the patterns use worsted weight yarn to create cushy slippers, but some are for fingering weight yarns, as well. Here are some of the stranded designs you'll find inside:

Take a look at these and other new books next time you're in the shop.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Knitter's Pride needles and hooks.

This week, we got three boxes brimming with nothing but knitting needles and crochet hooks. We had been missing some sizes in the Crystal Palace bamboo single and double pointed needles, so one box was dedicated to those. The other two were all Knitter's Pride, a relatively new line that seems to have become a favorite.

The Knitter's Pride Dreamz circular needles have been quite popular since their initial arrival back in October. We can't seem to keep all the various sizes in all four lengths in stock, hence this week's two boxes worth.

The Dreamz interchangeable circular sets have sold out over and over again, so this time we wised up and ordered twice as many. We also have extra cords in 16", 24", 32", and 40" which are compatible with the Dreamz interchangeable set.

We now have the Knitter's Pride Symfonie Rose interchangeable needles as well, a beautiful set in a sturdy case like a jewelry box.

Knitter's Pride also makes square needles, in single and double points as well as circulars, and we're proud to boast all three. The square needles are ergonomically designed, making them easier to hold and easier on your hands. The double points have been particularly well-received by those who try them. Many knitters have skeptically purchased square needles only to return later singing their praises. Give them a try, and let us know what you think.

We made sure to get something for the crocheters, too: Dreamz hooks in a wide range of sizes, as well as afghan hooks that can be attached to the single cords for Tunisian crochet.

Whatever needles or hooks you're seeking, we hope you can find them here. We make an effort to keep a variety of knitting and crochet tools in stock in a variety of sizes. See you at the shop!