Sunday, April 29, 2012

Knitbot Essentials.

Last week, a sweetly-packaged bundle of books arrived at the shop.

Quince & Co. has just published a collection of knitting patterns by Hannah Fettig, co-author of last fall's beautiful Coastal Knits. Say hello to Knitbot Essentials.

Inside, you'll find simple cardigans, pullovers, and accessories that look comfortable and easy to wear.

The patterns are shown in Quince & Co. yarns, but written with yarn substitution in mind, making it easy to figure out what yarns will work well for each pattern, and how much you'll need. Fettig also provides an excellent section on how to achieve drape in knitted fabric, demystifying the gauge of her patterns, which is often larger than what you'd typically expect from the yarn.

Anne has already swatched her beloved sweater's-worth of Malabrigo Finito to get gauge for Fettig's Lightweight Pullover (above).

Copies of Knitbot Essentials have been quickly disappearing, but have no fear--a new shipment of them is expected this week. Come by to take a closer look at this truly tempting collection.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reorganizing the pattern binders.

About a year ago, I wrote about our collection of single-pattern binders. What I said then is just as true now: they are a great resource for those seeking just one pattern, rather than a book. When you want to make a hat, but you're not interested in making twenty hats, a single pattern is an economical choice. With this in mind, I've been reorganizing the pattern binders, that they might become easier to navigate.

I've taken the patterns out of their big heavy binders, sorted them, and divided them up into smaller binders. Where once there was a "Hats and Gloves" binder, there's now one marked "Hats" and another marked "Mittens, Gloves, and Fingerless Mitts." The two overstuffed "Babies" binders have become "Baby Sweaters," "Baby Accessories," "Children's Sweaters," and "Children's Toys." Most satisfying to my organizing impulse: the giant, heavy "Socks" binder has been divided into "Basic Cuff-Down Socks," "Patterned Cuff-Down Socks," and "Toe-Up Socks."

We even sorted out the crochet patterns and gave them their own binder.

Next time you're seeking a new project, don't forget to flip through the pattern binders!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Koigu Magazine.

Issue Three of Koigu Magazine has arrived at the shop.

Inside, you'll find a variety of knit and crochet projects using Koigu yarns: sweaters, shawls, vests, dresses, blankets, socks.

Take a closer look at Koigu Magazine next time you're perusing the latest books and magazines on the teacart. See you at the shop!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Washing socks.

In the past five years or so, knitting has become a part of my daily routine. Whether I'm working on a knitted sample at the shop or spending my evening playing with short rows, stripes, and garter stitch, knitted stitches find their way into my day. My obsession with knitting has brought other routines along with it, like reading knitting blogs and haunting Ravelry. Since I started knitting socks, the biweekly routine of hand-washing my hand-knit socks has become a comforting weekend ritual. 

As I ready my socks for washing, I admire my motley collection of brightly-colored, differently-textured knits, some pairs more successful than others. Into a warm water bath they go, along with a drizzle of Eucalan soap, and there they sit for twenty or thirty minutes, while I sip coffee, wash dishes, sweep the kitchen--whatever little tasks need my attention. Once they've been bathed, I roll my socks up in a dry towel, give it a squeeze, then lay them out on another dry towel. It's a bit mundane, this routine, but it pleases me to care for the things I've made, and to see all my socks lined up, worn but clean, waiting to be put to use.

That's what I've been up to this weekend, along with casting on for a new sweater and admiring a newly-obtained skein of sock yarn. Hope your weekend was similarly peppered with knitterly delights.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Norah Gaughan Vol. 10.

Every season, Berroco releases another intriguing collection of knitting patterns by designer Norah Gaughan. Her newest has just found its way to the shop and settled in on the teacart with the spring and summer magazines.

One can always expect to find interesting shapes in Gaughan's designs, striking shapes that beg the question, wait--how do you do that exactly? That question is so often the seed of one's next project, the curiosity that entices the maker.

Take a look at Norah Gaughan Vol. 10 next time you're in the shop, and for that matter, at volumes 1 through 9. Here's hoping you find some inspiration there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hello, Firefly.

A new yarn from Classic Elite has just landed at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Say hello to Firefly.

Firefly is a sport-weight yarn with a bit of a sheen to it, composed of 75% rayon and 25% linen. It has arrived just in time for spring and summer knitting and crochet, and looks to be a good choice for lightweight scarves, shawls, and garments where drape is key.

A new pattern booklet from Classic Elite, Peabody Path, features Firefly, and is a good starting place for those seeking a use for this yarn.

Find the yarn and its booklet on the teacart, and look for Firefly in action on Anne's needles; she couldn't wait to start swatching as soon as this yarn came in!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Knitting in the round: two new books.

Knitters who know me know that I love a good reference book. I savor detailed explanations, carefully labeled diagrams, and knitting books just stuffed with information. Here are two such books, both of which have recently arrived at the shop.

In Circular Knitting Workshop, Margaret Radcliffe gives expert guidance on the technique for which the book is named. This includes several different methods of knitting in the round: using a singular circular needle, two circular needles, and four or five double-pointed needles. Radcliffe then arranges quite a lot of knitting knowledge around this technique, explaining how gauge, charts, and finishing techniques function in circular knitting, as opposed to a flat knitted piece.

Most useful of all, perhaps, is her section on converting pattern instructions from flat to circular. This is a question that comes up at the shop all the time; a knitter admires the look of a pattern, but would rather work seamlessly in the round than sew flat pieces together. Circular Knitting Workshop is the best resource I've seen for making these kinds of changes to a pattern.

Meanwhile, The Sock Knitter's Handbook focuses this same kind of technique-teaching attention to the particular craft of knitting socks.

Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrot have put together a great resource, with schematics and instruction for both toe-up and top-down socks.

Many heel and toe variations are explained and clearly illustrated, with different colors of yarn used in each different step of knitting. This helps to highlight the construction of the thing, the process that gets you to the product.

Come by the shop to stick your nose in a book or two, for that, too, is one of the great pleasures of knitting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


This week brought the always-popular Knitscene magazine back to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

I noticed a preponderance of knitted tops in the Summer 2012 issue of Knitscene. If you're looking for lightweight tees, tanks, camisoles to knit, there are many to choose from in this issue, along with a few shawls and a skirt.

Find it on the teacart, surrounded as always by the newest books and magazines. See you at the shop!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kochoran cowl.

During quiet moments at the shop, when all the restocking, reordering, class-scheduling, question-answering and yarn-selling is taken care of for the moment, Anne and I often ask one another, "What hasn't been swatched yet?" This simple cowl is what happened when the answer to that question was "Noro Kochoran," a bulky, self-striping blend of wool, angora, and silk.

I rarely work with yarns as thick as Kochoran, so it was pleasantly unusual to see the knitted fabric emerge so quickly. I cast on at the end of the day one Thursday and the cowl was done mid-morning on Saturday. It was a chilly day in the shop, and the insistent air-conditioning had us bundled up in many lovely (if seasonally-inappropriate) shop samples. Here Anne knits a North Arrow scarf while modeling the Kochoran cowl and the Norby hat, made up in the exquisitely soft Schulana Lambswool.

The Kochoran cowl is a simple, quick knit, and fetching in its simplicity, I think--a nice accessory to make now and store for winter gift-giving. I know a knitter who made a bunch of cowls something like this one for nearly all the women in her family last holiday season. Easy to make and well-received when given: a winning combination, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Creative Knitting.

Another new Spring magazine!

Creative Knitting is here again. Look inside the May 2012 issue for shawls, sweaters, dishcloths, and more, some of which are made up in familiar yarns.

Find it on the teacart.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

60 More Quick Baby Knits.

60 More Quick Baby Knits is the latest collection of patterns for the popular Cascade yarns, focusing this time on Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, a lightweight washable merino wool.  

60 More Quick Baby Knits is well described by its simple title; inside, you'll find everything baby: sweaters, booties, onesies, hats, blankets, sleep sacks, and more. There's a nice variety of patterns, as you might expect in a group as big as 60, from simple texture patterns to cables, lace, and colorwork. Something for every knitter with a baby project in mind.

Find it on the shelf with all our baby books. See you at the shop!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hello, Caper Sock.

As many of you already know, String Theory yarns move quickly around here. One week, we're tearing into a box of their hand-dyed yarn, and the next, it seems, we're studying an emptying cubby of Caper Sock, wondering how we sold out of so many colors so quickly. It gives us an excuse to give them a call and request more, of course, and with each order, we are tempted by the many colorways we haven't stocked before. Our most recent order brought the biggest variety of Caper Sock we've seen yet.

What a spectrum! I find myself selecting colors I'd normally pass over. Suddenly, I like purple, and grass green.

Those of you who subscribe to our newsletter may already know that I recently self-published a pattern using Caper Sock.

North Arrow is a two-color garter stitch scarf with a short-row triangle and chevron stripes. My version is now hanging in the shop, so you can see and touch the scrumptious, soft fabric that Caper Sock creates. With our current selection of colors, choosing a pair for North Arrow makes for a fun diversion. I'd love to see a North Arrow in any of these combinations, for example:

Or you could follow Anne's lead, and knit a North Arrow in Malabrigo Sock yarn.

We have even more Malabrigo Sock to choose from than we do Caper Sock, if you'll recall, making the color-combining into a seemingly-endless game. Come to the shop and play!

And do take a look at North Arrow on Ravelry, if you're interested. I'd love to hear what you think!