Habu cotton.

Many visitors to the shop have admired the two kits that live on the teacart: the Kusha Kusha scarf kits from Habu Textiles, and the striped shawl kits from Be Sweet. Last week, these two kits were joined by another yarn from Habu: a lace-weight cotton boucle, which can be seen in the basket in the above photo. The juxtaposition inspired Anne to cast on for the striped Be Sweet shawl with the Habu cotton, suitable for those knitters who have the misfortune of being allergic to the mohair yarn used in the Be Sweet kits. I haven’t snapped a picture of the shawl yet, so you’ll just have to come to the shop in the meantime to see it, or better yet, feel it. It is extremely lightweight, elegant and delicate. A shawl for all seasons, but particularly those that make wool and mohair less than comfortable. I’ll post a picture soon, but I’m serious about coming in to feel it: you should. 

The pattern binders.

They’re not flashy, the pattern binders. They’re heavy, filled nearly to bursting, and are tucked away at the bottom of a shelf by the window where you may never notice them unless you’re looking for them.

The binders are stuffed with single patterns, which are perfect for those seeking an inexpensive alternative to a book filled with patterns. Suppose you want to knit a baby sweater, but you’re not looking to knit ten baby sweaters, or a book’s worth of baby hats and blankets. While a book of baby patterns might overwhelm you, a single pattern may be right up your alley. This same logic may be applied to any number of knitting or crochet scenarios, which is why the binders are brimming with patterns and the shelves are brimming with binders. Don’t see what you’re looking for on the shelf? Ahem: check on the floor.
Last week, I put out so many new single patterns that we were forced to add a new binder to our collection. What was formerly one binder, labeled “Shawls and Scarves,” is now two: “Lace-weight Shawls and Scarves” and “Scarves, Wraps, and Shawls,” whose patterns make use of thicker yarns, from sport weight up through bulky. There are plenty of new patterns in just about every other category, as well: hats, gloves, blankets, vests, and sweaters for men, women, and children. Some are beginner-level and some are advanced, and the rest are somewhere in between. Give the binders a try next time you’re in the shop–there are many wonderful patterns hiding there.


Look out for the Spring 2011 issue Vogue Knitting magazine, sitting on the teacart with the newest Interweave Knits. Lots of interesting ideas for warm-weather knitting are found within both magazines. Get ready for spring, knitters…

Of mice and monkeys.

For the past few weeks, Anne and I have been knitting animals. We worked on them during the quieter moments at the shop, and so they lingered, unfinished, for some time. Then, over the weekend, one mouse and one monkey emerged, knitted and stuffed, their features embroidered. You should see us morph into children as we hug our finished products, using tiny voices and giggling. Knitted animals are irresistible that way, it turns out. Anne’s mother can attest to this, as well. No one is immune to the charms of a handknit monkey.

Anne designed this monkey for Averette of Purple Crow Books, a wonderful local bookstore on King Street in Hillsborough. Averette did the knitting and Anne did the finishing, and now the completed monkey sits in the window at the Purple Crow. In his lap is the children’s book on which he was based, It’s A Book, by Lane Smith.

Back at the shop, the mouse remains. Phoebe goes with a children’s book that bears her name, Phoebe’s Sweater, by Joanna Johnson. It’s a sweet story about a mouse whose mother knits her a sweater, accompanied by knitting patterns for a matching child-sized sweater. Or, if you’re the animal-knitting type, a mouse-sized sweater, and a stuffed mouse to wear it.
Look for Phoebe near the baby pattern books in the yarn shop, where you’ll find many other stuffed animals to knit, if you’re so inclined. Stop by Purple Crow Books, too, especially if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of doing so.

What we’ve made room for, part 2.

 Another day, another bunch of new yarns to report on…

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A box arrived from Great Adirondack Yarn Co. recently, and tucked inside it were these four shiny colors of Sea Breeze, a dk weight blend of cotton, rayon, and linen. Also: a shimmery, summery shawl pattern to go with it.

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Great Adirondack is also responsible for our modest new collection of rainbow-colored roving. If roving is your thing, come in and take a look at these. If roving is not your thing, come in and take a look at these and wonder if roving should be your thing.

From Tedman & Kvist: Colina, a textured blend of cotton and linen. From Anne’s knitting basket: two balls of Colina, soon to be two baby-sweaters-in-the-works for two particular babies-in-the-works.

New from Elsebeth Lavold, we have ViSilk, a dk weight blend of viscose and silk, soft, shiny, and light. 
That wraps up our introductions for the moment. See you at the shop!

What we’ve made room for, part 1.

Give a warm welcome to the newest yarns at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.
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As I previously mentioned, Sawya is the latest from Mirasol: a worsted weight blend of pima cotton, alpaca, and silk in a bright bunch of colors. Just right for warm-weather knitting.
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Pictured below, hanging in two tiny baskets are two more warm-weather yarns: Haze and Mia, from the Queensland Collection and Takhi Yarns, respectively. Haze is a blend of corn viscose and cotton in a dk weight. Mia is a fluffy, thick-and-thin cotton, unusually textured for its fiber content, making it a nice substitute for wool where wool allergies are concerned.

Of course, we have plenty of new wooly yarns as well. From Cascade: Sitka, a bulky merino and mohair blend. We have three neutral colors, making the decision-making process simpler. Charcoal gray, brown, or beige?

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Also from the department of wooly wools: Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn, a self-striping fingering weight yarn with long color repeats, making a subtle gradation from one shade to the next. I find it particularly striking in fair isle patterns like this one. Or you might put it to use with a brioche pattern from Nancy Marchant’s book, which we just got in last week. Much of our first order of Kauni has already escaped in the shopping bags of customers who fell completely in love with it on sight. A dangerous situation, indeed.


This should do for one post. Tomorrow: the rest of the newest. For now.

The trunk.

There’s a trunk in front of Anne’s desk, at the back of the shop, with its lid propped open to reveal what’s inside. Surprise: there’s yarn in there. But not just any yarn: sale yarn.

Every once in a while, we have to face the fact that we must make room for new acquisitions. In order to make that room, something has to go. There are a variety of tempting yarns in the trunk. Self-patterning sock yarn by ONline, worsted weight wools from Mountain Colors and dk weight wools from Cleckheaton, Sarek, a super-bulky self striping wool, and assorted others, all marked down from their original price. We also have back issues of various knitting and crochet magazines tucked in there, also on sale, or free with a purchase of $25 or more.

This week we added SWTC Karaoke, a 50/50 soy and wool blend. Some colorways are solid, some are self-striping. Check out some of the 1,855 projects on Ravelry using Karaoke and see if you aren’t convinced to come in and snag some at $6, down from $9. Keep your eye on the sale trunk, friends. The yarn is still good, we just need to make some room in here.

I’m a copycat.

Remember my sock-crazed friend, Andrea? Well, I copied her. After the baggy gray socks, I was ready for a pair that would fit correctly. Hence, these copycat socks, knit, like Andrea’s, in Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca Fine, and embellished with contrasting reenforcement thread at the heels and toes.

Now I am completely obsessed with knitting socks. I’m halfway through the first sock of my next pair already. Look for me at the shop, wearing the copycat socks two, three, maybe four days in a row… because handknit socks are exactly as comfortable as sock knitters like to insist they are.


Last week, we were treated to a visit from Jill McCorkle, who we are lucky to know not only as a local author, but also as a crocheter and regular customer. Even better: she brought a friend, author Alice Hoffman. Anne and I had such fun showing them around the shop and helping them pick out yarn. Jill left with some beautiful pima cotton, knitting needles, and plans for a knitting lesson from Alice. We couldn’t let them get out without a picture, though. Here they are with Anne:

Thanks so much for the visit, ladies!