Alchemy kits.

Our Roadside Beanie Kits aren’t the only new kit in the shop – we’ve also made up kits featuring Alchemy yarns and patterns, designed and lovingly hand-dyed by designer Gina Wilde. These are truly unique yarns made of luxurious silk, sometimes blended with merino wool, sometimes with an added metallic sparkle.

The lacy “Simple Shibori Cowl” is knit with Alchemy Silken Straw and Sanctuary in a straightforward feather and fan pattern, then (gulp) thrown into the washing machine to be felted. The Sanctuary felts because of its merino wool content, shrinking into a fuzzy, velvety stripe whose individual stitches are no longer distinguishable. Meanwhile, the Silken Straw stretches out, becoming softer and draping gently.

The “Sparky Serpentine Scarf” is simple and elegant, a decorative accessory and a nice small project for trying Alchemy Sparky. The mesh lace pattern is easily memorized, and sparkles in this silk yarn, which is wrapped in a metallic thread.

Look for these kits and our full selection of Alchemy yarns here at the shop!

Show and tell: colorful shawls.

Time for another round of show and tell! We always love seeing what you make with our yarns, and lately I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and photographing more finished projects than I can share in one blog post. For today, let’s look at some colorful shawls that started life as yarn on our shelves.

Above is Donita’s “Wisdom Wrap,” knit with Alchemy Silken Straw and Sanctuary. She brought it in to show us before felting, which will transform this partly-wool shawl from a colorblock rectangle to a softer, more organic shape – we can’t wait to see it after she takes the leap!

Gwen loves working with Ewe Ewe yarns. She’s worked with Baa Baa Bulky and Wooly Worsted before, and has come back to the latter to make the “Whenever Wrap” above. With so many exciting yarns to choose from, this return to the same yarn for multiple projects is quite the endorsement!

Nancy recently knit this “Butterfly / Papillon” shawl with Brooklyn Tweed’s newest yarn, Peerie, and is preparing to teach a class on the subject here at the shop.

Many of the “Butterfly / Papillon” projects on Ravelry have been made with self-striping or hand-dyed yarns, so it’s particularly striking to see Nancy’s solid color version. I’m looking forward to seeing the shawls that come out of her class!

Nancy’s next project is another colorful shawl, Felicity Ford’s “Efflorescent,” from her latest book, Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork PlaybookThe swatches below were knit with Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, and show two of the three colorways for “Efflorescent,” more class prep. Read more about Nancy’s upcoming class on our Classes page – there are still a few spaces if you’d like to attend!

Many thanks to the talented knitters who shared the projects above, and to everyone who starts their projects with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you make!

Show and tell: stripes.

Time for another round of show and tell! Today’s projects all feature stripes, whether high-contrast or low, many-colored or few.

Here’s a low-contrast example, Nancy’s “Straw Into Gold” shawl. This elegant piece was made with three different Alchemy yarns, all of which were dyed the same color, so the stripes are subtle, showing the textural differences between each yarn.

Michele’s first-ever sweater, on the other hand, is a high-contrast combination of black and white. The pattern is “#11 Rugby Stripes Pullover,” from Vogue Knitting Magazine, and Michele knit hers with Elsebeth Lavold Calm Wool while attending Marsha’s Start Your First Sweater or Vest class here at the shop.

Michele is a relatively new knitter, but it’s clear she’s taken to it. By any standards, this is a successful sweater: the fit is good, her tension is even, and the stripes line up perfectly on each piece. For a first sweater, it’s doubly impressive. Well done, Michele!

Here’s Tom with his finished “Kauni Color Wave Shawl,” knit with Kauni Effektgarn. Not only is the shawl itself striped, the yarn is self-striping, too; Tom paired a rainbow skein with one in shades of black, white, and gray. The effect is striking, stripes on stripes.

Above is Jodi’s granny stripe blanket-in-progress, crocheted with Berroco Ultra Wool. When she brought it in to show us a few weeks ago, Anne and I were blown away, not only by its impressive size, but also by Jodi’s color sense. It’s not easy to put 20 colors in a perfectly balanced yet seemingly random arrangement. It takes thought and skill and a little bit of guts, all of which are on display in this outrageously beautiful piece.

Many thanks to the knitters and crocheters who shared their stripes with us today, and to everyone who starts their project with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We are inspired by your stitches and can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Mother’s Day fast approaches, a good time to remind you of our Gift section here at the shop. We’ve sought out makers in our local community as well as our wider community of suppliers and assembled a collection of items that make excellent gifts for knitters and non-knitters alike.

Harmony Farm Candles are always a welcome gift, hand-poured by Erin in nearby Mebane. We’re lucky enough to have a custom scent, Lavender Eucalyptus, on our shelves, along with a rotating selection of other Harmony Farm Candles, changing with the seasons and our moods.

We just got a new batch of ceramic yarn bowls, handmade in Durham by Frumet of Late Bloomer Pottery.

We also stock hand-painted silk scarves by Gina Wilde, the artist and creative mind behind Alchemy Yarns. Gina has been working with a fair trade collective in Cambodia to produce these silk scarves, and to develop work there centered in indigenous textiles. You can read more about what Gina described to us as her “heart project” on the Alchemy website. Gina herself paints the scarves, just as she paints Alchemy yarns, and the result is vibrant, elegant, and unusual.

We also have gift certificates available in any denomination, of course, and we so appreciate you thinking of us as a gift source. Thank you for supporting small businesses like ours, and shopping local for mothers and others! See you at the shop.

Hello, Alchemy Silk Scarves.

Many of you know Alchemy as a yarn company, makers of Silken Straw, Sanctuary, Sparky, and Lust. They are all that and more, and we’re delighted to share something new from Alchemy in our Gifts section: hand-painted silk scarves.

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Gina Wilde, the artist and creative mind behind Alchemy, has been working with a fair trade collective in Cambodia to produce these silk scarves, and to develop work there centered in indigenous textiles. You can read more about what Gina described to us as her “heart project” on the Alchemy website.

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Gina herself paints the scarves, just as she paints Alchemy yarns, and the result is vibrant, elegant, and unusual.

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She also creates unique tags for each scarf out of tarot cards, an eye-catching detail that lends an aura of mystery to these special scarves.

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If you’re looking for a special handmade gift this holiday season, come check out our new Gifts section, which is where you’ll find these beautiful lightweight scarves. See you there!

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Straw into Gold.

As I wrote last week from the TNNA showroom floor, catching up with designer Gina Wilde is always one of the highlights of our annual trip to market. She’s the artist and creative mind behind Alchemy yarns, but we love her as much for her funny anecdotes and generous spirit as we do for her luxurious, unique creations.

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Her generosity and creativity are now both on display at our shop, in the form of her “Straw Into Gold Shawl,” an elegant piece that she kindly lent to us.

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Gina’s “Straw Into Gold Shawl” is knit from the top down, a triangular shawl with feather and fan down the spine and along the bottom edge, with stockinette and garter stripes throughout the body.

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Three different Alchemy yarns are used in this piece: Silken Straw, Sparky, and Lust. All three yarns are dyed in the same pale gold shade, “Sand Dollar,” so the stripes are subtle, showing the textural differences between each yarn.

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Come by the shop soon to see Gina Wilde’s own “Straw Into Gold Shawl,” for it won’t be with us forever. We have all you need to make it in “Sand Dollar,” along with other colors, and the pattern is free when you buy the Alchemy yarns to make it. See you there!

TNNA snapshot: Alchemy.

We were so excited to catch up with Gina Wilde of Alchemy Yarns, having missed her at TNNA last year.  Our Silken Straw supply had gotten low, so we reordered some favorite shades and picked out a few new ones, admiring all the beautiful garments along the way.    Anne and Rosi are both sorely tempted to make Purl Soho “Silken Straw Summer Sweaters,” so we picked colors with that top in mind. After Alchemy, we saw a few other old friends–more on that after some lunch!

Show and tell: even more.

The yarn shop is often where new projects begin, but it’s also where problems are solved, techniques are learned, and finished garments are shown off. We’ve had a week of show-and-tell here on the blog, focusing on that last step: standing back and admiring what you’ve made.

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Paula knit this “Kids Spirit Cardigan” with two fetching shades of Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted, a soft and squishy machine-washable merino yarn. The buttons are just right!

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Emily got a Schacht Cricket Loom for Christmas, and immediately set to work learning to weave on a rigid heddle loom. This scarf is only her second, and already she’s warping and weaving in two colors with perfect tension. She attests that this houndstooth design is easier than it looks, and I tend to agree; it looks lovely in gray and yellow shades of Plymouth Galway.

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Nancy came in with a bag full of show and tell last week, the first of which is this “Alchemy Block Ponchini,” knit in three shades of Alchemy Silken Straw and two shades of Shibui Silk Cloud.

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It’s always satisfying to see how colors blend when they’re knit together, in part because it can be hard to predict. You can twist the yarns around one another for a preview and make thoughtful predictions, but there’s nothing like seeing the fabric as it comes off the needles.

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Here’s Nancy’s “Starshower,” knit in Malabrigo Sock. It’s nice to see this pattern made up in a variegated yarn, for the changing colors complement the lace and texture pattern just as well as a solid color.

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The last finished piece Nancy brought to show us was this “Kusha Kusha Scarf,” knit in Habu Silk Stainless Steel. It was knit on a variety of different needle sizes, sometimes holding a fine lace weight merino along with the Silk Stainless, and when the knitting was done, Nancy lightly felted it in hot, soapy water. The result is a striking organic-looking scarf, and it looks especially marvelous in red.

Many thanks to all the knitters, weavers, crocheters, and other fiber artists who start their projects here at our shop, and thanks also for sharing your work with us as it takes shape!

New colors from Alchemy.

We recently freshened up our supply of Alchemy yarns, starting with one new colorway, shown here in Sanctuary, Sparky, and Lust.

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Sanctuary is a sport weight blend of wool and silk, which, like all Alchemy yarns, is lovingly hand-dyed by designer Gina Wilde.

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Anne picked six new shades of this sumptuous stuff, filling out our color selection nicely.

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Use Sanctuary on its own, or in combination with Silken Straw or Sparky for Alchemy’s signature shibori-felted designs, like the “Wisdom Wrap” or “Simple Shibori Cowl,” both of which are on display at the shop.

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Not long ago, Rosi finished this “Sparky Serpentine Scarf” knit in Sparky, a sample that now hangs on the wall here at the shop. The mesh lace pattern is easily memorized, and sparkles in this silk yarn, which is wrapped in a metallic thread.

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Look for Alchemy yarns in the sport weight section of our shop, and don’t miss Lust in the fingering weight section! See you there.

For crocheters.

The last couple of weeks have seen a trio of new publications for crocheters here at the shop.

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The Spring 2015 issue of Interweave Crochet features a range of projects, from blankets and bags to sweaters and skirts.

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Kristin Omdahl’s Crochet So Lovely is all about crocheted lace. She covers lace motifs and allover lace patterns, as well as how to achieve a lacy look by playing with gauge.

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I spotted some familiar yarns in this book in the form of two tunics: one in Fibre Company Meadow, and another in Alchemy Silken Straw, pictured above.

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Boho Crochet is a colorful collection of crocheted home goods and accessories. It looks like a great source of patterns and inspiration for crocheters of all levels, with guidance to help beginners make sense of unfamiliar stitches and techniques.

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Come by the shop to browse the latest books and magazines, and pick one or two for your own crochet library! See you there.