Hello, Swans Island All American Worsted.

We’re delighted to announce that Swans Island’s newest yarn has arrived at the shop: meet All American Worsted!


All American Worsted is a 2-ply woolen-spun blend of 75% Rambouillet wool and 25% alpaca. There are 210 yards on each 80 gram skein, every bit of which was grown, processed, spun, and dyed in the USA.

DSCN3525All the colors begin with this shade of gray, the natural color of the Rambouillet and alpaca blend. The gray skeins are then dyed with low impact acid dyes, giving each hue a rich heathered quality.



“Woolen-spun” means that the yarn is spun from fiber that has been carded, but not combed. The carding process organizes the fibers to some degree, but they are not as smoothly aligned as combed fibers, giving woolen-spun yarns a rustic look.


Woolen-spun yarns like All American Worsted are also quite lofty, making them more versatile in terms of gauge. Swans Island suggests a gauge of 4.25 stitches per inch, which we’d consider aran weight, but All American Worsted is happy at a range of gauges. After washing, the fibers bloom to fill whatever space your needles have given them. The bottom section of the little swatch below was knit at 4.5 stitches per inch on a US #8; from there, I switched to a US #9, and the gauge is about 4 stitches per inch.

DSCN3530 I knit Stephen West’s “Dustland Hat” at 5 stitches per inch on a US #7, and the fabric is sturdy but supple. All American Worsted renders these knit/purl texture patterns beautifully, and I don’t doubt that it will perform just as well in cables, lace, and colorwork.


For pattern ideas, check the Swans Island binder here at the shop. Their Organic Merino Worsted is comparable, so patterns that call for that yarn will do just as well in All American Worsted. Also, check your Ravelry queue for any patterns calling for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter–I know I am! Of all the yarns we ordered at TNNA this year, this is the one I’ve been perseverating on the most. Any of the Brooklyn Tweed patterns would be stunning in Swans Island All American Worsted, but for myself, I’ve boiled it down to three favorites: “Bray,” “Wheaten,” and “Little Wave.”


Come by the shop to meet this gorgeous yarn in person, and plan your next project! Look for Swans Island All American Worsted in the aran weight section, near the Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted. See you there!

Back in stock: Isager Alpaca 2.

The July sale carved a deep hole in our stash of Isager Alpaca 2, a soft and fuzzy fingering weight blend of alpaca and merino. Knitters and crocheters were planning sweaters, shawls, and stoles left and right, and Anne and I looked on nervously as our supply dwindled.

DSCN3399I breathed a sigh of relief when I unpacked a giant box of the stuff earlier this month; it just feels right when all the available colors of Alpaca 2 are nestled together in their basket.

DSCN3408We’ve seen numerous amazing projects in Alpaca 2 over the years. I’ve shared some here on the blog, colorwork sweaters like Michelle’s “Stasis” and Shelley’s “Summer in Tokyo,” stoles by Catherine, Kathie, Paula, Kristin, and Anne, and most recently, Betty’s lacy “Sonetto Shawl.” Check our “Inspiring Stitches” board on Pinterest for even more ideas. There are so many beautiful uses for this soft, special yarn; have you worked with it yet? If so, what have you made, or what are you itching to make?

New colors in Canopy Worsted.

Along with a brand new yarn from Fibre Company, we’ve also received new colors in their Canopy Worsted, a blend of merino, alpaca, and bamboo. Just one 200 yard skein makes a hat or cowl, as the Kelbourne Woolens Weekenders collection taught us. I see knitters treat themselves to a skein of Canopy Worsted now and then, and many of them come back for more. We’ve come back for more Canopy Worsted, too, unable to resist five new shades in this tempting yarn.

DSCN3400I love seeing how these new colors fit into our existing color palette, looking at home among their brothers and sisters.

DSCN3404Anne’s “Cumberland” cowl is here at the shop, another one-skein project in Canopy Worsted. Come by to try it on, and get a good sense of how the yarn knits up in a texture pattern.

DSCN3406For other Canopy Worsted pattern ideas, consider the new Knightsbridge Collection; any of those garments and accessories would look just as incredible in Canopy Worsted. Follow us on Pinterest for even more pattern inspiration! See you at the shop.

The Stole.

For over two years now, Theresa Gaffey’s “Stole” from Wearwithall has been a popular project here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


The “Stole” is a striped wrap, knit in simple, soothing ribbing with a deliciously soft fingering weight yarn: Isager Alpaca 2.


Just a reminder–all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks! – See more at: https://www.hillsboroughyarn.com/2014/06/annual-inventory-sale-3/#sthash.dJjgZbBY.dpufThis was the first “Stole” we saw, knit by our friend and avid knitter Catherine (and modeled here by Anne’s mother, Phyllis), and it inspired many other knitters to make stoles of their own, in a wide variety of color combinations. It wasn’t long before Anne started one of her own.Anne had a pile of Isager Alpaca 2 on hand already, originally intended for Marianne Isager’s “Stars” pullover, from Inca Knits. She’d even begun knitting the thing, and made it partway into the first colorwork chart when she stalled. It just wasn’t the right project at the right time, so she was pleased to rip it out and put the yarn to work on Gaffey’s “Stole”: comforting, rhythmic knitting that showed off the yarn and colors to the fullest.

The first “Stole” we saw was this one, knit by friend and avid knitter Catherine (and modeled here by Anne’s mother, Phyllis), and it inspired many other knitters to cast on stoles of their own in a wide variety of color combinations.


For a while there, Anne and I could not stop playing the color game, moving skeins around into infinite groups of nine, amazed at how pleasing even the most improbable color combinations were.DSCN3223

It wasn’t long before Anne started a “Stole” herself.


Anne had a pile of Isager Alpaca 2 on hand already, originally intended for Marianne Isager’s “Stars” pullover, from Inca Knits. She’d even begun knitting the thing, and made it partway into the first colorwork chart when she stalled.


It just wasn’t the right project at the right time, so she was pleased to rip it out and put the yarn to work on Gaffey’s “Stole”: comforting, rhythmic knitting that showed off the yarn and colors to the fullest.


She worked on it intermittently, picking it up here and there, starting and finishing many other projects while the “Stole” stayed quietly on the needles, growing slowly but surely, a row at a time. Just last week, she finally bound off and blocked her “Stole,” and now it hangs proudly in the shop.


Rather than work each stripe to a specific measurement or number of rows, Anne knit until each ball of yarn ran out, then began the next color that suited her, using only 8 shades, rather than the suggested 9. It’s easy to adjust the thickness of the stripes or the size of the piece, making it narrower or wider than the pattern dictates. Anne’s “Stole” is decidedly wider, leaning towards blanket-sized, in fact.DSCN3216

Inspired to knit one of your own? July is a good time to do it! Our Annual Inventory Sale gives you a 15% discount on the yarn, book, and needles, everything you need to create a “Stole.” Come in to pick out your colors!

Just a reminder–all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks!

New colors in Acadia.

Acadia, from the Fibre Company, is a special yarn indeed, and has become a favorite at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. This DK weight blend of merino, alpaca, and silk has a unique blend of rugged tweedy texture and soft hand, and served as our introduction to the Fibre Company. We were delighted to receive the four newest colors in Acadia last week!


We’ve been stocking Acadia at the shop for almost two years, and in that time, I’ve seen it put to good use in all kinds of projects: “Welted Fingerless Gloves,” the knit “Quaking Aspen” shawl, the crocheted “Belle Epoque” shawl, “Ritalin Cowl,” even a very special baby sweater.


“Quaking Aspen” is a free pattern from the Fibre Company, calling for just two skeins of Acadia in the main color and one skein in the contrast color. Our “Quaking Aspen” sample is hanging up at the shop; come by to feel it for yourself, try it on for size, and get a good sense of how this yarn behaves in knitted fabric.


DSCN2029 (Duplicate)

We’re loving this expanded palette of Fibre Company Acadia. Find it in the second room of the shop, hanging on the tree in the DK weight section!

New colors in Isager Alpaca 2.

Isager Alpaca 2 is a favorite yarn around here. This fingering weight blend of merino wool and alpaca is light and lofty, tremendously soft in the hand, and good for all kinds of projects. Many knitters have fallen in love with it while knitting the “Stole,” a simple striped wrap from the popular Wearwithall. Others have used Alpaca 2 for all manner of shawls, scarves, sweaters, and blankets. I’m happy to report that Isager has come out with two new colors in this favorite yarn, which just arrived at the shop this week.


The bright fuschia and heathered chartreuse fit right into the existing Alpaca 2 palette, but brighten it up a bit–perfect for spring knitting or crochet.



Come by the shop to see the full selection of Isager Alpaca 2, and consider it for your next project. If not a “Stole,” then perhaps a “Honeycomb Mesh Scarf,” or a “Barclay Scarf.”


See you there!



The Fibre Company have just published a new collection of 5 accessory patterns, each of which calls for just one skein of the luxurious Canopy Worsted. Say hello to Weekenders.


Canopy Worsted is a soft and slightly shimmering blend of 50% alpaca, 30% merino wool, and 20% bamboo, with 200 yards to each 100 gram skein.


The bamboo gives it a gentle drape, and the alpaca gives it a soft halo, but it maintains a crisp stitch definition that does well in cables and texture patterns.


The hats and cowls of Weekenders make good use of Canopy Worsted’s many positive qualities.



Anne and I can both attest that Canopy Worsted is delightful in the hands and on the needles–I treated myself to a sweater’s worth last Fall, and Anne can’t seem to take off her “Cumberland” cowl. In fact, she recently started making one for her mother. It’s a special skein of yarn, Canopy Worsted, and each of these patterns makes the most of just one skein.


Come by the shop to pick up a copy of Weekenders and a skein or two of Canopy Worsted! See you there.

New colors in Berroco Maya.

Last April, we ordered our first bundle of Berroco Maya, a worsted weight blend of cotton and alpaca spun up into a stretchy, lofty chainette. We were delighted to learn that Maya now comes in a wider range of colors, and ordered another bundle twice the size of last year’s.


There are many pleasant qualities that set Maya apart. The combination of cotton and alpaca is soft and light, thanks in part to its chainette construction. A chainette yarn is basically a knitted tube, and the inherent stretchiness of knitted fabric transforms that mostly-cotton fiber into smooth and stretchy yarn. It also creates a loftier yarn than plant fibers usually offer, much lighter in weight than we might normally expect from a worsted weight cotton yarn. And have I mentioned: Maya is machine-washable, which makes it ideal for baby and children’s things, especially for those who live in warm climates or may be sensitive to wool.


Our big bundle of Maya also included a hand-knit sample of a lacy, cropped sweater from the latest Maya booklet.



We’re always delighted to have generous, garment-sized samples like these, because they give the best sense of how a yarn behaves in knitted fabric. Come on in and try it on for size, study the stitch definition, feel the weight and texture of the thing with your own hands.


While you’re at it, peruse the Maya booklets for pattern inspiration.




When you’re thinking warm-weather knitting, remember Berroco Maya. See you at the shop!


Araucania Atacama: now on sale!

************As of October 31, 2015, we are now sold out of Araucania Atacama!************


Araucania Atacama is a 100% alpaca yarn from Chile, hand-dyed in variegated colorways. Soft and fuzzy, but no longer manufactured, we’re offering it now at a deep discount of about 45% off its original price.


Atacama’s label suggests an aran weight gauge of about 4.5 stitches per inch, but many knitters and crocheters have commented on Ravelry that it’s happier at a tighter gauge, on smaller needles or hooks. Like most yarns, Atacama can be used at a range of gauges–think about how dense or loose you’d like the resulting fabric to be, do some swatching, and choose a needle or hook size that makes a fabric that suits you and your project.


Come by the shop to snag some Araucania Atacama at this great price while it’s still in stock!


A reminder: all sales are final on discounted yarn. There can be no returns or exchanges, nor special orders–the discount applies only to what we currently have in stock. Thanks!

Hello, Cima.

Last week, I gave a brief introduction to Shibui here on the blog–their yarns, patterns, “mix” concept for combining yarns, beautiful coordinated colorways, and luxury fibers. This week, I wanted to give each of the three Shibui yarns we carry a chance to shine. Today: say hello to Cima.


Cima is a lace weight yarn composed of 70% superbaby alpaca and 30% fine merino wool, boasting 330 yards on each 50 gram skein. It’s a 2-ply yarn, tightly plied so that it almost resembles a string of pearls.


I fell in love with this double-knit cowl when I saw it displayed at Shibui’s booth at TNNA. As we talked with the people at Shibui, choosing colors and learning about the yarns, I idly petted the cowl, admiring the drape of the fabric, the reversible design. By the time the yarn arrived at the shop, I was ready to pick out colors to knit one myself. The Mix No. 23 pattern calls for two strands of Cima held together throughout, making a sport weight gauge. Double knitting creates two layers of fabric at once, so I had a lot of stitches on my needles, but the yarn was so pleasant to work with, and the pattern so clearly written, that I sped right through it.



For my Mix No. 23, I used Cima in “Caffeine” and “Suit.” It was hard to choose just one pair of colors, though–the Shibui color palette is nuanced and unusual, and I loved pairing them up in hypothetical cowls.




Beginning in January, we’re offering a class on double knitting that teaches this very pattern. If you’re interested in learning the technique and making the cowl along the way, consider Amy’s “Double Knitting” class–you can read all about it, sign up and prepay on our website.


There are plenty of other things to make with Shibui Cima, of course, and Shibui’s own pattern line is a great place to start looking for inspiration. Shibui patterns often call for Cima to be held double, or even triple, combining colors in interesting ways, often to achieve a gradient effect. One of their free patterns, Kinetic, uses two strands and two colors in this way; you can download the pattern from the Shibui website.


Cima is also lovely on its own, held singly, anywhere lace weight yarn is called for. To that end, our “Lace Weight Shawls” binder is worth flipping through, along with our collection of lace-themed books. Follow us on Pinterest for more Cima pattern ideas; our “Inspiring Stitches” board is a collection of patterns and projects that make good use of yarns that are available at HYS.


Keep your eye on the blog for more on Shibui yarns and patterns, and come by the shop to become acquainted with these yarns in person!