New from the Fibre Company.

About a year ago, we introduced Acadia, a beautiful and unique dk weight yarn from the Fibre Company, a small yarn company out of Pennsylvania. We were dazzled by their array of natural fiber yarns when we saw them at TNNA, but limited ourselves to just one yarn in a small selection of colors, not knowing if our knitters and crocheters would fall for the yarn as hard as we did. In a quick succession of reorders that brought more and more new colors and project ideas to the shop, it became clear that the Fibre Company would be heartily embraced at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We allowed ourselves to go a little further this year, bringing in three additional Fibre Company yarns. The first two are here, and the third is expected in early October. Say hello to Fibre Company Savannah and Canopy Worsted!

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Savannah is a sport weight blend of 50% wool, 20% cotton, 15% linen, and 15% soya, which is spun and dyed in the US. The wool content gives elasticity to all those plant fibers, and each fiber takes the dye a little differently, giving the colorways a rustic heathered look. We think Savannah is a perfect blend of fibers for our Southern climate, suitable for all-seasons garments and accessories.

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Canopy Worsted is a light worsted weight blend of 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, and 20% viscose from bamboo.

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This blend of fibers makes for a lustrous, drapey fabric that still has great stitch definition for texture patterns.

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Anne and I both worked on a Canopy Worsted swatch, and neither of us wanted to put it down. Yours truly has already acquired a sweaters’ worth, and put everything aside to cast on for said sweater. That said, Canopy Worsted is also well-suited to smaller accessories like scarves, cowls, hats, and shawls. For a more structured garment, like fingerless mitts, consider going down a needle size or two for a sturdier fabric.

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We’re still suckers for Acadia, too–the Fibre Company made four new colors for Fall, all in neutral shades, and we ordered two bags in each color. They fill out the ever-growing Acadia spectrum nicely.

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Come by the shop to see all these new yarns from the Fibre Company, and to plan your next project. We’re planning some exciting events featuring the Fibre Company in the coming weeks–stay tuned!

New from Plymouth.

We get a lot of big boxes in the mail at the shop, especially this time of year, as all the new Fall things are coming in. Those big boxes give our UPS and Fed-Ex delivery people a workout, and we get used to seeing them every day. One of the boxes we recently unpacked came from Plymouth, and was filled with new colors in some of our best-loved Plymouth yarns.

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Galway is our go-to worsted weight wool, a smooth and obedient yarn that is economical and easy to use for brand new knitters and crocheters, to whom we always recommend it. Each 100 gram ball has 210 yards, enough for a hat, small scarf, or a pair of mittens. Its excellent stitch definition makes Galway a great choice for cable-knitting, or any other texture pattern. Galway is also great for felting projects, and comes in a rainbow of colors. This fall, they added four more to their palette, shown above.

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We also got four more colors in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, a super-bulky yarn composed of 100% baby alpaca. Baby Alpaca Grande is fluffy and soft, perfect for scarves, cowls, and other accessories one might wear next-to-skin. At a suggested gauge of 3 stitches per inch on a US #10.5, it knits up quickly, which can be quite encouraging, indeed.

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Alpaca Prima is a brand new Plymouth yarn for us, also made of delightfully soft and fluffy alpaca, but at a finer gauge: fingering weight. Each skein has 362 yards, enough for a hat or small shawlette, or perhaps a pair of mitts. One knitter shrewdly paired it up with a Kira K hat pattern almost as soon as it came in; a glance through our pattern binders or suggested patterns on Ravelry should yield plenty of inspiration, as well.

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Come by the shop to browse all our new yarns, and to see the latest colors in old favorites like Galway and Baby Alpaca Grande. See you there!

New colors in Berroco yarns.

This week brought big boxes of yarn from Berroco. The yarns are familiar–Ultra Alpaca Fine, Ultra Alpaca, and Lustra–but the colors are brand new, just introduced by Berroco for Fall.

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Ultra Alpaca Fine is a fingering weight blend of wool, alpaca, and nylon. Its fiber content and gauge suggest socks, but Ultra Alpaca Fine is equally at home in larger garments, and especially shines in openwork scarves and shawls. The alpaca content gives it a bit of a fuzzy halo, something to keep in mind if you’re planning a project that requires sharp stitch definition–those fuzzy fibers can obscure delicate texture patterns a bit. That said, those fuzzy fibers also give the finished fabric softness and warmth. These 9 new colors really brighten the Ultra Alpaca Fine palette, and beg to be combined; perhaps a Stripe Study Shawl, or Selbu Modern tam.

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Ultra Alpaca is a staple around here, an affordable worsted weight blend of alpaca and wool that comes in a multitude of colors. It’s a warm and wooly yarn, great for sweaters, hats, shawls and scarves. One of our teachers, Katherine, recently picked up some Ultra Alpaca to make the Guernsey Wrap, a happy pairing of yarn and pattern; I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

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Many of the best-loved shades in Ultra Alpaca are heathered, colors which read solid from a distance but on closer inspection are subtly mottled with fibers of different hues. The latest shades in Lustra are all heathered, adding depth to these shiny, fuzzy skeins.

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Lustra is a single-ply aran weight yarn, a 50/50 blend of wool and Tencel, a plant fiber derived from tree bark. It’s the Tencel that makes Lustra so lustrous, a quality that has drawn knitters and crocheters to this yarn for as long as we’ve stocked it. Like all single-ply yarns, Lustra is a little delicate, and will pill or shed fibers more quickly than plied yarns. That makes it ideal for garments that don’t get a lot of hard wear, like a cowl, scarf, or shawl; a Honey CowlSaroyan scarf, or Springtime Bandit shawl would be lovely made up in Lustra. Arm yourself with a Lilly Brush and you can better care for your cuddly soft single-ply garments.

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Come by the shop to see these favorite yarns in brand new colors, and begin planning your next project. See you there!

Titus Shades.

Titus, a fingering weight yarn from British company Baa Ram Ewe, has been a hit since it first arrived at the shop in December. At that time, it came in only one color, an oatmealy tan the natural shade of the alpaca, Wensleydale, and Bluefaced Leicester wool it’s made of. A few months later, Titus Light and Dark became available, two new natural shades. On Friday, we were delighted to receive Baa Ram Ewe’s latest creation, a shipment of eight brand new colors: Titus Shades.

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Each color is inspired by and named for some aspect of the Yorkshire landscape or culture: a deep, warm orange is called Parkin, a ginger and black treacle cake; a cool, pale blue is named Aire for the river that flows through Yorkshire’s traditional woollen district; a glistening white is called White Rose, for the flower on the Yorkshire flag.

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These new shades fill out the Titus palette quite nicely, expanding the range of neutral colors beyond even those initial three.

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A lovely knitter we know, Margaretta, has been working on a Color Affection shawl in the three original shades of Titus; here’s a sliver of her shawl-in-progress, still on the needles.

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I thought of Color Affection as I was photographing the new Titus Shades, and couldn’t keep myself from arranging them into groups of three that I thought would make nice Color Affection combinations.

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When Anne gave me the enviable task of creating a shop sample with Titus Shades, we brainstormed for a long time. Would stripes or stranded colorwork be the best way to show off these new colors? What kind of garment should it be? We finally decided on a lacy, striped cowl, and I got as far as casting on for that cowl when Margaretta came in to see Titus Shades with her Color-Affection-to-be in hand. At that slightly open gauge, Titus posseses the “drape and softness of a sleeping cat,” to borrow a phrase from Clara Parkes. Anne and I agreed that I really ought to be knitting Color Affection, and I ripped out my cast-on to begin again. I’m now a handful of rows into it, enjoying every stitch.

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Come by the shop to see Titus in all its glorious hues, and to pick a color combination of your own. There are so many wonderful two- and three-color shawls that call for fingering weight yarn, and Titus is a perfect candidate. See you at the shop!

New from Mountain Meadow Wool.

Last week, two enormous boxes arrived at the shop from Mountain Meadow Wool in Wyoming. Inside, there were new colors in Cody, along with four new yarns from MMW: Lilura, Dubois, Powder River, and Mountain Fusion Teton. At the Mountain Meadow Wool Yarn Tasting, we invited attendees to swatch with four MMW yarns and also to flip through color cards to see the many other yarns they produce. Some were drawn to delicate fingering weight yarns, some favored brilliantly colored bulky weights, and others were wooed by Cody, the first MMW yarn we’ve stocked here at the shop. We made a slew of special orders that reflected our yarn tasters’ desires and preferences, which meant bringing all these new yarns to the shop in just a few colors. Those of you who couldn’t make it to the yarn tasting can now get a sense of which MMW yarns our HYS knitters loved best, and see them in person at the shop.

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Lilura is a fingering weight blend of US-sourced merino wool and North American alpaca, a round, smooth, 3-ply yarn with fabulous stitch definition and a lovely soft hand. The base yarn is a pale, heathered oatmeal color (pictured above on the right), and any hand-dyed colorways are dyed on top of that natural color. The result is a warmer, more subdued color than could be achieved by dyeing stark white fiber. We had a spare skein in the natural color hanging around after the yarn tasting, which I used to knit up the Rustling Leaves Beret from Coastal Knits.

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Each stitch was a delight; I’ll surely be coming back to this yarn for a bigger project. The Rustling Leaves Beret lives at the shop now with all the newest MMW yarns; come by and take a look.

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Dubois is also fingering weight, a pebbly 2-ply merino wool. One knitter at the yarn tasting ordered this to make a slouchy cabled hat, a perfect fit for this soft and springy yarn, but it’s equally well-suited to lace shawls, scarves, or perhaps a light-weight sweater.

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Powder River, a dk weight blend of merino wool and alpaca, caught the eye of two knitters who plan to use it for a set of Welting Fantastic Cowl + Mitts. I’m flattered by their pattern selection, and can’t wait to see how this gorgeous yarn makes up in my design. Like Lilura, the base yarn is a light beige color, giving this blue shade extra depth and interest.

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Mountain Fusion Teton is the result of collaboration between Mountain Meadow Wool and Mountain Colors, a bulky weight merino wool yarn. We have two colors in stock, both of which fall comfortably into the red category. One has orange and fuschia highlights, while the other leans towards burgundy and plum, but both are 2 ply, where one ply is thick and the other is thin. This gives a pretty consistent texture with plenty of color interest, not to mention enough yarn in one skein to create a hat in an afternoon.

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Anne knit this up as soon as it arrived, working from a hat pattern provided on the yarn’s label. The only change she made to the pattern was to switch from ribbing to stockinette after an inch or two; the pattern as written makes a fully ribbed hat. Come by the shop to see it, and remember Mountain Fusion Teton when winter gift-giving is upon us and a hat in an afternoon sounds like a lifesaver.

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Last but certainly not least, we did get four new colors in Cody, a bouncy sport weight 2-ply merino wool. This brings our current color selection to 16, a wide range of natural and hand-dyed colorways.

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Come by the shop to see all these new yarns from Mountain Meadow Wool, and to admire the many colors and textures that this incredible US yarn company creates. See you at the shop!

Hello, Berroco Maya.

Recently a knitter came into the shop with a conundrum. “I want to make something summery,” she said,”but I love working with wool.” How well I relate; there is nothing like the feel of stretchy, springy, bouncy wool yarn in the hand. Plant fibers, by nature, lack elasticity, but they don’t have to stay that way. The way they’re spun and plied into yarn has a major impact on the fabric they create as well as the experience of working with them.

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Maya, a new yarn from Berroco, answers this conundrum by adding a bit of alpaca to a cotton base and constructing a chainette with those fibers. 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.

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Before we placed our order, Anne acquired a sample skein of Berroco Maya for us to swatch and we were both impressed.

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Anne began on a US size 6 needle, feeling that the suggested US #8 would make a floppy, loose fabric. She passed it on to me and I worked up to #7, and #8, and indeed, I preferred the denser fabric created by the #6. “Let’s block it,” Anne wisely suggested, and we were so glad we did. When the Maya swatch had a chance to bathe in lukewarm water and dry flat, it transformed, creating a much more cohesive fabric. We got a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch on the #8, exactly as the ballband had suggested.

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What to make with Berroco Maya? The design team at Berroco has come up with a nice little collection of accessories and warm-weather garments that take advantage of Maya’s loftiness and drape.

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Look for Berroco Maya and the Berroco Maya pattern booklet next time you’re seeking a summery, yet stretchy knit. See you at the shop!

Back in stock: Titus.

For the past few weeks, there’s been a nearly-empty basket in the fingering weight section at the shop. Two skeins of Titus Dark have been sitting there, looking lonely, save for the knit samples tucked in with them. We were waiting for a shipment from Baa Ram Ewe, where Titus has been backordered (and Titus Light still is). This week, we welcomed back Titus in two colors: its original natural brown and the heathered charcoal of Titus Dark. Finally!

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We also got a Titus pattern back in stock: Ann Kingstone’s “Baht ‘At” mitts. I knit a sample mitt, which came together surprisingly quickly, even with the tiny needles and twisted traveling stitches. It’s a little thing, but the fabric is stretchy, which makes for a satisfying, snug fit.

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Come by the shop to try it on for yourself, and know that it’s available not only as a single pattern, but also as part of the Born and Bred collection, or in a kit with enough Titus to knit a pair. Whatever fits your knitterly needs. See you at the shop!

Two new colors in Titus.

As soon as we learned that Yorkshire yarn company Baa Ram Ewe had begun producing new colors of their well-loved yarn, Titus, we ordered some for the shop. Say hello to Titus Light and Titus Dark.

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All three shades of Titus share a common gauge and fiber content: fingering weight, and comprised of 50% Grey Wensleydale, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% alpaca, all sourced in the UK. Baa Ram Ewe created Titus with the mission to revive the once-thriving British textile industry, and it seems they’re off to a good start, given the warm welcome Titus has received in the knitting world. We first learned of Titus through Clara Parkes’ glowing review, and recently saw another rave from Edinburgh designer and blogger Kate Davies. Even in a single undyed color, this yarn has wooed many. With three natural shades, Titus is even more tempting.

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How to make use of it? Some HYS knitters are using Titus as the main color in their Quill shawl. Anne wants to use all three in a Color Affection shawl. A set of tam and mitts calling for Titus can be found in Ann Kingstone’s Born and Bred, which are now available as single patterns as well as in kits with the yarn.

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On top of that, a recent Wooly Wormhead pattern calls for Titus, and the people at Baa Ram Ewe recommended this cabled cardigan pattern from Susan Crawford as a good match for Titus, as well.

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The longer Titus lives at the shop, the more pattern ideas come up, it seems. We are just loving this yarn. Come by the shop to see all three shades of Titus, and to plan your next project.

Lava Flow Cowl.

A new sample is decorating our walls: here’s a Lava Flow Cowl.

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This Lava Flow Cowl was made by Amy, who’s teaching an upcoming class on the subject. It’s full of interesting techniques, like a provisional cast-on, reversible cables, and kitchener stitch in a ribbed pattern. If these techniques are new to you, consider taking the class and reap the benefits of Amy’s guidance, as well as the camaraderie of other knitters. The pattern is available as a free download from Ravelry, and is a perfect garment to showcase a special yarn in a dk or light worsted weight. Amy’s sample is made in Mirasol K’acha, a light worsted weight blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk.

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Come by the shop to try it on for size, and see if you’d like to make one yourself!

Araucania Limari: now on sale!

UPDATE: As of 11/19/2014, we are totally sold out of Araucania Limari!

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Next time you come into the shop, you may notice a big basket of bulky wool right in the middle of the front room, by the teacart. What’s in the basket? Why, it’s our latest sale yarn: Araucania Limari.

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Araucania Limari is a super-bulky blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk, and because it’s no longer being produced, we’re now offering it at a 40% discount. It’s perfect for any accessory that needs to be thick, or quickly made: hearty cowls and scarves, cozy hats, and the like.

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Come by the shop to snatch up the deeply discounted Limari while it’s still available, and stash it away for next year’s gift-knitting!