Show and tell: cowls.

Everyone’s knitting needles have been busy lately, it seems; we’ve seen so many beautiful finished projects over the past couple of weeks. I’ve captured some of them to share with you here on the blog, and of my current collection, about half are cowls. Let’s devote this post to what has become one of the most popular knitted items, the cowl.


Paula spotted “Sherri’s Cowl” on our blog last month, and came by to pick shades in Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran and Shibui Silk Cloud for a pink-loving friend. It knit up in no time on US #17 needles, and before long, she was back with the finished cowl to show us how it came out.


Sherri has been making more “Sherri’s Cowls,” as well, and came by with a stack of five, all of which were knit with the discontinued Araucania Azapa, a sale trunk splurge that had been sitting in her stash waiting for the right pattern. She made the cowl above holding Azapa with two shades of Schulana Kid Seta, a lace weight mohair and silk blend. The cowls below are both made with the same pale green shade of Azapa, but Sherri knit it together with Silk Cloud in a cool gray for the cowl on the left, and a warm beige for the cowl on the right.


Intrigued by the color study of the pair above, Sherri knit another pair of cowls using pink Azapa as the base, shown below. The cowl on the left is a low contrast combination of pink Azapa and pink Schulana Kid Seta, and the cowl on the right is a high contrast combination of pink Azapa and black Sandnes Garn Silk Mohair. The low contrast color combination creates a blended effect, looking rather solid from a distance, while the high contrast color combination makes a marled fabric.


Hazel came in on a chilly afternoon wearing her “Willow Cowl,” knit with another skein from our sale trunk, Araucania Itata. This is a nice fitted cowl pattern to keep in mind for fingering weight yarn; I’ve seen a few knit in Malabrigo Finito that are equally lovely.


Brooke brought in her second-ever finished knitting project, “A Gray Loop” knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Nicely done!


Linda fell in love with this singular shade of Malabrigo Mecha, and knit this cozy “Cabled Cowl” using two strands held together. She came back for more Mecha to make a matching hat, which speaks to the pleasantness of knitting with this buttery soft bulky weight yarn.


Thanks to all these cowl-makers who shared their projects with us, and to all the knitters, crocheters, weavers, and fiber artists who start their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you’re making! Keep your eyes on the blog for another round of show-and-tell soon. In the meantime, see you at the shop!

Back in stock: Berroco Modern Cotton.

Earlier this week, a particularly large box arrived from Berroco, filled with over 40 pounds of Modern Cotton. Since its debut in Spring 2014, Modern Cotton has become a staple here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, so we picked up some of the newest colors and replenished our supply of old favorites. We now have an impressive 25 colors on our shelves!


Modern Cotton is a worsted weight blend of 60% cotton and 40% rayon, perfect for warm-weather knit and crochet projects, or year-round for those allergic to wool.


Modern Cotton is soft in the hand, machine-washable, and affordable, to boot. All of those qualities make it well-suited to blanket-making. Knitters, consider “Chevron Baby Blanket,” “Saurey,” “Hydrangea,” or “Super Easy Crib Blanket.” Crocheters, try “Ripple Blanket,” “Vintage Crocheted Throw & Afghan,” “Oh, the Places You’ll Go Baby Blanket,” or “Crochet Super Easy Baby Blanket.”


Beyond blankets, Modern Cotton will do well in any pattern calling for worsted weight yarn where the drape of plant fibers is welcome. For adult garments, check out Berroco Modern Cotton Women, a collection of patterns by Amy Christoffers featuring sweaters and accessories knit in Modern Cotton. Don’t miss “Watson,” “Carioca,” “Sanpoku,” and “Admit,” free patterns from Berroco for three cardigans and a tank, respectively. Follow us on Pinterest for even more worsted weight pattern ideas!


Look for Berroco Modern Cotton in the worsted weight section here at the shop. See you there!


Just when cold weather finally begins here in North Carolina, the Spring 2016 issue of KnitScene arrives.


This issue features lots of yarns that can be found at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


A hat in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering, a shawl in Fibre Company Road to China Lace, a cardigan in Berroco Artisan



I also spotted a sweater in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, along with a tutorial showing how to create those vertical stripes with crochet slip stitch.



Designer Amy Christoffers penned another handy tutorial, showing how to pick up stitches.


Look for KnitScene on the teacart here at the shop! See you there.

Recent books.

Over the past few weeks, a couple of new books have arrived here at the shop, each with its own unique tone.


Courtney Spainhower’s Family Friendly Knits is full of practical garments and accessories for children and adults, and has a rustic, wholesome look. Look here for tweedy sweaters for fall and winter, practical pieces for layering in transitional seasons, and colorful cold-weather accessories.


These “Choose Your Own Adventure” hats are knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, a favorite yarn of mine that we now have in more colors than ever. I love that this pattern encourages the knitter to improvise a bit when it comes to the color choice and assignment, stitch pattern, and other elements, like Latvian braids and pom-poms. Choose your own adventure, indeed!


Marlaina “Marly” Bird’s Cold Weather Crochet is a beginner-friendly collection of brightly-colored crocheted garments designed to keep you warm. If holiday gift-making is your aim for this year or next, look here for a variety of casual crocheted hats, scarves, cowls, and mitts. The hat below is made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a yarn you’ll find in abundance here at the shop. If you’re looking to dig into a larger project, there are a couple of colorful afghans here, too.


Anne Podlesak’s Free Spirit Knits is a collection of designs inspired by the American Southwest, which means warm desert earth tones punctuated by bright turquoise and purple, hats and shawls inspired by cactus and agave plants, and colorwork informed by the Navajo rug-weaving tradition.


The shawl above is knit in Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, a perfect choice for a gently draping fabric. Look for it in the fingering weight section here at the shop, and look for the latest books on our teacart as you come in. See you there!


The Winter 2015 issue of Knitscene is here!


Sweater weather is finally here, making winter knitting magazines more appealing than ever.


I spotted lots of HYS yarns in this issue. A cabled vest in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, a textured pullover in Sincere Sheep Luminous DK, cowls in Malabrigo Rios and Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, a cabled hat in Berroco Ultra Alpaca




You can find all of those yarns here at the shop, along with lots of others that can be substituted for these patterns should you prefer a different color or fiber than what the designer used. We’re always happy to help you decide which yarn is best for your pattern and project. Come by soon to plan your fall and winter knitting!

Berroco Portfolio, Vol. 1.


This fall marks the 10th anniversary of Berroco’s now-classic Ultra Alpaca yarn, a soft and sturdy blend of wool and alpaca. To celebrate, they’ve published a beautiful pattern collection showcasing the full range of Ultra Alpaca, from the fingering weight Ultra Alpaca Fine to the bulky weight Ultra Alpaca Chunky. Take a peek inside Berroco Portfolio, Vol. 1.



Berroco Portfolio, Vol. 1  features patterns from independent knitwear designers, the likes of Bristol Ivy, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Martina Behm, and Thea Colman. 

Berroco sent along a sample of Thea Colman’s contribution, a seamless cardigan with texture panels called “Rye.” The pattern photo shows it in a heathered green shade of Ultra Alpaca, and our sample is in a no less fetching red. Come by the shop to take a closer look, or try it on for size.



Ultra Alpaca is a rare blend of luxury and practicality, a quality yarn for a reasonable price. We’re celebrating its 10 year anniversary by putting bags and bags of it on our shelves, refilling favorite colors and adding some new ones, too.








Our stash of Ultra Alpaca Chunky has also grown, just in time for cold weather stitching.


Berroco Portfolio, Vol. 1 has a few great patterns for Ultra Alpaca Chunky, too.

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Come by the shop to plan some cozy fall and winter projects, and consider Ultra Alpaca when you do. See you there!

Hello, Berroco Artisan.

Here at the shop, we’ve spent a few afternoons unpacking a truly huge order from Berroco. They sent an exciting new book, bags and bags of two of our favorite Berroco yarns, sample garments, and a brand new yarn for fall. Let’s start there: meet Artisan.


Berroco Artisan is a worsted weight blend of 80% merino wool and 20% silk, with 123 yards on each 50 gram skein. Artisan is dip-dyed for tonally variegated colors, which look as good in texture and lace patterns as they do in garter stitch or stockinette.


Anne and I passed this swatch back and forth a few times before we ordered Artisan for the shop, seeing how it stood up to a variety of stitch patterns and enjoying its springy feel along the way.


Berroco sent along this “Ceonothus” shawl, by Amy Christoffers, worked from the point up in an allover lace pattern. I’ve often admired Amy Christoffers’ designs, particularly for how she makes use of texture patterns, using them to cover entire garments and keeping the knitter interested along the way. “Ceonothus” looks like it would make a great pattern for a first-time lace knitter, and should work up relatively quickly in this worsted weight yarn.


The pattern, like all of Berroco’s Artisan collection, is available as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale. This means that you can buy them at the shop, have us print a copy for you, and also know that a digital copy is saved in your Ravelry pattern library or sent to your email. Head to Ravelry to check out the other sweaters and shawls that Amy Christoffers designed for Artisan, and head to the HYS “Worsted weight” board on Pinterest for lots of other ideas. In particular, don’t miss “Memphre,” a free hat pattern for Artisan.


Look for Artisan in the worsted weight section at the shop, and look out for more new Berroco goodies on the blog soon!

Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits Gifts.

Two more new knitting magazines have found their way to the shop, packed with ideas for fall stitching!


This issue of Vogue Knitting is anchored by two spreads of color-themed pattern collections, one all in teal, and another all in black and white.



I also spotted a feature on double knitting, a technique that creates two layers of fabric at once, making a cozy, reversible piece. This “Semicircular Double-Knit Shawl” is made in three shades of Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, a lovely yarn we just welcomed to the shop this month.


Interweave Knits Gifts is an annual special issue full of knitted gift ideas, Interweave’s yearly reminder to start working on holiday gifts before it’s too late.


You’ll find a wider variety of patterns in this issue than most, going beyond garments and accessories to include home goods, decorations, and things for children.


Some of these patterns are aimed at last-minute gift-knitters, or those with long lists of handknit-worthy recipients, who know the value of a beautiful gift that works up quickly. To that end, I noticed two familiar yarns from our Super-Bulky Weight department put to good use in this issue. The “Alpaca Poncho” below is made in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, and the “Orchid Scarf” calls for Berroco Peruvia Quick.



Come by the shop to browse the latest magazines, which can be found on the teacart in the front room, right as you enter the shop. See you there!

Show and tell, and lots of it.

One of our greatest joys as yarn-shopkeepers is seeing what knitters, crocheters, and weavers make with our yarns. I’m always collecting photos of finished projects as they come through the shop for show and tell, letting them build up until I have enough for good-sized blog post. There have been so many exciting new yarns at the shop this month that I’ve let the show and tell build up entirely too much. Settle in for a marathon show and tell post!


Debbie brought her “Technicolor Cowl” in recently to show us how it came out. While the pattern calls for eight mini-skeins of Dream in Color Classy in eight different shades, she used just three shades, for a more intentional yet no less vibrant color combination.


Here’s another finished product in Dream in Color yarn: Paula’s “In Threes,” knit in the decadent Classy with Cashmere.


Paula came in with a bundle of show and tell, in fact. She knit this “Winter Woods Hat” from the 2014 issue of Interweave Knits Gifts using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. The combination of stripes, colorwork, and a little bit of lace intrigued her, and she executed all three perfectly.


Paula’s “Cassandre Cowl” is particularly beautiful, with its grand colorwork motifs and delicate picot edging. The pattern is from Knitscene Accessories, 2014, and the yarn is the always delightful Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.


Debra has been a busy knitter lately; she too came in with a bag full of finished projects to share. Above is her “Horse Beanie,” knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


Debra’s biggest knitting accomplishment of late has been this “Shetland Knee Rug and Throw,” from Martin Storey’s Scottish Knits, knit in the incomparable Fibre Company Acadia. On a real colorwork kick, she used the leftovers to design and knit this hat, incorporating a found chart of birds on a wire.


Since purchasing a Schacht Cricket Loom, Sue’s show and tell has switched from knitting to weaving.


She wove this scarf with a variety of plant fiber yarns, some solid, like Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub, and some variegated, like Linen Concerto.


Sue has been particularly keen on weaving with variegated yarns, marveling, as I often do, at how differently those yarns behave in woven fabric than in knitted fabric.


She came in with her loom to show us her latest project, made with the leftover yarn from a shawl she knit, studded with random stripes of Isager Alpaca 1 in a contrasting color. We laid the knit shawl next to the woven fabric on the loom and studied the differences, which colors stand out, how they pool and pattern.


Kathryn dreamed up and knit this sweet polar bear sweater for her soon-to-be son using Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


I’m so impressed by this little sweater, from the classic color combination to her expertly self-designed colorwork charts to the perfect buttons. Bravo, Kathryn!

A hearty thanks to all the fiber artists who start their projects here and share their work with us! We love to see our yarns grow up into finished garments, and are so inspired by the work you do. See you at the shop!

New colors in Modern Cotton.

Berroco has dreamed up a few new colors for their Modern Cotton yarn, filling out their palette of crayon-bright colors with some more subdued hues.


Berroco Modern Cotton is a worsted weight blend of cotton and rayon, and since it’s arrival last spring, it’s become a staple here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


Smooth, soft to the touch, economical, and machine-washable, Modern Cotton has been embraced by knitters and crocheters alike.


It’s perfect for baby sweaters, blankets, and the like, but just as well-suited to grown-up garments like the ones you’ll find in Berroco’s new booklet: #358, Modern Cotton Women.


Last year, designer Amy Christoffers took over Norah Gaughan’s position as Design Director for Berroco, and this collection has a distinct Christoffers look to my eye.


Christoffers seems to specialize in casual, wearable garments, especially those decorated in texture patterns and small lace motifs.

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Look for Berroco Modern Cotton in the worsted weight section here at the shop; you’ll find this booklet tucked in the cubby with the yarn. See you there!