Back in stock: Knitting Comfortably.

Today a big box of books arrived at the shop, a second batch of Carson Demers’ instant classic, Knitting Comfortably. Our first order sold out soon after it arrived, back in November, claimed by knitters eager to preserve and protect the health of their hands, wrists, shoulders, etc. When we placed a second order, we learned that Demers had already sold the entire first edition of his book, so sought after was the information within. We’re happy to have more copies on our shelves now that the second edition has been printed, and in celebration, I’m rerunning my original blog post on the subject, originally published on November 8th, 2017. 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Another new book has arrived at the shop, a little different from our usual fare. This book is composed neither of patterns nor personal essays nor pretty knitting pictures. Rather, Knitting Comfortably is a book about the health of our hands and bodies, written by a physical therapist who happens to be an expert knitter.

We’d heard Carson Demers’ book mentioned a few times since its publication, but Clara Parkes’ rave review put us over the top – we had to have this book at the shop, and we’re so glad we do! It’s all about the ergonomics of handknitting, a guide for taking care of our most crucial knitting tool: ourselves.

Whether we knit English or Continental or any other method, we expose ourselves to the possibility of injury when we knit, especially when we knit for long stretches on a regular basis. It’s imperative, then, for us to understand what we’re doing with our muscles as we work, and how our posture affects our movement. In order to knit as much as we want to, we have to take care, and that is the goal of this book.

It’s clear that Demers has spent years working diligently to make this book as thorough and useful as possible. It’s dense with text, but quite accessible, peppered with clarifying photos and diagrams. He also includes plenty of “swatchortunities,” little knitting exercises that help to illustrate his suggestions and ideas.

I’ve only just begun to read through this book, but already it’s changed the way I think about my knitting practice. It may be tricky to break some of the bad habits I’ve accumulated over years of knitting daily, but I am motivated to interrogate my own behavior and adjust it to assure many more years of this craft I love so dearly.

Look for Knitting Comfortably on the teacart here at the shop!

Knitting Comfortably.

Another new book has arrived at the shop, a little different from our usual fare. This book is composed neither of patterns nor personal essays nor pretty knitting pictures. Rather, Knitting Comfortably is a book about the health of our hands and bodies, written by a physical therapist who happens to be an expert knitter.

We’d heard Carson Demers’ book mentioned a few times since its publication, but Clara Parkes’ rave review put us over the top – we had to have this book at the shop, and we’re so glad we do! It’s all about the ergonomics of handknitting, a guide for taking care of our most crucial knitting tool: ourselves.

Whether we knit English or Continental or any other method, we expose ourselves to the possibility of injury when we knit, especially when we knit for long stretches on a regular basis. It’s imperative, then, for us to understand what we’re doing with our muscles as we work, and how our posture affects our movement. In order to knit as much as we want to, we have to take care, and that is the goal of this book.

It’s clear that Demers has spent years working diligently to make this book as thorough and useful as possible. It’s dense with text, but quite accessible, peppered with clarifying photos and diagrams. He also includes plenty of “swatchortunities,” little knitting exercises that help to illustrate his suggestions and ideas.

I’ve only just begun to read through this book, but already it’s changed the way I think about my knitting practice. It may be tricky to break some of the bad habits I’ve accumulated over years of knitting daily, but I am motivated to interrogate my own behavior and adjust it to assure many more years of this craft I love so dearly.

Look for Knitting Comfortably on the teacart here at the shop!

A Stash of One’s Own.

Clara Parkes’ latest book is here!

A Stash of One’s Own is a collection of essays by Clara Parkes and over twenty other knitters about loving, living with, and letting go of yarn. Each essay reveals the complicated relationship between knitters and their yarn collections, one that can be marked by everything from pleasure, grief, pride, and shame, to creativity and sometimes anxiety.

Meg Swansen’s essay opens the book with a remembrance of her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, and her stash of unfinished objects, notebooks, designs in progress. Debbie Stoller’s essay closes the book, a feminist take on what it means to stash yarn. In between, there are essays from well-known knitwear designers like Gudrun Johnston, Amy Herzog, and Amy Christoffers, writers and humorists like Franklin Habit, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and many others whose names were new to me. Whether I related personally to them or not, I found that nearly all of these stories resonated with me, for their common theme was that our materials mean something to us.

Whether you have a stash or not, A Stash of One’s Own is an interesting read for those who work with yarn. Look for it on the teacart here at the shop, where the latest books and magazines overfloweth!

By Hand.

A new publication has found a home here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop – we’re proud to stock By Hand.

By Hand is a series of lookbooks, a magazine of sorts, where each issue focuses on a place or region. The subject matter is the makers of that community, the designers, hand-dyers, yarn and fabric companies, and fiber artists that both shape and draw inspiration from the place they call home.

The first two volumes are now on our shelves, featuring Portland, OR and Portland, ME, respectively. They are filled with lush photos, interviews and articles, projects and patterns, and a recipe or two.

Portland, Oregon, is home to Shibui and Brooklyn Tweed, two yarn companies whose work we admire so much, and whose yarns we are proud to keep on our shelves here at the shop.

Portland, Maine, and the rest of the mid-coast region is home to Swans Island, Clara Parkes, designers Bristol Ivy and Hannah Fettig, and the Saco River Dyehouse, where Brooklyn Tweed Arbor is dyed.

We were so inspired by these maker profiles, and hope you are, too – the people behind the products and projects we love are special, indeed.

Look for By Hand on the teacart here at the shop, where the latest books and magazines live!

Hello, Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

Brooklyn Tweed yarns are now available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We’re starting with Shelter, Loft, and Arbor, and introducing each one on the blog this week. Today, meet Loft.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft is a fingering weight, woolen-spun Targhee-Columbia wool. Loft is named for one of its best qualities, and like Shelter, it’s somewhat delicate, but especially warm for its weight.

We have all 37 colors of Loft in stock, a playground for the eyes. Like Shelter, these shades are created by dyeing the fiber in 16 vibrant solids, then blending them, two or three at a time, into intricate heathers.

Ever since Clara Parkes reviewed Loft back in 2011 and described it as “pretty much perfect,” I’ve been anxious to get my hands on it. Now that it’s here at the shop, I’ve been combing through years of my favorites on Ravelry, considering which Loft pattern I’d most like to start with. Here are some of the many:

You can tell from this selection that I have a special fondness for stranded colorwork, and while Loft is especially well-suited to that technique, it’s just as happy to render lace or texture patterns, along with simple stockinette. Case in point: Anne has her eye on “Hellebore,” by Michele Wang, a pullover with stockinette body and cabled sleeves. In fact, she has already eagerly knit a swatch, and all that’s left is to choose a color – a fun, hard decision with so many beautiful shades at our fingertips.

All of these Brooklyn Tweed patterns (and so many more!) are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales, where you purchase the pattern here at the shop and a digital copy is saved in your email and/or Ravelry pattern library. We’ll print a copy for you, too, so you can head right home and cast on. Look for more Loft pattern inspiration on our Fingering weight Pinterest board!

Look for Brooklyn Tweed Loft in the fingering weight section here at the shop. See you there!

Hello, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.

Brooklyn Tweed yarns are now available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We’re starting with Shelter, Loft, and Arbor, and introducing each one on the blog this week. Today, meet Shelter.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter is a worsted weight, woolen-spun Targhee-Columbia wool, sourced, dyed, and spun entirely in the USA. Woolen-spun yarns are lofty and somewhat delicate, and because of the air trapped between their jumbled fibers, they are also especially warm for their weight. Clara Parkes has written at length about this, in her Knitter’s Book of Wool as well as in her glowing review of Shelter.

We have all 40 colors of Shelter in stock, an outstanding palette of 37 heathers and 3 marls. These shades are created by dyeing the fiber in 16 vibrant solids, then blending them, two or three at a time, into intricate heathers.

In the marled colorways, each ply is a different shade.

Shelter is amenable to a range of gauges, in part because it’s woolen-spun, and is happy to expand or contract based on the needle size used. Give your finished piece a soapy bath, and you’ll find that the yarn blooms into a cohesive, somewhat fuzzy fabric.

The Brooklyn Tweed archives are bursting with tempting patterns for Shelter, the first yarn they developed, and a browse through those patterns show that the yarn is well suited to all manner of techniques, from cables and texture to lace and colorwork. Here are some of the Shelter patterns I’ve admired over the years, that I can’t wait to take another look at now that this exciting yarn is easily within reach:

All of these Brooklyn Tweed patterns (and so many more!) are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales, where you purchase the pattern here at the shop and a digital copy is saved in your email and/or Ravelry pattern library. We’ll print a copy for you, too, so you can head right home and cast on. Check out our Worsted weight Pinterest board for a few more pattern ideas!

Look for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the worsted weight section here at the shop. See you there!

Book Raffle!

One of our big goals at market this year was to find a new book distributor, as the one we’d long relied on went out of business earlier in the year. I’m happy to report that we did find a lovely new source for books, and they were kind enough to send us home from market with something special: five brand new knitting books, each signed by their authors.

DSCN5971

DSCN5972

To celebrate our new book distributor, we’re having a raffle, and giving away these signed copies as prizes. For each book you purchase during our Annual Inventory Sale this July, you’ll receive a raffle ticket, an entry to win a signed copy of one of the following books:

  • Knitting Ephemera, by Carol J. Sulcoski
  • Knitlandia, by Clara Parkes
  • Cable Left, Cable Right, by Judith Durant
  • Knit Wear Love, by Amy Herzog
  • Wee Garter Stitch, by Vickie Howell

DSCN5974

At the end of the month, we’ll draw 5 raffle tickets, one for each book. Come by the shop during July to get anything in stock at 15% off, and get a chance to win a book with each book you buy!

DSCN5976

We have lots of new books to choose from, along with a large collection of older ones. Ask us if you’re seeking a recommendation; we love books almost as much as we love yarn, and have favorites in a variety of categories. See you at the shop!

 

Just a reminder–all sales are final on discounted items; there can be no exchanges, returns, or special orders. Thanks!

Hello, Cocoknits notions.

Back in May at TNNA, we ran into Clara Parkes at the Cocoknits booth and fell in love with what we found there. Cocoknits is the brainchild of Julie Weisenberger, a knitwear designer and purveyor of high quality tools for knitters. We’re thrilled to be offering her line of notions, blocking equipment, and her signature Knitter’s Keep.

DSCN5225

The Knitter’s Keep is a silicone slap bracelet with a magnetic face, designed to keep your tools close at hand as you knit. It comes with nickel-plated accessories that attach to the magnet, including stitch markers, cable needles, and darning needles.

DSCN5223

It wasn’t just the Knitter’s Keep that we loved when we saw it at market, but those notions in their perfect simplicity. We ordered yarn snips, stitch fixers, and all manner of stitch markers: the serious silver and the colorful ones, the simple ring markers and the locking ones.

DSCN5224

We also have Cocoknits Sweater Care Kits on our shelves now, which you might have read about recently on Clara Parkes’ blog, Knitters Review. It’s no wonder we saw her in the Cocoknits booth! Just like us, she admired both the practicality and the “charm factor” in the Sweater Care Kit. It includes mesh laundry bags, super-absorbent towels, a mesh pop-up dryer, and a bottle of Eucalan, all packed into a nice jute tote.

DSCN5230

Last, but not least, we now also carry Cocoknits Knitter’s Block, a set of square blocking tiles that fit together like puzzle pieces. The Knitter’s Block also comes packed in its own reusable bag, along with t-pins and a cotton pressing cloth.

DSCN5231

Some or all of these gadgets will surely come in handy somewhere along your stitching journey, and their pretty presentation makes them gift-worthy, as well.

DSCN5228

Come by the shop to see our whole Cocoknits collection, and upgrade your tools when you do!

Another day at TNNA.

One of the great opportunities at TNNA is to take classes with skilled designers and teachers in the field of fiber arts. This morning, Anne and Rosi tried spinning with Nancy Shroyer, and Amy and I had classes with Lily Chin and Cat Bordhi, respectively. After two educational hours, we headed back to the showroom floor to continue shopping.  We had to stop by Baa Ram Ewe, of course, having become obsessed with their new Dovestone yarn. I’m hoping to use it to knit “Epistrophy,” from Kate Davies’ Yokes, and was delighted to find exactly that sweater hanging on the rack in the booth, in exactly that yarn, of course.   Yarn Hollow attended TNNA for the first time this year, and we stopped in to order a few new colors in Photograph.   From there, we wandered the showroom floor, taking it all in, and discovering exciting new products that we can’t wait to bring into the shop. We even ran into Clara Parkes, of Knitters Review, and chatted about our favorite new yarns for this coming season. It’s always a pleasure to get her take on these things, and a treat to do it in conversation with Clara herself.

 Somewhere along the way, we came across this display of Anna Zilboorg’s swatches and samples from her Splendid Apparel book. We’re looking forward to seeing her at the shop this coming Thursday, June 4th, for an informal book-signing and perfect buttonhole tutorial. We’d love to have you join us and meet Anna; sign up for this free event on our website! 

The Yarn Whisperer.

At last, Clara Parkes’ newest book has arrived at the shop! We pre-ordered it before it was even published, but its popularity has kept it backordered for months. Anne and I were so excited when a stack of them showed up this week.

DSCN2408

Clara Parkes, for the uninitiated, is a writer, designer, and expert reviewer of all things fiber. She’s the blogger behind Knitter’s Review, and it’s there that we first learned about some of our favorite products, needles, and yarns. We keep her first three books in good stock at the shop, wonderful resources that they are: The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, The Knitter’s Book of Wool, and The Knitter’s Book of Socks.

DSCN1788

Her writing is clever, approachable, well-informed, often humorous, and sometimes downright moving. At TNNA this past June, we were delighted to discover that she’s just the same way in person. I anticipate that The Yarn Whisperer will bring us more of the same, but don’t expect patterns or techniques from this book; it’s a collection of essays, musings on a life of knitting and yarn. “The book was born from a simple notion,” Clara writes. “We are what we knit. … Over the years I’ve realized just how deeply knitting itself—our stitches, materials, techniques—is a metaphor for who we are and the lives we live.”

DSCN2409

If knitting has played an important role in your life and you’d like a good book on the subject, come by the shop and pick up a copy of The Yarn Whisperer for yourself or a knitter friend. See you there!