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.



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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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!


The new issue of knit.wear is here!


knit.wear is a relatively new knitting magazine from Interweave that has quickly acquired something of a following. It’s always full of stylish, modern garments, and we know knitters who look forward to every issue.



This issue also has some interesting design- and technique-focused articles, and a piece on pilling by Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review.




Come by the shop to snag a copy of knit.wear and plan your next project!

Interweave Knits.

In the midst of  a muggy summer week, the Fall 2013 issue of Interweave Knits has arrived, just in time for cool-weather daydreaming. What garments and accessories will we knit in anticipation of the seemingly-distant sweater weather?


This issue features garments and accessories in lacy drop-stitch patterns, cables, and texture patterns. I noticed one sweater made in a familiar yarn: Kauni Effektgarn, a self-striping yarn with long color repeats that this dolman-sleeved sweater shows off well.


There’s also plenty of stranded colorwork patterning in this issue. Though some of these patterns use many colors, only two are in use on any given row, making this classic technique much less complicated than it first appears. If you’re eager to try stranded colorwork for the first time, consider signing up for our Inspira Cowl class for some guidance along the way.



The Rheinfels Mittens call for Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, a fingering weight shetland wool that is perfectly suited to colorwork. It’s not merino-soft, but neither is merino wool shetland-sturdy; shetland wool yarns typically have little fibers sticking out that want to grab onto one another, helpful for keeping tension in stranded colorwork, and keeping cut edges stable when steeking. I used Shetland Spindrift in my Stasis Pullover last winter, and it has stayed in great condition through many wearings. I picked a few high-contrast color combinations in the Shetland Spindrift that I thought would make nice mittens, though there are plenty of other yarns that could be substituted, like Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight, Isager Highland, or Cascade 220 Fingering.


We were also delighted to spot this profile of Clara Parkes, a hero of ours that we were lucky enough to meet in person at TNNA.


We have all of her published books on our shelves here at the shop, and her yet-to-be-published book, The Yarn Whisperer, is on order. Let us know if you’d like us to save a copy for you! 


Come by the shop to browse the yarns, books, and magazines, and pick up a copy of Interweave Knits. See you there!

The Lilly Brush.

Many of us who love working with squishy, soft yarns have had to face the fact that those yarns often pill. Fine, short fibers feel soft to the touch, and it’s those fibers that are the first to be pulled out of the yarn with abrasion, creating little puffs that stand out from the fabric while clinging to it. Fibers with longer staple lengths will not pill as quickly, and the same goes for tightly plied yarns, but the sad reality is that pilling is a part of life for nearly all knitted garments, especially those that get lots of wear–sweater armpits, for example. If we can’t avoid pills altogether, our best defense against them is removing them once they arise. Here’s a new tool for just this task: the Lilly Brush.



This is yet another product that we can thank Clara Parkes for bringing to our attention; she recently reviewed the Lilly Brush on her excellent blog, Knitter’s Review. The bristles on the Lilly Brush pick up stray fibers and pills as you brush it across your garment. Anne and I put our sample brush to the test on her adult-sized Baby Surprise Jacket, made in Berroco Peruvia, an aran weight single ply wool. Single ply wools are particularly prone to pilling, as are sweater armpits, as I said before, so we started there.



After a good Lilly Brushing, Anne’s sweater was good as new–still fuzzy, as single ply wools are, but looking fresh and pill-free. I bought one for myself and put it to work on one of my softest and most pilled sweaters, made in Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering. It’s a favorite sweater, one I wear all the time, and because of that, it’s pilled quite a bit. I’d made peace with the pilling, accepted that pills are the price we pay for soft sweaters, but with the Lilly Brush in hand, I declared war on the pills and brushed until the fabric looked smooth again. I love the result!


The Lilly Brush is designed to be gentle enough to remove pills from natural fibers without damaging the fabric, and as a result, it’s a little too gentle to work on synthetics. According to Clara Parkes’ review, even yarn with only a 10-20% nylon content was too synthetic to succumb to the Lilly Brush. This suits us just fine, however, since we stock only natural fibers at the shop, save for those sock yarns that really benefit from that 10-20% nylon content.


Come by the shop to pick up a Lilly Brush of your own, then pull out your sweaters and brush the pills away. See you at the shop!


We don’t actually keep track of which books are “bestsellers” at the shop, but after a while, when we start to ask each other, “How many times have we reordered this one?” it’s clear that a favorite book has surfaced. Our most recent shipment of books was full of these favorites, these bestsellers, if you will. They’re a motley crew, running the gamut from pattern collections to technical resources, stitch dictionaries to children’s stories. These are books that Anne and I frequently recommend because they’re books we love, and use ourselves.


From the top of this stack to the bottom: we’ve offered a handful of classes on Marianne Isager’s Japanese Inspired Knits over the years, and Anne’s bright red Fan sweater made in Colinette Jitterbug has knitters reaching for this book again and again.


The ever-inspiring Stole in Isager Alpaca 2 comes from Wearwithall, a clever little collection of patterns. When people ask me what my favorite sock book is, I always recommend Clara Parkes’ incredible Knitter’s Book of Socksfor the wealth of sock-making information as well as the patterns therein. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knit One Knit All is a favorite of mine, too–I’ve made a few things out of the book, and spent many hours just admiring her drawings, paintings, and fabulous prose.


I gave my niece a copy of Woolbur for her third birthday, the sweet and funny story of a nonconformist sheep. And that brings us to the very bottom of the pile of books I photographed as I unpacked them–Hannah Fettig’s Knitbot Essentials is there, packed with wearable, simply-styled garments, one of which Anne is currently knitting.




We also got copies of Knitter’s Companion, Cast On Bind Off, and 365 Knitting Stitches a Year back in stock. None of these books beckon knitters with pretty pictures, or garments to make; instead, they are reference books, resources we turn to when we’re unsure about a particular technique, curious about a cast-on, or seeking a stitch pattern. They all happen to be spiral-bound, which also gives an indication of their no-frills user-friendliness.

Come by the shop to browse our bestsellers, and all our other knitting and crochet books, as well. There are so many that we love to use and recommend; what are your favorites?

Knitter’s Pride Karbonz.

Back in November, we got our first shipment of Karbonz, a new carbon needle from Knitter’s Pride. We started with the double pointed needles, just to see how we liked them, and because the small range of sizes (US 000 – 4) lent itself to sock knitting, which is so often done on double points. The reviews are in, and so far, knitters agree: Karbonz are awesome. They’re sturdier than wooden needles at these tiny sizes, slightly flexible, lightweight, and warm to the touch, which for some, makes them preferable to your average metal double points. Yarn moves smoothly on the carbon fiber shaft, and a sharp nickel-plated brass point makes it easier to work tricky maneuvers like purling three together through the back loop. Even Clara Parkes, of Knitter’s Review, is in agreement. So, we ordered the Karbonz circs.



Come by the shop to get yourself a set of Karbonz circular needles in 24″ and 32″ lengths, and let us know what you think of them. See you soon!

Hello, Titus.

Back in October, Clara Parkes reviewed a new yarn out of the UK, a fingering weight blend of UK-sourced wools by the majestic name Titus. Anne was taken with the story of the yarn as much as Parkes’ positive review: Titus is an attempt to revive Britain’s diminishing textile industry by relying on UK-sourced wools and UK yarn manufacturers. Considering North Carolina’s own textile history, this story resonated, and Anne was quick to write to Baa Ram Ewe with a wholesale inquiry. A few weeks later we got a response, and I’m proud to announce that we’re the first US wholesaler of Baa Ram Ewe’s Titus.

Titus is every bit as wonderful as Clara Parkes suggests; soft and fuzzy from its alpaca content, shiny and drapey from its Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester wool content, and rustic in its natural color. These qualities make it appropriate for many projects, from shawls, scarves, and sweaters to hats, mitts, and other accessories.

It’s been such a hit here at the shop that we sold out of our first shipment in about two weeks, long enough for our weaver friend Victoria to weave an entire scarf out of it.

Now it’s safely back in stock, with ten skeins on the shelf and thirty more on their way from Leeds. Come by to see Titus for yourself!