Learn to weave!

Since we first became a Schacht dealer back in November, we’ve connected with lots of lovely weavers and watched as many of our knitters and crocheters became weavers, as well. We’ve brought in UKI Supreme cotton weaving yarns in three weights, started carrying Handwoven magazine, reordered Schacht Cricket Looms again and again, and placed special orders for weavers seeking specific tools and yarns.


One request we haven’t been able to fill is for a rigid heddle weaving class, as our space is small and we’re brand new to this vast craft. To that end, we are so delighted to announce that the Triangle Weavers Guild is now offering classes on rigid heddle weaving at their new Triangle Fiber Arts Center in Durham!

Leslie Fesperman will be teaching two sessions of a Beginning Weaving class, designed to guide brand new weavers through their first project and assist them in planning their second.

  • Summer class: July 18th and August 1st, 2015, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Fall class: September 12th and 26th, 2015, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

For more information and to register for these classes, contact the Triangle Weavers Guild by emailing triangleweavers@gmail.com , or pick up a flier here at the shop. We just got a fresh new shipment of Cricket Looms and an exciting new book, Simple Woven Garments.


Come by and see us for weaving materials, and let the Triangle Weavers Guild help you learn to weave!

Show and tell: pastels.

As we head off to TNNA to see what’s new in knitting, crochet, and weaving for the Fall, we’ll close the shop from Thursday, May 28th – Monday, June 1st, reopening on Tuesday, June 2nd. I’ll be blogging a bit from the show, but til then, here’s some show-and-tell, all in soft, solid shades, projects that have recently been completed in HYS yarns.


Here’s Amy’s “Kindling” shawl, knit in preparation for her upcoming class on the subject. The yarn is Fibre Company Savannah, a lofty sport weight blend of merino, cotton, soy, and linen. Amy enlarged her shawl by continuing the main body for one additional pattern repeat before working the lace edging. The patterning shows so clearly in this pale green shade, a wise choice for such intricate knitting.


Speaking of upcoming classes, Marsha recently dropped off this adorable “Pleated Ballet Flat,” a sample for her upcoming class. She used the aran weight Plymouth Royal Llama Silk in a robin’s egg blue.


For such a small piece of knitting, these slippers are packed with techniques, from picking up and knitting to short rows to working in the round on two circular needles. Check out all our upcoming classes on our website!


Jodi brought her beautiful “Tier” scarf in for show-and-tell just before shipping it off to her sister-in-law. She knit it in Shibui Twig, a summery blend of linen, silk, and wool, and carefully blocked it to gently-draping perfection.


Last week, Anne quickly worked up a textured baby hat in the luxurious Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere in a buttery yellow hue. The (free!) pattern is Christine Roy’s “That easy Guernsey hat,” and comes in toddler, child, and adult sizes, too.


Margie has been busy knitting “Shaelyn” shawls in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool as gifts for good friends. Here’s the first one off her needles, in a rustic shade of beige.


Thanks to the accomplished stitchers whose projects begin and grow here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We love to see what you’re making, and we’re looking forward to bringing in more inspiring materials for you to work with. I’ve got another round of many-colored show-and-tell projects coming up after our return… see you then!

Show and tell: Fibre Company.

Here’s another round of show and tell! As I was sifting through my stash of recent show-and-tell photos, I noticed one brand of yarn popping up over and over again: Fibre Company. Let’s have a look at what you’ve been making with Fibre Company yarns.


Mary knit this bright “Autumn in Garrison” hat with a single skein of Fibre Company Canopy Worsted. The pattern is available as a free download from Kelbourne Woolens, and Mary has made several of them now, a tribute to a well-written design.


Pat knit her “Mix No. 26” scarf with two different yarns: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK and Fibre Company Acadia. I love these neutral colors, and the textural contrast between the smooth Alpaca Silk DK and the tweedy Acadia.


Conny recently finished her “Gillam” sweater, knit in Fibre Company Knightsbridge. I’m always impressed at how nicely Knightsbridge renders texture patterns for such a soft and fuzzy yarn; this is truly a beautiful garment. Planning to knit a “Gillam” of your own? Be sure to check Ravelry for errata, and take a look at Kelbourne Woolens’ tutorial on the “tuck stitch” used in the pattern.


Anne knit this “Greenpoint” cowl with one skein of Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, though it didn’t go exactly as she planned. As Anne herself will tell you: it’s important to read the pattern carefully before you begin knitting, but, as we all do sometimes, Anne hurried ahead, eager to dig into her project. She worked the i-cord cast-on on US #7 needles, as written, but missed the instruction to change to a US #9 for the body of the cowl, resulting in a snug little cowl, indeed.


Not one to be discouraged, Anne knit a second “Greenpoint,” and kept them both to illustrate what a difference a few needle sizes can make, and as a reminder to read patterns carefully.


Amy is teaching an upcoming class on the “Greenpoint” cowl, which is a great introduction to cable knitting. Read more about it on our website, where you can sign up and prepay for classes, if you like.

Thanks to the many knitters, crocheters, weavers, and other fiber artists who use yarns from our shop in their creations; we love seeing what you make!

Show and tell: anniversary edition, part 1.

This week, as we celebrate the shop’s anniversary, we also celebrate the community of knitters and crocheters who have supported us over the years. We always love to see what you’re making with HYS yarns, and I love to take photos of your beautiful finished pieces to share here on the blog. I’ve amassed a big stack of them over the past couple of months, enough for three blog posts! Here’s the first batch.


Karen knit this “Yipes Stripes Cowl” in a class here at the shop, using five colors of Plymouth Galway in shades of orange, brown, and green. Then she used her leftovers to knit another. And another! With each cowl, Karen rearranged the color placement, showing just how different the same five colors can look depending upon how they’re laid out.


One of the great things about being in a class is that you can see up close how the same project looks in different colors and yarns. Sherri was in the same “Yipes Stripes” class with Karen, and knit this cowl with five shades of Mirasol Qina, a soft blend of alpaca and bamboo.

yipes stripes

This next project also came out of a class here at the shop, one that focused on knitting fair isle tams. Check out Judy’s beautiful “Midnight Sun Tam,” knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift!

DSCN3672Katherine is a gifted knitter, crocheter, and teacher here at the shop. She recently brought in a new sample for an upcoming class, the “Summer Dawn” cowl, crocheted in Fibre Company Meadow and Savannah.


Perfect for beginning crocheters looking for a next step, Katherine’s upcoming “Summer Dawn Crochet Cowl” class will teach how to crochet in the round and read crochet symbols and charts. Read all about it on our “Classes” page, where you can sign up if you like!


Thanks to everyone who starts and shares their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop; we feel so honored to be a part of your creative process!

Cliff hat colorways.

Our recent Shibui Mix Party resulted in a large Shibui order, which brought not only a new Shibui yarn, but plenty of new colors in Cima, Pebble, and Silk Cloud.


As I put out the new colors, I often arrange them in a spectrum, play with color combinations, and generally admire the stuff.


Thinking of the “Cliff Hat,” I began to group harmonious Pebble colorways in fives.


The “Cliff Hat” is a free pattern from Shibui knit using two strands of Pebble held together throughout, making a plush fabric that’s warm but lightweight.


The simple, graphic motif makes a great introduction to stranded colorwork, where two colors of yarn are in use on any given row.


If this is a project that interests you, consider signing up for Amy’s “Cliff Hat” class, beginning May 17th! We have a sample “Cliff Hat” on display at the shop, so you can try it on for size. Come on in to put together a “Cliff Hat” colorway of your own!


Two new classes.

Marsha recently brought in two new knit samples, demonstrating techniques and projects she’ll teach in upcoming classes.


The “Waterhouse Mitts” class will teach stranded two-color knitting, following this free pattern from Ravelry. This one was knit with Marion Foale 3-ply Wool and Sandnes Garn Sisu, two fingering weight yarns in high-contrast colors.


Above is the “Loose Lattice Keyhole Scarf,” a Marsha original. Consider the Loose Lattice Lace class a “beginning lace” workshop, where you’ll swatch the Loose Lattice stitch pattern in the yarn of your choice and then knit a scarf with or without a keyhole to the dimensions you desire. This bright summery sample was knit in the aran-weight Debbie Bliss Stella, a blend of silk, rayon, and cotton.

Read more about these and other upcoming classes on our website!

Show and tell.

The amazing finished objects just keep coming. What have knitters been making with yarns from the Hillsborough Yarn Shop lately?


Cecilia came in wearing her “Nehalem Hat” knit in Mirasol Hacho. The variegated dk weight merino softened nicely with a Eucalan soak, making a perfect fabric for a slouchy hat like this one. Note the beaded tassel!


Molly has been knitting marled cowls like these all winter, working with two strands of worsted or aran weight yarn on US #15 needles. The machine-washable aran weight Jarbo Garn Raggi has been one of the yarns in all four cowls; Molly loves the stuff.


Esther came in last weekend wearing this sunny aran pullover knit in Malabrigo Rios. Just like Rosi, she designed and knit this stunning cabled sweater with the guidance of Janet Szabo’s “Follow-the-Leader Aran Knit-along Workshop.” I am so impressed by this carefully constructed garment; Esther’s attention to detail shows in every stitch.


Here’s a work in progress: Amy’s “Sonetto Shawl” knit with Fibre Company Meadow. Amy is teaching an upcoming class on Beginning Lace, where students will work this shawl in one or two colors, learning the basics of lace knitting all the while. You can see some of those basics in action on this work-in-progress, namely, plentiful stitch markers and a lifeline. Read more about this class on our website, and sign up soon if you’d like to join–there are only a couple of spaces left!


Thanks to all you incredible knitters and crocheters who share your projects with us every day! We always love to see what you’re making.

Knitting Workshop: Updated Edition.

I’m excited to announce that Schoolhouse Press has updated and rereleased Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop, a book that is very dear to me, as are all things Zimmermann.

DSCN2492This new edition of her classic novice-to-master workshop has been lovingly updated by her daughter, Meg Swansen, and her grandson, Cully Swansen. Zimmermann’s original text and illustrations are intact, but the old black and white photos have been replaced by crisp color photos, and there are more of them. Editors’ notes are sprinkled throughout, chiming in just when clarification is needed, or extra information could help. Perhaps most importantly, some of Zimmermann’s patterns, tacked on in an appendix in the original book, have been updated, with additional sizes and information about gauge and materials used.


So what does Zimmermann teach in her Knitting Workshop? Pick up this book and you’ll learn all kinds of things, including but not limited to: how to wind yarn into a ball, cast on, increase and decrease, measure gauge in the round, work with two colors at once in stranded patterns, design and knit seamless sweaters, and graft live stitches together, among many other tips and techniques. Yes, Knitting Workshop can keep you busy for a good long time.


I’ve written about this on the blog before, but it bears repeating: Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books are some of my favorites because they liberate knitters from patterns, encourage experimentation, and urge you to be the boss of your own knitting. Elizabeth’s percentage system (“EPS”) for designing seamless sweaters in any gauge, along with the chapter in Knitting Workshop on seven seamless shoulder shapings, is largely responsible for my love of sweater knitting, and especially for my willingness to forge ahead rather than let some needles and wool intimidate me.

Nancy is teaching a class on the subject starting in February, working from this updated Knitting Workshop to knit a seamless sweater with the yoke shaping of your choice–read all about it and sign up on our website.


It has been so lovely to revisit Knitting Workshop and to read Elizabeth Zimmermann’s words again, for her voice and sensibility (and sense of humor!) are always a pleasure. I can’t recommend this book highly enough! Come by the shop to page through it, and if it seems like your kind of book, do browse the Elizabeth Zimmermann/Schoolhouse Press shelf, as well–all of Zimmermann’s books are wonderful, and Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen’s Knitting with Two Colors is also a favorite.


See you at the shop!

Upcoming classes.

As you may have read in our most recent email newsletter, we’ve been busy scheduling new classes for the new year ahead. Some are technique-based, like Beginning Knitting and Fixing Mistakes, while others are project-based, where techniques are learned along the way. New classes often mean new samples at the shop, showing the hats, mitts, shawls, and scarves that our teachers will teach in the new year. Here are a few.


Katherine knit this Ardelle hat using 4 strands of Cascade 220 Fingering to achieve a gauge of 3.5 stitches per inch, but any single strand of bulky weight yarn would yield a similar result; consider Lamb’s Pride Bulky, Mountain Fusion Teton, Malabrigo Mecha, and Mirasol Sulka. Ardelle is a great pattern for first-time cable knitters, and will also teach how to pick up stitches, sew a seam, and work in the round on double pointed needles. The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry, so you can take a look at the skills required and decide whether you’d prefer to tackle it on your own or with the guidance and camaraderie of Katherine’s class.


Interested in learning to knit lace patterns? Three of our upcoming classes focus on lace. Above is Marsha’s Lattice Lace Scarf, which is a great lace introduction using bulky yarn. Marsha is also teaching the Holden Shawlette, a popular free pattern that calls for one skein of Malabrigo Sock, or ~440 yards of another fingering weight yarn. Marsha has made several Holden Shawlettes in a range of gauges; this one is made with a dk weight silk.


In the Holden Shawlette class, Marsha will teach how to read a lace chart and how to construct this triangular shawl, and can help you to lengthen it if you like. Amy’s Sonetto Shawl class approaches the triangular lace shawl from another angle; read more about it on our class page.


Just yesterday, Marsha brought in this cute Lush Fingerless Mitt, a sample for her upcoming class on the subject. She’ll teach how to work in the round on double pointed needles, and how to read and knit the lace/cable motif that adorns these mitts. Meanwhile, the pattern is free, so you can take a closer look at it if you like. Marsha’s mitts are knit in Cascade Indulgence, a worsted weight blend of alpaca and angora, but any worsted weight yarn will do; consider Classic Elite Princess or Lush, which also contain angora, or try Yarn Hollow Photograph or Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted for non-fuzzy mitts.

You can read more about these and other classes on our class page, where you can also sign up and prepay online. Our classes do tend to fill up quickly, so act now if you’d like to join one! See you at the shop.

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!