Hello, Kate Davies Àrd-Thìr.

We’re thrilled to announce that Kate Davies’ new yarn is here!

We’ve long been admirers of Davies’ writing and knitwear design, and keep a variety of her books in stock here at the shop. Since she started her own line of yarn a few years ago, we’ve longed to carry it, but she sells directly to consumers on her website, rather than through retailers like us. For her newest yarn, Davies has collaborated with Fyberspates to distribute Àrd-Thìr more widely, and we could not be happier to have it on our shelves and in our hands!

Kate Davies Àrd-Thìr is an aran weight blend of Peruvian fibers, 60% highland wool and 40% alpaca. Each 50 gram skein has 71 yards, and it knits up at about 15-19 stitches over 4″ on needles from US 7-10.5. The texture is smooth and round, for sharp stitch definition and a springy elasticity in the hand.

Àrd-Thìr comes in 10 heathered shades inspired by the winter landscape of the Scottish highlands, a beautiful muted palette. Head to Davies’ blog to read more about the inspiration, production, and sourcing that makes Àrd-Thìr so special.

I’m the lucky knitter charged with making a shop sample in Àrd-Thìr, and I’ve cast on for Davies’ first available pattern for this yarn, the “Weel Riggit Hat.” It’s been delightfully quick to knit, a pleasure in my hands and on the needles.

Come by the shop to see and touch Àrd-Thìr for yourself, and plan your next project! You’ll find it in our Aran weight section.

Milarrochy Heids.

Kate Davies’ newest book is here on our teacart, among the latest books and magazines for knitters.

Milarrochy Heids is a collection of colorful hats designed by a variety of talented knitters.

Some are familiar to us, like Felicity Ford, Ella Gordon, and Dianna Walla, while others are new names we can’t wait to get acquainted with.

While many of the hats here are knit using stranded colorwork, there are other knitting techniques represented as well – stripes and double knitting, short rows and welts, chevrons and cables, to name a few.

The hats in this book are knit with Kate Davies’ own line of yarn, Milarrochy Tweed, a fingering weight wool and mohair blend. We don’t have it here at the shop, though we wish we could, but we have a great many excellent substitutes – Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, Tukuwool Fingering, Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Peerie, Isager Tweed, and more.

Come by the shop to browse this and other Kate Davies books – she’s a favorite of ours, so we do try to keep her books in good stock!

See you at the shop.

Show and tell: Anne’s “Dog Stars.”

A few months ago, Anne set a lofty goal: she would knit a sweater for each of her four grandchildren for Hanukkah. When she mentioned this in conversation at the shop, eyes would widen in disbelief – even four child-sized sweaters represent an awful lot of knitting, after all. She picked Tin Can Knits’ “Dog Star” pattern, a simple, seamless, colorwork yoke, and spent every possible moment knitting these sweet sweaters, determined to complete them in time. Anne is a woman of her word, and a determined one – when Hanukkah began on December 2nd, she was ready with four finished sweaters. Quite a feat!

For her granddaughters, Anne knit “Dog Star” with Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, using a sophisticated palette of purplish gray, eggplant, and cream. Knowing the girls might like to match as much as they like to distinguish themselves, Anne flipped the arrangement of contrast colors in the yoke: sisterly matching, yet distinct.

For her twin grandsons, Anne used Malabrigo Rios, again differentiating the sweaters by changing colors in the yoke.

Her boys love bright colors, so she used wildly variegated colorways in the stranded yoke, which, in her words, look like sprinkles against the dark blue background.

Hope you’ve met your own holiday knitting goals this season!

A reminder, the shop will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 25 and again on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Otherwise the shop will be open at our regular hours, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Back in stock, show and tell: Berroco Ultra Wool and Ultra Wool DK.

This season, we seem to be constantly ordering and reordering Berroco Ultra Wool and Ultra Wool DK. Not long before we closed for our Thanksgiving break, I unpacked a bigger box than ever from Berroco, for it contained some new colors along with all our old favorites.

Ultra Wool and Ultra Wool DK are smooth and sturdy superwash wools, one of the few that suggests “tumble dry low” rather than “lay flat to dry.” They’re easy-care, practical, economical, and come in a wide range of solid and heathered colors; no wonder we’re selling so much of them!

The latest Berroco Portfolio collection features these yarns, and we were delighted when Berroco also sent us a sample of the cover sweater, Lori Versaci’s “Lane’s Island Pullover.” There’s nothing like a finished garment to give you a sense of how a particular yarn knits up, and this one has already compelled plenty of knitters to try Ultra Wool DK, many of whom return to it for other projects.

April was one of the first knitters we knew to complete an adult-sized sweater in Ultra Wool DK, and when she wore it in, singing the yarn’s praises, we were truly impressed. The cables of her “Bowery Tunic” show beautifully, and April didn’t report any of the out-of-control stretching that superwash wools can sometimes experience during blocking.

Margie has also been working with Ultra Wool DK of late, knitting not one, but two “Isabelline Cowls.” I never tire of seeing what an impact a change in color can have; this pair is a nice example of how low- and high-contrast color combinations can both work beautifully in stranded colorwork. And you might be surprised which of these has higher contrast – I was! Look at these photos through the black and white filter on your camera and you’ll see what I mean.

Ultra Wool DK is great for crochet projects, too! Check out Linda’s amazing blanket for proof positive.

Look for Ultra Wool and Ultra Wool DK here at the shop, and keep an eye out for something new from Berroco, too… more on that soon!

Swans Island colorwork kits.

As the holidays approach, we meet more and more folks seeking presents for the knitters in their lives. With the gift-giving season in mind, we’ve put together some new kits featuring yarn and patterns from Swans Island.

Each kit features a colorwork pattern and all the yarn to complete it. They’d make great gifts for knitters who love colorwork, of course, but I’d also recommend them for those who haven’t yet mastered this particular technique, as small projects like hats and mitts are a good size for learning.

The yarn is All American Sport, a 2-ply woolen-spun yarn composed of 100% Rambouillet wool, which was grown, processed, spun, and dyed in the USA. It’s a unique combination of next-to-skin soft and holds-its-shape sturdy, and was created with stranded colorwork in mind. 

Come by the shop if you’re seeking gifts for a friend or materials to make them with – we hope you find inspiration here!

Show and tell: colorful shawls.

Time for another round of show and tell! We always love seeing what you make with our yarns, and lately I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and photographing more finished projects than I can share in one blog post. For today, let’s look at some colorful shawls that started life as yarn on our shelves.

Above is Donita’s “Wisdom Wrap,” knit with Alchemy Silken Straw and Sanctuary. She brought it in to show us before felting, which will transform this partly-wool shawl from a colorblock rectangle to a softer, more organic shape – we can’t wait to see it after she takes the leap!

Gwen loves working with Ewe Ewe yarns. She’s worked with Baa Baa Bulky and Wooly Worsted before, and has come back to the latter to make the “Whenever Wrap” above. With so many exciting yarns to choose from, this return to the same yarn for multiple projects is quite the endorsement!

Nancy recently knit this “Butterfly / Papillon” shawl with Brooklyn Tweed’s newest yarn, Peerie, and is preparing to teach a class on the subject here at the shop.

Many of the “Butterfly / Papillon” projects on Ravelry have been made with self-striping or hand-dyed yarns, so it’s particularly striking to see Nancy’s solid color version. I’m looking forward to seeing the shawls that come out of her class!

Nancy’s next project is another colorful shawl, Felicity Ford’s “Efflorescent,” from her latest book, Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork PlaybookThe swatches below were knit with Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, and show two of the three colorways for “Efflorescent,” more class prep. Read more about Nancy’s upcoming class on our Classes page – there are still a few spaces if you’d like to attend!

Many thanks to the talented knitters who shared the projects above, and to everyone who starts their projects with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you make!

The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Playbook.

Meet Felicity Ford’s Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Playbook! 

A sequel of sorts to her Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook of a few years ago, this Playbook picks up where she left off, transforming the imagery of daily life into stranded colorwork projects.

Ford’s colorwork is surprising, whimsical, and often collaborative, like the knitted correspondence above, or the tarmac-inspired bunting below.

Above all, Ford’s designs and ideas are playful, and invite knitters to play along. Her book does include patterns, but encourages knitters to adapt them to their own tastes and ideas.

Our friend and teacher, Nancy, recently met Felicity Ford at Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp and came away inspired to make the “Efflorescent” shawl from Ford’s Playbook. She’s leading a class on the subject here at our shop, and we couldn’t be more excited to see the shawls that will emerge from it – sign up now if you’d like to attend!

Look for the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Playbook on the teacart here at the shop, where a variety of new books and magazines are waiting to inspire you. See you at the shop!

Lucerne.

Our shop is abuzz with excitement over Brooklyn Tweed’s new yarn, Peerie. The folks at BT were kind enough to send a couple of sample skeins our way in advance of the release, giving Anne just enough time to knit “Lucerne.”

Jared Flood’s “Lucerne” is a colorwork hat in two, three, or four shades of Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. It’s a perfect starting place for those new to stranded colorwork, and Peerie’s 45 shades are an absolute playground for knitters of all experience levels.

Anne’s “Lucerne” is in two shades, the dark green Nori and pale gray/green Gale. In this sample, the darker shade is the main color, but their positions could easily be swapped for an equally attractive, but very different look. Here are a few more two-color combinations to consider.

I couldn’t stop here, of course – in fact, I spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon creating and photographing color combinations for this project! Next up are three-color combinations. I began with one that Flood suggests in his pattern.

The formula here is straightforward: three colors, all from the same family – one light, one medium, and one dark. I had fun creating a few more in this vein.

The possibilities for four-color combinations are even more varied, of course. There are no rules, but it’s wise to have a range of values, so the individual colors can be distinguished from one another in the context of the pattern. Here’s one from Jared Flood.

Here are a few I came up with, just the beginning of what’s possible.

Until June 30th, the pattern is free when you buy Peerie here at our shop. Look for the yarn in the fingering weight section. We can’t wait to see what color combinations you come up with for “Lucerne” hats of your own!

West Highland Way.

Delighted to announce that Kate Davies’ newest book is here!

West Highland Way is a stunning collection of patterns and essays inspired by the Scottish long-distance walking route it’s named for.

Landmarks along this route are marked with musings from Davies and a garment inspired by said landmark. “Còinneach,” a favorite cardigan of mine, is named for a hill overlooking Loch Lomond, for example.

Kate Davies is a knitwear designer and writer who I very much admire, for her traditional-looking, smartly-crafted patterns as well as her academic approach to textiles.

West Highland Way is exactly the kind of book we’ve come to expect from Davies: rich in cultural and historical information, lovingly produced, and bursting with photography as beautiful as the knitwear.

Come by the shop to browse the latest books as well as our older favorites; we keep many of Davies’ books in stock. See you there!

Back in stock: Tukuwool Fingering.

We recently restocked a relatively new-to-us yarn, Tukuwool Fingering, which has quickly become a favorite. Anne and I were so excited when this enormous box arrived from Canada, especially because it held three brand new colors!

Tukuwool Fingering is a woolen-spun, fingering weight blend of Finnsheep and Finnsheep-Texel wool, sourced and produced entirely in Finland. It’s a little toothy, but soft enough for next-to-skin wear, depending upon one’s preferences; a springy and resilient yarn.

I knit two “Bousta Beanies” with this yarn and fell in love with it along the way. Its texture and color palette make it particularly well-suited to colorwork, I think, a quality that shines in local designer Kerry Bullock-Ozkan’s “Rionnag Cowl.”

Perhaps you saw this cowl on display during our recent HYS Colorwork Trunk Show – it’s home with Kerry again, but still on my mind. We have print copies of the pattern here at the shop, but it’s also available on Ravelry.

Unpacking that big box of Tukuwool, I contemplated quartets of color with this cowl in mind; here are a few I came up with.

Since I first wrote about Tukuwool Fingering back in September, a number of new designs have been published for this special yarn:

Look for Tukuwool Fingering here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop – come by to see and touch it for yourself, and plan your next project!