New colors in CoopKnits Socks Yeah!

Anne and I recently started a Hillsborough Yarn Shop account on Instagram, which means you have another way to keep up with us online if you like. For us, it means we have a new place to browse pretty pictures and find more yarn to order for the shop. It was on Instagram where we first learned that there were new colors to be had in CoopKnits Socks Yeah! We placed an order right away, and I’m happy to report that those pretty new shades have arrived here at the shop!


Developed by avid sock-designer Rachel Coopey, CoopKnits Socks Yeah! is a hard-wearing, machine-washable blend of superwash merino wool and nylon, and it’s put up in 50 gram, 231 yard hanks.


These vibrant new shades are so welcome in the Socks Yeah! palette, which was hungry for higher-contrast combinations. These six shades bring so much to the table: a couple of new dark shades, some bright jewel tones and an unusual pastel.


This newly updated color palette gives us many more options for Coopey’s “Alfrick” socks, a colorwork pattern with a bit of texture on the foot, designed to make a fraternal pair, rather than identical socks. Here are a few ideas!





Remember CoopKnits Socks Yeah! when your fingering weight project requires sharp stitch definition and durability. You’ll find it in the Fingering Weight section here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, in a little treasure box bursting with color. See you there!


Vogue Knitting.

The Fall 2016 issue of Vogue Knitting is here, in a fresh new size and style!


This issue focuses on colorwork and the fair isle knitting tradition, profiling Shetland designers Hazel Tindall, Mary Jane Mucklestone, and Gudrun Johnson.


The patterns in this issue are inspired by that tradition, along with Vogue’s usual flair for bold fashion.


I spotted a profile of Fibre Company’s newest yarn, Arranmore, a popular new yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


Look for Vogue Knitting on the teacart, where the latest books and magazines first land here at the shop. We hope you find inspiration in these pages!

Show and tell: critters.

Time for another round of show and tell! Here are some finished projects that started life as yarns on our shelves. These knitted things have something else in common, as well: they all feature animals!


Amy designed and knit this “Baby Turtle Frenzy Blanket” for her granddaughter-to-be using Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted. It shows sea turtle hatchlings on their journey from the sandy beach through the breakers to the deep blue sea. She wrote a separate pattern for the tiny turtles themselves; get them together at a discounted price on Ravelry or here at the shop.


Amy’s also offering a Tiny Turtle class here at the shop, for those interested in knitted toys–head to our Classes page to sign up!


Ali came by the shop not long ago with two knitted critters. Above are her “Moose and the World’s Tree” mittens, from Annemor Sundbø’s Norwegian Mittens and Gloves, knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. Below is her “Hedgehog,” whose belly and face is also made of Shetland Spindrift, with garter stitch spines in Plymouth Galway held double.


I, too, knit a hedgehog from this pattern a couple of years ago, and loved the process as much as the end product. Seeing this one made me want to knit another!


We can’t talk about knitted critters without mentioning the “Baa-ble Hat,” a free pattern with well over 5,000 projects on Ravelry in the year and a half since it was first published. The “Baa-ble Hat” above is my second, and may not be my last. I used bright shades of Plymouth Tweed and Queensland Kathmandu Aran for this one, and love the way the colorwork looks in these speckled yarns.


Amy just finished teaching an introductory class on stranded colorwork featuring the “Baa-ble Hat,” and the hat above was knit by one of her students, Clarine. She used Jamieson’s Shetland Heather Aran for three out of the four shades, knitting the soft green grass with Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed.


Sarah was one of Amy’s students, too; she knit her hat in Malabrigo Rios, and left the shop after class with yarn for another “Baa-ble Hat.” It’s a pleasing little pattern, and a great way to try stranded colorwork for the first time. Amy’s offering another class on the subject in October–sign up now if you’d like to join!

Thanks to all those who share their work with us here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We are inspired by your great ideas, and love to see them take shape!

On and off our needles.

Anne and I are always knitting. I’m sure this comes as no surprise. At home, we work on our own projects – Anne is currently knitting a sweater for her husband, I’m (almost always) knitting a sweater for myself – and here at the shop, we knit on samples that will one day hang on the wall to inspire knitters that come to visit. Within the past two weeks, we’ve both completed shop samples and cast on for new ones.



Anne’s “Nova” tunic is made with Shibui’s newest yarn, Rain, a mercerized cotton so smooth and shiny it could pass for silk.

“Nova” is simply constructed in two pieces, then stitches are picked up for the mandarin collar. Side seams give structure to the drapey fabric that comes with plant fibers like cotton.

The pattern photo shows “Nova” in a silvery gray, but I think it looks particularly elegant in Anne’s signature black. Come by the shop to try it on!



With “Nova” behind her, Anne is now stitching on another pattern from Shibui’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, a colorblock pullover called “Horizon.”


She’s knitting it in the uncharacteristically bold color combination of “Lime” and “Suit,” holding Linen and Cima together for a lightweight fabric. Each ball of yarn is tucked in a separate plastic bag for the duration of the project: an effective, if not glamorous, method for managing slick, delicate yarns.


My most recently completed project is “Spearmint Tea,” a shawl knit with Cutthroat Yarn Gradient Cotton.


Because this yarn changed color at a different rate than the yarn called for in the pattern, I made a few changes along the way, all noted in my project page on Ravelry, for those curious. Look for the finished piece here at the shop!


My next shop project is a second “Baa-ble Hat,” knit in Plymouth Tweed and Queensland Kathmandu Aran. I like how the colorwork looks in the mottled tweed yarns, and I’ve had fun watching the sheep emerge row by row.


Knit in aran weight yarn, this is a quick project. Come by the shop in the next week, and you’ll likely find it finished! We look forward to seeing what’s on your needles, too – come in for inspiration and to plan your next project.

Show and tell: stripes and colorwork.

We’re back with another round of show and tell! Here are some of the finished projects we’ve had the good fortune to admire lately, all of whom began as yarn on our shelves. Today, let’s look at projects featuring stripes and colorwork.


Paula knit this “Chevron Baby Blanket” with Berroco Modern Cotton, modifying the pattern a bit to knit at a slightly smaller gauge. She swatched to figure out how wide each pattern repeat would be with her yarn, then added stitches to her cast-on so that her blanket would come out the desired size.


Paula also finished this “wwwww #1” recently, a lined headband by Kate Davies. Paula used Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift for the colorwork exterior, and soft-as-can-be Shibui Maai for the lining. Nicely done, Paula!


Margaretta recently knit Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic “Baby Surprise Jacket” with Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, and used her leftovers to make a “Boston Whaler” hat. I love her unexpected combination of sage green, steely gray, and bright fuschia, especially with those perfect pink buttons!


Margaretta has also been working on General Hogbuffer’s “Slippery Slope Socks,” using the solid CoopKnits Socks Yeah! and the self-striping Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball. Since I snapped this picture of the first finished sock, she’s completed the pair, and plans to make another with different colors.


Judie’s “Wildheart” shawl was also knit with self-striping yarn, Cutthroat Yarn Gradient BFL. She added a picot bind-off to an otherwise unadorned edge; a little something that I think makes the whole shawl shine.


Thanks to the talented knitters who shared their work with us today, and to all the fiber artists who begin their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you’re working on!

A new kind of color card.

By now, you likely know how we feel about Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift: how perfectly suited it is for colorwork knitting, the vast selection of colors, and my fondness for knitting sweaters with it, in spite of–nay, because of!–its rustic texture.


I’ve loved watching our one little basket of Shetland Spindrift grow into three over the years, as more and more knitters work with this classic yarn and ask for more and more colors. We are only too happy to oblige!


Anne recently ordered a set of Shetland Spindrift mini-skeins, one in each available color. We’re not selling these mini-skeins; rather, they’ll live here at the shop and function as a kind of interactive color card.


We can’t keep all 200+ colors in stock, so we keep the Jamieson’s color card on hand to give you a sense of all that’s available for special order.


While the regular color card is a thing of beauty, and very useful indeed, one gets a better sense of any given color when one can see more of it. You may love that heathered green when you see just a little sliver of it, but find that en masse, it’s just a little too yellow for you. The mini-skeins are small, but they’re still bigger than the snippets on the color card, so when you’re picking out a color that we don’t have in stock, ask for the mini-skeins and get a bigger picture before you place your order.


The other nice thing about the mini-skeins is that you can move them around, line up the five colors you need for your colorwork tam or striped vest and see how they look together.


Here’s an example from Kate Davies’ Colours of Shetland, a book I often flip through, daydreaming about sweaters like this “Ursula Cardigan.” First I pulled a set of mini-skeins that resemble what’s shown in the pattern, just to see how they relate to one another. From there, I began playing with alternate colorways, making a couple with a gradient-like trio of contrast colors, and many more that my camera didn’t capture.


This is a very fun game to play, indeed. Next time you’re planning a colorful project in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, let us pull out the mini-skeins so you can play, too!


More show and tell.

Time for a second batch of show and tell! Our first round was child-sized, full of sweaters and accessories for little ones; these finished projects are made by grown-ups, for grown-ups, though they’re no less playful. Let’s dig in.


Margaretta knit her second “Yipes Stripes Cowl” using five shades of Mirasol Qina, a soft and drapey blend of alpaca and bamboo. There’s something very satisfying about seeing this pattern in new color combinations; this cool palette is a particularly pretty one.


Amy recently taught a class here at the shop on stranded colorwork, focusing on Rachel Coopey’s “Northallerton” hat. For her own “Northallerton,” she used three shades of Baa Ram Ewe Titus, though this hat was quickly claimed by her daughter. Another hat was in order.


Amy knit this one with three shades of Cascade 220 Fingering, substituting different motifs for a colorwork hat all her own.



I recently knit Kate Gagnon Osborn’s “Seathwaite” hat, which is a free pattern written for Fringe Association’s Hatalong No. 5. I used one skein of Fibre Company’s newest yarn, Cumbria, a worsted weight blend of merino, masham, and mohair. The yarn is sturdy yet soft, fuzzy but smooth enough for well-defined cables. I made this for my sister as a Christmas gift, and enjoyed every stitch of it.

I also completed a shop sample not long ago, a “Starshower” cowl knit in Sincere Sheep Cormo Fingering. This unique hybrid of shawl and cowl falls so gracefully around the wearer’s neck. Come by the shop to try it on!



Theresa loves to knit and felt colorful slippers, and sent us a photo of her most recent polka-dotted batch.


She used Bev Galeskas’ classic “Felted Clogs” pattern and a variety of shades of Plymouth Galway, a worsted weight wool that is perfect for felting.


Here, Irene models her “Kashmir Cardigan,” from Helga Isager’s Amimono: the Map Collection. She used several strands of yarn held together to create a marled effect, augmenting some mohair from her stash with a few shades of Isager Highland and Spinni. Blended colors and fibers along with short rows and stripes make for a garter stitch coat that is so much more than just a garter stitch coat–nicely done, Irene!

A hearty thanks to all the fiber artists who start their projects here and share their progress 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!

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!

Swans Island All American Sport: patterns.

Swans Island has developed an outstanding yarn in All American Sport, and with it, an exciting collection of patterns.


I’m so excited to see all this colorwork! From pullovers and cardigans to hats, mitts, and cowls, you’ll find many different applications of two-color knitting in this collection, many of which are suitable for first-time colorwork knitters.



I had the opportunity to knit one of these patterns a few months ago, as Swans Island sent us a pair of sample skeins before the yarn was officially released. Here’s my “Paige Mitt,” a sample you’ll find on display here at the shop. I’m so pleased with how it came out, and loved the feel of the yarn in my hands along the way. All American Sport has lots of elasticity, one of my favorite qualities in a yarn.


The colors in my sample are somewhat low-contrast, and though that’s something we often talk about avoiding when it comes to colorwork patterns, I like the effect.


Selecting colors for colorwork projects can be intimidating. My strategy is to first identify the relationship between the colors used by the designer. How many light colors, how many medium, and how many dark? What color families do they belong to, where are they used, and how much contrast is there between them? From there, it’s easier to plug in other colors, so long as they relate to one another in a similar way. Since the “Paige Mitts” are shown in a low-contrast color combination, I came up with a few other such combinations, playing with the yarn as I unpacked it.

DSCN4849 DSCN4848 DSCN4847

The “Vivian Mitts,” on the other hand, are shown in a high-contrast color pair, edged with a third bright color.


Here are a few possible colorways for the “Vivian Mitts” using that same color relationship.

DSCN4854 DSCN4853 DSCN4851

These couple of colorways are just the beginning; with 36 colors and a binder full of patterns to choose from, there’s no limit to what’s possible.


Come by the shop to peruse the All American Sport pattern collection and play the color game as you plan your next project!

Shetland show and tell.

Here’s another bunch of show and tell! All of these projects started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and all those yarns have something in common: they’re all composed of 100% Shetland wool, the somewhat prickly stuff that I love so much. It’s not merino-soft, but Shetland wool maintains its shape over time, even as it softens with washing and wearing. Let’s see how these Hillsborough Yarn Shoppers are using it.


Paula came in recently with her finished “Solo,” knit from a Hanne Falkenberg kit. Those of you who have tackled Falkenberg kits know what an accomplishment this is; Falkbenberg’s signature Shetland yarn is a fine gauge, all in garter stitch, which can feel tedious after a while. What’s more, her designs are cleverly, unconventionally constructed, and it’s important to have a good system for tracking row count, increases and decreases. Paula worked diligently on the knitting and the note-keeping, making her “Solo” a real success!


Paula had another bit of Shetland show and tell with her that day, a fair isle tam knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


The pattern is from Mary Rowe’s Knitting Tams, a collection of fair isle tams that Paula is finding somewhat addictive. She left the shop after this visit with the makings of at least two more tams, which I hope I can share with you here on the blog as they’re completed.


I recently finished a Shetland sweater, myself, which you wont be surprised to learn is from Kate Davies’ Yokes, a book I can’t stop talking about.


I knit this “Cockatoo Brae” cardigan in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which behaved perfectly in the colorwork and showed no inclination to unravel after I cut the steek.


My only modifications to the pattern were a change in colorway and in buttonband construction. I used Anna Zilboorg’s “perfect buttonhole” technique, from her Knitting for Anarchists and Splendid Apparel books, which was somewhat fiddly but entirely worthwhile. I practiced reinforcing and cutting the steek on my swatch, then picked up along the cut edge to work a few practice buttonholes, which helped me get the hang of it.



A few months ago, I wrote about our ever-expanding selection of colors in Shetland Spindrift, and how each new group of shades reminds me of a particular knitter and project they were special-ordered for. I was so delighted when Anne sent me this photo of one of those projects, now completed. Here’s Stan in his striped sweater, a self-designed recreation of a favorite, well-worn sweater. He dropped in the other day with process swatches for another Shetland project in the works… I can’t wait to see what he makes next.


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!