Hello, Geilsk Cotton/Wool.

We’ve welcomed another new yarn to the shop! Meet Geilsk Cotton/Wool.


Cotton/Wool is a fingering weight blend of 55% wool and 45% cotton, a combination that brings the best of both fibers to the yarn. The wool lends elasticity and loftiness to the cool, soft cotton, and the result is a nice balance of animal and plant fibers, and smooth, well-behaved fabric.


We spotted Cotton/Wool at market last May, noting that we lacked a fingering weight cotton and wool blend here at the shop. We chose to carry it after knitting a simple swatch, its smooth texture rendering stitch patterns neatly, with nary a snag.

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Danish knitwear designer Bente Geil has developed a unique bunch of patterns for Cotton/Wool, ranging from shawls and scarves to vests and larger sweaters.


I’m currently knitting this “Jiffy” vest as a sample for the shop in Cotton/Wool.


You can wear it with the ribbing at the neck or upside down, with the lace at the neck.



Look for Geilsk Cotton/Wool and its accompanying patterns in the fingering weight section at the shop. See you there!


New colors in Modern Cotton.

Berroco has dreamed up a few new colors for their Modern Cotton yarn, filling out their palette of crayon-bright colors with some more subdued hues.


Berroco Modern Cotton is a worsted weight blend of cotton and rayon, and since it’s arrival last spring, it’s become a staple here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


Smooth, soft to the touch, economical, and machine-washable, Modern Cotton has been embraced by knitters and crocheters alike.


It’s perfect for baby sweaters, blankets, and the like, but just as well-suited to grown-up garments like the ones you’ll find in Berroco’s new booklet: #358, Modern Cotton Women.


Last year, designer Amy Christoffers took over Norah Gaughan’s position as Design Director for Berroco, and this collection has a distinct Christoffers look to my eye.


Christoffers seems to specialize in casual, wearable garments, especially those decorated in texture patterns and small lace motifs.

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Look for Berroco Modern Cotton in the worsted weight section here at the shop; you’ll find this booklet tucked in the cubby with the yarn. See you there!


Hello, UKI Supreme weaving yarns.

We’re happy to announce that we now carry two cotton yarns for weaving from UKI Supreme Corporation, based in Hickory, North Carolina.


With guidance from weavers, we selected a mercerized cotton yarn in two weights: 10/2 and 5/2, each in 6 oz mini-cones.


The 10/2 is the thinner of the two, with ~1575 yards per mini-cone, making it a very fine lace weight. It comes on red cones, to distinguish it from the thicker but otherwise very similar-looking 5/2 mercerized cotton.


The 5/2 mercerized cotton has ~787 yards per mini-cone, making it a light fingering weight. It can be easily identified by its blue cones.


Weavers might use yarns like these for placemats, napkins, and other fabric-making; crocheters might use them for intricate doilies and other fine stitching. Planning a big project? Both yarns come in 1 lb cones as well, and we’re happy to special order them for you; come by the shop to see the 100+ available colors on our UKI Supreme color-cards.


We’ve so appreciated hearing feedback from weavers about your favorite books and yarns, the kinds of looms you’re using, and your enthusiasm for buying weaving supplies locally. We have so much to learn about this craft, and we welcome your input. What do you like to work with, and what would you most like to see on our shelves? We’re so looking forward to seeing woven projects in these Supreme cotton yarns; come by to see them for yourself and tell us what you’re dreaming up!

Hello, Rowan.

We’re thrilled to announce that we now carry two yarns from Rowan: say hello to Pure Wool Worsted and Wool Cotton!


Pure Wool Worsted is a superwash, worsted weight wool that comes in a wide range of colors, including subtle heathered shades that we don’t often see in superwash yarns. Each 100 gram skein boasts 219 yards, enough to knit a hat, small scarf or pair of mittens.


There are so many uses for medium weight, machine-washable wools, from sweaters and accessories to blankets and baby things, and we carry many yarns like these for exactly that reason. So far, Pure Wool Worsted is the most affordable, however, and we love finding sources for high quality fiber at a reasonable price.


We put Pure Wool Worsted to the test on our needles and in Anne’s washing machine, and it came out looking good: stitch definition crisp, gauge unchanged, fabric softened. Look for this machine-washed swatch at the shop and feel for yourself.


Wool Cotton is a dk weight blend of merino wool and cotton, also machine-washable. Each 50 gram skein has 123 yards, enough to knit a baby hat or short pair of fingerless mitts.


Working with Wool Cotton, we were impressed by the smooth, obedient quality of the yarn, and pleased to see it come out of the washing machine looking like new.


Cotton and wool make a lovely fiber blend for our climate, particularly in a dk weight. I can see Wool Cotton in the same wide variety of projects that suit Pure Wool Worsted: sweaters large and small, baby blankets, hats, mitts, shawls, and cowls. Look for more project ideas and pattern inspiration on the HYS Pinterest page, and come by the shop to plan your next project with Rowan yarns!

Post-Market Sale spotlight: Debbie Bliss Stella.

From Friday May 23rd through June 29th, we will have select yarns discounted during our Post-Market Sale: single skeins will be reduced by 30% and full bags of 10 will be 40% off! Throughout the sale, I’ll be highlighting some of these yarns and giving ideas for what to make with them. Today: spotlight on Debbie Bliss Stella.
Debbie Bliss Stella is an aran weight blend of 60% silk, 20% rayon, and 20% cotton. This combination of fibers makes Stella soft but sturdy, perfect for garments, accessories, and home goods like blankets and market bags. Four skeins will make a “Hexagonal Market Bag,” like the two that are hanging in the shop window now. That’s a quick project for less than $20 at the sale price–think gift-knitting!
Marsha knit this “Lattice Lace Keyhole Scarf” using just three balls of Stella in a bright pink color. Stella comes in summery brights and neons along with a few neutrals, and is equally at home wrapped ’round a crochet hook as it is a knitting needle; I crocheted this little circular swatch with some of Marsha’s leftover Stella so you can see and feel the resulting fabric.
Look for more pattern ideas for Stella on our “Post-Market Sale” Pinterest board. You don’t have to be a Pinterest user to peruse it, but if you are, follow us! Come by the shop soon to have the best selection of this gorgeous yarn at this nice price. Two weeks into the sale, we still have full bags available in many colors, but they may not last long–hope to see you at the shop soon!


A reminder: all sales are final on discounted yarn. There can be no returns or exchanges, nor special orders–the discount applies only to what we currently have in stock. Thanks!

Hello, Berroco Modern Cotton.

Meet Modern Cotton, a brand new yarn from Berroco!


Modern Cotton is a worsted weight blend of 60% cotton and 40% rayon, perfect for warm-weather knit and crochet projects, or year-round for those allergic to wool. Modern Cotton is soft in the hand with excellent stitch definition, qualities that this little cabled sweater illustrates nicely. You’ll find it at the shop, hanging on the wall above the worsted weight yarns.


The pattern is “Diggory,” from Berroco booklet #345, which puts this brightly-colored, easy-care yarn to good use in all manner of baby and children’s garments.




Modern Cotton is also a very good value, with a relatively low price tag for the yardage. That along with its soft feel and machine-washability made me think blankets. The range of colors both neutral and bright brought to mind the Purl Bee’s delightfully simple garter stitch baby blanket pattern, “Super Easy Crib Blanket,” a riot of color in seven shades.




Berroco has also released some free patterns for Modern Cotton, like the lacy “Saurey” baby blanket, and two women’s sweaters: “Joyce” and “Sanpoku,” a tee and a cardigan, respectively. Norah Gaughan used Modern Cotton in her most recent Berroco booklet. Modern Cotton will do well in any pattern calling for worsted weight yarn where the drape of plant fibers is welcome. Check it out when you’re next at the shop, along with the “Diggory” sample, which can give you a good sense of how the yarn behaves in knitted fabric. See you there!


Kindling shawl.

A new lace shawl now decorates the walls at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop: “Kindling,” by Kate Gagnon Osborn, knit with three skeins of Fibre Company Savannah.


If you’ve visited the shop on a Sunday recently, you may well have seen Rosi stitching on this shawl. Once the knitting was done, she passed it on to me so I could try my hand at blocking it with blocking wires–a new skill for me.


Using a Knitter’s Pride Lace Blocking Kit and some online tutorials, blocking the “Kindling” shawl was easier than I thought it might be.


It’s always amazing to me how the fabric changes with a good soak, and this is particularly true for lace patterns. When they first come off the needles, they look rumpled and bumpy, but after blocking, the eyelets open up and the lace pattern can really shine. It was satisfying to see, even though I hadn’t knit the thing myself.


Fibre Company Savannah is a sport weight blend of 50% wool, 20% cotton, 15% linen, and 15% soya, which gives it the elasticity of wool and the lightness of plant fibers–a perfect spring and summer yarn.


Come by the shop to admire Rosi’s handiwork and see our “Kindling” sample for yourself. You’ll find Savannah in the sport weight section, and the pattern is always available as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale–we’ll print it out for you and save a digital copy in your email or Ravelry pattern library. Hope to see you there soon!

New colors in Berroco Maya.

Last April, we ordered our first bundle of Berroco Maya, a worsted weight blend of cotton and alpaca spun up into a stretchy, lofty chainette. We were delighted to learn that Maya now comes in a wider range of colors, and ordered another bundle twice the size of last year’s.


There are many pleasant qualities that set Maya apart. The combination of cotton and alpaca is soft and light, thanks in part to its chainette construction. A chainette yarn is basically a knitted tube, and the inherent stretchiness of knitted fabric transforms that mostly-cotton fiber into smooth and stretchy yarn. It also creates a loftier yarn than plant fibers usually offer, much lighter in weight than we might normally expect from a worsted weight cotton yarn. And have I mentioned: Maya is machine-washable, which makes it ideal for baby and children’s things, especially for those who live in warm climates or may be sensitive to wool.


Our big bundle of Maya also included a hand-knit sample of a lacy, cropped sweater from the latest Maya booklet.



We’re always delighted to have generous, garment-sized samples like these, because they give the best sense of how a yarn behaves in knitted fabric. Come on in and try it on for size, study the stitch definition, feel the weight and texture of the thing with your own hands.


While you’re at it, peruse the Maya booklets for pattern inspiration.




When you’re thinking warm-weather knitting, remember Berroco Maya. See you at the shop!


Berroco Touche: now on sale!

UPDATE: As of 11/19/2014, we are totally sold out of Berroco Touche!


It’s always bittersweet news when yarns are discontinued. On the one hand, we’re sad to see good yarns go. On the other, we’re happy to announce that said yarn is now on sale. We’re now offering Berroco Touche at over 30% off!


Touche is a worsted weight blend of cotton and rayon, which come together to make a soft, machine-washable yarn that is far from stiff–a complaint we sometimes hear about mercerized cottons. Touche is perfect for the wool-averse among us, as well as for baby and children’s things. I’ve also seen it made up into a lightweight summer top. Check out Berroco’s large collection of free knit and crochet patterns for Touche ideas; their website allows you to sort patterns by gauge, making it easy to substitute Touche for other worsted weight yarns.


Last year, I made this baby hat using one skein of Berroco Touche, with guidance from the Super Simple Hat Calculator. It’s a simple thing, just a roll brim hat knit in stockinette and finished with a little i-cord knot at the top. A quick knit, and a sample that gives a good sense of how Touche behaves in knitted fabric. Come by the shop to snag some Touche at this great price while it’s still in stock!


A reminder: all sales are final on discounted yarn. There can be no returns or exchanges, nor special orders–the discount applies only to what we currently have in stock. Thanks!

Hexagonal Market Bag Knit-Along.

Now that Anne and I have both completed our Gemini sweaters, we’re ready for another knit-along. In keeping with the warm-weather knitting theme, we’re making market bags.


Our pattern is Laura Dianiska’s Hexagonal Market Bag, a free pattern on Ravelry. It calls for approximately 400 yards of worsted weight cotton; a perfect choice for a sturdy, workaday bag to fill with produce at the grocery store. Anne is using Louisa Harding’s Nautical Cotton, a 100% mercerized cotton yarn, and I’m using Plymouth’s Linen Isle, a blend of cotton, rayon, and linen.


We got started on Saturday, beginning with the hexagonal garter stitch base of the bag. Once the base was completed, we picked up stitches around the edge and began the oh-so-simple mesh lace pattern that makes the bag so stretchy.




Want to make a Hexagonal Market Bag of your own? Join us in this informal Knit-Along. Any sturdy plant fiber yarn should do; Nautical Cotton comes in all kinds of colors, and we have a nice selection in Linen Isle, too. Then there are the rest of the worsted weight plant fibers–Berroco Linen Jeans, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, Mirasol Wach’i, Online Linie 12 Clip, Queensland Bebe Cotsoy, and more. Come by the shop to see all the choices, and to see how Anne and I are progressing on our bags. We’ll also be posting on the Ravelry HYS group with any lessons learned along the way, just as we did while we were making our Gemini sweaters. See you at the shop!