Show and tell: stripes.

“Show and tell” blog posts are some of my favorites to write, and I’ve been lucky to write lots of them lately. Whenever possible, I take photos of the finished projects that find their way back to the shop, after some talented soul turned them from mere yarn into expertly-handcrafted garment. As I look through the show-and-tell photos not yet published here on the blog, I search for themes. Do these glorious finished projects have a particular kind of yarn in common, or a type of garment, quality of color, motif, or technique? Today’s grouping: stripes.


Anne knit this “Barefoot Knits Twirly Skirt” for her eldest granddaughter using Schulana Sojabama, a silky soft blend of soy and bamboo. The pattern, once published in a magazine no longer in print, took a bit of Ravelry hunting to track down, but its designer offers it up here. Anne modified it just a bit, opting to knit in the round rather than in pieces, adding a fifth color, and using a picot bind off for extra flair.


I knit this “Flying Duchess” shawl as a shop sample using the decadent Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK in three shades. I’m used to starting shawls with just a few stitches, then increasing throughout, ending on the very longest rows. “Flying Duchess,” on the other hand, had me casting on over 350 stitches, then decreasing throughout, which gave me the pleasing sensation that I was picking up speed as the project progressed.DSCN5999It was a mighty long cast-on, though, and one that I ended up doing twice. The first time, I tried the cable cast-on, knit a few rows, then ripped, disliking the sloppy look. The second, much more successful time, I used two balls of yarn to do the long tail cast-on, a technique I highly recommend for casting on large numbers of stitches.


Catherine is still busy knitting “3 Color Cashmere Cowls” in Shibui Staccato, and came in the other day with three more to show us. It’s been fun to see how the character of this pattern changes in different colorways: some muted, others bold, some elegant, others playful.


Thanks to everyone who comes by the shop to start a project, solve a problem, share their progress, and show off their finished pieces. There’s plenty more show-and-tell where this came from; looking forward to sharing more soon!


3 Color Cashmere Cowl.

I just finished knitting a new shop sample in the luxurious Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, Joji Locatelli’s “3 Color Cashmere Cowl.”


The “3 Color Cashmere Cowl” is narrow but very deep, designed to scrunch cozily around one’s neck, so it does well in a yarn with good drape. It’s a fun knit, simple enough to be near-mindless, but with enough changes here and there to stave off boredom. I had fun watching the colors come together; they seem to behave differently depending upon the thickness of the stripes.


Our friend Catherine spotted the “3 Color Cashmere Cowl” on my needles and became smitten with the pattern.


She quickly knit the cowl above in Canopy Fingering, brought it in for show and tell, and left that day with enough Shibui Staccato to make two more. I’d only just hung mine on the wall when she came in with two more completed cowls, another on the needles, and plans for several more in Staccato and one in Isager Alpaca 2.


Catherine has begun to adjust the pattern to suit her preferences, omitting a lace section here, shortening a striped section there, and sometimes rearranging the order of those sections.


Look for my “3 Color Cashmere Cowl” on the wall here at the shop, and feel free to try it on for size. We have Canopy Fingering in a nice selection of colors, and even more in Staccato and Alpaca 2. Come by the shop to play the color game, and make a “3 Color Cashmere Cowl” of your own!


New patterns for Dovestone DK.

I’m happy to report that we recently got some new single patterns for Dovestone DK, the yarn featured in our current Baa Ram Ewe Trunk Show.


Alison Moreton’s Landmark Collection features garments and accessories knit in Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone DK. Each design is inspired by a landmark in Yorkshore, home of Baa Ram Ewe.


The pattern photos show each piece before the landmark that inspired it, a fascinating peek into the process of translating the shapes and textures around us into knitted fabric.


Another new collection for Dovestone DK is Ella Austin’s Dovestone Smallholding.


This sweet spiral bound book is filled with stuffed animals and dolls knit in Dovestone DK: a cabled kitten and wensleydale lamb, colorwork fowl, pig, and shetland pony.


Look for these new patterns here at the shop, and come before May 6th to catch the Baa Ram Ewe Trunk Show and the 10% discount on Dovestone DK that goes with it. See you there!


A reminder: all sales are final on discounted items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks!  


Show and tell: neckwear.

Along with daydreaming about future projects, trying new techniques, and deciding between colors, show-and-tell is one of the predominant activities here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Now and then, I like to bring this activity to the blog, sharing finished projects that started their lives as yarns on our shelves. Today, let’s look at cowls and scarves.


Rosi knit this cowl with the delightful Shibui Staccato, a fingering weight blend of merino and silk. She designed it herself, a soft and stretchy moebius decorated with a reversible texture pattern.


Katherine crocheted this “Vega Crochet Cowl” as a sample for her recent class on the subject. It looks great in the self-striping Plymouth Gina, and many of her students followed her lead, selecting different colorways in the same yarn. I can’t wait to see how they all come out!


Here’s Judie in her beautiful “Starshower,” knit in Sincere Sheep Cormo Fingering. One doesn’t fully appreciate the clever shaping of this cowl/shawl hybrid until one sees it on a person, rather than hanging on a hanger as my sample “Starshower” does. Inspired to knit one of your own? Consider signing up for Katherine’s upcoming “Starshower” class to have guidance and camaraderie as you stitch.


I knit this “Rockcliffe” scarf as a sample for the shop, inspired by our recent Cumbria Collection Trunk Show. This is my second time working with Fibre Company Cumbria Worsted, a soft-yet-toothy yarn that I absolutely adore, especially for projects like this one where sharp stitch definition is required. The texture patterns were fun and engaging, but not too complicated; I think this would make a great introduction to chart-reading, especially paired with Kelbourne Woolens’ tutorial, “Working from Charts: Knit/Purl Patterning.”


Here’s Peggy’s completed “M.1” scarf, knit in Shibui Maai, one of the softest yarns in the shop, in my opinion. This is a gift for her husband, and it looks smart in “Suit,” a blue somewhere between navy and cobalt.


Thanks to all the knitters, crocheters, weavers, and fiber artists who start their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you’re making! Keep your eyes on the blog for another round of show-and-tell soon. In the meantime, see you at the shop!


Show and tell: cowls.

Everyone’s knitting needles have been busy lately, it seems; we’ve seen so many beautiful finished projects over the past couple of weeks. I’ve captured some of them to share with you here on the blog, and of my current collection, about half are cowls. Let’s devote this post to what has become one of the most popular knitted items, the cowl.


Paula spotted “Sherri’s Cowl” on our blog last month, and came by to pick shades in Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran and Shibui Silk Cloud for a pink-loving friend. It knit up in no time on US #17 needles, and before long, she was back with the finished cowl to show us how it came out.


Sherri has been making more “Sherri’s Cowls,” as well, and came by with a stack of five, all of which were knit with the discontinued Araucania Azapa, a sale trunk splurge that had been sitting in her stash waiting for the right pattern. She made the cowl above holding Azapa with two shades of Schulana Kid Seta, a lace weight mohair and silk blend. The cowls below are both made with the same pale green shade of Azapa, but Sherri knit it together with Silk Cloud in a cool gray for the cowl on the left, and a warm beige for the cowl on the right.


Intrigued by the color study of the pair above, Sherri knit another pair of cowls using pink Azapa as the base, shown below. The cowl on the left is a low contrast combination of pink Azapa and pink Schulana Kid Seta, and the cowl on the right is a high contrast combination of pink Azapa and black Sandnes Garn Silk Mohair. The low contrast color combination creates a blended effect, looking rather solid from a distance, while the high contrast color combination makes a marled fabric.


Hazel came in on a chilly afternoon wearing her “Willow Cowl,” knit with another skein from our sale trunk, Araucania Itata. This is a nice fitted cowl pattern to keep in mind for fingering weight yarn; I’ve seen a few knit in Malabrigo Finito that are equally lovely.


Brooke brought in her second-ever finished knitting project, “A Gray Loop” knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Nicely done!


Linda fell in love with this singular shade of Malabrigo Mecha, and knit this cozy “Cabled Cowl” using two strands held together. She came back for more Mecha to make a matching hat, which speaks to the pleasantness of knitting with this buttery soft bulky weight yarn.


Thanks to all these cowl-makers who shared their projects with us, and to all the knitters, crocheters, weavers, and fiber artists who start their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you’re making! Keep your eyes on the blog for another round of show-and-tell soon. In the meantime, see you at the shop!


Show and tell: knitting in duplicate.

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. Today, I have a bundle of show-and-tell projects, too many for one or two blog posts to hold. Let’s call this a week of show and tell, beginning with knitters who’ve made the same pattern more than once.


With two grandsons and two granddaughters, Anne often knits in duplicate. This pair of hats went to her grandsons, knit in the soft, superwash, self-striping Lang Merino+ Color. Her pom-pom maker came in handy, too!


Here’s one of Judie’s “Dustland Hats.” Though I only have a photo of this one, I know she’s knit at least two others, with plans for more to come. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but Judie used Malabrigo Arroyo and smaller needles, casting on for the largest size to make up the difference in gauge. It’s the variety of stitch patterns that seems to keep her coming back to this Stephen West pattern; every few rows there’s some new knit/purl combination to play with.


Sherri came in last week with two of her eponymous cowls, ready to send them off and restock her stash with more yarn for the next batch. She knit the cowl above with Manos Wool Clasica and Shibui Silk Cloud, blending a soft blue and a silvery gray. For the cowl below, she used some Berroco Peruvia that had been lingering in her stash, a teal shade that she paired with a deeper teal in Silk Cloud.


Sue also has a yen to knit in duplicate — nay, in triplicate! This gansey-like stitch sampler sweater pattern was handed down by a friend, and Sue knit her first in Plymouth Llama Cotton Worsted. She tinkered with the yoke a bit to modify the drop-shoulder sleeves, preferring something closer to a set-in sleeve.


Always fascinated by how different yarns and fibers behave, Sue made a second sweater using Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran. This blend of wool and angora makes a less floppy fabric than the cotton blend, with a bit of a fuzzy halo.


Each sweater got a matching garter stitch cowl, as well, for maximum flexibility of use. One minute it’s a cozy turtleneck, the next, a crew-neck.

DSCN5492 DSCN5491

She’s already started a third version of the sweater, sticking with the Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran, but switching from a neutral shade to a pleasing purple.


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! Keep your eye on the blog for plenty more show and tell throughout the week.


Sherri’s Cowl.

Our friend Sherri loves to make scarves and cowls as gifts, always looking out for patterns that are quick and easy to knit. She came home from a recent ski trip telling us about a chunky openwork cowl she saw around the neck of every young woman on the slopes. She snapped a picture of a similar cowl at a store and showed it to Anne. “We could make these,” she said, “and you should make one for the shop!” When Anne relayed the idea to me, we began designing Sherri’s cowl together. I looked through the perennial 365 Stitches a Yearpausing now and again to show one stitch pattern or another to Anne. “Did it look like this?” I asked. “Or this?” When I landed on the right stitch, I got out some yarn and US size #17 needles to swatch.


First I tried Shibui Silk Cloud held with two strands of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran, then just one strand of each, and finally two strands of each, which made a fluffy, lightweight fabric at a gauge so large, it seemed to knit itself.


I knit it flat, like a scarf, then sewed the ends together to make a loop. The finished cowl now hangs at the shop, and I’ve written up a little pattern for it, which is free with the purchase of yarn for the project.


I named it “Sherri’s Cowl,” which seems fitting; Sherri herself had already completed almost two of these before I finished mine with fringe.


I chose three different shades of green, for a marled effect: a light and dark in the Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran, and a medium in the Shibui Silk Cloud.


I had fun brainstorming alternate colorways in these soft and fuzzy yarns, finding common ground between two yarn companies’ color palettes.

DSCN5443 DSCN5442 DSCN5441 DSCN5440 DSCN5439

There’s something so satisfying about combining colors and seeing how they come together in the knitted fabric. I can’t wait to see what other combinations you knitters come up with!


Come by the shop to try on “Sherri’s Cowl” and plan one of your own. Sherri tells me they are somewhat addictive, and I can confirm that at the very least, they are gratifying in their speedy creation and playful yarn-blending. See you at the shop!


Technicolor cowl.

For the past year or so, Nancy Leuer’s “Technicolor Cowl” has been a popular project here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Calling for eight 50-yard mini-skeins of Dream in Color Classy, it’s a simple but entertaining project with a focus on color.


This cowl is knit in the round, with stripes of stockinette and reverse stockinette that make a squishy, textured fabric from this springy superwash merino yarn.


I knit the sample “Technicolor Cowl” that hangs over the worsted weight section, and it’s caught many an eye, inspiring knitters to put together their own color combinations. We’ve been lucky to capture some of them and share them here on the blog in show and tell posts.


Here’s Joanne in her “Technicolor Cowl,” knit in eight shades of Alchemy Sanctuary. With a wide variety of colors, from pastel to earth tones to vivid blue and orange, Joanne’s cowl is technicolor, indeed. Josie, shown below in her cowl, took a similar approach, using Dream in Color Classy and Malabrigo Rios.


This pattern looks more subdued, but just as good in fewer colors, too. Debbie knit the “Technicolor Cowl” below in just three shades, with two skeins of green and three skeins each in gold and rust. DSCN4876

The pattern is free when you purchase eight Dream in Color Classy mini-skeins for the project, which I’m happy to report are back in stock. We now have two cubbies full of the stuff!


Dream in Color produces the Classy mini-skeins only occasionally, and the color selection is different every time. I was pleased to see a nice range of teals and blues in this batch that had been absent in the last two rounds of mini-skeins.


Look for Dream in Color Classy mini-skeins in the worsted weight section, and have fun picking colors for a “Technicolor Cowl” of your own!


Hello, Lang Merino+ Color.

Another new yarn has found a home here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! Meet Lang Merino+ Color.


Merino+ Color is an aran weight superwash merino wool, smooth, springy, soft, and self-striping. It comes in nine different colorways, a nice variety. Some. are subdued and painterly, while others are playful and bright.


Each 100 gram ball boasts 197 yards, plenty for an adult-sized hat, pair of mitts, or small cowl.


I knit this modified version of Wendy Johnson’s free “Easy Broken Rib Cowl” with just one ball of Lang Merino+ Color, shortening the circumference by casting on fewer stitches than called for. DSCN5274

Come by the shop to try on the sample for size; if you’d like to make one like it, make a note to cast on 192 stitches. If you’d prefer the cozier, larger size shown in the pattern, pick up a second skein and follow the pattern as written.



Look for Merino+ Color in the aran weight section here at the shop. See you there!


Back in stock: Swans Island Organic Washable DK.

Our recent Swans Island shipment that brought the new All American Sport brought a few other goodies, too. We’ve restocked two of our favorite Swans Island yarns with new colors! Let’s begin with Organic Washable DK.


Organic Washable DK is no ordinary superwash wool. Swans Island have made this dk weight yarn machine-washable using a process called Ecowash®, which coats the yarn with an organic compound rather than stripping the scales from the fiber. This helps to prevent felting and gives the Swans Island Organic Washable a softer hand than many other superwash wools.


I recently knit a cowl with this soft, springy yarn, using a pattern of my own design, the “Welting Fantastic Cowl.”


It’s a pleasing texture pattern, both in the process and the finished product, and this yarn is a perfect choice to show it off. I alternated skeins to minimize any pooling, working two rows from one skein, then two from the other, back and forth as if knitting stripes. I was glad I did, too; though I carefully selected three skeins from the same dyelot that looked harmonious, one turned out noticeably darker than the rest once I began knitting. Alternating skeins helped to create a consistent-looking fabric.


Come by the shop to see our newly expanded palette of Swans Island Organic Washable DK, and try on my “Welting Fantastic Cowl” for size. If it strikes your fancy, note that I also wrote a pattern for matching fingerless mitts! Keep your eyes on the blog for more from Swans Island soon.