Welting Fantastic.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve recently published two new patterns of my own design: the Welting Fantastic Cowl and Welting Fantastic Mitts.

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Though the patterns were only published this past weekend, I’ve had the knitting done for months, which I spent wearing this set on a near-daily basis. Both are made in String Theory’s Merino DK yarn, a semisolid superwash merino yarn, though different needle sizes make this one yarn into two quite different fabrics.

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The cowl is knit on US size 6 needles, which makes a cohesive but gently draping fabric: exactly what you’d want hanging around your neck. The mitts, on the other hand, are knit using US size 3 needles, making a more dense fabric with greater elasticity: exactly what you’d want for fingerless mitts, which are meant to hold their shape rather than stretch out and drape.

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I loved working with Merino DK, but there are so many other yarns that would be equally lovely for this project. Here are a few that I think would make beautiful Welting Fantastic Cowls or Mitts:

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(From left to right: Mountain Meadow Wool Cody, Fibre Company Acadia, Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit, and Sincere Sheep Luminous.)

Each of these yarns would give the Welting Fantastic Cowl and Mitts a different look, of course; the Merino DK is plump and round, and thus, has a particular kind of sharp stitch definition that really makes the Welting Fantastic pattern stand out and look crisp. The tweedy quality of the Acadia and the pebbly 2-ply texture of the Cody may detract a bit from the stitch pattern, but you wont come close to losing it entirely, and you’ll get to experience the singular joy that working with each of those yarns brings.

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If you’re feeling inspired to create Welting Fantastic Cowls or Mitts of your own, please do visit my pattern store on Ravelry, and also know that we’re happy to offer them at the shop as in-store Ravelry pattern sales. That means you can get your pattern and yarn all in the same place, have us print the pattern for you, and still have a copy of the PDF saved in your Ravelry library. A win-win, I’d say.

See you at the shop!

Gemini Knit-Along.

Looking towards Spring, Anne and I have cast on for short-sleeved pullover sweaters. We are each making Gemini, a tee knit seamlessly in the round from the top down.

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Designed by Jane Richmond and available for free on Knitty, Gemini is written for Katia Linen, a dk weight blend of cotton and linen. I’m making up a sample Gemini in the yarn called for, and Anne is substituting with Mirasol Samp’a, an organic cotton.

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In choosing an appropriate substitute for Katia Linen, we wanted to be sure that Anne would be able to get the gauge that the pattern calls for, and that the resulting fabric would behave similarly to the fabric that Katia Linen creates. That means picking a plant fiber, like cotton, linen, hemp, tencel, or bamboo, as all of those fibers have a tendency to stretch and drape. Richmond’s design takes that into account, and she suggests that the knitter pick a finished size about 4″ smaller than their own bust size. In an elastic fiber, like wool, 4″ of negative ease would make for a snug fit, but in a plant fiber, which lacks elasticity, it means a nice, easy fit, not too loose and not too tight.

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Want to make a Gemini of your own? Join us in this informal Knit-Along. We have a nice selection of colors in both Katia Linen and Mirasol Samp’a, and even more when you consider the many other good substitutes that are available: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy and Cotton Frappe, Cascade Ultra Pima, Berroco Pure Pima, Queensland Haze, Tahki Cotton Classic, Sublime Organic Cotton DK and Soya Cotton DK, Katia Degrade, and many more. Come by the shop to see our Geminis-in-progress and we’ll help you find the perfect yarn to knit your own spring top.

Hello, Linen Concerto.

Consider this Part 2 of our most recent shipment from Plymouth: a new yarn called Linen Concerto.

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Linen Concerto is a slightly textured dk weight blend of rayon, linen, and cotton. It’s perfect for making lightweight garments–shawls, scarves, tees, and tanks–and for those who are sensitive to animal fibers like wool and alpaca. Linen Concerto is soft to the touch and promises to drape beautifully, as rayon and linen often do. We got it in three neutral colors and two bright multicolors.

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Come by the shop to check it out!

New colors in Acadia.

The Fibre Company’s gorgeous Acadia has become quite popular at the shop. After a month and a half of life here, the Acadia basket was missing two colors, and looking quite sad indeed. When Anne and I reordered those colors, and others we were low on, we figured, why not get a few new colors, as well?

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This dk weight blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk is tweedy-looking and soft to the touch, perfect for scarves, shawls, hats, mitts, and other accessories. I’ve been daydreaming about making a sweater in Acadia–that would be a treat.

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Come by the shop to see the new Acadia palette!

Quaking Aspen shawl.

I wrote a few days ago about a new yarn in the shop, the Fibre Company’s Acadia, and mentioned a shawl in the making with said yarn. I’m back now to report that the Quaking Aspen shawl is blocked and sitting happily in a basket at the shop with Acadia. Have a look.

The Quaking Aspen shawl is knit from the top down, with a garter stitch body, stripes, and a lace border. The Acadia, a dk weight blend of alpaca, merino wool, and silk, was very well-behaved in blocking, and drapes beautifully.

It’s available as a free download from the Fibre Company, so get yourself a copy of the pattern and then come by the shop to pair colors.

See you at the shop!

Hello, Acadia.

We are happy to announce that we now carry the Fibre Company’s Acadia.

Acadia is a dk weight yarn made of merino wool, alpaca, and silk. The silk fiber takes the dye differently than wool and alpaca, and stands out from those fibers, creating a tweedy, rustic look. The feel of this yarn is far from rustic, however; Acadia is just as soft as its fiber content suggests.

We have a couple of patterns from the Fibre Company for Acadia, and of course it could also be used in most any pattern calling for dk weight yarn. Rosi knit a shop sample in Acadia–“Quaking Aspen,” a shawl pattern available as a free download from the Fibre Company. The ends were just woven in as the yarn arrived at the shop, and now the shawl is blocking, getting ready for its HYS debut. Look for photos of the “Quaking Aspen” shawl on the blog soon, and come by the shop to see Acadia in person!

Hello, Sincere Sheep.

This past Wednesday, a box arrived at the shop that we’ve been eagerly anticipating since June. We’re proud to announce that we now carry three yarns from Sincere Sheep. Based in Northern California, Sincere Sheep produces naturally dyed yarns from U.S. sourced fibers. We met Brooke at TNNA in June and were blown away by the vivid colors she achieves with natural dyes.

I was the lucky knitter who got to play with a skein of Sincere Sheep Equity Sport while we deliberated at market. The Equity Sport is 100% Rambouillet wool, grown and spun in Buffalo, WY. I read up on Rambouillet wool in Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Book of Wool, a favorite resource, and learned that Rambouillet is a breed of sheep, a relative of Merino known for its soft, springy fiber.

Where Merino stretches and drapes, Rambouillet has a surprising sturdiness, given its softness. I used the Equity Sport to knit a sample fingerless mitt for the shop, a garment it’s well suited to. I also think it would make lovely hats and sweaters.

When we saw that there was an Equity Fingering as well, we had to get both. I think it would be perfect for colorwork projects, or on a bigger needle for draping shawls and cowls.

On the last day of market, we came back to Sincere Sheep to order a third yarn: Luminous, a dk weight blend of Tussah Silk and Polwarth wool. Polwarth is another finewool, like Merino and Rambouillet, but one with a slight sheen and greater strength from longer fibers. Luminous comes in big, 330 yard skeins, enough to do a generous scarf, cowl, or small shawl. We got two patterns from designer Kira Dulaney that call for dk weight yarn with single skeins of Luminous in mind.

Come by the shop to see these gorgeous yarns from Sincere Sheep!

Hello, Green Mountain Spinnery.

We’re so excited to announce that we now carry two yarns from Green Mountain Spinnery, a Vermont company that makes yarn exclusively from U.S. grown natural fibers. They process those fibers without the use of harsh chemicals, which is better for the world as well as the yarn. Green Mountain Spinnery is also known for its commitment to sustainability and to supporting regional sheep farmers and organic practices, and, oh yes–they are also well known for their beautiful yarns.

When we first saw Green Mountain Spinnery at TNNA in June, we were taken by the cozy-looking display of all their yarns.

It was hard to pick just two to bring into the shop, but there’s only so much room for new inventory, so we settled on Sylvan Spirit and New Mexico Organic, two dk weight yarns with distinct personalities.

Sylvan Spirit is a single ply yarn composed of 50% fine wool and 50% Tencel, which gives it a slight sheen. Clara Parkes gave Sylvan Spirit a glowing review back in 2004, noting in particular that this blend of fibers makes it a particularly good choice for those who live in warm climates. It has the elasticity of wool and the breathability of plant fibers: a perfect pairing for North Carolina, and one of our reasons for choosing it.

Anne quickly knit up a sample fingerless mitt in Sylvan Spirit, and we were both impressed by the crisp stitch definition in spite of the tweedy quality of the color. The pattern is Cafe Au Lait Mitts, available as a free download on Ravelry.

New Mexico Organic is undyed, and thus comes in only two colors: white and gray. These two colors don’t disappoint, though; to my eye, they are perfect in their simplicity. (Clara Parkes, who reviewed the yarn in 2007, seems to agree.) The yarn is hearty and wholesome to knit with, sturdy yet bouncy. Anne has kindly saved the sample skein for me to knit, and though I’m anxious to get my hands on it, I haven’t decided how best to show it off yet. Another pair of mitts? Mittens? A cabled hat?

These yarns truly excite and inspire us, and we hope you feel the same way. Come by the shop to meet these two yarns from Green Mountain Spinnery!

More new colors from String Theory.

String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns are a Hillsborough Yarn Shop favorite. After being closed for reorganization, we reopened the shop with new colors in three String Theory yarns: Caper Sock, Bluestocking, and Merino DK.

You can find them all in the second room of the shop. Caper Sock and Bluestocking share a basket in the Fingering Weight section, and Merino DK hangs on a yarn tree in the DK Weight corner. See you there!

Berroco Pure Pima.

Allow me to introduce you to one of the Berroco yarns we have on sale this week: Pure Pima.

Pure Pima is a dk weight cotton which comes in bright, solid colors, with 115 yards on each 50 gram ball. I’ve written here before about a lovely Norah Gaughan sweater we have at the shop made in Pure Pima, which beautifully illustrates its use in garments. Poking around on Ravelry, I found a cute free pattern from Knitty which calls for Pure Pima–a retro-styled sleeveless top called “Petrie.” What else is a dk weight cotton good for? Baby sweaters, blankets and hats, of course, as well as lightweight shawls and scarves, market bags… and dishcloths.

Yes, I took home a few fistfulls of Pure Pima over the weekend and started knitting a kitchen towel, using the classic Ballband Dishcloth pattern with a few extra pattern repeats. It’s a classic for a reason, as it turns out: free, easy to memorize, and pleasant to look at. I never thought I’d knit something that I planned to wipe my hands, dishes, and counters with, but there you have it: I’m knitting a kitchen towel and loving it.

Come by the shop to pick up some Pure Pima for your own burgeoning collection of handknit kitchenwares, or for any other project wanting dk weight cotton. Be sure to check out the other discounted Berroco yarns this week, too!

 

Just a reminder–all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Thanks!