Snow day show and tell.

The shop was closed today for inclement weather, and as the snow quietly fell this morning, Anne texted me some knitterly show-and-tell from her friend Sherri. A snow day is a good one for show-and-tell; let’s take a peek at some of the recently-completed projects that started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Above, Sherri’s daughter in law models the Churchmouse “Easy Folded Poncho” Sherri knit for her with Shibui Dune, a soft and lustrous blend of alpaca, camel, and silk.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a bundle of colorwork projects here on the blog, only to have Judie walk through our door the next day wearing this beautiful sweater. Consider this an addendum! The pattern is Courtney Kelley’s “St. Brendan,” and the yarn is the rustic yet luxurious Fibre Company Arranmore. Judie changed the color palette just slightly from the pattern photo, switching the ribbing color from dark gray to a warm camel – a small adjustment that makes a big difference and looks great.

Above is the first of Margaretta’s “January Mitts,” knit with Fibre Company Cumbria Fingering. I have a special fondness for this yarn, as I’ve shared before, and it’s especially nice to see its sharp stitch definition in this lace and bobble pattern.

Speaking of Fibre Company yarns and of sharp stitch definition, here’s Leah’s exquisitely textured “Arctic Circle” cowl, knit with Fibre Company Tundra. This was her first project after completing a Beginning Knitting class here at the shop, and it’s clear it wont be her last – well done, Leah!

Loretta knit this “Arrowhead Shawl” with Swans Island All American Worsted, a soft yet sturdy blend of US-sourced Rambouillet wool and alpaca. The traditional guernsey stitch patterns are placed on a stockinette background for a subtle effect, one that’s harder to capture on camera than it is to perceive in person.

Thanks to all who begin their projects with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and thanks especially for bringing them back to share your work with us! Hope everyone stayed safe and warm this snowy weekend, and spent some time stitching. We’ll be open again at our regular hours on Tuesday, January 10th.

Hello, Echoview Fiber Mill.

We’re always on the lookout for locally-sourced yarns, and we’ve already brought a few in this year: Shenandoe Farm and Cutthroat Yarn. I’m delighted to announce that we found another, and that we now carry kits from Echoview Fiber Mill, in Weaverville, North Carolina!

DSCN5651

Echoview Fiber Mill is exactly what it sounds like: a fiber processing mill where yarns are made, along with a variety of readymade machine-knits. What sets them apart is their commitment to domestically-sourced fiber and environmentally sound practices; in 2013, theirs was the first manufacturing mill to receive Gold LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

DSCN5647

We have two Echoview Knit Kits to choose from, the “Espen” hat and the “Gimli Slouch and Mitts.” The “Espen” kit features a 100% merino wool naturally dyed in what Echoview calls “Coolidge Red,” a replica of a shade once produced at Asheville’s Biltmore Industries in the early 1900’s.

DSCN5649

The yarn inside the “Gimli” kit is a DK weight blend of merino and silk with a rustic tweedy look but a soft texture.

DSCN5652

Anne also ordered a machine-knit Echoview Fiber Mill blanket to decorate our sofa here at the shop, something to be sure and pet next time you’re here. We’re happy to special order one for you, too; we have sample swatches of all the available colors.

DSCN5654

Come by the shop to see these Echoview Fiber Mill Knit Kits for yourself, and to plan your next project!

DSCN5653

Hello again, Shenandoe Farm.

Last week, we had a visit from Elaine of Shenandoe Farm. She came with stories of a successful year and with a bag of beautiful yarn, made of fiber grown right here in Orange County, North Carolina.

DSCN5457

We’ve stocked Shenandoe Farm yarns before, though it’s been a while since we sold the last remaining skein, so a new delivery was welcome. This new batch is composed of 80% mohair, 10% wool, and 10% llama, spun into a dk weight at Zeilinger Wool Co. in Michigan, a family business for over a century. The heathered color is a natural one, just the shade of the animals that grew the fleece to make it.

DSCN5460

Eager to get her hands on this special yarn, Anne knit a swatch on a few different needle sizes, so we could get a sense of what gauge it’s most comfortable at.

DSCN5456

From there, it was put in my lucky hands. After a bit more swatching, we decided this sturdy stuff would be well-suited to a pair of Churchmouse “Welted Fingerless Gloves,” a go-to pattern here at the shop. I’m busy stitching up a pair as a sample for the shop.

DSCN5459

Look for Shenandoe Farm yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Hope to see you soon!

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.

DSCN4843

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.

DSCN4845

DSCN4844

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.

DSCN4842

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.

DSCN4846

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.

DSCN4850

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.

DSCN4833

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

Upcoming classes.

As you may have read in our most recent email newsletter, we’ve been busy scheduling new classes for the new year ahead. Some are technique-based, like Beginning Knitting and Fixing Mistakes, while others are project-based, where techniques are learned along the way. New classes often mean new samples at the shop, showing the hats, mitts, shawls, and scarves that our teachers will teach in the new year. Here are a few.

DSCN2379

Katherine knit this Ardelle hat using 4 strands of Cascade 220 Fingering to achieve a gauge of 3.5 stitches per inch, but any single strand of bulky weight yarn would yield a similar result; consider Lamb’s Pride Bulky, Mountain Fusion Teton, Malabrigo Mecha, and Mirasol Sulka. Ardelle is a great pattern for first-time cable knitters, and will also teach how to pick up stitches, sew a seam, and work in the round on double pointed needles. The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry, so you can take a look at the skills required and decide whether you’d prefer to tackle it on your own or with the guidance and camaraderie of Katherine’s class.

DSCN2350

Interested in learning to knit lace patterns? Three of our upcoming classes focus on lace. Above is Marsha’s Lattice Lace Scarf, which is a great lace introduction using bulky yarn. Marsha is also teaching the Holden Shawlette, a popular free pattern that calls for one skein of Malabrigo Sock, or ~440 yards of another fingering weight yarn. Marsha has made several Holden Shawlettes in a range of gauges; this one is made with a dk weight silk.

DSCN2346

In the Holden Shawlette class, Marsha will teach how to read a lace chart and how to construct this triangular shawl, and can help you to lengthen it if you like. Amy’s Sonetto Shawl class approaches the triangular lace shawl from another angle; read more about it on our class page.

DSCN2377

Just yesterday, Marsha brought in this cute Lush Fingerless Mitt, a sample for her upcoming class on the subject. She’ll teach how to work in the round on double pointed needles, and how to read and knit the lace/cable motif that adorns these mitts. Meanwhile, the pattern is free, so you can take a closer look at it if you like. Marsha’s mitts are knit in Cascade Indulgence, a worsted weight blend of alpaca and angora, but any worsted weight yarn will do; consider Classic Elite Princess or Lush, which also contain angora, or try Yarn Hollow Photograph or Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted for non-fuzzy mitts.

You can read more about these and other classes on our class page, where you can also sign up and prepay online. Our classes do tend to fill up quickly, so act now if you’d like to join one! See you at the shop.

Back in stock: Titus.

For the past few weeks, there’s been a nearly-empty basket in the fingering weight section at the shop. Two skeins of Titus Dark have been sitting there, looking lonely, save for the knit samples tucked in with them. We were waiting for a shipment from Baa Ram Ewe, where Titus has been backordered (and Titus Light still is). This week, we welcomed back Titus in two colors: its original natural brown and the heathered charcoal of Titus Dark. Finally!

DSCN1399

We also got a Titus pattern back in stock: Ann Kingstone’s “Baht ‘At” mitts. I knit a sample mitt, which came together surprisingly quickly, even with the tiny needles and twisted traveling stitches. It’s a little thing, but the fabric is stretchy, which makes for a satisfying, snug fit.

DSCN1398

Come by the shop to try it on for yourself, and know that it’s available not only as a single pattern, but also as part of the Born and Bred collection, or in a kit with enough Titus to knit a pair. Whatever fits your knitterly needs. See you at the shop!

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.

DSCN0666

DSCN0999

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.

DSCN1198

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.

DSCN1015

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:

DSCN1199

(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.

DSCN0684

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!

Two new colors in Titus.

As soon as we learned that Yorkshire yarn company Baa Ram Ewe had begun producing new colors of their well-loved yarn, Titus, we ordered some for the shop. Say hello to Titus Light and Titus Dark.

DSCN1130

All three shades of Titus share a common gauge and fiber content: fingering weight, and comprised of 50% Grey Wensleydale, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% alpaca, all sourced in the UK. Baa Ram Ewe created Titus with the mission to revive the once-thriving British textile industry, and it seems they’re off to a good start, given the warm welcome Titus has received in the knitting world. We first learned of Titus through Clara Parkes’ glowing review, and recently saw another rave from Edinburgh designer and blogger Kate Davies. Even in a single undyed color, this yarn has wooed many. With three natural shades, Titus is even more tempting.

DSCN1131

How to make use of it? Some HYS knitters are using Titus as the main color in their Quill shawl. Anne wants to use all three in a Color Affection shawl. A set of tam and mitts calling for Titus can be found in Ann Kingstone’s Born and Bred, which are now available as single patterns as well as in kits with the yarn.

DSCN1135

On top of that, a recent Wooly Wormhead pattern calls for Titus, and the people at Baa Ram Ewe recommended this cabled cardigan pattern from Susan Crawford as a good match for Titus, as well.

DSCN1134

The longer Titus lives at the shop, the more pattern ideas come up, it seems. We are just loving this yarn. Come by the shop to see all three shades of Titus, and to plan your next project.

New from Baa Ram Ewe.

Our newest yarn, Baa Ram Ewe’s Titus, has received the warmest of welcomes from Hillsborough Yarn Shoppers over the past few weeks. A warm welcome is well deserved, in our opinion; Titus is a special yarn indeed, a fingering weight blend of wool from Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester sheep, along with a bit of alpaca, undyed and sourced entirely from the UK. We’re pleased to announce a few new offerings from Baa Ram Ewe, perfectly timed for last minute holiday gift shopping.

DSCN0895

 

First up: Born and Bred, a collection of patterns by designer Ann Kingstone for Baa Ram Ewe. All of the patterns feature yarn from Yorkshire sheep breeds, and a bit of information about each breed is included in the book, making this a mighty tempting collection for sheep and wool enthusiasts. This fetching hat and fingerless mitt set is made with Titus.

DSCN0897

 

Also, by happenstance, we came into a small selection of kits from Baa Ram Ewe, which includes patterns and yarn to create the Ilkley Moor hat or Baht’at mitts.

DSCN0898

We also have one kit to make a cabled felted bag with a heavier weight Yorkshire wool from Baa Ram Ewe.

DSCN0899

Come by the shop to see these latest goodies from Baa Ram Ewe, and check out Titus if you haven’t yet!

A new color from Swans Island.

Last month’s Swans Island Trunk Show inspired many knitters to create garments with Swans Island’s organic merino wool yarns, which put quite a dent in our supply of the stuff. Last week, we placed an order of Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering in some of the most-loved colorways to replenish our stash: Fig, Winterberry, Oatmeal, Beetroot, Early Thyme, and several other deliciously-named colors. We also got the last bag of Sugar Maple, a limited edition color for Fall, and a first bag of this winter’s Limited Edition Dyer’s Choice: Reindeer Moss.

Reindeer Moss is a lovely, muted sage, which puts it somewhere between Early Thyme and Tarragon in terms of color value.

We also restocked the patterns that were most popular during the Trunk Show, some of which call for Swans Island Worsted, and some of which call for the Fingering.

Come by the shop to see Reindeer Moss in person, and give the Swans Island yarns a good squeeze. See you there!