Hello, Jul Forager bags.

Every year, we go to market hoping to find something that surprises us, something we didn’t know we were looking for. We didn’t go to market looking for elegant leather bags, handmade in the USA, but once we saw them, we knew we had to have them at the shop. Say hello to these Forager bags, from Jul Designs!


We have Forager bags in two sizes. The Forager Market Bag is a generous 18″ wide x 14″ tall x 5″ deep, a simple, streamlined tote made of lightweight leather. It’s big enough to carry a large project, along with your notions, a pattern book or two, and other necessities.


They are unlined, save for a cream-colored lining at the bottom, making it easy to spot what you’re looking for as you shuffle through the contents of your bag. We also asked that Laura, designer and owner of Jul Designs, include little metal feet on the bottom, to protect the bag when it’s set on the floor.


The Sweety Forager Bag is a smaller version of the same style, at 13.5″ wide x 9.5″ tall x 4″ deep. It’s big enough to function as a small purse, but would make an equally lovely project bag, with room enough for the essentials.


We fell hard for these bags! Anne picked a Forager Market Bag for herself in black, Rosi went with red, and I wound up with one in brown.



Check out our selection of Jul Forager bags next time you’re at the shop! We hope you love them as much as we do.

Last minute gifts.

I know many of you have been busily stitching gifts this holiday season, and Anne and I are right there with you, knitting up until almost the last minute. We recently got these cute gift tags in, with care instructions on the back, so you can send your handmade gifts off with all the relevant information.


You may not have time to start making a holiday gift at this point, as Hannukah is well under way and Christmas is nearly here. (Though a skein of Malabrigo Rasta can make a hat or cowl in as few as four hours, I hear…) If you still have gifts to procure, take heart: here are a few last minute gift ideas from the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


A pretty shawl pin is a nice accompaniment to a handmade scarf, shawl, or wrap, and gift enough on its own, as well. We just got these tiny twig-shaped shawl pins in from Jul, and we have lots of other shawl pins to choose from, too.


From the stocking stuffer department: Lilly Brushes are excellent tools for de-pilling natural fiber garments, and we’ve got plenty in stock. A bottle of Gloves in a Bottle makes a great little gift, too; this hand lotion saves me every winter. For knitters on your list, also consider Sirka counters, stitch markers, sachets of lavender, and other notions you can never have too many of.


Knitters and crocheters love to choose their own materials, tools, and books, making a gift certificate to a local yarn shop a real treat. Whether you come by the shop, give us a call, or order online, we’re happy to connect you with a Hillsborough Yarn Shop gift certificate in any denomination.


Thanks for thinking of our shop as a source for a gift this holiday season! We appreciate your support so much, and wish you the happiest holidays.


Yokes is here!


Yokes is writer and designer Kate Davies’ newest book, and one that we’ve been eagerly anticipating since October, when she started posting previews on her blog.



I’ve been reading her blog for years now, admiring her patterns and appreciating her written voice.


An historian as well as a knitwear designer, Davies approaches her subject with academic rigor, and because of this, Yokes is so much more than a collection of inspiring sweaters.


Pick up this book, and you’ll learn about Swedish Bohus yokes, the Icelandic lopapeysa, classic Shetland motifs, Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless innovations, and the connections between all of the above.


As a lover of circular yoke sweaters, particularly those adorned with colorwork, I was quick to add Yokes to my own knitting library. I’ve been reading it before bed this week, savoring the text and photos. Davies speaks my mind when she writes, “I am happy spending days working away on acres of plain stockinette, if, at the end of it, there is the yoke’s delicious promise.”


I am knitting one such sweater right now, in fact: “Puffin Sweater,” a design from Davies’ Colors of Shetland. I’ve knit the body and one and a half sleeves, looking forward all the while to the colorful chevron yoke. (Almost there!)


Anne has fallen for a sweater from Yokes, “Frost at Midnight.” This beaded yoke is knit in a delicate lace-weight yarn called Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace, a shimmering blend of merino and silk, which, oh by the way, we now stock at the shop.


We have only a few shades in stock, but will happily order whichever color you’d like. Come by to see the colorcard!


Look for Kate Davies’ Yokes on the teacart in the front room. It will make a perfect holiday gift for the history-loving knitter in your life, and if that knitter happens to be you, send your nearest and dearest in for a copy. See you there!


Schacht Cricket Loom.

Last week, we announced that the Hillsborough Yarn Shop has become a Schacht dealer, and I promised a closer look at the Schacht products we carry. Over the weekend, I put the Zoom Loom in the spotlight here on the blog. Next up: the Cricket Loom.


The Cricket Loom is a small and simple rigid heddle loom, ideal for first-time weavers. The box you see above includes not only the Cricket Loom, but also a warping peg, threading hook, 2 stick shuttles, table clamps, two balls of yarn, and clear instructions; in short: everything you need to start weaving.


When our shop Cricket Loom arrived earlier this year, I was sent home with it and with the enviable task of learning to use it. I’d never woven before, but the instructions made it easy to assemble, warp, and weave on the Cricket. My first attempts were uneven and humbling, but before long, I was producing smooth woven fabric that I was proud of. In just a couple of evenings, I’d gone through the yarn that comes with the Cricket and turned to my stash.


I used Berroco Pure Pima to weave a small kitchen towel, experimented with a variety of lace weight yarns to weave one scarf (pictured above), and then another in bits of worsted weight, from Yarn Hollow Photograph to Berroco Ultra Alpaca.
DSCN3998Before each new woven project, I studied Jane Patrick’s Weaver’s Idea Book, which is full of inspiration and information in equal measure.


On our shelves, you’ll find 15″ Cricket Looms, floor stands, and reeds. The Cricket comes with an 8-dent reed, which is perfect for weaving with worsted weight yarn. For lace or fingering weight yarns, consider a 12-dent reed; for sport or dk weight yarn, a 10-dent reed; and for bulky weight yarn, a 5-dent reed.


Come by the shop to try weaving on our display Cricket Loom, check out our cubby of weaving books and dvds, and consider going home with a Cricket of your own. I can’t tell you how exciting it has been to start at the beginning, learning new words and techniques, enjoying the novelty of creating a fabric so different than what my knitting needles or crochet hooks make. I highly recommend taking on a new craft! See you at the shop.

Schacht Zoom Loom.

Last week, we announced that the Hillsborough Yarn Shop has become a Schacht dealer, and I promised a closer look at the Schacht products we carry. First up: the Zoom Loom.


The Zoom Loom is Schacht’s littlest loom, a pin loom for weaving small squares of fabric. It comes with clear instructions, and is accessible enough for weavers-to-be from age 10 on up.


Anne has been experimenting with the Zoom Loom, learning to use it and seeing what happens when different fibers and gauges of yarn are used.


What to do with these squares? On their own they can be coasters, or sewn on as pockets. When you make a slew of them, they can be pieced together into scarves, shawls, bags, holiday ornaments, pincushions, blankets, and more. The Schacht website is full of ideas and inspiration for the Zoom Loom, and you’ll find others on our Pinterest “Weaving” board.


The clever Deb Essen, of DJE Handwovens, has come up with another use for Zoom Loom squares: Swatch Critters! Her kits include yarn and instruction for transforming a stack of squares into a stuffed sheep, frog, or dragon, among other creatures. A Zoom Loom and Swatch Critter kit would make a stellar gift this holiday season!


Intrigued? Come by the shop to get a closer look at our weaving supplies. Try your hand at pin-loom weaving on our display Zoom Loom, which has a square in progress, ready to weave. Keep your eye on the blog in the coming weeks for a closer look at the Schacht Cricket Loom. In the meantime, see you at the shop!

Isager “Tokyo” kits.

If you haunt Ravelry like we do, you may already be aware of Marianne Isager’s latest design: “Tokyo,” a geometric striped shawl knit with her Spinni and Alpaca 1 yarns.


When “Tokyo” caught our eye, we learned that the pattern is only available in kit form. What could we do but order some for the shop?


“Tokyo” comes in three colorways, “Light,” “Medium,” and “Dark,” and we now have one of each on the shelf.


We spotted the “Dark” colorway advertised in the latest issue of Twist Collective, an intriguing blend of heathered charcoal and deep jewel tones, with a pop of salmon orange and red.


If you’ve been seeking a “Tokyo” kit, know that you can get it here, or send someone who loves you to the shop to get you a special holiday gift. See you there!

Weekenders Trunk Show.

It’s been a season of trunk shows here at the shop. Since September, we’ve shown garments from Shibui, Hanne Falkenberg, and Swans Island, inspiring knitters along the way. I’m happy to report that our next trunk show has arrived!


Here is a trunk show from Fibre Company, featuring all five garments from the Weekenders pattern collection, three hats and two cowls. Each of the accessories in this collection are knit with just one skein of Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, a soft and lustrous blend of merino, alpaca, and bamboo.


An accessory show like this one seems especially well-suited to the season, as many of us are planning small projects to give as holiday gifts. A skein of this special yarn and a copy of Weekenders would make a great gift for a knitter, too.


Come by during the Trunk Show to see the garments for yourself and plan your next project. We’re closed Thursday, November 27th, for Thanksgiving, but we’ll have the Weekenders Trunk Show on display until December 17th. Have a great holiday; see you at the shop!

New books.

It’s been a busy season for new books here at the shop. Every couple of days, I find myself once again rearranging the teacart to make room for another stack of books.


The folks at Interweave have been particularly hard at work this fall, publishing a wide range of knitting books.



Some focus on particular styles or themes, like First Frost, Graphic Knits, and Knitting Wizardry, while others dive into a single technique or kind of garment, like No-Sew KnitsTwigg Stitch, and Fresh Knitted Accessories.




We also recently received Margaret Radcliffe’s newest book, The Knowledgeable Knitter, a compendium of tips and tricks for every stage of the knitting process. Radcliffe takes you from thoughtful pattern-, yarn-, and needle-selection to modification, fit, and finishing.


Come by the shop to browse our ever-growing book selection and pick a new title for yourself or for a friend–books do make excellent gifts, after all. We’re offering a special 15% discount on all in-stock books and magazines during Ladies Night Out this Thursday, November 20th, and we’ll be open til 8:00 pm that night. Many other Hillsborough merchants and restaurants will have specials that night as well; come out and explore downtown Hillsborough!


Binkwaffle bags.

Some months ago, a knitter came into the shop with a very cool project bag. It was dumpling-shaped, reversible, made of sturdy, soft cotton fabric in fun colors. Everyone in the shop admired it, so I jotted the brand name down: Binkwaffle. I’m happy to report that we now carry those very cool Binkwaffle project bags here at the shop, in small and large sizes.

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We visited the Binkwaffle booth at TNNA and picked out four color combinations to start with.

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The small size is perfect for carrying a shawl-in-progress, or pair of socks, while the larger size is big enough for a good-sized sweater.


Come by the shop to see these bags for yourself! See you there.

Stockings and ornaments.

We’ve had lots of requests for stocking patterns lately, as knitters prepare for the holiday season not only with gift-making, but also with hand-stitched decorations. We had only a few stocking patterns to offer, so we went hunting for more. Here’s what we found!



From Leisure Arts, we found one collection of knit stockings and another of beaded knit ornaments. We also reordered a favorite book of stockings from Storey Publishing, reprinted in paperback: Gwen Steege’s Knit Christmas Stockings.


For crocheters, there’s this collection of snowflakes, which would make lovely winter decor, indeed.


We also found a great single pattern from Churchmouse that shows how to knit and embellish stockings in three sizes: wee, medium, and jolly big.


Keep your eye on the blog for more from Churchmouse, and come by the shop to plan your holiday stitching!