Shibui Sample of the Month: Multigrain and Origami Top Hat.

September is here, and with it, two new Shibui Samples of the Month! We offer a 10% discount on Shibui yarn purchased for our featured samples til the end of the month.

We normally have just one featured Shibui sample each month, but the good people at Shibui offered us two this time and we couldn’t see why not. Let’s look first at “Multigrain,” by Antonia Shankland, a seed stitch scarf knit with Shibui Pebble, Silk Cloud, and Cima. These were our first three Shibui yarns, and they remain favorites. All are lace weight, but they vary in fiber content and texture.

“Multigrain” is a great way to experiment with yarn mixing, where two strands are held together for a unique fiber or color combination. Here, the color is the same from yarn to yarn, but the different yarns make for a subtle shift in texture throughout the piece. The pattern is free when you purchase Shibui yarns for the project here at our shop.

Next up is Lori Versaci’s “Origami Top Hat,” knit with just two skeins of Shibui Drift. At first glance, it looks like your basic stockinette cap with a ribbed brim.

From the top, however, you can see the clever shaping and folding that gives this design its name. It looks like it will be fun to knit and easy to wear, a good combination now that gift-knitting season is upon us.

Come by the shop to see both our Shibui Samples of the Month, and get 10% off the Shibui yarns featured in “Multigrain” and “Origami Top Hat.” See you there!


Just a reminder–all sales are final on discounted items; there can be no exchanges, returns, or special orders. Thanks!

Show and tell: BT Arbor.

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. I have a nice collection to share at the moment, enough for at least three blog posts. Today’s group all happen to be made in the same wonderful yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, a DK weight Targhee wool.

Above is Judy’s “Celtic Myths” shawl, a stockinette crescent with an intricate knitted-on cabled border. This delicious shade of gray is called “Heron,” and like nearly all colors, it’s tricky to photograph accurately, and far more beautiful in person.

One of Arbor’s distinguishing features is its crisp stitch definition, which makes cables, lace, and texture patterns shine. You can clearly see that quality in Judy’s beautifully-knit shawl, and you’ll also see it in each of the garments that follow.

Here’s my “Hirombe” hat in the color “Firebrush,” a shop sample which nicely illustrates another of Arbor’s special qualities: its tremendous elasticity. This is one of my favorite yarn characteristics, and one that suggests good long-term wear. Garments knit with Arbor should wear well and look sharp for years to come. I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Flood’s pattern, as well, especially because it taught me at least three new techniques: a cast-on, an increase, and a decrease I’d never tried before. The twisted stitch pattern is fully reversible; below is the “wrong-side” view, which I think I prefer.

Anne knit a little something with Arbor recently, too: this pair of Churchmouse “Welted Fingerless Gloves” was a Mother’s Day gift for Phyllis, Anne’s mom who recently turned 100. This quick-to-knit gift was well-received; Phyllis reportedly put them right on and said, “They fit like a glove!”

This soft, warm gray is called “Gale,” and one skein of Arbor was plenty for a pair, making this a great pattern for trying out this special yarn.

Above is Glen’s “Herringbone Hat,” knit with Arbor in the excellent high-contrast combination of “Black Fig” and “Hammock,” demonstrating that this yarn is perfect for stranded colorwork, too!


Barbara knit not one, but two “Byway” scarves during Marsha’s class on the subject. The purple one on the left is knit with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, and the white one on the right is Arbor in the color “Hammock.” Though the pattern calls for bulky weight yarn, Barbara knit hers in a worsted and a DK, wanting a narrower finished product.

Thanks to everyone who starts their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and to those who share their progress with us. Come by the shop to pick up some Brooklyn Tweed Arbor for your next project!

Hello, Malabrigo Caracol.

Back at TNNA in June, we stopped by the Malabrigo booth, eager to see their newest yarn for the first time. Caracol is not only new, but also an unusual yarn, for Malabrigo and the Hillsborough Yarn Shop alike. We were genuinely surprised when we saw it, and I’m happy to report that it’s now on our shelves! Meet Caracol.


Caracol is a super bulky weight yarn with a thick and thin texture, a style we haven’t brought into the shop for a few years now, as preferences for smoother yarns grew. What really sets this yarn apart, though, is that it’s criss-crossed by a thinner yarn before being kettle-dyed in Malabrigo’s signature super-saturated colorways, creating a unique look and texture we’ve just never seen before.


Some skeins are criss-crossed with a black binder thread, giving a stained glass effect, and others with white, for more subtle variation.


We went home from TNNA with a sample skein of Caracol that was handed over to me for sample-knitting. A yarn with this much personality doesn’t need a complicated pattern to show it off, so I knit up a very quick hat and topped it with a very big pom-pom. The pattern is “The Big Hat,” a free download from Ravelry, also suitable for Malabrigo Rasta if smoother yarns are more your speed.


Those who know me know this is not usually my kind of yarn, but I have to say, this was a really fun change of pace! Caracol is squishy, soft as can be, and provides near-instant gratification. Look for it in the super bulky section here at the shop, and remember it when the need for a handmade gift sneaks up at the last minute!


The Arranmore Collection.

With the arrival of Fibre Company’s exciting new yarn, Arranmore, comes a predictably lovely pattern collection from the design team at Kelbourne Woolens.


Inspired by traditional Irish knitwear, the Arranmore Collection features six sweaters, two hats, and a scarf.The_Rosses_4_medium2

Tweed yarns like Arranmore liven up simple stockinette, to be sure, but they do equally well in texture and cable patterns, and bring nuance to stranded colorwork.


Anne’s knitting “Carrowkeel” as a sample for the shop, using Arranmore in “Meara,” a deep blue with flecks of cobalt and red.


This cozy turtleneck is designed to be worn with positive ease, and looks like perfect North Carolina winter outerwear to me.


Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a “Finn Valley” sample, using Arranmore’s “St. Claire,” a natural white with flecks of beige and pale blue that really lets the cables shine. I’m sorry to report that this color is currently on backorder; let us know if it tops your list so we can alert you when it arrives!


Look for the Arranmore Collection along with Arranmore yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop!


Show and tell: critters.

Time for another round of show and tell! Here are some finished projects that started life as yarns on our shelves. These knitted things have something else in common, as well: they all feature animals!


Amy designed and knit this “Baby Turtle Frenzy Blanket” for her granddaughter-to-be using Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted. It shows sea turtle hatchlings on their journey from the sandy beach through the breakers to the deep blue sea. She wrote a separate pattern for the tiny turtles themselves; get them together at a discounted price on Ravelry or here at the shop.


Amy’s also offering a Tiny Turtle class here at the shop, for those interested in knitted toys–head to our Classes page to sign up!


Ali came by the shop not long ago with two knitted critters. Above are her “Moose and the World’s Tree” mittens, from Annemor Sundbø’s Norwegian Mittens and Gloves, knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. Below is her “Hedgehog,” whose belly and face is also made of Shetland Spindrift, with garter stitch spines in Plymouth Galway held double.


I, too, knit a hedgehog from this pattern a couple of years ago, and loved the process as much as the end product. Seeing this one made me want to knit another!


We can’t talk about knitted critters without mentioning the “Baa-ble Hat,” a free pattern with well over 5,000 projects on Ravelry in the year and a half since it was first published. The “Baa-ble Hat” above is my second, and may not be my last. I used bright shades of Plymouth Tweed and Queensland Kathmandu Aran for this one, and love the way the colorwork looks in these speckled yarns.


Amy just finished teaching an introductory class on stranded colorwork featuring the “Baa-ble Hat,” and the hat above was knit by one of her students, Clarine. She used Jamieson’s Shetland Heather Aran for three out of the four shades, knitting the soft green grass with Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed.


Sarah was one of Amy’s students, too; she knit her hat in Malabrigo Rios, and left the shop after class with yarn for another “Baa-ble Hat.” It’s a pleasing little pattern, and a great way to try stranded colorwork for the first time. Amy’s offering another class on the subject in October–sign up now if you’d like to join!

Thanks to all those who share their work with us here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We are inspired by your great ideas, and love to see them take shape!

On and off our needles.

Anne and I are always knitting. I’m sure this comes as no surprise. At home, we work on our own projects – Anne is currently knitting a sweater for her husband, I’m (almost always) knitting a sweater for myself – and here at the shop, we knit on samples that will one day hang on the wall to inspire knitters that come to visit. Within the past two weeks, we’ve both completed shop samples and cast on for new ones.



Anne’s “Nova” tunic is made with Shibui’s newest yarn, Rain, a mercerized cotton so smooth and shiny it could pass for silk.

“Nova” is simply constructed in two pieces, then stitches are picked up for the mandarin collar. Side seams give structure to the drapey fabric that comes with plant fibers like cotton.

The pattern photo shows “Nova” in a silvery gray, but I think it looks particularly elegant in Anne’s signature black. Come by the shop to try it on!



With “Nova” behind her, Anne is now stitching on another pattern from Shibui’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, a colorblock pullover called “Horizon.”


She’s knitting it in the uncharacteristically bold color combination of “Lime” and “Suit,” holding Linen and Cima together for a lightweight fabric. Each ball of yarn is tucked in a separate plastic bag for the duration of the project: an effective, if not glamorous, method for managing slick, delicate yarns.


My most recently completed project is “Spearmint Tea,” a shawl knit with Cutthroat Yarn Gradient Cotton.


Because this yarn changed color at a different rate than the yarn called for in the pattern, I made a few changes along the way, all noted in my project page on Ravelry, for those curious. Look for the finished piece here at the shop!


My next shop project is a second “Baa-ble Hat,” knit in Plymouth Tweed and Queensland Kathmandu Aran. I like how the colorwork looks in the mottled tweed yarns, and I’ve had fun watching the sheep emerge row by row.


Knit in aran weight yarn, this is a quick project. Come by the shop in the next week, and you’ll likely find it finished! We look forward to seeing what’s on your needles, too – come in for inspiration and to plan your next project.

The Acadia Collection.

We just got a new pattern collection from Kelbourne Woolens, designers and distributors of Fibre Company yarns. This group is named for the yarn it features, a yarn that has become a classic in the few years we’ve stocked it: meet the Acadia Collection.


Fibre Company 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.


The Acadia Collection celebrates this special yarn in its natural undyed shades with classic garments that walk the line between casual and elegant.



Look for Acadia in the DK weight section here at the shop, and peruse the Acadia Collection while you’re here!


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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


Show and tell: hats.

Here’s another batch of show and tell, projects that started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Earlier in the week, we saw examples of knitters who go back again and again to the same patterns; today, let’s look at hats.


Peggy tried her hand at colorwork for the first time in a recent class here at the shop, and this glorious “Northallerton” hat is what she made. I love the three shades of Baa Ram Ewe Titus she chose, and her pom-pom came out perfectly!


Here’s Hazel’s “Wurm,” knit in Noro Silk Garden Lite, a self-striping yarn. She used two balls that started at different points in the color sequence, striping back and forth to emphasize the stripes of stockinette and reverse stockinette that make the hat so squishy and slouchy.



To the left, you’ll see Margaretta in a beautiful cabled hat she just finished, knit with Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone. The pattern is “Palatino,” from Carol Feller’s recent collection, Dovestone Hills. It’s constructed side-to-side and cleverly shaped with short rows. Nicely done, Margaretta!

The hat below is Emily’s creation, a slouchy striped beanie knit with Dream in Color Smooshy. Wanting a snug, cozy brim, she worked a deep folded hem in stockinette. Rightfully pleased with the results, she wrote a pattern, so you could make one, too; look for her “Red Moon Slouch Hat” pattern on Ravelry!


Thanks to those who share their projects with us, it’s inspiring and exciting to see all that you create. It’s a show-and-tell kind of week here on the blog, so you can look forward to another round in just a few days. 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.