Show and tell: colorwork.

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 with one thing in common: bold color combinations in a variety of multicolor knitting techniques, from stripes to stranded colorwork to mosaic knitting.


Margaretta finished two striped projects recently, the first of which is this “Yipes Stripes” cowl, which she knit in 5 shades of Plymouth Suri Merino. The variety of colorwork techniques in this piece keep it interesting, so interesting that Margaretta has just selected colors for a second “Yipes Stripes.” I can’t wait to see how it comes out!


Margaretta’s “Stole,” though simpler to knit, is perhaps the greater achievement. Knit in 9 shades of Isager Alpaca 2, this ribbed rectangular shawl is generous in size and fine in gauge, a combination that requires a great deal of time and patience to knit. I love Margaretta’s color combination, and the careful balance of dark and light shades.


Debra brought in her “Autumn Tam” in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which she started in Nancy’s most recent fair isle tam class. She’s since become smitten with the technique, and has already completed a “Horse beanie” and started a colorwork blanket in Fibre Company Acadia. We love to see students leave our classes empowered to start new projects on their own!


Margie knit this two-color “Art Deco Mosaic Shawl” from a recent issue of Vogue Knitting.


The pattern showed the shawl knit in high-contrast colors for maximum visibility of the mosaic pattern. Margie had something more subtle in mind, so she selected Isager Alpaca 2 in a dark gold shade and paired it with a variegated brown and gold skein of Malabrigo Mechita. The effect is rich in color and texture, and reminds me of tapestry weaving or wood grain, a unique and beautiful interpretation of the original pattern.


Some months ago, Rosemary selected two shades of Shibui Pebble for a bit of an experiment. Organizing the Pebble last week, I sat those two shades next to each other and wondered for a moment what she’d been plotting. Not long after that, she walked in holding a delicate striped scarf knit in Pebble, her first try at double knitting.


Double knitting makes a reversible, two-layer fabric; you may have seen our sample “Mix No. 23” cowl in Shibui Cima hanging here at the shop, or pondered Amy’s class on the subject. (There’s another session coming up in August; sign up now if you’d like to join!) I’m impressed with Rosemary’s self-designed scarf, and I’m sure she’ll love wrapping up in it when cold weather comes again this fall.

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!



New yarns from old friends.

It’s been an exciting day at market! We visited some of our favorite people today, and it was great to chat about what’s new, see sample garments, and admire each company’s full range of fibers and colors.  Shibui has a luxurious new yarn for fall, and a bundle of new patterns to boot.   We were happy to return to the Sincere Sheep booth to admire their US-sourced yarns, which are all hand-dyed with natural dyes.  I was particularly taken with Fibre Company’s newest yarn, Cumbria, and the exciting new patterns that go with it. I also spotted this gorgeous woven scarf made in Meadow, which I could not stop looking at.  Malabrigo surprised us all with a brand new yarn in an unexpected fiber.  Perhaps the most exciting moment of our day occurred in the Isager booth, where we ran into Helga Isager herself, in from Denmark. Over the years, Anne and Rosi and I have admired many of her designs, and knit some, too. Anne was wearing one, “Robin,” knit in Isager Spinni, so I had to snap a picture.  We’ve already placed so many exciting orders, and there’s more to come. Our trunk show schedule is growing quickly, too. We can’t wait for all these goodies to arrive throughout the fall, to share the new yarns with you, and knit with them ourselves!

New patterns for Isager yarns.

Isager yarns are a longtime favorite here at the shop. Anne’s passion for Marianne Isager’s yarns and designs has proved contagious, and we keep Alpaca 1 and Alpaca 2, Spinni, Tvinni, Highland, and Tweed in good stock as a result. We’re always on the lookout for new ways to use them, and to that end, we’ve recently added a nice bunch of patterns to the Isager binder.


Theresa Gaffey, who brought us the ever-popular “Stole,” has designed a new rectangular wrap with Isager yarns: “Stole 2.0.” This version is similarly simple to knit, but has a decidedly new construction and look, and brings Spinni and Alpaca 2 together for a different texture.


“Not Quite Plaid” is a striped garter stitch scarf made in Isager Alpaca 2, knit on the bias and decorated with dropped stitches. The pattern gives options for three different sizes, from skinny scarf to shawl, and instructions for 3 or 5 colors.



“Cardicho” is a buttoned poncho, also knit with Alpaca 2.


Like Shibui yarns, Isager yarns are often combined, two or three strands at a time, to create a range of gauges, unique fiber and color blends. These two patterns do just that.

DSCN4208Isager yarns, while not machine-washable, are suitable for children’s things as well as adult garments and accessories. Check out the adorable “Mathilde” and “Trille Rille,” as well as Susie Haumann’s All You Knit Is Love.


Look for even more Isager pattern ideas on our Pinterest boards. Come by the shop to peruse our growing selection of Isager patterns and yarns; you may find your next project there. See you at the shop!


Show and tell: a lace shawl and a handful of hats.

I’m always collecting photos of the beautiful finished pieces knitters and crocheters bring in to share with us, garments that started their lives as HYS yarns. Time for another round of show-and-tell!


Pat knit this delicate beaded lace shawl in Shibui Cima, a soft alpaca/merino blend with excellent stitch definition.


The pattern is “Diospyros,” from Andrea Jurgrau’s New Vintage Lace, and Pat’s rendition is far lovelier in person than my photos could capture.


Anne recently finished her “Bayard” hat, knit with Isager Alpaca 2 and the new Isager Tweed. I love how the flecks of color in the Tweed pop out between slim stripes of Alpaca 2.


Valerie has been working on “Bayard,” as well–not one, but two!


It’s neat to see how the colors play together in such small stripes, blending in or setting one another off, depending upon the level of contrast.


Margaretta knit this cozy hat in no time flat, thanks to the super-soft and super-bulky Malabrigo Rasta. She made one modification, which was to braid the ties rather than make a crocheted chain; a nice touch.


Last-minute gift-knitters, take note–this “Tasseled Earflap Hat” is a free pattern that uses just one skein, and could take as few as four hours to complete!

Thanks to everyone who starts and shares their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We feel lucky to be surrounded by such creative people.

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!

New Isager books.

Along with new yarn from Isager, we also got two new books!


Isager is a Danish yarn company run by designer Marianne Isager and her daughter, Helga Isager. We always look forward to seeing new patterns for Isager yarns, especially from the Isagers themselves.


Spring Summer Autumn Winter is Marianne Isager’s latest collection, featuring a sweater for each season, along with a few simple accessories.

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Each of the accessory patterns calls for Isager Alpaca 1 and Spinni held together, creating a unique fiber blend and a rustic marled colorway.


Helga Isager’s latest book is Amimono: the Map Collection.


Inside, you’ll find a mix of garments and accessories, many of which use the same yarn-blending technique.




The “Shetland Cowl” caught my eye, with its simple triangle texture pattern and elegant fibers. The pattern calls for Isager Alpaca 2 held together with a mohair/silk blend, which immediately brought Shibui Silk Cloud to mind.


Incidentally, the Isager and Shibui color palettes are quite compatible; I found plenty of good matches, more than one blog post can easily hold.


Come by the shop to peruse these new pattern collections and the many Isager yarns we carry. See you there!

Hello, Isager Tweed.

Last week, we welcomed our newest fall yarn: meet Isager Tweed!


Isager Tweed is a fingering weight, single-ply yarn composed of 70% wool and 30% mohair, with 220 yards on each 50 gram skein. Like any classic tweed, the colors read roughly solid from a distance, but on closer inspection, are speckled with contrasting colors.

DSCN3826Anne and I took a long time deciding what we should make with Isager Tweed. It would make a great pair of “Twigs and Willows Mitts” from Botanical Knits 2, a handsome  “Barclay” scarf, or a sweet “Rustling Leaves Beret.” I’d love to see an “Aranami Shawl” in five shades of Isager Tweed, too. Ultimately, we were most inspired paging through patterns for Brooklyn Tweed Loft on Ravelry, a treasure trove of fingering weight knits. “Seasons Hat,” “Norby,” “Wheaten,” “Arrowhead Mittens,” “Ticking Cowl” … this is a Ravelry rabbit-hole we’ve gone down oh so many times.


Anne settled on Bristol Ivy’s “Bayard,” pairing Isager Tweed with Isager Alpaca 2, and that striped hat is on her Addi needles now.


Though these two yarns differ in fiber content, ply, and appearance, they are similar in gauge. Most importantly, they share that special Isager color palette, making the Tweed-and-Alpaca-2 color-pairing game especially good fun.






I found equally compelling color combinations when I limited myself to the Isager Tweed basket.




Come by the shop to see Isager Tweed, admire Anne’s hat-in-progress, and plan your next project! See you there.


Downton Abbey and Jane Austen Knits.

Two more new magazines are here, each inspired by stories of and about the past.


The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits is full of knitting patterns inspired by the television series Downton Abbey, which is, for those who have somehow escaped seeing it, a period drama taking place in a British country estate during the early 20th century.


The garments in this issue suggest the era as well as the class of the show’s inhabitants, from the aristocrats upstairs to the servants downstairs.


This garter stitch beret is knit in three shades of Isager Alpaca 2, a favorite yarn around here.


This issue of Jane Austen Knits is the fifth such collection of knitting patterns inspired by the novels of Jane Austen. I found lots of familiar yarns within its pages: Swans Island Organic Washable DK in the cover mitts, Fibre Company Meadow in the “Dashwood Lace Stole,” Malabrigo Sock in the “Second Chance for Mr. Rushworth” socks, and more!

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Come by the shop to pick up a copy of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits and Jane Austen Knits, and don’t forget to check out the Hanne Falkenberg Trunk Show while you’re here!

Show and tell: anniversary edition, part 3.

This week, as we celebrate the shop’s anniversary, we also celebrate the community of knitters and crocheters who have supported us over the years. 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’ve amassed a big stack of them over the past couple of months, enough for three blog posts! Here’s the third batch.


Maria divides her time between Puerto Rico and North Carolina, and when she’s here, she comes to visit the shop. On her last visit, she brought in two shawls to share. Above is her “Quaking Aspen,” knit in Fibre Company Acadia, and below is her “Stole,” knit in Isager Alpaca 2.


Here, Margie models her recently-completed “Handsome Triangle,” another elegant shawl from Victorian Lace Today. She knit it with Marion Foale 3 ply Wool, a smooth fingering weight yarn, and added beads to the crochet edging to give it a bit of weight and sparkle.


Denise came by the shop recently to share her “Elder Tree Shawl,” knit with one (big!) skein of Great Adirondack Bamboo Cotton. Her daughter helped her model it; aren’t they a sweet pair?


Thanks to the knitters, crocheters, and other fiber artists who start their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and who share their work with us! We’re lucky to be surrounded by inspiring stitches every day. 

Back in stock: Isager Alpaca 2.

The July sale carved a deep hole in our stash of Isager Alpaca 2, a soft and fuzzy fingering weight blend of alpaca and merino. Knitters and crocheters were planning sweaters, shawls, and stoles left and right, and Anne and I looked on nervously as our supply dwindled.

DSCN3399I breathed a sigh of relief when I unpacked a giant box of the stuff earlier this month; it just feels right when all the available colors of Alpaca 2 are nestled together in their basket.

DSCN3408We’ve seen numerous amazing projects in Alpaca 2 over the years. I’ve shared some here on the blog, colorwork sweaters like Michelle’s “Stasis” and Shelley’s “Summer in Tokyo,” stoles by Catherine, Kathie, Paula, Kristin, and Anne, and most recently, Betty’s lacy “Sonetto Shawl.” Check our “Inspiring Stitches” board on Pinterest for even more ideas. There are so many beautiful uses for this soft, special yarn; have you worked with it yet? If so, what have you made, or what are you itching to make?