Hello, Kate Davies Àrd-Thìr.

We’re thrilled to announce that Kate Davies’ new yarn is here!

We’ve long been admirers of Davies’ writing and knitwear design, and keep a variety of her books in stock here at the shop. Since she started her own line of yarn a few years ago, we’ve longed to carry it, but she sells directly to consumers on her website, rather than through retailers like us. For her newest yarn, Davies has collaborated with Fyberspates to distribute Àrd-Thìr more widely, and we could not be happier to have it on our shelves and in our hands!

Kate Davies Àrd-Thìr is an aran weight blend of Peruvian fibers, 60% highland wool and 40% alpaca. Each 50 gram skein has 71 yards, and it knits up at about 15-19 stitches over 4″ on needles from US 7-10.5. The texture is smooth and round, for sharp stitch definition and a springy elasticity in the hand.

Àrd-Thìr comes in 10 heathered shades inspired by the winter landscape of the Scottish highlands, a beautiful muted palette. Head to Davies’ blog to read more about the inspiration, production, and sourcing that makes Àrd-Thìr so special.

I’m the lucky knitter charged with making a shop sample in Àrd-Thìr, and I’ve cast on for Davies’ first available pattern for this yarn, the “Weel Riggit Hat.” It’s been delightfully quick to knit, a pleasure in my hands and on the needles.

Come by the shop to see and touch Àrd-Thìr for yourself, and plan your next project! You’ll find it in our Aran weight section.

New year’s eve.

2018 was a big year for us here at the shop, full of exciting new yarnsbookstools, projects, and classes. We won the title of “Best Yarn Store” in the Triangle for the third year in a row, celebrated our twelfth year in business, and worked every day toward our goal of bringing the best quality yarns and information to the wonderful community of knitters, crocheters, and weavers that we feel lucky to serve.

On this last day of 2018, I spent the morning mending a hole in one of my most-worn sweaters. The pattern is “Cockatoo Brae,” from Kate Davies’ Yokes, a book I still want to knit in its entirety, four years after its initial publication. I knit this sweater with the super-sturdy Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, but three years of very frequent use can wear down even the strongest fibers, so I couldn’t blame the yarn when a hole popped up in the armpit.

It took only a few minutes of duplicate stitch and creative weaving in of ends to make my cardigan wearable again, a pleasing and empowering result indeed. Here’s to the promise of a new year and new projects, and here’s to mending and using what we already are so lucky to have. Happy new year!

 

A reminder: the shop will be closed Tuesday, January 1, 2019, but we open again at our regular business hours on Wednesday. See you then!

Milarrochy Heids.

Kate Davies’ newest book is here on our teacart, among the latest books and magazines for knitters.

Milarrochy Heids is a collection of colorful hats designed by a variety of talented knitters.

Some are familiar to us, like Felicity Ford, Ella Gordon, and Dianna Walla, while others are new names we can’t wait to get acquainted with.

While many of the hats here are knit using stranded colorwork, there are other knitting techniques represented as well – stripes and double knitting, short rows and welts, chevrons and cables, to name a few.

The hats in this book are knit with Kate Davies’ own line of yarn, Milarrochy Tweed, a fingering weight wool and mohair blend. We don’t have it here at the shop, though we wish we could, but we have a great many excellent substitutes – Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, Tukuwool Fingering, Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Peerie, Isager Tweed, and more.

Come by the shop to browse this and other Kate Davies books – she’s a favorite of ours, so we do try to keep her books in good stock!

See you at the shop.

Snow, show and tell, and new colors from Kelbourne Woolens.

The shop was closed yesterday for inclement weather, and with the snow quietly falling as I write and the roads remaining hazardous, we do not plan to open the shop tomorrow. As ever, if you’re planning a trip to our shop and have any question about the weather, do check our website before you head out; we always list closures on the front page there, and are known for being risk-averse when it comes to snow and ice!

 

Even if the shop remains closed, 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.

Kate has been wearing her Kate Davies’-designed “Dunyvaig” hap a lot since completing it. She knit this cozy textured shawl with Kelbourne Woolens Scout, a DK weight wool that comes in lovely heathered shades and has great stitch definition for patterns like this.

Ruth has been knitting with Kelbourne Woolens yarn, as well – here she is in her lovely “Phyllis” sweater, made with the sport weight KW Andorra.

Margaretta also finished her “Phyllis” not long ago, and it, too, is very beautiful. I’m impressed at how crisp the lace looks even in a fuzzy yarn with a touch of mohair.

Anne’s “Jenny” was also knit with Andorra. You might even recognize it, as it has been on display at the shop for some time now.

The gentle halo of Andorra is perfect for this Bohus-inspired pullover, where purls in the colorwork yoke seem to blend one color into the next.

Last week brought four brand new colors of Andorra, a welcome addition that really rounds out the color palette.

Many thanks to the knitters who shared their work here today, and to everyone who starts their projects with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We hope everyone is staying safe and warm and doing a bit of stitching while it snows, and we’ll see you when it’s safe to open the shop again.

Handywoman.

I’m delighted to announce that Kate Davies’ newest book has arrived at the shop!

Handywoman is Davies’ memoir of a life of craft, one shaped by a stroke she suffered at age 36. Her brain injury changed how she saw and moved through the world, and how she made her living in it. Hers is a story of adaptivity and creativity, one I’ve followed for years on her blog.

Kate Davies is a knitwear designer and writer who I very much admire, for her traditional-looking, smartly-crafted patterns as well as her academic approach to textiles. Her books often blend knitting patterns and prose, and I’ve been a fan of both those elements, knitting sweater after sweater as avidly as I’ve read her essays on textiles and history. I’m keenly looking forward to reading what she has to say about her own life, and about disability in general. Her recent and fascinating TEDx talk is a good preview of her approach to the subject matter, and definitely worth watching.

I find it especially impressive that Davies has brought Handywoman into the world under her own publishing imprint, expanding the scope of Kate Davies Designs from pattern books to include narrative-based books like this one. Her blog post about the process of creating Handywoman is interesting and inspiring, and shows just how much work goes into making books, from writing and design to printing and promotion.

Along with this new book, we’ve restocked some of our favorite Davies titles: Colours of Shetland, Yokes, Happit, and West Highland Way. Come by to peruse them all, especially if you’re unfamiliar with her work – she’s truly a unique voice in the world of knitwear, one with an important perspective to share.

Look for Handywoman on the teacart here at the shop!

West Highland Way.

Delighted to announce that Kate Davies’ newest book is here!

West Highland Way is a stunning collection of patterns and essays inspired by the Scottish long-distance walking route it’s named for.

Landmarks along this route are marked with musings from Davies and a garment inspired by said landmark. “Còinneach,” a favorite cardigan of mine, is named for a hill overlooking Loch Lomond, for example.

Kate Davies is a knitwear designer and writer who I very much admire, for her traditional-looking, smartly-crafted patterns as well as her academic approach to textiles.

West Highland Way is exactly the kind of book we’ve come to expect from Davies: rich in cultural and historical information, lovingly produced, and bursting with photography as beautiful as the knitwear.

Come by the shop to browse the latest books as well as our older favorites; we keep many of Davies’ books in stock. See you there!

Hello, Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond is one of the newest yarns here at the shop, a colorful tweed from BC Garn in Denmark.

Loch Lomond is a 2-ply wool, a loosely-plied yarn with tweedy flecks whose label suggests needles between US 6 and 8 for a gauge of 4.5 stitches per inch. With 170 yards per 50 gram skein, Loch Lomond is light for a worsted weight, its gauge category as assigned by Ravelry.

As I unpacked our first BC Garn order, Anne and I surveyed the fine-looking yarn in front of us and the big-looking gauge on the label and raised an eyebrow each. Maybe it would grow or bloom with washing and blocking, we said to one another. There was nothing to do but swatch.

I got that happy assignment, and began knitting on US 6 needles, then switched to 7, then to 8, wanting to show the manufacturer’s suggested gauges. That swatch gave me a range of fabrics, with gauges of 5 stitches per inch, 4.75 stitches per inch, and 4.5 stitches per inch, respectively. All three are a little loose for my taste, so I knit a separate swatch on a US 5, which is my favorite of the group.

Anne had been eyeing Loch Lomond for Kate Davie’s popular “Carbeth,” a pullover knit with 2 strands of DK weight yarn held together throughout for a bulky gauge. I knit a third swatch with this pattern in mind, holding Loch Lomond double on a US 10.5 needle, which didn’t quite give me gauge for the pattern, though probably a 10 would do it.

The fibers did bloom with washing and blocking, filling in the empty spaces between stitches a bit, and the lightweight fabric that results is soft to the touch and pretty cohesive even on the larger needle sizes. As ever, the right needle size and pattern for this yarn depends upon what kind of fabric you want to get out of it; for a sturdy sweater, I’d aim for a DK gauge of 5.5 stitches per inch or so, but for an airy shawl, the worsted to aran gauges of 5 – 4.5 stitches per inch and more open fabric would be lovely. Consider Churchmouse’s “Easy Folded Poncho,” Jared Flood’s “Guernsey Wrap” at the DK gauge, Heidi Kirrmaier’s “Climb Every Mountain,” Hannah Fettig’s “Schoodic Cardigan,” and Carrie Bostick Hoge’s “Lucinda.”

Come by the shop to see and feel these swatches, or pick up a skein of Loch Lomond and make some swatches of your own!

Happit.

We’re delighted to have Kate Davies’ newest book on our shelves!

Happit is a small collection of shawls and cowls, paired with a couple of essays by Davies, whose writing about knitting and history is as impressive as her design work.

Several of these designs call for yarns we stock here at the shop. “Fantoosh,” the lace shawl on the cover, is knit with Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, a hand-dyed yarn we keep in good supply. The two cowls, “Funchal Moebius” and “Betty Mouat Cowl” are made with CoopKnits Socks Yeah!, a favorite easy-care fingering weight wool. We just got a handful of new colors in that yarn – look for a blog post on the subject soon!

Happit makes a lovely addition to our Kate Davies collection, and a good introduction to her work if you’re not yet acquainted with her. Look for it on the teacart here at the shop!

Inspired by Islay.

Kate Davies’ newest book is now on our shelves. Let’s take a peek inside Inspired by Islay.

Kate Davies is a knitwear designer and writer who I very much admire, for her traditional-looking, smartly-crafted patterns as well as her academic approach to textiles. Her books are always good reads as well as good knits, putting her work in a larger historical and cultural context, and bursting with glorious photography by her talented partner, Tom Barr. 

The book features a collection of designs inspired, as the title suggests, by the Scottish island of Islay, a place of personal importance to Davies. She also enlisted the help of a geologist, wildlife photographer, and Gaelic heritage consultant, among others, to paint a rich portrait of the island. Read more about the fascinating process behind the book on Davies’ blog.

Look for Inspired by Islay on the teacart here at the shop. We also keep Davies’ other titles in stock: The Book of Haps, Buachaille, Yokes, and Colors of Shetland.

See you at the shop!

The Book of Haps.

Kate Davies’ newest book came out a couple of months ago, and though we had it in stock, it sold out quickly and never made it to the blog. With new copies on the teacart, I’m here to right that. Here’s The Book of Haps.

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As Davies defines it, “hap” is a Scottish dialect word for a simple shawl or wrap. The emphasis is on functionality and everyday wear, though of course these garments can also be quite pleasing to the eye.

DSCN5939As is her wont, Davies begins with with the history of these practical shawls and the people that made and make them. It’s only then, informed by this cultural context, that our own hap knitting begins.

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The patterns in this collection are not all Davies’ own; designers Bristol Ivy, Martina Behm, Carol Feller, Romi Hill, Gudrun Johnston, and Veera Välimäki have all contributed hap variations, among many talented others.

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Look for The Book of Haps here at the shop, along with the rest of Davies’ ouvre. See you there!

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