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.


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.


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!


Show and tell: stripes and colorwork.

We’re back with another round of show and tell! Here are some of the finished projects we’ve had the good fortune to admire lately, all of whom began as yarn on our shelves. Today, let’s look at projects featuring stripes and colorwork.


Paula knit this “Chevron Baby Blanket” with Berroco Modern Cotton, modifying the pattern a bit to knit at a slightly smaller gauge. She swatched to figure out how wide each pattern repeat would be with her yarn, then added stitches to her cast-on so that her blanket would come out the desired size.


Paula also finished this “wwwww #1” recently, a lined headband by Kate Davies. Paula used Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift for the colorwork exterior, and soft-as-can-be Shibui Maai for the lining. Nicely done, Paula!


Margaretta recently knit Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic “Baby Surprise Jacket” with Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, and used her leftovers to make a “Boston Whaler” hat. I love her unexpected combination of sage green, steely gray, and bright fuschia, especially with those perfect pink buttons!


Margaretta has also been working on General Hogbuffer’s “Slippery Slope Socks,” using the solid CoopKnits Socks Yeah! and the self-striping Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball. Since I snapped this picture of the first finished sock, she’s completed the pair, and plans to make another with different colors.


Judie’s “Wildheart” shawl was also knit with self-striping yarn, Cutthroat Yarn Gradient BFL. She added a picot bind-off to an otherwise unadorned edge; a little something that I think makes the whole shawl shine.


Thanks to the talented knitters who shared their work with us today, and to all the fiber artists who begin their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you’re working on!


We’re big fans of designer Kate Davies around here. We keep her Colors of Shetland and Yokes on the shelf at the shop, and I knit from them and daydream about them often. Throughout the last months of 2015, we followed along on Davies’ blog as she created her own yarn and developed new designs for that yarn. Her newest book, Buachaille, collects those designs, and we’re delighted to have a stack of copies on the teacart.


Though I think of Kate Davies as a sweater designer, these patterns are all for small accessories.



Hats, mitts, mittens, slippers, cowls, even felted bracelets can be found within this book, and for some, Davies offers two versions–one decorated with stripes, and another with stranded colorwork.



We don’t carry Kate Davies’ Buachaille yarn, but we do have some good substitutes in the DK weight section at the shop. Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone is a blend of British wools with the same 2 ply structure and a similar look, in saturated solid colors. For a DK weight with a bit more drape, consider Fibre Company Acadia, with its soft alpaca and tweedy silk content. A machine washable wool like Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK would work well here, too, perhaps especially for the house slippers. Buachaille shows a DK weight yarn knit up at a range of gauges, but as long as you’re getting the gauge the pattern calls for and a fabric you like, you can confidently substitute yarns.


Buachaille is so much more than a book of knitting patterns, which should come as no surprise, given its author. Kate Davies’ books are always good reads as well as good knits, and this one ups the ante with traditional Scottish recipes. Pick up Buachaille for a glimpse at the beautiful Scottish Highlands that Kate Davies calls home.


Look for it on the teacart here at the shop!

Shetland show and tell.

Here’s another bunch of show and tell! All of these projects started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and all those yarns have something in common: they’re all composed of 100% Shetland wool, the somewhat prickly stuff that I love so much. It’s not merino-soft, but Shetland wool maintains its shape over time, even as it softens with washing and wearing. Let’s see how these Hillsborough Yarn Shoppers are using it.


Paula came in recently with her finished “Solo,” knit from a Hanne Falkenberg kit. Those of you who have tackled Falkenberg kits know what an accomplishment this is; Falkbenberg’s signature Shetland yarn is a fine gauge, all in garter stitch, which can feel tedious after a while. What’s more, her designs are cleverly, unconventionally constructed, and it’s important to have a good system for tracking row count, increases and decreases. Paula worked diligently on the knitting and the note-keeping, making her “Solo” a real success!


Paula had another bit of Shetland show and tell with her that day, a fair isle tam knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


The pattern is from Mary Rowe’s Knitting Tams, a collection of fair isle tams that Paula is finding somewhat addictive. She left the shop after this visit with the makings of at least two more tams, which I hope I can share with you here on the blog as they’re completed.


I recently finished a Shetland sweater, myself, which you wont be surprised to learn is from Kate Davies’ Yokes, a book I can’t stop talking about.


I knit this “Cockatoo Brae” cardigan in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which behaved perfectly in the colorwork and showed no inclination to unravel after I cut the steek.


My only modifications to the pattern were a change in colorway and in buttonband construction. I used Anna Zilboorg’s “perfect buttonhole” technique, from her Knitting for Anarchists and Splendid Apparel books, which was somewhat fiddly but entirely worthwhile. I practiced reinforcing and cutting the steek on my swatch, then picked up along the cut edge to work a few practice buttonholes, which helped me get the hang of it.



A few months ago, I wrote about our ever-expanding selection of colors in Shetland Spindrift, and how each new group of shades reminds me of a particular knitter and project they were special-ordered for. I was so delighted when Anne sent me this photo of one of those projects, now completed. Here’s Stan in his striped sweater, a self-designed recreation of a favorite, well-worn sweater. He dropped in the other day with process swatches for another Shetland project in the works… I can’t wait to see what he makes next.


A hearty thanks to all the fiber artists who start their projects here and share their work with us! We love to see our yarns grow up into finished garments, and are so inspired by the work you do. See you at the shop!

The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.


Meet Felicity Ford’s Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. This special book is not a collection of patterns, but rather a manifesto on design.


Within it, Felicity Ford shares her particular system of translating inspiring images into colorwork knitting, from selecting colors and designing charts to swatching, evaluating your swatches, and applying your designs to knitted garments.


This is a beautiful book, and one about which you may already have heard rave reviews. When it first came out, Kate Davies did a lovely write-up on her blog, as did Clara Parkes and Ysolda Teague. All three are in agreement: Ford’s Sourcebook is an inspiring one because it is so particular to its author.  It’s an interesting and galvanizing read, one that had me itching to pull out my colored pencils and Knitter’s Graph Paper Journal, and dive headfirst into a basket of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook began as a Kickstarter project, with designer Felicity Ford seeking crowd-funding to self-publish the book. Though the subject and her approach are somewhat esoteric, Ford found many supporters, making the book a resounding success. We’re proud to stock it here at the shop, and in fact, are on our third reorder.


Look for The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook on the teacart, amongst the latest books and magazines, and look to our class listings for more opportunities to learn about stranded colorwork. See you at the shop!

More and more new colors in Shetland Spindrift.

It’s been about a year since I last wrote about Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift here on the blog. Our little basket of Shetland Spindrift has grown over the past year, as interest in the yarn and in colorwork knitting has grown here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift is a classic fingering weight 2-ply shetland wool. It comes in little 25 gram balls to accommodate fair-isle knitters and their many-colored projects, for they don’t always need much yardage in any one shade.


Shetland Spindrift comes in 200+ colors, and though we can’t have them all in stock, we’re more than happy to order whatever colors you like, in whatever quantity.


We’ve expanded our selection of colors one special request at a time, and now I associate these shades with particular knitters and their projects: a palette of undyed shades for a “Sheep Heid” tam, rich blues and greens to recreate a favorite striped sweater, a few bright shades to perk up a growing stash of Shetland wool for colorwork knitting, autumnal rusts and mossy greens for a series of slip-stitch scarves, and so on.


We’ve seen lots of finished projects in Shetland Spindrift, too. Here’s Ruth in her “Mitered Cardigan,” from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knit One, Knit All. With guidance from Nancy during last year’s class on the subject, Ruth knit this unusually-constructed cardigan in record time for such a fine gauge yarn.


One of Shetland Spindrift’s many lovely qualities is the structure it brings to knitted fabric, which is critical for a good-sized garment mostly in garter stitch. I’m certain Ruth’s sweater will look as lovely years from now as it does in this photo.


Here’s my “Puffin,” from Kate Davies’ Colours of Shetland, a sweater that you’ve likely seen on my person if you’ve been by the shop in the past several months. I loved knitting it, love wearing it, and anticipate making another Kate Davies sweater with Shetland Spindrift sometime soon.


Amy brought in her “First Footing,” an elaborate pair of colorwork socks designed by Kate Davies. This half of the pair is currently on display at the shop, so you can get a good look at it while you browse our baskets of Shetland Spindrift.


I know there’s plenty of Shetland Spindrift out there on the needles; we’d love to see what you’re making with it! Come by the shop to share your progress and plan your next project. See you there!

Show and tell: hats and scarves.

Time for another round of show and tell! Here are some of the finished projects our knitters have shared with us recently.


Annmarie has been busy knitting colorwork tams with Jamieson Shetland Spindrift. First she made Sandy Blue’s “Autumn Tam,” while taking Nancy’s class here at the shop.


Next, she used some of her leftover bits of Shetland Spindrift along with a few new shades to knit Sandy Blue’s “Midnight Sun Tam.”

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Smitten with tam-knitting, Annmarie then selected nine undyed shades in Shetland Spindrift to knit Kate Davies’ “Sheep Heid.”

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Bravo, Annmarie!


Linda came in recently to share her “Reach,” a cabled colorwork hat knit in two shades of Berroco Ultra Alpaca.


Rarely do we see colorwork and cables combined like this; the resulting fabric is thick and squishy, from the ribbed brim all the way to the cleverly constructed crown.


On a chilly day last week, Ruth came into the shop wearing her “Wrapped in Leaves” shawl, a pattern from Alana Dakos’ Botanical Knits.


Ruth knit hers in Fibre Company Acadia, a soft, tweedy dk weight yarn in a glorious shade of red they call “Poppy.”


I was flattered when Kathy came in working on her second “North Arrow,” a scarf I designed a couple of years ago. She knit them both in String Theory Caper Sock, the first in the colors shown in the pattern, and the second in this beautiful teal and gray combination. I love the result!


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 year’s eve.

New year’s eve is a time to look back, and I often spend part of it scrolling through the past year in blog posts, remembering projects I’ve started, completed, and witnessed here at the shop. I also spend part of it knitting, as I do every evening.


Here’s my perch at home in my living room, where my “Puffin Sweater” is well under way. The pattern is from Kate Davies’ Colours of Shetland, and I’m knitting it in a favorite yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


New year’s eve is also a time for looking ahead, and there’s some knitterly looking-ahead in this pile of recently-acquired books. I’m looking forward to learning more about weaving in 2015, too.


What are you stitching this new year’s eve, and what projects are you itching to start in the new year?

Thank you so much for continuing to support the shop, and for reading this blog, as well. It’s so much fun taking pictures and writing about all that goes on here, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings. Happy new year, everyone!


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!