HYS Colorwork Trunk Show.

One of our special attractions for this year’s Triangle Yarn Crawl is a collection of garments made by knitters in our community – folks who work, teach, and shop here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. The theme is colorwork, interpreted somewhat broadly to include not only fair isle, but also intarsia, double knitting, brioche, log cabin and short-row-shaped patterns made with self-striping yarns.

It’s an inspiring group – come by the shop during the Triangle Yarn Crawl to see the following garments:

  • Log cabin blanket, based on Sarah Bradberry’s “Log Cabin Square,” knit with Noro Kureyon and Plymouth Galway. Made by Rosi, who works at our shop most Sundays.
  • “Rionnag Cowl,” by Kerry Bullock-Ozkan, a local designer who knit this piece with Tukuwool Fingering.

We’ve also pulled together some of our tried and true colorwork samples from around the shop – Anne’s “Candy Darling” in Fibre Company Arranmore Light, Amy’s “First Footing” in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift and “Mix No. 23” in Shibui Cima, my “Cliff Hat” in Shibui Pebble, “Autumn Tam” in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, and “2 Color Cotton Cowl” in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply.

It’s so exciting to see this riot of color covering our walls – many thanks to the talented knitters who lent their garments to this show!

Show and tell: stripes.

Time for another round of show and tell! Today’s projects all feature stripes, whether high-contrast or low, many-colored or few.

Here’s a low-contrast example, Nancy’s “Straw Into Gold” shawl. This elegant piece was made with three different Alchemy yarns, all of which were dyed the same color, so the stripes are subtle, showing the textural differences between each yarn.

Michele’s first-ever sweater, on the other hand, is a high-contrast combination of black and white. The pattern is “#11 Rugby Stripes Pullover,” from Vogue Knitting Magazine, and Michele knit hers with Elsebeth Lavold Calm Wool while attending Marsha’s Start Your First Sweater or Vest class here at the shop.

Michele is a relatively new knitter, but it’s clear she’s taken to it. By any standards, this is a successful sweater: the fit is good, her tension is even, and the stripes line up perfectly on each piece. For a first sweater, it’s doubly impressive. Well done, Michele!

Here’s Tom with his finished “Kauni Color Wave Shawl,” knit with Kauni Effektgarn. Not only is the shawl itself striped, the yarn is self-striping, too; Tom paired a rainbow skein with one in shades of black, white, and gray. The effect is striking, stripes on stripes.

Above is Jodi’s granny stripe blanket-in-progress, crocheted with Berroco Ultra Wool. When she brought it in to show us a few weeks ago, Anne and I were blown away, not only by its impressive size, but also by Jodi’s color sense. It’s not easy to put 20 colors in a perfectly balanced yet seemingly random arrangement. It takes thought and skill and a little bit of guts, all of which are on display in this outrageously beautiful piece.

Many thanks to the knitters and crocheters who shared their stripes with us today, and to everyone who starts their project with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We are inspired by your stitches and can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Show and tell: summer shawls, part two.

Time for a second round of summer shawl show and tell! Here are some colorful shawls that started life as yarns on our shelves.

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This one is a work in progress, a shawl-to-be on Amy’s needles as she prepares to teach a class on the subject. The pattern is “Dreambird KAL,” and Amy is knitting it with Shibui Staccato in the background, the solid black setting off the self-striping Kauni Effektgarn to great effect.

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Catherine came in recently with this beautiful “Chevron 15” shawl, knit in two shades of Isager Alpaca 2.

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The fabric is soft and light, and the surprising combination of bold chartreuse and soft teal works so well. Catherine has knit many shawls with this alpaca/merino blend, coming back to it again and again, a high form of praise in a world full of lovely yarns.

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Loretta started this “Quill” in a class here at the shop, working with the sport weight Berroco Ultra Alpaca Lite.

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This 5 color shawl is large enough to be considered a blanket, and looks cozy and classic in neutral shades, punctuated by a nice deep red.

DSCN5815Thanks 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. More show and tell to come!

Show and tell: shawls.

Here’s another batch of show and tell, projects that started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. They all happen to be shawls, whether rectangular or triangular, colorful or monochrome, textured or lacey.

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Judy knit this “Wiggle Wrap” with two contrasting colorways of the self-striping Kauni Effektgarn. One ball subtly shifted from purple to blue and back again, while the other ran through a full rainbow of colors. The effect is striking, livening up this feather-and-fan type chevron pattern.

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Feather and fan does not always need livening up, however; Sherri knit this elegant shawl for her daughter-in-law-to-be, using Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed. The classic lace pattern and subtle color variation work together, each giving the other room to shine. Well done, Sherri!

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Cat came in with two finished shawls to share. Above is her “Stripe Study Shawl,” all garter stitch and short rows, knit in Reynolds Soft Sea Wool. Below is her “Emiliana,” knit in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.

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“Emiliana” is decorated with mosaic knitting, a colorwork technique where some stitches are slipped and others are knit, allowing for the appearance of stranded colorwork with only one yarn in use on any given row.

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I knit a mosaic shawl recently myself, Jennifer Dassau’s “Sundry,” using Fibre Company Cumbria Fingering. It went by quickly and easily, and the yarn is one I’ll definitely use again. In fact, I spent many of my knitting hours with this yarn daydreaming about sweater patterns that would suit it.

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Look for this “Sundry” shawl on the wall here at the shop, and perhaps you’ll happen upon some of the show-and-tell we are lucky enough to encounter on a daily basis. Thanks to the knitters who shared these shawls with us, and to all those who start their projects here!

Back in stock: Kauni Effektgarn.

We like to keep a decent supply of Kauni Effektgarn on hand, a nice selection of colors, from quiet neutrals to bold brights. There are a few particularly popular colorways, however, and one of our first TNNA tasks was to get them back in stock.

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Kauni is a sport-weight, self-striping wool, unique even among its fellow self-striping yarns at the shop for its long stretches of color. Anne knit the above “Wingspan” to show off the long repeats in each color, and this short-row-shaped shawlette is a great project for highlighting Kauni. She used just one ball of color EF, which moves through shades of denim blue, mauve, green, and purple.

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Rosi and I both worked on the “Kauni Color Wave Shawl” that hangs in the shop, showing another interesting use of the yarn.

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Two shades of Kauni, EA and ED, are striped against one another in this garter stitch shawl. I would never have thought to put them together; Kauni can surprise you that way sometimes, entertaining you with its shifting shades as you stitch.

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Perhaps the most popular Kauni colorway is EQ, a bright, bold rainbow.

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Last Fall, a knitter brought in her “Spectra” scarf made in this signature shade of Kauni, and I photographed it for the blog. I love this clever use for the yarn, the way the colors frame one another in the pattern.

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We’re thrilled to have these Kauni colors back in stock! Come by the shop to see them and many more, and to plan your next project. See you there!

Kauni Color Wave Shawl.

A few weeks ago, I wrapped up the knitting of a new shop sample: the “Kauni Color Wave Shawl.”

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The shawl is knit using one skein each in two colors of Kauni Effektgarn, a self-striping sport weight wool with long stretches of color. One skein made stripes in shades of black, brown, and gold, while the other shifted from greens to purples.

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Not only do the yarns make stripes, but the shawl itself is striped. I worked two rows from the first colorway and two rows from the second colorway, back and forth throughout the piece.

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The knitting was simple–mostly garter stitch, with steady increases and a small lace border–but the shawl is colorful and interesting to look at, cozy to wear. Knit from the top down, it’s easy to lengthen or shorten. In fact, this particular “Kauni Color Wave Shawl” is somewhat longer than the pattern suggested, and I didn’t even use up all the yarn.

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Look for the pattern in our Kauni Patterns binder, where you’ll find many other intriguing uses for this singular yarn. See you at the shop!

Show and tell: mittens, sweaters, and shibori.

The two most exciting parts of a project are often the beginning and the end. At the beginning, the thrill of casting on with new yarn or trying a new technique is quite motivating. At the end, when the project is complete and whatever challenges were faced along the way have been met, the feeling of finishing is equally exhilarating. Better still: the feeling is contagious. Many of the knitters and crocheters we’ve come to know at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop bring their finished pieces to share, and it’s as much a pleasure to see as it is to show. Here are a few show-and-tell projects I’ve captured with my camera over the past few weeks.

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Heather came in with a finished pair of mittens, her first, from a pattern by Susan B. Anderson: “Waiting for Winter Mittens.” She used String Theory Merino DK, a superwash merino whose hand-dyed colorways surprise and delight as you stitch; this colorway, Earthquake, revealed all kinds of colors in the knitted fabric that seemed hidden in the skein. I happen to be a big fan of String Theory Merino DK, having used it in two original designs and, more recently, a sweater.

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The pattern is Amy Herzog’s “Aislinn,” albeit a heavily-modified version. Using Herzog’s tremendously handy Knit to Flatter as a guide, I shortened the body of the sweater, lowered the neckline, recalculated the waist-shaping, and added bust darts. I’m happy with the fit, and feel much more confident in making changes to existing patterns as a result of this project.

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Another way to significantly change the look of the sweater is simply to change the yarn. That’s what Margie did, to stunning effect, with her “Honey” cardigan. The pattern is by Helga Isager, and it calls for a fingering weight wool in a solid color and a lace weight mohair in a variegated color.

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Margie substituted Kauni Effektgarn, a self-striping sport weight wool, and a special skein of semi-solid lace weight yarn that she picked up at a fiber festival. She was careful to swatch for gauge before beginning, and altered the pattern to achieve a slimmer sleeve. Let Margie’s sweater be an inspiration to depart from the called-for yarns and make the changes necessary to create garments you love!

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Wanda brought in her completed “Gemini Pullover,” knit in Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton DK. It’s been really neat to see so many finished Geminis coming in, the result of a shop knit-along that started in March. I know there are others out there on the needles now, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all grown up one day.

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On Saturday afternoon, Mary came by with a completed “Simple Shibori Cowl” in Alchemy Silken Straw and Sanctuary. Delighted with the result, she’s already cast on for another, and picked up another skein of Silken Straw for yet a third cowl. This color combination is gorgeous: Silken Straw in Coco Rosie, and Sanctuary in Dark Star. I can’t wait to see Mary’s next two cowls!

Many thanks to everyone who shows-and-tells at the shop–we’re so happy to be part of this community of creative stitchers!

New color in Kauni Effektgarn.

This week, we received an exciting shipment: a brand new colorway in Kauni Effektgarn, a sport weight, self-striping wool.

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The yarn in any given skein of Kauni shifts gradually from one color to the next, and it’s these long color repeats that set it apart from other self-striping yarns. Kauni can yield fascinating and stunning results in colorwork, brioche, mosaic, and double knitting, and you can get a good sense of how this yarn behaves by looking through patterns and projects on Ravelry that use it. It helps even more to see finished pieces in person, and to that end, we have two knit samples in the shop made of Kauni–a Wingspan and a Wiggle Wrap.

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We also have a binder of Kauni patterns that holds all kinds of uses for the yarn; come by the shop to flip through it if you’re seeking inspiration.

Works in progress, works completed.

Anne and I are never without a shop-sample-to-be, it seems. All our new yarns need swatching, and lately we’ve been making whole projects instead of the usual 4″x4″ swatch, the better to show off the yarn. Here’s what we’re up to lately.

We recently got a new yarn from Araucania for the spring: Lontue, a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen. It’s interesting stuff: variegated in color, thick-and-thin in texture, and very fine, but with a suggested gauge of 5 stitches per inch.

I tried it in a drop-stitch scarf, which I really cannot recommend this yarn for–boy, did it look messy! While I was ripping that out, Anne suggested trying a seed stitch. Only a few rows in, it was clear that the pattern would be completely obscured by the yarn’s color and texture. I settled on garter stitch, so that the yarn could shine, and it’s been going well since then. I’m at work on a simple garter stitch shawl, in the style of the Isager Alpaca 1 shawl.

Meanwhile, Anne has completed her Wingspan in Kauni Effektgarn, and it now hangs proudly on the wall at the shop. It’s mesmerizing, especially in person, and another great example of what a good Eucalan soak can do for what seem to be scratchy wools. How the Kauni softened with that wash!

Come by the shop and see it for yourself.

A few Kauni colors.

We’ve been flush with Kauni inspiration of late. Anne’s Wingspan shawlette and Nancy’s Wiggle Wrap have gotten a lot of knitters thinking about Kauni, and the many uses for a self-striping yarn with a slow gradation of color. Now that you’re thinking about Kauni, here are a few colors we haven’t seen in a while, just in this week.

Interested in working with this colorful stuff? Check out the Kauni pattern binder for more ideas on how to make use of it.