Kindling shawl.

A new lace shawl now decorates the walls at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop: “Kindling,” by Kate Gagnon Osborn, knit with three skeins of Fibre Company Savannah.

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If you’ve visited the shop on a Sunday recently, you may well have seen Rosi stitching on this shawl. Once the knitting was done, she passed it on to me so I could try my hand at blocking it with blocking wires–a new skill for me.

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Using a Knitter’s Pride Lace Blocking Kit and some online tutorials, blocking the “Kindling” shawl was easier than I thought it might be.

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It’s always amazing to me how the fabric changes with a good soak, and this is particularly true for lace patterns. When they first come off the needles, they look rumpled and bumpy, but after blocking, the eyelets open up and the lace pattern can really shine. It was satisfying to see, even though I hadn’t knit the thing myself.

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Fibre Company Savannah is a sport weight blend of 50% wool, 20% cotton, 15% linen, and 15% soya, which gives it the elasticity of wool and the lightness of plant fibers–a perfect spring and summer yarn.

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Come by the shop to admire Rosi’s handiwork and see our “Kindling” sample for yourself. You’ll find Savannah in the sport weight section, and the pattern is always available as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale–we’ll print it out for you and save a digital copy in your email or Ravelry pattern library. Hope to see you there soon!

Knitter’s Pride blocking wires.

Blocking is a frequently recurring subject of conversation around the shop. What is blocking, and why do we do it? And perhaps more importantly: how do we do it? Many knitters are unsure about this last step, afraid they’ll somehow do it wrong and ruin their shawls or sweaters. Let us assure you: blocking is nothing to be afraid of, but simply the act of washing your finished piece and laying it out to dry. This resets the memory of the yarn, and can help to even out tension, open up lace patterns, and tweak the dimensions of your piece. Different kinds of projects require different blocking techniques. Sometimes it’s enough to smooth your knitted or crocheted fabric into shape with your hands and let it dry, and other times, you’ll want to pin it out to very specific measurements. For lace shawls and scarves, you may want a special tool to assist you: blocking wires.

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We now carry Knitter’s Pride Lace Blocking Wire Kits, which feature stainless steel wires in two lengths, T-pins for holding them in place on your blocking surface, and measuring tape to check the dimensions of your piece as you block.

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For more information on blocking with and without blocking wires, check out these helpful tutorials:

Also, designer and knitwear photographer Caro Sheridan suggests using blocking wires to help install a zipper on a knitted sweater–clever! Check out the “Techniques and tutorials” board on the HYS Pinterest page for more links to knitting and crochet how-to’s.

Come by the shop to pick up a set of blocking wires, and banish your fear of blocking at last. See you there!

Knitting Traditions.

The Fall 2013 issue of Knitting Traditions is here!

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Knitting Traditions is a magazine focused on the history of hand-knitting, and often profiles the knitting traditions of a particular place or time. In this issue, it’s a particular technique that’s highlighted: lace.

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As always, there are plenty of articles to read along with patterns to knit.

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Come by the shop during July to snag this issue of Knitting Traditions at 15% off. Our Annual Inventory Sale is on until the end of the month, so hurry in to take advantage of the 15% discount on magazines, books, patterns, needles, hooks, notions, bags, and of course, yarn. See you there!

Colorwork, crochet, lace, and children’s things: the newest books.

We recently received a shipment of new books from publisher Leisure Arts. This handful of new booklets covers so many techniques and projects that most could be tempted by one or two.

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These two collections from designer Kathleen Taylor are perfect not only for those who love colorwork, but also for those who haven’t yet attempted the technique. The patterns are lovely, but perhaps even better are Taylor’s words of knitterly wisdom regarding gauge, steeking, and color theory for stranded colorwork.

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Avid sock-knitters will be happy to see that Taylor covers lace socks, as well. This booklet gives good guidance on sock construction as well as lace patterning, so a knitter who hasn’t tackled either of those techniques can feel emboldened to try.

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These two booklets focus on knitting for babies and young children. Baby Beanies, as you might guess, is all about hats: a perfect baby shower gift that is quick to knit. Fair Isle Flower Garden, on the other hand, has more intricate patterns for sweaters, dresses, and accessories, all in colorful fair isle.

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For crocheters, here’s a collection of stitch patterns for Tunisian crochet compact enough to fit in a project bag. Stitch dictionaries of any kind can be the key to creating your own designs; this one can also assist in reading Tunisian crochet charts.

 

Look for these on the teacart, where we collect the latest in magazines and books. See you at the shop!

An Isager shipment. Part 1.

As I’ve written here before, Theresa Gaffey’s Stole from the book Wearwithall has been a popular project at the shop lately. Gaffey’s design is beautiful in its simplicity, allowing knitters to relax and let the exquisite yarn do the talking.

The yarn is Isager Alpaca 2, a fingering weight blend of merino wool and alpaca. Only two weeks into our inventory sale, we were completely sold out of Wearwithall and very nearly sold out of Alpaca 2. I’m happy to announce that both are now back in stock. To all who were interested in making the Stole your next project: come and get it!

You can find Wearwithall and Isager Alpaca 2 in the Fingering Weight section of the shop in the second room. See you there!