Swans Island colorwork kits.

As the holidays approach, we meet more and more folks seeking presents for the knitters in their lives. With the gift-giving season in mind, we’ve put together some new kits featuring yarn and patterns from Swans Island.

Each kit features a colorwork pattern and all the yarn to complete it. They’d make great gifts for knitters who love colorwork, of course, but I’d also recommend them for those who haven’t yet mastered this particular technique, as small projects like hats and mitts are a good size for learning.

The yarn is All American Sport, a 2-ply woolen-spun yarn composed of 100% Rambouillet wool, which was grown, processed, spun, and dyed in the USA. It’s a unique combination of next-to-skin soft and holds-its-shape sturdy, and was created with stranded colorwork in mind. 

Come by the shop if you’re seeking gifts for a friend or materials to make them with – we hope you find inspiration here!

Hello, Kelbourne Woolens Germantown.

The inspiring women of Kelbourne Woolens have just released their fourth new yarn, one for each season of their 10th year in business. Meet Germantown!

Germantown is a North American sourced yarn with a story to tell, a recreation of a classic wool that had been produced in Germantown, Pennsylvania, under a few different brand names since the mid-to-late 19th century.

Courtney Kelley, one of the founders of Kelbourne Woolens, writes beautifully on the KW blog about her dream to remake Germantown, and what it took to realize that dream. Also on their blog, historian Nic Tenaglia writes more about the history of Germantown yarns, how they were produced and where they got their name – a very interesting read!

Germantown is made of 100% North American wool, Territorial wool, to be precise. On the KW blog, Kelley elaborates that Territorial wool is “a bit of an archaic name for wool that comes from the former US Territories, broadly anything west of the Missouri River, but in the case of Germantown, mostly from Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The most prevalent breeds are Rambouillet, Targhee, Columbia, and Polpay.” This makes for a worsted spun yarn with a smooth texture, soft hand, and nice elasticity.

With a suggested gauge of 16-20 stitches over 4″, Germantown is worsted weight, that versatile category in which most of us begin our knitting and crocheting. The Kelbourne Woolens team see this yarn as a classic basic wool for beginners as well as more advanced stitchers – easy to work with, with good stitch definition, but at a reasonable price for a domestically-produced yarn of this quality. With that in mind, they’ve created the KW Building Blocks collection.

This collection consists of three basic patterns: a hat, a scarf, and mittens. Each one has three variations, taking knitters from the simplest stitches to more complicated patterns, one step at a time. I can see one of these patterns as a great gift for a new knitter, along with a few skeins of Germantown. You can read more about KW Building Blocks on their blog, and buy the patterns on Ravelry or here at the shop as an in-store sale.

Looking for a bigger project to sink your teeth into? Consider Karen Templer’s “Anna Vest,” a textured waistcoat knit with Germantown. Plenty more worsted weight pattern inspiration can be found on our HYS Pinterest boards, too!

Look for Germantown in our worsted weight section here at the shop!

Lucerne.

Our shop is abuzz with excitement over Brooklyn Tweed’s new yarn, Peerie. The folks at BT were kind enough to send a couple of sample skeins our way in advance of the release, giving Anne just enough time to knit “Lucerne.”

Jared Flood’s “Lucerne” is a colorwork hat in two, three, or four shades of Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. It’s a perfect starting place for those new to stranded colorwork, and Peerie’s 45 shades are an absolute playground for knitters of all experience levels.

Anne’s “Lucerne” is in two shades, the dark green Nori and pale gray/green Gale. In this sample, the darker shade is the main color, but their positions could easily be swapped for an equally attractive, but very different look. Here are a few more two-color combinations to consider.

I couldn’t stop here, of course – in fact, I spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon creating and photographing color combinations for this project! Next up are three-color combinations. I began with one that Flood suggests in his pattern.

The formula here is straightforward: three colors, all from the same family – one light, one medium, and one dark. I had fun creating a few more in this vein.

The possibilities for four-color combinations are even more varied, of course. There are no rules, but it’s wise to have a range of values, so the individual colors can be distinguished from one another in the context of the pattern. Here’s one from Jared Flood.

Here are a few I came up with, just the beginning of what’s possible.

Until June 30th, the pattern is free when you buy Peerie here at our shop. Look for the yarn in the fingering weight section. We can’t wait to see what color combinations you come up with for “Lucerne” hats of your own!

Hello, Peerie.

We are bursting with excitement because Brooklyn Tweed’s new yarn is here! Meet Peerie.

Peerie is a fingering weight, worsted spun, 100% merino wool yarn made entirely in the US. The sheep graze in Utah and Nevada, their fleece is spun in Springvale, Maine, and the resulting yarn is dyed in Saco, Maine.

Brooklyn Tweed is devoted to supporting the domestic textile industry, and works only with producers and processors who share their commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. Founder and designer Jared Flood and his team are also interested in breed-specific yarns, allowing knitters and crocheters to appreciate the unique qualities that each kind of wool possesses. Merino is one we’re used to seeing and working with, but American merino is less common; head to the BT blog for more information on that.

In Shetland vernacular, “peerie” means small, and is the name for the littlest, simplest fair isle motifs, a good sign that this yarn was designed with colorwork in mind. It comes in 45 shades, and we have each and every one on our shelves here at the shop.

Because of its round, smooth structure, Peerie is equally well-suited to texture, lace, and cable patterns.

The BT team reworked patterns in each of those veins: Heidi Kirrmaier’s “Boardwalk,” Irina Dmitrieva’s “Loden,” and Jared Flood’s “Afton.” For colorwork, consider Julie Hoover’s “Ashland” and Flood’s new “Lucerne,” the latter of which is free when you purchase Peerie from our shop before June 30.

Any pattern that calls for fingering weight yarn should work well with Peerie – what are you itching to make with this exciting new yarn?

Look for Peerie in the fingering weight section here at our shop!

Wrist Rulers.

Another giftworthy new item has found a home here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop – Wrist Rulers!

Wrist Rulers are leather bracelets engraved with inches and centimeters, handmade in Portland, Oregon.

(So many good things come out of Portland, OR – Brooklyn Tweed yarns and ILOVEHANDLES Wrist Rulers are just two!)

These leather wrist rulers are beautiful and practical, a winning combination in our book.

We have three colors in stock – natural, red, and dark – and they come in three lengths, to wrap twice around a variety of wrist sizes – 15″, 17″, and 18″. To choose a size, loosely wrap a measuring tape twice around your wrist, then add an inch, and pick the length closest to that number.

Look for Wrist Rulers near our notions section here at the shop! Our shelves are brimming with potential gifts – think Harmony Farm Candles, Cocoknits Maker’s Keeps, Akerworks Swatch Gauges, Making Calendars, hand-painted silk scarves, HYS totes and zipper pouches, and of course, good old Gift Certificates. Thanks for shopping locally this holiday season, and for thinking of our shop as a gift source!

Hello, Brooklyn Tweed Arbor.

Brooklyn Tweed yarns are now available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We’re starting with Shelter, Loft, and Arbor, and introducing each one on the blog this week. Today, meet Arbor.

Brooklyn Tweed Arbor is a 3-ply DK weight yarn composed of 100% Targhee wool. It’s Brooklyn Tweed’s newest yarn, and their biggest departure from what has so far been a line of woolen-spun heathers – Arbor is worsted-spun, and skein-dyed in solid colors at the organically-certified Saco River Dyehouse in Maine.

All 30 of these subtle, intriguingly-named colors are now on our shelves.

Worsted-spun yarns are more durable and dense than their woolen-spun counterparts, and have sharper stitch definition for crisp cables, lace, and texture patterns.

Targhee wool spun in this manner has an abundance of one of my favorite yarn characteristics: elasticity. Garments knit with Arbor should wear well and look sharp for years to come.

Brooklyn Tweed’s first round of patterns for Arbor are perfect examples of how well this yarn behaves in cables and texture patterns. Here are a few that caught my eye:

All of these Brooklyn Tweed patterns (and so many more!) are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales, where you purchase the pattern here at the shop and a digital copy is saved in your email and/or Ravelry pattern library. We’ll print a copy for you, too, so you can head right home and cast on.

Look for more ideas on our DK weight Pinterest board, and look for Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in the DK weight section here at the shop. See you there!

Hello, Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

Brooklyn Tweed yarns are now available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We’re starting with Shelter, Loft, and Arbor, and introducing each one on the blog this week. Today, meet Loft.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft is a fingering weight, woolen-spun Targhee-Columbia wool. Loft is named for one of its best qualities, and like Shelter, it’s somewhat delicate, but especially warm for its weight.

We have all 37 colors of Loft in stock, a playground for the eyes. Like Shelter, these shades are created by dyeing the fiber in 16 vibrant solids, then blending them, two or three at a time, into intricate heathers.

Ever since Clara Parkes reviewed Loft back in 2011 and described it as “pretty much perfect,” I’ve been anxious to get my hands on it. Now that it’s here at the shop, I’ve been combing through years of my favorites on Ravelry, considering which Loft pattern I’d most like to start with. Here are some of the many:

You can tell from this selection that I have a special fondness for stranded colorwork, and while Loft is especially well-suited to that technique, it’s just as happy to render lace or texture patterns, along with simple stockinette. Case in point: Anne has her eye on “Hellebore,” by Michele Wang, a pullover with stockinette body and cabled sleeves. In fact, she has already eagerly knit a swatch, and all that’s left is to choose a color – a fun, hard decision with so many beautiful shades at our fingertips.

All of these Brooklyn Tweed patterns (and so many more!) are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales, where you purchase the pattern here at the shop and a digital copy is saved in your email and/or Ravelry pattern library. We’ll print a copy for you, too, so you can head right home and cast on. Look for more Loft pattern inspiration on our Fingering weight Pinterest board!

Look for Brooklyn Tweed Loft in the fingering weight section here at the shop. See you there!

Hello, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.

Brooklyn Tweed yarns are now available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We’re starting with Shelter, Loft, and Arbor, and introducing each one on the blog this week. Today, meet Shelter.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter is a worsted weight, woolen-spun Targhee-Columbia wool, sourced, dyed, and spun entirely in the USA. Woolen-spun yarns are lofty and somewhat delicate, and because of the air trapped between their jumbled fibers, they are also especially warm for their weight. Clara Parkes has written at length about this, in her Knitter’s Book of Wool as well as in her glowing review of Shelter.

We have all 40 colors of Shelter in stock, an outstanding palette of 37 heathers and 3 marls. These shades are created by dyeing the fiber in 16 vibrant solids, then blending them, two or three at a time, into intricate heathers.

In the marled colorways, each ply is a different shade.

Shelter is amenable to a range of gauges, in part because it’s woolen-spun, and is happy to expand or contract based on the needle size used. Give your finished piece a soapy bath, and you’ll find that the yarn blooms into a cohesive, somewhat fuzzy fabric.

The Brooklyn Tweed archives are bursting with tempting patterns for Shelter, the first yarn they developed, and a browse through those patterns show that the yarn is well suited to all manner of techniques, from cables and texture to lace and colorwork. Here are some of the Shelter patterns I’ve admired over the years, that I can’t wait to take another look at now that this exciting yarn is easily within reach:

All of these Brooklyn Tweed patterns (and so many more!) are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales, where you purchase the pattern here at the shop and a digital copy is saved in your email and/or Ravelry pattern library. We’ll print a copy for you, too, so you can head right home and cast on. Check out our Worsted weight Pinterest board for a few more pattern ideas!

Look for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the worsted weight section here at the shop. See you there!

Hello, Brooklyn Tweed.

If you’ve read our newsletter and blog carefully over the past couple of weeks, you know we’ve had something big in the works. Our excitement and anticipation are so great that it’s been near impossible to keep the surprise under our hats, but the surprise has now arrived, in eight huge boxes.

I’m delighted to announce that we now carry Brooklyn Tweed yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop!

Founded by designer and photographer Jared Flood in 2010, Brooklyn Tweed is a yarn company devoted to supporting the domestic textile industry, and one known as much for their exquisite knitting patterns as for their thoughtfully-produced yarns. We’ve followed them all these years, often admiring and occasionally knitting their patterns, hoping to become a stockist when the time was right. I’m so happy the time has come!

We’re starting with Brooklyn Tweed’s first two yarns, Shelter and Loft, along with their very latest, Arbor.

Brooklyn Tweed’s dedication to producing wool conscientiously here in the US is a major part of their appeal. One of the other things we love about Brooklyn Tweed yarns is that they are breed-specific, so you can get to know and appreciate the subtle differences in wool, as they do vary from sheep breed to sheep breed. Their colors are special, too – intricate heathers made by dyeing, then blending, then spinning the wool, in the case of Shelter and Loft, or by skein-dyeing at the organically-certified Saco River Dyehouse in Maine, in the case of Arbor.

Each of these three Brooklyn Tweed yarns will get a proper introduction here on the blog, but in the meantime, they’ve found a happy home on our shelves, so come by the shop to see them in person!

HYS bags.

If you happen to follow us on Instagram, or visited us at the shop last weekend, you may have already seen our newest addition: sturdy canvas totes and zipper bags decorated with our own Hillsborough Yarn Shop logo!

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Anne and I have been plotting these bags for some months now, working with the kind and helpful folks at EnviroTote to create the perfect tote bags and zipper pouches. They sent us samples in a variety of dimensions and weights of canvas, so we could select just the right combination.

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We wanted sturdy canvas bags that could hold up to years of use, fabric heavy enough that a small knitting needle couldn’t easily poke through. We also wanted a product that was made in the USA, and we’re proud to report that these fit the bill in both departments.

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We’re thrilled with how our bags came out, and hope that you love them just as much as we do!

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Come by the shop to pick up the knitting tools you need, along with Hillsborough Yarn Shop bags to stow them in. See you there!