Bristol Ivy Collection Trunk Show!

Another Fibre Company Trunk Show has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! From now til March 20th, 2016, we’ll have the Bristol Ivy Collection on display.


All six of these sweaters were designed by Bristol Ivy for Fibre Company Cumbria yarns, three in Cumbria Worsted and three in Cumbria Fingering. Both yarns are composed of merino and masham wools with a bit of mohair, and while plenty soft, they are also quite sturdy.


These designs appear simple at first glance, mainly smooth stockinette trimmed with tidy ribbing, but each one has a clever detail or surprising design element–a bit of lace at the shoulder, a mesh panel at the back, and so on.


Don’t hesitate to ask us to take these sweaters off the wall for a closer look! They’re here to be admired up close and personal, tried on for shape and size. Though we don’t keep print copies of these patterns in stock, they are all available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales, where we print a copy for you and a digital copy is stored in your email and Ravelry pattern library.


Come by the shop before March 20th, 2016, to see the Bristol Ivy Collection Trunk Show. We’re offering a 10% discount on Fibre Company Cumbria yarns during the Trunk Show, so come by soon to plan your next project!


A reminder: discount applies to in-stock Cumbria Worsted and Fingering as well as prepaid Cumbria Worsted and Fingering special orders. All sales are final on discounted yarn; there can be no returns or exchanges. Thanks! 

Hello, Fibre Company Cumbria Fingering.

We’re delighted to welcome a brand new yarn from the Fibre Company: meet Cumbria Fingering.


Like its big sister, Cumbria Worsted, Cumbria Fingering is a soft and sturdy blend of 60% merino wool, 30% masham wool, and 10% mohair. The soft white merino is blended with the dark gray masham, creating a natural heathered base color over which all the other colorways are dyed. Each 100 gram skein boasts 328 yards, enough for a hat, pair of mitts, or small cowl.


Cumbria Fingering is designed with longevity in mind, and as such, is constructed with 4 plies tightly twisted around one another. Sweaters and accessories knit in Cumbria Fingering should weather regular use and look great for years to come. This 4-ply construction also gives the yarn a very smooth texture, which suggests sharp stitch definition for cables and texture patterns.


Though I haven’t knit a stitch with it yet, I’m already daydreaming about a sweater in Cumbria Fingering. Kelbourne Woolens, designers and distributors for Fibre Company yarns, let us know that a small collection of sweater patterns by Bristol Ivy are forthcoming. In the meantime, I’m looking for pattern ideas in all the usual places: CoopKnits Toasty Vol. 1, Kate Davies’ Yokes and Colors of Shetland, Brooklyn Tweed patterns that call for Loft, and our own HYS “Fingering weight” board on Pinterest. I can’t wait to get my hands on this stuff!


Look for Cumbria Fingering in the fingering weight section here at the shop, and while you’re here, check out all the other lovely Fibre Company yarns we keep on hand: Meadow, Road to China Lace, Canopy Fingering, Savannah, Acadia, Knightsbridge, Canopy Worsted, and Cumbria Worsted. See you at the shop!

Hello again, Shenandoe Farm.

Last week, we had a visit from Elaine of Shenandoe Farm. She came with stories of a successful year and with a bag of beautiful yarn, made of fiber grown right here in Orange County, North Carolina.


We’ve stocked Shenandoe Farm yarns before, though it’s been a while since we sold the last remaining skein, so a new delivery was welcome. This new batch is composed of 80% mohair, 10% wool, and 10% llama, spun into a dk weight at Zeilinger Wool Co. in Michigan, a family business for over a century. The heathered color is a natural one, just the shade of the animals that grew the fleece to make it.


Eager to get her hands on this special yarn, Anne knit a swatch on a few different needle sizes, so we could get a sense of what gauge it’s most comfortable at.


From there, it was put in my lucky hands. After a bit more swatching, we decided this sturdy stuff would be well-suited to a pair of Churchmouse “Welted Fingerless Gloves,” a go-to pattern here at the shop. I’m busy stitching up a pair as a sample for the shop.


Look for Shenandoe Farm yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Hope to see you soon!

Hello, Fibre Company Cumbria.

Another new Fall yarn has found a home here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! Meet Cumbria, from the Fibre Company.


Cumbria is a soft and sturdy worsted weight yarn, composed of 60% merino wool, 30% masham wool, and 10% mohair. The soft white merino is blended with the dark gray masham, creating a natural heathered base color over which all the other colorways are dyed.


Knitters at our recent Fibre Company Yarn Tasting got a sneak preview of Cumbria, and reported that it was lovely to work with. It’s somewhat toothier a yarn than we’ve come to expect from Fibre Company, with their buttery soft luxury fiber blends, but that’s because it’s designed with longevity in mind. A sweater knit in Cumbria should weather regular use and look great for years to come, which has become a more and more important quality to me the longer I knit.



Cumbria arrives with a fresh collection of patterns from the Kelbourne Woolens design team, who took their inspiration from the knitting tradition of the British Isles, from ganseys to stranded colorwork to cables.



The Cumbria Collection features a variety of sweaters and accessories that look fun and interesting to knit and comfortable to wear.



The yarn and the patterns both have me itching to cast on something cozy to wrap up in as soon as autumn arrives.


Come by the shop to see Cumbria for yourself, and peruse the Cumbria Collection in search of your next project. See you there!

Hello, Isager Tweed.

Last week, we welcomed our newest fall yarn: meet Isager Tweed!


Isager Tweed is a fingering weight, single-ply yarn composed of 70% wool and 30% mohair, with 220 yards on each 50 gram skein. Like any classic tweed, the colors read roughly solid from a distance, but on closer inspection, are speckled with contrasting colors.

DSCN3826Anne and I took a long time deciding what we should make with Isager Tweed. It would make a great pair of “Twigs and Willows Mitts” from Botanical Knits 2, a handsome  “Barclay” scarf, or a sweet “Rustling Leaves Beret.” I’d love to see an “Aranami Shawl” in five shades of Isager Tweed, too. Ultimately, we were most inspired paging through patterns for Brooklyn Tweed Loft on Ravelry, a treasure trove of fingering weight knits. “Seasons Hat,” “Norby,” “Wheaten,” “Arrowhead Mittens,” “Ticking Cowl” … this is a Ravelry rabbit-hole we’ve gone down oh so many times.


Anne settled on Bristol Ivy’s “Bayard,” pairing Isager Tweed with Isager Alpaca 2, and that striped hat is on her Addi needles now.


Though these two yarns differ in fiber content, ply, and appearance, they are similar in gauge. Most importantly, they share that special Isager color palette, making the Tweed-and-Alpaca-2 color-pairing game especially good fun.






I found equally compelling color combinations when I limited myself to the Isager Tweed basket.




Come by the shop to see Isager Tweed, admire Anne’s hat-in-progress, and plan your next project! See you there.


Back in stock: Mountain Colors Bearfoot.

We just got a new batch of Mountain Colors Bearfoot!


Bearfoot is a fingering weight blend of wool, mohair, and nylon that is well-suited to sock-knitting, among other things. One 400 yard skein is enough for a pair of socks, gloves, or fingerless mitts, a hat, scarf, or small shawlette. A Ravelry search turned up plenty of pretty “Hitchhiker,” “Traveling Woman,” and “Ishbel” shawls made in Bearfoot.


As I wrote last year, Bearfoot asks to be hand-washed with a bit of vinegar to prevent the bleeding that sometimes comes with richly saturated colors like these, and then as now, I think this special treatment is not too much to ask. Hand-knit socks are special, and will last longer and wear better if cared for as such.

Come by the shop to pick up a skein or two or Bearfoot for your next project!

Gradient colorways.


We recently acquired a few new colors in Shibui Silk Cloud, one of our newest yarns. Silk Cloud is a shimmering, fuzzy blend of mohair and silk, one that has quickly made its way onto Anne’s needles as well as my own. Already low on a few popular colors, we placed an order with Shibui a few weeks ago and were unable to resist a couple of new hues in Silk Cloud.


When presented with piles of yarn, my first impulse is always to group colors into interesting pairings or trios, thinking, “How could I combine these in a garment?” Unpacking the new colors in Silk Cloud, I immediately thought of the “Gradient” cowl, a free pattern from Shibui.

In the spirit of the Shibui Mix concept, which encourages the combining of Shibui yarns two or three strands at a time, “Gradient” is worked with three strands of Silk Cloud held together. Periodically, one of those three strands is switched out for a different color, which makes a gentle transition from one color to the next.

“Gradient” calls for four shades of Silk Cloud, so immediately I started putting foursomes together, shuffling all our available colors this way and that until I found combinations that pleased me.






Inspired to make a “Gradient” cowl of your own? I can’t wait to see what other color combinations you creative knitters will come up with. Look for the “Gradient” pattern on Shibui’s website, where you can download it for free, and look for Shibui Silk Cloud at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop in the lace weight section. See you there!

Hello, Silk Cloud.

Last week, I gave a brief introduction to Shibui here on the blog–their yarns, patterns, “mix” concept for combining yarns, beautiful coordinated colorways, and luxury fibers. This week, I wanted to give each of the three Shibui yarns we carry a chance to shine. Having given Cima the spotlight earlier in the week, it’s time for Silk Cloud.


Silk Cloud is a lace weight yarn composed of 60% kid mohair and 40% silk, boasting 330 yards on each 25 gram skein. Mohair is tremendously fuzzy and warm, its halo filling in the gaps a bit when knit or crocheted at larger gauges. And while silk is a common ingredient in mohair yarns from many different companies, Shibui’s Silk Cloud has a higher percentage of silk than many, which seems to make it smoother on the hands and needles.


From our first browse through Shibui’s patterns, “Mix No. 19” was Anne’s favorite, a color block pullover designed to be loose-fitting. It calls for Silk Cloud held double throughout, making a substantial but lightweight fabric that drapes gently. Of course Anne cast on as soon as the yarn arrived.


Anne is knitting “Mix No. 19” in the colors it’s shown in, though there are many other tempting combinations to be found in our stash of Silk Cloud. In playing the color game, I was drawn to subtle, low-contrast combinations.





“Mix No. 2” is a similar garment, also using two strands of Silk Cloud held together, but featuring a tunic length, long sleeves, and a subtle textural stripe.



When held together with another yarn, Silk Cloud lends its halo to the finished fabric. Because Shibui’s yarns are dyed in matching colorways across the different fiber types, it makes good sense to hold Silk Cloud together with Cima, as in “Mix No. 16” and “Mix No. 20.”


Another approach to try when seeking uses for this luxurious combination of yarns is to search patterns by gauge. Silk Cloud and Cima make a sport weight gauge when held together, so try a Ravelry pattern search that filters results to show only patterns using sport weight yarn. Follow us on Pinterest for more Silk Cloud pattern ideas; our “Inspiring Stitches” board is a collection of patterns and projects that make good use of yarns that are available at HYS.

silk cloud

Come by the shop to see Silk Cloud and our other Shibui yarns for yourself, and flip through their pattern binder for inspiration. See you there!

Hello again, Bearfoot.

Mountain Colors is a small yarn company in Montana that has been hand-dyeing yarn for almost twenty years. We’ve stocked their sock yarn, Bearfoot, in the past; in fact, I’ve written about it here on the blog before. Recently we found ourselves with only four skeins in stock, which seemed a sad and lonesome number–time to reorder.


Bearfoot is a sturdy, fuzzy combination of 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon, hand-dyed in vivid colorways that are sometimes semi-solid, sometimes variegated. There are 400 yards on each 100 gram skein, enough for a pair of socks or fingerless mitts, a hat, scarf or shawlette.



The label recommends machine washing finished projects in Bearfoot with vinegar to prevent the bleeding that sometimes comes with richly saturated colors like these. That little bit of special treatment is not too much to ask, I think, for a handknit garment that has already had hours of needlework poured into it before it’s washed.


By all accounts, Bearfoot is worth it, especially for socks; designer Cat Bordhi highly recommended Bearfoot in a sock-design class I took from her at last year’s TNNA. I have a skein in my stash that I’ll likely pull out for my next pair of socks, enticed as I am by the combination of fibers in the yarn, which promise a warm and wooly fabric.


Come by the shop to see our new selection of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and consider it for your next pair of socks!

Argosy scarf.

A new knit scarf has arrived at the shop, knit by Amy as a sample for one of her upcoming classes. Here’s Argosy!


Argosy is a free pattern from Knitty, which Amy knit in Noro Silk Garden Lite, a self-striping DK weight blend of silk, mohair, and wool. Argosy is a great way to show off the kind of self-striping yarns that Noro is known for.


It’s knit on the bias, which results in diagonal stripes when using a self-striping yarn. It makes a gently draping, light fabric, in part because of the light-weight yarn and in part because of the lacy patterning.


Amy’s Argosy Scarf class focuses on a particular pattern, but our classes always teach any special techniques that are required for whatever pattern students will be knitting. These techniques will serve you well not only in making the pattern at hand, but also in future knitting endeavors. Sign up for the Argosy Scarf class and you can expect to learn how to do the cable cast-on, how to cast on stitches in-line, how to do yarnovers and decreases, and how to read a lace knitting chart.

Learn more about the Argosy Scarf class on our website’s “Classes, etc” page, where you can sign up and prepay to ensure your place in class. Come by the shop during our Going to Market Sale to pick up Noro Silk Garden Lite at a 25% discount, and to admire this scarf in person!