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.

Works in progress: short row edition.

This month, perhaps more than most, Anne’s desk at the shop has often been crowded by multiple works in progress. She has (ahem) a small handful of projects started, many of which will grow up to be shop samples, showing off particular yarns in patterns for which they are particularly well-suited. At the moment, I have only one project going at the shop, but more at home, lest you think I’m gloating. The impulse to cast on with an exciting new yarn is strong, and succumb to it we do. Here are two of the latest works in progress you’re likely to catch us stitching on in quiet moments at the shop.

Anne is working on a shawl with the wooly, self-striping Kauni yarn, knowing that Nancy’s Wiggle Wrap is not a permanent installation in the shop. When the Wiggle Wrap leaves us, we’ll need something that shows what Kauni can do, and this shawl will do that very well.

The pattern is Wingspan, available as a free download on Ravelry, and it is an excellent example of just one of the many shapes that can be accomplished using short rows.

Myself, I’m at work on a ruffle scarf, another pattern full of short rows, albeit much shorter short rows. These rows are sometimes only 4 stitches long, short enough that I taught myself to knit backwards to save time on turning the needles around between short rows. If the pattern looks familiar, that’s because we already have one ruffle scarf hanging in the shop, which I wrote about on the blog last May. That one was made with two yarns held together, and because of this, it’s fuzzy, dense, and warm. With Spring on its way, and Cascade’s Ultra Pima yarn unswatched, we thought a thinner cotton ruffle scarf was in order.

That’s what we’re up to, or part of what we’re up to, at any rate. What are you working on lately?

Berroco Inca Gold and Jasper, on sale!

UPDATE: As of 11/19/2014, we are totally sold out of Berroco Inca Gold and Jasper!


Last week, we were saddened to discover that Berroco has discontinued two of their yarns, Inca Gold and Jasper. Because we’re unable to continue carrying them, we’re now offering them at a discounted price.

Inca Gold is a springy blend of merino and silk coming in a lovely range of solid colors and boasting excellent stitch definition. At five stitches to the inch, it could be used for almost anything: hats, scarves, sweaters, vests, mitts, whatever. If you’ve been admiring a pattern that calls for worsted weight yarn, consider Inca Gold.

Jasper is a self-striping, single-ply merino in an aran weight. Like Inca Gold, Jasper is a very versatile yarn. Some of our knitters have used it for sweaters, and others have put it to good use in hats and scarves. This has been a popular yarn, and we’re sad to see it go. Come and get it while it’s still here, and know that we have sweater quantities of many colors!

Wiggle Wrap.

If you’ve been in the shop in the past week, you may have noticed a new sample hanging on the wall. There are many sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, and bags competing for your attention, of course, so it’s possible you missed this latest knit shawl. It’s quite striking, though, and wont be in the shop forever, so I thought I’d document it here.

The pattern is “Wiggle Wrap,” by Sally Brandl, and it’s knit with two balls of Kauni Effektgarn. One ball is a bright, fiery colorway and the other is dark, with deep blues and purples. The two, themselves self-striping, are striped against one another, creating multiple levels of stripes and gradations of color. The premise is simple but the effect is impressive. I’d like to see one in a pair of neutral colorways, or a black-and-white skein with a wild rainbow skein. Get to work, knitters.

Come by the shop to see the Wiggle Wrap while it’s still here, and check the Kauni Patterns binder for more Kauni inspiration.

(Many thanks to Nancy for lending us her shawl!)

Knit Noro, and Knit Noro Accessories.

A beautiful new book just landed on the teacart last week: Knit Noro Accessories, a sibling of the also-beautiful Knit Noro, which came out earlier this year. If you’re a fan of Noro yarns, which gradually self-stripe in surprising color combinations, you should certainly take a look at both of these books. In fact, why don’t you take a peek right now? From Knit Noro Accessories:

From Knit Noro:

If you like the look of those patterns, you’re likely to enjoy both collections. Come by to take a closer look and admire our collection of Noro yarns, as well. See you at the shop!

Kauni swatches.

Since we first got Kauni in stock, we’re forever reordering it. Its long, slow gradation of colors is eye-catching, indeed, and has caught the attention of many. With our most recent order of Kauni, though, we got a little something extra.

People often ask us, “So, what does this yarn do?” They can sense that something special is happening in each skein, but it can be difficult to visualize exactly how the colors are going to play out in a gradually self-striping yarn like Kauni. Anne, understanding that a before-and-after might be necessary, ordered us this handy book of swatches, showing what each colorway looks like when it’s knit up. Like so:

If you’ve been considering a skein of Kauni but need a more concrete idea of what exactly it does, come on in and play with these swatches.

Cotton Supreme Batik.

Another new cotton yarn has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, just in time for spring and summer knitting. Cotton Supreme Batik, from Universal Yarns, is a machine-washable, worsted-weight, self-striping, and extremely soft cotton. The striping is unusual: the colors don’t exactly fade into one another, it’s more of an abrupt change, but there are little spots of the last color in the next, which makes for a lovely effect.

This yarn would be a perfect choice for baby things, not only for its cute stripes but also for its easy washability. At 16-18 stitches over 4 inches, it would make for a quick knit, as well. Take a look at what people are using it for on Ravelry; that will also give you a good idea of how the stripes tend to come out.

Getting our sock yarn fix.

It’s been a big week for sock yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. First, our dwindling collection of hand-dyed sock yarn from Pagewood Farm was replenished. We carry both Denali, which is a sturdy combination of 80% superwash merino wool and 20% nylon, and Alyeska, a soft blend of 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Here they are snuggled up together in their basket.

I had just arranged the Pagewood Farm sock yarn, it seemed, when the next box of sock yarn arrived. From Crystal Palace, a brand new yarn named Sausalito. It’s an extremely soft blend of 80% superwash merino wool and 20% nylon. Sausalito also self-stripes, much like Crystal Palace’s Mini Mochi, but with a slightly different effect because Sausalito is 2-ply while Mini Mochi is a single ply. Where one color begins to fade into the next, the two plies are different colors for a stretch, looking rather marled.
We were also pleased to receive a box from The Alpaca Yarn Company, filled with their Paca-Peds sock yarn as well as Paca-Paints, a worsted weight yarn. These yarns aren’t new to us, but like the Pagewood Farm yarn, we had been running really low on them until this week. In fact, we were down to one lonesome skein of Paca-Peds. Those days are gone now. Welcome back, Paca-Paints and -Peds!
All this is to say: if you’re looking for your sock yarn fix, it’s probably here. See you at the shop!