Shibori felting with Alchemy yarns.

Gina Wilde is the mind behind Alchemy’s rich colors, a dyer and designer who dreams up interesting uses for the yarns she paints. We always look forward to her color consultations at TNNA–here she is back in May, helping us select harmonious colors in all four Alchemy yarns we ordered.


Many of her designs use a shibori felting technique, where Alchemy Sanctuary and Silken Straw are knit together, then thrown in the washing machine to felt. Sanctuary, a blend of merino wool and silk, felts into a velvety fabric, while Silken Straw stretches out and softens. The combination of the two in one garment yields unique textures and shapes, and adds an exciting, transformative final step to the knitting process. Last year, I tried shibori felting for the first time, knitting a “Simple Shibori Cowl” in bright, warm shades of Sanctuary and Silken Straw.


We’ve seen lots of beautiful color combinations come together for this project; Mary knit these two “Simple Shibori Cowls,” which were featured on the blog for show and tell.


Our new shades of Sanctuary and Silken Straw make for even more fun combinations. Here are a few I put together; I can’t wait to see what other knitters will come up with!

DSCN3344DSCN3340 DSCN3341 DSCN3342

Earlier this spring, Anne finished her “Widsom Wrap,” a much larger shibori project.


DSCN2888 The “Wisdom Wrap” calls for one shade in Sanctuary and four in Silken Straw. We’ve restocked Anne’s colorway, a beautiful mix of purple, greens, and dark brown.


Of course, I couldn’t resist putting a few other “Wisdom Wrap” colorways together, this time with a bit of glitter from Sparky.

DSCN3351 DSCN3350 DSCN3349

Come by to select colors for a “Wisdom Wrap” of your own, or search for other shibori felting patterns on the HYS Pinterest page. See you at the shop!

Hello, Alchemy Sparky and Lust.

For three years now, we’ve visited Alchemy’s booth at TNNA and replenished our Alchemy stash with Silken Straw and Sanctuary. While we certainly bulked up our supply of those two yarns this year, we were also sorely tempted by two of Alchemy’s newest yarns. It’s no surprise we gave into temptation; meet Sparky and Lust.


Silken Straw is a sport-weight silk ribbon like no other, and Sparky is like Silken Straw dressed up for the opera. Both yarns feel crisp on the skein but soften up after stitching and washing; Sparky has a metallic thread wrapped around it, giving it a distinct glittery sparkle.


Lust is a fingering weight blend of merino and silk, a thinner version of Sanctuary. It’s soft and slinky, many-plied for great stitch definition, and felts well in Alchemy’s signature shibori felting designs.


Like all Alchemy yarns, Sparky and Lust play well together. Anne used one skein of each in this “Alchemy Sparky Shawlette,” which you’ll find tucked into the basket that holds Silken Straw and Sparky at the shop.


Since we unpacked our most recent Alchemy order, our favorite pastime is coming up with color combinations between the four Alchemy yarns we now stock. For the “Alchemy Sparky Shawlette,” Anne used Lust in a variegated colorway and picked a solid shade of Sparky to go with it.



For a less overtly striped shawl, you might try a lower-contrast pairing.




Consider also the “Straw Into Gold Shawl,” which is shown knit with Silken Straw, Sparky, and Lust all in one shade, a glorious pale beige called “Sand Dollar.”

We were so taken with this sample when we saw it at market that we ordered all three yarns in exactly this color.



No reason to stop there, however–Alchemy yarns beg to be grouped together in all kinds of color combinations, from muted and monochromatic to bright and surprising.

DSCN3338 DSCN3337



Come by the shop to play the Alchemy color game yourself, and plan a project with these unique and inspiring yarns. You’ll find a handful of knit samples in Alchemy yarns here at the shop; look for more pattern ideas on our Pinterest page. We’ve got lots of great uses for Alchemy yarns on our “Inspiring Stitches” board. See you at the shop!

New colors in Shibui Linen.

Linen is the newest Shibui yarn in our collection, a chain-plied yarn in a light fingering weight. We’ve stocked it for just over a month, and already we’ve had to reorder many of the six colors we started out with. Thrilled that knitters and crocheters are as intrigued by the stuff as we are, we ordered a few new colors, too.


We now have Shibui Linen in “Ivory,” “Poppy,” and “Suit,” and they make nice additions to our color selection. I got to arranging them in groups of fours as I photographed them, thinking of Shibui’s free pattern, “L.1.”



“L.1” is a simple striped wrap shown in two main colors, neutrals, and two contrasting colors, one bright and one dark. With that composition in mind, I came up with these colorways, though of course there are many different color strategies to play with.




Come by the shop to see Shibui Linen for yourself, and while you’re here, be sure to admire Amy’s “Mix No. 28,” a vest made with Shibui Linen and Pebble held together. See you there!

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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!

Sonetto shawl.

Last week, Amy brought in this new shop sample: the “Sonetto” shawl, knit in two shades of Fibre Company Meadow.


“Sonetto” is an asymmetric triangular shawl pattern suitable for new lace knitters, and one whose size is easy to adjust depending upon preference, or amount of yarn.


It’s cast on at one point of the triangle, increasing in width every row, and finished with a neat picot bind-off.


Amy altered the pattern a bit to knit it in two colors, using the intarsia technique of twisting one color of yarn around the other at a certain point in every row. She wrote a bit about how to make this change on her Ravelry project page, if you’d like to make the same modification to a “Sonetto” shawl of your own.


“Sonetto” calls for between 375 – 575 yards of fingering weight yarn, though this is somewhat flexible–we’ve seen one made up in Selku, a sport weight wool, and the Meadow used in Amy’s shawl is more a lace-weight than a fingering-weight yarn. Inspired by Amy’s “Sonetto,” several knitters have embarked on “Sonetto”s of their own in yarns like Malabrigo Finito, Isager Plant Fibre and Alpaca 2–I can’t wait to see how they come out!


Judy Marples’ “Sonetto” pattern is available as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale here at the shop; we’ll print a copy for you and save a digital copy to your email or Ravelry Library. Come by the shop to see Amy’s “Sonetto” shawl and plan your next project. See you there!

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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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!

Julep B.

We just got some brand new kits from Julep B. featuring Classic Elite Firefly!


Firefly is a sport weight blend of rayon and linen, lustrous fibers that drape beautifully, making the yarn perfectly suited to shawl-knitting.


We have Julep B. shawl kits in two styles, “Lillian” and “Sylvia.” Each kit contains a shawl pattern and enough yarn to complete it, and all of the above is contained in a sweet muslin project bag.



Kits make great gifts, as they the guesswork out of pairing yarn and pattern, all the while looking nice and neat in their packaging. Come by the shop to pick up a Julep B. kit and check out the rest of our kit selection, including hatsscarvesmitts, and more. See you there!

Upcoming classes.

As you may have read in our most recent email newsletter, we’ve been busy scheduling new classes for the new year ahead. Some are technique-based, like Beginning Knitting and Fixing Mistakes, while others are project-based, where techniques are learned along the way. New classes often mean new samples at the shop, showing the hats, mitts, shawls, and scarves that our teachers will teach in the new year. Here are a few.


Katherine knit this Ardelle hat using 4 strands of Cascade 220 Fingering to achieve a gauge of 3.5 stitches per inch, but any single strand of bulky weight yarn would yield a similar result; consider Lamb’s Pride Bulky, Mountain Fusion Teton, Malabrigo Mecha, and Mirasol Sulka. Ardelle is a great pattern for first-time cable knitters, and will also teach how to pick up stitches, sew a seam, and work in the round on double pointed needles. The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry, so you can take a look at the skills required and decide whether you’d prefer to tackle it on your own or with the guidance and camaraderie of Katherine’s class.


Interested in learning to knit lace patterns? Three of our upcoming classes focus on lace. Above is Marsha’s Lattice Lace Scarf, which is a great lace introduction using bulky yarn. Marsha is also teaching the Holden Shawlette, a popular free pattern that calls for one skein of Malabrigo Sock, or ~440 yards of another fingering weight yarn. Marsha has made several Holden Shawlettes in a range of gauges; this one is made with a dk weight silk.


In the Holden Shawlette class, Marsha will teach how to read a lace chart and how to construct this triangular shawl, and can help you to lengthen it if you like. Amy’s Sonetto Shawl class approaches the triangular lace shawl from another angle; read more about it on our class page.


Just yesterday, Marsha brought in this cute Lush Fingerless Mitt, a sample for her upcoming class on the subject. She’ll teach how to work in the round on double pointed needles, and how to read and knit the lace/cable motif that adorns these mitts. Meanwhile, the pattern is free, so you can take a closer look at it if you like. Marsha’s mitts are knit in Cascade Indulgence, a worsted weight blend of alpaca and angora, but any worsted weight yarn will do; consider Classic Elite Princess or Lush, which also contain angora, or try Yarn Hollow Photograph or Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted for non-fuzzy mitts.

You can read more about these and other classes on our class page, where you can also sign up and prepay online. Our classes do tend to fill up quickly, so act now if you’d like to join one! See you at the shop.

Kauni Color Wave Shawl.

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


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.


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.


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.


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: all kinds.

We’ve had so much new yarn coming in, so many new patterns and magazines, that I’ve let the show and tell pictures pile up. It’s time to share the projects our knitters and crocheters have brought in to show us, and today, there’s a gracious plenty.


First up is Rosi, who is modeling an incredible lace sweater she made using String Theory Selku, a sport weight blend of silk and wool. The shimmer and drape of Selku is perfectly suited to this “Sampler Tabard,” a Cheryl Oberle pattern from Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace. As Rosi will tell you, this sweater isn’t nearly as complicated as it looks–each individual lace pattern is straightforward, and only repeated a few times before you switch to the next pattern, making it suitable for beginner lace knitters.


Molly has been knitting sweaters for her granddaughters. This one is made from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern using Malabrigo Rios. Rios is a great choice for a child’s sweater: smooth, next-to-skin soft, machine-washable, and colorful.



Here’s Margie in her completed Chamomile shawl, a Helga Isager pattern from her Amimono Knit Collection 2010. The pattern calls for two Isager yarns, the fingering weight Tvinni and lace weight Alpaca 1. Margie substituted the fingering weight Malabrigo Finito for Isager Tvinni and came out with a stunning shawl.


Marion, who teaches our magic loop sock-knitting classes, is cranking out socks as always. Here is one of the many pairs that have graced her needles over the past couple of months, knit in Colinette Jitterbug. Magic loopers interested in learning to knit two socks at a time on one long needle should check out our class schedule, as Marion will teach this technique in October.


Ashley is a crocheter and an avid fan of Malabrigo yarns. She whipped up this pair of baby hats for some twins-to-be using Malabrigo Arroyo, a sport weight, machine-washable merino. The stars were crocheted with Jitterbug in just the right shade to complement this Arroyo colorway.

Grey hoodie1 (1)

Grey hoodie2 (1)


Monika is a knitter and HYS customer all the way from the Netherlands, where we shipped her the last two skeins of Baa Ram Ewe’s Titus Dark that she needed to complete this hoodie. At the time, Titus was so popular in Europe that it became hard to find, so it was a relief to connect Monika with those desperately needed skeins. She designed this sweater herself, and was kind enough to send photos upon completing it.

Thanks to all who share their work with us! It’s truly inspiring to see what your creative hands make with our yarns. Keep it coming!