Gradient colorways.

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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.

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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.

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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, Pebble.

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 and Silk Cloud the spotlight earlier in the week, it’s time for Pebble.

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Pebble is a lace weight blend of 48% recycled silk, 36% wool, and 16% cashmere, boasting 224 yards on each 25 gram skein. This carefully crafted blend of fibers feels soft on the skein, but softer still once it’s made up into fabric. Each of Pebble’s three plies is made of a separate fiber, so that you can see how each one takes the dye somewhat differently. Its tweedy look sets it apart from the other Shibui yarns we carry, and indeed, from most other yarns you’ll find in the “Lace Weight” section of the shop.

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Pebble is Shibui’s newest concoction, and it’s been introduced this fall along with a series of knitting patterns that make use of it held singly or doubly. You’ll find the Pebble pattern collection in the Shibui binder at the shop, which gives a preview of each Shibui pattern. If you find a pattern you like, you can buy it from us as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale and we’ll print a copy for you and send a digital copy to your email or Ravelry library.

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This colorwork-yoked sweater, “Cliff,” is another Shibui garment we fell in love with at TNNA. Pebble has a bit of a fuzzy halo when it’s knit, washed, and blocked, and it was the softness and delicacy of this yarn that turned our heads towards Shibui in the first place.

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Look on the Shibui website for the Cliff Hat, a free pattern for Pebble. When searching for other pattern ideas, remember that Pebble is a lofty lace weight yarn, comfortable at a range of gauges. When held double, or paired with Silk Cloud or Cima, Pebble makes a dk weight, so you might hunt through your Ravelry queue for patterns with a suggested gauge of about 5.5 stitches per inch. Follow us on Pinterest for more Pebble pattern ideas; our “Inspiring Stitches” board is a collection of patterns and projects that make good use of yarns that are available at HYS. I’ve been pinning Shibui pattern ideas all week, so if you’re seeking Shibui inspiration, look for us on Pinterest.

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Come by the shop to see Pebble, Silk Cloud, and Cima, and to peruse the Shibui pattern binder. There are still some open spaces in our upcoming Shibui Mix Party–you can sign up on our website, where you’ll also find information about our latest classes. See you at the shop!

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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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, Meadow.

We’re delighted to announce that Meadow has arrived! This newest yarn from the Fibre Company is featured in our upcoming Fibre Company Yarn Tasting, as well as our current trunk show: the Allium Collection, 8 shawls and scarves knit in this delicious yarn.

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Meadow, like many Fibre Company yarns, has an unusual and carefully-crafted fiber composition: 40% merino wool, 25% baby llama, 20% silk, and 15% linen. Each of these fibers brings its own unique characteristics to the yarn in terms of drape, texture, and color, and the result is a lightweight fabric that is soft to the touch and holds its shape even at a looser gauge than is suggested on the ball band. It’s between a lace and a light fingering weight, with a generous 545 yards in each 100 gram skein.

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We also have all 8 patterns from Grace Anna Farrow’s Allium Collection, which use Meadow in a variety of techniques, from simple garter or stockinette stitch to stripes, short rows, lace, and colorwork.

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Usually, when we order a brand new yarn for the shop, we begin with a small selection of colors. When it came to Meadow, we couldn’t help ourselves–we had to have every single color the Fibre Company makes. One of them is missing from this photoshoot because we sold out of it as soon as it arrived, but don’t fret, it’s on order!

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Come by the shop to see Meadow and all the other Fibre Company yarns we carry, and do so before October 20th to play dress-up with the trunk show!

New from Habu.

We always stop by the Habu Textiles booth at TNNA, and this year was no exception. We’d made a note before going to market that we could use a few new colors in their one-of-a-kind Silk Stainless yarn, which translated into Anne gathering an armful of colorful cones as Habu founder Takako Ueki jotted down color numbers. The new colors of Habu Silk Stainless arrived a week or so ago, settling in with the few colors we’d already had in stock. Our new selection is vibrant and tempting, and I thought they deserved a bit of fanfare here on the blog.

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It’s Silk Stainless that makes the Kusha Kusha Scarf such an intriguing project. It’s knit on a variety of different needle sizes, sometimes holding a fine lace weight merino along with the Silk Stainless, and when the knitting is done, the piece is lightly felted in hot, soapy water.

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Habu used to sell kits for the Kusha Kusha Scarf, but has since offered the pattern for free via the Purl Bee. This frees you up to choose your own color combinations, which sometimes feels like half the joy of knitting in the first place. We don’t stock the Habu Super Fine Merino that the pattern calls for, but we have so many other lace weight yarns to choose from that would be equally interesting in this project. They’ll all behave a little differently, I suspect, which should be fun to experiment with. I had fun putting these hypothetical combinations together.

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Don’t limit yourself to Kusha Kusha scarves, however; Silk Stainless can also be put to good use in sweaters and knitted or crocheted jewelry. We’ve even had a weaver experiment with a few cones of the stuff on her loom. Come by the shop to see our sample Kusha Kusha Scarf and our new selection of Habu Silk Stainless. See you there!

Wisdom Wrap, in progress.

Right before we left for market in June, Anne started knitting a Wisdom Wrap, one of Gina Wilde’s shibori felting designs for Alchemy Yarns. We’d seen (and played dress-up with) a Wisdom Wrap at market the year before, and kept it in mind all year.

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It’s an unusual piece, but simple to construct. The first step is to make long stretches of i-cord with Sanctuary, a luxuriously soft blend of merino and silk. Then stitches are picked up along the length of the i-cord and knit up into garter stitch rectangles using Silken Straw.

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The end result is a kind of i-cord scaffolding, which frames the Silken Straw color-blocks. When the knitting is done, the Wisdom Wrap is ready to be felted, just like the Simple Shibori Cowl. The Sanctuary i-cord shrinks and felts, looking almost like a velvet rope, and the Silken Straw rectangles soften and stretch out. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but having seen the finished wrap at market and tried it myself on a smaller scale with the cowl, we feel confident that a successful shibori transformation awaits. In the meantime, Anne is hard at work on the wrap, working lengths of i-cord in between blocks of garter stitch–soothing knitting.

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Besides the meditative knitting process, one of the major joys of an Alchemy project is choosing from their outstanding, vibrant color palette. Though she was picking from a smaller selection, before our colors numbered in double digits as they do today, Anne put together a beautiful colorway for her Wisdom Wrap, which calls for one shade in Sanctuary and four in Silken Straw.

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In selecting colors for a Wisdom Wrap, one strategy is to begin with the Sanctuary, which comes in variegated colorways. From there, you can use the same colorway in Silken Straw, and then pull out three solid colors in the Silken Straw that appear in the variegated color you’ve chosen. Anne is using Sanctuary in color “Dark Star,” and Silken Straw in “Dark Star,” “Jungle Juice,” “Citrine,” and “Coco Rosie.” As I was arranging the Silken Straw in its basket, I couldn’t help but play the Wisdom Wrap game, putting potential colorways together, sometimes following the strategy I just laid out, sometimes not.

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I could play this game all day. Come in to plan a Wisdom Wrap of your own!

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Hello again, Alchemy.

One of the most exciting orders we placed at TNNA this year was with Alchemy Yarns of Transformation. We first discovered Alchemy at last year’s TNNA, when we dipped our toe in the water with a few colors each in two of their yarns, Silken Straw and Sanctuary. Back home at the shop, the Alchemy yarns were a hit; many admired the sample White Caps Cowl that Anne knit up, striping Silken Straw with Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. We loved seeing the different color combinations that our knitters put together, and it wasn’t long before our stock of Silken Straw had dwindled to a mere handful of skeins. We knew we’d dive in deeper with Alchemy the second time around, and now that our big TNNA order has arrived, you can see exactly how deep we dove.

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At TNNA in June, we sat down with Gina and Austin Wilde, head alchemists over at Alchemy, and they helped us carefully select an astonishing 20 colors in Silken Straw, and 8 in Sanctuary, a soft and springy blend of merino and silk.

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The two yarns are often used together in Gina Wilde’s signature shibori felted designs, so it was important to create complementary palettes in each yarn. We admired all of Alchemy’s knit samples at market, and came home with two special skeins to create an Alchemy sample of our own: the Simple Shibori Cowl.

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This lacy cowl is constructed of both Silken Straw and Sanctuary in a straightforward feather and fan pattern, then (gulp) thrown into the washing machine to be felted. The Sanctuary felts because of its merino wool content, shrinking into a fuzzy, velvety stripe whose individual stitches are no longer distinguishable. Meanwhile, the Silken Straw stretches out, becoming softer and draping gently.

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I confess, I held my breath as I tossed the cowl in my washing machine, but it quickly became clear that there was nothing to be afraid of. I checked every minute or two to see how the felting was progressing and removed the cowl when it was done, then laid it flat to dry. The transformation was fascinating, and the finished cowl is lightweight and lovely.

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Want to make a Simple Shibori Cowl of your own? With all these colors, there are many beautiful combinations to choose from.

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Look for the Simple Shibori Cowl pattern in the Alchemy pattern binder, where you’ll find plenty of interesting uses for these singular yarns.

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Anne has a Wisdom Wrap on the needles, a little over halfway done–more on that another day. Come by the shop to see all our Alchemy yarns and patterns, and to plan your next project!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Lava Flow Cowl.

A new sample is decorating our walls: here’s a Lava Flow Cowl.

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This Lava Flow Cowl was made by Amy, who’s teaching an upcoming class on the subject. It’s full of interesting techniques, like a provisional cast-on, reversible cables, and kitchener stitch in a ribbed pattern. If these techniques are new to you, consider taking the class and reap the benefits of Amy’s guidance, as well as the camaraderie of other knitters. The pattern is available as a free download from Ravelry, and is a perfect garment to showcase a special yarn in a dk or light worsted weight. Amy’s sample is made in Mirasol K’acha, a light worsted weight blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk.

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Come by the shop to try it on for size, and see if you’d like to make one yourself!

Araucania Limari: now on sale!

UPDATE: As of 11/19/2014, we are totally sold out of Araucania Limari!

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Next time you come into the shop, you may notice a big basket of bulky wool right in the middle of the front room, by the teacart. What’s in the basket? Why, it’s our latest sale yarn: Araucania Limari.

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Araucania Limari is a super-bulky blend of merino wool, alpaca, and silk, and because it’s no longer being produced, we’re now offering it at a 40% discount. It’s perfect for any accessory that needs to be thick, or quickly made: hearty cowls and scarves, cozy hats, and the like.

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Come by the shop to snatch up the deeply discounted Limari while it’s still available, and stash it away for next year’s gift-knitting!