Show and tell: shop samples.

Our walls are covered with knit, crocheted, and woven garments, which are here to inspire and show how our many yarns behave when they’re worked up into fabric. If you’ve been to the shop this week, you may have noticed a few new sample garments hanging on our walls. Anne, Rosi, Marsha, and I each recently finished a new shop sample, highlighting a variety of yarns and projects. Here’s some Hillsborough Yarn Shop show and tell.


Anne knit this Churchmouse “Easy Folded Poncho” with Fibre Company Acadia, a luxurious blend of merino wool, silk, and alpaca. The silk fiber takes the dye differently than wool and alpaca, and stands out from those fibers, creating a tweedy, rustic look. Those silk slubs are what make this truly simple garment a truly special one.


For a while now, we’ve had a few shades of Conjoined Creations Flat Feet here at the shop, occasionally begging the question, “What is this for?”


Flat Feet are machine-knit stretches of sock yarn, which are then hand-painted and ready to be hand-knit into socks directly from the flat.


What might that look like? Rosi’s newest sample helps answer that question.


She also brought in a recent Nordstrom catalog, which shows that socks worn with sandals are the height of fashion. Sock knitters, take note!


Marsha knit this “Bias Scarf” with two skeins of Ella Rae Bamboo Silk, a smooth, drapey worsted weight yarn.


The knitting in the “Bias Scarf” is simple, just knits, purls, increases and decreases. It’s a great beginner project, and Marsha is teaching a class on the subject for those just learning to knit. Read more about all our classes on our website!


Here’s my finished “Jiffy” vest, knit in Geilsk Cotton/Wool. It’s designed to be worn right-side-up or up-side-down, with the drop stitch lace around the collar or around the bottom edge.


Come by the shop to check out all our sample garments, which are here to be touched, tried on, and otherwise inspected. See you there!

Select Opal sock yarns: now on sale!

UPDATE: As of 4/22/2016, we are totally sold out of these Select Opal sock yarns!


In an effort to clear space for new Spring yarns, we’ve moved some of our Opal sock yarns into the sale trunk, and discounted them by over 30%!


These Opal yarns are fingering weight blends of superwash wool and nylon, tightly-plied to make sturdy, long-lasting socks. Like many Opal yarns, they’re also self-patterning, meaning that the yarn is dyed to create a color pattern in the knitted fabric. This makes for fun and sometimes surprising socks, entertaining to knit even in simple stitch patterns. Above is Opal Mosaik, with short lengths of each color that make wild patterned stripes, and below is Opal Krokodil, with longer stretches of color that pool for staggered, irregular stripes.


Check out our sale trunk for great yarns at a discount, and help us make room for new yarns to come!


A reminder: all sales are final on discounted yarn. There can be no returns or exchanges, nor special orders–the discount applies only to what we currently have in stock. Thanks!

Back in stock: String Theory sock yarns.

Our supply of String Theory sock yarns has been getting dangerously low, a problem we’re always thrilled to correct because it means picking out colors! Karen Grover and Tanis Williams, the amazing dyers at String Theory, create so many delightful, memorable colorways. Many of them have become favorites that we must order if they’re available, but we always love to see new colors, too. Our most recent order brought some of both.


Bluestocking is a lustrous sock yarn, composed of 80% superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool and 20% nylon, for durability. I’ve tested its durability with my own two feet, having knit a pair of socks with a skein of Bluestocking back in 2012. They’ve survived two winters of frequent wear and are still going strong.


Anne has worked with Bluestocking, too, and came back to it for a new project this past week. Her sweet three-year-old grandson recently visited the shop for a quick hug and hello. Anne pointed to the String Theory cubby and said, “You can pick any color you like, and I’ll make you a pair of socks.” Purple it is!


String Theory’s other sock yarn, Caper Sock, is a plump and springy blend of 80% superwash merino wool, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon.


The tight twist and the nylon content ensures that Caper Sock is sturdy enough to withstand the kind of wear that socks put up with, but it’s great for other garments, as well. My “North Arrow” scarf in Caper Sock is on display at the shop, so you can feel for yourself how nicely it knits up.


Come by the shop to dig into the String Theory cubby yourself! See you there.


Knitted accessories: two new books.

Interweave’s two latest books for knitters focus on small projects, a good fit for summer stitching. Socks, hats, scarves, and other little things are not too heavy in your lap on hot days, nor too heavy in your tote as you travel. Looking for new and inspiring small projects? Consider these two new publications.


Sockupied is a collection of sock patterns from a variety of designers, the likes of Ann Budd, Cat Bordhi, Cookie A, and others. No surprise–an eclectic group of designers yields an eclectic group of designs, and you’ll find socks of all kinds inside this book. Learn new techniques from cables and texture patterns to lace and colorwork.


Suppose you occasionally take a break from clothing your feet to knit for your head, hands, or neck. If you like a pattern book with many different kinds of garments, consider Interweave Favorites: 25 Accessories to Wear and Share.


Interweave Favorites: 25 Knitted Accessories to Wear and Share has some sock patterns mixed in among the mittens, hats, scarves, shawls, and other small accessories.

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Look for these and other new books on the teacart in the front room of the shop. Come by before our Annual Inventory Sale ends on July 31 and get everything you need–books, yarn, needles, notions–at 15% off! Only a few more days of discounts… see you soon!

Just a reminder–all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks! 

Upcoming classes.

Our wonderful teachers have been busy preparing for upcoming classes, stitching samples and planning their knitterly curriculum.


Amy recently brought a batch of her self-published “Knitting Basic Socks” booklets to the shop, the textbook for her upcoming class by the same name. The booklet and class will guide you through the construction of a simple pair of socks knit on double-pointed needles from cuff to toe. She hand-bound each booklet with one of my favorite sock yarns, Colinette Jitterbug.


Come by the shop to take a closer look at Amy’s sock-knitting booklet, and sign up for her upcoming “Knitting Basic Socks” class for hands-on, in-person instruction.



I recently finished knitting this “Yipes Stripes Cowl,” by Ann Weaver, the subject of Katherine’s newest class. I used five shades of Plymouth Suri Merino, and knit the motifs out of order just because I could. During the 3-color braid, I worked with all three yarns flung across the room, giving them plenty of room to twist around one another, as they naturally do, and then untwist stitch by stitch on the following row.


You may recall that Anne knit one, too; they’re both on display at the shop now, illustrating how the same pattern can yield such different results just by changing the yarn and colors used. I can’t wait to see what Katherine’s looks like, and everyone else who’s taking the class! Sign up now to learn all the techniques you’ll encounter in a “Yipes Stripes Cowl” and get started on one of your own.


Marsha’s newest class will teach how to make a pair of “Podster Gloves,” a convertible glove/mitten with a peek-a-boo thumb, allowing you to keep your hands warm but free your fingers quickly to navigate a smartphone, should the need arise.


Marsha knit this “Podster Glove” in Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette, a sport weight blend of merino, alpaca, and silk. Worked up at a gauge of 8 stitches per inch, these are cozy gloves indeed. Come by the shop to see Marsha’s sample glove, and sign up for her class to have support in knitting some for yourself!


Amy finished her “Mix No. 28” vest in record time, working with two strands throughout: Shibui Linen and Pebble. Together, these two yarns make a unique fabric, combining the cool drape of the linen and the soft tweedy texture of Pebble’s wool, cashmere, and silk.


It’s a perfect fabric for an open vest like this one, with its clever integrated scarf. Amy has kindly left her “Mix No. 28” vest with us as a temporary shop sample–come by to see it for yourself, and join Amy’s “Mix No. 28” class to have guidance in making one of your own!

Thanks to all our teachers for continuing to dream up exciting new classes! You can read more about all of them on the “Classes” page, and sign up online via Paypal if you like. See you at the shop!

Solefull Socks.

An exciting new book was recently excerpted in the Summer 2014 issue of Interweave Knits, and it caught the attention of many sock-knitters. I’m happy to say that you can now find the book on our teacart: Solefull Socks, by Betty Salpekar.


Salpekar has developed a new method of sock construction that has you knit the whole sole first, working in the round “from the ground up,” as she says. This allows you to knit reenforcement yarn through the whole sole of a sock, or make it thicker and more cushioned, if you like.


These socks are neither toe-up nor top-down, and this new approach brings with it all kinds of new design ideas.




I’m intrigued by this innovative new sock construction, and have enjoyed paging through Salpekar’s book. Come by the shop to take a closer look at Soulfull Socks and all the latest books and magazines!

Three new books.

Three new books arrived from Interweave this week: Knitting Outside the Swatch, by Kirstin Omdahl, Op-Art Socks, by Stephanie van der Linden, and Cozy Knits: 50 Fast & Easy Projects from Top Designers.


Kristin Omdahl’s Knitting Outside the Swatch presents 40 knitted motifs with ideas for how to join them together in various ways to various ends.


These motifs could become garments, blankets, embellishments, or edgings–knitter’s choice.


Stephanie van der Linden’s Op-Art Socks: Creative Effects in Sock Knitting is a collection of sock patterns featuring knitted optical illusions. Adventurous sock-knitters, take note!


Cozy Knits is all about knitted accessories like hats, scarves, mittens, which use a wide variety of techniques.


As varied as the patterns are, the yarns called for are all worsted or bulky weight, making for quick knitting and, as the title suggests, warm and cozy results.


Come by the shop to take a peek at these newest publications and get started on your next project! Remember, our Anniversary Sale is on through this Sunday, October 20th–everything in the shop is 15% off!


(A reminder: all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks!) 

Back in stock: books.

Our Inventory Sale put a dent in our supply of books, especially some of the most exciting recent publications. By the end of the month, we had a lengthy list of titles to reorder, old and new. Yesterday a 48 pound box of books arrived at the shop, and now the teacart is newly decorated with fresh stacks of the latest knitting and crochet books.


All of them have been introduced here on the blog, so click on their titles below to get a closer look at them:


We also paid special attention to our stash of books by Ann Budd, knowing how handy they have proven themselves over the years. Budd’s “Knitter’s Handy Book” series offers basic patterns in a range of gauges, allowing one to construct any number of knitted garments in whatever yarn one happens to fall in love with, no matter the stitches per inch. We filled in the gaps we found on our shelves, including one longstanding gap where Getting Started Knitting Socks should be.


Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks is a great introduction to the addictive world of sock-knitting, showing how to construct a basic sock and giving patterns for a range of gauges. It also offers guidance on sizing, fit, stitch patterns, and yardage requirements–a topic on which we always defer to Ann Budd and her Handy Guides.



If you’re seeking knitting or crochet inspiration, come by the shop to peruse our books. From the practical to the beautiful, and often both at once, there are all kinds of patterns and projects within. See you at the shop!

Colorwork, crochet, lace, and children’s things: the newest books.

We recently received a shipment of new books from publisher Leisure Arts. This handful of new booklets covers so many techniques and projects that most could be tempted by one or two.


These two collections from designer Kathleen Taylor are perfect not only for those who love colorwork, but also for those who haven’t yet attempted the technique. The patterns are lovely, but perhaps even better are Taylor’s words of knitterly wisdom regarding gauge, steeking, and color theory for stranded colorwork.


Avid sock-knitters will be happy to see that Taylor covers lace socks, as well. This booklet gives good guidance on sock construction as well as lace patterning, so a knitter who hasn’t tackled either of those techniques can feel emboldened to try.


These two booklets focus on knitting for babies and young children. Baby Beanies, as you might guess, is all about hats: a perfect baby shower gift that is quick to knit. Fair Isle Flower Garden, on the other hand, has more intricate patterns for sweaters, dresses, and accessories, all in colorful fair isle.


For crocheters, here’s a collection of stitch patterns for Tunisian crochet compact enough to fit in a project bag. Stitch dictionaries of any kind can be the key to creating your own designs; this one can also assist in reading Tunisian crochet charts.


Look for these on the teacart, where we collect the latest in magazines and books. See you at the shop!

Show and tell: sweaters, shawl, and socks.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “show and tell” post, not because there’s nothing to show or tell, but because my camera is not always handy when some finished piece is held out for Anne and I to admire. I’d like to photograph them all; here are the few I’ve captured of late.


Anne took a trip to New York last weekend to visit with family, and managed to finish this adorable sweater for her granddaughter just in time. It’s made in Fibre Company’s Acadia, a sport weight blend of merino wool, alpaca and silk–nothing but the best for baby Willa. She used the leftover yarn to improvise baby mittens, and spent her flight to NY knitting i-cord to connect them.


Here, Margie models a colorwork sweater she made in a variety of fingering weight yarns, some solid and some variegated, the likes of Marion Foale 3-ply, Isager Alpaca 2, Classic Elite Alpaca Sox, and Colinette Jitterbug. It’s a unique take on a pattern from Vogue Knitting Magazine a few years back, one that Margie modified heavily to create exactly the sweater she wanted.


Marion came in on Saturday wearing her completed Promenade shawl, a Hanne Falkenberg kit purchased at September’s trunk show. Promenade is a large shawl knit in garter stitch on small needles; to finish knitting it is an enormous accomplishment.


Congratulations, Marion!



Margaretta completed the first in a pair of French Market Socks, from a pattern by Nancy Bush in Sock Knitting Master Class. For this pair, she used Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight, a sturdy Shetland wool that is perfectly suited to stranded colorwork like this. Any adventurous sock-knitters out there who haven’t flipped through Sock Knitting Master Class ought to come in and do so; there are all sorts of intriguing patterns there, from the cable-crossed to the lace-covered, not to mention socks featuring entrelac, shadow knitting, and traveling twisted stitches.


Thanks to all for the show and tell, whether it makes it to the blog or not! Looking forward to seeing all that comes off your needles.