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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Congratulations, Marion!

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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.

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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.

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn.

Back in June, I was moving some armful of yarn from here to there when I discovered a lonesome skein of Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn. Once, we had many skeins of the stuff, all living together in a basket. While its friends went home in the hands of knitters and crocheters to become pairs of socks and mitts, scarves or shawls, this particular skein was left alone. It was a little dusty, having been forgotten in some nook or cranny for however long, but none the worse for wear. I held it up and called to Anne, “What should I do with this?” Sensitive as she is to lonesome skeins, Anne brushed it off, purchased it herself, and began knitting a pair of socks with it.

The more she knit, the more we wondered why we didn’t stock the yarn anymore. Composed of 50% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk, and 10% nylon for durability, the fabric it created was cuddly, yet sturdy, and the colors were rich and compelling. “Maybe we’ll visit Misti Alpaca at market,” Anne said, “and get some more of this.” A couple of months have passed, and Anne has completed sock #1, cast on for #2, and Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn is back on our shelves.

Come by the shop to admire sock#1 and consider Misti Alpaca for your next project.

Socks and shawls: show and tell.

I’ve collected a lot of good pictures for show and tell over the past week or two, and they divided themselves nicely into two categories: socks and shawls. Let’s begin with socks.

Above, Sharon models her first completed pair of socks, made in a self-patterning sock yarn that miraculously lined up perfectly to make a matching pair.

Jessica has also recently finished her first pair of socks–the hot pink pair, in Malabrigo Sock yarn–and has started several others, for her mother and sister. Jessica and Sharon are both graduates of Marion’s class on Magic Loop Socks from the Toe Up. There are still spaces in the upcoming session, so if you’re looking to get started knitting socks on one long circular needle, check your schedule and sign up now!

A couple of weeks ago, Rosa came in with some friends and sat working quietly on this exquisite colorwork shawl. She’s knitting it in the round, and plans to steek it–cut it open–so that it will lie flat in a large triangular shape. These crayon-bright colors look particularly stunning against a plain black background. I can’t wait to see the finished project!

Speaking of finished projects, here’s Rebecca’s Color Affection shawl in Isager Plant Fibre yarn, which drapes beautifully at this gauge. As a lover of neutral colors, I particularly like this color combination, and the gradation of light to dark from the top of the shawl to the bottom edge.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your incredible creations with us!

Marion’s socks.

Marion is one of our teachers at the shop, and while she has taught classes on everything from colorwork hats to lace sweaters, her specialty is undoubtedly socks. While Anne and I work our socks from cuff to toe on double-pointed needles, Marion uses one long circular to work her socks from toe to cuff, and it is this technique that she has taught so many knitters over the past few years. Every week, it seems, she’s working on a new pair of socks, incorporating cables, lace, and color patterns whenever possible. This week I snapped some pictures of her most recent sock-knitting projects.

Both pairs are made in Malabrigo Sock yarn, a fingering weight yarn made of 100% superwash merino wool. The stitch patterns featured in these two pairs of socks are from the recently-published Sock Knitter’s Handbook, by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott. All of the above can be found at the shop, of course, and if you’d like to learn the technique, Marion has two upcoming classes. One is her Magic Loop Socks from the Toe Up, in which Marion walks students through the creation of their first toe-up socks. For those who have already learned this technique and want to try knitting two socks at the same time on one long circular needle, Marion is teaching Two-at-a-Time Toe-Up Socks. Both classes begin in September; check our website to read more about these and other classes.

Knit Socks for All Seasons.

Summer is a particularly good time for knitting socks. While I seem to have a pair going at any given moment, no matter the season, it’s during these long, hot days that I appreciate the small size and portability of socks the most. With that in mind, have a look at this new book of sock patterns: Knit Socks for All Seasons: Fabulous, Fun Footwear for Any Time of Year, by Stephanie van der Linden.

Colorwork, cables, lace… van der Linden gives us a bit of everything in this book.

At the back of the book, there’s a small black-and-white booklet of all the charts used in the patterns, making it easy to photocopy and enlarge said charts. I’ve never seen this in a knitting book before, but it seems absolutely brilliant to me, knowing how tiny those charts tend to be.

You can find Knit Socks for All Seasons on the teacart, surrounded by the newest knitting and crochet magazines, and if you fall in love with it, rejoice in a 15% discount during the month of July! (Yes, even books are included!) See you at the shop.

Bluestocking. Again.

Last week, we got another bunch of String Theory Bluestocking in another bunch of gorgeous colors.

This weekend, I finally cast on for a pair of Bluestocking socks, anxious to get my hands on a kind of wool I’d never tried before: bluefaced leicester. I chose a pattern from Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Book of Socks, called Hickory, with a barklike ribbing down the leg and instep. The whole leg was done in three evenings, which is how I know I love both the yarn and the pattern.

Come by the shop to take a closer look at the Knitter’s Book of Socks, where there are 200+ pages of serious sock knitting inspiration, and to admire the String Theory Bluestocking. See you at the shop!

Hello, Bluestocking.

Surprise, surprise: I have some new yarn from String Theory to share. Say hello (again) to Bluestocking, a soft, sturdy fingering weight yarn composed of 80% Bluefaced Leicester wool and 20% nylon.

If it seems like we’re ordering from String Theory weekly, it’s because we are. Anne and I love this yarn, and it’s clear you all do, too, at the rate it’s disappearing from our shelves! While Caper Sock has been ordered and reordered several times, we hadn’t shown the same love to Bluestocking until this past week.

Anne started a pair of Bluestocking socks, couldn’t keep her hands off them, and suddenly we were on the phone with the wonderful people at String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn, in Blue Hill, Maine. Much to Anne’s dismay, I suggested we start small, to the tune of six colors. When we sold half of them on the day they arrived, it was clear that I was wrong and Anne was right: Hillsborough Yarn Shoppers have enough love for both Caper Sock and Bluestocking. We ordered more.

I’ve got a skein of the stuff waiting for me at home, and it is torture not to cast on immediately. Care to torture yourself in a similar fashion? Come by the shop and witness the glory of all of String Theory’s yarns. See you there!

Washing socks.

In the past five years or so, knitting has become a part of my daily routine. Whether I’m working on a knitted sample at the shop or spending my evening playing with short rows, stripes, and garter stitch, knitted stitches find their way into my day. My obsession with knitting has brought other routines along with it, like reading knitting blogs and haunting Ravelry. Since I started knitting socks, the biweekly routine of hand-washing my hand-knit socks has become a comforting weekend ritual.

As I ready my socks for washing, I admire my motley collection of brightly-colored, differently-textured knits, some pairs more successful than others. Into a warm water bath they go, along with a drizzle of Eucalan soap, and there they sit for twenty or thirty minutes, while I sip coffee, wash dishes, sweep the kitchen–whatever little tasks need my attention. Once they’ve been bathed, I roll my socks up in a dry towel, give it a squeeze, then lay them out on another dry towel. It’s a bit mundane, this routine, but it pleases me to care for the things I’ve made, and to see all my socks lined up, worn but clean, waiting to be put to use.

That’s what I’ve been up to this weekend, along with casting on for a new sweater and admiring a newly-obtained skein of sock yarn. Hope your weekend was similarly peppered with knitterly delights.