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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

Back in stock: Selku.

Most yarns from Maine hand-dyers String Theory are dyed to order, so it was with a couple months of anticipation that we excitedly unpacked a big box full of Selku this past week.

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Selku is a sport weight, 3-ply blend of 50% silk and 50% merino wool. The silk content makes it slinky and shiny, while the wool brings elasticity. Together, they make a gently draping fabric with excellent stitch definition that is well suited to accessories, scarves, shawls, and sweaters. It particularly shines in lacy openwork patterns–perhaps you’ve seen the sample slouchy hat in Selku at the shop, or glimpsed Rosi’s “Sampler Tabard” on the blog.

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We’ve also seen Selku knit up into a “Vitamin D” sweater and a “Sonetto” shawl, among other projects. There’s one other shawl pattern we’ve had our eye on for some time that calls for String Theory Selku: “Sundry,” by Jennifer Dassau. “Sundry” is a garter- and slip-stitch shawl that calls for one skein each in two colors–an excellent opportunity to play the color-combining game.

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Above are “Pewter” and “Alexandrite,” the colors shown in the pattern sample. I couldn’t stop there, of course. Here are several more combinations that appealed to my eye–I can’t wait to see what other knitters come up with, too!

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Come by the shop to bask in Selku’s glow, and pick a pair of colors for your own “Sundry” shawl. See you there!

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Julep B.

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

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

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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.

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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!

Kauni Color Wave Shawl.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

New from the Fibre Company.

About a year ago, we introduced Acadia, a beautiful and unique dk weight yarn from the Fibre Company, a small yarn company out of Pennsylvania. We were dazzled by their array of natural fiber yarns when we saw them at TNNA, but limited ourselves to just one yarn in a small selection of colors, not knowing if our knitters and crocheters would fall for the yarn as hard as we did. In a quick succession of reorders that brought more and more new colors and project ideas to the shop, it became clear that the Fibre Company would be heartily embraced at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We allowed ourselves to go a little further this year, bringing in three additional Fibre Company yarns. The first two are here, and the third is expected in early October. Say hello to Fibre Company Savannah and Canopy Worsted!

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Savannah is a sport weight blend of 50% wool, 20% cotton, 15% linen, and 15% soya, which is spun and dyed in the US. The wool content gives elasticity to all those plant fibers, and each fiber takes the dye a little differently, giving the colorways a rustic heathered look. We think Savannah is a perfect blend of fibers for our Southern climate, suitable for all-seasons garments and accessories.

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Canopy Worsted is a light worsted weight blend of 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, and 20% viscose from bamboo.

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This blend of fibers makes for a lustrous, drapey fabric that still has great stitch definition for texture patterns.

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Anne and I both worked on a Canopy Worsted swatch, and neither of us wanted to put it down. Yours truly has already acquired a sweaters’ worth, and put everything aside to cast on for said sweater. That said, Canopy Worsted is also well-suited to smaller accessories like scarves, cowls, hats, and shawls. For a more structured garment, like fingerless mitts, consider going down a needle size or two for a sturdier fabric.

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We’re still suckers for Acadia, too–the Fibre Company made four new colors for Fall, all in neutral shades, and we ordered two bags in each color. They fill out the ever-growing Acadia spectrum nicely.

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Come by the shop to see all these new yarns from the Fibre Company, and to plan your next project. We’re planning some exciting events featuring the Fibre Company in the coming weeks–stay tuned!

New colors in Zauberball Starke 6.

We recently replenished our supply of Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Starke 6, a sport weight, self-striping yarn.

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Tucked into the basket of Zauberball Starke 6 is a scarf, a knit sample that has gotten a lot of attention for as long as we’ve had it at the shop. The pattern is the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf, a garter stitch scarf that uses short rows to create triangles within an otherwise simply shaped rectangle. It’s a technique that pairs well with self-striping yarns like Zauberball Starke 6; the color changes highlight the short row shaping, which in turn does interesting things to the color changes.

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Intimidated by short rows? You needn’t be; Amy is teaching a class this summer that uses this very scarf as a lesson in short rows. Read more about the class on the website, where you can also sign up and prepay for classes to save your space. Come by the shop to admire the scarf and the yarn, and to plan your next project. See you there!

New from Mountain Meadow Wool.

Last week, two enormous boxes arrived at the shop from Mountain Meadow Wool in Wyoming. Inside, there were new colors in Cody, along with four new yarns from MMW: Lilura, Dubois, Powder River, and Mountain Fusion Teton. At the Mountain Meadow Wool Yarn Tasting, we invited attendees to swatch with four MMW yarns and also to flip through color cards to see the many other yarns they produce. Some were drawn to delicate fingering weight yarns, some favored brilliantly colored bulky weights, and others were wooed by Cody, the first MMW yarn we’ve stocked here at the shop. We made a slew of special orders that reflected our yarn tasters’ desires and preferences, which meant bringing all these new yarns to the shop in just a few colors. Those of you who couldn’t make it to the yarn tasting can now get a sense of which MMW yarns our HYS knitters loved best, and see them in person at the shop.

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Lilura is a fingering weight blend of US-sourced merino wool and North American alpaca, a round, smooth, 3-ply yarn with fabulous stitch definition and a lovely soft hand. The base yarn is a pale, heathered oatmeal color (pictured above on the right), and any hand-dyed colorways are dyed on top of that natural color. The result is a warmer, more subdued color than could be achieved by dyeing stark white fiber. We had a spare skein in the natural color hanging around after the yarn tasting, which I used to knit up the Rustling Leaves Beret from Coastal Knits.

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Each stitch was a delight; I’ll surely be coming back to this yarn for a bigger project. The Rustling Leaves Beret lives at the shop now with all the newest MMW yarns; come by and take a look.

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Dubois is also fingering weight, a pebbly 2-ply merino wool. One knitter at the yarn tasting ordered this to make a slouchy cabled hat, a perfect fit for this soft and springy yarn, but it’s equally well-suited to lace shawls, scarves, or perhaps a light-weight sweater.

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Powder River, a dk weight blend of merino wool and alpaca, caught the eye of two knitters who plan to use it for a set of Welting Fantastic Cowl + Mitts. I’m flattered by their pattern selection, and can’t wait to see how this gorgeous yarn makes up in my design. Like Lilura, the base yarn is a light beige color, giving this blue shade extra depth and interest.

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Mountain Fusion Teton is the result of collaboration between Mountain Meadow Wool and Mountain Colors, a bulky weight merino wool yarn. We have two colors in stock, both of which fall comfortably into the red category. One has orange and fuschia highlights, while the other leans towards burgundy and plum, but both are 2 ply, where one ply is thick and the other is thin. This gives a pretty consistent texture with plenty of color interest, not to mention enough yarn in one skein to create a hat in an afternoon.

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Anne knit this up as soon as it arrived, working from a hat pattern provided on the yarn’s label. The only change she made to the pattern was to switch from ribbing to stockinette after an inch or two; the pattern as written makes a fully ribbed hat. Come by the shop to see it, and remember Mountain Fusion Teton when winter gift-giving is upon us and a hat in an afternoon sounds like a lifesaver.

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Last but certainly not least, we did get four new colors in Cody, a bouncy sport weight 2-ply merino wool. This brings our current color selection to 16, a wide range of natural and hand-dyed colorways.

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Come by the shop to see all these new yarns from Mountain Meadow Wool, and to admire the many colors and textures that this incredible US yarn company creates. See you at the shop!

Back in stock: Malabrigo Finito and Arroyo.

Last week, we were delighted to receive a 45 pound box from Malabrigo, stuffed with their Finito and Arroyo yarns.

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Malabrigo Finito is a fingering weight yarn composed of the finest merino wool fiber, produced just once a year in limited quantities. Anne has frequently called it “the poor man’s cashmere” because of its incredible softness, but to my fingertips, it feels even softer than some cashmere yarns. We ordered two bags of whatever colorways were in stock, which filled out our Finito selection nicely. I’ve seen it made up into cowls and heard whispers about sweaters; next time you’re in the shop, be sure to ask Anne to pull out the beginning of her cowl-neck sweater in Finito so you can feel the lovely fabric it creates.

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The pattern is from Hannah Fettig’s lovely Knitbot Essentials, a great source for simple, wearable sweater and accessory patterns.

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Meanwhile, the Arroyo part of this shipment is even more tempting, with new colorways and greater quantity than we’ve seen in a long time. I managed to squeeze 30 bags of the stuff into our inventory room with the mantra, “There’s always room for more yarn.”

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Arroyo is a sport weight superwash merino wool, soft and sturdy. I made a pair of socks with it, as well as the Drop Stitch Scarf that hangs in the shop. Arroyo’s easy machine-washability makes it ideal for baby or children’s things, hats, mitts, or larger garments. A knitter came by during the Spring Triangle Yarn Crawl wearing a poncho made in Arroyo that we all admired; she reported that in spite of its delicate softness, it wears tremendously well, holds its shape and shows no signs of pilling.

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Come by the shop to see our newly abundant collection of Malabrigo yarns, and stay tuned for the next blog post, featuring even more Malabrigo!

Hello, Mountain Meadow Wool.

We are thrilled to announce that we now carry Cody, a sport weight merino wool from Mountain Meadow Wool.

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Mountain Meadow Wool is a small yarn company out of Wyoming that is dedicated to producing locally sourced and naturally processed yarns. Run by co-owners Karen Hostetler and Valerie Spanos, Mountain Meadow Wool seeks to support the ranching industry, thereby preserving the open spaces of the American West. They pay ranchers fairly for their finest fiber, then spin it and dye it with vegetable-based spinning oil and natural dyes. Each skein is traceable back to the ranch the sheep were raised on, and a QR code can link those with smartphones to a video of that ranch.

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I fell in love with Cody after knitting a swatch.

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It’s springy and soft, and because it’s a 2-ply, the resulting fabric has a slightly pebbled texture. I worked it in simple stockinette, with a garter stitch border. The yarn doesn’t sugest a needle size or gauge, so I experimented, knitting a while on a US 4, then a 5, then a 6. Cody is happy at all three gauges; the thing is to pick a fabric that suits your intended use. I’ve already snatched up a sweater’s worth of this incredible yarn, and for my purposes, a US 5 is perfect. For a shawl or scarf, a 6 gives a slightly more open fabric that will drape beautifully. You’ll run into bits of grass as you knit, a reminder of how close this yarn is to the land; they are easily plucked out as you go. Give this yarn a try and see if you fall in love, too.

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Come by the shop to see Cody for yourself!

Hello again, Brown Sheep.

Many of you are already familiar with Brown Sheep, a yarn company out of Mitchell, Nebraska. For some years now, we’ve stocked their Lamb’s Pride yarn in Worsted and Bulky weights, along with Cotton Fleece, Serendipity Tweed, Wildfoote Luxury Sock, Top of the Lamb Sport, and Nature Spun Sport.

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Since 1980, this family business has been producing yarns right here in the U.S., doing most of the process in Nebraska, save for the scouring, carding, and combing, which takes place in South Carolina. A couple of years ago, they redesigned their yarn production so that 70-90% of their daily waste water is reused. Their products have always been a good value, and their practices are admirable, too. Over the holidays, our supply of Lamb’s Pride Bulky had grown low enough that a reorder was necessary. Since we were already ordering, we went ahead and filled up on Lamb’s Pride Worsted, too, and even selected a brand new Brown Sheep yarn for the shop: Lamb’s Pride Superwash Sport.

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Soft, machine-washable, and available in plenty of solid colors, Lamb’s Pride Superwash Sport was calling our name. It should be perfect for baby things and accessories that are likely to get a lot of wear, like hats, mittens, and socks. Looking over the colors as I unpacked the box, they said to me: colorwork. These bold colors just beg to be combined in high contrast stranded color patterns.

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The Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarns are a staple for many knitters and crocheters: fuzzy yet sturdy, quite suitable for felting projects, and available in a wide range of vivid colors.

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Lamb’s Pride Worsted knits up at about 4.5 or 5 stitches per inch, while Lamb’s Pride Bulky knits up rather more quickly at 3 stitches per inch, and both are comprised of 85% wool and 15% mohair. They are both single ply yarns, which, combined with the mohair content, makes for soft yarn with a bit of a wooly halo.

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Come by the shop to see these refilled cubbies of Brown Sheep yarns, and remember Lamb’s Pride Worsted, Bulky, and Superwash Sport when planning your next project. See you there!