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!

New color in Silken Straw.

Alchemy’s unique yarn, Silken Straw, has been warmly welcomed here at the shop. Since it first arrived in November, it’s unusual texture and lustrous jewel tones have been admired by many. We sold out of a few colors, enough to reorder, and when we did place that order, we couldn’t resist picking one new colorway, as well.

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Here’s Silken Straw in Platinum, a creamy, shiny white. We think it sets off the brighter colorways beautifully. Use it with Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub in a White Caps cowl, or in one of Alchemy’s shibori felted wraps, or in some other imaginative way.

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Look for this tempting basket in the second room, near the equally tempting baskets of Acadia and Titus. See you at the shop!

Hello, Alchemy.

We are delighted to announce that we now carry two Alchemy yarns: Silken Straw and Sanctuary.

Before we went to market in June, looking for new yarns to bring into the shop, a friend pointed us to Alchemy, a company known for their exquisitely hand-dyed silks and silk blends. That recommendation along with Clara Parkes’ glowing reviews of Alchemy Yarns meant that we had to take a look.

What we saw at Alchemy’s booth at TNNA was a riot of color and texture, a tempting array of unusual yarns and knitted garments. We spoke with Gina and Austin Wilde, the creators of Alchemy Yarns, about their fibers and dyeing process, and were delighted by their passion for both. We were particularly wowed by Silken Straw, a sport weight ribbon made of silk which, yes, feels stiff, like straw. Once Silken Straw has been knit up, washed, and worn, it softens somewhat spectacularly, and drapes in just the way you’d expect from a 100% silk yarn: beautifully. Silken Straw is a yarn like none other, and we’re thrilled to make it available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Our first Silken Straw project is this White Caps Cowl, a free pattern from the Purl Bee. Anne knit a shortened version, using just half a skein of Silken Straw and one skein of Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. The combination of fibers and textures makes an otherwise simple stockinette tube an intriguing accessory. I’ve been playing with color pairs, matching up the Alchemy with the Habu.

Sanctuary is a sport weight wool and silk blend that we ordered in just two colors, for they’re meant to be combined with Silken Straw in Alchemy’s shibori felted patterns. These unexpected wraps are knit in bold color blocks, then felted, which shrinks the parts knit in Sanctuary, but leaves the Silken Straw sections as they were. The result is something very special, a flat rectangle made into a sculptural garment by applying hot water and agitation.

We saw some finished shibori felted pieces at TNNA and had to bring the patterns into the shop, which meant ordering Sanctuary, too. Austin himself helped us select two colors that could go with most any of the ten colors we ordered in Silken Straw.

Come by the shop to see these delightfully unusual yarns from Alchemy! We’re just tickled to have them. Read all about Alchemy Yarns on their website, where they’ve written more about their thoughtful, labor-intensive dyeing process.

Another knit from Wearwithall.

Almost a year has passed since we received our first shipment of the glorious String Theory Selku, a sport weight blend of merino and silk, hand-dyed in vivid, memorable colorways. Almost a year, and yet I cast on for a shop sample in Selku only a fewweeks ago. Why the delay? There’s no real excuse, except that Anne and I wanted it to be a Worthy shop sample. We searched Ravelry for shawlettes, scarves, hats, and mitts in sport weight yarns. It’s not like there aren’t any, but somehow we didn’t find what we were looking for. I started a garter stitch something, but it just wasn’t doing justice to this very special yarn. Finally, we found something of interest in Wearwithall, otherwise known as “the book with The Stole.”

Like The Stole, this pattern is simply named: Woman’s Hat. The gauge is right for the yarn, the lace patterning is simple to execute and lovely to look at, and the slouch shape showcases Selku’s elegant drape.

I finished the hat on Saturday, and while I’m not a hat-wearer myself, I’m very pleased with the results. The only change I made to the pattern was to work the lace chart four times instead of the called-for five; the hat was looking deep enough to my eye at four. Come by the shop to try it on for yourself, pet the Selku, and look through Wearwithall if you haven’t yet. See you there!