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!

Hello, Sincere Sheep.

This past Wednesday, a box arrived at the shop that we’ve been eagerly anticipating since June. We’re proud to announce that we now carry three yarns from Sincere Sheep. Based in Northern California, Sincere Sheep produces naturally dyed yarns from U.S. sourced fibers. We met Brooke at TNNA in June and were blown away by the vivid colors she achieves with natural dyes.

I was the lucky knitter who got to play with a skein of Sincere Sheep Equity Sport while we deliberated at market. The Equity Sport is 100% Rambouillet wool, grown and spun in Buffalo, WY. I read up on Rambouillet wool in Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Book of Wool, a favorite resource, and learned that Rambouillet is a breed of sheep, a relative of Merino known for its soft, springy fiber.

Where Merino stretches and drapes, Rambouillet has a surprising sturdiness, given its softness. I used the Equity Sport to knit a sample fingerless mitt for the shop, a garment it’s well suited to. I also think it would make lovely hats and sweaters.

When we saw that there was an Equity Fingering as well, we had to get both. I think it would be perfect for colorwork projects, or on a bigger needle for draping shawls and cowls.

On the last day of market, we came back to Sincere Sheep to order a third yarn: Luminous, a dk weight blend of Tussah Silk and Polwarth wool. Polwarth is another finewool, like Merino and Rambouillet, but one with a slight sheen and greater strength from longer fibers. Luminous comes in big, 330 yard skeins, enough to do a generous scarf, cowl, or small shawl. We got two patterns from designer Kira Dulaney that call for dk weight yarn with single skeins of Luminous in mind.

Come by the shop to see these gorgeous yarns from Sincere Sheep!

KnitScene.

The Fall issue of KnitScene is here, with more fodder for our cold-weather daydreams.

This issue offers sweaters, shawls, and accessories, one of which stood out to me in particular. These cabled fingerless mitts are made out of Zitron Kimono, a sport-weight blend of merino wool and silk that we happen to stock at the shop.

Come by the shop to snag this latest issue of KnitScene, and at 15% off during July, no less. See you soon!

Hello, Firefly.

A new yarn from Classic Elite has just landed at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Say hello to Firefly.

Firefly is a sport-weight yarn with a bit of a sheen to it, composed of 75% rayon and 25% linen. It has arrived just in time for spring and summer knitting and crochet, and looks to be a good choice for lightweight scarves, shawls, and garments where drape is key.

A new pattern booklet from Classic Elite, Peabody Path, features Firefly, and is a good starting place for those seeking a use for this yarn.

Find the yarn and its booklet on the teacart, and look for Firefly in action on Anne’s needles; she couldn’t wait to start swatching as soon as this yarn came in!

60 More Quick Baby Knits.

60 More Quick Baby Knits is the latest collection of patterns for the popular Cascade yarns, focusing this time on Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, a lightweight washable merino wool.  

60 More Quick Baby Knits is well described by its simple title; inside, you’ll find everything baby: sweaters, booties, onesies, hats, blankets, sleep sacks, and more. There’s a nice variety of patterns, as you might expect in a group as big as 60, from simple texture patterns to cables, lace, and colorwork. Something for every knitter with a baby project in mind.

Find it on the shelf with all our baby books. See you at the shop!

Vogue Knitting.

Another Spring knitting magazine has found us.

The Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Vogue Knitting is brimming with shawls and shells, tunics and tees. This one is made with Debbie Bliss Eco Baby yarn, a sport-weight organic cotton, and I think it makes good use of the available colors, which play so well together.

Find the magazine on the teacart and the yarn on the shelf. See you at the shop!