Show and tell: sweaters.

For me, there’s something very special about sweaters. I love making them because the process changes every few inches–different stitch patterns, needle sizes, new shaping, parts, and pieces keep it interesting throughout. Here are some of the finished sweaters we’ve seen at the shop recently, all of whom started life as skeins of yarn on our shelves.


Here Rosi models her “Sonora,” knit with two strands of Shibui Pebble and one strand of Shibui Linen held together throughout. Rosi knit this beautiful, wearable top last year, but I didn’t get a chance to capture it until just a few weeks ago. I love this mustard yellow color, and I love seeing multiple yarns put together to create a unique fabric. Bravo, Rosi!


Here’s Leslie’s “Sundottir,” knit in Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed and Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Worsted. Colorwork yokes like this are my passion and my weakness – this just looks like so much fun to knit!


I finished a summer top not long ago, “Dafne,” by Julie Hoover, knit in the discontinued-but-still-in-stock Berroco Linen Jeans. I was moved to knit this by the exquisite armhole shaping, an esoteric inspiration, perhaps, but one that proved satisfying in the knitting.


Baby sweaters are just as fun to knit as adult sweaters, and so much faster! Here’s Paula’s “Milly Tank Top,” knit in Ewe So Sporty.


Thanks to all the sweater knitters who begin their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! To those whose first sweaters are still ahead of them, we offer encouragement and support–we’re happy to help along the way!

Anne’s gifts-in-progress.

“What are you working on?” is knitters’ small talk, a question Anne and I encounter and ask many times a day here at the shop. Today, we’ll pose the question to Anne herself, taking a rare peek in her personal knitting bag.


Just how much does a large Binkwaffle dumpling bag hold? If you pack as skillfully as Anne, no less than seven works in progress in various stages of completion!


Anne is a tremendously generous knitter who loves clothing her family in handknits, and she’s also a project manager. That means she’s already planned her holiday gift-knitting for the year, completed the first piece (a twirly skirt for her eldest granddaughter), and started on the next few. The sweater above is for her husband, a “Honeycomb Pullover” in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.


These two skeins of Swans Island All American Sport are destined to become colorwork gloves for her husband. The socks below are for her grandsons, in Colinette Jitterbug and Noro Silk Garden Sock. She’ll work on both pairs at once, switching back and forth between the blue and striped socks until they’re completed. Also note how she stores them safely in DP Wip Tubes, so none of those tiny stitches slide off the needles!



These two skeins of Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone DK will grow up to be a cuddly “Fancy Hen” for Anne’s youngest granddaughter, who gets lots of handknit hand-me-downs, but still deserves something all her own.


Quick to knit and easy to wear, hats and cowls are go-to gifts for many knitters, and Anne has one of each in progress. The hat above was knit in the discontinued Shibui Merino Alpaca, and sits nearly finished with just one lingering question: does it need a pom-pom? The cowl below is a bit of a teaser, since all I can say is that the yarn it’s made of is coming to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop later this Fall. More soon!


(Outside of this particular knitting bag, she also has three sample sweaters going for the shop… more on those another time.)

Are you dreaming of handmade holiday gifts for your friends and family? Follow in Anne’s footsteps and start now, so you’re not limited to late nights, super-bulky yarns and tiny accessories towards the end of the year!

Interweave Knits.

The 20th Anniversary issue of Interweave Knits is here!


This Fall 2016 issue is packed with cozy sweaters, and many of them are knit in yarns we carry here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. The colorwork sweater below was knit in one of my personal favorites, Swans Island All American Sport.


Not only is the “Comanche Hill Cardigan” knit in a familiar yarn, it was also designed by a familiar knitter, Kathryn Folkerth. Though she now lives in Tanzania, Kathryn is a HYS regular when she’s in town, and we’re so excited to see her work in Interweave!


Flipping through this issue, I saw more of my personal favorites: Fibre Company Cumbria Worsted in the “Rawah Pullover” above, Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone DK in the “Calder Pullover” below, Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift in the fair isle “Fall River Vest” … yes, this issue is dedicated to wooly, toothy sweater yarns!



Mary Jane Mucklestone’s article on steeking is a good introduction to the subject of cutting your knitted fabric, a technique often used in colorwork cardigans and vests.


Look for Interweave Knits on the teacart here at the shop, tucked in with the latest books and magazines. See you there!

TNNA snapshot: more.

Yesterday’s snapshot posts only offer a tiny glimpse into the whirlwind that is TNNA. We saw lots of other familiar faces, not to mention plenty of new ones.  Heather at Ewe Ewe was showing her new Baa Baa Bulky, the thickest yet in her line of squishy superwash merino yarns.  We also made our annual stop at the Swans Island booth to admire their singular naturally dyed yarns, and to refill our emptying bins of the stuff back home.  Baa Ram Ewe is always a favorite booth of mine. Verity was there showing new designs and colors in Dovestone DK, along with a lovely new yarn.  

Now it’s time to head home, exhausted but excited, our minds abuzz with new ideas. The shop will be open at our regular business hours tomorrow; see you there!

Swans Island Limited Edition Ikat.

There’s a brand new, limited edition color in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering, and we’re delighted to have it here at the shop! These unique blue and white skeins are hand-dyed with natural indigo using an Indonesian dyeing technique called Ikat. Hanks of undyed merino wool are tied tightly with cord, and the portions of the skeins that are wrapped resist the dye, creating a variegated colorway.


Indigo is a pigment rather than a dye, so you can expect to find blue streaks on your hands after knitting with indigo-dyed yarns for a while. Rest assured, it comes off easily with soap and water, and wont continue to crock once you’ve washed your finished project, rinsing til the water runs clear. I’ve written about indigo-dyed yarns here on the blog before; click here to read more.


Each 100 gram skein of this yarn boasts 525 yards, plenty for a pair of mitts, a hat, scarf, or shawl. Patterns with simple stitch patterns will allow this colorful yarn to shine; think “Sumatra Mitts,” “Hitchhiker,” or “Ahull.”

Look for a special Ikat-dyed skein tucked into our basket of Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering. See you at the shop!

Show and tell: shawls.

Here’s another batch of show and tell, projects that started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. They all happen to be shawls, whether rectangular or triangular, colorful or monochrome, textured or lacey.


Judy knit this “Wiggle Wrap” with two contrasting colorways of the self-striping Kauni Effektgarn. One ball subtly shifted from purple to blue and back again, while the other ran through a full rainbow of colors. The effect is striking, livening up this feather-and-fan type chevron pattern.


Feather and fan does not always need livening up, however; Sherri knit this elegant shawl for her daughter-in-law-to-be, using Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed. The classic lace pattern and subtle color variation work together, each giving the other room to shine. Well done, Sherri!


Cat came in with two finished shawls to share. Above is her “Stripe Study Shawl,” all garter stitch and short rows, knit in Reynolds Soft Sea Wool. Below is her “Emiliana,” knit in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.


“Emiliana” is decorated with mosaic knitting, a colorwork technique where some stitches are slipped and others are knit, allowing for the appearance of stranded colorwork with only one yarn in use on any given row.


I knit a mosaic shawl recently myself, Jennifer Dassau’s “Sundry,” using Fibre Company Cumbria Fingering. It went by quickly and easily, and the yarn is one I’ll definitely use again. In fact, I spent many of my knitting hours with this yarn daydreaming about sweater patterns that would suit it.


Look for this “Sundry” shawl on the wall here at the shop, and perhaps you’ll happen upon some of the show-and-tell we are lucky enough to encounter on a daily basis. Thanks to the knitters who shared these shawls with us, and to all those who start their projects here!

Show and tell: hats.

We love to see what yarns from the shop grow up to be, and as I’m often taking pictures of these finished pieces, my collection of show-and-tell photos continues to grow. Time to share some of the projects you’ve so generously shared with us! Today, let’s look at hats.


Above is Jeannie’s “Seathwaite,” a free cabled hat pattern by Kate Gagnon Osborn, of Kelbourne Woolens. Jeannie used one skein of Fibre Company Cumbria Worsted, a wool and mohair blend that is smooth and well-suited to show off these cables.


Judie does love her “Dustland Hats.” Here’s her latest, knit with Malabrigo Arroyo, using smaller needles than the pattern calls for, and casting on for the largest size to make up the difference in gauge.


Laura made this “Prim” hat and a pair of “North Country Mitts” using Swans Island All American Worsted. I like how they go together without being overtly matchy. She came back for a sweater’s worth of this exceptional yarn; I can’t wait to see how it comes out!


Eileen knit these “Monogrammed Hats for Everyone” with Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, a quick knit with adorable results. The letters were embroidered onto the finished hats with duplicate stitch, and this free pattern from the Purl Bee provides charts for every letter in the alphabet, along with a duplicate stitch tutorial.

I so love capturing these finished pieces, and hopefully some of the satisfaction they bring to their makers. Thank you, as always, for bringing your work into the shop to share with us, and for starting your projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop!


Just when cold weather finally begins here in North Carolina, the Spring 2016 issue of KnitScene arrives.


This issue features lots of yarns that can be found at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


A hat in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering, a shawl in Fibre Company Road to China Lace, a cardigan in Berroco Artisan



I also spotted a sweater in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, along with a tutorial showing how to create those vertical stripes with crochet slip stitch.



Designer Amy Christoffers penned another handy tutorial, showing how to pick up stitches.


Look for KnitScene on the teacart here at the shop! See you there.

More October show and tell.

One of our greatest joys as yarn-shopkeepers is seeing what knitters, crocheters, and weavers make with our yarns. I’m always collecting photos of finished projects as they come through the shop for show and tell, letting them build up until I have enough for a blog post. It’s rare that I have enough for two show-and-tell posts in a month, but October has been one such month.


When Sidney felt the first Autumn chill in the air, she saw a need in her wardrobe for a cowl. She came to the shop seeking yarn for Katherine Vaughan’s “Here and There and Everywhere,” and settled on Malabrigo Rios. It was hardly a week before she walked in wearing it, but, as she pointed out, it’s amazing how quickly you can knit when you need something. I love the way the guernsey-style texture pattern looks in this semi-solid yarn.


Here’s my “Kaarina Pullover,” knit in Swans Island All American Sport. I finished it in the middle of the Swans Island Trunk Show, so I hung it up here at the shop with the rest of the All American Sport garments til the show ends on November 1st, 2015.


I’m happy with how it came out, and especially happy with the yarn. It was springy and soft in the hand, and softer still after blocking. I’m looking forward to putting it on soon!


Anne has a newly-finished sweater on the wall here, too; here’s her “Slope,” knit in Shibui Twig. Like many Shibui patterns, “Slope” looks deceptively simple at first glance. Take a closer look at the pattern, and you’ll find smart, carefully-chosen design elements. You might just learn a new cast-on or short-row technique along the way–Anne did!


Here’s Sue’s latest scarf, woven on her Schacht Cricket Loom. For warp, she used Isager Alpaca 1, and for weft, she used Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. These two yarns are alike in color, but very different in fiber content and texture, and the resulting fabric is both fascinating and understated.


Thanks to everyone who brings in projects to share with us, whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the process. We love to see what you’re working on, and feel lucky to be surrounded by such creative and talented people. Hope to see you at the shop soon!

Triangle Yarn Crawl.

The Triangle Yarn Crawl is a self-guided tour of local yarn shops, where knitters and crocheters get together and hop from one shop to the next, shopping, entering raffles, and seeing the full breadth of available fibers. They happen twice a year, and the time has come again: the Autumn 2015 crawl is coming up this weekend on October 24th and 25th!


Each local yarn shop has something special to offer, and we’re no exception: all in-stock kits are 10% off during the yarn crawl!


The yarn crawl also coincides with our Swans Island Trunk Show, another special something to see when you visit the Hillsborough Yarn Shop this weekend. We’re offering a 10% discount on all in-stock Swans Island yarns during the trunk show, so be sure to check out our full selection, from fingering weight to sport weight to dk weight to worsted weight!


There’s a bag of goodies at each of the participating shops, a raffle prize full of yarn, patterns, and more. Some of its contents are donated by TYC sponsors, and others come from our own collection here at the shop. Here’s some of what we tucked into the raffle prize.


We’ve included one skein of Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect self-patterning sock yarn, another of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, and a bundle of notions and yarn samples from Fibre Company. Think of it as your own private yarn tasting, allowing you to try all of the delightful yarns Fibre Company has to offer before investing in a project’s-worth of yarn.


We’re lucky to live in such a fiber-friendly part of the world, with so many choices available to us, and the Triangle Yarn Crawl is a great time to see all of those choices. Come see us as you’re crawling along!


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!