Swans Island Trunk Show.

Our next trunk show of the season has arrived, featuring garments from Swans Island! We’re offering a 10% discount on all in-stock Swans Island yarn during the show, so come by soon to see it for yourself.

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We’ve got six garments here on display until November 1st, five sweaters and a hat and mitt set. All of them are knit in Swans Island’s newest yarn, All American Sport, a delightfully springy 100% Rambouillet wool that’s hand-dyed in a wide range of colors.

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These are just a few of the patterns from Swans Island’s All American Sport Collection, which features many different applications of two-color knitting. I’ve got Isabell Kraemer’s “Kaarina Pullover” on my needles now, and can hardly wait to wear it. Be sure to peruse our complete selection of patterns for All American Sport while you’re here admiring the trunk show!DSCN5164

Come in to see and touch garments made in this yarn for a good sense of how it works up, and enjoy a 10% discount on all in-stock Swans Island yarn during the show!

 

Just a reminder–all sales are final on discounted items; there can be no exchanges, returns, or special orders. Thanks! 

Show and tell, and lots of it.

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 good-sized blog post. There have been so many exciting new yarns at the shop this month that I’ve let the show and tell build up entirely too much. Settle in for a marathon show and tell post!

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Debbie brought her “Technicolor Cowl” in recently to show us how it came out. While the pattern calls for eight mini-skeins of Dream in Color Classy in eight different shades, she used just three shades, for a more intentional yet no less vibrant color combination.

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Here’s another finished product in Dream in Color yarn: Paula’s “In Threes,” knit in the decadent Classy with Cashmere.

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Paula came in with a bundle of show and tell, in fact. She knit this “Winter Woods Hat” from the 2014 issue of Interweave Knits Gifts using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. The combination of stripes, colorwork, and a little bit of lace intrigued her, and she executed all three perfectly.

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Paula’s “Cassandre Cowl” is particularly beautiful, with its grand colorwork motifs and delicate picot edging. The pattern is from Knitscene Accessories, 2014, and the yarn is the always delightful Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.

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Debra has been a busy knitter lately; she too came in with a bag full of finished projects to share. Above is her “Horse Beanie,” knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.

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Debra’s biggest knitting accomplishment of late has been this “Shetland Knee Rug and Throw,” from Martin Storey’s Scottish Knits, knit in the incomparable Fibre Company Acadia. On a real colorwork kick, she used the leftovers to design and knit this hat, incorporating a found chart of birds on a wire.

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Since purchasing a Schacht Cricket Loom, Sue’s show and tell has switched from knitting to weaving.

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She wove this scarf with a variety of plant fiber yarns, some solid, like Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub, and some variegated, like Linen Concerto.

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Sue has been particularly keen on weaving with variegated yarns, marveling, as I often do, at how differently those yarns behave in woven fabric than in knitted fabric.

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She came in with her loom to show us her latest project, made with the leftover yarn from a shawl she knit, studded with random stripes of Isager Alpaca 1 in a contrasting color. We laid the knit shawl next to the woven fabric on the loom and studied the differences, which colors stand out, how they pool and pattern.

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Kathryn dreamed up and knit this sweet polar bear sweater for her soon-to-be son using Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.

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I’m so impressed by this little sweater, from the classic color combination to her expertly self-designed colorwork charts to the perfect buttons. Bravo, Kathryn!

A hearty thanks to all the fiber artists who start their projects here and share their work with us! We love to see our yarns grow up into finished garments, and are so inspired by the work you do. See you at the shop!

Back in stock: Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.

Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering has been a favorite yarn from the moment it first arrived at the shop, back in 2011. It’s been so well-loved, in fact, that our basket of the stuff began to empty once again last month, leaving us with a paltry palette of just eight-or-so colors. Our recent Swans Island shipment remedied that, and how.

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We added eleven colors on this order, filling the basket quite nicely, indeed.

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The Natural Colors collection is so-named because its yarns are hand-dyed with plant-, mineral-, and insect-based natural dyes. One of those is indigo, used to create vivid blues, purples, and grays.

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Indigo has a tendency to rub off with the abrasion of knitting or crocheting, and will turn your fingers blue as you work with it. It washes off with soap and water, and shouldn’t continue to rub off once the finished piece is washed and rinsed til the water runs clear. I wrote a blog post awhile back about what to expect from indigo-dyed yarns, and Swans Island marks their indigo-based colors with a little tag, explaining the same.

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Over the years, we’ve seen glorious shawls and stunning sweaters made from this special yarn. It’s happy in stitch patterns from simple garter stitch to elegant lace, and one 525 yard skein goes a long way. For pattern inspiration, check out our Pinterest page online, or come to the shop to flip through the Swans Island pattern binder.

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Look for Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering in the fingering weight section of the shop. See you there!

Back in stock: Swans Island Organic Washable DK.

Our recent Swans Island shipment that brought the new All American Sport brought a few other goodies, too. We’ve restocked two of our favorite Swans Island yarns with new colors! Let’s begin with Organic Washable DK.

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Organic Washable DK is no ordinary superwash wool. Swans Island have made this dk weight yarn machine-washable using a process called Ecowash®, which coats the yarn with an organic compound rather than stripping the scales from the fiber. This helps to prevent felting and gives the Swans Island Organic Washable a softer hand than many other superwash wools.

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I recently knit a cowl with this soft, springy yarn, using a pattern of my own design, the “Welting Fantastic Cowl.”

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It’s a pleasing texture pattern, both in the process and the finished product, and this yarn is a perfect choice to show it off. I alternated skeins to minimize any pooling, working two rows from one skein, then two from the other, back and forth as if knitting stripes. I was glad I did, too; though I carefully selected three skeins from the same dyelot that looked harmonious, one turned out noticeably darker than the rest once I began knitting. Alternating skeins helped to create a consistent-looking fabric.

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Come by the shop to see our newly expanded palette of Swans Island Organic Washable DK, and try on my “Welting Fantastic Cowl” for size. If it strikes your fancy, note that I also wrote a pattern for matching fingerless mitts! Keep your eyes on the blog for more from Swans Island soon.

Swans Island All American Sport: patterns.

Swans Island has developed an outstanding yarn in All American Sport, and with it, an exciting collection of patterns.

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I’m so excited to see all this colorwork! From pullovers and cardigans to hats, mitts, and cowls, you’ll find many different applications of two-color knitting in this collection, many of which are suitable for first-time colorwork knitters.

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I had the opportunity to knit one of these patterns a few months ago, as Swans Island sent us a pair of sample skeins before the yarn was officially released. Here’s my “Paige Mitt,” a sample you’ll find on display here at the shop. I’m so pleased with how it came out, and loved the feel of the yarn in my hands along the way. All American Sport has lots of elasticity, one of my favorite qualities in a yarn.

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The colors in my sample are somewhat low-contrast, and though that’s something we often talk about avoiding when it comes to colorwork patterns, I like the effect.

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Selecting colors for colorwork projects can be intimidating. My strategy is to first identify the relationship between the colors used by the designer. How many light colors, how many medium, and how many dark? What color families do they belong to, where are they used, and how much contrast is there between them? From there, it’s easier to plug in other colors, so long as they relate to one another in a similar way. Since the “Paige Mitts” are shown in a low-contrast color combination, I came up with a few other such combinations, playing with the yarn as I unpacked it.

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The “Vivian Mitts,” on the other hand, are shown in a high-contrast color pair, edged with a third bright color.

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Here are a few possible colorways for the “Vivian Mitts” using that same color relationship.

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These couple of colorways are just the beginning; with 36 colors and a binder full of patterns to choose from, there’s no limit to what’s possible.

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Come by the shop to peruse the All American Sport pattern collection and play the color game as you plan your next project!

Hello, Swans Island All American Sport.

The newest yarn from Swans Island has arrived at the shop! Meet All American Sport.

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All American Sport is a 2-ply woolen-spun yarn composed of 100% Rambouillet wool, a little cousin of sorts to Swans Island All American Worsted. There are 185 yards on each 40 gram skein, every bit of which was grown, processed, spun, and dyed in the USA. This yarn is a unique combination of next-to-skin soft and holds-its-shape sturdy, and was created with stranded colorwork in mind. That’s why it comes in this huge selection of colors.

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For a newly released yarn from a small, thoughtful company, this is one outrageous color palette! There’s something for everyone and every project here, whether you favor brights, neutrals, pastels, or jewel tones.

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“Woolen-spun” means that the yarn is spun from fiber that has been carded, but not combed. The carding process organizes the fibers to some degree, but they are not as smoothly aligned as combed fibers, giving woolen-spun yarns a rustic look.

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Woolen-spun yarns like All American Sport are also quite lofty, making them versatile in terms of gauge. Swans Island suggests a gauge of 6 stitches per inch, but All American Sport is happy at a range of gauges. After washing, the fibers bloom to fill whatever space your needles have given them. The swatch above illustrates this, as I knit it using needles from US #3 – 6.

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Does it come as any surprise that I am utterly enamored of this yarn? I took so many pictures of it that there just isn’t room in one blog post, so you can look forward to a second installment soon, covering the glorious pattern collection that accompanies this special yarn. In the meantime, come by the shop to ooh and ahh over Swans Island All American Sport!

Summer show and tell.

Time for another round of show and tell! Here are some of the finished projects our knitters have shared with us recently.

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Conny brought in her stunning “Hitofude Cardigan,” knit in Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering.

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This clever design is knit all in one piece, an a-line lace cardigan that calls out for yarn with excellent drape. Conny’s “Hitofude” drapes beautifully, thanks to the soft, naturally-dyed Swans Island yarn.

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On their last trip to the shop, Sallie and Josie each picked up a few skeins of Trendsetter Soleil, an aran weight cotton yarn flecked with wooden beads and woven leaves. From there, they each designed a scarf with the stuff, knit simply to let this spirited yarn shine. We were so delighted to see them in these scarves on their next visit!

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Josie came with a second piece of show and tell, her completed “Technicolor Cowl,” knit in a mix of Dream in Color Classy and Malabrigo Rios.

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Phyllis just completed this exquisite baby blanket for her first grandchild, who is expected to appear within the week. Selecting stitch patterns from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia, she created her own design for this special piece, paying careful attention to the perfectly executed lace edging.

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The yarn is Malabrigo Sock, with excellent stitch definition for showing off the intricate lace, and a soft and squishy hand to boot.

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. Stay tuned for another batch of show and tell here soon!

Knitscene.

The latest issue of Knitscene is here!

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The Fall 2015 issue is packed with cozy garments and accessories, and flipping through it, I saw lots of familiar yarns. The clever “Tourlaville Shawl” is knit in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball, working stripes from two balls of the same self-striping colorway to great effect.

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Mari Chiba’s “Canted Pullover” is knit in Swans Island Organic Washable DK, a deliciously soft superwash wool.

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I was particularly struck by Leah B. Thibault’s “Cormac Sweater,” an openwork pullover ideal for autumn layering, and knit in none other than Shibui Maai.

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Look to this issue for lots of sweater inspiration, and a brioche tutorial, as well.

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Come by the shop to pick up a copy of Knitscene and peruse the latest magazines and books!

Knitting Traditions.

The Spring 2015 issue of Knitting Traditions is here!

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Knitting Traditions looks at the craft from a historical perspective, focusing on techniques and styles from all over the world and across time. This issue’s focus is adventure, telling historical tales of explorers and their knitted garments.

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The striped sweater on the cover is knit in Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted, and is one of a handful of men’s garments in this issue.

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I spotted another familiar yarn in Hunter Hammersen’s “Serpula Contortuplicata Socks” : Shibui Staccato.

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Look for Knitting Traditions among the latest publications on the teacart. See you at the shop!

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Show and tell: Swans Island All American Worsted.

We always love to see what you’re making with HYS yarns, and I love to take photos of your beautiful finished pieces to share here on the blog. I have a nice collection to share at the moment, enough for two blog posts. Today’s group all happen to be made in the same wonderful yarn: Swans Island All American Worsted, an aran weight blend of US-sourced Rambouillet wool and alpaca.

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Emily came into the shop last week wearing her newly-completed “Halyard,” by Norah Gaughan, which she knit using 6 skeins of All American Worsted in a deep, saturated cobalt shade called “Newport.” She lengthened the sleeves from 3/4 length to full length for a cozy winter pullover.

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I knit a sweater in All American Worsted recently, too. Here I am in my “Docklight,” by Julie Hoover. If you’ve been to the shop in the past month or two, you’ve probably seen me in it, as it’s become a favorite winter sweater. I’m thrilled with how it came out, and impressed with how the yarn is wearing. I used 6 skeins in “Frost,” a light blue-gray.

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Nancy knit this “Hourglass Throw” by Anne Hanson using 8 skeins of All American Worsted in a warm brown shade called “Driftwood.” The light color really shows off Hanson’s intricate cable and lace design. This was Nancy’s first time knitting cables, and they are expertly rendered. Well done!photo 2 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone else out there knitting with All American Worsted? Tell us what you’re making with it , and come in to show us, too!

Thanks to everyone who starts their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and to those who share their progress with us. Come by the shop to pick up some Swans Island All American Worsted for your next project, and keep your eye on the blog for more show and tell soon!