New American Knits.

Meet the newest book to arrive on our teacart: Amy Christoffers’ New American Knits.


Inspired by American artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Richard Serra, and Jasper Johns, Christoffers has designed a collection of sweaters and accessories to knit and wear.


The wearability of these garments was clearly first and foremost in Christoffers’ mind; they all look like wardrobe staples, comfortable and timeless.

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Many of these designs are made in yarns we carry at the shop, favorites, no less–the likes of Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted, Fibre Company Acadia and Savannah, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and Sincere Sheep Equity Sport.



Look for New American Knits among the newest books and magazines at the shop, and come in during July to get it at 15% off!


A reminder: all sales are final on discounted items. There can be no returns or exchanges, nor special orders–the discount applies only to what we currently have in stock.

Show and tell.

It’s time again for show-and-tell! We’re fortunate to see many knit and crochet projects come through the shop, and when I’m able, I like to photograph them and share them here on the blog.


René brought in her “Celeste,” a beautiful beaded lace shawl knit in Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering.


René designed, named, and knit this shawl for her sister, and the pattern can be found in Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders. 


Jane fell in love with Grace Anna Farrow’s “Twinleaf” shawl at last year’s Fibre Company Trunk Show and recently completed one of her own.


Knit in Fibre Company Meadow, this two-color garter stitch shawl is elegant in its simplicity, decorated with thin stripes and shaped with short-rows. I love Jane’s color-combination: ”Fennel” and “Cornflower.”


Rosi finished her “One-Skein Zigzag Cowl” in Mirasol Nuna, as part of our informal “Zigzag Cowl” Knit-Along. Look for it at the shop in the sport-weight section, alongside my cowl in Ewe So Sporty.


I have a little show and tell, too. A few months ago, I designed and knit this little sweater for my niece, using three shades of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport.


I gathered some of my favorite books to guide me, using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s updated Knitting Workshop for seamless sweater construction, Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters for sizing, and Mary Jane Mucklestone’s 200 Fair Isle Motifs for some of the patterning. I had so much fun making this thing that it almost didn’t matter if it fit her or not–but I am so delighted that it does, and that she likes wearing it!


Thanks to everyone who starts and completes their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We feel so lucky to be part of your creative process.

Show and tell: scarves, cowls, and colorwork.

Speaking of show-and-tell: knowing how much we love to see projects made in HYS yarns, so many of you have brought impressive finished pieces by the shop this past month or so. We’ve seen knit sweaters, scarves, and hats, crocheted cowls and shawls, fingerless mitts, stuffed bunnies, and more, many of which were thoughtfully crafted as gifts for friends and family. As usual, I wish I could photograph them all; here are some of the projects you’ve shared with us lately.


Victoria wove this scarf for her son using three different yarns: the fingering weight Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine and Colinette Jitterbug, and the dk weight Sandnes Garn Alpakka. I love the bold color combination and the herringbone pattern.

DSCN2329If you’ve come by the shop lately to see our newest yarns, we’ve likely ushered you into the lace weight corner to admire the Shibui yarns. Where once you’d find my Mix No. 23 cowl hanging near the Shibui patterns, now you’ll find Amy’s, made up in the delightful Shibui Cima. Amy is now teaching a class at the shop on this double-knit cowl, so I’m hoping to see even more Mix No. 23’s in the coming months. (Intrigued by Shibui? There are still a few open spaces in our upcoming Shibui Mix Partysign up and join us!)


Mary made this “Drop Stitch Cowl” in no time, using 3 balls of the super soft, super bulky Katia Fabula. I always love to see how drop stitch patterns change the way colors fall in variegated yarns, and this cowl is no exception. Mary reports that Fabula became even softer and more pliable after a Eucalan soak. The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry, and would also look great in Malabrigo Mecha or Mountain Fusion Teton, among others.


Anne recently knit a cowl, too, one which she has worn every day since completing it. And no wonder: it’s made with one skein of the luxurious Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, a blend of alpaca, merino, and bamboo. The pattern is “Cumberland,” available for purchase at the shop as a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale. Come by the shop to pick up a skein of Canopy Worsted for your own Cumberland Cowl, and you’ll likely find Anne wearing hers.


Anne has also been hard at work making colorwork vests in preparation for her upcoming Intro. to Fair Isle class. The class project is Onslow’s Vest, a free pattern for a tiny vest, fit for a doll or stuffed bear. Thinking of her grandchildren, Anne substituted the bulky Cascade Eco+, with larger needles to match, and came out with the following.


Of course, with one little girl vest behind her, Anne has begun the first of two little boy vests for her twin grandsons. For those, she’s chosen the soft and springy Swans Island Organic Washable DK–a lighter weight fabric will better serve her boys in these Southern climes.



Thanks again for sharing your projects with us! We so love seeing what you create with yarns from the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Show and tell: shawls and wraps, Swans Island, capes, and caps.

We love it when knitters and crocheters come to the shop with finished garments to share. It happens even more frequently than I can pull out my camera to document these projects; still and all, I have a beautiful bunch of show-and-tell photos to share here today. I hope you find them as inspiring as we do!


Margie knit this incredible lace cape in about three weeks, a testament to her perseverance and to the pleasures of lace-knitting.


There are times in life that call for simple, soothing projects, and times when we’d rather work on challenging projects that keep us thinking as we stitch–this belongs to the second category. The pattern is “Lady’s Circular Cape in Shell Pattern,” from the fantastic Victorian Lace Today, and the yarn is Isager Tvinni.


Katherine is a teacher here at the shop, offering a variety of project-based classes for knitters and crocheters alike. Above is her Guernsey Wrap, knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I love this pairing of yarn and pattern; the 50/50 blend of wool and alpaca is structured enough to show the texture patterns and soft enough to drape gently in this generous rectangular shawl.


Many of Katherine’s students are knitting their own Guernsey Wraps in Ultra Alpaca, too, though I know that one is working with Fibre Company Canopy Worsted–I can’t wait to see all these Guernsey-Wraps-to-be!


Katherine also brought in her Belle Epoque shawl, a crochet design by Kira Dulaney. Katherine’s shawl is crocheted in Baa Ram Ewe Titus Shades, a special yarn for a special project.


Last week, Chris came in wearing this cuddly cowl she knit in Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted. The pattern is “Anna Cowl,” a loop scarf long enough to wrap twice around one’s neck, and decorated with lace and garter stitch. From the provisional cast-on to a careful blocking, Chris did a great job, and finished her cowl just in time for cold weather. Look for the “Anna Cowl” and other patterns for Swans Island yarns in the Swans Island pattern binder.


Rosi has been working with the Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted, too. She used it to design and knit this stunning aran sweater with the guidance of Janet Szabo’s “Follow-the-Leader Aran Knit-along Workshop.” Swans Island is a great yarn for cable patterns; this sweater really shows the yarn’s sharp stitch definition, as well as the knitter’s precision and attention to detail.


Just as I anticipated, Anne’s third grandchild hat was on and off the needles in no time. A variation on “Wurm,” a free Ravelry download, this whimsical little hat is knit with String Theory Merino DK, with embellishments in Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK.



Thanks to everyone who starts, works on, and shares their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We love to see what’s coming off your needles and hooks.

Interweave Knits.

The Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Knits is here, full of cozy garments and accessories for cold weather wear.


I’ve been on the lookout for textured pullovers lately, and there’s no shortage in this issue. From simple knit/purl texture patterns to loopy, intertwining cables, these promise to be as pleasing to knit as they are to wear.




For some knitters, cold weather means starting big projects, wooly sweaters and warm blankets; for others, it means that friends and family are suddenly asking for hats and scarves, and perhaps one’s own ears are chilly, as well. Small projects like those work up quickly, and it’s quite satisfying to bind off and immediately don whatever has just left your needles. Here are two hats that are knit with just one skein of incredibly tempting yarn, the first in Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted and the second in Fibre Company Canopy Worsted.



Come by the shop to pick up a copy of Interweave Knits and plan your next project, whether large or small!

Back in stock: Swans Island.

Along with the brand new Swans Island Organic Washable DK, we also recently stocked up on our supply of Swans Island Organic Merino in both fingering and worsted weights. At market, Melissa from Swans Island showed us these two Dyer’s Choice Limited Edition colors, Orchid and Plum, and Anne, with a slight swoon, immediately ordered them in fingering weight.


They fit nicely into the now somewhat amazing palette of rosy pinks and reds that we currently have in stock in this yarn.


Aside from those two, the other colors we ordered were familiar ones, favorites that find their way into HYS shopping bags again and again, destined for lacy shawls and scarves, cozy cowls, and special sweaters.




Meanwhile, we also doubled our stock of Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted, filling in missing colors and making sure we had enough for the Fall season.






Swans Island Organic Merino are some of the squishiest, softest merino yarns around, and the natural dyes make for truly unique and beautiful colorways. Each skein is a thing of beauty, and the result of loving, hard work by the skilled craftspeople of Swans Island Blankets. If you haven’t treated yourself to a skein of it yet, consider doing yourself the kindness. One 525 yard skein in fingering weight is enough for a scarf or shawlette, and one 250 yard skein in worsted weight is plenty for a hat and mitts, or decent-sized cowl or scarf. Look to the Swans Island pattern binder for ideas and inspiration for how to use that special skein. See you at the shop!

Hello, Swans Island Organic Washable.

For three years now, we have visited the Swans Island booth at TNNA to place orders for their exceptionally soft merino yarns which are hand-dyed in Maine. Many of our knitters have made sweaters, shawls, hats, and mitts with these yarns, then come back for more, telling us how nicely they behave on and off the needles. When we arrived at market this year to find that Swans Island had created a machine-washable yarn, we knew we had to have it.


Swans Island have made this dk weight yarn machine-washable using a new-to-the-US 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.


I knit a little baby vest for the shop using a few skeins we picked up at market,  thinking how perfectly suited this yarn is to heirloom baby knits: buttery soft, minimally processed, organic, yet still machine-washable. I alternated skeins to keep this subtly semi-solid shade from pooling, and I’m glad I did; one skein was slightly darker than the other, and working back and forth between the two balls of yarn was a painless way to blend them.


The pattern is “Cabled Vest,” from Susie Haumann’s All You Knit is Love, a collection of knits for babies ages 0-18 months. The pattern calls for two Isager yarns held together, but the gauge is 5.25 stitches per inch, which is perfectly achievable using a single strand of dk weight yarn.


Besides baby things, Swans Island Organic Washable is perfect for adult garments as well as accessories. Its round shape and plump, springy quality give it excellent stitch definition for cables and other texture patterns. One 140 yard skein is plenty for a pair of Welting Fantastic Mitts, and another two will make a matching cowlA Ravelry search sorting by gauge, looking only at patterns calling for dk weight yarns, kept me daydreaming for longer than I’d like to admit, scrolling through patterns for sweaters, shawls, and socks.


Look for the Swans Island Organic Washable yarn in the second room of the shop, sharing the spotlight with Alchemy and Smooshy with Cashmere. It’s an exciting time to visit the shop, as there seem to be new yarns arriving every week. See you there!

Kira K Designs and Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales.

Yesterday’s blog post was all about the latest Kira K patterns we’ve stocked at the shop. Kira Dulaney is a prolific designer of both knit and crochet garments, however, and we wanted our knitters and crocheters to be able to see her whole collection. Kira, like many designers, has made her patterns available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales. This means that you can buy them at the shop, have us print a copy for you, and also know that a digital copy is saved in your Ravelry pattern library or sent to your email.


We now have a Kira K Designs binder at the shop with sample copies of all her patterns, so you can take a closer look at them before you decide to buy. If you find one you like in the sample pattern binder, just let us know and we’ll do a Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sale so you can have a print and digital copy of your own.




Flipping through this varied collection of knit and crochet patterns, I noticed some familiar yarns put to good use. This cardigan is made in Cascade Ultra Pima, a dk weight mercerized cotton with a lovely sheen.


This textured hat is made in Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted, a great way to use a skein of this special yarn.


Many knitters have admired the Gemini tee hanging in the shop that’s made in Katia Linen–here’s another summery top made in the same yarn, a dk weight blend of cotton and linen.


There are so many more Kira K patterns tucked into this binder: skirts, hats, gloves and mitts, scarves and cowls, sweaters and jackets and children’s garments. Be sure to take a look next time you’re in the shop, you may find your next project there!

Kira K Designs, for crocheters and knitters alike.

We were first acquainted with designer Kira Dulaney at last year’s TNNA, when we found her booth alongside Sincere Sheep, offering patterns for Sincere Sheep Equity Sport. This year we visited her booth again, remembering that she offered as many crochet patterns as knitting patterns, and filled up on both. We’ve seen a resurgence of interest in crochet of late, with more and more of our knitters becoming “bilingual,” including myself. Thumbing through the patterns as I unpacked them last week, I kept thinking of yarns that would pair well with each one.


This crocheted shawl was even more beautiful in person than in the photo, and would be lovely made up in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere.


This openwork crocheted scarf or wrap calls for sport weight yarn, immediately bringing two of our favorite sport weight yarns to mind: String Theory Selku and Malabrigo Arroyo.


Both the above and below crocheted hats call for fingering weight yarn, so there are plenty of tempting choices. String Theory Bluestocking, Ultra Alpaca Fine, Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering, Mountain Colors Bearfoot… I could play this game all day.


Look for all of these patterns in the Crochet Patterns binder by the front window!


We got a few new Kira K patterns for knitting, too. This one also calls for fingering weight, so all of the yarns I’ve mentioned would be great choices for this cabled hat, along with Malabrigo Sock, Isager Highland, and Titus.


This knit cowl and mitt set calls for worsted to aran weight yarn, and the silvery purple/gray color it’s shown in made me think of these shades in Ultra Alpaca and Lustra.

Inspired by Kira K Designs? There are plenty more beyond these; all of Kira Dulaney’s designs are available as Ravelry In-Store Pattern Sales. More on that in tomorrow’s blog post. Come by the shop to see these newest yarns and patterns, and pair them up for your next project!

A new color from Swans Island.

Last month’s Swans Island Trunk Show inspired many knitters to create garments with Swans Island’s organic merino wool yarns, which put quite a dent in our supply of the stuff. Last week, we placed an order of Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering in some of the most-loved colorways to replenish our stash: Fig, Winterberry, Oatmeal, Beetroot, Early Thyme, and several other deliciously-named colors. We also got the last bag of Sugar Maple, a limited edition color for Fall, and a first bag of this winter’s Limited Edition Dyer’s Choice: Reindeer Moss.

Reindeer Moss is a lovely, muted sage, which puts it somewhere between Early Thyme and Tarragon in terms of color value.

We also restocked the patterns that were most popular during the Trunk Show, some of which call for Swans Island Worsted, and some of which call for the Fingering.

Come by the shop to see Reindeer Moss in person, and give the Swans Island yarns a good squeeze. See you there!