Snow day show and tell.

The shop was closed today for inclement weather, and as the snow quietly fell this morning, Anne texted me some knitterly show-and-tell from her friend Sherri. A snow day is a good one for show-and-tell; let’s take a peek at some of the recently-completed projects that started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Above, Sherri’s daughter in law models the Churchmouse “Easy Folded Poncho” Sherri knit for her with Shibui Dune, a soft and lustrous blend of alpaca, camel, and silk.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a bundle of colorwork projects here on the blog, only to have Judie walk through our door the next day wearing this beautiful sweater. Consider this an addendum! The pattern is Courtney Kelley’s “St. Brendan,” and the yarn is the rustic yet luxurious Fibre Company Arranmore. Judie changed the color palette just slightly from the pattern photo, switching the ribbing color from dark gray to a warm camel – a small adjustment that makes a big difference and looks great.

Above is the first of Margaretta’s “January Mitts,” knit with Fibre Company Cumbria Fingering. I have a special fondness for this yarn, as I’ve shared before, and it’s especially nice to see its sharp stitch definition in this lace and bobble pattern.

Speaking of Fibre Company yarns and of sharp stitch definition, here’s Leah’s exquisitely textured “Arctic Circle” cowl, knit with Fibre Company Tundra. This was her first project after completing a Beginning Knitting class here at the shop, and it’s clear it wont be her last – well done, Leah!

Loretta knit this “Arrowhead Shawl” with Swans Island All American Worsted, a soft yet sturdy blend of US-sourced Rambouillet wool and alpaca. The traditional guernsey stitch patterns are placed on a stockinette background for a subtle effect, one that’s harder to capture on camera than it is to perceive in person.

Thanks to all who begin their projects with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and thanks especially for bringing them back to share your work with us! Hope everyone stayed safe and warm this snowy weekend, and spent some time stitching. We’ll be open again at our regular hours on Tuesday, January 10th.

Shibui Sample of the Month: Trace.

December is here, and with it, a new Shibui Sample of the Month! We offer a 10% discount on Shibui yarns purchased for our featured sample til the end of the month.


Our current Shibui Sample of the Month is “Trace,” by Shellie Anderson, a simple stockinette pullover framed by ribbing along the sides and bottom edge.


The main body of the sweater is knit with Shibui Maai, a soft blend of merino and alpaca plied into a springy chainette.


The ribbed details are knit with Shibui Pebble and Cima held together throughout, with tweedy Pebble providing a slight contrast even in a matching colorway; here are sets of all three yarns in “Trail” and “Pollen” to illustrate.



You can also up the contrast by selecting Pebble in a different colorway entirely; here’s Maai and Cima in “Brownstone” with a pop of Pebble in “Poppy.”


We’re offering a 10% discount on Maai, Cima, and Pebble purchased for this project til the end of the month, so come by the shop to see it before December 31st!


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

Arranmore Collection Trunk Show!

Yesterday we were pleasantly surprised to receive a highly-anticipated trunk show a full week earlier than expected. Come by the shop to see the Kelbourne Woolens Arranmore Collection in person!


This group of cozy garments and accessories is named for the yarn it features: Fibre Company Arranmore, a bulky weight tweed composed of merino, cashmere and silk.


One of the most notable qualities of Arranmore is its loftiness in spite of its bulky gauge. Sweaters knit in bulky yarn can droop and sag with time, but Arranmore holds its shape, warm but not heavy.

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Anne’s completed “Carrowkeel” hangs with this show, though if you’ve been to the shop in the last month or so you’ve likely seen it already. It’s such a classic, this simple stockinette turtleneck, and it looks even better on than it does on the wall. Though the wall is where it’s lived since she sewed its last seam, I did convince her to pose for a photo.


Look for the Arranmore Collection Trunk Show here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, on display until November 27th! Perhaps you’ll find your next project among the collection. See you at the shop!

New colors in Baa Ram Ewe Titus.

Yes, those four new shades in Dovestone DK also came in Titus, Baa Ram Ewe’s signature yarn.


Titus is a fingering weight blend of alpaca, wensleydale, and bluefaced leicester wools, sourced and spun entirely in the UK. We’re proud to have been the first US stockist of the stuff, back in 2012 when it came in just one color. Since then, Titus has been warmly embraced by knitters, crocheters, and weavers all over the world, and the palette has expanded considerably. Here’s just a sliver.


Beyond this group of colors, there are a range of blues, neutrals, pastels, and others. This growing collection of shades makes me think colorwork, my favorite knitting technique. To that end, I’m happy to report that we recently got two new colorwork sweater patterns designed for Titus by Marie Wallin.


Look for even more Titus inspiration on our “Fingering weight” Pinterest board. Come by the shop to see the full selection of Titus, and three shop samples knit with this special stuff to give you a tangible sense of the possibilities!

The Joy of Color.

An exciting new book is now available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop: The Joy of Color, by Janine Bajus.


Janine Bajus is a teacher and knitwear designer whose focus is color, especially in stranded colorwork. The Joy of Color is a workshop in a book, demystifying the process of designing a unique fair isle sweater from beginning to end.


Read through The Joy of Color and you’ll learn a bit of history, a bit of technique, terms for describing colors and strategies for combining them. There are amazing book recommendations at the end of each chapter, pointing out lots of great resources for those interested in color theory, fair isle knitting, and design. Bajus also teaches about finding, creating, and arranging colorwork motifs, as well as arranging colors within them.


It’s not a book of patterns, though you’ll see many glorious photos of the garments Bajus’s students have created under her tutelage. More importantly, they each share a bit about the process of creating those garments, from inspiration through swatching to finished sweater.


Look for The Joy of Color on the teacart in the front room, where the newest books and magazines gather to catch your eye and inspire your next project. See you at the shop!

Show and tell: Isager.

Time for more show and tell! Many of the knitters and crocheters who start their projects here at the shop bring them back when they’re done to show us their work, one of the most interesting and gratifying parts of our job as yarn-shopkeepers. When I’m able, I like to photograph those projects to share here on the blog, and I’ve amassed quite a collection of photos over the past month or so. Last week, I shared finished sweaters, but I confess, I was saving one for today’s post, because it overlaps with today’s theme: Isager.


Here’s Shelley’s incredible “Spring,” knit in Isager Spinni, a lace weight wool. Knit modularly, with each square building on the last, “Spring” features lace and intarsia, making this lightweight pullover a real labor of love. I admired Shelley’s color choice back when she first made her selection, but it’s even more impressive in the finished piece, those playful, colorful squares popping out against the larger neutral blocks.


Shelley was kind enough to lend us her sweater for a little while, so if you hurry in, you might catch it hanging on the wall.


Here’s another amazing piece knit in Isager Spinni: Annmarie’s “Rock Island.” She made this during a recent lace class here at the shop, and we were all blown away by how carefully she knit and blocked it. Well done, Annmarie!



Speaking of classes, this shawl is the subject of an upcoming crochet class. Katherine crocheted her “Transposition” with Isager Alpaca 2, a soft and fuzzy blend of merino and alpaca.


Join her class to learn the basics of triangular shawl construction, crochet pattern- and chart-reading, shell stitches, and blocking. Head to our Classes page to read all about it and sign up!


Sandra came in the other day to pick up some yarn she ordered at our recent Isager Yarn Tasting, and tucked in her bag was her “Stole,” knit in Isager Alpaca 2. She made an abbreviated version, in just 5 colors, but it’s the perfect size for carrying about in case of chilly air-conditioning.


Thanks to these knitters and crocheters for sharing their work with us, and for starting their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We look forward to seeing your newest creations, and watching your ideas come to life on your needles.

Hello, Shibui Drift.

Meet Shibui’s newest yarn, Drift!


Drift is a worsted weight blend of 85% extra fine merino wool and 15% cashmere, and it’s just as soft as its fiber content suggests.


Drift knits up between 4.5 and 5 stitches per inch on a US 8, a heavier gauge than we’re used to seeing from Shibui.


Like all of their yarns, Drift is designed to be mixed with other Shibui yarns for interesting effects: add a strand of Silk Cloud for a fuzzy halo, for example.


The Fall/Winter 2016 pattern collection, by Shellie Anderson, makes good use of Drift, as well as familiar Shibui yarns like Staccato, Cima, Dune, Maai, and Pebble. These garments continue in the Shibui tradition of modern, wearable pieces, designed with elegant simplicity but great attention to detail.


Come by the shop to meet Drift and see patterns from the new collection!


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!

The Arranmore Collection.

With the arrival of Fibre Company’s exciting new yarn, Arranmore, comes a predictably lovely pattern collection from the design team at Kelbourne Woolens.


Inspired by traditional Irish knitwear, the Arranmore Collection features six sweaters, two hats, and a scarf.The_Rosses_4_medium2

Tweed yarns like Arranmore liven up simple stockinette, to be sure, but they do equally well in texture and cable patterns, and bring nuance to stranded colorwork.


Anne’s knitting “Carrowkeel” as a sample for the shop, using Arranmore in “Meara,” a deep blue with flecks of cobalt and red.


This cozy turtleneck is designed to be worn with positive ease, and looks like perfect North Carolina winter outerwear to me.


Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a “Finn Valley” sample, using Arranmore’s “St. Claire,” a natural white with flecks of beige and pale blue that really lets the cables shine. I’m sorry to report that this color is currently on backorder; let us know if it tops your list so we can alert you when it arrives!


Look for the Arranmore Collection along with Arranmore yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop!


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!