Hello, Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond is one of the newest yarns here at the shop, a colorful tweed from BC Garn in Denmark.

Loch Lomond is a 2-ply wool, a loosely-plied yarn with tweedy flecks whose label suggests needles between US 6 and 8 for a gauge of 4.5 stitches per inch. With 170 yards per 50 gram skein, Loch Lomond is light for a worsted weight, its gauge category as assigned by Ravelry.

As I unpacked our first BC Garn order, Anne and I surveyed the fine-looking yarn in front of us and the big-looking gauge on the label and raised an eyebrow each. Maybe it would grow or bloom with washing and blocking, we said to one another. There was nothing to do but swatch.

I got that happy assignment, and began knitting on US 6 needles, then switched to 7, then to 8, wanting to show the manufacturer’s suggested gauges. That swatch gave me a range of fabrics, with gauges of 5 stitches per inch, 4.75 stitches per inch, and 4.5 stitches per inch, respectively. All three are a little loose for my taste, so I knit a separate swatch on a US 5, which is my favorite of the group.

Anne had been eyeing Loch Lomond for Kate Davie’s popular “Carbeth,” a pullover knit with 2 strands of DK weight yarn held together throughout for a bulky gauge. I knit a third swatch with this pattern in mind, holding Loch Lomond double on a US 10.5 needle, which didn’t quite give me gauge for the pattern, though probably a 10 would do it.

The fibers did bloom with washing and blocking, filling in the empty spaces between stitches a bit, and the lightweight fabric that results is soft to the touch and pretty cohesive even on the larger needle sizes. As ever, the right needle size and pattern for this yarn depends upon what kind of fabric you want to get out of it; for a sturdy sweater, I’d aim for a DK gauge of 5.5 stitches per inch or so, but for an airy shawl, the worsted to aran gauges of 5 – 4.5 stitches per inch and more open fabric would be lovely. Consider Churchmouse’s “Easy Folded Poncho,” Jared Flood’s “Guernsey Wrap” at the DK gauge, Heidi Kirrmaier’s “Climb Every Mountain,” Hannah Fettig’s “Schoodic Cardigan,” and Carrie Bostick Hoge’s “Lucinda.”

Come by the shop to see and feel these swatches, or pick up a skein of Loch Lomond and make some swatches of your own!

Hello, Fibre Co. Arranmore Light.

We’re excited to announce that the newest yarn from Fibre Company is here: meet Arranmore Light!

A thinner version of the popular Arranmore, Arranmore Light is a DK weight tweed, composed of 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% silk. Both Arranmore yarns are spun in a mill that traces its roots to the tweed industry of 19th century County Donegal in Ireland.

Like any classic tweed, Arranmore Light is dotted with flecks of fiber in contrasting colors, and like any Fibre Company yarn, its colorways and fiber content have been thoughtfully fashioned.

Where Arranmore was lofty for its bulky gauge, Arranmore Light has drape for all-seasons garments and precision for cable and colorwork accessories.

Anne knit one such accessory with sample skeins acquired in advance of our order, thanks to Kelbourne Woolens, our US distributor of Fibre Company yarns.

“Candy Darling” is a hat and mitten set in high contrast colors, with stripes in all directions and playful geometric motifs. It’s part of the Kelbourne Woolens Pop Collection for Arranmore Light, inspired by fashion, music, and youth culture of the 1960’s. The Fibre Company themselves have come out with a new pattern collection: Fell Garth II. Look there for more sweaters knit with Arranmore Light and other Fibre Company yarns, and yet more pattern inspiration on our “DK weight” Pinterest board!

Come by the shop to plan your next project, and head straight for the DK weight section to admire Arranmore Light. See you there!

Hello, Fibre Company Arranmore.

We’re excited to announce the newest yarn from the Fibre Company, Arranmore!

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Arranmore is a bulky weight tweed, composed of 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% silk. It knits up quickly at a gauge of 3.5 – 4.25 stitches per inch, using US 8-10 needles. Though it’s thick and warm, it’s not heavy; with 175 yards on each 100 gram skein, it’s quite lofty for a bulky yarn.

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Arranmore is spun in a mill that traces its roots to the tweed industry of 19th century County Donegal in Ireland. Like any classic tweed, Arranmore is dotted with flecks of fiber in contrasting colors, and like any Fibre Company yarn, its colorways and fiber content have been thoughtfully fashioned. Read more about the fascinating process behind Arranmore on the Kelbourne Woolens blog!

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Anne picked up two sweaters-worth of Arranmore on our TNNA trip so we could have shop samples ready before our order even came in. Though we’ve been knitting as fast as we can, and Arranmore truly seems to knit itself some days, our sweaters are still on the needles.

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Keep your eye on the blog for more on the glorious pattern collection that accompanies Arranmore’s release!

Acadia Collection Trunk Show!

I’m happy to announce that a new Trunk Show has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! Come by soon to see the Fibre Company Acadia Collection.

DSCN5960This collection is named for the yarn it features: Acadia, a dk weight blend of merino, alpaca, and slubs of silk. The silk takes the dye differently than the other fibers, giving most colorways a rustic, tweedy appearance, which belies its luxuriously soft hand.

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The Acadia Collection is designed to show off this special yarn, and so it features classic, simple garments that walk the line between casual and elegant. DSCN5642

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So often we knit from instructions and sets of measurements and guesses about how a sweater will look or feel after we spend time creating it; a trunk show is a unique opportunity to experience a handknit garment before you put the work and money into making it, to be sure it’s what you want before you begin. Come by the shop before July 10th to see the Acadia Collection for yourself, to admire and try on these garments for size!

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New colors in Acadia.

Fibre Company recently introduced new colors in Acadia, a luxurious blend of merino wool, silk, and alpaca.

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We’ve carried Acadia for a few years now, and always delight in adding a new color or two. It’s amazing how just a few new shades deepen the color palette. Suddenly instead of one gray, we have a warm gray and a cool gray, and where we thought we were rich in purples, a deep eggplant shade emerges, expanding the spectrum.

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Anne and I have both been working with Acadia of late. Anne has an “Easy Folded Poncho” on the needles in Acadia’s warm gray, “Driftwood.”

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Last year, Fibre Company’s Courtney Kelley lent us an Acadia poncho that we missed after we sent it back; Anne’s poncho-in-progress will replace it on our walls. It’s nothing but stockinette, but the simplicity of the fabric lets Acadia shine, its silk slubs peeping out every now and then.

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I took three shades of Acadia home to weave a scarf on my Cricket loom, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

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Using a 10-dent reed, I warped with Acadia in asymmetric color blocks, creating vertical stripes. I used one shade of blue-green for the better part of the weft, delighting in the way it interacted with the two other colors. There are horizontal stripes of those colors at the beginning and end of the scarf, as well, making a kind of plaid.

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Working from Betty Linn Davenport’s Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving, I paid more careful attention to the tension of the warp, tried hemstitching for the first time, and finished the scarf with twisted fringe.

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Check out the HYS Pinterest page for more Acadia pattern ideas. Come by the shop to see these new colors and plan your next project!

Hello, Isager Tweed.

Last week, we welcomed our newest fall yarn: meet Isager Tweed!

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Isager Tweed is a fingering weight, single-ply yarn composed of 70% wool and 30% mohair, with 220 yards on each 50 gram skein. Like any classic tweed, the colors read roughly solid from a distance, but on closer inspection, are speckled with contrasting colors.

DSCN3826Anne and I took a long time deciding what we should make with Isager Tweed. It would make a great pair of “Twigs and Willows Mitts” from Botanical Knits 2, a handsome  “Barclay” scarf, or a sweet “Rustling Leaves Beret.” I’d love to see an “Aranami Shawl” in five shades of Isager Tweed, too. Ultimately, we were most inspired paging through patterns for Brooklyn Tweed Loft on Ravelry, a treasure trove of fingering weight knits. “Seasons Hat,” “Norby,” “Wheaten,” “Arrowhead Mittens,” “Ticking Cowl” … this is a Ravelry rabbit-hole we’ve gone down oh so many times.

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Anne settled on Bristol Ivy’s “Bayard,” pairing Isager Tweed with Isager Alpaca 2, and that striped hat is on her Addi needles now.

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Though these two yarns differ in fiber content, ply, and appearance, they are similar in gauge. Most importantly, they share that special Isager color palette, making the Tweed-and-Alpaca-2 color-pairing game especially good fun.

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I found equally compelling color combinations when I limited myself to the Isager Tweed basket.

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Come by the shop to see Isager Tweed, admire Anne’s hat-in-progress, and plan your next project! See you there.

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