Saturday, March 31, 2012

Works completed.

Satisfaction, to me, is a finished knitting project. Once all the ends have been woven in and the knitted piece has been washed and blocked, I can stand back, admire my work, push aside the urge to point out whatever errors I made, and get ready for the next project. Anne and I have both recently completed samples for the shop, both of which you can see hanging proudly in the front window.

Anne used the Schulana Macaibo yarn to make Little Sister's Dress, a sweet pattern that's available as a free download on Ravelry. Like the baby sunhat that Anne was knitting a few weeks ago out of Schulana Tamarillo, this sample shows how differently the yarn knits up than you might have supposed, looking at it in the ball.

Meanwhile, I've been working on a brightly colored lace scarf out of SWTC's Pure yarn, made of 100% soysilk. Pure is one of those yarns that somehow never got swatched, though we've had it at the shop for a few years now. I tried my hardest to stretch the yardage of a single skein and managed to get a nice narrow scarf out of just 165 yards. The pattern is Veronik Avery's Lace Ribbon Scarf, a free pattern from Knitty. I only cast on 26 stitches, though, working two repeats of the lace pattern rather than the suggested five. Like I said: I was trying to stretch a single skein.

Yes, finishing things up is a good feeling, matched only by the excitement of casting on for something new! You can see these and plenty of other sample garments at the shop, and if you have any questions about the yarn or the pattern we used, don't hesitate to ask. See you at the shop!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Knit Simple.

The newest issue of Knit Simple has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

The Spring/Summer 2012 issue has many projects to offer: springy sweaters and tops, lacy scarves, knitted flowers, and dresses for little girls.

Take a look next time you're in the shop!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WollZauber Magazine.

Several weeks ago, a new magazine arrived at the shop and I neglected to blog about it. WollZauber had the misfortune of making its grand entrance on the same day as the new Schulana yarns. I photographed WollZauber, promised to get back to it, and then we got a box from String Theory, followed by a most exciting shipment from Malabrigo. Suddenly a month had passed, and all the while, WollZauber has been patiently waiting for an introduction.

WollZauber provides pattern support for Schoppel-Wolle yarns: Zauberball, Crazy Zauberball, Zauberball Starke 6, and Lace Ball. All of the above are self-striping yarns that are unusually packaged in round balls. Many of them are great for socks, and all are fine choices for shawls and scarves. One of our customers made a Wingspan in Zauberball, in fact, and we have a beautiful Multidirectional Scarf made up in Crazy Zauberball, lent to us by another lovely knitter.

It never hurts to have more ideas for these most interesting yarns, though. Here's a peek inside WollZauber.

Find WollZauber by the Zauberball basket.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Double point work-in-progress tubes.

It's been a knitterly gadgets kind of week here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Along with the Fix-a-Stitch, we also received a shipment of double point work-in-progress tubes, or DP Wip Tubes, for those who like to abbreviate.

Like the Fix-a-Stitch, the DP Wip Tube solves a specific problem simply and well. Say you're knitting a sock on double pointed needles and you want to toss it into your knitting bag. How can you be sure that your live stitches wont accidentally slide off of one of those needles? You could put an individual point protector on each double point, to be sure, or you could carefully fold your sock-in-progress around your needles and hope for the best. The DP Wip Tube offers complete security to your stitches.

Anne is certainly a proponent of the DP Wip Tube, with two in use (and in reach) when our new shipment arrived.

Handy, no? Pick up a set of DP Wip Tubes next time you're at the shop.

Friday, March 23, 2012


New yarns, books, and magazines we expect. New patterns, new colorways, a new brand of needles or hooks every once in a while: sure. It is much more rare, I think, that I come here to announce a new knitterly gadget like this one. Here is the Fix-a-Stitch, a short, two-ended crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, a particularly handy tool for correcting mistakes in garter stitch without having to turn your work around again and again.

They come as a set of three sizes to accommodate various weights of yarn. Anne and I had never seen anything like it before, and we're pleased to add them to the notions collection at the shop. If you're curious about how such a thing is used, the Fix-a-Stitch website has a few videos to demonstrate. It certainly looks like a tool worth keeping in one's knitting bag. Find the Fix-a-Stitch at the shop!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Celebrating Family.

Another new Debbie Bliss booklet has made its way to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Celebrating Family, as the name suggests, is a collection of knitting patterns for babies, children, and adults. All of the patterns call for sport-weight yarns, either Debbie Bliss Eco Baby, an organic cotton, or Cashmerino Baby, a machine-washable blend of merino wool and cashmere.

Find Celebrating Family on the teacart, and Debbie Bliss Eco Baby and Cashmerino Baby yarns on the shelf just beyond it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hello, Malabrigo Finito.

A few months ago, I overheard Anne having a serious-sounding phone conversation with a representative from Malabrigo Yarns. I heard her request "a bag in every color" and knew it must be something good. Then a pause. Then, "better make it two bags in every color." It must be very good indeed, I thought. How right I was!

Malabrigo has released another new yarn: Finito, a fingering weight superfine merino wool. Produced in limited quantities only once a year, Finito is made from the very finest of merino wool fiber, and beautifully hand-dyed in the usual Malabrigo fashion. The people at Malabrigo told us it was softer than their usual merino wool, which was hard to imagine, but I must say, they weren't wrong. Each 50 gram skein is 200 yards long and deliciously soft to the touch.

Of course Anne has already selected enough for a sweater. I tried to exercise some restraint and only came home with three skeins to play with. What will become of these three skeins I don't quite know, but I'm sure I will have a wonderful time finding out.

Come by the shop to see this newest Malabrigo yarn as well as the old favorites: Malabrigo Lace, Sock, Arroyo, Rios, Silky Merino, Worsted, and Twist. See you at the shop!

Friday, March 16, 2012

More String Theory.

Thank goodness for this week's shipment from String Theory! Our Caper Sock cubby was practically empty. Just look at it now: a few new colors, a few familiar colors. A pleasantly full cubby.

We've also replenished our supply of String Theory Selku and Merino DK, which live in twin baskets on the teacart, by all the new books and magazines.

Come by the shop to take a look at our String Theory collection and daydream about how you'll put it to use.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Interweave Crochet.

The latest spring magazine is for crocheters.

Within the Spring 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet, you'll find skirts, socks, shawls, and other crocheted garments suitable for the season.

Find it on the teacart!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New yarns from Schulana.

Last week, I wrote about two of the most recent knit samples at the shop. If you've been in the shop in the past week or so, you may already have seen two more finished samples: hats made with new yarns from Schulana.

First up is a hat I made using Schulana Lambswool, a marled tweed yarn whose fiber content is reflected in its name. The yarn is incredibly soft and light, with 110 yards on each 25 gram ball.

We thought it's rustic look and lofty nature made Lambswool an excellent substitute for Brooklyn Tweed's Loft yarn, so we picked Gudrun Johnston's hat pattern for Loft, Norby. I'm pleased with the result--so pleased, in fact, that I've already taken home a sweater's worth of Lambswool. I can't wait to figure out what I'm going to do with it!

While I knit up the Lambswool, Anne was working on a top-down baby hat using Schulana Tamarillo, a machine-washable cotton tape yarn with multicolor slubs that pop out from the knitted fabric.

This little hat is a great example of why we try to have samples and swatches of every yarn we carry. It's not always easy to envision the finished fabric just by looking at the yarn in a ball. Some yarns, like Tamarillo, will surprise you when you knit them up. The pattern, Baby Boy (Or Girl) Sun Hat, is available as a free download from Ravelry.

Finally, our third new Schulana yarn for spring is Macaibo, a self-striping cotton/viscose blend, knit sample forthcoming. Enjoy perusing these new yarns next time you're at the shop!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The circular needle filing system.

Perhaps you've noticed a slight change in the shop in the past two weeks. Not a huge furniture rearrangement. Not a cubby full of bright, new yarn. Not a new sweater hanging on the wall. Just a little change in the way we store and display our large collection of circular needles.

We used to keep the Addi Turbos and the Addi Lace needles in separate places--one in the first room, and one behind the desk. They were tucked out of the way because that was where we had room for them, and we'd pull out whatever size you needed when you asked us. Now they are together, the Addi Turbos and the Addi Lace, and filed carefully in labeled drawers so that you, too, can find whatever needles you may be looking for. They are arranged by length first, from smallest to largest, and then by size. Tidy, I think, and easier to access than they were previously.

It's kind of a mundane thing, a new circular needle filing system, but Anne and I are completely delighted by it. For now, the Knitter's Pride circulars and the Crystal Palace circulars are still near the desk in the second room of the shop, but we've got plans to get all our needles together soon. More furniture rearranging is ahead, as always. Just keeping you on your toes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Works in progress, works completed.

Anne and I are never without a shop-sample-to-be, it seems. All our new yarns need swatching, and lately we've been making whole projects instead of the usual 4"x4" swatch, the better to show off the yarn. Here's what we're up to lately.

We recently got a new yarn from Araucania for the spring: Lontue, a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen. It's interesting stuff: variegated in color, thick-and-thin in texture, and very fine, but with a suggested gauge of 5 stitches per inch.

I tried it in a drop-stitch scarf, which I really cannot recommend this yarn for--boy, did it look messy! While I was ripping that out, Anne suggested trying a seed stitch. Only a few rows in, it was clear that the pattern would be completely obscured by the yarn's color and texture. I settled on garter stitch, so that the yarn could shine, and it's been going well since then. I'm at work on a simple garter stitch shawl, in the style of the Isager Alpaca 1 shawl.

Meanwhile, Anne has completed her Wingspan in Kauni Effektgarn, and it now hangs proudly on the wall at the shop. It's mesmerizing, especially in person, and another great example of what a good Eucalan soak can do for what seem to be scratchy wools. How the Kauni softened with that wash!

Come by the shop and see it for yourself.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Two new colors from Swans Island.

Just two.

We expanded our Swans Island spectrum a bit, but with some self control--a difficult task in the face of Swans Island's soft, squishy, organic merino yarns. Upon reordering colors whose numbers were dwindling, we pulled out the colorcard to see if we'd missed any. That's when we gave in. We have room for a few new colors, right? Well: just two.

I just finished a sweater in the Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering, and while it was blocking, I bought another skein to play with, so I speak from personal experience: this is very special yarn. The care that went into its production is evident in the skein as well as in the finished knitted garment. Perhaps these new colors will inspire you to give Swans Island a try, and perhaps their beautiful pattern support will do the same. Come by the shop to take a peek.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vogue Knitting.

Another Spring knitting magazine has found us.

The Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Vogue Knitting is brimming with shawls and shells, tunics and tees. This one is made with Debbie Bliss Eco Baby yarn, a sport-weight organic cotton, and I think it makes good use of the available colors, which play so well together.

Find the magazine on the teacart and the yarn on the shelf. See you at the shop!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Heritage Fiber Publications.

This week, we added some new single patterns to the pattern binders.

Heritage Fiber Publications offers a wide range of patterns, from shawls and scarves to hats and socks.

Don't forget to check the pattern binders as well as the bookshelves and magazine racks when you're looking for a new project--there are tons of single patterns tucked away there. Dig in.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Along with the Isager Plant Fiber, we also replenished our supply of Isager Alpaca 1, the stuff of the garter stitch shawl. We got plenty of the deep wine color that the shawl is made of, and several brighter colors for spring knitting and crocheting: pale blue and green, bright red.

Enjoy the wider range of Alpaca 1 colors!