Swans Island Trunk Show.

We’re delighted to announce that our next trunk show of the season has arrived, featuring garments from Swans Island!


We’ve got six garments on display here at the shop until November 23rd: Bristol Ivy’s “Offshore V-Neck,” Alicia Plummer’s “Arrowhead Shawl,” Leah B. Thibault’s “Breakwater Pullover,” Michele Rose Orne’s “Celtic Mitts,” Stacey McCrea Warner’s “Spindrift Cowl,” and Isabell Kraemer’s “Audrey Cardigan.”


Most of these garments are knit in Swans Island All American Worsted, a 2-ply woolen-spun blend of 75% Rambouillet wool and 25% alpaca. Since we first introduced this yarn in September, we’ve been through several reorders, accumulating a few new colors here and there. We now have every available color in All American Worsted!


Come by the shop before November 23rd to see and try on these garments and accessories, and consider Swans Island All American Worsted for your next project!


New from Cascade.

A couple of weeks ago, back when our big Berroco order arrived, an equally big box from Cascade showed up. Inside were some yarns and colors that needed restocking, and a few new things, too.


Highland Duo is an aran weight blend of alpaca and merino spun into a soft, fuzzy, single-ply yarn. Anne picked this palette, a range of neutrals with a pop of red–perfect for winter wear.


We also got these four new colors of Cascade 220 Fingering, heathered shades that fill out our existing selection nicely.

DSCN3616 DSCN3615

Cascade 220 Fingering is an affordable 2-ply wool in a fingering weight, well-suited to colorwork, shawls, garments and accessories. Head over to Ravelry for all kinds of pattern inspiration for this yarn, and come by the shop to pick some up for your next project!


See you at the shop!

Hello, Swans Island All American Worsted.

We’re delighted to announce that Swans Island’s newest yarn has arrived at the shop: meet All American Worsted!


All American Worsted is a 2-ply woolen-spun blend of 75% Rambouillet wool and 25% alpaca. There are 210 yards on each 80 gram skein, every bit of which was grown, processed, spun, and dyed in the USA.

DSCN3525All the colors begin with this shade of gray, the natural color of the Rambouillet and alpaca blend. The gray skeins are then dyed with low impact acid dyes, giving each hue a rich heathered quality.



“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.


Woolen-spun yarns like All American Worsted are also quite lofty, making them more versatile in terms of gauge. Swans Island suggests a gauge of 4.25 stitches per inch, which we’d consider aran weight, but All American Worsted is happy at a range of gauges. After washing, the fibers bloom to fill whatever space your needles have given them. The bottom section of the little swatch below was knit at 4.5 stitches per inch on a US #8; from there, I switched to a US #9, and the gauge is about 4 stitches per inch.

DSCN3530 I knit Stephen West’s “Dustland Hat” at 5 stitches per inch on a US #7, and the fabric is sturdy but supple. All American Worsted renders these knit/purl texture patterns beautifully, and I don’t doubt that it will perform just as well in cables, lace, and colorwork.


For pattern ideas, check the Swans Island binder here at the shop. Their Organic Merino Worsted is comparable, so patterns that call for that yarn will do just as well in All American Worsted. Also, check your Ravelry queue for any patterns calling for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter–I know I am! Of all the yarns we ordered at TNNA this year, this is the one I’ve been perseverating on the most. Any of the Brooklyn Tweed patterns would be stunning in Swans Island All American Worsted, but for myself, I’ve boiled it down to three favorites: “Bray,” “Wheaten,” and “Little Wave.”


Come by the shop to meet this gorgeous yarn in person, and plan your next project! Look for Swans Island All American Worsted in the aran weight section, near the Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted. See you there!

New colors in Berroco yarns.

This week brought big boxes of yarn from Berroco. The yarns are familiar–Ultra Alpaca Fine, Ultra Alpaca, and Lustra–but the colors are brand new, just introduced by Berroco for Fall.


Ultra Alpaca Fine is a fingering weight blend of wool, alpaca, and nylon. Its fiber content and gauge suggest socks, but Ultra Alpaca Fine is equally at home in larger garments, and especially shines in openwork scarves and shawls. The alpaca content gives it a bit of a fuzzy halo, something to keep in mind if you’re planning a project that requires sharp stitch definition–those fuzzy fibers can obscure delicate texture patterns a bit. That said, those fuzzy fibers also give the finished fabric softness and warmth. These 9 new colors really brighten the Ultra Alpaca Fine palette, and beg to be combined; perhaps a Stripe Study Shawl, or Selbu Modern tam.


Ultra Alpaca is a staple around here, an affordable worsted weight blend of alpaca and wool that comes in a multitude of colors. It’s a warm and wooly yarn, great for sweaters, hats, shawls and scarves. One of our teachers, Katherine, recently picked up some Ultra Alpaca to make the Guernsey Wrap, a happy pairing of yarn and pattern; I can’t wait to see how it comes out.


Many of the best-loved shades in Ultra Alpaca are heathered, colors which read solid from a distance but on closer inspection are subtly mottled with fibers of different hues. The latest shades in Lustra are all heathered, adding depth to these shiny, fuzzy skeins.


Lustra is a single-ply aran weight yarn, a 50/50 blend of wool and Tencel, a plant fiber derived from tree bark. It’s the Tencel that makes Lustra so lustrous, a quality that has drawn knitters and crocheters to this yarn for as long as we’ve stocked it. Like all single-ply yarns, Lustra is a little delicate, and will pill or shed fibers more quickly than plied yarns. That makes it ideal for garments that don’t get a lot of hard wear, like a cowl, scarf, or shawl; a Honey CowlSaroyan scarf, or Springtime Bandit shawl would be lovely made up in Lustra. Arm yourself with a Lilly Brush and you can better care for your cuddly soft single-ply garments.


Come by the shop to see these favorite yarns in brand new colors, and begin planning your next project. See you there!

Cascade Rustic and Lana Bambu.

UPDATE: Cascade Rustic and Lana Bambu are totally sold out as of September 2012!


Rustic and Lana Bambu are two yarns with much in common.

They’re both made by the yarn company Cascade, they’re both aran weight, single ply yarns, and they both are 79% wool and 21% plant fiber. In Rustic, that plant fiber is linen, and in Lana Bambu, it’s bamboo, as you might have suspected.

The other thing they have in common is that they’ll be deeply discounted during the month of July. But wait, you’re thinking, isn’t everything discounted during the month of July? You’re right: everything in the shop is 15% off during our Annual Inventory Sale. Rustic and Lana Bambu, however, are 20% off during the month of July, making them an even better deal.

Both of these yarns are equally lovely in hats, scarves, shawls, and sweaters. We’ve seen them both used in February Lady Sweaters, and they’re perfect yarns for that frequently-knitted free pattern. Here’s a peek at Marion’s February Lady Sweater in Lana Bambu, which is hanging in the shop.

Come by the shop to take a closer look at this gorgeous cardigan, and to take advantage of our 15% sale on everything and our 20% sale on Rustic and Lana Bambu!

Berroco Inca Gold and Jasper, on sale!

UPDATE: As of 11/19/2014, we are totally sold out of Berroco Inca Gold and Jasper!


Last week, we were saddened to discover that Berroco has discontinued two of their yarns, Inca Gold and Jasper. Because we’re unable to continue carrying them, we’re now offering them at a discounted price.

Inca Gold is a springy blend of merino and silk coming in a lovely range of solid colors and boasting excellent stitch definition. At five stitches to the inch, it could be used for almost anything: hats, scarves, sweaters, vests, mitts, whatever. If you’ve been admiring a pattern that calls for worsted weight yarn, consider Inca Gold.

Jasper is a self-striping, single-ply merino in an aran weight. Like Inca Gold, Jasper is a very versatile yarn. Some of our knitters have used it for sweaters, and others have put it to good use in hats and scarves. This has been a popular yarn, and we’re sad to see it go. Come and get it while it’s still here, and know that we have sweater quantities of many colors!

Wintry wools.

If you’ve noticed a leaning towards finer-gauge yarns around here, that’s astute. Marion Foale, Kauni, Malabrigo Sock, Isager… these and other thin yarns get a lot of attention on the blog as well as in the shop. Both Anne and I are often happiest working with fingering or lace weight yarns and tiny needles. Don’t let that fool you, though. The Hillsborough Yarn Shop is well-stocked in heavier weight yarns of many kinds. We are even more well stocked this week, having received two 40 pound boxes from Cascade. Some of those pounds can be attributed to the worsted weight Lana d’Oro and the aran weight Eco Duo, both of which are soft and fuzzy blends of wool and alpaca.

Most of the weight in those boxes, though, is due to these chunkier yarns: Eco + and Magnum. Each one thicker than the last. The Eco + is a bulky weight wool with a gauge of about 3.5 stitches to the inch on a size 10 needle. It comes in enormous skeins of 478 yards, making it possible to knit an adult sweater in just 3 or 4 skeins, depending on the size.  Eco + comes in a wide spectrum of solid and heathered colors, a spectrum we had only barely dipped into before this last reorder. Now we have about 18 different colors to choose from.

Meanwhile, the super bulky Cascade Magnum is easily the thickest yarn we carry, at 1.5 stitches per inch on a size 15 needle. This is a yarn for serious instant gratification knitting. Want to knit a hat in an evening? Reach for this yarn.

Come by the shop to say hello to these wintry wools from Cascade, and to begin dreaming up projects for these cozy, thick yarns.

Cotton Supreme Batik.

Another new cotton yarn has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, just in time for spring and summer knitting. Cotton Supreme Batik, from Universal Yarns, is a machine-washable, worsted-weight, self-striping, and extremely soft cotton. The striping is unusual: the colors don’t exactly fade into one another, it’s more of an abrupt change, but there are little spots of the last color in the next, which makes for a lovely effect.

This yarn would be a perfect choice for baby things, not only for its cute stripes but also for its easy washability. At 16-18 stitches over 4 inches, it would make for a quick knit, as well. Take a look at what people are using it for on Ravelry; that will also give you a good idea of how the stripes tend to come out.

From Plymouth.

A 48 pound box of yarn arrived from Plymouth this week, with three kinds in many different colors. Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash is not a new yarn to us, but its easy care and bright color palette have made it popular at the shop, so we were in need of refilling. Composed of soft, springy merino, this yarn also boasts excellent stitch definition. There are many reasons to recommend it, but I’m particularly likely to point it out to someone knitting for babies or children, as it can be thrown in the washer and dryer with no problem.

We also received the new Kettle Dyed version of the same yarn, which is tonally variegated. There’s only one color in each colorway, but that color is darker in some spots and brighter in others, giving it some texture. While the solid Worsted Merino Superwash yarn comes in 218 yard skeins, its Kettle Dyed cousin offers a whopping 436 yards per skein.

We also replenished our supply of Plymouth’s Trabajos Del Peru, an aran weight single ply yarn which comes in semi-solid and multi-color variegated colorways. It’s made to be hand-washed rather than machine-washed, but don’t let that intimidate you if soft, fuzzy, slightly thick-and-thin yarn is right up your alley.

A little out of the way, in that bottom cubby, but worth finding. As for the Worsted Merino Superwash, it can be found on the right hand side of the door to the shop, with fellow washable wools from Dream in Color and the Unique Sheep. Come and find them!