Painting Shawls, by Stephen West.

Exciting news – Stephen West’s latest book is here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! Let’s take a look at Painting Shawls.

Painting Shawls ($40) is a collection of 13 shawl patterns from Stephen West, a designer known for bold color choices and intriguing shawl construction and techniques.

Each of these patterns features a main color framing several contrast colors, using only stripes and slipped stitches to form playful, rhythmic shapes throughout the garment.

West encourages knitters to choose their own colors for these shawls, and provides playful, intuitive tips for color selection along with practical tutorials on casting on, modifying the size, weaving in ends, and more.

Styled with West’s signature dramatic flair and photographed with a keen sense of movement, Painting Shawls is great fun to flip through.

Look for Painting Shawls on the teacart here at our shop, surrounded by the latest publications! We’re still taking online orders as well – just fill out our online order form for local pickup or shipping.

Traditions Revisited: Modern Estonian Knits, by Aleks Byrd.

Let’s peek inside the newest book from Laine!

Traditions Revisited: Modern Estonian Knits is designer Aleks Byrd’s introduction to Estonian knitting techniques, a collection of richly textured garments and accessories.

Knitted fringe, braids, and bobbles adorn these colorful pieces, along with twisted stitches and roosimine, an Estonian inlay technique that creates the look of embroidery.

Traditions Revisited is $43 – look for it here at our shop, among the latest publications. We’re also happy to take your order online for local pickup or shipping!

Strange Brew.

We’re delighted to have Tin Can Knits’ Strange Brew back in stock! Our first batch sold out quickly, before I even had a chance to talk about it here on the blog – today I’ll amend that. Let’s take a look at Strange Brew, a colorwork knitting book that intends to embolden knitters to design!

Tin Can Knits is the collaborative name of designers Alexa Ludeman and Emily Wessel, known for their approachable pattern-writing, and especially for designing for an extensive range of sizes. Anne and I have both knit their “Dog Star” several times, a colorwork yoke pullover knit seamlessly from the bottom up; it goes from 0-6 months up to a 63″ chest circumference – truly inclusive sizing that appears in Strange Brew, as well.

They’ve dubbed Strange Brew a “colorwork knitting adventure,” an apt description for a book bursting with the information and inspiration you need to make colorwork sweaters in 3 gauges and 25 sizes, from the top down or bottom up.

The book begins with the Strange Brew “recipe,” a blank canvas of a sweater pattern with all the numbers crunched for you – how many stitches to cast on, how and when to work the shaping, etc.

What they’ve left up to you is the colorwork patterning, though they offer lots of resources for designing and knitting it.

There are diagrams showing the differences between working top-down and bottom-up, notes on fit, pattern alignment, and swatching, and charts and motifs you can apply to the yoke, sleeves, or body of your sweater.

There are also patterns you can work from, if you’re not in the mood to design your own, that are pleasing to the eye, in fun color combinations and yarns we know and love.

Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, Shelter, and Tukuwool Fingering all make appearances in this book, and you can find all three here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. These are genuinely some of my favorite yarns to work with, and Tin Can Knits’ cheerful, adventurous use of them totally charmed me.

Look for Strange Brew on the teacart at the shop!

Handywoman.

I’m delighted to announce that Kate Davies’ newest book has arrived at the shop!

Handywoman is Davies’ memoir of a life of craft, one shaped by a stroke she suffered at age 36. Her brain injury changed how she saw and moved through the world, and how she made her living in it. Hers is a story of adaptivity and creativity, one I’ve followed for years on her blog.

Kate Davies is a knitwear designer and writer who I very much admire, for her traditional-looking, smartly-crafted patterns as well as her academic approach to textiles. Her books often blend knitting patterns and prose, and I’ve been a fan of both those elements, knitting sweater after sweater as avidly as I’ve read her essays on textiles and history. I’m keenly looking forward to reading what she has to say about her own life, and about disability in general. Her recent and fascinating TEDx talk is a good preview of her approach to the subject matter, and definitely worth watching.

I find it especially impressive that Davies has brought Handywoman into the world under her own publishing imprint, expanding the scope of Kate Davies Designs from pattern books to include narrative-based books like this one. Her blog post about the process of creating Handywoman is interesting and inspiring, and shows just how much work goes into making books, from writing and design to printing and promotion.

Along with this new book, we’ve restocked some of our favorite Davies titles: Colours of Shetland, Yokes, Happit, and West Highland Way. Come by to peruse them all, especially if you’re unfamiliar with her work – she’s truly a unique voice in the world of knitwear, one with an important perspective to share.

Look for Handywoman on the teacart here at the shop!

Back in stock: Knitting Comfortably.

Today a big box of books arrived at the shop, a second batch of Carson Demers’ instant classic, Knitting Comfortably. Our first order sold out soon after it arrived, back in November, claimed by knitters eager to preserve and protect the health of their hands, wrists, shoulders, etc. When we placed a second order, we learned that Demers had already sold the entire first edition of his book, so sought after was the information within. We’re happy to have more copies on our shelves now that the second edition has been printed, and in celebration, I’m rerunning my original blog post on the subject, originally published on November 8th, 2017. 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Another new book has arrived at the shop, a little different from our usual fare. This book is composed neither of patterns nor personal essays nor pretty knitting pictures. Rather, Knitting Comfortably is a book about the health of our hands and bodies, written by a physical therapist who happens to be an expert knitter.

We’d heard Carson Demers’ book mentioned a few times since its publication, but Clara Parkes’ rave review put us over the top – we had to have this book at the shop, and we’re so glad we do! It’s all about the ergonomics of handknitting, a guide for taking care of our most crucial knitting tool: ourselves.

Whether we knit English or Continental or any other method, we expose ourselves to the possibility of injury when we knit, especially when we knit for long stretches on a regular basis. It’s imperative, then, for us to understand what we’re doing with our muscles as we work, and how our posture affects our movement. In order to knit as much as we want to, we have to take care, and that is the goal of this book.

It’s clear that Demers has spent years working diligently to make this book as thorough and useful as possible. It’s dense with text, but quite accessible, peppered with clarifying photos and diagrams. He also includes plenty of “swatchortunities,” little knitting exercises that help to illustrate his suggestions and ideas.

I’ve only just begun to read through this book, but already it’s changed the way I think about my knitting practice. It may be tricky to break some of the bad habits I’ve accumulated over years of knitting daily, but I am motivated to interrogate my own behavior and adjust it to assure many more years of this craft I love so dearly.

Look for Knitting Comfortably on the teacart here at the shop!

Knitting Comfortably.

Another new book has arrived at the shop, a little different from our usual fare. This book is composed neither of patterns nor personal essays nor pretty knitting pictures. Rather, Knitting Comfortably is a book about the health of our hands and bodies, written by a physical therapist who happens to be an expert knitter.

We’d heard Carson Demers’ book mentioned a few times since its publication, but Clara Parkes’ rave review put us over the top – we had to have this book at the shop, and we’re so glad we do! It’s all about the ergonomics of handknitting, a guide for taking care of our most crucial knitting tool: ourselves.

Whether we knit English or Continental or any other method, we expose ourselves to the possibility of injury when we knit, especially when we knit for long stretches on a regular basis. It’s imperative, then, for us to understand what we’re doing with our muscles as we work, and how our posture affects our movement. In order to knit as much as we want to, we have to take care, and that is the goal of this book.

It’s clear that Demers has spent years working diligently to make this book as thorough and useful as possible. It’s dense with text, but quite accessible, peppered with clarifying photos and diagrams. He also includes plenty of “swatchortunities,” little knitting exercises that help to illustrate his suggestions and ideas.

I’ve only just begun to read through this book, but already it’s changed the way I think about my knitting practice. It may be tricky to break some of the bad habits I’ve accumulated over years of knitting daily, but I am motivated to interrogate my own behavior and adjust it to assure many more years of this craft I love so dearly.

Look for Knitting Comfortably on the teacart here at the shop!

Ase Lund Jensen.

Marianne Isager’s newest book is here, and it is a beauty! Let’s look inside ALJ: Ase Lund Jensen – a Danish knitwear designer.

As its title suggests, ALJ is a tribute to Danish knitwear designer Ase Lund Jensen, a pioneer in textile arts from the late 1950’s until her death in 1977. Jensen recognized a talent for design in young Marianne Isager, and it’s Jensen’s yarn company and workshop that Isager built into what we know today as Isager yarns.

Jensen designed impeccably tailored knits, studied traditional textiles of Greenland and Denmark, and had a fondness for muted shades that couldn’t be satisfied by the yarn manufacturers of the day. Working with a Danish mill, she developed a color palette informed and inspired by natural, plant-based dyes, a palette that Marianne Isager has grown but never strayed from.

The book also includes a great many patterns for sweaters, accessories, and a few home goods, designed by Jensen, Marianne and Helga Isager, and Annette Danielson, all knit with Isager yarns.

Along with a biography of Ase Lund Jensen, there are also articles on the history of knitting, and political knitting in particular.

A copy of ALJ came home with me as soon as it arrived at the shop, and I loved learning more about Danish textile history in general and Jensen and Isager in particular.

Look for ALJ on the teacart here at the shop, where the latest books and magazines mingle. We have more news from Isager coming in the next few blog posts, so keep an eye out, or come straight to the shop to see it all for yourself!

Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook.

Here is a book you have probably seen already, one that you may even own already, for we’ve sold out and reordered it many times since its initial publication last October. It was selling quickly enough that I waited to buy my own copy until our supply steadied, so though I’ve admired it for months, I’ve only recently sat down and spent time with this beautiful book. Here’s Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, a compendium of cable stitch patterns, garments, and wisdom.

In this book, designer Norah Gaughan introduces over 150 cable stitch patterns with both written and charted instructions, all of which are lovingly photographed by the talented Jared Flood. The book itself is a thing of beauty, but beautiful as it is, the contents of this tome are the star, no matter the packaging.

Gaughan has devised a Stockinette Stitch Equivalent for each of these motifs, a way of saying how many stockinette stitches it would take to make the same width as the cable in question. This allows you to substitute one cable for another with ease, and also to add cables to a plain garment without letting the naturally-smaller gauge of cable patterns mess with the overall size of the piece. Gaughan clearly describes this system and how to use it towards the beginning of the book, where she also lays out hints for chart-reading, yarn choice, symbols and terminology. Don’t miss the troubleshooting section either, from which Karen Templer of Fringe Association pulled a real gem.

There are patterns for cabled garments, too, if design isn’t your thing. From pullovers and cardigans to ponchos and skirts, Gaughan has put her cable patterns to good and interesting use. In short, if you are at all interested in cable knitting or design, you should take a look at Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. Find it on the teacart here at the shop!

The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.

DSCN4347

Meet Felicity Ford’s Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. This special book is not a collection of patterns, but rather a manifesto on design.

DSCN4349

Within it, Felicity Ford shares her particular system of translating inspiring images into colorwork knitting, from selecting colors and designing charts to swatching, evaluating your swatches, and applying your designs to knitted garments.

DSCN4351

This is a beautiful book, and one about which you may already have heard rave reviews. When it first came out, Kate Davies did a lovely write-up on her blog, as did Clara Parkes and Ysolda Teague. All three are in agreement: Ford’s Sourcebook is an inspiring one because it is so particular to its author.  It’s an interesting and galvanizing read, one that had me itching to pull out my colored pencils and Knitter’s Graph Paper Journal, and dive headfirst into a basket of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.

DSCN4350

The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook began as a Kickstarter project, with designer Felicity Ford seeking crowd-funding to self-publish the book. Though the subject and her approach are somewhat esoteric, Ford found many supporters, making the book a resounding success. We’re proud to stock it here at the shop, and in fact, are on our third reorder.

DSCN4348

Look for The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook on the teacart, amongst the latest books and magazines, and look to our class listings for more opportunities to learn about stranded colorwork. See you at the shop!

Yokes.

Yokes is here!

DSCN4012

Yokes is writer and designer Kate Davies’ newest book, and one that we’ve been eagerly anticipating since October, when she started posting previews on her blog.

DSCN4013

DSCN4018

I’ve been reading her blog for years now, admiring her patterns and appreciating her written voice.

DSCN4016

An historian as well as a knitwear designer, Davies approaches her subject with academic rigor, and because of this, Yokes is so much more than a collection of inspiring sweaters.

DSCN4014

Pick up this book, and you’ll learn about Swedish Bohus yokes, the Icelandic lopapeysa, classic Shetland motifs, Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless innovations, and the connections between all of the above.

DSCN4015

As a lover of circular yoke sweaters, particularly those adorned with colorwork, I was quick to add Yokes to my own knitting library. I’ve been reading it before bed this week, savoring the text and photos. Davies speaks my mind when she writes, “I am happy spending days working away on acres of plain stockinette, if, at the end of it, there is the yoke’s delicious promise.”

DSCN4020

I am knitting one such sweater right now, in fact: “Puffin Sweater,” a design from Davies’ Colors of Shetland. I’ve knit the body and one and a half sleeves, looking forward all the while to the colorful chevron yoke. (Almost there!)

DSCN4023

Anne has fallen for a sweater from Yokes, “Frost at Midnight.” This beaded yoke is knit in a delicate lace-weight yarn called Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace, a shimmering blend of merino and silk, which, oh by the way, we now stock at the shop.

DSCN4021

We have only a few shades in stock, but will happily order whichever color you’d like. Come by to see the colorcard!

DSCN4022

Look for Kate Davies’ Yokes on the teacart in the front room. It will make a perfect holiday gift for the history-loving knitter in your life, and if that knitter happens to be you, send your nearest and dearest in for a copy. See you there!

DSCN4011