Update: this issue of knit.wear is sold out!


The latest issue of knit.wear is here, and it’s flying off our shelves!


This stylish magazine from Interweave is notably garment-oriented, a publication with more sweater patterns than accessories.


I spotted some familiar yarns in this issue: a sweater knit in Shibui Pebble, with a bit of Shibui Cima on the bottom edge for a layered look, and a lace-edged poncho in Fibre Company Canopy Fingering.


Maybe it’s just because I’m finishing up a cardigan at the moment, but for me the standout feature of this issue was a new-to-me buttonband technique from designer Sarah Solomon.


Come by the shop to pick up a copy of knit.wear while they last!


Show and tell: even more.

The yarn shop is often where new projects begin, but it’s also where problems are solved, techniques are learned, and finished garments are shown off. We’ve had a week of show-and-tell here on the blog, focusing on that last step: standing back and admiring what you’ve made.


Paula knit this “Kids Spirit Cardigan” with two fetching shades of Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted, a soft and squishy machine-washable merino yarn. The buttons are just right!


Emily got a Schacht Cricket Loom for Christmas, and immediately set to work learning to weave on a rigid heddle loom. This scarf is only her second, and already she’s warping and weaving in two colors with perfect tension. She attests that this houndstooth design is easier than it looks, and I tend to agree; it looks lovely in gray and yellow shades of Plymouth Galway.


Nancy came in with a bag full of show and tell last week, the first of which is this “Alchemy Block Ponchini,” knit in three shades of Alchemy Silken Straw and two shades of Shibui Silk Cloud.


It’s always satisfying to see how colors blend when they’re knit together, in part because it can be hard to predict. You can twist the yarns around one another for a preview and make thoughtful predictions, but there’s nothing like seeing the fabric as it comes off the needles.


Here’s Nancy’s “Starshower,” knit in Malabrigo Sock. It’s nice to see this pattern made up in a variegated yarn, for the changing colors complement the lace and texture pattern just as well as a solid color.


The last finished piece Nancy brought to show us was this “Kusha Kusha Scarf,” knit in Habu Silk Stainless Steel. It was knit on a variety of different needle sizes, sometimes holding a fine lace weight merino along with the Silk Stainless, and when the knitting was done, Nancy lightly felted it in hot, soapy water. The result is a striking organic-looking scarf, and it looks especially marvelous in red.

Many thanks to all the knitters, weavers, crocheters, and other fiber artists who start their projects here at our shop, and thanks also for sharing your work with us as it takes shape!

More October show and tell.

One of our greatest joys as yarn-shopkeepers is seeing what knitters, crocheters, and weavers make with our yarns. I’m always collecting photos of finished projects as they come through the shop for show and tell, letting them build up until I have enough for a blog post. It’s rare that I have enough for two show-and-tell posts in a month, but October has been one such month.


When Sidney felt the first Autumn chill in the air, she saw a need in her wardrobe for a cowl. She came to the shop seeking yarn for Katherine Vaughan’s “Here and There and Everywhere,” and settled on Malabrigo Rios. It was hardly a week before she walked in wearing it, but, as she pointed out, it’s amazing how quickly you can knit when you need something. I love the way the guernsey-style texture pattern looks in this semi-solid yarn.


Here’s my “Kaarina Pullover,” knit in Swans Island All American Sport. I finished it in the middle of the Swans Island Trunk Show, so I hung it up here at the shop with the rest of the All American Sport garments til the show ends on November 1st, 2015.


I’m happy with how it came out, and especially happy with the yarn. It was springy and soft in the hand, and softer still after blocking. I’m looking forward to putting it on soon!


Anne has a newly-finished sweater on the wall here, too; here’s her “Slope,” knit in Shibui Twig. Like many Shibui patterns, “Slope” looks deceptively simple at first glance. Take a closer look at the pattern, and you’ll find smart, carefully-chosen design elements. You might just learn a new cast-on or short-row technique along the way–Anne did!


Here’s Sue’s latest scarf, woven on her Schacht Cricket Loom. For warp, she used Isager Alpaca 1, and for weft, she used Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. These two yarns are alike in color, but very different in fiber content and texture, and the resulting fabric is both fascinating and understated.


Thanks to everyone who brings in projects to share with us, whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the process. We love to see what you’re working on, and feel lucky to be surrounded by such creative and talented people. Hope to see you at the shop soon!

Hello, Habu XS-45 20/3 Bamboo.

Habu’s bamboo lace weight yarn arrived at the shop this week, just in time for summer stitching and weaving. XS-45 20/3 Bamboo may not be a romantic name, but the yarn itself is lovely, a lace weight 100% bamboo with elegant drape and lustre.


A Ravelry search reveals that this yarn is often used held together with other yarns to make unique fiber blends or thicker fabric. Just as often, it’s used on its own in delicate lace shawls, like Elizabeth Freeman’s “Laminaria” and “Aeolian Shawl,” or Evelyn A. Clark’s “Swallowtail Shawl;” free patterns, all, by the way.


Take a peek at this new Habu yarn next time you’re at the shop, and remember to come by during July for our Annual Inventory Sale! In the meantime, enjoy the holiday weekend; we’ll be closed July 4th and 5th, reopening at our regular business hours on Tuesday, July 7th. See you then!

TNNA, day 2.

It’s been another busy day here at market, walking the showroom floor, seeing the latest yarns from some of our favorite vendors, and placing orders, of course.

The wild and colorful Alchemy booth was our first stop this morning. It was, as always, delightful to catch up with Gina and Austin Wilde, seeing their newest patterns and selecting new colors and yarns to bring into the shop this fall.


Next, we spent time at Shibui, marveling at their fall and winter pattern collections, new colors, and newest yarn.


We always like to visit Habu Textiles, too, to restock the Nerimaki Slub Cotton, Silk Stainless Steel, Nontwist Cotton Boucle, and check out what’s new.


Tomorrow promises more of the same. We are so anxious to share new yarns and projects with you at the shop this fall!

New from Habu.

We always stop by the Habu Textiles booth at TNNA, and this year was no exception. We’d made a note before going to market that we could use a few new colors in their one-of-a-kind Silk Stainless yarn, which translated into Anne gathering an armful of colorful cones as Habu founder Takako Ueki jotted down color numbers. The new colors of Habu Silk Stainless arrived a week or so ago, settling in with the few colors we’d already had in stock. Our new selection is vibrant and tempting, and I thought they deserved a bit of fanfare here on the blog.


It’s Silk Stainless that makes the Kusha Kusha Scarf such an intriguing project. It’s knit on a variety of different needle sizes, sometimes holding a fine lace weight merino along with the Silk Stainless, and when the knitting is done, the piece is lightly felted in hot, soapy water.


Habu used to sell kits for the Kusha Kusha Scarf, but has since offered the pattern for free via the Purl Bee. This frees you up to choose your own color combinations, which sometimes feels like half the joy of knitting in the first place. We don’t stock the Habu Super Fine Merino that the pattern calls for, but we have so many other lace weight yarns to choose from that would be equally interesting in this project. They’ll all behave a little differently, I suspect, which should be fun to experiment with. I had fun putting these hypothetical combinations together.






Don’t limit yourself to Kusha Kusha scarves, however; Silk Stainless can also be put to good use in sweaters and knitted or crocheted jewelry. We’ve even had a weaver experiment with a few cones of the stuff on her loom. Come by the shop to see our sample Kusha Kusha Scarf and our new selection of Habu Silk Stainless. See you there!

Show and tell: sweaters, scarves, and cowls.

So many amazing finished pieces have been finding their way to the shop lately that a backlog of show-and-tell photos has accumulated on my camera. Without further ado: here are some of the things that we and the knitters around us have been busily creating!


Anne recently completed Lemon, a short-sleeved sweater designed by Helga Isager. Lemon is unusually and cleverly constructed, beginning with center panels on the front and back, from which stitches are picked up to work the sides and short sleeves. It’s decorated with lateral braids and welts, little details that make for a unique design.


The pattern calls for Isager Spinni, a single-ply lace weight wool, but Anne substituted Isager Tvinni, a 2-ply wool in a light fingering weight. The finished garment is remarkably lightweight because of the tiny gauge, a perfectly fitting sweater and quite an achievement.


I finished a sweater recently, too: here’s Gemini, a free pattern from Knitty, made in Katia Linen. I’m so pleased with how this linen/cotton blend blocked, softening the fibers and smoothing out inconsistencies in the tension.


I’m also happy to report that it fits nicely; not tight at all, though I took a leap of faith and knit it with the suggested 4″ of negative ease. It’s hanging now at the shop for anyone who’d like to try it on for size. This was a quick knit, and it’s not too late to join our informal Gemini Knit-Along!


Here, Francesca models a jacket she made out of Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed. She’d already made one from this free pattern using a thicker, textured yarn and was disappointed by how dense the fabric was. This time around, she’s delighted by the beautiful drape of the Donegal Chunky Tweed. Finding the right yarn for a project makes all the difference!



Margie brought in this lovely lace scarf to show us; a gift for a friend. She made it using the soft and tweedy Fibre Company Acadia, and a free pattern, Christmas Lace. After the knitting was complete, she carefully sewed a few beads in to add a bit of sparkle.


Debbie came in a few weeks ago wearing this gorgeous White Caps Cowl, made in Alchemy Silken Straw and Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. The pattern photos show this cowl in a subtle white-on-white colorway, but I love the way it works up when the stripes are a little more visible, as Debbie has done by choosing similar, but not identical colors in each yarn.

Thanks to everyone for the amazing show and tell! I’m so inspired by all that you create.

Back in stock: Habu cashmere.

I’m happy to report that we have reordered Habu N-86 2/26 Cashmere, a lace weight yarn made of 100% cashmere.


Since it first arrived back in August, it has been petted, admired, and then it quietly sold out, one soft, tiny skein at a time. One day we turned around and there were only five little balls of the stuff in their basket. Time to reorder, indeed.


This time, we branched out some from the neutral colors and included a rich red and a cool seafoam green. This yarn is happy when held singly for a delicate shawl, and perhaps even happier when two strands are held together to create a more substantial fabric.

Come by the shop to take a look, especially if you’d missed it the first time around. See you there!

Hello, Alchemy.

We are delighted to announce that we now carry two Alchemy yarns: Silken Straw and Sanctuary.

Before we went to market in June, looking for new yarns to bring into the shop, a friend pointed us to Alchemy, a company known for their exquisitely hand-dyed silks and silk blends. That recommendation along with Clara Parkes’ glowing reviews of Alchemy Yarns meant that we had to take a look.

What we saw at Alchemy’s booth at TNNA was a riot of color and texture, a tempting array of unusual yarns and knitted garments. We spoke with Gina and Austin Wilde, the creators of Alchemy Yarns, about their fibers and dyeing process, and were delighted by their passion for both. We were particularly wowed by Silken Straw, a sport weight ribbon made of silk which, yes, feels stiff, like straw. Once Silken Straw has been knit up, washed, and worn, it softens somewhat spectacularly, and drapes in just the way you’d expect from a 100% silk yarn: beautifully. Silken Straw is a yarn like none other, and we’re thrilled to make it available at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

Our first Silken Straw project is this White Caps Cowl, a free pattern from the Purl Bee. Anne knit a shortened version, using just half a skein of Silken Straw and one skein of Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. The combination of fibers and textures makes an otherwise simple stockinette tube an intriguing accessory. I’ve been playing with color pairs, matching up the Alchemy with the Habu.

Sanctuary is a sport weight wool and silk blend that we ordered in just two colors, for they’re meant to be combined with Silken Straw in Alchemy’s shibori felted patterns. These unexpected wraps are knit in bold color blocks, then felted, which shrinks the parts knit in Sanctuary, but leaves the Silken Straw sections as they were. The result is something very special, a flat rectangle made into a sculptural garment by applying hot water and agitation.

We saw some finished shibori felted pieces at TNNA and had to bring the patterns into the shop, which meant ordering Sanctuary, too. Austin himself helped us select two colors that could go with most any of the ten colors we ordered in Silken Straw.

Come by the shop to see these delightfully unusual yarns from Alchemy! We’re just tickled to have them. Read all about Alchemy Yarns on their website, where they’ve written more about their thoughtful, labor-intensive dyeing process.

Habu N-86 2/26 Cashmere.

The first of our orders from TNNA have begun to arrive, and this one was met with a gasp of excitement from Anne: N-86 2/26 Cashmere, from Habu Textiles.

N-86 2/26 Cashmere may not be a romantic name, but the yarn itself is lovely, a lace weight 100% cashmere that works well held single- or double-stranded. It is ideal for shawls and scarves, or any project where a delicate, soft texture is desired. When Anne fell head over heels in love with it at market, we selected a small spectrum of neutral shades, from dark charcoal to ivory.

We also ordered a few new colors in A-20/21 1/20 Silk Stainless, a lace weight yarn made of stainless steel wrapped in silk. A-20/21 1/20 Silk Stainless is one of the yarns used in the popular Kusha Kusha scarf kit from Habu Textiles. For those who want the yarn on its own, we now have six colors available.

Find Habu N-86 2/26 Cashmere and A-20/21 1/20 Silk Stainless in a prominent place in the second room of the shop, where the lighter weight yarns live.