Recent books.

Over the past few weeks, a couple of new books have arrived here at the shop, each with its own unique tone.


Courtney Spainhower’s Family Friendly Knits is full of practical garments and accessories for children and adults, and has a rustic, wholesome look. Look here for tweedy sweaters for fall and winter, practical pieces for layering in transitional seasons, and colorful cold-weather accessories.


These “Choose Your Own Adventure” hats are knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, a favorite yarn of mine that we now have in more colors than ever. I love that this pattern encourages the knitter to improvise a bit when it comes to the color choice and assignment, stitch pattern, and other elements, like Latvian braids and pom-poms. Choose your own adventure, indeed!


Marlaina “Marly” Bird’s Cold Weather Crochet is a beginner-friendly collection of brightly-colored crocheted garments designed to keep you warm. If holiday gift-making is your aim for this year or next, look here for a variety of casual crocheted hats, scarves, cowls, and mitts. The hat below is made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a yarn you’ll find in abundance here at the shop. If you’re looking to dig into a larger project, there are a couple of colorful afghans here, too.


Anne Podlesak’s Free Spirit Knits is a collection of designs inspired by the American Southwest, which means warm desert earth tones punctuated by bright turquoise and purple, hats and shawls inspired by cactus and agave plants, and colorwork informed by the Navajo rug-weaving tradition.


The shawl above is knit in Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, a perfect choice for a gently draping fabric. Look for it in the fingering weight section here at the shop, and look for the latest books on our teacart as you come in. See you there!

Show and tell, and lots of it.

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 good-sized blog post. There have been so many exciting new yarns at the shop this month that I’ve let the show and tell build up entirely too much. Settle in for a marathon show and tell post!


Debbie brought her “Technicolor Cowl” in recently to show us how it came out. While the pattern calls for eight mini-skeins of Dream in Color Classy in eight different shades, she used just three shades, for a more intentional yet no less vibrant color combination.


Here’s another finished product in Dream in Color yarn: Paula’s “In Threes,” knit in the decadent Classy with Cashmere.


Paula came in with a bundle of show and tell, in fact. She knit this “Winter Woods Hat” from the 2014 issue of Interweave Knits Gifts using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. The combination of stripes, colorwork, and a little bit of lace intrigued her, and she executed all three perfectly.


Paula’s “Cassandre Cowl” is particularly beautiful, with its grand colorwork motifs and delicate picot edging. The pattern is from Knitscene Accessories, 2014, and the yarn is the always delightful Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.


Debra has been a busy knitter lately; she too came in with a bag full of finished projects to share. Above is her “Horse Beanie,” knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


Debra’s biggest knitting accomplishment of late has been this “Shetland Knee Rug and Throw,” from Martin Storey’s Scottish Knits, knit in the incomparable Fibre Company Acadia. On a real colorwork kick, she used the leftovers to design and knit this hat, incorporating a found chart of birds on a wire.


Since purchasing a Schacht Cricket Loom, Sue’s show and tell has switched from knitting to weaving.


She wove this scarf with a variety of plant fiber yarns, some solid, like Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub, and some variegated, like Linen Concerto.


Sue has been particularly keen on weaving with variegated yarns, marveling, as I often do, at how differently those yarns behave in woven fabric than in knitted fabric.


She came in with her loom to show us her latest project, made with the leftover yarn from a shawl she knit, studded with random stripes of Isager Alpaca 1 in a contrasting color. We laid the knit shawl next to the woven fabric on the loom and studied the differences, which colors stand out, how they pool and pattern.


Kathryn dreamed up and knit this sweet polar bear sweater for her soon-to-be son using Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


I’m so impressed by this little sweater, from the classic color combination to her expertly self-designed colorwork charts to the perfect buttons. Bravo, Kathryn!

A hearty thanks to all the fiber artists who start their projects here and share their work with us! We love to see our yarns grow up into finished garments, and are so inspired by the work you do. See you at the shop!

More new magazines.

Two more new magazines have landed here at the shop!


We were pleased to see a familiar yarn on the cover of the 2015 issue of Crochet Scene.


Soft, drapey Shibui Staccato is a perfect choice for a lightweight crochet garment like this one. Look to Crochet Scene for a variety of crocheted garments and accessories, from mitts and cowls to totes and crocheted jewelry.



The Fall 2015 issue of Interweave Knits is a good one, bursting with cozy sweaters that have us anxious for cool weather.



I spotted lots of friendly faces in this issue, like a pullover in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, and another in Fibre Company’s newest yarn, yet to be released.


DSCN4799I was also pleased to see an article on Baa Ram Ewe and their revitalization of the Yorkshire textile industry. We were the first US stockist of their Titus yarn, and can hardly wait for the arrival of their new yarn later this season!


Come by the shop to pick up a few new magazines to feed your knit and crochet habit. See you there!

Shetland show and tell.

Here’s another bunch of show and tell! All of these projects started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, and all those yarns have something in common: they’re all composed of 100% Shetland wool, the somewhat prickly stuff that I love so much. It’s not merino-soft, but Shetland wool maintains its shape over time, even as it softens with washing and wearing. Let’s see how these Hillsborough Yarn Shoppers are using it.


Paula came in recently with her finished “Solo,” knit from a Hanne Falkenberg kit. Those of you who have tackled Falkenberg kits know what an accomplishment this is; Falkbenberg’s signature Shetland yarn is a fine gauge, all in garter stitch, which can feel tedious after a while. What’s more, her designs are cleverly, unconventionally constructed, and it’s important to have a good system for tracking row count, increases and decreases. Paula worked diligently on the knitting and the note-keeping, making her “Solo” a real success!


Paula had another bit of Shetland show and tell with her that day, a fair isle tam knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


The pattern is from Mary Rowe’s Knitting Tams, a collection of fair isle tams that Paula is finding somewhat addictive. She left the shop after this visit with the makings of at least two more tams, which I hope I can share with you here on the blog as they’re completed.


I recently finished a Shetland sweater, myself, which you wont be surprised to learn is from Kate Davies’ Yokes, a book I can’t stop talking about.


I knit this “Cockatoo Brae” cardigan in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which behaved perfectly in the colorwork and showed no inclination to unravel after I cut the steek.


My only modifications to the pattern were a change in colorway and in buttonband construction. I used Anna Zilboorg’s “perfect buttonhole” technique, from her Knitting for Anarchists and Splendid Apparel books, which was somewhat fiddly but entirely worthwhile. I practiced reinforcing and cutting the steek on my swatch, then picked up along the cut edge to work a few practice buttonholes, which helped me get the hang of it.



A few months ago, I wrote about our ever-expanding selection of colors in Shetland Spindrift, and how each new group of shades reminds me of a particular knitter and project they were special-ordered for. I was so delighted when Anne sent me this photo of one of those projects, now completed. Here’s Stan in his striped sweater, a self-designed recreation of a favorite, well-worn sweater. He dropped in the other day with process swatches for another Shetland project in the works… I can’t wait to see what he makes next.


A hearty thanks to all the fiber artists who start their projects here and share their work with us! We love to see our yarns grow up into finished garments, and are so inspired by the work you do. See you at the shop!

Folk Knitting.

The newest special issue from Interweave arrived at the shop this week! Take a peek inside Folk Knitting.


Folk Knitting features projects and essays inspired by textile traditions from around the world.



I spotted two patterns from Marianne Isager, excerpts from her Knitting Out of Africa and Inca Knits collections.



If these designs pique your interest, check out our collection of Isager books and patterns!


One of my favorite yarns appears in this special issue, too: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, a fingering weight 2-ply Shetland wool, perfect for colorwork. These wrist warmers were inspired by a beaded egg from Belarus.


Look for Folk Knitting on the teacart at the shop, surrounded by the latest books and magazines for knitters, crocheters, and weavers. See you there!

Baa-bles and pom-poms.

While we were at TNNA, in between swatching new yarns and meeting with vendors, I worked on a colorwork hat. In spite of the long, busy days, the hat was quickly completed, due to the thick, quick-knitting yarn, and the adorable, addictive nature of the pattern.


Here’s my “Baa-ble Hat,” a free pattern designed by Donna Smith for Shetland Wool Week 2015. I knit it in four shades of Jamieson’s Shetland Heather Aran, which has all the wooly charms of its fingering weight cousin, the beloved Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


I topped it with this delightfully oversized pom-pom, which I made using what looks to be the largest pom-pom maker available.

pompom maker

I trimmed a good inch or so off of the pom-pom after removing it from this gadget, and still, it’s a rather significant pom-pom.


Anne and I have been getting some serious pom-pom practice of late, making colorful pom-poms for our summer shop window display. We used all different gauges of yarn, from fingering weight to super bulky, sometimes working with two different colors or multiple strands of yarn in any given pom-pom.


It’s a motley group of pom-poms, but now that they’re hanging neatly in the shop window, we’re really quite fond of them, and the whimsical atmosphere they’ve lent the place.



Come by the shop to pick up a pom-pom maker or two–we just got the full range of sizes in stock!


Show and tell: colorwork.

We always love to see what you’re making with HYS yarns, and I love to take photos of your beautiful finished pieces to share here on the blog. Today, I have a bundle of show-and-tell projects with one thing in common: bold color combinations in a variety of multicolor knitting techniques, from stripes to stranded colorwork to mosaic knitting.


Margaretta finished two striped projects recently, the first of which is this “Yipes Stripes” cowl, which she knit in 5 shades of Plymouth Suri Merino. The variety of colorwork techniques in this piece keep it interesting, so interesting that Margaretta has just selected colors for a second “Yipes Stripes.” I can’t wait to see how it comes out!


Margaretta’s “Stole,” though simpler to knit, is perhaps the greater achievement. Knit in 9 shades of Isager Alpaca 2, this ribbed rectangular shawl is generous in size and fine in gauge, a combination that requires a great deal of time and patience to knit. I love Margaretta’s color combination, and the careful balance of dark and light shades.


Debra brought in her “Autumn Tam” in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which she started in Nancy’s most recent fair isle tam class. She’s since become smitten with the technique, and has already completed a “Horse beanie” and started a colorwork blanket in Fibre Company Acadia. We love to see students leave our classes empowered to start new projects on their own!


Margie knit this two-color “Art Deco Mosaic Shawl” from a recent issue of Vogue Knitting.


The pattern showed the shawl knit in high-contrast colors for maximum visibility of the mosaic pattern. Margie had something more subtle in mind, so she selected Isager Alpaca 2 in a dark gold shade and paired it with a variegated brown and gold skein of Malabrigo Mechita. The effect is rich in color and texture, and reminds me of tapestry weaving or wood grain, a unique and beautiful interpretation of the original pattern.


Some months ago, Rosemary selected two shades of Shibui Pebble for a bit of an experiment. Organizing the Pebble last week, I sat those two shades next to each other and wondered for a moment what she’d been plotting. Not long after that, she walked in holding a delicate striped scarf knit in Pebble, her first try at double knitting.


Double knitting makes a reversible, two-layer fabric; you may have seen our sample “Mix No. 23” cowl in Shibui Cima hanging here at the shop, or pondered Amy’s class on the subject. (There’s another session coming up in August; sign up now if you’d like to join!) I’m impressed with Rosemary’s self-designed scarf, and I’m sure she’ll love wrapping up in it when cold weather comes again this fall.

Thanks to the many knitters, crocheters, weavers, and other fiber artists who use yarns from our shop in their creations; we love seeing what you make!



More and more new colors in Shetland Spindrift.

It’s been about a year since I last wrote about Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift here on the blog. Our little basket of Shetland Spindrift has grown over the past year, as interest in the yarn and in colorwork knitting has grown here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift is a classic fingering weight 2-ply shetland wool. It comes in little 25 gram balls to accommodate fair-isle knitters and their many-colored projects, for they don’t always need much yardage in any one shade.


Shetland Spindrift comes in 200+ colors, and though we can’t have them all in stock, we’re more than happy to order whatever colors you like, in whatever quantity.


We’ve expanded our selection of colors one special request at a time, and now I associate these shades with particular knitters and their projects: a palette of undyed shades for a “Sheep Heid” tam, rich blues and greens to recreate a favorite striped sweater, a few bright shades to perk up a growing stash of Shetland wool for colorwork knitting, autumnal rusts and mossy greens for a series of slip-stitch scarves, and so on.


We’ve seen lots of finished projects in Shetland Spindrift, too. Here’s Ruth in her “Mitered Cardigan,” from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knit One, Knit All. With guidance from Nancy during last year’s class on the subject, Ruth knit this unusually-constructed cardigan in record time for such a fine gauge yarn.


One of Shetland Spindrift’s many lovely qualities is the structure it brings to knitted fabric, which is critical for a good-sized garment mostly in garter stitch. I’m certain Ruth’s sweater will look as lovely years from now as it does in this photo.


Here’s my “Puffin,” from Kate Davies’ Colours of Shetland, a sweater that you’ve likely seen on my person if you’ve been by the shop in the past several months. I loved knitting it, love wearing it, and anticipate making another Kate Davies sweater with Shetland Spindrift sometime soon.


Amy brought in her “First Footing,” an elaborate pair of colorwork socks designed by Kate Davies. This half of the pair is currently on display at the shop, so you can get a good look at it while you browse our baskets of Shetland Spindrift.


I know there’s plenty of Shetland Spindrift out there on the needles; we’d love to see what you’re making with it! Come by the shop to share your progress and plan your next project. See you there!

Show and tell: hats and scarves.

Time for another round of show and tell! Here are some of the finished projects our knitters have shared with us recently.


Annmarie has been busy knitting colorwork tams with Jamieson Shetland Spindrift. First she made Sandy Blue’s “Autumn Tam,” while taking Nancy’s class here at the shop.


Next, she used some of her leftover bits of Shetland Spindrift along with a few new shades to knit Sandy Blue’s “Midnight Sun Tam.”

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Smitten with tam-knitting, Annmarie then selected nine undyed shades in Shetland Spindrift to knit Kate Davies’ “Sheep Heid.”

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Bravo, Annmarie!


Linda came in recently to share her “Reach,” a cabled colorwork hat knit in two shades of Berroco Ultra Alpaca.


Rarely do we see colorwork and cables combined like this; the resulting fabric is thick and squishy, from the ribbed brim all the way to the cleverly constructed crown.


On a chilly day last week, Ruth came into the shop wearing her “Wrapped in Leaves” shawl, a pattern from Alana Dakos’ Botanical Knits.


Ruth knit hers in Fibre Company Acadia, a soft, tweedy dk weight yarn in a glorious shade of red they call “Poppy.”


I was flattered when Kathy came in working on her second “North Arrow,” a scarf I designed a couple of years ago. She knit them both in String Theory Caper Sock, the first in the colors shown in the pattern, and the second in this beautiful teal and gray combination. I love the result!


Thanks to the many knitters, crocheters, weavers, and other fiber artists who use yarns from our shop in their creations; we love seeing what you make!

Knitscene and knit.purl.

We’ve been getting so many new magazines this month, I can hardly keep up!


First up, Knitscene, always a hot commodity here at the shop. This issue has lots of familiar yarns inside, from Shibui Cima to Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.



I also spotted Shetland Spindrift in the latest issue of knit.purl, which used to be called knit.wear–another favorite magazine around here.



This issue of knit.purl is full of the wearable modern shapes and interesting knits that knit.wear was known for.

Come by the shop to browse the latest publications; we hope you find inspiration here!