Show and tell: socks.

We love seeing projects made with yarns from our shop, and we truly feel honored that so many of you bring your finished pieces in for show and tell. When I’m able, I like to take pictures of these completed projects to share here on the blog. I’m always collecting them, and sometimes they seem to sort themselves into themed posts – all one kind of wool or technique, one yarn in particular, or even a shared color palette. Today’s theme is socks, a favorite project of ours, and the knitters featured here have made some amazing pairs.

Glen knit the vibrant pair above with MJ Opulent Fingering, a hand-dyed blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon. The pattern is “Dublin Bay Socks,” a free download from Ravelry, and it looks excellent in this semi-solid colorway, showing off the lace detail down the leg.

Lois’s socks have a lot in common with Glen’s: the pattern, “Socks on a Plane,” is available for free, they have a little pattern running down the leg and foot on a stockinette background – in this case, a cable, and they were made with hand-dyed yarn, the beloved Malabrigo Sock. I often warn knitters that cables and other patterns don’t show well in highly variegated yarn, but this is exactly the kind of exception that proves the rule. I love the way the wild colorway shines in simple stockinette, and the cable doesn’t disappear into it. Rather, it pops out a bit, brings welcome textural interest to an already interesting color. Well done, Lois!

Above are Karin’s “Sidney” socks, from Rachel Coopey’s CoopKnits Socks Vol. 2, made with Malabrigo Sock. These are the latest in a long series of increasingly intricate handknit socks that Karin has crafted for herself and her family. Like many of us, she likes to challenge herself a bit with each new project, trying a new stitch pattern or technique, and a sock is a good-sized project for that kind of experimentation. It’s a good way to learn a lot in a relatively short time, and Karin is living proof!

Margaretta is another generous, challenge-seeking sock knitter, and this “Harlequin” pair from New Directions in Sock Knitting pretty much blew my mind when I saw them in progress – organizing the bobbins alone looked like quite a task. She rose to the occasion, though, mastering intarsia-in-the-round along the way, and surprised me again when she came back for more yarn to knit a second pair.

This pair, like the first, is made with Malabrigo Sock, which you can tell is a popular sock yarn here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Margaretta insists that her technique improved measurably from the first pair to the second, and while I believe her, I honestly think both pairs look equally flawless. Still and all, she gave the second pair as a gift to a friend, knit yet a third pair and gave them to another friend, and kept the “learner” pair for herself.


Thanks to the knitters who shared their work on this post, and to the many more who begin their projects with trips to our shop! We appreciate your support, and love seeing what you make. If you’re not a sock-knitter but would like to become one, check out Amy’s upcoming class on the subject, an introduction to basic socks that may send you on a sock-making spree. Look out for more show-and-tell on the blog in the near future!

New from MJ Yarns, part 2.

I’ll continue this virtual unpacking of our recent MJ Yarns shipment with the newest yarn at the shop: say hello to the Simple Sock mini-skeins.

These 50 yard mini-skeins are semi-solid colors hand-dyed on a fingering weight blend of Corriedale wool and nylon, machine-washable and sturdy enough for socks.

They’re perfect for small, decorative projects, like Churchmouse’s “Jolly Wee Elf,” Kate Gagnon Osborn’s “Holiday Cheer Ornaments,” Tanis Lavalee’s “Love You Forever” hearts, or Anna Hrachovec’s “Tiny Fox” and “Tiny Owl.”

Any of you out there working on “Beekeeper’s Quilts” with your fingering weight leftovers? A handful of Simple Sock mini-skeins could augment your collection, provide a little pop of color. The smallest toddler size of Kathryn Folkerth’s “Badlands Mitts” calls for just 50 yards, too!

Mini-skeins like these are also well-suited to striped or fair-isle socks or mitts, many-colored shawls, hats, or cowls. Consider Melanie Berg’s “Solaris,” Martina Behm’s “Leftie,” and Joji Locatelli’s “Fine Tune.”  Here are a couple of combinations I dreamed up with no particular pattern in mind, just an impulse to play with the colors at hand.

Look for a basket full of MJ Yarns Simple Sock mini-skeins in the fingering weight section here at the shop, and create color combinations all your own! See you there.

New from MJ Yarns, part 1.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a big box from MJ Yarns in Lafayette, Colorado. It was stuffed with colorful hand-dyed yarns, half of them new shades in a familiar base and the other half a new yarn altogether. For today, we’ll look at that first half: new colors in Opulent Fingering.

Opulent Fingering is a tightly-plied blend of 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon, with 416 yards on each 100 gram skein. It’s perfect for a special pair of socks, a cowl, shawl, or pair of mitts.

MJ Yarns specializes in variegated and semi-solid colorways, some of which have short color runs to minimize pooling. Others, like the shades in the new Weird Sisters line, are dyed specifically with pooling in mind, and create a unique spiral stripe throughout socks, mitts, or other small circumference knits.

The Weird Sisters’ color names are as colorful as the skeins, inspired by the witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. For more information about how to manipulate the colors in these unique skeins, along with a free sock pattern, head to the MJ Yarns website. I also spotted the “Weird Sisters Hat” on Ravelry, a simple stockinette number designed to show off these very colorways.

Look for Opulent Fingering in the fingering weight section here at the shop, and keep your eye on the blog to see what else was in our box from MJ Yarns! See you at the shop.