Show and tell: sweaters.

“What are you thinking about making?” If you’ve visited our shop, you’ve likely been asked this question by myself, Anne, Rosi, or whoever else may be helping out that day. We ask this not just to help connect you with the right yarn, pattern, or tools, but also because we’re genuinely interested. We love hearing your ideas and helping realize them, and even more, we love seeing them realized in a finished product. When I’m able, I photograph these finished projects and share them here on the blog. Here are some of the sweaters our community of knitters have recently completed!

Here Tom models his “Basic Men’s Pullover,” his first-ever sweater for himself. With guidance from Marsha’s Start Your First Sweater class here at the shop, Tom made this perfectly-fitting sweater using Swans Island All American Worsted. This kind of sweater success can only mean more sweaters – I can’t wait to see what Tom knits next!

Katherine has been knitting Kate Davies’ “Owlet” sweaters for each of her children. She brought the latest in some weeks ago for button selection, and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture, even though it’s not technically finished. This one was knit with Malabrigo Rios held doubled for a bulky gauge and the bonus feature of not having to alternate skeins.

Here’s another little sweater, a top-down cabled baby cardigan that you may have seen on display here at the shop. Robin knit it with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in preparation for her upcoming class on the subject – a good opportunity to get an introduction to top-down sweater-knitting on a small scale. Read more about the class on our Classes page, where you can sign up, too!

Sue is passionate about sweater-making, as we’ve seen on previous show-and-tell posts, so you might not be surprised to learn that she’s visited us with no less than four finished sweaters in the past couple of months. She made the sweater above with Mirasol Hacho out of our sale trunk, then embellished it with bits and pieces from her stash. The pattern is from Anna Zillboorg’s inspiring Splendid Apparel, a book of embroidered knits.

Sue is also interested in variations, and how a single pattern may differ from garment to garment by changing the fiber or color. Above is Sue’s “Equinox,” knit with Shibui Linen. Below is “Equinox” again, this time with Shibui Twig.

This last one is a bit of a mystery, a textured short-sleeved cardigan Sue knit with a now-discontinued yarn called Rock Cotton from our shop’s early days. She wasn’t sure the source of the pattern, and though I’ve scoured Ravelry, I haven’t turned it up – still and all, it’s a great-looking knit that Sue loves to wear, and that is exactly what we hope for all sweater-knitters!

Thanks to all who begin their projects with a trip to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! Keep an eye out for more show and tell here on the blog in the coming weeks.

Anne’s gifts-in-progress.

“What are you working on?” is knitters’ small talk, a question Anne and I encounter and ask many times a day here at the shop. Today, we’ll pose the question to Anne herself, taking a rare peek in her personal knitting bag.


Just how much does a large Binkwaffle dumpling bag hold? If you pack as skillfully as Anne, no less than seven works in progress in various stages of completion!


Anne is a tremendously generous knitter who loves clothing her family in handknits, and she’s also a project manager. That means she’s already planned her holiday gift-knitting for the year, completed the first piece (a twirly skirt for her eldest granddaughter), and started on the next few. The sweater above is for her husband, a “Honeycomb Pullover” in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.


These two skeins of Swans Island All American Sport are destined to become colorwork gloves for her husband. The socks below are for her grandsons, in Colinette Jitterbug and Noro Silk Garden Sock. She’ll work on both pairs at once, switching back and forth between the blue and striped socks until they’re completed. Also note how she stores them safely in DP Wip Tubes, so none of those tiny stitches slide off the needles!



These two skeins of Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone DK will grow up to be a cuddly “Fancy Hen” for Anne’s youngest granddaughter, who gets lots of handknit hand-me-downs, but still deserves something all her own.


Quick to knit and easy to wear, hats and cowls are go-to gifts for many knitters, and Anne has one of each in progress. The hat above was knit in the discontinued Shibui Merino Alpaca, and sits nearly finished with just one lingering question: does it need a pom-pom? The cowl below is a bit of a teaser, since all I can say is that the yarn it’s made of is coming to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop later this Fall. More soon!


(Outside of this particular knitting bag, she also has three sample sweaters going for the shop… more on those another time.)

Are you dreaming of handmade holiday gifts for your friends and family? Follow in Anne’s footsteps and start now, so you’re not limited to late nights, super-bulky yarns and tiny accessories towards the end of the year!


Just when cold weather finally begins here in North Carolina, the Spring 2016 issue of KnitScene arrives.


This issue features lots of yarns that can be found at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


A hat in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering, a shawl in Fibre Company Road to China Lace, a cardigan in Berroco Artisan



I also spotted a sweater in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, along with a tutorial showing how to create those vertical stripes with crochet slip stitch.



Designer Amy Christoffers penned another handy tutorial, showing how to pick up stitches.


Look for KnitScene on the teacart here at the shop! See you there.

Show and tell: little knits.

December is a busy time of year here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. Knitters and crocheters perk up as winter begins, even a warm winter like the one we’re having, and holiday gift-making becomes top priority. We’ve seen so much amazing show-and-tell this month, some of which I’ve captured on camera to share here on the blog. I’ve accumulated enough for two show-and-tell posts, so let’s start small with these knits for babies and children.


Amy knit this sweet stripey “Baby’s Cardigan” using Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Starke 6 in a particularly colorful colorway. It reminds me of a box of crayons, perfect for a small someone.


I knit a little sweater this month, too, a “Flax” pullover for my nephew, with a matching “Barley” hat. Two skeins of Malabrigo Rios was enough for this set, and I highly recommend both yarn and pattern; they were a great match. “Flax,” “Barley,” and the rest of tincanknits’ Simple Collection are aimed at beginner knitters, simple designs that really let a semi-solid hand-dyed yarn shine.


Nancy knit this colorwork vest with Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, using another tincanknits design, “Peanut.” This is another great match of yarn and pattern; superwash wool is a practical, economical choice for baby and children’s things, and it comes in a wide range of solid colors–perfect for colorwork.


Anne’s been making little things, too; Hannukah gifts for her grandchildren. These two hats are for her granddaughters, knit in Araucania Toconao (left) and Lang Merino+ Color (right).


Her four-year-old grandsons weren’t left out, of course; they came by the shop last month to select yarns for their Hannukah socks. Anne traced their quickly-growing feet for size, then got to work on two sets of needles–one for Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, and one for Araucania Ranco.

Thanks to everyone who starts their projects here at the shop, and also to those who share their progress along the way. We always love to see what you’re making, and feel so grateful to be surrounded by such talent and creativity. Stay tuned for more show and tell soon!

Thanksgiving show and tell.

We have a lot to be thankful for, and the inspiring knitters, crocheters, and weavers who frequent our shop are at the top of our list. With you all in mind, here’s another bunch of show and tell! All of these projects started their lives as yarns here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.


Ruth recently came into the shop wearing a newly-finished sweater, “Aperture,” knit in Shibui Linen and Cima held together throughout. It looks just as nice hanging open as it does fastened at the neck!



Margaretta is keen on Shibui yarns, too; here’s her “Rikke Hat,” knit with Shibui Silk Cloud and Baby Alpaca held together.


Janet knit this hat with one skein of Fibre Company’s newest yarn, Cumbria. The pattern is “Greenrow,” by Kate Gagnon Osborn, and it’s decorated with twisted stitch cables. Janet reported that it was a challenge, but a rewarding one.


Emily designed these socks herself, and knit them with String Theory Bluestocking, plucking the stitch pattern from one of Barbara Walker’s treasuries and modifying it to work in the round. I love this approach to sock-knitting, where the basic structure stays the same and the stitch pattern is varied from pair to pair. A good stitch dictionary can keep you busy for years this way!


I’ve got a couple of finished projects to share, and they couldn’t be more different. Above is a wrap called “Motif,” a luxurious shop sample knit in Shibui’s newest yarn, Dune. Below is a stuffed chicken I knit for my niece’s sixth birthday, a colorful, huggable thing, knit in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK.


This pairing, while absurd, is a nice illustration of the many ways knitting can please the knitter. Sometimes a knitting project is an elegant indulgence, sometimes it’s a humorous amusement. Either way, there’s satisfaction in making, whether it’s a garment or a chicken.


Anne completed her “Truss”sweater recently, and you’ll now find it hanging on the wall here at the shop.


She used Shibui Maai and Pebble held together throughout, a soft and slightly tweedy combination, as appealing to the hand as to the eye. If you’d like guidance in making a “Truss” tunic of your own, consider Amy’s upcoming class on the subject!


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. We’re closed on Thursday, November 26th, for the Thanksgiving holiday, but open again at our regular hours starting Friday, November 27th. See you at the shop!

Triangle Yarn Crawl.

The Triangle Yarn Crawl is a self-guided tour of local yarn shops, where knitters and crocheters get together and hop from one shop to the next, shopping, entering raffles, and seeing the full breadth of available fibers. They happen twice a year, and the time has come again: the Autumn 2015 crawl is coming up this weekend on October 24th and 25th!


Each local yarn shop has something special to offer, and we’re no exception: all in-stock kits are 10% off during the yarn crawl!


The yarn crawl also coincides with our Swans Island Trunk Show, another special something to see when you visit the Hillsborough Yarn Shop this weekend. We’re offering a 10% discount on all in-stock Swans Island yarns during the trunk show, so be sure to check out our full selection, from fingering weight to sport weight to dk weight to worsted weight!


There’s a bag of goodies at each of the participating shops, a raffle prize full of yarn, patterns, and more. Some of its contents are donated by TYC sponsors, and others come from our own collection here at the shop. Here’s some of what we tucked into the raffle prize.


We’ve included one skein of Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect self-patterning sock yarn, another of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, and a bundle of notions and yarn samples from Fibre Company. Think of it as your own private yarn tasting, allowing you to try all of the delightful yarns Fibre Company has to offer before investing in a project’s-worth of yarn.


We’re lucky to live in such a fiber-friendly part of the world, with so many choices available to us, and the Triangle Yarn Crawl is a great time to see all of those choices. Come see us as you’re crawling along!


A reminder: all sales are final on sale items; there can be no exchanges, no returns, nor will we special order. Discount applies only to in-store purchases. Thanks!  

Hello, Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK.

Rowan’s newest yarn has arrived at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! Meet Pure Wool Superwash DK.


We’ve long been searching for a good quality superwash wool in DK weight, one that comes in loads of colors and at a reasonable price, and this yarn is it. Last fall, Rowan met a similar need with their Pure Wool Superwash Worsted, and this yarn is very much a thinner version of the same good stuff.


Superwash DK weight wools like this one are good for all kinds of projects, from accessories to home goods to garments. One 145 yard ball would make a nice pair of mitts, like the Churchmouse “Welted Fingerless Gloves,” or for that matter, my own “Welting Fantastic Mitts.” Baby and children’s things are also a good fit for Pure Wool Superwash DK; I’ve made “Milo” a couple of times using Rowan Wool Cotton, and this yarn would make a nice wintry version of the same little vest.


For adult sweaters, Martin Storey’s Easy DK Knits is a collection worth checking out. Rowan sent along a sample of the cover sweater, “Barbican,” a garter stitch pullover with drop stitch patterning at the bottom edge. Come by the shop to see it in person, and get a tangible sense of how this yarn works up. Easy DK Knits uses a variety of knitting techniques to make relatively simple sweaters, including texture patterns, cables, and beginner-level colorwork.

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In addition to these patterns, consider Rowan’s recently-announced Fall Knit-Along, featuring this very yarn, and hosted by designer Amy Herzog. Herzog is a prolific sweater-designer, and one who cares deeply about how those sweaters fit the knitters who make them. Her Options Knit-Along will guide you through the creation of a highly-customizable sweater knit in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK, from choosing a size to making modifications to finishing. There’s a textured pullover option and a striped cardigan option, and it looks like there’ll be other options within each of those. Read more about it on her website, where you can download the shopping list and get ready to start the Rowan Options Knit Along this Monday, October 19th!


Look for Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK in the DK weight section of the shop, where we’re happy to help you plan your next project. See you there!


The Winter 2015 issue of Knitscene is here!


Sweater weather is finally here, making winter knitting magazines more appealing than ever.


I spotted lots of HYS yarns in this issue. A cabled vest in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, a textured pullover in Sincere Sheep Luminous DK, cowls in Malabrigo Rios and Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, a cabled hat in Berroco Ultra Alpaca




You can find all of those yarns here at the shop, along with lots of others that can be substituted for these patterns should you prefer a different color or fiber than what the designer used. We’re always happy to help you decide which yarn is best for your pattern and project. Come by soon to plan your fall and winter knitting!


The Summer 2015 issue of Knitscene is here!


The “Serape Shawl” on the cover is knit in Shibui Staccato, a luscious fingering weight blend of merino and silk. Staccato is a new yarn at the shop this Spring, but has quickly become a favorite. Many of these patterns call for yarns you can find at HYS, in fact.


A cropped pullover in Rowan Wool Cotton, a cross-front tank in Fibre Company Meadow, a fringed cowl in Plymouth Mushishi… seeing familiar yarns in new contexts is always refreshing.



Come by the shop to pick up a copy of Knitscene and prepare for summertime knitting!

Rowan Pure Wool: new colors, booklets.

Rowan has added six new shades to their Pure Wool Worsted line, and we’re happy to have them on our shelves.


All six are heathered, each shade composed of a few solid shades that are blended together to look solid from a distance. They fill out our existing selection nicely to make a well-rounded palette.


What to make with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted? Martin Storey has answered this question with two pattern collections in Pure Wool Worsted.


Pure Wool Worsted makes a great sweater yarn, especially for casual everyday sweaters.



It’s smooth and predictable on the needles, sturdy and easy to care for, renders stitch patterns crisply, and happens to be the most economical superwash worsted weight wool we’ve found.



Superwash wool at this gauge is tremendously versatile, and has many uses beyond adult-sized sweaters: use it for baby blankets, children’s sweaters, slipper socks, cold weather accessories, home goods, and the like. It’s also a good candidate for toy-making, as it happens.


I used Rowan Pure Wool recently to knit this pair of bunnies from a pair of free patterns. The bigger one, “Henry’s Rabbit,” is for my niece, and the smaller one, “Henry’s Bunny,” is for her sibling-to-be, due at the end of the month. One skein of Rowan Pure Wool was enough to make the pair. Stuffed animals are definitely not my typical knitting project, but I must say, this was a truly delightful diversion, and this yarn was a perfect fit!


Come by the shop to peruse the Martin Storey booklets, see the new colors, and plan your next project. See you there!