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.

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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: pastels.

As we head off to TNNA to see what’s new in knitting, crochet, and weaving for the Fall, we’ll close the shop from Thursday, May 28th – Monday, June 1st, reopening on Tuesday, June 2nd. I’ll be blogging a bit from the show, but til then, here’s some show-and-tell, all in soft, solid shades, projects that have recently been completed in HYS yarns.


Here’s Amy’s “Kindling” shawl, knit in preparation for her upcoming class on the subject. The yarn is Fibre Company Savannah, a lofty sport weight blend of merino, cotton, soy, and linen. Amy enlarged her shawl by continuing the main body for one additional pattern repeat before working the lace edging. The patterning shows so clearly in this pale green shade, a wise choice for such intricate knitting.


Speaking of upcoming classes, Marsha recently dropped off this adorable “Pleated Ballet Flat,” a sample for her upcoming class. She used the aran weight Plymouth Royal Llama Silk in a robin’s egg blue.


For such a small piece of knitting, these slippers are packed with techniques, from picking up and knitting to short rows to working in the round on two circular needles. Check out all our upcoming classes on our website!


Jodi brought her beautiful “Tier” scarf in for show-and-tell just before shipping it off to her sister-in-law. She knit it in Shibui Twig, a summery blend of linen, silk, and wool, and carefully blocked it to gently-draping perfection.


Last week, Anne quickly worked up a textured baby hat in the luxurious Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere in a buttery yellow hue. The (free!) pattern is Christine Roy’s “That easy Guernsey hat,” and comes in toddler, child, and adult sizes, too.


Margie has been busy knitting “Shaelyn” shawls in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool as gifts for good friends. Here’s the first one off her needles, in a rustic shade of beige.


Thanks to the accomplished stitchers whose projects begin and grow here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We love to see what you’re making, and we’re looking forward to bringing in more inspiring materials for you to work with. I’ve got another round of many-colored show-and-tell projects coming up after our return… see you then!

Show and tell: shop samples.

Our walls are covered with knit, crocheted, and woven garments, which are here to inspire and show how our many yarns behave when they’re worked up into fabric. If you’ve been to the shop this week, you may have noticed a few new sample garments hanging on our walls. Anne, Rosi, Marsha, and I each recently finished a new shop sample, highlighting a variety of yarns and projects. Here’s some Hillsborough Yarn Shop show and tell.


Anne knit this Churchmouse “Easy Folded Poncho” with Fibre Company Acadia, a luxurious blend of merino wool, silk, and alpaca. The silk fiber takes the dye differently than wool and alpaca, and stands out from those fibers, creating a tweedy, rustic look. Those silk slubs are what make this truly simple garment a truly special one.


For a while now, we’ve had a few shades of Conjoined Creations Flat Feet here at the shop, occasionally begging the question, “What is this for?”


Flat Feet are machine-knit stretches of sock yarn, which are then hand-painted and ready to be hand-knit into socks directly from the flat.


What might that look like? Rosi’s newest sample helps answer that question.


She also brought in a recent Nordstrom catalog, which shows that socks worn with sandals are the height of fashion. Sock knitters, take note!


Marsha knit this “Bias Scarf” with two skeins of Ella Rae Bamboo Silk, a smooth, drapey worsted weight yarn.


The knitting in the “Bias Scarf” is simple, just knits, purls, increases and decreases. It’s a great beginner project, and Marsha is teaching a class on the subject for those just learning to knit. Read more about all our classes on our website!


Here’s my finished “Jiffy” vest, knit in Geilsk Cotton/Wool. It’s designed to be worn right-side-up or up-side-down, with the drop stitch lace around the collar or around the bottom edge.


Come by the shop to check out all our sample garments, which are here to be touched, tried on, and otherwise inspected. See you there!

New Shibui samples.

If you’ve been to the shop this week, you might have seen a few new sample garments hanging on our walls. These three were kindly lent to us by one of the wonderful people at Shibui, Carol.


Here’s the “Ship to Shore Shawl,” knit with Shibui Linen. Loosely knit in a fingering weight plant fiber, this one-skein shawl makes a perfect warm-weather project: lightweight and portable. I bet this would be equally lovely in Shibui’s newest yarn, Twig, though I’d get two skeins to be sure you have enough yardage to complete the project.


“Haruni” is a free pattern by Emily Ross, a favorite with many thousands of projects on Ravelry. This feather-light version was knit in Shibui Silk Cloud, a lace weight blend of mohair and silk.


Amy is planning a class on “Haruni” this Summer; keep your eye on our “Classes” page, or let us know if you’d like a heads-up when it’s posted!


Here’s Carol’s “Mix No. 9,” a cowl knit with Shibui Staccato and Silk Cloud held together throughout.


These two yarns combine to make a lush, lustrous fabric, perfect for a next-to-skin garment like a cowl.


Shibui yarns are dyed in matching colorways, to encourage the combining of different fibers. Here are some Staccato/Silk Cloud pairs, ready to become “Mix No. 9.”

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Come by the shop to admire these new samples, and plan a special Shibui project all your own. See you there!

New colors from Alchemy.

We recently freshened up our supply of Alchemy yarns, starting with one new colorway, shown here in Sanctuary, Sparky, and Lust.


Sanctuary is a sport weight blend of wool and silk, which, like all Alchemy yarns, is lovingly hand-dyed by designer Gina Wilde.


Anne picked six new shades of this sumptuous stuff, filling out our color selection nicely.


Use Sanctuary on its own, or in combination with Silken Straw or Sparky for Alchemy’s signature shibori-felted designs, like the “Wisdom Wrap” or “Simple Shibori Cowl,” both of which are on display at the shop.


Not long ago, Rosi finished this “Sparky Serpentine Scarf” knit in Sparky, a sample that now hangs on the wall here at the shop. The mesh lace pattern is easily memorized, and sparkles in this silk yarn, which is wrapped in a metallic thread.


Look for Alchemy yarns in the sport weight section of our shop, and don’t miss Lust in the fingering weight section! See you there.

Hello, Geilsk Cotton/Wool.

We’ve welcomed another new yarn to the shop! Meet Geilsk Cotton/Wool.


Cotton/Wool is a fingering weight blend of 55% wool and 45% cotton, a combination that brings the best of both fibers to the yarn. The wool lends elasticity and loftiness to the cool, soft cotton, and the result is a nice balance of animal and plant fibers, and smooth, well-behaved fabric.


We spotted Cotton/Wool at market last May, noting that we lacked a fingering weight cotton and wool blend here at the shop. We chose to carry it after knitting a simple swatch, its smooth texture rendering stitch patterns neatly, with nary a snag.

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Danish knitwear designer Bente Geil has developed a unique bunch of patterns for Cotton/Wool, ranging from shawls and scarves to vests and larger sweaters.


I’m currently knitting this “Jiffy” vest as a sample for the shop in Cotton/Wool.


You can wear it with the ribbing at the neck or upside down, with the lace at the neck.



Look for Geilsk Cotton/Wool and its accompanying patterns in the fingering weight section at the shop. See you there!


Hello, Maai.

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Shibui’s latest yarn, Maai.


Maai is a dk weight blend of alpaca and merino, soft and lofty due to its chainette construction. This yarn has tremendous elasticity, making it a pleasure to work with and surely a pleasure to wear.


Shibui’s yarns are designed to be mixed together, held two or three strands at a time to create bespoke yarn blends. For that reason, they’re dyed in closely matching colorways.


We’re delighted to add Maai to our selection of Shibui yarns, which have become favorites over the past year. I can’t wait to see how Maai behaves when knit together with Silk Cloud, Cima, Pebble, or Linen!


Maai is happy to be knit just as it is, however; Anne made this sample scarf using a single strand of Maai and the result is absolutely decadent. The pattern, “M.1,” is free when you buy Maai for the project; 3 skeins makes a scarf this size. Check out our “Inspiring Stitches” board on Pinterest for more ways to use Maai!


A photograph can’t do this yarn justice; you must come in and touch. See you at the shop!

Hello, Ultra Alpaca Chunky.

Meet the newest yarn from Berroco, Ultra Alpaca Chunky.

DSCN3709 A bulky weight blend of wool and alpaca, Ultra Alpaca Chunky is the newest addition to Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca line.


Each 100 gram skein boasts 131 yards, enough for a hat or a pair of mitts. With a suggested gauge of 3.5 stitches per inch on a US #10, this is instant gratification yarn, perfect for cozy accessories and warm, jacket-like sweaters.


Berroco booklet #349 features patterns for Ultra Alpaca Chunky, a collection of accessories and garments.

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A sample of one of these patterns, “Duchamp,” now hangs at the shop, knit in a cheery red.


“Duchamp” is a textured shawl, a modular knit whose construction is sure to keep you interested as you stitch.


Look out for this free pattern tucked into the Ultra Alpaca Chunky cubby–a cozy textured scarf, knit with just 3 skeins.


Come by the shop to see Ultra Alpaca Chunky and plan some instant gratification knitting of your own!

New colors in Titus Shades.

We’re delighted to announce the recent arrival of three new colors in Titus Shades!


Titus Shades is a fingering weight blend of alpaca, Wensleydale, and Bluefaced Leicester wools, sourced and spun entirely in the UK.


We’re proud to have been the first US stockist of the stuff, back in 2012 when it came in just one color. Since then, Titus has been warmly embraced by knitters, crocheters, and weavers all over the world, and now comes in no less than 11 glorious shades.


With new colors comes a new pattern collection: Coop Knits Toasty Vol. 1, by Rachel Coopey, featuring accessories of all kinds knit in Titus Shades.


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Coopey’s designs use a variety of techniques that show how versatile Titus is. It shines in cables, lace, texture patterns, and stranded colorwork, behaves nicely at a range of gauges.



Rosi has been knitting a sample “Northallerton” hat from this collection, using all three new shades together.



Come by the shop to flip through Toasty, see Rosi’s hat-in-progress and my “Color Affection”–also knit with three shades of Titus. Consider this special yarn for your next project!

Hello, Swans Island All American Worsted.

We’re delighted to announce that Swans Island’s newest yarn has arrived at the shop: meet All American Worsted!


All American Worsted is a 2-ply woolen-spun blend of 75% Rambouillet wool and 25% alpaca. There are 210 yards on each 80 gram skein, every bit of which was grown, processed, spun, and dyed in the USA.

DSCN3525All the colors begin with this shade of gray, the natural color of the Rambouillet and alpaca blend. The gray skeins are then dyed with low impact acid dyes, giving each hue a rich heathered quality.



“Woolen-spun” means that the yarn is spun from fiber that has been carded, but not combed. The carding process organizes the fibers to some degree, but they are not as smoothly aligned as combed fibers, giving woolen-spun yarns a rustic look.


Woolen-spun yarns like All American Worsted are also quite lofty, making them more versatile in terms of gauge. Swans Island suggests a gauge of 4.25 stitches per inch, which we’d consider aran weight, but All American Worsted is happy at a range of gauges. After washing, the fibers bloom to fill whatever space your needles have given them. The bottom section of the little swatch below was knit at 4.5 stitches per inch on a US #8; from there, I switched to a US #9, and the gauge is about 4 stitches per inch.

DSCN3530 I knit Stephen West’s “Dustland Hat” at 5 stitches per inch on a US #7, and the fabric is sturdy but supple. All American Worsted renders these knit/purl texture patterns beautifully, and I don’t doubt that it will perform just as well in cables, lace, and colorwork.


For pattern ideas, check the Swans Island binder here at the shop. Their Organic Merino Worsted is comparable, so patterns that call for that yarn will do just as well in All American Worsted. Also, check your Ravelry queue for any patterns calling for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter–I know I am! Of all the yarns we ordered at TNNA this year, this is the one I’ve been perseverating on the most. Any of the Brooklyn Tweed patterns would be stunning in Swans Island All American Worsted, but for myself, I’ve boiled it down to three favorites: “Bray,” “Wheaten,” and “Little Wave.”


Come by the shop to meet this gorgeous yarn in person, and plan your next project! Look for Swans Island All American Worsted in the aran weight section, near the Swans Island Organic Merino Worsted. See you there!