Show and tell: all kinds.


It’s time for more show and tell! Here are some finished pieces that began their lives as HYS yarns.

Not long ago, April came in wearing her “Guriddo Stole,” a lace and garter stitch wrap that she knit in the delightful Shibui Staccato, a fingering weight blend of superwash merino and silk. This wasn’t a planned visit, rather, April found herself near the shop wearing a wrap she’d recently completed and decided to drop in and share it with us. It makes me so happy to see knitters wearing their work! Thanks for stopping by, April!


On the right is a commercially-made hat Mary’s daughter wore and loved. Mary saw the seam in the back and rightly thought, “I can do better than that!” The blue hat on the left is her handknit interpretation, based on Emily Ingrid’s free “Copy.Cat C.C Beanie” pattern, using one skein of Ewe Ewe Baa Baa Bulky, a smooth and springy superwash merino.

Above is Judie’s “Dovetail Wrap,” a free pattern from Purl Soho. I could have sworn I took another photo that showed the whole piece, but all I can find is this close-up shot; I must have been drawn to the glorious, colorful Malabrigo Mecha yarn Judie used. This simple garter stitch shawl pattern is a great one for showing off variegated yarn.

Here’s my “Finn Valley,” knit with Fibre Company Arranmore. It knit up pretty quickly in this soft bulky weight tweed, an interesting but manageable project made even more satisfying with the help of clever Cocoknits tools.

You’ll find it hanging on the wall here at the shop; come by to try it on and get a tangible feel for a garment knit in Arranmore – lighter weight than you might expect!

Margaretta knit this exquisite pair of “Terpander” socks with String Theory Bluestocking. A semi-solid hand-dyed yarn like this is great for showing off cables and texture with just a touch of added interest. Bravo, Margaretta!

Karin first decided to tackle the double-knit “Mix No. 23” cowl because it seemed a good use of some yarns from her stash – Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering and Araucania Ranco. She stuck with it because she loves a challenge, and finds satisfaction in mastering new knitting techniques, no matter how much swatching or ripping back it entails. I’d only seen this cowl knit in solid colors, but her hand-dyed version is absolutely stunning.

Intrigued by double-knitting, and interested in knitting a “Mix No. 23” of your own? Sign up for Amy’s upcoming class on the subject!

Many thanks to the knitters and other fiber artists who share their work with us. We are so inspired by your ideas and expertise, and we learn from you each day. See you at the shop!

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!

String Theory: new colors, show and tell.

Another shipment from String Theory arrived at the shop last week, a box filled with Bluestocking and Merino DK. We also happened to see these two yarns in a couple of beautiful finished projects recently, so I thought I’d share show and tell along with the news of new colors.


Bluestocking is a soft, sturdy fingering weight yarn composed of 80% Bluefaced Leicester wool and 20% nylon. Bluefaced Leicester wool is known for its long fibers, which make for sturdy, lustrous yarn with a bit of a fuzzy halo. Bluestocking is excellent for socks, but just as nice for scarves, shawls, mitts, and other accessories.


Pete knit this “North Arrow” with two shades of Bluestocking, one variegated and one semisolid. I love seeing how two colors interact when knit up into thin stripes; they can blend into one another or pop out in contrast, and you can’t be quite sure how they’ll behave until they’re on your needles. Pete’s color choice came out beautifully, and I’m flattered to say that she’s planning to knit a second “North Arrow” in Caper Sock!


Last week’s box came with three new shades of String Theory Merino DK, a soft and smooth superwash merino yarn in a DK weight. Merino DK is springy and dependable, has sharp stitch definition, and comes in rich, hand-dyed colorways. I’m a big fan of this yarn, having used it for all kinds of projects: two cowls, a hat, a sweater, and a pair of mitts.


Mary recently pulled a skein of String Theory Merino DK out of her stash to make a “Hermes Baby” hat from the Vivacious Volume One booklet. The simplicity of the stitch pattern gives this particularly variegated colorway room to shine.


Come by the shop to see our full selection of String Theory yarns, and plan your next project!

Back in stock: Caper Sock.

We’re so glad to have new colors in String Theory Caper Sock!


Caper Sock is a fingering weight blend of superwash merino wool, cashmere, and nylon. It’s sturdy enough for sock-knitting, as its name suggests, but soft enough for shawls, scarves, cowls, hats, or mitts–just about anything you’d wear next-to-skin.


Each skein boasts 400 yards, enough to make a variety of small projects. Searching patterns on Ravelry, I found that one skein of Caper Sock will make just about any pair of socks, Joji Locatelli’s “To infinity and beyond” cowl, Jennifer Dassau’s “Picabeau” shawlette, or Stephen West’s “Pogona” shawlette. Can’t decide on just one color? Two will make Carina Spencer’s “Catkin” shawl, Veera Välimäki’s “Halfway Wrap,” or my own “North Arrow” scarf.


Come by the shop to pick up a skein or two or String Theory Caper Sock! You’ll find Caper Sock in the fingering weight section, with lots of other tempting hand-dyed yarns.


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.”

IMG_0590 IMG_0591

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

IMG_0589 IMG_0588

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!

Back in stock: String Theory sock yarns.

Our supply of String Theory sock yarns has been getting dangerously low, a problem we’re always thrilled to correct because it means picking out colors! Karen Grover and Tanis Williams, the amazing dyers at String Theory, create so many delightful, memorable colorways. Many of them have become favorites that we must order if they’re available, but we always love to see new colors, too. Our most recent order brought some of both.


Bluestocking is a lustrous sock yarn, composed of 80% superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool and 20% nylon, for durability. I’ve tested its durability with my own two feet, having knit a pair of socks with a skein of Bluestocking back in 2012. They’ve survived two winters of frequent wear and are still going strong.


Anne has worked with Bluestocking, too, and came back to it for a new project this past week. Her sweet three-year-old grandson recently visited the shop for a quick hug and hello. Anne pointed to the String Theory cubby and said, “You can pick any color you like, and I’ll make you a pair of socks.” Purple it is!


String Theory’s other sock yarn, Caper Sock, is a plump and springy blend of 80% superwash merino wool, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon.


The tight twist and the nylon content ensures that Caper Sock is sturdy enough to withstand the kind of wear that socks put up with, but it’s great for other garments, as well. My “North Arrow” scarf in Caper Sock is on display at the shop, so you can feel for yourself how nicely it knits up.


Come by the shop to dig into the String Theory cubby yourself! See you there.


Summer show and tell.

It’s time again for show-and-tell! Here are a few of the projects we’ve seen at the shop so far this summer. Summer knitting means something different to every knitter. Some folks put down their needles and hooks all summer long, but others stitch summer garments, sweaters for fall, smaller pieces that travel well, lightweight lace shawls, and more.

DSCN3282Here’s Ruth in her “Mix No. 19,” a color-blocked tunic knit with two strands of Shibui Silk Cloud held together throughout. In black and dark gray, this lustrous, fuzzy yarn makes an elegant garment.


Jorah came by the shop recently with show and tell: a pair of cabled socks he knit with some String Theory Bluestocking in “Java,” a rich brown colorway.


Betty recently completed this “Sonetto Shawl” with Isager Alpaca 2.


Our sample “Sonetto” is made in two colors, but one solid color makes an equally beautiful shawl, especially in such a soft and delightful yarn.


I recently finished my “Sonora,” a Courtney Kelley pattern featured in our recent Fibre Company Summer Sweaters Trunk Show. I used Berroco Maya, and knit a size that gave me about 3″ of negative ease instead of the 2″ of positive ease that the pattern suggests. As a result, it fits me snugly instead of loosely, exactly what I had in mind.


Last weekend, Amy brought in her “Baby Surprise Jacket” knit in Malabrigo Arroyo, a sample for her upcoming class on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic pattern. Come by the shop to see it for yourself, and act quickly if you’d like to take one of the last remaining spaces in the class!



Molly has been knitting sweaters for all her grandchildren this summer. Here’s a pair for her granddaughters, modified from a Debbie Bliss pattern so that they could be knit in the round instead of in pieces. She used a variety of DK weight superwash yarns from Sublime and Debbie Bliss, letting her girls choose the colors. I love the results!



Thanks to everyone who starts and completes their projects at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop! We feel so lucky to be part of your creative process.

Show and tell: accessories.

I’ve seen so many amazing finished garments come through the shop since I last wrote a “show and tell” blog post, especially on the recent Triangle Yarn Crawl, to which so many shoppers wore their handmade best. I can’t always have my camera handy to document the projects that knitters and crocheters create with yarn from the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, but of late, I’ve collected enough for two posts. Here’s the first batch, all accessories.


Here, Emily models her “Daylily Scarf,” knit in String Theory Selku. Looking at her exquisite lace knitting, you’d never guess that Emily learned to knit less than a year ago, in one of Marsha’s Beginning Knitting classes here at the shop. Since then, she has tackled not only this gorgeous scarf and several others, but also fingerless mitts, cable-knitting, and at least one sweater, with plans for more.


Judy was intrigued by Katia Paper when she found it at the shop, and bought a couple of skeins to experiment with. She came back with this crocheted hat, self-designed and perfect for keeping the sun out of one’s eyes–a perfect use for this unusual yarn.


Anne has a recently-completed accessory to share, too–“Yipes Stripes,” a colorful cowl knit in Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted. There are all kinds of knitting techniques tucked into this one little project, from a turned hem to two- and three-color braids, with stripes and slipped stitches in between. Designer Ann Weaver is teaching a class on this cowl at TNNA this summer, and I’m looking forward to attending it. In the meantime, Anne has already knit the thing, and will send me off to class with questions for the teacher.

Thanks to all of you who share your finished pieces with us! Stay tuned for more show and tell this week–all sweaters and vests.

Back in stock: Selku.

Most yarns from Maine hand-dyers String Theory are dyed to order, so it was with a couple months of anticipation that we excitedly unpacked a big box full of Selku this past week.


Selku is a sport weight, 3-ply blend of 50% silk and 50% merino wool. The silk content makes it slinky and shiny, while the wool brings elasticity. Together, they make a gently draping fabric with excellent stitch definition that is well suited to accessories, scarves, shawls, and sweaters. It particularly shines in lacy openwork patterns–perhaps you’ve seen the sample slouchy hat in Selku at the shop, or glimpsed Rosi’s “Sampler Tabard” on the blog.



We’ve also seen Selku knit up into a “Vitamin D” sweater and a “Sonetto” shawl, among other projects. There’s one other shawl pattern we’ve had our eye on for some time that calls for String Theory Selku: “Sundry,” by Jennifer Dassau. “Sundry” is a garter- and slip-stitch shawl that calls for one skein each in two colors–an excellent opportunity to play the color-combining game.


Above are “Pewter” and “Alexandrite,” the colors shown in the pattern sample. I couldn’t stop there, of course. Here are several more combinations that appealed to my eye–I can’t wait to see what other knitters come up with, too!





Come by the shop to bask in Selku’s glow, and pick a pair of colors for your own “Sundry” shawl. See you there!


New colors in String Theory sock yarns.

Anne and I always keep a close eye on our cubby of String Theory Caper Sock and Bluestocking, sure to point it out to those seeking special sock yarns. We also pay close attention to our supply of these yarns because it’s such a pleasure to have a chance to place an order with Karen and Tanis, who dye these vibrant yarns in Blue Hill, Maine. When it’s time to reorder, we gaze giddily at the String Theory website, picking out some new colors and some old favorites. I’m happy to report that our most recent String Theory order is here, and it brought four colors each in Caper Sock and Bluestocking.


Caper Sock is a plump and springy sock yarn, composed of 80% superwash merino wool, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. The tight twist and the nylon content ensures that Caper Sock is sturdy enough to withstand the kind of wear that socks put up with, but it’s great for other garments, as well. I’ve used Caper Sock to make a scarf, my North Arrow, because it’s so soft, I wanted it wrapped around my neck all winter. That said, I’m just finishing up a pair of socks with this stuff, which I absolutely can’t wait to slide my feet into.


Bluestocking is a lustrous sock yarn, composed of 80% superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool and 20% nylon, for durability. Like Caper Sock, Bluestocking makes a great pair of socks, but it is equally at home in a scarf or shawl, at a slightly larger gauge.


Come by the shop to get yourself a special skein of String Theory yarn, and to plan your next project!