Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 1: Stripes.

A delightful new book is now on our shelves, the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 1: Stripes.

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Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner are the knitters, designers, and writers behind Mason-Dixon Knitting, a long-running blog that has evolved into an online community and growing list of publications. Their latest endeavor is the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guides, pocket-sized booklets focused on a particular knitting technique, featuring the approachable patterns and humorous musings these two are known for.

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This first Field Guide is all about stripes, and features three striped patterns: a pair of color-block mitts, the glorious “Breton Cowl” that we have on display throughout November, and a cozy blanket.

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Come by the shop to pick up the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 1, and come during November to see the “Breton Cowl” in person!

New colors in Canopy Fingering.

Back in June, we selected new shades in Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, a luxurious fingering weight blend of alpaca, merino, and bamboo. One or two of those colors arrived shortly thereafter, but the rest were on backorder, so our small basket of Canopy Fingering remained nearly-empty. Then just last week, a box arrived from Kelbourne Woolens, packed up tight with our Canopy Fingering order, and this small basket looks so much happier!

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Earlier this year, I knit a “3 Color Cashmere Cowl” with Canopy Fingering, and though it contains no cashmere, it’s perfectly suited to the pattern due to its drapey nature and soft hand.

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My first impulse upon unpacking these new shades of Canopy Fingering was to make trios with this cowl in mind. Here’s a combination very close to what I used for the cowl above, brightened with a pop of blue: Macaw, Manatee, and Chiclet Tree.

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Below are Obsidian, Crocus, and Purple Passion, for those who love purple.

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For the next trio, I kept Obsidion for contrast but swapped out the purples for warmer, brighter shades, Red Ginger and Mango.

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What colors would you pull from this candy-colored basket? Come by the shop to play the color game as you plan your next project!

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Show and tell: stripes.

“Show and tell” blog posts are some of my favorites to write, and I’ve been lucky to write lots of them lately. Whenever possible, I take photos of the finished projects that find their way back to the shop, after some talented soul turned them from mere yarn into expertly-handcrafted garment. As I look through the show-and-tell photos not yet published here on the blog, I search for themes. Do these glorious finished projects have a particular kind of yarn in common, or a type of garment, quality of color, motif, or technique? Today’s grouping: stripes.

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Anne knit this “Barefoot Knits Twirly Skirt” for her eldest granddaughter using Schulana Sojabama, a silky soft blend of soy and bamboo. The pattern, once published in a magazine no longer in print, took a bit of Ravelry hunting to track down, but its designer offers it up here. Anne modified it just a bit, opting to knit in the round rather than in pieces, adding a fifth color, and using a picot bind off for extra flair.

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I knit this “Flying Duchess” shawl as a shop sample using the decadent Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK in three shades. I’m used to starting shawls with just a few stitches, then increasing throughout, ending on the very longest rows. “Flying Duchess,” on the other hand, had me casting on over 350 stitches, then decreasing throughout, which gave me the pleasing sensation that I was picking up speed as the project progressed.DSCN5999It was a mighty long cast-on, though, and one that I ended up doing twice. The first time, I tried the cable cast-on, knit a few rows, then ripped, disliking the sloppy look. The second, much more successful time, I used two balls of yarn to do the long tail cast-on, a technique I highly recommend for casting on large numbers of stitches.

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Catherine is still busy knitting “3 Color Cashmere Cowls” in Shibui Staccato, and came in the other day with three more to show us. It’s been fun to see how the character of this pattern changes in different colorways: some muted, others bold, some elegant, others playful.

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Thanks to everyone who comes by the shop to start a project, solve a problem, share their progress, and show off their finished pieces. There’s plenty more show-and-tell where this came from; looking forward to sharing more soon!

Show and tell: stripes and colorwork.

We’re back with another round of show and tell! Here are some of the finished projects we’ve had the good fortune to admire lately, all of whom began as yarn on our shelves. Today, let’s look at projects featuring stripes and colorwork.

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Paula knit this “Chevron Baby Blanket” with Berroco Modern Cotton, modifying the pattern a bit to knit at a slightly smaller gauge. She swatched to figure out how wide each pattern repeat would be with her yarn, then added stitches to her cast-on so that her blanket would come out the desired size.

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Paula also finished this “wwwww #1” recently, a lined headband by Kate Davies. Paula used Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift for the colorwork exterior, and soft-as-can-be Shibui Maai for the lining. Nicely done, Paula!

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Margaretta recently knit Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic “Baby Surprise Jacket” with Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, and used her leftovers to make a “Boston Whaler” hat. I love her unexpected combination of sage green, steely gray, and bright fuschia, especially with those perfect pink buttons!

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Margaretta has also been working on General Hogbuffer’s “Slippery Slope Socks,” using the solid CoopKnits Socks Yeah! and the self-striping Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball. Since I snapped this picture of the first finished sock, she’s completed the pair, and plans to make another with different colors.

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Judie’s “Wildheart” shawl was also knit with self-striping yarn, Cutthroat Yarn Gradient BFL. She added a picot bind-off to an otherwise unadorned edge; a little something that I think makes the whole shawl shine.

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Thanks to the talented knitters who shared their work with us today, and to all the fiber artists who begin their projects here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop. We love seeing what you’re working on!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

The Stole.

For over two years now, Theresa Gaffey’s “Stole” from Wearwithall has been a popular project here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.

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The “Stole” is a striped wrap, knit in simple, soothing ribbing with a deliciously soft fingering weight yarn: Isager Alpaca 2.

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Just 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! – See more at: https://hillsboroughyarn.com/2014/06/annual-inventory-sale-3/#sthash.dJjgZbBY.dpufThis was the first “Stole” we saw, knit by our friend and avid knitter Catherine (and modeled here by Anne’s mother, Phyllis), and it inspired many other knitters to make stoles of their own, in a wide variety of color combinations. It wasn’t long before Anne started one of her own.Anne had a pile of Isager Alpaca 2 on hand already, originally intended for Marianne Isager’s “Stars” pullover, from Inca Knits. She’d even begun knitting the thing, and made it partway into the first colorwork chart when she stalled. It just wasn’t the right project at the right time, so she was pleased to rip it out and put the yarn to work on Gaffey’s “Stole”: comforting, rhythmic knitting that showed off the yarn and colors to the fullest.

The first “Stole” we saw was this one, knit by friend and avid knitter Catherine (and modeled here by Anne’s mother, Phyllis), and it inspired many other knitters to cast on stoles of their own in a wide variety of color combinations.

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For a while there, Anne and I could not stop playing the color game, moving skeins around into infinite groups of nine, amazed at how pleasing even the most improbable color combinations were.DSCN3223

It wasn’t long before Anne started a “Stole” herself.

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Anne had a pile of Isager Alpaca 2 on hand already, originally intended for Marianne Isager’s “Stars” pullover, from Inca Knits. She’d even begun knitting the thing, and made it partway into the first colorwork chart when she stalled.

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It just wasn’t the right project at the right time, so she was pleased to rip it out and put the yarn to work on Gaffey’s “Stole”: comforting, rhythmic knitting that showed off the yarn and colors to the fullest.

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She worked on it intermittently, picking it up here and there, starting and finishing many other projects while the “Stole” stayed quietly on the needles, growing slowly but surely, a row at a time. Just last week, she finally bound off and blocked her “Stole,” and now it hangs proudly in the shop.

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Rather than work each stripe to a specific measurement or number of rows, Anne knit until each ball of yarn ran out, then began the next color that suited her, using only 8 shades, rather than the suggested 9. It’s easy to adjust the thickness of the stripes or the size of the piece, making it narrower or wider than the pattern dictates. Anne’s “Stole” is decidedly wider, leaning towards blanket-sized, in fact.DSCN3216

Inspired to knit one of your own? July is a good time to do it! Our Annual Inventory Sale gives you a 15% discount on the yarn, book, and needles, everything you need to create a “Stole.” Come in to pick out your colors!

Just 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!

The Stole.

I mentioned a few posts ago that the Stole, with a capital “S,” might be a good way to take advantage of our Annual Inventory Sale. Nine skeins of Isager Alpaca 2 have a way of adding up, and the month-long 15% discount on everything in the shop will help take the edge off. The Stole has become a bit of a hit here at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop since we first got the new book Wearwithall. As in, we had to restock nearly every color of Alpaca 2, and we may need to do it again soon. I thought the Stole deserved more than a mention; here is its very own post.

Having seen several beautiful Stoles-in-progress, Anne recently cast on for one of her own, using seven colors of Alpaca 2 whose first life was as a colorwork pullover. After two years on the needles with only a few inches done, Anne decided it was time to rip out the colorwork and give the yarn a second chance as a Stole.

As you can see by all the progress she’s made in only a handful of weeks, she made the right choice. Sometimes it seems painful to rip out a work in progress that you realize you’ll never finish, but this is one of the major joys of knitting: yarn can be reused. Your efforts are not wasted when you rip something out; a pile of ripped-out yarn is a sign that lessons have been learned and a new project can begin.

It’s been such a pleasure to watch knitters break from the colors shown in the pattern to create their own combinations–this one cool in blues and greens, that one warm in neutrals, another autumnal with a pop of chartreuse. The Isager color palette is welcoming in this way, the colors play well together in all kinds of variations.

Come by the shop to quench your thirst for Alpaca 2, and to see Anne’s Stole-in-progress. This is a project that needs to be touched to be understood; photos don’t do it justice. See you at the shop!