What to stash this week: warding off winter

Casapinka’s latest, Yondah Window, will have you have you quoting Romeo and Juliet with a Rhode Island accent. This unique boomerang shawl, inspired by beautiful windows aglow in the cold, frosty Rhode Island winter, was designed to showcase Magpie Fibers Swanky Sock and the long color changes of Spincycle Dyed in the Wool.

Slipped Stitch Studios has re-released bags with popular knitting fabrics that sold out in two days last year. They’re available to preorder starting today at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

Pam’s latest shawl, Farnum, uses a unique construction, beginning with a center triangle worked with yarn over increases. It is perfect for two skeins of fingering from your favorite indie.

You still have time to get 20% off all in-stock items in the Post-Rhinebeck Pop-up. Use the code INDIENEWYEAR on bulky hand-dyed yarn from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make super-fast, super-warm hats and cowls to ward off the polar vortex.

Once Upon A Corgi is kicking off the new year with Edgar Allen Poe colors.

Marianated Yarns will be at the Wasatch and Wool booth at VKL NYC next weekend.

Untangling: Jennifer Porter of Porterness Studio

If there’s anything I love to shop for more than hand-dyed yarn, it’s handmade jewelry. Jennifer Porter of Porterness Studio combines the two with her products, which include beautiful necklaces and earrings and equally chic shawl pins and buttons. They’re all made from the 6,000-year-old lost wax casting technique, in which jewelry is made by pouring molten metal into a mold created from a wax model that is later melted away. Jennifer, a fellow knitter, hand crafts her products from the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. I recently asked her about her process and background as a knitter and crocheter.

How did you get started making and selling jewelry?

My first real foray into the jewelry business actually happen in my childhood. I fondly remember my sister and I, age 11 and 12, making and selling handmade pompom animal pins to friends, family and door to door around the neighborhood. It was wonderful to see the neighborhood adorned with our humble little pins.

However, my official jewelry-making career began in 2007. I started out offering jewelry on Etsy that was inspired by and incorporated beautiful mid century German glass beads. In the early days, I would search high and low for these tiny colorful glass sculptures and once found, I would spend hours combining them into one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Little did I know that the spark of intrigue and fascination for these unique beads would lead me to discover the allure of many processes of ancient jewelry-making. Eventually, my curiosity for these early techniques inspired me to enroll in my first lost wax casting course.

I was immediately enthralled with the 6,000-year-old lost wax casting technique and it has maintained its ranks as my favorite and primary method of my design process.

After over a year of intense study, practice, and personal refinement of this ancient process, I created Porterness Studios.

How did you choose the method that you use?

I chose lost wax casting method for not only for its place in ancient art history but because of a personal desire to preserve and showcase what this amazing process can create. While it is not the quickest, or the easiest process to master or utilize, the results are simply amazing and create beautiful heirloom pieces.

You still crochet and knit? What are some of your favorite things to make?

My knitting story is hardly unique, I’m sure, and is standard for most of our fellow knitters and crocheters. My grandmother first taught me how to crochet when I was 10, and I would pick up the hook from time to time.

Fast forward to the day I stumbled upon the magical world of indie dyers. I immediately was reminded of those first few German glass beads that really fueled my journey into lost wax casting. This was one reason why I wanted to design a collection specifically intended to harmonize with heirloom knitted and crocheted garments. If I would have known about hand-dyed yarn when I was 10, I probably would never stopped. Now, I’m finding myself buying yarn just to look at it as a spirit object in my home.

As a relatively new knitter I’m firmly ensconced in hat- and scarf-land but I plan on casting on a poncho very, very soon. Wish me luck.

When did you decide to create shawl pins and buttons?

I have been secretly making shawl pins and buttons as gifts for my mother for quite some time now. She is the prolific knitter and designer in the family, so I must credit her amazing designs for the inspiration to create the Porterness Studios Fiber Age Collection. It was really just a matter of time and encouragement before the yarn bug would bite me too and lead me to create pieces that can harmonize with knitted garments.

What have been your most popular sellers?

The Demi-sec tiny bubble fork and Circular shawl pin.

What inspires your designs?

I draw inspiration from all over but art history, ancient cultures, and Modernist and Mid Century design have all played a significant role in my collections.

As of late, I have been nerding out on all of the mind blowing fiber art garments and hand dyers on Instagram and Ravelry, and they are quickly becoming huge inspiration to create new designs.

How often do you create new designs?

I start my day with a cup of coffee and new design. I’ll wake up to design for 20 minutes or hours depending on the day (or my level of productive procrastination). A design is my morning meditation and mental yoga. A small percentage of those pre-coffee designs make it into production, but it is a daily process.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your handmade business?

Learning how to transmit my passion for my designs and my design process to others has been one of my biggest challenges, and something that I have spent considerable time working on this year. The lost wax casting process is mystical and fascinating and I am absolutely thrilled that so many other people seem to share this excitement and passion once they learn about it, too.

This year I also began learning and integrating 3D modeling into my design process and it has opened up my design potential in ways that previously would have required a team of people, with 20+ years of experience, and thousand of dollars of equipment. This new skill allows me to create work with a small eco footprint by cutting out waste and designing within a small workspace. The versatility of 3D molding opened my design process so I can offer items that are complicated and refined right out of the gate. It’s also really exciting to be at the forefront of a new production process that combines the ancient art of lost wax casting with new and modern design and manufacturing technologies like 3D modeling and printing.

But I am always striving to learn and grow. Since starting Porterness Studio and developing each subsequent collection, I have worked to refine and further develop all of the techniques and processes I utilize both modern and ancient, and this ancient modernism toolbox has manifested itself into every facet and design of Porterness Studio.

What to stash this week: yarn deadlines

In honor of the new year, I’m offering 20% off all in-stock items in the Post-Rhinebeck Pop-up with the code INDIENEWYEAR. This includes a few kits with Jill Draper’s exclusive Knitting Our National Parks colorways along with a code to download Kirsten Kapur’s stunning Joshua Tree Cowl (because most of us would love to be in the California desert right about now…). The discount runs ‪through January 15‬.

Today is the last day to guarantee your skeins of Aimée’s Automne à Rhinebeck on both Merino Singles (pictured above) and Merino DK! Aimée is sending me her shipment right after the new year, so preorder today to make sure your yarn is in one of the big boxes I’m expecting from Paris in a couple of weeks.

You have ‪until Sunday‬ to get four exclusive colorways from four indie dyers based on these picturesque locations, and patterns to go with them.

Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit.

Untangling Invictus Yarns

Sue of Invictus Yarns was one of the first dyers I reached out to when I began putting together Indie Untangled four years ago. Since then, she has become one of the most prolific posters, with a beautiful range of products that include her standout gradient and rainbow miniskein sets and expertly dyed variegated colorways.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

It was something that seemed fun to try. A few people asked me to dye skeins for them, too, and before I knew it, I had a shop and had a booth at Lambtown, a local fiber show. I haven’t looked back, and have discovered that I really enjoy my time in the dye pots!

How did you decide on the name Invictus Yarns?

The feelings of strength, courage, and determination that came with with the process were just amazing, and I wanted something that would convey them. As soon as Invictus came into my head, I knew it was the direction I wanted to go.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

I get this question fairly often, and am almost embarrassed to give a truthful answer, but for the most part, I let the skeins hang to dry and let them tell me what they want to be called. Sometimes I’ll have an idea before I dye them, but for the most part, the name comes to me after they’re dyed.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

Purple is definitely my favorite color, but I’ve always loved jewel tones. I was never a fan of oranges, but have to admit that it’s become a fave lately.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that is challenging to create?

It seems like I’m always on the hunt for the perfect red. I don’t think I really realized how many different shades there were before I started dyeing! I think the biggest challenge is often with getting accurate pictures for the shop, especially for reds and greens.


How often do you update your online shop?

It varies, but usually several times a month.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

I still have another job, but have cut it down to just a few hours per week so that I can spend more time on the shop. Dyeing is definitely my main business.

What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?

I think that changes every time I see another project! : D I love seeing the projects on Ravelry and at shows! A Phoenix-Wing shawl that was knit for a booth sample will probably always be one of my faves, tho. It was like wrapping myself in a giant hug when I opened it.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?

Hmmm. This may sound really silly, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind: I felt rather awkward when I began doing fiber shows, but learned that it can be a real blast to chat with people. As an introvert, that was a biggie, even if it sounds pretty basic. It also goes along with the whole Invictus strength-courage-determination thing, now that I think about it! It can still be a challenge trying to determine how much to chat and how much to let people just browse without coming across as though you aren’t acknowledging them, if that makes sense.

A 2017 IU Year in Knitting Review

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I love nostalgia, especially when it’s knitting related.

I’m continuing my tradition of an Indie Untangled Year in Review, featuring several talented knitters who finished projects in 2017 using yarn from Indie Untangled dyers. There are so many beautiful shawls, socks and sweaters — oh, the sweaters! — to show off.

Above is my On the Spice Market using Backyard Fiberworks’ Sock in Stormcloud and the Dove in a Plum Tree miniskein set (photo taken by the wonderful Nancy of Knitty City). It was one of my favorite FOs of the year.

I hope these projects provide some inspiration for your 2018 knitting.

Lavanya’s Treccia

Kelly/KellyInTexas’s Elegant Sweatshirt

Kim/Xarix’s Rocio

Erin/skistricken’s Purple Spotted Socks

Karen/penchant4yarn’s Alecia Beth

Marta/MonogamousKnitter’s Veronika

Adrienne/killerb’s Gothy Gauntlets

Judy/miriamsdottir’s Superellipse Socks

Erica/ejsufka’s Chemistry

Amy/booeyedee’s Anniversaire

I’ll be adding more of my favorites to this tag.

What to stash this week: yarn from A to Z

Need to get warm in a hurry? Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks has you covered, from Aurora to Zaftig. Zaftig is Jennifer’s new singly-ply super bulky base, made with 100% 20.5 fine Merino (non Superwash), which she dyed in a variety of speckled colorways. For those of you not on any kind of deadline, there’s also Aurora, a new 100% Superwash Merino single-ply fingering. Jennifer has dyed them on beautiful speckles, coordinating semisolids and on the six-skein Gray Scale kit that was super popular at Rhinebeck — and as of “press time” there’s only one available. 

If you love the Asylum Fibers OOAK chaos colors, you’ll go crazy for the Asylum Fibers Madness of the Month color club in 2018. For this non-subscription club, you sign up the month before and choose between a fingering weight yarn or another heavier base. The next month you get a surprise color! Sign-ups for the January club close Dec. 27 at 9 a.m. EST.

You have until midnight Eastern time tonight to preorder Sandra of Duck Duck Wool’s stunning Glaciers and Wildflowers colorway for the Indie Untangled Knitting Our National Parks project! 

Brianne and Maureen of I Would Dye 4U are having a shop update tomorrow at 10 a.m. and introducing new colors. Not only is Purple Rain a tribute to one of the greatest artists, but it’s on trend, as Pantone’s color of the year is Ultra Violet.

The Bijou Basin Ranch holiday sale runs through tomorrow. They’ll be including free project kits — the Slouchy Bliss Hat kit, Little Bear Poncho kit or Leonarda Shawl kit — with qualifying orders above $100. Plus, all U.S. orders ship free!

Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has all of us Star Wars geeks covered with special bags that go on sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time. Set your clocks, because these are sure to sell fast.

Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit for the 2018 Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31. If you’re looking for a yarny Christmas gift that doesn’t need to be shipped, this is perfect!

You have just one more week to preorder Aimée’s Indie Untangled exclusive Automne à Rhinebeck on Merino Singles and Merino DK!

What to stash this week: Literary spark

Attention bibliophiles: You need to join this yarn club. Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. is kicking of her year-long Literary Society next month with Pride and Prejudice and ending with Little Women (click the link to see the full reading list). This is a very flexible club with a mix of semisolids, variegated colorways and speckles inspired by the classics. You can choose one, three, six, nine or all 12 shipments, and you get a choice of light yarns or heavier weights. Pick your, or a friend’s, favorite book for the perfect gift!

Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio recently had her final shop update of 2017. While some of her popular colorways have already sold out, there are still a few you can snag, like Pearls, pictured above on her Merino Singles base. Also look out for her Golden Girls-inspired Lanai on Fuse Merino DK.

MJ of Cat Sandwich Fibers just had a shop update with a bunch of new OOAK colorways. She is also launching her 2018 Monthly Mystery Sock Club, a commitment-free club. There will be a mystery sock-along — with prizes! — to go along with it.

Save 15% on Himalayan Summit and 100% Yak Sport weight yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch this week only, no coupon code needed.

Along with her single skeins, Marian of Marianated Yarns offers a three-month yarn club subscription that is available in several bases and in either tonal or variegated “Marianades,” as she calls her colorways. Membership comes with some great perks: each shipment includes a goodie and a Marianette mini-skein in variegated if your subscription is tonal or vice versa. There’s also free shipping on the rest of your yarn orders during your subscription, plus 10% off the colors of the month. Club sign-ups are open until December 20, with the first shipment going out the first week of January. 

Here’s a view from above of the DK version of Sandra’s stunning Glaciers and Wildflowers colorway, inspired by the natural beauty of Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s available to preorder only through next Friday!

This is just one of the fabulous projects from this year’s Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club. Last February, the inimitable Anne Hanson teamed up with Kim of The Woolen Rabbit to create this stunning rose red colorway and a cowl/scarf design called Shared Rib. You can expect exciting collaborations like this if you sign up for the 2018 club.

Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Wild Hair Studio has three new fiber and yarn clubs launching in 2018.

2017 Indie Untangled holiday newsletter giveaway

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As I have done for the past few years, I am giving back to the knitters who let me into their inboxes each week with a special holiday giveaway. For the 2017 Newsletters to Santa and Hanukah Harry giveaway, I’ve gathered together prizes from several artisans who were new to the Indie Untangled community this year and doing a string of giveaways (eight plus one) starting this Sunday and running through Christmas Day.

Here are the rules: Sign up for the Indie Untangled newsletter by 9 p.m. EST and you will be eligible to win that day’s prize (anyone already on the mailing list is entered to win). After 9 p.m., I’ll pick a winner via random number generator and send out an email. The winner will arrange shipment with the dyer/artisan. The grand prize will be a package of knitting stocking stuffers (with special Indie Untangled yarn) that I will ship out to the winner.

PLEASE NOTE: Winners must respond within 48 hours of when the notification email is sent to claim the prize. If not, another winner will be selected.

Here’s the schedule:

December 17: A skein of the winner’s choice from any in-stock color on either Nona, Sunna, Birte or Verdande from Spirit Trail Fiberworks

Congrats to winner Lynne!

December 18: A skein of the winner’s choice from any in stock yarns from Baad Mom Yarns

Congrats to winner Patricia!

December 19: One skein in the base and colorway of the winner’s choice from Old Rusted Chair

Congrats to winner Cassie!

December 20: A skein of 400-yard fingering weight, 80% Superwash Merino, 20% nylon in colorway Borealis and an enamel pin from Lavender Lune Yarn

Congrats to winner Christine!

December 21: “Last Christmas” on New Wave DK (75/25 Superwash Merino/Nylon) from I Would Dye 4U

Congrats to winner Wendy!

December 22: One skein in the base and colorway of the winner’s choice from BigFootFibers

Congrats to winner Lynn!

December 23: A skein of DK weight yarn in the colorway Copper Lake from Color Craze Yarn & Fiber

Congrats to winner Joan!

December 24: One skein of Element Number Five on Shokan Singles (100% Superwash Merino fingering) from Into the Whirled

Congrats to winner Amy!

December 25: A mystery package of yarn and knitting stocking stuffers.

Congrats to winner Pat!

What to stash this week: Wild yarns and glaciers

When Sandra of Duck Duck Wool signed on to create a colorway for the Knitting Our National Parks series, I was thrilled. When I saw her inspiration photo, a shot of Glacier National Park in Montana, I got even more excited. Then, when she emailed me the photos of her colorway, Glaciers and Wildflowers, I may have done a little yarny happy dance. How stunning is this?! And Sandra is dyeing it on not one base, but two — her Silky Singleton, a blend of 70% Merino and 30% silk for shawls and summer tops, and DK Limited, a Superwash Merino that you can use for hats, cowls, mitts and, of course, sweaters you can wear now. The yarn will be available to preorder here through Friday, Dec. 22, and will ship the last week of January 2018. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Another Knitting Our National Parks installment means we get a limited edition POP Thru The Parks souvenir from That Clever Clementine! Vicki has saved one of her most POPular products for the final one of her collection. These fabric yarn bowls (which don’t have to be used only for yarn) will be available to preorder today starting at 9 a.m. Eastern time until sold out (previous batches have sold out in less than two hours so… head on over!).

If you’ve been looking around for that special shawl pin, or one to add to your collection, or if you just like looking at shiny things, I suggest you head over to the Porterness Studio website. Jen makes her shawl pins and buttons using the 5,000-year-old lost wax casting process, with each piece either hand carved out of wax or 3D printed in wax, cast in sterling silver or bronze and hand finished by Jen in Los Angeles. Her regular jewelry is pretty lovely, too. Indie Untangled readers get 20% off with the code Indie20.

Fresh off her trunk show at Woolyn, where I drooled over her yarn and samples, Lauren of Old Rusted Chair has released four new colorways. From top to bottom are Starboard, Prankster, Glint and Heatwave, which are available on Lauren’s Squish base, a 4-ply Superwash Merino.

Also fresh off her appearance at Woolyn last weekend, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has released some perfect heavy-weight bases. Just in time for winter, you can now find a variety of DK weight yarns in various blends of Merino, nylon, Cashmere and sparkle. She even has a few fade kits. 

Katie of Never Enough Thyme has updated her shop with Christmas colorways, including heel/toe sock sets in Sugar Plum Fairy, Mistletoe’s for Two and Christmas Cookies. There are also lots of Cozy Christmas mini sets, perfect for knitting ornaments for your tree (don’t worry, there is still time).

For Week 2 of their annual holiday sale, Bijou Basin Ranch is giving you 15% off Tibetan Dream sock yarn and Xanadu Mongolian cashmere yarn, with no coupon code needed, through midnight Mountain time today. And all U.S. orders also ship free through Dec. 24.

If you’re short on time and yardage, but need some holiday gifts, Robynn’s Nullkommanix cowl just might be what you’re looking for. It’s named for how long it takes to make — 0.0 seconds — and is free for Robynn’s newsletter subscribers.

Since I’m waiting until after the craziness of the holidays for Aimée to ship her yarn to me, I’ve decided to extend the preorders for Automne à Rhinebeck a couple of weeks. My husband just requested a hat in the DK, so the magic of these skeins is real!

Here’s a look at the first-ever colorway for the first-ever installment of the Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club — Ami of Lakes Yarn and Fiber’s Drops of Honey. You can expect breathtaking exclusives like this if you sign up for the 2018 club. Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Dye is Cast yarn is having a shop update today featuring new colorways, and a chunky beanie hat pattern will be free to download throughout the weekend.

Wild Hair Studio has new Star Wars-inspired colorways on mini batts and rolags, which are 15% off before Dec. 15.

Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Suzanne Nelson of Groovy Hues Fibers

This is the ninth post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3.

Suzanne of Groovy Hues Fibers is a dyer based in my old stomping grounds of Long Island and she is a great example of what I love about my hometown (well, home land mass): friendly, funny and talented. Her colorways are random in the best possible way, inspired by things like movies and snarky phrases, but they are always colorful and Fun.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I think that my story is probably a little boring, because it is a version of the same story you hear from indie dyers over and over again! I taught myself to knit at the ripe old age of 25. It was during a brief time when I lived in southwest Florida, and there wasn’t much of a choice for yarn in general, let alone colors I preferred. This was before the popularity of Facebook crafting groups, but a Google search led me to discover that one could dye bare wool with food-safe coloring. I was hooked.

Then, life got in the way as it is prone to do, and I didn’t dye or knit for a long time. I met my now-husband in 2010, and he is an archaeologist specializing in textiles. He gave me a bunch of his natural dyes, and he taught me to spin. I picked up knitting again, and my first trip to Rhinebeck inspired me to try some acid dyes.

One day in our knitting circle, a woman grabbed a skein from my hands and demanded to know where I’d gotten the yarn. I told her I had dyed it, and she thrust some money in my face and begged me for it. How could I turn that down? I was working five jobs and could barely make ends meet. Several months later, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I were at a beer, bacon, and bourbon festival held on the same fairgrounds as Rhinebeck, and the food-and-alcohol-induced idea came from Thaddeus that I should try to sell some yarn. I thought he was insane. I still do, but now for different reasons!

Up to that point, I had fully planned on trying to pursue a PhD in Biological Anthropology. He was already almost done with his PhD in Archaeology, and I had only done a little bit of fieldwork with monkeys in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It was fun, but I did genuinely long for a “normal life.” (Little did I know that being a dyer is anything but normal!) I bought some extra dye and extra yarn, and there it sat. For months. I was petrified that it would fail. Several months later, I mustered the courage to post some extremely terrible photos of my yarn (I hadn’t learned to photograph it yet!) in a few Facebook groups, and people wanted it. Not quite six months after that, I was able to quit the other four jobs and work on Groovy Hues Fibers full-time! I haven’t looked back!

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

I’m weird. There is absolutely no question of this. When you see my colorway names, most of them are pretty fun. I have puns, I have movie quotes, song titles, television show themes, snarky phrases, and much more. Sometimes I have an idea in my head and take the dye to the yarn, but most of the time I dye the yarn and then try to figure out what it says to me. I love food-inspired yarn, because I live to eat. My husband and I plan fiber show vending based upon how good the breweries and restaurants are where we will be selling! I can’t lie — I do have several mundane, boring colorway names. If you see a boring name slapped on my yarn, you know that the yarn was named sometime around 2:30 in the morning the day of a fiber show, as I panicked and tried to get it all done in time!

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

My business name is Groovy Hues Fibers – we embrace the rainbow, and every color under it. I try to give equal attention to the insane, psychedelic brights as I do the earthy, tree-hugging tones. That said, I personally love orange. It’s a happy color. I tend to dye a lot of it, and I’ve been told that I do it in an inoffensive way, whatever that means! Ha! I am not a fan of hunter green — I have my reasons. But I force myself to dye it for those of you who do love it. As I’ve grown as a dyer, I personally have gravitated to making things for myself that are less bright, and more earthy. I noticed this at a few of my latest shows, so now I have to revisit the idea of putting brights out there for everyone else again. Not everything can be selfish dyeing. Or can it???

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

I think a lot of things are challenging to create. The perfect gold and the perfect green. Many people have ideas of what these colors should be — I know that I have my own set attitude about them. It’s often hard to translate something from my head onto the yarn, because you never know exactly how the fiber and the mixed dyes will marry. Mostly, I do what I want. I work very hard at it, and I put everything into creating a skein that I’d be proud to use. If the colors are giving me trouble, I overdye them and pretend that I fully intended for them to look exactly the way that they did! Sometimes what I thought were my worst dye days turned out to be the biggest sellers I’ve ever created.

How often do you update your online shop?

That’s a really good question! My only answer is, “whenever I can.” Some people can say they’ll update every Saturday night at 8 p.m. I have no such delusions of that kind of organizational skill. I do a lot of fiber and trunk shows, so during the spring and during the fall, I update the shop sporadically as I usually hoard inventory for these events. During the summer and winter, my online customers see a lot more updating from me. There are days I’m so excited by what I’ve dyed, that I update the shop as soon as the yarn is dry and I can take the pictures. I try to never keep the shop entirely bare, because that looks sad to me! The days of less travel are upcoming, so I plan to have far more yarn available for my online Groovies.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

As far as making money goes, dyeing is my only business. But, last year, my dog died suddenly and unexpectedly. To get out of my own head, I took up running. For some crazy reason, I kept on doing it. Most of the time, I feel like that is a job! I’ve been training for several big races. In March 2018, my husband and I will be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in Washington DC under the Groovy Hues name as St. Jude Heroes — we’ve raised almost $3,000 from customers and friends for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital! This coming weekend, I’ll be completing at 10K in Central Park for the Save The Elephants foundation. On Thanksgiving, we have chosen a Turkey Trot 5K to benefit the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation. I suppose I have settled for a second job in charity! If I were to name a third job, it would be dyeing yarn for my husband. He is the designer for his growing brand, Archaeology Knits Designs. When you see gorgeous designs in my booth, chances are that he is the one who designed it. I’ve designed exactly one thing, and I hated doing it. I’m done now. As long as I keep him knee-deep in yarn, he’s a happy dude.


What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?

Honestly? To do mostly what makes ME happy. If I try to chase after every yarn trend to fill whatever the Ravelry pattern du jour is, it will be inconsistent and people will not know what to expect from me. If I do what I love, then chances are, someone else will love it, too. I do speckle yarn. I do make yarn for fades, and doodlers, and whatever everyone else wants to make — but I do it my way.

I’ve also learned to never scoff at any application of the fiber arts. I don’t believe in yarn snobbery. If someone comes into my booth and he/she has only ever worked with acrylic and needs help, I help them. Even if they don’t buy from me. I am all about keeping the fiber arts alive — that’s what’s most important to me.

I’ve also learned that we can never know what people want. I can dye a colorway that I hate, and it will sell out at a show. I can dye something that, on paper, should sell in seconds, and it goes untouched for several shows! Not knowing what to expect keeps it fresh.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned about owning a business is that I absolutely have to make time for myself, or I will begin to resent that which I’ve worked so hard to build. Taking more than a week off to get married and go on a honeymoon was really, really hard for me this year — but I’m so glad I did it. I came back with a refreshed love for what I do.

Lastly, I’ve learned that I can sell all of the yarn in the world online, but it doesn’t make me as happy as when I am vending at even the smallest of shows. Meeting with people and watching them touch my products is the most satisfying feeling in the universe. I love watching people buy things that sing to them. It reinforces that I made the right decision in life! Playing with dye and chatting with fiber crafters is so much better than examining monkey poop in the jungle!