What to stash this week: Moving Day sale

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Laura and the crew at Slipped Stitch Studios crew moving to a new, larger space. Throughout this weekend, they’re holding a huge moving sale, offering decent discounts on some of their most popular products.

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Simone’s new design, the Upland Socks, look like the knitting equivalent of wiggling your toes in some thick green grass. Inspired by gnarled branches and twisting roots, the socks feature a cable pattern worked on the front, adding a little interest while not complicating the shaping.

Kettle Yarn Co. had a shop update yesterday, with new hues and lots of restocked colors.

What to make with speckled yarn

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Speckled yarns have been around for quite a while, but it seems as if they’re having a bit of a moment — I’ve certainly noticed an uptick in Funfetti-esque skeins around the internets. Like variegated colorways, it can be a little tricky to find just the perfect pattern to show it off. A simple canvas is generally best (I’m likely going to knit a Hitchhiker with the skein of Duck Duck Wool 80/20 Merino Silk Fingering, because it’s one of those patterns I think every knitter needs to have) but I’ve also spotted some beautiful patterns that incorporate it along with lace and stripes.

Here’s a selection from among my favorite speckled projects:

JaninaKallio's speckled Crescendo in Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles, colorway Monet and Handu Ilun Sinkku, colorway Turkoosi

JaninaKallio’s speckled Crescendo in Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles, colorway Monet and Handu Ilun Sinkku, colorway Turkoosi

Susanne/sosu's Chevron Fringe Shawl in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles, colorways The Hotness and Direwolf Graffiti

Susanne/sosu’s Chevron Fringe Shawl in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles, colorways The Hotness and Direwolf Graffiti

Kristen/k10's Dotted Rays in Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering, colorway Neon and Grey

Kristen/k10’s Dotted Rays in Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering, colorway Neon and Grey

Vanina/horsebike29's Pebble Beach Shawl in Skein BFL Sock, colorway Teen Angst

Vanina/horsebike29’s Pebble Beach Shawl in Skein BFL Sock, colorway Teen Angst

Claudia/himawari's Match & Move in REPUBLIC of WOOL Twist Fingering, colorway Tiny Dancer Speckled and Rohrspatz & Wollmeise “Pure,” colorway Feldmäuschen

Claudia/himawari’s Match & Move in REPUBLIC of WOOL Twist Fingering, colorway Tiny Dancer Speckled and Rohrspatz & Wollmeise “Pure,” colorway Feldmäuschen

Ryan/ryanpagehaas's Japan Sleeves in The Lemonade Shop Simple Sock, colorway Grey Speckled and The Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet, colorway Silver Queen

Ryan/ryanpagehaas’s Japan Sleeves in The Lemonade Shop Simple Sock, colorway Grey Speckled and The Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet, colorway Silver Queen

Kelly/kelbelmakes' Curtain Call Cowl in Lynai Superwash Sock Yarn, colorway Manic Speckled

Kelly/kelbelmakes’ Curtain Call Cowl in Lynai Superwash Sock Yarn, colorway Manic Speckled

Catrina/CatReading's Fluid Slouchy Beanie in Spun Right Round Squish DK Shock Star

Catrina/CatReading’s Fluid Slouchy Beanie in Spun Right Round Squish DK Shock Star

Sabrina/dasmondschaf's Doodler in Das Mondschaf Merino Singles, colorways Firefly, Bananaphone and Leela

Sabrina/dasmondschaf’s Doodler in Das Mondschaf Merino Singles, colorways Firefly, Bananaphone and Leela

knitsublime's French Can Can in Duck Duck Wool DK Limited, colorway Speckled Stone

knitsublime’s French Can Can in Duck Duck Wool DK Limited, colorway Speckled Stone

What to stash this week: Yarn deco

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Designer Caroline Hockenberry of Fibernate has transformed Kim’s popular speckled Ziggy Stardust colorway into an awesome garter stitch shawlette with a diamond lace border, perfect for throwing over your shoulders at an outdoor concert this summer. If you live near Alexandria, Virginia, Caroline is debuting the pattern tonight at her Friday Knit Night, with a discount on both the yarn and the pattern. The yarn and pattern are also 15% off over the next week purchased online.

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The yarn bowls by Clay By Laura do double duty beautifully. Instead of cutouts on the side of the bowl, Laura creates two heart-shaped handles that act as yarn guides. The uniquely-textured bowls, which Laura finishes with a bright two-color glaze, would also be great for holding fruit, candy or even notions, if you want to keep it all for your knitting. 

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Barbara Benson’s latest design lets you knit up an elegant shawl super fast in bulky yarn. Knit in simple stockinette, it has a basketweave trim that stands out in the snow white Crater Lake, a bulky Superwash Merino from Stitch Sprouts.

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Summer Blues, the latest from Laura of Fiber Dreams, is perfect for throwing over sundresses or a tank and jeans. This raglan cardigan is knit in one piece from the top down with a folded hem that can be knit in a contrasting color if you’d like.

Untangling: Toby Roxane Barna

Toby Roxane Barna

I discovered Toby Roxane Barna when I came across her London Underground collection of shawls (I still need to knit Highgate, which was my tube stop when I did a semester there in 2001) and was very excited when she posted to Indie Untangled last year.

Soon after posting to the Marketplace, Toby expressed interest in participating in the Where We Knit yarn club. Both she and Margaret of French Market Fibers decided to draw inspiration from rivers — the Hudson in Toby’s case, the Mississippi in Margaret’s — so it seemed fitting to match them up.

Toby’s designs are classic, with a modern twist, and pretty much exclusively use indie-dyed yarn — and she recently started dyeing yarn herself! I spoke with her a little more about her time across the pond and her thoughts on color.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned how to knit a little later than most people, I think — and it’s kind of a long story. I graduated from college in 2009 and there were no jobs to be had. So, I moved back in with my parents and started working at a local cafe. The owner of the cafe was a knitter, and on Saturday mornings she hosted a little knitting group. Since my mom is also a knitter, I told her about it, and she started going. Once the knitters found out I was the daughter of a knitter and didn’t know how to knit, they decided I needed to learn. They taught me, and it turned out I was good at it — actually, it turned out it was, like, what I was supposed to be doing all along. I’d always done all kinds of art and crafts because I find that if I’m not making something I’m not happy. Knitting turned out to be my perfect medium.

How did you end up studying knitwear design in London?

Once I got good at knitting and began working at yarn shops, I realized I wanted to find a way to make a career out of knitting. Designing seemed like the best way to do that, and I thought about going back to school. After doing a bunch of research, I found a summer course in knitwear design at the London College of Fashion… I had never been to Europe and I really wanted to do some travelling, so I saved some money and went. I LOVED it! I would love to go back one day.

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What did you learn in school that translates into designing patterns for hand knits?

Well, ninth grade geometry turned out to be shockingly useful! I go through graph paper like you wouldn’t believe. The course I took in London was focused mainly on designing knits to be mass produced, which isn’t the direction I’m going in right now, but I did learn a lot about planning and creating a cohesive collection from start to finish. Now that I’ve begun dyeing my own yarn (stay tuned for more news on that front…!) I’m excited to be able to design palettes of colorways to use for designing knits.

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Tell me about what inspires your designs.

A lot of time, it’s the yarn. I’m all about hand-dyed yarn, and I find that it often tells me what it wants to be. I also like to read fashion and runway magazines and look for silhouettes that might lend themselves to interesting interpretation in knitwear.

What’s the first thing you do when you start designing a pattern?

That’s a really good question… I’m not sure it’s ever the same! It depends a lot on the pattern. For accessories like shawls, which don’t require specific measurements the way sweaters do, I usually just start knitting. I sometimes don’t know how a pattern will turn out when I start it. For sweaters, I do a ton of planning before I even touch the yarn. I’ll make a swatch, and then do a schematic on graph paper and decide what sizes would make sense to include in the pattern, then I calculate all the relevant numbers for all the sizes using an Excel chart, and THEN I start knitting. Then I usually translate the Excel chart into a written pattern, either as I’m knitting or after it’s finished.

How have your color preferences changed since becoming a designer?

You know, I’d never really thought about it until now, but my color preferences and — how to phrase it… color awareness? — have definitely changed since I became a knitter. I’m not sure it changed when I started designing, but when I started knitting and fell in love with hand-dyed yarns, I became SO much more aware of color. I used to (and still kind of do) wear mostly black and gray—I had a major goth phase in high school and they say you always carry with you vestiges of the first style you ever thought was really cool. Anyway, I still wear a lot of blacks and neutrals only because they’re perfect starting points for layering a really colorful shawl or cardigan. 🙂 I find I’m drawn to jewel tones and colors with a lot of depth—you can really only get that depth from hand-dyeing. It requires some layering of colors.

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I understand that you weld. How did you start and what other crafts do you engage in, aside from knitting?

Oh man, what art media HAVEN’T I tried? I have done varyingly extensive work in pencil, charcoal, oil paint, acrylic paint, piano, cross-stitch, pen & ink, marker, sewing, watercolor, print making, clay molding, crochet, book making, spray paint, crayons, oil pastels, and that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. I learned how to weld in a sculpture class in college and to be honest, I spent more time chiseling off things I’d accidentally welded to the table.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

At the moment, my favorite place to knit is at a little park by the river, here in Saugerties. It’s quiet and lovely and full of trees and I find it very rejuvenating.

What to stash this week: Mini break (and skeins)

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If you’re looking to get away this Memorial Day weekend, take a fiber-filled vacation at the A Plied Yarn Lab from Middle Brook Fiberworks. Founded by fiber artist Anne Choi, formerly of A Little Teapot Designs, Middle Brook Fiberworks is housed in the restored 1800s barn on Anne’s sprawling property in peaceful Bedminster, N.J. The two-day workshop will include instruction on washing a fleece, preparing locks and spinning, with special guests Laura Spinner of Rainbow Twist Fibers and Ginny Tullock of Fat Cat Knits. 

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Peggie of ColorPurl has put out some beautiful mini-skein sets inspired by nature, and a drop of coffee. The five sets range from subtle to bright, and include two that are colored with natural dyes. The skeins are 87 yards each, made with 75% Superwash Merino, 20% nylon and 5% Stellina, for a hint of sparkle. 

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Head over to the Spencer Hill shop and check out Barbara’s Lalo base, an amazing-sounding DK-weight 80/10/10 blend of single-ply baby alpaca, non-superwash Merino, and silk.

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Keya of Cedar Hill Farm Company has come out with new large project bags with a detachable handle. They’re available in 14 different fabrics, including the Tardis one above.

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The new polymer clay stitch markers from The Knitting Artist have a Skittles look to them, perfect for standing out in colorful yarn (or matching perfectly if your yarn is candy colored).

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My Mama Knits has some new bases, including British-sourced and spun BFL and Merino in aran and DK, along with Superwash Merino Sock and High Twist Superwash BFL Sock.

Get your creative juices flowing: Indie Untangled newcomer MollyGirl Yarn is running a Name The Color contest, with the winner receiving the new colorway on their choice of base, plus a surprise goody bag.

IU in MD

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Knot House DDW

As most of us knitters do, I started off my trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival vowing not to buy that much yarn. In anticipation of a move, and knowing that I only had room for maybe a few skeins in the small set of drawers that houses my stash, I vowed to be good this past weekend. Overall, I was, and I spend most of the time enjoying the company of my friends and making progress on the multiple projects I had cast on in the last month, likely in anticipation of Maryland purchases (there must be an ulterior motive when I become non-monogamous in my knitting).

After a slightly delayed Amtrak ride down through the endlessly soggy weather with my friend Stefanie, we were picked up by Lynn and made sure to hit Fibre Space for the Hazel Knits trunk show. It was nice to finally get to meet Wendee after admiring her gorgeous blues, purples and grays. I was drawn to her Divine Merino/Cashmere/silk base in a luminous blue-tinged gray called Reflection, which I thought would make the perfect Featherweight. Unfortunately, there was only a single skein remaining, so I cursed the Stashing Prevention Gods and vowed to order a sweater quantity online at some point.

Our next stop was The Knot House for the Indie Pop-up, where I anticipated doing most of my damage. Wearing my Nangou in Duck Duck Wool’s incredible Night Bokeh, I of course was drawn to her huge table filled with 80/20 Merino Silk Fingering in lots of speckled yumminess. I was also thrilled to get to see Christine of Skeinny Dipping there, next to her display of fun-named colorways like Wacky Tabacky and Space Pants.

Knot House colors

Knot House Pigeonroof

Knot House Magpie

I also admired the special Knot House Indie Pop-up colorways from Western Sky Knits and Northbound Knitting, spied some mini skeins from Pigeonroof Studios and drooled over Dami of Magpie’s incredible gradient wrap.

Knot House Clay Collage

One of my favorite discoveries at the pop-up was Laura Silberman/Clay By Laura‘s ceramic yarn bowls, mugs (made especially for the pop-up!) and small bowls with knitting-related terms, which I scooped up two of.

Spincycle Yarns, a company I hadn’t been familiar with, had a fun display of hand-dyed, milled handspun.

Knot House haul

My haul was quite restrained, compared to last year’s, and included another of Sandra’s speckled lovelies in 80/20, called After Party, and Christine’s Mericash Fingering in Space Pants (because it’s gorgeous and I can’t resist the SNL/Peter Dinklage reference).

After a night of staying up late, and anticipating the mud after days of rain, the crew staying at Chez That Clever Clementine took our time getting ready and made it to the fairgrounds around noon (so no Jennie the Potter mug this year). My main mission was to get to Jill Draper’s booth to grab an Edradour kit, a shawl by the awesome Thea Coleman designed with Jill’s Mohonk Cormo yarn, which I’ve been admiring forever.

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Once that mission was accomplished, I spent the rest of my time browsing and made sure to take in my friend Anne’s booth for Middlebrook Fiber Works (formerly A Little Teapot), where, aside from her lotion bars, fiber and spun necklaces (dyed that vivid red by Dragonfly Fibers!), she displayed silk scarves that she dyed using materials found on her vast property in rural New Jersey.

And then, my friends and I of course stayed up far too late, knitting, eating, chatting and having such a great time that we forgot about our planned game of Knitters Against Swatches.

What to stash this week: For a limited time only

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Laura and the colorful crew at Slipped Stitch Studios have dedicated their latest Bags of the Month to The Purple One and The Thin White Duke. A limited number of Prince and Bowie tribute bags in exclusive fabrics, and in a variety of sizes, will be available for sale starting today at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, until they’re sold out. 

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Erica also has some limited-edition products for sale. Her Colors of the Month are inspired by Game of Thrones, with your choice of yarn and/or fiber in seven new hues, including, from left to right in the top pic, Golden Crown, Little Bird, Brocade and Wildfire. The colorways will be available in May and June, before they’re sent Beyond the Wall. (And you’ll probably finish whichever project you choose to make with it before George finishes The Winds of Winter.)

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Transport yourself, and your knitting, to the ocean courtesy of With Pointed Sitcks’ new Cape Cod Collection. Available through the end of July, the collection is made up of four limited-edition colorways, plus an old favorite, inspired by the Massachusetts seashore. With the collection, Susan is also introducing a new base. Calligraphy Fingering is a 50/50 blend of superwash Merino and silk that gives the colors a dreamy watercolor effect.

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Attention Witches, Wizards, Dryads, Centaurs… and just plain sci-fi/fantasy lovers: The latest Third Vault Yarns Quarterly club installment is inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Sign-ups for this mystery box run through May 16. Last quarter’s club, pictured above, was themed around Firefly and included those beautiful mini skeins and fun extras.

Seine Cowl

Journey to Paris this spring with the Seine Cowl and Cuffs, the latest design from Lindsay of Knit Eco Chic.

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IU newcomer Elliebelly Dye Works is back with a quick update after a break and while awaiting the launch of a new website.  

The latest shop update from JOMA Yarn features a variety of colors, including new neon variegated yarns, matching highlighter-inspired semisolids and a cafe au lait colourway on their single-ply worsted weight Mashmellow-Rino base. 

IU FOs: Drops of Honey

lisaKC Drops

Janina Kallio’s Drops of Honey, which she designed for the Indie Untangled Where We Knit yarn club, is available for sale to the general knitting public today, so I thought it was the perfect time to post the beautiful FOs that have been made by club members. That’s mine above, with my Maryland Sheep & Wool 2015 Jennie the Potter mug, and I can’t wait to show off at the festival on Saturday!

While the pattern matches perfectly with the Lakes Yarn and Fiber Drops of Honey colorway, which Ami dyed up exclusively for the club, this simple, elegant shawl would be perfect in almost any hue.

What to stash this week: Sunny color

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Casapinka has yet again worked her magic with variegated yarn. Albuquerque Sunset uses slipped stitches and stockinette to let the bold color peek through a contrasting solid. Inspired by the sunsets over the Sandia Mountains, knit this one during your next Breaking Bag binge (or while you’re waiting out the return of Better Call Saul). The pattern is $1 off through tomorrow with the code redorgreen.

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Hand Dyed By Kate is known for rainbow sets and self-striping sock yarn, but make sure to save room for a slic– erm, a skein of Watermelon Shawl Gradient. It’s available in both classic watermelon and the darker Moody Melon, on a 75/25 blend of Merino/nylon sock yarn or on Sparkle Sock with a touch of Stellina. Kate is hosting a K/CAL with the pattern of your choice from May 15 to June 30 in her Ravelry group, with preorders being taken now.

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Because every day should be Earth Day, The Knitting Artist has created Earth-inspired stitch markers with polymer clay beads. Available in sets of 6.

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The latest shop update from JOMA Yarn includes punchy semisolids, fun variegated colorways and new, super-bright neons.

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New from Sunset Cat Designs, Caridwen is an aran-weight cable and lace wrap that can be knit as a scarf or sized up to a stole with additional secondary cables.

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The Osceola Mountain Socks, inspired by New Hampshire’s White Mountains, are a collaboration with New England Knitting and are available as a kit.

Kick off Maryland Sheep and Wool with The Knot House Indie Pop-up

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Last year was my first time at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I enjoyed experiencing a fiber festival other than Rhinebeck, with what felt like a slightly smaller crowd (at least when it came to snagging a Jennie the Potter mug!) and warmer temperatures that were perfect for showing off fingering-weight shawls.

I really loved starting off the weekend with the indie pop-up at The Knot House, a local yarn shop housed in a beautiful historic building in Frederick, Maryland, about a half hour from the fairgrounds. Cathy and Heather, the mother/daughter team who run the shop, will be hosting another event this year!

The mix of dyers at the 2016 pop-up include Indie Untangled artisans Duck Duck Wool, Magpie Fibers and That Clever Clementine, who were there last year, as well as Skeinny Dipping and Pigeonroof Studios. In addition, there will be yarn from O-Wool, YOTH Yarns and Spincycle Yarns, pottery from Clay by Laura and shawl pins and more from Jul Designs. Some of the talented dyers/makers — including Sandra of DDW, Dami of Magpie, Vicki/That Clever Clementine and Christine of Skeinny Dipping — will be there in person.

Of course, what would be an event without coveted show exclusives? Heather says nearly everyone there will have a special item for the event, such as a limited colorway or pattern. There will also be special colorways from some of the indies the shop regularly carries, including Northbound Knitting and Western Sky Knits, as well as the new Aerie base from Shalimar Yarns, which is a Merino, mohair and kid silk blend.

Cathy and Heather have also designed special event bags, shown above, with a limited number available for sale and an entry for a free bag with a skein of featured yarn from EACH DYER.

The line before last year's Friday evening preview.

The line before last year’s Friday evening preview.

The pop-up will take place on Friday, May 6, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, from noon to 5 p.m. If you’re on Periscope, I’m planning to broadcast from the event on Friday eventing, so be sure to follow me (I’m indieuntangled, natch) to get a taste of the beautiful products on display!