What to stash this week: Go ‘wild’ with 10% off buttons

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I’m happy to help reintroduce an artisan that I might not have discovered if I hadn’t started Indie Untangled last year. Give a warm welcome to Wildflower Button Studio! Hannah, who formerly sold her adorable polymer clay buttons as Fastenation Studio, had to change her name at the start of the new year (you can read the story on her blog). To celebrate her reopening, Hannah is offering 10% off any order through this Sunday, Jan. 25 with the code REOPENIU10. She has more than 300 button sets listed on her new site, including awesome plane buttons (which I can’t wait to use on a sweater for my nephew) and, as you can see above, plenty of colorful plain buttons.

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2015: The indies

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Vogue Knitting Live always tends to sneak up on me, but it never fails to supply me with a ton of knitting inspiration and remind me why I decided to pick up my first pair of Clover needles several years ago.

I didn’t end up taking any classes this year, like I have in the past. The ones I was particularly interested in (with Amy Herzog and Kate Atherley) sold out pretty quickly, and some others conflicted with plans I had with friends that I see far less often than I should. But, between meeting some new-to-me indie dyers in the marketplace, discovering some special skeins and taking in the fabulous Stephen West & Steven Be fashion show, this year’s VKL — my fourth — was pretty epic, and definitely very indie.

While last year was all about Dragonfly Fibers and Neighborhood Fiber Co., this year I made sure to check out the newest indie additions. One of the first booths I went to was Pepperberry Knits. I had already heard of the company through my friend Stacy, who now lives in Idaho, where Pepperberry is based, and she had introduced me to owner Heidi recently over Facebook (Stacy also just started working for them, which makes me extremely jealous). Heidi, a redhead with a personality to match her brightly-colored yarns, told me about how she once decided to unravel and reknit a vintage Cashmere sweater, which led her to decide to sell Cashmere exclusively.

The Pepperberry booth was so fun to photograph, and not just because the light there was actually pretty good. It was filled with such vibrant colors, and the Cashmere in the samples hanging up just seemed to glow. I particularly liked the Fun Size Bundles that were available to make a few different striped cowls and infinity scarves, like Lucy and Lydia.

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Jill Draper Makes Stuff has been at VKL NYC for the past few years, but I made it a point to visit her booth because I had a sweater quantity of her Hudson (Made in the USA superwash Merino) on my list to make Yelena Dasher’s new West End Girl.

No sooner had I finally decided on a color (a beautiful orange called Spessartine) when I was tempted by something new — Jill’s Rifton gradient skeins. They were dyed up just in time for VKL, and Jill explained that the browns and greys were the natural wool, while the oranges and pinks, or aquas and blues, were added to the fleece before the yarn was plied.

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The Heidi & Lana booth really impressed me. I went there expecting just to see their pretty snag-free stitch markers, but I loved the kits that this Ohio LYS had on offer, including one for owner Margaret Craig’s Passage, which came with yarn from Spincycle Yarns and handmade fabric buttons for a shawl/scarf that can be worn several different ways.

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I also enjoyed meeting Angela of MollyGirl Yarns, a relatively new dyer based in nearby New Jersey who has fun music-themed bases and colorways, like Rolling in the Deep and Pink Bullets, and some unique bases (her limited-edition Meet and Greet was an amazingly soft alpaca/silk/linen blend). She had the help of her boyfriend for her first-ever show, and it was fun to see her excitement at being part of this crazy knitting event.

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In the middle of the Saturday madness, I spoke with Carol of Black Bunny Fibers, who taught the Yarn Substitution Made Easy class on Sunday. Carol told me about the clubs that she’ll be cooking up in the near future.

And I had to snap some pics of the Kismet Fiber Works booth. I became a huge fan of this Virginia-based company when they came to VKL for the first time last year, and stunned me with their baby camel/silk and Merino/silk blends that make their colors extra stunning.

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Of course, I admired the colorful knitted teepee and the Seven Wonders of the Yarn World, which Marsha of One Geek to Craft Them All captured perfectly on her blog (I wish I’d taken pictures of the awesome yarn earrings and geeky stitch markers in her booth!), and the refrigerator full of knit produce and cheeses — with the way my stash is getting these days, this would probably be the only way I’d ever have that much stuff in my fridge.

You can see some more of my VKL photos on Instagram.

What to stash this week: Get what you want (if you’re not at VKL)

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I’m going to be spending the next couple of days surrounded by lovely yarn at Vogue Knitting Live NYC (instead of just looking at pictures of it). I promise to come back with plenty of pretty pictures to look at (you can also follow Indie Untangled on Instagram to see more). If you’re going, be sure to check out some great tips from Maria of Subway Knits. In the meantime, have a look at these stashing opportunities:

Christine of Skeinny Dipping has loaded her shop with tons of new yarn, and it can be yours for 10% off through Jan. 23 with the code UNTANGLED10. There’s also a pre-order event going on through the 23rd. Info on bases and pricing in the SkeinnyDippers Ravelry group. Unfortunately, the discount doesn’t apply to pre-orders, but don’t let that stop you from getting what you want.

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Cedar Hill Farm Company has introduced a new base called Journey, and it definitely looks transporting. This super soft, 4-ply superwash Merino is ideal for lacey and cable-y socks and shawls. The yarn is hand painted in very small batches of three and four hanks to ensure that colors are vivid and uniform. And these are some special colorways, named for exotic locales. So, even if you don’t get a chance to travel to, say, Avignon, France, or Glen Coe in Scotland, you can still infuse your knitting with the local color.

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Did somebody say Chocolate Soap? Oh yeah, that was Sarah of Silk Road Needle Arts. With the Idaho winter and dye pots doing a number on her hands, Sarah decided to create a Carrot Seed Hand Balm. Then, she branched out into cold process, hand milled soap, including French Rose with Chocolate Chip and Chunky Monkey.

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Because I know your stash has at least a few random, lovely single skeins of fingering, here’s a great pattern that can take you through winter and beyond. Lara Smoot‘s new Sugarplum infinity scarf has a simple lacy stitch pattern that shows off hand-painted yarns particularly well, but is also great for semisolid colorways. The intro price is $2.99 on Ravelry until Jan. 20.

Winter shades of yay

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Gray Seeds

Before I started knitting, I never considered grey one of my favorite colors. Sure, it was a great neutral for skirts and accessories, but it wasn’t necessarily a shade I fawned over.

That all changed when I started buying hand-dyed yarn. I found myself drawn to skeins the color of cold steel and greys verging on lilac. I love how on certain fibers, like silk, and on certain bases, grey seems to come alive. The Urban I knit with Skein’s Top Draw Socks in the Sterling colorway remains one of my favorite FOs.

Of course, there’s no real season for grey, but I tend to think of it as a winter color, with images of snow-covered roads and rocks and branches — or metal skyscrapers — peeking out.

Here’s a selection of some of my favorite skeins and grey projects from Indie Untangled artisans:

Daddy Steelbucks, The Woolen Rabbit

Daddy Steelbucks, The Woolen Rabbit

Nimbostratus, The Uncommon Thread

Nimbostratus, The Uncommon Thread

Night Bokeh, Duck Duck Wool

Night Bokeh, Duck Duck Wool

Grey Skies by Countess Ablaze

Grey Skies by Countess Ablaze

Black Quartz, Kettle Yarn Co.

Black Quartz, Kettle Yarn Co.

Night's Watch by Lara Smoot Designs. Because Winter... is here.

Night’s Watch by Lara Smoot Designs. Because Winter… is here.

What to stash this week: French inhale

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While I’m not promising that it will be easy, I’m pleased to be able to give you a little head start: Margaret of French Market Fibers, will be having an Etsy update today (Jan. 9) at 10 a.m. Central. It will be her first major update in over a year, since she took time off from dyeing to be a stay-at-home mom.

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A woman after my own heart, Tami of Eternity Ranch Knits has begun a Year of Broadway Musicals and Grease is the word for January. If you’re too pure to be pink, the skein of BFL or Sparkle sock yarn is dyed up in both pink and black, to represent the Pink Ladies and the T-birds, along with blue, yellow and red. If you’re a Grease fan, the worst thing you could do is miss out on this colorway.

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Indie Untangled newcomer Debbie of Hampton Artistic Yarns, who dyes on Long Island’s East End, has a bunch of new speckled sock yarns for sale. This photo is of a sock project that Debbie worked on with one of the skeins while on a recent vacation to Punta Cana. While many of you would give anything to be on a beach right now, a pair of socks with this lovely yarn should warm you right up.

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You can’t have enough men in kilt— I mean, enough Outlander. And if you’re an Outlander-obsessed spinner, June Pryce Fiber Arts has you covered. Aside from an Outlander mini-skein club, they also have a Spin to Knit Scarf Kit that mixes Claire- and Jamie-inspired colors.

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There are only a few spots open in a year-long Outlander yarn club from Canon Hand Dyes and Spark!, organized through the {among friends} Clubs. The six packages, shipped every other month, will include an Outlander character-inspired skein dyed by Amy, a pattern, a project bag and a set of coordinating Spark! stitch markers.

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Now through Feb. 1, C.Whitney Knits will be offering Valentine’s Day Mystery Skeins. Two variations are available: the dark and sensual “St. Valentine’s Day Reds” or the light and fluffy “Candy Hearts.” If you order more than one of the same colorway, all skeins will match unless otherwise directed.

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KarenDawn Designs has released patterns for the Chaucer-inspired Palamon Hat and Arcite Cowl. Both feature two slip stitch patterns, which makes this a great design for variegated or semi-solid yarns. Knit with a worsted weight yarn, these are quick knits to help keep you warm this winter (and with temps in the Northeast dipping below zero, I can appreciate that!). The patterns are available on Ravelry separately or together as an eBook and are 30% through Jan. 15 with the coupon code ‘Emelye’.

Untangling: Eden Cottage Yarns

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I first discovered Eden Cottage Yarns when I was doing a Yarn Hoars swap on Ravelry and my swap partner, the lovely muggleknitter/Cary, mentioned this new dyer she’d like to try. I headed over to the ECY website and fell in love with everything I saw. It was a wonder that the two skeins I bought (Pegasus Lace in Clematis and Titus 4ply in Dark Oak) actually made it to Cary, but somehow I managed to let them go.

A little while later, Victoria Magnus was one of the first dyers I contacted about Indie Untangled (and also about a Winter Grays blog post that I may just get around to posting soon!) and she was gracious and supportive. Then, this past fall, I was listening to the Shinybees podcast and got to hear an interview that Jo did with Victoria during Unwind Briton. I was in awe when Victoria told the story of how she built her successful dyeing business after going through a rough patch, and knew I had to do a Q&A with her. So, here it is.

Also, be sure to check out the designs in the Bletchley Collection, a collaboration between Victoria and designer Joanne Scrace, with knit and crochet patterns inspired by the the women behind the Bletchley Park codebreaking operation during World War II.

What made you decide to teach yourself to knit?

I was studying architecture at university, and we were in the same building as the textiles students. I kept finding myself kind of wishing I’d done that, so compensated by teaching myself to knit. I was immediately hooked.

Did you find any hurdles when starting to dye?

I’m trying to remember now — I think it was mostly just that there was no space to do it!

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Which colors are you most drawn to and are there any colors that you find challenging to create?

I can’t pick out a favourite colour any more. It was always purple, but since colour has become my life, I’ve found myself loving shades I would have never looked twice at in the past. I would say particularly greens — I love all shades of green, from sludge to rich emerald, even chartreuse — I don’t even know if I suit it.

Um, I think a proper red is always a challenge. Reds are always slightly too orange or too pink — a good, neutral, rich red is unusual to find and can be hard to dye.

You studied architecture at university. Would you say it informs your dyeing or pattern designing at all?

It probably does without me realising it! I never give it a second thought to be honest.

Do you ever dye, or choose bases to dye, with patterns in mind?

In general, no. But, the whole premise of ECY was based on me wanting hand dyed yarn I could knit something in that wouldn’t look jazzy — at the time self-striping and pooling yarns were all the rage, and I wanted a nice plain purple. So that’s the underlying theme. But other than that, no, it’s entirely the yarn/colour relationship that I use.

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What’s the story behind the name Eden Cottage Yarns?

In 2011 I had a change in circumstances and found myself moving from a modern flat in central Manchester, to a crumbling 1720s farmhouse/cottage in the rural Eden Valley in Cumbria. I had no job lined up or anything, and was on my own, so decided it was a good time to have a go at starting a business. The name Eden Cottage Yarns is simply because I was living in a cottage in Eden Valley — simple as it is it did take my Step Dad and I quite a lot of deliberation to settle on it!

I understand you built your own website after leaving Etsy. What did that entail?

Firstly, I found it quite difficult to find a webhost I was happy with. Eventually I settled on Actinic, which I think has seen me through really well so far. They’ve been constantly improving facilities over the years, which is always good. I decided that since I had my time to myself, and absolutely no money, I’d best download their how-to guide, and give it a go. It was pretty simple, and I wanted a simple design, so it didn’t take long. I’ve tweaked it a bit since, but not that much, and it works well.

Name one thing you’re most proud of as you’ve built up your business.

Just the fact that I did it from a starting point of having absolutely nothing – actually I kind of had less than nothing as I’d been landed with approximately £9000 in personal debt (long story). I paid that off, and the business now employs me on a proper salary, as well as several freelancers as part time regulars. The first winter was so hard – it was so cold (no central heating) and I struggled to afford coal and food, and I was totally alone in a new place. I hope I never have to repeat it but it was definitely “character building!” It forced me to go out and talk to people, and get creative with making my money stretch, and wear a tonne of knitwear! It was the beginning of an incredibly happy life to be honest. Sorry — getting mushy now, I’ll stop! I just always figured I’d do it until I had to get a “proper job,” and as yet that hasn’t happened!

What to stash this week: Resolve to knit more and buy more yarn

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All patterns from Sand and Sky Creations are Buy One Get One Free on Ravelry through today, Jan. 3. Simply add any two patterns to your shopping cart and use coupon code “bogo” to get the discount.

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Designer M K Nance often partners with indie dyers on her accessories, which incorporate colorwork, cables and lace. Coloring, the blue scarf shown shown here, was knit with Black Trillium Pebble Sock Gradient Kit.

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Knit Eco Chic’s Cassandra is a traditional Christmas sweater that you’ll want to wear all winter long. Lindsay has created a festive, fitted garment with seed stitch accents and a ruffled collar. There’s also a neat hidden detail on the interior of each sleeve.

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Sarah has changed her shop name from Sarah’s Spindle to Silk Road Needle Arts to better reflect her love of travel, the exotic and the antique. She’s also introduced some new alpaca yarns: an alpaca/silk/Cashmere blend that has a subtle shine, an alpaca/Merino twist with a rustic, handspun look, and a wild silk/linen/alpaca blend. In addition, there’s some new Cashmere Merino DK weight yarn, because as Sarah rightly points out, a person can never have too much Cashmere.

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The Knitting Artist has added beaded stitch markers to the other works of art in her shop. Lisa once made them to raise funds for her local Relay For Life event, and decided to bring them back. The snag-free markers are made with nylon-coated wire and beads from both France and the U.S.

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Some villainy is afoot. Sign-ups for the C.Whitney Knits Villain Yarn Club run through Jan. 11. The 6-month yarn club features colorways inspired by Disney villains. There are half and full club options, along with a “Mix it Up” option that lets you choose your base(s) every month.

Happy knit year

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I’ve never really been the type to make New Year’s resolutions. If I resolve to do anything, I tend to just pick a date and do it, like deciding to start working out again (constantly sitting at a desk wasn’t doing me any favors) or reorganizing my stash (well, more like finally putting my Rhinebeck purchases away… in an entirely new box).

My knitting resolutions have been similarly immediate. On Christmas morning, I was trying to decide what to knit while I wait for new yarn for my mom’s hooded scarf. I so wanted to try out the Quince & Co. Lark that the pattern called for, but as I started knitting with it, I decided it was a little too rough for wearing around the neck. My husband, who wears his Bugga! scarf much more than his Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride one, felt the WIP and even agreed that it was a little rough (and I hate to sound stereotypical, but if your husband is encouraging you to buy more yarn…).

Anyway, I was looking at my project page, and realized I had a project that’s been hibernating since 2013. It was the Scalene that I cast on for on the way back from Australia (the yarn is from Rhinebeck 2012), and then messed up the increases for while knitting during a VKL class. Every time I pulled it out of the closet, I resolved to finish it. This time, I decided to repurpose it. So, I frogged the quarter-done shawl and cast on for Amy Miller’s Pendulum. greentrianglegirl, AKA A Playful Day, had called it a soothing knit, and she was right. The mindless garter is perfect for this more relaxed time of year, and the short rows keep it interesting. I probably won’t finish it in time for the Indie Untangled Winter KAL (which you still have the rest of today to enter. Read: PRIZES), but this is something I don’t really need to rush.

Swiss Delights Kit

I could have cast on for the Myrtille shawl as part of the Swiss Delights KAL with the Siidegarte kit, but it starts on Jan. 6, so I figured I would be good and wait. I made this my own Hanukkah splurge, and I’m so glad I did. The yarn, which arrived really quickly for an international package, is lovely and silky, and I can’t help but take it out every now and then to admire it.

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Speaking of 2015, there are also some really cool things happening knitwise early next year. First off, some really exciting news about Gauge + Tension: On Feb. 7, Michele is moving the former pop-up shop to a permanent space inside the Brooklyn Craft Company! This is a crafting space in Greenpoint with all sorts of different classes (they also have knit wallpaper they designed themselves!) and I keep meaning to go, so hopefully this will give me the kick in the butt I need.

Michele has also been organizing some really fantastic trunk shows (I really wanted to attend the Jill Draper and Queen Bee Fibers events, but I had my friends from Italy in town and then I had to work. Sigh.). If you’re Plucky obsessed, then you probably already know about the Plucky Knitter trunk show taking place at the old G+T space on Saturday, Jan. 24. Then, the next day, the store is going to be filled with yarns from Miss Babs (but, alas, no Babs herself).

If that’s not enough, on Jan. 25, Maria from the Subway Knits podcast, along with Sarah of KnitYorkCity, Kristin from Yarngasm and Marsha from One Geek to Craft Them All, are speaking at a panel on yarn crafting and blogging, organized by the Brooklyn Knit and Crochet Guild. It sounds like an amazing weekend! And that’s not even factoring in that Vogue Knitting Live is the weekend before.

I think I need to resolve to make another trip to The Container Store.

What to stash this week: Box it up with these yarn sales

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We all know that the best time to shop is after Christmas, so if you didn’t get all the yarn you wanted under the tree, head to these dyers’ shops:

Cedar Hill Farm Company is discounting all in-stock yarn and project bags by 25% through Dec. 31, The sale includes all of Keya’s yarn, even the ultra-soft 100% extra fine alpaca.

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Inner Yarn Zen is having a 50% off clearance sale (yes, you read that right). Use the code SAVE50 at checkout. Items will be added over the next few days, so refresh often.

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Stephannie’s Tallent‘s Cherty Shawlette, a garter and stockinette lace shawl, is part of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, which runs through Dec. 31, so you can also enter to win a prize (you can also double dip in the Indie Untangled Winter 2014 KAL). Using one skein of sport-weight yarn — Stephannie used Elemental Affects Civility merino-silk — it’s a quick knit.

The end of Cowl-a-palooza 2014 and Happy Holidays!

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I’ve been having a lot of fun playing Santa/Hanukkah Harry over the last week and a half, and I’d like to thank the extremely generous artisans who donated skeins and gifts for the newsletter giveaway. Some of the last grand prize goodies have still been coming in, and it’s been fun to open up all the packages (don’t worry, they will be shipped off to the winner!).

There are still two more prizes to go, including tonight’s prize, a Squish Me Hat Kit from Bare Naked Wools.

In between giving out prizes, baking, getting work done before everyone decamps for the holidays and binge-listening to the Serial podcast (the best way to do it, IMHO — no waiting!), I managed to finish another cowl. I made Mademoiselle C’s Ceramic Flowers, with French Market Fibers Silky DK in Margaret’s Endymion colorway, originally a limited-edition one that she recently decided to bring back. I favorited that pattern two years ago, and knew when Margaret started dyeing again that I had to finally cast on.

The pattern was simple and easy to follow, and I love the way the flowers look in Margaret’s yarn. The cowl is also the perfect size, I think: long enough to wrap around twice, and then tight enough to keep the chill out (though we haven’t had too bad of a winter so far).

Next up is the hooded scarf that I promised my mom (Levee by Cecily Glowik MacDonald), and that she gave me until mid-January to finish, since she won’t need it in Australia, where she’s going to visit my brother, sister-in-law and nephews. I’m also participating in the Myrtille KAL with the Siidegarte Swiss Delights Kit I bought myself as a Hanukkah gift. :)

My husband and I will be spending Christmas this year in our traditional way: maybe a movie tonight, and then Christmas dinner with a friend and her family. I hope all of you who celebrate have a wonderful Christmas!