What to stash — or knit — this week

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The Pepperberry Cowl from Mitenae, a new designer and fellow Yarn Hoar on Ravelry who hails from the Western Australian city of Perth, uses 720 yards of fingering-weight yarn in three colors. It has a beautiful chevron pattern created with an intarsia technique (the pattern includes a tutorial) and I’m sure you can find some great color combinations from an Indie Untangled dyer — or your own stash.

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As she promised, Barb of Spencer Hill has updated her shop with a ton of naturally-dyed skeins. These OOAK lovelies come in a range of colors, from delicate pinks to bright reds. Included in the update are a few skeins of Lalo, a 40/40/20 blend of baby alpaca, wool and silk that Barb used for the top section of the LightWaves shawl by Susan Ashcroft, pictured above — which she has knit a couple of times.

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If you’re looking to knit up an heirloom, consider KarenDawn’s newest arrival, the Clairvaux Baby Blanket. The classic blanket squares in a lifted twist pattern (knit all in one piece) and a seed stitch border, though it’s not too much for the adventurous beginner. The name was inspired by Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian monk from the 12th century and an important figure in Christianity.

Some true armchair travel

World of Indie Design

Knitting patterns are inspired by various things, but so many designers seem to find inspiration in the world around them, whether it’s Janina Kalio‘s Scandinavian minimalism, or Laura Patterson of Fiber Dreams naming a cowl for a mountain range in her new home state of Washington.

As I did last week with my map of dyers and makers, I created a map showing where the designers who have posted to Indie Untangled are based (I figured they would be a bit easier to explore if I separated them). Combine the two, and you could do a pretty awesome knitting tour…

What to stash this week: World (OK, UK/European) yarn crawl

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The latest addition to the World of Indie Untangled is Maria of the awesomely-named Suzy Parker Yarns, who dyes out of Hythe, a small coastal town in South East England (creating a nice little triangle with Ce of The Uncommon Thread and Linda of Kettle Yarn Co.). Maria recently re-launched her Etsy shop, and it’s filled with luxurious fingering- and sport-weight yarns in beautifully saturated semi-solids, including the lovely Cabernet, above. To celebrate the relaunch, Maria is offering 10% off through the end of August with the code Newbeginnings.

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Continuing on our world tour this week, Valentina of SnailYarn is getting ready for fall in Ariccia, Italy, with some warm, autumn-inspired colorways. There are also still some bright summer hues in stock, as well as gradient sets, which are conveniently available in sets of ready-to-knit mini balls — no hand winding necessary. Grazie, Valentina!

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Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. has been busy dyeing for Yarn in the City’s Pop-Up Marketplace in London on Sept. 5 (why are plane tickets so expensive?!), so she has plenty of Islington DK (BFL/silk) in the popular Verdigris and Neckinger colorways. She’s also restocked some Beyul (baby yak/silk/Superwash Merino) in Steppe, the color she’s using for her beautiful Sibella Cardigan, along with Black Quartz, Monk’s Robe and Yurt.

An indie yarny journey

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One of my longtime dreams is to take a cross-country road trip. In my fantasy, I would knit while my husband drives (which, um, is probably one of the reasons we haven’t done it) and visit an indie dyer at every stop. I’d blog about it, of course, and then my blog posts would get turned into a book, and it would be the Great American Road Trip, with a yarny twist…

Ahem.

It also always amazes me when artisans from all over the world post to the Indie Untangled marketplace — there’s Siidegarte, which is based in Hirzel, a small village in Switzerland, and Valentina of SnailYarn, who dyes outside of Rome, Italy, not to mention all of the incredible dyers out of the UK.

So, I decided it would be cool to create a map and show where in the world many of the posts on Indie Untangled come from. There are just about 80 dyers and crafters on the list, which would make for quite an amazing trip.

A note: This map has just IU dyers and accessories makers. I’m planning on creating a second map just for designers.

What to stash this week: Hot, hot, hot

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Fall is on the way (seriously, wasn’t it just July Fourth?!), which means it’s your last chance to get ready with The Golden Skein’s third yarn club installment, which will ship out on Sept. 1. If you haven’t heard of TGS, it’s a really cool idea: Owners Jo and Kate pick three indie dyers from around the globe to interpret a single inspiration photo on three separate fingering-weight skeins, and subscribers are surprised by packages that arrive in shiny parcels. Sign-ups for this quarter are open through this Sunday, Aug. 16 and spaces are limited.

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It would be impossible to grow bored knitting the latest shawl design from Michael Harrigan. Dubbed the Forest Fantasy Shawl, it incorporates multiple colors and lace stitch patterns, including the bamboo stitch, double running leaf stitch patterns, and a leafy edging. It uses around 730 yards of light fingering, and would look great in a gradient or with complementary colors.


Storing your yarn stash

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If you find yourself clicking the Add to Cart button on Etsy or a dyer’s online shop more frequently than you can churn out FOs, you may have a problem.

No, not that kind of problem — there is definitely no stash shaming on Indie Untangled. But, you may have trouble finding a place to store all of your lovely acquisitions.

Living in a small one-bedroom apartment, I find this consistently challenging. A year or so after I started knitting, I decided that my stash deserved a better home than the tote bags hanging on hooks in my closet. On the advice of a knitting friend, I bought a cart with drawers similar to this one from Target. I use the two large drawers for yarn (sweater quantities on the bottom and single skeins on top, though there are some exceptions) which I store in Ziploc bags, and the two smaller ones for my folder of printed patterns, class handouts and accessories, including blocking wires and pins. (I thought I would use the wheels for dragging the cart over to the couch while I was knitting, but it’s become a permanent fixture in my bedroom.) It has served me well, though the two drawers have not been able to accommodate many more Rhinebeck and other purchases, so I’ve had to repurpose one of my deep sweater boxes from the Container Store for stash storage.

The tote bags in the closet still remain, but they’re for storing partial skeins that could still be used in a project or to help out a fellow knitter who lost a game of Yarn Chicken. I display the small scraps of yarn in a crystal vase that was a wedding present.

Stash vase

A while back, I reached out to some knitters I know and asked them to share their stash storage solutions. Here are some of their methods:

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This is Erica’s setup. She’s chosen pretty, but inexpensive, boxes from Ikea on a shelf, with space designated for future stash (because, hey, it’s gonna happen).

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Patricia has the best way to double purpose stash — hanging up some of her favorites on the wall, showing them off as the works of art that they are.

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She describes the rest of her storage:

The shelf is basically made up of yarn that already has a project assigned to it. So are solo skeins from clubs but they are fingering weight yarn so they have lots of options.

The yarn hanging on the back of the door on a shoe rack is scrap balls.

The yarn hanging on the door with the mirror is on a wreath hook and that is freshly spun up yarn waiting for a decision.

The baskets/trunk is for undyed yarn and any fiber.

The tubs of yarn on the shelf are for the most part leftover skeins from sweaters or any large left over amount that can fit in the pockets on the wall.

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Lastly, the stash storage I envy the most, courtesy of Lina, a photographer who lives in Brooklyn (and is making me seriously reconsider living in an apartment…).

This is why when we bought this house (almost two years ago… wow, time flies!) I made sure to let my husband know that I needed a whole room for my yarn. And since we don’t really have a ton of books anymore (yay for Kindles!) I appropriated the library as my yarn room. Got some glass doors installed so they are less than 1/4” in spacing (so moths can’t get in) and now all my yarn fits and it looks beautiful, if I do say so myself. :)

Share some of your functional or creative — or both — stash storage solutions in the comments and check out my stash storage board on Pinterest, which has a bunch of really cool ideas.

What to stash this week: Natural look

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Indie Untangled newcomer Barb of Spencer Hill specializes in naturally-dyed yarn, using materials such as indigo and logwood. Based in Corning, N.Y., Barb takes a “no two snowflakes” approach to dyeing, and revels in the variations between skeins. Since Barb is also an elementary school band director, her shop isn’t always chock full, but what’s there is definitely enough to tempt you. Since she’s on summer break, watch the IU marketplace for updates.

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Margaret of Seaside Knitting Bags is another IU newcomer, and handcrafts her beautiful project bags out of upholstery and decorator fabrics from her cottage studio on Florida’s Gulf Coast. These bags look like they could easily do double duty as a purse and, according to Margaret, have enough structure to sit open by themselves, allowing you to concentrate on your work (and, hopefully, take in a nice view).

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Kim’s recent shop update is inspired by — wait for it — Mother Nature. There’s Robin’s Egg, dyed on a soft and squishy Merino sock yarn, and a new colorway called Quiet Lake, which Kim dyed both in a gradient on a bulky Merino and as a variegated on BFL/Tussah silk top. Kim’s other new colorway, Sweet Sunset, is also available on the BFL/Tussah silk top. As a bonus, new customers receive 20% off of their first order with the code NEW20.

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It’s a giveaway from Kettle Yarn Co.! You can win two skeins of Islington DK, a BFL/silk blend in the color of your choice by joining the Kettle Yarn Co. group on Ravelry and leaving a comment on the Boardwalk Collection giveaway thread saying which design in the collection you’d most like to knit and which color in the brights is your favorite.

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Sarah of The Queen’s Ransome has settled into her new home along North Carolina’s intercostal waterway and the new colors and light have carried over into her dye pots. She’s also added three alpaca fingering-weight yarns — alpaca Merino twist, alpaca silk Cashmere and alpaca silk linen — and is planning to carry more worsted weight yarns, with custom dyed sweater quantities available. Also new: free shipping worldwide for the rest of 2015.

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Peggy of ColorPurl has also been cooking up some naturally-dyed yarns on skeins with some luxurious fibers and generous yardage. New colors include Coral Green, which is available on a sparkly Merino/nylon/stellina base, a yellow/green gradient on 657 yards of BFL and Papaya on 600 yards of Merino/Cashmere/nylon.

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All the way from Venice is Charly, a super chunky cowl with buttons from Italian designer Lilia Vanini. Lilia sells PDF patterns via her Etsy shop, and is happy to offer help to knew knitters via email.

Untangling: Buttonalia

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Just glancing at her beautifully glazed ceramic buttons, it’s not surprising to learn that Buttonalia’s Sharry Madden has a background as a sculptor. A New Zealand native now living in the U.K., Sharry starting off making large bowls used as washbasins, moving on to create hollow, coiled sculptures when throwing on a potter’s wheel became too painful because of tennis elbow. She ended up selling her work both at home and overseas, even shipping a large sculpture to the U.S.

These days, Sharry’s smaller creations adorn everything from fingerless mitts to sweaters. She sells her buttons on Etsy and, more recently, Zibbet, and has found many fans among knitters on Ravelry. Her buttons — plain or patterned, in bright colors and complex neutrals — come strung on a simple piece of twine, the perfect way to show off these individual works of art.

I’m thrilled to be selling Sharry’s buttons at this year’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show (and I’m going to try my hardest to keep some of those sets from wandering into my own button stash…).

Just one set of buttons Sharry sent along for the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, appropriately displayed on a copy of the UK-based Pom Pom Quarterly.

Just one set of buttons Sharry sent along for the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, appropriately displayed on a copy of the UK-based Pom Pom Quarterly.

How did you start making buttons?



My husband was offered a teaching position in Kent, England, so we moved here almost 10 years ago. Being new immigrants, we had to find our way around and it took me seven years to finally find my place in clay once again. The equipment is very expensive (and) our house is a mid-terraced Victorian, which is very small, so the cellar is my studio, where I keep the kiln and all my raw materials for glazing. Having a small kiln and a small house and a small pocket, I had to think small. I am a very utilitarian person, so I tend to make useful objects unless I am being whimsical, then I make unusual, but simple objects to simply look at, like sculptures or hearts. It was natural for me to make buttons — the humble button with all its uses, buttons to make you smile.

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How did you end up on Ravelry?



I came to Ravelry because one of my customers begged me to! Most of my customers are knitters and she was tired of having to tell her friends on Ravelry where to find me. And so began the crazy, fabulous romance with Ravelry, where I regularly lurk and drool over the marvelous things my customers knit. Ravelry’s community is simply awesome and when I need a lift, it’s the first place I go to give me a smile. My range of customers either knit, sew or make jewelry.

Sharry's buttons adorning my Conjured Cardi.

Sharry’s buttons adorning my Conjured Cardi.

Do you knit yourself?

As far as my love of knitting goes, I grew up with a wonderful grandmother who, when not cooking or cleaning, clicked away wherever she was — even on the beach. I used to spend hours at her feet, unravelling yarn and winding balls ready for her to use. I then graduated to sewing sleeves to bodies and then knitted my first scarf. I haven’t done much since as my life is so full with working in an office by day and making buttons every other minute I have. I have other projects that will simply have to wait until I retire and have more time on my hands.

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I’m giving away this set of six periwinkle blue buttons. To enter, comment on this post with a pattern you would use them with. You have until the end of the day my time on Sunday, Aug. 9, and then I’ll be picking a winner by random number generator. Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed.

What to stash this week: Indie discoveries

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One of the best discoveries on my recent trip to Italy (aside from the delicious tiella in my friend Carmen’s seaside town of Gaeta) was Valentina of SnailYarn, who dyes out of her home in Ariccia, in the Rome countryside. I discovered her while doing a quick Google search for indie dyers there, and though we weren’t able to connect during my trip, she surprised me by posting on Indie Untangled a couple months later! She wrote about her recent shop update, which included the super shiny BFL/silk fingering, pictured above in Steel, Alpine Lake, Misty Mountain and Orchid, and a baby alpaca/silk/linen base that would be perfect for breezy summer tops.

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Designer Jennifer Dassau is another Indie Untangled newcomer, and I guarantee you’ll end up adding at least one of her patterns to your Favorites. A former attorney who left the law to work in garment production on Seventh Avenue, Jennifer now designs top-down seamless sweaters, contemporary shawls and simple accessories.

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If Dami’s beautiful colorways aren’t enough to tempt you to knit Lynn Di Cristina’s Mirla cowl, maybe another giveaway will! To win a skein of Magpie Fibers’ Swanky Sock in the color of your choice, knit the Mirla cowl using two skeins of Magpie Fibers Swanky DK and post your FO on Ravelry. The winner will be chosen Sept. 2.

Sealilies

You can’t get more summery than the new exclusive colorways from Florida LYS A Good Yarn Sarasota. Available online, a few colorways are inspired by underwater photographs taken by shop owner Susan’s husband while SCUBA diving. Sea Lilies, above, was dyed for the store by Sweet Georgia on their Silk Crush base. They also have Binkwaffle Dumpling Bags in two exclusive, sea-inspired fabrics.

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Laura Patterson’s Bioluminescence crescent shawl is also inspired by SCUBA diving and the millions of tiny lights glimmering under the sea (and the sparkly Nebula yarn from Anzula). It’s knit from the lace edge up, then shaped into a crescent with garter stitch short rows. There are also several wrong-side lace rows, so there is some counting involved, so perfect for a little summer challenge.

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Lisa’s moving to a new apartment and she’s giving you a little housewarming gift. You can get a free $5 item, such as an art card or stitch markers, with the purchase of a pair of stockinette sneakers, a fine art print or another $5 item. Use coupon codes SBOshoes, SBOprints or SBObogo at checkout.

Glasscapes

Mingo and Asho, the crafty husband and wife team from California, have several new spindles in the shop. Called Glasspins, these 11-inch spindles are handcrafted of laminated hardwood and blown glass, which come in a variety of shades. New colors include Sea Grass, Peacock Feathers, Purple Pansies and Tango Nights.

Starting off on the ‘Road to Rhinebeck’

Maria of the Subway Knits podcast and blog is on the Road to Rhinebeck

Maria of the Subway Knits podcast and blog is on the Road to Rhinebeck

Around this time last year, when I first started organizing the 2014 Rhinebeck Trunk Show, I got in touch with Maria of the Subway Knits podcast. I had just started getting into knitting podcasts, which I discovered were perfect to listen to when I wanted to work on projects away from the TV, and here was one that was produced just across the river from me in Astoria, Queens!

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Maria and I first met for a delicious lunch at Taverna Kyklades, a Greek restaurant in her neighborhood and, in between chatting about sweater knitting and traveling, and bites of grilled calamari, hatched the plans for her Road to Rhinebeck series. In advance of the trunk show that kicked off the weekend of the festival, Maria ended up doing podcast and blog interviews with several of last year’s vendors.

Well, it’s time to start off on this year’s Road to Rhinebeck and the first “stop” is none other than… Indie Untangled! Maria asked me all about starting Indie Untangled, how my idea for a little trunk show turned into a pretty big event, and about my experience being photographed for Humans of New York. I hope you enjoy it (and please realize that it was very hard to answer the question about my favorite dyers — the ones are mentioned are only a small fraction of my favorites) and be sure to keep reading and listening to Subway Knits!