What to stash this week: Winter brights

The latest design from Laura of Fiber Dreams is of the same two minds as Mother Nature lately. The tulip pattern and bright colors in her sample cowl bring spring to mind, but the bulky yarn will definitely keep you toasty.

Groovy Hues’s first update of 2017 has tons of bright colors on both yarn and fiber. Children of the ’80s will love BMX Forever, and you may also be tempted by Rollin’ With My Gnomies.

Can’t control/feel your fingers and your toes? Then you need a hat! Barbara Benson’s latest design, I Can’t Control My Brain, is a companion piece to her Ramones-inspired mitts.

Bijou Basin Ranch has three new hand-dyed colors from MJ Yarns.

Indie Untangled at VKL NYC

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One of my favorite parts of the Indie Untangled trunk show at Woolyn a couple of months ago was getting to spend time with Alice of Backyard Fiberworks. You may know Alice from her creative Instagram Advent promotion, her dreamy American-grown Cormo fingering or her beautiful speckled sock yarns. If you don’t know her work, you should get to know it.

While we were hanging out at the store, we talked about Alice’s booth at Vogue Knitting Live , which takes place this weekend, from January 13-15 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and which I was of course planning to attend. Alice generously invited me to have some space in her booth, and that led us to start scheming away on a special IU-themed kit to offer for the occasion.

So, I looped in Vicki of That Clever Clementine, who suggested an Indie Untangled logo version of her popular zipper wristlet bags. As Vicki got to sewing, Alice (who conveniently lives about 20 minutes away from Vicki in Maryland) grabbed a scrap of the logo fabric and created a complementary teal and orange speckled colorway, pairing it with a deep blue for her Ridgeline pattern, a textured fingering-weight cowl.

If you’re coming to VKL this weekend, I hope you’ll stop by the Backyard Fiberworks booth — Booth 326 — and get your hands on a kit. You can also preorder your kits by filling out this form and picking up at the booth.

Along with Alice’s lovely yarn, there will also be some Indie Untangled ceramic shots and Stitch ‘n’ Sip games from the talented folks at JamPDX.

If you’ll be in the marketplace, please stop by the Backyard Fiberworks booth for an Indie Untangled meetup at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. I hope to see you there!

What to stash this week: Knit the force

Many of us are still reeling from one of the last losses of 2016. Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has decided to honor our favorites princess with her Bag of the Month, a collection of accessories that goes on sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time. 

Continuing the Star Wars tribute, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has a batch of Star Wars-inspired items, including two kits with stitch markers and additional colorways, that will be available for pre-order through this Sunday, January 8th.

Toby Roxane Barna, a designer who has long gravitated toward indie-dyed yarns for her shawls, sweaters and other accessories, has launched a line of yarn. The yarns include both subtle and bright semisolid and variegated colorways in fingering and DK weights. You’re sure to find something that would go well with one of Toby’s designs which, coincidentally, are 20% off on Ravelry through January 15th with the code INWITHTHENEW. Oh, and the yarn on her website is 17% off, too, with the same code!

Laura’s latest design, a scarf called Yarn Chicken, is not as daunting as it sounds. It comes with options and notes so that you can maximize the yarn you have, and win your own games of yarn chicken.

Bijou Basin Ranch is giving one lucky person a chance to win two skeins of Xanadu, 100% Mongolian Cashmere yarn, enough to knit Equinox, a pair of thigh-high yoga socks in Jen Geigley’s new book, EVERYDAY.

What to stash this week: New year, new sale

Barb of Spencer Hill Naturally Dyed Yarn has been busy, but has restocked her shop with Charlotte Pennsylvania-grown and spun Shetland fingering weight, and its new heavy worsted weight cousin, Madeleine. There’s also a Good Riddance 2016 sale, with select colors of Pippi BFL/nylon sock yarn, and the entire stock of Molly non-Superwash Merino and Lily Merino/silk available at a discount.

A 2016 IU Year in Knitting Review

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Considering the year we’ve had, most of the looks back at 2016 are not going to be likely to lift your spirits. My hope is that this roundup of Indie Untangled FOs will be the exception.

For my Year in Review, I’ve culled a list of several FOs using yarn and/or patterns from Indie Untangled dyers and designers — or both, in the case of the photo above of my Drops of Honey shawl. Designed by Janina Kallio for the inaugural Where We Knit yarn club, it used Silk Single Fingering in an exclusive colorway from Lakes Yarn and Fiber (the photo above is from fellow knitter Carolina of Triple C Photography, taken for an upcoming blog post).

I hope these projects serve as an inspiration for your 2017 knitting.

Mindy/knitwithhappiness’s Goldfinch in Magpie Fibers Swanky DK

Kelly/KellyInTexas’s Safer in Cages in Duck Duck Wool DK Limited

Nance/kathynancygirl’s Toketee in Lakes Yarn and Fiber Kelso Sock

Erica/ejsufka’s Palier in Western Sky Knits Willow DK

Danielle/OnEdge28’s Gimmers and Vianne in Astral Bath Yarns Spectra DK

Lori/Momwouldbeproud’s A Hat for Dana in YOTH Yarns Father

Lavanya’s Season of Persimmons in Astral Bath Yarns Tesseract DK

Amy/booeyedee’s Atlantique in Bare Naked Wools Hempshaugh Lace

Adrienne/killerb’s Crosshaven in Canon Hand Dyes Charles Self Striping Sock

Marta/sbnyc’s Imagine When in Skeinny Dipping Silky Worsted

Kim/Xarix’s Barley Wine Hat in Skeinny Dipping Polwarth DK

What to stash: Keep on knitting

In light of the craziness of the holidays, and because I’m in the mood to spread the joy of yarn this year, I’ve decided to extend the deadline for 2017 yarn club sign-ups through Monday, December 26th. As part of this club, four dyer/designers teams — The Woolen Rabbit & Anne Hanson, Eden Cottage Yarns & Mindy Wilkes, Three Fates Yarns & MK Nance and Spun Right Round & Casapinka — will create exclusive colorways and accompanying accessory patterns inspired by where they knit, with the first package shipping in February. And there is a gift option if you want to avoid any stores for the next couple of days!

The latest design from Laura of Fiber Dreams is the perfect way to help brighten up these short (but luckily getting longer!) winter days. Snow Flowers is knit in the round, incorporating an elegant Estonian lace pattern and shimmering beads. 

Untangling: Lara Smoot

As a designer, Lara Smoot was an “early adopter” of Indie Untangled, and I’ve loved getting word of her latest designs — from her Game of Thrones-inspired shawls to her incredible colorwork socks — on the Marketplace.

For the 2016 Where We Knit yarn club, I paired Lara up with Dami of Magpie Fibers and they came up with a simple, beach-inspired pair of mitts in an icy blue. I’m hoping to cast on soon to help me get through the winter.

I spoke to Lara about her background and how she starts work on some of her more complex pieces:

When and how did you learn to knit?

My grandmother taught me basic knitting when I was in my early teens. She didn’t teach me how to purl and I wanted the scarf that I was knitting to look smooth (stockinette) so I figured out how to knit backwards. I put my needles down after that scarf and didn’t pick knitting up again until about 12 years ago and this time it stuck!

What made you decide to become a designer?

I wanted to create something new and unique and be able to share it with other knitters. My goal is to create patterns with clear and concise directions that produce beautiful results. Knitting should be fun and I try to have that come through in my designs.

What did you do in your “pre-designer” life and how does that influence your design work?

I showed horses for many years and designed and sewed custom riding clothing during that time. Creating custom garments that fit people taught me a lot about sizing and, of course, measuring. Later on, I worked in marketing for a nationally known insurance company and after that I was the director of social media for a yarn company. Working for the yarn company taught me a lot about the yarn industry and gave me so much insight on what goes on behind the scenes.

The Game of Thrones-inspired Fire and Blood.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Oh my gosh, I’m inspired by so many things! Patterns that I see in nature, the beautiful colors in a skein of yarn, music that I’m listening to, my favorite characters in a tv series. All those things inspire me.

You seem to design in a variety of colors. Which are your favorites?

I love bright colors and speckled and variegated yarns to work with. Pinks, purples, blues and green are some of my favorites. I love gray too. It’s the perfect complementary color to go with anything bright.

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

Have a big cup of coffee! All kidding aside, it depends on the project. Sometimes I start with a sketch, sometimes I swatch before I sketch. With my colorwork designs, like Shark Bite and Fright Night, I create the chart first. I have an idea of what I want the piece to look like and keep tweaking the chart until it’s what I envisioned.

The Seacoast Mitts pattern from the 2016 Where We Knit yarn club.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

At home with my pugs in my lap and a good cup of coffee or tea while watching a knitting podcast.

What to stash this week: A mega rebellion

We all know that big, bulky yarns are a saving grace of the holiday season — or are perfect when we need to be warm, stat. So, it’s a great time to enroll in the SpaceMonsters Mega Club. As a club member, you get a skein of worsted or bulky weight, hand dyed by Stephanie in an exclusive colorway, delivered every other month, and a special gift tucked into every third parcel. The price isn’t too mega, either.

Inspired by the new Rogue One movie, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has dyed up yarn in colorways like Jedi, Vader, Is that an Ewok or a Wookie?, Rogue and Rebel, and debuted a new Rogue One notions tin. Join the rebellion!

Ami of Lakes Yarn and Fiber just introduced a new base called Rose, a decadent blend of 80% Merino and 20% Cashmere. She’s also offering free shipping on U.S. orders through Dec. 24 with the coupon code FREESHIP16 and $10 off international orders of at least two skeins with the coupon code INTSHIP.

Barbara Benson’s newest design is an easy-peasy cabled cowl that knits up quickly in bulky yarn, perfect for the polar vortex that has descended on much of the U.S. The clever design is knit vertically with no grafting required, joined together by sewing on buttons.

You have until Sunday, December 18th, to enroll in the 2017 Where We Knit yarn club. Four dyer/designers teams — The Woolen Rabbit & Anne Hanson, Eden Cottage Yarns & Mindy Wilkes, Three Fates Yarns & MK Nance and Spun Right Round & Casapinka — will create exclusive colorways and accompanying accessory patterns inspired by where they knit. If you need a last-minute gift for a special knitter in your life, or you still have to give Santa a hint, there’s an option to send a gift subscription. 

2016 holiday newsletter giveaway

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It’s hard to believe this crazy year is soon coming to a close. It seems like only yesterday I was ringing in 2016 with my husband in a Santa Barbara hotel room, falling asleep after watching the Times Square ball drop at 9 p.m. Pacific time (ah, jet lag).

As I have done for the past few years, I am thanking my wonderful newsletter subscribers, and welcoming new ones, with a special holiday giveaway. I’ve gathered together prizes from several artisans who are fairly new to the Indie Untangled community and doing a string of giveaways starting tomorrow 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 yarn, of course) that I will ship out to the winner. All items have been donated by IU’s fabulous artisans.

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 set of stitch markers of the winner’s choice from Ann Tudor


December 18: A skein of the winner’s choice from Yoshi & Lucy

December 19: Two bundles of mini skeins from SpaceCadet

December 20: A skein of Elliebelly MCN High Twist Sock in the colorway Catherine from Elliebelly Dye Works

December 21: A skein of Tried and Untrue from Despondent Dyes

December 22: A skein of Vintage No. 1 in Almond from Middle Brook Fiberworks

December 23: A Sit. Sip. Stitch mug from ClayByLaura

December 24: A skein of Selkie Sport from Dragonfly Fibers

December 25: A mystery package of yarn and knitting stocking stuffers (including the above skein of Dark Harbour yarn — there are still a couple of skeins of it left if you don’t want to wait to see if you win, or you want to knit a bigger project if you do!) from a bunch of IU artisans.

Holiday gifts for every knitter

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I’m always impressed by the awesome themed handmade knitting accessories out there. So, for the holidays, I thought I’d compile a list of small gifts that you could purchase for your favorite knitter, whatever they’re into. Or, if you’re that not-so-subtle recipient, send this post to some gift-givers.

Also, Marisabel of A Needle Runs Through It has generously offered to give away a set of her Gilmore Girls stitch markers to one lucky reader. To enter, comment on this blog post with your favorite Gilmore Girls episode by the end of the day Sunday, Dec. 18.

For the Francophile…

For the music fan…

A Prince project bag from Slipped Stitch Studios

For the English major…

Jane Austen stitch markers from Winemakerssister

For the Whovian…

Dr. Who stitch markers from One Geek to Craft Them All

For the wannabe Stars Hollow resident…

Gilmore Girls stitch markers from A Needle Runs Through It

For the baker…

Knitting pattern rolling pin from Juniper Moon Yarns

For the indie lover…

A subscription to the Indie Untangled 2017 Where We Knit yarn club