What to stash this week: Keep calm and buy more yarn

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I don’t know about you, but after this past weekend, I could use a massage or something else soothing. Something like Lexi of Queen Bee Fibers‘ newest pattern. Her Keep Calm Cowl, which uses 400 yards of sock yarn, is available on Ravelry and as a kit with Knits All Done’s exclusive Zen Yarn Garden “Keep Calm Keith” yarn.

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The Countess Ablaze Twelve Caesars Collection continues tonight at 7 p.m. UK time with limited-edition colorways inspired by Vespasian, who ruled the Roman Empire from AD 69 to AD 79 and brought calm after a civil war.

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OK, so this might be the opposite of calm, but trust me, you’re going to want to keep the French Market Fibers Etsy shop up on your computer. After taking some time off from dyeing her incredible New Orleans-inspired colors to have a daughter and be a stay-at-home mom, Margaret has taken out the dye pots and will occasionally be adding a few skeins at a time. And let me tell you — it will be worth the stalking effort.

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Krista of Pigeonroof Studios has unleashed several new yarns and colorways. The new bases include Rustic Silk Worsted, which is 250 yards of pure silk with a lofty, almost woolen feel, perfect for garments and accessories for the wool-allergic. Krista is also now offering skeins of Superwash Merino Singles, around 440 yards of a non-plied superwash Merino that takes dye beautifully, and a new Made in the USA yarn, seen above, called American Squishy DK, which is, as the name implies, very plump.

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Knit it with the pointy end: Continuing with her Game of Thrones-inspired designs, Lara Smoot recently released Arya’s Needle, a shawl pattern named for the slender sword Jon Snow gifted to his sister before leaving to join the Night’s Watch. Pair it with the custom Arya colorway made especially for this design by Miss Babs.

Kicking off Rhinebeck the Indie way

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In the months that I spent organizing this past Friday’s Pre-Rhinebeck Trunk Show, I wasn’t quite sure exactly how to envision it. I of course expected tables, racks and baskets full of gorgeous yarn and fiber, along with sweater and shawl samples, but I didn’t expect such beautifully designed displays, and the crush of people angling to get at it all…

A line of people waiting to get in and browse is something that you’d expect at the Jennie the Potter or Miss Babs booths at the festival (and I experienced plenty of that over the weekend). Not that a crowd of knitters with money to spend is a bad problem to have, but I know it hampered the shopping experience for many people. We are definitely looking to make this an annual thing, and getting a bigger space is most definitely a priority.

Wil Waldon, who’s behind many of the gorgeous photos of Rochelle New at Lucky Lucille, took on the role of photographer. Wil’s shots in the slideshow give a great glimpse of the whole event and what was on offer. You can see some more images from the show, and the festival, on Instagram.

I would also like to thank the amazing vendors and volunteers, who helped draw this incredible crowd (and helped me not get too overwhelmed by it all).

For those of you who couldn’t make it on Friday, or who regret not picking up an Indie Untangled yarn ball bag, some skeins of Berry Colorful Yarnings or Buttonalia buttons, I’ll be selling the remaining stock through the website, so stay tuned.

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I also have a few prizes that didn’t get to me in time for the show, so you’ll have the opportunity to win them! There are two copies of PLY Magazine that will go to two lucky spinners and a lovely set of stitch markers from A Bit of Spark for a knitter. To enter, comment on this post and share your Rhinebeck haul or, if you weren’t able to go, tell us which Trunk Show or New York Sheep & Wool vendor you would love to buy from. Please indicate whether you’re a spinner or a knitter. You have through the end of the day on Wednesday, Oct. 29, to comment, and then I’ll choose the winner via random number generator.

What to stash this week if you’re not at Rhinebeck

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Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings — whose yarn I have the honor to sell at the pre-Rhinebeck trunk show tonight — will be having a very fall-themed update next Thursday, Oct. 23. It includes plenty of self-striping yarns, as well as overdyes and tonals. There are even football team-inspired colorways.

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To celebrate Halloween and the final book release of her favorite book series, Kim Harrison’s The Hollows Candice of C. Whitney Knits has dyed up a brand new batch of colorways. They include semi-solids, variegated and gradients that fairly bright and not too scary.

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No need to be blue about not going to Rhinebeck. Kettle Yarn Co. will be updating her shop tonight at 5 p.m. GMT. She’ll be listing a number of blends on the blue end of the color spectrum.

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Mellifera Yarns had a shop update last Friday with a ton of autumn-inspired shades. While a lot of the colors have sold, there is still plenty of yarn left, including a few skeins of Silky Sock in the Oats colorway and a bunch of Merino DK and Merino Aran.

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Prepare for fall or winter walks in the woods, or for knitting in the park, with the Sylvan Scarf from Sylvan Tiger Yarn. With a central lace panel reminiscent of pine trees and a sapling border, the scarf can be knit with just one skein of Sylvan Tiger’s newest base, Tethera 4ply, a smooth yarn spun from 100% British BFL and available in 14 colors.

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Tami of Eternity Ranch Knits found inspiration in the story of her friend Sara and dyed up a color block of teal, tan and grey for this sideways shawl pattern designed by Penny of Knit-By-Bit Designs. Kits are available to pre-order in the Eternity Ranch Knits Etsy shop until Oct. 20 and there’s a Sara’s Story KAL taking place on Ravelry from Oct. 27-Nov. 30.

Trunk show prize preview

Those of you who follow Indie Untangled on Instagram might have seen some previews of raffle prizes that will be available at the pre-Rhinebeck Trunk Show. Here’s a little roundup of what you can look forward to winning:

Yarn from Alpenglow Yarn.

Yarn from Alpenglow Yarn.

Fiber from BeesyBee Fibers.

Fiber from BeesyBee Fibers.

A Pendulum shawl kit from Dirty Water DyeWorks.

A Pendulum shawl kit from Dirty Water DyeWorks.

An Indulgence Kit, complete with beads, from Inner Yarn Zen.

An Indulgence Kit, complete with beads, from Inner Yarn Zen.

Mini skeins from Kettle Yarn Co.

Mini skeins from Kettle Yarn Co.

Two kits from Lakes Yarn and Fiber.

Two kits from Lakes Yarn and Fiber.

Buttons from Melissa Jean Design.

Buttons from Melissa Jean Design.

There will also be prizes from Bijou Basin Ranch, Canon Hand Dyes and Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe, and some other special goodies.

The way we’re planning on having the raffles work is that each attendee gets one ticket that they can choose to place in the receptacle for the prize of their choice. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece, and vendors will give out extra tickets along with purchases over $100. The drawings will take place around 8 p.m. and winners must be present to claim their prize.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Rochelle of Lucky Lucille

Rochelle designed and screen printed these awesome tote bags, which will be for sale at the Rhinebeck trunk show.

Rochelle designed and screen printed these awesome tote bags, which will be for sale at the Rhinebeck trunk show.

Each time I visit Lucky Lucille, I’m instantly struck with the urge to take out my sewing machine and start whipping up cute 1940s-style dresses. Never mind the fact that I can’t sew a straight line to save my life, and that I consider fabric glue one of my best discoveries this year, but in the meantime, I can live vicariously through Rochelle New’s crafting blog.

Rochelle also recently took up knitting (she even created her own pattern), and will be making her first trip to Rhinebeck this weekend (this weekend?!). I’m so excited to have her at the trunk show. To show how awesome she is, when I asked her to participate as a sponsor, she immediately came up with the great idea of designing tote bags especially for the event. Not only that, but she ended up screen printing them herself. I cannot wait to get my hands on one, and also perhaps spot some at the fairgrounds the next day.

Have you always had a vintage sense of style?

I’ve always had a fondness for vintage and antiques, even when I was a kid. I blame my mother and her love of old movies for that. Even so, I don’t know that I’d ever call my style totally vintage since I wear more modern clothing than anything else. I do look to bygone eras for style and sewing inspiration first and foremost and I think I always will, even if it’s just a vintage brooch on my modern jacket or a vintage fabric made into a modern shirt.

What would you say attracted you to the 1940s in particular?

I appreciate the utility and practicality of WWII era clothing. Most of my sewing and knitting patterns are from that time period. I’ve always loved the idea of sewing and knitting for victory!

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When did you begin sewing consistently?

When I was living in Vermont I got a job at a small fabric and yarn shop. That job really solidified my passion for sewing (and also yarn, even though I had no idea how to use it at that point haha!). It was January of 2011, when I found an online sew-along that I started sewing and blogging consistently.

Is there a sewing accomplishment you’re most proud of?

I make an effort to be very proud of at least one part of everything I make, even if it’s just one line of topstitching or the placket of one sleeve. I think it’s the tiny accomplishments that make crafting really rewarding.

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Where are your favorite places to shop for fabric?

Right now I live in a really tiny town in Western NY with no local options for buying fabric, so 90% of my fabric shopping happens online. Hawthorne Threads is the online shop I buy from most frequently. They have a great selection without overwhelming me with choices and their shipping is super quick! When I travel I make a point to visit as many small local fabric and yarn shops as I can. You know, for souvenirs. ;)

You recently started blogging about your knitting adventures. How did you decide to pick up knitting?

I’m the kind of person who HAS to be doing something with their hands at all times (which is why I’m having tendinitis issues right now, no doubt). I’ve always dreamed of making my own hats and sweaters since they’re as much of a wardrobe staple to me as underpants and shoes! After watching my extremely talented friends knit project after project, I decided I was going to learn for myself. I also needed a hobby that was more portable than sewing. …I haven’t yet worked out a way to sew from the couch or on an airplane.

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Do you have any knitting goals in mind?

I feel like I’m a late bloomer and a slow learner when it comes to knitting so haven’t ventured on to any projects beyond hats and scarves at this point. I want to knit a sweater vest and also a sweater some time this year (if my tendinitis ever goes away!).

Do you find sewing easier than knitting?

Well I’ve been sewing for years longer than I’ve been knitting, but by principle I DO find sewing much easier. When I cut out fabric I can see all the separate parts laid out and how they’ll go together. The process of knitting still boggles my mind. You’re basically just taking a long piece of string and tangling it up in knots with two sticks until BAM! you’ve got a hat. It feels like sorcery every time I do it.

You’ve also been designing your own fabric via Spoonflower. If you could design a custom fabric that expressed who you are, what do you think it would look like?

Good question! Well, if someone else were to design a fabric inspired by me I’m sure it would involve lots of elaborate rainbow colored cats haha! My own design aesthetic is much more simple though. I like silhouettes inspired by nature and old things. I recently created a pattern using the design on an antique box that belonged to my great grandmother. I feel like that one is very “me.”

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What to stash this week: Fall death and rebirth

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Fall brings some new beginnings, but it’s also notable for its endings. Recently, Asti of Juno Fibre Arts made the tough decision to bring her dyeing operation to an end and focus her creative efforts elsewhere.

Before shutting down, she will have two last updates on Etsy. The first will take place on Monday, Oct. 13, and will be mostly laceweight and the more limited-edition and luxury bases. On Oct. 16, Asti will list her remaining fingering-weight skeins for sale. There are also a few last braids of fiber and DK-weight skeins up in the shop.

Asti will give a preview before each update on her blog and on Facebook so you can plan your purchases. Take the opportunity to celebrate a very talented indie dyer and help her wipe the slate clean before embarking on her next adventure.

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Erica of Squoosh Fiberarts has decided to try out a Color of the Month, a limited-edition colorway that is only available to pre-order before it’s retired. In October, the Color of the Month is actually three different colors: Cauldron, Toothbreaker and Frosted Leaves are available on a choice of bases and fibers until Oct. 15.

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Get your maple fix without the calories (of course, calories don’t count if you’re at a fiber festival). For all of October, Fastenation Studio is offering maple leaf button sets on sale for only $5. Each set includes five 3/4″ buttons, and Hannah can make them up in any color or color combination.

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If you plan to be in New York City on Saturday, definitely make a beeline to the third annual Kings County Fiber Festival, a unique event held on the picturesque streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Lexi of Queen Bee Fibers will be there with plenty of hand-dyed fiber and her Bee & Ewe Healing Honey Lotion, which uses beeswax and honey from her hives.

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Felted pumpkins from Decadent Fibers at last year's Kings County Fiber Festival.

Felted pumpkins from Decadent Fibers at last year’s Kings County Fiber Festival.

If it were possible to overdose on yarn (but really, we all know that it isn’t) this time of year is when it would happen. Just like non-knitting folks see Pumpkin Spice Everything, there is so much going on in the fiber world.

Take this weekend, for example. Not only is it the NYC Yarn Crawl, but there’s also another fun event that you should really check out if you happen to be in the New York area. On Saturday, the Kings County Fiber Festival will be held at The Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The festival brings together a number of local and regional dyers and spinners — including Indie Untangled’s very own Queen Bee Fibers — who line the picturesque streets on a (hopefully) sunny and crisp fall day. Local group Spin City will also be practicing for the fleece-to-shawl competition that takes place at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. So even if you are going to Rhinebeck, think of this as a low-key warm-up.

There are also a number of vendors selling all sorts of handmade items, from jewelry to candles (Artikal has some beautiful hats), so it’s a perfect thing to bring your non-fiber-obsessed friends to.

Hand-dyed fibery goodness from Queen Bee Fibers.

Hand-dyed fibery goodness from Queen Bee Fibers.

I caught up with KCFF organizer Maxcine DeGouttes, who ran Brooklyn’s Stitch Therapy yarn shop for many years and founded the festival in 2012:

Tell me about how you came up with the idea for the festival.

Well, the idea was brewing for a year and a half before it got off the ground. The opportunity to curate a larger fiber marketplace beyond the walls of Stitch Therapy had great appeal, and who doesn’t love a fun festival at the beginning of the fiber season in Brooklyn, NY? In the 10 years of Stitch Therapy, my customers came from far and wide and the one thing that they all had in common was their passion for the fiber. The other was the desire to learn and share something new. The city is filled with creativity and the Kings county Fiber Festival is a subway, bus or short walk away.

Photo via Stitch Therapy.

Photo via Stitch Therapy.

What would you say makes it different from other fiber festivals?

Three years is young for a festival. The size is intimate and open to a more inclusive growth to celebrate the handmade. The location at the Old Stone House takes up a full city block and in October the leaves are changing colors and the newly refurbished park is a beautiful place within Brooklyn. New York City is filled with locals and the Kings County Fiber Festival turns Brooklyn into a small town for eight hours.

Since it’s held outside in the middle of Brooklyn, have you met anyone who’s been inspired to start knitting, spinning or felting by coming to the festival?

Well, starting with the free finger knitting for kids and the spinning demos, there are always beginners on the day of the festival, but I would have to say the most exciting is when a kid holds up their strand of finger knitting and introduces me to the friend that she brought with her for a “play date” at the Kings County Fiber Festival.

A custom wheel at the festival. Photo via Stitch Therapy.

A custom wheel at the festival. Photo via Stitch Therapy.

Could you say if you have any plans for Stitch Therapy, or anything else in the works?

I’m in the middle of a Stitch Therapy design, a structural lace shawl sized for the opera in a jet black.

You can also check out the Stitch Therapy Pinterest boards and follow Maxcine on Facebook and Twitter.

A peek inside Gauge + Tension

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New York City certainly doesn’t lack for local yarn shops (and there will be plenty to keep everyone busy during the NYC Yarn Crawl next weekend), but Michele Wang’s Gauge + Tension, which opened Saturday, fills a special niche. Since it’s only open for three months, it kind of has the feel of a long-term, chic fiber festival, with skeins from indie dyers that you’ll only be able to find there.

Beautiful skeins from Tanis Fiber Arts.

Beautiful skeins from Tanis Fiber Arts.

During the opening day Saturday, I ducked in from the rain and humidity and into what looked like an art gallery, but for yarn. There were white cubbies filled with colorful skeins from dyers like Julie Asselin, Western Sky Knits and Hedgehog Fibres, and samples of Michele’s sweater designs artfully hung on the walls.

Michele's Stonecutter, which I faved as soon as I saw it in Brooklyn Tweed.

Michele’s Stonecutter, which I faved as soon as I saw it in Brooklyn Tweed.


There are some great shop exclusives, including special “Gauge” and “Tension” colorways from Sleep Season, which Meg from Colorado apparently dyes in crock pots!

Sleep Season's Gauge and Tension colorways.

Sleep Season‘s Gauge and Tension colorways.

I met up with Maria of Subway Knits, and we also admired the great Quince & Co. collection, and vowed to return after going over our Ravelry faves and deciding on some sweater patterns. We also bumped into some of the Madelinetosh Stalkers, including Yelena, who might have just bought the shop out of their Q&C Owl.

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Pull up a bench and knit a while.

Pull up a bench and knit a while.

And even though it’s temporary, Michele has created such a welcoming atmosphere that the shop almost feels like it could be a permanent fixture.

If you happen to be traveling to Rhinebeck and are bookending your trip with a weekend in NYC, I highly recommend stopping in. There’s also plenty to see and nom on in the vicinity — brunch at Five Leaves, pierogi at Krolewskie Jadlo and ice cream at Van Leeuwen.

Oh, and don’t think for a second that I made it out of there without some yarn. While there’s no question I’ll be back, my inaugural purchase was a skein of WSK Willow Sport in the Earthen colorway, which I’m thinking will make a fantastic cowl or hat.

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What to stash this week: Gradient city

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Gradient yarn sets are kind of like doughnuts — really hard to turn down when you’re presented with them.

Stephania of Three Fates Yarns, a dyer out of Oregon, one of my favorite places, has presented us with another way to get our gradient fix. Take a look at these sets for she just put up for sale in Terra Sock, a high-twist, superwash Merino/nylon blend. The pinky-salmony one at the top is called City of Books, after Portland’s Powell’s — how perfect is that?

And, if you’re stumped for an ombre project, there are plenty of ideas.

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If you prefer your yarn au naturale, Sarah of Sarah’s Spindle is offering some pretty exotic yarns in her new Wild Fibers collection, including a bison-silk laceweight yarn and a worsted weight bison-Merino. Ever the experimenter (check out this fall-hued shibori yarn) Sarah’s planning on dyeing some of the bison-silk, as well as some baby camel and super soft baby camel silk, but she’s also left many of the skeins in their rich, natural colors.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Jacey Boggs of PLY magazine

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As a journalist with an extensive background in print, I always get a little excited — and, also, very intrigued — when someone starts a non-digital publication. Jacey Boggs took the print plunge last summer when she launched PLY magazine, which is dedicated to the art of spinning, offering smartly-written stories and beautiful photos.

Before PLY, Jacey taught spinning all over the world (there are still some spots open in her Saturday workshops at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival) and also produced a spinning DVD and wrote a book. Before that, Jacey sold her handspun, spinning six hours a day, five days a week, and supporting her growing family. Still, Jacey, who’s studied Japanese, economics, political science and journalism, says she considers PLY her first “grown-up job.”

There will be an opportunity to win an issue of PLY as part of a raffle prize package at the Rhinebeck trunk show, of which the magazine is a media sponsor.

What made you decided to start PLY and why did you go the print route (I ask this as a very interested, mostly print journalist!)?

I started PLY because I saw that the spinning community needed it and I thought that I could do it well. Of course, if I’d known how big of a job it would be, I may have hesitated or thought I couldn’t handle it. Ignorance is bliss and I’m thankful I didn’t have more knowledge at the time. I decided print simply because I like print magazines. I want my fiber magazines on my shelf, I want to see them, smell them, feel them. I want to hold them. I know that fiber people are tactile so I figured they wanted the same.

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What are the best things that you’ve learned while running a magazine?

That it’s possible to do something great. That people make the world go around. Even the biggest projects, the most ambitious goals, are accomplished by individuals, either alone or working together. We shouldn’t let grandness intimidate us. Success is attainable if you are true and honest and good and you create a product that embodies those qualities. Drama and negativity poison creative projects. Look straight ahead and do what’s right, always.

Also, lists are invaluable.

How did you get into spinning?

Like most spinners, I was a knitter that wanted to save money. It didn’t really work.

Are there certain fibers you particularly love to spin? Any you are intrigued to try spinning?

I love all fibers. Honestly. As I get further into my spinning career, I realize that every fiber is good for something, has a use, is perfect for some project. Except Karakul, I just don’t like that stuff.

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What does the future hold for PLY?

More of the same, I hope. Bigger and better with every issue! I’d like to reach every spinner and I’d like to have everyone that wants to be heard, say something on our pages!