Knitting indie: Cowl-a-palooza Part I

Horloge

Perhaps I’ve been knitting with fingering-weight yarn, and making sweaters, for too long. I’ve forgotten the pleasure of having an FO in three nights.

My first Indie Untangled KAL project, Alex Tinsley’s Horloge, is the first in a series of cowls I’m planning to make. I used the Skeinny Dipping Silky Worsted in Mulled Cider that I picked up at the Rhinebeck trunk show. The silk really makes the color shine and the cowl itself has the perfect amount of drape, just enough to sit well under my winter coat.

The pattern, with two easy cables every other row and knit inside out to minimize the number of purl stitches, was just interesting enough. I can definitely see it being a great gift knit and I’m already thinking of picking up some Rustic Silk Worsted from Pigeonroof Studios to make one for my friend Sharon, who’s allergic to wool.

Also, if you haven’t checked out the Indie Untangled KAL thread you may be enticed to participate by a whole bunch of new prizes, including two patterns donated by Lara Smoot, a $25 gift certificate to Lakes Yarn and Fiber, a Sweet Sheep lotion bar, a $24 gift certificate from Inner Yarn Zen, a 240-yard High Twist Sock mini-skein set from Pigeonroof Studios and an Autumn Basket kit from Laura Aylor.

I’m definitely looking forward to wearing my new cowl to Thanksgiving dinner, where I plan to work on Cowl No. 2. Speaking of which, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, filled with tons of knitting and all of the things you’re thankful for!

(Also: stay tuned for a roundup of great Black Friday/Shop Small Saturday/Cyber Monday deals from a bunch of Indie Untangled vendors! If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get that list in your inbox super early.)

What to stash this week: A pop-up of some magnitude

T Fingering in Breeze

T Fingering in Breeze

As excited as I am about the return of Dan Harmon’s brilliant Community, I’m even more excited about what’s new on Indie Untangled. On Monday, I opened a pop-up shop with tons of skeins from Berry Colorful Yarnings. There are quite a few beauties, including one skein of T Fingering in this beautiful aqua. Definitely check them out before they’re snapped up.

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Keya of Cedar Hill Farm Company is one of many indie dyers who is making the move away from Etsy, after the company expanded the rules of what can be considered “handmade,” leading to a flood of mass-produced products. You can now find her on the handmade marketplace Zibbet, and to celebrate the move she’s having a sale! Beginning Monday and running through Nov. 30, save 20% on fingering and sport weight yarns and hand-sewn project bags, with no coupon code needed.

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Sign-ups are open for the 2015 Power of 3 Club, The Golden Skein’s flagship yarn club. Each quarter, members receive three skeins of sock yarn from three different indie dyers, inspired by that season’s inspiration picture. For yarn dieters, there’s also the Slimmers’ Club, which gives you one of the three colorways. There’s also a new option to participate in certain quarters, so you can skip the package with colors you’re less keen on while still keeping your place in the club.

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Perfect for those boots you just had to have, Lindsay of Knit Eco Chic‘s Motoring Vest was inspired by a 1951 photo of a sensationally dressed woman modeling beside a Triumph Twin 500 Motorcycle. The figure-flattering pattern is an update on this modish style and, as part of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry, it’s 25% percent off through today with the code giftalong2014.

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Another pattern that’s part of the Indie Gift-A-Long is one that you could probably finish in one TV-watching session. The 30-Round Rasta Hat, just released by Elizabeth Green Musselman of Dark Matter Knits, is literally worked up in 30 rounds in super-bulky yarn, perfect for a last-minute gift, or when the Polar Vortex arrives.

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Sarah, who lives in snow-covered Boise, Idaho, is definitely in winder mode. To warm up, she’s been dyeing some beautifully warm colors, including ambers and bronze, copper and gold and rich, deep reds. She also has two new silk/Merino sock yarns in the Amber Star and Crowning Glory colorways, and Cashmere Merino sock in Viking’s Beard, a color that can surely stand up to the cold.

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Last, but not least, I’m super excited to introduce you to this new Indie Untangled vendor. Lisa calls herself The Knitting Artist, and when she’s not knitting, she’s still creating “knitwear” in the form of greeting cards and art prints with beautiful watercolor images of knit stitches. The cards, which come in stockinette or garter, would make the perfect gift, stocking stuffer, or Christmas card for any knitter.

Indie Untangled Winter KAL

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KAL DDW Coconut

As I sit huddled in my apartment, eyeing the “feels like 20 degrees” on Weather.com, I’m thinking it’s time to start preparing for winter. Which, if it’s anything like last year, is going to require a lot of knitwear.

The Indie Untangled Ravelry group is also in Knit All The Things mode, so we’re putting together an end-of-year KAL. Our wonderful moderator AliKazaam is organizing everything, and the rules are perfectly simple and easy to follow even on “Holiday Brain”: you must use something from an Indie Untangled vendor for your project. Yarn, buttons and patterns are all eligible. (The skeins in the brand new Berry Colorful Yarnings Indie Untangled pop-up would be perfect, as would this skein of French Market Fibers Silky DK that has been hanging out all by its lonesome since this morning. You’re welcome.)

The KAL will run through December 31 and there will be prizes, including the skein of Duck Duck Wool Sport in Toast the Coconut above that I am selflessly donating from my Rhinebeck haul (again, you’re welcome). Ali has also generously donated a skein of your choice from the Indie Untangled marketplace up to $25, and we anticipate many more prizes where those came from. It’s perfectly fine to “double dip” in other KALs, but we hope that you join in our fun chat as well.

What to stash this week: Ready, set, GAL!

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I’m so excited about the 2014 Indie Design Gift-A-Long, particularly as I embark on Cowl Quest 2014.

The Indie Design GAL is a two-month-long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by nearly 300 indie designers — AND, all those patterns are 25% off through Nov. 21 with the coupon code giftalong2014. To top it all off, there’s the opportunity win more than 1,800 electronic prizes and more than 70 physical prizes, including an original yarn ball Snapdragon pouch from Indie Untangled and That Clever Clementine.

So get ready to gift!

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Planning enough projects for a trip around the world would be very tough, so let Wild Prairie Knits do it for you (figuratively, of course). Sign-ups are open for the 2015 Wild Prairie Knits Mystery Club. There’s a Mystery Shawl Club, a Mini Mystery Club for accessories with new techniques, and a Project Bag Club, with bags in exclusive prints to match your project colors and size. Members can also purchase eBooks for the Shawls and Mini Mysteries clubs.

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The new Methera Lace base from Sylvan Tiger Yarn sounds heavenly (and, like all of Katie’s bases, is named after the Yan Tan Tethera sheep counting system traditionally used by shepherds in the British Isles — so cool!). The mix of 55% British BFL and 45% silk is available in nine colors and is in the shop now.

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If you’d love to crochet a hand-dyed blanket, but are daunted by taking it on all it once, then the Cuddlebums Shades Blanket Club is for you. Each month during 2015, club members will receive 100 grams of yarn split up into four small skeins, in four different shades of one color. Add to the blanket throughout the year, and be prepared for Winter 2016!

What to make: More cowl bell

COWL Turning Stone

I had intended to write a whole post about fall sweaters, maybe even share my favorite examples of cable-y goodness from Rhinebeck, but thinking about sweaters right now is kind of overwhelming, especially after finishing a sweater, a DK-weight shawl and a baby blanket last month. I’m feeling like knitting some small winter accessories, cowls in particular. I realized the other day that I only have a couple of go-to cowls and I need to remedy that. And, very appropriately, A Playful Day is doing a Selfish Single Skein Along starting Nov. 21 and I picked up a lot of single skeins at Rhinebeck.

Since my family is Jewish, and my friends and I have taken to going on movie/dinner/karaoke outings instead of exchanging holiday gifts, I don’t usually have a crush of holiday knitting. I am making an exception for my husband, who recently underwent spine surgery and who definitely deserves a handknit. When I picked up the skein of Western Sky Knits Willow Sport at Gauge + Tension last month, I knew I would knit something for him. In searching for a unisex cowl that would work well in a variegated color, I found Chrissy Prange’s Turning Stone, which you can see as a WIP above.

Here are some more pattern suggestions, whether you’re knitting for someone else or decide to be a little selfish (hey, you deserve it!). Psst: Many of these patterns will be discounted 25% starting today until Nov. 21 through the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, which you can learn more about here.

Fingering

Song of the Sea by by Louise Zass-Bangham

The Keep Calm Cowl by Lexi Parisse

Frost in Bloom by Lara Smoot

Shallows by Bonnie Sennott (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Sport

More Cowl Bell Please by Mary Annarella (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

More Cowl Bell Please by Mary Annarella (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Rhodes by Kimberly Voisin (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Firenze by Elizabeth Elliott (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Like the Tides Cowl by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Dorigen Cowl by Karen Robinson (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

DK

Flambeau by Sara Gresbach (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Flambeau by Sara Gresbach (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Ceramic Flowers by Mademoiselle C

Gather by Tin Can Knits, with a sample made in Duck Duck Wool 50/50 Merino Silk DK by The Knot House, a LYS in Maryland. My choice for the DDW I picked up at the Rhinebeck trunk show.

Gather by Tin Can Knits, with a sample made in Duck Duck Wool 50/50 Merino Silk DK by The Knot House, a LYS in Maryland. My choice for the DDW I picked up at the Rhinebeck trunk show.

Careen by Katya Frankel (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Hunter Cowl by Brenda Green (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Worsted

Horloge by Alex Tinsley (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Horloge by Alex Tinsley (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Symbiotic Cowl by Hanna Maciejewska (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Exakta Cowl by Stephannie Tallent (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Whitby Place by Keya Kuhn

Windrow by Bristol Ivy (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Aran and Bulky

Rhinecliff Cowl by Laura Aylor (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Rhinecliff Cowl by Laura Aylor (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

What You Wish by Terri Kruse (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Lansbury by Shannon Cook (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Heirship Cowl by Deirdre Lejeune (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

White Leaf by Alicia Plummer (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

See all of these, plus many more of my favorites on Ravelry and Pinterest.

What to stash this week: Instant gratification

Yarn bowl

Instant gratification? It’s in the bag(s). And bowl.

If you’re the type that doesn’t like to wait, you’re in luck: I have a few Indie Untangled/That Clever Clementine logo items remaining from the stock I brought to the Rhinebeck Trunk Show. There is one Reversible Fabric Yarn Bowl, one Pandora Poke project bag, and one Cindy Sue I large project bag available to ship out within a day or two of your order. And Vicki has plenty of fabric on hand to make more where that came from.

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If you’ve built up a big stash of half-used balls and cakes of sock yarn, Lara Smoot has the solution. Her Stash Bash shawl comes in two versions, including a “Wild” one that she knit with a full skein of Bugga! and varying amounts of leftover sock yarn. The “Mild” one was knit with two full skeins of fingering weight yarn. The pattern includes directions for both versions and tips on adjusting the size.

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Here’s another reason you should scoop up some of the new fall scents from Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe, which include Apple Butter, Black Tea, Frosted Cranberry and Pumpkin Spice. For the month of November, every order placed with a subtotal over $10 will include a free sample-sized lotion bar in a surprise scent. It’s time to think about those stocking stuffers…

Untangling: Cedar Hill Farm Company

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Keya modeling a shawl she knit with handspun silk/Merino and Wensleydale locks at the Georgia Alpaca FiberFest.

Keya modeling a shawl she knit with handspun silk/Merino and Wensleydale locks at the Georgia Alpaca FiberFest.

I’m always fascinated by the paths that fiber artists take, and Keya Kuhn of Cedar Hill Farm Company certainly intrigued me when she first posted to Indie Untangled back in July. After a 15-year career teaching secondary school English in Georgia, and after a few years of dyeing out of her small kitchen, Keya and her husband moved to a farm in the Northeast Georgia mountains, taking the plunge and starting along the country road of running a fully functional fiber farm.

These days, Keya spends her time dyeing organic yarns and fibers and designing knitwear, along with raising sheep and growing organic, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, which she and her husband share with their neighbors in the unique, agrarian community.

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How did you and your husband decide to move to a farm?

My husband and I, over the years, have come to the realization that what makes us most happy is self-sufficiency. We enjoy being able to eat the organic food that we grow and raise at home in our small, 6,000-square-foot garden and on our farm. The catalyst, however, to making the leap to purchasing a small farm and joining the agrarian society of the community in which we live was really the fact that we have become collectors of stray cats and dogs. A subdivision is no place for keeping a large number of pets, and our dogs and cats needed space on which to run. So, in 2013 we said “good-bye” to city limits and traffic lights and moved to North Georgia.

What’s the average day on the farm like and how do you make time for dyeing and designing patterns?

The thing about a farm is that it requires two completely opposing strategies. First, it requires a regimented morning routine for the feeding and general maintenance of the animals. The roosters begin complaining that they need breakfast before the sun rises and the sheep begin calling for their breakfast not long afterward. The other strategy is the go-with-the-flow strategy. As much as I like to follow a routine, we have learned that the best laid plans usually go right out the window 10 minutes after they are made. At the vey least, you can always count on Mother Nature to make a mess of your plans. So, basically, once I get the initial animal chores out of the way in the morning, I do my dyeing and designing and knitting in-between whatever else comes up during the day. However, if I am struck with a design idea that I just have to get down, I usually drop everything.

How many and what kinds of animals do you have?

Currently we have 23 chickens, 10 dwarf rabbits, one English angora rabbit, two horses, an Ethopian donkey, and sheep. Our sheep are two breeds, Teeswater and Corrie/Finn Crosses. We are planning to cross the Teeswater with the Corrie/Finn to develop a fine, thick fleece of silken ringlets that will be akin to the softness of alpaca.

CHFC saffron catalogue

Have you started selling your produce yet at local markets?

We don’t sell our vegetables. We live in a nifty farming community where we help each other out with planting and harvesting and share the things that are unique to each garden. I say garden, but some of my farm neighbors have 3 and 4 acre “gardens.” It’s not really a barter system… it’s more of an what’s-mine-is-yours system.

How did you choose the name Cedar Hill Farm Company? Is there a special meaning behind that?

Our house sits on a hill, and we share that hill with a massive Lebanon Cedar tree. Lebanon Cedar is not native to our area so it seemed like a good symbol for a farm that raises sheep for wool in a beef cattle community.

Tell me how you learned to knit?

I learned to knit by watching my grandmother knit mittens and socks, I think. Over the years, of course, my mom helped me to explore the facets of knitting, crochet, lace, embroidery, and sewing. My addiction to knitting, however, really didn’t begin until about 2007, which I can’t explain, and that led to wanting to breech the gap between the colors of yarn I wanted to knit with and what was available to me. In 2010, I began experimenting with dyeing yarn. That led to my taking the risk of putting some of my own patterns on the Internet, and ultimately to the path I am following now.

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Do you have a favorite color?

My favorite color is evident across the different brand labels of my yarn: Brandeis Blue. Basically, it’s that bright, azure blue of the Mediterranean water.

How would you say your color preferences have changed after becoming a dyer?

You know, that’s the thing about being a dyer that makes it fun… I dye the colors that I like, which are bold, bright colors. I started dyeing yarn because nobody had Brandeis Blue or kettle dyed marigold or green apple green. The color palette of the brand name yarn companies was limited to an excess of pastels, dark and dreary colors, or Christmas red and green. I enjoy, much like a painter, to mix colors and saturate my yarn with as much color as it can stand.

What does the future hold for Cedar Hill Farm Company?

I think we’ll just keep doing what we are doing so long as it makes us happy. We absolutely love where we are and the lifestyle we’ve chosen for our family. We have a few big-ticket items that need to be added to the farm to improve our ability to grow our flock, and then we are thinking of building our own fiber mill. I try to participate in and/or sponsor at least three fiber events each year in the Southeast. This year we’ve sponsored and I’ve taught knitting classes at fiber festivals in Alabama and Georgia, and my last event of the year will be the Royal Alpaca Challenge in November in Conyers, Ga. I think we are on the path we were meant to follow and we are going to stick to this path for as far as it takes us, and I’ll keep dyeing eye-popping yarn and designing for as long as there’s enjoyment in it.

CHFC Fathom

Keya has generously offered a hank of her Rocket Sock Medium in the Fathom colorway. To enter, comment and tell us what you would make with this beautiful skein. You have until the end of the day my time on Wednesday, Nov. 12, to comment. Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed.

What to stash this week: Hallow-skeins

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Kim of Western Sky Knits has plenty of treats on hand, including some new speckled sock skeins and some new semisolids in both DK and worsted weight yarns. She has also added a few skeins of Lace and a set of mini skeins on Magnolia Luxe fingering base.

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You don’t even have to wait until Nov. 1 for a sale: Carrie of Alpenglow Yarn is doing a bit of Halloween housekeeping, clearing out older bases to make room for new ones. Skeins of Groovy Goat, Small Farm Groove, and Sylvan Wool are all 40% off, so only $12 per skein!

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The Golden Skein, which has opened sign-ups for the fourth quarter of its indie dyer yarn club, is offering 10 percent off with the code INDIEUNTANGLED. The only trick: You have until Nov. 1 to use the code, so act fast.

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Sarah of Sarah’s Spindle has dressed up her yarns in the beauty of the American West, and has three new colorways. The Santa Fe yarn above is a combination of turquoise, deep green from the Carson National Forest and a rusty red inspired by the sandstone cliffs and the Sangre de Christo Mountains. There’s also Idaho Christmas, a deep olive green and coppery red, inspired by the colors of the Sockeye Salmon, and Yellowstone, which combines the colors of the granite mountains, mineral pools and heat vents, and the bison.

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Lexi of Queen Bee Fibers has been a busy bee, and has been releasing a bunch of new patterns. The latest is the Layla Beanie, which knits up fast — maybe even soon enough for a Halloween costume?

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Here’s some Halloween loot from TreasureGoddess Yarns that you don’t have to share. Just out of Christine’s cauldron are luxurious, 600-yard skeins of Cashmere Super Toes MCN, perfect for that shawl pattern you’ve been eyeing.

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The latest design from Knit Eco Chic is simplicity in disguise. Use three skeins of your favorite DK weight yarn to create a Fibonacci-inspired scarf. This pattern is great for beginners and creates a large, but very interesting, FO.

Post-Rhinebeck winners

PLY and Spark

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Indie Untangled Trunk Show recap post! The winner of the stitch markers from Leticia of A Bit of Spark is Carol B, while Dee and Christine will each get a copy of PLY Magazine.

I still have a bunch of samples from Leticia that she generously sent to give out at the trunk show, and I will include them with any orders of post Rhinebeck stock, which you will hear about shortly.