Save the date: The 3rd annual Rhinebeck Trunk Show is set for Oct. 14!

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Rhinebeck Kickoff artwork final

Since catching up on sleep after last year’s Rhinebeck weekend (which took a few days…) I have been very busy planning for this year’s kickoff event. My goal was to expand it a bit so I could make the shopping area bigger and also allow a few more new vendors to join us. I also decided to collaborate with an illustrator to create a design for the event that could be printed on souvenir tote bags (more on that in a bit). Well, everything has come together, so I am excited to announce that the third annual Rhinebeck Trunk Show will take place Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, from 5 to 8 p.m.! It will again be held at the Best Western Plus in Kingston, N.Y., and we’ve expanded into a third room. (Early shopping will begin at 4 p.m., though tickets sold out shortly after they went on sale last Friday.)

The full list of vendors is on the event page. I am thrilled to welcome several newcomers: Blissful Knits, ClayByLaura, Feel Good Yarn Company, A Hundred Ravens, MollyGirl Yarn, Spun Right Round, Voolenvine Yarns and The Woolen Rabbit. There will also be some newbies in the Indie Untangled booth, which will have a selection of yarn from Dark Harbour Yarn, Oink Pigments and Sincere Sheep, along with patterns from designer Jennifer Dassau, while Featured Sponsor Yarn Culture will be bringing yarn from Rosy Green Wool. Many of the vendors have some kits in the works that they will debut at the show, some of which you will be able to preorder beforehand via Indie Untangled.

Speaking of preorders, you now have the opportunity to purchase souvenir tote bags, screen printed with the illustration on the event page, to pick up at the show (and help support the work that goes into organizing it!). The illustration was created by Eloise Narrigan, a fellow knitter who you may know from her adorable bag designs for Ravelry. I reached out to Eloise a couple of months ago and explained what I was looking for — a collection of Rhinebeck-esque items, such as animals, fall leaves, skeins of yarn and apple cider donuts — and she executed my vision perfectly — and adorably.

So, get your Rhinebeck sweaters, shawls and shopping lists ready!

A very indie, Instagrammy, Rhinebeck

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#indieuntangled

There are a lot of words I could use to describe last week’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show. After catching up on what was probably a week’s worth of sleep, I can come up with only one word: epic. While I’d seen on Ravelry that people were excited, I knew I had planned a successful show when I got to the hotel around 1:30 to set up and there was a small group of people knitting in the corridor by the entrance to the ballroom (don’t worry, I’m already thinking of ways to ease the lines and crowds next year).

My goal was to curate a group of indie dyers and artisans that you wouldn’t get to see while searching through the barns for that perfect skein of Cormo, or waiting on the cider donut or artichoke lines (more on that in my post about the actual festival). Whether it was Sandra of Duck Duck Wool’s beautiful speckles, Margaret of French Market Fibers’ complex colors, Amy of Canon Hand Dyes’ incredible self-striping skeins, Anne of A Little Teapot’s gorgeous fiber charms — I could go on and on — there were a lot of special things on display. I feel so lucky to know, and to be able to work with, such talented people.

I’m looking forward to seeing the shots that Maria of Subway Knits got with her DSLR, but I think the Instagram photos taken by the vendors and attendees sum everything up:

The hostess with the mostest: @indieuntangled. #IUtrunkshow2015 #yhrb2015 #indieuntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow

A post shared by Amber Marcellino (@ambergale79) on

The *what* show?? #yhrb2015 #IUtrunkshow2015 #rhinebecktrunkshow #indieuntangled

A post shared by Amber Marcellino (@ambergale79) on

The calm before the storm @indieuntangled #Rhinebecktrunkshow2015 #rhinebeck2015 #yhrb2015

A post shared by MsVicki (@thatcleverclementine) on

Yep, it's a party! #IUtrunkshow2015 #yhrb2015 #rhinebecktrunkshow #indieuntangled

A post shared by Amber Marcellino (@ambergale79) on

Because it so doesn't. #rhinebeck2015 #indieuntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow #rhinebecktrunkshow2015

A post shared by Indie Untangled (@indieuntangled) on

@astralbath, at the apex of her game… #yhrb2015 #IUtrunkshow2015 #rhinebecktrunkshow #astralbath

A post shared by Amber Marcellino (@ambergale79) on

The incredible @vividfiberarts booth. #indieuntangled #rhinebeck2015

A post shared by Indie Untangled (@indieuntangled) on

Raffle prizes. #rhinebeck2015 #indieuntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow2015 #rhinebecktrunkshow

A post shared by Indie Untangled (@indieuntangled) on

ColorPurl at #indieuntangled

A post shared by ColorPurl Loves to Dye Yarn (@colorpurl) on

#rhinebecktrunkshow2015 #theuncommonthread ❤

A post shared by J u l i e (@evieandlily) on

#rhinebecktrunkshow2015! #yhrb2015

A post shared by Middle Brook Fiberworks (@anne.choi) on

#indieuntangled haul!!! Thanks Duck Duck Wool and @skeinnydippingyarn! #roadtorhinebeck #Rhinebeck #rhinebeck2015

A post shared by Primrose Yarn Co. (@primroseyarnco) on

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Patti Odinak of Yarn Culture

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YC TUT

This is the last in a series of interviews with the fabulous sponsors of the 2015 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

When I decided to approach some small businesses about sponsoring this year’s trunk show, Patti Odinak of Yarn Culture was the first person I emailed. Patti opened the store two years ago in Fairport, New York, which is just outside of Rochester and a little under 300 miles from Rhinebeck. Both the store and the online shop, as well as the knitting events that Patti and her husband, Mitch, travel to, have a well-curated selection of indie dyers, including The Uncommon Thread and Eden Cottage Yarns, both from the UK and both part of the Indie Untangled marketplace. It’s the kind of shop I would definitely make my local if I lived nearby.

Not only was Patti willing to do a featured sponsorship, but she also asked if she could have a booth at the show, bringing some TUT and Eden Cottage. I was sold, and loved the idea of having Yarn Culture represent two of my favorite Indie Untangled dyers. It aligns perfectly with what Patti says is the shop’s goal — to partner with these artisans and make their products more widely available to knitters.

Tell me about the decision to open Yarn Culture. Was running a yarn shop a longtime dream of yours?

I didn’t have a dream to own a yarn shop per se, but I knew I wanted to own a shop. I’ve always loved yarn and knitting, so it made sense to see if I could make it as a business.

What did you do before you became a yarn shop owner?

My professional background is in marketing, working for small and large companies for 17 years. In 2000, I co-founded a marketing and communications company that is still operating today. From 2007 to 20011 my husband’s work was based in Europe, so our family enjoyed the ex-pat life for four years. It was a great experience for me and was the perfect setting to rethink how to best combine my skills and passion into a work experience that was very different from what I had been doing.

YC Shop Photo

Why did you choose the dyers that you carry?

We look for dyers, designers and manufacturers who have something that is unique and recognizable — their own design signature. Our goal is to position Yarn Culture as “partners” with these artists to bring their products to yarn and knitting enthusiasts. When a customer visits Yarn Culture – whether in our store, online or at an event — we want them to find yarn that isn’t readily available other places.

Eden Cottage Yarns and The Uncommon Thread are both excellent examples of artists who we love to represent.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit as a young girl in pursuit of a knitting badge in Girl Scouts. We moved a lot when I was a child, so the portability of knitting was perfect for car travel.

Who are some of your favorite designers?

Like most knitters, I have a lot of favorite designers! Those who I’m particularly attracted to right now include Melanie Berg, Amy Herzog, Thea Colman, Lori Versaci, Julie Weisenberger and Joji Locatelli. While each designer has her unique design signature, they all create designs that are fashion relevant and timeless while being achievable by most knitters.

Thea Coleman's London Mitts in The Uncommon Thread.

Thea Coleman’s London Mitts in The Uncommon Thread.

Is there an FO that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m proud of every project I finish, and I finish more now that I’m a shop owner! I like being able to talk to customers about designs from my personal knitting experience. It helps me anticipate when someone might need a new skill or need to be particularly vigilant as they knit along.

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

I have tried weaving and really enjoyed it and I’m planning to learn to crochet in the next year.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned while running your business?

1) Working in a business where I have a real passion is fun! I work as hard or harder than ever, so it I’m glad I love it.

2) There are a lot of really nice and talented people in the fiber arts world. I love the opportunities to meet and work with them.

What does the future hold for Yarn Culture?

We’re still a new business, so we are continuing to focus on finding as many opportunities as we can to get the word out about our shop and the yarns we carry. For the next year or two, that will mean a lot of shows and events like the Indie-Untangled Trunk Show. Thanks for allowing us to be part of your event!

After the trunk show, visit these Indie Untangled vendors at Rhinebeck

melissajeanlogofinal

The New York Sheep & Wool Festival is an amazing, if occasionally overwhelming, experience. Unless I get swept up in the frenzy of trying to snag a Jennie the Potter mug (which depends on who I end up traveling with to the fairgrounds), I enjoy taking in the beautiful foliage, eating cider doughnuts, admiring all the knitwear and spending time with my friends.

Of course, I also do some serious shopping.

While Friday night’s trunk show might put a little dent in your Rhinebeck budget, this will help: four Indie Untangled vendors — Bijou Basin Ranch, Dirty Water DyeWorks, Hampden Hills Alpacas and Melissa Jean Design — are offering 10% off to trunk show attendees (if you score one of the goody bags, you’ll get a 15% off coupon from Bijou Basin). The coupon will either be in your goody bag or in a paper bag, along with your free raffle ticket. Please note: I will be using the RSVPs to give me an idea of how many coupons to print, and they will be available while supplies last. RSVP on the event page and arrive on the early side if you would like to ensure that you get one.

Here’s a little guide to doing some Indie Untangled shopping at the festival:

HimalaynAccents

Bijou Basin Ranch has incredibly soft Tibetan yak yarns and yak blends, made with fiber from their ranch in Colorado, and I even saw some super luxurious qiviut last year. They have a special line of Outlander-inspired colorways, which would be perfect for the Subway Knits Outlander KAL that starts Oct. 24. You can also get bottles of their Allure fine fabric wash. BBR is also a trunk show sponsor, so you can learn more about them in this recent interview.

Find Bijou Basin in Building C, Booths 13 & 14.

DWDpendu05

Dirty Water DyeWorks was one of my favorite discoveries at my first Rhinebeck four years ago — and I actually finally finished a shawl in the two skeins I bought from Stephanie back then! She has luxurious blends, including her popular Bertha MCN, as well as more exotic fibers, including a Polwarth and silk blend.

Dirty Water DyeWorks is also in Building C, in Booth 42.

Hampden2

Hampden Hills Alpacas is unique in that aside from hand dyeing yarn, they also raise and breed alpacas in Hampden, Massachusetts. Erica has been bringing her hand-dyed and hand-painted alpaca and alpaca/silk blends to Rhinebeck for the last 14 years. Find Hampden Hills in Building 39, Booth 9.

WillowBranch_LRG

Melissa Jean makes beautiful ceramic and wood buttons. I adore her button earrings and always make sure to grab a pair when I’m at Rhinebeck. Find her in Building 36, Booth 9.

Here’s a handy Google map of the fairgrounds:

You can see the regular festival map here.

Happy shopping!

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Cathryn Bothe of Signature Needle Arts

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cathy photo-2015 2 resized

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with the fabulous sponsors of the 2015 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

When I first started knitting with hand-dyed yarn a bunch of years ago, I also began hearing about Signature Needles. At $42 for a full set of circulars, they seemed like a decadent choice, though thinking about it, not so decadent when you’re already spending $30-plus on a skein…

The brand has a fantastic origin story: Knitter Cathryn Bothe, who is president of Bothe Associates, a Wisconsin-based, family-owned company that makes custom metal parts — everything from surgical tool components to mining safety equipment — was frustrated with the points of her needles, so she took them into work and had them altered, bringing the “stiletto point” into the fiber world. Founded in 2006, Signature Needle Arts offers convertible circulars, straight needles and double points in sleek aluminum with a choice of points, as well as needle and cable lengths.

Cathryn now runs both companies, and I was thrilled when her independent, woman-owned enterprise agreed to help sponsor this year’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show. While there won’t be needles for sale at the show, the company sent me a set of circulars, straight needles and DPNs for people to try out. The goody bags, which you can snag if you’re one of the first 100 trunk show attendees, will have a $10 off coupon from Signature, so perhaps that will push you to try out the Rolls Royce of knitting needles.

Would you say the knitting needles and the other products that Bothe Associates manufactures have any similarities?

When we first started it was extremely annoying to have some of the outside suppliers roll their eyes when we talked to them. I could tell they thought it was just some silly “woman’s project.” Even some of the male machine operators thought it strange we were making something so unlike the industrial parts we have made for 65 years.

Now, of course, it is very different. Those folks working a lot on needles are very committed to making the product and are very proud to be part of the Signature part of the business.

The similarities from some of the other parts we make are in materials, tolerances, quality control — we try and not ever send anything out of the building that is not perfect.

Signature group

Have any people at your company been inspired to learn how to knit after you started Signature?

Yes our Financial Manager has learned and excelled in many projects. Others who were already knitters have increased their knitting efforts.

It is also interesting to see how many folks in the office or shop know so much about knitting even though they have never done any. We have so many options and it is great to see folks here who know everything about the product.

circs

Which is the most popular needle point?

Stiletto is the runaway favorite, but for that small percentage of people who like the others, they can feel like someone is looking out for them, too.

What are some of the biggest challenges in manufacturing knitting needles?

The actual manufacturing was not a challenge. In fact, when we first started and did some measuring of some of the low-cost needles on the market, people here were shocked at the lack of precise measurement.

In our shop we often are asked to measure parts to =/- .0003, which translates to 1/10th of a human hair.

Since knitting is really a series of diameter of stitches and guage is so important when you get a Signature needle that is, for example, 4.00 mm, it really is and you can count on that measurement for your stitches.

The only real challenge is finding a cable that works for all the things we need it to do: be strong, be flexible — but not too flexible.

We have people in the shop who are very committed to making the needles beautiful which is wonderful to see. They, to a person, want our customers to be happy.

SNA cables

Tell me how you learned to knit.

My grandmother taught me how to crochet, but I taught myself to knit. I always tell people that although I have knit many things over many years I was a completely “solitary” knitter. I never took a class or joined a group and, actually, I still have not. However, the internet has proved invaluable for allowing me to learn new techniques.

What are your favorite projects to knit?

I like to do baby things since I have been through several years when many friends/family have had babies and grandbabies.

I am currently working on my “masterpieces”: we have three grown children and they all share the same birthday–over a 10 year span. I always tell people that I am organized if nothing else. Actually it is sad, but our youngest always had trouble in young years convincing people that he and his brother and sister were all born on the same day of the year — April 6.

This past year, for the first time in many years, we were all together on the birthday. I committed to doing a special afghan for each of them which told the story of their life. The first one has three panels: one shows stitches that reflect the things he loves; the second panel shows things about his work life; and the third shows all the love and good wishes we send to him as he lives far away. I am working steadily on that and when it is finished I have a notebook of stitch patterns for each of the other two.

SNA snas

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

While I can crochet, I don’t do much. I am in the enviable position to be able to knit as much as possible and always can say “it’s for work.”

When our son came home from California once he noticed my yarn room in the basement and commented on how much there was. I didn’t even hesitate or make excuses for the vast quantities: “It’s for work” was all I had to say.

I do a lot of gardening. In our previous house I had a 3,000-square-foot vegetable garden with many flowers besides. Now in a smaller space, I have figured out how to have a great many plants and plantings, which I love to do in the short growing season here.

What’s next for Signature Needle Arts? Can you reveal any upcoming plans?

I have lots of ideas for new products. I can’t really say much more right now.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Laurie Gonyea of Feel Good Yarn Company

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FGYC Laurie Gonyea

This is the second in a series of interviews with the fabulous sponsors of the 2015 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

I think it’s safe to say that using any kind of yarn would make a knitter feel good, but Laurie Gonyea of Feel Good Yarn Company has created something particularly unique.

A few years ago, the Washington, DC, resident discovered a yarn spun with silver produced by a company in Turkey. She at first thought about importing it, but instead decided to see if it could be created with American-sourced fiber. Laurie — who was running a company called Knit Outta the Box, which sold “emergency” knitting kits to gift shops and other places — got in touch with the staff at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles (which has a spinning lab — how cool is that?!) and they worked to develop a yarn made with cotton grown in North Carolina and spun with a small percentage of silver filaments, also made in the USA. Many say silver has healing properties for people with arthritis and diabetes, hence the company’s name. These aren’t FDA-approved claims, of course, but silver’s conductive properties also make it useful for swiping smartphone touchscreens, and Laurie’s Texting Mittens are popular.

Feel Good Yarn Company offers fingering- and sport-weight yarn, as well as patterns, and Laurie recently started working with Maryland-based indie Alice O’Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks — who will be a vendor at this year’s trunk show — to add some color to the SilverSpun line.

How did you come up with the idea to develop yarn spun with silver?

The idea of spinning fibers with precious metals is a very old one — they have been doing it since the time of the Sultans — so I didn’t come up with the concept. What I did come up with though, was the idea to develop and produce a yarn spun with silver using only American sourced fibers and spun entirely in the USA. I worked with the Spin Lab at North Carolina State University to develop my yarn and to this day they are still spinning it for me.

FGYC beauty shot

I understand you’re collaborating with indie dyers on SilverSpun colors. Can you talk about what’s in the works?

Alice O’Reilly, from Backyard Fiberworks, does all of our hand dyeing. She has an amazing sense of color, and every colorway she has come up with has just been stunning. Initially, we worked together on just exclusive colorways, but now she is dyeing all of our “repeatable” colors in our SilverSpun Sock.

Are there any challenges that come with dyeing yarn that contains silver?

This is really a question that should be asked of Alice, since I am not a dyer, but from what I can tell, really the only issue is that because the yarn is cotton it shrinks quite a bit (7%-12%) the first time it is submerged. Consequently, when I put up skeins for her to dye I add 10% to the length just to make sure that the skeins are not short yardage-wise.

The silver in the yarn doesn’t accept the dye, so all of our dyed (and natural) yarns have a slight sparkle to them.

What colors would you love to see your yarn in?

I’m already seeing them! Alice has come up with some stunners! We did a Summer Sock Club this summer and all of the colors had a “summery” theme — Sea Glass, Nectarine Dream and Watermelon Crush. I think to date, though, my favorite has been Razzelberry, a mixture of berry colors. It was gorgeous!

Feel Good Yarn Company's Razzleberry colorway, dyed by Alice O'Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks.

Feel Good Yarn Company’s Razzleberry colorway, dyed by Alice O’Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I was 6 years old and my mother taught me.

Laurie's Pompeii Hat

Laurie’s Pompeii Hat

What are the inspirations behind your pattern designs?

I really don’t do a lot of designing these days — running Feel Good Yarn Co. keeps me pretty busy — but I did release a pattern last fall called the Pompeii Hat that was inspired by the beautiful mosaics that I saw in Pompeii, Italy. The hat is knit using the mosaic technique, so I thought the name fit perfectly.

You also ran another successful company, Knit Outta the Box. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?

Knit Outta the Box was my first company that I started in 2008. It is no longer around except for a few patterns that we sell online. When I first started KOTB I was talking to an old high school friend that ran a very successful company and he told me to try and work out of my house for as long as I could. He said renting office/warehouse space was very expensive and if I could prevent from having to deal with the overhead cost of rent, I would be able to put more money into my pocket. FYI — I’m still working out of my home studio and totally making it work!

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Amy Herzog of CustomFit

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amy-modern-headshot

This is the first in a series of interviews with the fabulous sponsors of the 2015 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Like most women, I don’t have an off-the-rack body. At 4’9”, with narrow shoulders and curves, I send most of my clothing to the tailor for alterations. What this means for sweater knitting is that, after getting excited about the pattern and yarn combination, and (hopefully) getting gauge, I then have to make a bunch of modifications — and I’d definitely rather knit than deal with numbers.

In 2013, designer Amy Herzog answered my math-averse prayers when she launched CustomFit, a web-based software that takes your measurements and gauge and builds customized sweater patterns. I’ve knit two sweaters using CustomFit, and they are by far the most flattering garments I have ever made.

Amy, a self-proclaimed math nerd who’s worked in computer security, also has a great eye for what looks good — she teaches the popular Fit to Flatter class, where she discusses the sweater styles that complement different body types. Here, she gives us a little peek “under the hood” of CustomFit and a glimpse into her background as a maker.

How did you come up with the idea for Custom Fit?

Hm, I think the idea for CustomFit emerged and changed over time, rather than happening all at once. I guess it started with something I created when I first started designing!

Since my background is in computer science, my first instinct when I do something more than once is to write a program to automate it. So when I first started designing, my husband (also a computer scientist) and I created a program that generates my finished traditional patterns — the stitch counts, the English, everything.

As I started teaching classes on fit and modifications, I started thinking more and more about taking that program and making it more general — so that every knitter could get a pattern automatically written for them. At first, I envisioned something that would create a pattern based on a set of desired garment measurements — that’s the way my original program works. Then, I thought maybe people would want to put their body measurements in instead, along with something about fit.

And… yeah. It just kind of grew from there!

A CustomFit sweater by Jennifer.

A CustomFit sweater by Jennifer.

What did creating the Custom Fit software entail?

As you can probably tell from my answer to the last question, it was a lot more complicated to build than I’d first thought it would be! When we built my original generator, I put in lots of assumptions about the target dimensions that aren’t actually true across humanity. Finding those, and generalizing the logic, was quite a process!

Because tackling the hardest stuff first is kind of how I roll, I started by developing a full set of logic for a sweater that would take any person’s figure and make them look what I call “moderately hourglassy” in my Knit to Flatter classes — that is, the combination of eases should provide the visual illusion that your bust and hips are larger than your waist to a moderate degree.

After I hashed out that initial specification, we worked on core pattern creation for a bit over a year before we had something I thought would work. We then hired out other programmers to develop the front end web framework, and spent about 3-4 months getting things ready to go live with the initial site.

And we’ve been refining and improving ever since! (For the code-curious among your readers, at this point we’ve got about 50,000 lines of code, mostly python, and our team is tiny! As of this writing, we have less than 40 hours a week of development time, spread across three lovely developers who all have other day jobs.)

You have a background in computer science. What have you done in your “techie” career and how does that influence your design work?

My degree is in mathematics, and I started work waaaay back when on computer security projects that used logic. We’d analyze and create designs for safer systems based on models that showed how information could flow through the systems under various assumptions. I’ve always loved speaking and presenting, so I moved fairly quickly into leadership roles, and eventually managed a large research team and portfolio (still within computer security) before leaving that part of the tech world.

I think that the most obvious influence my background has on my work is that my first instinct is always to automate as much as I can! If there’s a calculation I do more than a couple of times, I’ll make something to do the work for me.

I think that if you look further out, though, you’ll see more influences — the whole way I think about sweaters is very CS-oriented. I look for patterns and similarities between things, and try to help knitters see sweaters as combinations of different components that can be “swapped out” or changed (vs. a “design” as an unbreakable unit). I also prefer clean designs, that are created specifically to be easy to modify, instead of more organic constructions and very complicated stitch patterning.

A CustomFit pattern by Kate.

A CustomFit pattern by Kate.

Your Knit to Flatter class has been extremely popular, at Rhinebeck and elsewhere. How has it evolved with the creation of Custom Fit?

I love that CustomFit has allowed me to spend more in-class time on the things computers can’t do well. Fit is important, but let’s face it! A computer generated all of the numbers in a traditional pattern anyway — why not just have the computer do the correct work for you in the first place?

If I don’t have to spend a lot of time talking about how to calculate double darts, we can talk a lot more about why you prefer a V-neck to a scoop neck, or how you’d look in belled sleeves vs. tapered, and what you want to draw attention to on your body, and what fabric that design demands.

Which isn’t to say that I hate the math or anything — I’m a certified nerd that way and I adore the calculations — but most of us have knitting as a hobby because we fall in love with the fiber and the fabric, you know? Let’s spend more of our hobby time doing that.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned from the women in my family when I was very very young — I don’t really remember a time “pre-knitting.” I’ve always had trouble being still, and the story is that knitting, along with many other crafts, was introduced as a way to keep my hands busy. I didn’t really think much of it, and did more sewing than knitting by the time I was a teenager.

But when I was looking to take up a hand-craft again after my mother passed away in my early 20s, knitting suddenly seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Most of my memories of her involve a set of knitting needles and a cup of coffee. 🙂 So I marched to the nearest yarn shop, bought a sweater quantity of yarn, and never really looked back.

Who are some of your favorite indie dyers?

WOW, this is a hard question! At this very moment, I’m using a lot of Indigodragonfly, Woolen Rabbit, Spirit Trail Fiberworks and Eden Cottage yarns. I also adore Sweet Georgia, The Plucky Knitter and The Uncommon Thread.

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

Oh, yes! I’m a pretty dedicated maker. I sew (quilts and clothes and such), I can embroider reasonably well, I do a teeny bit of weaving, I can build basic stuff and I’m handy around the house. I also trained as a pastry chef for a while, and I make all of our own bread and so forth.

Detail on Amy's Foyle's Pullover.

Detail on Amy’s Foyle’s Pullover.

What’s next for Custom Fit and Amy Herzog Designs? Can you reveal any upcoming plans?

Oooh, yes, I can! This fall is pretty big for us! Up until now, all of the sweaters CustomFit has created were hourglass-shaped. We’re expanding the possibilities this fall! Look for straight, tapered, and A-line sweaters before holiday season rolls around, with collections of designs for men, women and kids. I’m super excited about it.

I’m also finishing up my third book with STC Craft this fall, though that won’t be out until next year. 🙂 It goes beyond the set-in sleeve construction and helps knitters of any skill level make a great sweater.

Rhinebeck Trunk Show 2.0

Trunk show photos courtesy of Wil Waldon.

Trunk show photos courtesy of Wil Waldon.

This year, I got a decent head start in preparing for Rhinebeck. Not only have I been diligently working on one of my Rhinebeck sweaters (Laura Aylor’s appropriately named Rhinecliff) but I’ve also been scheming on how to make that little trunk show even better…

I’m excited to announce that the second annual Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show will take place on Friday, Oct. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. — and it will have even more indie.

I’ve booked double the space at the Best Western Plus (where we were last year, when it was called the Garden Plaza Hotel) in Kingston, N.Y., which is right across the Hudson River from Rhinebeck, and I’ll be joined by more than two dozen indie artisans, including several new vendors, many of whom I’ve gotten to know over the last several months. They will be selling hand-dyed yarn and fiber and handmade project bags, stitch markers, lotion bars and other knitting-related gifts. There will even be a small UK contingent, with Patti Odinak, the owner of Yarn Culture, an LYS based just outside of Rochester, N.Y., bringing skeins from The Uncommon Thread and Eden Cottage Yarns.

Like every good kickoff party, there will also be goody bags (which will of course be a crafty endeavor for me — I’ve got a stamp and ink pad all ready!) filled with fibery gifts and discounts from the show’s vendors and sponsors, available to the first 100 shoppers. Over the next few months, Maria from the Subway Knits podcast and blog will help you get to know many of the trunk show vendors through her Road to Rhinebeck series, and I’ll be profiling the event’s generous sponsors here on the blog.

So, go ahead and get started on your Rhinebeck knitting, and get ready to be enabled!

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.

PLY and Spark

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.

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.