Untangling MK Nance

Designer MK Nance first popped on my radar (AKA the Indie Untangled Marketplace) at the end of 2014. Since she tends to design her accessory patterns with indie-dyed yarn, she was a perfect fit for the website and also for the Where We Knit Yarn Club, in which I pair together dyers and designers, who collaborate on an exclusive colorway and one-skein pattern.

For last year’s club, Nance bended the rules slightly and used two half skeins of Three Fates Yarn Terra Sock to create not one, but two patterns with a two-color cable design that has become her trademark. The Crystal Springs cowl and Jenkins hat are now available to purchase. I recently asked Nance to tell me a little bit more about her work and inspiration.

How did you decide to become a designer?

I just did! The first pattern I wrote was because I couldn’t find a pattern that I needed to make and friends’ friends asked me to make it for them so I wrote the pattern up and said I would teach them. Two dyers, Three Fates Yarn and The Periwinkle Sheep, both suggested I just do it.

What did you do before becoming a designer and how does it inform your design work?

The first thing I ever designed was a scarf was my sophomore year of high school, so I had not really done anything at that point. I studied anthropology and middle eastern studies in college. After that I lived in NYC, Cairo, and Portland, Oregon. Many names and motifs are inspired by where I have been or studied.

When and how did you learn to knit?

Mrs. Struk, my first and second grade teacher, kept me in during recess until I learned how to tie my shoes. That didn’t work so she took my mother aside and told her I needed better eye hand coordination, so knitting or crochet would be good to learn. As my mother can’t crochet she taught me how to knit. My shoes are never tied still (I can tie them now) but I have knitting in my purse, car and everywhere.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Honestly, if I knew I would have an easier time coming up with names.

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

If it will be self published, I’ll pull out the yarn and start painting stitches using my graphing program.

If it for a call for a third party publisher, I’ll pull up the mood board and paint stitches.

What are your favorite colors and have they changed at all since you started designing?

My favorite colors have not changed. I do use color differently, I once loved lace and variegated colorway but now I’ll use busier yarns with a solid with stranding or mosaic.

You recently published your first sweater design in Twist Collective. Do you plan to design more garments?

Absolutely! I am planning on releasing at least three more cardigans this year. I may also have a few pullover ideas bouncing around my head.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

I have two. Farina’s is a little bakery in Portland with great light, food, and the staff/owner are great people. Home is my other favorite place with my dog literally under foot.

What to stash this week: A bird in the hand

Sue of Sandpiper Yarns creates her lovely skeins two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean on the South Shore of Long Island, hence her beachy name. Her yarns are comprised of a number of sheep breeds, including Merino, Blue Faced Leicester, Polwarth, Finn, Gotland, Icelandic, Corriedale and Targhee, with guest appearances by alpaca, Tencel, silk and Angora.

Terri of Whole Knit ‘n Caboodle comes from a yarny family. Her sister, Mary, owns Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea in Saugerties — I’ll be collaborating with the shop for this year’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show — and Terri dyes yarn. She has a huge selection of lovely colorways on a variety of fibers, as well as plenty of Fade combinations.

If you’re in the Connecticut area next weekend, you should definitely join Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio and Gabby of Once Upon a Corgi (and me!) for a pop-up shop and knit night at the Farmington Valley Arts Center. Rebecca and Gabby have even collaborated with one of the painters from a neighboring studio to create exclusive colorways based on one of her paintings!

I have a batch of Aimee’s Automne à Rhinebeck in stock and ready to ship! And if you’re interested in this Indie Untangled exclusive on LBA’s Merino DK, make sure to get on the list for a reorder, which is happening in mid-April. 

Get your hands on some Happy Little Project Bags for the Slipped Stitch Studios Bag of the Month. This tribute to the 1980s “leaders in imagination” include bags, accessories and three colorways from Anzula Yarns and Stay Classy Yarns. There will also be another cameo from Mr. Rogers. All of it goes on sale at 9 a.m. Pacific time today.

Laura’s latest design is inspired by a small island in the Pacific that you’ve probably never heard of, but that she’s been to twice, between Fiji and The Solomon Islands. Vanuatu features bright turquoise and dark sand that will make you want to escape somewhere sunny and warm.

Robynn is offering one free pattern with every three you buy from her Ravelry store, no coupon code required — just add four patterns to your cart and the cheapest will be free. Use it for any of her designs, from accessories to sweaters. Most include photo tutorials for special techniques.

Wild Hair Studio is having a Groundhog Day sale.

What to stash this week: Literary spark

Attention bibliophiles: You need to join this yarn club. Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. is kicking of her year-long Literary Society next month with Pride and Prejudice and ending with Little Women (click the link to see the full reading list). This is a very flexible club with a mix of semisolids, variegated colorways and speckles inspired by the classics. You can choose one, three, six, nine or all 12 shipments, and you get a choice of light yarns or heavier weights. Pick your, or a friend’s, favorite book for the perfect gift!

Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio recently had her final shop update of 2017. While some of her popular colorways have already sold out, there are still a few you can snag, like Pearls, pictured above on her Merino Singles base. Also look out for her Golden Girls-inspired Lanai on Fuse Merino DK.

MJ of Cat Sandwich Fibers just had a shop update with a bunch of new OOAK colorways. She is also launching her 2018 Monthly Mystery Sock Club, a commitment-free club. There will be a mystery sock-along — with prizes! — to go along with it.

Save 15% on Himalayan Summit and 100% Yak Sport weight yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch this week only, no coupon code needed.

Along with her single skeins, Marian of Marianated Yarns offers a three-month yarn club subscription that is available in several bases and in either tonal or variegated “Marianades,” as she calls her colorways. Membership comes with some great perks: each shipment includes a goodie and a Marianette mini-skein in variegated if your subscription is tonal or vice versa. There’s also free shipping on the rest of your yarn orders during your subscription, plus 10% off the colors of the month. Club sign-ups are open until December 20, with the first shipment going out the first week of January. 

Here’s a view from above of the DK version of Sandra’s stunning Glaciers and Wildflowers colorway, inspired by the natural beauty of Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s available to preorder only through next Friday!

This is just one of the fabulous projects from this year’s Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club. Last February, the inimitable Anne Hanson teamed up with Kim of The Woolen Rabbit to create this stunning rose red colorway and a cowl/scarf design called Shared Rib. You can expect exciting collaborations like this if you sign up for the 2018 club.

Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Wild Hair Studio has three new fiber and yarn clubs launching in 2018.

What to stash this week: Wild yarns and glaciers

When Sandra of Duck Duck Wool signed on to create a colorway for the Knitting Our National Parks series, I was thrilled. When I saw her inspiration photo, a shot of Glacier National Park in Montana, I got even more excited. Then, when she emailed me the photos of her colorway, Glaciers and Wildflowers, I may have done a little yarny happy dance. How stunning is this?! And Sandra is dyeing it on not one base, but two — her Silky Singleton, a blend of 70% Merino and 30% silk for shawls and summer tops, and DK Limited, a Superwash Merino that you can use for hats, cowls, mitts and, of course, sweaters you can wear now. The yarn will be available to preorder here through Friday, Dec. 22, and will ship the last week of January 2018. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Another Knitting Our National Parks installment means we get a limited edition POP Thru The Parks souvenir from That Clever Clementine! Vicki has saved one of her most POPular products for the final one of her collection. These fabric yarn bowls (which don’t have to be used only for yarn) will be available to preorder today starting at 9 a.m. Eastern time until sold out (previous batches have sold out in less than two hours so… head on over!).

If you’ve been looking around for that special shawl pin, or one to add to your collection, or if you just like looking at shiny things, I suggest you head over to the Porterness Studio website. Jen makes her shawl pins and buttons using the 5,000-year-old lost wax casting process, with each piece either hand carved out of wax or 3D printed in wax, cast in sterling silver or bronze and hand finished by Jen in Los Angeles. Her regular jewelry is pretty lovely, too. Indie Untangled readers get 20% off with the code Indie20.

Fresh off her trunk show at Woolyn, where I drooled over her yarn and samples, Lauren of Old Rusted Chair has released four new colorways. From top to bottom are Starboard, Prankster, Glint and Heatwave, which are available on Lauren’s Squish base, a 4-ply Superwash Merino.

Also fresh off her appearance at Woolyn last weekend, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has released some perfect heavy-weight bases. Just in time for winter, you can now find a variety of DK weight yarns in various blends of Merino, nylon, Cashmere and sparkle. She even has a few fade kits. 

Katie of Never Enough Thyme has updated her shop with Christmas colorways, including heel/toe sock sets in Sugar Plum Fairy, Mistletoe’s for Two and Christmas Cookies. There are also lots of Cozy Christmas mini sets, perfect for knitting ornaments for your tree (don’t worry, there is still time).

For Week 2 of their annual holiday sale, Bijou Basin Ranch is giving you 15% off Tibetan Dream sock yarn and Xanadu Mongolian cashmere yarn, with no coupon code needed, through midnight Mountain time today. And all U.S. orders also ship free through Dec. 24.

If you’re short on time and yardage, but need some holiday gifts, Robynn’s Nullkommanix cowl just might be what you’re looking for. It’s named for how long it takes to make — 0.0 seconds — and is free for Robynn’s newsletter subscribers.

Since I’m waiting until after the craziness of the holidays for Aimée to ship her yarn to me, I’ve decided to extend the preorders for Automne à Rhinebeck a couple of weeks. My husband just requested a hat in the DK, so the magic of these skeins is real!

Here’s a look at the first-ever colorway for the first-ever installment of the Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club — Ami of Lakes Yarn and Fiber’s Drops of Honey. You can expect breathtaking exclusives like this if you sign up for the 2018 club. Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Dye is Cast yarn is having a shop update today featuring new colorways, and a chunky beanie hat pattern will be free to download throughout the weekend.

Wild Hair Studio has new Star Wars-inspired colorways on mini batts and rolags, which are 15% off before Dec. 15.

What to stash this week: Indie yarn Black Friday weekend deals

This list will be updated with new deals throughout the weekend.

With all the amazing Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday yarny deals being posted to the Indie Untangled marketplace, I didn’t want to be left out! I’m offering 15% off all in-stock yarn from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers (including new Squish Bulky Superwash Merino for your holiday gift needs!) and Dark Harbour Yarn, as well as Stash Indie enamel pins and tote bags in the post-Rhinebeck pop-up, through Monday with the code INDIEFRIDAY. (Offer excludes La Bien Aimée preorders.)

Spirit trail is offering free U.S. shipping and discounted international shipping through Monday using the code CYBERMONDAY.

Everything in the Invictus Yarns shop, including new confetti skeins, is 15% off, no coupon code needed, through Tuesday. The sale will be valid for purchases over $20.

All yarns from McMullin Fiber Co. are 20% off through Tuesday. In addition, clubs are 10% off. PLUS, there’s a clearance section of discontinued bases and colorways with hefty savings of 40% off the regular price.

Bijou Basin’s Black Friday weekend sale reminds me of those Crazy Eddie commercials — INSANE. Not only is there free U.S. shipping, but they’re giving away free yarn with certain purchases.

Every item you purchase from Never Enough Thyme during the month of November will enter you into a giveaway for a set of Christmas mini skeins, an adorable project bag and some extra goodies.

Sarah of One Hand in the Dyepot is offering 15% off all full-sized skeins, no coupon needed, through Monday. Most of Sarah’s yarns are dyed as single skeins and therefore not repeatable. Perfect excuse!

Robynn of Studio Miranda is participating in the Indie Design Giftalong, so her patterns are 25% off on Ravelry. Click to learn more about this fun event!

Susan of With Pointed Sticks is having her annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. Everything in the shop is 25% off through Monday, no coupon necessary.

Get free shipping from Marianated Yarns for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday with coupon code GIVETHX. Use it for Knitmas Kits, Christmas colors or super jumbo bulky yarn for those last-minute gifts.

Lisa The Knitting Artist is offering 20% off with code SBSSALE starting Saturday, November 25, and running through midnight Central time on Tuesday. You’ll also receive a free watercolor greeting card, handmade and handpicked by Lisa.

Here’s a sale and a very cool New Dyer Alert. Brianne and Maureen of I Would Dye 4U create yarn inspired by the best music. Look for colorways such as True Colors and Take On Me on bases such as New Wave and Hair Metal. They’re also offering 20% off all ready to ship yarns in her Etsy shop on Monday!

It is stall fall, despite the music playing way too early, everywhere. Casapinka’s Crunching Leaves Cowl uses two colors of bulky yarn to create a woven effect. It’s a perfect addition to your fall (and, yes, winter) outfit — and a perfect quick gift.

Kim Dyes Yarn has teamed up with this Brew City Yarns to create a tribute to the Republic of Gilead. The 10 Handmaid’s Tale colorways go on sale tomorrow for Small Business Saturday, five at Kim’s website and five via Brew City Yarns. Limited quantities of mini skein sets of all 10 colorways will be available for purchase at both websites starting at 8 a.m. Eastern Saturday.

Katrina and her crew are offering 10% off yarn purchases and free shipping for orders over $100 through Monday, November 27 with the code GobbleGobble. 


Everything in the JuneBug Fibers shop is 20% off through Monday.

Lavender Lune Yarn Co. is offering 20% off in her shop through Tuesday with code BLACKFRIDAY17. Indie Untangled readers get first dibs before Saturday!

Everything at in the Stitchjones Etsy shop is 25% off with coupon code HELLOFALL.

Little Fox Yarn is offering 15% off with the code THANKFUL15 through Tuesday.

What to stash this week: Still Automne

La Bien Aimée is dyeing up another batch of the breathtaking Automne à Rhinebeck for me to sell online. Aimée has put me on her calendar and is planning to ship the yarn to me before Vogue Knitting Live NYC in January. In the meantime, preorders of the yarn are now open! I will be taking them through Dec. 8 so we can get a better idea of the demand before she starts creating more of this Indie Untangled exclusive. It is available on La Bien Aimée’s Merino Singles fingering weight and Merino DK.

You don’t need a degree in yarn (though it may feel like you have one) to appreciate the knowledge that IU newcomer Katrina of Fluffy U Fiber Farm brings to her business. Based in Dover, Pennsylvania, Katrina and company raise various British breed and heritage breed sheep, including Blue Faced Leicester and Leicester Longwool, selling both natural and small-batch hand-dyed yarns in their shop. You may be familiar with them from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Virginia.

IU newcomer Marian of Marianated Yarns has put together the perfect knitter’s Christmas gift. Her limited edition Knitmas Kits include a set of six mini skeins, a cowl pattern from Katinka Designs, notions, treats and fun extras.

Christine of Skeinny Dipping had a post-Rhinebeck shop update with tons of yarny goodness, including her new Polwarth Silk DK base. The squooshy non-Superwash yarn made its debut at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Today at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Laura is listing the second Slipped Stitch Studios Outlander-inspired Bag of the Month for sale. They’ve also once again teamed up with Forbidden Woolery for matching yarn.

There are only a handful of skeins of Jill Draper Makes Stuff’s exclusive Joshua Tree colorways available to preorder through the end of the day today. I’m looking forward to getting my own in a couple of weeks and casting on Kirsten Kapur’s Joshua Tree Cowl, pretending I’m on a road trip through the SoCal desert.

What to stash this week: Yarn of the dog

If you want some help easing your Rhinebeck hangover, or want to get that same “happy place” feeling even if you weren’t in New York this past weekend, you can browse the post-Rhinebeck pop-up shop on Indie Untangled. You’ll find the remaining skeins of Julie Asselin’s exclusive Road to Rhinebeck, Asylum Fibers’ Rhinebeck’s All the Craze, a selection of Merino/silk and plump Merino fingering across the seas from New Zealand’s Dark Harbour Yarn and the awesome Stash Indie enamel pins designed by Shelli Can. You can also preorder Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show tote bags, which I’m having reprinted due to popular demand.

Mary’s latest sweater design, Heart of Glass, is fresh off its Rhinebeck debut. I, and I’m sure many knitters at the fairgrounds, were envious of the short-sleeved version of this drop-shouldered pullover, which drapes beautifully and features a lovely lace hem. 

I’m convinced knitters will one day take over the world. Until they do, you can get your hands on Laura’s Pinky & the Brain Bag of the Month. They will be on sale from today at 9 a.m. Pacific time to Monday at midnight.

Laura’s latest design is Rusalka, a triangular shawl knit with about 175 yards each of five shades of yarn. You can vary things up with a selection of lace stitches, a bit of garter stitch and a bunch of stripes.

It’s probably a little late to knit your Halloween costume, but you can channel a dragon with Robynn’s latest designs. Haku and Chihiro are companion one-skein cowls using the dragonscale stitch pattern and beads.

Speaking of holidays, the Holidays with a capital ‘H’ are just around the corner, at least when it comes to knitting. This IU newcomer — pronounced “yock-i-gainey” — has three holiday colors to help you get in the spirit.

Samantha of Lavender Lune Yarn Co. has some aran weight yarns in her shop all ready to be made into winter hats.

It’s the last call for Pumpkin Spice Latte — mini skeins from BigFootFibers, that is.

What to stash this week at Rhinebeck or Whinebeck

Anne of Middle Brook Fiberworks is debuting her Vintage No. 3 today! The yarn, which is a blend of fleeces from her Shetland flock — natural brown from Roobie and grey from Poppy and Quin — prime alpaca and cultivated silk, will be available at the Indie Untangled trunk show and online at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

Preorders for Carrie Sundra’s SkeinTwister opened this week, and even if you’re not a dyer, you can still join in the fun of the launch. Carrie, who is also a natural dyer through her company Alpenglow Yarn, has collaborated with Brooke of Sincere Sheep and created AlpenSheep. Just for the launch, they’ll both be dyeing Brooke’s Cormo Sport yarn, with beautifully twisted skeins available for sale in multiple colors. If you’re trying to cut down on the yarn buying, especially considering what weekend it is, they also have some fun gear, including rocks glasses, coffee mugs and T-shirts, featuring Pirate Red, the SkeinTwister’s sassy mascot. 

If you’re going to Rhinebeck this weekend, make sure to stop by the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth in Building A to see tons of new colors and a few new bases.

Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has a whole bunch of goodies for sale, including bags with limited edition Frida Kahlo, cactus and unicorn fabrics. Today, at 9 a.m. Pacific time, she’ll release Hocus Pocus extras, part of a tribute to the awesome Halloween movie. Then on Wednesday, the Slipped Stitch Studios Facebook page will hold a Facebook Live flash sale. And, last but not least, next Friday is the release of the October Bag of the Month, inspired by Pinky and the Brain.

Grab Eyelet of the Tiger, BBR’s new project kit for their newest yarn, Himalayan Summit. The lacy cowl is perfect for variegated colorways, like Old Fashioned Villian by Modeknit Yarn, pictured above.

Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has been busy dyeing new tonal and speckled colorways on several of her fingering weight bases that are perfect for your next fade. There are also some OOAK colorways sprinkled in.

If you’re going to Indie Untangled tonight, there will be a limited number of kits with both of Jill Draper’s exclusive colorways for the third installment of Knitting Our National Parks, along with a code to download designer Kirsten Kapur’s Joshua Tree Cowl. Both are inspired by sunset at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. If you can’t make it, the yarn will be available to preorder for a few more weeks (the pattern is for sale on Ravelry).

Pam Sluter’s latest design, the Haygarden shawl, was created in collaboration with Hampden Hills Alpacas. The sample will be on display this weekend at Rhinebeck in Building 39, booth 9.

IU newcomer Big & Bitty Bags has new bucket bags with a drawstring closure.

What to stash this week: Pre-Rhinebeck updates and sales

Stephanie of Asylum Fibers just had her last shop update before the Rhinebeck Trunk Show and it included a variety of bases in both regular and OOAK colorways. If you’re going to Rhinebeck, be sure to check out the latest batch of project bags in new limited-edition fabrics from the Oak Grove Quilter, AKA Stephanie’s mom.

Here are some more photos of Jill Draper’s gorgeous exclusive colorways for the third installment of Knitting Our National Parks and designer Kirsten Kapur’s Joshua Tree Cowl. Both are inspired by sunset at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The yarn will be available to preorder for a few more weeks.

Wild Hair Studio is discounting all custom blend and Mulberry silk top by 15% during the month of October.

Color Craze Yarn & Fiber is offering free U.S. shipping through the end of October.

What to stash this week: Yarn nation

The third installment of Indie Untangled’s Knitting Our National Parks takes us to Joshua Tree National Park, a surreal landscape east of the beaches and palm trees of Los Angeles and San Diego. Jill turned this photo of a sunset framing one of the park’s giant yuccas into not one, but two colorways, and designer Kirsten Kapur created a worsted weight, Western chic cowl using both colors. The yarn will be available to preorder exclusively on Indie Untangled until November 13 or until sold out, whichever comes first, and will be shipped on or before November 22. Kirsten’s Joshua Tree Cowl pattern can be purchased separately on Ravelry.

You’ll get to see Kirsten’s gorgeous cowl in person at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show on Oct. 20 and at Jill’s open house on Oct. 21. There will also be a limited number of Joshua Tree Cowl kits for sale at the Indie Untangled booth at the trunk show.

Another National Parks trip means Vicki of That Clever Clementine is releasing a new limited edition POP Thru The Parks souvenir! Starting today, you can preorder a POPpy zipper bag with fun fabric from Amy Peppler Adams’s Soda Nation Collection, plus a super cute soda bottle zipper pull. The bags are available for preorder for the next two weeks or until the limited edition of 24 items is sold out (which they did the last two times, so pop on over at 9 a.m. Eastern).

William Shakespeare could tell a good yarn, and Miss Babs knows how to dye it. The incomparable Tennessee dyer has once again teamed up with Bijou Basin Ranch to create 11 new hand-dyed colors. Five pairs are named for Shakespearean lovers and one honors the bard himself, all dyed on Tibetan Dream yak/nylon fingering. 

It’s officially Halloween season and dyer Sunshine is celebrating with yarn! All orders over £40 come with 20g sets of mini Sock Yarn Spiders, plus there are plenty of spooky colorways, like Zombie Breath (pictured above) and Frankie on Fire, and goodies, including Day of the Dead skull and zombie stitch markers.