What to make with North Cascades Night

Since getting a glimpse of Alice of Backyard Fiberworks’ North Cascades Night colorway for Knitting Our National Parks, I’ve been obsessively combing Ravelry for the perfect projects. The fact that it’s a sportweight yarn means it works for a variety of patterns, from one-skein hats and mitts to pullovers and cardigans that don’t feel too endless.

I’ve found some ideas from a variety of designers, including those who post to Indie Untangled. Below is just a small list of possibilities. You can also check out the ever-growing bundle I’ve created on Ravelry.

Shawls

Hint of Autumn by Laura Aylor: 2 skeins

Tidepools by Simone Kereit: 3 skeins

Enamored by Laura Aylor: 3 skeins

Pleasant Trip by Laura Aylor: 3 skeins

Little Black Shawl by Laura Aylor: 2 skeins

Marshwood by Lara Smoot: 3 skeins

French Cancan by Mademoiselle C: 2 skeins

Vinegar Hill by Kirsten Kapur: 2-3 skeins

Sweaters

Orne Cardigan by Meiju K-P © Knitscene/Harper Point: 5-9 skeins

Pauroxo by Jennifer Dassau: 4-6 skeins

Silver Girl by Laura Aylor: 4-7 skeins

Sport Aureed by Meiju K-P: 4-8 skeins

Warszawa Soft by Meiju K-P: 5-7 skeins

Grisalia by Meiju K-P: 3-6 skeins

Celia by Mary Annarella: 3-6 skeins

Shifting by Justyna Lorkowska: 4-6 skeins

One-skein projects

Coast Oak Hat by Stephannie Tallent © Yarnbox

More Cowl Bell Please by Mary Annarella

Moutons’ Boutons by LeMou Designs

Rieth by MK Nance

Backflip Mitts by Melanie Berg

Fathom by Veera Välimäki

Portlander Mitts by Shellie Anderson

Have you found some other great ideas? Please share in the comments!

What to stash this week: Retreat into knitting

Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs has designed two separate knitting retreats in her native country. The first takes place from July 31 to Aug. 6 in Schloss Münchenwiler, on the grounds of a historic castle in the countryside of Fribourg and Bern and includes classes taught by brioche master Nancy Marchant, as well as Simone herself. The second session, from Aug. 7 to 13, is set in Riederalp – Aletsch Arena in the Rhone Valley/Valais region of Switzerland and includes hikes as well as workshops with Andrea Rangel and Simone.

Casapinka’s latest design, Gray Area, is a collaboration with Invictus Yarns. You can choose from among many different color combinations. Pick a gray gradient, like the sample, with a punchy main color, or reverse it and use one of those irresistible bright gradients.

Here’s another great dyer/designer collaboration. Christine of Skeinny Dipping provided the yarn for the latest Woolly Wormhead hat pattern, part of a new collection called Circled.

Knit EcoChic’s new design, Zipline, is inspired by careening through the snow. Wear it skiing, skating or just to keep yourself toasty during the next polar vortex.

Over the next few months, With Pointed Sticks will be launching three new fun fingering-weight bases. Just released is Crayon, a rainbow tweed sock yarn with a blend of Superwash Merino and nylon.

Here’s yet another use for those gradients or color sets that I know we all have a lot of. IU newcomer Stillwater Designs’ latest pattern is Rockhound, a top-down crescent with crossed slip stitches

Michael Harrigan has introduced his latest design, the Boyfriend Bandana.

Seeing pink

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I’ve been trying to avoid mentioning politics on Indie Untangled because, no matter which direction you lean in, if you’re looking for a refuge from it these days, it’s very hard to find. I myself am of two minds — I go online looking for distractions, only to wonder why people are posting cat photos when there is SO MUCH going on that it’s impossible to keep up with it all.

Thank you to all the knitters for knitting so many damn #pussyhats !!! #pussyhatproject #womenmarchonwashington #thelittleknittery

A post shared by Kat Coyle /The Little Knittery (@thelittleknittery) on

But, as the owner of a website that supports independent and primarily women-owned fiber businesses, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the massive act of craftivism that was on display this past weekend. The pink blanketing the photos of the women’s marches that took place around the world on Jan. 21 were the result of the Pussyhat Project, a movement launched by Kat Coyle, the owner of a Los Angeles yarn shop that I happened to visit last year, and which Rob Walker of The New Yorker called a “material-cultural phenomenon that could end up earning a lasting place in the annals of political symbolism.”

Among that sea of color was the work of some talented indie dyers, including Lisa of Vermont-based White Birch Fiber Arts, who I interviewed for a recent article about politics and crafting that appeared in the journal of the Craft Industry Alliance, an organization that brings together hundreds of craft businesses to share strategies and best practices. There was also Denise of Yoshi and Lucy, a new Brooklyn-based dyer who offered her Vibrant colorway at a discount in honor of the march.

Along with being proud to see knitting in the spotlight, I enjoyed the individual expression in this mass movement. Throughout the photos, and the pussyhats I spotted in person in New York City, there was a huge variety, from the standard knit-flat-and-seamed version to those with intricate stitch patterns.

I’m sure you may have an idea of what I think about current events because I’m publishing this post, choosing not to ignore the activism or express my disagreement with it (and I think there are better ways of doing that than calling out the entirety of the women’s movement for “vulgarity, vile and evilness,” as one yarn shop in Tennessee did). But, just as how it’s impossible to go anywhere without coming face to face with what’s going on in the world, it seems that this moment in knitting needs to be taken off the needles and worn proudly.

What to stash this week: Winter brights

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

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

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

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

A 2016 IU Year in Knitting Review

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

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

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

Mindy/knitwithhappiness’s Goldfinch in Magpie Fibers Swanky DK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The knits of Downton Abbey

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Downton Style

I know I’m a little late with this post, but I can justify it by saying that I still have the last 40 minutes of the Downton Abbey series finale (sniff!) to watch, so the series is not over for me yet! And, it will certainly live on in this era of binge watching.

Last year, I favorited a few patterns for a Downton Abbey swap I was participating in via the Subway Knits Ravelry group and decided it would be a good idea to curate a definitive list of sorts.

Here are some pattern suggestions culled from my favorites that I feel would be stylishly worn by some of my favorite Downton Abbey characters:

Lady Mary

Chrysler Crown Shawl by Natalie Servant: Stylish and trendy, and would go perfectly with Mary’s sharp bob.

Lady Edith

Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer: Simple and chic, for a lady ready to take on the publishing world.

Cora Crawley

Lady Grantham Hat by Brenda Castiel: Obvious, I know, but this soft and elegant design is a good fit for nurturing Cora.

The Dowager Countess

Eleanor Cowl by Audrey Knight: Staid and traditional, but a bright color can give this a bit of sass.

Daisy

Sprig Cloche by Alana Dakos: Soft and girlish, a design that I can see Daisy wearing on her way into town.

Anna

Fellowes Cloche by Amy Herzog: Classic, but strong.

Mrs. Patmore

Biscuit by Bonnie Sennott: Because what else but food would make you think of Mrs. Patmore?

Mrs. Hughes

Drifted Pearls by Jennifer Lang: Soft and comforting, with plenty of elegance.

What to stash this week: Spring it up

Mick Jagged 1

Even if you’re not a Stones fan, you will definitely appreciate Bronwyn’s new pattern. Mick Jagged, which was designed in Malabrigo Sock and Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply, looks like a rockin’ combination of semisolid and variegated colorways. 

Mothy Rainbow 2

Jillian of Mothy and the Squid has dyed a self-striping rainbow with variegated transitions between colors. The colorway comes with a long repeat of around forty meters (roughly 44 yards for us Americans), which Jillian says would give you five complete rainbows per sock if you used an entire skein for one pair. 

OwlCat 5

OwlCat Designs‘ Simone, who is originally from Switzerland, creates shawls, sweaters and accessories with a decidedly natural feel, including the collections over mossy stones…, inspired by a walk in the woods, and her latest, Full Fathom, which has a maritime theme.

Indiegreenleaf

Melissa has introduced these adorable porcelain leaf buttons to celebrate spring, and they are the perfect accents for light cowls, mitts to don on frosty mornings and, of course, cardigans. Shipping is free with the code INDIE.

silk-sheep-duo

Keya of Cedar Hill Farm Cmpany has restocked her shop with new springy colorways on her popular Silk Sheep and Sporty Sheep bases. On Silk Sheep, there’s the tonal green Margaritaville, bright teal Sultan of Swing, while Sporty Sheep sports Blue Raspberry, Lemon Drop and Spring.

Wizard of Oz

Combo packs of mini skeins that Katy of Wool and Two Sticks dyed for the March 2016 Phat Fiber Sampler Box are now available in her Etsy shop. The Wizard of Oz-themed colorways come dyed on 200-yard fingering-weight skeins of 100% Peruvian Highland wool.

Indie is the new black

Cease and Desist

Recently, when my almost-5-year-old nephew requested a black hat to go with his school uniform, I was at first a little disappointed. Like most knitters, I’m generally drawn towards vivid colors — black is for boots and store-bought cardigans, amiright? — and I figured I’d also have to go with a very plain pattern because any interesting detail would get lost in black yarn. Then I remembered that a bunch of dyers have black colorways, so I went clicking through the Indie Untangled marketplace to see what I could find.

I ended up contacting the lovely Christine of Skeinny Dipping, who had actually, a few months ago, suggested her new Cease and Desist color as one of the stripes for my Nangou (I ended up going with pink and teal to match Duck Duck Wool’s Night Bokeh). Christine dyed up two skeins of C&D on her Journey Worsted base, one of which I’m using for Stephen West’s Windschief — it’s just complex enough without having anything go missing in the darkness.

Since I thought black was such an interesting color choice for a dyer, I decided to ask Christine a few questions:

What made you decided to create a black colorway?

If you look in my closet you will find a lot of black. My dresses are black (or a really dark color), my store-bought cardigans are black, etc. My husband says I always look like I’m ready for a funeral. I like it because it matches everything easily and the last place I want to spend time at is a clothing store. But while there’s black everywhere in store fashion there isn’t a lot of black in the yarn world — certainly not enough for me. Ask me to pair two colors together? I can do it but I’ll really want black to be one of them. Three colors? Impossible (this is why I still haven’t knit a Color Affection). I need one of them to be black so the scarf goes with my cardigans and dresses. Voila! Cease and Desist was born.

Without giving too much away, how does one actually create a shade of black? Do you use black dye, or is it a combination of other colors?

Like any other colorways it depends. My Cease and Desist is very simple — one dye. But you can create very beautiful blacks — just have a look at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. They have an amazing line of blacks in their Raven Clan series.

Is it challenging to give a black colorway “depth”?

Again, it depends. Are you going for a semi-solid black, a tonal, or something using a resist? I feel like tackling a black color presents the same challenge as any other color.

What pattern suggestions do you have for black yarn, with it either as a main or accent color?

For an accent color, I love Aileron by Dieuwke van Mulligan. Colorwork projects are also great for black, like Pointy Pointy Mittens by Adrian Bizilia or Jazz Hands by Kate Davies. Stripes are great, too: Accelerating Stripes Fingerless Gloves by the Churchmouse Yarns people, Mon Petit Gilet Raye by Isabelle Milleret. And anything brioche. I also use black for the heels on a lot of my hand-knit socks.

Here are some of my other favorite black colorways by IU’s artisans:

Slick by Dark Harbour Yarns

Black is Black or Black Pearl by Dragonfly Fibers

The Pit by Invictus Yarns

Baby Got Black by Magpie Fibers

Peter’s Shadow by Duck Duck Wool

A year of indie knitting

Cladonia

I always love Year in Review features, but I thought that might be a little hard to do on this site — how could I possibly narrow down the great things posted by the makers on here? Then I realized that I have a huge catalogue of Indie Untangled FOs through the quarterly KALs in the Indie Untangled Ravelry group. I decided to present them here for you to admire, and to maybe give you some ideas for some of the stash you’ve acquired over 2015. Above is my Cladonia, one of my favorite FOs ever, knit with Countess Ablaze and Schmutzerella.

Next month, we’re doing a KAL of Alicia Plummer‘s mitt patterns in yarn from Indie Untangled dyers, and I hope you’ll join us!

A selection of IU FOs:

Erica/ejsufka's Leaflette, knit with Hazel Knits Cadence

Erica/ejsufka’s Leaflette, knit with Hazel Knits Cadence

Adrienne/killerb's Downton Cowl in Astral Bath Spectra DK

Adrienne/killerb’s Downton Cowl in Astral Bath Spectra DK

Annie/beadgoddess’s Ridge Hat in French Market Fibers MCN Worsted

Annie/beadgoddess’s Ridge Hat in French Market Fibers MCN Worsted

Adrienne/killerb's Red Flannel in Canon Hand Dyes Robert BFL Tweed DK

Adrienne/killerb’s Red Flannel in Canon Hand Dyes Robert BFL Tweed DK

Erica/ejsufka's Frosted Glass Hat in Hazel Knits CadenceHazel Knits Lively DK

Erica/ejsufka’s Frosted Glass Hat in Hazel Knits CadenceHazel Knits Lively DK

Marta/sbnyc’s Rekindled in Bijou Basin Ranch Xanadu

Marta/sbnyc’s Rekindled in Bijou Basin Ranch Xanadu

Nancy/kathynancygirl’s Cloud Cap in Lakes Yarn and Fiber Killarney DK

Nancy/kathynancygirl’s Cloud Cap in Lakes Yarn and Fiber Killarney DK

Danielle/OnEdge28’s Meava socks in Astral Bath Orbit

Danielle/OnEdge28’s Meava socks in Astral Bath Orbit

Sue/autumnfog’s Thermis in Lakes Yarn and Fiber Lochsa DK

Sue/autumnfog’s Thermis in Lakes Yarn and Fiber Lochsa DK

Erica/ejsufka’s Season’s Promise in Western Sky Knits Willow DK

Erica/ejsufka’s Season’s Promise in Western Sky Knits Willow DK

Heather/winemakerssister’s handspun with fiber from the Pigeonroof Studios Luminosity Club

Heather/winemakerssister’s handspun with fiber from the Pigeonroof Studios Luminosity Club

Marla/marlala’s Phoenix-Wing/Phoenix-Flügel in Invictus Yarns Unafraid

Marla/marlala’s Phoenix-Wing/Phoenix-Flügel in Invictus Yarns Unafraid

Lavanya’s Dark Tickle in Astral Bath Yarns Centaur Luxe DK

Lavanya’s Dark Tickle in Astral Bath Yarns Centaur Luxe DK

Jean/sadie21jean’s 3S Shawl in Western Sky Knits Twinkle Sock

Jean/sadie21jean’s 3S Shawl in Western Sky Knits Twinkle Sock

IU book review: Mini Skein Knits

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Image ©Connie Santisteban

Image ©Connie Santisteban

I have to say, I was pretty excited when Connie, the talented photographer of my Rhinebeck sweater and also an editor at Lark Crafts, emailed me about reviewing their latest book, Mini Skein Knits: 25 Knitting Patterns Using Small Skeins and Leftovers ($14.95 U.S./$16.95 Canada). When I blogged about knitting at the newspaper I used to work for, I was approached a few times about reviewing books, but they were usually for designs I wasn’t really interested in — yes, I can see the appeal of super-chunky baby knits, but not of knitting “sleep sacks” that are mainly meant for newborn photo shoots and not much else.

© Lark Crafts

© Lark Crafts

On the contrary, this is a book I can definitely see myself knitting from — and I already have a few patterns in my favorites. The idea is that collecting mini skeins is so addictive, whether you buy them yourself or participate in mini-skein swaps, or both, but it can be tricky to figure out what to make with them. This book has a great variety of patterns, from simple coasters and coffee cozies, all the up way to beautiful sweaters, including two (A Mermaid Darkly, pictured below, and the Rainbow Cardi) designed by Sweater Expert, and the creator of my Rhinebeck sweater pattern, Yelena Dasher.

© Lark Crafts

© Lark Crafts

There’s also tons in between — scarves, socks, shawls, cowls. My favorite — and the one I favorited first — is Jess Kallberg’s Head in the Clouds Hat, pictured at the top of the post. I love the subtle scallops, and I think it will be the perfect pattern for the mini-skein set from Pigeonroof Studios that I purchased ages ago — like, before Indie Untangled even launched (I was going to make a pair of gradient mitts, but I generally haven’t been gravitating toward projects much smaller than hats). The yardage information is fairly detailed, so useful if you want to swap out mini skeins and use up leftovers.

© Lark Crafts / Touch of Color Legwarmers by Susie Dippel

© Lark Crafts / Touch of Color Legwarmers by Susie Dippel

Aside from the lovely patterns, the two things I like most about this book are the beautifully styled photographs, which still show off the important parts of each design, and the prevalence of indie dyers, including IU’s Astral Bath, Kim Dyes Yarn and Western Sky Knits (not to mention, Madelinetosh, Orange Flower, Julie Asselin, Dragonfly Fibers and The Copper Corgi…). If you frequent this site, I’m pretty sure you will love this book.

Connie and Lark Crafts have generously offered up a free copy of the book to a lucky Indie Untangled reader. To enter, comment on this post by the end of the day Sunday, Nov. 15, with the pattern (or patterns — I know it’s hard to pick just one!) you’d most like to knit. You can see them all here on Ravelry. The winner will be chosen via random number generator.

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winner, Lynn!