Untangling: Asylum Fibers

Last month, I got to introduce you to Asylum Fibers, a brand-new dyeing operation started by Stephanie Jones, who I met via the knitting group she organizes here in New York City. I wanted to know a little more behind her inspiration for this new craft biz and share her story.

As I mentioned in my post about getting a behind the scenes look at her first shop update, Stephanie, who hails from Maine and now lives in Queens, N.Y., has a background as an opera singer — I actually got to see her perform a year ago and she is fantastic. While making her living in finance, Stephanie uses knitting and dyeing as her main creative outlets, along with crocheting and knitting. She creates bright and complex repeatable colorways, but her signature are unpredictable Chaos colors, which are OOAK and fleeting. Here’s a little peek inside the Asylum:

What made you decide to start your own dyeing business?

I love dyeing so much, and I can’t possibly use all the yarn myself. It only made sense to put it out there and see what the community would think. Every time someone purchases a skein, I feel justified in dyeing 5 more! I get so much joy seeing others knit with my yarn, and I really can’t think of anything quite like it!

A self-striping Chaos colorway.

How do you go about creating your colorways? Do you plan your repeatables ahead of time and improvise with the Chaos colors?

For the most part, my repeatable colorways have very specific inspiration. I have a word or phrase or idea that is translated into color within my mind. The next step is figuring out the recipe. Sometimes, the yarn comes out beautiful, but it’s not what I intended. In that case, we have a chaos colorway. I’ll let you in on a secret – Chaos 75 was my first attempt at Hydrotherapy. I absolutely loved it, but it was a lot greener than I wanted Hydrotherapy to be. Not all chaos colorways are failed attempts at a new recipe, though. Many are just for fun! I do use them for experimentation and find them to be extra special, since they’re essentially “limited edition”. Every chaos colorway is made up of no more than 5 skeins, so you know you have something special.

What are your favorite colors?

This depends so much on my mood. Black and grey are essential, but I also gravitate to blue, green, purple, and pink. Some days I’m all about yellow, and sometimes orange makes me really happy. ALL OF THE COLORS!

Bad Bad Girl on Golden Rule: Merino/nylon/stellina

What projects are you currently working on with your yarn?

Aside from a whole lot of swatching as I really settle on what bases I plan to keep long term, I have a couple projects going right now. I’m designing a two color brioche cowl in the round using Bedlam, my one ply super bulky base. I’m also doing a crochet along of the Movie Night Cocoon Cardi, using Errant Aran. I’m lucky to have some friends working on samples in my yarn as well. Anne is making a Waiting for Rain shawl using Golden Rule in Bad Bad Girl, while Devon is making a lace shawl using Lunacy Lace in a OOAK color I dyed special for her. Valerie is crocheting with Golden Age and Jenn has a skein of Bedlam Ombre that is soon to be a hat! I’ve seen some Instagram friends working with my yarn as well, which is so fun. I finally have Asylum Fibers up (at least in the most basic form) on Ravelry so we can all share our stash and projects there.

How did you learn to knit?

I learned at daycare when I was very young, but really started advancing in 2012 with the inspiration and motivation from other knitters in my Meetup group. When I ran into problems, I’d check Youtube for help. Since then, I’ve taken a ton of technique classes with great teachers including Lorilee Beltman, Steven Berg, Edie Eckman, Faina Goberstein, Franklin Habit, Amy Herzog, Felicia Lo, Nancy Marchant, Kristy McGowan, Alasdair Post-Quinn, Leslye Solomon, Debbie Stoller, and Stephen West.

Tell me about one of your most memorable FOs.

I made a pink cotton sweater for my grandmother for her 80th birthday. The pattern was Peasy by Heidi Kirrmaier and is available on Ravelry. I used Debbie Bliss Bella, which was soft and pretty, but since it didn’t have much stretch, it made my hands tire very quickly. I’m glad I made this sweater, though, because my grandmother is extra knit-worthy and wears it all the time!

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

Of course I do! Dyeing and knitting definitely dominate my craft time, but I also enjoy crochet, sewing, beadwork, painting, and scrapbooking. I’m planning to try soap making soon as well.

Any future plans for Asylum Fibers you can share?

I’d like to put together some fun blog posts discussing my color inspiration. I’m also planning to take my yarn on the road in the near future. Otherwise, keep an eye out for regular shop updates, and be sure to subscribe to my mailing list if you’d like reminders!

What to stash this week: Harry Potter in NOLA

Aside from dyeing bright and cheerful NOLA colorways, Robyn of TeenyButton Studio also has a geeky side. Her latest offering is a Harry Potter Yarn of the Month Club — you pick your base and Robyn sends the yarn, with a colorway that will be exclusive for three months, or that will disappear from her lineup entirely.

Sarah of One Hand in the Dyepots has updated her shop with two new colorways. Above is Smokey Aubergine, a moody pink, purple and grey. There’s also Quantum, which uses a tie dye technique. 

The annual April knit along is going on in the Elliebelly Dye Works group on Ravelry.

Inside the Asylum Fibers launch

A few weeks ago, my friend Stephanie invited me to a super-secret party, only revealing a couple of weeks before that this party was for the launch of her new hand-dyed yarn business! Last Friday, I joined a group of knitters to count down to the opening of the online shop for Asylum Fibers.

Backing up a bit, Stephanie (who has a fascinating background as an opera singer) organizes one of the New York City knitting groups I’ve been going to for the past couple of years, and has been teaching the group workshops on brioche and two-at-a-time socks. Last year, she started holding dye parties in her apartment, which I wrote about here. Once she had the equipment and ingredients on hand, she dove into dyeing headfirst.

What’s the meaning behind the name Asylum Fibers? Stephanie explains on her website:

One of my favorite quotes came from Marilyn Monroe – “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” While I believe this applies to people, I also think these statements suit hand dyed yarn magnificently. As your dyer, I fully intend to maintain my status as some combination of mad and ridiculous, and my aim is to give you asylum, using the most beautifully imperfect yarn.

There’s even a vinyl decal of the Marilyn quote on Stephanie’s wall that I wish I’d taken a picture of.

It was kind of cool to get a behind the scenes look at one of the shop updates that dyers regularly post about on Indie Untangled. And it came with some definite perks. Before the countdown to the opening of Asylum Fibers began, I and my fellow guests got to do a little pre-shopping. I focused on Stephanie’s non-repeatable Chaos colors, picking up this beauty on a light fingering weight.

After stuffing our stashes, and our faces with delicious pulled pork and cornbread, Stephanie gave each of us a massive faux plastic syringe filled with (an also pretty massive) Jello shot to celebrate as she opened her virtual doors.

The orders started coming in, including from some of my knitting friends and newsletter subscribers, and Stephanie even sold out of a lot of her Choas colors. I had my eye on a few of her repeatable colors, especially on her Funny Farm MCN base. But I do know where she lives…

What to stash this week: Mad for yarn

Get ready — tonight, at 10 p.m. Eastern, is the launch of Asylum Fibers. Stephanie, who organizes one of my knitting groups here in NYC, hand dyes semisolid, variegated, speckled self-striping and ombre colorways. Some will be non-repeatable “Chaos Colorways,” while there will also be zany regulars, with names like Bad Bad Girl, Hydrotherapy, Moody, and The Shower Scene.

Sandpiper Socks, Barbara Benson’s first ever sock pattern, has a very clever construction, using variegated yarn with a contrasting color that allows the complex colors to really sing.

Keya’s new Ripple Socks feature a lacy pattern that happens to be stretchy. These socks also holds their own against the randomness of variegated hand-dyed yarns.

This new diaper cover pattern from Knit Eco Chic is inspired by a knitting-related verse in a sacred song.

Indie Untangled newcomer One Hand in the Dyepot has a science-y approach to her work.

Another IU newbie is actually two — mother-daughter dye team Legacy Fiber Artz, with yarns inspired by television shows, movies and more.

Select yarns in the Dye is Cast Yarns Etsy shop are 20% off.

Elliebelly Dye Works has a new base that’s 65% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk and 15% yak.

What to stash this week: Gold at the end of the Rhinebeck rainbow


Designer Lara Smoot had not one, but two patterns that debuted at Rhinebeck. Daydream Believer, pictured above, is a collaboration between Lara and Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings. The triangular shawl uses Michelle’s phenomenal Rainbow self-striping sock yarn, which pops out from a black accent skein. A limited number of Daydream Believer kits are up for sale here, while all of Lara’s patterns are 20% off through the end of the day with the coupon code ‘Rhinebeck’.


There are still a few souvenir tote bags — designed and printed by fellow knitters! — left over from Rhinebeck. Snag one while you can!


Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has been brewing up more magic. Two new OOAK colors, Incantation and Book of Shadows are available on her Super Sparkle base, a 70/25/5 blend of Merino, nylon and Stellina.


If you’re in the mood for more spooky, Halloween-themed yarn, My Mama Knits’ unique Headless Horseman colorway is available on a base of 75% Superwash Merino and 25% nylon sock yarn.

What to stash this week: A yarn journey


The unofficial start of summer means portable projects. Definitely check out the aptly named Traveler, the new base from Cedar Hill Farm Company. The 75/25 British BFL/nylon fingering weight yarn sounds perfect for socks, and with 464 yards per 100g skein, also excellent for shawls. Keya has dyed up jewel tone gradients that include the beautiful teal Elton, pictured above. Grab one for your next journey — even if it’s just relaxing in the backyard. 


If you’re looking for some speckled yarn for one of the many projects I blogged about last week, look no further than Sunshine’s latest shop update. Colorways include Painting of Koi, Jezebel (pictured above) and Lipstick on Your Collar, available on a 75/25 sock yarn blend of Superwash Merino and nylon.

IU newcomer Sara’s Texture Crafts is not very new. To celebrate the company’s 10th birthday, Sara has created a OOAK colorway called Old Gold.

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



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


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


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


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


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


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

What to stash this week: Get ready for pumpkin season


The other day, before settling in at my local Starbucks to do some work, the friendly barista asked me if I wanted some sort of pumpkin cream cheese loaf with my iced tea. Now, I love pumpkin flavored stuff as much as the next person, but the sun was shining and temps were in the 80s — this was not a day for pumpkin spice (you might be “allowed” to eat pumpkin before Labor Day, but I prefer not to, thanks).

However, Alica over at Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe has the right idea. To make room for new autumn lotion bars, like Apple Butter and Pumpkin Spice, she’s marked down all bars in her spring and summer fragrances by 25%. Scents on sale include Coconut Lime, Chipotle Caramel, Fresh Mango, Sea Moss and Spring Meadow.


So, um, where exactly did August go? It’s actually time once again for the next installment of Countess Ablaze’s Twelve Caesars Collection. This latest set of non-repeatable colorways is inspired by the Roman emperor Otho, who only ruled for 95 days, but had quite a history. The update goes live today at 7 p.m. BST.


Skeinny Dipping had an Etsy shop update last Saturday, and in case you missed it, Christine still has some items in stock, including this skein of her new silk and linen lace in Everything Pumpkin Time. As of “press time,” there was only one skein left of this OOAK color, so that’s a pumpkin thing you might want to grab now.


Of course, it’s never too soon to start knitting for fall. Keya of Cedar Hill Farm Company just released her Whitby Place hat and cowl pattern set. Both contain a mix of two traditional fisherman’s guernsey stitch patterns and are named for the town of Whitby, located on the River Esk in Yorkshire. Keya, who runs a farm in Georgia, used her hand-dyed Flock 195, a 3-ply worsted weight, shown here in the Tanzanite colorway. I’m sure you can knit them up faster than an actual fisherman’s guernsey, unless your name is Yelena.


Even if you’re not going back to school, you could always use a new knapsack, right? Wanda of Drawstrings makes her bags in a backpack version, with straps made from strong grosgrain ribbon that are held together with metal brackets.

Purple gradient

And, last but not least, I’m thrilled to officially welcome Melanie of Black Trillium Fibres to Indie Untangled! She comes with some big news: Black Trillium Fibres is transitioning away from Etsy and is in the process of moving to a website all its own. Melanie will be writing a series of blog posts on how the new site is set up, so have a look and see how to get your hands on one of her lovely gradient sets.

What to stash: Get your sharp little needles ready

This Rushmore-inspired skein has 3-4 rows each of navy, oxford blue, khaki, red beret, mustard and green velvet.

This Rushmore-inspired skein has 3-4 rows each of navy, oxford blue, khaki, red beret, mustard and green velvet.

OK, so I might not be quite so obsessed with Wes Anderson that I would drop over a grand to go on a Grand Budapest Hotel-themed cruise cruise (no, I did not make that up), but I am super excited about the Canon Hand Dyes Wes Anderson updates. The first one is happening TODAY at noon PDT, and it will have six-color self-striping skeins and six-color gradient sets inspired by the movies Bottle Rocket and Rushmore.

The Wes-mania will continue every Friday in May, with two new Wes Anderson-inspired colorways each week. Here’s the schedule for the rest of the month:

May 16

The Royal Tenenbaums
Moonrise Kingdom

May 23
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Fantastic Mr. Fox

May 30
The Darjeeling Limited

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Amy has yarn for a variety of pop-culture and literary tastes, including some Downton Abbey-inspired colorways that are very popular.

Linda at Kettle Yarn Co. recently debuted a new shawl kit with the exclusive Antiprism pattern. This is a collaboration with designer Renee Callahan from EastLondonKnit, and each kit comes with a four-skein ombre set of BFL Twist yarns. This pattern will be available only with the Kettle Yarn Co. kit until the fall.


I cannot look at the photos showcasing the new lotion bar scents from Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe without wanting chipotle caramels.

Countess Ablaze continues her Twelve Caesars Collection with Caligula, which features a range of brightly-colored variegated colourways appropriately juxtaposed with the dark, the moody and the sinister.


June Pryce Fiber Arts is the brainchild of two sisters, based in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. They have teamed up to create a one-stop shop for the fiberphile, selling hand-dyed yarn and fiber, as well as handspun yarns, project bags, stitch markers and more. I’ll bet you can’t resist their hand-painted gradient sets, above, available for preorder.

Speaking of which — Dyers have got to stop tempting me with these amazing gradients! Stephanie at Dirty Water DyeWorks just came out with her Brush Creek Shawl Kit, with three different ombre color combos. Check out the blog next week to see all the gradient possibilities…

What to stash this week, launch edition



Over the past few weeks, the Indie Untangled marketplace has been filling with posts from more than a dozen incredibly talented dyers and crafters. And while I was tempted to scoop up nearly everything, don’t worry—there is plenty available for you to buy.

Here’s the first round-up of some of the shop updates, sales and sign-ups you should pounce on:

Pictured above is Sunday Best, a new base by UK-based dyer The Uncommon Thread (seen here in the Lust colorway). It’s one of three new luxury bases being introduced in a shop update TODAY at 4 p.m. BST (that’s 5 hours ahead of EST).

Lakes Yarn and Fiber, an Idaho-based dyer, recently released a new sport-weight base. Head over to Ami’s Etsy shop by tomorrow for 10% off to celebrate her first year in business.

You’ll learn more about Vicki of That Clever Clementine in the near future, but for now, visit her Etsy store on Monday, when she’ll be updating it with even more bags, pouches and bowls in some super-cute fabrics.

Sign-ups for The Woolen Rabbit‘s 2014 yarn club opened April 1 and there are still spots left! Sign up here. There are some really talented designers involved and, of course, access to new colorways and patterns that remain exclusive for six months after the shipment.

The Fish Belly Fiber Works Etsy shop will be updated on Sunday, April 6 at 7 p.m. with lots of lightweight yarns, including a new base. Brook is a 70% superfine superwash Merino, 30% silk lace-weight yarn. With 1,000 yards, the pattern possibilities are endless.

Some fun, brightly-colored self-striping sock yarns were just added to the Invictus Yarns Etsy shop.


Prepare for indecisive spring weather by knitting a pair of X-Mitts (pictured above), a design by Toby Roxane Barna. Dirty Water DyeWorks has added X-Mitts kits to their shop. The yarn is a blend of alpaca, Merino and silk and comes in a variety of colors.

Wendee of Hazel Knits has reintroduced Daphne, a lovely mauve that was discontinued in 2011. All yarn in this color will be 10% off at the Hazel Knits shop through the end of April.

Skeins in the new GLOW series of colorways that Krista from Pigeonroof Studios recently introduced have been selling fast.

Get thee to UK dyer Countess Ablaze‘s website to snag some of her one-of-a-kind colorways based on Roman Emperor Tiberius.

Kettle Yarn Co., also out of the UK, has some very spring-y colors of Islington, a superwash BFL/silk fingering, for sale on Etsy. The yarn was used in a sample of Meghan Fernandes’ Waterlily pattern, which was on the cover of the most recent Pompom Quarterly.

And, finally, you have until July to get 15% off buttons from Melissa Jean Design in honor of the Indie Untangled launch, but I’m sure many of you have sweaters and other projects that need some “closure.”