What to stash this week: Places you can knit

Each week, I get to learn about all sorts of cool things that indie dyers are doing, from new kits and colorways to shawl designs and project bags. But what I enjoy the most about this job — and I’m still pinching myself that this is my job! — is getting to collaborate with makers I admire on events such as the Rhinebeck Trunk Show and projects like the Where We Knit yarn club.

After sending out the final package of 2017 earlier this month, I’m excited to announce the indie dyer/designer teams for the 2018 club. They are: Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar. You can read about each team’s Where We Knit inspiration, and sign up for the club, here. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31, 2017, with a limited number of spots.

In between opening her new yarn shop and generally dyeing all the things, Aimee snapped a photo of the Indie Untangled exclusive Automne à Rhinebeck on her Merino DK. It’s just as gorgeous as it is on her Merino Singles. Both are available to preorder now through Dec. 8.

It looks like Fades are here to stay. Whether you’re shopping for a Comford Fade cardigan or a What the Fade shawl, Sheila of BigFootFibers has you covered with yarns of all sizes and configurations.

Tami of Eternity Ranch Knits has spent 2017 dyeing Disney princess- and Gone with the Wind-themed colorways. She is now selling the entire collection — a dozen skeins, plus a 13th bonus skein — at a discounted price. It’s your chance to collect them all!

IU newcomer The Blue Brick has released a new tonal line of yarns to complement its gradient line.

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: You can knit anything

Thought it may not feel like it, winter is coming. In anticipation, Julia has launched the Pandia’s Jewels Winter Collection. It includes a variety of new winter-inspired colors that range from speckled to blue/green tonal colors. All are in stock on a variety of bases and ready to ship.

For The Woolen Rabbit’s 2018 yarn club, dyer Kim has brought together five popular designers who will create color inspirations for her to dye as well as patterns based on women in history that have made an impression on them. The designers include Christina Campbell, AKA The Healthy Knitter, Skeinwalker Knits, Paulina Popiolek, Alicia Plummer, and Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio.

Speaking of women in history, Courtney’s latest shawl design is inspired by Cathay Williams, who in 1866 enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name William Cathay, becoming the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army. This crescent shawl has sections of mesh and textured slip stitches and uses two skeins of fingering.

IU newcomer McMullin Fiber Co. has just finished celebrating Socktober. Head to Kate’s shop to check out her neutral “Fadients” and Squishy super bulky yarn, among other goodness.

Keya Kuhn and Michelle Guilmet-Buck have released South, a collection of eight modern accessory patterns using a variety of yarns, including Keya’s Sporty Sheep.

Sign-ups are open until November 15 for the new Round Table Yarns yarn club. For the club, a specific story from the Arthurian legends will be chosen as the inspiration — this club’s story is called the Abduction of Guenevere — and a part of the story will arrive along with each yarn shipment.

While many of us were at Rhinebeck, Lisa The Knitting Artist was selling her wares at the Hill Country Yarn Crawl. Luckily she still has some inventory to share with us, including a new 75/25 Merino/nylon sock base. The colorways are dyed to match Lisa’s original oil paintings, and each skein comes with a greeting card with the painting image on the front.

I’m excited to debut The Farmers Daughter Fibers in the post-Rhinebeck pop-up shop. I have some skeins of Candice’s luscious Foxy Lady Merino/silk fingering in several Montana-inspired colorways. I’ve also been having some fun pairing together Foxy Lady and Dark Harbour Starboard, which is also a wool/silk single. Pictured above is Nikki of Dark Harbor’s Ceasg and Candice’s Whispers of the Aspen.

And, the second round of Indie Untangled tote bags arrived from the printer yesterday, so if you order one I will ship it out in 1-2 business days.

You have just one more week to preorder Jill Draper’s Walk in the Park and Desert Dusk, which are both inspired by sunset at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

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.

Rhinebeck Trunk Show preview from Yarn Culture

This is the ninth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2017 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun! We are proud and delighted to be the Featured Sponsor for the Indie-Untangled Trunk show for the third year! Sharing yarns we love with knitters is one of the very best parts of what we do everyday. The Indie Untangled Trunk Show is a perfect time for us to showcase some of these yarns. This year we are hosting two lovely and different yarns – Rosy Green Wool and Crave Yarn.

Rosy Green Wool

ROSY GREEN WOOL is the result of a passionate desire to produce a hand knitting yarn that is certified organic through every aspect of production and product delivery. From the farms in Patagonia where the original fleece is sourced, through the spinning and dyeing process and to both distribution centers world wide, Rosy Green Wool meets the strict standards of the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).

What does this mean to you? Rosy Green Wool is a yarn you can feel great about AND a yarn that feels great to knit, crochet and wear.

We’ll have four yarn bases for you to try at the Indie Untangled Trunk Show:

Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy, Big Merino Hug, Heb Merino Fine, and Manx Merino Fine.

Patrick Gruban of Rosy Green Wool

We’ll be featuring beautiful new patterns by German designers Melanie Berg, Jana Huck and Isabell Kraemer.

Find inspiration and yarn to create garments we know you’ll love including:

Streetscape by Jana Huck, Rheinlust by Melanie Berg, Helgoland by Melanie Berg, Ainu by Isabell Kraemer

Follow Yarn Culture on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Untangling Valerie Hobbs of laughingstar knits

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I love seeing my favorite indie dyers and designers collaborate on special projects — especially when it’s for something as special as Rhinebeck.

Massachusetts-based designer Valerie Hobbs recently worked with Alice O’Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks on two designs that will be showcased at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show next Friday, Oct. 20. The Winter Creek Vest, pictured on Valerie above, was knit with Backyard Fiberworks Field, a 100% Superwash Merino worsted weight, and her Meadow Cardigan, which will be released Nov. 1, uses Backyard Fiberworks Meadow, a DK weight MCN. Both garments will be on display at the Backyard Fiberworks booth at the show.

When Valerie is not designing patterns, she works as an interior designer and furniture consultant for a large university. I asked her to tell me a little more about her inspirations and herself.

Tell me what inspired the Winter Creek Vest and Meadowbrook Cardigan?

Winter Creek – I was playing with a long scarf and came up with the idea of shaping it around the neck and having the ends drape down the front, and then adding stitches for the armholes and body. The stitch pattern was from a cowl I had designed previously but never published. I made a fleece mock-up to figure out the draping, and the shaping of the armholes and neck.

Meadowbrook – This one started as a sketch. I had an idea for a cardigan with columns of lace that started at different points. I then turned to my stitch dictionaries to find the right lace and ended up modifying a stitch pattern from a Japanese stitch dictionary. When I had the sweater almost completed, the lace and cashmere seemed to call out for a ruffled collar. I checked with my daughter, who has excellent taste, and she agreed it would be the perfect finish!

How does your work as an interior designer inform your knitwear designs?

I work at a university – my interior design work is classic and functional to fit my clients’ needs, and I think my knitwear design is similar.

What made you decide to start designing knitwear?

Like so many designers, I was always modifying patterns, whether they were for knitting or sewing. About seven years ago, I designed a cardigan because I couldn’t find the style I wanted. I got so many requests for the pattern on Ravelry, that I published it, and then a couple of years after that, started designing more seriously. I’ve always been a designer one way or the other, whether in the theater, where I worked in costume design and construction, or as an interior designer, or for my own personal needs. So when I reconnected with knitting after a long break, designing knitwear seemed like a natural choice.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I’ve been knitting for so long I don’t even really remember. I think my grandmother taught me the basics, but mostly I learned from books — it was the pre-Internet era!

The Meadowbrook Cardigan.

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

Usually, I’ll start with a sketch. I’m always scribbling down ideas – I even have a notebook in the car for those times I’m stopped in commuter traffic. When I’m ready to start a new design, I’ll go back through my notebooks to see what inspires me. Sometimes I’ll have a yarn or a stitch pattern in mind as I look at the sketches – and if not, I’ll go through my stitch dictionaries, look through my stash, research options, draw a schematic. And then I swatch!!

What are some of your favorite colors and how has designing changed them?

I like all colors except orange! My favorite is purple – but I’ve been staying away from it because it’s so hard to photograph. I seem to be using a lot of blues most recently.

Have you been to Rhinebeck before? What are some of your favorite things to see there?

Yes, I’ve been traveling there with a group of knitting friends for the last few years. My favorite thing – looking at the sweaters, shawls, and other knitted objects that people are wearing! And of course, all the yarn!

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. 

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2017 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner’s Mason Dixon Knitting was one of the first knitting blogs I heard about when I first fell down this rabbit hole several years ago. I’ve been excited to see what started out as a public correspondence between two knitting friends from different parts of the East Coast — before they even met IRL! — turn into a booming business, with daily articles from some of our industry’s stars, a shop full of patterns and exclusive yarns and goodies and an upcoming retreat in Tennessee (which sadly sold out before I could commit to going).

I’ve recently been corresponding with the pair via email and asked them to expand on how their mini knitting empire has evolved:

Tell me how Mason-Dixon Knitting got started. How did you come up with the idea of an ongoing correspondence and how has your website evolved?

We started a blog in 2003, just for kicks. We had been emailing each other constantly up until that point, so it seemed natural to just continue in that style.

Over the years, we developed a vision for a larger website for knitters, one that would be a wide-ranging online magazine and beautiful shop. Our new site launched last October, after a year of development. It has been a huge year for us, and we are so glad to see our idea become reality.

The URL is still MasonDixonKnitting.com, but the richness of content and offerings is completely different from the old blog. We feature the brightest designers, great writers, supersmart teachers, and our Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide series of pattern books.

We publish new stories every single day, so our readers start their day with a peek at something beautiful, profound, funny, or surprising. We’ve become a daily habit for thousands of knitters, and we treasure that connection.

The most exciting component of the new site is our online shop that features the most exquisite yarns we can find. We add new yarns constantly.

That’s why we are such supporters of Indie Untangled–we want to celebrate independent yarnmakers any way that we can–by telling their stories, collaborating with them to create special editions, and teaching knitters why these yarns are so important.

What would you say are the most important traits that each of you bring to your business?

Curiosity and enthusiasm are continuously bubbling up, and we think that’s the core of Mason-Dixon Knitting.

We never get tired of knitting. No matter how much knitting we do for MDK, or for our series of books (Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guides), we remain extremely susceptible to casting on the next great thing we see, just for fun. We are endlessly curious about what people in the knitting community are doing, whether they’re designing or making yarn or tending sheep. Important fact in all this: we both type very fast.

Was it strange to start such a partnership without meeting each other (before Ravelry made that kind of thing slightly more “normal” for knitters)?

Starting a blog was such a lark, and so casual, that it didn’t seem like a big deal. At one point Kay got it in her head that this “Ann from Nashville” might actually be the author Ann Patchett (who lives in Nashville).

When we got a book deal in 2004, we made haste to meet in person!

Mason Dixon Knitting Field Guides.

How did each of you get into designing?

We love and respect the work of knitwear designers so much and have only rarely designed sweaters ourselves. There is so much expertise and nuance in a sweater design!

But early on, we wanted to knit open-ended projects like blankets, or fun little palate cleansers like dishcloths or other home items. When we went looking for patterns for those items, we didn’t see exactly what we had in mind, so we invented our own patterns. Kay still occasionally gets a blanket idea stuck in her brain and can’t rest until she knits it and writes it up. It’s a fun puzzle! And even more fun when knitters take an idea we’ve had and run with it. We love going to visit our patterns on Ravelry and seeing what knitters have done with them.

How did you come up with the idea for your Knitting Getaway next June?

In 2015, we went together to Shakerag Workshops, an annual two-week craft workshop in Sewanee, Tennessee, which is a wonderful place not far from Nashville. The entire time, we kept thinking, “We have to make this happen for knitters!” It’s very special to spend time in the company of other knitters, relaxing, learning, knitting, walking, swimming, and then to have delicious meals appear all by themselves: that’s heaven!

The only bummer is that we have such limited space. Fingers crossed that everyone will behave and we can host another Knitting Getaway.

Ann Weaver’s Sommerfeld Shawl.

When and how did you each learn to knit?

Kay learned as a Camp Fire Girl, made one thing (acrylic slippers!) and didn’t think about knitting again until she was in her thirties, when she picked up the needles and remembered how to knit. Ann was starting out on her career in book publishing, and took a night class in knitting. We both got the bug real bad from the start. In the early 2000s, we each found our way to the Rowan website’s chat board, where we met so many amazing knitters and characters, and each other.

Tell me about one of your most memorable FOs.

Kay: It’s not an FO yet, but I’m nearing the finish line on a giant Kaffe Fassett intarsia cardigan that I’m making from a vintage 1980s kit. It is by far the most difficult knitting I’ve attempted. Just weaving in the ends is going to merit a Lifetime Achievement Award. One of Ann’s most memorable projects is a pullover she made out of at least eight different cream-colored yarns that she had collected, in her own pattern of randomly twisting cables. It shouldn’t work at all, but it’s beautiful!

What are you most excited to check out at the Indie Untangled trunk show?

OK, here’s a confession: when we go to Indie Untangled, we are shopping for ourselves, but also for the MDK Shop. We can think of nothing more exciting to offer our readers than the beautiful yarns that hand-dyers are making these days. It’s a golden age of yarn, and we feel very lucky that we get to travel to Rhinebeck and see so many rare yarns in person.

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What to stash this week: Reading yarn

Lola of Third Vault Yarns is encouraging knitting and reading with her new yarn club. A subscription to the sci-fi and fantasy-themed Vaulter’s Book Club comes with themed yarn and a specially designed pattern, along with a UK sweet treat. There will also be book discussion on Ravelry or in The Vault Facebook group. The first edition of the club is inspired by the urban fantasy I Bring the Fire series by C. Gockel.

Elakala, Mindy Wilkes’ new colorwork cowl, is inspired by the Elakala Falls, part of the Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia. The two swirling motifs are knit in two colors of fingering weight yarn.

Start your fall knitting with a new hand-dyed palette of fall colors from Bijou Basin Ranch called Autumn Spices. The seven semisolid and two variegated colorways are dyed on BBR’s new Himalayan Summit, a 50/50 blend of yak and Merino.

More a binge watcher than a reader? Melanie of Baad Mom Yarns has launched a yarn club inspired by the TV show Reign.