Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Kim Kaslow of The Woolen Rabbit

This is the eighth post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3. There are only a few tickets left to the Friday night sneak peek party. Get yours now!

Kim of The Woolen Rabbit was one of the first dyers I discovered when I fell down the indie rabbit hole. In fact, one of my friends organized a trip to her New Hampshire studio several years ago and I’m still kicking myself for not going (something about having too much yarn? I kind of laugh at that now — I did not have too much yarn compared to now). Kim was also one of the first dyers I contacted when I launched Indie Untangled in 2014 and I’m thrilled that she’s participated in my little venture, posting to the marketplace, sending yarn to sell at last year’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show and, finally, participating in this weekend’s show at Woolyn.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I have been dyeing yarn now for about 15 years. I started off with a bunch of sweet angora rabbits. I would dye their fur with Merino and have it processed into pin drafted roving for spinning. As I ventured further into dyeing, I found that I preferred dyeing yarn, so I moved more in that direction. After seeing a beautiful-in-the-skein yarn I dyed knit up horribly in the finished item because of the pooling, it became my goal to really focus on creating non pooling yarns, which I think I have been able to accomplish for the most part.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

Frequently I look to nature for colorways. The subtle blending of colors in nature are always such an inspiration for me. Coloway names… usually whatever pops into my mind. Years ago I had a color way named Iggy Pop… ha!

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

I love the colors of autumn, so I frequently turn to them when creating — colors such as New England Red, Butterscotch Pudding, Oakmoss, Birch Beer and Enchanted Forest. I don’t think my preferences have changed much as I love muted colors, but I am trying to challenge myself with some of the newer ways of dyeing. Not there yet, but I love new challenges!

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

There are times when I am focusing on creating a particular color but I just can’t get the exact color I am aiming for no matter how many times I try. But sometimes what I end up with can be an unexpected surprise. Many of my most popular colorways were created this way.

How often do you update your online shop?

My online shop is all dyed to order, so I don’t do massive updates. Years ago when I first discovered the world of hand-dyed yarns and the anticipated updated shops only to be disappointed that the yarns that I wanted sold out faster than I could type, I decided then that I would not do shop updates, but dye to order instead. So far it has worked for me, even though my customers do have to wait seven to 10 days for their yarn, unless I happen to have some from a show on hand. I am so fortunate to have some wonderful customers!

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

Over the years, I have run my business both ways — as my main business and with another job. When I was growing my business up, I was fortunate to be working at home which gave me a lot of freedom to learn the business and create. I left that job to pursue dyeing full time which I did for a number of years. Now, with my children grown and on their own, I went back into the work force part time, so that I would be around people, but I still enjoy the rest of my time creating in my studio.

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

Time management and discipline, which is not always easy with an artist’s brain. It’s always my biggest challenge, but so important. One of the very best things are the amazing people I have met along my journey in this amazing field we are so fortunate to be a part of!

Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Denise Gronda of Yoshi & Lucy

This is the seventh post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3.

I first met Denise of Yoshi & Lucy at last year’s Indie Untangled @ Woolyn Trunk Show. She was sitting next to me at Rachel’s long back table and introduced herself as an indie dyer who happened to live a few blocks away. What a great neighborhood find! She’s since posted often to the Indie Untangled marketplace and I used one of her hot pink colorways to knit a pussy hat last winter. I’m excited to see more of her yarns in person at Woolyn this weekend. Have you grabbed your tickets for the sneak peek party yet?

Yoshi & Lucy

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I started dyeing yarn because I’m a big fan of hand dyed yarn. I was curious about how to dye yarn so I found some Youtube videos and books. After six months of playing around, I had more yarn than I knew what to do with. I was also hating my current job so I decided to take the plunge and start my own business.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

I do a lot of experimenting and try to come up with colorways I would love to knit. Sometimes I have an idea beforehand but usually I just play around and see what happens. I’ll admit I’m very bad at picking colorway names so I usually take photos of the new yarn and send them to my best friend who is a genius with naming colorways.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

My favorite color is purple and I have probably have too many purple colorways. Of course I try to expand the colors I offer with each update.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

There is my Rainbow Dash colorway which was the result of an experiment. It is a multiple step colorway and sometimes it doesn’t come out as it should. I do end up selling those as “misfit” skeins. People seems to like them even if it isn’t exactly as I intended.

How often do you update your online shop?

I try to have at least three updates per month.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

Dyeing is my main business and it’s the best job I have ever had.

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

I had to learn how to balance the business side and creative side of the business. I need time to create but I also have to do administrative tasks and keep up with my social media accounts so that my business will grow.

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

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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.

Yarnstock 2017: The Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show

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I’m always amazed by the response to the little event I dreamed up just a few months after launching Indie Untangled in 2014. I had an idea to do something with my new website at Rhinebeck. My first thought was to have a few dyers selling yarn in the back of Gigi Trattoria (ha!), maybe giving short lectures about their creative process. Then that changed to a dozen vendors in half of the ballroom at the Best Western in Kingston. I called it a trunk show because I didn’t want to make it seem bigger than I thought it would be, but when I counted more than 200 attendees that night, I knew I was onto something.

This year, the fourth annual Rhinebeck Trunk Show drew more than 1,000 people to check out the yarn, project bags, stitch markers and accessories and supporting over two dozen small, women-owned businesses.

Though I had a wonderful group of volunteers monitoring lines and helping out vendors, I know the crowd was very difficult to navigate this year and that many people weren’t able to shop comfortably. Since Friday, I have been researching alternative venues and talking to vendors, attendees and event planners on how to best manage the crowds. Rest assured that there will be changes next year that will benefit everyone.

I did have to laugh when the woman at one of the venues I contacted told me I wouldn’t have to worry about parking because I would probably get shoppers trickling in and out. You don’t know knitters, I told her.

But while we are very… enthusiastic, I’ve found that knitters are also the most generous, kindhearted people I have ever met. Consider the response when Maria of Tuskenknits learned after she got home to Washington State that her payment processing app hadn’t collected the card numbers of more than half her customers that night. A ton of knitters responded to her small Skein Sponsor campaign, and she received an outpouring of donations to help her in case she can’t reach most of the customers who weren’t charged.

By the way, if you did purchase yarn from Tuskenknits on Friday, please check your credit/debit card statements and see if you were charged. If not, please contact Maria.

Since my phone was a bit occupied during the show, I unfortunately wasn’t able to take any photos of the event, but, as always, it was captured beautifully on Instagram. Here are some of my favorite images:

😄😄😄 #allsmiles Shout out to Gabby for being so awesome @onceuponacorgi

A post shared by Nicole Clark (@nicole_hueloco) on

And setup is done! Ready for Indie Untangled 2017 to begin! 🐑🎉🐑🌈

A post shared by Marsha (@1geek2craftall) on

@indieuntangled #indieuntangled2017

A post shared by MsVicki (@thatcleverclementine) on

👀 These two. OMG. Love 'em both to pieces. @indieuntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow2017 #yhrb2017

A post shared by MsVicki (@thatcleverclementine) on

Miss Indie Untangled herself!!!

A post shared by String Thing Studio (@stringthingstudio) on

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

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.

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!