A new look for Indie Untangled

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If you check out Indie Untangled on your phone or tablet, you may notice that it looks a little different — in a good way.

Back in 2013, when I came up with the idea for this site, web development was changing rapidly. I decided that Indie Untangled didn’t need a mobile version, since I preferred the desktop version to a lot of the mobile sites I had seen. However, I soon realized that was a big mistake. So I decided that once Indie Untangled was up and running, I would eventually reinvest in responsive design.

The story behind the redesign is a kind of a nice It’s a Small Knitting World story. When I decided I was ready to create a mobile site, I learned the original company I worked with, Aeolidia, was only doing complete projects. After a developer they referred me to ended up being booked solid for the next several months, I randomly decided to Google “knitter web developer.” The first site to come up was that of Laura Birek, a knitting designer and writer… who also happened to be a web developer with an expertise in responsive design and WordPress! Score!

Laura spend the last week or so making the site responsive, and also added some extras, like a button with a link to the Indie Untangled Instagram feed. I’m thrilled with the new design and I hope it makes things easier for those of you who, like me, do a lot of yarn shopping via phone or tablet.

Also, thanks to all of the artisans, yarn club members, trunk show attendees and those of you who have purchased yarn and other products from me in the last few years for supporting Indie Untangled and helping to make this redesign possible!

What to stash this week: Yarn from afar and Christmas cheer

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For the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, Nikki of Dark Harbour Yarn shipped a huge box that included a few of her gorgeous grey gradients, as well as silky Starboard and Port, a squishy 100% Merino fingering. Surprisingly, there is some yarn remaining, and it is now available at Indie Untangled! Personally, I love the combination above, which my friend Andrea put together during Rhinebeck weekend. You might want to scoop it up before my stash claims it.

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I know, it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but we knitters need to get ready for the holidays! Ann Tudor, who makes adorable glass sheep stitch markers, has the perfect accessories for your holiday knitting and crocheting. There are two holiday-themed stitch marker sets and Christmas Tree zipper pulls, which are perfect for project bags and can double as a marker.

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Courtney of Floofy Moose Design’s latest design doubles as a history lesson. The Sybil Ludington shawl is inspired by a young girl who rode for 40 miles to warn her father’s militiamen that British troops were planning to attack Danbury, Connecticut, during the American Revolution, sparing lives. The crescent shaped shawl has sections of mesh, lace and cable panels.

What to stash this week: Pops of color

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One of the highlights of the Rhinebeck Trunk Show was getting to see several colorways and bases from The Woolen Rabbit in person. While Kim unfortunately was unable to make it to the show from her home in New Hampshire and have her own display as planned, we ended up doing a last minute change and she sent me yarn to sell in the Indie Untangled booth. And now, you have the opportunity to purchase what I took home with me in a special Woolen Rabbit pop-up. Hop to it!

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Forget adult coloring books — coloring project bags are where it’s at. Yep, Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has combined yarn, coloring books and bags into the ultimate craft project. Starting today at 9 a.m. Pacific, four bag sizes will be available in three different coloring fabrics, printed on Eco Canvas to reduce marker bleed, and a choice of inside fabric. You’ll also get a “gauge swatch” to gauge your ink. So fun!

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Sue of Invictus Yarns is back in action after a busy month of fiber festivals. Her Etsy shop is fully stocked some returning favorites as well as some new colorways.

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After making a splash at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show, Nikki Dark Harbour Yarns has updated her shop. Even though it’s fall here, you get to take advantage of her spring colors, with pinks, greys and blues. Plus, get your hands on skeins of Starboard to make Jennifer Dassau’s Refracted shawl, which debuted at Rhinebeck.

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The Florence Cathedral Cowl from Courtney of FloofyMoose Designs is inspired by Il Duomo di Firenze, one of Italy’s largest churches. It’s knit in the round with a repeating lace pattern and beads, using a single skein of sock yarn. The size easily modified, with percentages of yarn used on hand if you want to change the size of your cowl.

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

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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’.

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

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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.

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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.

Indie yarn and pattern pairings from Yarn Culture

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This is the eighth and final post in a series of blog posts with the generous sponsors of the 2016 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Though there have been many times when I’ve impulse bought beautiful hand-dyed skeins without an idea of what they’ll become, I generally try to shop for yarn with patterns in mind. If you also find it helpful to have suggestions, I asked Patti Odinak, the owner of Yarn Culture in Fairport, N.Y., to send over her favorite patterns for the yarn she’s bringing to the 2016 Indie Untangled Trunk show from two overseas indies: The Uncommon Thread, based in the UK, and Rosy Green Wool of Germany.

I’m also excited to announce that Ce Persiano, the talented dyer behind TUT, will be hopping across the pond and will be at the Yarn Culture booth during the trunk show!

The Uncommon Thread

Yarn: Linum, a fingering-weight blend of 50% baby alpaca, 25% silk and 25% linen

Yarn: Linum, a fingering-weight blend of 50% baby alpaca, 25% silk and 25% linen

Pattern:  Wildheart by Janina Kallio 

Pattern:  Wildheart by Janina Kallio 


 
Yarn: Everyday Sport, a sport-weight 100% Merino

Pattern: Simply by Cheryl Faust 
 
Yarn: Posh Fingering, a fingering-weight blend of 70% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere

Pattern: Round Cove by Amy Herzog 
 
Yarn: Lush Worsted, a worsted-weight blend of 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% nylon
 
Pattern: London Mitts by Thea Coleman 

Rosy Green Wool 

Yarn: Cheeky Merino Joy, a fingering-weight 100% organic Merino from Patagonia

Yarn: Cheeky Merino Joy, a fingering-weight 100% organic Merino from Patagonia


 
Patterns:
Drachenfels
Efelgold
Heidschnucke
The Girl in Me
Beethoven Mitts
from fellow German Melanie Berg

Turks and Caicos by Amy Herzog
Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier
 

Yarn: Manx, a fingering-weight blend of organic Merino and Manx Loaghtan wool (Manx Loaghtan is an endangered sheep breed that is originally from the Isle of Man)

Yarn: Manx, a fingering-weight blend of organic Merino and Manx Loaghtan wool (Manx Loaghtan is an endangered sheep breed that is originally from the Isle of Man)

Yarn: Heb, 100% organic Merino and Hebridean

Pattern: Rheinlust by Melanie Berg 

Pattern: Rheinlust by Melanie Berg 

Behind the scenes with Signature Needle Arts

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This is the seventh in a series of blog posts with the generous sponsors of the 2016 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

After doing an interview last year with Cathryn Bothe, the founder of Signature Needle Arts, I thought it would be interesting to go behind the scenes at the Wisconsin factory, which makes both custom metal parts — things like surgical tool components and mining safety equipment — as well as high-end knitting needles. Here’s a little video they made that takes a look at the manufacturing process.

While Signature will not have a booth at the trunk show, they will be offering attendees 10% off any online order over $25 from their website through Oct. 19 (the code will be available at the show).

Rhinebeck indie yarn & sweater pairings from Amy Herzog

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This is the sixth in a series of blog posts with the generous sponsors of the 2016 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

After the interview I did with designer and knitting techie Amy Herzog last year, I decided to ask her to pair yarn from some of the indie dyers at the trunk show with her sweater patterns. I’m looking forward to showing off my Acer cardigan — which I knit to my measurements using Amy’s brilliant CustomFit software and Skeinny Dipping’s Journey Worsted — at the fairgrounds on Saturday!

Knitters, it is so great to be us right now.

When I learned to knit as a kid, I had a really limited set of yarn options. There was department-store acrylic, of course, as well as basic wool in both woolenspun and worsted-spun varieties. If cost was no issue, Lopi was definitely available — and of course there was dishcloth cotton, though you wouldn’t really want to wear a sweater knit from it (ask me how I know). And that was pretty much it.

Contrast that to now: hundreds of varieties of yarn at every price point, fiber blend, and several unusual constructions. The explosion that happened in our community when knitters met the internet has changed our craft in a thousand ways. One of the most important is that individual artisans can now engage with knitters everywhere — and Indie Untangled in particular does a lovely job of making that match.

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I share Lisa’s love of artisan yarn, and can easily get lost playing around with how deeply-complex colors meshed with stitch patterns in a design. But I often hear from knitters that the sheer… specialness of artisanal yarn makes it hard to commit to a sweater project. What if it’s not right? What if we don’t like the result?

So in celebration and anticipation of the third Indie Untangled event at Rhinebeck this year, I thought I’d offer my opinion on some pattern/yarn pairings that are sure to produce sweaters you want to wear all the time — from general recommendations to specific yarn/pattern pairings that I think will be divine.

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Before I dive into specific matches, though, I want to take a moment to talk about using special yarns in general. In my opinion, if you’re pouring your effort into a yarn that makes your heart flutter, the yarn should be the star of the show. And that means the design should take a back seat to, and support, the beauty of the yarn — rather than competing with it.

This doesn’t have to mean plain stockinette, although sometimes that’s definitely the best way to showcase a spectacular yarn:

Small Point, Bourrasque, and Beacon Hill all use Stockinette to highlight gorgeous yarns. Photo credit for Beacon Hill to Caro Sheridan of Splityarn.

Small Point, Bourrasque, and Beacon Hill all use Stockinette to highlight gorgeous yarns. Photo credit for Beacon Hill to Caro Sheridan of Splityarn.

It can also mean small-scale stitch patterns or design elements that showcase something exquisite about the yarn you’ve chosen. Here are a few sweaters where lace gets translated into a beautiful fuzzy texture by a rustic woolenspun, or a small-scale texture breaks up more substantial color changes:

Caulfield uses a small eyelet-and-slipped stitch tiling pattern to blend colors; Foyle’s Pullover turns lace into texture; Cushing Isle breaks up big color switches with twisted stitches.

Caulfield uses a small eyelet-and-slipped stitch tiling pattern to blend colors; Foyle’s Pullover turns lace into texture; Cushing Isle breaks up big color switches with twisted stitches.

But whether you’re into miles of Stockinette or not, when you’re evaluating a design for your show-stopping yarn, it’s a good idea to stop and check whether your favorite part of the design will be in conflict with, or support, the yarn itself.

Matches made in heaven

The Woolen Rabbit. I’ve worked with Kim’s yarns extensively over the years, and have never had an experience that was less than blissful. I’ve designed several patterns for her yarn, so it’s tough to choose just one — but this fall, I’m in love with cables.

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Partly, this is because I’ve just introduced cabled patterns in CustomFit, my custom-gauge-and-size sweater pattern generator. But I was very excited to make Birch Bark, in particular, one of the first. I originally worked this sweater up in Frolic, and I’m still excited by the way the very graphic cables interact with the subtle color changes of Kim’s yarn. I’ve taken advantage of the re-release to make a long-sleeved version for myself, and this time I’m using WW Kashmir. I think it would work beautifully in a number of colorways — it was hard to choose! My three finalists were Oakmoss, Pussywillow, and Enchanted Forest.

The Uncommon Thread. I was introduced to Posh Fingering when I worked up my Round Cove cardigan, and I’ve hankered for my own ever since I made it. But when thinking about pattern pair-ups for this post, I couldn’t get the thought of a Sunset Drive in the Posh out of my head:

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The Sunset Drive sample in these pictures was actually made for someone else, and I’ve wanted to make my own version with a slightly-dropped neckline. I’m more of a neutrals-wearer, myself, so I think I’d lean into that with Uncommon Thread’s lovely muted shades. You can see all of their colors here; I’m dreaming of Baby Elephant Walk, Squirrel Nutkin, and Olive Leaf in particular.

Rosy Green Wool. Finally, a relative newcomer yarn — at least to me! I recently worked up a new design explicitly for Rosy Green Wool’s Cheeky Merino Joy:

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Tidal Pool is available on Ravelry as a traditional pattern, and will be available via CustomFit later this fall. I was so incredibly impressed with the sophisticated color and diamond-sharp stitch definition of this yarn that I knew I couldn’t do anything other than an updated classic. The textured stitch pattern of Tidal Pool is a direct homage to the loveliness of this yarn.

Should you be looking for another canvas, though, I think it would look equally stunning both in allover textures and on simple, classic silhouettes like my Options KAL pullover, Firth and Coracle.

And with that, I think I’ve gone on about sweaters for quite long enough!

I’d love to keep the conversation going — if you have any special yarn-pattern pairings that you adore, share them with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — or see more of my musings on my own site. And whether you’ll be at Rhinebeck or not, have a great fall filled with lovely knitting!

Get to know the yaks, and yarn, of Bijou Basin Ranch

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This is the fifth in a series of blog posts with the generous sponsors of the 2016 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Yaks aren’t the first animals knitters think of when we think about yarn, but Carl and Eileen Koop, the owners of Bijou Basin Ranch, have boosted the long-haired bovid’s reputation among the knitting community. The animals produce a fiber with a softness similar to Cashmere, leading to a yarn that is warmer than wool, perfect for luxurious winter accessories.

Many of BBR’s longtime customers know the Tibetan yaks that Carl and Eileen raise at their ranch in Colorado by name: Napoleon, Doc, Ruby, Jade, Sharzae, and the twins Knit and Purl.

Get to know them a little better in this video:

The Koops have a lot of fun with their family-owned operation, and earlier this year BBR hosted a #memeayak contest on social media, inviting their fans to create memes using photos of the animals. Here are a few of the entries:

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The crew at BBR focuses on raising the yaks, and works with a variety of U.S.-based mills to turn the fiber into yarn, much of which is hand dyed by indies all around the country, including Tennessee-based Miss Babs, Minnesota-based ModeKnit and Lost City Knits of Oklahoma. At Rhinebeck and other fall festivals, BBR will be offering new colors from Miss Babs, 10 of which debut this week. Check them out at booths 13 and 14 in Building C!

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Those of you attending the Indie Untangled Trunk Show can enter to win a surprise raffle prize from Carl and Eileen and their adorable creatures.

What to stash this week: Rhinebeck preorders, pirates, clubs and mini skeins

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To make shopping at the third annual Rhinebeck Trunk Show easier, some of the vendors have been working with indie designers and are debuting special kits, a few of which will be available to preorder through the Indie Untangled website. The first of these special dyer/designer collaborations is the Whisp cowl. This two-color brioche cowl was designed by Lesley Anne Robinson of Knit Graffiti Designs and uses yarn from Alice of Backyard Fiberworks and Laurie of Feel Good Yarn Company, who will be sharing a booth at the show. You can preorder your kits at a discount to pick up at the trunk show, where they will also be available at a higher price. If you can’t make it, both Alice and Laurie will be selling kits on their own websites after the trunk show. 

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Monday be International speak Like a scurvy pirate Day, ‘n ye can celebrate wit’ yarrrn. Just in the hour fer th’ shore leave, Christine ‘o Treasure Goddess Yarn released her Buried Treasure Collection, which be full ‘o awe. th’ collection weapons gradient mini skein sets ‘o luxury sock yarn in th’ colorways Blackbeard’s Revenge ‘n Floats ye Boat, wit’ a knitted shawl pattern ‘n a crocheted scarf pattern released fer th’ sets. lovely booty also includes adorable scurvy pirate sheep stitch markers ‘n needle gauges.

Translation: Monday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and you can celebrate with yarrrn. Just in time for the holiday, Christine of Treasure Goddess Yarn released her Buried Treasure Collection, which is awesome. The collection features gradient mini skein sets of luxury sock yarn in the colorways Blackbeard’s Revenge and Floats Your Boat, with a knitted shawl pattern and a crocheted scarf pattern released for the sets. Booty also includes adorable pirate sheep stitch markers and needle gauges.

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What’s better than unicorns or llamas? Llamicorns, of course! Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios will be putting bags with this awesome fabric, along with colorful hand-dyed yarn from Pandia’s Jewels, up for sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time. Make sure to leap like a llama, because once they’re gone, they’re gone (as if they never existed in the first place…).

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Stephanie of SpaceCadet has opened up subscriptions for her out-of-this-world yarn club. Membership in the InterStellar Yarn Alliance gets you a fabulous package delivered every other month with SpaceCadet yarn in an exclusive Yarn Alliance colorway, a collectible gift, the story behind the inspiration for each color, a newsletter with periodic offers only for members and a 15% off coupon every six months. Hurray — sign-ups are only open through Sept. 24.

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If you’re in the New Jersey area this weekend, learn how to spin, and/or pet some adorable sheep. Middle Brook Fiberworks is hosting a beginner fleece-to-fiber spinning workshop tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an open studio event from 3 to 5 p.m., during which Anne will demo eco-print natural dyeing with botanicals on silk scarves. You can also meet her new pets — a trio of Shetland sheep! If it’s too last minute, several spinning and dyeing classes are scheduled through the winter. 

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Cedar Hill Farm Company just had a mega shop update that includes new colorways, a selection of self-striping and variegated yarns, kits for socks and mitts and plenty of new project bags. There are also needles and notions to go with your yarn, with a selection of Chiaogoo Red Lace needles and Dr. Who project keepers now available.

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It’s miniskein mania! Mothy and the Squid is now offering “random” lucky dip mini skein mixes. Each mix includes a set of ten 10g mini skeins with a range of bright colors on either 75/25 Merino/nylon sock yarn or Merino DK. If you just want a really mini treat, smaller sets of five mini skeins in Merino/nylon sock yarn are also available.

Untangling: Pom Pom Quarterly

Pom Pom Quarterly co-founders and editors Lydia Gluck and Meghan Fernandes.

Pom Pom Quarterly co-founders and editors Lydia Gluck and Meghan Fernandes.

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts with the generous sponsors of the 2016 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Although I run a knitting website, I still do a lot of writing for print, and so I have always appreciated the joy of flipping through a paper publication. When it comes to knitting magazines, Pom Pom Quarterly is by far one of my favorites. It has the feel of a small book and features beautiful patterns (my Waterlily, a design by co-founder and editor Meghan Fernandes, is one of my favorite garments), gorgeous photographs and illustrations and unique articles, such as a recent one on the science behind dyes.

Launched in 2012 by Meghan, an American in London (she has since moved back, and now lives in Austin, Texas) and Brit Lydia Gluck, Pom Pom is available four times a year via subscription and also at more than 250 locally-owned yarn and craft stores around the globe. There’s also a popular Pom Pom blog and podcast. Unfortunately, Meghan and Lydia won’t be able to make it to the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, as they will be busy preparing their display at the NY Sheep & Wool Festival, but I was thrilled when they agreed to be a sponsor. I chatted with them about the magazine and some of their favorite things:

Tell me all about how Pom Pom Quarterly got started.

Meghan + Lydia: We met while working at Loop, the gorgeous knitting shop in London, and found we had a shared love of knitting and craft, and of magazines too! We both felt that there wasn’t a knitting magazine around at the time that really spoke to us, or reflected the way we felt about craft and the plethora of indie dyers that had sprung up around the resurgence of interest in knitting and crochet. We decided to have a go ourselves at creating the publication we felt was missing, and after brainstorming in cafes and pubs the idea for Pom Pom was born. We designed all the patterns and wrote all the articles, friends helped out with modelling, photography and design, and somehow it all came together into a magazine we loved. We were so happy that other people loved it too! Now we are a slightly bigger operation of course, and work with designers, editors and writers and all sorts of brilliant people to make Pom Pom.

Why did you decide to go the print route?

Meghan + Lydia: We decided on print because we both love owning a beautiful magazine as a physical object, and we suspected that other knitters would feel similarly. It makes sense that people who spend time making lovely handcrafted things would appreciate the paper and quality of printing, and the fact that the magazine is printed in the UK. Because the mag is quarterly we think of it as collectible, and we try to make each issue timeless. For that reason we have no off sale date (until they sell out of course!), and we think of our print copies as little treats for knitters and crocheters, an investment that they will return to time and again… Of course we have digital versions available too for those who like wrinkle proof pages!

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What would you say are the most important skills that each of you bring to the magazine?

Lydia: Meghan says I have good business sense, and I think she has a real knack for innovation. She is always the one wanting to mix things up and try new things, whereas I tend to get stuck in my ways. Meghan has tended toward the social media side of things, she always knows about what’s going on in the craft world way before I do! I am often happier hanging out with Excel, but we both love to chat and meet new people, which definitely comes in handy for what we do! We’ve both learned so much in the last five years, and I think we can both safely say we feel more confident now as stylists and editors. The one thing we definitely bring is enthusiasm for craft, and a love of print as a medium.

When and how did you each learn to knit?

Lydia: I learned to knit from a book one rainy Welsh summer about 10 years ago. A housemate of mine at university was a knitter, and after seeing her making things I was inspired, and decided that if I was stuck indoors while the weather was bad I might as well learn something new!

Meghan: My boyfriend’s mom taught me to knit when I was a teenager. I got really lucky because she was a great teacher and even bought me a sweater’s worth of yarn for my first project as a birthday present.

Who are some of your favorite indie dyers?

Lydia: Oh there are so many I love! I think Viola is definitely a favourite, and Uncommon Thread, Shilasdair and MadelineTosh… and I have always been a fan of Old Maiden Aunt too. But there really are so many brilliant dyers out there!

Meghan: They are changing all the time, and there are too many to count, but I love The Uncommon Thread, Camellia Fiber Company and Julie Asselin a lot at the moment.

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Tell me about one of your most memorable FOs.

Lydia: Hmmm, really memorable ones would probably be disasters like the first jumper I ever made, which did not fit the intended recipient. But memorable successes are the first pattern I ever wrote, my Overbury mitts from the first issue of Pom Pom, and my Quadrillion jumper, which was Meghan’s design, and is still my favourite jumper.

Meghan: My most memorable is probably so because it’s my most worn — my Beatnik sweater by Norah Gaughan. I remember finally getting to grips with cables on that project and having to drop and correct cabled stitches for the first time. It’s so wearable and classic Norah — timeless, clever and so wearable.

Which crafts, in addition to knitting, do you enjoy?

Lydia: I also crochet, and do a little embroidery from time to time, but I’ll have a go at anything! If darkroom photography counts then that is definitely a craft I was very into when I had access to a darkroom! I just loved the magic of seeing the image appear. Without a darkroom on hand I have been experimenting with cyanotypes, which are so easy!

Meghan: In addition to knitting, I love crocheting and calligraphy, and recently I learned to weave which is such a cool way to use the amazing yarns we have access to.

What is your favorite music to knit or craft to?

Lydia: Oh wow, I don’t know if I can pick a favourite. But recently I have been crafting to Emmlylou Harris, Joanna Newsom and Sia. Patty Smith and The Velvet Underground have always been big favourites of mine too. When I tried to do some sewing a few years ago I was really into The Moldy Peaches and Jeffrey Lewis so they always remind me of threading a sewing machine. When I’m drawing I have to listen to something with a beat.

Meghan: Like favourite indie dyers, the music I enjoy knitting to changes all the time too. In the iTunes/Spotify age, I still love listening to the radio — the station KUTX in Austin is a fave, as is the UK-based BBC Radio 6 which I still love to listen to two years after having moved away!