What to stash this week: I love Rhinebeck in the fall

I’m thrilled to debut Automne à Rhinebeck, an Indie Untangled exclusive by Paris-based indie dyer La Bien Aimée. Preorders of the yarn, to be picked up at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show on Oct. 20, are now open. You can also purchase Asylum Fibers’ coordinating colorway, Rhinebeck’s All the Craze, and event tote bags, and avoid the frenzy in the Indie Untangled booth.

PLEASE NOTE: I know you’re as crazy about this colorway as I am, but preorders are for pickup at the trunk show only. Any orders that are not picked up at the show, by you or a friend, will be refunded. The yarn will be available for sale via the Indie Untangled website after Rhinebeck. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

I love the idea of mystery KALs, but I’m generally hesitant to spend my time knitting a design I’m not sure I’ll like. Casapinka’s Moroccan Magique is the perfect solution to this conundrum! One clue for this rectangular wrap will be released per week over six weeks. The KAL will include prizes, even for those of us who are slow knitters.

With Pointed Sticks is all ready for fall and, after a summer hiatus, Susan has stocked her shop with autumn- and Halloween-inspired hues. Many of the colors are non-repeatables, so grab them while you can.

Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock… project bags and yarn! An epic indie collaboration debuting today includes project bags and accessories from Slipped Stitch Studios, with fabric by Insomniac Designs, along with yarn from Pandia’s Jewels… all inspired by the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory! The sale goes live at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

Melanie of Baad Mom Yarns has changed her shop update schedule to every week, and she has some beautiful autumn colorways in stock. She’s also teaming up with nine other dyers to offer mini-skein kits! Click the pic to learn more.

Bijou Basin Ranch is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love (we can pretend it was all about the love of yarn) with a sale! Get 20% off all in-stock yarns from the Master Color Series with the coupon code FAROUTMAN.

Just in time for Back to School is Lara Smoot’s Easy A shawl.

What to stash this week: Knitting on the South Rim

Preorders for the Pigeonroof Studios Knitting Our National Parks colorway are now open! Mountains and Valleys is inspired by this gorgeous photo of the Grand Canyon taken by photographer Kelsey Hilgers. It is available, appropriately, on American Sock, a skein of 100% Superwash Merino completely grown and spun in the U.S. Krista is dyeing a limited number of skeins, and they will be available to preorder through August 18th or when they sell out.

Another Knitting Our National Parks colorway means that Vicki of That Clever Clementine is releasing a new POP Thru The Parks souvenir! Starting today, preorder a SNAPdragon notions pouch with fun fabric from Amy Peppler Adams’s Soda Nation Collection. The pouches are available for preorder for two weeks or until the limited edition of 24 items is sold out (which they did last time, so act fast!).

Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio, one of Indie Untangled’s newest dyers, has a new website stocked with plenty of skeins of fingering and DK. Her fun dappled colorways are inspired by places she’s traveled, favorite books, funny family memories and her favorite things in nature. 

Ewe want to knit more sheep? Well, Melissa Kemmerer has you covered! Are Ewe Feeling Sheepish?, a worsted-weight unisex pullover, has joined her flock of sheepy patterns on Ravelry. Melissa has more adult sweaters coming and three baby sweaters, with a fourth on the way. Join her for a sheep-a-long on Rav. 

Robyn of TeenyButton Studio has released a new Harry Potter club color and she is dyeing up more to celebrate! There will be eight Harry Potter colorways for sale, including the newly-released April 2017 club colorway, Beauxbatons, and a new Halloween colorway called Dementor’s Kiss. The shop update is today at 5 p.m. Central Time.

Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios is allowing customers to make their own custom tiny Tot project bags and waiving the custom fees. There are tons of awesome fabrics to choose from and, as a bonus, you can add on a custom lanyard for $5 or use a special $6 off coupon code to mix and match with an existing lanyard.

Christine of Skeinny Dipping had her last shop update before the Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

IU newcomer Mouse House Fiber Co. has a new kit out called the Highland Thistle Cowl Kit.

A 2016 IU Year in Knitting Review

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

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

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

Mindy/knitwithhappiness’s Goldfinch in Magpie Fibers Swanky DK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hashtag this: Indie Untangled 2016

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When the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show started two years ago, a dozen or so vendors took up half of the ballroom at the Best Western in Kingston with small displays. The clicker that I used to count attendees showed 235, and I was thrilled.

Fast forward to last Friday, when at least 700 shoppers, including 125 VIPs — and, yes, the Stephen West, who I think is literally 2 feet taller than me — streamed through the doors of two rooms, with more than two dozen indie dyers and designers, as well as project bag, stitch marker and pottery makers, selling their creations. I couldn’t be happier about how the event has grown, giving these artisans a chance to share their work while also helping my fellow knitters kick off one of the best weekends of the year.

Despite the crowds, people waited on line patiently to come in and, in some cases, check out with armloads of yarn. Like last year, the excitement of the event was captured perfectly on Instagram. Here are some of my favorite posts:

All systems are GO! #IndieUntangled2016 #VoolenvineYarns

A post shared by Kristin (@voolenvine) on

Line for VIP Indie Untangled Trunk Show! Awesome "warm-ups" for the Sheep 🐑 and wool festival.

A post shared by Pam Grushkin Knits (@pamgrushkin) on

All bow to the naming queen, @astralbath 🌈 . . #yhrb2016 #IUtrunkshow2016 #rhinebecktrunkshow #astralbath

A post shared by Amber Marcellino (@ambergale79) on

@bygumbygolly Look who I found! #yhrb2016 #rhinebecktrunkshow2016

A post shared by MsVicki (@thatcleverclementine) on

All the pretty colors #indieuntangled #latergram #rhinebeck2016 #blissfulknits #knitstagram

A post shared by Nance (@kathynancygirl) on

#booklove #nancydrew inspired yarn by Canon Hand Dyes at the #indieuntangled Trunk Show

A post shared by Chantale Boileau (@chantaletales) on

So excited to have met @westknits! Enjoying #indieuntangled!

A post shared by Mara (@mara_knits_on) on

Finally got to meet the lovely Ce from @theuncommonthread! #indieuntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow #rhinebeck2016

A post shared by Indie Untangled (@indieuntangled) on

Got me some @voolenvine in #angryorchard and #venusflytrap #indieuntangled #rhinebeck2016

A post shared by Babs Donnelly (@totallybabs) on

What to stash this week, whether you’re at Rhinebeck or not

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For this year’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show, I played indie matchmaker, bringing together Nikki of Dark Harbour Yarn and designer Jennifer Dassau. The result of their collaboration is Refracted, a two-color shawl with a mix of stitches that refract at a central point. Jennifer used two skeins of Nikki’s Starboard, a wonderful single-ply blend of Merino and silk that I used for my Trunk Show Shawl. If you’re going to the show, you can preorder a shawl kit with Jennifer’s original color pairing, pictured above, or three additional curated combinations. 

Looking for a simple lace project? Jennifer also collaborated with Brooke of Northern California-based Sincere Sheep to create Mazerunner, a triangular shawl with mesh diamonds that requires one skein of Brooke’s luxuriously rustic Cormo Fingering, also available at the Indie Untangled booth. Mazerunner kits can also be preordered in one of four colors.

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Because winter IS coming, the folks at BBR have a new set of exclusive colorways dyed by MJ Yarns, inspired by a certain HBO series. The colors, which all complement one another — perfect for colorwork! — are available on Xanadu, a luxurious light fingering weight of 100% Mongolian Cashmere. BBR also has five new colors of Big Bijou Bliss, also dyed by MJ Yarns, on their limited edition worsted weight yak and Cormo blend yarn. All yarn will be at the BBR booth at Rhinebeck this weekend, but is also available online.

BBR also has five new colors of Big Bijou Bliss, also dyed by MJ Yarns, on their limited edition worsted weight yak and cormo blend yarn. All yarn will be at the BBR booth at Rhinebeck this weekend, and is also available online.

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Fresh from the mill (and before that, off of Cedar Hill Yarn Company’s Corriedale Cross sheep) is the 2016 batch of Single Sheep. The single-ply fingering weight yarn is as local as it comes and is available in limited quantities.

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Which two words rival “yarn sale?” “Shoe sale.” Through the end of October, in honor of her birthday, Lisa The Knitting Artist is offering $5 off her awesome custom shoes, which are hand dyed and hand drawn with a stockinette stitch pattern.

Hampton Artistic Yarns just listed eight new colorways of Wander 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).

What to stash this week: A yarny journey

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Starshowers is the third installment of her Silk Road 2016 Shawl Club: Explorer. A six-skein gradient set and a contrasting color create an asymmetrical crescent shaped shawl that uses short rows to evoke what Simone calls “the illusion of sweeping stars and star showers above” and “the night sky with just a hint of light at dawn, and the milky way still visible overhead.”

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If you’re allergic to wool, are a vegan or want some dish towels with a bit of personality, Jillian of Mothy and the Squid has dyed up some sock and DK weight pima cotton in a variety of bright colorways, like (clockwise from top left) Cinnabar, Angry Outburst, Autumnal Equinox and Hot and Cold.

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Jenara, new from Mindy Wilkes, is a top down, lacy shawl worked in four sections, making for a unique triangle/crescent hybrid. For her sample, Mindy used Sincere Sheep Cormo Fingering, which will be available to purchase at the Indie Untangled booth during next Friday’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

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Keya of Cedar Hill Farm Company recently whipped up some needle cozies for keeping those easily-lost DPNs together during or in between projects, as well as for storing fixed and interchangeable circular needles. The cozies are available in a variety of fabrics, including a few for fall and Halloween.

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The folks at Bijou Basin Ranch have again teamed up with Miss Babs for 10 new limited edition colors, dyed in semi-solid and variegated pairs. Available on the Tibetan Dream base, a blend of 85% yak and 15% nylon, the colors will be at upcoming fiber events (which means Rhinebeck!).

The new Eastern Divide Cowl from Knit Eco Chic is locally sourced, inspired by the invisible line that diverts waters on the East to the Atlantic Ocean and on the West to the Gulf of Mexico.

IU newcomer The Fibre Kitchen is located in Dublin, Ireland and is currently cooking up new colors.

Hampton Artistic Yarns is stocking the shop with speckled, striped, bulky and handspun yarns after a trip to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.

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.

Designs as blank canvasses

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.