What to stash this week: Voolenvine update and more from the yarn ‘whirled’

Voolenvine was a huge draw at last year’s Rhinebeck even, so I’m excited to have Kristin on the Indie Untangled marketplace! She’s having one of her famous shop updates tonight, so set your alarms and get ready to pounce on several colorways.

Also new to Indie Untangled, Cris of Into the Whirled has restocked the shop with a fresh batch of kettle dyed Element Number Five, a rich mix of purples, blues, greens and browns and probably other colors I can’t identify because they blend so well.

Barbara Benson’s Oscillare cowl is a deceptively simple (meaning it’s easy) colorwork design that’s created with stripes and slipped stitches. Pair two of your favorite colors and get cracking on an accessory that will carry you into spring.

Courtney of FloofyMoose Designs’ Grace Fryer Shawl is a perfect project for Women’s History Month. It’s named for one of the “Radium Girls,” whose lawsuit against U.S. Radium helped bring about labor safety standards.

What’s black and white and knit all over? Pam’s new White Noise shawl. It uses two colors of heavy laceweight or light fingering-weight yarn to create a marled rectangle that recalls TV static.

Dye is Cast Yarns now carries mini skeins.

A glimpse inside the Edinburgh Yarn Festival with Casapinka

I know I’m not the only one who had a hard time looking at Instagram last weekend, when it seemed like the whole knitting world was over in Scotland for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. But, I figured there was no such thing as too many festival pictures, I asked Bronwyn, AKA the designer Casapinka, to file a report for the Indie Untangled blog. Her post makes me even more determined to plan a trip across the pond next year!—Lisa

I was starving when I arrived in Edinburgh from Boston, after dropping my 10-year-old off with his grandparents in Dublin. I went into the local shop and found some nice, wholesome, Haggis-flavored chips (crisps) that I happily washed down with some Diet Coke. You laugh? You gag? They are really good and you should try them if you go to EYF!

The line outside The Corn Exhange (for those who didn’t pre-purchase tickets, ahem, note to self!) was long. At one point it started to rain and the nice people from EYF thanked us for waiting and handed out very cute tote bags. All the people with pre-printed tickets who zoomed right in didn’t get very cute tote bags so it was totally worth it. Also, the best conversations among strangers are started in yarn festival lines! I had an hour-long talk with an air traffic controller which made my year (I’m an aviation geek.)

When I got in, I made a beeline for Eden Cottage Yarns. The fibers are just so beautiful, with lots of subtle colors that aren’t the norm for me, but still call my name. I did some damage there, for sure, and had a nice conversation with Victoria, the owner. Everywhere you looked in this booth you almost died from Gorgeous Fiber Overwhelm! It got quite crowded as the day went on so if you go to EYF, get there early.

The wool watching at EYF was second to none. Shawls, fair isle coats, lots of Kate Davies jumpers (and the woman herself, of course) was rubbernecking at its best! When the booths got so crowded I couldn’t even go inside, I just sat on the floor, ate some lunch (the food is amazing!) and watched all of the wool finery go by.

Another booth I wanted to visit was the Loop London booth. I ran into the Spincycle Girls (Rachel and Kate) there and we had a chat. I then drooled over all of the hand sewn bags and the Lichen and Lace yarn which I really wanted to squish. I bought a couple of skeins (how could I not?) and they are waiting to become something special.

I was also just dying to see the La Bien Aimee booth. Who can’t love all of those candy- and pastille-colored yarns with their beautiful contrasts? I did, in fact, climb onto the table in my eagerness to get to the singles but no skeins of yarn were hurt in the process. I did a fair amount of damage here as well and plan to give some away in giveaways in my group. Really. I swear!

I think it’s important to note that in the UK and Ireland, a “fry up” is the only way to start one’s day. Even vegetarians can partake: minus the sausage, rashers, haggis, white pudding – well, there is toast, beans and mushrooms! This keeps you going through mad knitters poking you in the butt with their knitting needles as they vie for space in the Brooklyn Tweed line. I live for my morning fry up!

Since I’m on the subject of food, the snacks and meals at The Corn Exchange are great. This is called a Victorian Sandwich. Yes, you read that right. So, technically this could be lunch (a piece of it – I didn’t eat the whole thing, you guys.) So, come to shop for yarn but also come to eat and admire the scenery and make new friends from all over the world!

What to stash this week if you’re not in Edinburgh

The folks over at Siidegarte have made up for you missing out on the Edin Yarn Fest and the Find Your Fade craze. They’ve curated three Find Your Fade kits that include seven 90g skeins of their gorgeous silk-infused yarn. The kits are available on three different bases, using both existing Siidegarte colourways and a few special edition ones. And there’s a discount, this weekend only!

Sheila and Lance of BigFootFibershave stocked their shop full of spring colors (it might be snowing in the Northeast today, but it felt like spring earlier this week!) including Robyn’s Egg, St. Patrick’s Day, and some Rainbow mini and mega mini skein sets.

Because who can resist something called a llamicorn, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has her fun Pink Fluffy Llamicorns colorway available to pre-order through Sunday, March 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern. Plus, every customer gets a free Pink Fluffy Llamicorn stitch marker!

Socktastic, Lara Smoot’s latest sock pattern, was so addictive that it converted even her most sock-reticent test knitter, the lovely Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings. Use coupon code SisterlyLove for 40% off the pattern through March 15th.

Zombies are appropriate for any time of year, not just a certain holiday in October. My Mama Knits’ Zombie-themed yarns are now available on a variety of Superwash bases in varying weights, including DK and sock.

The latest from Stillwater Designs, Salt Pond, is a top-down crescent shawl worked with alternating sections of garter and slip stitch, framed by a simple eyelet border and inspired by the salt pond at Point Judith, RI.

IU on the road: A trip to London’s Loop yarn shop

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to visit London and Lisbon, joining my mother-in-law and more than two dozen of her friends on their annual ladies trip. Our itinerary was jam packed with museum and gallery visits (including the phenomenal Picasso Portraits exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery and Anselm Kiefer’s haunting Walhalla at the White Cube), but I couldn’t make it across the pond without seeing the yarny sites.

I hadn’t been back to London in 15 years, since I spent a semester there through the Friends World Program, now called LIU Global. I was certainly seeing a different side to the city, especially since I didn’t know how to knit back then.

After arriving at Heathrow Friday morning, one of the first things I did, after checking into the hotel, freshening up and getting a UK SIM card for my iPhone, was hop on the Tube and head to Islington, home to Loop, which is the London yarn shop to visit, especially if you’re an indie-obsessed knitter. Conveniently, shortly before my trip, Loop’s owner, Susan Cropper, published a London guide for knitters on Mason Dixon Knitting.

Before I left, I made sure to check out Loop’s website so I could strategically plan my shopping, for which I knew I’d have a short window (because we all know you can spend ages poking around yarn shops). It was there I discovered my first London souvenir: Viola yarn in a speckled pinkish purple dyed exclusively for Loop. It may seem strange to travel to London just to buy yarn from a dyer in Canada, but as Emily of Viola has a history in the UK, having done an apprenticeship at John Arbon Textiles in North Devon, it seemed a fitting purchase. Plus, it was exclusive!

I’ll likely be using it to knit Meghan Fernandes’s Wreath Shawl, designed exclusively for Loop for its 10-year anniversary in 2015.

With my yarn purchased ahead of time and waiting for me at the shop, I could focus on exploring. What first caught my eye were the cute drawstring project bags, in fun, bright colors, stamped with the Loop logo.

Then, I took in all the yarn from my indie favorites scattered around the shop. Among the familiar faces/labels were goodies from The Uncommon Thread and Eden Cottage, both based in the UK, and Germany’s DyeForYarn and Wollmeise.

I enjoyed taking in the shop’s overall aesthetic, which was very cozy, crafty, warm and welcoming.

At the end of my visit, I got to speak to Susan, who coincidentally grew up not very far from where I live now in Brooklyn! She has created one of my dream yarn shops, and I’m so glad I could pop in during my trip.

Next week, you’ll get to travel with me to Lisbon, where I made another great yarny discovery…

What to stash this week: Retreat into knitting

Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs has designed two separate knitting retreats in her native country. The first takes place from July 31 to Aug. 6 in Schloss Münchenwiler, on the grounds of a historic castle in the countryside of Fribourg and Bern and includes classes taught by brioche master Nancy Marchant, as well as Simone herself. The second session, from Aug. 7 to 13, is set in Riederalp – Aletsch Arena in the Rhone Valley/Valais region of Switzerland and includes hikes as well as workshops with Andrea Rangel and Simone.

Casapinka’s latest design, Gray Area, is a collaboration with Invictus Yarns. You can choose from among many different color combinations. Pick a gray gradient, like the sample, with a punchy main color, or reverse it and use one of those irresistible bright gradients.

Here’s another great dyer/designer collaboration. Christine of Skeinny Dipping provided the yarn for the latest Woolly Wormhead hat pattern, part of a new collection called Circled.

Knit EcoChic’s new design, Zipline, is inspired by careening through the snow. Wear it skiing, skating or just to keep yourself toasty during the next polar vortex.

Over the next few months, With Pointed Sticks will be launching three new fun fingering-weight bases. Just released is Crayon, a rainbow tweed sock yarn with a blend of Superwash Merino and nylon.

Here’s yet another use for those gradients or color sets that I know we all have a lot of. IU newcomer Stillwater Designs’ latest pattern is Rockhound, a top-down crescent with crossed slip stitches

Michael Harrigan has introduced his latest design, the Boyfriend Bandana.

How to wear your hand knits: Shawls 3 ways

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I have to admit that I’m generally useless when it comes to styling my hand knits — especially shawls. I’m the kind of person that finds one way to wear something and stick to it (in the case of shawls it’s usually bandana style, for every shape). I decided that something needed to be done, so I enlisted the help of fellow knitter and Brooklynite Carolina Carvalho-Cross. She happens to be a professional photographer who specializes in kid, family and also knitwear shoots.

Carolina and I met up on a beautiful day in Park Slope (I would say “beautiful fall day” but it was one of those days in September when it reached the 90s — not the best weather for a knitwear photo shoot, but Oh well) and she styled a few of my favorite FOs, and one of hers, to give knitters — and me — some ideas for how to wear them. We chose a variety of styles and shot me wearing them, thanks to Carlina’s help, three different ways:

Half circle

Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur

Draped over your shoulders: Shows everything off

With a shawl pin: Overlap the front ends and secure with your favorite pin (I love mine from Nicholas and Felice)

Bandana style: Wear the center portion in the front and throw the ends over your shoulders.

Triangle

Timenoguy by Carolina Carvalho-Cross

Tied at the front

With a shawl pin

Bandana style: Perfect for showing off all those ruffles!

Asymmetric triangle

Drops of Honey by Janina Kallio

Shoulder drape 1: This one places the main design closer to the center.

Shoulder drape 2: This places the main design on the shoulder.

Bandana style: This one showcases the triangular shape, which is slightly off center.

Crescent

Loop by Casapinka

Tied at the front

Bandana style

Scarf style: Just keep wrapping and tuck in the loose ends.

Crescent with lace

Jackson Square by Beth Kling

Tied at the front

Bandana style with curled edges

Scarf style

What to stash this week: Knit start my heart

No matter what you think about Valentine’s Day, there’s no way you can’t fall in love with these handmade heart stitch markers by Ann Tudor. They’re available in classic red and a rainbow of colors, in four different sizes for knitters and two clasp options for crocheters.

Lola at Third Vault Yarns has a lot going on, including a new monthly yarn club that combines yarn, geekiness and tea; Rey of The Force Awakens is the theme for February. There’s also a new winter collection of yarn and large shawl called Blown Glass that utilizes short rows.

KarenDawn’s latest shawl design, La Belle Dame sans Mercy, is based upon a medieval love debate poem. It uses one main color and three accent colors, but is easily adaptable to other color options, from one solid color to a main body and border color to gradients.

Keya has a fever, and the only cure is More Sock Yarn. Her Cedar Hill Farm Co. Traveler base has a new look, as do her double-grommet project bags, available in seven new fabrics.

Because we could all use some closure, check out Melissa Jean’s latest ceramic buttons, including her scallop leaf design, modern waves and February-appropriate hearts.

Melanie of Go Knit Yourself is having a live shop update at 9 p.m. Eastern Time tonight over in her Facebook group.

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2017: A weekend of color

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For me, this year’s Vogue Knitting Live in New York City was all about color. Yes, I know that knitting in general, and the world of hand-dyed yarn in particular, is already pretty focused on color, but my experience this weekend very much revolved around it. Believe it or not, I didn’t really think about this common theme when I picked my classes — two-color knitting with Amy Detjen on Friday morning, a color theory class with designer Veera Välimäki on Friday afternoon and a dyeing class with Felicia Lo, the owner of SweetGeorgia, on Saturday morning — but it definitely worked.

The classes

Amy’s class was a pretty straightforward technique lesson. Our homework was the start of a basic colorwork hat, moving on to using the second color in class. Amy provided instruction on how to capture longer “floats,” or the long runs between colors, and stressed the importance of keeping an even tension in both your right and left hands. I will need to practice this more, as knitting with my left hand is like learning to knit all over again, but I now feel confident enough to attempt a colorwork pattern.

Veera provided an overview of basic color theory, as well as her insights into mixing both complementary and contrasting colors, especially when using hand-dyed yarns. I enjoyed seeing the examples from her own designs (such as her Stripe Study Shawl, pictured above) and, during our in-class exercise, encouraged one of my classmates to pair her earthy green with a bright yellow and melon color.

Of course, I had to show off one of my favorite FOs, Veera’s Urban, which she was thrilled to see in person, as she’s only seen photos of the projects on Ravelry.

My dyeing class was probably the best one of the weekend. While I’ve had some experience with kettle dyeing and hand painting yarn, Felicia provided some practical information on using the right ratio of dye to fiber weight, as well as techniques to use for creating layered colors. Much of this will be in her newly-published book, Dyeing to Spin & Knit (disclosure: this is an Amazon affiliate link) which I can’t wait to get my hands on. If it’s anything like her in-person class, this book will be indispensable.

We started off the hands-on portion of the class by creating a set of mini skein gradients. As there was limited space and time, we had to split into groups of three and each create one color value (the lightness or darkness) of the gradient. Felicia had already mixed the dye powder and water, so we just had to measure out the right amount for our specific color value.

For the other techniques — low-water emersion dyeing and resist dyeing, in which you twist and untwist the skeins to get a more subtle dispersion of color — we had to choose color by committee, and ended up each make a contribution. Luckily, I was paired with some experienced classmates, including Sharon of Knit Style Yarns. For the low-water emersion skeins, we decided on orangey pink, medium blue, purple and yellow to create what I first dubbed Funfetti cake and which I later decided was very My Little Pony-esque. Our layered color started off with a short dip in light pink dye, followed by a jammy purple, mixed by yours truly, and a lighter violet.

The class definitely inspired me do some more dyeing myself and experiment with the techniques while making my own color choices.

The Marketplace

Of course, no VKL would be complete without a trip or two (or three) to the marketplace.

I spent a fair bit of time in the Backyard Fiberworks booth, as a tiny portion of it had some Indie Untangled merch! I had teamed up with Alice, and Vicki of That Clever Clementine, on some special Indie Untangled kits that were available at the show. The kits were a big hit, and I was also thrilled to see the rest of Alice’s yarn get scooped up — the booth was very popular. She had some wonderful sock yarn mini-skein sets that were perfect for one of Melanie Berg’s designs. I snagged a pinky purply set called Dove in a Plum Tree and a light pink semisolid called Mallow to make On the Spice Market.

Aside from Backyard, I loved taking in the Neighborhood Fiber Co. booth (I’d heard at Rhinebeck that Karida wasn’t going to be at VKL this year, but luckily she ended up changing her mind!). I fell in love with a sample she had of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s Boko-Boko Cowl, knit with Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock yarn held together with Chromium, which has steel wool to make the little points stand up. It was such a deviation from the patterns I’m normally drawn to, but it was so sculptural and interesting that I had to make it. I feel like it could be a great stand-in for a statement necklace, with the bonus of keeping me warm.

Speaking of necklaces, I was very impressed by the products at Knitten Jen’s Beads. She had kits to make your own beaded beads (wooden beads covered in beaded stockinette stitch fabric), ready-to-string beads and finished pieces. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to DIY it or get a ready-made necklace, but I was definitely intrigued.

I also paid a visit to the Yarn Culture booth, which focused on a small collection of indies, and learned that my favorite discovery from last year’s VKL, Crave Yarn, has branched out with a new venture called Brim Collections, featuring gorgeous mill-dyed skeins and coordinating patterns. I am hoping to learn more from Amor of Crave/Brim Collections and will report on it further…

And, I made sure to get my VKL NYC limited stitch markers from Marsha of One Geek to Craft Them All.

Aside from classes and shopping, my weekend was rounded out by many familiar faces (on Saturday, I could barely get to the elevators without seeing someone I knew from my various knitting circles) and spending time with my nearby knitting friends.

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

What to stash this week: Indie is the new black Friday

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This list will be updated with new deals throughout the weekend.

With all the amazing Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday yarny deals being posted to the Indie Untangled marketplace, I didn’t want to be left out! Through Monday, take 20% off all yarn from The Woolen Rabbit and Dark Harbour Yarn with the code THANKFUL.

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All weekend long, Slipped Stitch Studios will have Door Busters that will knock your hand-knit socks off, with discounts up to 50%! Starting today, all needle nooks and zipper pouches are $12, while tomorrow, select totes and tote sets will be $85, down from $120 to $135. And that’s just the beginning…

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You don’t need a plane ticket to get some Silky Swiss Gorgeousness. Through Monday, all the luxurious silk hand-dyed yarn from Siidegarte is 15% off with the code BlackFriday2016.

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Crave Yarn is holding a 30% off sale through Monday at midnight MST. It’s the perfect excuse to get your hands on Crave Yarn’s Thoreau, an amazingly soft yak/silk blend.

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Groovy Hues has some fabulous deals on in-stock yarn (which includes Suzanne’s new holiday colorways) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Saturday is the best day to shop, with 20% off your order with the code SHOPSMALL.

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Space Cadet Yarns has a weekend full of several special treats, including one-of-a-kind sweater kits and holiday mini-skein collections.

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Cedar Hill Farm Company is offering 20% off all in-stock items — everything from holiday bags and needle cozies to yarn in the sale section that’s already at a reduced price — through Monday with the coupon code BFCM20.

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Eternity Ranch Knits is ready for the season with special holiday colorways, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and his friend The Bumble Monster, as well as Holly Berries, pictured above.

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Every time indies collaborate, an angel gets his wings. Or, a beautiful design takes flight. Barbara Benson worked with The Unique Sheep and Earthfaire beads to create her latest shawl, Earthbound Misfit.

Dye Is Cast Yarns is offering free U.S. shipping on ready to ship and clearance section yarns Black Friday through Cyber Monday, no coupon code required.

Everything in the Hampton Artistic Yarns shop is 20% off through Monday with the code THANKS1620.

Get 20% off almost everything and 30% on on special skeins and OOAK fibers from Squoosh Fibersrts through Monday.

Get 25% off everything at JOMA Yarn through Monday with the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY16.