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

The result of designer Casapinka’s recent VKL NYC shopping spree at the Fuse Fiber Studio booth is Your Slip Is Showing, a gorgeous shawl that makes a bold statement using a simple slipped stitch technique. It calls for four colors of fingering weight yarn — you can use speckles, variegated colors, semisolids, fade sets or gradients, and Rebecca from Fuse even has a kit with the colors Bronwyn used. 

Marian of Marianated Yarns has added a laceweight kid mohair/silk blend to her dyeing repertoire. Aerie comes in 460 yards and is comprised of 70% kid mohair and 30% silky goodness. This light and fluffy yarn is great doubled up, knit with another yarn or knit all by itself.

Have you checked out FiberCrafty yet? If you haven’t heard, it’s an online marketplace just for yarn and fiber, as well as stitch markers, project bags and more. It’s like a fiber festival, but every day.

Studio Mirand’s latest design, Kadigan, is a sweater that can be adaptable to fit you perfectly without any math. Because sometimes you just wanna knit.

Untangling Casapinka


I have to admit that when I first learned of the designer Casapinka, I was kind of intimidated by the idea of approaching her about posting on Indie Untangled. I had discovered her Loop shawl at the first Maryland Sheep & Wool indie pop-up at The Knot House and thought she was so talented with her innovative use of variegated yarns. I was also in awe of her colorwork skills with the Fall Is a Color hat that she designed for the 2015 Rhinebeck Trunk Show. When I learned she has worked as an ER doctor, I was convinced she was one of those people that is just so amazing at everything that you should probably hate them.

However, after getting to know Bronwyn (her real name), I was thrilled to find she is one of the most down to earth and hilarious knitters I’ve ever met. Her patterns simultaneously wow me with their brilliant use of color and crack me up with hilarious names like Welcome Back Garter, Mick Jagged and Your Slip Is Showing. I recently asked her to tell me a little bit more about her process and give me a small peek behind the speckled curtain:

You’ve worked as an emergency medicine doctor. How did you decide to become a designer?

Designing found me rather than my deciding to become a designer. I was very ill with Lyme Disease and I couldn’t stand lying around doing “nothing.” At least knitting made me feel productive… and then I found indie-dyed yarns. And I got addicted. You see where this is going!

How did you come up with Casapina and why do you use it as your designer name?

I chose the name Casapinka in 2007 when my husband and I bought a house that needed some work. Design blogs were just getting started and I would post about painting my dining room hot pink, wallpapering my dishwasher, that sort of thing. So the “Casa” part refers to the house and the “Pinka” was just chosen at whim… and then when I segued into knitwear design I just kept the name because it fit me.

When and how did you learn to knit?

As an exchange student in high school, I lived in New Zealand, land of three million people and 70 million sheep. I was stranded one week in the rain during spring vacation at a friend’s house on Lake Taupo. It poured for days and her sister knit most of a sweater during this time. It looked so boring and lame to be knitting, but as the week went on, we’d watched a bunch of movies and had nothing to show for it — and she had this amazing sweater. I actually thought those tiny needles and the slowness of knitting meant actually making a sweater was impossible, but as a metaphor for anything difficult, knitting consistently builds on itself. I was completely hooked and learned how to knit intarsia immediately so I could “draw” with my yarn.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Color! I adore rich color, hand-dyed yarn, and how different stitches work to show off the colors in the yarn. It usually begins with a color combination that catches my eye or a stitch pattern, a photograph, or some combination of the three. Seeing how indie dyers combine their colors is also inspiring and I never tire of looking at their Instagram posts.

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

It all begins with the yarn. If I know I want to knit something in particular (for example, I’m working on a swing coat right now) I don’t do anything until I find the right yarn. Sometimes, the yarn isn’t available in enough yards. Sometimes, it’s discontinued or in another country, or looks different in person compared to online. I adore when a local yarn store has a yarn for me because it’s the best of all worlds.

If a dyer has contacted me to do a design, I have to get the yarn first. Sometimes I’ll do a private Pinterest board with the dyer to get an idea of a particular inspiration that they would like, but usually I get free reign. If I try too much to make it into something specific I fall flat on my face. And finally, I’m sometimes asked to submit a proposal or draw a design that I have in mind. My drawings are laughable and do not reflect what goes on in my head. I can’t seem to make my vision go through my hand onto paper — just onto knitting needles.

What are your favorite colors and have they changed at all since you started designing?

Despite the moniker “Casapinka” I adore aqua. All shades of aqua! I also love pink but not all colors of pink. A gorgeous blue-red cannot be beat. Magenta (is that considered pink?) and recently certain greens are on my radar. It has absolutely changed and constantly changes, especially with the invention of speckled yarns. Suddenly, I can have a tiny bit of a certain color and it grows on me until I’m in love, like some of the gold/yellows… Oh, and did I mention coral? That’s a new obsession!

You’ve published a few sweater designs, but is there a reason you stick to shawls and accessories?

This is entirely by accident. I’ve made and designed a lot of sweaters but didn’t publish them because I don’t enjoy grading of sizes — and only learned about the all-important technical editor a few years ago. I’m fairly addicted to shawl knitting but I also have plans for more sweaters. The portability of accessories is also handy, as I have ended up knitting during swim meets, robotics practices, and Rubik’s Cube competitions. I actually have a tunic, a sweater, and a coat coming out in conjunction with Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

I love, love, love knitting in airports. I’m a plane/airport geek and can sit there for hours staring out at the runway, coffee by my side, phone turned off. I’m one of the rare humans who welcomes an airport delay (if I have my knitting, of course).

What to stash this week: A yarn of ice and fire

Brooke of Fully Spun — who dyes wool roving in a repeating pattern, then sends it off to a mill that creates yarn with a handspun look — recently collaborated with Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits. She designed two patterns for the latest issue of her Fiber Muse quarterly magazine using two of Brooke’s colorways, Ice Dreamer and Fire Dreamer.

If coffeecoffeecoffee or teateatea is your crafting mantra, then head on over to the Slipped Stitch Studios shop. Laura has a selection of caffeinated project bags and accessories to perk you right up. 

Sheila of BigFootFibers has created new colorways for the spring, including Gloriana, pictured above, which is inspired by the BBC’s Victoria. It’s currently available on a Superwash BFL/nylon blend.

Sarah of Knittyandcolor has restocked her shop with Supernova, one of her super popular colorways. The speckled rainbow is available on three sock yarn bases as well as DK and worsted.

Deb’s latest design, Amid the Snow, is a two-color, corrugated-rib pattern with a few simple left-cross and right-cross cables thrown in for interest.

Untangling: Katrina Updike of Fluffy U Fiber Farm

You don’t have to take a trip to the UK to find wool from British Breed sheep. You simply have to visit — or visit the website of — Fluffy U Fiber Farm in Dover, Pennsylvania.

Shepardess Katrina Updike has been raising British and rare breed sheep, including Blue-Faced Leicester, Gotland, Leicester Longwool and Teeswater, for the past 18 years, and she hand dyes all of their yarns for knitters and roving for hand spinners. I asked Katrina to tell me a little bit more about the farm.

Tell me how your farm got started.

I actually started out with two Blue-Faced Leicester ewes in the backyard in an old tractor shed. Eventually we built a small pole barn. My husband travelled a lot so each time he went away I would add another sheep or goat or two. Eventually we were able to purchase part of my husband’s grandparents’ farm and the rest, as they say, is history.

How did you decide to raise British breed and rare breed sheep?

I raised a bunch of different sheep breeds over the years. But, I’ve always had Blue-Faced Leicester sheep since the beginning. So it was just natural to start adding other British/rare breed sheep to the flock.

Where does the name Fluffy U come from.

I actually was going to call our farm the Updike Funny Farm but wasn’t sure anyone but me would find the humor in the name. But, I finally settled on Fluffy U Fiber Farm because our sheep are big and fluffy and U for our last name. Being able to bring the farm and farming back into the family the name seem appropriate.

How has the business changed over the last 18 years?

The business has progressively changed in order to keep up with the times. At first it was just roving and some basic yarn. But, as we have grown we have added more yarn and roving blends, books and notions, project kits and classes at the farm as well as doing fiber shows for the past six years. It has been a challenge for us as we sell and use very little commercial product in our line of yarn. But, there is no greater satisfaction for me than being able to tell someone which sheep or goat their yarn came from.

Do you knit yourself and, if so how did you learn?

My grandmother taught me to crochet as a child, but I didn’t start knitting until I was 19. A wonderful woman named Kay Thompson taught me. I’ve been knitting ever since then.

How did you get started spinning?

I took a class at the Mannings with Tom Knisley. Tom is a great teacher with a lot of patience for all of us who haven’t a clue how to make the wheel work correctly. So, since that class I have probably been spinning about 10 years.

What are some of your favorite projects made with Fluffy U Fiber yarn?

A cardigan made with our BFL using a daisy stitch in all white, our Conewago Shawl and Cassius Shawl that I have made using our natural blend yarn and also coopworth tencel blend yarn. Right now I’m really enjoying knitting fingerless mitts using my handspun yarn from the sheep.

What are some the best things you’ve learned running Fluffy U?

Knitting is universal you can always find a way to communicate. Everything is an experiment what might work for one show may not work for another. Be true to yourself and your dream. You can’t please everyone. There are more nice, crazy fiber people than not.

What to stash this week: yarn chicken

Jennifer at Spirit Trail Fiberworks has been doing a fun collaboration with her newsletter subscribers in which she dyes a colorway inspired by a photo sent by one of her readers. February’s colors — one main and two complementary — are inspired by a photo of a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chicken. The yarn will be available to pre-order until February 19 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Jennifer has also created her latest design with TV knitting in mind. Craic — Irish Gaelic slang for “fun, a good time, a good conversation” — is a crescent-shaped, fingering-weight shawl with some garter, stripes and texture. It is knit with two 400-yard skeins of fingering, and you can even mix and match bases to get an even more interesting texture. Don’t forget that you can receive 20% off your order of any in-stock yarn through February 28 with the code Indie. 

Marian has a new six-skein gradient set called Beekeeper in the colorways Beeswax, Protect the Pollinators, Honeycomb, Dumbledore, Queen Bee and Hive Mind. It is currently available in fingering weight on her Scrumptious HT base, which is 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% nylon in three sizes.

Cat Sandwich Fibers is having a shop update this Sunday, February 18, with lots of new OOAK colorways and new Cat Sandwich enamel pins.

Pam’s latest design, Checkpoint, is a two-color sideways triangle with garter and what she promises to be easy intarsia.

Acadia Lights, the fifth colorway in the Knitting Our National Parks series by Asylum Fibers, is available to preorder through next Friday, February 23. You can get some ideas on what to make with either the Solitary Fingering or Golden Goose DK here.

What to make with Asylum Fibers Acadia Lights

I loved that Stephanie of Asylum Fibers dyed her Acadia Lights Knitting Our National Parks colorway on two bases, as it provides multiple project options for those of us who aren’t always in the mood to take on a fingering-weight project (though I’m still going to get both bases!).

Stephanie sent my several good ideas for both her Solitary fingering and Golden Goose DK.


Haruni by Emily Ross

Constellate by Hunter Hammersen

Messaline by Bristol Ivy

Boxy by Joji Locatelli

Golden Goose

Boxley Hat and Boxley Mitts by Bristol Ivy. Photos ©Tolt Yarn and Wool

Lake Reed by Asita Krebs

Campside Cardigan by Alicia Plummer

Campside Pullover by Alicia Plummer

Check out more suggestions here.

Untangling MK Nance

Designer MK Nance first popped on my radar (AKA the Indie Untangled Marketplace) at the end of 2014. Since she tends to design her accessory patterns with indie-dyed yarn, she was a perfect fit for the website and also for the Where We Knit Yarn Club, in which I pair together dyers and designers, who collaborate on an exclusive colorway and one-skein pattern.

For last year’s club, Nance bended the rules slightly and used two half skeins of Three Fates Yarn Terra Sock to create not one, but two patterns with a two-color cable design that has become her trademark. The Crystal Springs cowl and Jenkins hat are now available to purchase. I recently asked Nance to tell me a little bit more about her work and inspiration.

How did you decide to become a designer?

I just did! The first pattern I wrote was because I couldn’t find a pattern that I needed to make and friends’ friends asked me to make it for them so I wrote the pattern up and said I would teach them. Two dyers, Three Fates Yarn and The Periwinkle Sheep, both suggested I just do it.

What did you do before becoming a designer and how does it inform your design work?

The first thing I ever designed was a scarf was my sophomore year of high school, so I had not really done anything at that point. I studied anthropology and middle eastern studies in college. After that I lived in NYC, Cairo, and Portland, Oregon. Many names and motifs are inspired by where I have been or studied.

When and how did you learn to knit?

Mrs. Struk, my first and second grade teacher, kept me in during recess until I learned how to tie my shoes. That didn’t work so she took my mother aside and told her I needed better eye hand coordination, so knitting or crochet would be good to learn. As my mother can’t crochet she taught me how to knit. My shoes are never tied still (I can tie them now) but I have knitting in my purse, car and everywhere.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Honestly, if I knew I would have an easier time coming up with names.

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

If it will be self published, I’ll pull out the yarn and start painting stitches using my graphing program.

If it for a call for a third party publisher, I’ll pull up the mood board and paint stitches.

What are your favorite colors and have they changed at all since you started designing?

My favorite colors have not changed. I do use color differently, I once loved lace and variegated colorway but now I’ll use busier yarns with a solid with stranding or mosaic.

You recently published your first sweater design in Twist Collective. Do you plan to design more garments?

Absolutely! I am planning on releasing at least three more cardigans this year. I may also have a few pullover ideas bouncing around my head.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

I have two. Farina’s is a little bakery in Portland with great light, food, and the staff/owner are great people. Home is my other favorite place with my dog literally under foot.

What to stash this week: A bird in the hand

Sue of Sandpiper Yarns creates her lovely skeins two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean on the South Shore of Long Island, hence her beachy name. Her yarns are comprised of a number of sheep breeds, including Merino, Blue Faced Leicester, Polwarth, Finn, Gotland, Icelandic, Corriedale and Targhee, with guest appearances by alpaca, Tencel, silk and Angora.

Terri of Whole Knit ‘n Caboodle comes from a yarny family. Her sister, Mary, owns Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea in Saugerties — I’ll be collaborating with the shop for this year’s Rhinebeck Trunk Show — and Terri dyes yarn. She has a huge selection of lovely colorways on a variety of fibers, as well as plenty of Fade combinations.

If you’re in the Connecticut area next weekend, you should definitely join Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio and Gabby of Once Upon a Corgi (and me!) for a pop-up shop and knit night at the Farmington Valley Arts Center. Rebecca and Gabby have even collaborated with one of the painters from a neighboring studio to create exclusive colorways based on one of her paintings!

I have a batch of Aimee’s Automne à Rhinebeck in stock and ready to ship! And if you’re interested in this Indie Untangled exclusive on LBA’s Merino DK, make sure to get on the list for a reorder, which is happening in mid-April. 

Get your hands on some Happy Little Project Bags for the Slipped Stitch Studios Bag of the Month. This tribute to the 1980s “leaders in imagination” include bags, accessories and three colorways from Anzula Yarns and Stay Classy Yarns. There will also be another cameo from Mr. Rogers. All of it goes on sale at 9 a.m. Pacific time today.

Laura’s latest design is inspired by a small island in the Pacific that you’ve probably never heard of, but that she’s been to twice, between Fiji and The Solomon Islands. Vanuatu features bright turquoise and dark sand that will make you want to escape somewhere sunny and warm.

Robynn is offering one free pattern with every three you buy from her Ravelry store, no coupon code required — just add four patterns to your cart and the cheapest will be free. Use it for any of her designs, from accessories to sweaters. Most include photo tutorials for special techniques.

Wild Hair Studio is having a Groundhog Day sale.

What to stash this week: warding off winter

Casapinka’s latest, Yondah Window, will have you have you quoting Romeo and Juliet with a Rhode Island accent. This unique boomerang shawl, inspired by beautiful windows aglow in the cold, frosty Rhode Island winter, was designed to showcase Magpie Fibers Swanky Sock and the long color changes of Spincycle Dyed in the Wool.

Slipped Stitch Studios has re-released bags with popular knitting fabrics that sold out in two days last year. They’re available to preorder starting today at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

Pam’s latest shawl, Farnum, uses a unique construction, beginning with a center triangle worked with yarn over increases. It is perfect for two skeins of fingering from your favorite indie.

You still have time to get 20% off all in-stock items in the Post-Rhinebeck Pop-up. Use the code INDIENEWYEAR on bulky hand-dyed yarn from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make super-fast, super-warm hats and cowls to ward off the polar vortex.

Once Upon A Corgi is kicking off the new year with Edgar Allen Poe colors.

Marianated Yarns will be at the Wasatch and Wool booth at VKL NYC next weekend.

A 2017 IU Year in Knitting Review


I love nostalgia, especially when it’s knitting related.

I’m continuing my tradition of an Indie Untangled Year in Review, featuring several talented knitters who finished projects in 2017 using yarn from Indie Untangled dyers. There are so many beautiful shawls, socks and sweaters — oh, the sweaters! — to show off.

Above is my On the Spice Market using Backyard Fiberworks’ Sock in Stormcloud and the Dove in a Plum Tree miniskein set (photo taken by the wonderful Nancy of Knitty City). It was one of my favorite FOs of the year.

I hope these projects provide some inspiration for your 2018 knitting.

Lavanya’s Treccia

Kelly/KellyInTexas’s Elegant Sweatshirt

Kim/Xarix’s Rocio

Erin/skistricken’s Purple Spotted Socks

Karen/penchant4yarn’s Alecia Beth

Marta/MonogamousKnitter’s Veronika

Adrienne/killerb’s Gothy Gauntlets

Judy/miriamsdottir’s Superellipse Socks

Erica/ejsufka’s Chemistry

Amy/booeyedee’s Anniversaire

I’ll be adding more of my favorites to this tag.