What to make with North Cascades Night

Since getting a glimpse of Alice of Backyard Fiberworks’ North Cascades Night colorway for Knitting Our National Parks, I’ve been obsessively combing Ravelry for the perfect projects. The fact that it’s a sportweight yarn means it works for a variety of patterns, from one-skein hats and mitts to pullovers and cardigans that don’t feel too endless.

I’ve found some ideas from a variety of designers, including those who post to Indie Untangled. Below is just a small list of possibilities. You can also check out the ever-growing bundle I’ve created on Ravelry.

Shawls

Hint of Autumn by Laura Aylor: 2 skeins

Tidepools by Simone Kereit: 3 skeins

Enamored by Laura Aylor: 3 skeins

Pleasant Trip by Laura Aylor: 3 skeins

Little Black Shawl by Laura Aylor: 2 skeins

Marshwood by Lara Smoot: 3 skeins

French Cancan by Mademoiselle C: 2 skeins

Vinegar Hill by Kirsten Kapur: 2-3 skeins

Sweaters

Orne Cardigan by Meiju K-P © Knitscene/Harper Point: 5-9 skeins

Pauroxo by Jennifer Dassau: 4-6 skeins

Silver Girl by Laura Aylor: 4-7 skeins

Sport Aureed by Meiju K-P: 4-8 skeins

Warszawa Soft by Meiju K-P: 5-7 skeins

Grisalia by Meiju K-P: 3-6 skeins

Celia by Mary Annarella: 3-6 skeins

Shifting by Justyna Lorkowska: 4-6 skeins

One-skein projects

Coast Oak Hat by Stephannie Tallent © Yarnbox

More Cowl Bell Please by Mary Annarella

Moutons’ Boutons by LeMou Designs

Rieth by MK Nance

Backflip Mitts by Melanie Berg

Fathom by Veera Välimäki

Portlander Mitts by Shellie Anderson

Have you found some other great ideas? Please share in the comments!

What to knit with a single skein of fingering — other than socks

When the weather (actually) starts getting warmer, you don’t really want to be knitting out of the A/C with a big pile of fabric in your lap. While I’ve certainly worked on a sweater at the beach, it’s not ideal. Neither is traveling and worrying about losing one of those six mini skeins.

I see summer as the perfect time to pick out that single skein of fingering in your stash that you really love and knit up a little something to drape over your shoulders or around your neck when you start wanting to put wool on your skin again.

I’ve long said that shawls, and infinity scarves, are potato chip knitting, because they are easily addictive and tend to cause less consternation than socks — there’s no such thing as Second Shawl Syndrome.

Here are some new designs and a few old favorites for that prized skein.

Shawls

Old Favorites

Janina Kallio has a whole bunch of single-skein shawls, but my favorite has to be Drops of Honey, above, which she designed especially for the 2016 Indie Untangled Where We Knit yarn club. It’s simple enough to be mindless, with just enough interest with the eyelets.

Zilver by Lisa Mutch

Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart

Country Song Shawl by Gabrielle Vézina

What’s new

Little Black Shawl by Laura Aylor

Cubetcha by Casapinka

Abeja Shawl by Kristen Jancuk

Aperture Shawl by Ambah O’Brien

Cowls/Infinity scarves

Shared Rib by Anne Hanson

Another Where We Knit pattern that’s now available to the general public, this is also fairly easy knitting, with a twist (pun intended) from the cables.

Brighton by Veronica Parsons

Spice of Life Cowl by Louise Zass-Bangham

Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis

What’s new

Daylight Savings Cowl by Mary Annarella

Mora Dune by Virginia Sattler-Reimer

Dodging Rain Drops Cowl by Vanessa Ewing

Chehalem Cowl by Kelli Slack

See more of my favorite single-skein shawls and cowls on Ravelry!

Untangling Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits

Unless you’ve been knitting under a rock, you’ve probably at some point this year encountered someone finding their fade. Since Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits released her seven-skein shawl in December, and her So Faded sweater last month, Fade Fever seems to have taken over. Both patterns are the perfect match for hand-dyed yarn, and many a Fade kit can be found from the dyers who post on IU.

I decided to reach out to Andrea and learn more about the woman behind the Fade, as well as her other beautifully styled, casually elegant designs.

What did you do before becoming a knitwear designer and how does that inform your work?

Before designing I was a pastry chef! I actually got my first baking job (which eventually lead me down the path of culinary school) because the owner of the bakery loved that I included knitting under “other skills” on my resume! I have always loved creating and working with my hands, so when I left my job in the kitchen, it felt very organic to begin writing patterns instead of recipes.

How did you decide to become a designer?

I had been knitting for such a long time and always wanted to find a way to make a job of it. Finally, when I had more time to explore designing, thanks to being home with my first born, I thought, “What have I got to lose?” There were things I wanted to knit, and I figured maybe someone else would want to knit them as well! From there, I feel like my dreams have come true!

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned when I was about nine years old thanks to my amazing (and patient) Grandma Ginny! I am so thankful to her that she took the time to sit with me and wanted to share something she loved. It has brought so much joy to my life, and it is all thanks to her!

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

I am most inspired by yarn. For me, the design idea typically comes as I am looking at and swatching with the yarn I want to use!

How did Find Your Fade come about? Did you think it would take off like it did?

Every once in a while I like to do a “creativity experiment” where I just grab the yarn I most want to use out of my stash and I just cast on. I try not to give myself any constraints or expectations. I just knit what feels fun! Find Your Fade was one of my experiments. I had just had my son a few months earlier, and felt like I just need something selfish and indulgent on my needles. I had no idea it would take off! I am so thrilled and honored that knitters have been inspired by it!

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

Swatch! Well, sometimes I sketch first. But then I cake up the yarn and swatch.

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

I am continually drawn to pinks and yellows right now. I really love most colors though, and when I find myself constantly grabbing for the same colors, I try to switch it up. Grey will always be at the top of my list, along with mint and turquoise. And navy. And white. And gold.

You’ve created such a cool, laid-back aesthetic for your business. Did you come to designing with that particular look and feel in mind?

Thank you! I’ve tried to just be myself. I find that when I stick to what I love and what really inspires me and brings me joy, it seems to work. I think when we do that, our best work comes out and people can feel that.

Who are some of your favorite indie dyers?

There are so many amazing indie dyers out there! My absolute favorites include Hedgehog Fibres, Republic of Wool, Qing Fibre, Woolenboon and Peepaloo Fields, just to name a few!

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

I love embroidery, and am a novice sewer. 🙂

What to stash this week: Another shawl in the sweater box

The latest design from Casapinka, called Another Brick In the Shawl is everything I love about shawls: it uses multiple colors and has plenty of mindless stitches and nice non-lace visual interest with mosaics. Bronwyn used a trio set of Yummy 2-ply from Miss Babs, but the color possibilities are endless.

Kayleen, the latest IU newcomer, transitioned over the last year from selling crocheted items to dyeing yarn out of her home in Marblehead, Massachusetts. For her new biz, Littlebean Loves Yarn, the bright speckled colorways, as well as semi-solids and self-striping sock yarn, are inspired by pop culture, with an emphasis on Harry Potter. She generally has shop updates at 1 p.m. on Saturdays, so head on over to see what’s outta the dye pots.

If you missed out on sign-ups for the 2017 Where We Knit Yarn Club, you’re in luck! A couple of spots have opened up, one of which includes the latest collaboration from Eden Cottage Yarns and Mindy Wilkes! Please fill out this form if you’re interested in snagging a spot.

Slipped Stitch Studios has stocked the shop with an awesome selection of craft-themed bags and supplies. The first 10 customers get a glitter ball stitch marker!

What to stash this week: Fetch this yarn ball

I’m excited to debut these custom IU stitch markers! Crafted by Maria of A Needle Runs Through It out of San Jose, California — who I discovered last year when she released Gilmore Girls stitch markers — these wooden accessories are the perfect way to show off your love of indie yarn.

IU newcomer Long Dog Yarns is named for, as you might suspect, a dachshund, specifically a wire-haired dachshund called Rufus. Dyer Brandy started dyeing a year ago after publishing her own designs and her yarns are of the bright, speckled variety that we’re all crazy about these days. She’s just restocked her shop, so head over for your summer knitting needs. 

Wingpoint, Pam’s latest design, is a bias triangle shawl with a twist. It’s decorated with stripes and bunting-like marled triangles that are a fun way to combine your main color and accents, whether they’re 75-yard mini skeins or scrap yarn. Best of all, it’s 25% off through May 31 with the code madmay.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Wildflower Button Studio is offering free shipping on any domestic orders over $25 through May 16 with the coupon code HAPPYSHIP.

A glimpse into knitting designer Kirsten Kapur’s inspiration

Kirsten Kapur is one of those designers who consistently impresses me. I marvel at her use of texture and color, particularly her color combinations. While I’ve knit only three of her more than 250 simple and elegant patterns, I have several more in my favorites. So, when I heard that Kirsten, a fellow New Yorker, had been invited by Paola Vanzo, the owner of mYak, to give a talk on her design inspirations over tea and knitting in the West Village, I RSVPd faster than you could say yarn.

The event took place in the library of the Trace Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Tibetan culture where Paola is managing director, and which houses an appointment-only pop-up shop for her yarn line. It was through her work in Tibet that Paola came to create mYak in 2011, working with a cooperative of nomads from the Tibetan Plateau to harvest and mill the super soft, Cashmere-like yarn from the underbelly of the baby yaks that they herd. It’s a story that deserves its own blog post.

Kirsten recently collaborated with Paola on two designs using mYak yarn: The Wave Hill brioche cowl, named for the estate and public gardens in Riverdale in the Bronx, and a lacy two-color shawl called Acorns and Arches, crafted with colors created using a natural mushroom dye. The two patterns set the scene for Kirsten’s inspirations, essentially knitted interpretations of the natural world.

Before becoming a knitting pattern designer a decade ago, Kirsten worked as an apparel and textile designer in the garment industry in New York City, where she also lives. While the city may not seem like an immediately obvious place to get natural inspiration, there’s plenty.

“In this city we have some pretty amazing places we can go,” Kirsten said. “We have some fabulous parks, like the New York Botanical Garden, Central Park. I go to these places and find inspiration for color, texture, obviously the shapes of the plants.”

She also uses the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (near me!), Hudson River Park, Rockaway Beach in Queens — particularly in winter — and the aforementioned Wave Hill. After taking photos, Kirsten returns home and starts playing around with the yarn in her healthy stash, drawing on the colors from her images of flowers and leaves, water and animals — even seaweed.

Kirsten then pores over stitch dictionaries and then plays around with charting software, making the patterns work for the look she’s trying to achieve. A lot of her design work also happens once the yarn gets on the needles, with changes made when stitch patterns aren’t working.

While some of Kirsten’s design names are obvious, many are particularly clever. Her Reynard Socks, for example, are named for the fox character in fables, and feature a fox-like lace pattern when viewed upside down. Cladonia, one of Kirsten’s best-known patterns, is named for the lichen on a rock she photographed it on.

The photographs are also what draws me to Kirsten’s patterns, and she recounted what it took to capture this view of A View From the Hill, on Rockaway Beach on a freezing, windy January afternoon.

After Kirsten’s talk, and after we finished up our tea and pastries, there was also the opportunity to shop the mYak pop-up, which had such a beautiful display.

Of course I wore my own Cladonia to the event and Kirsten was nice enough to pose for a photo with me while wearing the sample!

What to stash this week: A Joji mystery

The interknit is abuzz over the latest mystery knit-along from designer Joji Locatelli. Several indie dyers have come up with kits to knit this. Here are just a couple:

Stephanie of Asylum Fibers has curated two beautiful sets, using Joji’s guidance, that include some new yet-to-be-named colorways. Each kit is comprised of five full skeins of Stephanie’s Madhouse fingering yarn, which is 100% Superwash Merino wool. Bonus: the kits are available at a discount!

Denise of Yoshi & Lucy also has some Joji mystery wrap kits available in softer, springy colorways. There are two, including Georgia Peach (pictured) and Under the Sea. They’re available on 100% Superwash Merino or a 75/25 blend of Merino and nylon.

Speaking of spring, Sydebascht from Siidegarte is the pattern to welcome the season. It’s a light and airy shawlette named for dyer Fides’s favorite spring shrub. She of course has kits with the silky Swiss gorgeousness needed for the shawl, including a complimentary mini skein for the contrast border, in luminous spring colors.
 

There are also only a couple skeins of the exclusive Indie self-striping colorway from Berry Colorful Yarnings available! And you have just about a week left to get 10% off Berry Colorful Yarnings, as well as The Woolen Rabbit, on Indie Untangled with the code IU3.

What to stash this week: A slice of yarn sale birthday cake

I have been waiting until the perfect time to put a small batch of the exclusive Indie self-striping colorway from Michelle at Berry Colorful Yarnings up for sale, so here it is in honor of Indie Untangled’s third birthday! Through April 30 you can get Indie, along with yarn from The Woolen Rabbit, for 10% off with the code IU3.

Kate and the crew at Dragonfly Fibers has released two new bases that are perfect for warm-weather knitting. Dharma, pictured above, is a light fingering weight made of 50% yak and 50% silk. Just as tempting is Selkie Sport, a soft but hearty combination of 70% BFL and 30% mulberry silk. 

Melanie at Go Knit Yourself has updated her shop with popular colorways, including the speckled Fiona, pictured above. 

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Laura of Fiber Dreams has released Helaine, a light fingering-weight cardigan named for Sir Lancelot’s mum. She happens to go by a few names, so Laura is running a sale on both Helaine and a companion cowl, Clarine.

Gaby of Galiana Creations, who is based in Pennsylvanie, is getting ready for this weekend’s Steel City Fiber Festival in Allentown. She’s prepared with six-skein mini sets, new silky yak yarn, plus lots of speckles and gradients. Because of course.

Lara Smoot’s latest design is Wind Song, a deceptively easy to knit lace shawl that is perfect for spring and summer.

What to stash this week: A sale, Outlander bags and knitting with style

As she does every year, Ami is celebrating the birthday of Lakes Yarn and Fiber with a sale. to celebrate the opening of her Etsy shop four years ago, she’s offering 17% off all in-stock yarn and fiber from tomorrow, April 1, through April 17. Use the coupon code 17in17.

Knitters and Outlander seem to go together like… well… knitters and yarn. And project bags. Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has designed an exclusive fabric inspired by the show and all her Outlander goodies will be available to preorder today starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. Unless you can time travel, you better act fast, as they will only be on sale for four days.

I’m excited to welcome Sharon, and Knit Style Yarns, to Indie Untangled! Her skeins have a decidedly springy look — or perhaps its seasonally-appropriate marketing — with blurple-hued Pansies and dreamy Faerie Tears.

The newest With Pointed Sticks base, Quill, is a single-ply fingering-weight blend of 70% Superwash Merino and 30% silk, with 438 yards per skein. Use it for the kind of classically elegant shawl you’d wear while using your feather pen.

If you haven’t found your fade yet, or if you have and want to find it again, Melanie of Go Knit Yourself has put together three kits for Andrea Mowry’s uber-popular design. Available in warm, cool or speckled colors, each kit comes with four 100 gram skeins. Find it quickly — these are only available through today.

If you want to jump on another pattern bandwagon, Dami of Magpie Fibers’ Something Gradient This Way Comes is a fantastic one. She’s updated the pattern to include instructions for an ultra-cozy DK wrap and a sock weight shawl. Kits are available on her Swanky Sock blend and DK kits are coming soon.

The April version of the geeky Third Vault Yarns YarniTea club (as the name implies, it incorporates both yarn and tea — brilliant!) is inspired by the movie Pacific Rim.


Yoshi & Lucy recently had the last shop update for March and Denise has stocked her Etsy store with Harry Potter Spells miniskein sets and HP-inspired sock blanks.

My Mama Knits has Kool-Aid dyeing kits complete with instructions, supplies and a pattern.

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.