Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Carolyn McKenna of Swift Yarns

This is the fourth post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3. Tickets for the Friday sneak peek party are on sale now!

Carolyn McKenna lives north of me in Queens, NY, but I first met her down in Maryland, where she was doing the 2017 Maryland Sheep & Wool indie pop-up at The Knot House. I have been trying to get her and her yarns on Indie Untangled after learning about Swift Yarns through The Knot House newsletter, but she’s been busy wholesaling to a variety of shops. Well, I am very excited to get to spend a few days with Carolyn and surrounded by her lovely colorways at Woolyn in a couple of weeks!

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I started dyeing yarn because there is almost no hand-dyed yarn in the entire borough of Queens. I had three small kids when I started to really get into my fiber and it was very hard for me to get to any yarn stores. I started to buy some online but I was disappointed in the websites. Many, in my opinion, didn’t portray the yarns very nicely. Necessity is the mother of invention and I needed yarn! So I figured if I can’t get the yarn I want, I will make some.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

New York City is a real inspiration. It’s a colorful city but I can get inspiration from almost anything I see. One of my colorways, Ikat, is inspired from a pillow cover I own. And sometimes I just let the dyes be what they want. I usually start with an idea and then let go. Sometimes when you try to control too much you just end up disappointed. It’s important to have fun.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

I have rediscovered my love of color through dyeing! I was an architect before I started this adventure and we use a lot of natural colors, wood, concrete, stone, etc. A lot of greys and browns. I’m so happy to be using every color now.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

Purple is the color I go to the least. I personally do not wear purple and I don’t think I look good in purple which is probably why I don’t make it. But I’m starting to get over this.

How often do you update your online shop?

I barely update online. It is a lot of work to update the online shop and I’m so busy between trunk shows and shop orders. When I do stock the shop, I let my email subscribers know about it.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

I still work part-time with my husband’s construction management business. My architecture background is very useful but we are working towards me becoming a full time dyer.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?

I’ve learned you can and should do what you love. I have moments of real peace and fulfillment when I dye. I love making people happy. It becomes a full circle. When I make others happy they in turn make me happy. It’s been one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a long time.

Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Rebecca Picoult of Fuse Fiber Studio

This is the third post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3. Tickets for the Friday sneak peek party are on sale now!

Most indie dyers start out in their kitchens. After taking a dyeing class with SweetGeorgia’s Felicia Lo at Vogue Knitting Live NYC last year (along with me!), Rebecca Picoult moved into her own studio at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Connecticut. She named her brand new business Fuse Fiber Studio for the factory where the arts center is housed, which used to manufacture safety fuses for mining.

Rebecca has a range of semisolids and variegated colorways with the requisite speckles and fun names like Honey Butter, Free Dive and All the Speckles. Learn more about Rebecca and her business before meeting her and seeing her yarns next month:

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

It was all kind of a whirlwind really. Although I’ve been a knitter (and yarn hoarder) forever, I never actually planned to become a yarn dyer. In January this year I forced my sister to come with me to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC. Since she doesn’t knit, but is an artist herself, we took all the dyeing classes offered by Felicia Lo. We came home so inspired, that on a whim we went to see if there were any studios available at a nearby community arts center that I have always loved. My sister marched right up and asked for an application for me before I could chicken out. The rest as they say is history… I got the keys to my studio on February 1st, I published my first knitting pattern Exordium on March 19th, and my online shop opened on April 1st. So, I guess you could say that once I put my mind to something — look out!

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

My colorways and names are all based on the things I love most in the world: places I’ve traveled, my favorite books and movies, my favorite things in nature and funny family stories. For me, every color tells a story. My goal as a dyer is for people to find something in my colors that resonates with them and sparks their own happy memories and feelings.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

When I first started dyeing I was so careful and deliberate when mixing colors for fear of turning everything brown. Ironically, as I’ve developed my skills and become more confident I find that my brown dyes are actually my favorite — they make the best speckles. Speckled neutrals are definitely my favorite colors to create right now.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

The only two times that I have had to throw yarn in the garbage were when I have tried to create a yellow colorway. For some reason, I can’t make the soft buttery yellow I envision into a reality.

How often do you update your online shop?

I try to have a shop update once or twice a month, but wholesale orders, events and trunk shows sometimes get in the way of that. I always announce my shop updates on Instagram and Facebook to let people know they are coming.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

Dyeing is my only business, but I still have a full-time mom job. I think lots of my fellow dyers and designers can relate to that. 🙂

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?

Hands down the best thing I’ve learned is that I can start and run a business!Discovering that I have something to offer the world, and the creative community in particular, is extremely satisfying and nourishing for my soul.

What to stash this week: Places you can knit

Each week, I get to learn about all sorts of cool things that indie dyers are doing, from new kits and colorways to shawl designs and project bags. But what I enjoy the most about this job — and I’m still pinching myself that this is my job! — is getting to collaborate with makers I admire on events such as the Rhinebeck Trunk Show and projects like the Where We Knit yarn club.

After sending out the final package of 2017 earlier this month, I’m excited to announce the indie dyer/designer teams for the 2018 club. They are: Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar. You can read about each team’s Where We Knit inspiration, and sign up for the club, here. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31, 2017, with a limited number of spots.

In between opening her new yarn shop and generally dyeing all the things, Aimee snapped a photo of the Indie Untangled exclusive Automne à Rhinebeck on her Merino DK. It’s just as gorgeous as it is on her Merino Singles. Both are available to preorder now through Dec. 8.

It looks like Fades are here to stay. Whether you’re shopping for a Comford Fade cardigan or a What the Fade shawl, Sheila of BigFootFibers has you covered with yarns of all sizes and configurations.

Tami of Eternity Ranch Knits has spent 2017 dyeing Disney princess- and Gone with the Wind-themed colorways. She is now selling the entire collection — a dozen skeins, plus a 13th bonus skein — at a discounted price. It’s your chance to collect them all!

IU newcomer The Blue Brick has released a new tonal line of yarns to complement its gradient line.

Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Shanna Felice of Lambstrings Yarn

This is the second post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3.

It’s always exciting to find a new indie dyer whose colors you love, but it’s even more exciting to learn of one based not too far from you. Shanna Felice runs Lambstrings Yarn from her home on Long Island. She’s been a fixture at the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair held every May and I recently got to see her yarns in person at the sixth annual Kings County Fiber Festival in October and was blown away by her soft semisolids and lightly speckled colorways. I’m sure you’ll also fall for them when you see Shanna’s yarn at Woolyn.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I went to school for Fine Arts and earned my MFA with a concentration in painting. During that time, I was knitting for leisure between paintings and schoolwork. It was a great way to clear my head while continuing to create. Some time after graduating the masters program, I just felt I needed a break from the formal art world and my paintings. I picked up the needles and began to experiment with new yarns, colors, and more advanced patterns. I loved how knitting, like fine arts, was about “problem solving,” taking all the parts (yarns/paints/skills) and making them work together to create something whole. I enjoyed the challenge, it was the reason I got into art in the first place.

I quickly realized that I was interested in a specific spectrum of colors, and of course I was at the mercy of whatever colors I could purchase from other dyers. I thought “Hey, I could dye my own yarns, colors that I like and would want to use… after all, I have experience with color theory and mixing.” So I got myself some dyes and tools and started experimenting, I thought it was going to be a cinch, “yellow and blue make green.” Well no, not when you’re using acid dyes and mordants! This was not oil painting, this was a whole different animal of color mixing and behaved as such. I was going to have to learn color theory all over again, and call me crazy, but I was excited. I went all in, keeping a detailed notebook of color recipes and inspiration, and acquiring more and more dyes. Over the next year I dyed A LOT of yarn with much success and some failure, ending up with more than I could ever use myself. Naturally the next step is to share what I’ve created with others. This is how I was going to get my art out into the world! I started my Etsy shop and had such a positive response from customers that I kept going.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

Inspiration comes from so many places. Nature, literature, nostalgia, and emotions are what most inspires my colors and names. Sometimes I get inspire by a mistake along the way, and a color that was meant to be one thing becomes something totally different.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

I love dark colors, the darker the better for my personal style, So I tend to dye darker than most. But yes, since I started dying yarn I’ve become more open to bright colors like pinks and pops of neon, and they’ve made their way into some of my colorways.

My style tends to be dark and neutral with hints of color.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

Not one specific colorway, but greens — most greens — they just don’t like me. It is my most challenging color family to work with. I have several successful and beautiful green based colorways, but the roads traveled to reach them were LONG and WINDY.

How often do you update your online shop?

Usually the shop is updated every two weeks. During busy seasons and holidays I will update weekly for customer convenience.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

I worked full time for many years at a craft store as supervisor of the yarn department. I now work there a few days a week and dyeing has become my main business.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?

A few things.

1. I knew the fiber community was strong, but I never knew just how wonderful it really was until I started Lambstrings Yarn. These are some of the most kind, generous, and supportive people I’ve ever met. And the enthusiasm, the fiber community LOVE what they do! I don’t think you find the same level of passion and enthusiasm anywhere else in the craft world.

2. In the creative world, if you don’t believe in what you do, it’s just not going to work.

3. I’ve learned how to be more confident. This is more of a personal growth, but it’s worth mentioning I think. The level of self discipline and confidence it requires to be one’s own boss and really taking ownership of business decisions and yes, even setbacks, has spilled over into other aspects of my life. I went from being uncertain about this fiber venture in the beginning, to feeling like it’s the best thing I ever did.

Pre-Woolyn Untangling: Julia Wardell of Pandia’s Jewels

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This is the first post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3.

Pandia’s Jewels first came to my attention through dyer Julia’s fun collaborations with project bag company Slipped Stitch Studios, including designing original artwork for their Labyrinth Bag of the Month. She has since wowed me with her lovely variegated colorways and subtle speckles, such as those in the Regency Collection, a series of colors inspired by the world of Jane Austen.

Julia lives in Salt Point, N.Y., which is not far from Rhinebeck… or Brooklyn. I can’t wait to see her yarns at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, which takes place the first weekend in December and kicks off with an opening night preview party (early shopping!), with tickets available this Friday.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I had taken a break from crocheting and knitting about eight or nine years ago, and when I decided to pick up the hook and needles again I found myself designing. But there were times when I was unable to find the yarn base and colors that I wanted. It’s hard when you have a vision in your mind to bring it to life the way you want when you can’t find the right materials. So I figured why not, if I am already designing, then how hard would be to take the next step and dye my own yarn? And that’s how I ended up being an indie dyer.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

My inspiration comes from a bunch of different places. There are times when I am inspired by a single color. And then I spend months experimenting with different shades of that color through various dye techniques. Sometimes the colors and names can come from television, movies, books, and even paintings. Right now I am really into watercolor floral paintings and it’s been an interesting process translating one artistic medium into another.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

I love the color purple and I personally tend to hang out in the darker end of the color spectrum. There was a phase a few years back where I went through some neon colors, but that didn’t last long. I have noted that this past year my color palette has been muted with ecru, tan, pink, burgundy, and of course purple. But I will say that as a dyer I have to remind myself that it’s not always about what I like and sometimes I find myself strangely gravitating towards colors outside of my comfort zone.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?

I would love to dye rusty reds and dark blues but for some reason they elude me. But I keep trying and I am determined to figure it out. Don’t be surprised if one day you see my shop filled with these colors because I finally mastered how to dye them.

How often do you update your online shop?

I try to update my shop on a regular basis, usually at the end of the week. But there are times when that update is sprinkled about the week. Let’s be honest, It’s all over the place. I would say the best way to stay updated on what is happening in my shop is to follow me on social media.

Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?

I used to be a substitute teacher, but dyeing has become my full-time job and I love it.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?

It was a lot of trial and error at first. But I think that’s about standard when you are trying to build something from the ground up. One of the things I love the most is the fiber community. It’s one of the most creative, supportive, and loving communities to be a part of. And its given me the opportunity to collaborate and work with some truly inspiring women.

What to stash this week: Still Automne

La Bien Aimée is dyeing up another batch of the breathtaking Automne à Rhinebeck for me to sell online. Aimée has put me on her calendar and is planning to ship the yarn to me before Vogue Knitting Live NYC in January. In the meantime, preorders of the yarn are now open! I will be taking them through Dec. 8 so we can get a better idea of the demand before she starts creating more of this Indie Untangled exclusive. It is available on La Bien Aimée’s Merino Singles fingering weight and Merino DK.

You don’t need a degree in yarn (though it may feel like you have one) to appreciate the knowledge that IU newcomer Katrina of Fluffy U Fiber Farm brings to her business. Based in Dover, Pennsylvania, Katrina and company raise various British breed and heritage breed sheep, including Blue Faced Leicester and Leicester Longwool, selling both natural and small-batch hand-dyed yarns in their shop. You may be familiar with them from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Virginia.

IU newcomer Marian of Marianated Yarns has put together the perfect knitter’s Christmas gift. Her limited edition Knitmas Kits include a set of six mini skeins, a cowl pattern from Katinka Designs, notions, treats and fun extras.

Christine of Skeinny Dipping had a post-Rhinebeck shop update with tons of yarny goodness, including her new Polwarth Silk DK base. The squooshy non-Superwash yarn made its debut at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Today at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Laura is listing the second Slipped Stitch Studios Outlander-inspired Bag of the Month for sale. They’ve also once again teamed up with Forbidden Woolery for matching yarn.

There are only a handful of skeins of Jill Draper Makes Stuff’s exclusive Joshua Tree colorways available to preorder through the end of the day today. I’m looking forward to getting my own in a couple of weeks and casting on Kirsten Kapur’s Joshua Tree Cowl, pretending I’m on a road trip through the SoCal desert.

A true yarn diet, plus a review of ‘A Stash of One’s Own’

My Rhinebeck 2017 haul.

I often think of my relationship with yarn as similar to my relationship with food. Obviously this isn’t a huge stretch with the phrases most of us throw around regularly — “yarn diet” and “cold sheeping” — heck, even the term “stash” likens yarn collecting to an addiction.

While I don’t literally need yarn to live, I know I do need it around me to make me happy and keep me sane. But I also know that having so much of it surrounding me, unknit, or going to a place where I’m surrounded by skeins just begging me to buy them, makes me as anxious as being at a buffet and knowing I don’t have room in my stomach (or room in my apartment, enough in my bank account) for everything.

Just like I can be a snob about food, I’m definitely a proud yarn snob. I often recall a passage in the memoir Blood, Bones & Butter in which chef Gabrielle Hamilton writes about an afternoon spent frantically driving around Brooklyn with her husband and two children, starving, but not wanting to stop just anywhere to eat because she had a specific craving that none of the all-you-can-drink brunch places that were open could sate. When I’m looking for yarn for a particular project, I generally don’t head to a big box craft store and just pick up the first skein of a certain color that I see. I’m going to pore over websites and destashes, see if one of my LYSs has something I can’t resist, or wait for a dyer to update her shop with the perfect color that would make this one project exactly what I’m envisioning.

Of course, I’m also going to wait on line for an hour for the apple cider donuts at the Maple Sugar Shack at Rhinebeck, even though I know I can just go to the farmer’s market the next weekend and buy some. It’s not the same.

Yarn on the brain.

When I go away on a trip, I make sure to indulge in the local cuisine. Sure, I can get a basket of bread or a plate of pasta anywhere, but it’s not going to be as memorable as the one I ate while sitting beside a Venice canal on a chilly early spring evening. Sure, those skeins of Portuguese Merino haven’t become a colorwork hat yet, but I enjoy taking them out of the plastic bin from time to time and thinking about how, on my first day in Lisbon, I set off on my own, determined to navigate myself to the city’s best yarn shop, and how I had a wonderful conversation with the woman behind the register about U.S. politics and the allure of knitting around the globe. And, yes, I bought more than one skein, just as I had a second custard tart the next afternoon at Pastéis de Belém, despite one of the women in my tour group commenting on my “hearty appetite,” because when was I going to get the opportunity to have the best pastel de nata again?

To me, Rhinebeck is like Thanksgiving, the one time of year when I feel obligated, like it is my duty as a knitter, to indulge in the special colorways and the sweater quantity of the yarn I see in that amazing sample hanging in a booth. Sure, I may feel like I need to pop a Tums when it comes time to squeeze my newly-acquired lovelies into the four… wait, make that five plastic bins I swore I’d keep my stash relegated to, but that’s what working out/listing yarn in your destash is for.

And it’s definitely hard not to feel guilty about the stash that is overrunning those bins, just like it’s hard not to shame myself when my jeans are not fitting like they did a few years ago, before one too many times giving in to a craving for a plate of sour-cream laden nachos. But, it is because of this that I know yarn is the best indulgence — I can easily re-experience the joy that comes with looking at a beautiful speckled skein or soft hank of Cormo, which gets even better when it’s finally set free to become the hat, cowl, shawl or sweater it was meant to be.

A stash of one’s own

My review of the Clara Parkes-edited A Stash of One’s Own is a little late, because the book came out when I was preparing for the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show, I didn’t get my review copy until the week the book came out and I decided that instead of rushing to devour it so I could write something, I would keep it on my nightstand and nibble on it, savoring each morsel before I went to bed each night.

Before Clara’s appearance at Knitty City in September, I did jump in and read some of it. I was touched by the essay written by Aimée Osbourne-Gille, the talented dyer behind La Bien Aimée, about learning to knit as an American expat in Paris and keeping the spirit of her mother, who passed away shortly after Aimée moved overseas, close via the stash she left behind. And the piece on stashing as a form of feminism by Debbie Stoller made me feel even prouder of one of my main indulgences.

Since I don’t think there is anything to critique here, I would just say if you are a knitter who likes to read, you need this book on your shelf, just like you need that particular skein in your stash.

And I’ll leave you with a one of the quotes from the book that stood out to me, from the incomparable Stephanie Pearl McPhee:

Most of my yarn is for knitting, but some of it has a more complicated destiny as support staff: It is there to make me want to knit. It’s absolutely possible that I need the green Merino to inform how I’ll use the blue alpaca, and that ball of gorgeous variegated yarn? You bet I’ve had it for ten years, and I completely admit that it’s a yarn pet. I have no intention of ever knitting it, but it’s earning the real estate it takes up with how it makes me feel about knitting. It is the textile artist’s equivalent of a painting hung on the wall. It’s there to be beautiful and to help me dream of possibility.

What to stash this week: You can knit anything

Thought it may not feel like it, winter is coming. In anticipation, Julia has launched the Pandia’s Jewels Winter Collection. It includes a variety of new winter-inspired colors that range from speckled to blue/green tonal colors. All are in stock on a variety of bases and ready to ship.

For The Woolen Rabbit’s 2018 yarn club, dyer Kim has brought together five popular designers who will create color inspirations for her to dye as well as patterns based on women in history that have made an impression on them. The designers include Christina Campbell, AKA The Healthy Knitter, Skeinwalker Knits, Paulina Popiolek, Alicia Plummer, and Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio.

Speaking of women in history, Courtney’s latest shawl design is inspired by Cathay Williams, who in 1866 enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name William Cathay, becoming the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army. This crescent shawl has sections of mesh and textured slip stitches and uses two skeins of fingering.

IU newcomer McMullin Fiber Co. has just finished celebrating Socktober. Head to Kate’s shop to check out her neutral “Fadients” and Squishy super bulky yarn, among other goodness.

Keya Kuhn and Michelle Guilmet-Buck have released South, a collection of eight modern accessory patterns using a variety of yarns, including Keya’s Sporty Sheep.

Sign-ups are open until November 15 for the new Round Table Yarns yarn club. For the club, a specific story from the Arthurian legends will be chosen as the inspiration — this club’s story is called the Abduction of Guenevere — and a part of the story will arrive along with each yarn shipment.

While many of us were at Rhinebeck, Lisa The Knitting Artist was selling her wares at the Hill Country Yarn Crawl. Luckily she still has some inventory to share with us, including a new 75/25 Merino/nylon sock base. The colorways are dyed to match Lisa’s original oil paintings, and each skein comes with a greeting card with the painting image on the front.

I’m excited to debut The Farmers Daughter Fibers in the post-Rhinebeck pop-up shop. I have some skeins of Candice’s luscious Foxy Lady Merino/silk fingering in several Montana-inspired colorways. I’ve also been having some fun pairing together Foxy Lady and Dark Harbour Starboard, which is also a wool/silk single. Pictured above is Nikki of Dark Harbor’s Ceasg and Candice’s Whispers of the Aspen.

And, the second round of Indie Untangled tote bags arrived from the printer yesterday, so if you order one I will ship it out in 1-2 business days.

You have just one more week to preorder Jill Draper’s Walk in the Park and Desert Dusk, which are both inspired by sunset at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

What to stash this week: Yarn of the dog

If you want some help easing your Rhinebeck hangover, or want to get that same “happy place” feeling even if you weren’t in New York this past weekend, you can browse the post-Rhinebeck pop-up shop on Indie Untangled. You’ll find the remaining skeins of Julie Asselin’s exclusive Road to Rhinebeck, Asylum Fibers’ Rhinebeck’s All the Craze, a selection of Merino/silk and plump Merino fingering across the seas from New Zealand’s Dark Harbour Yarn and the awesome Stash Indie enamel pins designed by Shelli Can. You can also preorder Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show tote bags, which I’m having reprinted due to popular demand.

Mary’s latest sweater design, Heart of Glass, is fresh off its Rhinebeck debut. I, and I’m sure many knitters at the fairgrounds, were envious of the short-sleeved version of this drop-shouldered pullover, which drapes beautifully and features a lovely lace hem. 

I’m convinced knitters will one day take over the world. Until they do, you can get your hands on Laura’s Pinky & the Brain Bag of the Month. They will be on sale from today at 9 a.m. Pacific time to Monday at midnight.

Laura’s latest design is Rusalka, a triangular shawl knit with about 175 yards each of five shades of yarn. You can vary things up with a selection of lace stitches, a bit of garter stitch and a bunch of stripes.

It’s probably a little late to knit your Halloween costume, but you can channel a dragon with Robynn’s latest designs. Haku and Chihiro are companion one-skein cowls using the dragonscale stitch pattern and beads.

Speaking of holidays, the Holidays with a capital ‘H’ are just around the corner, at least when it comes to knitting. This IU newcomer — pronounced “yock-i-gainey” — has three holiday colors to help you get in the spirit.

Samantha of Lavender Lune Yarn Co. has some aran weight yarns in her shop all ready to be made into winter hats.

It’s the last call for Pumpkin Spice Latte — mini skeins from BigFootFibers, that is.

Yarnstock 2017: The Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show

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I’m always amazed by the response to the little event I dreamed up just a few months after launching Indie Untangled in 2014. I had an idea to do something with my new website at Rhinebeck. My first thought was to have a few dyers selling yarn in the back of Gigi Trattoria (ha!), maybe giving short lectures about their creative process. Then that changed to a dozen vendors in half of the ballroom at the Best Western in Kingston. I called it a trunk show because I didn’t want to make it seem bigger than I thought it would be, but when I counted more than 200 attendees that night, I knew I was onto something.

This year, the fourth annual Rhinebeck Trunk Show drew more than 1,000 people to check out the yarn, project bags, stitch markers and accessories and supporting over two dozen small, women-owned businesses.

Though I had a wonderful group of volunteers monitoring lines and helping out vendors, I know the crowd was very difficult to navigate this year and that many people weren’t able to shop comfortably. Since Friday, I have been researching alternative venues and talking to vendors, attendees and event planners on how to best manage the crowds. Rest assured that there will be changes next year that will benefit everyone.

I did have to laugh when the woman at one of the venues I contacted told me I wouldn’t have to worry about parking because I would probably get shoppers trickling in and out. You don’t know knitters, I told her.

But while we are very… enthusiastic, I’ve found that knitters are also the most generous, kindhearted people I have ever met. Consider the response when Maria of Tuskenknits learned after she got home to Washington State that her payment processing app hadn’t collected the card numbers of more than half her customers that night. A ton of knitters responded to her small Skein Sponsor campaign, and she received an outpouring of donations to help her in case she can’t reach most of the customers who weren’t charged.

By the way, if you did purchase yarn from Tuskenknits on Friday, please check your credit/debit card statements and see if you were charged. If not, please contact Maria.

Since my phone was a bit occupied during the show, I unfortunately wasn’t able to take any photos of the event, but, as always, it was captured beautifully on Instagram. Here are some of my favorite images:

😄😄😄 #allsmiles Shout out to Gabby for being so awesome @onceuponacorgi

A post shared by Nicole Clark (@nicole_hueloco) on

And setup is done! Ready for Indie Untangled 2017 to begin! 🐑🎉🐑🌈

A post shared by Marsha (@1geek2craftall) on

@indieuntangled #indieuntangled2017

A post shared by MsVicki (@thatcleverclementine) on

👀 These two. OMG. Love 'em both to pieces. @indieuntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow2017 #yhrb2017

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@skeinnydippingyarn always has my favorite Wall of Fall at the #indieuntangledtrunkshow 🍁🍁🍁😍 #yhrb2017

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Miss Indie Untangled herself!!!

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