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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untangling Mindy Wilkes

When designer Mindy Wilkes first posted to my site in January of 2016, I was thrilled. I of course knew Mindy from her Holden shawlette, which was one of the first shawls I considered knitting (it’s still in my Ravelry favorites to knit… someday).

I was also thrilled when Mindy agreed to be one of the four designers for the 2017 Where We Knit yarn club. I decided to pair her with Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns, and I knew she would make Victoria’s soft colors sing. Her design for the club, The Magic Hour, is now available for sale. I still have to block mine, but it is the perfect spring/summer shawlette, and would look great in either a subtle color or a bold semisolid yarn. I recently spoke with Mindy about how she became a designer and what inspires her elegant accessories:

Your first design, Holden, was actually recommended to me by an LYS owner when I first started knitting! Can you tell me how the design came about and how it took off?

I designed Holden because I wanted to knit a shawl that was mostly stockinette with a wavy edge at the bottom. I searched Ravelry for almost a year thinking that someone had designed something like what I wanted, but I couldn’t find it. I ran across an online class called “Design Your Own Shawl” that was taught by Stephanie Japel, and Holden was the result of that class. I had no idea the pattern would become as popular as it did and that it would result in me working as a designer. I’m still kind of in shock now, almost seven years later, that the pattern took off like it did.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I taught myself how to knit from Debbie Stoller’s Stitch n’ Bitch book back in 2004. I had an odd work schedule with days off in the middle of the week, and I was looking for something to fill my time during those days and ran across the book one afternoon at a bookstore. I initially passed it by, but the next week I ended up buying the book. I had some old acrylic yarn and needles tucked away on a shelf already so I just started following the instructions in the book. I learned to knit and purl by knitting endless swatches. Swatch after swatch after swatch. I wouldn’t let myself start an actual project until I felt like I had “perfected” everything so I knit garter stitch swatches, stockinette swatches, ribbed swatches, moss stitch swatches, and on and on for several months.

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

After graduate school, I worked as a microbiologist in a consumer product testing laboratory for five years. When my son was born, we decided that I would stay at home instead of working at an outside job. I designed Holden when my son was not quite 3 years old. Writing a pattern is a lot like scientific writing. It’s all a form of technical writing, and I use those technical writing skills every time I write a pattern.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

It depends. Inspiration can come from a color or a picture. It can come from a TV show. Sometimes it comes from a stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary; one that I might have passed by a hundred times becomes just right the very next time I see it. Everything I do always has some draws from where I’m from. I’m originally from the Huntington, West Virginia, area, and I’m really inspired by and connected to Appalachia. There’s a very unique culture and tradition of handcrafts in Appalachia, and I’m exploring that more and more in my work.

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

I usually start with the charts. Sometimes it’s as easy as charting the pattern and casting on. More often than not though, I play around with the charts, switching up stitch patterns, altering shaping, until I think it will work. I might jot down a few notes on construction, yarn choices, and colors as I go, but charts almost always come first.

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

My favorite colors for knitting are always changing. When I first started designing, I loved deep jewel tones. I remember a short phase where I was really into dark greens. Right now, I can’t get enough pastels — light pinks, peaches, mint green. I like almost all colors, though. There are a few shades of yellow and orange that aren’t my favorite, but I’ll work with anything as long as it works for the design.

Do you have any plans to design sweaters or other garments, or do you prefer to stick with accessories?

I’m not much of a sweater knitter. I never have been. Accessory knitting has always been my preference so I’ll probably only do accessories. However, there is a sweater quantity of Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance sitting next to me on my desk, and there’s a sweater idea that’s been hanging out in my head for a while. So never say never.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

I usually knit in the evening on the couch while I’m watching Netflix. That’s my everyday reality. My favorite place to knit is on the front (or back) porch, with a cup of tea, visiting my family at home. At my mom’s house, I try to knit on the back porch where you can hear the coal trains coming and going. I’d give anything to knit on my Grandma’s front porch in the evening, totally surrounded by the hills.

What to stash this week: Mountains, valleys and legends

Here’s look from above at the Pigeonroof Studios colorway for Knitting Our National Parks. There are only 14 skeins left of this limited run as of “press time,” so act fast!

If you have a soft spot for medieval legends, then you’ll probably fall hard for this new colorway from Karen of Round Table Yarns. Called The Wooing of Isolde, this icy blue with subtle streaks of silver is inspired by the love affair between Tristan and Isolde.

The Highland Thistle Cowl pattern from Mouse House Fiber Co. is now available on Ravelry, as well as through kits.

What to make with Pigeonroof Studios Mountains & Valleys

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I always find it a fun challenge to find the perfect projects for variegated yarns like the Pigeonroof Studios Mountains and Valleys colorway for Knitting Our National Parks. I didn’t have to look too far to find some great options, particularly from designer and frequent IU poster Casapinka.

Here are several options, whether you want to use a single skein or pair it with a semisolid. You can also check out the ever-growing bundle I’ve created on Ravelry.

One color

One and Done by Casapinka

Hitchhiker Beyond by Martina Behm

Bingham Hill Cowl by Daniela Nii

Wave by Kristen Finlay

Strathcona by Jane Richmond

What to stash this week: Knitting on the South Rim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to stash this week: Faster than a knitter on a deadline

If you’ve been inspired by the summer blockbuster of 2017 to knit the awesome Wonder Woman wrap, then you definitely need a the perfect project bag and accessories for it. Today, at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios is releasing Wonder Woman project bags and other “club extras,” as she refers to her fun accessories, like zipper pulls and notions tins.

“Fun, but not too hard” is Pam of Stillwater Designs’ designing mantra, and her newest shawl, Watch Hill, definitely falls into that category. The shawl is knit sideways with garter and slip stitch sections and uses two contrasting colors of fingering weight yarn — perfect for those wild skeins you just had to stash.

Pandia’s Jewels has released the fourth edition of her Regency Collection of yarns inspired by the world of Jane Austen.

Bijou Basin Ranch has project kits for the most luxurious (and adorable) teddy bear.

What to make with handspun yarn

I’ve been contemplating a What to make with handspun blog post for a while now, but since I haven’t quite fallen down the spinning rabbit hole yet, I decided to ask Anne of Middle Brook Fiberworks, my fiber and spinning guru, for some suggestions. She ended up sending me a terrific write-up to share with you. Please include your additional suggestions in the comments!

“What can I make with this handspun yarn?” is a question I answer at every show. I can see why: skeins are usually one-of-a-kind, with not a lot of yardage and the texture is often irregular. It’s certainly possible to find sweater quantities of beautifully consistent handspun yarn, but it would be a significant investment. Shawls and other accessories that require less than 400 yards are great for handspun because any irregularities won’t matter — unlike in a sweater or socks, where you don’t really want unfortunately placed lumps of thick slubs. Plus, woolen-spun handspun yarn (spun with a low twist from loose clouds of hand-prepped fiber, rather than a compacted commercial combed top), knits up into a thick fabric that is not only exceptionally warm, but is remarkably lightweight and lofty. My handspun hat knit from woolen-spun CVM under my rain jacket hoodie is integral for my winter farm chores!

Another option is to combine millspun yarn with smaller amounts of handspun yarn as a highlight–for a pop of texture. The Dragonwell Cowl, pictured above, which I designed with Jolene Mosely, has a section of consistent 2-ply yarn, and a small section of highly textured art yarn in a coordinating color. I’ve used handspun yarn for both sections, but millspun yarn would work just as well.

One of my favorite handspun projects is my Handspun Hansel, a handspun version of Gudrun Johnston’s Hansel. The pattern calls for 550 yards of a main color, and less than 100 yards each of four contrasting colors. I made mine with all handspun, but I think it would be terrific with a millspun main color, with handspun contrasting colors.

My next project is going to be Laura Aylor’s Between Oceans. I’ve spun four skeins of aran-weight organic Polwarth in Cirrus for the body, but because I won’t be spinning a fifth skein only to be cut into fringe, I’ll be dyeing a skein of millspun Targhee wool to match.

What to stash this week: Game of Color

If you’re crazy about medieval literature (no, I don’t mean a certain yet-to-be-finished-before-the-TV-show-spoils-everything series of books) then you must order Karen of KarenDawn Designs/Round Table Yarns’ new book, A Parliament of Cowls. Based on Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls, the book’s eight cowls represent various birds who are debating which suitor the female eagle should choose as her mate.

While I have Rhinebeck on the brain, remember that it’s still summer (though seeing feels like 99 on Weather.com did the trick for me). The latest installment of the Bijou Basin Ranch Master Color Series features a palette of hues inspired by refreshing warm-weather treats in the Lhasa Wilderness yak/bamboo blend. There are two kits featuring patterns for breezy summer garments. 

Color Craze Yarn & Fiber has expanded from fiber to yarn, with braids of all colors along with fingering-weight sock skeins.

What to stash this week: Leave your heart in your knitting

Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has kits for her gorgeous I Left my Heart in the Highlands Wrap available to preorder until until July 16. Each Highlands Knit Kit includes five skeins of her Aran Tweed yarn, a shawl pin and a copy of the pattern, with a big, smooshy cable. There are two different kits available: The Highlands, which moves in a gradient from gray to dark green and Heather on the Hills, which is various shades of green and pinks.

Stephanie of Three Fates Yarn has many new awesomely-named miniskein color sets available. They include Science Is Real, which you They Might Be Giants Fans may be familiar with, and I Remember California, which goes out to my fellow REM lovers.

Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks has stocked the shop with tons of new yarn and products, including new sock blanks in bold colors and a new “market” section with stitch markers from Katrinkles Knitting Jewelry, project and notions bags, mugs and more. If you’re starting to think about your Rhinebeck sweater (it’s time…) there’s some Brigantia (DK weight Polwarth/silk) and Zalti (100% U.S. grown and processed Targhee), as well a Birte and Verdande (both Superwash Merino, Cashmere and silk) in stock.

I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect draped front sweater and Windswept by Melissa Kemmerer looks to be The One. This top-down seamless sweater is knit with fingering-weight yarn and offers the option to customize, with either subtle or wild, speckled stripes.

Add some flowers to your summer with Laura Patterson’s newest shawl design. The lovely Vervain, knit with 525 to 1,825 yards of laceweight yarn, uses two different Estonian flower stitches, one with clusters and another with double yarn overs.

Lara Smoot has released her new sock pattern, Shark Bite II: The Revenge, into the wild.

What to stash this week: Say goodnight to North Cascades

Today is the last day to get your hands on the debut Knitting Our National Parks colorway from Backyard Fiberworks! Preorders close at midnight Eastern Time tonight.

Krista of Pigeonroof Studios is celebrating more than 10 years in business by updating her shop with Greatest Hits. They include Electric Rose (pictured above), Ricochet, Ghost Orchid and Pansies, dyed on American Sock yarn as well as Polwarth/silk and Superwash Merino spinning fiber. As a fellow Indie Untangled fan, you can get 10% off until July 8th with the code INDIEUNTANGLED. 

The yarn from IU newcomer Old Rusted Chair is much more colorful than its rustic name implies. Dyer Lauren hails from Nashville, and has a great line of semisolids, along with a ton of fun variegated and speckled yarns. She recently added some new sock sets, which include a 100g skein of speckles plus a 20g mini skein of a complementary tonal color. 

SpaceCadet’s SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club, a yarn club devoted to worsted and bulky weight yarns, is now open to new subscribers for a limited time. Subscriptions are either six months or 12 months and include a gift along with the yarn.