What to stash this week: Reading yarn

Lola of Third Vault Yarns is encouraging knitting and reading with her new yarn club. A subscription to the sci-fi and fantasy-themed Vaulter’s Book Club comes with themed yarn and a specially designed pattern, along with a UK sweet treat. There will also be book discussion on Ravelry or in The Vault Facebook group. The first edition of the club is inspired by the urban fantasy I Bring the Fire series by C. Gockel.

Elakala, Mindy Wilkes’ new colorwork cowl, is inspired by the Elakala Falls, part of the Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia. The two swirling motifs are knit in two colors of fingering weight yarn.

Start your fall knitting with a new hand-dyed palette of fall colors from Bijou Basin Ranch called Autumn Spices. The seven semisolid and two variegated colorways are dyed on BBR’s new Himalayan Summit, a 50/50 blend of yak and Merino.

More a binge watcher than a reader? Melanie of Baad Mom Yarns has launched a yarn club inspired by the TV show Reign.

What to stash this week: Game of Yarns

At 9 a.m. Pacific time today, Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios is updating her shop with the extras from the popular Game of Thrones Bag of the Month preorders. The items, which include Mother of Dragons and Night’s Watch oath bags, will be available until they’re sold out and will not be made again. Kind of like what we hope happens to that army of blue-eyed zombies…

Switch is a new shawl pattern from Spruce Lane Designs named for a few different things, including the alternating stitch patterns that switch between the body and the border and the ability to switch to different yarn weights. The samples were knit in fingering and DK from Rhinebeck Trunk Show vendor Magpie Fibers.

IU newcomer Robynn of Studio Miranda has introduced Wraparoche, an easy introduction to two-color brioche. The pattern includes instructions for fingering or sport weight, along with a worksheet to help you work out the math for other gauges, making this an easy stash-busting project.

IU newcomer Samantha of Lavender Lune Yarn Co. has started a fun new yarn club, with her husband a creating mood board based on a movie that will inspire her colors. Additionally, through this morning, Samantha will be listing a surprise colorway, and 50% of the proceeds from sales of it will go to the SPCA of Texas to help pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

There are still a few skeins left of The Woolen Rabbit Silky Biffle BFL/silk sport and just one lone skein of Airy single fingering. Use the code YAYRHINEBECK for 20% off through Oct. 1 or until they’re all gone.

If you’re planning to go to Rhinebeck, you have just one more week to preorder La Bien Aimée’s Automne à Rhinebeck, Asylum Fibers’ Rhinebeck’s All the Craze and Eloise Narrigan-designed tote bags to pick up at the the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show on Oct. 20, and avoid the frenzy in the Indie Untangled booth.

My Mama Knits has started a KAL for her Stitch Up Mitts pattern, which is a free download on Ravelry.

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: 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: throwing ‘fade’

Kayleen of Littlebean Loves Yarn has been slowly restocking her shop with lovely new colorways on her Merino/nylon Everyday Sock base, Simple Sock Merino single-ply and also on her Yack Sock. You lucky readers also get a discount with the coupon code INDIEUNTANGLED.

If you’ve been tempted by Andrea Mowry’s So Faded sweater, you may have found the perfect yarn. Spirit Trail now has a limited number of kits available for So Faded, as well as the Find Your Fade and Free Your Fade shawls. The above photo shows the “Evening Shades” kit, dyed on Sunna, a 3-ply fingering-weight blend of Superwash Merino, Cashmere and silk. Kits are also available on Eos, a 2-ply yarn with 100% organic wool.

Give a big warm, wooly welcome to dyer Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn, who creates her stunning variegated colorways out on Long Island, N.Y. Her shop is stocked with a variety of bases, including a new Merino/yak/nylon blend called Tibetan Sock.

This yarn is too weird to knit, too rare to dye. Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, colorways in this series by My Mama Knits include Bat Country, Lizard Lounge, Desert Race, Circus Casino, Grapefruits, Surrealistic Bathtub and Tarmac Whale.

Inner Yarn Zen has opened preorders for Round 1, Season 3 of an Outlander Unclub. An unclub is essentially a kit with a colorway that is exclusive until 2018 and other handmade goodies. This round includes a skein of yarn inspired by the Battle of Culloden and the hero Jamie Frasier, along with a project bag that will carry you through the voyage on your own tall ship. 

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!

Untangling: Anne Hanson

When I first started knitting, Anne Hanson’s patterns were some of the first that I came across. I found that she had a talent for creating designs that look incredibly complex, but are simple enough for beginner knitters. The Aria Delicato I knit for my mom was stunning, but also easy TV knitting.

In 2014, when I was organizing the first Rhinebeck Trunk Show, I knew it was a sign that the event was going to be a hit when someone from Anne’s bespoke yarn company, Knitspot, asked if they could be a vendor. Anne has since gone on to collaborate with Kim of The Woolen Rabbit for the first installment of the 2017 Indie Untangled Where We Knit yarn club. Her club pattern, Shared Rib, is set to become available for sale to the general public.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit from my grandmother when I was 4 years old. Before that I would hang around and watch her knit and ask her to teach me (as far back as I can remember, I loved exploring knitted fabric with my fingers). She told me that when I could write my name, she would teach me. So I enlisted my older brother to teach me to write in the afternoons when he got home from school. I thought I’d be able to knit everything on the first day and was a little disappointed when knitting turned out to be hard and I couldn’t make cable stitches right away, haha. Those were my holy grail at the time…

Tell me about your work as a a patternmaker/draper, technical designer and costumer in NYC and how that influences your design work today.

I learned so much during my years working in the fashion industry, it’s hard to distill it all down to a few lines! But I think the most important thing I learned was to think beyond my own experience about how a design is worn and used by a broad cross-section of people. A good design not only expresses the voice and artistic vision of the designer, but is useful and flattering to people with a variety of lifestyles, body types, and preferences. Precision at the beginning is also essential as a design goes through production and is interpolated into a range of sizes, then cut and sewn. And finally, I learned the importance of being a good problem-solver, using my creativity to envision shapes and mold fabrics to get the results I wanted. I am so grateful to the designers, technicians, manufacturers, and stitchers who I was privileged to learn from and work with during those years!

How did you move into knitwear design?

I actually started designing knitwear as a teenager, well before working in the fashion business; it was something I did on my own, applying what I knew from sewing and tailoring, which I had also learned at a very young age. During my years in the fashion industry, many people encouraged me to “do something” with my knitwear design, but I didn’t really have access to the right outlets through my existing work. Once the internet became a more common tool, I was able to begin publishing my design independently and turn my “side” passion into a career option.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Oh, I really get inspiration from many directions… Obviously nature contributes a lot to the surface design in many of my pieces, especially in lace work. But I am equally inspired by the human form, by fabric behavior, and by the tactile/emotional effects of texture. Some inspiration is more abstract and some is more concrete. But all of it seems to funnel into knitted expression; it’s not unlike other of my artistic pursuits, such as painting and photography.

In the case of the Shared Rib cowl for instance, I was working from a desire to knit a particular cable that I had my eye on. But when I also realized that the pattern would be released near Valentine’s Day, I thought “hmm, shared rib has a kind of Adam and Eve theme and is very vine-like.” I brought up the idea of doing a color with the dyer that would be like dark red roses, which brought the concept back to the place I had chosen for my inspiration: the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. So many disparate threads came together in the concept for this simple cowl, but the knitter doesn’t need to know any of that for it to be appealing and knitworthy. The design would work equally well in any rich color with depth.

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

I almost always start by swatching; getting to know the materials and their limits, feeling the fabric they will make, and working out which stitches and textures interplay well with the fiber is essential to figuring out the geometry, shaping, and detailing in a design.

You seem to design in a variety of colors. Which are your favorites?

Color is truly relative — how a color “behaves” or appears really depends on what you put next to it and what fabric it will become. Of all the full spectrum colors, I really don’t have a favorite for that reason — they all change and become different with varying applications and moods. That said, the neutral range is endlessly fascinating for me; grays will always have a special place in my heart!

How did your Bare Naked Wool line come about?

When I became a hand spinner, I was exposed to a whole new world of variety in fleeces; I quickly gained a new appreciation and awe of the range of natural colors available. I started the Bare Naked Knitspot club to celebrate the knowledge I was gaining and it was through the club that I began producing bespoke yarns. One thing led to another and before we knew it, we had a full palette of single breed yarns and luxury blends on offer. I was excited to meet small production farmers and millers, then marry their talents. It just seemed that there were gaps to fill everywhere for knitters seeking a fresh, pure, and unique yarn product, beautifully prepared and free from dyes and chemicals. Farmers and millers had unique fiber and yarn to offer; knitters were ripe for knowledge and new yarn experiences — I wanted to bring them together!

What does designing those yarns entail?

Designing yarn is very interesting; one has to know about the individual fibers involved and how they behave to end up with a yarn that makes the most of their strong points. It’s important to put time and energy into research and development, testing it in stages with the mill to get just the right yarn structure. Many times the mill owners and operators are not knitters so working closely with them, communicating observations and results clearly is key. Another challenge is communicating to knitters how lovely a yarn can be without dye; unadulterated fiber is just softer, bouncier, with a natural sparkle that often gets lost when dye and chemical treatments are applied — even natural and organic ones. We are constantly working on educating our community and offering pattern support that inspires, to help make our customers’ experience the best it can be!

Where is your favorite place to knit?

We have a sofa in our dining room, which is a very quiet part of the house. I do a lot of knitting there while listening to audiobooks. I also knit while watching TV late at night; staying up long into the wee hours and knitting is my favorite thing, especially when my husband knits alongside me.

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: Harry Potter in NOLA

Aside from dyeing bright and cheerful NOLA colorways, Robyn of TeenyButton Studio also has a geeky side. Her latest offering is a Harry Potter Yarn of the Month Club — you pick your base and Robyn sends the yarn, with a colorway that will be exclusive for three months, or that will disappear from her lineup entirely.

Sarah of One Hand in the Dyepots has updated her shop with two new colorways. Above is Smokey Aubergine, a moody pink, purple and grey. There’s also Quantum, which uses a tie dye technique. 

The annual April knit along is going on in the Elliebelly Dye Works group on Ravelry.

What to stash this week: Knit start my heart

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

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

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

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

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

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