What to stash this week aside from Indie Untangled show specials

A lacy cowl with gray, brown and red stripes with mini pumpkins.

Crystal of Milly’s Knit Desgins teamed up with Kimberly of Palmer Yarn Company for the Solitude cowl, which brings together six DK-weight mini skeins and a lace pattern that provides a subtle transitions between color changes. The pattern can be purchased as part of a kit from Kimberly or on its own from Crystal’s web or Ravelry shop, and Indie Untangled insiders receive a special 25% discount off the pattern with code SOLITUDE through October 29.

Sets of red, brown, purple and gray, pink, red and purple and gray gold, pink, purple, blue and green yarn.

Speaking of Solitude… Kimberly of Palmer Yarn Company has three different custom color combinations. They’ll be available for a two-week preorder starting this Sunday at 2 p.m. CT, and mini sets will ship at the end of October.

A trio of purple and green yarn.

Eve of Holly Dyeworks has new fall colorways up in her shop, including Fletcher, Asheville Estate and Asheville, pictured here as a trio. There’s also a Wicked Sock Set that’s part of the Backstage Lights Yarn Club and there are Sugar N’ Spice Blanket kits.

A collage with red,, black and green yarn.

Just in time for Halloween, the Woolen Women have a Nightmare on Elm Street colorway that will scare your socks off.

Skeins of pink and rust yarn.

Victoria and the Eden Cottage Yarn crew have released a new base called Keld Aran, an Aran-weight blend of extrafine Merino and linen.

‘Make Good’ with Scratch

Two light-skinned women wearing sweaters sit smiling on a teal sofa.

Jessica and Karen of the Make Good Podcast and Scratch Supply Co.

This is the tenth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

If you’re not already familiar with Scratch Supply Co., once you learn about this welcoming LYS you’ll want to move to Lebanon, New Hampshire. Aside from showcasing indie, women, POC/BIPOC, queer and otherwise underrepresented dyers and makers, owners Jessica and Karen also recently launched an engaging podcast called Make Good (it’s an audio podcast, meaning you can concentrate solely on your stitches).

At Indie Untangled in Saugerties, you’ll be invited to submit questions to Jessica and Karen for the “Dear Scratch” segment of the Make Good podcast. You can ask them all of your fiber world questions, whether they be technical issues, fiber friend etiquette, or anything else you’ve been wondering about.

How did you decide to create the Make Good podcast?

Make Good was a direct result of COVID lockdowns. We spent a number of months with Scratch being closed to the public, and having to run every part of our business online. While we were fortunate that we were easily able to adapt, we really missed feeling like we were connected to the fiber community!

Over the years we’ve had lots of people tell us that they thought we should start our own podcast, and always kind of dismissed it as something we didn’t really have the time and energy for. But suddenly we were using our time really differently, and we decided to give it a shot. The community has been so supportive and amazing!

Why did you decide on an audio podcast versus video?

That’s easy — we’re both totally awkward on camera! But really, when we think of podcasts, we think of audio format. Video podcasts feel like something entirely different. Audio podcasts are just more suited to popping in your earbuds and listening while you go about your day, rather than having to find the time to dedicate to watching video.

A drawing of a sheep wearing headphones and the words MAKE GOOD.

Do either of you have previous podcasting experience?

We’ve both been interviewed on podcasts (in totally unrelated fields) before, but neither of us have ever created and hosted our own show. There’s been A LOT of learning by doing. And we absolutely couldn’t make this happen without having Travis to polish and edit every episode. The exceptionally low occurrence of hearing one of us sniffle or take a weird deep breath during an episode isn’t because we are trained orators, or robots. It’s because Travis painstakingly edits those things out so it’s a nice listening experience. He’s the real hero on this team.

How do you prepare for each episode? 

We try topics that we’re excited to talk about, or things that we think knitters will find interesting or helpful in some way. We draw on the interests of the knitters that come to Scratch, and we always welcome emails and messages with questions or suggestions for episodes. Once we pick a topic we do some research (if we need to), write an outline, and hope that we’ve had enough sleep and coffee before we hit record! We like to think that our conversations are like the experience you’d have if you were at Scratch talking about these things with us.

A bathtub full of yarn.

Do you get any common Dear Scratch questions? What was the most interesting question you’ve received?

The questions we receive are really all across the board. We get technical questions, etiquette questions, non-knitting partners looking for gift suggestions… it’s amazing! Sometimes we get questions that inspire entire episodes. Rather than the most interesting, I think that the most surprising Dear Scratch experience was when we got our first email from another LYS owner.

A letter sign that reads ALLAREWELCOME and @SCRATCHSUPPLYCO in pink and white.

Name two people in the crafting world you would drop everything to interview.

Xandy Peters because their designs are amazing! It would be fascinating to talk about their process and where their inspiration comes from.

Kate Atherley because she must be a bottomless resource of information and experience. Between her experience teaching, and the thousands of patterns that she’s edited (and written!), she must have a story about everything!

What non-crafting podcasts do you enjoy listening to?

Karen: I Don’t Even Own a Television, The Opportunist

Jessica: The Opportunist, The Dream, Nighty Night with Rabia Chaudry

What to stash this week: Exploring Alaska

A furry rodent on a mossy rock, and skeins of pink and pink and green speckled yarn.Ali of Explorer Knits + Fibers, who also loves the great outdoors, and donates a portion of every purchase of her yarn to the National Parks Foundation, was the perfect partner for this series and I’m so excited to finally work with her! Ali was inspired by the above photo of an adorable pika spotted along the Savage River Loop Trail at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska by wildlife photographer David Turko.

Two colorways — the speckled Mountain Floof and a semisolid pink called Rosehip — are available to preorder on the appropriately-named Denali Sock, a blend of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% nylon with a 2-ply twist, through Sunday, October 17, during Indie Untangled Everywhere, the online version. (Read on for more about show fun… and how to win some prizes!)

A green crescent shawl with a blue and gray edging of wavy lace.

I’ve also been in touch with another national parks lover, designer Theressa Silver, who published her book Knitting Wild in 2019. It features 21 patterns, including shawls, cowls, hats, mitts and scarves, accompanied by descriptions about the place that served as its inspiration and exploring the issues of climate change, habitat conservation and endangered species protection.

You can use Ali’s colorways to knit Theressa Silver’s Here Be Puffins shawl from Knitting Wild, which is also available for preorder from Indie Untangled.

Skeins of cream, brown and mauve yarn surrounded by cinnamon sticks and pinecones.

Maureen of Charming Ewe has added new items to the shop, including The Cocoa Collection of solids and tonals.

A spiral-edged pin with a mother of pearl button in the center sits atop a cake of green yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has a new line of shawl pins that she crafted with vintage mother of pearl buttons from the 1930s through the ’80s, sourced from a vendor at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. She’ll be debuting them at SAFF, which is being held October 22-24.

Sock-shaped wood with decorative holes.

Sara of of La Cave à Laine, an Indie Untangled Everywhere vendor, has curated quite a collection of handy and attractive tools and notions for knitters and crafters, including stitch markers, handmade soap, different scissors, notion kits and more. Above are sock blockers that are handmade in Austria in Austrian beech plywood.

A coil of brown rustic yarn.

Monica of Gothfarm brought together three different fibers — bay black alpaca, Shetland sheep wool and Jacob sheep wool — to form Terra Preta, a rich brown yarn named after a soil created thousands of years ago by indigenous farming communities in the Amazon Rainforest. It will debut next week at Indie Untangled Everywhere.

Metal rings with beads of black, blue and gold and a silver witch.

Michele of MAB Elements is marking the upcoming holiday with a Glitzy Witch Stitch Marker Set. It includes seven handcrafted markers made with faceted crystals, including one beginning of round marker with the witch, plus seven plain bulb removable markers that fit up to size US 10.5 knitting needles.

Skeins of yellow, peach and pink yarn in a row.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarn is back with some shop updates with British wool, including Bowland 4ply and Bowland DK (100% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester), as well as yarn packs for various patterns, including Andrea Mowry’s Douglas Cardi and the Cumulo sweater by Lili Buce-Chmelko from issue 1 of crochet mag Moorit.

Skeins of green, beige, gray and pink yarn.

7th Floor Yarn has a new base. Twisted Aran is 50% Fine Merino and 50% Alpaca, with 191 yards per skein, perfect for winter projects.

A row of tote bags with purple, green and pink dots.

Crista Jaeckel is having a shop update today at 6 p.m. ET with a few XL tote bags with XL shoulders straps, zipper bags, and large drawstring bags.

A black tote bag with a teal, orange and beige illustration of animals and the words Win a swag bag!

The Indie Untangled swag bags are always super popular, and we wanted to share the love to shoppers in all the sessions at our October 15 show in Saugerties, as well as online! Everyone with a ticket to the 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. shopping times, or anyone who buys a ticket for the in-person or online events through Monday, October 11, will have the opportunity to win one of several event tote bags with swag from 10 of our fab sponsors: Scratch Supply Co. and the Make Good podcast, Knitrino, 29 Bridges Studio, Soak, Birdie Parker Designs, Three Irish Girls, Daughter of a Shepherd, Leo & Roxy Yarn Co., Wool & Vinyl and Yarn Over New York.

 

Birdie Parker goes beyond metal

An orange leather bracelet on a light-skinned arm.

This is the ninth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

Kristi Jensen of Birdie Parker Designs is known for her metal stitching-themed jewelry — she even has a BFA degree in Metalsmithing from California State University Long Beach — but her most recent designs have veered away from the shiny medium. They include enamel, acrylic and leather, which you’ll be able to purchase at our online show, as well as the Beautiful Syster booth at the in-person show, and The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea shop in downtown Saugerties, in about a week!

Since you studied metalsmithing, how did you decide to move to other materials, such as enamel, acrylic and leather?

Enameling was actually my first love in metalsmithing, but it’s a rather time-consuming process so it’s been on the back burner until now. I’ve been fortunate enough to find an amazing assistant this year, and she has freed up time in my schedule for me to explore adding small-batch enamel items to my collection. As for the acrylic and leatherworking… I’ve always intended for Birdie Parker to offer a wide assortment of items other than just jewelry. About two years ago, I started exploring combining leather with my etched metal pieces and quickly realized that cutting and finishing those leather items by hand was slow work. That’s when I added a laser printer to my process. Then, I started seeing all this beautiful acrylic in a wide range of colors and effects and the wheels started turning in my brain and soon after I had a whole line of acrylic stitch markers. I’m definitely a person who loves learning new techniques and the addition of the laser has opened so many new avenues in the business.

A light-skinned woman with red dyed hair and black glasses.

How does it change your process to work with other materials?

Working with metals can take a lot of steps and time and, for the most part, it can only be done by me. The leather and acrylic is pretty hands off once I do the designing, and my assistant can finish the assembling and packaging process. By working with new materials, I’m not limited by the properties of metal and can make more of my visions a reality.

A necklance with a silver stickinette stitch pattern and an aqua enamel oval.

Can you share some of your plans for this year’s Indie Untangled Everywhere?

I’m really excited to offer colorful enamel pieces, some new useful leather accessories and show off some of the new items released over the past year.

Do you have ideas for other types of products in the pipeline?

So many items! I’m working on a line of rings, some with enamel. There are several new earrings in development, and some bangle bracelets. Leather project bags! I just need more hours in the day to make them come to fruition.

Round earrings with etched knitting stitches.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

I always have several sock tubes waiting for finishing, and I’m currently working on a beautiful stripey rainbow version of the Sunset Shawl by Meghan Babin of Hudson and West Co.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Knitrino

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Two women standing in a field. They are wearing hand-knit sweaters.

This is the eighth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

Knitters are all about learning new things, but what if there was something that made the whole process easier? That’s what Knitrino, a new app from sisters Alison Yates and Andrea Cull, does. They work with independent designers to create specially-designed, interactive patterns. See only the size you’re making, check off your progress within the chart, create colorwork charts with the colors you’re using and click on a stitch to watch a video on how to do it.

Will you be joining us for our show on October 15? Knitrino is partnering with lots of Indie Untangled vendors to show off the current Knitrino patterns in their beautiful yarns. Kits will be available in the marketplace booths and Alison and Andrea will be on hand in the Indie Untangled Picnic Area to help you get started with Knitrino’s interactive features. If you’re attending our online event, you can meet them there, too!

A cream cowl with green colorwork and a smartphone.

The Koru Cowl from Francoise Danoy.

Tell us the story of how you came up with the idea for Knitrino.

We started Knitrino by listening to knitters’ stories. We talked to them on video chats and at live shows, asking them about learning to knit, current WIPs, knitting heartache, and what they’d want with three wishes. Over & over we heard about mistakes & roadblocks caused by paper patterns: looking at the wrong size, losing a sticky note, forgetting to mark where they left off, re-creating entire charts in Excel for colorwork in their color combos. These knitters where spending hundreds of dollars on indie-dyed yarn, hundreds more hours knitting, only to have projects banished to the unfinished project pile because of the PDF pattern.

Why is Knitrino important?

If there’s one thing we learned from listening to knitters, it’s that everyone learns and processes information differently. Even very experienced knitters run into problems, looking up the wrong video for their magic cast on, or circling the wrong sweater size for one line of instructions. And aspiring knitters are often stumped by the jargon and abbreviations frequently found in knitting patterns. We have been blown away by the number of knitters who have grown their skills, tackling projects that they never thought they could, from socks to first sweaters! We are so grateful to have each other as we knit, and we want Knitrino to be the knitting sister, knitting coach, knitting mentor so knitters everywhere can realize they can do so much more than they thought they could!

Two women knitting. They are wearing gold and blue colorwork sweaters.

What are each of your responsibilities when it comes to the business? What are the unique things that each of you bring to your company?

Andrea: As the “Chief Knitting Officer” I’m in charge of planning our curated collections, choosing yarns for new designs, scheduling tech edits & test knits, and organizing a collaborative release of the patterns when they’re ready for Knitrino. I love talking to designers, dyers, yarn shops, and knitter & brainstorming creative ideas. So I’m often on a video chat or DMing on Slack or IG to find out what people want, need, or dream of knitting in the future.

Alison: We always joke that I’m the business-end, but in reality, I’m the product/user experience (UX) part of the business. I dream up all the ways knitting should be easier, translate that into an implementation plan, and then work with our developers to create it. I also build the patterns on the backend – I love the mathy bits, and spend lots of my days in spreadsheets building patterns, doing our books, filing our taxes. Andrea and I are both scientists by training. We like to say that in our Venn diagram, our similarities are our parents, science, knitting, and shared values. Other than that, we’re very different, and that’s what makes us a great team.

What’s your vision of the future with Knitrino?

We have so many big plans for Knitrino, and this is just the start! What if you had settings for how you knit – left-handed picker or right-handed thrower, for example – and Knitrino would adjust all the instructions and videos to match how you knit? (Just to interject, we’re amazed at how left out our left-handed knitting friends have been, and all the extra effort that’s required of them.) What if you could specify your gauge or your size, and have Knitrino update the pattern just for you? And those are just the little things we’re working on – we have many secret things we can’t even talk about yet. Our hope is to take away the unnecessarily difficult aspects, and leave knitters with an experience where they can effortlessly focus on the knitting they love.

A colorwork sweater with a green yoke.

Cosmic Dreamer by Faye Kennington.

How do you decide which designers to partner with?

We love innovative ideas, beautiful motifs, and partnering with people who share our values. We are extremely grateful for the designers who believe in what we are doing for the future of patterns and want everyone we work with to feel good about our collaborations and what we are building with Knitrino.

Can you share some of your plans for future Knitrino designs?

We are really excited about an mini-skein pattern we have in progress for all those holiday kits! We also have about 20 beautiful designs currently in the queue from indie designers we love!

A smartphone next to gray knitting.

The Daybreak Wrap by Tif Neilan.

Tell me about how each of you learned how to knit? Alison, I understand you learned only after you and Andrea founded Knitrino.

Alison: When we started Knitrino, I wasn’t a knitter. I told Andrea I wasn’t going to learn – I just had too many hobbies that I didn’t have time for. But after a few months of talking to knitters, I broke down and told Andrea “Okay, you have to teach me how to knit! I feel like a fraud!” So I picked a vintage sweater that I wanted to make, and the rest is history,

Andrea: I first learned to knit from a pamphlet book with pictures about 20 years ago, but it didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t until about seven years ago when a friend said, “You can knit anything if you just do what the pattern says” that I began a journey to do just that!

Do either of you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?

Andrea: I’ve done some others but can’t say I “enjoy” them!

Alison: Sewing and crochet predate knitting, but there isn’t much time for them these days.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Andrea: I’m working on a colorwork cardigan for Rhinebeck that I engineered myself using the stunning motif from Francoise Danoy’s Koru cowl!

Alison: My vintage Rhinebeck dress from a 1930s pattern!

What to stash this week: Yarn for the holidays

A collage of photos of a grandfather clock, candelabra, a snowy tree, a woman in a red cloak and a rose under a glass dome.

The holiday countdown calendars from the WoolenWomenFibers crew are inspired by Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. They include 25 individually-wrapped mini skeins from December 1-24 and a 100g skein, a handmade sock sack by Aggie’s Bags and bonus goodies to open on Christmas Day.

A kit of colorful knitting notions.

Though Stephen West didn’t set any stitch marker records with this year’s MKAL, Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has you covered with her (Mostly) Magnetic MKAL Mix Box O’Notions. It has all the tools you need to tackle a complex project.

An illustration of an otter and the words Halloween is taking shape.

Aiden of Undercover Otter has created a special and spooky Halloween colorway, inspired by the original Halloween movies, and its many incarnations, especially the 2018 continuation of the original. You can choose from a Yarn & Swag Bag option or a Yarn Only option. Both include a “mask to bring out your inner beauty.”

29 Bridges goes beyond Superwash yarn

Blue, chartreuse and purple yarn.

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

If you’ve been following Indie Untangled for a while, you know that we are all about non-Superwash yarns and custom-milled bases. Mary of 29 Bridges Studio, who we are excited to host for the first time at our in-person show on October 15, has expanded her offerings to include more non-Superwash yarn. In anticipation of seeing and feeling it in real life, I decided to ask Mary about the process of sourcing and dyeing this yarn.

Why did you decide to offer more non-Superwash yarn?

It’s about walking the walk and listening to our customers. In my personal life, I try to minimize my impact on the environment so, of course, I wanted that for our business too. Additionally, we heard requests from customers for non-Superwash yarns, especially at fiber festivals. So I started taking classes, talking to shepherds, and educating myself. I was hooked. I like how non-Superwash yarns honor the beauty and natural characteristics of the fiber. Our non-Superwash Merino sock yarn is a dream to work with and it blooms beautifully. It’s a perfect choice for sweaters, socks, or shawls and it’s very soft against your skin.

A skein of red yarn.

What was the process of sourcing these bases like?

At first, non-Superwash bases seemed harder to source but through networking and research, we were able to find a good fit. There was an initial upfront investment that is changing the way we do inventory planning but we’re adapting.

Are any of your bases custom milled?

We’re excited about our first custom base that will be available in December 2021: a really beautiful, non-Superwash Merino DK. It’s Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified which means that it meets social criteria, ethical business behaviors, and environmental management. I can’t wait to get it in the pots and on the needles.

Blue yarn with gray speckles.

How does the dye process change for non-Superwash yarns?

The process of dyeing non-Superwash yarn requires a gentle approach and can sometimes take longer. The surface of wool is made up of overlapping cuticles, or scales. Heat and moisture raise the scales allowing them to grab onto each other. This is what enables felting. Since we don’t want to felt when we’re dyeing, we’re careful not to agitate the yarn. Non-Superwash yarn absorbs dye a little more slowly than Superwash and typically has a softer and more muted result. Speckling can also look more diffuse and, at times, can be a completely different color from how it dyes on a Superwash yarn. Because of this, we have a few colors that we had to reimagine or reformulate for non-Superwash.

What have you learned through the process of sourcing non-Superwash yarns?

I went down many rabbit holes while researching and sourcing our yarns. First, I had to take a step back to understand Superwash vs non-Superwash and GOTS. From there, I explored the different types of wool — fine, down, medium, long — and the differences in the fleece. And, finally, choosing and working with a mill.

Three skeins of plum yarn.

Are there any fibers on your non-Superwash wishlist?

Right now I’m exploring all the different types of sheep wool. There are so many I want to try, Merino is just the tip of the iceberg. My next in-person fiber festival will be seen through a new lens.

What kinds of garments can people make with your non-Superwash bases?

You can make any garment with a non-Superwash yarn — even socks. Lacy shawls and sweaters really lend themselves to non-Superwash because when they are blocked the yarn blooms and forms a halo which is not only beautiful, it helps it keep its shape.

I’d like to give swatching and blocking a plug. There are many fiber experts who have researched and written about swatching with Superwash and non-Superwash yarns. The takeaway is, before your start a project, make a swatch and block it. Not only can check your gauge, but you can also try out the pattern and colors you’ve chosen, and you’ll know how much yarn you need to complete your project. You spend countless hours knitting or crocheting the perfect handmade piece, swatching will help ensure that it turns out as you imagined.

You should also keep a few care details in mind. Garments made with non-Superwash yarn should be gently hand washed in tepid water, then carefully squeeze out the water, and lay them flat to dry. No hot water, no washing machine, no dryer.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Three Irish Girls

A light-skinned woman with light brown hair wearing a gold sweater holding yarn.

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

Three Irish Girls is a well-known name in the yarn world. In operation for more than a decade, it’s currently run by Duluth, Minnesota-based Erin McFarland, who creates bright, cheerful colors inspired by, among other things, pop culture — The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Beatles — and nature.

We’re excited to have Erin at the in-person event as well as the online show!

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I started dyeing yarn in 2009 when my childhood friend, Sharon McMahon was moving back home with her yarn-dyeing business, Three Irish Girls, to our hometown in Minnesota at the same time that I was moving home from New Zealand.

Skeins of yarn in a rainbow of colors.

The Love Is Love mini kit.


What inspires your colorways?

This is a loaded question!

Anything from inspirational photos, artwork, nature, color palette photos from Pinterest, but sometimes from a feeling transposed into color.

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

Currently, anything in the mustard realm and cool fuchsia like Midge from my Mrs. Maisel collection. Truly my favorite color changes frequently as is is sooo mood driven for me to which color I am attracted to…

I just say rainbow 🌈 most of the time.

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

It is so funny, but a proper camel tan is extremely hard to get just right… still haven’t figured it out yet — but I will someday!

A white yarn speckled with gold, pink, teal and aqua and corresponding coiled skeins of yarn.

The Mrs. Maisel collection.

What are some of your most popular colorways?

I feel my top 10 include:

Space Oddity
Rocket Man
Fireside Chat
Everlasting Gobstopper
When Doves Cry
Magnolia
Bless Your Heart
River Delta
Skinny Jeans
Guinness

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Untangled?

I am featuring:

Designer Lisa Ross and her work with coordinating kits
Knitrino samples with coordinating yarn
A featured colorway from Northern Minnesota called Lake Superior Agate
My Mrs. Maisel collection of coloways

NEW, YET-TO-BE-RELEASED COLLECTIONS:

Across The Universe/Beatles Inspired
Anne of Green Gables
Fall
Spooky Halloween

Expect sweater quantities and a wide variety of variegated colorways in our custom base, Adorn Luxe fingering; Springvale DK, Worsted and Bulky; Dubliner Silk; Alpaca Merino DK and Claddagh Silk Mohair in semisolids and speckles.

A collage of colorful yarn.

The Beatles collection

When and how did you learn to knit?

When I was living in New Zealand, a kind woman at the local yarn shop showed me a few things. Then I used YouTube to keep learning as I tried different patterns.

What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?

There are so many but if I were to choose one I love the Soldotna Crop by Caitlin Hunter that we had made with our yarn for a show sample and my Throwback Cardigan by Andrea Mowry that I made.

A rainbow striped shawl.

The Happy Thoughts Shawl.

What’s currently on your needles?

I am currently working on Hearthstone pullover by Ysolda Teague in our colorway Arroyo (go figure — mustard gold and pretty speckles!).

What to stash this week: Roots and leaves

A woman models a striped wrap in dark and light greens.

Designer Soraya García is channeling autumn with one of her favorite designs to date. Sori’s Paradisia Wrap has a sagittal shape inspired by tree roots and the veins of leaves. It’s knit with a variegated and semisolid color in the same weight or a contrasting weight — she used a single-ply Merino and a laceweight mohair in the above sample. It’s knitted with sections of garter stitch and stripes and short rows, combining effortless knitting with a little bit of interest.

Yarn in red, orange and gold.

Maureen, a new business owner of Charming Ewe, has some fall colors in her shop, like this one called Apple Crisp, which is available on a variety of Superwash fingering and DK bases.

An illustration of a tape casette and the words Holiday Mix Tape inspired Advent box.

Jill has opened preorders for the Jilly & Kiddles Advent kit, and this year’s theme is Holiday Mix Tape, with 24 surprise mini skeins inspired by her family’s favorite holiday music. The kit also includes an exclusive xix tape-inspired project bag and extra themed surprises.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Yarn & Whiskey

A black woman wears a T-shirt that reads minding my black owned business.

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

While Tammi of Brooklyn-based yarn&whiskey hasn’t yet realized her dream of opening a yarn shop/whiskey bar — which I would totally be a regular of — she launched her project bag-making business in January 2020. Using her collection of African print fabric, she creates bags to spark the feeling of “elegance, pride, and fearlessness” that she gets from these colors in her fellow crafters.

How did you decide to turn Yarn & Whiskey into a business?

For many years, I dreamed of having a yarn shop/whiskey bar, hence the name yarn&whiskey. But in 2019, when I decided that I would go back to school full time, I thought making project bags could be a way for me to earn an income while studying. Then the pandemic hit. I started yarn&whiskey in late January 2020 and by March when things were pretty bleak around the country, I had no desire to make project bags. I switched to making masks and gave them away for free for several months before deciding to sell them. After making about a thousand or so masks and by November, I was ready to switch back to bags. Around this time, Darci Kern reached out to me because I was promoting bags again and asked me to be part of her Fiber in Color box for January 2021. I wound down the mask making, ramped up bag making, and have not looked back. I’m back in the bag business and loving it.

Box bags with a green and pink botanical print.

How would you say your project bags are different from others?

I use wax prints in my project bags and the bags are reversible. I like to use bright prints for both sides of the bags and I do my best to coordinate the prints so they look great together without being too matchy. I also use wax prints for my pouches, which have a 3D/popcorn bag design that is enhanced by a high quality metal zipper. Unlike other box totes, my pouches lay flat when they’re not in use, which makes them easy to tuck away. I also make the pouches in five sizes, including two sizes that are great for storing your hand knits.

The zippers I use were chosen because a lot of high-end designers use them and I want to bring that same quality to my customers because I think every detail matters. I use a waxed cotton cord because it makes a tight and smooth cinch that produces less wear on the fabric than a rope drawstring. I buy my fabric from other people of color — mostly other women, small business owners, and purchase my zippers at a retailer out of Queens, NY.

I have also sourced fabric directly from Nigeria and Ghana because I am always on the lookout for prints that aren’t seen much here in the States. A lot of thought and care goes into my choices for trimmings and notions, the hand stitching done on each project bag, and the sustainable qualities of the packaging I use for shipping. I hope it shows in the products I produce.

You recently enrolled in a textile program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. What does this entail and how do you hope it will inform your business?

In my program, which is a one-year program, we’re mostly focusing on designing prints and learning the process of making prints digitally and by hand — which means a lot of drawing and painting. I’ve also got a weaving class, which I already know will be my favorite. My creativity is definitely being pushed. How will it inform my business? That remains to be seen. I am so grateful for the time to learn for the sake of learning. Every day I come to class with the knowledge that not everyone is able to walk away from a stable and steady income in order to pursue a passion and I couldn’t do this without a lot of planning and a supportive partner. I am extremely grateful, whatever the outcome.

A collection of bright zipper box bags.

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

It’s OK to stop making a thing that is profitable but is burning you out. When the pandemic hit, I pivoted to making masks. Masks far outsold project bags month after month, but I felt like my creativity was stagnating, so I killed mask production and made the decision to only make bags. Sales through my website were down for a few months, but after posting more bag content on Instagram and vending at a couple of virtual events, including Indie Untangled, my sales shot up again. I ended up getting wholesale orders and lots of interest in my products. I am glad I stuck to my decision.

When and how did you learn to sew and knit?

I took my first sewing class at a place called Sew Fast, Sew Easy in midtown Manhattan in the late ’90s/early 2000s and followed that up by enrolling in a few fashion design classes at FIT, just to enhance my hobby. I may have also taken my first knitting class there, but I’m no longer 100% sure about that. I do know that my first project was a scarf made with Manos del Uruguay yarn and it was about 8 feet of garter stitch. Yes, I still have the scarf.

Red yarn peeking out of a blue and red floral drawstring bag.

What are your favorite skeins in your stash?

Oof, that’s a hard one. But if I had to choose a favorite of the moment, it would be the yarn I have from FlYY Dyed. I’ve got several DK skeins of Rachel’s yarn that are within eyeshot of my workbench. They’re in bright hues of yellow, pink, and orange and looking at them cheers me up when I’m feeling grumpy. Don’t ask me what I’m going to use them for. I have no idea yet, but it’s a comfort to know they’re here when I need them.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

I’ve got Textures Unite by Stephen West (a wonder of multiple colors and textured stitches) and Seelig (a brioche design) by Katrink Schubert hibernating on my needles because I’m not 100% sure where I left off. Plus both patterns are a bit complicated for me at the moment. I’m actively knitting Saknes by Zanete Knits, which is a cable pattern with just the right amount of difficulty and interest.