What to stash this week: in knitting color

Gradient Play, the latest shawl design from Deb of Spruce Lane Designs uses two gradient sets, so you don’t even have to decide between two. Or you can use those sets in your stash, or leftovers that definitely go together because you pick the same colors of yarn all the time. 

IU newcomer Claudia Hand Painted Yarns is ready for warm weather with new spring colors on linen. Pictured above is Ishmael on Drama 100% linen yarn.

For this collaboration with Insomniac Designs, Slipped Stitch Studios is releasing a new line of bags with a fitting sentiment. These will only be on sale through Monday, so set your alarm.

Cat Sandwich Fibers just had a shop update with a ton of new colorways, some fade kits, mini skein sets and more.

Rose gold is the new… gold. Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has added the trendy metal to her lineup of shawl pins.

Wild Hair Studio has fiber boxes and yarn and fiber grab bags available.

Untangling: Wool and Wine

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As evidenced by the popularity of the Knitting & Gin pin, knitters like their adult beverages. Massachusetts resident John Martin took the idea a step further with his new book, Wool and Wine (affiliate link). John, who developed an appreciation of yarn and knitting from his wife, Melissa, came up with the idea for a book about yarn and wine during a project management course. Though he didn’t actually have to publish the book to pass the class, he decided to go forward with the project anyway.

In his self-published book, John expertly weaves the stories behind a dozen indie dyers and yarn companies, including Indie Untangled regulars Eden Cottage Yarns, The Woolen Rabbit and Cedar Hill Farm Company, together with those of their vineyard “pairings,” such as the Rhinebeck favorite Hetta Glögg. There are also suggested patterns for the yarns, with samples knit by Melissa and photographed out in nature (the patterns themselves are not included in the book, but you can purchase them on Ravelry).

John explained how he came up with the pairings in our interview:

How did this book come about?

The book actually began as a project for graduate school. I was taking a project management class and needed to come up with a “project” to work on. I had always been interested in writing a book and on a whim, I suggested that as a possible option to the professor. She approved the idea and I was on my way! As part of the course, I was required to come up with a subject for the book, budget, market research, timetable and many other related tasks.

My final assignment was a presentation detailing the project from start to finish and when I was done, the professor said to sounded like a great idea and to let her know if I ever actually wrote the book. I had the market research showing that there was interest in the idea so after giving it some additional though, I decided to give it a try. I figured that even if it didn’t work out, it would be a fun project to work on with my wife and daughter.

I am not sure how other books are written by in my case, I had a very detailed, step-by-step plan! As I started each new step, I would think, “Will I be able to get everything done or will this be the step that I get stuck on?” Gradually, one step turned into the next. There is a Christmas special called “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” which has a song called “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” – I am always reminded of that as I think about the process that I went through! After about a year of tiny steps, I had Wool and Wine.

Wine from Dry Creek Vineyards and yarn from The Woolen Rabbit.

How did you come up with the dyer and vineyard pairings? I notice that each are from different parts of the world.

Initially, I thought that the pairings might be one of the harder parts of creating the book. The dyers/yarns and vineyards/wines were actually chosen independently and to some degree based on a particular individual actually wanting to participate in the project. I started with an idea that I wanted to include a wide variety of wines and yarns – things that perhaps folks were not as familiar with; a spiced wine for example or a relatively new dyer – to make the book more interesting. However, just reaching out to someone did not guarantee that they would want to be in the book so it was impossible to try to plan the pairings ahead of time.

Ultimately, we ended up with a group of wines and yarns that may or may not have something in common. The big fear was – what if I am not able to find a good pairing for one of them?

As it turned out, the pairings just seemed to develop by themselves based on a wide variety of criteria. In the case of Long Ridge Farm and Poocham Hill Winery, they are located within a mile of each other in New Hampshire and are run by college friends, so they obviously needed to be together. Some of the yarns were very elegant and sophisticated and seemed to go best with a rich, refined red wine. Some yarns were light, bright and fun and were paired with sunny, summery rosés and white wines. In the case of the glögg, which is a Nordic spiced wine, it has a long history of being served in cold weather and what better yarn to work with in the winter than a soft, buttery, bulky (Hedgehog fibres in the case of the book). In the end, everything just seemed to have a natural match!

It was fun to talk about the pairings at the beginning of each section and provide the reader with the reasons why the pairing was created – I really had a picture in my head of the wine being drunk while someone knit or wore a piece made with the yarn. A good example is the chapter featuring a beautiful yarn from Kim Kaslow (The Woolen Rabbit) and a nice zinfandel from Dry Creek Vineyard. The color inspiration for the yarn was the 1940s and I can really picture a starlet wearing a shawl made from the yarn (a design from Paulina Popiolek is highlight in the chapter), at an elegant black tie gathering with a glass of zinfandel in her hand.

Meadow by Paulina Popiolek

Did you visit any of the wineries?

I wish that I had been able to visit them all! Poocham Hill Winery is relatively close to my house and I was pleased to be able to spend some time with Steve Robbins and Mame ODette, learning about their history and operation. Many of the other wineries were generous enough to provide me with time on the phone so that I could conduct my interviews remotely.

The first wine tasting that I ever went on with my wife was to Dry Creek Vineyard in California. Until that time, I selected wine based on cost more than anything else, so I was not sure what to expect when we arrived! The staff there were extremely generous with their time and talked about the differences in the types of wine, how they were aged and what types of food to pair them with. It really opened up a whole new world for me. I remember later in the day wondering how people established vineyards and opened wineries. When I started working on this project, one of the first wineries I reached out to was Dry Creek and was thrilled when they agreed to take part in Wool and Wine.

What was the publishing process like?

I have been involved in writing, editing, photoshoots, printing and layouts for a number of years professionally but never with publishing. Honestly, it was a bit daunting at first – saying “I want to write a book” is a lot easier than actually doing it! Because of my background, the creation of the content was fairly straightforward. While I was interviewing, writing, photographing and editing, I started researching how exactly to take all of that information and make it into a book. In my case, I wanted to self-publish, so there was a lot of research done on the exact process. Luckily, there is a lot of good information available to educate yourself!

There was a very surreal point where after almost a year of work, I just needed to press a button and the book would actually be published and available for sale! I remember thinking that there must be more to it than that! Some type of fanfare or something! But no, in the end, it just came done to a simple click of a button.
That is not the end of the process of course. Once you have a book and folks can purchase it, you need to let everyone know that it is out there. The marketing and promotion can be a bit of roller coaster – big sales followed by very few purchases – but I have been working for a number of years as a marketer so I am a bit more comfortable with that aspect of the work.

What is your professional background and how do you think it informed your book?

If you look at my background, I doubt that you would connect it to a book or at least not to a book about wool and wine! My undergraduate degree is in Biology and my focus was on Environmental Science and Ecology. I am still working on my graduate degree part-time (one and a half classed left!) and that work is in Business, specifically Organizational Leadership. Professionally, I have worked for a number of scientific instrumentation companies and am currently a regional marketing manager for a company that manufactures weather detection equipment (like the weather radars you see on the television news). So, from that perspective, I might well be writing a book on a scientific subject of some sort.

However, if you look beyond the obvious, a lot of the skills that I have picked up along the way have been helpful with the project. I have done a lot of writing for industry publications as well as creating technical papers, brochures, websites, etc. – activities that have helped me to learn how to communicate with people using a lot of different types of media. Photography and photoshoots have always been part of my job, as has the creation of graphics, designing and editing. All of those different things have played a part in helping me not only visualize and create Wool and Wine but also in its promotion and sale.

My specific interest in yarn and knitting stems from spending a lot of time next to my wife on the couch as she created beautiful things (and my wearing many of them!) – I caught the knitting bug from her. I always found the entire process fascinating – self-stripping yarn is amazing! – and wondered how people got their starts. Very similar to that first day wine tasting when I starting wondering about the people behind the scenes. That is really what the book is focused on – the people behind these wonderful products – how they got their start, what inspires them and where they want to go in the future. The history behind knitting and its profound effect on people are also fascinating and I enjoyed weaving that into the stories as well.

Tell me about your knitting story.

One of the things that I will always remember about my grandmother was her knitting and crocheting. She always had one project or another going and she was really the only knitter I remember seeing when I was young. When the weather got cold, she would focus on making slippers for everyone in the family – taking requests for colors, pom-poms, reinforced heels and just about anything else you could want. I do not ever recall a time when I did not have a pair under my bed. She would also make blankets for each family member when they became engaged so that they would have one handmade item to start their new life with – I still have the one that she made for my wife and me.

Knitting faded from my life as I got older. It did not return until after I was married and I can attribute its comeback to my love of baseball. Or rather, my wife’s indifference to the sport. As I would settle down to watch a game she quickly started to look for something to occupy her time while she kept me company. She started to teach herself knitting and gradually became more and more proficient. My contribution at first was strictly as a model but I soon started to see yarns that I never had encountered in my grandmother’s knitting basket. I began to accompany her on trips to fairs and yarn events and to poke around yarn shops (our first Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY together was in 2008!). The excitement and passion of the knitting community really is contagious and soon I was looking over her shoulder at podcasts and flipping through books. It was just a short hop from there to making my first tentative attempts at a washcloth!

Fabergé by Laura Aylor in Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy

What kinds of projects are you usually working on?

My knitting skills are still in their infancy – the majority of the knitting for Wool and Wine was carried out by my wife. However, I am lucky to have such a skilled knitter in the house for teaching, tips and corrections (probably more corrections than anything else!). I am currently finishing off a hat and this summer, after my current graduate class is completed, I would like to move on to socks, which are a natural progression in my learning. I am hopeful that I will be able to progress to the point that I will not be yelled at for knitting too tightly!

What is your favorite wine and favorite yarn to work with?

My favorite wine really depends on what I am eating but I favor Malbecs if they are available (especially from Argentina and Chile). I also like a nice, chilled white during the summer. I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling over my career and have enjoyed trying regional wines in many parts of the world. You can find a good wine just about any place if you take the time to look. I wanted to highlight that in the book as well and was lucky enough to be able to include some wines from non-traditional locations such as Maine, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Texas. One piece of advice that I was once given was to find a wine that you enjoy and drink it – it does not matter how much it costs, where it comes from or what others think of it. If you like it and are happy enjoying it, then it is a good wine.

Regarding yarn, I am drawn to natural colorways – likely because those are colors that I would tend to wear myself (although I do occasionally sport some pretty crazy sock colors!) – and most definitely hand-dyed indie yarns. I really admire the entire dying process and how complex it can become; it is a true art form. A yarn that has a very deep palette with multiple layers of color definitely catches my attention. With so many innovative technique and unique colors, there is always something new to discover in the world of yarn, which contributes to its uniqueness and excitement. Something that I came to admire during my research for the book was the organic wools and production techniques that are starting to become more popular and I hope to be able to learn more about that in the future (thanks to Rosy Stegmann and Patrick Grubaen of Rosy Green Wool for getting me started!).

John was generous enough to donate a copy of Wool and Wine for a giveaway! To enter, comment on this post with your favorite type of wine and/or vineyard. The giveaway will run through midnight EDT on Wednesday, May 2. A winner will be chosen via random number generator.

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to winner Annie!

What to stash this week: sip and stitch

I spotted these enamel pins in Sue Stratford’s booth at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and had to get one for myself… and for the rest of the gin enthusiasts in the States! A batch of these pins arrived on Tuesday and they are nearly sold out, so snap one up if you’re a juniper fan.

Speaking of beverages, I especially love the sentiment on Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks’ new camp mugs.

You have until midnight Eastern time tonight to preorder Candice’s Kiowa, inspired by sunset over Yellowstone, for the Indie Untangled Knitting Our National Parks project!

Amanda of Hu Made has introduced a new selection of art yarn. No, it’s not glittery handspun, but a small batch of hand-dyed yarns inspired by art history and artists such as Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Agnes Martin.

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn is working on more kits for Joji Locatelli’s Fading Point shawl, but you can also work with her to build your own kit for this project. Either choose five skeins or contact Shanna to get suggestions.

Denise of Yoshi & Lucy has five different Fading Point kits now available for preorder, in a choice of three bases, including Merino/nylon, Merino 3-ply and a Merino single.

Many FiberCrafty shops have been updated recently with yarny goodness. Pictured here is a skein of fandom-inspired yarn from The Girl Who Crafted.

What to stash this week: yarn from your LYS

Bronwyn of Casapinka has come up with an ingenious way to help you support your LYS for Local Yarn Store Day, which is next Saturday, April 21. If you buy yarn for her Local Yarn Shawl pattern that day from any of the participating LYSs, you will be given the pattern for free! 

If you’re looking for a new shawl pin — and some advice on how to show off your shawls — check out Crafty Flutterby Creations’ website. She not only crafts lightweight pieces, but her Product Tips include some styling lessons.

Tulips from a friend inspired Terri of Whole Knit ’n Caboodle’s latest striped sock yarn. It’s available for preorder in limited quantities only on her website.

Rocket’s Cardigan, the second installment in Mary Annarella’s brilliant Cardigans of the Galaxy series, is inspired a genetically modified raccoon and an unlikely superhero.

A few patterns can cover you in Marianated Yarns from head to toe! Above is the Millcreek Canyon Hat by Katinka Designs being releaed in mid-April.

The Knitspinquilt April update is all about the sea creatures. It includes sea turtle stitch markers and manatee bags. As always, 30% of the purchase price will be donated charity, which this year is the Hispanic Federation’s ongoing Puerto Rico disaster relief efforts.

Yarn from Squirrel Mountain Fiber Arts is sourced, spun and naturally dyed within 100 miles.

Mosaic Moon has stocked its new website with tons of roving.

What to knit with Kiowa by The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers

Since Candice of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers sent me the photo of Kiowa, her Yellowstone-inspired colorway for Knitting Our National Parks, I’ve been agonizing over what to make with my skeins when I get them. I think I love planning what to knit almost as much as knitting — it’s like planning a vacation, picking just the right hotels and tours to take.

I’ve compiled a short list of options based on my Ravelry research:

What to make with a single skein

Silverwing by Amy van de Laar

Goldwing by Ambah O’Brien

What to make with multiple skeins

Tegna by Caitlin Hunter

What to stash this week: Sunset over Yellowstone

The latest Knitting Our National Parks colorway from Candice of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers is inspired by a sunset over Yellowstone captured by park ranger and photographer Jacob W. Frank. Candice named the glowing pinks and earthy greens, dyed on a Merino/silk fingering, Kiowa to pay tribute to the Native Americans who inhabited the land years before it became a place where visitors flocked to see Old Faithful erupt. The colorway will be available to preorder through April 20, with the yarn shipping at the end of May.

Hey, SoCal knitters: Jen of Porterness Studio is having a trunk show at Gather DTLA on April 20 and 21 during the LA Yarn crawl. If you’re not in the area, click here to get a discount code for her lovely shawl pins, buttons and jewelry.

Want a little April in Paris? Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. has added fun snips to the shop, including a pair shaped like the Eiffel Tower. You’ll get one free when you purchase a skein of Dusty Rose and a skein of Tres Bien, which are both inspired by imaginary strolls along the Seine.

ShelliCan just had a shop update and introduced a ton of new designs, including the adorable Get Kracken, which is available on enamel pins, T-shirts and keychains.

Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio also updated her shop recently, and it includes a bunch of fingering-weight yarn in complementary colors that would be perfect for your next Fade.

Knittyandcolor’s Acid Rainbow colorway is back in stock and available on her Acoustic Sock, Hardcore Sock, Glam Rock Sparkle Sock, Dubstep DK and Indie Rock Worsted. Also catch her at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May!

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn has kits for Andrea Mowry’s Rose cardigan on her new SW Merino 3-ply sport. The four-skein kits are available in three different color combinations to produce a fade that starts light on the back and ends dark at the sleeves.

What to stash this week: vacation skeins

Last weekend, I attended the Mohonk Mountain House Knitting Weeking, and organizer Paula of White Barn Farm was nice enough to invite me to be a vendor at the retreat marketplace. I contacted Christine of Skeinny Dipping and asked her to create a Mohonk-inspired colorway. The remaining skeins of this limited-edition colorway — similar to Christine’s beautifully rustic Hearth Tweed, but with some pops of color — are now available in the Indie Untangled pop-up shop

Mohonk-y Tonk is joined in the shop by the return of Duck Duck Wool’s Glaciers & Wildflowers. There are also a very limited number of yarn ball zipper bags from the talented Vicki of That Clever Clementine. 

Suzanne of Groovy Hues Fibers is bringing back Passion Fruit Creme Brulee, a much-loved colorway that only 10 people currently have. If you’re hungry for this colorway, be aware that Suzanne is limiting preorders to 20 skeins on eight different bases. 

One of the Spirit Trail Fiberworks newsletter subscribers sent a photo of a rainbow she spotted while on a ferry in Alaska. Jennifer has turned it into four different colorways: two speckled rainbows and two complementary semisolids. They are only available to order through today!

If you’re looking for some brighter colors from Skeinny Dipping, or something to complement Mohonk-y Tonk — Creature Feature and Don’t Tell Me To Smile will work well — Christine just had a shop update.

What to stash this week: updates and an open studio

Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks recently had a shop update with her Luna non-shrink wool as well as Birte, her Superwash Merino/Cashmere/silk DK. There are plenty of semisolids and speckles, as well as “lucky pot” one-of-a-kind colors like the one pictured above. Jennifer has also put some bases and colors that she’s retiring on sale.

Brooke of Fully Spun, who dyes wool roving and has it mill spun into “handspun,” just had a shop update that includes three new colors and three colors she just had to bring back.

Pam Sluter’s Stepstone combines a sideways band, woolly sportweight yarn, elongated slip stitches and two fun buttons. The band is knit flat and stitches are picked up for the body and crown, while the button flap is worked last. It’s perfect for “spring” on the East Coast.

If you’re planning to go to Stitches United this weekend, or are in the Hartford area, Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio is having another open studio with Gabby of Once Upon a Corgi. The one I attended last month was super fun and I highly recommend going for the yarn and the hanging out.

Indie Untangled goes to Edin Yarn Fest

I’m writing this post from a hotel north of the Edinburgh airport, where I was sent after my flight home to New York was canceled in anticipation of the nor’easter. While I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get back in time to attend the Mohonk Mountain House Knitting Weekend, where I will be vending in the marketplace, the travel hiccups haven’t yet wiped away the happy feelings from attending such a wonderful knitting event and the joy I got from being around so many friends and fiber people, including many who traveled from around the world — our apartment had representation from Norway, Greece and Israel!

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival, which took place from March 15-17, is probably best described as a combination of the New York Sheep & Wool Festival and the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show. There was a mix of bright speckled skeins from indie dyers such as La Bien Aimée, Uschitita and Martin’s Lab, and more rustic, local blends spun from British sheep (Blacker Yarns, Uist, TOFT, Daughter of a Shepherd and John Arbon, to name just a few of the indie companies). Some dyers — Kettle Yarn Co., Eden Cottage Yarns, Old Maiden Aunt — combined the two and dyed fiber beyond the usual Superwash Merino and Cashmere.

The local feel came through in the events surrounding the extensive marketplace, including a giant crocheted highland cow and the Friday night ceilidh, where some of the vendors, instructors and attendees came together for traditional Scottish dancing (Stephen West’s dancing background was evident).

Here are just some of the pictures I snapped. You can check out more on Instagram.

The Eden Cottage booth.

A sample at Blacker Yarns.

Ysolda Teague’s Stockbridge.

A highland “coo.”

What to stash this week if you’re not in Scotland

The result of designer Casapinka’s recent VKL NYC shopping spree at the Fuse Fiber Studio booth is Your Slip Is Showing, a gorgeous shawl that makes a bold statement using a simple slipped stitch technique. It calls for four colors of fingering weight yarn — you can use speckles, variegated colors, semisolids, fade sets or gradients, and Rebecca from Fuse even has a kit with the colors Bronwyn used. 

Marian of Marianated Yarns has added a laceweight kid mohair/silk blend to her dyeing repertoire. Aerie comes in 460 yards and is comprised of 70% kid mohair and 30% silky goodness. This light and fluffy yarn is great doubled up, knit with another yarn or knit all by itself.

Have you checked out FiberCrafty yet? If you haven’t heard, it’s an online marketplace just for yarn and fiber, as well as stitch markers, project bags and more. It’s like a fiber festival, but every day.

Studio Mirand’s latest design, Kadigan, is a sweater that can be adaptable to fit you perfectly without any math. Because sometimes you just wanna knit.