Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs has made the difficult decision to close her business. As a thank you to her loyal customers and friends, she will be having a closeout sale. Everything in stock is 40% off, which makes this a great time to grab your favorite project bags or pattern storage solutions.
Stephanie and her SpaceCadet crew have created winter-inspired colorways that are available as limited edition preorders. You can order Stillness, Late Sun and Quietude through February 4 and they’ll be shipped shorty afterward.
Erika of Liverpool Yarns created a sample of her Linglestown Shawl, which combines garter stitch, stripes, ribbing and a traditional Shetland lace pattern, in her Fawn and Buttercup colorways — which just so happen to be Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2021. She also now has her 100% Shetland yarns in mini skeins.
WeeOnes’ line of Professional Cat Stitch Markers has a patriotic (and timely) new team: Supreme Cat Justices! Now through Sunday, you get a free bald eagle stitch marker with each set of Supreme Cat Justices.
Teresa of Sunny Day Fiber has launched a new Valentine’s collection. Candy Heart Pink and Purple and Valentine Red and Pink are available in fingering, DK and worsted weight, as well as sock bundles with mini skein coordinates.
Eve of Holly Dyeworks has a new yarn kit inspired by Frank Sinatra’s iconic song, Fly Me to the Moon. Each kit comes with one skein of hand-dyed fingering-weight yarn, a moon mug from Jam and Bread Co. Pottery and a handmade progress keeper.
Robynn’s new cowl pattern is named Tannholz, which means “pine woods” and is inspired by two views of a forest. It can be made with any weight yarn (she’s partial to the quick chunky version) and is 20% off until the end of Sunday.
Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has a new colorway called Oil Pastels.
In the winter of 2020, while browsing at Backstory Books & Yarn, a local used book and yarn store in Portland, Oregon, I stumble across a giant hank of pale gray yarn lurking on a top shelf. I immediately pick it up and trace the softness of the Targhee strands with my fingers. The label states it’s from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, a local dyer I’m familiar with, and best of all, it’s enough to make a sweater. A quick peek at the price tag makes me even more jubilant — I have enough store credit to cover the purchase, basically making it free.
I find the perfect pattern for the yarn, Myrna by Andi Satterlund. Vintage-inspired, it’s cropped and form-fitting and will pair perfectly with dresses for the colder months. After almost a full episode of the BBC series “Pride and Prejudice” and numerous turns of the yarn winder, I have a ball of yarn the size of a newborn’s head that is ready to be knit. Once I have knit a swatch to figure out what size I need to knit, I cast 70 loops on my needles and start the sweater. The yarn is lovely to work with. Soft and supple, each stitch is clearly defined like a spider’s web in the rain.
After fits and starts and several weeks, I’m almost done with the back of the sweater. I hold it up to myself and grimace. Even accounting for the stretch, it simply looks too small. I put it aside to deal with it later. Every knitter is familiar with “frogging,” which means ripping back your work — you “rip it, rip it,” like the “ribbit” of a frog. And as accustomed as we are to frogging, it does not mean we dislike it any less. You can just see weeks of your time circling down the drain. But knitting is a wonderful craft because, as in life, you can almost always go back and fix your mistakes (except for mohair, but we will not speak of that).
I could ignore the mistake and try to convince myself that, “Oh, it will fit with some stretching and blocking,” but I know that I’ll be even more devastated to have finished the entire sweater and not have it fit. I tear the stitches off the needles and begin the process of undoing the rows, leaving a wave of crinkled wool in my wake. Knitting teaches us about falling and getting back up minus the bruises and scrapes, leaving just the toll it takes on our patience.
Then COVID-19 strikes in March. One day my knitting friends and I are huddled together in a car for 10 hours as we zigzag across the Portland area to participate in the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl. Then the next week, seemingly everything is shut down. Instead of seeing each other as people, all we see is potential virus vectors. The days blur into one giant loop. We are stuck in Groundhog Day with only slight variations letting us know that time has passed.
I simply cannot see the point in continuing with the sweater. Where would I wear it? There is nowhere to go. And how would I wash it? A handknit wool sweater is not meant to hold up to endless rounds of sanitizing in hot water and bleach. And who would see it to admire the handiwork? My knitting friends are huddled in their houses and not stirring, not even for yarn. My sweater is at a standstill, the needles silent, much like the outer world. I have trouble looking at either.
“Put the sweater down and start another project,” a friend advises. “Let it hibernate.”
I take half her advice, but have trouble figuring out what to do next. Numerous articles and studies have listed the physical and mental health benefits of knitting — it induces an enhanced sense of calm, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and boosts serotonin levels. That is great when all is said and done, but it does not solve the problem when you can’t even get motivated to start that first stitch.
April’s dog, Nandi, shows off an FO.
I’m doomscrolling when I get a text from a friend from high school.
“Sorry, this week has been kind of crazy. We actually just had our kid yesterday. Delivered a healthy baby girl. 8.6lb, 21 inches…”
Accompanying the text is a photo of my friend wearing a mask and cradling a newborn to her chest. I shoot off a text of congratulations and then immediately start browsing patterns for baby sweaters. I may not have anywhere to wear a handknit sweater, but this baby clearly needs a wool sweater to keep her warm. COVID-19 may reign, but new life continues. And human connections are so fraught right now, I grab at any strand that resembles hope.
I dive into my stash of yarn, stored under my bed in plastic bins, to discover that I have absolutely no yarn that is suitable. No sensible parent wants to carefully hand wash a delicate baby sweater every single time the baby throws up or drools. So, I make a rare trip into the outside world for yarn. I’m equipped with a handmade mask and hand sanitizer and mentally calculate how far 6 feet is from any person I see.
As I walk down Alberta Street, it’s a ghost town. Dark windows look forlornly out onto the street, and passersby walk by briskly with their heads down and masks on. But when I step inside Close Knit to look for the right yarn, it’s like stepping back into the past. Piles of brightly colored yarn dot the walls, and that slight hush you get from a space overly insulated with fiber prevails. Then I look again and see a jumbo-sized container of hand sanitizer and a giant sign at the entrance declaring the COVID-19 protocols. A plexiglass shield guards the staff from customers.
I debate between two vividly colored hanks of worsted and ultimately go with the coral. The shade, Malabrigo’s Living Coral, evokes eye-popping colored macaroons, which is fitting as the sweater pattern, by The Noble Thread, is named French Macaroon and I met the new mom in our high school French class.
It’s almost exactly the shade of the 2019 Pantone color of the year, living coral. The color was declared to be an “animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” Babies also affirm life while anchoring us to the future. Stepping back into time is a futile endeavor. But it reminds me that this too shall pass and one day we will gather together once more.
The bright coral stitches fly smoothly across the needles, leaving behind a gentle click-clack sound. It feels strangely foreign to be knitting again, but my hands remember what to do. Unlike the monotony of COVID-19 life, I can see visible progress as the sweater steadily grows, inch by inch. With each stitch, I knit in my thoughts and hopes for the future. As the ball of yarn dwindles, so do my troubled thoughts. The knitting blogger A Friend to Knit With once calculated the number of stitches in a sweater she was knitting: 70,532. If we were to think about that sheer number, we would never knit a sweater. We take it one stitch at a time. Like each stitch, we trudge forward to the next, waiting until the day when we are whole.
As I knit, I can feel the invisible threads connecting me to women of the past who used knitting to cope with the troubling times of their era. Knitting teacher and designer Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote, “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.” Women knitted through the two World Wars and the Spanish Flu and countless other crises and elections. And they likely will again in the future. Knitting leaves us with a tangible memory of time and helps us cope with our fears and anxieties. It reminds us that life goes on. There will always be a baby who needs warmth. And one day I will finish that gray sweater.
A year ago, I asked Bronwyn, AKA Casapinka, during our VKL NYC brunch if she was interested in working her magic on Julie Asselin’s Nurtured Aran-weight yarn, and to my delight she said she was! Bronwyn is ready to release her Powder Wrap, a cozy boomerang-style shawl that features a mix of textures and provides just the right amount of complexity, while still being fairly mindless and meditative.
I’ve made seven-skein bundles of Nurtured available in a number of colors, including the Indie Untangled exclusive Leaf Pile, a complex dusty pink that you can see in my WIP above. The Leaf Pile will ship out shortly, while you can preorder a few other colors to arrive in time for the shawl release in early February.
Speaking of friendships, I’m giddy with excitement about this collaboration with the Katrinkles crew! For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to celebrate our wonderful community and came up with this idea that takes inspiration from the vintage way of showing your devotion to your BFF — which stands for Best Fiber Friend, of course!
I’m excited to introduce you to the Winter Garden Hat, a new pattern by Faye Kennington, and to the recently-launched Knitrino app. This pattern, which is available only on Knitrino, features an addictive flower bobble stitch — long stitches that are wrapped over the previous work — that makes the most stunning textured fabric. Faye used Julie Asselin Nurtured, a blend of Rambouillet, Targhee and Merino, in the Indie Untangled exclusive Leaf Pile colorway. The Small size, which fits a 21″-22″ head, requires only one skein, while the Large (23″-24″) and Extra Large (25″-26″) sizes take two.
This is a great way to try out Knitrino, a new app for interactive knitting patterns. The founders, sisters Alison Yates and Andrea Cull, describe it as how Google Maps changed the atlas — it turns knitting patterns into an interactive experience. The patterns are designed to allow you to focus only on the row you’re working on, plus you can view video instructions with the click of a stitch and track your progress as you follow the pattern. You can download Knitrino on your Android and Apple devices.
To celebrate the release of the Winter Garden Hat, you’ll receive a Knitrino project bag free with any purchase of Nurtured in Leaf Pile, while supplies last.
Speaking of Julie Asselin, it’s the last call for Nurtured Mini Boxes, a special partnership for Indie Untangled. You have a choice of three color combinations, each one consisting of six mini skeins so you can try out this rustic Aran-weight yarn and see the nuanced colors in real life. The boxes are available to preorder only through this Monday, January 11.
Lisa The Knitting Artist is taking inspiration from another artist, Salvador Dalí, for her new yarn club. During each month of 2021, she will create a new colorway inspired by one of his works, starting with his earliest and ending with his last. Each installment will come with one or two small relating relating to that month’s color and card of fun facts about the artist. Signups are open on a rolling basis.
Celebrate love with these adorable heart-holding hedgehogs from Jillian of WeeOnes. She also has monthly surprise stitch markers themed around Hibernation.
Lena of Softyarn Designs is reuniting with Jilly and Kiddles for the Fairies In the Snow MKAL. The knit is a crescent-shaped shawl made with two skeins of fingering/sock yarn and the pattern is 40% off through Tuesday with code Fairies.
Michele of Misfit Yarns is debuting two mystery yarn clubs for 2021. The first, which runs from February to July, is inspired by the TV show The Office and the second, which runs from February to June, is inspired by the Great Lakes.
Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has new multicolored wire stitch markers in sets of 30 or 50, in addition to her silver and square markers with a variety of colored beads.
If you’re trying to narrow down your 2021 projects, Megs & Co has you covered. Perhaps you’d like to tackle Stephen West’s Slumber Shawl? It’s pictured here in Megan’s Folk Song base in the colors Gyarnbage Plate, Pumpkin Spice, Five Leaves Left and From the Morning.
Sharon of Garage Dyeworks is greeting 2021 with a sale.
There’s definitely nothing quite like showing off your latest FO, either at a fiber festival or online (and I’ve definitely spent this year trying to perfect the art of the knitwear selfie!). I really enjoyed seeing what people have finished in 2020 with yarn from Indie Untangled dyers.
Here’s a roundup of ones that caught my eye and that were also submitted by Indie Untangled followers.
Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks holding a year-end sale to show appreciation for everyone who has supported indie makers this year. Everything in her shop, included a recent update of her Sanctuary Worsted non-Superwash yarn, is 20% off through January 1, no coupon required.
Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has collaborated with Kevin Aspaas, a Diné weaver, on the Diné Motif Design, an adaptation of Junko Okamoto’s Rug sweater. The design uses rugged, hardwearing Navajo-Churro yarn and celebrates centuries-long relationship between the Navajo people, who call themselves the Diné, and Navajo-Churro sheep.
It’s certainly been an… interesting year. Surreal. Heartbreaking. Challenging. But one of the things that has helped us retain a feeling of normalcy and comfort is, of course, our knitting. It makes me feel especially warm and fuzzy to see the special colorways that I worked with dyers to create, from the Knitting Our National Parks yarns to event exclusives, turn into beloved FOs.
Here are some projects using special Indie Untangled colorways that were finished in 2020.
svm’s Ande Donut Hat by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd) with Onyx Fiber DK in Cider Donut Dipped In Coffee (Also pictured is the Zeen Top by Alisa Hartzel in Lavender Lune Yarn Co. Merino DK and the Hocus Pocus Cowl by Thea Eschliman Plies and Hellhounds)
Kismet of Lolo Body Care is passionate about giving back. Throughout the year, aside from soothing crafters’ skin with moisturizing body bars, lip balm and face lotion, the company also supports several non-profit organizations, including making a donation to One Tree Planted, which fights climate change by planting trees, every time a LoLo Eco-Bag is purchased. For this holiday season, Kismet has extended that promotion to every order.
In addition, 5% of all Lolo Body Care holiday sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, which supports and builds affordable housing.
I brought together super soft Cashmere yarn from fellow Brooklynites Rebecca Kevelson of Clinton Hill Cashmere and Geraldine Yang of The Wandering Flock for my Cashmenorah hat. I think this combination of bespoke yarn and unique hand-dyed would look beautiful in so many other mosaic hat patterns, so I’m offering the yarn as a bundle and including one discounted pattern of your choice. Check out my pattern suggestions here. I’m currently working on using these yarns together for a mosaic constellations hat, so if that intrigues you, snag the yarn while it’s still available!
Stephanie Earp has released a fun sweater design that’s perfect for mini skeins or playing with leftovers — or get a dyed-to-order kit from dyer Annie Paaren. The Bobble Buster sweater comes in both kids and adult sizes, and Stephanie is hosting a cast-on party over on Instagram in the New Year.
Rachel of Six and Seven Fiber’s wintry Grand Teton-inspired colorway is available to preorder on Indie Untangled through next Sunday, December 27 on three bases: Alfalfa, a luxurious 80/10/10 Superwash Merino/Cashmere/nylon heavy fingering-weight yarn, and Amaranth and Soybean, two rustic but soft non-Superwash Merino fingering and DK-weight yarns that would make excellent sweaters.
This set of Julie Asselin’s Nurtured yarn, a unique blend of Rambouillet, Targhee and Merino that Julie and Jean-François hand dye before it’s spun at Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont, is definitely one of my favorites, with the aqua Picnic and deep plum Tisane that brings out the pinks in the special Leaf Pile colorway (third from the top).
This is one of three color combinations available in the Nurtured Mini Boxes from Indie Untangled. These sets come with six mini skeins so you can try out this rustic Aran-weight yarn and see the nuanced colors in real life. The boxes are available to preorder only through January 8.
After packaging and shipping out 100+ new year countdown boxes, and auctioning one off the benefit the American Nurses Foundation, Inc., I have several extra goodies that I decided to put together in mini mystery packs. You’ll receive four 20g, 87-92-yard, fingering-weight mini skeins dyed in coordinating jewel tones and one non-yarn goodie. (Please note that these packages are not individually wrapped and will ship on December 28.)
If you need a last minute stocking stuffer, Amanda of Doodle Dew Designs has some Christmas stitch markers left! This includes markers made with real candy canes and with fun holiday colors.
As much as I’ve embraced the digital world, there is definitely still part of me that needs physical books in my life. I know it’s cliché, but flipping through the pages, taking in printed photographs and taking pride in a colorful stack of spines on your bookshelf or nightstand… It’s actually kind of similar to having a yarn stash. I probably won’t knit every single pattern in every book I own, but I appreciate knowing that they’re there, to take me on a journey when I might need it most.
I’ve come across many books over the past few years, and while I don’t think I can do them all justice with a “proper” book review, I thought it would be helpful to provide a guide to some of the ones that have found a special place on my IKEA Kallax. And if you happen to find the perfect holiday gift, even better! (This posts contains affiliate links, meaning a small percentage of your purchase may benefit Indie Untangled.)
I may be biased about this book because I’m offering it in the Indie Untangled shop, but the reason I decided to carry this book is why I’d recommend it. I’ve admired the designs of Abbye and Selena, the team that makes up Wool & Pine, since I first saw the Sorrel sweater pop up on my Instagram feed. Aside from being a bound collection of the pair’s patterns and gorgeous photographs, the book provides access to video tutorials with instructions and tips for each design. I know I’m going to be referring to the Sorrel videos after I start my sweater.
The book is also bound in a way that it stays open to the page you need very easily. I certainly love the look of matte or hardcover books with thick spines, however, I find that if I want to knit from them I need to photocopy the pages or download the PDF (this book also comes with access to the PDF patterns if you prefer to knit from one).
I wasn’t familiar with Loretta Napoleoni until earlier this year, when her assistant contacted me about this new book. Napoleoni is a journalist who has covered the financing of terrorism — her first book, Terror Inc: Tracing the Money Behind Global Terrorism, is a bestseller that has been translated into 12 languages. The topic of knitting is decidedly softer, but Loretta tackles it with a well-researched expertise, weaving together the history of our craft with her personal experiences.
The book does include 10 patterns at the end, including a version of the Pussy Hat called the Pussy Power Hat. While the patterns seem a bit like an afterthought, and I think Loretta’s writing is strong enough to stand on its own, it is nice that they have connections to passages in the book, and the simple illustrations are quite lovely.
I was already a fan of Hannah Thiessen’s first book, Slow Knitting, which was everything I could ever want in a knitting book: stories about the creators of artisanal yarns that I’ve been fortunate to work with, including Anne Hanson, Jill Draper, Julie Asselin and mYak, and beautiful patterns to tie these stories together. Seasonal Slow Knitting is just what it sounds like, breaking up our mindful craft into seasons.
Whereas Slow Knitting brought together patterns from a variety of designers, Hannah designed all 10 patterns in this book, which was released in October, so the collection feels much more cohesive and is a beautiful showcase for the rustic yarns.
No knitter’s bookshelf is complete without the work of “yarn whisperer” Clara Parkes. In this book, released last fall, Clara recounts her Great White Bale project, in which she crowdsourced the transformation of a 676-pound bale of fleece into skeins that found their way into the hands of knitters. As you may know if you read my newsletter, I’m a sucker for a road trip, especially one that includes yarn, and Clara is an expert guide, taking us along with her to Catskills Merino in New York to the Saco River Dyehouse in Maine and many places in between, all in the pursuit of yarn.
I knew that I needed this book on my shelf ever since I heard that it was being published by Pom Pom Press. Emily Foden of Viola was one of the first indie dyers that I fell for as a new yarn collector and the 12 patterns in this book show them off beautifully. I haven’t knit any of them yet, however I scored two skeins of her Shadow DK (a blend of Polwarth, Wensleydale and Zwartbles) in a shop update over the summer and realized it’s the perfect match for her Skyhill hat.
The book is filled with beautifully styled and composed shots of knitwear against the snowy backdrop of Emily’s home in Ontario, Canada, though for me it is definitely meant for admiring and not knitting from. Fortunately, the book comes with a code to download a PDF version via Ravelry.