What to stash this week: Where We Knit 2021

A collage with a orange flowers, cherry tomatoes, a ceramic mug and a field of blueberries.

There’s no doubt that 2020 upended all of our lives. However, one constant throughout the last several months has been the meaningful virtual connections that we’ve made through our beloved craft. Even though we’ve all been missing important in-person interaction and have been limiting travel, I feel like my world only continues to expand through knitting. 

With that in mind, I’m thrilled to open sign-ups today for Where We Knit 2021. This quarterly club, which will begin shipping in February, brings together four dyer/designer dream teams: Lanivendole and Soraya García, Black Elephant and Jimenez Joseph, Humble Knit and Camille Descoteaux, and Murky Depths Dyeworks and Bristol Ivy.

Each pair will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and an accompanying accessory design inspired by their favorite spots to whip out their WIPs. Their inspiration photos are shown in the image above, clockwise from top left.

Aside from the yarn and pattern, each shipment will include a surprise gift from a third small business. This year, building on the spirit of virtual connection, there will also be an interactive Zoom interview with each team after their installment ships out. 

Black and white plastic dogs and cats.

The latest additions to the Crafty Flutterby menagerie of end minders — designed to keep your cast-on tails, color changes, and other loose ends out of the way as you knit or crochet — are Crafty Cats and Dependable Dogs.

Orange and green yarn sits next to a mug.

Giulia and Stefania of Lanivendole are excited to share three new designs using their non-Superwash yarn: The Brogna Sweater by Rievive, which uses natural shades of A Stormy Blend fingering, the Trifari sweater by Paula Pereira, knitted in A Heavenly Blend as main color and A Chic Blend as contrast, and the Caloroso shawl by Aleks Byrd, which uses A Pure and Simple Wool.

A blue hat worn by a campfire.

To celebrate today’s release of Vanessa Smith’s Emberly hat, designed for the 2020 Where We Knit Yarn Club, I’m doing a limited preorder of Heather from Earl Grey Fiber Company’s lightly speckled semisolid, dyed on her Matcha Sport 80/20 Merino/nylon. It’s available through December 4 and will ship at the end of December.

Purple, pink and green yarn peeking out of a bag with a print of colorful trees.

Eve of Holly Dyeworks has new festive colorways and kits in her shop just in time for the holiday season. They include the Christmas Time is Here Kits, with one trio set of fingering minis, a matching project bag and a handmade progress keeper.

An aqua, white and red zipper bag with a clear window.

Jean of Midmitten Designs’ limited edition Peppermint Treat project bag features hot cocoa and peppermint-themed fabric featured on her Medium Vinyl Front project bag and on the coordinating Yarn Snuggler, which keeps your yarn cake clean and tidy in your project bag. You also get a peppermint candy zipper charm and surprise treats.

Silver jewelry above orange and gray yarn.

Jen of Porterness is celebrating the holidays with new jewels, sales and a discount code. She has a new perfect-for-gifting Sterling Silver Stockinette Stitch Motif Earrings & Stitch Marker Necklace set, a new sterling silver shawl ring with the stockinette stitch motif, gift cards and a wish list. Use the code IndieNOV20 for 10% off through November 30.

Colorful yarn with black stripes.

7th Floor Yarn has two new yarn bases, an 80% Superwash Merino/20% silk and a 100% Superwash Merino with black stripes. They’re also offering free shipping this holiday season AND 15% off with the code INDIE15.

Leaves and leaf-shaped metal jewelry.

Jo of JW Jewelry Studio is one of us — an obsessive knitter — and crafts jewelry, stitch markers, shawl pins and notion bowls that inspired by nature and modern forms. She creates molds from foraged plants, leaves and flowers and executes her pieces in enamel, bronze and precious metals.

Circular knitted colorwork clocks.

Set an alert: Stephanie’s Yoke O’Clock Kits, along with her Knitter’s Book Case and Knitter’s Brief Case, are 30% off for Black Friday. And on Cyber Monday, get 25% off all of the knitting patterns available on her website.

Hanging rainbow of yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarn has a shop updated with mohair/silk Eldwick Lace and Bowland Aran kits for Fiona Alice’s Woodbine sweater. There’s plenty of other news, including a list of gift ideas, so jump into her latest post.

Cream-colored yarn.

Monica of Gothfarm has rustic yarn from Navajo-Churro sheep in four natural and undyed colors.

A cream hat patterned with blue.

Lena’s latest, the Icelandia Hat, is 25% off on Ravelry and Etsy with code Icelandia through Sunday.

Colorful yarn with black stripes.

Sharon of Flora Adora Fibers specializes in naturally-dyed yarns using non-Superwash bases with colors foraged from nature or purchased raw materials.

Les laines Coco has a winter sock box.

The color outside my door

6
Green and brown leaves.

Turkey Tail (back), lichen (front) and leaves found on a fallen tree limb.

I always enjoy exploring the process behind the yarns featured on Indie Untangled. Caroline of The Noble Thread, based in North Carolina, has provided a fascinating walk through the world of naturally-dyed yarn.

I would like you to do something for me. Put a sweater on, open your front or back door, and take a walk in your yard, or around your neighborhood. Look around you. There are leaves at your feet, acorns crackling underfoot, mushrooms, a few last minute blooms if you live in warmer climates, fallen branches covered with lichen, and maybe even walnuts still in their green husks… This is the world of color that awaits you!

For thousands of years, people have used what was around them, minerals, insects and plants to color yarns that would become textiles, reeds that would be woven into baskets.
Certain colors even became a status symbol like the Tyrian purple, a color extracted from snails, which was reserved for royalty. But the color that I find most amazing, is the color that everyday people created with what was available to them.

Green, lacy leaves.

Resurrection fern on live oak.

When we look at the embroideries of early American settlers, though their designs were originally inspired by Jacobean crewelwork, it is the world around them that made their work uniquely theirs. Their designs were grounded in the scenes they saw every day, and their colors were the ones that surrounded them.

Fall is a wonderful time to harvest local dyestuff. When I go harvesting, I always do so with moderation. The squirrels need acorns, the birds need berries, and the bumble bees, flowers! I only harvest lichen that has fallen from a tree because lichen grows so slowly.

A bee on white flowers.

Pollinators on Loquat blossoms.

People have recorded recipes. I have my own, and maybe after you read this article, you will start your own recipe book!

Natural dyeing is very different from chemical dyeing. For one thing, there is no label on the dyestuff, but more seriously, the color you see may not be the color you get! When you dye with natural dyes, there is always an element of surprise.

If you look at gloriously red amaryllis blooms, which grow year after year in my yard, you could think you would be getting red dye. Instead, you would get a pale yellow! Experimentation is key, and so is the recipe book!

Green, yellow and brown leaves.

Grape leaves.

The colors that are most readily created with natural dyes are yellows and tans. Green cannot be extracted from the greenest leaves or the greenest grass. Your first experiments will most likely result in shades of yellow and tan, but your heart will beat faster when you identify the plants that can give you reds and purples!

Once you start experimenting and dyeing with natural dyes, you will never look at a leaf, a flower, a berry or a mushroom in the same way!

Plant pieces scattered on a table.

From left to right. Top: oak leaves, grape leaves, oak leaf. Center: turkey tail, ganoderma, chestnuts husks, and chestnut. Bottom: acorns, juniper berries, pecans, lichen.

So let me share the fruits of my harvests with you! I live in Wilmington, a coastal North Carolina town. Our summers are tropical, and our winters mild. Deciduous and non-deciduous trees make for an amazing landscape. Glorious camellias bloom in December! Fall comes late here, but it does bring beautiful changes to nature. Every morning, for the last few weeks, accompanied by my faithful dog, Brioche, I have gone foraging.

I have found walnuts, pecans, acorns, bits of fallen lichen, loquat leaves, pokeberries, goldenrod and mushrooms… Together, these natural treasures form my unique fall palette.

With the use of alum and iron, I not only fix the colors, but I can also change them. Yellows become khaki greens, pinks become purples, and tans become greys from the lightest pearly greys to the darkest charcoals. If I add a bit of indigo, I can create luminous greens and aquas. With indigo and walnut, I make antique black. By varying the fibers, at times dyeing on a natural cream, a natural grey or a tan, I can create an endless range of colors from the most luminous, sun-infused colors, to the warmest tones of fall.

Bright hanks of yarn arranged in a circle.

A rainbow of naturally-dyed yarns.

Now, look outside your door again, grab a basket, and go foraging! Get a book on natural dyeing from the library, so you can dye safely. Pick an old stainless steel pot and some wooden spoons that you will use only for dyeing, gloves, a few rusty nails, alum from the grocery store, a mask and of course, yarn. Simmer away, and take lots of notes in your recipe book. You will create your own unique palette, one that connects you to your region, to your neighborhood, to the land, and in some ways to the millions of people who throughout the ages have created magical colors with natural dyes.

What to stash this week: keep calm and organize your yarn

Red yarn in a sleeve with knitting dogs.

Stephanie from Rock Solid Designs has a new product that speaks to the need for neatness. She recently started playing with her serger and sewed up Yarn Sleeves, tubes of stretchy fabric that hug your center-pull yarn cakes so they don’t end up a tangled, barf-y mess. They are designed to work in conjunction with her project bags to keep multiple cakes separate and tidy. She is launching these with six different fabric designs, including these adorable knitting dogs. There’s also a bee print to match the bags she has in stock, new prints geared towards fellow sci-fi nerds and some fun holiday ones.

A white tote with a black floral print.

Sara of La Cave à Laine has some new bag collections, including these limited-edition linocut bags created with white cotton and a piece of linoleum, carved based on a drawing inspired by her love for geometry and nature.

Gray cat stitch markers.

Jillian of WeeOnes finds her calm in meditation and knitting… and so do her latest stitch marker creatures, which are — get this — Yoga Kitties. The cats and new armadillos are 10% off through this Sunday.

A blue dreidel and jelly doughnut stitch markers.

Jillian also designed these limited-edition Hanukkah sets for Indie Untangled! Each set comes with three sufganiyot and one little dreidel. You can use them to mark the sections of your Cashmenorah hat, or to add some holiday light to other WIPs. They’re available to preorder on Indie Untangled through November 20 and will ship at the beginning of December.

A gray hat with gradient leaves.

Crystal’s latest design is the Grange Hat, a two-color stranded colorwork hat that complements The Grange, a cowl she released in late summer. If you’re a colorwork newbie, the pattern includes plenty of helpful tips.

Cat stitch markers.

Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has stitch marker sets for your favorite crafting friends and loved ones, including knitting sets in different sizes and sets for cat lovers, as well as crochet hook tags to help you remember which hook you were using.

What to stash this week: Lighting the way to winter

A woman models a blue and gray beanie next to columns.

I’m thrilled to release Cashmenorah, a mosaic beanie that brings together luxurious Cashmere from Rebecca Kevelson of Clinton Hill Cashmere and Geraldine Yang of The Wandering Flock, both fellow Brooklynites. I have long wanted to get a chance to work with Rebecca, who is also Jewish, and I came up with the idea to combine her bespoke Cashmere yarn with Geraldine’s hand-dyed. I also wanted to create a Hanukkah design that was sophisticated and not overly kitschy, but still representative of this holiday that is defined by hope, patience and light in the midst of darkness. 

You can purchase kits for Cashmenorah, as well as the pattern only, in the Indie Untangled shop.

Knit gray mice in red and white sweaters.

There is also another important winter holiday coming up, and Sarah of Say! Little Hen has some home decor projects for you to knit in time for Christmas. Patterns include her super adorable Nordic Christmas Mice, pictured here — Sarah says this pattern is a great one to start with if you’ve never tried stranded colorwork before — her Nordic Christmas Gnome and the equally precious Mini Jumper (possibly the one of the only jumpers you can finish a few of in time for Christmas!).

Amber jars with an orange, teal and cream round label.

Cold weather also brings about dry skin, so counter it with Lolo Body Care’s luxurious and yummy-sounding Face Puddings. These naturally scented puddings come in reusable and recyclable glass jars and will leave your face silky smooth.

A collection of yarny treats.

Melissa of Alley Cat Yarns is taking us on a trip to Canada to the holidays with her Canadian Holiday gift sets, filled with Canadian-sourced goodies perfect for the yarn crafter in your life (that includes you!).

Red and green yarn.

Speaking of Christmas, Gail of Dragon Thistle Fibers has added some holiday colors to her shop, including some sock sets in 50-gram skeins that come with a mini.

A woman holds up a large blue triangular shawl.

Emily’s Long Distance Coven is a “geometry-meets-witchcraft-themed” shawl that crafts yarn magic by marling together two strands of fingering-weight yarn.

The crown of a pale pink textured hat.

Lena’s new Trellis Beanie, knit with an easy slip-stitch pattern, is 25% off through end of day Sunday, Nov. 8, with the code Trellis on Ravelry and Etsy.

A blue bag with a clear window.

Join Nancy of Tika Bags for Virtual Knitting LIVE from November 13-15. She will have two sessions highlighting her new bag fabrics, a new Bag Club and a few new sewn products. She also carries alpaca yarn from her own animals and speckled skeins from indie dyer Emma’s Yarn.

The Pearl Project: A tribute to Knitty City owner Pearl Chin

A collage of colorful yarn and an orange oyster with a pearl.

There are few New York knitters and crocheters who don’t know about the Manhattan yarn shop Knitty City. But beyond connecting the local yarn community, Knitty City‘s founder, Pearl Chin, has been instrumental in helping so many indie dyers and fiber business owners get their start and providing valuable advice as they move forward. Pearl has also been a role model for how to be a craftivist, using her platform as a leader to raise money and attention for important causes.

When I heard the devastating news about Pearl’s cancer diagnosis, I got in touch with a group of indie dyers that Pearl has been instrumental in guiding and championing. We thought it was fitting to turn our sadness into action. As we now grieve the loss of our friend and colleague, we can think of no better way to honor Pearl’s legacy.

A woman stands in front of colorful yarn.

We have created special colorways and designs, and are hosting giveaways to raise money for organizations she has supported:

• Julie Asselin has created a colorway called Dear Pearl, with proceeds donated to help budding knitwear entrepreneurs attend the CAN Retreat hosted by Marceline Smith and Anne Choi

• Christina of Chelsea Yarns has created a colorway called String of Pearls, with proceeds donated to Moms Demand Action

• Amanda of Hu Made has created a colorway called Pearl Power, with proceeds donated to the Asian Americans Arts Alliance

• I will be designing a hat pattern called Pearl’s Oyster, with proceeds donated to the NFC Momentum Fund (I’m still knitting up the sample and hope to publish it next week)

• Marian of Marianated Yarns has created a colorway called Thank You, Pearl, with proceeds donated to City Harvest

• Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks has created a colorway called Pearl of The West (Side), with proceeds donated to Womankind, an organization serving the Asian community in New York, helping survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual violence

• Mariana and Nick of Nooch Fiber will be hosting a series of mini-skein giveaways, with proceeds donated to Heifer International

What to stash this week: Trick or knit

Brown leather cases.

Stephanie Earp has a sequel and a rebrand for her needle case. Her Knitter’s Book Case is now called The Original Case, and is joined by two new designs, The Flip Case and The Stretch Case. available to preorder in leather through November 9. The Flip Case stores up to eight needle tips, and has two pockets for cables, while the Stretch Case allows you to access your notions without having to open the whole case up.

Winter wishes illustration.

If you missed out on A Twisted Year’s End, participant Anzula Luxury Fibers has put together another multi-dyer/maker December box, teaming up with Lorna’s Laces, Mod Yarns, Mrs. Crosby Yarn, Slipped Stitch Studios and Tattooed Ewe for a package of yarn, project bags, notions and more. There are three sizes and three different color schemes to choose from to light up your December.

Rows of rainbow colored yarn.

If you’re in need of some comfort knitting, be sure to check out the yarns from Rebecca from WildWestDye. She specializes in all naturally-dyed yarn, which she hand dyes in her home studio in British Columbia (and ships with flat-rate shipping). Rebecca has also developed kits for a variety of projects. From cosy socks and hats to blankets, there are colorful kits for every style of knitting. Some kits even come in cakes that are big enough for an entire project, meaning fewer ends to weave in, making it even easier and more comforting. 

Skeins of pink, green and gold yarn.

Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has a new base called Bentley DK, a non-Superwash Merino with a generous 328 yards per 100g skein. These colorways and more will be on her website this week.

Natural colored socks.

Before the end of October, make sure to check out Gothfarm’s sock special: Buy one sock yarn, get another skein 40% off with the coupon code “sockz” at checkout.

A long taupe cardigan.

Get 25% off Lena’s new Tasselated Cardigan, an easy piece to knit with a sideways cuff-to-cuff construction, through Sunday with code Tasselated on Ravelry and Etsy. 

The October Virtu-Wool Fiber Festival is getting a little spooky, with 22 vendors sharing some “tricks” of the trade in 45-minute live video sessions.

Black and red yarn and fiber.

Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers is also getting spooky. Her Halloween colorway, Beyond the Veil, is available as both yarn and fiber, dyed on 100% Corriedale cross wool.

Get your order in for the Fall Sock of the Season Club, a nature-inspired mystery kit collaboration between Jilly & Kiddles and BritStitchery Designs.

Orange and black paw charms.

If you want to do some last-minute “stitch or treating” there are still some Halloween stitch markers left in the Doodle Dew Designs shop.

What to stash this week: A Twisted, indie New Year

Champagne glasses and confetti in jewel tones.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that the goal of Indie Untangled is to bring together and support indie dyers and makers. I’m so excited and honored to bring that passion to an amazing collaboration between 31+ dyers, makers and designers!

This box, called A Twisted Year’s End, will be filled with at least 31 items, including 20g, 80-90-yard, fingering-weight mini skeins dyed in a jewel tone color palette and other yarn-y treats by a stellar lineup of indies, along with a few patterns to tie it all together. Count down to the end of this crazy year with the ultimate December calendar! 

Purple, cream and green yarn.

Mary Annarella of Lyrical Knits is building on the comfort of quarantine baking for her latest mystery knit-a-long. Stark Baking Mad: Great British Baking Shawl 2 is another homage to The Great British Baking Show. Mary says that, “Like the show, the MKAL will rise to the occasion with a bit of camp, a recipe with each clue, and an occasional pun.”

Purple, red and black drawstring bag and yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks and Alisa of KnitSpinQuilt have done it again! Their third collaboration is the limited edition Stained Glass Window Kit. The bag has a rainbow stained glass print, which reminds Alisa of the medieval cathedrals she visits on her dissertation research trips to Europe, while the yarn is dyed to reflect the fabric. Preorders are open now in both their Etsy shops.

Star Trek Christmas and Hanukkah Yarnie Pack

Dawn of Fairy Tale Yarn Co, another Twisted Year’s End participant, has some holiday goodies as well. Her Hanukkah and Christmas sets are Star Trek themed and come with 10 50g hanks of yarn and four extras, each packaged for your chosen holiday and available in fingering weight and DK weight.

Charms with fall leaves and a doughnut.

If you miss the fall leaves and doughnuts of Rhinebeck, get your fix with Jillian of WeeOnes’ special stitch markers.

For her last Sweater Quantity Discount shipment of 2020, Kate of McMullin Fiber Co is offering two colorways at close to wholesale pricing. Ink is a rich navy blue and Sunflower is a sunny golden yellow. Act fast, because these installments sell out quickly!

Christmas greens border and the words Stocking Knit-a-Long

Join Jill of Jilly & Kiddles in casting on for a holiday stocking Knit-a-Long on November 1, with weekly prizes, encouragement and help.

Boots with purple cabled cuffs.

Marny’s Autumn Wander Boot Cuffs are a cozy and fashionable way to dress up your boots while you stroll through the autumn leaves.

A plum and pink hat with a pink pom pom.

This new pattern by Christen Clement uses Janis and Christen of Queen City Yarn’s Berryhill yarn held double, getting you ready for fall quickly.

A sheep print bag with a clear window.

Nancy of Tika Bags has launched an every-other-month bag club. Each shipment features a surprise fabric that may or may not be in her current lineup OR ever be available in her shop again.

Christmas yarn.

Dana of Un Besito Fibers’ Holly Freakin’ Jolly sock set comes with a 100g main skein and two 10g minis to make a variety of Christmas socks. Make them for a gift or keep them for yourself.

A pink basket with a strap.

Keep your WIPs at hand and organized with these baskets, woven by hand by marginalized women from Boostani Crafts owner Lois’s tribe in Kenya.

Halloween yarn.

Emerald of Stardust Fiber Studio’s newest collection, All Hallows’ Eve, has eight colorways and a spooky stitch marker set. There are also two sales running in her studio.

What to stash this week in addition to Indie Untangled Everywhere

A green to plum gradient yarn.

Scarlet of Huckleberry Knits is dyeing a second colorway for Knitting Our National Parks called Nostalgia, inspired by a fall photo of Acadia National Park.

“I grew up in Massachusetts, and the first national park I ever went to was the only one in New England, Acadia,” Scarlet says. “When I was a kid, our family vacations usually involved the seashore, but our trip to Acadia added in dramatic rocky outcrops and thick forests that seemed to spring forth from the ocean, unlike anything I’d seen before. Every autumn I miss New England, and Nostalgia reflects those rich colors that say ‘home’ to me.”⁣

Nostalgia will be dyed on Scarlet’s Gradient Fingering base, a blend of 75% Superwash Merino and 25% nylon with a generous 463 yards per skein. It’s available as a sock blank or wound into a center-pull cake. Preorder it on Indie Untangled through next week only.

A sewing machine illustration that reads #vote2020 and #warmtheline

Warm the Line is a grassroots effort of crafters encouraging those in our community to send hats, scarves and other warm items to voters waiting on long lines to vote in cold swing states. Along with contributing to this campaign with your craft, you can also buy an item — a T-shirt, sweatshirt, tote bag or hat — to commemorate the project with a hand-drawn logo by an emerging artist.

Bright yarn.

Shelby of Hardware City Yarn is a new indie dyer paying homage to the rich industrial history of her home city of New Britain, Connecticut.

Gold and teal yarn.

Heather of Pumpkins and Wool has gone plaid for fall! This means Colors like reds and browns, black and grays with shades of whites throughout.

Green, mint and cream yarn.

Over the last few weeks, Eden Cottage Yarns has had updates of: Rosedale 4ply, Pendle Chunky and Keld Fingering, and there’s more to come!

A collections of bags with sheep.

Crista is having a shop update this Sunday, October 18th at 8 p.m. EDT with many sizes and shapes of handmade project bags available.

Aqua and green flower stitch markers.

Amanda of Doodle Dew Designs makes these colorful stitch markers with a colorful, lightweight resin.

Indie Untangled Everywhere Untangling: Birdie Parker

A woman with red dyed hair and black glasses.

This is the 10th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled Everywhere, taking place from October 15-17, 2020.

Metalsmithing doesn’t seem to have much in common with the fiber arts, but Kristi Jensen of Birdie Parker Designs has pulled both together seamlessly. After earning a BFA in Metalsmithing from California State University Long Beach in 2016, Kristi turned her skill into a fiber-focused jewelry business. Her jewels have donned many an ear, wrist and shawl, and she’s expanded into other unique items, such as light switch plates, all bearing her signature stitch designs.

How did you decide to study metalsmithing in college?

I originally intended to major in sculpture, but found that the program at my school wasn’t a good fit for me. A friend suggested that I check out the metalsmithing program and I instantly fell in love. I get to play with hammers and fire? Sign me up!

What led you to turn that skill into a fiber-focused jewelry business?

Like many fine arts majors, once I graduated I was faced with trying to figure out how to turn my new knowledge into a marketable skill. I played around with different ideas and mediums but nothing really fit. All throughout my time in the metalsmithing program, I was avidly knitting and padding my schedule with classes from the Fibers department, and it finally occurred to me: the fiber world didn’t have much going on in the way of jewelry at the time. I turned my focus toward trying to replicate the stitches of fibers arts in metal. After much experimentation, I developed a technique with electro-etching that eventually became my signature element.

Leaf shaped earrings with etched knitting stitches.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Untangled Everywhere?

I plan to introduce a few new products that I’ve been working to perfect with the help of my laser printers: new mirrored acrylic stitch markers, and silicone watch bands for Apple Watches.

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

I think the number one thing is that from day one I have treated Birdie Parker like a business, not a hobby. This has allowed me to grow exponentially, to the point where I have recently moved operations to a large warehouse and I’m beginning to take on employees to help with the workflow.

A silver bracelet with stockinette stitches etched into it.

When and how did you learn to knit?

The first time I picked up the needles, it was from a little kit that I found at Costco, of all places. I later realized that I spent the first handful of projects knitting through the back loop! Life then got in the way and I didn’t knit for about a dozen years. One day I was freezing at the bus stop and I thought, I really should knit myself a hat! I visited the nearest LYS, watched a lot of youTube videos, figured out how to properly execute that knit stitch, and off I went!

Do you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?

Around the same time I started that hat, I started to wonder how hard it would be to learn to spin yarn. Within a span of about three weeks, I had built myself a drop spindle, visited an alpaca farm and ordered myself a spinning wheel! In addition to spinning, I learned to weave when I inherited my husband’s family loom. I dabble a bit in sewing, embroidery, cross stitch and sashiko. Since starting the business, my free time has become quite limited, so I seem to have focused my efforts on hoarding yarn. I’m quite good at it.

A leather cuff with silver stitches.

What are your favorite skeins in your stash?

I have a terrible weakness for self-striping sock yarn and rainbow gradient sets.

A leather tray with the image of a yarn ball.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Too many! I have 3/4 of a Love Note sweater, a half finished Rift tee, a pair of striped socks, a Junction Shawl and I’m sure a few others that I’m forgetting. The pandemic has been great for getting me to cast on projects but finishing them seems to be another issue!

Indie Untangled Everywhere Untangling: Deep Dyed Yarn

Stephanie Stratton of Deep Dyed Yarn.

This is the eighth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled Everywhere, taking place from October 15-17, 2020.

There are many indie dyers who start their business after learning how to spin yarn. Stephanie of Deep Dyed Yarns is one of those dyers. She’s also one of the few indies selling hand-dyed fiber as well as yarn in the Indie Untangled Everywhere marketplace. Here’s her story.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

My yarn dying adventures began as a snowball effect. In January of 2007, I bought my first spinning wheel and became hooked. It wasn’t long before I had amassed a large amount of handspun yarn.

There was no way I would use all of the yarns spun, so an Etsy store was created. To my utter delight and astonishment, it all sold. More fiber was purchased to be spun and I thought, Why not try my hand at Kool-Aid dyeing? From there, I progressed to commercial acid dyes and began listing hand-dyed fibers. There came a point where I could not keep up with supply and demand of handspun yarn, so han-dyed, mill-spun yarns were added to the line-up.

A friend encouraged me to try a local festival in the fall of 2007. The first booth consisted of a card table and bread rack. It was such a warm, welcoming, and shockingly successful experience, I began looking for more to attend. Pennies were saved and trailers to haul displays were purchased. A small metal building was constructed that has evolved and been improved upon a little each year. One year it was insulation, another was a ceiling, another was proper ventilation, enclosing the dye area, etc.

It has been a 13-year journey of love, friendship and sometimes tears. There have been so many amazing people who have influenced me. I am so grateful to everyone who has encouraged, uplifted, supported and been there for me in not just my journey as a dyer, but all of us as a community.

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

Black goes with everything in my humble opinion. In all honesty, I love all colors. Maybe a few more than others, as I can’t get away with wearing yellow or orange, but that doesn’t mean I snub my nose at all the pretty shades, tones and hues they contain.

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

No, I pretty much dye what I like. Color combos are tested in the pots and if I really love it, they make it online or to the festival floor.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Untangled Everywhere?

So… I might be a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. This is a new style of show for me and while ideas are brewing, I do not have a concrete plan in place. I am hoping to showcase some of the most popular colors and colors that complement them. Maybe a little time talking about what it’s like spending so much time on the road. Oh, and there’s always time for showcasing patterns using my colors as well as a studio tour! My one goal is to not drop the ‘F’ bomb, lol!

When and how did you learn to knit?

A funny thing happened on a returning British Airways flight from London Heathrow to JFK in New York. The year was 1997 and it happened to be my first overseas trip for a tour of Scotland.

Upon takeoff, the lady next to me pulled her knitting out of her bag and began to knit a simple corner-to-corner afghan for her soon-to-be-arriving grandchild out of some very lovely yellow wool she bought while visiting England. I asked question after question about what she was doing at the ends and she explained they were yarn-overs to make the blanket grow larger with every other row and purling to keep the edges from curling. And she kindly suggested that I find a local yarn shop when I got home for lessons.

Shortly thereafter, I fell asleep and did not wake up until after the flight landed. No joke, I have slept through tornados and earthquakes, so a plane landing was a walk in the park for me! Once home, yarn and metal needles were bought at a big box store and I taught myself the ‘e’ cast-on and how to knit, purl and yarn-over.

Feeling confident and thrilled with my progress, the next step was a visit to the local yarn shop where more yarn and a simple little pattern was purchased. And, that’s where trouble started. The kind lady on the flight mentioned something about not knitting like her, but I was so groggy that I didn’t remember that part in the thrill of teaching myself by mimicking what I remembered her doing. It was so frustrating because nothing I did would make the pattern show up. K, P, K2tog, SSK, YO….. NOTHING WORKED!

That is until I checked out Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick at the local library. I followed the steps page by page and not advancing until the next step. Casting on and knitting the first row were simple and then the next set of directions said to TURN THE WORK! I about died of laugher! You see, I taught myself how to knit back and forth instead of turning the work because that is what the very patient lady on the plane had done.

Since you sell fiber, do you spin?

I certainly do and feel it has made me not just a better knitter and judge of yarn, but also a better dyer. When you spin, the colors and combinations of colors you use can drastically change the outcome of your yarn.

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

In no particular order:

Monnie’s Vintersol using Grit in colors Seafoam, Whisp, and Smoke.

My Night Shift (Christopher Sala) using Figment in colors Velvet Underground and Appaloosa.

Jan M’s Honey Comb Aran sweater using Grit in color Caramel (pictured above).

ZueZuesKnots’s Tecumseh Using Still in colors Summer Berries, Coraline, and Caramel.

What’s currently on your needles?

Light in Shadows by Milja Uimonen using Align in colors Driftwood and Caramel.