What to stash this week: Spring flowers

Kristin, who runs a knitwear business called KraeO, is expanding from crocheted hats and cowls into hand-dyed yarn with a line called Fuzz Family. She has just debuted a springtime collection of colorways, including a lovely one called Rose Gold, pictured above.

Speaking of gold, Jen now has her popular stockinette stitch Short Row and Minis earrings in solid 14k gold. Be fancy!

Speaking of spring, Aspen Knits has just released this new spring-inspired, two-in-one design called Lilac. The pattern contains instructions for making both a wrap and a cowl. The samples feature yarn from indie dyer Thriving Hive Studio.

Heather of Sew Happy Jane has stocked her shop full of goodies, including Silky Cashmere, five shades of Magical Mohair, tons of Delightful DK, mini skeins and several new spring colorways.

Summit Rd. Fibers is having a flash sale, with 20% off through March 17.

Knitflixing Corner: Shetland

It’s such an amazing time to be a knitter, crocheter or crafter, with a huge selection of yarn and fiber choices, and accessories, at our fingertips. It’s also a great time to be a knitter who likes to settle in on the sofa with an absorbing or entertaining TV show or movie. But just as it’s so difficult to narrow down the yarn choices, picking just the right thing to watch when you’re trying to finish that cabled or colorwork sleeve is a hard task. I’m hoping to help with this new blog series.

I know, I know — a BBC series that takes place on the Shetland Islands is a pretty obvious choice for a blog post on knitflixing, but the show has been the perfect companion as I get ready to travel to Scotland for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (thanks to Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio for the recommendation!).

Based on Ann Cleeves’s Shetland mystery novels, the show follows Shetland police Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall, who won a BAFTA Scotland award for the role) and Detective Sergeant Alison “Tosh” Macintosh (Alison O’Donnell), as they work to solve murders on the hazy Scottish archipelago. Other familiar faces include Anna Chancellor (Henrietta in Four Weddings and a Funeral), Nina Sosanya (I recognized her from Love, Actually) Ciarán Hinds (known for many things, including Game of Thrones, in which he portrayed Mance Rayder) and Archie Panjabi (Kalinda on The Good Wife). It’s your standard-issue detective show — the murderer is always the person you least expect it to be, or at least I’m not the best at figuring out these plot twists — but with a stunning backdrop and those wonderful accents.

The series starts off with one- or two-part episodes, with the third season comprised of a six-episode arc that starts off with a death aboard a ferry to the islands and veers off into a web of family connections and crime down in Glasgow. The rolling green fields and sharp cliffs play a role in nearly every plot, so even during those times when I’ve been concentrating too much on the the decreases or increases of my latest sweater WIP to follow all the ins and outs of the plot (and not wanting to continuously rewind) I’ve just enjoyed the scenery and the music. The show is otherwise engrossing and I am impressed by the sensitive, yet still emotional way they handled the issue of rape in one of the Season 3 episodes (Cleeves has a nice take on it).

Unfortunately, only Seasons 1-3 are currently available on Netflix, but if you just can’t wait for Season 4 to start streaming there, you can purchase a subscription to Britbox on Amazon Prime. In the meantime, there are so many other things to watch…

What are some of your favorite things to Knitflix? Recommend my next binge in the comments.

What to stash this week: new dyer alert

Aimee of Pancake and Lulu Yarn, aka PLY, has a fully stocked shop with a huge selection of colors (80 and counting) with mini skeins available on five bases and other goodies Her post on Indie Untangled has a ton of info and photos, including one of another lovely project, the Pierre shawl by Westknits, so go check it out!

Deb Gerhard of Spruce Lane Designs updated her Once Again sweater pattern to also include separate, non-monochromatic, colors for the yoke. This yoke is shown in Marianated Yarns’ Drizzly Day as the main color and the Racing Silks Mixed Marianated Gradient Set.

To celebrate the last season of Game of Thrones, Marietta of Inner Yarn Zen has put together a two-part unclub. The first installment will include a skein of Game of Thrones-inspired yarn and a project bag using licensed GoT fabric. The second installment will be a second GoT-inspired skein, as well as stitch markers with images of key characters.

Elisabeth of Wolle’s Yarn Creations just introduced a Malian-inspired yarn series, based on the Malian Bogolan, or “mud cloth,” textile dying technique that uses fermented mud from the Niger River. These yarns feature color changes as well as partial striping.

If you loved the Cute & Sweary bags from artist Cynthia Frenette, her potty mouth is at it again. The Pretty Sweary bags from Slipped Stitch Studios are available to preorder starting today at 9 a.m. through Monday at midnight PST.

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn just released Ewetopia Bulky, a 3ply Superwash Merino wool with 106 yards, perfect for quick knits like hats, mitts and chunky cowls.

Sunshine of My Mama Knits has 11 new colorways inspired by one of her favorite childhood books, The Color Kittens by Maragret Wise Brown.

The top 10 things that make a yarn shop awesome: my reflections from the road

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It should come as no surprise that I’ve been to a lot of yarn shops. Aside from being spoiled for choice in New York City, I try to make it to an LYS whenever I’m traveling. Even though many of us have enough yarn in our stashes to open up our own storefronts, there’s nothing like going into a shop even when halfway around the world and feeling like you’re “home.”

Recently, Thao of Nerd Bird Makery asked me to rank my top five shops (how very High Fidelity/Rob Gordon!). It was pretty much impossible to narrow it down, but the question got me thinking about exactly what would put a yarn shop on my list if I could actually manage to make one.

So, instead, here’s a list of the top 10 things that make a yarn shop awesome, and how my LYSs, and the ones I’ve visited while on the road, fit in.

Felicia Eve, the owner of String Thing Studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Welcoming atmosphere

This is perhaps the most important thing on the list. A shop can have the most beautiful yarn on the planet, but no knitter/crocheter/spinner/weaver/pick-your-fiber-crafter should feel unwelcome or out of place.

When I think of a warm atmosphere, two of my locals come to mind: String Thing Studio and Knitty City. While String Thing is relatively new — it will be two years old in June — owner Felicia Eve has created what feels like a second home, just with a much bigger stash. Whether I’m coming for an indie trunk show, for the jam-packed Friday knit night or just to sit and knit in the back garden on an early spring day, it’s clear that this is a community space. Pearl Chin’s Knitty City is a longer trip, but it has the same Cheers-like feeling and commitment to inclusivity. I remember when I first started promoting the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show in 2014, I went up to Knitty City to ask if I could put a flier for it on their bulletin board and they were happy to let me. Thinking back, it was a bit presumptuous of me to ask a yarn shop to support my nascent enterprise, but it just shows their commitment to small fiber businesses and how the shop epitomizes the supportiveness that this community is known for.

Similarly, Mary Ebel of The Perfect Blend in Saugerties, New York, was tremendously supportive with last year’s Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show, helping me find local resources for parking and rallying the local merchants together, allowing space for people to sit and knit during that frenzied day.

The latest location of Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA, makes good use of a fan-shaped space.

Good lighting and organization

When it comes to brick and mortar businesses, a good location with plenty of natural light is hard to find, and supplemental lighting is its own special art form. Yarn shops with the perfect combination of both are the holy grail. There should also be some rhyme or reason to how the yarn is organized.

I’ve been fortunate to visit all three incarnations of Fibre Space in Alexandria, Virginia, and was always impressed with how well lit they’ve been and how they manage to create a nice flow when perusing their inventory. Similarly, Knotty Lamb in Forest Grove, Oregon, seen in the main photo above, arranges its massive space by yarn weight, so it’s easy to know where to go when you’re thinking about knitting a sportweight sweater, or know you need to stay away from the fingering.

Local selection

Since I’m all about the indie dyers, and a yarn purchase while I’m on vacation is the best souvenir, I appreciate when yarn shops highlight their locally-made or dyed products. Retrosaria Rosa Pomar in Lisbon, Portugal, was the perfect example of that, with an impressive array of yarn sourced from Portuguese sheep that made me want to create a woolly colorwork sweater right then and there.

Shop exclusives

Most of us are suckers for exclusive colorways or products, so shops that have these — such as Loop London‘s special pattern books or project bags, or the exclusive Spincycle colorway at Starlight Knitting Society in Portland, Oregon — can just take all my money.

Starlight Knitting Society in Portland, OR, which has since expanded into the adjacent space to the right in this photo.

Room to sit and knit

Whether it’s a long table with room for just one more chair or a cozy leather sofa, a shop needs to invite you to sit and knit for a while, even if it’s just for 10 minutes while your non-knitting partner is at the comic book store. It’s ideal if the seating is communal and spaced out enough so you can look at people while you’re stitching. String Thing’s garden is the perfect warm-weather knitting spot, and I love the big sofas at Fibre Space, Starlight and Knotty Lamb.

Caitlin Hunter’s Time Trades shawl at Knotty Lamb.

On-trend samples

Who hasn’t fallen for a sample, especially when you’re browsing without a plan in mind? I’ll have to call out Knotty Lamb again, as being Caitlin Hunter’s LYS means that there were so many drool-worthy samples.

Just one of the non-yarn goodies at The Observatory Shop. This candle smells amazing.

Non-yarn extras

I know it sounds crazy… but sometimes you’re just… not in the market for yarn. Or, at least you don’t want to get more than a couple of skeins. I appreciate shops that have a well curated selection of non-yarn items, like bags, T-shirts, enamel pins and things you may never have thought of. At Retrosaria Rosa Pomar, I bought a beautiful woven throw pillow, and The Observatory in Hastings On Hudson, New York, has home items, regular bags, jewelry and even clothing.

Clara Parkes reading from A Stash of One’s Own at Knitty City in fall 2017.

Classes and events

Trunk shows, workshops, maker presentations and author talks are a big part of what makes a LYS a community space. The HereNowSpace run by Paola Vanzo of mYak has many of these special events, as does Knitty City.

Weaving represented in the window at Woolyn in Brooklyn.

Enticing window displays

Since fiber folks are so creative, most shops I’ve been to take special care with their window displays. Woolyn in Brooklyn has had some of my favorites.

Pull up a chair and knit at Brooklyn General.

Something “Grammable”

Especially when you’re visiting a shop as a “yarn tourist,” you want a cool way to document your visit. Aside from having an enviable selection, Brooklyn General provides that with its charming, homespun atmosphere that seems made for social media.

Tell us about your favorite yarn shop, and how it fits the criteria of this Top 10 list, in the comments!

What to stash this week: Last chance to go Skeinny Dipping

There are still a few sweater quantities of Journey Worsted available (pictured above is Redwoods), as well as Christine’s new Merino Silk Single, her Merino Single, Mericash Fingering and Canonball Sock available in the Virtual Trunk Show — but not for long. 

Jen of Porterness Studio is celebrating her 5th birthday as a jewelry maker and you get a present! Use the code IU5Years to get 25% off your order until this Sunday, March 3. You’ll also get a free sterling silver stitch marker with every purchase.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has added dragonfly shawl pins to her shop. Use one to add some sparkle to your favorite shawl, cowl, scarf or cardigan.

 

Liz of HighFiberArtz recently launched a yarn collection that shows off her style of dyeing. Each yarn in Liz’s Inspiration collection is based on a photograph. She also recently started dyeing sock blanks.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns is collaborating with Jaya of Apoorva Designs on the Four Seasons Collection, which will include four shawls or wraps inspired by Jaya’s favorite poems. Sign-ups for a subscription to the collection, which will include the yarn, pattern and other goodies, begin today at 7 p.m. UK time. At the same time, the next round of signups will open for The Potting Shed, a monthly yarn subscription club. And, finally, Victoria will be having a regular shop update featuring Oakworth 4ply, a 100% Superwash NZ Polwarth, at 1 p.m. UK time on Sunday.

Summit Road Fibers has opened preorders for an April Fool’s Mystery Pack.

What to stash this week: winter into spring

To counter the winter blues, Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs has some bags in new, bright-colored fabric that can bring some spring into your life. All, including the fun unicorn bag above, are available on her Kellie bag, which has plastic snaps that act as built-in yarn guides.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks can’t wait for spring either, but she’s using cold weather in New York to her advantage in creating colorways. Some new ones are inspired by the wintry landscape outside her Catskills home and a New Year’s Day long ago spent on a Cape Code beach.

Slipped Stitch Studios’ previous Cats & Dogs goodies have found their forever homes, so it’s time for a refresh. Cat & Dog-themed preorders will open today at 9 a.m. PST.

Terri of AT Haynes House Yarns has some new colorways up in her shop, including The Same Thing, which is pictured above.

The Cryptozoologist recently had a shop update with vibrant, spring-y colorways on 100% British BFL/nylon sock yarn.

Augusta of adKnits creates fiber-themed notecards, art prints and stickers inspired by adventure and the outdoors.

Purple Lamb Fiber Arts has a new base called Squoosh DK and is holding a yarn giveaway through Monday.

Heather Anderson is hosting a mystery KAL beginning March 1.

October House Fiber Arts has introduced two new spring-inspired miniskein colorways.

Untangling Christine of Skeinny Dipping

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Skeinny Dipping was one of the first yarn companies to advertise on Indie Untangled, way back in 2014. I was smitten by Christine’s glowing colorways, particularly her rich reds and complex browns and greens (and I am generally not a brown or green person) and learned a little more about her when she vended at the first-ever Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show that same year.

Christine’s background includes working in East Africa with the Peace Corps, which has inspired some of her colorway names (Malaria Dreams and Vervet), as have SNL (I Need More Cowbell and Space Pants) and food (Brown Butter and Blue Raspberry Slurpee).

When she’s not dyeing or traveling around the world with her husband and their adorable Chihuahua, Gracie, Christine knits incredible colorwork sweaters. Her yarn is currently available in the Indie Untangled Virtual Trunk Show.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

Dyeing yarn was never on my radar. Like many dyers I had gotten to a point in my life where the normal job wasn’t possible and I had to find something to do.

Christine with a “mama” from her village in Kenya.

What did you do in the Peace Corps?

I was an agroforestry extensionist in the Peace Corps. This was my primary assignment through the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. I worked with other local Kenyan extensionists in my location (similar to a county) providing technical assistance to subsistence farmers in my region.

My area of expertise was agroforestry, which is a multi-purpose land use system that promotes fuel wood security and improved crop yields on subsistence-sized plots. Together with my Kenyan counterparts we also addressed water and sanitation issues, health education (such as HIV prevention) and any other issues that farmers encountered. I also had some secondary projects like teaching how to bake without an oven, which was a project that happened by accident.

What inspires your colors?

Sometimes it’s a word or phrase that inspires the color (Space Pants from SNL). Other times, it’s the parasitic diseases of tropical Africa or the nut sacks of Kenyan monkeys (Malaria Dreams and Vervet). If it’s disturbing, I’m pretty sure I’ll get a good colorway out of it.

Tinsel-ectomy on Journey Worsted.

Which of your colorways are you most proud of?

I’m proud of them all in their own way, but my favorites are the ones that glow even though they’re extremely saturated and dark. Those take a lot of experimentation to get right, and I have to redo the recipes for each base since different fibers take the dyes differently.

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

My favorite color has always been green, and there were a lot of colors I didn’t like before I became a dyer, like yellow and red. But I found that I started to like them if I could get them murky and saturated, so I’ve come around to those colors. I still don’t like pink, though, except for Adobe Wan Kenobi, and that’s only because I’ve pushed that colorway to the line between coral and red. I love gray and black, too.

Christine knit Sweaterfreakknits’ Birch Sap shawl in a colorway called Adobe Wan Kenobi.

When and how did you learn to knit?

My grandmom first taught me to knit when I was seven. I only knew the knit stitch, and I had some horrid pink acrylic from Woolworths. Like a lot of kids, I was interested for 10 minutes and then put it aside till I was much older. I picked it up again during my pre-service training in the Peace Corps. We get three months of intensive training in-country before our service officially begins, and it was during this time that our trainers encouraged us to develop another hobby other than reading. We managed to cobble together the rest of the knitting basics like casting on and binding off from within our group. I made a lot of scarves and potholders until the next extension group of volunteers arrived. There was a hat knitter in that group and luckily she was based near me, so I learned how to make Anna Zilboorg’s hats. Aside from when I was in grad school and working full time, I haven’t stopped knitting since then.

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

I cannot dye less saturated colorways to save my life. I do have Salt Marsh, Zingbat, Vintaged and Blue Raspberry Slurpee but I hated all of them when I came up with them. But everyone else liked them, so they got to stay.

Olives on Journey Worsted.

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

It’s not so much that there are certain projects that are my favorites, but moreso when my customers make something with a colorway they say is not from a color group that they normally like. Those are my favorites — if I can get you to be open to a color group that you didn’t like before, that is the ultimate compliment.

What to stash this week: wrapped up in wool

Woolly Wormhead’s latest collection of hat designs, called Inversion, features stitch patterns that manipulate the fabric across or via the rows, instead of manipulating the stitches within the row. The result is five two-color hats that are reversible, but with each side showing off a different look.

Today is your last day to preorder Stephanie’s stunning interpretation of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado, available on four different bases, from fingering to worsted.

The Akerworks Butterfly Kate serves multiple purposes: while you’re knitting, it holds balls and cakes and feeds your yarn consistently and evenly — almost like a combination swift/ball winder. Its “wings” have a magnet that can hold metal stitch markers (no more digging around in your bag!) and a notch that holds your pattern. For spinning, it can be used along with other Kates for plying.

Jeanne of Destination Yarn’s latest destination-inspired collection of yarn is based on Paris. The eight colorways are deep, moody and rich, inspired by impressionist paintings, old postcards and modern photographs. They’re available in full skeins as well as a miniskein set.

Alisa of Knitspinquilt is heading off to England for three months to do archival research. So, if you want to get your hands on any of her yellow taxi or manatee bags, or rainbow llama stitch markers, get your order in by February 22.

Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. has updated her shop with new Rainbow Bright Minis. The sets, which have a total yardage of just under 550, are perfect for colorwork, scrappy socks, heel/toe color pops or scrappy shawls and blankets.

Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has shipped out all of the Cute & Sweary preorders, so the limited extras are available for sale today at 9 a.m. PST.

Skeinny Dipping’s Adobe Wan Kenobi colorway looks incredible and oh-so-Valentine-y in Sweater Freak Knits’ Birch Sap shawl, which takes two skeins of fingering-weight yarn. The base shown here is the super-soft Mericash Fingering, a 70/20/10 MCN that has been added to Indie Untangled’s Skeinny Dipping Virtual Trunk Show.

Eden Cottage Yarns is having a shop update tomorrow at 8 p.m. UK time featuring Merino in its many glorious forms: Pendle 4ply and Pendle Chunky (both 100% Superwash Merino), Brimham 4ply minis (85% Superwash Merino, 15% nylon) and Nateby 4ply rainbow minis (75% Superwash Merino, 20% nylon, 5% silver Lurex).

Lori of Abstract Fiber hand dyes colorful yarns out of her home in Portland, Oregon. She also offers various types of spinning fiber, much of it containing silk, including Mixed Merino Silk, BFL/silk, Targhee/bamboo/silk, 50/50 Merino/silk, as well camel/silk and yak/silk.

Mona is holding a Big Bunny BOGO sale. From February 14-24, buy one of her patterns and get one free, no coupon required.

Dye Is Cast Yarn has a new base and colorway

What to make with SpaceCadet Gunnison

I’ve enjoyed working with Stephanie of SpaceCadet Yarn on the latest installment of Knitting Our National Parks. If you haven’t already, read her hilarious story about her last trip to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which inspired her Gunnison colorway.

Stephanie has also collaborated with several knitting and crochet designers who have transformed her yarns into lovely garments and accessories. Here are some pattern suggestions for Gunnison — only available to preorder until Friday, February 15. They were designed especially for the bases the colorway is being offered on.

Lyra

Darlina by Corrina Ferguson

Mauna Kea by Mel Ski

The Old Man & The Sea by Mel Ski

Drizzle by Mel Ski

Oriana

Tantamount by Hunter Hammersen

Ianthine by Hunter Hammersen

Aurora

Crisp Cables Hat by Lindsey Stephens

See some more pattern ideas in my Gunnison Ravelry bundle.

What to stash this week: go Skeinny Dipping

Christine of Skeinny Dipping is debuting her newest base, Merino Silk Single, in the first ever Indie Untangled Virtual Trunk Show! The idea behind the Virtual Trunk Show is to introduce you to indie dyers you may not know about and let you snag some of their beautiful skeins — no travel, tickets or lines required. In lieu of samples, I’ve linked to project ideas on Ravelry.

As a bonus, the trunk show has some skeins from Fuse Fiber Studio, including a limited number of kits for Catherine Clark’s Ixchel sweater that include dyer Rebecca’s popular Black Pearls colorway. 

Vagabondo is Sara of La Cave à Laine’s latest hat pattern. Filled with wandering cables, it is what she calls a “playful investigation into asymmetry within symmetry.” Enjoy 25% off this pattern with code VAGA25 on Ravelry until the end of February.

If you couldn’t tell from her business name, Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations is into butterflies. Her new Flutterby stitch marker and holder sets are available online, or you can see them in person in booth 513 at Stitches West.

Project bags and accessories in this colorful Knit Happens design from artist Cynthia Frenette are on sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time from Slipped Stitch Studios. There are a limited number of ready-to-ship items, but there will be the option to preorder should something sell out.

Be on the lookout for new items from Jenn of Porterness Studio. All Indie Untangled readers get 20% off with the code SelfLove20.

Amy recently debuted her newest Row House Collection, plus 10 other new colorways and OOAKs. Inspired by colorful row houses in America and around the World, the Row House Collection features five coordinating semisolid colors and two speckled colorways.

Sunshine of My Mama Knits offers more than just hand-dyed yarn. Her shop also has hand-sewn project bags made especially for her by Amelia X Joy, stitch markers in singles or themed sets and hand made birch wood Socker’s Rules by Fleece Loved Products.

Meet Debi of BaaBerry Farms, a shepherdess who specializes in project bags and hand-dyed yarn. Bags are fully lined, with interior pockets and wrist straps, and yarn is mill spun from her flock and then hand dyed.

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn just had a shop update, which includes some brand new colorways and a revamping of some old ones on Sadie Singles, Tralala Sock and Ewetopia DK. Her shop also now has mini skeins.

Going to Stitches West? Learn all about the Witherbottoms, a story woven by Leann especially for the show.

Learn more about Australia’s Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill.

Just in time for V-Day, the Every Rose Has Its Thorn colorway is available from MollyGirl Yarn.