St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect day for showing off your best green hand knits. If you don’t have any — or don’t have enough! — get a head start on next year with these envy-inducing shades from Indie Untangled dyers. Above is the appropriately-named Irish Eyes by Cedar Hill Farm Company.
Recently, when my almost-5-year-old nephew requested a black hat to go with his school uniform, I was at first a little disappointed. Like most knitters, I’m generally drawn towards vivid colors — black is for boots and store-bought cardigans, amiright? — and I figured I’d also have to go with a very plain pattern because any interesting detail would get lost in black yarn. Then I remembered that a bunch of dyers have black colorways, so I went clicking through the Indie Untangled marketplace to see what I could find.
I ended up contacting the lovely Christine of Skeinny Dipping, who had actually, a few months ago, suggested her new Cease and Desist color as one of the stripes for my Nangou (I ended up going with pink and teal to match Duck Duck Wool’s Night Bokeh). Christine dyed up two skeins of C&D on her Journey Worsted base, one of which I’m using for Stephen West’s Windschief — it’s just complex enough without having anything go missing in the darkness.
Since I thought black was such an interesting color choice for a dyer, I decided to ask Christine a few questions:
What made you decided to create a black colorway?
If you look in my closet you will find a lot of black. My dresses are black (or a really dark color), my store-bought cardigans are black, etc. My husband says I always look like I’m ready for a funeral. I like it because it matches everything easily and the last place I want to spend time at is a clothing store. But while there’s black everywhere in store fashion there isn’t a lot of black in the yarn world — certainly not enough for me. Ask me to pair two colors together? I can do it but I’ll really want black to be one of them. Three colors? Impossible (this is why I still haven’t knit a Color Affection). I need one of them to be black so the scarf goes with my cardigans and dresses. Voila! Cease and Desist was born.
Without giving too much away, how does one actually create a shade of black? Do you use black dye, or is it a combination of other colors?
Like any other colorways it depends. My Cease and Desist is very simple — one dye. But you can create very beautiful blacks — just have a look at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. They have an amazing line of blacks in their Raven Clan series.
Is it challenging to give a black colorway “depth”?
Again, it depends. Are you going for a semi-solid black, a tonal, or something using a resist? I feel like tackling a black color presents the same challenge as any other color.
What pattern suggestions do you have for black yarn, with it either as a main or accent color?
For an accent color, I love Aileron by Dieuwke van Mulligan. Colorwork projects are also great for black, like Pointy Pointy Mittens by Adrian Bizilia or Jazz Hands by Kate Davies. Stripes are great, too: Accelerating Stripes Fingerless Gloves by the Churchmouse Yarns people, Mon Petit Gilet Raye by Isabelle Milleret. And anything brioche. I also use black for the heels on a lot of my hand-knit socks.
Here are some of my other favorite black colorways by IU’s artisans:
Slick by Dark Harbour Yarns
The Pit by Invictus Yarns
Baby Got Black by Magpie Fibers
Peter’s Shadow by Duck Duck Wool
Putting aside the fact that the holiday season seems to creep up on us earlier and earlier each year, there’s nothing like a bit of color to brighten up the days that are getting shorter and shorter. Along with Christmas, Chanukah and wintery decorations, I’ve enjoyed the yarny interpretations of holiday colors by several Indie Untangled dyers.
Above is a skein that’s included in the Winter Kit by Berry Colorful Yarnings, which includes a four-color self-striping yarn and a project bag from Lara Smoot Designs. Aside from this Very Indie kit, Michelle also has an incredible 12-color self-striping 12 Days of Christmas colorway (which I think would make a great infinity scarf) and — not to leave me and my fellow Jews out — an eight-color Chanukah colorway (the two skeins Michelle dyed are sold out, but she is happy to take custom orders):
Here’s a roundup of some other holiday hues that have been posted on the Marketplace recently:
This past Saturday, I pretty much had my perfect summer day. After waking up at a not-too-unreasonable hour, I got together a beach bag, put some grilled veggie skewers and couscous into a cooler and jumped on the subway, meeting my friend Sharon in the first car of the Q train. She brought me a chair and we camped out on Brighton Beach for more than five hours, swimming in the surprisingly calm ocean and resisting the temptation to buy a homemade frozen cocktail that a bunch of people were selling (maybe next time). Later, after a quick shower and change, I jumped on the B68 and managed to grab a spot on the lawn at the Prospect Park Bandshell to catch The New Pornographers and knit some of my Rhinecliff pullover.
Getting into a free summer concert on a Saturday was enough of a coup, but the best part of that day was my time at the beach. Growing up 10 minutes from Jones Beach, the ocean just means summer to me. So, before it ends in the usual blur, here are some beach-inspired colors and patterns that have floated into the Indie Untangled Marketplace:
And, of course, the mother of all ocean-inspired patterns:
I know a lot of knitters — a lot — who are obsessed with purple. I think purple people are kind of in their own category — I mean, what other colors have entire stores dedicated to it? On a related note, I don’t recommend Googling “store for red lovers”…
Well, lovers of purple, this post’s for you. Here are some of the grapiest, most plummy hues that Indie Untangled dyers have posted.
While most who know me would consider a berry pink to be my signature color, teal has long been a close runner-up. I chose it for the Indie Untangled logo because it gives the site a pop of color, but isn’t so bold that it overshadows all the beautiful hand-dyed and handmade products on display.
In honor of Indie Untangled’s first birthday, here are some lovely teals from some of my lovely vendors (a few of whom are giving away yarn to newsletter subscribers this month):
I have to admit it: green has generally tended to fall near the bottom of my color preference list (I do make an exception for teal, which is entirely different animal). When I say “green,” I mean a grassy shade that would pass as a color to wear to mark St. Patrick’s Day — which I will probably spend in my apartment, working and enjoying a craft beer with my husband, because I am old, or at least the bars in my neighborhood make me feel old on this particular holiday.
The color has been growing on me, though. I recently knit a Horloge cowl for a friend in the new Rustic Silk Worsted base from Pigeonroof Studios in her gorgeous Emerald colorway. While it’s not a color I generally gravitate toward for myself, I can certainly admire these easy-on-the eyes greens that have been posted to the Indie Untangled marketplace:
Reds and pinks are wonderful year-round colors (I should know — they make up much of my wardrobe and stash), but they’re certainly very present by mid-February. Whatever you think of the little holiday we have coming up this weekend, you will be sure to love these Valentines-y shades on offer from some Indie Untangled dyers:
Before I started knitting, I never considered grey one of my favorite colors. Sure, it was a great neutral for skirts and accessories, but it wasn’t necessarily a shade I fawned over.
That all changed when I started buying hand-dyed yarn. I found myself drawn to skeins the color of cold steel and greys verging on lilac. I love how on certain fibers, like silk, and on certain bases, grey seems to come alive. The Urban I knit with Skein’s Top Draw Socks in the Sterling colorway remains one of my favorite FOs.
Of course, there’s no real season for grey, but I tend to think of it as a winter color, with images of snow-covered roads and rocks and branches — or metal skyscrapers — peeking out.
Here’s a selection of some of my favorite skeins and grey projects from Indie Untangled artisans: