IU book review: Mini Skein Knits

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Image ©Connie Santisteban

Image ©Connie Santisteban

I have to say, I was pretty excited when Connie, the talented photographer of my Rhinebeck sweater and also an editor at Lark Crafts, emailed me about reviewing their latest book, Mini Skein Knits: 25 Knitting Patterns Using Small Skeins and Leftovers ($14.95 U.S./$16.95 Canada). When I blogged about knitting at the newspaper I used to work for, I was approached a few times about reviewing books, but they were usually for designs I wasn’t really interested in — yes, I can see the appeal of super-chunky baby knits, but not of knitting “sleep sacks” that are mainly meant for newborn photo shoots and not much else.

© Lark Crafts

© Lark Crafts

On the contrary, this is a book I can definitely see myself knitting from — and I already have a few patterns in my favorites. The idea is that collecting mini skeins is so addictive, whether you buy them yourself or participate in mini-skein swaps, or both, but it can be tricky to figure out what to make with them. This book has a great variety of patterns, from simple coasters and coffee cozies, all the up way to beautiful sweaters, including two (A Mermaid Darkly, pictured below, and the Rainbow Cardi) designed by Sweater Expert, and the creator of my Rhinebeck sweater pattern, Yelena Dasher.

© Lark Crafts

© Lark Crafts

There’s also tons in between — scarves, socks, shawls, cowls. My favorite — and the one I favorited first — is Jess Kallberg’s Head in the Clouds Hat, pictured at the top of the post. I love the subtle scallops, and I think it will be the perfect pattern for the mini-skein set from Pigeonroof Studios that I purchased ages ago — like, before Indie Untangled even launched (I was going to make a pair of gradient mitts, but I generally haven’t been gravitating toward projects much smaller than hats). The yardage information is fairly detailed, so useful if you want to swap out mini skeins and use up leftovers.

© Lark Crafts / Touch of Color Legwarmers by Susie Dippel

© Lark Crafts / Touch of Color Legwarmers by Susie Dippel

Aside from the lovely patterns, the two things I like most about this book are the beautifully styled photographs, which still show off the important parts of each design, and the prevalence of indie dyers, including IU’s Astral Bath, Kim Dyes Yarn and Western Sky Knits (not to mention, Madelinetosh, Orange Flower, Julie Asselin, Dragonfly Fibers and The Copper Corgi…). If you frequent this site, I’m pretty sure you will love this book.

Connie and Lark Crafts have generously offered up a free copy of the book to a lucky Indie Untangled reader. To enter, comment on this post by the end of the day Sunday, Nov. 15, with the pattern (or patterns — I know it’s hard to pick just one!) you’d most like to knit. You can see them all here on Ravelry. The winner will be chosen via random number generator.

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winner, Lynn!

caterpillargreen giveaway winner

concrete_and_tulips_self_striping_yarn_600x600

I received 42 comments (the answer to life the universe and everything) for the caterpillargreen giveaway and the winner is…

Jessica H, who is planning to make Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl with her prize.

Congrats, Jessica! And thanks to everyone who participated. I really enjoyed getting to know Catherine more and hope you did, too. You might also want to check her out on Instagram, where Catherine’s wit competes with her gorgeous photos.

Indie Untangled is turning 1! There are giveaways to celebrate

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Birthday photo

When I officially launched Indie Untangled a year ago Saturday with my first newsletter, I couldn’t predict what kind of ride I was in for. Sure, I had plenty of goals: to create one place for yarn addicts like me to go and find out about new dyers and shop updates, and to craft a weekly email that knitters would look forward to opening in the morning, while sipping their coffee or tea. But there were so many surprising things that happened along the way — collaborating with my friend Vicki on popular yarn ball bags, organizing my first Ravelry swap and putting together the mother of all enabling events, the Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Of course, this couldn’t have been possible without the support of the dozens of indie dyers, designers and crafters who post to the Marketplace every day. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with such talented people, people who have enriched my life (and my stash) in so many ways. That yarn cake you see above? Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings dyed that up for me so I could make the banner for my table at the trunk show.

To celebrate IU’s milestone, I decided some giveaways were in order. I reached out to some of the dyers who were in my first newsletter and they were generous enough to offer up some goodies. Before I go into how the giveaway will work, let me introduce them:

PigeonroofUSA4

I had been a fan of Pigeonroof Studios long before starting the site, so Krista was one of the first dyers I reached out to with my idea. She was very supportive, and even sent me some photos of her hand-dyed fiber to use while the site was being designed. My first newsletter included information about her GLOW series of colorways, which I later explored in a blog post.

Krista has offered up a set of her High Twist gradient mini skeins in the color of the winner’s choice (I decided to show the Aqua set because it coordinates so well with the Indie Untangled logo).

InvictusBirthday

Sue of Invictus Yarns was another dyer I reached out to before the launch. She’s a fellow Yarn Hoar and I really enjoyed getting to see more of her beautiful colorways through her many posts. Her Citrus Sensation yarn was the perfect bright orange for my summer swap partner, and her yarns in general just make me smile.

Sue has donated a skein of the winner’s choice, up to $25, or $25 off a purchase of $28 or more.

Alturas

Ami of Lakes Yarn and Fiber is also a fellow Hoar, but I wasn’t familiar with her yarns until she posted to Indie Untangled. Her sea greens and pinks took my breath away, and she recently posted some beautiful speckled yarns on her Instagram account. It’s hard to say what I love more: Ami’s yarn or the photographs of her adorable lambs. She also works as a cardiac nurse, one of the fascinating things I learned when I interviewed her last year.

Ami has donated a skein of her Alturas, a Merino/silk/yak blend, in Dark Wash.

DWDpendu05

I discovered Dirty Water DyeWorks during my first trip to Rhinebeck all the way back in 2011 and I have since always made sure to shop at her booth. I knew I had to have Stephanie on my site and she’s been a great supporter, and even offered up a discount to Rhinebeck Trunk Show attendees at last year’s festival.

Stephanie has offered up a skein of the winner’s choice.

So, here’s how these giveaways will work: Anyone who signs up for the Indie Untangled newsletter will be entered to win. I will be picking winners on April 10, 17 and 24, as well as May 1, so if you subscribe by 9 p.m. EST, you will be eligible for that day’s giveaway. Anyone already on the mailing list is entered to win. I’ll pick a winner via random number generator and notify them by email. The winner will arrange shipment with the dyer. PLEASE NOTE: Winners must respond within 48 hours of when the notification email is sent to claim the prize. If not, another winner will be selected.

Hang on — that’s not all! I will also be doing a giveaway on the Indie Untangled Facebook page. The details will be posted there in an hour.

Good luck! And thanks for being part of this amazing community.

Wanna be a knitwear designer? Check out the Playful Design Along

Astral Bath swatch

I’ve been noticing recently that some of my knitting friends have been using their talents to start designing their own patterns (Yelena Dasher and Mollie Woodworth, whose Custom Fit design I used in the above swatch, come to mind). So, I figured some of my readers might be interested in a very unique giveaway that A Playful Day is organizing.

Playful logo

The Playful Design Along was inspired by Kate Atherley’s recent book, Pattern Writing for Knit Designers, which was reviewed on the A Playful Day blog and is chock full of information on everything from charts to photography. The winner gets a two-hour tech consultation from Kate, yarn support from Fyberspates and an hour-long consultation with A Playful Day to get help on releasing the pattern.

All the details can be found here, but essentially you have until Feb. 1, 2015 to submit swatches/sketches/a description or a finished photo of a hand knit or crocheted accessory you’ve made already that you want to write a pattern for.

It sounds like a great opportunity for those of you who would like to explore pattern designing, a unique contest and a nice way to start off the new year!

Holiday newsletter giveaway Part II: The grand prize

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This Pandora Poke project bag will be stuffed with goodies.

This Pandora Poke project bag will be stuffed with goodies.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you so much for participating, and congrats to the winner, Jess!

What would you stuff in a knitter’s stocking? I’ve decided to answer that question with the newsletter giveaway grand prize.

One lucky winner will get an Indie Untangled/That Clever Clementine Pandora Poke yarn ball project bag stuffed with all sorts of fibery goodness from Indie Untangled vendors:

This OOAK, one-hit wonder from Duck Duck Wool

This OOAK, one-hit wonder from Duck Duck Wool

Stitch markers from A Bit of Spark

Stitch markers from A Bit of Spark

An ornament from Fastenation Studio

An ornament from Fastenation Studio

Allure Fine Fiber & Fabric Wash from Bijou Basin Ranch

Allure Fine Fiber & Fabric Wash from Bijou Basin Ranch

A Lotion Baah from A Little Teapot Designs

A Lotion Baah from A Little Teapot Designs

Goats Milk Soap from Folktale Fibers

Goats Milk Soap from Folktale Fibers

A lotion bar from Kamalei's Naturals

A lotion bar from Kamalei’s Naturals

A hand-painted greeting card from The Knitting Artist

A hand-painted greeting card from The Knitting Artist

The rules: Sign up for the newsletter by 9 p.m. EST on December 25 and you will be eligible to win the grand prize. After 9 p.m., I’ll pick a winner via random number generator, send out an email and arrange shipment. PLEASE NOTE: Winners must respond within 48 hours of when the notification email is sent to claim the prize. If not, another winner will be selected.

Remember, you have until 9 p.m. today to sign up for the newsletter and be eligible for today’s prize, a skein of Silky DK in Endymion from French Market Fibers.

Holiday newsletter giveaway Part I

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FMF Giveaway

A few weeks ago, I was trying to think of a way to bring the joy of the holidays to Indie Untangled, while at the same time thanking all of the newsletter subscribers for their support and helping you get to know some of the site’s vendors a little bit better. And so, Newsletters to Santa/Hanukkah Harry — several days of fantastic giveaways — was born.

I’m going to kick things off on December 15, just before the first night of Hanukkah. There will be a giveaway each day, until a grand prize drawing on Christmas (you’ll find out all about the grand prize in a later blog post). If you’re not already signed up for the newsletter, I hope you’ll find it fun and useful for discovering talented dyers and crafters and keeping track of shop updates and special promotions.

The rules are pretty simple: Sign up for the Indie Untangled newsletter by 9 p.m. EST and you will be eligible to win that day’s prize (anyone already on the mailing list is entered to win). After 9 p.m., I’ll pick a winner via random number generator and send out an email. The winner will arrange shipment with the dyer/artisan. PLEASE NOTE: Winners must respond within 48 hours of when the notification email is sent to claim the prize. If not, another winner will be selected.

Here’s the schedule:

December 15: A skein of Silky DK in Endymion from French Market Fibers (pictured above) Congrats to winner Lori!

December 15: A skein of Silky DK in Endymion from French Market Fibers (pictured above) Congrats to winner Lori!

December 16: A skein of the winner's choice from Skeinny Dipping Congrats to winner Peggy!

December 16: A skein of the winner’s choice from Skeinny Dipping Congrats to winner Peggy!

December 17: A Knitter's Chatelaine of the winner's choice from Winemakerssister Congrats to winner Shannon!

December 17: A Knitter’s Chatelaine of the winner’s choice from Winemakerssister Congrats to winner Shannon!

December 18: A skein of Classic Sock in a color of the winner's choice from C.Whitney Knits Congrats to winner Jennifer!

December 18: A skein of Classic Sock in a color of the winner’s choice from C.Whitney Knits Congrats to winner Jennifer!

December 19: A skein or braid of fiber of the winner's choice from Squoosh Fiberarts Congrats to winner Heather!

December 19: A skein or braid of fiber of the winner’s choice from Squoosh Fiberarts Congrats to winner Heather!

December 20: A set of buttons of the winner's choice from Fastenation Studio Congrats to winner Marge!

December 20: A set of buttons of the winner’s choice from Fastenation Studio Congrats to winner Marge!

December 21: An Eponymous Sock gradient set from Three Fates Yarns Congrats to winner Elizabeth!

December 21: An Eponymous Sock gradient set from Three Fates Yarns Congrats to winner Elizabeth!

December 22: A skein from Canon Hand Dyes Congrats to winner Sarah!

December 22: A skein from Canon Hand Dyes Congrats to winner Sarah!

December 23: A skein of Bowland DK in Harbour from Eden Cottage Yarns Congrats to winner Rebecca!

December 23: A skein of Bowland DK in Harbour from Eden Cottage Yarns Congrats to winner Rebecca!

December 24: A Squish Me Hat Kit from Bare Naked Wools Congrats to winner Kat!

December 24: A Squish Me Hat Kit from Bare Naked Wools Congrats to winner Kat!

Post-Rhinebeck winners

PLY and Spark

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Indie Untangled Trunk Show recap post! The winner of the stitch markers from Leticia of A Bit of Spark is Carol B, while Dee and Christine will each get a copy of PLY Magazine.

I still have a bunch of samples from Leticia that she generously sent to give out at the trunk show, and I will include them with any orders of post Rhinebeck stock, which you will hear about shortly.

Pigeonroof Studios giveaway winner

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Peacock Silky High Twist Sock

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the Pigeonroof Studios giveaway. The winner is commenter #5, Stacey, who thinks a simple pattern is best for showcasing the skein of Silky High Twist Sock in Peacock:

I think a simple lacy shawl would be a great way to display your dying skills.

Congratulations, Stacey! That’s definitely my plan for whenever I decide which of the gorgeous colorways to add to my stash. I hope you enjoyed learning more about Krista and the GLOW colors.

paper and yarn giveaway winner

tink

The random number generator has spoken, and congratulations to Stacy, who will be getting a set of stitch markers from paper and yarn with two of the best four-letter words:

My three: aargh, wine?, oshit

In my experience, wine makes most things better, but unfortunately knitting is not usually one of them…

While I couldn’t participate in the giveaway, I did have fun coming up with some some pop culture-y and grumpy stitch markers of my own:

Legend WaitForIt Dary (yes, I still have a soft spot for How I Met Your Mother, even though I hated the finale)

Hodor Hodor Hodor

Tink? Or Frog?

God Damn It

Thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about Kat. I’m still quite amazed and inspired by how she has been able to follow all her dreams.