How Stitch Fix saved my hand knit wardrobe

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

It’s probably not a surprise that I like to shop for clothes as well as yarn. But, for a while, I had been in kind of a rut, fashion-wise. I’d hit my go-to places — LOFT and Banana Republic — for their petite sizes whenever there was a sale and I had some rewards to spend. Occasionally I’d hit up an indie boutique, splurge if I saw something cool on Instagram (like from my absolute favorite dress shop in LA, Matrushka Construction) or hunt through the sale racks at Anthropologie if I was nearby. But, I needed a refresh, and I was probably too well dressed for a spot on What Not To Wear.

I don’t remember how I heard about StitchFix, probably from a Facebook ad, but it sounded like exactly what I needed: a personal stylist selecting a bunch of things that match my style, delivering them to my door and letting me try them on in the comfort of my own home (and not lying to me and insisting that it “Looks great!” while I hope my friends respond in time to my frantic texts asking for their opinion).

The way it works is pretty simple: you fill out a form that includes various measurements, then you take a “style quiz” that consists of rating various groups of outfits. Before each Fix, as they call it, you can also pin clothing and outfits you like on Pinterest and send your stylist a link to your board there. For each Fix, you’re charged a $20 styling fee that’s credited back to your purchase, and you can get a 25% discount if you buy all five pieces that they send (which I’ve actually done once). After I had been getting Fixes for a little over a year, they gave me what’s called a Style Pass, which is $50 for the year that is also credited back on a purchase. This is great because there’s no pressure to buy something that you’re meh about just so you don’t lose 20 bucks.

What does this have to do with knitting, you ask? Well, before every Fix, which consists of five items that occasionally work together, you can request special pieces for upcoming events or trips. So, whenever I’ve been close to finishing a cardigan, I’ve requested a shirt or a dress to wear with it, so I don’t have to default to my usual tank top.

Before Rhinebeck last year, I asked for a floral shirt to wear under my rustic Charlie’s Cardigan, and sent my stylist a photo of the sample from Amy Herzog. On the first try, my stylist, Freddie, sent a shirt that was a lovely purple color but that was unfortunately too big. On the next attempt, she hit a home run with an orange floral top from Skies Are Blue and a pair of green jeans from Just Black — both fit perfectly and created the best fall fiber festival outfit (even my Rhinebeck manicure matched!).

Before last year’s Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I got a teal West Kei top with a crisscrossing front to complement my La Bien Aimée Merino DK Automne à Rhinebeck cardigan. I otherwise would have defaulted to a blue tank, which certainly would have been fine, but this color was so lovely and the crisscross gave it some pizazz.

There have definitely been a lot of misses — I’ve tried to gently remind them not to send acrylic sweaters — but it’s added more dimension to my wardrobe and I’ve discovered brands I normally wouldn’t have found otherwise, like Daniel Rainn, Just Black jeans and WISP, which makes dresses that seem to fit me like a glove.

If you use my referral link, we can both get a $25 credit when you schedule your first Fix. How could you not love something that has the word Stitch in it?

What to stash this week: knit nonstop

Hamilton fans: here’s your next KAL. Next week, Mary Annarella is launching a Hamilton-themed Mystery Knit-A-Long! The clues for this generous, shawl-like cowl will have show references throughout and the pattern requires three distinct skeins of DK or light worsted, making it great for stash busting (above are my selections).

Sara of La Cave á Laine has some beautiful, clearly written shawl patterns that are perfect for knitting while sitting by the fire, the beach or, let’s face it, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And for the month of January, enjoy 20% off all of Sara’s patterns using the code INDIE2019.

Liz of Colorful Eclectic is preparing for the first quarter of her Color Maven Society. Each month you’ll receive two skeins — one each of a speckled or variegated yarn and a coordinating tonal — plus special knitting treasures. Sign-ups close January 6, so don’t miss out!

The Zen Yarn Garden crew is clearing out their discontinued bases and giving you some amazing savings. This week it’s the heavy laceweight Black Tie Affair in mystery colorways for $10 per skein (regularly $25!). 

Check out the lightly variegated colorways from Charlotte and Jerlyn of Roberta Rae Fibers, who dye out of their studios in East Jordan and Clawson, Michigan. You may also see them at the fiber festivals they have scheduled.

Robin launched her dyeing operation, Loved Ones Yarn, last year and is prepping for a season of shop updates and trunk shows. Check out what’s in her shop and stay tuned to the IU marketplace for future news.

Lisa The Knitting Artist spent most of the last few months developing some new colors that she is finally ready to share. These colors are inspired by her already existing yarns, but are dyed in different ways, including speckles and solids. 

Raya of Blissful Knits is introducing her latest yarn collection: a rainbow of semisolid micro skeins that are perfect for colorwork or adding pops of color.

What to make with North Cascades Night: multicolored shawls

Backyard Fiberworks’ North Cascades Night for the Knitting Our National Parks project looks stunning on its own, but one of the things I love about Alice’s colorways is how well they work together. She often says that Melanie Berg is her brand’s spirit animal, because Melanie’s multicolored designs show off her coordinating skeins beautifully.

So, I asked Alice to give North Cascades Night some friends from her current line of colors and paired them with some of my favorite multi-skein shawls from Melanie, as well as Andrea Mowry and Francoise Danoy. You can order the other colorways on the sportweight Terrain base directly through Backyard Fiberworks. (The skein amounts on a couple of Melanie’s shawls are padded so that you don’t run out of yarn.)

Perhaps, Perhaps by Melanie Berg. From the top, North Cascades Night is paired with Stormcloud & Pollen and Blackberry & Alpine; you will need one skein of each color.

Eifelgold by Melanie Berg. From the top, North Cascades Night is paired with Stormcloud and Hosta; you will need three skeins of the main color and one skein of the contrasting color. (I like either Stormcloud as the main with North Cascades and then North Cascades as the main with Hosta.)

Drachenfels by Melanie Berg. From the top, North Cascades Night is paired with Blackberry & Alpine and Stormcloud & Pollen; you will need two skeins of Colors A (the brownish purple in the sample) and C (the red in the sample) and one skein of Color B (the lilac in the sample).

The Girl In Me by Melanie Berg; From the top, North Cascades Night is paired with Stormcloud, Walnut and Hosta; you will need three skeins in the main color and two skeins of the contrasting color. (I like either Stormcloud as the main with North Cascades as the contrast, Walnut as the main with North Cascades as the contrast, or North Cascades as the main and Hosta as the contrast.)

Goldfinch by Andrea Mowry. From left to right, North Cascades Night is paired with Stormcloud & Pollen and Blackberry & Alpine; You will need one skein of each color.

Fields of Lavender by Francoise Danoy. From the top, North Cascades Night is paired with Stormcloud, Hosta and Walnut; you will need two skeins for the main color and one skein for the contrasting color.

What to stash this week: Faded away

Stephanie from Asylum Fibers has So Faded kits! The pictured kit is available for preorder, expected to ship on or before May 16th. Stephanie also plans to come up with some Chaos, AKA OOAK kits, to make your Fade even more unique. 

Melanie of Go Knit Yourself has curated two sets of eye-catching colors for the Joji MKAL, available on three bases, and today is the LAST DAY you can order them. If you’re in the mood to knit something a bit smaller than a 72-inch rectangle, she’s also offering her super popular sock yarn sets with coordinating mini skeins. 

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter or saltwater taffy — who am I kidding, you probably love all three — then you’re in luck. Katy of Wool & Two Sticks has mini-skein kits for GoT, Marauder’s Map HP-themed kits with a special stitch marker and a set inspired by the Phat Fiber Cupcakes & Candies theme.

If you’re a fan of grays, you might want to scoop up these skeins of The Woolen Rabbit BFL/silk before they wander into my stash.

There’s just one skein left (!) of Michelle’s exclusive Indie self-striping colorway and only three more days to get 10% off said skein, as well as yarn from The Woolen Rabbit, on Indie Untangled with the code IU3.

Holiday gifts for every knitter

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I’m always impressed by the awesome themed handmade knitting accessories out there. So, for the holidays, I thought I’d compile a list of small gifts that you could purchase for your favorite knitter, whatever they’re into. Or, if you’re that not-so-subtle recipient, send this post to some gift-givers.

Also, Marisabel of A Needle Runs Through It has generously offered to give away a set of her Gilmore Girls stitch markers to one lucky reader. To enter, comment on this blog post with your favorite Gilmore Girls episode by the end of the day Sunday, Dec. 18.

For the Francophile…

For the music fan…

A Prince project bag from Slipped Stitch Studios

For the English major…

Jane Austen stitch markers from Winemakerssister

For the Whovian…

Dr. Who stitch markers from One Geek to Craft Them All

For the wannabe Stars Hollow resident…

Gilmore Girls stitch markers from A Needle Runs Through It

For the baker…

Knitting pattern rolling pin from Juniper Moon Yarns

For the indie lover…

A subscription to the Indie Untangled 2017 Where We Knit yarn club

What to stash this week: Yarny Advent

Aside from creating beautiful colors, and being an all-around cool person, Alice of Backyard Fiberworks has some great ideas. Her latest is the Backyard Fiberworks Advent calendar. Each day through Christmas, you get to open a new window on a discount, a new product, or some other form of merriment via Instagram — plus, there’s a new giveaway to enter each day.

Here’s something to look forward to after the magic (and stress) of the holidays is over — a journey with the ultimate indie yarn club. Four dyer/designers teams — The Woolen Rabbit & Anne Hanson, Eden Cottage Yarns & Mindy Wilkes, Three Fates Yarns & MK Nance and Spun Right Round & Casapinka — will create exclusive colorways and accompanying accessory patterns inspired by where they knit. If there’s a special knitter in your life, or you want to give Santa a hint, there’s an option to send a gift subscription. Sign-ups are open until December 18th.

Bijou Basin Ranch is making things easy for holiday gift knitting (or knitter wish lists) with a selection of kits for their most popular patterns.

Knitting and yarn: There are apps for that

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Knitting apps

With the seemingly overnight sensation that is Pokemon Go, and virtually everyone more obsessed than usual with their smartphones, I thought it was an appropriate time to write about the knitting and yarn apps that I love and use fairly regularly (and yes, that is yarn wallpaper on my phone).

Countmeme
Usually when I’m knitting, my phone is by my side, but not (always) because I need it to look at yarn on Instagram or at patterns on Ravelry. I no longer use a physical row counter, and instead use Countmeme, which you can download here from the Apple app store. I’ve tried other row counter apps, but I’ve found Countmeme to be the easiest to use for keeping track of pattern repeats or multiple projects. You can add a seemingly endless number of counters and easily reset and delete them.

Stashbot
This brilliant app by designer Hannah Fettig, which can be purchased for iOS here for $4.99 — less than an extra skein of hand-dyed yarn! — is absolutely indispensable for fiber festivals (and the Rhinebeck Trunk Show). Pick a project, such as an average length sweater, a hat or a scarf, enter the size and the gauge, which you can find on the tag or band, and the app will give you an estimation of the required yardage.

Knitcompanion

I’m still exploring this app (you can download it for iOS here), but it lets you import pattern PDFs from your computer, Ravelry library and Dropbox and has a sliding bar to track your progress, highlighters and ways to add notes, as well as other tools that can be purchased within the free (!) app. It also has built-in designs. I’ll have to play around with it more and see if it will replace my current method of taking a screenshot of the pattern on my phone. Another friend recently recommended Notability, which lets you make hand-drawn notes, and costs $7.99.

The Plucky Knitter
This app is a must-download for Plucky obsessives, with reminders about upcoming updates and a full library of Sarah’s beautiful colorways, and even more creative names, as well as a list of patterns that use Plucky yarn. I myself am not a regular Plucky collector, but I very much enjoy looking at the fabulous color combinations and color/pattern pairings.

What are some of your favorite knitting or yarn apps? Is there an app (aside from a Ravelry one, of course) that you wish someone would create?

What to stash this week: The wearing of the green… shawl

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The Conifer shawl from Laura Patterson of Fiber Dreams uses the fir cone stitch to create a simple, beautiful design that, I have to say, looks fabulous in green. You can knit it in lace-weight or sport-weight yarn (the green was made with Miss Babs Yet in the Moss colorway), and Laura has done the calculations for five sizes in two different weights.

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Kiss me I’m… Scottish? Lara Smoot’s awesomely-named Kiltie As Charged socks are inspired by the Scotland-based Outlander series on Starz, the third season of which will start airing next month. Lara decided to release the pattern in time for St. Patrick’s Day — yes, she knows it’s an Irish holiday, but since she’s Irish she decided to take a little liberty. You can use the coupon code Lucky for 50% off the pattern through March 31.

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Mothy and the Squid’s newest colorway, Distant Galaxies, is inspired by the beauty of outer space. This gorgeous mix of black, purple, charcoal and violet is available on an appropriately sparkly sock and a thread-weight Merino/silk blend. More bases are on the way (in much less than light years).

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The sample for Michael Harrigan’s newest shawl design, the rectangular Monochrome Wrap, is knit in a black/gray/white monochrome, 100% Bluefaced Leicester yarn. It incorporates leaf and wing geometric lace patterns, with yarn creating tonal shading and shadows.

What to stash this week: good teams

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And no, I’m not talking about the Mets. But, while we’re on the subject, Let’s Go Mets! (Sorry, Chicagoans.)

Bijou Basin Ranch has teamed up with Oklahoma indie Lost City Knits and introduced four stunning new colorways on its Shangri-La yarn, a blend of yak and silk. Abiquiu, Berry Jumble, Glacier and Tall Grass Prairie are available online and will be at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in North Carolina next weekend.

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Amy of Canon Hand Dyes and Leticia of Spark! are teaming up for another {Among Friends} Outlander yarn club in 2016. The club includes six packages that will ship every other month. Each shipment will include an Outlander character-inspired skein of yarn dyed by Canon Hand Dyes, a pattern from a fantastic selection of designers — including Melanie Berg, Rosemary Hill and Joji Locatelli — a project bag and a set of coordinating stitch markers.

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Dyer Ana has teamed up with Meghan of New England Knitting to create the perfect fall (or winter) project. Micalet, available in kit form, is a slightly slouchy beanie with cables and eyelets, inspired by patterns carved into the stonework at the Torre del Micalet in Valencia, Spain.

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She knitted him: Sharon of Stitchjones has stocked her Etsy shop with more than 150 skeins of hand-dyed goodness and has opened sign-ups for Yarnageddon 2016, which will continue to celebrate The Beatles with four shipments containing two skeins or a skein and hand-dyed combed top, a pattern and a special handmade gift.

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If you’re looking for a quick project in time for Halloween, these Bubbly Bobbly Boo mini skeins are a pretty sweet choice. Arizona-based Katy dyes the 20-yard skeins with Kool Aid and the bold colors would add a bright, slightly spooky pop of color to a coordinating skein.

What to stash: Fandoms in yarn

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Third Vault Yarns is new Indie Untangled addition who just launched her Etsy shop. Based out of London, her colorways are inspired by sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, including Firefly, X-Men and Doctor Who, as well as books and board games. You can even make requests and see your fandom brought to life in yarn.

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Speaking of fandoms in yarn, if your favorite U.S. town is Stars Hollow, then Kim’s newest yarn club is for you. This three-month subscription includes one skein of sock or worsted-weight yarn in an exclusive Gilmore Girls-inspired colorway per installment. Sign-ups are open until Sept. 10 and the first shipment goes out on Sept. 15, so you should copper boom that.

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I hope you checked the blog early enough, because French Market Fibers is having an update today at 1 p.m. Central. She’s added a new base to her “krewe” with Merino Cashmere Fingering, a cushy 80/20 blend. It will be available, along with some Silky DK and Uptown Lace in her NOLA-inspired colors.

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Blissful Knits, one of the newest Indie Untangled additions, is a PDX operation from dyer/designer Raya, who creates striking, but harmonious, hand-painted colorways on luxurious bases, including a new silk/Merino/yak blend debuting this fall. Best of all, Indie Untangled subscribers get 15% off this week with the code IU15!

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Here’s your next knitting challenge: Karen has just released a collection of five patterns based on the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Each crescent-shaped shawl represents the five knightly virtues symbolized on Gawain’s shield, with another based on the magical belt that replaces his shield later on.

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Sarah over at The Queen’s Ransome been doing some more shibori dyeing, using a Japanese tie-dyeing technique that gives the yarn a cool abstract pattern that is very on trend. She has some Cashmere Merino sock and Worsted Merino in a faded indigo blue and dusky lavender. As a bonus, Sarah offers free shipping worldwide on all orders.

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Y’all down south should definitely check out the 4th annual Georgia FiberFest, which takes place from Sept. 10-12 in Columbus. Keya is a sponsor and will have a booth full of new autumn yarns and grommet knitting bags, as well as the first yarn from the sheep on her farm! She’ll also be teaching some of the event’s 50 classes.

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I know, knitting and crochet is not just for grannies anymore… unless you’re crocheting granny squares. This crochet bag pattern from Lilia Vanini is less of a commitment than a blanket and can go anywhere.