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Introducing: Knitting Our National Parks (plus a giveaway)

Last fall at the Indie Untangled trunk show at Woolyn in Brooklyn, I was chatting with Alice of Backyard Fiberworks about collaborating with dyers on exclusive colorways and doing something to raise money for a good cause. This was a few weeks after the election and just before the holidays, so many of my knitting and non-knitting friends were feeling compelled to give back.

Alice asked me if I followed the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Instagram feed, which features gorgeous images captured by park employees and both amateur and professional photographers. She then came up with a brilliant idea: have dyers create colorways based on photos from the feed and donate a percentage of the profits to the parks.

I’m excited to finally debut this latest project, Knitting Our National Parks. Over the next year, several indies will get inspiration from the natural beauty found across the U.S. Dyers who have signed on for this year include Pigeonroof Studios, Jill Draper Makes Stuff and Duck Duck Wool, with others to participate in 2018. Vicki of That Clever Clementine will also be creating project bags with fun national parks-themed fabric. 10% of all yarn sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Since this was Alice’s suggestion, she has kicked off the project with a colorway based on the above photo of North Cascades National Park in her native Washington State (fittingly, her father once worked in the park through the Youth Conservation Corps). The yarn is available to preorder now through June 30.

Another exciting part of this project was getting to work with the talented Erin Kate Archer, a fellow Brooklynite, on the Knitting Our National Parks illustration. I discovered Erin’s work while I was browsing knitting art on Etsy. Erin creates both travel watercolors and knitted landscapes, and I knew right away that her work would be perfect for this.

Erin has made prints of the illustration, inspired by Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, available for sale. She has also generously donated a couple of her 8×10 prints as prizes, so I will be hosting a giveaway on the blog. To enter, comment here with your favorite U.S. national park, either that you’ve visited or hope to visit. The giveaway will run through midnight EDT on Friday, June 30 (which is also when preorders for Alice’s colorway close). A winner will be chosen via random number generator.

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to winner Marie!

I hope you enjoy coming along with us on this fun journey through the parks!


39 Responses

  1. As a native WA I LOVE seeing these first parks on the list! My all-time favorite is Glacier Nat’l Park in MT though…with the Olympic & Cascades running a close second. I am so excited to see all the parks & colorways from these talented artists!!!

  2. July in 2016 loved knitting my vacation way along and visiting Colorado Springs: Garden Of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Estes Park National Rocky Park.

  3. Being a native of Washington, my heart will always be with Mt. Rainier. Of the parks I’ve visited, Glacier Nat’l Park is the most stunning. And the one I most want to visit is Denali in Alaska.

  4. Great Smoky Mountains Nat’l Park! I go as often as I can, living in Atlanta, and have never tired of it – there is so much to explore! Fall is the most incredible time there. Rocky Mountain is my next favorite, it’s so gorgeous it’s hard to believe it’s even a real place.
    I haven’t seen many national parks, lots of state ones though, but they’re all on my list. Next is probably Zion!
    Thanks for doing this project, it’s so so important <3

  5. I’ve visited Denali in Alaska and Glacier National Park. Next summer we hope to add the Grand Canyon and others to our list. Love this idea!

  6. Having lived in the foothills of the Cascades for 20 years I’m partial to North Cascades National Park. Gorgeous photo and yarn!!

  7. I love this entire concept!!!! I adore Everglades National Park. CANNOT WAIT to see what that inspires!!!! Most people sigh over mountains and drama. Swamps and marshlands have their own subtle, more quiet beauty.

  8. I live in Utah, so Canyonlands, Zions, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Arches get regular visits. I also love the Rocky Mountain NP and the Everglades NP and would love to go to Glacier National Park while there are still some glaciers there 🙁

  9. My favorite national park visit so far has been to the Smokies, and Shenandoah is a close second. What beautiful work this project is already inspiring!

  10. What a fabulous idea! Beautiful yarns to support our national land treasures! Newer to Washington state, I love the Olympics and the Cascades ( so far)!!

  11. My dyeing is often inspired by the plants of National Parks and monuments (though the plants are from elsewhere of course). My current favorite park is Carlsbad
    Caverns. Desert above, sparkling formations below. It’s a magical place. Great idea for the entire project.

  12. The national parks are such a treasure. I got to work at White Sands Nat. Monument for a few summers and the colors of the sunsets are breathtaking (the sand is, of course, white but flora and fauna including the cerulean blue tail of the little white whiptail lizard are striking!). Since I live on the east coast, I have to mention just a few of the parks and possible colors. 1. Pictured Rocks in the upper peninsula of Michigan. 2. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for fall colors and spring flowers. 3. Everglades National Park (roseate spoonbills anyone?). 4. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (hooray for the red, white and blue!). There are so many others! I love the idea of this project and can’t wait to see what the dyers come up with.

  13. As a DC area resident I have to put in for Rock Creek Park and/or Anacostia Park, both urban national parks that offer beautiful green spaces to city dwellers.

  14. I’ve been to many the the National Parks across the country, but my favorite will always be Glacier. I had my knitting with me on the ranger-led snowshoe trek when I was there in March last year, and later in the day I sat on the sand a pebbles on the shore of Lake MacDonald (at that time of year, it’s hard to get to most of the park) in my snowpants and knit.

  15. Acadia for the favorite one I’ve been to; glacier for future!
    Great idea for yarn inspirations! Thank you.

  16. I have so many good memories of hiking in the Olympics. And now that I am on the east coast, I want to visit Acadia.

  17. I had a wonderful trip to Yosemite with my parents when I was a teenager. Many happy memories of that trip.

  18. I love all our national parks. I haven’t seen enough of them, mostly state parks. I look forward to seeing all of the pictures you share with us.

  19. As a New England native, I’ve always dreamed of visiting Acadia National Park. I’ve yet to make the journey…someday though!

  20. Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Muir Woods National Park are my favorites, although I haven’t met a national park that I haven’t loved! Thank you for the giveaway.

  21. I spent a month last summer traveling up the west coast with my Girl Scout troop. We got the chance to visit many national parks – but I think that the Hoh Rainforest in Glacier NP was my favorite. I’ve never seen so many shades of green on place. The trees, the moss, the water, the rocks – all were coated in various greens.

  22. What a wonderful idea! I love every National Park I have been to, but I have to say my favorite is Acadia, probably because my family camped there every year for about 10 years when our children were young, so I have many happy memories of its beauty. Thank you for the opportunity to receive the giveaway and for spreading the word

  23. Since living in Colorado for the past almost eighteen years, ours are the only National Parks I have ever visited. I am from Kansas and I don’t thing there are any there?? I love Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m in Denver and it’s not far to get there. But I suspect that each National Park has its own wonderful beauty.

  24. Love Yosemite and Mt. Rainier, used to go there alot when growing up. Hope to visit Zion in the near future.

  25. I’ve been to many national parks and have loved them all. But, living in Baltimore, and this being Independence Day weekend, I have to throw my hat in for Fort McHenry, home of our national anthem, written during the war of 1812. It’s a beautiful park on the edge of the Baltimore harbor.

  26. What a fun idea and a great organization to support! My favorites are Acadia and the Cape Cod national seashore, would love to visit the great western parks. Someday….

  27. Arches National Park should be included in this project – the colors there are amazing and I believe that this talented group of Indie dyers could make an amazing color way and design

  28. My favorite parks are Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain. It is difficult to choose just one.
    I wish I had discovered Knitting Our National Parks earlier since I am commemorating my goal to visit all the parks with 2 knitting projects.

  29. We are fortunate to live near Lassen National, a jewel box of a park with all the inspiring views, lakes, hikes, waterfalls, hot springs and sulphur works you could ask for. We have a lifetime pass and use it often. I like to photograph my knitting wips and fo’s there.

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