2018 Year In Review: IU dyers and yarns

I get so much inspiration from the knitters who find wonderful things to make with hand-dyed yarn — especially when they get creative and combine yarns from different indie dyers in colorwork projects, or find the perfect pattern for that semisolid or speckled colorway. Here’s a compilation of my favorite projects using yarn from Indie Untangled artisans.

Above is perhaps my favorite project of the year, Vicki’s All Points South with Dark Harbour Yarn Starboard, Duck Duck Wool Silky Singleton and The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Foxy Lady. I love how the four colorways from three different dyers look meant for each other (and I definitely looked to Vicki’s pullover shawl, as the designer Casapinka calls it, as inspiration when knitting my version with Duck Duck Wool.

Mary’s Heart of Glass with Duck Duck Wool 80/20 Merino Silk Fingering

Carol’s Tulle Shawl with Spun Right Round Superwash Sock 80/20

Lavanya’s Rue St. Antoine with Astral Bath Yarns Astral Sport

Amanda’s Beeline with Marianated Yarns Scrumptious HT

Karen’s Yin & Yang Loop with Middle Brook Fiberworks Vintage No. 3

Jenn’s Stripey Cowl with Canon Hand Dyes Charles Sock

Elizabeth’s Sunset Highway with Hue Loco Single Sock, Skeinny Dipping Merino Single and Voolenvine Yarns Nouveau

Kate’s Guthrie with Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool and The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Juicy DK — which won the 2018 Indie Untangled KAL

2018 Year In Review: IU exclusives

One of the best things about running Indie Untangled is getting to work with talented dyers to come up with exclusive colorways, whether it’s for the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, the Knitting Our National Parks project or the Where We Knit yarn club. And while I love collecting hand-dyed yarn as much as the next knitter, I truly enjoy seeing those colorways put to use in beautiful sweaters, shawls, cowls and more.

For the 2018 Indie Untangled Year In Review, I’ve compiled some of my favorite projects that use Indie Untangled exclusives.

Pictured above is Cecilia’s Sunset Highway with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Automne à Rhinebeck, Asylum Fibers Solitary in Rhinebeck’s All The Craze, Dark Harbour Yarn Port in Davy Jones Locker and La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Yellow Brick Road

Aimee’s Rainshadow in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles Kingston and Hudson

Janet’s Local Yarn Shawl with The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Foxy Lady in Kiowa

Kelly’s Glaciers and Wildflowers Pullover with Duck Duck Wool DK Limited in Glaciers and Wildflowers

Tawana’s The Doodler with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Automne à Rhinebeck and Asylum Fibers Solitary in Rhinebeck’s All The Craze and Sleepless

Deborah’s Do It Up with Gauge Dye Works SHAWL: MCN Fingering in Hudson Valley

Jerrill’s Birds and Ships with Little Fox Yarn Vixen in Birds and Ships

Amy’s Close To You with Asylum Fibers Solitary in Acadia Lights

Abigail’s Concentra Cowl with Backyard Fiberworks Terrain in North Cascades Night and Merino 2/6

Maggie’s Lemon Pie with La Bien Aimée Merino DK in Automne à Rhinebeck

See many more FO’s using yarn from Indie Untangled dyers here.

What to knit with fingering yarn and stranded mohair

I have to admit, I’m warming up to mohair. Because it makes me itchy, I never sought it out. But after Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks showed me the photos of her yarn for this month’s installment of Knitting Our National Parks — the speckled Winter Wizardry and complementary mohair called Wizard Sky — I knew I had to have it in my stash.

Now, after researching all the new patterns popping up that incorporate mohair, and seeing Jennifer’s beautiful swatch using the two yarns stranded together, I realized I just have to knit with it!

Here are some pattern suggestions for using the two yarns together, in everything from hats to sweaters.

Hats

Sparkling Cider by Voolenvine

Azurine Hat by Ambah O’Brien

Hyde Park by Dragon Hoard Designs

úlfur hat by ash alberg

Cowls/ponchos

Ballerina by Julie Knits In Paris

Azurine Cowl by Ambah O’Brien

Speckled Snow by Lucinda Iglesias

Shawls

Birds of a Feather by Andrea Mowry

Fallen Leaves by Justyna Lorkowska

Growing Lilies by Webster Street Knittery

Merino & Mohair Shawl by Sarah Punderson

Slice of Light by Susanne Sommer (with another color of fingering)

Sweaters – Pullovers

Chelsea Sweater by Nancy Ricci

No Frills Sweater by PetiteKnit

Ambient by eri

Sweaters – Cardigans

Scapa by Alma Bali

Elton by Joji Locatelli

See all the suggestions on Ravelry.

What to stash for your holiday knitting

It’s official: holiday knitting season is now upon us! Bronwyn of Casapina has you covered with her gorgeous Winter Light collection. It includes six patterns — two cowls, two hats, a set of mitts and a pair of socks — that are for sale individually or together for a discount in an e-book. There’s also a freebie that’s perfect for your leftovers. And, in true Casapinka style, each pattern is paired with six winter cocktails or mocktails to warm you up during your knitting breaks (though she’s not responsible for any dropped stitches this may cause).

Tamy just released a set of new accessory patterns, Inseparable and Ravenhill (pictured here), designed with the gift-giving season in mind. Both use yarn from Lolodidit and she has lovely kits on her website. You can also get a discount on both the kits and the pattern this week.

You can’t resist some sparkle around the holidays! Big Foot Fibers’ Gingerbread Men is a mini skein set of five colors inspired by the best Christmas dessert. The first update sold out, so grab yours during round two, going on now.

Sign-ups for next year’s Indie Untangled yarn club are open through the end of the year or until the club sells out. Grab your spot now! There’s also an option to give the club as a gift to your favorite knitter. 

IU newcomer Humble Bumble Fibers Company has sock blanks.

Eden Cottage Yarns is having their next update on Wednesday featuring Pendle Chunky.

Untangling C.C. Almon of Javapurl Designs

C.C. wearing her A Walk in the Park Cowl.

Knitting and caffeine seem to go together like, well, yarn and needles. C.C. Almon of Javapurl Designs takes that to the next level with her designs, many of them coffee related, or with a geeky twist. There’s also a bit of Gilmore Girls thrown in (again, coffee) as she often collaborates on collections with her daughter, Dami.

C.C. also often works with dyer Julia of Pandia’s Jewels, and for this year’s Where We Knit yarn club, she created two items: her Brackett’s Landing socks and cowl are now available to purchase.

When and how did you learn to knit and how did you decide to become a designer?

I’ve always been crafty having grown up with a great-grandmother who did needlework, a grandmother who painted and sewed and a momma who did lots of crafts including cross stitch. I dabbled in lots of crafts over the years, but had always wanted to learn to knit. Why? I’m not sure. I didn’t know anyone who knit. It was just always calling to me.

So I finally answered the call in 2005 when I purchase a Learn to Knit kit from a big box store. I was instantly in love! The first few years, I knit mostly blankets and hats.

Things exploded in 2012 when I took a sock knitting class. In 2013, I released my first big pattern (Rescue Me, Chin Boy, & Show Me the Stars – a Doctor Who-inspired Socks) after I was gifted a gorgeous skein of yarn that I knew needed to be a certain pattern, but I couldn’t locate one, so I made it up.

Since then, I’ve designed 60 patterns (mainly socks, but also shawls, cowls, and a few miscellaneous things).

What did you do before becoming a designer and how does it inform your design work?

My final job before I became disabled was as a hospital chaplain. My primary unit was the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I desperately miss working with those wee babes and their families. As a way to continue to bless them, I designed my Top Down Preemie Hat pattern (free on Ravelry) with seven sizes from 24 weeks to full-term. Since 2014, I have knit one preemie hat each week which I then donate to a local hospital.

How did you decide to team up with your daughter, Dami, and how do you work together on your designs?

My Dami (she’s 19 years old and a freshman in college) is a prolific knitter. For a couple of years, she helped me by knitting the samples for my designs. In 2016, she had an idea for a pair of socks inspired by the TV show Elementary. Once she designed those, she continued with eight further patterns and she is now working on a collection of patterns inspired by one of her favourite musicals, Hadestown. We haven’t both collaborated on singular designs, but rather design our own things that then come together in a collection or book.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Our pattern design inspirations range from geeky things like Doctor Who and Elementary, to TV shows such as Gilmore Girls and Outlander, to coffee, to colourways that demanded to be something, to locations such as the city of Edinburgh, and more.

What’s the first thing you do when you start designing a pattern?

I need to connect to the specific thing that inspires me (whether it’s a TV show or a colourway or a location or a coffee drink) first and then the design flows out of that.

What are your favorite colors and have they changed at all since you started designing?

PINK!!!!!!!!!! Always PINK!!!!!! (Although I have surprised some people recently by sharing that my second favourite colour is orange, not bright orange, but rather that autumnal burnt orange.) I love PINK so much that we designed an entire book inspired by the colour (Tickled PINK ~ two designers, four indie dyers, eight PINK-tastic patterns).

ks.jpg” alt=”” width=”700″ height=”700″ class=”size-full wp-image-15447″ /> I Love You More Than Pumpkin Spice Socks

Where is your favorite place to knit?

In a coffeeshop with a cuppa coffee (what kind varies by the season, pumpkin spice lattes are my absolute favourite) with either a good friend to chat with or a good book to read or an intriguing podcast to listen to.

What to stash this week: a knitting journey

I’m thrilled to open sign-ups today for the 2019 Where We Knit Yarn Club. This quarterly club, which will begin shipping in February, brings together four dyer/designer dream teams: Life In the Long Grass and Cassondra Rizzardi of Rizzaknits, Martin’s Lab and Justyna Lorkowska of Lete’s Knits, Asylum Fibers and Woolly Wormhead and Fuse Fiber Studio and Mina Philipp of Knitting Expat Designs.

Each pair will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and an accompanying accessory design inspired by their favorite spots to whip out their WIPs. Their inspiration photos are shown in the image above, clockwise from top left; both cozying up with a tasty beverage and travel knitting are represented. (I also got a little peek at the cocktail-inspired colorway that Caroline of LITLG has been working on for the first installment, and can honestly say you do not want to miss getting your hands on it!)

Speaking of awesome yarn clubs, here’s one not to be missed. Diane is collaborating with Louis of Brooklyn Boy Knits, Amanda of Brown Gyrls Knit, Thao of Nerd Bird Makery and Coffee by Kee — all amazing men and women of color who have been dedicated to promoting diversity in craft — for a Winter Solstice Yarn Club. You’ll receive a skein of worsted weight yarn dyed by Diane, an exclusive knitting pattern by Louis, stitch markers by Amanda, an enamel pin by Thao and a choice of coffee or tea, plus a surprise item. Sign-ups close this Wednesday, November 21.

A beloved fabric from Slipped Stitch Studios’ past is back, with a new spin. The Ghastlies have returned, and this time they have yarn! Bags and accessories in these two fabrics, along with yarns from Skeino, vintage embroidery scissors and stitch kits, are available starting today at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

Every day is Small Business Saturday at FiberCrafty! The fiber marketplace is having a full weeklong frenzy, with plenty of shops offering coupon codes, free shipping and other goodies.

Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs did an awesome collaboration with Jenna of Fiberrarium for Knitter’s Day Out in Harrisburg and there are a few of these Sloth sets still available. They include a medium project bag and a skein of Fiberrarium Conservatory Sock (a 90/10 Merino/nylon blend).

‘Tis the season for Julia of Pandia’s Jewels to create another seasonal sock kit based on C.C. Almon’s Peppermint Mocha Sock pattern. Each kit includes a skein of Julia’s Snug base in the Peppermint Mocha colorway, a Ravelry pattern download code and this cute hand-stamped progress keeper.

Victoria has released two new patterns for her lovely yarns. Above is the Laverton shawl, which brings together three Eden Cottage yarns to create a beautiful, wearable piece. There’s also the Gatekeeper cowl, a simple, quick-to-knit cowl designed to make the most of a single skein of Pendle Aran. 

No need to be afraid of these three ghostly colorways from Holly and Ivy, inspired by A Christmas Carol. Ghost of Christmas Past is a golden yellow that captures the warm glow of a candle, Ghost of Christmas Present is the rich pine green of the second spirit’s velvet robes and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a dark blood red.

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn also has some holiday colorways, and they are far from traditional. Her two holiday sock sets are mystery packages inspired by either Krampus or Saint Nick. Each set will contain a full skein of Tralala Sock and two mini skeins in contrasting heel/toe/cuff colorways. Preorders close next Friday.

Purple Lamb Fiber Arts has created Twelve Days of Christmas mini skein sets.

What to stash this week: Fall pairings

Kate and her crew at Dragonfly Fibers are gearing up for a busy fall, with New York Sheep and Wool, SAFF, STITCHES SoCal (they’ll be featured there on the Yarnover Truck there) and local trunk shows. They’ve also prepared some amazing kits for Andrea Mowry’s The Throwback and Catherine Clark’s Ixchel Pullover. And, they’re giving back: above is a new colorway, called Carolina, and 25% of their sales through December will go to the organization Global Giving, which is helping with Hurricane Florence relief, among many other projects.

Marian of Marianated Yarns has collaborated with Carolyn Bloom of of Bloom Handmade Studio on Marilyn’s Cowl and Hat, which are both knit holding multiple strands of different yarns: two strands of Marianated Yarns Ava Lace together with one strand of Aerie (mohair/silk lace) and one strand from an MCN gradient set. Marian has made kits available in several different colors and a KAL will be held in Carolyn’s Ravelry group starting October 8.

Marian has also collaborated with Katy Carroll of Katinka Designs in celebration of Knitmas. There are two Knitmas kits, one for a shawl and one for a poncho, available for preorder.

Designer Barbara Benson collaborated with The Fiber Seed on Every Witch Way, an innovative lace shawl that uses a single skein of yarn. A two-panel, top-down triangle version uses yarn with one of The Fiber Seed’s dye techniques, while the three-panel, 3/4 square version uses another.

Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. has opened signups for the Jane Eyre installment of the McMullin Fiber Co. Literature Society. Single dose packages will contain one skein of yarn and some extra goodies inspired by the novel, while double dose packages come with two skeins.

Woodsy and Wild’s new Sapling bag and Maple tote are perfect for winter accessory knitting and sweater knitting/fiber festival season! Both will be in Shannon’s shop this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has updated her shop with a collection of shawl pins perfect for keeping your latest hand knit in place on crisp fall evenings.

Winter is coming… so get your Sheep Squeezers. Nicole of One Sock Wonder Bags has limited quantities of Sheep Squeezers, which hold your yarn cakes in place, with a Game of Thrones-inspired design by Bulgarian artist Karamfila Siderova.

Heather Anderson’s Knitting in the City KAL kicks off October 1 and includes seven city-themed patterns: four shawls, two cowls and a pair of mittens. The latest pattern, Amsterdam Canals Cowl, is 25% off through Sunday.

My Mama Knits has a new set of Halloween colorways, including the newest addition to her Scottish Myths and Legends series, The Gorbals Vampire. Her Advent calendars have also started shipping out.

Canon Hand Dyes is now taking preorders for Outlander minis sets.

Samantha Guerin has released Eastern Glow, a crescent shawl that uses two skeins of fingering weight yarn.

Introducing Indie Untangled newcomer Humble Pie Design.

What to stash this week: Leaving Olympic National Park

Today is the last day to preorder Hazel Knits’ stunning Sol Duc Valley colorway for the Knitting Our National Parks Project. The yarn takes its name and inspiration from the Sol Duc rainforest at Olympic National Park. Here’s a new pic of it all knitted up!

Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs has added a new twist to the project bag and come up with a brilliant solution to the “yarn/zipper dilemma.” Her box bag, called the Kellie bag, uses sturdy plastic snaps instead of zippers, to help keep your yarn from running away, but avoiding snags. Best of all — the snaps also serve as built-in yarn guides, allowing you to separate multiple strands of yarn for colorwork projects or when you’re alternating skeins in a sweater.

Is there a slight chill in the air? That means it’s almost PSL (pumpkin spice latte) time! Sheila of Big Foot Fibers has just updated her shop with limited-edition, piping hot PSL mini skein sets.

It’s Porterness Studio’s birthday and Jen is celebrating with a sale! Get a generous 25% off through August 31 with the code IndieBday25. If you make a purchase over $40 you will get a free “There Will Be Cake” pin!

Like most of us, Sarah of QCC Yarn is also in an autumn state of mind. In addition to new fall colors, she also now has three new yarn bases available: Floofy Cat (80% Superwash Merino/20% nylon) and Forlorn Cat (80% Superwash British BFL/20% nylon), both of which are 2-ply fingering weight yarns, and Cat-Mandu, a 3-ply fingering weight yarn that’s a blend of 70% Superwash Merino, 20% yak and 10% nylon, with colors dyed on a natural grey base.

Karen of Round Table Yarns has teamed up with Tim Stephens of Periodic Knits to create a We Knit in Texas Cowl kit to raise money for the Unite for Bleeding Disorders Walk, which benefits the local Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Texas Central Hemophilia Association. It’s available in your choice of red, white or blue yarn and $17 of your purchase will be donated to the Texas Central Hemophilia Association.

Stomp on over to the Slipped Stitch Studios website. A fun dinosaur update goes live today at 9 a.m. Pacific time. 

Eden Cottage’s next update goes live on Wednesday, August 29 and includes her Titus 4ply base, a luxurious blend of Superwash Merino and mulberry silk, perfect for shawls and sweaters alike.

Do you believe in fairies? Either way, you’ll be enchanted by Baad Mom Yarns’ new Woodland Fairy Collection of colorways, which includes Enchanted Forest, pictured above.

Wolle’s Yarn Creations’ newest yarn line is called TONALS, a unique creation that is part gradient, part ombre, part heather on a super soft 100% cotton fingering weight base. 

Mad Science Yarn has experimented with a special fall 2018 colorway.

What to stash this week: Go for the green

For the latest installment of Knitting Our National Parks, Wendee of Hazel Knits is taking us on a road trip to Olympic National Park, just a few hours from her Seattle studio. Photographer Adam Jewell captured this stunning image of sunlight filtered through the trees at the park’s Sol Duc rainforest and Wendee perfectly picks up the bark peeking through the moss and greenery in her colorway, which is available to preorder here on two bases hrough Friday, August 24. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

If you’re a planner like me, then you know it’s almost Halloween. Slipped Stitch Studios has special Nightmare Before Christmas treats and other ghoulish delights on sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time. They will only be available through Monday at midnight and will ship in time to tote around your fall projects.

Speaking of Halloween, Wild Hair Studio is creating a bag of fiber treats inspired by the sweets that Hogwarts students procured during their special Hogsmead Weekends. Hogsmead Treat Bags will include an assortment of limited-edition fiber — a combination of batts, smidgens and custom-blended roving — inspired by candy from Honeydukes. Preorders will be open until September 20.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations is hosting a MKAL of a shawl called In The Rough. She encourages you to polish your knitting skills with cables, lace, beading and slipped-stitch techniques. You can preorder the pattern, yarn, beading tool and beads now before the first clue is released on Labor Day.

Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has once again teamed up with designer C.C. Almon of Java Purl Designs to bring you an Outlander Wrap Kit. The kit, inspired by book 4 of the Outlander series, will include a skein of Bauble Heavy Lace in the colorway Nothing is Lost, a tote bag, a spiral notebook, stitch markers and a Ravelry pattern download code. Preorders are open until August 19.

One of Melanie’s (and my!) favorite movies growing up was The Sound of Music. In honor of the classic musical, she’s teamed up with Lina from Lina Knits to create a My Favorite Things Cowl kit. The cowl, and kit, features colorways inspired by popular scenes from the movie. Each kit comes with one 50g skein and five 10g skeins, along with the pattern.

Marianated Yarns will be at the Lancaster Fiber Festival next weekend. She also has a giveaway with prizes that include a day pass, class or mini skein kit for Casapinka’s Crown Wools MKAL going on now.

IU newcomer Heather’s Yarn Barn has plenty of fun fall colorways, including Fall Fusion, pictured above, with teal covering one half of the skein and specks of teal, plum, mustard and golden orange on the other.

Untangling SweaterFreak Knits

While I tend to discover most designers and patterns on Ravelry, I actually learned about Jenny of SweaterFreak Knits via Instagram. I was drawn to her modern, clean aesthetic and the use of subtle speckles in many of her shawls.

Despite her name, I approached her about pairing up with Nicole of Hue Loco to design a one-skein accessory pattern for the Indie Untangled Where We Knit yarn club. The result was Nicole’s Chelsea Park Cowl, a lovely shawl/cowl hybrid that looks so easy to throw on with a spring outfit. It is now available to purchase by non-club members.

Read on to learn more about Jenny’s career as a designer and about how the cowl got its name.

How did you decide to become a designer?

It happened organically. I have always preferred to knit things out of my head and after plenty of encouragement from Ravelry community, I started writing up the instructions to my ideas which became patterns.

Is there anything from your software developer side that transfers over to design?

Actually, it’s a great question and the answer is yes! Software development is all about planning and details which is very similar to knitwear design. The math behind grading requires quite a bit of focus and attention to detail. Similarly, writing the pattern is akin to writing code – both essentially are a list of instructions. You will find that many designers were involved in tech before they started designing because it really does employ the same part of the brain.

How did you come up with SweaterFreak Knits and why do you use it as your designer name?

My very first project after a long hiatus was a sweater. Wanting specific sweaters really was the reason that I picked up the needles again. This was back in 2006 and in 2007 Ravelry made its debut. I chose SweaterFreak as my nick and of course I had no idea I will end designing knitwear! In 2011 when I released my first pattern, I considered changing the moniker but since so many people knew me already I decided to keep it.

Jenny’s latest pattern, White Light.


When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned how to knit in 1985 when I was 7 years old. My maternal grandmother, Rivkah, taught me and I liked it right away. She was an avid crafter and actually preferred to crochet but she taught me both. We also share total love for yarn! She had a sizable stash and I grew up with lots of fabric and yarn around me. Most of my family two generations back were dress makers so I feel that making clothes with my hands is really something I am meant to be doing.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

It’s a bit of everything – sometimes I get a particular idea in my head, maybe from seeing it somewhere or just something I have wanted for awhile. I love browsing fashion magazines and see the clothing evolve. My personal favorite decade is the ‘60s which has lots of different elements – classic tailored pieces as well as boho-hippie style ones. I love both equally. Often times, the yarn itself starts everything in motion. For example, when you touch hearty unprocessed wool, you think fair isle.

The Vegas top.

What’s the first thing you do when you start designing a pattern?

The first step is to sketch it. This usually gives me a good idea of what garment or accessory is going to look like, what kind of shaping it will involve. Sometimes, I use colored pencils to sketch, if the design is colorful.

What are your favorite colors and have they changed at all since you started designing?

My absolutely favorite color is blue – all shades of it, except periwinkle. It hasn’t really changed. I also love various shades of grey, green and natural. Lately, I have really gotten into yellow and mustard colors – they just look so smashing with grey!

Jenny’s most popular pattern is her Everyday Shawl.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

Definitely outside, either in the park (closest to me is Chelsea Park!) or on the beach, or even my backyard! Somehow the combination of fresh air, warm wind and wool in my lap equals heaven. I could do this forever!