Birdie Parker goes beyond metal

An orange leather bracelet on a light-skinned arm.

This is the ninth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

Kristi Jensen of Birdie Parker Designs is known for her metal stitching-themed jewelry — she even has a BFA degree in Metalsmithing from California State University Long Beach — but her most recent designs have veered away from the shiny medium. They include enamel, acrylic and leather, which you’ll be able to purchase at our online show, as well as the Beautiful Syster booth at the in-person show, and The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea shop in downtown Saugerties, in about a week!

Since you studied metalsmithing, how did you decide to move to other materials, such as enamel, acrylic and leather?

Enameling was actually my first love in metalsmithing, but it’s a rather time-consuming process so it’s been on the back burner until now. I’ve been fortunate enough to find an amazing assistant this year, and she has freed up time in my schedule for me to explore adding small-batch enamel items to my collection. As for the acrylic and leatherworking… I’ve always intended for Birdie Parker to offer a wide assortment of items other than just jewelry. About two years ago, I started exploring combining leather with my etched metal pieces and quickly realized that cutting and finishing those leather items by hand was slow work. That’s when I added a laser printer to my process. Then, I started seeing all this beautiful acrylic in a wide range of colors and effects and the wheels started turning in my brain and soon after I had a whole line of acrylic stitch markers. I’m definitely a person who loves learning new techniques and the addition of the laser has opened so many new avenues in the business.

A light-skinned woman with red dyed hair and black glasses.

How does it change your process to work with other materials?

Working with metals can take a lot of steps and time and, for the most part, it can only be done by me. The leather and acrylic is pretty hands off once I do the designing, and my assistant can finish the assembling and packaging process. By working with new materials, I’m not limited by the properties of metal and can make more of my visions a reality.

A necklance with a silver stickinette stitch pattern and an aqua enamel oval.

Can you share some of your plans for this year’s Indie Untangled Everywhere?

I’m really excited to offer colorful enamel pieces, some new useful leather accessories and show off some of the new items released over the past year.

Do you have ideas for other types of products in the pipeline?

So many items! I’m working on a line of rings, some with enamel. There are several new earrings in development, and some bangle bracelets. Leather project bags! I just need more hours in the day to make them come to fruition.

Round earrings with etched knitting stitches.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

I always have several sock tubes waiting for finishing, and I’m currently working on a beautiful stripey rainbow version of the Sunset Shawl by Meghan Babin of Hudson and West Co.

What to stash this week: summer ‘knits’

A silver honeycomb necklace with knit stitches next to a cake of blue yarn.

Jennifer of Porterness Studio has perfect timing with her new summer jewels. New favorites include the Honeycomb Knit Necklace that you see above, along with some dangly Swinger Chevron Stockinette Earrings. There are also some old favorites dipped in sunny gold. Best of all, get free U.S. shipping with an order of $150 or more by using the code FreshipUS.

Green, gold, red and blue yarn.

There’s a week to go to preorder Mitchell’s Creations’ Alaska-inspired colorway for Knitting Our National Parks on both Lagniappe Sock (75/25 Superwash Merino/nylon) and Ça c’est bon Superwash Merino DK. Use the sock to knit Theressa Silver’s Sage-Grouse shawl from her national parks-inspired collection, called Knitting Wild

A blue, green and gray knitting swatch over skeins of yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks has created some new variegated colorways, including Angelfish above, that pair well with her solids.

Leann of Forbidden Fiber Co. has opened preorders for a Halloween-themed box and there are knit, crochet and cross stitch versions.

Skeins of mossy green yarn.

Nerd alert, nerd alert! Ashley started Nerdy Fibers in a small apartment kitchen right before March of 2020.

Orange tweedy yarn.

Looking for sweater quantity for the Olive Knits Fireworks KAL? The Stuffs have you covered with their tweed DK.