IU on the road: Hot in Cleveland at TNNA

TNNA, or The National Needlearts Assocation’s summer trade show, hadn’t originally been on my calendar. Though I did have some FOMO with last year’s show (at its usual location in Columbus, Ohio, home of the knitter-approved Jeni’s ice cream) I heard that a lot of people were skipping the 2018 summer show in Cleveland because of an increase in membership dues. But Bronwyn, AKA the designer Casapinka, convinced me to attend and be her roommate, and my husband had really enjoyed Cleveland when he visited a couple years ago, so I booked my flight and packed some business cards.

Casapinka’s soon-to-be-released Acoma sweater in the Dream In Color booth.

Whereas at the show in Washington, DC, I only went on the show floor, this time I got the full TNNA experience, attending the opening night fashion show, where companies showed off the newest designs in their yarns — Acoma, Casapinka’s soon-to-be-released sweater, knit with Dream In Color Smooshy With Cashmere, was a highlight and is getting on my needles as soon as it’s published — and Sample IT!, an Indie-Untangled-at-Rhinebeck-like shopping frenzy where shop owners buy kits to make samples of the products they plan to carry.

Shelli Martinez, who’s behind the brilliant enamel pins and T-shirts of ShelliCan.

The major buzz around the show was the sharp decrease in attendance, as many shop owners, designers and others in the industry had decided not to pay the higher dues. On the flip side, over the last few years there has been an increase in the number of indie dyers attending the show to build the wholesale side of their businesses, and there were even a few dyers who only sell wholesale. It created an interesting dynamic and a lot of the shop owners I spoke with were excited to find unique products that they could introduce to their customers.

One of my favorite discoveries was Emma’s Yarn, which has a great background story: it’s run by 16-year-old dyer Emma Galati and her older sister, Aspen, who just graduated college (their parents own the Four Purls Yarn Shop in Winter Haven, Florida) and the business is part of Emma’s home schooling curriculum. Emma and Aspen currently only sell wholesale to yarn shops, or do trunk shows and events, so if you like what you see you might want to ask your LYS to look into hosting them.

I was also excited to see Cashmere People, a company I’d first discovered at a Brooklyn General trunk show during the Brooklyn yarn crawl. The company, which has a U.S. rep in Portland, Maine, works with a collective of women in Tajikistan and Afghanistan who hand spin and hand dye Cashgora and Cashmere yarns. Mainer Bristol Ivy recently designed her Shape of a Bay shawl with their Cashgora Fingering and there were also kits at Sample IT! for Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Flora Cowl.

mYak, which also has a similar fair trade ethos, sourcing yak fiber and Cashmere from a Tibetan cooperative of nomadic herders, was also at the show and a lot of yarn shops were excited about their designs from Justyna Lorkowska and Michele Wang.

Among the other indies, Twisted Owl Fiber Studio was showing off new Batman colorways. I also was excited to discover Round Mountain Fibers. The Vermont-based company’s nature-inspired colors are pretty much available only at yarn shops, but they do have an online store that offers seconds at 50% off the retail price (you may also see a Knitting Our National Parks colorway from them in the near future…).

Of course, what would a knitting event be without some sort of offshoot indie event? Jeanne of Destination Yarn came through with an open house at her gorgeous Cleveland studio.

There were TNNA attendees and non-industry knitters browsing the shelves of colorways inspired by travel, with clever base names like Postcard, Letter and Souvenir.

Overall, it was a productive trip, and you should see the ideas that were generated from it in the coming months…

What to stash this week: sip and stitch

I spotted these enamel pins in Sue Stratford’s booth at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and had to get one for myself… and for the rest of the gin enthusiasts in the States! A batch of these pins arrived on Tuesday and they are nearly sold out, so snap one up if you’re a juniper fan.

Speaking of beverages, I especially love the sentiment on Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks’ new camp mugs.

You have until midnight Eastern time tonight to preorder Candice’s Kiowa, inspired by sunset over Yellowstone, for the Indie Untangled Knitting Our National Parks project!

Amanda of Hu Made has introduced a new selection of art yarn. No, it’s not glittery handspun, but a small batch of hand-dyed yarns inspired by art history and artists such as Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Agnes Martin.

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn is working on more kits for Joji Locatelli’s Fading Point shawl, but you can also work with her to build your own kit for this project. Either choose five skeins or contact Shanna to get suggestions.

Denise of Yoshi & Lucy has five different Fading Point kits now available for preorder, in a choice of three bases, including Merino/nylon, Merino 3-ply and a Merino single.

Many FiberCrafty shops have been updated recently with yarny goodness. Pictured here is a skein of fandom-inspired yarn from The Girl Who Crafted.

What to stash this week: yarn chicken

Jennifer at Spirit Trail Fiberworks has been doing a fun collaboration with her newsletter subscribers in which she dyes a colorway inspired by a photo sent by one of her readers. February’s colors — one main and two complementary — are inspired by a photo of a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chicken. The yarn will be available to pre-order until February 19 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Jennifer has also created her latest design with TV knitting in mind. Craic — Irish Gaelic slang for “fun, a good time, a good conversation” — is a crescent-shaped, fingering-weight shawl with some garter, stripes and texture. It is knit with two 400-yard skeins of fingering, and you can even mix and match bases to get an even more interesting texture. Don’t forget that you can receive 20% off your order of any in-stock yarn through February 28 with the code Indie. 

Marian has a new six-skein gradient set called Beekeeper in the colorways Beeswax, Protect the Pollinators, Honeycomb, Dumbledore, Queen Bee and Hive Mind. It is currently available in fingering weight on her Scrumptious HT base, which is 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% nylon in three sizes.

Cat Sandwich Fibers is having a shop update this Sunday, February 18, with lots of new OOAK colorways and new Cat Sandwich enamel pins.

Pam’s latest design, Checkpoint, is a two-color sideways triangle with garter and what she promises to be easy intarsia.

Acadia Lights, the fifth colorway in the Knitting Our National Parks series by Asylum Fibers, is available to preorder through next Friday, February 23. You can get some ideas on what to make with either the Solitary Fingering or Golden Goose DK here.

What to stash this week: vanishing spells and sales

Limited extras from the Slipped Stitch Studios Harry Potter Bag of the Month go on sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time. After they sell out, Laura will cast a vanishing spell and they will not be made again.

You have until Monday, January 15th, to get 20% off all in-stock items in the Post-Rhinebeck Pop-up with the code INDIENEWYEAR. This includes skeins of luscious Merino/silk Starboard fingering from New Zealand’s Dark Harbour Yarn, pictured above in the OOAK Elsie Gusset colorway. If you’re at VKL this weekend, Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio will have some Stash Indie enamel pins and the last of the popular Indie Untangled Rhinebeck tote bags in her booth, and you’ll get a discount by saving on shipping.

Your indie shopping guide to VKL NYC 2018

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I’ve been attending Vogue Knitting Live in NYC regularly for the last several years, and each year I’ve seen more and more indie dyers and makers in the marketplace. VKL NYC 2018 is shaping up to be one of the indie-est years in recent memory, with a huge selection of dyers and makers, many of them local, scattered over the two floors at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square from January 12-14.

To help prepare you for what I know will be a whirlwind weekend, I decided to create a special shopping guide to some of the Indie Untangled vendors at the show, with a sneak peek at the yarns and products they’ll be bringing.

I’ll be around all three days, taking classes with Melanie Berg, Clara Parkes, and Andrea Mowry, and doing some damage in the marketplace. If you see me, definitely come by and say Hi!

Alex Creates

Sixth Floor, Booth 907

Alex is a NYC native, born and raised in Harlem. He taught himself to crochet at age 13 and opened his Etsy shop in 2011, and is known for his candy-colored gradient yarn.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are Ombre Sock yarn in Strawberry Lemonade, MCN in Disco Heaven, Ombre Targhee in Blue Bombsicle, and Single Ply Merino in Pennies from Heaven.

Backyard Fiberworks/I Knit NY

Fifth Floor, Booths 314 & 316

Alice, who is based in Maryland, is not only bringing her popular semisolid and speckled colorways, but is debuting the first installment of the Knit Like a Local series she has collaborated on with designer Kathleen Dames. I Knit NY includes 10 patterns by a team of local designers — including Brittney Bailey, Kirsten Kapur, Xandy Peters, and Lars Rains, along with Kathleen — inspired by New York City landmarks like Rockefeller Center and the clock at Grand Central Terminal, all made with Alice’s yarn. The book also includes a yarn store guide written by yours truly and an essay by Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting.

In the first image, pictured clockwise from the top left are Backyard Fiberworks Sock in Urchin, Stormcloud, the Spiced Cider mini skein set, and Mallow.

In the third image, pictured clockwise from the top left are Xandy Peters’ Rockefellar Center, Kathleen Dames’ 42nd & Lex, Kirsten Kapur’s Jane Jacobs, and Kathleen’s Opal Clock.

Dragonfly Fibers

Sixth Floor, Booth 910, 912 & 914

Also from Maryland, Kate and her crew are VKL veterans, and always bring a huge selection of colorful yarns to their massive booth.

Pictured above is their exclusive VKL colorway, Twilight Skate, along with, from top to bottom, the colorways Jocelyn, Springtime In Washington, and Denaili.

Fuse Fiber Studio

Fifth Floor, Booth 102

Rebecca launched her business after taking a dyeing class with Felcia Lo at last year’s VKL. This fast learner creates gorgeous colorways from a studio in northern Connecticut, housed in a factory that once manufactured safety fuses for mining.

Pictured clockwise from top left are Wintergreen, Straw, and Moorland and Stone Walls on Fuse Fingering and Pearls on Fuse Merino Singles. Rebecca will have a sample of Caitlyn Hunter’s Zweig sweater that I can’t wait to see.

Junk Yarn

Sixth Floor, Booth 1103

Kemper’s hand-dyed yarns are inspired by inspiring women, from actresses to activists.

Pictured above is Andrea Mowry’s Comfort Fade knit with Junkyarn DK (100% Superwash Merino) in the colorways Fleur, Lara, Dolly, and Diana. The top photo is of Holly Golightly, a VKL 2018 exclusive, and below that is the colorway Amilyn.

Magpie Fibers

Fifth Floor, Booths 600, 604, 606 & 610

Not only does Dami, another dyer from Maryland, create lovely colorways, but she also collaborates with other popular yarn companies, including Spincycle Yarns from Washington State.

Pictured clockwise from the top left is 5 Pointz in Swanky DK, Paris Train and London Rain in Swanky Sock, the Stoirm cap in Swanky Sock Castaway and Spincycle Dyed in the Wool Family Jewels, and the Gailleann sweater in Domestic Worsted. Christina Danaee will be debuting both designs in the Magpie booth.

Mollygirl Yarn

Fifth Floor, Booth 514

Based in New Jersey, Angela offers both colors and bases that take cues from pop and rock music.

Pictured clockwise from top left are Walk This Way, Rolling in the Deep, A Thousand Years, and Electric Love.

One Geek to Craft Them All

Fifth Floor, Booth 117

Marsha, who lives just a few blocks away from me in Brooklyn, crafts fun stitch markers with a geeky, pop culture spin (think Dr. Who and Harry Potter).

The above sets, which include a VKL exclusive, are just a small sampling of what she’ll be bringing. Marsha is sharing a booth with one of my favorite NYC LYSes, Woolyn, which will have store exclusive colorways from Asylum Fibers, MollyGirl and more.

Shelli Can

Sixth Floor, Booth 1103

If you collect (or want to start to collect) knitting-related enamel pins, you need at least one from Shelli. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, Shelli also designs creative knitting-related accessories, like the gift tags, mug and t-shirt pictured above (I’ve already claimed a shirt in XS!).

Youghiogheny Yarns

Fifth Floor, Booth 114

Pronounced yock-i-gainey (think “yock” like “sock”), this team from the Youghiogheny River valley in Pennsylvania creates vibrant colorways.

Pictured clockwise from top left are Forest Sprite on Wooly Yak, Spilled Wine on Highlands Festival, Warm Honey on Silky Yak Singles, and Cloudy on Somerset Silk.