Your indie shopping guide to the 2018 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

I’ve always thought of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival as the more low-key fiber festival. Aside from the fact that I’m not organizing a massive Friday trunk show (I leave that to Cathy and Heather, the owners of The Knot House), there’s no “Maryland sweater” to knit because it’s usually not sweater weather, last year being the exception.

However, as I’ve been putting together the shopping guide for the weekend, I’ve realized that the stashing temptation is anything but low key.

Here’s a roundup of the Indie Untangled vendors at both the pop-up at The Knot House and the Howard County Fairgrounds, and a peek at just some of the goodies they’ll be bringing.

I plan to be at the festival on Saturday, sporting a new shawl by Deb Gerhard that she designed with Into the Whirled’s Bryce Canyon-inspired Knitting Our National Parks colorway, which you can see below. I’ll be at the ITW booth at 12:30 p.m. for an Indie Untangled meetup, and you can see the yarn and the design in person. Hope to see you there!

THE KNOT HOUSE INDIE POP-UP

This is the fourth-annual indie pop-up that Cathy and Heather are throwing. In the spirit of the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show, it brings together a collection of dyers and makers from around North America. Unlike the IU Rhinebeck show, it runs all weekend, with a preview party on Friday night from 5 to 9 p.m.

Duck Duck Wool

Sandra, who is based in nearby Virginia, will have some of the Indie Untangled Knitting Our National Parks colorway, Glaciers and Wildflowers (pictured above), on hand, along with her famous speckled skeins.

Julie Asselin

Julie hails from Montreal, with a beautiful palette of dreamy semisolids and subtle speckles.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are Good Morning Fredrick, an event exclusive, a Nuances set (five 28-gram mini skeins of Leizu Superwash Merino/silk fingering) in Pivoines, and a selection of colorways.

The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers

Candice will be coming to the show all the way from Montana, bringing her soft, Western-inspired colorways.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are Half Breed, Heartbreak Hotel and Paul Newman in Foxy Lady (70% Merino/30% silk), Monarch in Mighty Mo (70% kid mohair/30% Mulberry silk), and Gary Cooper and Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way on Foxy Lady.

Little Fox Yarn

Aimee is another Virgina-based dyer, known for her beautiful semisolids.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are Old Favorite, Loganberry on Vixen (Superwash Merino and silk fingering), various colors of Vixen, and her Blue Boy, Silver Birch and Deep Water colorways.

That Clever Clementine

Vicki sews her adorable and functional project bags in Maryland. She will bring a variety of zipper bags, including some made with a sparkly linen fabric that is perfect for showing off your fiber flare.

There will also be yarn from South Carolina’s Autumn and Indigo, Connecticut’s Nice and Knit, Periwinkle Sheep from Albany, N.Y., and Swift Yarns from New York City.

THE FESTIVAL

See the festival map here.

Backyard Fiberworks

Main Exhibition Hall, Booth C4

Alice, who is based in Silver Spring Maryland, will be bringing her popular semisolid and speckled colorways and mini-skein kits.

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.

Bare Naked Wools/Knitspot

Main Exhibition Hall, Booth C28

Famed designer Anne Hanson will be bringing stunning samples made with her line of custom-milled yarns that show off the natural creams, browns, and greys.

Pictured above is the Deep Dive sweater knit in Better Breakfast Fingering (55% Merino, 35% dehaired alpaca and 10% nylon), the Polypore shawl knit in Chebris lace (60% Merino/40% mohair), and a selection of Better Breakfast Worsted (65% Merino, 35% dehaired alpaca).

Bijou Basin Ranch

Outside North, Booth N1

Based in Colorado, this mom and pop operation specializes in yak blends and in the last few years they have begun collaborating with indies on hand-dyed colorways.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are the Gobi base (baby camel and silk) in the Valkyrie-inspired hand-dyed colors, Shangri-La Lace (50/50 yak and Mulberry silk) in the Explorer collection, new stickers that they will be handing out, and variegated Shangri-La Lace.

Dragonfly Fibers

Outside Lower Corral, Booth LC9

Also from Maryland, Kate and her crew are MDSW veterans, bringing a huge selection of colorful yarns.

Pictured above is the Maryland Mini color pack and Andrea Medici’s Calverts and Crossings Cowl, along with Dragonfly’s show exclusive colorway Boardwalk Lights, named after Ocean City, Maryland, at night.

Fluffy U Fiber Farm

Barn 5, Booth 14

Shepardess Katrina Updike has been raising British and rare breed sheep, including Blue-Faced Leicester, Gotland, Leicester Longwool and Teeswater, for the past 18 years on a farm in Pennsylvania.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are a selection of her BFL fingering, a sample of Katrina’s Spring Lilac colorway, Merino Bulky in Tropical Breeze, Pebble Beach and Lilly Pad, and beads strung for spinning.

Into the Whirled

Main Exhibition Hall, Booth B16

New York-based dyer Cris is known for her semisolid and variegated colorways, and she has recently moved into speckles, including her colorway for the Indie Untangled Knitting Our National Parks series.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are the new speckled colorways, batts in various colors, Shokan Singles single fingering in the Bryce Canyon-inspired Hoodoos colorway (which you can see in person in her booth and preorder here), and braids of fiber.

Knittyandcolor

Outside North, Booth N12

Sarah, who is based in Georgia, is known for her eye-poppingly bright colorways. Aside from yarn and fiber she’ll also be bringing Turkish spindles made by her husband under the name Subterranean Woodworks.

Pictured clockwise from the top left are new colorways Smoky Quartz and Neon Lotus, along with the spindles and fiber braids.

Middle Brook Fiberworks

Main Exhibition Hall, Booth B26

Anne offers yarn blends made with the fiber from the sheep on her New Jersey farm as well as stunning handspun. At the festival, she’ll be debuting her Vintage No. 4, organic Polwarth coordinating sets, and lip balm.

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

Main Exhibition Hall, Booth A30

Jennifer, another Virginia-ite, is a master of dyeing a variety of colors on both rustically sheepy and luxurious silk bases.

Pictured clockwise from the top left is a set of Aurora (single-ply fingering Superwash Merino), Selene (DK-weight, non-shrink organic wool), stitch markers from Katrinkles, and Jennifer’s new enamel mugs.

You can see more goodies in Jennifer’s sneak peek post.

Other vendors

Here are some other vendors I’m looking forward to visiting:

The Buffalo Wool Co.
Outside Upper Corral, Booth UC1

Jamie Harmon
Main Exhibition Hall, Booth B9

Jill Draper Makes Stuff
Main Exhibition Hall, Booth C31

Julia Hilbrandt
Main Exhibition Hall, Booth B29

Madder Root
Outside North, Booth N2

Neighborhood Fiber Co.
Outside East, Booth E7

North Light Fibers
Main Exhibition Hall, Booth C9

What to stash this week: in knitting color

Gradient Play, the latest shawl design from Deb of Spruce Lane Designs uses two gradient sets, so you don’t even have to decide between two. Or you can use those sets in your stash, or leftovers that definitely go together because you pick the same colors of yarn all the time. 

IU newcomer Claudia Hand Painted Yarns is ready for warm weather with new spring colors on linen. Pictured above is Ishmael on Drama 100% linen yarn.

For this collaboration with Insomniac Designs, Slipped Stitch Studios is releasing a new line of bags with a fitting sentiment. These will only be on sale through Monday, so set your alarm.

Cat Sandwich Fibers just had a shop update with a ton of new colorways, some fade kits, mini skein sets and more.

Rose gold is the new… gold. Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has added the trendy metal to her lineup of shawl pins.

Wild Hair Studio has fiber boxes and yarn and fiber grab bags available.

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 from your LYS

Bronwyn of Casapinka has come up with an ingenious way to help you support your LYS for Local Yarn Store Day, which is next Saturday, April 21. If you buy yarn for her Local Yarn Shawl pattern that day from any of the participating LYSs, you will be given the pattern for free! 

If you’re looking for a new shawl pin — and some advice on how to show off your shawls — check out Crafty Flutterby Creations’ website. She not only crafts lightweight pieces, but her Product Tips include some styling lessons.

Tulips from a friend inspired Terri of Whole Knit ’n Caboodle’s latest striped sock yarn. It’s available for preorder in limited quantities only on her website.

Rocket’s Cardigan, the second installment in Mary Annarella’s brilliant Cardigans of the Galaxy series, is inspired a genetically modified raccoon and an unlikely superhero.

A few patterns can cover you in Marianated Yarns from head to toe! Above is the Millcreek Canyon Hat by Katinka Designs being releaed in mid-April.

The Knitspinquilt April update is all about the sea creatures. It includes sea turtle stitch markers and manatee bags. As always, 30% of the purchase price will be donated charity, which this year is the Hispanic Federation’s ongoing Puerto Rico disaster relief efforts.

Yarn from Squirrel Mountain Fiber Arts is sourced, spun and naturally dyed within 100 miles.

Mosaic Moon has stocked its new website with tons of roving.

What to stash this week: A winter’s yarn ball

Scarlet of Huckleberry Knits posted to the Indie Untangled Marketplace about her latest shop update. Her glowing tonal and variegated colorways, which she dyes on bases such as Blue Faced Leicester and Merino Cashmere silk, as well as on spinning fiber, include a batch of Hamilton-inspired colorways.

Bring even more elegance to your hand knits with some new shawl pin designs from Jennifer of Porterness Studio.

Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has brought back her coveted pattern and chart wallets starting this week. These accessories are the perfect way to tote around your papers with all the notes and highlights without them getting crumbled at the bottom of your project bag.

Terri at Whole Knit ‘n Caboodle has been getting ready for spring with new spring-y self-striping sock yarn. If you’re in or near the Hudson Valley, check out her yarns at the Chancellor’s Sheep and Wool Showcase in Clermont, N.Y., on April 21.

Brianne and Maureen of I Would Dye 4U are updating their shop today at 10 a.m. Eastern time with both new ‘80s music-inspired colors and favorites, including some one hit wonders.

What to stash this week: A yarn of ice and fire

Brooke of Fully Spun — who dyes wool roving in a repeating pattern, then sends it off to a mill that creates yarn with a handspun look — recently collaborated with Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits. She designed two patterns for the latest issue of her Fiber Muse quarterly magazine using two of Brooke’s colorways, Ice Dreamer and Fire Dreamer.

If coffeecoffeecoffee or teateatea is your crafting mantra, then head on over to the Slipped Stitch Studios shop. Laura has a selection of caffeinated project bags and accessories to perk you right up. 

Sheila of BigFootFibers has created new colorways for the spring, including Gloriana, pictured above, which is inspired by the BBC’s Victoria. It’s currently available on a Superwash BFL/nylon blend.

Sarah of Knittyandcolor has restocked her shop with Supernova, one of her super popular colorways. The speckled rainbow is available on three sock yarn bases as well as DK and worsted.

Deb’s latest design, Amid the Snow, is a two-color, corrugated-rib pattern with a few simple left-cross and right-cross cables thrown in for interest.

Untangling: Katrina Updike of Fluffy U Fiber Farm

You don’t have to take a trip to the UK to find wool from British Breed sheep. You simply have to visit — or visit the website of — Fluffy U Fiber Farm in Dover, Pennsylvania.

Shepardess Katrina Updike has been raising British and rare breed sheep, including Blue-Faced Leicester, Gotland, Leicester Longwool and Teeswater, for the past 18 years, and she hand dyes all of their yarns for knitters and roving for hand spinners. I asked Katrina to tell me a little bit more about the farm.

Tell me how your farm got started.

I actually started out with two Blue-Faced Leicester ewes in the backyard in an old tractor shed. Eventually we built a small pole barn. My husband travelled a lot so each time he went away I would add another sheep or goat or two. Eventually we were able to purchase part of my husband’s grandparents’ farm and the rest, as they say, is history.

How did you decide to raise British breed and rare breed sheep?

I raised a bunch of different sheep breeds over the years. But, I’ve always had Blue-Faced Leicester sheep since the beginning. So it was just natural to start adding other British/rare breed sheep to the flock.

Where does the name Fluffy U come from.

I actually was going to call our farm the Updike Funny Farm but wasn’t sure anyone but me would find the humor in the name. But, I finally settled on Fluffy U Fiber Farm because our sheep are big and fluffy and U for our last name. Being able to bring the farm and farming back into the family the name seem appropriate.

How has the business changed over the last 18 years?

The business has progressively changed in order to keep up with the times. At first it was just roving and some basic yarn. But, as we have grown we have added more yarn and roving blends, books and notions, project kits and classes at the farm as well as doing fiber shows for the past six years. It has been a challenge for us as we sell and use very little commercial product in our line of yarn. But, there is no greater satisfaction for me than being able to tell someone which sheep or goat their yarn came from.

Do you knit yourself and, if so how did you learn?

My grandmother taught me to crochet as a child, but I didn’t start knitting until I was 19. A wonderful woman named Kay Thompson taught me. I’ve been knitting ever since then.

How did you get started spinning?

I took a class at the Mannings with Tom Knisley. Tom is a great teacher with a lot of patience for all of us who haven’t a clue how to make the wheel work correctly. So, since that class I have probably been spinning about 10 years.

What are some of your favorite projects made with Fluffy U Fiber yarn?

A cardigan made with our BFL using a daisy stitch in all white, our Conewago Shawl and Cassius Shawl that I have made using our natural blend yarn and also coopworth tencel blend yarn. Right now I’m really enjoying knitting fingerless mitts using my handspun yarn from the sheep.

What are some the best things you’ve learned running Fluffy U?

Knitting is universal you can always find a way to communicate. Everything is an experiment what might work for one show may not work for another. Be true to yourself and your dream. You can’t please everyone. There are more nice, crazy fiber people than not.

What to stash this week: Literary spark

Attention bibliophiles: You need to join this yarn club. Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. is kicking of her year-long Literary Society next month with Pride and Prejudice and ending with Little Women (click the link to see the full reading list). This is a very flexible club with a mix of semisolids, variegated colorways and speckles inspired by the classics. You can choose one, three, six, nine or all 12 shipments, and you get a choice of light yarns or heavier weights. Pick your, or a friend’s, favorite book for the perfect gift!

Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio recently had her final shop update of 2017. While some of her popular colorways have already sold out, there are still a few you can snag, like Pearls, pictured above on her Merino Singles base. Also look out for her Golden Girls-inspired Lanai on Fuse Merino DK.

MJ of Cat Sandwich Fibers just had a shop update with a bunch of new OOAK colorways. She is also launching her 2018 Monthly Mystery Sock Club, a commitment-free club. There will be a mystery sock-along — with prizes! — to go along with it.

Save 15% on Himalayan Summit and 100% Yak Sport weight yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch this week only, no coupon code needed.

Along with her single skeins, Marian of Marianated Yarns offers a three-month yarn club subscription that is available in several bases and in either tonal or variegated “Marianades,” as she calls her colorways. Membership comes with some great perks: each shipment includes a goodie and a Marianette mini-skein in variegated if your subscription is tonal or vice versa. There’s also free shipping on the rest of your yarn orders during your subscription, plus 10% off the colors of the month. Club sign-ups are open until December 20, with the first shipment going out the first week of January. 

Here’s a view from above of the DK version of Sandra’s stunning Glaciers and Wildflowers colorway, inspired by the natural beauty of Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s available to preorder only through next Friday!

This is just one of the fabulous projects from this year’s Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club. Last February, the inimitable Anne Hanson teamed up with Kim of The Woolen Rabbit to create this stunning rose red colorway and a cowl/scarf design called Shared Rib. You can expect exciting collaborations like this if you sign up for the 2018 club.

Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Wild Hair Studio has three new fiber and yarn clubs launching in 2018.

What to stash this week: Wild yarns and glaciers

When Sandra of Duck Duck Wool signed on to create a colorway for the Knitting Our National Parks series, I was thrilled. When I saw her inspiration photo, a shot of Glacier National Park in Montana, I got even more excited. Then, when she emailed me the photos of her colorway, Glaciers and Wildflowers, I may have done a little yarny happy dance. How stunning is this?! And Sandra is dyeing it on not one base, but two — her Silky Singleton, a blend of 70% Merino and 30% silk for shawls and summer tops, and DK Limited, a Superwash Merino that you can use for hats, cowls, mitts and, of course, sweaters you can wear now. The yarn will be available to preorder here through Friday, Dec. 22, and will ship the last week of January 2018. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Another Knitting Our National Parks installment means we get a limited edition POP Thru The Parks souvenir from That Clever Clementine! Vicki has saved one of her most POPular products for the final one of her collection. These fabric yarn bowls (which don’t have to be used only for yarn) will be available to preorder today starting at 9 a.m. Eastern time until sold out (previous batches have sold out in less than two hours so… head on over!).

If you’ve been looking around for that special shawl pin, or one to add to your collection, or if you just like looking at shiny things, I suggest you head over to the Porterness Studio website. Jen makes her shawl pins and buttons using the 5,000-year-old lost wax casting process, with each piece either hand carved out of wax or 3D printed in wax, cast in sterling silver or bronze and hand finished by Jen in Los Angeles. Her regular jewelry is pretty lovely, too. Indie Untangled readers get 20% off with the code Indie20.

Fresh off her trunk show at Woolyn, where I drooled over her yarn and samples, Lauren of Old Rusted Chair has released four new colorways. From top to bottom are Starboard, Prankster, Glint and Heatwave, which are available on Lauren’s Squish base, a 4-ply Superwash Merino.

Also fresh off her appearance at Woolyn last weekend, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has released some perfect heavy-weight bases. Just in time for winter, you can now find a variety of DK weight yarns in various blends of Merino, nylon, Cashmere and sparkle. She even has a few fade kits. 

Katie of Never Enough Thyme has updated her shop with Christmas colorways, including heel/toe sock sets in Sugar Plum Fairy, Mistletoe’s for Two and Christmas Cookies. There are also lots of Cozy Christmas mini sets, perfect for knitting ornaments for your tree (don’t worry, there is still time).

For Week 2 of their annual holiday sale, Bijou Basin Ranch is giving you 15% off Tibetan Dream sock yarn and Xanadu Mongolian cashmere yarn, with no coupon code needed, through midnight Mountain time today. And all U.S. orders also ship free through Dec. 24.

If you’re short on time and yardage, but need some holiday gifts, Robynn’s Nullkommanix cowl just might be what you’re looking for. It’s named for how long it takes to make — 0.0 seconds — and is free for Robynn’s newsletter subscribers.

Since I’m waiting until after the craziness of the holidays for Aimée to ship her yarn to me, I’ve decided to extend the preorders for Automne à Rhinebeck a couple of weeks. My husband just requested a hat in the DK, so the magic of these skeins is real!

Here’s a look at the first-ever colorway for the first-ever installment of the Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club — Ami of Lakes Yarn and Fiber’s Drops of Honey. You can expect breathtaking exclusives like this if you sign up for the 2018 club. Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Dye is Cast yarn is having a shop update today featuring new colorways, and a chunky beanie hat pattern will be free to download throughout the weekend.

Wild Hair Studio has new Star Wars-inspired colorways on mini batts and rolags, which are 15% off before Dec. 15.

What to stash this week: Still Automne

La Bien Aimée is dyeing up another batch of the breathtaking Automne à Rhinebeck for me to sell online. Aimée has put me on her calendar and is planning to ship the yarn to me before Vogue Knitting Live NYC in January. In the meantime, preorders of the yarn are now open! I will be taking them through Dec. 8 so we can get a better idea of the demand before she starts creating more of this Indie Untangled exclusive. It is available on La Bien Aimée’s Merino Singles fingering weight and Merino DK.

You don’t need a degree in yarn (though it may feel like you have one) to appreciate the knowledge that IU newcomer Katrina of Fluffy U Fiber Farm brings to her business. Based in Dover, Pennsylvania, Katrina and company raise various British breed and heritage breed sheep, including Blue Faced Leicester and Leicester Longwool, selling both natural and small-batch hand-dyed yarns in their shop. You may be familiar with them from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Virginia.

IU newcomer Marian of Marianated Yarns has put together the perfect knitter’s Christmas gift. Her limited edition Knitmas Kits include a set of six mini skeins, a cowl pattern from Katinka Designs, notions, treats and fun extras.

Christine of Skeinny Dipping had a post-Rhinebeck shop update with tons of yarny goodness, including her new Polwarth Silk DK base. The squooshy non-Superwash yarn made its debut at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Today at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Laura is listing the second Slipped Stitch Studios Outlander-inspired Bag of the Month for sale. They’ve also once again teamed up with Forbidden Woolery for matching yarn.

There are only a handful of skeins of Jill Draper Makes Stuff’s exclusive Joshua Tree colorways available to preorder through the end of the day today. I’m looking forward to getting my own in a couple of weeks and casting on Kirsten Kapur’s Joshua Tree Cowl, pretending I’m on a road trip through the SoCal desert.