Lakisher’s journey to becoming the dyer behind Sassy Black Yarns began more than 20 years ago, all the way back in 1998, when she was serving in the U.S. military and stationed in Seoul, Korea. She had the opportunity to tour a fabric mill and fell in love. Fast forward nearly 10 years to when she learned to crochet to make her newborn son a blanket. And then speed ahead to last year, she decided to turn her love of hand-dyed yarn into a business.
Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has brought her unique Twirl shawl pin design out of retirement and added an elegant freshwater pearl.
Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has a Top 6 list of summer picks, including her Gothfarm Yarn t-shirts, made from 100% cotton and screen-printed locally in Austin, Texas.
The latest installment of the Teton Yarn Company’s Full Moon Color Series celebrates the Strawberry Moon, the last Super Moon of 2021. It’s dyed on Denali Fingering, a luxurious blend of Merino/yak/silk.
Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers, who creates spinning fibers and yarn from the raw fleece, is having an Independence Day sale. Through Sunday, there are automatic discounts ranging from 10-20% off.
Sharon’s naturally-dyed yarn is far from boring. You can explore the colors of nature through Flora Adora Fibers and get free Shipping with the code INDIEUNTANGLED through July 6.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about what our plans are for Rhinebeck. Well, after many conversations about what an October show might look like, I’m excited to announce that an in-person Indie Untangled is officially a go!
We plan to share all the details, including the vendor list and entry times, in a couple of weeks, but here’s what we can tell you:
The event will take place on Friday, October 15 in Saugerties, NY. Vendor booths will be set up in covered, open-air pavilions with hard floors
Tiered entry tickets will go on sale at 12 noon Eastern on Saturday, July 17
If you can’t make it to the Hudson Valley or are unable to get tickets, or will be joining us but want more opportunities to shop and connect, we are also holding a virtual event
For the latest installment of Knitting Our National Parks — which marks the fourth anniversary of this series! — Terra of Mitchell’s Creations was inspired by a photo of the White Mountains National Recreation Area in Alaska, captured by Bob Wick of the Bureau of Land Management. Terra will dye Camping Under The Lights on two bases, Lagniappe Sock, a 75/25 Superwash Merino and nylon yarn, and Ça c’est bon a Superwash Merino DK.
The yarn is available to preorder through June 18 and will ship at the beginning of August 2021. 10% of all sales will be divided between the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, and the Native American Rights Fund, which provides legal assistance to help preserve tribal existence and natural resources, promote Native American human rights and hold governments accountable to Native Americans. I was inspired to donate to this organization after reading this article that explores the idea of returning our national parks to Native Americans.
The Grey Sheep Co. is a small family farm, nestled in the rolling hills of the Hampshire countryside in Southern England, that has been producing yarns from fine wool flocks for over a decade.
Sara of La Cave à Laine has introduced made-to-order bags, a collections of six different styles that she will make to order to your own specifications and choices, including a palette of hand-dyed colors!
Monica of Gothfarm Yarn debuted her new Karst base at last month’s Indie Spotlight show. Now this sportweight yarn, made from a blend of white Cheviot sheep wool and stormy Huacaya alpaca fleece, is available to everyone, along with a new sock pattern.
Stitch Stuff Yarn has two new summer bases. Silky Lace Stuff and Silky Sock Stuff are both 75/25 blends of Superwash Merino and Mulberry Silk, perfect for lacy shawls or summer tees.
Erika of Liverpool Yarns is celebrating the unofficial start of summer with a price drop. Her 50-gram skeins of 100% Shetland Wool are now $10 each, and her 25-gram mini skeins are now $5 each.
Spinners: Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers can help you get ready for the Tour de Fleece! She has washed, picked, carded and dyed up a storm for you and added ready-to-ship fibers to her shop.
As I was taking out my latest tote bag along on a few errands recently, I realized how much the color scheme matches some of the yarn I was showing off during my own virtual shopping sessions during Indie Spotlight, and the Scottish tea that I recently stocked up on, and I realized — these items belong together! So, I’m debuting Indie Yarnie Packs, which are the perfect way to kick off a season of outdoor knitting.
You have your choice of two themed and discounted packages, available while supplies last:
Spotlight Yarnie comes with an Indie Spotlight tote bag, a skein of Countess Ablaze Rebel Fingering (60% Superwash Merino, 20% silk and 20% yak/400 yds) in your choice of two colorways (pictured above is Rage Against the Knitting Machine), a box of tea from Scotland’s Eteaket, an Indie Untangled Sweater Fob and access to the Indie Spotlight marketplace and recordings. A $99 value for only $80!
Jetset Yarnie comes with an Indie Across the Pond tote bag, a skein of Countess Ablaze Rebel Fingering (60% Superwash Merino, 20% silk and 20% yak/400 yds) in your choice of two colorways (pictured below is I’m So Indie I Buy Yarns That Don’t Exist Yet), a box of tea from Scotland’s Eteaket, a set of Indie Untangled paper airplane stitch markers and access to the Indie Spotlight marketplace and recordings. A $109 value for only $90!
Nikki of Laneras has her Secretos fingering and Felicidad Light DK, both custom spun using Fine Uruguayan Merino, currently on sale, and domestic US orders of $90+ ship free!
Kate of Bad Lux Designs has created a collection of seven new colors inspired by antiques. The Antique Shop collection is available on bulky, DK, and fingering weights. Plus, 10% of all May profits are donated to the Human Rights Campaign.
Sarah’s May Full Moon colorway for the Teton Yarn Company, the Flower Moon, has risen. Inspired by the time when wildflowers begin to bloom across the Teton Landscape, the colorway is available in her new Yosemite yarn base, a 2-ply Superwash Merino with black plies.
Preorders are open for Wild Hair Studio’s 2021 December Fiber Advents. There are two themes to choose from and each includes 24 small packages and one large package of fiber, for a total of 10 ounces of ready-to-spin-or-felt fiber, plus a couple surprises.
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.
Carolyn of Greenwood Fiberworks is an indie dyer who is the rare triple threat: she knits, crochets AND spins, and so offers yarn, spinning fiber and knit and crochet kits. She’s been dyeing for a couple of decades (!) and shares her deep expertise at events and guilds across the country. While Greenwood Fiberworks is not a new company, we’re so excited to spotlight them and get them on your radar.
Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.
I began dyeing yarn about 20 years ago, the same time I learned how to spin. I spun literally pounds of white wool on a drop spindle and then wanted to dye it to make holiday stockings in a deep red and green. A friend told me I could use Kool-Aid as a dye, so I purchased a couple packets of lime and black cherry flavored mix. I soon learned that I needed much more than just a couple packets and returned to the store and purchased all they had on the shelf. I was finally able to get the deep colors I needed, but no matter how much I rinsed, there was still a fruity smell. I since learned to use professional grade dyes and love to put color on just about everything.
What inspires your colorways?
I live in the beautiful mountain west and the environment around me inspires a lot of my colorways. We have the beautiful red rock, deep mountains, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Sometimes, colors come to me from a greeting card, a piece of fabric, or even my own imagination.
Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?
Green has always been a favorite color of mine. It suits me since my name is Greenwood! I love it in all shades for the calm and peacefulness it brings.
Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that is challenging to create?
I find it challenging to make colorways with the color red. It seems to overwhelm the other colors I put with it. I’ve been able to come up with a few colorways such as American Diner or Dragon Scales, but it is still a challenge for me to put red in a colorway.
What are some of your most popular colorways?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I’d have to say Arcade, which is a more jewel-toned rainbow. Then there is Cappuccino, which seems to have many natural colors of creams, tans, and browns. Colorways with blues always seem popular, especially our Shades of Turquoise.
Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?
I’m looking forward to introducing our new colorway, Dragon Fruit. I wanted something bright and cheerful as we begin to come together again so I put together happy colors. I wasn’t sure what to name it, but my daughter said it looked like Dragon Fruit, and she was right! I’m also wanting to share some of our hand-dyed fibers for spinners and felters.
Dragon Fruit, the Greenwood Fiberworks show special.
When and how did you learn to knit?
I was about seven or eight years old when my mother gave me a pair of long metal knitting needles and some worsted-weight yarn. She taught me to knit back and forth in garter stitch. I knit what was supposed to be a square hot pad, but it turned out to be more of a trapezoid. I still have it after all these years.
I’ve taken up crochet recently. One of my favorite projects is the Lost in Time Shawl that we’ve made with our DK Yakity Yak yarn.
What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?
I think one of my favorite projects has been the Hitofude sweater. It drapes so nicely with our Yakity Yak yarn. I’ve made several of these and many of my customers have also. Another favorite is the Peek-A-Boo Lace Shawl because it makes great use of our mini skeins.
What’s currently on your needles?
I’m playing with a pair of jaywalker socks in our April Diamond colorway. I wanted an easy travel project as I’ll hopefully be headed to Boston to meet my new grandson soon!
This is the third in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Across the Pond, taking place from March 19-21, 2021.
I featured Garthenor Organic on the blog last year prior to Indie Untangled Everywhere in October. I’m excited that this British yarn company has decided to return for our first international fiber event! I spoke with Jonny King to learn even more about his and his mom Sally’s commitment to organic, British wool.
What did the process of organic certification entail?
It’s quite a lengthy process! For an organic farm like ours, there is a minimum of two years of transition, which lets the livestock and land adapt gradually to a new way of farming. For the yarn production, it’s usually a little quicker, thankfully. There are a few key areas that come under the scope of a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certification, namely chemical inputs (like dyes and detergents), traceability, working conditions and environmental standards. For each of these, we need to be able to show complete transparency during our annual inspection and occasional unannounced spot inspections, so it’s pretty in-depth. I definitely don’t think we’d be able to keep it up if we didn’t truly believe in the process.
How has your company evolved over 20-plus years?
This is an odd one for me, as I’ve grown up alongside the company – Mum (Sally) often jokes that she brought me up to join in with making yarn! We started with spinning yarn from wool only from our own flock, but we’re now working with 50-60 organic farms around the UK to grow this amazing fibre. As you can imagine, this also means a lot more yarn being made too! We’re still a tiny company though, with just the two of us working full time, and I think that means we can keep that raw connection to the way our yarns are made – without any compromise at all.
Are you still facing challenges due to the pandemic? What about Brexit?
Definitely! I think like just about every industry, we’ve had a few setbacks over the last year or so. Not having in-person shows has been so heartbreaking, as this is really where we get to connect with friends and customers, and we really get to tell the story of the fibre. We work with a few small mills here in the UK, and they’ve all faced closures and reduced staffing, so it’s been trickier than ever to keep up with demand!
Shipping has been a challenge, but I’m glad to say this is looking a little more stable now – we’re dispatching orders every day all across the world, and the postal services are doing an amazing job to get all the yarny parcels delivered as quickly as possible.
Tell me more about the rare breed that you debuted at Indie Untangled Everywhere last year?
One of our favourite things when introducing a new or single-release yarn is to introduce makers to a fibre they may have never discovered before. For Indie Untangled Everywhere, it was a blend of Manx Loaghtan and Hampshire Down, two gorgeous British breeds, woollen spun into a super soft and squishy yarn. Partnering this one was the pure Manx Loaghtan, and a marl of the two shades (we always love a good marl here!). The flock that grows the Manx Loaghtan fleece was one of our first supplier farms, and it’s that genuine connection the story of the fibre that makes us so proud to do what we do.
Like all our fibre, it was hand sorted by Sally – her experience and knowledge in working with fibre for years is really what sets each yarn apart. She has a knack to understanding how the fibre will be behave, and it guides us to make wool that reflects the landscape, the sheep and the story that surrounds us every day.
What new products will you be showing at Indie Across the Pond?
We’re going to be re-introducing a special edition version of our newest base, Snowdonia Sock. Spun from pure rare-breed Greyface Dartmoor wool, the texture is so unique and special, and captures what I mentioned about reflecting our landscape. We worked with a farm in Cornwall to source the fibre, and it was spun just a few miles down the road from where it grew. We only spun a very small batch, so it’s definitely not one to miss!
This week, designer Mary Annarella released a much more fashionable version of the mid-aughts Snuggie: Cozy McBlanket. This sweater is essentially a blanket with sleeves, but Mary has worked her magic with some cleverly placed short rows to help it curve around your shoulders and neck for a better fit. It calls for five colors of sportweight yarn, and I’m sure you can find some that are prettier than the fire-engine-red fleece I was sporting in Winter 2008.
We have a lot of fun new things planned for you at our upcoming virtual event, Indie Across the Pond! In addition to shopping for amazing yarn, you’ll also be able to:
• Have tea with Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks and the Stranded Podcast — she’ll be joining us Friday from the east coast of Scotland to kick off the show!
• Show off your smarts at virtual trivia!
• Enter our KAL/CAL and win prizes from Indie Untangled and some of our awesome sponsors: Garthenor Organic, La Cave à Laine and Yedraknits!
• Hang out and meet our fabulous vendors in a casual environment at Saturday and Sunday’s teas!
There are still spots available for our free bingo event on Saturday, March 20 at 3 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CET, hosted by Indie Untangled event producer Petrina Hicks. This is a popular event, so register soon!
Jillian of WeeOnes has several brand new stitch marker sets including dinosaurs, arctic foxes and the latest installment of the surprise markers with a spring theme. And to celebrate Jillian reaching 10K sales on Etsy, get 15% off your order with the code YAY10K.
Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has new additions to her menagerie of end minders, which help tame your loose ends, including playful pups, curious kittens and — special for March — Mindful Manatees.
Emerald of Stardust Fiber Studio has released part two of her Greek Gods collection. This collection contains nine main colorways, each based off a deity from Greek Mythology, and two special features. A matching stitch marker set is also available.
Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns just had an update of Pendle 4ply, a classic yarn that’s pure Superwash Merino. It’s available on 20 colorways, from deep and rich to the soft and pale. There’s also a spring sale going on.
Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has five types of roving in stock, including Cirrus, a pencil roving made from blended Jacob and Shetland sheep wool, and Coopworth, Navajo-Churro, Ultisol and 100% Jacob Sheep roving.
Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has some Big Clippy progress keepers, which are oversized, movable single stitch markers featuring a 21-23mm lobster clasp for use on your chunkiest knitting and crochet projects.
Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has a new colorway called Mahalo.
Imagine a sheep, as unique as the one Antoine de St Exupery drew one morning for the Little Prince. That is the Hog Island sheep, from somewhat unknown origins, and needing protection, a special sheep, a sheep like no other… The Hog Island sheep is unique to the United States. It originated on Hog Island, a barrier island off the coast of Virginia. So few of them are left today that they are a rare, critical, conservation breed.
In the words of Jeanette Beranger, senior manager of the Livestock Conservancy, the Hog Island Sheep is a “snapshot of livestock from the 1700s.” To understand how special the Hog Island sheep is, we have to go back in time 400 years, when Hog Island was settled. Along with the settlers came sheep of British origin. It is also believed that Merino sheep were already roaming free on the island, after having been abandoned by ship-wrecked Spaniards. Even though we cannot clearly match the DNA of the Hog Island sheep with any modern English breed, some surmise that Down breeds have been contributors to this unique sheep.
The sheep roamed the rugged island freely. The settlers would gather them once a year to shear them. The rugged conditions set the stage for the development of the breed into a sheep well adapted to foraging and living in harsh, wet weather conditions. Rugged life continued, unchanged for both the settlers and the sheep for hundreds of years, each year bringing its share of storms. But in 1933, after a terrible hurricane, causing massive erosion that reduced the size of the island by half, the residents of Hog Island found themselves forced to abandon the island and move their homes to the mainland. The sheep were left on the island.
Photo courtesy of Holly Hill Ranch
In the 1970s, the island was purchased by the Nature Conservancy. A decision was made to remove the now feral sheep from the island to protect the natural vegetation. The sheep were resettled at particular sites, among them Mount Vernon and Virginia Tech, and efforts began to study and preserve the breed. Hog Island sheep can still be seen today in living museums like the Accokeek Foundation National Colonial Farm. They are also being raised by farmers dedicated to the preservation of rare breeds.
Geographic isolation, the conditions on the island, few predators, and the lack of human intervention allowed the development of a hardy, self-shedding, parasite-resistant, foraging breed, which reproduced efficiently, with ewes often birthing twins. Most Hog Island sheep are white, with 10 to 20% of them being black. The lambs have the cutest speckled faces. Adults often have dark legs and faces. The Hog Island Sheep is a smaller sheep, weighing around 90 to 150 pounds. It is also a slow-growing sheep, taking 18 months to mature. Alert and docile, they prefer to live in tight flocks.
The raw fibers are very high in lanolin, a perfect protection from harsh weather. The fibers are dense, compact, with a very tight, disorganized crimp, and a matte appearance. The staple length ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches. The newer generations, which are being fed a richer diet can have a staple length up to 3 inches. Overall, the staple length is short, which makes the fiber a perfect candidate for light, warm woolen yarns. The fineness of the fibers is uneven, with some being appropriate for next-to-the-skin wear, while others should be reserved for outerwear.
Raw fleece from Holly Hill Ranch
To spin, I used the carded roving I had purchased, and spun it with a supported long draw to create a lofty woolen yarn. After spinning two fine singles, I plied them together to create a 2-ply yarn. What struck me most was the incredible bounce and elasticity of the yarn!
Woolen yarn spun from Holly Hill Ranch fibers
I knitted a simple swatch, which I then dyed with natural dyes. The swatch was knitted on US 4 needles. The soft matte halo is clearly noticeable, slightly reducing the stitch definition, while giving it a gentle subtlety. The incredible elasticity of the yarn reduces the openness of the sample lacework. The swatch took color beautifully, showcasing the matte appearance. The swatch also proved to be naturally felt resistant, a credit to the Down breed origins of the Hog Island sheep.
A dyed swatch from handspun woolen yarn.
Armed with the knowledge I gained from swatching, I decided to knit a warm, comfy pair of house socks, which would encounter less wear than regular socks, while taking full advantage of the elasticity of the fibers!
So where can you get this very special fiber? The Livestock Conservancy has created a wonderful program called Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em. Shepherds register their flocks of conservation breeds and are listed as providers of rare fibers and yarns. Fiber artists are encouraged to try different breeds and get stickers for their breed passport! Because of its smaller size, and slower growth, the Hog Island sheep is not as attractive for large-scale farming. It is thanks to the Livestock Conservancy, the dedication of rare breed farmers, and the desire of fiber artists like you and me to preserve breeds by working with breed-specific fibers, like the Hog Island, that we can hope to see this amazing breed thrive in the future.
Caroline Hegwer, owner of The Noble Thread, is a fiber artist who focuses on natural dyeing, knitwear design, and spinning. Born and raised in Paris, France, she was taught to knit when she was seven years old by her grandmother and fell in love with it instantly. Since then, she has been immersing herself in the world of fiber arts. Twelve years ago, she began dyeing yarn with natural dyes gathered from around her home and has been hooked ever since. Caroline’s love for natural dyeing has grown into a love for all things natural and the sustainability of fiber arts. You can follow Caroline on Instagram.
Stephanie Earp has a sequel and a rebrand for her needle case. Her Knitter’s Book Case is now called The Original Case, and is joined by two new designs, The Flip Case and The Stretch Case. available to preorder in leather through November 9. The Flip Case stores up to eight needle tips, and has two pockets for cables, while the Stretch Case allows you to access your notions without having to open the whole case up.
If you missed out on A Twisted Year’s End, participant Anzula Luxury Fibers has put together another multi-dyer/maker December box, teaming up with Lorna’s Laces, Mod Yarns, Mrs. Crosby Yarn, Slipped Stitch Studios and Tattooed Ewe for a package of yarn, project bags, notions and more. There are three sizes and three different color schemes to choose from to light up your December.
If you’re in need of some comfort knitting, be sure to check out the yarns from Rebecca from WildWestDye. She specializes in all naturally-dyed yarn, which she hand dyes in her home studio in British Columbia (and ships with flat-rate shipping). Rebecca has also developed kits for a variety of projects. From cosy socks and hats to blankets, there are colorful kits for every style of knitting. Some kits even come in cakes that are big enough for an entire project, meaning fewer ends to weave in, making it even easier and more comforting.
Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has a new base called Bentley DK, a non-Superwash Merino with a generous 328 yards per 100g skein. These colorways and more will be on her website this week.
Before the end of October, make sure to check out Gothfarm’s sock special: Buy one sock yarn, get another skein 40% off with the coupon code “sockz” at checkout.
Get 25% off Lena’s new Tasselated Cardigan, an easy piece to knit with a sideways cuff-to-cuff construction, through Sunday with code Tasselated on Ravelry and Etsy.