A weekend in NYC with Andrea Mowry

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Lisa of Indie Untangled and Andrea Mowry post with tote bags featuring the Brooklyn Bridge over a yarn ball.

Andrea and I pose with the Andrea Untangled tote bags.

A while back, I learned via Facebook that my friend Brian had created a new music venue in Brooklyn called Murmrr, a few miles away from my apartment, in a space he and his business partners leased from the Union Temple of Brooklyn. As long as I’d known him, Brian had been in a band, and one of my first train rides from Long Island into New York City sans parents was to see him and some of our other high school classmates perform as Pesantes at a long-shuttered club in the East Village (their cover of Guided By Voices’ As We Go Up, We Go Down was a favorite of mine). At Murmrr, he arranged for musicians such as Bjork and Nick Cave to perform at the space, also hosting live podcasts, comedy shows and author talks.

I had already been thinking about doing some Indie Untangled events in the city, but I wanted something that was different from the usual marketplace — especially since I already do plenty of shopping at one of the four Brooklyn yarn shops. After seeing a couple of shows at the new space, I knew we could put together something cool. And Murmrr would be a fitting venue, since so many knitwear designers seem like they’re rock stars.

It was with that in mind that I contacted Andrea Mowry and Kristy Glass last year about the idea for what would become Andrea Untangled. Kristy would interview Andrea in what was essentially a live version of her popular podcast, and afterward there would be a small marketplace with exclusive colorways available for some of Andrea’s designs.

In early January — eerily, a couple of weeks before tickets to Andrea Untangled were set to go on sale — writer Edith Zimmerman wrote a love letter to Andrea in The Cut, calling her “the knitting world’s Taylor Swift. Cute, talented, driven, precise, upbeat, and kind, with a wink and a flicker of darkness.

“This all feels a little like putting up pictures of her in my school locker, although that is kind of how I feel,” Edith wrote. “I love her!”

Kristy then had the brilliant idea to invite Edith on stage to begin the show, interviewing her before letting her meet her idol onstage. As she wrote to me proposing the opening act: “It’s like the ultimate fan girl moment — kind of like Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie representing all the girls in America.”

Two women embrace on a stage.

Andrea and Edith after their meeting onstage at Andrea Untangled.

Even though I’m part of the industry, I have to admit that I was still a bit starstruck when it came to really meeting Andrea, not just in passing at Edinburgh or Rhinebeck. While I was not at all nervous about the show itself — I knew that Kristy was a pro, and I felt that if I could execute an event as large as the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, this would be a piece of cake — I did feel first-date jitters as I went out to meet Andrea for lunch Friday afternoon before her first appearance of the weekend at Knitty City.

I agonized over what to wear, settling on a black, lacy dress from WISP (a StitchFix find), which I paired with gray tights and a sample of Andrea’s Golden Hour shawl that Paola of mYak had leant me. I couldn’t believe that my job included sharing plates of pierogi and knitting with one of the knitting world’s It girls.

Showing off colorful skeins of yarn.

Andrea shows off some of her finds at Knitty City.

As the weekend went on, I discovered that Andrea was also awed by the fact that this was her job. That people loved her designs so much, they would wear her shawls and cardigans to meet her in unseasonably warm weather, travel to take her brioche class, or write a gushing article about her for New York magazine.

Two women pose onstage with a large triangular shawl in pink and mustard yellow.

Andrea and Kristy show off the famous Find Your Fade shawl. Photo by Emma Holter.

In her answers to Kristy’s questions onstage at the main event, Andrea came across as the kind of person that we could all relate to. After Kristy asked Andrea what her favorite food was, my friend Shameka said she whispered to her seat neighbor that hers was curried mango. Andrea replied that she loved mangoes and tofu, which Kristy then suggested would taste great in a curry. Later, when Kristy asked Andrea “What’s your favorite boy band?” and she answered, “The Smiths,” somewhere 17-year-old Lisa was incredibly impressed.

Two women take a selfie.

Andrea poses with Gaye Glasspie of GGMadeIt.

On Sunday, Andrea came to one of my local yarn shops, String Thing Studio, for the last event of her whirlwind weekend, which also included workshops and appearances at Brooklyn General and Argyle Yarn Shop. Her meet and greet turned into an afternoon hangout, with Andrea passing around her samples, giving knitting advice and answering questions as we sat on the cozy couches and in chairs that had been packed in and around the back of Felicia Eve’s tiny shop in Park Slope, not too far from Murmrr. Even as she posed for selfies/photobombs, it didn’t seem all that different from any other knit night.

Rock star knitters — they’re just like us.

What to stash this week: Places you can knit

Each week, I get to learn about all sorts of cool things that indie dyers are doing, from new kits and colorways to shawl designs and project bags. But what I enjoy the most about this job — and I’m still pinching myself that this is my job! — is getting to collaborate with makers I admire on events such as the Rhinebeck Trunk Show and projects like the Where We Knit yarn club.

After sending out the final package of 2017 earlier this month, I’m excited to announce the indie dyer/designer teams for the 2018 club. They are: Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar. You can read about each team’s Where We Knit inspiration, and sign up for the club, here. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31, 2017, with a limited number of spots.

In between opening her new yarn shop and generally dyeing all the things, Aimee snapped a photo of the Indie Untangled exclusive Automne à Rhinebeck on her Merino DK. It’s just as gorgeous as it is on her Merino Singles. Both are available to preorder now through Dec. 8.

It looks like Fades are here to stay. Whether you’re shopping for a Comford Fade cardigan or a What the Fade shawl, Sheila of BigFootFibers has you covered with yarns of all sizes and configurations.

Tami of Eternity Ranch Knits has spent 2017 dyeing Disney princess- and Gone with the Wind-themed colorways. She is now selling the entire collection — a dozen skeins, plus a 13th bonus skein — at a discounted price. It’s your chance to collect them all!

IU newcomer The Blue Brick has released a new tonal line of yarns to complement its gradient line.

Untangling Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits

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Unless you’ve been knitting under a rock, you’ve probably at some point this year encountered someone finding their fade. Since Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits released her seven-skein shawl in December, and her So Faded sweater last month, Fade Fever seems to have taken over. Both patterns are the perfect match for hand-dyed yarn, and many a Fade kit can be found from the dyers who post on IU.

I decided to reach out to Andrea and learn more about the woman behind the Fade, as well as her other beautifully styled, casually elegant designs.

What did you do before becoming a knitwear designer and how does that inform your work?

Before designing I was a pastry chef! I actually got my first baking job (which eventually lead me down the path of culinary school) because the owner of the bakery loved that I included knitting under “other skills” on my resume! I have always loved creating and working with my hands, so when I left my job in the kitchen, it felt very organic to begin writing patterns instead of recipes.

How did you decide to become a designer?

I had been knitting for such a long time and always wanted to find a way to make a job of it. Finally, when I had more time to explore designing, thanks to being home with my first born, I thought, “What have I got to lose?” There were things I wanted to knit, and I figured maybe someone else would want to knit them as well! From there, I feel like my dreams have come true!

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned when I was about nine years old thanks to my amazing (and patient) Grandma Ginny! I am so thankful to her that she took the time to sit with me and wanted to share something she loved. It has brought so much joy to my life, and it is all thanks to her!

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

I am most inspired by yarn. For me, the design idea typically comes as I am looking at and swatching with the yarn I want to use!

How did Find Your Fade come about? Did you think it would take off like it did?

Every once in a while I like to do a “creativity experiment” where I just grab the yarn I most want to use out of my stash and I just cast on. I try not to give myself any constraints or expectations. I just knit what feels fun! Find Your Fade was one of my experiments. I had just had my son a few months earlier, and felt like I just need something selfish and indulgent on my needles. I had no idea it would take off! I am so thrilled and honored that knitters have been inspired by it!

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

Swatch! Well, sometimes I sketch first. But then I cake up the yarn and swatch.

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

I am continually drawn to pinks and yellows right now. I really love most colors though, and when I find myself constantly grabbing for the same colors, I try to switch it up. Grey will always be at the top of my list, along with mint and turquoise. And navy. And white. And gold.

You’ve created such a cool, laid-back aesthetic for your business. Did you come to designing with that particular look and feel in mind?

Thank you! I’ve tried to just be myself. I find that when I stick to what I love and what really inspires me and brings me joy, it seems to work. I think when we do that, our best work comes out and people can feel that.

Who are some of your favorite indie dyers?

There are so many amazing indie dyers out there! My absolute favorites include Hedgehog Fibres, Republic of Wool, Qing Fibre, Woolenboon and Peepaloo Fields, just to name a few!

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

I love embroidery, and am a novice sewer. 🙂

What to stash this week: A sale, Outlander bags and knitting with style

As she does every year, Ami is celebrating the birthday of Lakes Yarn and Fiber with a sale. to celebrate the opening of her Etsy shop four years ago, she’s offering 17% off all in-stock yarn and fiber from tomorrow, April 1, through April 17. Use the coupon code 17in17.

Knitters and Outlander seem to go together like… well… knitters and yarn. And project bags. Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios has designed an exclusive fabric inspired by the show and all her Outlander goodies will be available to preorder today starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. Unless you can time travel, you better act fast, as they will only be on sale for four days.

I’m excited to welcome Sharon, and Knit Style Yarns, to Indie Untangled! Her skeins have a decidedly springy look — or perhaps its seasonally-appropriate marketing — with blurple-hued Pansies and dreamy Faerie Tears.

The newest With Pointed Sticks base, Quill, is a single-ply fingering-weight blend of 70% Superwash Merino and 30% silk, with 438 yards per skein. Use it for the kind of classically elegant shawl you’d wear while using your feather pen.

If you haven’t found your fade yet, or if you have and want to find it again, Melanie of Go Knit Yourself has put together three kits for Andrea Mowry’s uber-popular design. Available in warm, cool or speckled colors, each kit comes with four 100 gram skeins. Find it quickly — these are only available through today.

If you want to jump on another pattern bandwagon, Dami of Magpie Fibers’ Something Gradient This Way Comes is a fantastic one. She’s updated the pattern to include instructions for an ultra-cozy DK wrap and a sock weight shawl. Kits are available on her Swanky Sock blend and DK kits are coming soon.

The April version of the geeky Third Vault Yarns YarniTea club (as the name implies, it incorporates both yarn and tea — brilliant!) is inspired by the movie Pacific Rim.


Yoshi & Lucy recently had the last shop update for March and Denise has stocked her Etsy store with Harry Potter Spells miniskein sets and HP-inspired sock blanks.

My Mama Knits has Kool-Aid dyeing kits complete with instructions, supplies and a pattern.

What to stash this week if you’re not in Edinburgh

The folks over at Siidegarte have made up for you missing out on the Edin Yarn Fest and the Find Your Fade craze. They’ve curated three Find Your Fade kits that include seven 90g skeins of their gorgeous silk-infused yarn. The kits are available on three different bases, using both existing Siidegarte colourways and a few special edition ones. And there’s a discount, this weekend only!

Sheila and Lance of BigFootFibershave stocked their shop full of spring colors (it might be snowing in the Northeast today, but it felt like spring earlier this week!) including Robyn’s Egg, St. Patrick’s Day, and some Rainbow mini and mega mini skein sets.

Because who can resist something called a llamicorn, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has her fun Pink Fluffy Llamicorns colorway available to pre-order through Sunday, March 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern. Plus, every customer gets a free Pink Fluffy Llamicorn stitch marker!

Socktastic, Lara Smoot’s latest sock pattern, was so addictive that it converted even her most sock-reticent test knitter, the lovely Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings. Use coupon code SisterlyLove for 40% off the pattern through March 15th.

Zombies are appropriate for any time of year, not just a certain holiday in October. My Mama Knits’ Zombie-themed yarns are now available on a variety of Superwash bases in varying weights, including DK and sock.

The latest from Stillwater Designs, Salt Pond, is a top-down crescent shawl worked with alternating sections of garter and slip stitch, framed by a simple eyelet border and inspired by the salt pond at Point Judith, RI.