What to stash this week: Stitches of ivy

A light gray, pink and dark gray textured shawl.

The second issue of Yedra Knits launched around Indie Untangled last year and I’m thrilled to be a stockist! The issue is inspired by tarot cards, and is filled with patterns for shawls, sweaters and other accessories in vibrant colors, stunning and creative photography and features on Barcelona and Madrid LYS Miss Kits and a great interview with dyer Aimée Gille of La Bien Aimée.

Three skeins of a purple, pink, blue variegated yarn with multicolored speckles on top of solid skeins in two different blues and dusty pink.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks has new colors of her Caspian Fingering, a Merino, alpaca and nylon fingering that was a hit when she debuted it at the Indie Untangled show last year.

A purple slipped stitch shawl with stockinette flowers in gray on a background of aqua velvet.

I’ve finished and finally blocked my Pressed Flowers Shawl with Botanical Yarn and it’s easily become one of my favorite knits! There are still a few kits left with this beautiful color combination from Sophie, who recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help her fund a new shop on wheels.

Pictures of salmon and gray and blue ribbed shawls.

Shellie has released two new designs, ZENA and LA GRAND, a shawl and wrap that create a cozy cocoon of slipped stitch broken rib.

Teal green yarn with orange speckles.

To get ready for warmer weather, Anastasia of Cashmere & Coconuts has released the Summer Lovin’ Collection, bright colors available as a set or individually.

An olive green long sleeve Purl Scouts t-shirt, worn by a light-skinned model.

Join the Purl Scouts! Augusta of AdKnits recently released a new collection of camping- and scouting-inspired products, including merit badges, stickers, T-shirts, totes and a knitter’s compass keychain.

An angled view of five moody red skeins with hints of silver and brass surrounded by greenery and laying against a blue book with the title "Botanical Curses and Poisons."

The Plies & Hellhounds Wicked Seeds monthly club is inspired by poisonous plants and their lore. The first colorway, Lily of the Valley, will be released and ready to ship tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET.

A mostly black skein of yarn with purple spots on a grey background.

Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers has released new fleece-to-skein yarns, including Purple Stars, a sportweight Corriedale that is part of what will eventually be a rainbow collection.

knitting.com is capitalism and sexism at its worst

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Loose skeins of gray yarn with rainbow speckles.

We’re used to most people underestimating the knitting community.

A perfect example of this is when non-knitters experience the Rhinebeck Trunk Show. They take in the extensive displays of indie dyed yarn, the range of handmade products for sale, the diverse shoppers wearing colorful sweaters and shawls that took months to design and hours to construct. They see those shoppers enthusiastically scoop up armloads of artisan skeins. I can tell by the looks on their faces that they’re thinking: Wow, I had no idea that knitting was like this!

So, when I learned about the two non-knitting men who purchased the domain knitting.com for $80,000, looking to earn $7.5 million from it within four years, it seemed like the epitome of every person I’ve met who has no idea what knitting is actually about.

Except it’s even worse.

These serial entrepreneurs plan to fill the site with keyword-rich content, presumably knitting patterns and instruction from underpaid designers. They plan to use this content to sell their yet-to-be-revealed but supposedly “incredible” products. (Judging by their previous endeavors in off-roading and adult coloring books, this likely means slapping their own label on yarn and needles already being manufactured overseas.) And they actually refer to knitting tools as widgets in an episode of a podcast aimed at aspiring tech millionaires.

They want to swoop into a community they don’t even care about and take whatever they can.

Sexism and ageism in knitting

Of course, it didn’t take them long to invoke a tired, sexist and ageist knitting stereotype. They claimed on their podcast that current knitting content comes from either 10 large companies or other “unsophisticated competitors” like “grandma, who has a little blog that she’s run for the last 20 years.” Dudes, do you know how much valuable knitting knowledge grandmas have?

Unsophisticated? How would you know what sophisticated knitting content even is if you barely know how to knit?

Why would you insult the very customers you’re looking to reach before you even launch?

In another eye-opening segment of the podcast, they talked about China-based sellers on Amazon. Those sellers do a “terrible job” of creating knitting content because “you can’t really have Chinese models in your videos.”

The knitting community certainly needs to do more work to be truly inclusive. But these people think their business has an advantage because their content will only include “Western models.” Way to bake racism and xenophobia into your business from the start!

Support handmade knitting businesses

This duo certainly has no regard for the thousands of small business owners, most of them women, BIPOC, LGBTIQA+ and people with disabilities, who have spent years working in the knitting industry. The ones who raise sheep, dye yarn, design sweaters and socks, sew project bags, craft stitch markers and manufacture knitting needles. We buy these products because we want to support the people in our community. These two don’t care about us — except for the fact that they think there are millions to be made! Of course, those of us in the industry do this work because of our passion for knitting and yarn, not to make a quick buck.

For their market research, the pair apparently visited a big box craft store and browsed knitting products on Amazon. Michaels and JOANN in no way represent the vast array of knitting yarn and knitting tools out there. And many small yarn companies and local yarn shops supplement their revenue with Amazon storefronts.

Did they even think to visit their local yarn shop? You know, those “unsophisticated” business owners, who actually deserve the eight-figure revenues these two think they can earn in a few years? No mention of WEBS, whose owners snagged the coveted URL yarn.com way back in 2003 (when keyword-focused URLs mattered much more)?

How we shop as knitters

Do they even know how knitters shop for yarn? When I’m ready to cast on a new project, or add to my ever-growing stash, I definitely don’t head to the search field on my browser. They may think they can influence crafters on social media, but they’ll need to spend a lot of money on Instagram and Facebook ads to make up for their clear lack of authenticity.

They probably hope this backlash will support their get-rich-quick scheme by bringing more traffic to their sites and increasing the possibly over-inflated value of the knitting.com domain.

Welcome, new knitters!

So, if you came across this post as a new knitter — welcome! Maybe you’re looking for knitting instruction, or the best way to cast on, or the best knitting needles or yarn to buy. There’s a wonderful world of designers who turn knit and purl stitches into wearable works of art. There are yarn dyers who lean over steaming pots to create colors that make your heart flutter. And there are creative, knowledgeable knitters who won’t hesitate to recount why they love their interchangeable needle set. Indie Untangled brings together all these talented people. We’re so glad to have you as part of our community!

Yarn dyeing, hands on

dyeing-setup

You would think that as someone who runs a website devoted to indie-dyed yarn, that I would have had some experience actually dyeing yarn. Well, believe it or not, I didn’t — until very recently.

A few weeks ago, Stephanie, a knitting blogger who runs one of my NYC knitting groups, organized a dyeing workshop at her apartment. While I had been tempted to take a dyeing class before, I had never followed through, and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Stephanie had a few different bases to dye with, including BFL/nylon sock yarn and Bulky Targhee, which is what I ended up working with. She set up a soup pot on her stove for kettle dyeing and also had the option of hand-painting yarn on her counter. After seeing one of the knitters dye a gorgeous silvery gray sock blank and a couple others create a beautiful variegated colorways, I decided to try my hand at both methods.

dyeing-painting-1

After pre-soaking the hank, I started adding the color, a mix of black and blue to get gray. Then, after the dye had penetrated, I removed the yarn from the pot and set it out on the plastic-wrapped counter to begin my painting. Using eye droppers, I covered a bunch of the hank with dark purple and then added a dash of yellow. I had wanted to include some green, but the yellow was a better choice, as it ended up turning green in the spots that the blue dye came through — my kindergarten color education definitely paid off!

dyeing-lisa-yarn-process

After “cooking” the painted yarn in Stephanie’s crockpot, I rinsed out the yarn in her bathroom sink and hung it up to dry in the shower.

dyeing-lisa-yarn-drying

Stephanie said the colors became much more vivid as the yarn dried, and snapped a great photo of it in the hank before she wound it in a cake that I can knit from.

dyeing-yarn-hank

I’m thinking of making a hat with an interesting stitch pattern to break up the colors.

Of course this doesn’t mean I won’t leave the majority of the yarn dyeing to the seasoned pros who post to Indie Untangled, but I’ve definitely been bitten by the dyeing bug.