What to stash this week: indie yarnie kits

A tote bag with a gold bear, orange and teal yarn, a box of tea and a wooden sweater fob.

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!

A pile of skeins of orange yarn.

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!

Skeins of orange, green, gray, peach, brown and blue and gray yarn.

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.

A skein of rainbow yarn above a photo of wildflowers in front of the moon.

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.

Stock up on Spotlight makers at Scratch Supply Co.

A bathtub full of yarn.

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.

We’ve loved teaming up with Jessica and Karen of New Hampshire Yarn shop Scratch Supply Co. (dig their new and improved logo!) on our events because their shop is filled with indie companies. In fact, they also carry, or will soon carry, several of the dyers and makers we featured at the Indie Spotlight show last weekend (if you missed it, you can still register to catch the recordings).

Check out their guide to the Spotlight indies they carry.

A green badge with a yellow tent between two pine trees that reads Camp Knitter.

adKnits

Augusta, based in Richmond, VA, creates a a fiber-inspired gift line that incorporates an earthy aesthetic, pops of color, and punny takes on yarn into a line of stickers, pins, project bags, stitch markers, and other fun items for knitters and makers.

“My goal is to connect knitters to nature and help them express their unique woods-walking, mountain-climbing, yarn-loving identity through my fiber-themed designs!”

A skein of red yarn.

Hudson + West

Hudson + West is a new yarn company dedicated to bringing innovative American-made yarns to the handknitting market, along with modern and wearable designs that highlight those yarns’ best qualities. Hudson + West was founded in 2019 by Meghan Babin, the former editor of Interweave Knits, and Sloane Rosenthal, a knitwear designer (and recovering litigator). Their name evokes our disparate locations: Meghan hails from New York’s Hudson River Valley, while Sloane calls the San Francisco Bay Area home.

“We’re both obsessed with ruggedly handsome yarns, practical design, and thoughtful, well-made goods. We’re serious students of yarn construction and knitwear design, and passionate about details. We’re also both lovers of the outdoors, and of the rugged, starkly beautiful landscapes of the American west that inspired and indeed, birthed, our first two yarns.”

A skein of tie-dyed yarn.

The Wandering Flock

The Wandering Flock is a contemporary Knitwear design studio and hand dyed yarn line based in Brooklyn, NY. In the summer of 2019, using the experience she had gained from working in fashion. Geraldine took a leap of faith and started The Wandering Flock.

“Drawing my inspirations the runway to streetwear, I create colors that are fun, wearable and contemporary.”

Coming soon is yarn from:

Brown, pink and aqua yarn.

Mitchell’s Creations

Terra is a Georgia native now living in Louisiana for over a decade. Mitchell’s Creations started with cakes and project bags and years later grew into much more.

“When looking for yarn for the first ever KAL I participated in, I went to my LYS for yarn. While they had nice yarn, I just didn’t see what I was looking for and this is where yarn dyeing started and I haven’t looked back.”

Bobbins of colorful yarn.

Plied

Plied Yarns is a new venture from Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. and Ann Weaver of Weaverknits! These two friends have worked with the mill at Harrisville Designs to create North Ave, an innovative woolen-spun, hand-dyed, marled yarn.

What to stash this week: Today’s special

A collage of yarn and bags.Our Indie Spotlight show launches today (there’s a vendor meet and greet at 1 p.m. Eastern and the marketplace officially opens at 2! Aside from shining the spotlight on 22 indie dyers and makers, I am really excited about the show specials. We all know how hard it is to resist those items, which are like souvenirs of the event.

All 22 of our vendors are offering exclusive colorways or debuting special products — plus there’s a lovely Indie Spotlight tote bag you can fit it all in! We hope you can join us this weekend and snag some of these tempting goodies.

Starting from the top left corner and working across each row, we have the Indie Untangled tote and products from our sponsors:

Peach Pop from The Wandering Flock
Sparkle Minis Sets from Jilly & Kiddles
Karst, a new base from Gothfarm Yarn
Dragon Fruit from Greenwood Fiberworks
Sunset Shawl kits from Hudson + West
Merbun Parade from Jessica’s Rabbits
Mr Moonlight from Little Fox Yarn 
Beach knitting stitch markers from Purlsmith

A collage of yarn and bags.

Starting from the top left corner and working across each row, we have:

Yarn-themed stickers from adKnits
The Terri & Brian Show from AT Haynes House Yarns
A three-skein fade from Crabapple Yarns
Festival Season from Dye Mad Yarns
New Suri Alpaca Lace from Hardware City Yarn Co.
Kits from M1 Yarns
A Summer Nights Mini Skein Gradient from McMullin Fiber Co
Aura from Mitchell’s Creations
Shattered Vale and Scottish Elfame from Native Fibers
Steal Away from Passion Knits Yarn
Watercolor Cowl kits from Plied Yarns
OH SNAP from Queen City Yarn
The More Is More bag from Stephanie Earp
A floral bag from Yarn & Whiskey

Register now to snag these!

Skeins of purple and pale green yarn.
Sign-ups are open for SpaceCadet’s Yarn Alliance yarn club, where every package is an exploration of color.

Orange and blue bird stitch markers in a hand.

The WeeOnes shop is in spring migration mode and filled with vibrantly colored birds. There are Baltimore Orioles and others to make your heart sing.

A collage of fluorescent pink and orange yarn and mushrooms.
WoolenWomenFibers is a mother/twin daughters team that includes a molecular scientist who now uses her laboratory skills in the dye studio to create indie-dyed yarn ”down to a science!” They also offer knitting jewelry and project bags to create one-of-a-kind knit and crochet kits.

White mini skeins speckled with black.

Heather of Pumpkins and Wool has opened preorders for her Halloween and Christmas Advent calendars.

A collage with Santa on a beach and a Christmas tree under a palm tree.

Preorders are still open for 7th Floor Yarn’s Christmas in July Advent kits.

Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Hudson + West

Two women wearing red posing together in wilderness.

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.

I first heard rumblings about Hudson + West during Rhinebeck 2019, where the rustic yarn brand had a soft debut, at the same fiber festival where the idea took root. This small company, started by friends Meghan Babin, the former editor of Interweave Knits, and Sloane Rosenthal, a knitwear designer, source and produce their yarns in the U.S., using a traceable, sustainable, and fair supply chain.

You can look forward to learning more about their two bases, Weld and Forge, and their stylish line of patterns at their virtual shopping sessions, and also learn more about the production of their yarns during their Let’s Talk About Wool session at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Tell us the story of how Hudson and West came to be.

Hudson + West started with two friends who were on parallel paths towards the same goal: making a yarn that would make the kinds of garments we would love to wear and could wear anywhere. Meghan and I met when I was an indie designer (and a full-time lawyer) and she was the editor in chief of Interweave Knits, when she hired me to design the sweater that became Tangled Up in Gray. We got to know each other and worked together on a number of projects over the next few years, and in 2018, both of us were trying to figure out what was next for us in the industry and were both talking to Mary Jeanne Packer, the owner of Battenkill Valley Fibers, about making yarn. MJ suggested that we work together, and we traded samples of potential yarns and got to talking at Rhinebeck in 2018 about how to make a yarn that would have the balance of durability, wearability, and ready-to-wear inspired polish that we craved, while doing it responsibly, ethically, and here in the US. H+W was born from those early conversations at Rhinebeck that year, and we opened to the public in November 2019.

Gold, navy, forest green, white and red yarn next to a map.

How have you found the sheep breeders you work with?

In our early batches of yarn, we bought our Corriedale from individual farmers and breeders in the Hudson Valley, mainly from farmers with some existing ties to either the Hudson Valley wool pool, or to MJ and our mill directly. We now work with a broader range of farmers in both the Hudson Valley and throughout the northeast and midwest, and buy a range of both raw fleece and combed Corriedale top, since our production needs have now (happily!) grown beyond being able to buy on a farm-by-farm basis. Like most US producers who use Merino, we get our Merino top from Chargeurs in South Carolina, which sources US-grown, ethically raised Merino from Colorado and New Mexico and scours and cards it for us.

How do both of you work together to decide on your color palette?

We have always been pretty aligned when it comes to the color palette, at least in terms of the broad guardrails: the colors had to be really easy to wear in a variety of settings, and feel rich and opulent and saturated while allowing some of the yarn’s underlying heathering to come through. We typically start with Pantone chips, and then I hand-dye samples in my office until we get the shade and saturation right (occasionally alarming my family members when I have multiple crock-pots of ten gram samples going in the bathroom of my office!). We look at those samples under a variety of lighting conditions and in the context of the rest of the existing palette, and the winners go to our dyehouse (Ultimate Textile in North Carolina) to go through their lab dip process and have the first test batches made.

Purple, orange, gold and pale pink yarn.

What are each of your responsibilities when it comes to the business? What are the unique things that each of you bring to your company?

We were super fortunate that we have a lot of overlapping skill sets, but also some distinct experiences that we bring to the table. Both of us are knitwear designers, and we have a lot in common in terms of our aesthetic sense and our overall creative vision for the company, so we collaborate very closely on both design work and those higher-level creative decisions. Meghan has a lot of experience with things like designer recruitment, managing editorial production, commercial photoshoots, and working with other third party publishers, all of which have been really critical to the development of our pattern support program, which has been a really important part of our journey in bringing our yarns to the world. Because of my legal background and previous start-up (and start-up adjacent) experience, and an admittedly deep love of spreadsheets, I end up having a lot of facility with more of the business back end and the production side, as well as managing our wholesale program. But overall, despite our geographically disparate setup, it’s a really free-flowing work environment, and we collaborate every day on both small and large-scale decisions.

Tell me about how each of you learned how to knit?

Meghan: My mom taught me the basics one weekend when I was home from college (I think I was about 19), and she had just learned how to knit, purl, cast on, and bind off. She promptly stopped knitting right after teaching me, but I kept on teaching myself, learning, taking classes, and experimenting with different yarns and techniques.

Sloane: Despite my mom, my best friend, and my mother-in-law both being knitters, I didn’t grow up knitting, and I actually taught myself after my older daughter was born in 2011. I was struggling with anxiety (like a lot of new moms), and the meditative nature of knitting really helped me at the time. I then got fascinated by the materials science of knitting and how our yarn affects our projects (after a few real bloopers on that score), and fell completely off the cabled sweater deep end shortly thereafter.

A woman models a black shawl with a rainbow of colors.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?

We’re so looking forward to meeting new folks and talking about yarn! We love hearing from knitters about what’s important to them and how and what they like to knit — it’s part of what we’ve missed about this strange, trade-show-less year+. We’re also so excited to introduce Meghan’s wonderful Sunset Shawl, our show special, and to meeting some other wonderful new indie producers.

Do you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?

Meghan: Where to start? I enjoy so many crafts, but I definitely don’t have enough time in the day, weeks, or years to practice them all. I’ve ventured into crochet fairly well, spinning + weaving as well not as well, embroidery with enthusiasm, sewing haphazardly, and I’ve always loved cooking, baking, and mixology. I’ve always wanted to try home brewing beer, but I think I’ll have to make friends with an avid home-brewer willing to teach me.

Sloane: Mostly drawing and painting, which I find incredibly relaxing. I also love baking (especially with my kids), and block printing.

Purple, orange, red and gray yarn.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Meghan: I’m currently making myself, for the first time ever, a gorgeous black sweater. It’s Sloane’s Adams in Weld in Raven and I’m loving its sweet, simple texture. I can’t wait to wear it this winter! I als have several swatches going for our Autumn/Winter collection.

Sloane: I’m working on Melody Hoffman’s Aito shawl (from an old issue of Laine) in Forge in Cabernet. I’ve never been a huge shawl knitter (I mostly do sweaters and hats), but I’ve been on a kick of exploring shawls in my personal knitting this year, and it’s been really interesting to a) knit from someone else’s patterns and b) explore knitting something I don’t tend to gravitate towards. I’ve also really loved having something warm to put around my shoulders while I’m working!

Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Jessica’s Rabbits

A woman with long curly hair holding a white and gold rabbit.

This is the third in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.

I had heard about Jessica’s Rabbits and browsed the booth briefly at last year’s Kings County Fiber Festival, a small outdoor event that takes place a few miles from my Brooklyn apartment. I didn’t realize that owner/bunny wrangler/dyer Jessica Schmitz and I only live a few blocks away from each other until she applied for Indie Spotlight! Once I reach my fully vaxxed status, I look forward to meeting Jessica and seeing her adorable buns in real life, but for now I, and all of you, can have fun getting to know her virtually this weekend, and via this blog interview.

Tell us the story of how Jessica’s Rabbits came to be.

 I moved to New York a few weeks before 9-11 to study classical flute. From that time until 2014, I lived in small city apartments — studios or tiny one bedrooms (if the real estate gods were smiling down upon me). But about six-and-a-half years ago I decided I needed to embrace my Midwestern roots and find more space, whether that be in the city or out.

Luckily, I found a listing for an old, potentially haunted, Victorian home in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. This was about the time I was falling deep in the yarn spinning rabbit hole, and a month into residence in my shockingly space-filled new digs I went to Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival.

I didn’t go to Rhinebeck planning to stumble upon a booth with baby angora bunnies, take one home, and build a tiny furry commune in South Brooklyn, but that’s precisely what happened. The little bun that would become Jojo Cinnabun stuck his little head out of the litter box, jumped on me, and Bunny Town, USA was born.

For a few years after that fateful hop, I focused on learning how to spin and building inventory, and then when COVID happened (and flute work temporarily evaporated) I finally got a website together (yay pandemic projects!) Our little business launched in summer 2020.

Pink crimped yarn.

You live not to far away from me in Brooklyn! What is it like raising fiber animals in the city?

It’s amazing! I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but have extended family in Indiana and farming has always been close to my heart. Having a little micro farm is the best of both worlds for me: I can get my Midwestern on with the buns, but then be close enough to the city for music work.

There are some challenges, however, to raising buns in the five boroughs: mainly getting food. Shockingly, there aren’t any Tractor Supply stores in the city, so I order about 300 pounds in bulk from New Jersey and drive out there every few months. The folks in the store call me “The Bunny Lady.”

Someday I’d also love to add some larger fiber friends to my family, and while I did look into subletting the downstairs apartment to an alpaca, that didn’t pan out (why is NYC always raining on my parade?). So maybe in the future I’ll follow in the footsteps of many a Brooklyn hipster before me and journey to the Hudson Valley.

What inspires your colorways?

It’s funny — as a musician and New Yorker I only wear black. So much of my yarn is the opposite of this fashion cosmic hole, defined by extreme brights and neons. I follow a lot of resin art accounts on Instagram, and the bold, glassy colors that come from alcohol ink in this genre are absolutely stunning.

Because all of my yarn is handspun, I dye much of it “in the wool,” meaning dyeing the fiber before I spin in. I love the variation this method brings, because I can blend colors together once they are already dry to highlight and accentuate different patterns. It’s more work doing it this way, but totally worth it to really make colors pop.

The natural colors of the buns is a big inspiration as well. Much of the fiber that I dye is from white bunnies, but overdyeing the natural greys, oranges, and blacks that the buns produce themselves can be a lot of fun.

Pink and blue yarn.

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

I love retro pinks, turquoises, and oranges (my apartment is a mid-century modern rainbow) and these hues carry through much of my work. When I first started spinning, I actually didn’t use any human-made dye, opting instead for natural dyes with avocado, madder root, etc. While I love these gorgeous soft tones, I couldn’t really find the bright turquoise I was craving with indigo. So I opened up the acid dye door just a tad to find a rich bright blue, and the other neons came pouring in.

I do still occasionally use natural dyes, but the chemistry behind all the subtle shades is a bit intimidating to me (I went to flute school, after all).

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that is challenging to create?

I’ve been dreaming of speckled ombré kits but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Dyeing yarn after I’ve already spun it is scary to me, because if I mess it up I remember how darn long it took to spin the skein. I think the key to unlocking gradient success will be practicing on yarn I didn’t spin, and then working my way up to angora handspun victory (hopefully 😉 ).

Blue, pink, orange and yellow yarn.

Jessica’s Indie Spotlight show special, Merbun Parade.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?

I’m so very excited for Indie Spotlight! I’m planning on introducing folks to my new spring collection, which includes a lot of multi-animal fiber blends mixing angora with mohair, superfine Merino, alpaca, and more. I’m also launching a new yarn exclusive to Indie Spotlight called Bunboo, which is a blend of angora with bamboo fiber. Both fibers are incredibly soft and silky, and they of course take dye differently so the color variation is delicate and subtle.

When and how did you learn to knit?

While I was always a crafty kid, I actually didn’t learn to knit until I was about 30 and my brother and sister-in-law had a baby! I wanted to make my nephew a blanket so I went to Michaels, got a bunch of acrylic yarn, and hit YouTube. I didn’t know that circular needles were a thing, and remember being so incredibly perplexed as to how people made such large blankets on such small straight needles. I ended up making about 40 small squares and seaming them together. I’m so glad those medieval dark days are behind me.

Blue, pink, orange and yellow yarn.

What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?

I’m always so amazed with the gorgeous items my customers make! One of my recent favorites was with my Bunicornyarn, a bulky 2-ply of brightly dyed angora and white alpaca, where the customer used 80 yards as the cuffs and neckline on a white form-fitting sweater.

What’s currently on your needles?

Know what’s crazy? Nothing! I’ve been spending all my time spinning and dyeing, I’ve run out of time to knit. But, once spring lightens up a bit I have a Knit Collage cardigan I’m dying to make that uses some super bulky wool in black and hot pink. I’m also soon to be in fall-pattern-planning mode for some bulky spins for cold days, 2021.

What to stash this week: Spotlight flash sale

An illustration of a bear wearing a teal sweater under spotlights.

We are just one week away from the latest Indie Untangled virtual show and I’m so excited about it —  there are so many new vendors I’m looking forward to meeting and shopping with. Have you checked out our list of dyers, podcasters and designers who are part of this event?

Haven’t purchased your ticket yet? You’re in luck, since we’re have having a 72-hour flash sale on Indie Untangled Spotlight admission tickets. Save 25% off by using this special link to register by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.
 
Need a last-minute gift for the special crafter in your life? bring them to Indie Spotlight! The two of you can hang out in lounge, attend virtual shopping sessions and play bingo and trivia together. 

Skeins of pale pink yarn.

Giulia and Stefania of Lanivendole are opening sign-ups on Sunday for their latest yarn club, which is inspired by the enchanted woods and the paintings of Gustav Klimt. Each club box will include 200g of their A Stormy Blend – Perla, a blend of Italian Wool and alpaca in a colorway hand-dyed exclusively for the club, and two accessories from Italian makers.

Preorders are open for Queen City Yarn’s Home Alone-themed Advent calendar that will leave you screaming like Kevin McAllister with aftershave. Boxes include 24 92-yard mini skeins and on full skein, along with three patterns.

Rainbow speckled yarn.

Mother/daughter team Holly and Erin of Stitch Stuff Yarn have new spring colors on fingering-weight 100% Superwash Merino wool. You can also learn more about the Stuff family (yes, that’s really their name!) in their intro post.

Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Gothfarm Yarn

A woman in a white T-shirt with a sheep head.

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.

When Monica of Gothfarm Yarn first posted to Indie Untangled in April of last year, I had to laugh at the name. Though you’d expect someone who gave their business such an edgy moniker to be an indie dyer, Monica, a handspinner, knitter and crocheter who is based in Austin, Texas, instead works with small farms and mills to create an array of natural yarns — with an emphasis on the “black sheep,” of course.

Tell us the story of how Gothfarm Yarn came to be.

The idea for Gothfarm Yarn came during a conversation with a friend. I told her that I loved spinning yarn from naturally-colored fleece so much that I wish I could have a “goth farm” just for raising black sheep for their beautiful wool.

The name and concept struck a chord with me. As a handspinner and knitter, I personally enjoyed blending naturally colored fleeces and spinning them up into yarn, but I rarely saw this type of yarn produced in large quantities at yarn shops or fiber events.

I realized that my idea for a “goth farm” worked better as a small yarn business, especially since I wanted to be able to share the yarn with other knitters and crafters. I could buy an array of fleeces and fibers from producers, decide on the blends I liked best, and then work with small mills to scale them up. That’s essentially how Gothfarm Yarn works today.

Another important part of getting Gothfarm Yarn started is the example set by the indie yarn community and the knowledge offered by the Texas wool community.

When I talked to vendors at fiber shows, I saw that everyone had a different pathway to indie yarn. You didn’t need special credentials or a certification. Anyone could take part. This provided a big confidence boost to get Gothfarm Yarn started in the first place. In turn, the Texas wool community – especially Dawn Brown at Independence Fiber Mill – helped teach me about wool and how to prepare it for milling. The community has also provided a powerful network for connecting me with wool producers!

Gray yarn.

How have you found the producers you work with?

I met about half of my current producers at yarn and fiber events or through word-of-mouth networks that started there. The other half I have found through Facebook groups dedicated to selling wool, mohair and other fibers. I’m always interested in hearing from new people, too!

Do you have a favorite sheep breed?

Yes! The Jacob sheep is my favorite breed. They can have up to six horns and are known for their piebald fleeces that come in a number of beautiful shades, from the usual black-and-white to elegant lilac gray. They’re beautiful to behold and have adorably dainty bodies.

I love using Jacob wool in Gothfarm Yarn products because of the body and heathering it adds to the final product. Jacob is part of our yarns Gabbro and Aswan, and in our pencil roving Cirrus. I also stock a 100% Jacob roving that’s great to spin on its own or blend with other fibers at home.

Dark gray yarn.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while running your business?

I find the history of different sheep breeds fascinating. The most interesting thing that I have learned while running Gothfarm Yarn is that a number of breeds — such as the Polypay and the Coopworth— are relatively recent developments, and the result of targeted, scientific breeding for specific characteristics and traits.

In that same line, I’m fascinated by “breed up” programs that are introducing populations of foreign sheep breeds to the United States without importing any individuals. Instead, semen from a foreign breed is imported and used to create cross-breed lambs with an established breed. The cross-breed ewes are then bred with imported semen, and the process is repeated until the genetics of the American offspring matches that of the original foreign population. This method is currently being used to establish American populations of Gotland sheep and the Valais Blacknose sheep.

A pair of cream-colored socks.

How did you learn to knit?

I took a community knitting class while I was in college. It was a four-week program that met every Monday night. The instructor was excellent and wanted to make sure we left the class with a strong foundation that would prepare us to take on a range of projects. We covered colorwork, lace, and cabling. She even made us drop stitches and taught us how to fix our knitting.

She also gave us a list of local yarn shops and regional fiber festivals. I went to my first fiber festival – Kid N’ Ewe and Llamas, too in Boerne, Texas – based on her recommendation. I left the festival with armfuls of indie yarn, feeling excited to knit it all!

Gold yarn.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?

My plan for Indie Spotlight is to show off the yarn! Each of our 14 yarns has a unique look and feel based on the fibers that comprise it. I’m going to go through each one, sharing what went into it and how to use it.

I will also be debuting a brand new yarn at Indie Spotlight. It’s a yet-to-be-named sport weight made from a blend of Cheviot sheep wool and just a touch of light gray alpaca. The overall color is the lightest shade of dove gray.

I am also going to share strategies for working with undyed, naturally colored yarn, make a case for adding more rugged wool to your knitting, and show off some of my favorite finished objects.

Cream-colored yarn.

Do you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?

Yes, I enjoy handspinning with my wheel and drop spindle. I also occasionally crochet.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

I recently started the Shasta Vest. I’m using Gothfarm Yarn’s Aswan for the body and Carbonado for the edging. I also have a pair of socks on a magic loop that I’m pecking away at when I need a change of pace. I’m using YarnTrekker’s Walkabout Tweed sock yarn in the color Pumpkin Spicy.

What to stash this week: Join us for Indie Spotlight

An illustration of a bear wearing a teal sweater under spotlights.

For our next virtual event, Petrina and I decided to go back to the roots of IU and provide a platform for newer and super-indie yarntrepreneurs.

We’ll be showcasing nearly two dozen small businesses at Indie Spotlight, which runs from May 14-16!

Spotlight vendors launched their businesses in 2019 or later or have fewer than 10k Instagram followers. Register now for access to virtual vendor booths that will feature video introductions and tours, photo galleries, and access to special products and discounts. You’ll also be able to meet dyers and makers during interactive shopping sessions (if you miss any, they will be recorded) and schedule one-on-one shopping appointments, where you can get help choosing colorways and deciding on patterns.

There will also be snacks…

I hope you can join us!

Sunset over wetlands and skeins of pink, purple, gold and green speckled yarn.

Today’s the last day to preorder Kraeo’s Setting Sun colorway for Knitting Our National Parks, inspired by sunset at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland, a peaceful place just a 45-minute drive from both Baltimore and Washington, DC. It’s available on Little Sister Fingering, a Superwash Merino single-ply fingering, and Mama Bear DK, a luxurious blend of 45% baby alpaca, 45% 19.5 Micron Merino and 10% silk.

Mini succulent charms.

Jillian’s recent love obsession with plants inspired these adorable succulent stitch markers now available in the WeeOnes shop, along with glow-in-the-dark aliens with a tiny spaceship and a set of knitting cats.

A long-haired woman in a wide-brim hat models a black and white colorwork sweater.

Who wouldn’t want to head off to Sheep Camp?! Dyer Meghan of Native Fibers, an Indie Spotlight vendor, is collaborating with designer Jennifer Berg of Native Knitter on the Sheep Camp Sweater KAL, which launches April 23.

Black mini skeins with pops of rainbow color.

Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers created her Rainbow Stars minis from raw Romney fleece that she washed, picked, carded, dyed and spun herself! Each set includes seven 20g minis.

Skeins of blue, orange, purple, green and yellow yarn.

Sharon of Garage Dyeworks also dyed up a different take on the rainbow. Be Yourself is now available on her 100% Superwash Merino. called Auto DK.