Untangling Christine of Skeinny Dipping

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Skeinny Dipping was one of the first yarn companies to advertise on Indie Untangled, way back in 2014. I was smitten by Christine’s glowing colorways, particularly her rich reds and complex browns and greens (and I am generally not a brown or green person) and learned a little more about her when she vended at the first-ever Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show that same year.

Christine’s background includes working in East Africa with the Peace Corps, which has inspired some of her colorway names (Malaria Dreams and Vervet), as have SNL (I Need More Cowbell and Space Pants) and food (Brown Butter and Blue Raspberry Slurpee).

When she’s not dyeing or traveling around the world with her husband and their adorable Chihuahua, Gracie, Christine knits incredible colorwork sweaters. Her yarn is currently available in the Indie Untangled Virtual Trunk Show.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

Dyeing yarn was never on my radar. Like many dyers I had gotten to a point in my life where the normal job wasn’t possible and I had to find something to do.

Christine with a “mama” from her village in Kenya.

What did you do in the Peace Corps?

I was an agroforestry extensionist in the Peace Corps. This was my primary assignment through the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. I worked with other local Kenyan extensionists in my location (similar to a county) providing technical assistance to subsistence farmers in my region.

My area of expertise was agroforestry, which is a multi-purpose land use system that promotes fuel wood security and improved crop yields on subsistence-sized plots. Together with my Kenyan counterparts we also addressed water and sanitation issues, health education (such as HIV prevention) and any other issues that farmers encountered. I also had some secondary projects like teaching how to bake without an oven, which was a project that happened by accident.

What inspires your colors?

Sometimes it’s a word or phrase that inspires the color (Space Pants from SNL). Other times, it’s the parasitic diseases of tropical Africa or the nut sacks of Kenyan monkeys (Malaria Dreams and Vervet). If it’s disturbing, I’m pretty sure I’ll get a good colorway out of it.

Tinsel-ectomy on Journey Worsted.

Which of your colorways are you most proud of?

I’m proud of them all in their own way, but my favorites are the ones that glow even though they’re extremely saturated and dark. Those take a lot of experimentation to get right, and I have to redo the recipes for each base since different fibers take the dyes differently.

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

My favorite color has always been green, and there were a lot of colors I didn’t like before I became a dyer, like yellow and red. But I found that I started to like them if I could get them murky and saturated, so I’ve come around to those colors. I still don’t like pink, though, except for Adobe Wan Kenobi, and that’s only because I’ve pushed that colorway to the line between coral and red. I love gray and black, too.

Christine knit Sweaterfreakknits’ Birch Sap shawl in a colorway called Adobe Wan Kenobi.

When and how did you learn to knit?

My grandmom first taught me to knit when I was seven. I only knew the knit stitch, and I had some horrid pink acrylic from Woolworths. Like a lot of kids, I was interested for 10 minutes and then put it aside till I was much older. I picked it up again during my pre-service training in the Peace Corps. We get three months of intensive training in-country before our service officially begins, and it was during this time that our trainers encouraged us to develop another hobby other than reading. We managed to cobble together the rest of the knitting basics like casting on and binding off from within our group. I made a lot of scarves and potholders until the next extension group of volunteers arrived. There was a hat knitter in that group and luckily she was based near me, so I learned how to make Anna Zilboorg’s hats. Aside from when I was in grad school and working full time, I haven’t stopped knitting since then.

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

I cannot dye less saturated colorways to save my life. I do have Salt Marsh, Zingbat, Vintaged and Blue Raspberry Slurpee but I hated all of them when I came up with them. But everyone else liked them, so they got to stay.

Olives on Journey Worsted.

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

It’s not so much that there are certain projects that are my favorites, but moreso when my customers make something with a colorway they say is not from a color group that they normally like. Those are my favorites — if I can get you to be open to a color group that you didn’t like before, that is the ultimate compliment.

The Indie Untangled shopping guide to VKL NYC 2019

It’s that time of year again, when Times Square gets overtaken by knitters on a mission, dodging tourists and glaring at the Starbucks line, hoping to make it to their 9 a.m. brioche class on time — or just to the Marketplace to shop for yarn.

The Marketplace at this year’s VKL NYC — taking place at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square from January 25-27 — looks to be the busiest it’s ever been. To help you prepare, I’ve put together a guide to the Indie Untangled vendors that you need to visit. Each vendor has introduced themselves and is offering a sneak peek at some of the yarns and products they’ll be bringing.

Will you be there this weekend (and on the subway Saturday)?

Asylum Fibers

Fifth Floor, Booths 314 & 316

Asylum Fibers focuses on in-your-face, vibrant tones and one-of-a-kind colorways on over 15 bases, both versatile and luxurious. The brand name was thought up in order to incorporate the playfulness of horror flicks while leveraging the other meaning of the word “asylum,” acknowledging that crafting is such a wonderful, meaningful form of therapy and comfort.

Stop by to “embrace your crazy” with a photo shoot and check out some new 2019 colorways. Available will be an event colorway called Sidewalk Reflections, a new base called Brainless Bulky and The Brainless Beanie, a free pattern corresponding with the release of this new base, and a 2019 mini set featuring new colors, including I’m Alive, inspired by the Pantone color of the year.

Cat Sandwich Fibers

Fifth Floor, Booth 321

I dye everything out of my home’s basement in New Jersey and I’m inspired by all things cute and pink.

I’ll be bringing more than 20 new colorways, some of which are one-of-a-kinds and will never be repeated again. A ton of new colors are inspired by Sailor Moon, which is a show I religiously watched growing up.

Dragonfly Fibers

Sixth Floor, Booth 907

Dragonfly Fibers has been dyeing high-quality yarn and fiber in suburban Washington, DC, for more than 10 years. We’re known for our vivid and saturated tonal and variegated colorways, and we have gorgeous neutrals, too! Come see all that’s new and beautiful in booths 807 and 809!

Pictured above is the Plumpy Shawl by Andrea Mowry. Sample shown in the Starry Night colorway of our Traveller Fade Color Pack (plus one additional skein of Starry Night). Four other fade packs are available — Fade to Back, Reds to Browns, Blues to Browns and Blues.

Nightshift shawl by Andrea Mowry. Sample is shown in one of two kit options of six two-ounce skeins of Traveller: Jocelyn, Mossy Glen, Into the Woods, Hot Pants, Arya, and Limelight The other kit is Cheshire Cat, Airport Hot Sauce, Titania, That Ol’ Chestnut, Silver Fox, Velvet Underground.

Garment District, our show exclusive colorway! Shown in Djinni, our fingering weight MCN. It will be available in multiple bases but supplies are limited.

Eternity Ranch Knits

Fifth Floor, Booth 118

Most of my dying revolves around themes. At VKL in NY I will have Disney Men, Disney Villains as well as a few added colorways to series I currently have, plus many new semisolids in fingering/DK and worsted weights.

Pictured are Pittsburgh Steelers, Cast Iron, Hyacinth and Beth.

Katrinkles

Fifth Floor, Booth 100

Katrinkles makes buttons, wearable accessories, tools for fiber artists and custom products out of durable wood. Each piece is lovingly designed, carefully crafted and hand-finished in our Providence, RI, studio.

[Editor’s note: You can preorder some special VKL items (not the stitch marker pins, unfortunately) to pick up at the show on the Katrinkles website through the end of the day today.]

Kim Dyes Yarn

Fifth Floor, Booth 117

Kim Dyes Yarn is an indie dyer from the beautiful state of Virginia. Kim offers hand-dyed luxury yarn and spinning fibers in unique colorways.

Lady Dye Yarns

Fifth Floor, Booth 541

Lady Dye Yarns has specialized in hand-dyed, vibrant and saturated yarns since 2010. I believe in promoting a more diverse crafting community through my actions and building collaborations with others.

In addition to tons of new colorways, I will have my limited-edition Fingering Merino Cashmere yarn just for VKL in my Black Panther colorway and in all of my new colorways. Also in my booth will be Alex Creates, Crochet Luna, Fully Spun and Alasdair Post-Quinn, all representing diverse backgrounds culturally, but also in their work.

Little Fox Yarn

Fifth Floor, Booth 119

Aimee and Brian are the dyers of Little Fox Yarn, based just outside of Richmond, Virginia. Their beautiful, wearable colorways are inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains where Aimee grew up.

Magpie Fibers

Fifth Floor, Booths 600-610

Magpie Fibers specializes in hand-dyed luxury yarns, saturated colors and distinctive accessories.

Mollygirl Yarn

Fifth Floor, Booth 418

MollyGirl Yarn is a rockin’ yarn company featuring exclusive yarns inspired by music! Their Vogue lineup includes 2 new yarns, tons of new mini bundles, new enamel pins featuring art from designer Xandy Peters and signups for Volume II of the Spotlight Club!

mYak

Sixth Floor, Booth 914

This is mYak: Born in Tibet, Crafted in Italy.
A natural fiber unique in the world.
Born in one of the world’s most extreme locations.
Made with Italian artisanal quality.

At VKL we are going to present our line of Baby Yak and Tibetan Cashmere in both kits and single skeins with the beautiful designs created for us by incredibly talented designers.

Nice & Knit

Fifth Floor, Booth 408

We’re Katie and Kara of Nice and Knit — sisters, best friends, knitters and color enthusiasts. We work hard to bring you the very best of what we love, from our creative patterns to our quality hand-dyed yarns. We love working together in our light-filled Connecticut studio, dyeing yarn, shipping orders, and brainstorming our next big idea. Thank you for being a part of our dream!

We’ll be featuring an VKL color way called Times Square and custom City Lights bags from Sandy by the Lakeside.

One Geek To Craft Them All

Fifth Floor, Booth 412

One Geek to Craft Them All makes stitch markers, notions pouches, project bags, and jewelry for all crafters. Inspired by music, movies, books, history, and more I bring a nerdy flair to all I make. My designs are to inspire everyone’s inner geek.

[Editor’s note: Marsha will have exclusive Indie Untangled yarn ball earrings in her booth!]

Ritual Dyes

Sixth Floor, Booth 1015

Ritual Dyes is an independent Dyehouse out of Portland, Oregon, that focuses on wearable, subtle colorways of hand-dyed yarn. We also offer a line of modern project bags including the Knitter’s Backpack.

We will be bringing along kits for Caitlin Hunter’s Alyeska pattern, kits from our new, sign-specific Zodiac Collection, an exciting version of our popular Knitter’s Backpack – the Knitter’s Sling Bag (in leather!) as well as our new American Rambouillet line.

Shelli Can

Sixth Floor, Booth 1107

Shelli designs enamel pins, apparel, and other accessories for fiber lovers. She’ll be releasing an exclusive VKL design (pizza!) on a variety of items along with some collaborations by Tuft Woolens, Havirland, Katrinkles and Bunny & Toot.

Wolle’s Yarn Creations

Fifth Floor, Booth 116

Wolle’s Yarn Creations — the original gradients. Our cotton and cotton/silk yarns are skin-soft luxury, feeling is believing.

Yarn Culture

Sixth Floor, Booths 711-719

Based in Rochester, N.Y., Yarn Culture brings yarn, inspiration and designers from around the corner and around the world.

Meet Åsa Tricosa and see her beautiful collection of Ziggerats Sweaters.

Participate in a VKL-NYC exclusive preview of Rosy Green Wool’s new Manx Merino Fine collection and be the first to see Melanie Berg’s newest shawl design, Glückauf.

We’ve got a gorgeous selection of garments and yarn from Rochester, N.Y.’s own Renee from Spun Right Round, including the exclusive colorway ROC City Blooms.

Youghiogheny Yarns

Fifth Floor, Booth 108

Youghiogheny Yarns, pronounced “yock-i-gainey,” is the creation of husband and wife team, Todd & Keri Fosbrink. Color is everywhere in the Youghiogheny River Valley no matter the season, and Youghiogheny Yarns wants to help you bring some of that color into your life and projects.

Pictured above are their colorways Blueberry Lemonade, Coral Cove, Chinese Fireball and a preview of their 2019 show exclusive, I Beg Your Pardon!

Zen Yarn Garden

Fifth Floor, Booth 421

Zen Yarn Garden’s dye studio is based is Ontario, Canada. Our yarn is special. We take pride in providing the most luxurious fibres and dyeing them in a range of beautiful semi-solid, splatter and one-of-a-kind colourways. We know every yarn you buy is destined to have many hours in your stash and on your needles. With each skein we strive to reflect the same passion that you have for your projects and craft in our yarns.

We will have a myriad of colourways available in several bases and will be offering free patterns with yarn purchases. Be sure to check out our Lux Blanx which knit up and express colours in unique ways!

2018 Year In Review: IU dyers and yarns

I get so much inspiration from the knitters who find wonderful things to make with hand-dyed yarn — especially when they get creative and combine yarns from different indie dyers in colorwork projects, or find the perfect pattern for that semisolid or speckled colorway. Here’s a compilation of my favorite projects using yarn from Indie Untangled artisans.

Above is perhaps my favorite project of the year, Vicki’s All Points South with Dark Harbour Yarn Starboard, Duck Duck Wool Silky Singleton and The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Foxy Lady. I love how the four colorways from three different dyers look meant for each other (and I definitely looked to Vicki’s pullover shawl, as the designer Casapinka calls it, as inspiration when knitting my version with Duck Duck Wool.

Mary’s Heart of Glass with Duck Duck Wool 80/20 Merino Silk Fingering

Carol’s Tulle Shawl with Spun Right Round Superwash Sock 80/20

Lavanya’s Rue St. Antoine with Astral Bath Yarns Astral Sport

Amanda’s Beeline with Marianated Yarns Scrumptious HT

Karen’s Yin & Yang Loop with Middle Brook Fiberworks Vintage No. 3

Jenn’s Stripey Cowl with Canon Hand Dyes Charles Sock

Elizabeth’s Sunset Highway with Hue Loco Single Sock, Skeinny Dipping Merino Single and Voolenvine Yarns Nouveau

Kate’s Guthrie with Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool and The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Juicy DK — which won the 2018 Indie Untangled KAL

2018 Year In Review: IU exclusives

One of the best things about running Indie Untangled is getting to work with talented dyers to come up with exclusive colorways, whether it’s for the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, the Knitting Our National Parks project or the Where We Knit yarn club. And while I love collecting hand-dyed yarn as much as the next knitter, I truly enjoy seeing those colorways put to use in beautiful sweaters, shawls, cowls and more.

For the 2018 Indie Untangled Year In Review, I’ve compiled some of my favorite projects that use Indie Untangled exclusives.

Pictured above is Cecilia’s Sunset Highway with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Automne à Rhinebeck, Asylum Fibers Solitary in Rhinebeck’s All The Craze, Dark Harbour Yarn Port in Davy Jones Locker and La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Yellow Brick Road

Aimee’s Rainshadow in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles Kingston and Hudson

Janet’s Local Yarn Shawl with The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Foxy Lady in Kiowa

Kelly’s Glaciers and Wildflowers Pullover with Duck Duck Wool DK Limited in Glaciers and Wildflowers

Tawana’s The Doodler with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Automne à Rhinebeck and Asylum Fibers Solitary in Rhinebeck’s All The Craze and Sleepless

Deborah’s Do It Up with Gauge Dye Works SHAWL: MCN Fingering in Hudson Valley

Jerrill’s Birds and Ships with Little Fox Yarn Vixen in Birds and Ships

Amy’s Close To You with Asylum Fibers Solitary in Acadia Lights

Abigail’s Concentra Cowl with Backyard Fiberworks Terrain in North Cascades Night and Merino 2/6

Maggie’s Lemon Pie with La Bien Aimée Merino DK in Automne à Rhinebeck

See many more FO’s using yarn from Indie Untangled dyers here.

2018 Indie Untangled holiday newsletter giveaway

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In what has become an Indie Untangled holiday tradition, I am thanking the knitters who invite me into their inboxes each week with a special holiday giveaway.

For the 2018 Newsletters to Santa and Hanukah Harry giveaway, I’ve gathered together some amazing prizes from several artisans, some who were new to the Indie Untangled community this year and others who are favorites, and doing a string of giveaways (eight plus one) starting this Monday and running through Christmas Day.

Here are the rules: Sign up for the Indie Untangled newsletter by 9 p.m. EST and you will be eligible to win that day’s prize (anyone already on the mailing list is entered to win). After 9 p.m., I’ll pick a winner via random number generator and send out an email. The winner will arrange shipment with the dyer/artisan. The grand prize will be a very special package of yarn and knitting stocking stuffers that I will ship out to the winner.

PLEASE NOTE: Winners must respond within 48 hours of when the notification email is sent to claim the prize. If not, another winner will be selected.

Here’s the schedule:

December 17: A skein of the winner’s choice from McMullin Fiber Co.

Congrats to winner Donna!

December 18: A skein of the winner’s choice from Hazel Knits

Congrats to winner Kathy!

December 19: A sterling silver double sided “Yarn Life” and stockinette stitch motif necklace from Porterness Studio

Congrats to winner Janet!

December 20: A skein of the winner’s choice from Murky Depths Dyeworks

Congrats to winner Natalie!

December 21: A skein of the winner’s choice from October House Fiber Arts

Congrats to winner Cheryl!

December 22: Two skeins of yarn and a project bag from Lady Dye Yarns

Congrats to winner Rhianna!

December 23: The winner helps hellomello handspun create a custom color.

December 24: A Birds of a Feather kit from Junkyarn

Congrats to winner Shelagh!

December 25: A project bag from Woodsy and Wild, yarn from Magpie Fibers, pins from Shelli Can, project bag tags from Katrinkles and a Stash Rabbit pin from Indie Untangled.

One other winner will also receive a set of four OOAK skeins of DK-weight Selene from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and swag from this year’s Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Congrats to winners Jody and Patricia!

Untangling C.C. Almon of Javapurl Designs

C.C. wearing her A Walk in the Park Cowl.

Knitting and caffeine seem to go together like, well, yarn and needles. C.C. Almon of Javapurl Designs takes that to the next level with her designs, many of them coffee related, or with a geeky twist. There’s also a bit of Gilmore Girls thrown in (again, coffee) as she often collaborates on collections with her daughter, Dami.

C.C. also often works with dyer Julia of Pandia’s Jewels, and for this year’s Where We Knit yarn club, she created two items: her Brackett’s Landing socks and cowl are now available to purchase.

When and how did you learn to knit and how did you decide to become a designer?

I’ve always been crafty having grown up with a great-grandmother who did needlework, a grandmother who painted and sewed and a momma who did lots of crafts including cross stitch. I dabbled in lots of crafts over the years, but had always wanted to learn to knit. Why? I’m not sure. I didn’t know anyone who knit. It was just always calling to me.

So I finally answered the call in 2005 when I purchase a Learn to Knit kit from a big box store. I was instantly in love! The first few years, I knit mostly blankets and hats.

Things exploded in 2012 when I took a sock knitting class. In 2013, I released my first big pattern (Rescue Me, Chin Boy, & Show Me the Stars – a Doctor Who-inspired Socks) after I was gifted a gorgeous skein of yarn that I knew needed to be a certain pattern, but I couldn’t locate one, so I made it up.

Since then, I’ve designed 60 patterns (mainly socks, but also shawls, cowls, and a few miscellaneous things).

What did you do before becoming a designer and how does it inform your design work?

My final job before I became disabled was as a hospital chaplain. My primary unit was the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I desperately miss working with those wee babes and their families. As a way to continue to bless them, I designed my Top Down Preemie Hat pattern (free on Ravelry) with seven sizes from 24 weeks to full-term. Since 2014, I have knit one preemie hat each week which I then donate to a local hospital.

How did you decide to team up with your daughter, Dami, and how do you work together on your designs?

My Dami (she’s 19 years old and a freshman in college) is a prolific knitter. For a couple of years, she helped me by knitting the samples for my designs. In 2016, she had an idea for a pair of socks inspired by the TV show Elementary. Once she designed those, she continued with eight further patterns and she is now working on a collection of patterns inspired by one of her favourite musicals, Hadestown. We haven’t both collaborated on singular designs, but rather design our own things that then come together in a collection or book.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Our pattern design inspirations range from geeky things like Doctor Who and Elementary, to TV shows such as Gilmore Girls and Outlander, to coffee, to colourways that demanded to be something, to locations such as the city of Edinburgh, and more.

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

I need to connect to the specific thing that inspires me (whether it’s a TV show or a colourway or a location or a coffee drink) first and then the design flows out of that.

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

PINK!!!!!!!!!! Always PINK!!!!!! (Although I have surprised some people recently by sharing that my second favourite colour is orange, not bright orange, but rather that autumnal burnt orange.) I love PINK so much that we designed an entire book inspired by the colour (Tickled PINK ~ two designers, four indie dyers, eight PINK-tastic patterns).

ks.jpg” alt=”” width=”700″ height=”700″ class=”size-full wp-image-15447″ /> I Love You More Than Pumpkin Spice Socks

Where is your favorite place to knit?

In a coffeeshop with a cuppa coffee (what kind varies by the season, pumpkin spice lattes are my absolute favourite) with either a good friend to chat with or a good book to read or an intriguing podcast to listen to.

Indie turns 5 at Rhinebeck

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Organizing each year’s Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show is like completing a new knitting project. With nearly every one, I learn something new that makes me a better knitter. I get a little help — sometimes a lot of help — from my fellow stitchers. And I have late, often sleepless nights coming up with solutions to tricky problems.

And, as much as I knit, my stash continues to grow…

There were a lot of changes this year. The show moved to a new venue in Saugerties, which provided much more space, and natural light, for shopping than our previous home at the Best Western. We expanded the hours. It was also, for the first time, a fully ticketed show, and we utilized shuttle buses to ensure the venue’s parking lot wouldn’t be overtaxed. After the unprecedented crowds, long lines and parking issues of last year, these were things that had to be done, though I regret this meant that not everyone who wanted to come was able to.

While many shoppers were anxious about this new system, it was, overall, a relaxed and celebratory atmosphere — with a little bit of that festival frenzy thrown in.

My fellow helpers and I — including Petrina Hicks, a knitting friend who I discovered, via Instagram, lives across the street from me and is an event planner! — learned a lot from this year’s show. I know it will help ensure that future Indie Untangled events, whether it’s a kickoff to Rhinebeck or special event in Brooklyn, become my, and your, favorite FO yet.

And speaking of knitting friends, here are some photos of Indie Untangled 2018 taken by my talented friend Carolina of Triple C Photography.

Working the Night Shift at the Spincycle Booth.

Designers Catherine Clark and Caitlin Hunter pose for one of many pics.

A shopper spotted with multiple Indie Untangled bags.

A wall of color at the Hue Loco booth.

More beauties at Junkyarn.

Checking out the colors from IU newcomer Hu Made.

Taking a (short) break from shopping in the MDK Lounge.

Colorful project bags from That Clever Clementine and wooden goodies from Katrinkles.

Showing off my All Points South while taking in my other indie FO.

Getting ready for Rhinebeck with Mason-Dixon Knitting

This is the 12th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2018 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting have been corresponding about knitting since 2003, so they know a thing or two about Rhinebeck. This year, they will be the hostesses with the mostest in what is being dubbed the MDK Lounge at the fifth annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show.

I recently asked Ann and Kaye about their plans for the big weekend:

Who are you both most looking forward to seeing at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show?

An event like Indie Untangled gives us the opportunity to see our invisible internet friends in actual 3D human form — it’s incredibly good fun. We’ll be in the Indie Untangled Lounge all day — beginning at 1 p.m. rope drop! — so we hope to say Hi to as many folks as we can. Really looking forward to talking yarns and designs with everybody. Pub nights are kind of a branded thing with us. We love a good sit ’n’ knit.

Tell me about some of the most recent dyers that you’ve stocked your shop with.

The MDK Shop, our online yarn emporium, features a bunch of dyers that we admire and respect so much — a number of them are Indie Untangled vendors, and we’re proud to be working with them. Recently, that group includes Julie Asselin of Julie Asselin Yarns, Amy Lee Serradell of Canon Hand Dyes and Alice O’Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks. We met them all at Indie Untangled, so it’s a bit of a reunion to get to see them again. And we have an MDK exclusive, beautiful yarn coming soon from Karin Maag-Tanchak and Jill Draper.

Are there any indie dyers and designers that you think should be on knitters’ radars?

We often say we’re living in a golden age of yarn — it’s hard for us to keep up with the dyers who are emerging on the scene, but what a wonderful problem to have. Naturally-dyed yarns are really making us happy these days. Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep is brilliant at pairing beautiful fibers with her color sense. Marcia McDonald of Lana Plantae gets these incredibly vibrant colors from plant dyes. And Meg Anderson of Nutmeg Yarns is working in the gentlest, softest palette imaginable.

Ann’s Birkin by Caitlin Hunter.

What are you each planning to wear to both Indie Untangled and the New York Sheep & Wool Festival?

We hope for a daily high of 57 degrees, because that is the perfect temperature for SWEATA WEATHA. Ann has about a half dozen potential sweaters, ranging from Carbeth by Kate Davies (in case there is a blizzard—that thing is HOT) to Birkin by Caitlin Hunter (fingering weight). Kay is madly knitting away on a vintage Kaffe Fassett kit from 1986 that is going to ROCK THE FESTIVAL one of these days (three years since cast-on! This could be the year!). If the Kaffe is not quite ready for showtime, and even if it is, Kay’s brand-new Savage Heart Cardigan by Amy Christoffers is going to make its maiden voyage this year.

What do you think is going to be the most-seen sweater at Rhinebeck this year?

Our prediction: many, many, many yoke sweaters. When have we ever had such a bumper crop of yoke designs? My guess: Humulus (Isabell Kraemer). More Birkins (Caitlin Hunter) Fades being found all over the place. And Carbeth, our Bang Out a Sweater sweater of 2018, will surely be everywhere if the temps are cool enough. (You could cast one on right now and get it done in time. We aren’t kidding when we say BANG OUT.)

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Ann: Making a giant Parallelogram Scarf by Cecelia Campochiaro from MDK Field Guide No. 5: Sequences. And Thea Colman’s Appleseed Mitts from MDK Field Guide No. 8: Merry Making. And every other pattern from that Field Guide because we’re in the midst of a giant Bunchalong on MDK, where knitters are making holiday gifts in multiples. I’ve got ten weeks and a mighty momentum getting warmed up.

Kay: Currently blocking: three (three!) Stranded Diamonds Hats from MDK Field Guide No. 8. Next up: untold numbers of Slip-Stitch Caps and Appleseed Mitts and Chalice Cowls from Field Guide No. 8. I’m going to win the Bunchalong. (Wait — I’m not eligible to win the Bunchalong. But: bragging rights!)

Stranded Diamonds Hats from MDK Field Guide No. 8.

What are each of your favorite FOs from the last year?

Ann: I love my Birkin yoke sweater by Caitlin Hunter so, so much. I used Backyard Fiberworks Sock in the shades of Jamberry and Patio, aka the loudest colorway I’ve ever made. It makes me feel pretty and witty and bright.

Kay: My most recent FO is always my fave. I love love lurve my Savage Heart Cardigan, and may cast on a second one in Spud & Chloe Sweater, because it’s such a perfect match for the pattern. I also have to give a big thumbs-up to the Parallelogram Scarf from Field Guide No. 5. I’ve made 2, which are really 3, since the second one was a double-wide version. Once you start some soothing sequence knitting with Freia Fibers’ slow-changing Shawl Balls, you can’t really find a good stopping point. Just… keep… knitting…

The Knot House gets ready for Rhinebeck

This is the 11th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2018 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

The Knot House in Frederick, Maryland, is an LYS that really supports indie dyers. It’s where trunk show vendor Dami of Magpie Fibers learned to knit and launched her company and always showcases the latest and greatest at their indie pop-up during the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

I asked owners Heather and Cathy to give us a look at their plans for Rhinebeck and also learned about a new dyer who has come on the scene…

Who are you both most looking forward to seeing at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show?

Hu Made. We haven’t met Amanda, so we are looking forward to meeting her and seeing her yarns in person.

Tell me about some of the most recent dyers that you’ve stocked your shop with.

We have two that we have added recently:

1) Nice & Knit – We love their Sock and DK. They have great colors and are just a pleasure to work with.

2) Chasing Rabbits – Love the Sock and her colors.

Cathy and Heather

Are there any indie dyers and designers that you think should be on knitters’ radars?

I have to give myself a plug here. We have our own hand-dyed yarns now. We launched our La Di Da DK and Mo Debonair Mohair earlier this fall. With the focus on sweaters, we have focused on tonal solids.

How did you decide to dye your own yarn?

I don’t really know. I had thought about it before but never really thought of myself as an artist. But Mom and I thought I should try to supplement the shop. So Mom ordered yarn and I ordered dye and got started.

Where do you dye?

I currently dye in my home kitchen but we are working on building out a small studio in the basement.

What inspires your colors?

I have always loved textiles and have been known to spend way to much on decor fabrics. I love a room done well with pops of color. So I get a lot of inspiration from home decor pictures and fabrics. I also love timeless fashion. Matter of fact, I took a picture of Uma Thurman in the streets of NYC in 1987 and used it to come up with a small collection. In my option, yarn colors have to be truly wearable. I will be doing a sock weight in variegated fun stuff soon!

What are you each planning to wear to both Indie Untangled and the New York Sheep & Wool Festival?

Not exactly sure yet, but I’m sure Mom and I will both be wearing something from Boyland Knitworks and/or Andrea Mowry.

An FO of Caitlin Hunter’s Tecumseh.


What do you think is going to be the most-seen sweater at Rhinebeck this year?

Tecumseh and The Throw Back!

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Mom is working on Caitlin’s Ramblin Woman Cardigan [a pattern that is debuting at Indie Untangled] using Knot House La Di Da DK. I am working on Millie by Nice & Knit and the Aim True Hat by Caitlin Hunter.

Cathy’s Sipila sweater.

What are each of your favorite FOs from the last year?

I think mine is still Sunset Highway and Mom’s is her Sipila sweater.

Viola’s ‘Knits About Winter’

This is the 10th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2018 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Ever since I discovered indie-dyed yarn, Viola has been one of the dyers whose yarns I have lusted after. Emily’s colors are lightly speckled, but not the eye-poppingly bright speckles that have become popular in recent years. They’re more like gelato, with subtle swirls that look good enough to eat.

While following Emily’s business over the years, through her work experience with UK-based mill John Arbon Textiles — which created a line of colors inspired by her — to her move to a studio in Mooresburg, Ontario, and development of bases, like her Mooresburg DK, it was my dream to have her vend at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show. So I was thrilled when, earlier this year, Amy of Pom Pom Quarterly asked if Emily could have a booth to sell her yarns, which would be featured in Knits About Winter, a book of Emily’s designs that Pom Pom Press was publishing in the fall.

In advance of the premier of Knits About Winter at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival (you can preorder your copy from the Merritt Bookstore to pick up in their booth at the festival), I spoke to Emily about the book and her work as a dyer.

What inspires the designs in Knits About Winter?

Knits About Winter is entirely inspired by the winter landscape surrounding my home in Mooresburg, Ontario. I moved here at the beginning of a very cold and snowy winter a few years ago and was almost instantly captivated by the quiet magic of winters here. Winter can be cold and harsh but also mysterious and magical. My goal with each of the designs in Knits About Winter was to create patterns that would be warm and comfortable in the cold of winter, all the while remembering the colours, shapes and light of winter.

Did you come up with new colorways for the collection?

Yes! There are four new Viola colourways that are launching at the same time as the book. Each colourway is also inspired by Mooresburg winters past and present. I knew roughly what I wanted each colour to be, but did a lot of visual research and experimenting before I landed on the finished colourways. Visual research is one of the most fun jobs that I have, especially in winter, because it involved frequent snowshoeing adventures with my camera! Each colourway is inspired by a variety of different sights in my winter landscape. I decided to combine elements of texture, light, shape and, of course, colour that stood out to me and suited the palette I wanted to achieve.

Do you have a favorite pattern from the collection and, if so, why is it your favorite?

My answer to this question changes every day, so I suppose they’re all my favourites. My focus was to create designs that would be versatile and serviceable, yet beautiful. I also wanted to create pieces that would be easy to layer and wear together, so I think of these patterns as a knitted outfit rather than individual pieces. I can honestly say that I can’t wait to wear all of them, and am so pleased with their minimalistic beauty and wearability.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

After working in a small knitting store in Toronto, I discovered the wonders of hand-dyed yarns. It didn’t take long before I was experimenting with dyes for myself, and just a little while longer before customers at the shop claimed skeins for themselves. The business grew quickly from there, along with my dyeing and business skills. I learned everything as I went along, through lots of trial and error and lots of making mistakes.

How did you decide on the name Viola?

That was an easy decision actually. Viola is the name of both of my grandmothers! Both women were seriously talented knitters and made my sister and I countless amazing outfits. One grandma is even known to have been able to knit whilst reading a book and snacking (I think apple slices were her favourite).

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

That’s even trickier than choosing a favourite design from the book! I find that my colour preferences change reliably with the seasons, even more than they change through the years. Since I started dyeing yarn I have developed a more focused way of observing colours around me. Right now (and I think always) I know that I am drawn to complex, layered and hazy colours. I’ll always pause to inspect a colour under frost or water or behind mist. Reflections in puddles or the sky hidden by clouds. A bright colour might catch my eye, but it is usually the murky tones, textures and light around that colour that interest me. I also like to explore the balance between warm and cool in colours, and often prefer shades that land right in the middle.

That said, I do have some favourite starting points, they become more faded and subdued in the winter and a little more colourful towards the summer. All types of pink, copper, peach, beige, gold and olive are my go to shades, and I use these colours more often than you might think in all Viola colourways.

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

This happens to me quite often, actually. The more layers of dye in a colourway, the easier it is to tip too far in one direction or another and become too hazy or simply transform into another colour altogether. Often I discover great new ideas when overdyeing colours that I’m not happy with, and that’s just what happened with a colour called Peat that I’ve been struggling with for months. I’ll get there, because it is a beautiful and moody colour (and I want to knit a sweater with it!) but often the first run of a colour is almost impossible to recreate for me.

Tell me about the decision to work for John Arbon. What were some of the best things you learned while there and how did it inform your dyeing?

About three years after I “accidentally” started Viola I was feeling overwhelmed by how quickly the business had grown. It was a fluke that John and Juliet had a job opening up exactly when I contacted them, and even more of a fluke that they took a chance on a Canadian girl they’d never spoken to before! I think it only took about a month or two from contacting them, to boarding the plane to England.

I loved working for John and Juliet as well as living in beautiful North Devon. I learned more that I could have ever hoped to about fibre, yarn construction and operating loud and dangerous fibre processing machinery. I think the most useful thing that I took away from my time at John Arbon Textiles was John and Juliet’s attitude, creativity and work ethic. I never slacked off at Viola, but would often struggle when a problem arose. Running a small business, this happens at least once a day. Watching John and Juliet navigate similar issues rationally and calmly taught me that there is no ready made solution and I have to figure it all out for myself. I still struggle with complicated problems and decisions, of course, but take comfort in the fact that I am in control of the journey as well as the outcome.

How has having a new studio space changed your business?

I have been working in the new studio space for just over two years. When we renovated the space I was optimistic that it would make my dyeing process more efficient and as of about three months ago, it finally did. My answer to this question two years ago would have been that the new space will allow me to dye more yarn and be more productive. While that would have been fantastic, I think my business gained something even more valuable – resiliency. Countless things have broken, gone wrong, fallen apart, frozen, blown up and been eaten by ants. Just at the moment that one problem was fixed, the next one materialized. Amidst it all, I simply had to keep going and deal with the issues as they arose. The new studio space as taught me that good things take time, and lots of patience. It’s working really well at the moment, but I am still braced for the next potential catastrophe.