David, the owner and dyer behind Crafter Gamer Geek, has merged longtime passions for old school video gaming via Colecovision and Atari, anime and board games with a love of yarn. The Crafter Gamer Geek shop includes a variety of colorways on a mix of weights and wools, including Merino, BFL, and Polwarth. While David isn’t trying to turn all of us into gamers — in fact, the yarn and fiber above are one of his only non-gaming colorways, inspired by the spotted lanternfly — but he hopes to share his interests with all fellow fiber enthusiasts.
The Woolen Women are living their version of a storybook ending, and so can you with the Woolen Fairytale collection. Colorways come with matching charms and project bags.
Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has collaborated with designer Helaina of Chic and Regal Knits to bring you two shawl design kits. Pictured above is Blissed Out, which uses three skeins of Sharon’s Auto DK.
Jill of Jilly & Kiddles has created kits for the Fairy Correspondence Shawl, the project for the Softyarn Designs annual winter Mystery Knit-a-Long. They include special postcards Jill designed just for the MKAL and the opportunity to connect with other knitters via snail mail.
Paola Albergamo’s latest design, Silky Lavender, is a crescent-shaped shawl worked up in DK-weight yarn. It features a slipped cable pattern in three colors on the border that Paola promises is much easier to work than it looks. It’s 15% off with the code “silky15” until Sunday.
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?
So, the knitting community is super complicated and intense. These dudes think they’re marketing to Rose from Golden Girls when they’re actually trying to sell stuff to the anthropology professor from Community who blow darts the students she doesn’t like. https://t.co/3HIQcH6t1S
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.
I'm getting more annoyed the more I think about this, you know.
I mean, these two have multimillion dollar businesses already, and now they want to come in, disrupt incalculable small businesses run by marginalised and disabled folk?
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!
Mary of Lyrical Knits looked to one of her (and my) comfort watches, Schitt’s Creek, for her latest sweater design. A follow-up to her Fold In the Cheese hat, The JazzaGal is a top-down pullover that features a round yoke with a cascading, teardrop lace pattern. It’s designed to be knit with a strand of fingering yarn held together with a strand of laceweight mohair, or if, unlike David Rose, you can’t pull off mohair, you can use a heavy DK/light worsted yarn. The JazzaGal is available on both Ravelry and Payhip at 30% off with the code preciouslove through this Monday, January 17.
Chantal runs a small batch indie-dyed yarn company called Je Laine Yarns in Montreal. While it’s not a new operation, the pandemic has shifted her in-person-shows-only approach to the development and launch of an online shop. Bases include the popular Bella, a luxurious single-ply made with Merino, Cashmere and silk.
Eve of Holly Dyeworks has released Eden, an appropriately-named gradient cowl inspired by the Garden of Eden, and beauty of creation. It’s knit holding two strands of sock/fingering weight yarn or one strand of DK. The sample pictured here is done in Eve’s Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Mini Skein Set.
Bring some sparkle to your winter with Anzula’s Lunaris base, a luxurious blend of 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Stellina.
Show off your love of indie yarn with these new project bag fobs from Katrinkles, made custom for Indie Untangled! And get a fob for free with a purchase of $50 or more from the Indie Untangled shop through February 14. Just put the fob in your cart and the discount will be applied automatically.
Lauren of Miami Fiber Co. just had a shop update with new colorways and fades, including this beautiful purple one that would be perfect for a Comfort Fade Cardi.
Cowgirlblues has colorful yarn bundles for the Sweet Dreams Shawl by Jane Renton, with recorded Zoom knit-along sessions for step-by-step support.
Sara of La Cave à Laine is starting the year with her Bundles of Joy. Each week of January she’s releasing a curated collection of bags that are bundled together with a 50% discount to bring you joy. The first bundle is inspired by (much-needed) sunshine.
Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers is running a clearance sale on her handspun yarn and spinning fibers.
Here’s look back at the inspiration photos and collaborations from the 2021 Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club from Murky Depths Dyeworks & Bristol Ivy, Humble Knit & Camille Descoteaux, Black Elephant & JimiKnits (which you can still preorder through the end of the day today before it’s retired forever) and Lanivendole & Soraya García.
You have until the end of the day today to sign up for the 2022 club, which brings together another set of four dyer/designer dream teams: Plies & Hellhounds & Milly’s Knit Designs, Émilia & Philomène & Marion Em Knits, Neighborhood Fiber Co. & Julie At Work and Kokon Yarn and Eri Shimizu. These colorways are completely exclusive to Indie Untangled, and aside from limited preorders six months after the packages go out, these yarns are not re-released. Signing up for the club introduces you to these talented makers, with their yarns, designs and a special Zoom session where you can meet them and learn about their process.
I hope you will join us for this fabulous year of knitting!
In the future, all yarn will be famous for 15 minutes. Each month of 2022, Lisa The Knitting Artist will be creating a yarn colorway inspired by one of Andy Warhol’s works, starting with his earliest and ending with his last. Join the club and get your choice of yarn base each month, along with a fun fact card, a monthly stitch marker and other items that are Warhol related.
Looking for a super soft splurge? Anzula’s Serenity is a 4-ply fingering-weight yarn made of 100% Cashmere, which dyer Kalliope says is “seriously the most decadent yarn we’ve ever created.” Use it to make basically anything worn against the skin.
Monica of Gothfarm Yarn released four new products – two naturally-colored yarns and two rovings – in 2021. Her Year In Review includes Karst, a whisper gray sportweight yarn; Cottontail, a soft, shiny white roving; Terra Preta, a rich brown, worsted-weight yarn; and a pencil roving called Cirrus.
As I’m sure it has for you, knitting and yarn has helped ground me this year. Beyond the making, I’ve been especially grateful for the exciting collaborations I’ve taken part in, between the Where We Knit Yarn Club and the Knitting Our National Parks yarns.
Here are some projects using special Indie Untangled colorways that were finished in 2021, including one of my very own favorite FOs. (Some, including the TréLiz yarn, is still available, while others, like the Countess Ablaze colorways, will no longer be dyed again.)
My grandmother was a prolific knitter. I spent what felt like hundreds of hours standing to be measured, so she could craft skeins of yarn into sweaters for me to wear. My favorite was a lavender one, complete with darker lavender buttons. She knit blankets. She knit potholders. She knit colorful Christmas stockings for me, my brother and our cousins.
So, I was around knitting almost my entire life, but never was compelled to pick up a set of needles — until one Christmas.
No matter which family house you visited at the holidays, if you saw those Christmas stockings, embroidered with our names and glistening with intricate beadwork, you knew it was Grandma Rolene who put in the hours to make sure Christmas had her special touch. When I was a kid, they were just stockings, but as I got older, I came to realize they were much more than that.
With age came arthritis, which made it hard for my grandma to continue knitting. She had to hang up the needles.
Around this time, my first nephew was born. I decided that he needed a stocking like my brother’s. I had come to know what these stockings meant. This was a knitting project to connect the past generations with the future, through yarn lovingly stitched together.
I’m not sure why I didn’t ask my grandma for help. Instead, I bought a knitting book and decided to teach myself how to knit so I could replicate that stocking.
The pattern — a large green stocking with white and red at the top, that featured Santa Claus carrying a Christmas tree on the front and two hanging Christmas ornaments on the back — definitely wasn’t for beginners. But I decided to forge ahead anyway.
First, I needed to match the colors. I managed to do that with a wool-blend yarn, Lion Brand Wool-Ease, for the most part, but then a few colors were hard to find, such as the ones used for Santa’s beard and the pink in his face. I needed a furry yard for the beard. And I opted to go with a pink yarn I had at the house from other projects for the face. In the end, that turned out being a bit thicker and harder to work with using those needles, so I learned the importance of wool weight. I also learned that the furry white yarn I used for the beard was a b*&ch to work with.
Next came the graph paper. I needed to replicate the pattern and the only way to do this was to count the stitches. I don’t really remember, but I must have asked my grandma how to do this because there is no other way I would have known. This was not something you could find in books and YouTube wasn’t as loaded with how-to videos back then.
So, I counted each color in each row, carefully plotting it onto the graph paper with little instructions. I eventually ended up with several sheets of graph paper taped together to show both the front and the back.
Now, I was ready to knit and not just knit, but knit for the first time.
To be fair, I had done some simple crocheting in grade school. Nothing fancy, but I had worked with some form of needlecraft before, even if it wasn’t with knitting needles.
I managed to find a stocking pattern that was similar, but without the details. It was a generic knit stocking pattern, but it was enough to show me how to curve a heel, curve the toe and how to make the knitted pattern along the top. So I used that as a little bit of a guide.
I ended up having to ditch the first partial try of the top because it just didn’t look right. The second try worked better, but I still found it so hard to do each stitch. It didn’t feel natural.
I don’t remember how long it took me to knit. I think it took a few weeks. I do remember messing up on my count and having to undo stitches a few rows back to fix mistakes. What a pain! My grandma had an old row counter and I finally understood the value of that. It’s such a simple tool, but can save you hours of undoing work.
When I finished knitting the stocking, I didn’t know what to do with all of the yarn crisscrossing the back. So I unknowingly did what you’re not supposed to do: I cut them all off and basically made the back fuzzy with half-inch bits of knotted yarn. I later learned you’re supposed to crisscross the yarn as you work through the pattern. Doh!
I embroidered my nephew’s name onto the stocking and added the sequins and beads with some thread and a sewing needle, placed it in a box and wrapped it up.
When I presented my first knitted object to my toddler nephew, he pulled the stocking out, placed it on the floor and started playing with the box. Fortunately, my brother, recognizing the significance of the gift, made sure the stocking took its rightful place on his fireplace mantle, next to his own matching stocking.
When my younger nephew came along, I made him the same stocking. This time, I used the magic of the internet and found the original pattern from the 1960s. Mine had been pretty darn close!
When I completed that second stocking, a few years after the first, I realized that on that first stocking, I’d done all of the stitches backwards. Every. Single. One. No wonder it was so hard! The stitches are crossed in such a way that the stocking doesn’t have the same stretchiness as one with regular knitting and it looks slightly different.
I asked my oldest nephew if he wanted me to redo the stocking so it was correct, but he told me that no, he actually liked it better with the unique stitches and that it made him feel like it was “his” stocking, different but yet the same as the others.
In the years that followed, stocking requests poured in. My brother asked if I could make one for my sister-in-law, so they’d have a family set. My friend asked if I’d make a set for her family because it reminded her of the kind her grandmother had made. I fulfilled all the requests.
I — the self-proclaimed non-knitter — knit seven of those Christmas stockings in all, using yarn to connect families and to connect one generation to another. The hours I spent learning how to knit from a book and creating those stockings also connected me to my grandma, who’s now long gone. I came to understand that needles and yarn aren’t just tools of a craft — they’re a way to connect generations and show love.
Susan Valot is an award-winning public radio reporter and podcast host/producer in the Los Angeles area. She hosts Quanta Magazine’s Science Podcast. Her work has appeared on NPR, KCRW and other outlets. When she’s not figuring out how to knit, she’s normally off on local hiking trails or playing ice hockey.
Tammy of Wing and a Prayer Farm, who focuses on breed-specific fiber in Vermont, chose the above photo of fall foliage reflected in the water at Oxbow Bend at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, captured by photographer Vishpala Kadam. To create Teton Sunset, Tammy used marigolds and weld to get the yellows, alkanet and logwood to create the grays/purples and, finally, coreopsis flowers to get the orange-y shades — “the whole garden and then some!” Tammy says.
Her canvas was The Happiest Yarn, a light worsted-weight blend from Tammy’s Shetland, Clun Forest and Cormo fleeces. The yarn, which comes in 300-yard skeins, has an incredible bite to it, and would make a lovely and hardwearing hat or mittens (it’s been featured in Mary Jane Mucklestone’s The Happiest Hat and Thea Colman’s Blended Scotch Mitts).
This yarn is available as a very limited preorder starting today and will ship at the beginning of January.
Today is the Christmas shipping deadline for Woolen Women Fibers! Make sure to get your orders in for seasonal colorways and celebrate vlogmas with Andrea and the Woolen Women crew.
For December, Sarah of the Teton Yarn Company is traveling to the southern Sierra Nevadas to explore the sequoias of Sequoia-King’s Canyon National Parks. The giant trees will be represented on a six-skein set of Mountain Sock Superwash Merino minis, available only through December 31.
Aiden of Undercover Otter is debuting a brand new base that uses biodegradable nylon! The nylon breaks down (only in waste processing facilities) over three years instead of 40. It’s called BIOSOCK, a name inspired by the Bioshock video games, and is available in this month’s UO update.
The author knitting her first ever project in Sharada, Kashmir.
I have always been captivated by arts and crafts. My drawer used to be filled with crafting equipment, like oil paint and watercolors, and needles and thread, which motivated me to do all sorts of DIY projects: embroidery, glass painting and latch hook sceneries. I remember spending hours in craft shops, just going through the items, looking at things I did not own and later researching what they were used for. It was one of my favorite pastimes. My mom was also invested, encouraging me to take up new projects and helping me with them.
So, my fascination with knitting was not something that amazed others. As a preteen, during one of our summer vacations to Pakistan, I vividly remember my grandfather’s eldest sister playing with needles and some wool. Back then, I didn’t know what she was doing, but she was fast. She had a shopping bag full of wool in vibrant colors beside her, working through it as the project increased in size.
As I grew older, I realised what she was doing was called knitting and that it was her favorite thing to do. She was known for her love of knitting, even though she lived in Karachi, a city with an arid climate, dry and humid throughout the entire year. She would knit all year round, at home, at events, everywhere. When someone was sick, she would take her knitting to the hospital, knitting away while looking after them.
My aunt passed away when I was still a pre-teen, but I have strong memories of her knitting, and there are many wedding videos where she was caught knitting on camera.
At some point during my early teens, when I was living in the United Arab Emirates, I had this urge to learn how to knit.
I went out with my grandmother — who knew how to knit, but had put down her needles after moving to the UAE, where it was too warm for sweaters — and we bought some wool and needles. I learned how to cast on and how to make a knit stitch. I was invested for a few weeks, but never finished the project. I was slow, and had school and homework to do.
I did not see anyone knitting or show enthusiasm for the craft until I moved to Pakistan in 2011 for my undergraduate education. I was in Lahore, where winters are harsh and dry. The temperature can drop to 0 degrees Celsius in December. I had never required warm clothes to such an extent, nor seen people wear all things woolen, except in movies. I started noticing people around me knitting, and some of my classmates would tell me their grandmother or mother had made the sweaters or scarfs they wore to class.
It was around this time that I saw one of my dad’s cousins, who lived in Lahore, knitting as soon as winters began in late October. My interest in the craft started developing yet again.
However, it was not until 2014 when another knitting aunt was visiting Lahore that I asked her if she could teach me. That is when I took the craft seriously. We went out to buy some wool, the wool shop a small stall in a crowded market, full of wool in vibrant colors stacked to the ceiling. I bought a multi-colored ball of yarn, with twisted strands of black, white and gray.
I did not know which needles I needed, or the type of wool. I completely relied on my aunt’s opinion. She taught me the basics of knitting, how to cast on and knit a stitch. She had passed the craft to her daughter and now me, making me the third generation of women from the family to learn how to knit. She asked me to keep knitting the knit stitch until I finish the ball so that I not only perfected the stitch but also picked up the pace, and then she would show me how to bind off. I spent many days learning from her and we knit together during the winters.
Even though I was in my late teens, it took me a while to get used to holding the needles properly. I knit everywhere I could get the chance: in my hostel, during classes. This time I was truly invested in the craft. Yet, I was slow, and it took me an entire season to knit my first scarf.
My first project which was the black, white and gray scarf that even went with me on a tour to Kashmir. It was peak winter, in December. It was freezing, and I enjoyed knitting in the valley of Kashmir the most. The beauty of Sharada, the town we were visiting, added to the energy I put into the craft. However, it was one of the most crocked pieces ever knit! The stitches were all over the place, there were missing spaces, I forgot some loops, I added stitches and reduced them without even realizing how I did it. Still, it resulted in a long and warm scarf.
It was my first piece and I felt pride once it was completed. I gifted it to a friend, who’s now my husband, and he wore it for a good four years. It helped him travel to and from work by bike during Lahore’s harsh winters.
The unevenness of the scarf did not deter me, and I knit in summers too, gaining momentum. I made fingerless gloves, more scarves and beanies. I would gift most of my projects to friends because they appreciated my work the most. They did not know anyone in our generation who knit, nor did I. I was the only person in my circle who knit and everyone was fascinated, from my instructors to fellow students.
My skills improved every year through watching YouTube videos and reading blogs, building on the basics my aunt taught me. Sometimes I would start projects just to try new stitches and patterns, and not finish them. I was intrigued by the versatility that manipulating just two stitches could bring about.
Between 2016 and 2020, I yet again moved away from the craft, becoming busy with my career and life.
Then, last spring, amidst the pandemic, my husband I learned we were expecting our first child. It was time to bring out the needles again.
I made mittens, caps and gloves for my baby, as well as a small infinity scarf. The projects were so tiny and easy, that I made a couple of pairs. I’m not yet ready to knit sweaters, but creating smaller pieces still gives me joy.
It’s been a surreal experience, knitting the very first winter wear for my baby after having knit my first-ever scarf for his father years ago. Like a handknit garment, life came full circle.
Annam Lodhi is a Pakistan based freelance digital/data journalist. She focuses on women’s issues, human rights, culture and tech. Her work is compiled on her website annamlodhi.com and she tweets at @AnnamL0dhi.
We’re so excited to share the winners of this year’s Indie Untangled make-a-long! Over three months, there were a total of 175 entries, including 21 in the sock category and a whopping 39 in the adult sweater category, and only one in the blanket category. This week, we selected 19 winners in 10 categories via random number generator. Here is their beautiful work.
Ali of Explorer Knits + Fibers, who also loves the great outdoors, and donates a portion of every purchase of her yarn to the National Parks Foundation, was the perfect partner for this series and I’m so excited to finally work with her! Ali was inspired by the above photo of an adorable pika spotted along the Savage River Loop Trail at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska by wildlife photographer David Turko.
Two colorways — the speckled Mountain Floof and a semisolid pink called Rosehip — are available to preorder on the appropriately-named Denali Sock, a blend of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% nylon with a 2-ply twist, through Sunday, October 17, during Indie Untangled Everywhere, the online version. (Read on for more about show fun… and how to win some prizes!)
I’ve also been in touch with another national parks lover, designer Theressa Silver, who published her book Knitting Wild in 2019. It features 21 patterns, including shawls, cowls, hats, mitts and scarves, accompanied by descriptions about the place that served as its inspiration and exploring the issues of climate change, habitat conservation and endangered species protection.
Maureen of Charming Ewe has added new items to the shop, including The Cocoa Collection of solids and tonals.
Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has a new line of shawl pins that she crafted with vintage mother of pearl buttons from the 1930s through the ’80s, sourced from a vendor at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. She’ll be debuting them at SAFF, which is being held October 22-24.
Monica of Gothfarm brought together three different fibers — bay black alpaca, Shetland sheep wool and Jacob sheep wool — to form Terra Preta, a rich brown yarn named after a soil created thousands of years ago by indigenous farming communities in the Amazon Rainforest. It will debut next week at Indie Untangled Everywhere.
Michele of MAB Elements is marking the upcoming holiday with a Glitzy Witch Stitch Marker Set. It includes seven handcrafted markers made with faceted crystals, including one beginning of round marker with the witch, plus seven plain bulb removable markers that fit up to size US 10.5 knitting needles.
Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarn is back with some shop updates with British wool, including Bowland 4ply and Bowland DK (100% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester), as well as yarn packs for various patterns, including Andrea Mowry’s Douglas Cardi and the Cumulo sweater by Lili Buce-Chmelko from issue 1 of crochet mag Moorit.
7th Floor Yarn has a new base. Twisted Aran is 50% Fine Merino and 50% Alpaca, with 191 yards per skein, perfect for winter projects.
Crista Jaeckel is having a shop update today at 6 p.m. ET with a few XL tote bags with XL shoulders straps, zipper bags, and large drawstring bags.