What to stash this week: Last days till knit-mas

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If you’re looking for some last-minute Christmas gifts, get over to Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe, which Alicia has stocked with the perfect stocking stuffers. Holiday-scented items include sheep-shaped goat’s milk soap in Orange Rosemary, Peppermint Cocoa and Winter Gardenia; lanolin-rich lotion bars in Jingleberry, Fresh Snow, Gingersnap and Frosted Cranberry; and tasty moisturizing lip balms in Winter Clementine or Vanilla Mint. If you need something to ship in time for the holidays, place your order no later than 10 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow.

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Kettle Yarn Co. has got a fun promotion going on. Up until the 25th, Linda will be posting special offers on Instagram for the #twelvedaysofknitmas. So far, there have been some great discounts and limited-edition skeins. You can also enter a secret santa prize draw by following @kettleyarnco and reposting each offer, tagging two friends and using the hashtag #twelvedaysofKNITmas. Much better than birds and drummers.

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Stitchjones is proud to offer a new base called Upper Left Edge, a lightweight Merino sportweight yarn that was born in the USA and milled in Whidbey Island, Washington. She has dyed it in a range of nature-inspired colors — that’s Patagonian Foxglove above. It works as a sport or DK-weight yarn and has a generous put-up of 360 yards.

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Even if your winter plans don’t include a trip to the beach, you’ll want to take along Cottesloe Days wherever you travel. This long, striped, fingering-weight accessory is inspired by designer Mitenae’s trips to Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia. The pattern includes instructions to make a cowl, scarf or convertible scarf — and it’s 25% off for a limited time.

What to stash this week: A button bacchanalia

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After the French Market Fibers bacchanalia last week, the website is ready for another shopping frenzy. The latest post-Rhinebeck pop-up shop is up and is stocked with a dozen ceramic beauties from Buttonalia. You may find the perfect set for a certain sweater…

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The Silversmith Hoodie, the newest design from Meiju Knits, looks like the perfect winter sweater (it definitely went in my Favorites!). Using worsted weight yarn, this cardigan is worked seamlessly from the top down with saddle shoulders and modified contiguous sleeve shaping. The pattern also includes a video tutorial on how to work mini cables without a cable needle.

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I was bummed to miss meeting Alicia of Sweet Sheep at the Rhinebeck trunk show this year (unfortunately she couldn’t make it in person due to a death in the family). I was also sad when I heard her discount coupons didn’t make it into the goody bags. Now you all get a discount! Enter the code INDIELUV20 at checkout in Alicia’s Etsy shop and receive 20% off your order through Nov 15.

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Sarah of The Queen’s Ransome has several new colors inspired by an urban landscape. American Rust (pictured), Concrete Gray and Teal Steel are available on three fingering-weight bases — Cashmere Merino Sock, Alpaca Merino Twist and Merino Gold Sock.

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On the 12th day of Knit-mas, Tami gives to you: a Partridge in a Pear Tree — in yarn form. From now until Thanksgiving, Tami is taking orders for her 12 Days of Christmas-inspired yarn. You can get a set of 12 400-yard skeins or 12 30-yard mini skeins inspired by the song.

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The newest face on the Indie Untangled marketplace is Gaby of Galiana Creations, a Pennsylvania-based dyer who also makes project bags with cute knitter sayings, stitch markers and even earrings that allow you to show off your yarn obsession. Get a 10% discount in her Etsy shop with the code FRIENDSFAMILY10.

What to stash this week: Spring gifts

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Indie Untangled newcomer Nancy Whitman is giving us quite the welcome gift: 25% off all her patterns through March 23 with the code MM2015 on Ravelry. Nancy’s accessory designs include Bocce, above, which reinterprets a weaving pattern, with slip stitches for the warp threads and stripes for the weft threads.

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Simone is also being very generous and giving away this skein of luscious handspun Merino/silk to one lucky blog reader. The giveaway runs until March 20 and all you have to do is go to this blog post and leave a comment.

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To celebrate spring, Alicia has added a new lip balm flavor to her lineup: French Macaron, which draws on the traditional pastel colors of the sugary delights. She describes the flavor as “sweet yet sophisticated, and just a little bit indulgent.” Spring-scented lotion bars, including Spring Meadow and Sea Moss, are also starting to make their way back into Alicia’s shop.

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Tavie, a new jacket-like, cabled cardigan from Meiju Knits, is perfect for the breezy, early spring weather some of us have been having. Knit from the top down in worsted weight yarn, there are four different options, and the pattern gives directions for both short and long cardigans with long or short sleeves.

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You know it’s spring when bright colors of Islington pop up in the Kettle Yarn Co. shop. You can find the luscious Superwash BFLK/silk yarn in Parapadschada, a juicy pink, the tangerine orange Marigold and several other happy shades.

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The Brynhild cowl from KarenDawn Designs is inspired by a female warrior in the Völsunga saga, which is an Icelandic story from the thirteenth century. The cowl’s lace stitch pattern is designed to look like a ring of shields and is sure to protect you from any last bursts of cold.

What to stash this week: Yowza! Whatta pairing!

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Designer Lara Smoot has had some really fun Game of Thrones-inspired collaborations with Tennessee-based indie dyer Babs Ausherman, better known as Miss Babs. Lara’s latest designs are inspired by none other than Babs herself, whose “likeableness and charm come out in the beautiful yarns that she dyes,” Lara says. The three-piece set includes mitts, a cowl and boot toppers, which can all be made from just one skein of Miss Babs Yowza! The simple cable pattern on each of the pieces can work well with fun variegated colorways, such as Zombie Prom and Funny Papers or semisolids like Vlad’s Red and Blackwatch. All three patterns in the Babalicious set are available on Ravelry for the introductory price of $5.99.

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If you’re going to make a cowl, mitts and boot toppers, why not make a hat? Brangien, a new pattern from KarenDawn Designs, is inspired by a character in the medieval love story Tristan and Isolde. The hat is knit in fingering weight yarn and features a cable panel on a background of textured moss stitch.

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Karen, a veteran knitter, works full time on her small business Hemlock Springs Soaps, crafting goat milk soaps in fun-sounding scents like Dazzleberry and Sexy Man, as well as lotions and potions — including an Arnica Muscle Rub for your tired knitting hands — out of her farmhouse in the New Hampshire woods. The products are made in small batches with ethically-sourced ingredients.

What to stash this week: Handmade goodies to swoon over

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Brianna of Swoonish, one of the newest Indie Untangled artisans, dyes out of sunny Palm Coast, Florida (a state I am seriously regretting leaving on Monday). She’s offering 15% off her yarn and fiber, which include workhorse superwash Merino and luxurious Merino/silk blends that you’re sure to swoon over. Use code FB15OFF at checkout through March 1.

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You’ll have to do a little more than say the name three times to make the Slipped Stitch Studios Bag of the Month appear at your house. The Beetlejuice bags, notions pouches, needle nooks and spindle totes went up for sale on Friday the 13th and will go back to the Netherworld when they sell out.

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Isaura means “gentle breeze” in Greek, according to many baby name sites, and it’s the perfect moniker for Fiber Dreams‘ newest sweater pattern. The light, breezy cardigan is knit in pieces from the bottom up with delicate lace and cable stitches, and looks like the ideal cardi to throw on when spring finally arrives.

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When she’s not creating needle felted stuffed animals with the hair of her Bergamasco sheepdogs, Jeanine is creating batches of face and body creams and lip balms with organic ingredients. She just launched the Solstice Handcrafted online shop last month, so head over to sooth your winter-ravaged skin.

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Here’s an upcoming fiber festival you can participate in without traveling. Sort of. Jo and Kate over at The Golden Skein have partnered with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival for the Linne Foirthe Club, which celebrates the Scottish city’s vibrant fiber community. The inspiration for the club is “Face Over The Forth” by Chris Combe, an photograph of Forth Bridge, which connects Edinburgh with Fife and turns 125 years old this year. Subscribers will get three 100g skeins of fingering weight yarn, each dyed by a different dyer, using the photograph as inspiration for the colorway. Packages will be mailed out by March 12, to arrive just in time for the festival. TGS ships worldwide, so you if you’re not journeying to the festival, you can still feel like you were there (and if you are going on March 14 & 15, it’s an extra souvenir).

What to stash this week: Love is in the air

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Buy your Valentine, or yourself, a floral or dessert-y treat that lasts and lasts. To mark the holiday of love, Alicia of Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe is offering 10% off your purchase of $18 or more through this Sunday, Feb. 15. Use the code love10 at checkout for a discount on two lotion bars or a gift set of three lotion bar samples.

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We knitters do love to collect shiny objects… So, here’s another indie dyer to obsess over. Dami of Magpie Fibers launched at the end of last year, and brings bold gradients to luxurious bases. The name Magpie Fibers actually comes from the vintage part of Dami’s jewelry line, made up of flea market finds that she up-cycled. So, pretty perfect for the items we’ll add to our stashes.

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If you want some color in your winter wardrobe, and not just on your cheeks, try Vinterbär, a new cowl pattern from Laura of Fiber Dreams. Swedish for winter berries, this new design, worked in the round, features folded hems and three different Swedish colorwork motifs. Receive 15% off with the code VINTERBAR on Ravelry and Love Knitting.

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The latest Broadway musical-inspired colorway from Eternity Ranch Knits is loverly. Shades of grey, burgundy, pink, red and black/white speckles merge on superwash BFL to mark the transition of Eliza Doolittle from a common flower girl to a lady.

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BeesyBee Fibers recently listed some fiber, including some of her old favorite colorways. Get them on 19 micron Merino, BFL/Silk blend, Falkland and more.

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Go beyond Merino. Katie of Sylvan Tiger Yarn, who dyes with natural dyes out of Yorkshire, England, has tons of fibre from a number of different British sheep breeds in her shop, including the soft BFL, the “sheepier” Jacob, woolen-spun Shetland and the shiny Wensleydale.

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Stay super warm in Sundance, a new colorwork mitts pattern from Lara Smoot Designs. The sample was knit up in Knitted Wit’s Victory DK in Wild Orchard and Naked, but they can easily be resized by going up or down a needle size or two, or by using a lighter or heavier weight yarn. Use coupon code stupidgroundhog for $1 off of Sundance on Ravelry through Sunday, Feb. 15.

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It’s not a new iPhone, but this new electronic gadget from California will wind up the knitting world. Dyer Carrie of Alpenglow Yarn is preparing to launch the SkeinMinder, a device that automates motorized skein winders, stopping them when the desired yardage has been wound. A Kickstarter campaign will launch later this month, with plenty of yarny rewards. Carrie will be demoing the device next week at Stitches West.

What to stash this week: Holiday giving

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Holiday giving is in the air (and, ahem, if you haven’t already checked out the big newsletter giveaway going on through Christmas, get yourself on the mailing list!) and there are tons of indie gifts for everyone on your list.

Invictus Yarns has given us knitters a lovely gift for the holidays — free shipping on all orders in the U.S. through Dec. 31. Just enter the code HolidayShip at checkout.

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The Doctor is in, again. For the Slipped Stitch Studios December Bag of the Month, Laura is revisiting the first ever club. The bags went on sale Wednesday, and will be available until they’re sold out.

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Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe is filled with lotion bars in several new winter scents, gift sets and a new Winter Clementine lip balm flavor. Please note: you’ll need to place your order today if you want them to ship before Christmas. You can also check out the review of Sweet Sheep on the Knitting Sarah blog, where there’s a giveaway and coupon code.

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When you’re ready for some selfish knitting, here’s a shawl to add to your queue. Laura Patterson of Fiber Dreams has released Desiderata, named for the beautiful woman who was briefly married to Charlemagne. This fairly simple, mostly lace shawl calls for 500 yards of fingering-weight yarn.

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If you’re looking to try Intarsia, the new Patchwork Mittens pattern from Knitwise Design, part of the 2014 Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Revelry (read: prizes!), are an easy intro. The hands are knit flat, with the seam part of the patchwork design, and the thumbs are knit seamlessly in the round. Use multiple colors and make this a stash buster.

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Still trying to find the perfect knitter gift, or want to give someone a little hint? Dirty Water DyeWorks has gift certificates available in any amount. Or, sign up you favorite sock knitter for Yarn Knot Socks. With a different base, an exclusive colorway and a pattern, it’s the gift that keeps on giving (at least for three months).

What to stash this week: Get ready for pumpkin season

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The other day, before settling in at my local Starbucks to do some work, the friendly barista asked me if I wanted some sort of pumpkin cream cheese loaf with my iced tea. Now, I love pumpkin flavored stuff as much as the next person, but the sun was shining and temps were in the 80s — this was not a day for pumpkin spice (you might be “allowed” to eat pumpkin before Labor Day, but I prefer not to, thanks).

However, Alica over at Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe has the right idea. To make room for new autumn lotion bars, like Apple Butter and Pumpkin Spice, she’s marked down all bars in her spring and summer fragrances by 25%. Scents on sale include Coconut Lime, Chipotle Caramel, Fresh Mango, Sea Moss and Spring Meadow.

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So, um, where exactly did August go? It’s actually time once again for the next installment of Countess Ablaze’s Twelve Caesars Collection. This latest set of non-repeatable colorways is inspired by the Roman emperor Otho, who only ruled for 95 days, but had quite a history. The update goes live today at 7 p.m. BST.

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Skeinny Dipping had an Etsy shop update last Saturday, and in case you missed it, Christine still has some items in stock, including this skein of her new silk and linen lace in Everything Pumpkin Time. As of “press time,” there was only one skein left of this OOAK color, so that’s a pumpkin thing you might want to grab now.

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Of course, it’s never too soon to start knitting for fall. Keya of Cedar Hill Farm Company just released her Whitby Place hat and cowl pattern set. Both contain a mix of two traditional fisherman’s guernsey stitch patterns and are named for the town of Whitby, located on the River Esk in Yorkshire. Keya, who runs a farm in Georgia, used her hand-dyed Flock 195, a 3-ply worsted weight, shown here in the Tanzanite colorway. I’m sure you can knit them up faster than an actual fisherman’s guernsey, unless your name is Yelena.

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Even if you’re not going back to school, you could always use a new knapsack, right? Wanda of Drawstrings makes her bags in a backpack version, with straps made from strong grosgrain ribbon that are held together with metal brackets.

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And, last but not least, I’m thrilled to officially welcome Melanie of Black Trillium Fibres to Indie Untangled! She comes with some big news: Black Trillium Fibres is transitioning away from Etsy and is in the process of moving to a website all its own. Melanie will be writing a series of blog posts on how the new site is set up, so have a look and see how to get your hands on one of her lovely gradient sets.

Untangling: Queen Bee Fibers

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Lexi Parisse has been on a bit of a journey since starting her career in the NYC fashion industry years ago. While working as a design and sales consultant for knitting machine manufacturer Shima Seiki, Lexi took a drop spindle class and fell in love with the more hands-on process — enough to leave her job and go to work on a Long Island, N.Y., fiber farm.

After becoming fully immersed in the world of sheep and wool, Lexi started up Queen Bee Fibers, selling hand-dyed fiber, drop spindle kits, handspun yarn and also bath, beauty and home products made with beeswax and honey from hives she and her husband keep outside of their home in Hoboken, N.J. These products are sold at several Whole Foods stores in the New York-New Jersey area, as well as on her website.

Lexi is definitely dedicated to her craft, and a few weeks ago she traveled to Canada for the first level of a six-year Master Spinner course taught through Olds College in Alberta.

I first met Lexi last year at the Kings County Fiber Festival in Brooklyn, and was so happy to rediscover her recently when she invited me to join her Ravelry group, and so I asked her to expand on her interesting story.

Tell me about how you learned to knit.

I studied Knitwear design for my bachelors at FIT. We did not learn how to hand knit but we did learn how to program and use knitting machines because that’s whats used in the fashion industry. I wanted to knit a pair of leg warmers for one of my projects, so I watched a ton of YouTube videos and taught myself how to hand-knit. I knitted very simple designs for a couple of years and then dove into following patterns. I was addicted from the very first stitch and have not put the yarn down since.

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What were your responsibilities at Shima Seiki and how did your background as a knitter come in handy?

Shima Seiki is the largest knitting machine manufacture in the world. My job was to be the liaison between the designers and the NJ factory. The machines in NJ were not just normal knitting machines, they were called WholeGarment machines; meaning the garment came off the machine in one piece. Designing for the machine could sometimes be challenging, so knowing how it ran and how to program a machine came in handy. I would help the designers design for the technology so the factory technicians would be able to knit it. I also would design inspiration garments for the showroom.

What made you decided to leave your fashion job to work on a farm? What were your daily responsibilities there?

I call this choice my quarter-life crisis and one of the best decisions I ever made. I had a wonderful job at Shima Seiki but the industry was just not my cup of tea. I had the opportunity to spend a weekend on the farm and I didn’t want to leave. At that point I was already spinning my own yarn and I’ve always had a love of animals. So I thought about it for about a week or two and just took the leap of faith. It was a crazy leap but I am so happy I did! I did everything on the farm from feeding and taking care of the animals to running the farm’s fiber business. I loved it all and it taught me so much about how to run Queen Bee Fibers.

When did you decide to start Queen Bee Fibers?

When I started at the farm I knew that one day I wanted my own farm and fiber arts business. I started Queen Bee Fibers around a year into working on the farm. I started with just hand knit items and handspun yarns. Then we got the bees and added our bath and beauty products to the line.

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What does being a beekeeper entail?

Nick (my husband) and I saw the movie “Queen of the Sun” and he told me he wanted to keep bees so we did just that. It was his dream at first but then I just fell in love as well. There is nothing better then the smell of the beehive or just sitting and watching them get to work. They are such amazing creatures and we could learn so much from them.

About every 10 days we do a hive inspection to make sure everything looks good and healthy. If the hive is getting too packed we will expand the hive to give the bees more room. There is not much you have to do; they do most of the work. Then depending on how much honey is in the hive we will harvest it a couple times a year (leaving a good amount for them). Harvesting is a group effort. We do a very limited processing. We scrape the comb and honey off the frames into mesh bags and let the honey filter through into jars. With the left over wax we boil it down to clean it and then put it into our wonderful products like our Bee & Ewe Healing Honey Lotion.

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You create a lot of very soft, pastel colors. Are those the shades that you’re drawn to?

In the beginning I tried to dye deep, saturated colors but they never come out right so I have learned that my dye pots like pastels so I just go with it. I also love spinning natural non-dyed fiber and mixing the two together.

What would you say you do more of: knitting or spinning?

I do them both equally. Sometimes I will just want to do one versus the other but generally I enjoy spinning more because I find it more relaxing. It’s my Zen.

What have you learned running your fiber business?

To always put love and passion into what you do or it’s not worth doing it. Running a business is tough. There are no vacation or sick days, but if you love what you do then it makes it all worth it. Follow your passion and everything will fall into place after you!

Lexi modeling her own design, the Speed Bump Scarf.

Lexi modeling her own design, the Speed Bump Scarf.

Can you explain a little more about what the Master Spinner class is and what you hope to get from it?

The Master Spinner class is a six-year course that is taught through Olds College in Alberta, Canada. There is a week of in-class instruction and then a year of independent study. I am taking level one in Alberta, Canada June 23 to June 27. I decided to take two levels in one year. I am taking level two July 28 to August 1 in Smithtown, Long Island. I wanted to do the Master Spinner program to expand my knowledge and become better at my craft. I also would love to teach so I believe this would make me a more knowledgeable teacher. I am really excited about the process and will be blogging about my journey.

What to stash this week: Bag some bags (and yarn, and fiber)

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I am SO excited for Vicki of That Clever Clementine: this week, she reached her 500-sale milestone on Etsy! What’s even better is that she’s offering 15% off all orders of $20 or more through June 10 with the code IndieUntangledJune. To celebrate, she’s also having a fun photo-related giveaway on Ravelry.

Speaking of giveaways, check this post for info on the last leg of the Berry Colorful Yarnings/Indie Untangled social media tour. But there is So. Much. More. this week…

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I first discovered Queen Bee Fibers last year at the Kings County Fiber Festival in Brooklyn, but I didn’t realize what a cool story Lexi had until I happened to “run into” her again on Ravelry recently. I learned that she worked on a Long Island fiber farm after years in the NYC fashion industry and is also a beekeeper. The Queen Bee shop sells drop spindle kits, along with hand-dyed yarn and fiber, handspun yarn and bath products, including Bee & Ewe lotion, made with beeswax, lanolin and honey.

Christine of Skeinny Dipping just started offering hand-dyed fiber. She’s also having a spring preorder event. Through Monday, June 9, you can order the color and base combination of your choice on Etsy.

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I’m loving the “grumpy” stitch markers from paper and yarn (though the words I use when I screw up a project are not quite so G-rated). Those are not the only things that will tempt you. Kat, who runs Ohio LYS The Thankful Ewe, also has a line of hand-dyed sock yarn in some beautiful colors.

I blame Sue of Invictus Yarns for making me crave a Bomb Pop this week (and where is an ice cream truck when you need one?!). The new Glory colorway would be great to show off in a shawl or socks this Fourth of July (and supposedly socks and sandals are back in style).

It might not make you think of ice cream, but if you wanted to knit a Creamsicle cardi and pink isn’t your color, Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. recently offered up a new blue-green color combo of her Wimbledon sport-weight yarn.

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If you long for the days when your beloved Trapper Keeper got you through algebra, then go back to the future with a bag in this radical unicorn fabric from Slipped Stitch Studios. Aside from project bags, Laura also makes spindle totes, swift covers and more.

Something for your Must Stash list: a set of five 5/8″ mustache buttons from Fastenation Studios are on sale for $6 (regularly $7.50) through the end of June. Hannah can make them in any color and size — contact her for a custom order or leave a note at checkout.

Celebrate summer with bright new colorways and sparkly bases from Cuddlebums. Indie Untangled visitors also get 10% all yarns during June with the code INDIE10.

Hampden Hills Alpacas may be new to Indie Untangled, but this two-person operation has been around for 14 years, raising and breeding alpacas and, of course, dyeing alpaca and alpaca-blend yarn. Next month, they will debut an alpaca silk lace base. Go ahead and get drunk on yarn fumes.