Selena of Sweater Sisters is going to be at the Marriott Marquis for VKL NYC this weekend debuting a bunch of new products. Among them are new alpaca, alpaca blend and extra fine untreated Merino bases available both hand dyed by Selena in Wyoming and au naturale.
Selena also offers kits featuring yarns from other small businesses and patterns from indie designers. Pictured above is the Fluffy Bell Sweater by Tiam Safari in Fleece Artist Wisp, a blend of mohair, wool and nylon. And if you want to dye your own sweater quantity, Selena is also bringing dye kits with of Landscape Dyes of Australia (she’s one of only two licensed retailers in the U.S.
Julia of Pandia’s Jewels debuted 2020 with preorders of a new colorway called Moonlight Maze. You have the option of ordering this color on a variety of bases from fingering to worsted through this Sunday, January 19.
Lisa The Knitting Artist also has a new colorway. Beneath Wandering Thoughts is inspired by a bright pink and green painting of the same name, with pops of purple and yellow to help you dream of spring.
Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. is celebrating 2020 with lots of new colorways. Monthly and three-month subscriptions to her La Societe D’Orsay club have also opened up. IU subscribers — that’s you! — enjoy a special 15% discount off everything in the shop with the coupon code IUNewYear.
If you’re planning to go to Stitches United in Atlanta next weekend, make sure to head to Booth 623 to check out Lolabean Yarn Co. and snag some of Adella’s most popular colorways (plus an adorably delicious peach pin designed by Shelli Can). If you’re not planning to attend, Adella is having an online event starting this Wednesday, May 29, and running to June 2. All of her colors will be available for preorder on several different bases.
Every month, Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks creates colorways inspired by an image suggested by one of her newsletter subscribers. May’s colorways are based on a photo of a jewel-toned tile that newsletter subscriber Cindy sent. As always, all four of them work well together for colorwork, as well as individually. They are available to preorder until this Sunday.
After debuting her Suavest Sheep — an adorable 3D-printed notion that can be used to tidy your cast-on end, hold yarn joined in the middle of your project or just show off some yarn — Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations decided to expand her sheep family and create smaller Lovable Lambs for both thinner and shorter loose ends.
Heather of Earl Grey Fiber Co. is opening the second round of sign-ups for her yarny Advent Calendar tomorrow at 10 a.m. Pacific. This year’s calendar will be a mash-up of her Great British Baking Show yarn and charm club and her Afternoon Tea Collection. Yum!
If you’re in or near NYC and around next weekend, you do not want to miss these events with designers Thea Colman and Kirsten Kapur at mYak’s Here Now Space in the West Village. Thea, also known as BabyCocktails, will be teaching a cable workshop and a design workshop, and Kirsten will be teaching a color block class. On Saturday evening, they will team up for Aperi-Knit cocktail party. Of course, the mYak shop will be open and if you mention Indie Untangled you’ll receive 10% off all yarn and kits.
At this year’s VKL NYC, MollyGirl Yarn is part of what has been dubbed the Megabooth, a collaboration between Angela, Woolyn, One Geek To Craft Them All, Yarn Over New York and Wee Ones Creations. Highlights include the City Windows kit, which includes a pattern by Rachel of Woolyn, and skeins from MollyGirl and Yarn Over New York, a new base called Boogie Woogie comprised of 85% Italian Superwash Merino and 15% nylon, Rock Star Sport for all those new sportweight patterns, signups for Volume II of Mollygirl’s Spotlight club, which is themed around the musical Wicked, and a new set of fun enamel pins featuring artwork by Xandy Peters — one of the folks Angela met during that first VKL four years ago.
But if you’re not in NYC this weekend, don’t sweat it — everything shown on Angela’s Indie Untangled post will be available online on Monday, January 28!
Liz of HighFiberArtz, an Oregon-based IU newcomer, dyes colorways inspired by things around her, on high-quality bases in weights from lace to worsted.
Sew Happy Jane has a new base for the new year: Springy Sport, because sport is the new fingering. And get 10% off when you spend more than $100 with the code OVER100.
In plenty of time for V-Day, the Pandia’s Jewels Romance Collection features new colors, stitch markers and kits. There are several yarn bases to choose from, from fingering to DK weight.
Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations is opening sign-ups for her Enchanted Forest Shawl Pin Club. It includes a monthly shipment of an exclusive shawl pin, notions, as well as yarn, pattern and book suggestions.
Debbie recently launched Murky Depths Dyeworks, a great name to describe her passion for color and dive into the dye pots. Her bases include Harbor Singles — shown above in Girl Gone Mad, Jubilee and Neopolitan — as well as a Deep Sock (80% Superwash Merino/20% nylon), Triton MCN DK (80% Superwash Merino/10% Cashmere/10% nylon) and Sanctuary Worsted, a non-Superwash Merino.
If you’re local and want to see this new talent in person, Debbie will be vending along with yours truly tomorrow at Knitty City’s Moms and Makers Market, a great shopping event that will also raise money for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Jen of Porterness Studio has done it again! She’s expanded her line of gorgeous sterling silver and bronze jewelry to include a stitch marker bracelet, stitch marker necklace and a shawl/scarf ring. Indie Untangled readers get 20% off with the code Indie20.
The Sunrise Over Bryce shawl was a huge hit at Maryland Sheep & Wool this weekend — I didn’t want to take it off! Deb of Spruce Lane Designs used two skeins of Into the Whirled’s speckled Hoodoos colorway for Knitting Our National Parks, which is available to preorder only through next Friday.
Michelle’s new cabled shawl pattern, Warwick Reflections, is inspired by the crenellations, towers and medieval arched windows of Warwick Castle. Kits with the pattern, two skeins from Fairy Tale Knits and a shawl pin are available to preorder, while the pattern is 50% off until May 28, when a KAL begins.
Mama need a brand new bag? Laura and the Slipped Stitch Studios crew has released a limited line of Mother’s Day bags, with hilarious sayings, including, “The joys of motherhood are experienced when kids go to bed.” Today, at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Slipped Stitch is also releasing their adorable Mama Llama & the Cactus collection.
Marian of Marianated Yarns will be vending along with yours truly tomorrow at Knitty City’s Moms & Makers Market in NYC. She’ll have yarn and color ideas for projects like the Pero Shawl by Katy Carroll, Your Slip is Showing by Casapinka and Chevron Cloud by Espace Tricot.
I’ve been attending Vogue Knitting Live in NYC regularly for the last several years, and each year I’ve seen more and more indie dyers and makers in the marketplace. VKL NYC 2018 is shaping up to be one of the indie-est years in recent memory, with a huge selection of dyers and makers, many of them local, scattered over the two floors at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square from January 12-14.
To help prepare you for what I know will be a whirlwind weekend, I decided to create a special shopping guide to some of the Indie Untangled vendors at the show, with a sneak peek at the yarns and products they’ll be bringing.
I’ll be around all three days, taking classes with Melanie Berg, Clara Parkes, and Andrea Mowry, and doing some damage in the marketplace. If you see me, definitely come by and say Hi!
Alice, who is based in Maryland, is not only bringing her popular semisolid and speckled colorways, but is debuting the first installment of the Knit Like a Local series she has collaborated on with designer Kathleen Dames. I Knit NY includes 10 patterns by a team of local designers — including Brittney Bailey, Kirsten Kapur, Xandy Peters, and Lars Rains, along with Kathleen — inspired by New York City landmarks like Rockefeller Center and the clock at Grand Central Terminal, all made with Alice’s yarn. The book also includes a yarn store guide written by yours truly and an essay by Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting.
In the first image, pictured clockwise from the top left are Backyard Fiberworks Sock in Urchin, Stormcloud, the Spiced Cider mini skein set, and Mallow.
Rebecca launched her business after taking a dyeing class with Felcia Lo at last year’s VKL. This fast learner creates gorgeous colorways from a studio in northern Connecticut, housed in a factory that once manufactured safety fuses for mining.
Pictured clockwise from top left are Wintergreen, Straw, and Moorland and Stone Walls on Fuse Fingering and Pearls on Fuse Merino Singles. Rebecca will have a sample of Caitlyn Hunter’s Zweig sweater that I can’t wait to see.
Kemper’s hand-dyed yarns are inspired by inspiring women, from actresses to activists.
Pictured above is Andrea Mowry’s Comfort Fade knit with Junkyarn DK (100% Superwash Merino) in the colorways Fleur, Lara, Dolly, and Diana. The top photo is of Holly Golightly, a VKL 2018 exclusive, and below that is the colorway Amilyn.
Not only does Dami, another dyer from Maryland, create lovely colorways, but she also collaborates with other popular yarn companies, including Spincycle Yarns from Washington State.
Pictured clockwise from the top left is 5 Pointz in Swanky DK, Paris Train and London Rain in Swanky Sock, the Stoirm cap in Swanky Sock Castaway and Spincycle Dyed in the Wool Family Jewels, and the Gailleann sweater in Domestic Worsted. Christina Danaee will be debuting both designs in the Magpie booth.
Marsha, who lives just a few blocks away from me in Brooklyn, crafts fun stitch markers with a geeky, pop culture spin (think Dr. Who and Harry Potter).
The above sets, which include a VKL exclusive, are just a small sampling of what she’ll be bringing. Marsha is sharing a booth with one of my favorite NYC LYSes, Woolyn, which will have store exclusive colorways from Asylum Fibers, MollyGirl and more.
If you collect (or want to start to collect) knitting-related enamel pins, you need at least one from Shelli. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, Shelli also designs creative knitting-related accessories, like the gift tags, mug and t-shirt pictured above (I’ve already claimed a shirt in XS!).
This is the fourth post in a series introducing the dyers who will be featured at the second annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at Woolyn Brooklyn, taking place December 1-3. Tickets for the Friday sneak peek party are on sale now!
Carolyn McKenna lives north of me in Queens, NY, but I first met her down in Maryland, where she was doing the 2017 Maryland Sheep & Wool indie pop-up at The Knot House. I have been trying to get her and her yarns on Indie Untangled after learning about Swift Yarns through The Knot House newsletter, but she’s been busy wholesaling to a variety of shops. Well, I am very excited to get to spend a few days with Carolyn and surrounded by her lovely colorways at Woolyn in a couple of weeks!
Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.
I started dyeing yarn because there is almost no hand-dyed yarn in the entire borough of Queens. I had three small kids when I started to really get into my fiber and it was very hard for me to get to any yarn stores. I started to buy some online but I was disappointed in the websites. Many, in my opinion, didn’t portray the yarns very nicely. Necessity is the mother of invention and I needed yarn! So I figured if I can’t get the yarn I want, I will make some.
What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?
New York City is a real inspiration. It’s a colorful city but I can get inspiration from almost anything I see. One of my colorways, Ikat, is inspired from a pillow cover I own. And sometimes I just let the dyes be what they want. I usually start with an idea and then let go. Sometimes when you try to control too much you just end up disappointed. It’s important to have fun.
Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?
I have rediscovered my love of color through dyeing! I was an architect before I started this adventure and we use a lot of natural colors, wood, concrete, stone, etc. A lot of greys and browns. I’m so happy to be using every color now.
Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that you find is challenging to create?
Purple is the color I go to the least. I personally do not wear purple and I don’t think I look good in purple which is probably why I don’t make it. But I’m starting to get over this.
How often do you update your online shop?
I barely update online. It is a lot of work to update the online shop and I’m so busy between trunk shows and shop orders. When I do stock the shop, I let my email subscribers know about it.
Is dyeing your main business, or do you have another job?
I still work part-time with my husband’s construction management business. My architecture background is very useful but we are working towards me becoming a full time dyer.
What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your fiber business?
I’ve learned you can and should do what you love. I have moments of real peace and fulfillment when I dye. I love making people happy. It becomes a full circle. When I make others happy they in turn make me happy. It’s been one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a long time.
Alice O’Reilly, the dyer behind Backyard Fiberworks, and I have an ongoing text conversation, and a few months ago she shared news with me about an exciting project: she and Manhattan-based designer Kathleen Dames were collaborating on a series of books on knitting around the world, starting with my home of New York.
I’ve admired Kathleen’s elegant designs for a while (her Sotherton pullover has been in my favorites ever since I saw a sample a couple of Rhinebecks ago at the Spirit Trail booth) and I’ve long been a fan of Alice’s yarn. They’ve put together an amazing collection of designers for the book and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of I Knit New York when it’s published next year. I recently asked them to tell me more about the project:
How did the idea for I Knit New York come about?
When Kathleen started designing a mini collection for Backyard Fiberworks, she made the mistake of telling Alice that she had always wanted to do a collection inspired by New York City. Alice picked the idea up and spun it around. Then it started to grow. “What if it were bigger? What if there were more designers? What if we did more of them?” So, now we are One More Row Press with plans to visit cities around the globe.
Aside from designs, what will the book include?
We will have profiles of our New York designers, our favorite places in the city to find yarn and notions, and where to knit, plus all the inspiration that New York City has to offer.
Which designers do you have lined up for the book?
Will the designs themselves be inspired by New York City?
Yes! We were inspired by Washington Square, Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the phenomenon of Manhattanhenge and more.
Which other cities or places will you be including in your series?
Our flights of fancy so far have inspired thoughts of Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and more New York. Of course, we are open to suggestions.
Backyard Fiberworks Sock in Walnut.
When and how did both of you learn to knit?
Alice: I don’t remember learning how to knit. I could always knit, just like I could always read.
Kathleen: My maternal grandmother taught me when I was young, but she lived far away, so it wasn’t until 2003 that I relearned with a friend from my publishing days, and we would knit at lunch. From the very beginning I was making changes to patterns to create the knits I wanted, so I was always on track to be a designer (being on the creative side of publishing as an art director helped, too).
What is your most memorable FOs?
Kathleen: An Aran for Frederick from the first issue of Jane Austen Knits (2011) — Inspired by Frederick Wentworth, Anne Elliot’s love interest in Persuasion (my favorite Austen novel), it’s a pullover that tells a story through cable patterns (Ensign’s Braid, Twin Waves, XOXO, Celtic Flourish), and the construction (seamless, in the round, from the bottom up, EZ hybrid yoke) makes it exciting to knit. I call it “knitting Sudoku” because you have to keep all these cables going *while* working the shaping that forms the yoke — it really keeps you on your toes.
Kathleen, where’s your favorite place to knit in New York City?
I can’t just say, “On my couch, with my cat George,” can I? On the subway (when I can get a seat), sitting on a park bench in Morningside or Riverside Parks, at my LYS Knitty City (shout out for their summer knitting lessons in Bryant Park — a fabulous place to knit). But most of the time when I am off my couch, I’m taking in the wonders of New York City because I’m not a native — I’m #tenyearsanewyorker, so I still find everything pretty fabulous: Grand Central Terminal, Patience and Fortitude (the lions guarding the NYPL), the Costume Institute at the Met, the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. And that’s the tip of the iceberg! I try to share my knitting and New York adventures on social media because I still find it all so exciting — the people, the architecture, the history, the geography. New York is a special place, so Alice and I are very excited to share it with I Knit New York.
Kirsten Kapur is one of those designers who consistently impresses me. I marvel at her use of texture and color, particularly her color combinations. While I’ve knit only three of her more than 250 simple and elegant patterns, I have several more in my favorites. So, when I heard that Kirsten, a fellow New Yorker, had been invited by Paola Vanzo, the owner of mYak, to give a talk on her design inspirations over tea and knitting in the West Village, I RSVPd faster than you could say yarn.
The event took place in the library of the Trace Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Tibetan culture where Paola is managing director, and which houses an appointment-only pop-up shop for her yarn line. It was through her work in Tibet that Paola came to create mYak in 2011, working with a cooperative of nomads from the Tibetan Plateau to harvest and mill the super soft, Cashmere-like yarn from the underbelly of the baby yaks that they herd. It’s a story that deserves its own blog post.
Kirsten recently collaborated with Paola on two designs using mYak yarn: The Wave Hill brioche cowl, named for the estate and public gardens in Riverdale in the Bronx, and a lacy two-color shawl called Acorns and Arches, crafted with colors created using a natural mushroom dye. The two patterns set the scene for Kirsten’s inspirations, essentially knitted interpretations of the natural world.
Before becoming a knitting pattern designer a decade ago, Kirsten worked as an apparel and textile designer in the garment industry in New York City, where she also lives. While the city may not seem like an immediately obvious place to get natural inspiration, there’s plenty.
“In this city we have some pretty amazing places we can go,” Kirsten said. “We have some fabulous parks, like the New York Botanical Garden, Central Park. I go to these places and find inspiration for color, texture, obviously the shapes of the plants.”
She also uses the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (near me!), Hudson River Park, Rockaway Beach in Queens — particularly in winter — and the aforementioned Wave Hill. After taking photos, Kirsten returns home and starts playing around with the yarn in her healthy stash, drawing on the colors from her images of flowers and leaves, water and animals — even seaweed.
Kirsten then pores over stitch dictionaries and then plays around with charting software, making the patterns work for the look she’s trying to achieve. A lot of her design work also happens once the yarn gets on the needles, with changes made when stitch patterns aren’t working.
While some of Kirsten’s design names are obvious, many are particularly clever. Her Reynard Socks, for example, are named for the fox character in fables, and feature a fox-like lace pattern when viewed upside down. Cladonia, one of Kirsten’s best-known patterns, is named for the lichen on a rock she photographed it on.
The photographs are also what draws me to Kirsten’s patterns, and she recounted what it took to capture this view of A View From the Hill, on Rockaway Beach on a freezing, windy January afternoon.
After Kirsten’s talk, and after we finished up our tea and pastries, there was also the opportunity to shop the mYak pop-up, which had such a beautiful display.
Of course I wore my own Cladonia to the event and Kirsten was nice enough to pose for a photo with me while wearing the sample!
I’ve been trying to avoid mentioning politics on Indie Untangled because, no matter which direction you lean in, if you’re looking for a refuge from it these days, it’s very hard to find. I myself am of two minds — I go online looking for distractions, only to wonder why people are posting cat photos when there is SO MUCH going on that it’s impossible to keep up with it all.
But, as the owner of a website that supports independent and primarily women-owned fiber businesses, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the massive act of craftivism that was on display this past weekend. The pink blanketing the photos of the women’s marches that took place around the world on Jan. 21 were the result of the Pussyhat Project, a movement launched by Kat Coyle, the owner of a Los Angeles yarn shop that I happened to visit last year, and which Rob Walker of The New Yorker called a “material-cultural phenomenon that could end up earning a lasting place in the annals of political symbolism.”
Among that sea of color was the work of some talented indie dyers, including Lisa of Vermont-based White Birch Fiber Arts, who I interviewed for a recent article about politics and crafting that appeared in the journal of the Craft Industry Alliance, an organization that brings together hundreds of craft businesses to share strategies and best practices. There was also Denise of Yoshi and Lucy, a new Brooklyn-based dyer who offered her Vibrant colorway at a discount in honor of the march.
Along with being proud to see knitting in the spotlight, I enjoyed the individual expression in this mass movement. Throughout the photos, and the pussyhats I spotted in person in New York City, there was a huge variety, from the standard knit-flat-and-seamed version to those with intricate stitch patterns.
I’m sure you may have an idea of what I think about current events because I’m publishing this post, choosing not to ignore the activism or express my disagreement with it (and I think there are better ways of doing that than calling out the entirety of the women’s movement for “vulgarity, vile and evilness,” as one yarn shop in Tennessee did). But, just as how it’s impossible to go anywhere without coming face to face with what’s going on in the world, it seems that this moment in knitting needs to be taken off the needles and worn proudly.
For me, this year’s Vogue Knitting Live in New York City was all about color. Yes, I know that knitting in general, and the world of hand-dyed yarn in particular, is already pretty focused on color, but my experience this weekend very much revolved around it. Believe it or not, I didn’t really think about this common theme when I picked my classes — two-color knitting with Amy Detjen on Friday morning, a color theory class with designer Veera Välimäki on Friday afternoon and a dyeing class with Felicia Lo, the owner of SweetGeorgia, on Saturday morning — but it definitely worked.
Amy’s class was a pretty straightforward technique lesson. Our homework was the start of a basic colorwork hat, moving on to using the second color in class. Amy provided instruction on how to capture longer “floats,” or the long runs between colors, and stressed the importance of keeping an even tension in both your right and left hands. I will need to practice this more, as knitting with my left hand is like learning to knit all over again, but I now feel confident enough to attempt a colorwork pattern.
Veera provided an overview of basic color theory, as well as her insights into mixing both complementary and contrasting colors, especially when using hand-dyed yarns. I enjoyed seeing the examples from her own designs (such as her Stripe Study Shawl, pictured above) and, during our in-class exercise, encouraged one of my classmates to pair her earthy green with a bright yellow and melon color.
Of course, I had to show off one of my favorite FOs, Veera’s Urban, which she was thrilled to see in person, as she’s only seen photos of the projects on Ravelry.
My dyeing class was probably the best one of the weekend. While I’ve had some experience with kettle dyeing and hand painting yarn, Felicia provided some practical information on using the right ratio of dye to fiber weight, as well as techniques to use for creating layered colors. Much of this will be in her newly-published book, Dyeing to Spin & Knit (disclosure: this is an Amazon affiliate link) which I can’t wait to get my hands on. If it’s anything like her in-person class, this book will be indispensable.
We started off the hands-on portion of the class by creating a set of mini skein gradients. As there was limited space and time, we had to split into groups of three and each create one color value (the lightness or darkness) of the gradient. Felicia had already mixed the dye powder and water, so we just had to measure out the right amount for our specific color value.
For the other techniques — low-water emersion dyeing and resist dyeing, in which you twist and untwist the skeins to get a more subtle dispersion of color — we had to choose color by committee, and ended up each make a contribution. Luckily, I was paired with some experienced classmates, including Sharon of Knit Style Yarns. For the low-water emersion skeins, we decided on orangey pink, medium blue, purple and yellow to create what I first dubbed Funfetti cake and which I later decided was very My Little Pony-esque. Our layered color started off with a short dip in light pink dye, followed by a jammy purple, mixed by yours truly, and a lighter violet.
The class definitely inspired me do some more dyeing myself and experiment with the techniques while making my own color choices.
Of course, no VKL would be complete without a trip or two (or three) to the marketplace.
I spent a fair bit of time in the Backyard Fiberworks booth, as a tiny portion of it had some Indie Untangled merch! I had teamed up with Alice, and Vicki of That Clever Clementine, on some special Indie Untangled kits that were available at the show. The kits were a big hit, and I was also thrilled to see the rest of Alice’s yarn get scooped up — the booth was very popular. She had some wonderful sock yarn mini-skein sets that were perfect for one of Melanie Berg’s designs. I snagged a pinky purply set called Dove in a Plum Tree and a light pink semisolid called Mallow to make On the Spice Market.
Aside from Backyard, I loved taking in the Neighborhood Fiber Co. booth (I’d heard at Rhinebeck that Karida wasn’t going to be at VKL this year, but luckily she ended up changing her mind!). I fell in love with a sample she had of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s Boko-Boko Cowl, knit with Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock yarn held together with Chromium, which has steel wool to make the little points stand up. It was such a deviation from the patterns I’m normally drawn to, but it was so sculptural and interesting that I had to make it. I feel like it could be a great stand-in for a statement necklace, with the bonus of keeping me warm.
Speaking of necklaces, I was very impressed by the products at Knitten Jen’s Beads. She had kits to make your own beaded beads (wooden beads covered in beaded stockinette stitch fabric), ready-to-string beads and finished pieces. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to DIY it or get a ready-made necklace, but I was definitely intrigued.
I also paid a visit to the Yarn Culture booth, which focused on a small collection of indies, and learned that my favorite discovery from last year’s VKL, Crave Yarn, has branched out with a new venture called Brim Collections, featuring gorgeous mill-dyed skeins and coordinating patterns. I am hoping to learn more from Amor of Crave/Brim Collections and will report on it further…
Aside from classes and shopping, my weekend was rounded out by many familiar faces (on Saturday, I could barely get to the elevators without seeing someone I knew from my various knitting circles) and spending time with my nearby knitting friends.