Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Gothfarm Yarn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gray yarn.

How have you found the producers you work with?

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

Do you have a favorite sheep breed?

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

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

Dark gray yarn.

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

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

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

A pair of cream-colored socks.

How did you learn to knit?

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

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

Gold yarn.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?

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

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

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

Cream-colored yarn.

Do you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?

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

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

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

What to stash this week: Spotlight on special guests

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Two woman wearing purple blazers, one with teal hair, smile at the camera.

Aside from the list of more than 20 indie dyers and makers we’ve lined up for Indie Spotlight — our next virtual show taking place from May 14-16 — we’re making the Spotlight virtual lounge a destination where you can meet and hang out with your fellow crafters and special guests. We’re excited to announce that Gigi and Jasmin from the Knitmore Girls podcast will be joining us for a meetup during the show!

Your $7 ticket includes access to our Spotlight lounge, where the Knitmores will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday. In case you miss it, the session will be recorded and available only to registered attendees through the end of June.

Balls of pastel yarn peer out of a clear-windowed bakery box.

Dana of Un Besito Fiber is dreaming of the days that she can throw some clothes in a backpack and taking off. Her Dreaming of Paris Snack Pack helps scratch that travel itch. The bakery box of a dozen 10-gram minis in 75/25 Superwash Merino/nylon fingering are inspired by the soft, dreamlike colors of a springtime in Paris image. And they’re all wound up into balls and ready to knit or crochet on your next adventure.

Liz of Yarns by the Bay is a dyer based in Melbourne, Australia, who creates fun, often bright colorways on Superwash Merino/nylon fingering and DK. If you happen to live Down Under, Liz offers free shipping within Australia.

The new Bridgerton-inspired knitting, crochet and cross stitch mystery box from Leann of Forbidden Fiber Co. is causing quite the stir. Lady Whistledown recommends that you make haste and purchase your mystery box today before they sell out.

Pink and peach flowers.

Orders close this Monday, April 26, for the Summer Sock of the Season Club, a collaboration between Jilly & Kiddles Yarn and BritStitchery Design. Club installments include one full skein of an exclusive colorway, a club exclusive sock pattern and two surprise extras.

Skeins of yarn in shades of blue and purple.

Megan of Megs & Co has finally found the luxury yarn of her dreams. Her Bluefaced Leicester Lux Fingering, or BFL Lux for short, is a blend of 70% Certified English Bluefaced Leicester Superwash wool, 20% silk, and 10% Cashmere. It’s ideal for sweaters and special garments.

Skeins of bright pink, blue, orange and green yarn.

7th Floor Yarn is ready for spring and summer with their new 50% Cotton 50% Superwash Merino base, which they’ve dyed up on bright colors.

Emily of Kitty With a Cupcake has published her first garment pattern! The Sucker Punch Shrug uses two colors of yarn to create a bold garment. Save $1 through April 28 to celebrate the release.

A spiral skein of green and pink yarn.

The April installment of the Teton Yarn Company’s full moon colorway series celebrates the Pink Moon, named after one of the first wildflowers to bloom after the snow melts. Featured on 100% Superwash Merino Mountain Sock, it goes live today at 6 p.m. MDT.

The MAB Elements Alice in Wonderland-themed, limited-edition stitch markers come with 11 handcrafted stitch markers made with real stones, plus 11 bulb removable stitch markers that fit up to size US 10.5 knitting needles.

A woman wears a gray and white mosaic bandana.

Ashleigh’s new design, La Bandanita, is a lightweight mosaic cowl that reflects her and her 4-year-old daughter’s love of horses and rodeos.

Gray yarn with green and pink speckles next to a skull.

Knitting After Midnight is inspired by heavy metal music and a goth aesthetic. She’s having a 15% off sale on her Superwash Merino Direful DK base.

What to stash this week: inspired yarn

Pink, orange and orange and green yarn.

Kate of McMullin Fiber Co is taking us along on a trip out west and allowing us to pack our bags full of beautiful yarn. Today she debuts her Canyon Collection, a line of 12 coordinating colorways inspired by the beauty of the mountainous West.

A pink, red, orange and gray shawl.

Guilia and Stefania of Lanivendole have teamed up with designer Justyna Lorkowska of Letesknits on the Nappe Shawl. There are kits available in four different color combinations of A Chic Blend and A Heavenly Blend. Act fast — preorders close on Monday, April 12.

A knight holding wooden knitting needles with a skein of yarn on her head.

Join Mary, Queen of the Knitters, for a Mystery Knit-a-Long quest for the grail! Her Knights Who Say Knit shawl pattern is available for preorders and is discounted through April 15th. The first clue will be released April 19.

Gold, cream and lilac yarn.

Stevie of Curated Yarn Co. runs her luxe hand-dyed yarn company near Brighton on the Sussex Coast of England. Her colorways are designed to evoke nostalgia and joy and she offers yarn, clubs, mini sets, Curated X Creatives Boxes and a range of bases.

Purple, blue, pink and green round stitch markers.

Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has a new set of colorful stitch markers that can attach to magnets, so you can keep your collection organized (and hopefully out of your sofa cushions).

A hand holds blue and white plastic butterflies wrapped in purple yarn.

April showers bring… Friendly Flutterby end minders, which help tame your loose ends, and Raindrop Stitch Markers from Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations.

A rainbow of mini skeins.

Megan of Megs & Co has a few mini skein sets available, including the Hope & A Future set for use with Isabella Tonski of Fiber & Fox’s crochet shawl of the same name, and Home is Where the Heart is, an ode to Megan’s home city of Rochester, NY.

7th Floor Yarn is now offering their third annual 12 Days of Christmas in July Advent kit. The Hawaiian Christmas-themed kit includes 12 individually-wrapped skeins of DK yarn and notions, plus a knit or crochet pattern.

The Stardust Fiber Studio April subscription box is a collaboration with Mother of Purl. Boxes come with two skeins of Emerald’s Andromeda base and an exclusive stitch marker.

Aimee of Panckae and Lulu has opened up preorders for her 2021 Advent calendar and the April Pink Moon skein for her 2021 Full Moon Surprise special yarn series.

Mint green bulky yarn.

If you want to get some quick projects in, Kate of Bad Lux Designs has a new 2ply bulky-weight base, made of 100% fine Superwash wool sourced from Peru.

The Green Sweater: Knitting the history of the Holocaust

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A worn child's green cardigan.

Editor’s note: Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Hebrew as Yom Hashoah. I asked Lea Stern, a knitter and longtime Indie Untangled follower, to write about her Green Sweater project to memorialize the Holocaust. You can purchase the pattern on Ravelry.

In 2003, I was invited by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to attend a preview of a new exhibit called The Hidden Children. As the name suggests, it was about those children who were hidden or removed from parts of Europe during World War II and the Holocaust. They were given up by parents who were desperate to preserve the lives of their children and too often, these were the only members of a family to survive. I attended this event with a friend and colleague of mine who had himself been a hidden child in Holland. There were many stories in this exhibit of fear and tragedy, but there were also stories of supreme sacrifice and bravery.

What caught my eye at the museum preview was a small green sweater knitted for a young girl by her paternal grandmother. The girl was Krystyna Chiger and she had lived in Lvov, Poland. Her family had a comfortable life there, with a large apartment and a busy and popular textile shop, across the street from another fabric and wool shop owned by her maternal grandparents. Krystyna was a bright and inquisitive child who, as she tells it, would do mischievous things. She would unravel the little green sweater that her grandmother was knitting for her when she set it down and went out. She would ultimately receive a scolding but she would persist in her tricks nonetheless.

An old black and white photo of a family of four.

When the war broke out, Lvov was occupied by the Russians under an agreement with the Germans. When the Germans reneged on this agreement and invaded this part of Poland, things went from bad to worse for the Chiger family and the Jewish community. They were forced to give up their home, business and nearly all their possessions and were moved into the Jewish ghetto. It was from a window there in their small living space that Krystyna saw her grandmother who had knitted her sweater being taken away on a cart to Janowska concentration camp where she perished.

After several years, on May 1943, the final liquidation of the ghetto began. All its inhabitants were to be transported to the Janowska camp and what would have been their certain death. Krystyna’s father, and several others, in anticipation of this event had already begun to prepare a place for them to hide in the sewers below Lvov. And so on that night, Krystyna, along with her mother, father and 3-year-old brother descended into the sewers. They were not able to take much with them, but Krystyna took her beloved little green sweater with her. What they all thought would be a short sojourn in the sewers turned out to be 14 months. While many who sought refuge there died, the Chigers, helped by three Catholic Polish sewer workers led by Leopold Socha, survived and — so did her sweater. After some time in Poland, she went to Israel where she became a dentist, married and had two sons. She is now Dr. Kristine Keren and she and her husband live on Long Island, New York.

While her sweater is nearly 75 years old and bears some stains and holes, it is remarkably well preserved considering its age and journey.

A green sweater hanging in a display.

Reengineering history

When I saw the sweater I felt that I had a duty to try to reengineer a pattern for it so its history would remain alive. After a bit of convincing, I was able to set up a time to come and directly examine the sweater with the museum exhibit curator, Suzy Snyder, and Cynthia Hughes, head of textiles. I determined gauge and took many measurements, notes, drawings and photos that would assist me in figuring out the stitch pattern. It was a simple knit and purl pattern and I spent many hours searching for it in every available stitch collection I knew of. I was unable to find a previously published form of the pattern in any collection. I thus assumed that it was something that Krystyna’s grandmother had made up or was a popular pattern commonly known but not written. Fortunately, I was able to reproduce it on my own after having been able to examine the sweater closely.

After many hours of test knitting swatches, I needed to choose a yarn for the project. I thought this would be quite easy as I know some very talented hand dyers. After some thought, I realized that while they may be able to more accurately reproduce the color as it is now, specifically hand-dyed yarn may be difficult for knitters to obtain.

A hand points to a diagram surrounded by items spread out on a table.

Since the sweater was knitted around 1939-1940 in Poland, I knew from my studies of historical knitting that we would need a very basic wool. A luxury yarn would not have been readily available in wartime, nor would it have been used for a child’s sweater. Considering the horrific environmental conditions it had been subjected to, wool was the obvious choice.

I chose Quince & Co. Finch, a fingering-weight 100% wool that had great stitch definition and the largest palette of greens. The original sweater is faded and stained, but many of Quince & Co. greens were quite close. Additionally, if one wanted to knit this sweater in something other than green, their broad color palette was excellent.

A woman sits next to a table filled with small green sweaters.

Dr. Kristine Keren with the test-knitted sweaters.

Once the sweater pattern was created, I had two sets of test knitters. One used the first draft to evaluate the pattern for errors, understanding of directions and readability. The second set of knitters used the final pattern to make sure there were no errors before publication. I donated the copyright for the pattern to the Holocaust museum where it is currently for sale in the museum bookstore as a hard copy along with a display of Krystyna’s book, The Girl In the Green Sweater, and one of the test-knitted sweaters. Since the museum does not have an online store, they have allowed me to sell copies of the sweater on Ravelry. All proceeds from the sale of the pattern are donated to the museum.

In December of 2014 I traveled to New York to meet Dr. Keren and tell her the story of recreating her sweater. Her husband, Mr. Marion Keren, is a mechanical and civil engineer and enjoyed the process of “reverse engineering” a sweater! He is also a Holocaust survivor and they were very open and kind in inviting me into their home. I brought her a timeline of my whole journey. I showed her my notes, early photos, drafts and swatches. I presented her with a finished copy of the pattern and let her choose one of the test-knitted sweaters that reminded her most closely of her original. The curator had told me that it had been difficult for her to give up her sweater but she had graciously donated it to the museum. When she chose one of the copies, she held it up and said, “Now I have my sweater back!” It was a very emotional and fulfilling moment.

A woman holds up a green sweater decorated with award ribbons.

Lea displaying the ribbons her Green Sweater earned at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

With this project largely completed, I have reflected on what this project has meant to me. This sweater represents triumph over prejudice and intolerance. It is a grandmother’s love for her granddaughter and the devotion the granddaughter felt in return. I am a physician and have been fortunate to have lived a wonderful life in the United States, mostly protected against the type of injustice that has too often pervaded the world. I had a brilliant mother raised in northern England  who taught me many types of needlework, but particularly knitting. I am fortunate to have been able to use these skills to do this project.

My hope is that this small green sweater will be knit again and again. I hope the story of Krystyna Chiger, her family and the brave men who helped them will be told over and over and as such the sweater will be a small piece of living history. The green sweater should be a reminder to generation after generation of what happens when intolerance is allowed to fester unchecked and as young people wear it, we can open a discussion about what it represents and why it is so important to never forget. Suzy Snyder commented in a television interview she and I did about this project that the survivors won’t always be with us, but the things they’ve left with us will continue to tell their story. My hope is that small things like this sweater will somehow make a difference.

What to stash this week as you’re dreaming of spring

A woman holds out a purple and blue geometric wrap behind her.

Stephanie, the dyer at SpaceCadet, has hit a new design home run with her new Striad Wrap, a series of short row triangles, knit individually in strips and joined together without any seaming up.

Black yarn with pops of green, blue and purple.

Nikki of Laneras Yarn Company has a new fingering-weight base made with 100% Uruguayan Polwarth. Like all Laneras yarns, it is custom spun using wool that is ethically sourced and sustainably produced in Uruguay.

A single skein of orange and green yarn.

Eve of Holly Dyeworks has fresh new colorways for spring, and kits for Stone Knits’ Alice’s Easter Bunny Socks.

Skeins of pink, gray, blue and purple yarn.

Aimee of Pancake and Lulu just had a shop update with few new Spring 2021 colorways and she has a few yarn kits for the upcoming MKAL by Ambah O’Brien.

Skeins of organge, green, gray and brown yarn.

IU newcomer Telling Yarns offers non-Superwash and Superwash all-British yarns sourced from British mills, in Devon and Yorkshire.

Gold llama charms on cardboard backings.

Missy of This Craft Or That has restocked some customer favorite progress keepers, which can also be used as zipper pulls.

A pink bag with gold flowers.

Maria G Knits, based in Portugal, creates project bags with crafters in mind.

A photo collage with various stitch markers.

Join Michele of MAB Elements this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Facebook Live to see new designs.

Ivory buttons scattered over blue fabric.

Monica of Gothfarm Yarn now offers vegetable ivory buttons that serve as a sustainable alternative to plastic.

Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has introduced a new yarn club.

Indie Across the Pond Untangling: La Cave à Laine

A woman with gray hair peeking out from behind a blue floral bag.

This is the second in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Across the Pond, taking place from March 19-21, 2021.

Sara Maternini of La Cave à Laine has been a regular part of the Indie Untangled marketplace since her first post about her 100% cotton, extra light and washable project bags in 2018. She’s since expanded her range into hand-dyed bags — perfect for hand-dyed yarn! — oilskin backpacks and notions.

Making her home in Alsace, France, by way of Italy, Sara is also a prolific designer, so she knows a thing or two about what makes a great home for your WIPs.

What came first: knitwear design or bag making?

They came both quite close! I began designing and making the first bags, and then a few weeks after I published my first pattern, Fibonacci Ronde (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fibonacci-ronde). I think I had to fulfill a sort of need to express myself with my hands, which is, still today, my daily call!

What did you do in your pre-La Cave à Laine career and do you find any parallels between it and your business?

I did many jobs, in different sectors: I began as a museum guide in Milan, Italy, where I was living at the time. I then moved on to the early stages of the internet and worked as a researcher (in a pre-Google era) and a social media manager. I had a brief but intense career as one of the first Italian food bloggers, that opened me many doors to different digital agencies and the job of social media manager. In 2011 we then moved to France, we had two very small children, and I felt the call for my needles!

A woman in glasses wears purple brioche cowl.

What made you decide to start sewing your own bags?

Mainly the possibility to choose fabrics that were more to my taste. I really like minimalist prints, bold, un-patterned colours, and austere shapes. The market was void of the kind of bags I wanted.
I feel our bags are the mirror of our souls: as an Italian I grew up surrounded by incredible beauty, and I always find myself looking for my own version of beauty and purity everywhere. I was always partial toward Renaissance artists and their infinite search for symmetry, beauty, and practicality in everything. And I look for these characteristics in everything I wear. Or make.

How would you say your project bags are different from others?

Some of the features I always stress about are that my bags are made only of natural materials (no plastic, no interfacing, no glue, no polyester), and that they are washable. These two rules are guiding me in choosing all the materials and the ways I design my bags.

Being a very practical person, I also try to reflect this in my bags: functionality is always my first concern. I fill my bags with pockets, adjustable handles, zippers…

Last but not least, my bags are designed and constructed to have no leftover fabric or waste: every single inch is used. And even with my hand-dyed line of bags, water waste during the dyeing process is reduced to a bare minimum.

A woman holds a yellow backpack.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Across the Pond?

For Indie Across the Pond I went a bit over the top! I had some lines of new bags in the making and to be released throughout 2021, but I gave a final push to make all of them a reality for Indie Across the Pond!

Many new bags will debut during the show, from crazy unicorns bags, to oilskin backpacks (inspired by cartoon characters), luxury notion pouches (full to the brim with gorgeous notions!), and Knits Cosy: a new series of bags created to keep your knits safe and sound wherever you go, with many other uses! Also during the show, the full range of new notions will be available, from super cute scissors to the new stitch markers I have been making in the last months: my iconic skull stitch markers got a revamp, and some new beads will also debut.

The booth will be in full swing and ready to delight all knitters and crocheters!

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your business?

So, so many! One of the best lessons I have learned is to trust myself but double the time I think a certain task will take to be accomplished! So, instead of stressing about unattainable self-imposed deadlines, I enjoy the time it takes to make everything!

A purple dyed bag holding a skein of speckled pink yarn.
When and how did you learn to knit?

I first learned to knit when I was around 7 years old: my grandma taught me the knit stitch, but that was about it. No cast-on, purl, bind off, increases, decreases…

Then, in 2009, when pregnant with my first child, I learned, thanks to the internet, everything else!
Something that really fascinates me about knitting is that there is no end to the learning curve: not only there are always ways to improve, but also learn new stitches, techniques, constructions…

A yellow, blue, orange and cream striped crescent-shaped shawl.

What are your favorite skeins in your stash?

Too many! I am always ready to fall in love with new skeins without forgetting all the old ones!
One constant love, since 10 years, is Malabrigo, for their bold colours and type of fibers: give me some Plomo on any base, even singles, and I am happy!

Another love is Lanivendole, not only because Stefania and Giulia are dear friends, but also for the incredible project behind their brand, and the fact that their yarns are so alive: you feel it when you touch them, and even more when you knit them!

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

On my needles there is always a shawl at some stage of completion, and lately (too) many sweaters: a raglan in my size, ready for sleeve and body divide, and a saddle shoulder for my son in a size too big, because by the time it will be finished he will fill it just right! All these projects will be patterns one day, once the samples will be finished, patterns written in multiple sizes, tech edited, tested, and then tech edited once more!

Indie Across the Pond Untangling: Yedraknits

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A person in an orange coat holding a bouquet of flowers in front of their face and a magazine called Yedra.

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Across the Pond, taking place from March 19-21, 2021.

Back in 2019, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Barcelona Knits, a new festival then in its second year. It was great to feel the warmth of a yarn community across the Atlantic and see the creativity of new indie businesses. Soraya García, a knitwear designer and the publisher of Yedraknits was a big part of that experience.

Yedraknits, formerly Bellota, is a modern knitting magazine published in Spanish (an English translation is available) with a focus on independent designers and yarn producers. It is built on community and Soraya is bringing that spirit to Indie Across the Pond and collaborating with fellow Spaniards David and Jackson of El Robledal to create a special kit for the show.

Tell me how Yedraknits came to be?

The idea of creating Bellota (which has now become Yedra) was to be able to grow and evolve the knitting community at the local level. Two years ago, there were no books or independent magazines in Spain, and those associated with brands had a very classic aesthetic. My idea was to “change the rules of the game” and raise the knitting community’s level in my environment. Almost three years later, I think I have succeeded. More magazines, on paper and digital, have been born, and the panorama of publications in Spanish begins to bloom.

How do you decide on which patterns to publish in Yedraknits?

First, we choose a topic and submit it. Among the proposals we receive, we think about those adapted to the theme, about the techniques that they bring together so that there are proposals for all levels and tastes. We try to find a balance between large garments and accessories and difficult and easy garments. Also, I like to give opportunities to at least one designer who has never published on paper. And in the last issues, you start to see designers from different parts of the world!

A woman in a red knit beanie smiles at the camera.

Soraya García

What did you do in your pre-design and publishing career and do you find any parallels between it and your business?

I studied art history and specialized in contemporary art. I have been knitting since my teenage years and have always seen it as a way to create and customize my clothes. I was very well known in my high school for my scarves and sweaters and they were always a way to express my personality and also (almost without knowing it) to empower whoever wore one of my pieces. For years, I didn’t knit anything. I studied, I set up a store with handicraft products, the store closed and I started working for a multinational company. At that time, I started doing yarn bombing installations and I started knitting again. So, I decided to study pattern making and little by little the weaving conquered everything again. It has helped me to be myself again. Rediscover me and see if I had a vocation. The years with the multinational company taught me to run a business and to make it grow and the years linked to art to work with creative teams and to be up to date with trends. Now it’s like everything fits.

You moved from Spain to Amsterdam in early 2020. Can you tell me about that decision?

After five years in the office, my work in Madrid was starting to stagnate. My boyfriend’s family is from Amsterdam and we always toyed with the idea of “changing of the scene.” So when we fulfilled our rental contract in Madrid, not finding a house that we liked, we thought about leaving there. My boyfriend was mobile and I wanted to go back to work for myself.

Pink socks and a skein of green yarn with the words Moffitt Socks Hiedra Special Kit.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Across the Pond?

Indie Across The Pond is a total experiment. The number 1 issue of Yedra sold out in a month, so I would like people to continue to know the project through our digital version. Also, we have started to create kits for my patterns with the original yarns with which I work, to publicize the dyers with whom I collaborate. I want people to ask about the process of creating the magazine or about the patterns in the private sessions. Also, El Robledal has created a special color for my special Moffitt sock pattern for the festival!

What inspires your own designs?

As I said above, I think what I want to wear myself inspires me. Those clothes make me feel like myself. My other passion is music, so sometimes I think about the sweaters Kathleen Hanna, Patti Smith, or Blondie would wear. Designing reminds me of who I really am. I like to put song names on my patterns!

When and how did you learn to knit?

My mother taught me to keep myself entertained. But, I remember perfectly that when I took it more seriously it was to be able to make a replica of the Mike Kelly doll that appears on the cover of Dirty by Sonic Youth. So I started compulsively knitting scarves and they became fashionable in my high school.

A person hlding open a copy of Yedraknits magazine.

What are your favorite skeins in your stash?

Oh! this is hard. I have skeins that come from the hair of the goats of my friends Jackson and David that are like a treasure. And I have four skeins of Brooklyn Tweed that I bought on a trip to Philadelphia years ago that I am unable to use because of the memories they bring back.

What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your business?

I have gained confidence in myself, I have learned to motivate the people who work with me, and I have distilled more than 10 years of learning to which I did not find meaning and that, suddenly — click! — they fit together. My passion for art, my ability to lead teams or connect people, my creativity, and my need for freedom! They have joined in a job that makes me be myself: D and that makes me happy and makes many people happy!

What to stash this week: dreaming of spring

Gray, yellow, blue and red yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks is so ready for spring with six new colors of her Harbour Singles fingering and five of Triton MCN DK that are live in the shop. There’s also mohair and four new colors of Sparkle sock.

A smiling white woman holds up a black, white and pink speckled shawl.

Ashleigh Wempe has also been dreaming of warmer weather and is offering a Buy 2 Get 1 Free Spring Fever sale using coupon code “SPRINGSALE” for all patterns on her website and Ravelry until next Friday.

Blue yarn and the words Stardust Yarn Club March Box Lilo and Stitch.

This month’s colorway for Stardust Fiber Studio’s monthly subscription box is inspired by the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. The box features two skeins of ocean-themed yarn and an exclusive enamel pin.

Purple, pink and gold skeins of yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has partnered with Anzula Luxury Fibers on a MKAL to celebrate the start of spring. Cavorting With Colors, which combines colorful yarns and winding cables, will kick off with an April 16 cast-on.

A black and gold Art Deco-inspired cowl.

Emily O’Brien’s latest design is inspired by the glamour, elegance and intricate architectural details of the Art Deco-style Waldorf Astoria New York.

A silver Celtic knit and ring stitch markers with green beads.

Michele of MAB Elements is celebrating Stitch Marker Mania, with all MAB Elements stitch marker sets buy two, get one FREE with coupon code SMM2021 at checkout.

What to stash this week: staying cozy

A woman in a draped blue, gray and gold striped sweater.

This week, designer Mary Annarella released a much more fashionable version of the mid-aughts Snuggie: Cozy McBlanket. This sweater is essentially a blanket with sleeves, but Mary has worked her magic with some cleverly placed short rows to help it curve around your shoulders and neck for a better fit. It calls for five colors of sportweight yarn, and I’m sure you can find some that are prettier than the fire-engine-red fleece I was sporting in Winter 2008.

An illustration of a masked alpaca and squirrel with question marks and the words Trivia Night.

We have a lot of fun new things planned for you at our upcoming virtual event, Indie Across the Pond! In addition to shopping for amazing yarn, you’ll also be able to:

• Have tea with Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks and the Stranded Podcast — she’ll be joining us Friday from the east coast of Scotland to kick off the show!
• Show off your smarts at virtual trivia!
• Enter our KAL/CAL and win prizes from Indie Untangled and some of our awesome sponsors: Garthenor Organic, La Cave à Laine and Yedraknits!
• Hang out and meet our fabulous vendors in a casual environment at Saturday and Sunday’s teas!

There are still spots available for our free bingo event on Saturday, March 20 at 3 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CET, hosted by Indie Untangled event producer Petrina Hicks. This is a popular event, so register soon!

Green, gray and gold clay dinosaurs.

Jillian of WeeOnes has several brand new stitch marker sets including dinosaurs, arctic foxes and the latest installment of the surprise markers with a spring theme. And to celebrate Jillian reaching 10K sales on Etsy, get 15% off your order with the code YAY10K.

Skeins of yarn in a rainbow of colors.

March comes in with a sale! Everything on the Liverpool Yarns site — 100% Shetland fingering yarns, kits for shawls and accessories, patterns and project bags — is 20% off through March 14.

A hand holds white plastic dogs wrapped in light blue yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has new additions to her menagerie of end minders, which help tame your loose ends, including playful pups, curious kittens and — special for March — Mindful Manatees.

Swatches of knitting in various colors and the words Greek Gods (Part Two) Signature Collection Live Now stardustfiberstudio.com.

Emerald of Stardust Fiber Studio has released part two of her Greek Gods collection. This collection contains nine main colorways, each based off a deity from Greek Mythology, and two special features. A matching stitch marker set is also available.

Purple and pink yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns just had an update of Pendle 4ply, a classic yarn that’s pure Superwash Merino. It’s available on 20 colorways, from deep and rich to the soft and pale. There’s also a spring sale going on.

A ball of brown wool fiber.

Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has five types of roving in stock, including Cirrus, a pencil roving made from blended Jacob and Shetland sheep wool, and Coopworth, Navajo-Churro, Ultisol and 100% Jacob Sheep roving. 

A Celtic knot stitch marker and the words Erin Go Where Now? Big Clippy! Progress Keeper, Yank Your Yarn.

Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has some Big Clippy progress keepers, which are oversized, movable single stitch markers featuring a 21-23mm lobster clasp for use on your chunkiest knitting and crochet projects.

Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has a new colorway called Mahalo.

What to stash this week: Your aura is yarn

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Skeins of white, blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow and navy yarn.

Lanivendole’s newest yarn base has a certain something about it as well. Aura is a 100% Italian Alpaca sport-weight yarn named for its soft halo that brings out its natural energy. Like all of Stefania and Giulia’s yarn, the fiber is from a small farm, this one based in southern Tuscany. They kept two original dark colors and added a range of spring-y hues, hand dyed to “welcome the upcoming season with braveness and positivity.”

The yarn, which comes in roughly 382-yard/350-meter skeins will be available today starting at 7 p.m. Central European Time (1 p.m. Eastern, or five hours from when this email went out).

An illustration showing various animals in purple, navy and teal knitting, crocheting, spinning and enjoying yarn while connecting through various devices.

Speaking of Italian yarn and European time zones, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Stefania and Giulia when you join is in a few short weeks for Indie Across the Pond, our next virtual show! We have a fantastic line-up of 20 vendors from not only Italy, but Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the UK.

A white porcelain cup with a lime wedge and the words Cocktail To Go.

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If you’re looking to jazz up your takeout cocktails, check out this new hand-painted porcelain drinkware from our friends Jenn and Meghan of Portland-based jamPDX. These tumblers, created exclusively for Indie Untangled, keep your icy drinks cold.

Purple houndstooth fingerless mitts.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns has updated her Rokeby mitts pattern — released all the way back in 2010! — with new pictures and some clarifications to the instructions, and added a companion cowl. Both patterns use two colors of her Milburn 4ply™ (Superwash BFL and silk) and kits are on the website.

A woman drapes a rainbow and gray wrap with tassels around her head.

Megan of Megs & Co has collaborated with her Instagram friend Isabella Tonski, better known as Bellas Custom Crochets, to curate a collection of rainbow-themed colorways for her Hope & a Future wrap. The pattern is symbolic of the promise of a light at the end of a challenging time.

A skein of yellow and green yarn next to a printed knitting pattern.

Missy of This Craft Or That has kits for the Succulent Spikes pattern by Lindsay Potter featured in the Seed Club from Yarn Garden. The kit features Hidden Gems, a blend of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% bamboo fingering weight yarn, in the Garden Party colorway.

A purple knitting project on a red cord with white stoppers at the ends.

Stephanie did a lot of research when deciding which interchangeable needles to offer in her shop, and ended up turning into a chart that compares 14 different brands.

Three and four-sided stone-like pins with curved edges in yellow and green on black backings that read MAB Elements, HANDMADE IN OHIO.

Add a dash of green to your St. Patrick’s Day outfit with MAB Elements’ new Wearing of the Green magnetic shawl pins and Aventurine earrings.

A skein of teal yarn on a green, yellow, orange and pink abstract painting.

Lisa The Knitting Artist has new one-of-a-kind skeins in her shop, dyed solely from the runoff of her oil painting-inspired variegated yarns.