What to stash this week: Knitting Our National Wildlife Refuges

For the latest installment of Knitting Our National Parks, Amy of Portland, Oregon-based Canon Hand Dyes takes us not to a national park, but to the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. Tucked away in the northeastern part of the state, right near the Canadian border and just over 100 miles from Acadia, it is an important feeding and nesting habitat for a number of bird species. After corresponding with refuge manager Keith Ramos, who took the above photo, I’ve decided to donate 10% of sales this round to the National Wildlife Refuge Association and also make a contribution to the Friends of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.

Amy is dyeing up a fall-inspired shawl set made up of six 133-yard skeins of her Charles Sock base (80% Superwash Merino/20% nylon). The set, called Leaf Peepers, can be paired with a full 400-yard skein of The Road Less Travelled and would make an amazing On the Spice Market shawl. It is available to preorder on Indie Untangled through Friday, June 22.

If you’re a kindred spirit, then you may walk a ridge pole for McMullin Fiber Co.’s Anne of Green Gables collection. The six colors — Island Welcome, Amethyst Confessions ,Puffed Sleeves, October Mist, Carrots! and Gilbert Blythe — are available on the Squishy (SW Merino/nylon) sock base and Sublime Worsted (100% SW Merino single-ply) base.

Brooke of Fully Spun has two new colorways in her Sock Sport base, which is 400 yards of hand-dyed millspun with the look of handspun. This one is called I-95, which you may see a lot of on your next East Coast road trip.

Socks are the go-to project of summer. Terri of Whole Knit ‘n Caboodle has self-striping sock yarn in single stripes, three-row stripes and five-row stripes, including this Rainbow Stripe colorway. These are only available online!

Karen of Round Table Yarns is doing a little pre-yarn club adventure, separate from her Knight of the Lion club, with a no surprise colorway inspired by the tale of Sir Calogrenant.

Gabby of Once Upon a Corgi has teamed up with Becky of Soprano Knits and Hannah of Corner of Craft on a summer sock kit. It includes a fully skein and a mini on her Superwash Corriedale/nylon, a hand-beaded umbrella progress keeper from Hannah and Becky’s After the Rain sock pattern.

QCC Yarn has a new base. Sad Cat is a 75/25 blend of Superwash Bluefaced Leicester and nylon, perfect for your next shawl or cardigan (or socks, since there’s the nylon). Orchidelirium, pictured above, is one of 10 new repeatable colorways available on the base.

Lavender Lune Yarn Co. has moved to a new website.

Untangling SweaterFreak Knits

While I tend to discover most designers and patterns on Ravelry, I actually learned about Jenny of SweaterFreak Knits via Instagram. I was drawn to her modern, clean aesthetic and the use of subtle speckles in many of her shawls.

Despite her name, I approached her about pairing up with Nicole of Hue Loco to design a one-skein accessory pattern for the Indie Untangled Where We Knit yarn club. The result was Nicole’s Chelsea Park Cowl, a lovely shawl/cowl hybrid that looks so easy to throw on with a spring outfit. It is now available to purchase by non-club members.

Read on to learn more about Jenny’s career as a designer and about how the cowl got its name.

How did you decide to become a designer?

It happened organically. I have always preferred to knit things out of my head and after plenty of encouragement from Ravelry community, I started writing up the instructions to my ideas which became patterns.

Is there anything from your software developer side that transfers over to design?

Actually, it’s a great question and the answer is yes! Software development is all about planning and details which is very similar to knitwear design. The math behind grading requires quite a bit of focus and attention to detail. Similarly, writing the pattern is akin to writing code – both essentially are a list of instructions. You will find that many designers were involved in tech before they started designing because it really does employ the same part of the brain.

How did you come up with SweaterFreak Knits and why do you use it as your designer name?

My very first project after a long hiatus was a sweater. Wanting specific sweaters really was the reason that I picked up the needles again. This was back in 2006 and in 2007 Ravelry made its debut. I chose SweaterFreak as my nick and of course I had no idea I will end designing knitwear! In 2011 when I released my first pattern, I considered changing the moniker but since so many people knew me already I decided to keep it.

Jenny’s latest pattern, White Light.


When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned how to knit in 1985 when I was 7 years old. My maternal grandmother, Rivkah, taught me and I liked it right away. She was an avid crafter and actually preferred to crochet but she taught me both. We also share total love for yarn! She had a sizable stash and I grew up with lots of fabric and yarn around me. Most of my family two generations back were dress makers so I feel that making clothes with my hands is really something I am meant to be doing.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

It’s a bit of everything – sometimes I get a particular idea in my head, maybe from seeing it somewhere or just something I have wanted for awhile. I love browsing fashion magazines and see the clothing evolve. My personal favorite decade is the ‘60s which has lots of different elements – classic tailored pieces as well as boho-hippie style ones. I love both equally. Often times, the yarn itself starts everything in motion. For example, when you touch hearty unprocessed wool, you think fair isle.

The Vegas top.

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

The first step is to sketch it. This usually gives me a good idea of what garment or accessory is going to look like, what kind of shaping it will involve. Sometimes, I use colored pencils to sketch, if the design is colorful.

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

My absolutely favorite color is blue – all shades of it, except periwinkle. It hasn’t really changed. I also love various shades of grey, green and natural. Lately, I have really gotten into yellow and mustard colors – they just look so smashing with grey!

Jenny’s most popular pattern is her Everyday Shawl.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

Definitely outside, either in the park (closest to me is Chelsea Park!) or on the beach, or even my backyard! Somehow the combination of fresh air, warm wind and wool in my lap equals heaven. I could do this forever!

What to stash this week: Color depth

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.

Kara and Katie of Nice & Knit have updated their shop with their popular 2,175-yard kits for Ambah O’Brien’s Adventurous Wrap. To celebrate Mother’s Day weekend, they’re also giving one away.

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.

What to stash this week, whether or not you’re at MDSW

Cris of Into the Whirled took inspiration from a photo of sunrise over Thor’s Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park for Hoodoos, named for the tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins or badlands. ITW has only recently made the move into speckled yarn, but as you can see the results are stunning. You can preorder the yarn here through May 25. And see it in person in their booth if you’re going to Maryland Sheep & Wool this weekend.

Speaking of stunning, if you’re not sure what to make with the yarn, Deb Gerhard of Spruce Lane Designs just released Sunset Over Bryce, an asymmetrical triangle shawl with texture and lace that uses two skeins of Hoodoos. And she’s offering $1 off until June 30th with the code Thor. 

Star Wars fans, you might want to hop on this May 4th update from Slipped Stitch Studios. It goes live at 9 a.m. Pacific time with three fabrics, New Yarn socks, and a Princess Leia enamal pin.

Heather of Hellomello Handspun hand selects special fleeces from her favorite farms and has them spun in small batches at a family-owned mill in upstate NY. She then lovingly hand dyes these unique bases in Brooklyn. Check out the selection on her Etsy shop.

Suzanne of Groovy Hues Fibers recently had a shop update devoted to bases that she doesn’t normally bring to fiber festivals and trunk shows, including Smoothly Groovin’, a single-ply fingering weight base made of Superwash Merino and Mulberry silk, and Bambooin’ ‘n Groovin’, a fingering-weight base made of Superwash Merino, bamboo and nylon. You’ll also find fun colorways like Emo Little Pony and Ludicrous Speed: They’ve Gone To Plaid!

Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks designed Panier, her new hat pattern, especially for her new base, Andromeda, a DK-weight, single-ply 100% Superwash Merino. It’s debuting at MDSW this weekend, along with some other great products.

Katrina of Fluffy U Fiber Farm will also be at MDSW, bringing kits for her very own Conewago shawl, beads strung for spinning and art batts, just to name a few things. If you’re not headed to Maryland, Katrina will be listing everything on her website afterwards and is offering free shipping until June 30th.

Alisa of Knitspinquilt will be vending along with yours truly on May 12 at the first Moms & Makers Market in NYC. She’ll be bringing three sizes of project bags, stitch markers, notions tins, and a couple of small surprises.

If you’re a turtle fan, Heather is hosting a Turtle-Along — a KAL with her turtle-themed patterns in her Ravelry group starting June 1. To prepare, all seven of her turtle patterns are 20% off.

Lambstrings Yarn has more Fading Point kits in stock.  

What to stash this week: in knitting color

Gradient Play, the latest shawl design from Deb of Spruce Lane Designs uses two gradient sets, so you don’t even have to decide between two. Or you can use those sets in your stash, or leftovers that definitely go together because you pick the same colors of yarn all the time. 

IU newcomer Claudia Hand Painted Yarns is ready for warm weather with new spring colors on linen. Pictured above is Ishmael on Drama 100% linen yarn.

For this collaboration with Insomniac Designs, Slipped Stitch Studios is releasing a new line of bags with a fitting sentiment. These will only be on sale through Monday, so set your alarm.

Cat Sandwich Fibers just had a shop update with a ton of new colorways, some fade kits, mini skein sets and more.

Rose gold is the new… gold. Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has added the trendy metal to her lineup of shawl pins.

Wild Hair Studio has fiber boxes and yarn and fiber grab bags available.

What to stash this week: yarn from your LYS

Bronwyn of Casapinka has come up with an ingenious way to help you support your LYS for Local Yarn Store Day, which is next Saturday, April 21. If you buy yarn for her Local Yarn Shawl pattern that day from any of the participating LYSs, you will be given the pattern for free! 

If you’re looking for a new shawl pin — and some advice on how to show off your shawls — check out Crafty Flutterby Creations’ website. She not only crafts lightweight pieces, but her Product Tips include some styling lessons.

Tulips from a friend inspired Terri of Whole Knit ’n Caboodle’s latest striped sock yarn. It’s available for preorder in limited quantities only on her website.

Rocket’s Cardigan, the second installment in Mary Annarella’s brilliant Cardigans of the Galaxy series, is inspired a genetically modified raccoon and an unlikely superhero.

A few patterns can cover you in Marianated Yarns from head to toe! Above is the Millcreek Canyon Hat by Katinka Designs being releaed in mid-April.

The Knitspinquilt April update is all about the sea creatures. It includes sea turtle stitch markers and manatee bags. As always, 30% of the purchase price will be donated charity, which this year is the Hispanic Federation’s ongoing Puerto Rico disaster relief efforts.

Yarn from Squirrel Mountain Fiber Arts is sourced, spun and naturally dyed within 100 miles.

Mosaic Moon has stocked its new website with tons of roving.

What to stash this week: updates and an open studio

Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks recently had a shop update with her Luna non-shrink wool as well as Birte, her Superwash Merino/Cashmere/silk DK. There are plenty of semisolids and speckles, as well as “lucky pot” one-of-a-kind colors like the one pictured above. Jennifer has also put some bases and colors that she’s retiring on sale.

Brooke of Fully Spun, who dyes wool roving and has it mill spun into “handspun,” just had a shop update that includes three new colors and three colors she just had to bring back.

Pam Sluter’s Stepstone combines a sideways band, woolly sportweight yarn, elongated slip stitches and two fun buttons. The band is knit flat and stitches are picked up for the body and crown, while the button flap is worked last. It’s perfect for “spring” on the East Coast.

If you’re planning to go to Stitches United this weekend, or are in the Hartford area, Rebecca of Fuse Fiber Studio is having another open studio with Gabby of Once Upon a Corgi. The one I attended last month was super fun and I highly recommend going for the yarn and the hanging out.

What to stash this week if you’re not in Scotland

The result of designer Casapinka’s recent VKL NYC shopping spree at the Fuse Fiber Studio booth is Your Slip Is Showing, a gorgeous shawl that makes a bold statement using a simple slipped stitch technique. It calls for four colors of fingering weight yarn — you can use speckles, variegated colors, semisolids, fade sets or gradients, and Rebecca from Fuse even has a kit with the colors Bronwyn used. 

Marian of Marianated Yarns has added a laceweight kid mohair/silk blend to her dyeing repertoire. Aerie comes in 460 yards and is comprised of 70% kid mohair and 30% silky goodness. This light and fluffy yarn is great doubled up, knit with another yarn or knit all by itself.

Have you checked out FiberCrafty yet? If you haven’t heard, it’s an online marketplace just for yarn and fiber, as well as stitch markers, project bags and more. It’s like a fiber festival, but every day.

Studio Mirand’s latest design, Kadigan, is a sweater that can be adaptable to fit you perfectly without any math. Because sometimes you just wanna knit.

Untangling Casapinka

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I have to admit that when I first learned of the designer Casapinka, I was kind of intimidated by the idea of approaching her about posting on Indie Untangled. I had discovered her Loop shawl at the first Maryland Sheep & Wool indie pop-up at The Knot House and thought she was so talented with her innovative use of variegated yarns. I was also in awe of her colorwork skills with the Fall Is a Color hat that she designed for the 2015 Rhinebeck Trunk Show. When I learned she has worked as an ER doctor, I was convinced she was one of those people that is just so amazing at everything that you should probably hate them.

However, after getting to know Bronwyn (her real name), I was thrilled to find she is one of the most down to earth and hilarious knitters I’ve ever met. Her patterns simultaneously wow me with their brilliant use of color and crack me up with hilarious names like Welcome Back Garter, Mick Jagged and Your Slip Is Showing. I recently asked her to tell me a little bit more about her process and give me a small peek behind the speckled curtain:

You’ve worked as an emergency medicine doctor. How did you decide to become a designer?

Designing found me rather than my deciding to become a designer. I was very ill with Lyme Disease and I couldn’t stand lying around doing “nothing.” At least knitting made me feel productive… and then I found indie-dyed yarns. And I got addicted. You see where this is going!

How did you come up with Casapina and why do you use it as your designer name?

I chose the name Casapinka in 2007 when my husband and I bought a house that needed some work. Design blogs were just getting started and I would post about painting my dining room hot pink, wallpapering my dishwasher, that sort of thing. So the “Casa” part refers to the house and the “Pinka” was just chosen at whim… and then when I segued into knitwear design I just kept the name because it fit me.

When and how did you learn to knit?

As an exchange student in high school, I lived in New Zealand, land of three million people and 70 million sheep. I was stranded one week in the rain during spring vacation at a friend’s house on Lake Taupo. It poured for days and her sister knit most of a sweater during this time. It looked so boring and lame to be knitting, but as the week went on, we’d watched a bunch of movies and had nothing to show for it — and she had this amazing sweater. I actually thought those tiny needles and the slowness of knitting meant actually making a sweater was impossible, but as a metaphor for anything difficult, knitting consistently builds on itself. I was completely hooked and learned how to knit intarsia immediately so I could “draw” with my yarn.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

Color! I adore rich color, hand-dyed yarn, and how different stitches work to show off the colors in the yarn. It usually begins with a color combination that catches my eye or a stitch pattern, a photograph, or some combination of the three. Seeing how indie dyers combine their colors is also inspiring and I never tire of looking at their Instagram posts.

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

It all begins with the yarn. If I know I want to knit something in particular (for example, I’m working on a swing coat right now) I don’t do anything until I find the right yarn. Sometimes, the yarn isn’t available in enough yards. Sometimes, it’s discontinued or in another country, or looks different in person compared to online. I adore when a local yarn store has a yarn for me because it’s the best of all worlds.

If a dyer has contacted me to do a design, I have to get the yarn first. Sometimes I’ll do a private Pinterest board with the dyer to get an idea of a particular inspiration that they would like, but usually I get free reign. If I try too much to make it into something specific I fall flat on my face. And finally, I’m sometimes asked to submit a proposal or draw a design that I have in mind. My drawings are laughable and do not reflect what goes on in my head. I can’t seem to make my vision go through my hand onto paper — just onto knitting needles.

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

Despite the moniker “Casapinka” I adore aqua. All shades of aqua! I also love pink but not all colors of pink. A gorgeous blue-red cannot be beat. Magenta (is that considered pink?) and recently certain greens are on my radar. It has absolutely changed and constantly changes, especially with the invention of speckled yarns. Suddenly, I can have a tiny bit of a certain color and it grows on me until I’m in love, like some of the gold/yellows… Oh, and did I mention coral? That’s a new obsession!

You’ve published a few sweater designs, but is there a reason you stick to shawls and accessories?

This is entirely by accident. I’ve made and designed a lot of sweaters but didn’t publish them because I don’t enjoy grading of sizes — and only learned about the all-important technical editor a few years ago. I’m fairly addicted to shawl knitting but I also have plans for more sweaters. The portability of accessories is also handy, as I have ended up knitting during swim meets, robotics practices, and Rubik’s Cube competitions. I actually have a tunic, a sweater, and a coat coming out in conjunction with Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

I love, love, love knitting in airports. I’m a plane/airport geek and can sit there for hours staring out at the runway, coffee by my side, phone turned off. I’m one of the rare humans who welcomes an airport delay (if I have my knitting, of course).

What to stash this week: A yarn of ice and fire

Brooke of Fully Spun — who dyes wool roving in a repeating pattern, then sends it off to a mill that creates yarn with a handspun look — recently collaborated with Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits. She designed two patterns for the latest issue of her Fiber Muse quarterly magazine using two of Brooke’s colorways, Ice Dreamer and Fire Dreamer.

If coffeecoffeecoffee or teateatea is your crafting mantra, then head on over to the Slipped Stitch Studios shop. Laura has a selection of caffeinated project bags and accessories to perk you right up. 

Sheila of BigFootFibers has created new colorways for the spring, including Gloriana, pictured above, which is inspired by the BBC’s Victoria. It’s currently available on a Superwash BFL/nylon blend.

Sarah of Knittyandcolor has restocked her shop with Supernova, one of her super popular colorways. The speckled rainbow is available on three sock yarn bases as well as DK and worsted.

Deb’s latest design, Amid the Snow, is a two-color, corrugated-rib pattern with a few simple left-cross and right-cross cables thrown in for interest.