It’s not too early to to get a jump on Halloween yarn (because of course that’s a thing). Jennifer of Maelstrom Fiber Arts has opened preorders for her Halloween box, inspired by ghostly apparitions, tall tales and whispers in the dark. The Scrying Into the Looking Glass 2021 Halloween Advent will feature 30 20g mini skeins and one full 100g skein in a Merino/nylon blend, as well as special treats. (The colors above are an example of Jennifer’s dyeing, but the colors will be a mystery.) Boxes are scheduled to ship on August 31, so get your orders in before they… turn into a pumpkin.
Preorders for Lanivendole’s Winter Eves Advent Calendar open today at 6 p.m. CET. The boxes are inspired by all sorts of wintery eves. It will include their A Chic Blend wool/alpaca/mohair yarn and their A Stormy Blend wool/alpaca yarn, as well as a treat from Italian illustrator Little Pine Alice.
It’s also last call for the masquerade ball-themed mystery box for Halloween from Woolen Women Fibers that includes 13 minis and treats, including a shawl-sized project bag.
It’s also the last call for the Jilly & Kiddles and BritStitchery’s Fall Sock of the Season Club. Orders for this club, which include yarn and goodies inspired by this photo of a Monarch Butterfly, close on Monday, August 2.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about what our plans are for Rhinebeck. Well, after many conversations about what an October show might look like, I’m excited to announce that an in-person Indie Untangled is officially a go!
We plan to share all the details, including the vendor list and entry times, in a couple of weeks, but here’s what we can tell you:
The event will take place on Friday, October 15 in Saugerties, NY. Vendor booths will be set up in covered, open-air pavilions with hard floors
Tiered entry tickets will go on sale at 12 noon Eastern on Saturday, July 17
If you can’t make it to the Hudson Valley or are unable to get tickets, or will be joining us but want more opportunities to shop and connect, we are also holding a virtual event
This is the fifth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.
I first heard rumblings about Hudson + West during Rhinebeck 2019, where the rustic yarn brand had a soft debut, at the same fiber festival where the idea took root. This small company, started by friends Meghan Babin, the former editor of Interweave Knits, and Sloane Rosenthal, a knitwear designer, source and produce their yarns in the U.S., using a traceable, sustainable, and fair supply chain.
You can look forward to learning more about their two bases, Weld and Forge, and their stylish line of patterns at their virtual shopping sessions, and also learn more about the production of their yarns during their Let’s Talk About Wool session at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Tell us the story of how Hudson and West came to be.
Hudson + West started with two friends who were on parallel paths towards the same goal: making a yarn that would make the kinds of garments we would love to wear and could wear anywhere. Meghan and I met when I was an indie designer (and a full-time lawyer) and she was the editor in chief of Interweave Knits, when she hired me to design the sweater that became Tangled Up in Gray. We got to know each other and worked together on a number of projects over the next few years, and in 2018, both of us were trying to figure out what was next for us in the industry and were both talking to Mary Jeanne Packer, the owner of Battenkill Valley Fibers, about making yarn. MJ suggested that we work together, and we traded samples of potential yarns and got to talking at Rhinebeck in 2018 about how to make a yarn that would have the balance of durability, wearability, and ready-to-wear inspired polish that we craved, while doing it responsibly, ethically, and here in the US. H+W was born from those early conversations at Rhinebeck that year, and we opened to the public in November 2019.
How have you found the sheep breeders you work with?
In our early batches of yarn, we bought our Corriedale from individual farmers and breeders in the Hudson Valley, mainly from farmers with some existing ties to either the Hudson Valley wool pool, or to MJ and our mill directly. We now work with a broader range of farmers in both the Hudson Valley and throughout the northeast and midwest, and buy a range of both raw fleece and combed Corriedale top, since our production needs have now (happily!) grown beyond being able to buy on a farm-by-farm basis. Like most US producers who use Merino, we get our Merino top from Chargeurs in South Carolina, which sources US-grown, ethically raised Merino from Colorado and New Mexico and scours and cards it for us.
How do both of you work together to decide on your color palette?
We have always been pretty aligned when it comes to the color palette, at least in terms of the broad guardrails: the colors had to be really easy to wear in a variety of settings, and feel rich and opulent and saturated while allowing some of the yarn’s underlying heathering to come through. We typically start with Pantone chips, and then I hand-dye samples in my office until we get the shade and saturation right (occasionally alarming my family members when I have multiple crock-pots of ten gram samples going in the bathroom of my office!). We look at those samples under a variety of lighting conditions and in the context of the rest of the existing palette, and the winners go to our dyehouse (Ultimate Textile in North Carolina) to go through their lab dip process and have the first test batches made.
What are each of your responsibilities when it comes to the business? What are the unique things that each of you bring to your company?
We were super fortunate that we have a lot of overlapping skill sets, but also some distinct experiences that we bring to the table. Both of us are knitwear designers, and we have a lot in common in terms of our aesthetic sense and our overall creative vision for the company, so we collaborate very closely on both design work and those higher-level creative decisions. Meghan has a lot of experience with things like designer recruitment, managing editorial production, commercial photoshoots, and working with other third party publishers, all of which have been really critical to the development of our pattern support program, which has been a really important part of our journey in bringing our yarns to the world. Because of my legal background and previous start-up (and start-up adjacent) experience, and an admittedly deep love of spreadsheets, I end up having a lot of facility with more of the business back end and the production side, as well as managing our wholesale program. But overall, despite our geographically disparate setup, it’s a really free-flowing work environment, and we collaborate every day on both small and large-scale decisions.
Tell me about how each of you learned how to knit?
Meghan: My mom taught me the basics one weekend when I was home from college (I think I was about 19), and she had just learned how to knit, purl, cast on, and bind off. She promptly stopped knitting right after teaching me, but I kept on teaching myself, learning, taking classes, and experimenting with different yarns and techniques.
Sloane: Despite my mom, my best friend, and my mother-in-law both being knitters, I didn’t grow up knitting, and I actually taught myself after my older daughter was born in 2011. I was struggling with anxiety (like a lot of new moms), and the meditative nature of knitting really helped me at the time. I then got fascinated by the materials science of knitting and how our yarn affects our projects (after a few real bloopers on that score), and fell completely off the cabled sweater deep end shortly thereafter.
Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?
We’re so looking forward to meeting new folks and talking about yarn! We love hearing from knitters about what’s important to them and how and what they like to knit — it’s part of what we’ve missed about this strange, trade-show-less year+. We’re also so excited to introduce Meghan’s wonderful Sunset Shawl, our show special, and to meeting some other wonderful new indie producers.
Do you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?
Meghan: Where to start? I enjoy so many crafts, but I definitely don’t have enough time in the day, weeks, or years to practice them all. I’ve ventured into crochet fairly well, spinning + weaving as well not as well, embroidery with enthusiasm, sewing haphazardly, and I’ve always loved cooking, baking, and mixology. I’ve always wanted to try home brewing beer, but I think I’ll have to make friends with an avid home-brewer willing to teach me.
Sloane: Mostly drawing and painting, which I find incredibly relaxing. I also love baking (especially with my kids), and block printing.
Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.
Meghan: I’m currently making myself, for the first time ever, a gorgeous black sweater. It’s Sloane’s Adams in Weld in Raven and I’m loving its sweet, simple texture. I can’t wait to wear it this winter! I als have several swatches going for our Autumn/Winter collection.
Sloane: I’m working on Melody Hoffman’s Aito shawl (from an old issue of Laine) in Forge in Cabernet. I’ve never been a huge shawl knitter (I mostly do sweaters and hats), but I’ve been on a kick of exploring shawls in my personal knitting this year, and it’s been really interesting to a) knit from someone else’s patterns and b) explore knitting something I don’t tend to gravitate towards. I’ve also really loved having something warm to put around my shoulders while I’m working!
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Spotlight, taking place from May 14-16, 2021.
Carolyn of Greenwood Fiberworks is an indie dyer who is the rare triple threat: she knits, crochets AND spins, and so offers yarn, spinning fiber and knit and crochet kits. She’s been dyeing for a couple of decades (!) and shares her deep expertise at events and guilds across the country. While Greenwood Fiberworks is not a new company, we’re so excited to spotlight them and get them on your radar.
Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.
I began dyeing yarn about 20 years ago, the same time I learned how to spin. I spun literally pounds of white wool on a drop spindle and then wanted to dye it to make holiday stockings in a deep red and green. A friend told me I could use Kool-Aid as a dye, so I purchased a couple packets of lime and black cherry flavored mix. I soon learned that I needed much more than just a couple packets and returned to the store and purchased all they had on the shelf. I was finally able to get the deep colors I needed, but no matter how much I rinsed, there was still a fruity smell. I since learned to use professional grade dyes and love to put color on just about everything.
What inspires your colorways?
I live in the beautiful mountain west and the environment around me inspires a lot of my colorways. We have the beautiful red rock, deep mountains, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Sometimes, colors come to me from a greeting card, a piece of fabric, or even my own imagination.
Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?
Green has always been a favorite color of mine. It suits me since my name is Greenwood! I love it in all shades for the calm and peacefulness it brings.
Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that is challenging to create?
I find it challenging to make colorways with the color red. It seems to overwhelm the other colors I put with it. I’ve been able to come up with a few colorways such as American Diner or Dragon Scales, but it is still a challenge for me to put red in a colorway.
What are some of your most popular colorways?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I’d have to say Arcade, which is a more jewel-toned rainbow. Then there is Cappuccino, which seems to have many natural colors of creams, tans, and browns. Colorways with blues always seem popular, especially our Shades of Turquoise.
Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?
I’m looking forward to introducing our new colorway, Dragon Fruit. I wanted something bright and cheerful as we begin to come together again so I put together happy colors. I wasn’t sure what to name it, but my daughter said it looked like Dragon Fruit, and she was right! I’m also wanting to share some of our hand-dyed fibers for spinners and felters.
Dragon Fruit, the Greenwood Fiberworks show special.
When and how did you learn to knit?
I was about seven or eight years old when my mother gave me a pair of long metal knitting needles and some worsted-weight yarn. She taught me to knit back and forth in garter stitch. I knit what was supposed to be a square hot pad, but it turned out to be more of a trapezoid. I still have it after all these years.
I’ve taken up crochet recently. One of my favorite projects is the Lost in Time Shawl that we’ve made with our DK Yakity Yak yarn.
What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?
I think one of my favorite projects has been the Hitofude sweater. It drapes so nicely with our Yakity Yak yarn. I’ve made several of these and many of my customers have also. Another favorite is the Peek-A-Boo Lace Shawl because it makes great use of our mini skeins.
What’s currently on your needles?
I’m playing with a pair of jaywalker socks in our April Diamond colorway. I wanted an easy travel project as I’ll hopefully be headed to Boston to meet my new grandson soon!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
April showers bring… Friendly Flutterby end minders, which help tame your loose ends, and Raindrop Stitch Markers from Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.