Indie Untangled Everywhere Untangling: Scratch Supply Co.

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The owners of a local yarn shop.

Travis, Jessica and Karen of Scratch Supply Co.

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled Everywhere, taking place from October 15-17, 2020.

Four years ago this month, Jessica Giordani and Karen Zook launched Scratch Supply Co., a craft store and inclusive home for makers in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Since then, they along with their partner Travis, have transformed the shop into a showcase for indie, women, POC/BIPOC, queer and otherwise underrepresented dyers and makers.

Scratch’s monthly Cast-On Club — I’ll be curating the October box! — celebrates the diversity of the fiber community with an exclusive colorway, and the shop features many indie brands that are familiar to Indie Untangled readers — Cat Sandwich Fibers, Fuzz Family, Julie Asselin — and some that may not be.

Since Petrina, Indie Untangled’s event producer, introduced me to the Scratch folks at Vogue Knitting Live NYC in January, I’ve enjoyed getting to know them and share in their enthusiasm for our amazing indie community (they’ll also be sponsoring the Bingo night that Petrina is hosting the Friday of Indie Untangled Everywhere, which means some great indie prizes!).

Tell me about the decision to open Scratch Supply Co. Did you ever think you’d own a yarn shop?

Not really! We didn’t even decide to open a yarn shop at first — we started as a multipurpose craft store with a handwork makerspace in the basement.

When we first opened the doors, we barely had any yarn at all. We had like two shelves with 40 skeins of yarn total and some hopeful shade card boxes — and we were SO proud of those two shelves. The best thing you could say about us was that we were scrappy. If you wanted to knit a sweater you could make something with stripes or wait for us to order a sweater’s quantity of one color. We were trying! Fortunately for us, our enthusiasm resonated with the knitting community, and they stuck with us through this awkward period while we found our footing, fine-tuned our offerings, and started stocking a full range of colorways in quantities large enough to make something bigger than a hat.

Over the last four years we’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to create a welcoming and inspiring space, and grow — with our amazing community of makers — into the LYS we were meant to be.

A bathtub full of yarn.

What you each of you do before you became yarn shop owners and how do you think it informs what you bring to the business?

The three of us met after Travis and Jessica moved to Connecticut after Travis left the Marine Corps. Jessica opened a small bakery and Travis and Karen met while they were enrolled in a PhD program in Comparative Literature.

We all have experience with research and working independently, and we’ve all been teachers in some capacity at some point. Jessica has previous experiencing running a retail shop, Karen has a background as a freelance writer, and Travis has government training in getting shit done.

We bring a lot of flexibility and a can-do, make-it-work spirit to Scratch. Since we all live together this is truly a family business. We’ve put our hearts into creating a space and a community that reflects who we are, and we like to make the members of our community part of that in any way we can. Our path from idea to execution is lightning-fast — our real area of expertise is in Doing The Thing. (Sometimes the thing is fixing your knitting, sometimes the thing is installing light fixtures, sometimes the thing is finding a way to keep our community connected during a pandemic.)

Why did you choose the dyers and brands that you carry?

First and foremost, we fill our shop with the yarns that we want to knit with! We have a carefully-curated selection that is constantly evolving. We are committed to supporting small makers and small mills, and providing our community access to with quality materials that they won’t find in just any LYS. We are enthusiastic about working with talented people in our industry whether they are established or just starting out. The fiber industry is diverse, and we believe that the dyers and makers that we work with should reflect that.

For us, there’s no value in filling our shop with yarn that you can get everywhere else. Our favorite thing is when people walk into the shop and announce “You have all the yarns that I follow on Instagram!”

The interior of a yarn shop.

Who are some of your favorite designers?

We love designers who are doing interesting things! It’s cold in New Hampshire so we’re sweater knitters at heart. We love Jessie Mae, Fatimah Hinds, Shay Johnson, Lavanya Patricella, Isabelle Kraemer, Maxim Cyr and Jacqueline Cieslak.

Crochet designers we’re following are Toni Lipsey, Vincent Williams, Twinkie Chan and Stephanie Erin.

Can you talk about any new products the shop is going to carry or special events in the works?

In September we just celebrated our fourth birthday, which is our biggest event of the year and kicks off a wildly-busy fall season!

We’ve been expanding our yarn selection since March to get ready for the long winter. We’ve recently brought in three bases by Julie Asselin, DK and bulky weight yarn from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers, fresh Spincycle, lace mohair, worsted and fingering-weight yarn from SweetGeorgia Yarns, the Nightshades from Harrisville Designs and two new fingering-weight bases from Junkyarn.

One of the best things about Cast-on Club (our monthly subscription box) is that we always have something amazing on its way to us — every month a different dyer sends us something new and exclusive! Indie Untangled is curating our October box, and in November our featured dyer is Doug Lopez of Knittinbro.

A family in knitwear, with a dog, sits on a sofa.

The Scratch family, including Violet and Scarlet.

When and how did you learn to knit?

Karen learned as a child from her mom, and knit/unknit/reknit a rectangle from the same skein of red Red Heart until she left for college. She couldn’t tell the difference between the right side and the wrong side of her fabric, so she had a strip of masking tape wrapped around the bottom of one of the horrendous plastic straight needles to help her keep it straight. After college she started a post-bacc program with an endless workload. She was living in Philadelphia and there was an amazing LYS right around the corner, so she started obsessively knitting just to hold a finished object in her hands once in a while. (Fortunately by then YouTube had been invented, which gave her the opportunity to increase her skills!)

Jessica learned to knit when she moved to Minnesota for grad school. There was a woman in her program who would knit through seminars, and since she didn’t know anyone and it was very cold, this seemed like a great hobby to take up. She didn’t know that LYSs existed, so she picked up a Susan Bates pamphlet and some bouclé yarn and taught herself how to knit while watching Pulp Fiction on repeat. She had been knitting for three years before she could read a pattern and learned a lot of problem-fixing techniques through trial and error.

Travis doesn’t knit (we’re wearing him down!), but has a lot of opinions about color, fiber content and design.

A letter sign that reads ALLAREWELCOME and @SCRATCHSUPPLYCO in pink and white.

Tell me about each of your most memorable FOs.

The first sweater Karen ever knit for herself was bottom-up with seamed sleeves. She was very excited about knitting it and bought crazy-expensive alpaca yarn that wasn’t really suited to the pattern… it turned into such a fiasco that it’s currently stuffing a dog bed.

In 2011, Jessica promised her mom a sweater. She knit all but one sleeve, and that sweater lived in project bags until it was finally consigned to the bin in 2020. It just wasn’t meant to be… but don’t worry, mom will finally get her sweater this year.

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Jessica is knitting the Ghost Ranch hat using Dyed in the Wool in Payback and Street Light in Nightshades. It’s the squishy, Halloween-y hat of her dreams!

Karen is working on a gift knit that she’s going to try to keep a surprise so won’t spill the beans on that just yet. She just cast on a Pressed Flowers shawl by designer Amy Christoffers in Juicy DK from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers.

What to stash this week: Join The Baby-Sitters Knitting Club

Gray yarn atop a book and a box of colorful mini skeins.

Amy of Canon Hand Dyes creates colors inspired by literature, so I was thrilled to learn she was also a fan of The Baby-Sitters Club, a series of books released throughout the ’80s and ’90s that was recently turned into a wonderful Netflix series.

Amy captured the spirit of each character — including entrepreneurial Kristy, shy but mature Mary Anne, artsy Claudia, sophisticated Stacey, hippie Dawn, bookish Mallory and graceful Jessi — in a colorful six-skein mini set and a coordinating neutral.

The yarn is available exclusively through Indie Untangled on Amy’s new Edith Sock, a luxuriously soft 17-micron Superwash Merino that would make the loveliest shawls, including Melanie Berg’s On the Spice Market or Ambah O’Brien’s Lamina Wrap. Preorders are open until October 4 and the yarn will ship at the end of November. 

A blue bag with white alpacas wearing red knitwear.

In anticipation of fall projects, Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs has restocked her super roomy Grace Bags, which can hold up to six skeins of worsted weight yarn. And, yes, it has pockets — four of them, as well as a clear vinyl pouch on the outside. The Grace comes in more than a dozen fun fabrics, including the adorable wildlife pattern pictured here. Take them on your fall travels, whether on a road trip or staying close to home. 

A black bat on a glow in the dark background.

Preorders are open for WeeOnes’ Halloween mystery stitch marker sets! You’ll receive 13 individually-wrapped, hand-sculpted, Halloween-themed stitch markers (including some costumed animals!).

A moss green and dappled pink shawl.

Mary Annarella’s’s latest design, Hope and Feathers, is named for an Emily Dickinson poem and includes some mindless knitting interspersed with simple slip-stitch colorwork. The pattern is 25% off on both Ravelry and Payhip with the code hope2020 through Sunday, or you can get the pattern for free when you sign up for the Lyrical Knits newsletter.

Red yarn with silver and gold stitch markers.

Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has debuted four stitch marker gift sets, which include a variety of sizes, for sock knitters or those who love quick, chunky projects. Each set contains 25 markers: two sets of 10 markers in different sizes and five movable markers, in a handy storage box.

Stardust Fiber Studio has new bases, a KAL, an Advent Calendar and yarn clubs.

What to stash this week: Yarn camp

A woman models a purple and blue tie dyed knit top.

Geraldine of The Wandering Flock, fresh off the release of her wildly successful tie dye-inspired yarn, has launched her new Tie Dye Your Knits kits! The kits come with two skeins of Organic Pima Cotton Yarn in DK weight, all the dye in two different color choices and accompanying materials, plus the pattern for knitting the Tilly Crop Top, the quick and easy knit pictured above. If you don’t think you could tie dye your FO, or are impatient to start playing with color, the beauty of the kit is that you can tie dye the yarn instead! The kits are available for preorder until August 31 only and will be shipped the following week.

Red, orange and yellow bunnies on brown, blue and green yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has debuted some special edition end minder sets,  capturing the beauty of fall in brilliant red, bold orange, and crisp yellow rabbits and sheep. 

A woman wearing a purple speckled shawl sips purple bubble tea.

Emily’s new one-skein shawl design pays homage to the all time best drink — bubble tea! Get 10% now through September 4, with no coupon code needed on Ravelry and with the code BUBBLETEAISYUMMY on Payhip.

Orange yarn and the words Lava Lamp.

Jill of Jilly and Kiddles is putting a bunch of colorways on special sale to make room for new products. She’s also offering free shipping in the U.S. on orders of $100 or more with the code ThankYou at checkout.

Purple and green yarn next to a note with the words Dark Romantic.

Join the Fiber Coven gothic-inspired MKAL, which runs during the month of September so you should have the perfect accessory ready with plenty of time for October festivities.

Mad Science Yarn has opened preorders for a Winter Gems Advent

KS Fiber Arts has debuted a national parks series of colorways.

What to stash this week: From fingering to super-bulky

A teal shawl with lace and tassels.

Selena of Sweater Sisters has released kits for Ardelia, a new shawl design by K.M. Bedigan, named for the 17th-century composer Lady Mary Dering. The fingering weight shawl combines brioche and lace into an elegant botanical design. Kits are available in six color options of Wayfaring Yarns Europa, a blend of Extrafine Merino and Superkid Mohair, and Sophia Kidsilk Lace, a blend of Ultrafine Kid Mohair and Mulberry Silk.

Skeins of pink speckled yarn with teal mini skeins.

Heather of Pumpkins and Wool has a bunch of new sock kits in bright colorways. Get 10% off, no coupon needed, when you purchase two or more items, plus get free domestic shipping with a purchase of $35 or more.

A chunky cowl in green, blue and pink speckled bulky yarn.

Maybe it’s not chunky knit weather, but it’s hard to resist a super quick project. Jennifer of Maelstrom Fiber Arts has released her new Poseidon Super-Bulky single-ply yarn. Use it for her Anemone Cowl, which is available free for a limited time.

Join the Mermaids in the Waves shawl semi-mystery knitalong with Softyarn Designs and Jilly & Kiddles for 50% off through July 20.

Congrats to our Super Special KAL winners!

A collage of colorful knitted objects.

Back in March, I decided back to launch the Indie Untangled Super Special KAL so we’d have some fun knitting incentives. Not that we really need prizes, let alone a pandemic, to inspire our crafting mojo, but it is nice to have deadlines.

Over three months, there were 70 total entries, including 16 in the sock category and 15 in the sweater category (but only one in the new bralette category, which surprised me!). Last week, I selected 15 winners in eight categories via random number generator. Here are the winning FOs (please note that the links go to Ravelry).

Sweater

Knitting Our National Parks

Shawl

Cowl

Mitts

Socks

Bralette

Hat

What to stash this week: pay it forward

Silver tins with an orange and cream label.

Kismet and the team at Lolo Body Care have donated more than 500 of their portable lotion bars to healthcare workers, and they are drawing on that “pay it forward” ethos for their latest promotion. If you spend $30 before shipping, they’ll send a person of your choosing a free To-Go Bar, and if you spend $60 they’ll send a person of your choosing free a Body Bar, along with a note tucked inside the package.

A purple and gray striped shawl sits on a dress form.

If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation (aren’t we all?), Heather of Sew Happy Jane has bundles of Magic Mohair or Featherdown Suri for Shellie Anderson’s new Electric Beach shawl. Shelli’s sample used one skein of Electric Raspberry Merino fingering, and one skein of Agate Beach mohair.

Green and teal yarn with the words King Triton Jilly & Kiddles.

If you want a little — but not too much — mystery this summer, then join the Mermaids in the Waves KAL. Lena of SoftYarn Designs has designed a two-color shawl pattern with Jilly & Kiddle yarn, and Jill’s offering kits. The pattern will only remain a “mystery” until it’s released on July 28.

Green glow in the dark jellyfish.

Are you sensing a theme here? Jillian of WeeOnes has released new sea- and beach-inspired stitch markers, including super cool glow-in-the-dark jellyfish ones.

Skeins of dark red yarn.

Sharon of the yarn company once know as Stitchjones has rebranded to Garage Dyeworks. Check out new colors on the brand-new website.

Teal and teal and green speckled yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks’ creativity has flourished this summer and she has more than two dozen new colors available on Neptune DK, Deep Sock and Harbor Singles. Get 10% off sweater quantities this week only with code SQS10.

Cream yarn with flecks of purple.

Tomorrow at 5 p.m. UK time, Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns is introducing a new base that’s available in both fingering and DK weight. Keswick Fingering and Keswick DK (pronounced Kez-ick) are comprised of 85% Superwash Merino with 15% Donegal neps.

What to stash this week: A woolly palette

Skeins of blue and silver yarn over a hand-dyed tote bag.

Tavolozza is a collaboration between Stefania and Giulia from Lanivendole and Sara from La Cave à Laine. Kits, which are available to preorder through June 26, include a full skein of A Heavenly Blend in the natural gray of Aquilana wool, Italian alpaca and Italian cashmere, three minis of A Chic Blend (Brogna wool, Italian alpaca and Italian mohair) in a range of color choices and either a hand-sewn zippered pouch or a hand-dyed organic cotton tote bag that Sara prepared especially for this collaboration.

Mountains in shades of blue and two skeins of dark to light blue hand-dyed yarn.

Celebrate summer with the Aleutian Fade, the colorway from Jenn of Cedar House Yarns based on a blue gradient forming the Kachemak Bay Mountains at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. This colorway is available to preorder through next Friday.

A portion of sales from this installment will support both the National Park Foundation and the NFC Momentum Fund, Neighborhood Fiber Co.’s donor-advised charitable fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation that will disperse contributions to a variety of organizations working for justice, empowerment and equality.

Clay sheep stitch markers in a rainbow of colors form a circle.

Jillian of WeeOnes‘ polymer clay stitch markers bring that extra bit of joy to your WIP. Her new rainbow sheep are at a special 15% off discount for the rest of June, and there’s a menagerie of adorable creatures.

A grey pullover with a purple and green variegated front.

Whether you hear Tiny Dancer or Tony Danza, you’ll want to sing along to Mary Annarella’s latest pattern. It’s designed to help you use up a skein or two of variegated sock yarn, minis, or even leftovers, and it’s 30% off through June 22.

Green, aqua and purple speckled yarn with the words Maelstrom Fiber Arts Barefoot in the Grass.

Jennifer of Maelstrom Fiber Arts‘ latest colorways, Barefoot in the Grass, Bourbon & Lime and Luminous are inspired by her patio garden. Looking ahead, she’s also taking orders for an October Mystery Gift Box.

Blue glass bead stitch markers on a silver pin.

Amy of Amy’s Trinket Shop makes her glass beads stitch markers at her kitchen table, surrounded by her kids, husband and dogs, all waiting to see the new trinkets she’s created.

What to stash this week: Blue mountain majesties

Mountains in shades of blue and two skeins of dark to light blue hand-dyed yarn.

Jenn of Cedar House Yarns has created this painterly representation of a blue gradient forming the Kachemak Bay Mountains at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, captured by Lisa Hupp of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This colorway will be available to preorder on Jenn’s Sapling Sock base on Indie Untangled through Friday, June 26.

As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation. This month, an additional 10% of sales for this installment will be donated to the NFC Momentum Fund, Neighborhood Fiber Co.’s donor-advised charitable fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation that will disperse contributions to a variety of organizations working for justice, empowerment and equality. Currently, money raised will support protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement.

A shawl with geometric patterns in shades of cerulean, coral and cream.

Caroline of The Noble Thread was inspired by her favorite French painter, Marie Laurencin, to create her latest shawl design, Aquarelle. The shawl plays with Laurencin’s favorite celadon and peach hues, with chevrons and bobbles interrupting soothing garter ridges. Caroline has created Aquarelle kits using her very own naturally-dyed yarn. One kit is dyed on her Pure base, a 100% non-Superwash Merino and the other is dyed on her Superwash Merino Amelie base.

A collage of sweaters and shawls and the words Enjoy 40% off Lyrical Knits patterns.

Mary of Lyrical Knits is holding her annual birthday sale! Use the code birthdaybash to take 40% off all patterns in her shop, from shawls to sweaters, through June 14.

Teal, pink, chartreuse, blue and red yarn and the words Yakima Lace.

Debbie of Murky Depths is one of only a few indie dyers to offer non-mohair laceweight yarn. Not only that, but she offers three different bases! In honor of lighter summer knits, these yarns are 15% off through the end of June. 

An amber and aqua triangular shawl.

Mark the end of Outlander Season 5 with Inner Yarn Zen’s Droughtlander 2020 kit. This kit features three skeins of hand-dyed yarn to complete the included Ridge Wedding Shawl by KJH Knit Designs.

A silver mermaid stick shawl pin sits on a skein of blue yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations is taking you on a trip to the beach for this month’s mystery mailing. You can choose from three different options: notions only, notions and pin or notions and cuff.

A trio of dark to light pink yarn.

The next Eden Cottage Yarns update takes place today at 8 p.m. UK time and includes Hayton DK, an MCN, and Bowland 4ply, a British BFL.

Hands holding a jar of brightly colored yarn balls.

Designer Emily of Kitty With a Cupcake and dyer Lauren of Valkyrie Fibers are starting up a “yarn witch coven” on Patreon.

An illustration of a laptop with a blue ball of yarn on the screen advertising the Virtu-wool Fiber Festival.

The June Virtu-Wool Fiber Festival on Facebook will showcase 20 vendors, including sponsor Bewitched Pigments, tomorrow and Sunday. Each vendor will showcase their products during a 45-minute live video.

Shanna of Lambstrings Yarn has opened preorders for her Spooky October “Advent” calendar.

What to stash this week: Supporting black-owned indie businesses

Over the last few months, all of our lives were upended by something that couldn’t be seen without a microscope. As knitters and makers, our first instinct during the COVID-19 pandemic was to turn to the thing that has always held comfort for us. We don’t need news articles to tell us that knitting (and yarn) is therapy — we know it when we reflexively pick up our latest mindless project, lose ourselves in a complicated cable pattern or scroll through our Instagram feed, double-tapping the colorful twisted hanks in square boxes.

More recently, life has been upended again, by visible representations of something that can’t always be seen, even with a microscope, but that can always be felt. Systemic racism is a virus that has long been circulating in our communities, even when we don’t think we’re displaying obvious symptoms. It’s a disease that black people around the world have been exposed to all their lives, and over these past several days, they’ve been gasping for air.

As I type this, George Floyd’s family is preparing for his memorial and they, along with people all over the U.S., are grieving. Grieving not just for George, but for a long list of black lives that have been lost to racism. We are angry, and there is no vaccine that can make it all go away.

As we seek out comfort while doing the work we so desperately need to do to confront and eliminate racism, in ourselves and in our communities, I hope that you can take this opportunity to explore, and continue to support, the work of the many black indie dyers, designers and creators who help make our particular community so special.

As a knitter and through Indie Untangled, I have been fortunate to be able to learn about and work with some of these business owners.

Blue, green and yellow yarn.

Robin Guy of Birch Hollow Fibers creates soothing and subtly complex colorways inspired by two of her favorite things: books, particularly fantasy fiction, and tea. Her bases are named after women she admires, including American abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.

A black woman in a blue and purple cardigan smiles in front of a wall of colorful yarn.

Brooke Addams of Fully Spun creates hand-dyed marled yarns with the look of handspun. Her latest collection is in honor of Pride month and includes a broad representation of the LGBTQ+ community through yarn. It was great to get to know Brooke better during the Indie Untangled Virtual Knit Night last night!

Red, black and gray yarn.

Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Yarns dyes vibrant street art-inspired skeins and has brought together diverse business owners for her yarn clubs.

A peach pin over peach colored speckled yarn.

Adella Colvin of Lolabean Yarn Co. named her popular indie yarn company for her daughter because, as a woman of color, she wanted to show Lola that “we can achieve success regardless of the circumstances.”

A navy, gold and cream oblong triangle shawl.

Tamy Gore of Narrow Path Designs makes hand-dyed yarn come alive with her elegant shawls and accessories, which feature lace and texture.

Rainbow die stitch markers.

Marsha Auguste of One Geek To Craft Them All handcrafts fun stitch markers, jewelry and project bags based on various geekery and pop culture.

Five colorful skeins of variegated yarn.

Lola Johnson of UK-based Third Vault Yarns themes her brightly-colored yarn around sci-fi, fantasy and comic fandoms like Firefly, The Sandman and Discworld.

What to stash this week: wash your hands and knit on

Tins of body butter with orange and aqua accents.

Due to more hand washing than usual, many of us are probably also dealing with extremely dried-out skin, which is not exactly conducive to working with yarn. If you’re looking for a way to quench your parched skin, Kismet of LoLo Body Care has you covered. Based in Vancouver, Washington, this familiar brand on the fiber festival circuit makes the LoLo Body Bar, a quick-absorbing moisturizer that lasts through multiple hand washings, as well as handcrafted, colorful soap with sayings that will lift your spirits long after your umpteenth verse of Happy Birthday.

Pale pink speckled yarn.

If you missed out, Heather of Sew Happy Jane has restocked her shop with yarn bundles for the PRIMA shawl by Shellie Anderson, which sold out quickly last weekend. There’s also a KAL starting April 20.

A paper bag with a purple and white geometric pattern.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations decided to theme this month’s mystery box around everyone’s favorite umbrella-carrying heroine. The box is customizable, and you can choose from notions only, shawl pin and notions, or shawl cuff and notions.

Pale purple fluffy yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarn is welcoming a new base to her yarn family. Lowther Lace is a luxurious blend of baby suri alpaca and mulberry silk that will be introduced in a shop update on Sunday at 5 p.m. UK time.