What to stash this week: Exploring Alaska

A furry rodent on a mossy rock, and skeins of pink and pink and green speckled yarn.Ali of Explorer Knits + Fibers, who also loves the great outdoors, and donates a portion of every purchase of her yarn to the National Parks Foundation, was the perfect partner for this series and I’m so excited to finally work with her! Ali was inspired by the above photo of an adorable pika spotted along the Savage River Loop Trail at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska by wildlife photographer David Turko.

Two colorways — the speckled Mountain Floof and a semisolid pink called Rosehip — are available to preorder on the appropriately-named Denali Sock, a blend of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% nylon with a 2-ply twist, through Sunday, October 17, during Indie Untangled Everywhere, the online version. (Read on for more about show fun… and how to win some prizes!)

A green crescent shawl with a blue and gray edging of wavy lace.

I’ve also been in touch with another national parks lover, designer Theressa Silver, who published her book Knitting Wild in 2019. It features 21 patterns, including shawls, cowls, hats, mitts and scarves, accompanied by descriptions about the place that served as its inspiration and exploring the issues of climate change, habitat conservation and endangered species protection.

You can use Ali’s colorways to knit Theressa Silver’s Here Be Puffins shawl from Knitting Wild, which is also available for preorder from Indie Untangled.

Skeins of cream, brown and mauve yarn surrounded by cinnamon sticks and pinecones.

Maureen of Charming Ewe has added new items to the shop, including The Cocoa Collection of solids and tonals.

A spiral-edged pin with a mother of pearl button in the center sits atop a cake of green yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has a new line of shawl pins that she crafted with vintage mother of pearl buttons from the 1930s through the ’80s, sourced from a vendor at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. She’ll be debuting them at SAFF, which is being held October 22-24.

Sock-shaped wood with decorative holes.

Sara of of La Cave à Laine, an Indie Untangled Everywhere vendor, has curated quite a collection of handy and attractive tools and notions for knitters and crafters, including stitch markers, handmade soap, different scissors, notion kits and more. Above are sock blockers that are handmade in Austria in Austrian beech plywood.

A coil of brown rustic yarn.

Monica of Gothfarm brought together three different fibers — bay black alpaca, Shetland sheep wool and Jacob sheep wool — to form Terra Preta, a rich brown yarn named after a soil created thousands of years ago by indigenous farming communities in the Amazon Rainforest. It will debut next week at Indie Untangled Everywhere.

Metal rings with beads of black, blue and gold and a silver witch.

Michele of MAB Elements is marking the upcoming holiday with a Glitzy Witch Stitch Marker Set. It includes seven handcrafted markers made with faceted crystals, including one beginning of round marker with the witch, plus seven plain bulb removable markers that fit up to size US 10.5 knitting needles.

Skeins of yellow, peach and pink yarn in a row.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarn is back with some shop updates with British wool, including Bowland 4ply and Bowland DK (100% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester), as well as yarn packs for various patterns, including Andrea Mowry’s Douglas Cardi and the Cumulo sweater by Lili Buce-Chmelko from issue 1 of crochet mag Moorit.

Skeins of green, beige, gray and pink yarn.

7th Floor Yarn has a new base. Twisted Aran is 50% Fine Merino and 50% Alpaca, with 191 yards per skein, perfect for winter projects.

A row of tote bags with purple, green and pink dots.

Crista Jaeckel is having a shop update today at 6 p.m. ET with a few XL tote bags with XL shoulders straps, zipper bags, and large drawstring bags.

A black tote bag with a teal, orange and beige illustration of animals and the words Win a swag bag!

The Indie Untangled swag bags are always super popular, and we wanted to share the love to shoppers in all the sessions at our October 15 show in Saugerties, as well as online! Everyone with a ticket to the 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. shopping times, or anyone who buys a ticket for the in-person or online events through Monday, October 11, will have the opportunity to win one of several event tote bags with swag from 10 of our fab sponsors: Scratch Supply Co. and the Make Good podcast, Knitrino, 29 Bridges Studio, Soak, Birdie Parker Designs, Three Irish Girls, Daughter of a Shepherd, Leo & Roxy Yarn Co., Wool & Vinyl and Yarn Over New York.

 

What to stash this week: Roots and leaves

A woman models a striped wrap in dark and light greens.

Designer Soraya García is channeling autumn with one of her favorite designs to date. Sori’s Paradisia Wrap has a sagittal shape inspired by tree roots and the veins of leaves. It’s knit with a variegated and semisolid color in the same weight or a contrasting weight — she used a single-ply Merino and a laceweight mohair in the above sample. It’s knitted with sections of garter stitch and stripes and short rows, combining effortless knitting with a little bit of interest.

Yarn in red, orange and gold.

Maureen, a new business owner of Charming Ewe, has some fall colors in her shop, like this one called Apple Crisp, which is available on a variety of Superwash fingering and DK bases.

An illustration of a tape casette and the words Holiday Mix Tape inspired Advent box.

Jill has opened preorders for the Jilly & Kiddles Advent kit, and this year’s theme is Holiday Mix Tape, with 24 surprise mini skeins inspired by her family’s favorite holiday music. The kit also includes an exclusive xix tape-inspired project bag and extra themed surprises.

What to stash this week: A new yarn blooms

A collage of orange flowers, a hand wearing gray speckled mittens and a skein of gray yarn speckled with orange, pink and gold.For this year’s Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club, Giulia and Stefania of Italy-based Lanivendole partnered with designer Soraya García. Their inspiration was one of the photographs Soraya took when she arrived at her new house in Amsterdam, just before the first lockdown. Giulia and Stefania created Home Blooms, a silvery gray with pops of orange, pink and gold, which they dyed on their A Chic Blend, which is comprised of 60% Brogna wool, 20% alpaca and 20% mohair, bred and spun in Italy.

Soraya used a skein to design her New Age Mittens, which she says are “inspired by the idea of the home as cage and refuge during the days we would soon understand as a new era.” Soraya and I are both fans of the Velvet Underground and the mittens are named after one of their songs.

You can now preorder this special colorway for a limited time on Indie Untangled. Get ready for a new season and grab a skein for Sori’s mittens, plus extra for a matching hat (or several for a matching sweater… seriously, this yarn is amazing).

A light-skinned woman with gray hair wears a large gray striped triangle shawl bandana-style.

Sara of La Cave à Laine’s latest pattern is Papirus, a classic triangle shawl with easy-to-remember lace and stockinette bands. It, along with all of Sara’s patterns, are 47% off throughout the weekend to celebrate her birthday! Use the code HBSARA47 at checkout.

An illustration of a ghost holding a pumpkin basket in front of an orange ball of yarn and the words Trick Or Treat Yo'self 2021.

Halloween is not just for the kiddles. Trick or treat yo’self with a special Trick-or-Treat Bag from Jill of Jilly & Kiddles. It includes one full skein of mystery yarn in your preferred weight and a treat, with a special prize thrown into every seventh one ordered.

An enamel pin with a blue monster clutching skeins of pink and teal yarn.

Do you know about the Stashmonster? This creature flies between yarn lovers’ homes trading skeins and multiplying your stash when you’re not looking. Kate of Bad Lux Designs has captured the Stashmonster in enamel pin form.

A skein of yarn and braid of fiber in golden beige.

Natalie of Fiberdog Fibers is celebrating her handspun yarn and fibers that use non-white fleeces. Natalie has washed, picked, carded, dyed and spun everything herself. If you subscriber to her newsletter, you get 20% off this month.

Skeins of purple yarn.

Lisa The Knitting Artist is holding a flash sale on all her “Turpentine OOAK” colors, made with runoff from her variegated yarns. These colors are $15, marked down from $22.

Jenny GL of Kountingsheep has released Hello Starshine, a crochet asymmetrical triangle shawl.

What to stash this week: Yipes, stripes!

Small skeins of colorful yarn in two rows next to a black fan.

Debbie of Murky Depths — part of the in-person lineup of indies at our October show in Saugerties — recently decided she wanted to knit a Stripes! Sweater by Andrea Mowry. She didn’t want to break into full skeins knowing she’d leave most of it over. Luckily, she had some 116-yard/50-gram skeins of her Superwash Merino Neptune DK base left over from a special project and has dyed up 15 colors! These would be perfect for Andrea’s cute sweater, or a colorwork project for fall.

A gold illustration of a wave and a sun and the words TRY A MISTERY CLUB

Jackson and David of El Robledal de la Santa, based in Spain, have teamed up with their friend Soraya of Spanish magazine YedraKnits — all Indie Untangled Everywhere vendors this October! — for TRY, which stands for Together Robledal and Yedra. The first edition of this exclusive club includes yarn from Italy-based Dark Omen Yarn and a design from Antonino of Beagle Knits, also based in Spain, plus a surprise gift.

A snow-covered mountain and skeins of brown, plum, red, green, blue and purple yarn.

Sarah of Teton Yarn Company is traveling up north to the Land of the Midnight Sun for the next stop on her National Park Road Trip with four limited-edition Mountain Sock mini skein sets inspired by Denali National Park.

A collage of images with a purple, blue, orange and gold color scheme.

Sara of La Cave à Laine, also an Indie Untangled Everywhere vendor, is launching a bag club. The 2022 club is inspired by La Società delle Giardiniere, the female branch of Carboneria, a network of secret revolutionary societies active in Italy at the beginning of the 19th century.

A woman holds up a beige, rust and gray triangle shawl.

Marny Kindness’s newest design, the Vineyard Bay Shawl, is a triangular shawl that can be made in any three colorways or one solid color of DK-weight yarn (you just need about 800 yards). You can try contrasting colors for interesting designs.

A woman models a yellow and orange hat and cowl.

Jenna of Southern Skeins recently collaborated with designer Johanna Underwood on the Taste of Home Hat. The pattern is inspired by a line in a children’s book where a mother is speaking to her child, with a pie crust weave that brings to mind memories of fall and holidays spent with family.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Yarn Over New York

A smiling person models a rainbow and black plaid shawl.

Jessie wears Breaking Plaid by Carissa Browning (Ravelry link).

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Untangled, taking place from October 15-24, 2021. Tickets are now available!

Jessie of Yarn Over New York is emblematic of the city that we both call home: colorful, interesting and full of talent. Aside from creating hand-dyed yarn, Jessie has worked as a stage manager for various performances and events, including the circus. That experience lends itself well to dramatic, bold colorways and artistic sock blanks.

You can catch Jessie at our online show in October, with their virtual shopping session taking place on Saturday, October 16 at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

In January 2016, while in Vancouver, BC, a friend from knit group (Kelsey of K-Zip Knits) invited me and another friend to a Yarn Dyeing Party at her house. We tried hand-painting, low-immersion and mason jar dyeing techniques and had a lot of fun. I left that day with four beautiful new skeins of yarn and the seeds were planted for a major lifestyle change. As my yarn hung in the shower to dry, I ordered my own Greener Shades dye starter pack and a handful of bare yarn. I spent the next few months watching tutorials and experimenting in my kitchen. Eventually, I had dyed enough that I needed to clear out some space and I listed a few skeins in a knitting Facebook group. To my surprise, they sold! I decided to take a major leap of faith and contact all the local yarn stores and inquire about a trunk show during the NYC Yarn Crawl. One Brooklyn shop (Slip Stitch Needlectaft) and one Manhattan shop (Annie & Co) both said yes! It was a total dream come true. I used that event to launch my Etsy shop and before I knew it, Yarn Over New York was a real thing! Five years later, I still almost can’t believe it happened.

Skeins of colorful yarn and a small yellow taxi.

What inspires your colorways?

Is “everything” too vague an answer? Early on, I used photographs from my travels in Europe, Asia and North America to pick color palettes. Now, I have three main sources for ideas. Food (yum), flowers (pretty) and my dear old City, New York (not yum, maybe pretty).

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

Orange is definitely my personal favorite color. I love how it can pair with greens, blues and purples to create really dynamic effects. As I dyer, I’ve learned that not everyone wants to wear sunglasses while knitting/crocheting, so I have a new-found appreciation for subtler shades. I also really love rainbows and, luckily, so do lots of other crafters. I’ll never run out of ways to dye the rainbow.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that is challenging to create?

Perhaps not a single color, but I’d love to dye self-striping sock yarn. At the moment, I really don’t have the space and equipment to do it properly, so it stays on the bucket list.

The Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline on a piece of blue knitting.

What are some of your most popular colorways?

Colorways: Dusk Rainbow (variegated, saturated rainbow with black smudges), Taxis in the Rain (grey and yellow with speckles), Black Opal (dark grey with jewel undertones)

Hand-painted Sock Blanks: NYC Skyline, Watermelon Slices, Fractals

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Untangled?

(Big smile) Yes! I’ve got some super fun things planned. Our show special colorway will be a stunner this year. Sock knitters will definitely want to keep an eye out. It’s not a true self-striping colorway, but it will pool into very gorgeous spirals. I’m in the process of creating some really pretty companion tonal colorways so that shawl and sweater makers can mix and match to their hearts’ delight.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I started to crochet at the age of five when my mom gave me a hook and some yarn for Christmas. Admittedly, I didn’t totally fall in love at that point and ended up making pom poms and simpler yarn-crafted items. As a teen, she taught me again and I started a never-ending parade of crocheted hats, blankets and stuffed toys.

I learned how to knit in my 30s while living in Macau. A fellow circus worker and I traded skills. I taught her to crochet and she taught me to knit. She introduced me to ravelry and the world of fine yarn. It’s safe to say, she created a monster, lol. I started designing knit and crochet patterns and amassed quite a stash during my travels. Thanks, Sharon, I owe you!

I learned to weave when Rachel from Woolyn (Brooklyn yarn store) showed me all her gorgeous work and inspired me to buy a loom. I am still definitely a beginner, but definitely hooked. I love how you can color mix in both directions. So fun.

A person holds a wrap with neon stripes.

Jessie’s Celebrate With Love shawl (Ravelry link).

What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?

I really love when people make things for special occasions. A customer knit her own wedding veil with a custom-dyed gold and white silk lace. Another used an NYC sock blank to knit herself socks that reminded her of home. The beauty of indie-dyed yarn is the emotion and love carries through from my hands to theirs in the most amazing way.

What’s currently on your needles?

All the things. I can never just do one at a time. I’ve got a pair of socks on the go (for me, vanilla), a knitted and a crochet cowl for show samples (“Diurnal Cowl” by me) and a “Born this Way” test knit for Mary W Martin. I recently got a stand for my table loom so it can be ready to go all the time and I plan to make a birthday present for my mom with something pink and lovely. (Mom, if you are reading this, pretend you didn’t see that last part.)

What to stash this week: A detour to Mesa Verde

Lit caves under a purple sky and purple, orange and green yarn.

For the latest installment of Knitting Our National Parks, Faery of Apothefaery Luxury Fibers takes us to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features hundreds of cliff dwellings once occupied by the Ancestral Puebloan people. Inspired by the photo above, captured by Steven Yabek, Faery created two colorways — the variegated Luminaria and the semisolid Spruce Treehouse. They will both be available on four bases, from lace to DK, plus Luminaria will be dyed on U.S.-grown Rambouillet spinning fiber.

These colors will be available to preorder on Indie Untangled until Friday, August 27. As always, 10% of all sales will be divided between the National Park Foundation and the Native American Rights Fund.

A woman holds up a gold and turquoise triangular shawl.

Ashleigh Wempe’s San Angelo shawl is inspired by her former Texas home and its mesquite artwork inlaid with turquoise. This triangular shawl features short rows, wrapped stitches and mosaic colorwork. Use the coupon code MESQUITE to get 10% off this pattern until midnight on August 16.

A collage of national parks photos with purple, blue and orange tones and the words A National Parks New Year

Preorder A National Parks New Year

I’ve brought together 27 dyers and four makers for A National Parks New Year, a month-long journey through the U.S. national parks in wintertime! Preorders for this New Year countdown box will be available through the end of August or until they sell out (and it’s already more than half sold!).  

What to stash this week: Summer tour with tea

A yellow and lilac shawl on a dress form.

Selena of Sweater Sisters has two new shawl kits up on the website and they’re both on sale through July 14.

Gray roving.

In honor of the Tour de Fleece, Monica of Gothfarm Yarn is offering buy one get one 30% off on all rovings. Just enter code SPINIT at checkout.

A teacup with pink flowers.

Stitch Stuff Yarn is offering a Tea Time Mystery Club inspired by antique and modern cups/mugs. This is a month-to-month preorder.

Plies & Hellhounds Yarn has opened preorders for the Dark Academia Yarn Count Down.

What to stash this week: See you in October!

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

We can’t wait to see you in October!

A coiled braid of pink and purple fiber.

Stephania of Three Fates Yarns is offering Winter Solstice countdown kits and has hand-dyed spinning fiber available just in time for the upcoming Tour de Fleece.

A white and aqua crescent shaped shawl with holes.

Destin is Ashleigh Wempe’s new shawl pattern inspired by summer escapes. Use the coupon code BEACH to get 15% off the pattern through midnight on June 29.

Pink, purple, blue, black and yellow mini skeins in a circle.

Lisa The Knitting Artist just had a big shop update and has eight different mini sets, all inspired by her own original artwork.

A collage of bright colored yarn and a zipper bag.

Preorders are open for Woolen Women Fibers July mystery kits, including Christmas in July, ‘Gnome’ of the Brave, and more themes.

Purple and green hand-dyed chunky yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns has added lots of new yarn to the website, including a few dyelots each of Pendle Chunky and Titus Fingering.

Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Hudson + West

Two women wearing red posing together in wilderness.

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.

Gold, navy, forest green, white and red yarn next to a map.

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.

Purple, orange, gold and pale pink yarn.

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.

A woman models a black shawl with a rainbow of colors.

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.

Purple, orange, red and gray yarn.

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!

Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Greenwood Fiberworks

A woman wearing a green knit cowl.

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.

Beige yarn with red and blue.

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.

A braid of blue fiber.

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.

Pink and green yarn with branches on top.

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.

A multicolored shawl.

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!