Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Jilly & Kiddles

A woman wearing a blue and orange sweater stands over a table of colorful yarn.

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

I first met Jill of the yarn company Jilly & Kiddles at a Brooklyn yarn event (remember those?) a couple of years ago, and she is just as fun and approachable as the name of her company would suggest. In fact, Jill received a slew of nominations for the Spotlight show from some of her loyal customers, and their words say it all:

“Jill is an amazing dyer – her yarn is absolutely amazing and should be shared. I belong to her Sock of the Season group where her gorgeous colors never disappoint. I also purchased her 2020 Advent which was extraordinary!!” –Eileen

“I would like to see Jilly & Kiddles in the spotlight. Jilly’s yarn is amazing to work with. The colors and color combinations she creates are exquisite! She works hard to create fun collaborations with other makers. Her newsletters are like receiving emails from your favorite friend. She manages to make each of her customers feel special.” –Christine

“I have made a few colorwork sweaters recently and of all of the main color yarn I enjoyed working with and the final project of Jilly and Kiddles yarn. The yarn is lush and springy and the dyer is helpful, answering questions quickly and thoroughly.” –Susan

If you’re up for some fun on the Saturday of Spotlight, and want the chance to win some of Jill’s beautiful yarn, sign up for our virtual trivia game, which Jilly & Kiddles is sponsoring. She’ll also be hosting an informative session in the Spotlight lounge on Saturday on yarn substitution.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

Around five or six years ago I started to become pretty obsessed with hand-dyed yarn. I loved the bright colors and creative combinations I was seeing, but found when I knit them up, they weren’t what I expected. It was difficult to find indie yarn that created the finished objects I desired. If you’ve ever adored a skein of yarn, but not the fabric it creates, you know exactly what I mean.

I began looking for colorful yarn that created more of a muted, soft overall color. I wanted the varied colors of hand-dyed, but in something that was really wearable for me and fit into my own style and wardrobe. Along the way, I found a couple of larger companies making the look I wanted, but not many. I wondered if I could do this myself and be able to get exactly what I wanted. I’d taken a yarn dyeing workshop with an indie dyer many years ago at a retreat and loved it. Maybe this is something I could learn?

I started watching tutorials and reading every yarn dyeing book I could get my hands on. I bought some supplies and started experimenting in my garage. Boy, was dyeing fun! Long story short: I loved it and I couldn’t stop. Sometimes I got what I wanted and sometimes I didn’t, but I was learning so much and I knew this was something I wanted to continue doing. There were other people who were looking for the same kind of yarn I was looking for and I wanted to be able to offer it to them. That’s when my yarn dyeing business became a dream I needed to make reality.

What inspires your colorways?

My colorways are inspired by nature, in two ways. There’s the usual way… something in nature catches my eye, like a flower, sunset, or landscape, and I want to recreate it. The other way nature inspires my yarn is the way I create colorways, layering and mixing colors. Have you ever looked at a purple flower really closely and realized that there are a ton more colors to it than just the purple your eye first registered? You might see purples, blues, pinks, and even maroon, brown or gray! Nature uses many hues and shades to create beautiful colors, and I use this concept in my own yarn dyeing and colorway creation. My colorways feature lots of layers of different colors to create something wearable and pleasing to the eye.

Purple, orange and pink yarn.

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

This is a great question! My favorite colors have always been orange and blue and they still are. However, creating colors from primaries really opens your mind to different hues and variations of colors. I’ve found that there isn’t a color I don’t like, if I can get the right version of it. For example, it’s not that I don’t “like” pink, it’s that I don’t like every pink. Find the right one, and it can be magical!

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

I’ve always struggled to create the perfect olive green color, but I just recently nailed it and I’m so excited about that! Something about it was such a huge challenge, and it feels good to have made it work after years of trying to get the color in my mind onto the actual yarn. The other color I think many dyers struggle with is a great black. It can be tough to get the saturation you desire.

Multicolored skeins of yarn.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?

Nope, it’s a secret. I’m just teasing! Of course I can. For my Indie Spotlight show special, I’m offering limited quantities of several different minis sets in unique colors. These are not going to be produced again, so this is the only way to get your hands on them. They’re on a new fingering weight base I haven’t offered before and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Indie Spotlight is going to shine a light on my small business, and all I can say is it’s going to “sparkle” under it! These ready-to-ship minis sets are exclusive to Spotlight and in limited quantities.

I’m offering free shipping worldwide with any purchase of $100 or more (USD) and any order of $40 or more will receive a free stitch marker too! (These offers are valid the weekend of the event and include standard shipping only. Stitch markers are while supplies last.)

I’m also doing a How-To demo Saturday from 4-5 p.m. on Yarn Substitution from a Dyer’s Perspective, that I think will be really helpful for a lot of makers. It features ways to save money and use your stash — even the stuff you don’t think you can wear. I’ll give you tricks to make the yarn you want to use work in more patterns, and we’re going to talk a lot about color — how to substitute so it looks amazing, how to pick colors that work for you, and how to “fix” colors you love but don’t think you can wear. Be sure to join us and bring your questions!

When and how did you learn to knit?

After many attempts to learn as a child over the years, I finally learned to knit in 2005 while I was pregnant with my third child, or “Kiddle” as we like to call them. I taught myself. I had a little how-to pamphlet book from a craft store, some plastic needles and acrylic yarn. When I got stuck, I looked online at tutorials (back then they were more of the photos style, not videos like you see now) or in my pamphlet. I took out books from the library and just figured it out on my own. Ravelry was just starting out while I was learning, and that was a great resource for me, too.

A lilac sock.

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

Gosh, there are so many great ones! One of my customers chose a dark gray (now called Graphite) and an orange (Lava Lamp) to make Stephen West’s Starflake shawl during the KAL and he did SUCH an amazing job. The colors are right up my alley and I’ve wanted to make one of my own ever since. It’s gorgeous. I adore my Clayoquat sweater, designed by Tin Can Knits, and knit in Ideal DK base. It was my first (and only) steeked project and it turned out so well. I wear it all the time and it still looks great! My friend Nadine made a beautiful magenta pink version Denise Bayron’s Waves of Change Jacket in Aurora Aran and I love the way it turned out and that the Sassy Pants colorway she chose is a perfect fit for her personality! My favorite FOs of my customers are often when they choose colors that I wouldn’t normally wear or choose for myself, but they’re the exact right fit for them. I can tell how happy they are with the projects and it brings me a lot of joy to share in that with them.

What’s currently on your needles?

I’m working on a Jayne Hat for my son in custom dyed colors (any Firefly fans out there?) and I have the Current Mood shawl by Knit Graffiti going right now as well. It’s my first Brioche project and it’s a lot of fun.

An orange shawl.

You are passionate about empowering makers to use the yarn they want. What’s your favorite yarn substitution story?

This is a toughie. I help people choose and substitute yarn all the time, so it’s hard to narrow down to just one. Any time I can help someone choose a combo of “their” colors that work with a colorwork pattern in the same way it was originally designed, it’s a win in my book. There is one substitution I helped customers make a lot, and that was when Andrea Mowry’s Weekender sweater first came out. It called for worsted weight yarn, but in a very fluffy and light yarn. My Aurora base is an Aran/heavy-worsted weight, but it’s very soft and drapey and isn’t a great fit for that particular sweater if you want it to look and feel the same as the original version. I found if I worked two strands of Velvet Sock (my single-ply fingering-weight base) together, I created yarn that was worsted weight, with just the right amount of drape and spring to it to make the Weekender perfectly!

Many of my customers ordered Velvet yarn for that pattern, sometimes all in one color, and sometimes two different colors held together for a marled effect. My favorite combo was a very colorful variegated called Rustle held with a busy tonal green called Spruced Up. I have a sample in that combo and several of my customers made that exact version as well! It is a great base substitution that allowed for some fun color play and ended up using less yarn overall than making it in aran/worsted weight. So my customers saved money and got the results they were looking for, which is really satisfying.

Pre-Spotlight Untangling: Gothfarm Yarn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gray yarn.

How have you found the producers you work with?

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

Do you have a favorite sheep breed?

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

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

Dark gray yarn.

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

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

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

A pair of cream-colored socks.

How did you learn to knit?

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

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

Gold yarn.

Can you share some of your plans for Indie Spotlight?

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

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

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

Cream-colored yarn.

Do you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?

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

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

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

Indie Untangled 2020 Year In Review Part 2: Indie makers

Blue marled stockinette fabric and the words Indie Untangled 2020 Year in Review

There’s definitely nothing quite like showing off your latest FO, either at a fiber festival or online (and I’ve definitely spent this year trying to perfect the art of the knitwear selfie!). I really enjoyed seeing what people have finished in 2020 with yarn from Indie Untangled dyers.

Here’s a roundup of ones that caught my eye and that were also submitted by Indie Untangled followers.

Sweaters

A red colorwork sweater

Jeraldine’s Knitorious RBG by Park Williams in The Wandering Flock Worsted Merino and Mohair Fluff

A man with a dog wearing a colorwork sweater.

Spalding’s Noux by Suvi Simola in La Bien Aimée Cashmerino and La Bien Aimée Mohair Silk (purchased at IU 2019) and various other companies

A gray and purple colorwork sweater.

Danielle’s Junction by Andrea Mowry with Dark Harbour Yarn

A pink gradient sweater.

Maggie’s V-Back Tee DK by Jamie Hoffman in SpaceCadet Lyra Sport

A green sweater.

Stacy’s Magnolia Chunky Cardigan by Camilla Vad in Murky Depths Harbour and Mirage

A gray speckled sweater.

Kathy’s Ursa in Lavender Lune Yarn Co. Bulky

A grey sweater with rainbow stripes.

Nathalie’s True Friend by Veera Välimäki in Canon Hand Dyes Bruce Yak Merino Fingering and Canon Hand Dyes Bruce Yak Silk Singles

An orange colorwork sweater.

Kim’s Threipmuir by Ysolda Teague in Astral Bath Yarns Astral Sport

Shawls

A brown red and blue shawl.

Stephanie’s Slipstravaganza in Undercover Otter, Three Irish Girls and various other companies

A purple striped shawl.

Alexis’s Edison in Birch Hollow Fibers Phillis DK

A large fuchsia shawl.

Donna’s Jolene by Bristol Ivy in Skeinny Dipping Journey Worsted

A purple lacy shawl.

Adrienne’s Paris Toujours by Isabell Kraemer in Astral Bath Yarns Tesseract DK

Socks

Purple striped socks.

Marie’s Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku in Canon Hand Dyes

The knitter’s bookshelf: A gift list from Indie Untangled

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A book sits in front of a pile of colorful knitwear.

As much as I’ve embraced the digital world, there is definitely still part of me that needs physical books in my life. I know it’s cliché, but flipping through the pages, taking in printed photographs and taking pride in a colorful stack of spines on your bookshelf or nightstand… It’s actually kind of similar to having a yarn stash. I probably won’t knit every single pattern in every book I own, but I appreciate knowing that they’re there, to take me on a journey when I might need it most.

I’ve come across many books over the past few years, and while I don’t think I can do them all justice with a “proper” book review, I thought it would be helpful to provide a guide to some of the ones that have found a special place on my IKEA Kallax. And if you happen to find the perfect holiday gift, even better! (This posts contains affiliate links, meaning a small percentage of your purchase may benefit Indie Untangled.)

Wool & Pine Book One

I may be biased about this book because I’m offering it in the Indie Untangled shop, but the reason I decided to carry this book is why I’d recommend it. I’ve admired the designs of Abbye and Selena, the team that makes up Wool & Pine, since I first saw the Sorrel sweater pop up on my Instagram feed. Aside from being a bound collection of the pair’s patterns and gorgeous photographs, the book provides access to video tutorials with instructions and tips for each design. I know I’m going to be referring to the Sorrel videos after I start my sweater.

The book is also bound in a way that it stays open to the page you need very easily. I certainly love the look of matte or hardcover books with thick spines, however, I find that if I want to knit from them I need to photocopy the pages or download the PDF (this book also comes with access to the PDF patterns if you prefer to knit from one).

The Power of Knitting: Stitching Together Our Lives in a Fractured World

by Loretta Napoleoni

I wasn’t familiar with Loretta Napoleoni until earlier this year, when her assistant contacted me about this new book. Napoleoni is a journalist who has covered the financing of terrorism — her first book, Terror Inc: Tracing the Money Behind Global Terrorism, is a bestseller that has been translated into 12 languages. The topic of knitting is decidedly softer, but Loretta tackles it with a well-researched expertise, weaving together the history of our craft with her personal experiences.

The book does include 10 patterns at the end, including a version of the Pussy Hat called the Pussy Power Hat. While the patterns seem a bit like an afterthought, and I think Loretta’s writing is strong enough to stand on its own, it is nice that they have connections to passages in the book, and the simple illustrations are quite lovely.

Seasonal Slow Knitting: Thoughtful Projects for a Handmade Year

by Hannah Thiessen

I was already a fan of Hannah Thiessen’s first book, Slow Knitting, which was everything I could ever want in a knitting book: stories about the creators of artisanal yarns that I’ve been fortunate to work with, including Anne Hanson, Jill Draper, Julie Asselin and mYak, and beautiful patterns to tie these stories together. Seasonal Slow Knitting is just what it sounds like, breaking up our mindful craft into seasons.

Whereas Slow Knitting brought together patterns from a variety of designers, Hannah designed all 10 patterns in this book, which was released in October, so the collection feels much more cohesive and is a beautiful showcase for the rustic yarns.

Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool

by Clara Parkes

No knitter’s bookshelf is complete without the work of “yarn whisperer” Clara Parkes. In this book, released last fall, Clara recounts her Great White Bale project, in which she crowdsourced the transformation of a 676-pound bale of fleece into skeins that found their way into the hands of knitters. As you may know if you read my newsletter, I’m a sucker for a road trip, especially one that includes yarn, and Clara is an expert guide, taking us along with her to Catskills Merino in New York to the Saco River Dyehouse in Maine and many places in between, all in the pursuit of yarn.

Two people wearing knitted items stand in snow next to horses.

Knits About Winter

by Emily Foden

I knew that I needed this book on my shelf ever since I heard that it was being published by Pom Pom Press. Emily Foden of Viola was one of the first indie dyers that I fell for as a new yarn collector and the 12 patterns in this book show them off beautifully. I haven’t knit any of them yet, however I scored two skeins of her Shadow DK (a blend of Polwarth, Wensleydale and Zwartbles) in a shop update over the summer and realized it’s the perfect match for her Skyhill hat.

The book is filled with beautifully styled and composed shots of knitwear against the snowy backdrop of Emily’s home in Ontario, Canada, though for me it is definitely meant for admiring and not knitting from. Fortunately, the book comes with a code to download a PDF version via Ravelry.

What to stash this week: A Twisted, indie New Year

Champagne glasses and confetti in jewel tones.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that the goal of Indie Untangled is to bring together and support indie dyers and makers. I’m so excited and honored to bring that passion to an amazing collaboration between 31+ dyers, makers and designers!

This box, called A Twisted Year’s End, will be filled with at least 31 items, including 20g, 80-90-yard, fingering-weight mini skeins dyed in a jewel tone color palette and other yarn-y treats by a stellar lineup of indies, along with a few patterns to tie it all together. Count down to the end of this crazy year with the ultimate December calendar! 

Purple, cream and green yarn.

Mary Annarella of Lyrical Knits is building on the comfort of quarantine baking for her latest mystery knit-a-long. Stark Baking Mad: Great British Baking Shawl 2 is another homage to The Great British Baking Show. Mary says that, “Like the show, the MKAL will rise to the occasion with a bit of camp, a recipe with each clue, and an occasional pun.”

Purple, red and black drawstring bag and yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks and Alisa of KnitSpinQuilt have done it again! Their third collaboration is the limited edition Stained Glass Window Kit. The bag has a rainbow stained glass print, which reminds Alisa of the medieval cathedrals she visits on her dissertation research trips to Europe, while the yarn is dyed to reflect the fabric. Preorders are open now in both their Etsy shops.

Star Trek Christmas and Hanukkah Yarnie Pack

Dawn of Fairy Tale Yarn Co, another Twisted Year’s End participant, has some holiday goodies as well. Her Hanukkah and Christmas sets are Star Trek themed and come with 10 50g hanks of yarn and four extras, each packaged for your chosen holiday and available in fingering weight and DK weight.

Charms with fall leaves and a doughnut.

If you miss the fall leaves and doughnuts of Rhinebeck, get your fix with Jillian of WeeOnes’ special stitch markers.

For her last Sweater Quantity Discount shipment of 2020, Kate of McMullin Fiber Co is offering two colorways at close to wholesale pricing. Ink is a rich navy blue and Sunflower is a sunny golden yellow. Act fast, because these installments sell out quickly!

Christmas greens border and the words Stocking Knit-a-Long

Join Jill of Jilly & Kiddles in casting on for a holiday stocking Knit-a-Long on November 1, with weekly prizes, encouragement and help.

Boots with purple cabled cuffs.

Marny’s Autumn Wander Boot Cuffs are a cozy and fashionable way to dress up your boots while you stroll through the autumn leaves.

A plum and pink hat with a pink pom pom.

This new pattern by Christen Clement uses Janis and Christen of Queen City Yarn’s Berryhill yarn held double, getting you ready for fall quickly.

A sheep print bag with a clear window.

Nancy of Tika Bags has launched an every-other-month bag club. Each shipment features a surprise fabric that may or may not be in her current lineup OR ever be available in her shop again.

Christmas yarn.

Dana of Un Besito Fibers’ Holly Freakin’ Jolly sock set comes with a 100g main skein and two 10g minis to make a variety of Christmas socks. Make them for a gift or keep them for yourself.

A pink basket with a strap.

Keep your WIPs at hand and organized with these baskets, woven by hand by marginalized women from Boostani Crafts owner Lois’s tribe in Kenya.

Halloween yarn.

Emerald of Stardust Fiber Studio’s newest collection, All Hallows’ Eve, has eight colorways and a spooky stitch marker set. There are also two sales running in her studio.

What to stash this week: Going to the Sun

A collage with a lake and pink and teal yarn.

Scarlet of Huckleberry Knits is helping us with the transition to fall through her stunning Knitting Our National Parks colorway. It’s called Going to the Sun after its inspiration photo of Lake McDonald, along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, taken by Colorado-based photographer Mallory Wilson. This colorway will be dyed on Scarlet’s Willow sock base, 80% Superwash Blue-Faced Leicester and 20% nylon, with 420 yards per skein, and available to preorder on Indie Untangled through Sunday, October 18. 

A box with a photo of a yellow tote and straw hat.

Sara of La Cave à Laine is introducing Happy Knitting Boxes: four different boxes with a selection of handcrafted fiber accessories made in France or Europe, including hand-dyed or hand-printed project bags, stitch markers, wool soap and knitting patterns.

Green, purple and orange yarn.

Sarah of Superfine Yarn has been playing around with one-of-a-kind dye batches. If you fall in love with any of her experiments, be sure to use code FALL10 to get 10% off and free shipping.

Pale pink speckled yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns had a shop update yesterday with Keld Fingering, a new-to-ECY blend of Superwash extrafine Merino with linen.

A hot pink cowl with a gray interior.

Marny’s Reversible Trellis Cowl is just what it sounds like, a fun accessory that can be made in any two colorways.

Red, blue and orange and black and purple yarn.

Kristen of KS Fiber Arts has a limited number of skeins of these colorways inspired by Jack Skellington and Ragdoll Sally of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Dark brown and green dyed yarn.

Annie Dot Creative’s Fantastic Socks yarn club is inspired by Newt Scamander and his magical creatures. There’s still time to join in the fun.

A brown knitted square with a circle of gray.

Who says un-dyed yarn has to be boring? Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has four color palette ideas to make striking knits.

What to stash this week: Sweater architecture

A woman models a white sweater with pale orange colorwork.

Caroline of The Noble Thread was inspired by the architecture of this vibrant London neighborhood for her latest sweater design. Called Notting Hill, this short-sleeved, tee captures the geometry of the row houses with simple slip stitches. The sample is knit in a natural, undyed alpaca, Merino and silk blend, with a naturally-dyed contrast color in a non-superwash Merino held with a strand of mohair silk. There’s plenty of freedom to explore and customize the length of the sweater, which doesn’t require shaping, and the size inclusive pattern offers a finished bust circumference from 34” to 70”. To celebrate its release, Notting Hill will be free until today at 11:59 p.m. PDT and there are kits on Caroline’s website. 

Two rows of pink, gold, purple, blue and orange yarn.

Stefania and Giulia of Lanivendole are taking lemons and debuting yarn with a literal new twist. Their new base, Twisty Chic — a batch of A Chic Blend spun with the wrong parameters by the mill — has a bit more twist, but that just means it has much better stitch definition and color saturation. The update goes live today at 8 p.m. CEST.

Blue and black bird stitch markers.

Jillian of WeeOnes is heading to the skies this week, with shiny raven and tropical toucan stitch markers, along with ocean-dwelling octopus friends. 

A brown, gray, gold, blue, green and purple shawl with accompanying yarn.

7th Floor Yarn is collaborating with Michele Costa of 144 Stitches on East Bound, a new multicolored shawl that uses their DK Yak/Silk/Merino — and comes in both a knit and crochet version. Use the code INDIE for free shipping.

Purple cabled socks.

Emily’s new sock pattern, Happy Haunts, is inspired by the classically creepy decor of one of our favorite haunted mansions.

A blue flower in clear resin.

Augusta of ADKnits has new wildflower-themed items, including progress keepers with charms featuring dried flowers cast in resin.

A pile of purple sock yarn.

The next Eden Cottage Yarns update on Tuesday features plenty of sock yarn, including Tempo 4ply for Vikki Bird’s Seed Head sock pattern, which is raising money for The Flower Power Fund.

Sticks of hand lotion.

Take care of your hard-working hands with Elderwood Apothecary’s Maker’s Hand Relief, which promises to provide healing nourishment to your skin without leaving your hands feeling oily.

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: Yarn with attitude

Skeins of pale pink yarn.

Heather of Sew Happy Jane has embraced the rustic wool trend with her new line of non-Superwash yarn. She’s dyed her new 100% Peruvian Highland Wool in 10 colorways — eight semisolids and two speckled/variegated — that coordinate beautifully, making it perfect for colorwork. At $18 per 246-yard skein, it’s also an inexpensive entree into the world of crunchy yarn. Heather is taking dyed-to-order preorders until May 25.

Dandelions blowing against a blurred green background.

Tomorrow, Stefania and Giulia of Lanivendole are launching orders for their next yarn club/collaboration. The Mind Wanderers Yarn Club is themed around where we go when we get lost in our thoughts while knitting. Each club bundle will include three skeins of their luxurious and local blend of Italian wool, Cashmere and alpaca and two accessories from Italian makers.

A set of gray to green mini skeins of yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks is evoking the childhood nostalgia of the 64 Crayola box (the one with the sharpener on the back) with her new mini skein sets. Each set includes five 80-yard skeins of Deep Sock, perfect for colorwork hats, fingerless mitts or as sweater accents. Debbie is also offering 15% off, using code CXL15.

A green box bag with pictures of honey.

If your Startitis is flaring up, house your new WIPs in one of Rock Solid Designs’ new project bags! There are sweet honeybees and cheerful yellow poppies to get us in the mood for our socially-distanced spring, as well as reminders of the travels in our future.

Gray yarn with orange mini skeins.

Heather of Pumpkins and Wool has launched her new Sock Kits, featuring one 463-yard skein and one 92-yard mini in a super soft Superwash Merino/nylon blend.

Skeins of sage speckled yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns’ next update, taking place on Monday at 1 p.m. UK time, will include a summer-ready restock of laceweight yarns, including Titus Lace (Merino/silk) and Askham Lace (baby alpaca/silk).

A woman models a gold crocheted sweater on the cover of Modern Lace Italian Crochet.

Karen Whooley’s new book, Modern Italian Lace Crochet, will be released on June 2 and you can preorder it now. The book includes 10 new crochet designs inspired by her Italian heritage.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Stacie Dawson of Must Stash Yarn

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Stacie Dawson of Must Stash Yarn

This is the 12th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2019 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

It’s not very hard to find indie dyers who carry semisolid, variegated and (the ubiquitous) speckled yarn. Self-striping skeins, on the other hand, aren’t as common, with only a few companies specializing in it. Stacie Dawson of Must Stash Yarn is one of those indies who is synonymous with stripes. Here’s how she decided to go down that path.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I have my friend Claire to thank for that. She hosted a “Dye Your Own Skein” party using Kool-Aid and I was hooked.

I have always been creative so, over the years, I tried lots of different ways of expressing my creativity… with music, acting, decoration, stenciling/embossing/calligraphy, cross stitch, sewing, painting and the fiber arts of crochet, knitting, spinning and weaving. It was the fiber arts that spoke loudest to me and so learning yet another way of manipulating fiber was a natural progression for me. Like knitting, I obsessively gobbled up every dyeing resource I hold lay my hands/eyes on! Took classes with professional hand dyers, bought books, did workshops and practiced, practiced, practiced.

Why did you decide to focus on self-striping yarn?

Self striping was the second thing that I dyed, ever. If you have ever met me then you may have heard me joke that I am like the “Hair Club for Men” owner… I am not just the president, I am also a client. I just love knitting with self-striping sock yarn so much and when I first started dyeing, there were not a lot of options in the market; I felt like there was a niche that I could help to fill.

Originally, I didn’t want to be known as a one trick pony and so I dyed tonals as much as self striping. After about two years of always running behind, I realized that I needed to focus in order to realize my goals. Now we produce self striping on only four bases, limited tonals and so can have a steady stream of skeins available in the shop each week.

Yarn with red, yellow, blue, purple, gray and brown stripes.

What did you do before you started Must Stash and how does it inform your business?

I was a medical office administrator. I handled their books, hiring, staff management, training, supplies ordering, new equipment acquisition/maintenance, billing, etc. If it had something to do with running the business, I handled it! Yes, running a business, even one as different from being an indie as a medical office, was extremely beneficial to starting my own business. I was already familiar with setting up and reconciling books, paying taxes and being fiscally responsible and in this gig, I get to play with yarn almost everyday!

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

Inspiration comes from all around me! If you are familiar with Must Stash, then you have probably noticed that we have quite a few pop culture-inspired colorways. The names are usually drawn directly from the inspiration… we aren’t subtle. Some names pop into my head while designing/dyeing and some from my family, like Martian Rainbow, was suggested by my husband.

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

If I had to pick just one, it would be grey. I am a sucker for neutrals like brown and grey and don’t even get me started about that place where gold and silver meet… absolutely divine. I wouldn’t say my color preferences have changed a great deal since becoming a dyer but I would say that my palette has expanded substantially. For example, I wasn’t much for pastels or for garishly loud colors, either, but now, I have an appreciation for almost everything from sunglasses bright down to barely there… there is beauty in color, period.

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

The perfect amber. A liquid gold that has life and vitality and practically flows as you knit it. Other than a certain color, I would love to create a true self striping that does not repeat for an entire sock… that would be an amazing thing!

Yarn with Blue, red, green and purple stripes.

When and how did you learn to knit?

My mom taught me to knit when I was 9. She was an avid crafter and enjoyed creating beautiful and practical things. That winter she was knitting matching dress for us to wear for Easter. I was so intrigued by it that I begged her to teach me the mechanics of the stitches. I knit a rectangle about three inches wide and 10 inches long and it was a struggle for every inch!

I soon gave it up and put my supplies away and there they stayed for several years. However, every now and again, I would get a longing and so the bag of supplies would come out of the closet and we would sit down to learn again and after knitting a rectangle it would go back into the bag and back into the closet. This cycle repeated until 2010 when I pulled that bag out again, used YouTube tutorials and never stopped knitting.

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

Not really. I have enjoyed crocheting, spinning, cross stitch and weaving but none of them has captivated me like knitting.

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

I have a Tailwind that I knit with one of my Affirmation color ways and a natural skein that I find myself using a lot when the weather cools down and I would love to knit a Color Affection with two solids and a self striping but I need to decide on the colors.

You cannot imagine how much I enjoy seeing what my customers make with Must Stash! Of course, there are lots and lots of socks that are so well knit that they inspire me to make myself another pair but it’s the shawls and sweaters that really make me drool. Recently an IGer showed off her Strange Brew color work sweater she is knitting with one of my rainbow self striping in the yoke… so beautiful and fantastic.