The Green Sweater: Knitting the history of the Holocaust

4

A worn child's green cardigan.

Editor’s note: Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Hebrew as Yom Hashoah. I asked Lea Stern, a knitter and longtime Indie Untangled follower, to write about her Green Sweater project to memorialize the Holocaust.

In 2003, I was invited by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to attend a preview of a new exhibit called The Hidden Children. As the name suggests, it was about those children who were hidden or removed from parts of Europe during World War II and the Holocaust. They were given up by parents who were desperate to preserve the lives of their children and too often, these were the only members of a family to survive. I attended this event with a friend and colleague of mine who had himself been a hidden child in Holland. There were many stories in this exhibit of fear and tragedy, but there were also stories of supreme sacrifice and bravery.

What caught my eye at the museum preview was a small green sweater knitted for a young girl by her paternal grandmother. The girl was Krystyna Chiger and she had lived in Lvov, Poland. Her family had a comfortable life there, with a large apartment and a busy and popular textile shop, across the street from another fabric and wool shop owned by her maternal grandparents. Krystyna was a bright and inquisitive child who, as she tells it, would do mischievous things. She would unravel the little green sweater that her grandmother was knitting for her when she set it down and went out. She would ultimately receive a scolding but she would persist in her tricks nonetheless.

An old black and white photo of a family of four.

When the war broke out, Lvov was occupied by the Russians under an agreement with the Germans. When the Germans reneged on this agreement and invaded this part of Poland, things went from bad to worse for the Chiger family and the Jewish community. They were forced to give up their home, business and nearly all their possessions and were moved into the Jewish ghetto. It was from a window there in their small living space that Krystyna saw her grandmother who had knitted her sweater being taken away on a cart to Janowska concentration camp where she perished.

After several years, on May 1943, the final liquidation of the ghetto began. All its inhabitants were to be transported to the Janowska camp and what would have been their certain death. Krystyna’s father, and several others, in anticipation of this event had already begun to prepare a place for them to hide in the sewers below Lvov. And so on that night, Krystyna, along with her mother, father and 3-year-old brother descended into the sewers. They were not able to take much with them, but Krystyna took her beloved little green sweater with her. What they all thought would be a short sojourn in the sewers turned out to be 14 months. While many who sought refuge there died, the Chigers, helped by three Catholic Polish sewer workers led by Leopold Socha, survived and — so did her sweater. After some time in Poland, she went to Israel where she became a dentist, married and had two sons. She is now Dr. Kristine Keren and she and her husband live on Long Island, New York.

While her sweater is nearly 75 years old and bears some stains and holes, it is remarkably well preserved considering its age and journey.

A green sweater hanging in a display.

Reengineering history

When I saw the sweater I felt that I had a duty to try to reengineer a pattern for it so its history would remain alive. After a bit of convincing, I was able to set up a time to come and directly examine the sweater with the museum exhibit curator, Suzy Snyder, and Cynthia Hughes, head of textiles. I determined gauge and took many measurements, notes, drawings and photos that would assist me in figuring out the stitch pattern. It was a simple knit and purl pattern and I spent many hours searching for it in every available stitch collection I knew of. I was unable to find a previously published form of the pattern in any collection. I thus assumed that it was something that Krystyna’s grandmother had made up or was a popular pattern commonly known but not written. Fortunately, I was able to reproduce it on my own after having been able to examine the sweater closely.

After many hours of test knitting swatches, I needed to choose a yarn for the project. I thought this would be quite easy as I know some very talented hand dyers. After some thought, I realized that while they may be able to more accurately reproduce the color as it is now, specifically hand-dyed yarn may be difficult for knitters to obtain.

A hand points to a diagram surrounded by items spread out on a table.

Since the sweater was knitted around 1939-1940 in Poland, I knew from my studies of historical knitting that we would need a very basic wool. A luxury yarn would not have been readily available in wartime, nor would it have been used for a child’s sweater. Considering the horrific environmental conditions it had been subjected to, wool was the obvious choice.

I chose Quince & Co. Finch, a fingering-weight 100% wool that had great stitch definition and the largest palette of greens. The original sweater is faded and stained, but many of Quince & Co. greens were quite close. Additionally, if one wanted to knit this sweater in something other than green, their broad color palette was excellent.

A woman sits next to a table filled with small green sweaters.

Dr. Kristine Keren with the test-knitted sweaters.

Once the sweater pattern was created, I had two sets of test knitters. One used the first draft to evaluate the pattern for errors, understanding of directions and readability. The second set of knitters used the final pattern to make sure there were no errors before publication. I donated the copyright for the pattern to the Holocaust museum where it is currently for sale in the museum bookstore as a hard copy along with a display of Krystyna’s book, The Girl In the Green Sweater, and one of the test-knitted sweaters. Since the museum does not have an online store, they have allowed me to sell copies of the sweater on Ravelry. All proceeds from the sale of the pattern are donated to the museum.

In December of 2014 I traveled to New York to meet Dr. Keren and tell her the story of recreating her sweater. Her husband, Mr. Marion Keren, is a mechanical and civil engineer and enjoyed the process of “reverse engineering” a sweater! He is also a Holocaust survivor and they were very open and kind in inviting me into their home. I brought her a timeline of my whole journey. I showed her my notes, early photos, drafts and swatches. I presented her with a finished copy of the pattern and let her choose one of the test-knitted sweaters that reminded her most closely of her original. The curator had told me that it had been difficult for her to give up her sweater but she had graciously donated it to the museum. When she chose one of the copies, she held it up and said, “Now I have my sweater back!” It was a very emotional and fulfilling moment.

A woman holds up a green sweater decorated with award ribbons.

Lea displaying the ribbons her Green Sweater earned at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

With this project largely completed, I have reflected on what this project has meant to me. This sweater represents triumph over prejudice and intolerance. It is a grandmother’s love for her granddaughter and the devotion the granddaughter felt in return. I am a physician and have been fortunate to have lived a wonderful life in the United States, mostly protected against the type of injustice that has too often pervaded the world. I had a brilliant mother raised in northern England  who taught me many types of needlework, but particularly knitting. I am fortunate to have been able to use these skills to do this project.

My hope is that this small green sweater will be knit again and again. I hope the story of Krystyna Chiger, her family and the brave men who helped them will be told over and over and as such the sweater will be a small piece of living history. The green sweater should be a reminder to generation after generation of what happens when intolerance is allowed to fester unchecked and as young people wear it, we can open a discussion about what it represents and why it is so important to never forget. Suzy Snyder commented in a television interview she and I did about this project that the survivors won’t always be with us, but the things they’ve left with us will continue to tell their story. My hope is that small things like this sweater will somehow make a difference.

What to stash this week: staying cozy

A woman in a draped blue, gray and gold striped sweater.

This week, designer Mary Annarella released a much more fashionable version of the mid-aughts Snuggie: Cozy McBlanket. This sweater is essentially a blanket with sleeves, but Mary has worked her magic with some cleverly placed short rows to help it curve around your shoulders and neck for a better fit. It calls for five colors of sportweight yarn, and I’m sure you can find some that are prettier than the fire-engine-red fleece I was sporting in Winter 2008.

An illustration of a masked alpaca and squirrel with question marks and the words Trivia Night.

We have a lot of fun new things planned for you at our upcoming virtual event, Indie Across the Pond! In addition to shopping for amazing yarn, you’ll also be able to:

• Have tea with Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks and the Stranded Podcast — she’ll be joining us Friday from the east coast of Scotland to kick off the show!
• Show off your smarts at virtual trivia!
• Enter our KAL/CAL and win prizes from Indie Untangled and some of our awesome sponsors: Garthenor Organic, La Cave à Laine and Yedraknits!
• Hang out and meet our fabulous vendors in a casual environment at Saturday and Sunday’s teas!

There are still spots available for our free bingo event on Saturday, March 20 at 3 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CET, hosted by Indie Untangled event producer Petrina Hicks. This is a popular event, so register soon!

Green, gray and gold clay dinosaurs.

Jillian of WeeOnes has several brand new stitch marker sets including dinosaurs, arctic foxes and the latest installment of the surprise markers with a spring theme. And to celebrate Jillian reaching 10K sales on Etsy, get 15% off your order with the code YAY10K.

Skeins of yarn in a rainbow of colors.

March comes in with a sale! Everything on the Liverpool Yarns site — 100% Shetland fingering yarns, kits for shawls and accessories, patterns and project bags — is 20% off through March 14.

A hand holds white plastic dogs wrapped in light blue yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has new additions to her menagerie of end minders, which help tame your loose ends, including playful pups, curious kittens and — special for March — Mindful Manatees.

Swatches of knitting in various colors and the words Greek Gods (Part Two) Signature Collection Live Now stardustfiberstudio.com.

Emerald of Stardust Fiber Studio has released part two of her Greek Gods collection. This collection contains nine main colorways, each based off a deity from Greek Mythology, and two special features. A matching stitch marker set is also available.

Purple and pink yarn.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns just had an update of Pendle 4ply, a classic yarn that’s pure Superwash Merino. It’s available on 20 colorways, from deep and rich to the soft and pale. There’s also a spring sale going on.

A ball of brown wool fiber.

Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has five types of roving in stock, including Cirrus, a pencil roving made from blended Jacob and Shetland sheep wool, and Coopworth, Navajo-Churro, Ultisol and 100% Jacob Sheep roving. 

A Celtic knot stitch marker and the words Erin Go Where Now? Big Clippy! Progress Keeper, Yank Your Yarn.

Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn has some Big Clippy progress keepers, which are oversized, movable single stitch markers featuring a 21-23mm lobster clasp for use on your chunkiest knitting and crochet projects.

Sharon of Garage Dyeworks has a new colorway called Mahalo.

What to stash this weekend: add this to your playlist

A pink lacy sweater.

Mary Annarella’s latest release is the perfect ear worm and perfect sweater. Ruby Tuesday is knit from the top-down with a strand of sock yarn and mohair laceweight held together to create an elegant lace design (and no finishing!). Get 30% off through Monday with the code hanganameonyou.

Skeins of speckled yarn.

Speaking of songs, Kate of McMullin Fiber Co is celebrating V-day by opening preorders Sunday for her collection of Valentine’s colorways inspired by love ballads and breakup songs.

Join the third installment in the second season of Holly Dyeworks’ Great British Baking Show Yarn Club. Celebrate Pudding Week with a fingering-weight skein of Holly’s MCN yarn and a progress keeper from Little Bitty Delights.

Lighting strikes Devils Tower and purple and green yarn.

You have another week to preorder Terri at AT Haynes House Yarns’ Devils Tower- and Close Encounters of the Third Kind-inspired colorway on her sock and DK-weight bases. As always, this yarn supports the National Park Foundation.

Woolen and teal and pink hearts with the words Best Fiber Friend.

I’ve sent these fun accessories on to their new homes, and after a post office snafu I have tons of extras in the shop! Celebrate Galentine’s Day by giving a little love to your BFFs — best fiber friends. 

Skeins of gray and pink yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks has listed 20 colors of her super soft Triton MCN DK in her shop, from earthy, rich tones to ethereal pinks and grays.

An aqua lacy triangle shawl.

Deb’s latest shawl design is called Arctic Ice, but it will keep you super warm! It’s also 25% off until February 28.

A cake box of brightly colored yarn balls.

Catch some fresh powder with Un Besito Fibers’ Rocking the Bunny Slope Snack Pack. Dana’s dozen 10g minis are inspired by a brightly colored ski jacket against the snow.

A silver shawl pin with a green stone on a cake of blue yarn.

Mark this weekend with the Crafty Flutterby Creations Colors of Love shawl pins, which celebrate romantic love, friendship, community and family. 

A basked of purple balls of yarn.

Eden Cottage Yarns has debuted Dusk, the newest color of their Milburn base, a blend of British Bluefaced Leicester and silk. 

The This Craft Or That March Color of the Month Club is based on St. Patrick’s Day. You’ll get a choice between fingering and DK.

Show your love of knitting with T-shirts from Ashleigh Wempe.

What to stash this week: Plant the seeds for Peperomia

1

An aqua colorwork sweater.

Peperomia is a new sweater design from Abbye and Selena of Wool & Pine that is inspired by walks through the beautiful deciduous forests of the Pacific Northwest, where they’re based. The colorwork motif starts at the hem and depicts the leaves that cover the forest trail, breaking apart before returning to the soil. You can preorder Peperomia and receive a digital ”Pattern Prep Pack,” which includes charted and written instructions for the colorwork motif so you can start swatching, and then get the pattern in your inbox when it goes live on February 25.

And then, there’s the yarn… Karen of Miss La Motte has created two color combinations: Celadonite and Blue Spruce, pictured in the stunning photo above, captured at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia, and Spruceforest and Evening Sunglow, a bolder look. Both color combos are available to preorder on Indie Untangled through this Sunday. 

A collag with green sweaters and green and orange yarn.

Because I had so much fun chatting with Abbye and Selena in October, we’re going to get together again on Sunday, February 28 at noon Eastern, along with Karen, to celebrate the official release of Pepperomia! You can add the session to your shopping cart when purchasing your yarn or register separately here

Janis and Christen of Queen City Yarn have created a new colorway, Madam Vice President, MVP, inspired by Kamala Harris. They recommend combining it with the rereleased Fair Fight and Stand, two of their charity colorways. $10 from each skein sold of the former colorway is donated to Fair Fight, an organization founded in 2018 by Stacey Abrams to address voter suppression in Georgia and Texas, and $10 from the each skein of Stand sold is donated to Heal Charlotte, a community engagement organization in North Carolina. 

Skeins of orange, pink and gray yarn.

Giulia and Stefania of Lanivendole are starting off the new year with a sale. Select bases and colorways, such as A Chic Blend and The Twisty Chic, as well as some kits, are available at a discount starting today at 7 p.m. Central European Time.

A black hat with lighter smile stitches.

Heather of Sew Happy Jane has picked out some color combos for the the quick and cheerful Chain Link Hat and Cowl pattern by Marin Melchior (she used the colors Dusk and Sunday Morning for her project).

Skeins of red, gray speckled and green yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks has updated her shop with a small reserve of Nautilus BFL Aran, a Bluefaced Leicester Superwash that is only spun twice a year and is perfect for winter knits.

A chain row counter.

Bonnie of Yank Your Yarn is channeling Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders with her new Chain Knitting Row Counter, which features square markers and which you can also wear as a totally tubular bracelet.

Lavender and cedar sachets.

Last year, while I was knitting with yarn from Rebecca of the sadly-closed Fuse Fiber Studio, I couldn’t stop smelling it. I had to ask her what wool wash she used, and she revealed that she stored her yarn with these lavender and cedar sachets. I recently went online to replenish my supply and discovered that I could buy them for my shop!

The company adheres to Fair Trade policies to create their products, including these sachets, which are formulated with natural essential oils and packaged in handmade paper. Get at least one of each scent for each of your yarn storage containers!

A basket of yarn in black and white.

Victoria and Co. of Eden Cottage Yarn are unveiling their newest Milburn colorway today in their newsletter and on social media. They’re also updating the shop today with Oakworth DK, a Superwash Polwarth yarn.

Mini skeins of rainbow yarn.

If you missed out on My Mama Knits’ 2020 Surviving the Storm Advent you can grab one of the re-dye sets, available as 24 skeins, or split into the stormy and rainbow halves of 12 mini skeins each.

Missy of This Craft Or That has a new Color of the Month Club! Each club-exclusive color is themed around holidays. Packages include a skein of yarn on a choice of two different bases, a small gift and pattern suggestions.

Purple and blue yarn next to a purple and blue painting.

Lisa The Knitting Artist has updated her shop with series of three new colors inspired by her “Tidepool” paintings. There are also a limited number of skeins of her Landscape Near Ampurdan colorway from the Salvador Dali yarn club.

Michele of Misfits Yarn has Bernie’s Mittens Kits available for preorder.

Signups for the Jilly & Kiddles Sock of the Season Club close Monday.

Augusta of adKnits has hoodies for knitters and nature lovers.

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

What to stash this week: joy to the yarn

Skeins of purple and blue yarn.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks holding a year-end sale to show appreciation for everyone who has supported indie makers this year. Everything in her shop, included a recent update of her Sanctuary Worsted non-Superwash yarn, is 20% off through January 1, no coupon required.

A colorwork sweater in neutrals.

Monica of Gothfarm Yarn has collaborated with Kevin Aspaas, a Diné weaver, on the Diné Motif Design, an adaptation of Junko Okamoto’s Rug sweater. The design uses rugged, hardwearing Navajo-Churro yarn and celebrates centuries-long relationship between the Navajo people, who call themselves the Diné, and Navajo-Churro sheep.

Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating today!

Indie Untangled 2020 Year In Review Part I: Indie exclusives

Purple, pink and orange yarn and the words Indie Untangled 2020 Year In Review

It’s certainly been an… interesting year. Surreal. Heartbreaking. Challenging. But one of the things that has helped us retain a feeling of normalcy and comfort is, of course, our knitting. It makes me feel especially warm and fuzzy to see the special colorways that I worked with dyers to create, from the Knitting Our National Parks yarns to event exclusives, turn into beloved FOs.

Here are some projects using special Indie Untangled colorways that were finished in 2020.

A green lacy sweater.

Samantha’s Love Note by Tin Can Knits with Plies & Hellhounds Yarn Marie Cutie in Quiescence

A purple shawl.

Kathy’s Snowflake Party by Martina Behm with Earl Grey Fiber Co. Darjeeling Sock in The Highest Peak

A woman models knitwear.

svm’s Ande Donut Hat by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd) with Onyx Fiber DK in Cider Donut Dipped In Coffee
(Also pictured is the Zeen Top by Alisa Hartzel in Lavender Lune Yarn Co. Merino DK and the Hocus Pocus Cowl by Thea Eschliman Plies and Hellhounds)

A gray speckled cowl.

Diane’s Spring Thing by Espace Tricot with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Hudson and Kingston

A gray speckled sweater with a teal trim.

Kathy’s The Traveler Pullover by Tif Neilan – tif handknits – with La Bien Aimée Merino DK in Automne A Rhinebeck

A purple, blue and gold textured cowl.

Annie’s Linen Stitch Cowl by Carly Stipe with Pigeonroof Studios American Sock in Mountains and Valleys

What to stash this week: Giving and receiving

A cotton bag with an orange and brown flower pattern filled with orange-labeled beauty products.

Kismet of Lolo Body Care is passionate about giving back. Throughout the year, aside from soothing crafters’ skin with moisturizing body bars, lip balm and face lotion, the company also supports several non-profit organizations, including making a donation to One Tree Planted, which fights climate change by planting trees, every time a LoLo Eco-Bag is purchased. For this holiday season, Kismet has extended that promotion to every order. 

In addition, 5% of all Lolo Body Care holiday sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, which supports and builds affordable housing. 

A skein of gray yarn speckled with gold on top of a ball of navy yarn.

I brought together super soft Cashmere yarn from fellow Brooklynites Rebecca Kevelson of Clinton Hill Cashmere and Geraldine Yang of The Wandering Flock for my Cashmenorah hat. I think this combination of bespoke yarn and unique hand-dyed would look beautiful in so many other mosaic hat patterns, so I’m offering the yarn as a bundle and including one discounted pattern of your choice. Check out my pattern suggestions here. I’m currently working on using these yarns together for a mosaic constellations hat, so if that intrigues you, snag the yarn while it’s still available!

A green sweater with multicolored bobbles.

Stephanie Earp has released a fun sweater design that’s perfect for mini skeins or playing with leftovers — or get a dyed-to-order kit from dyer Annie Paaren. The Bobble Buster sweater comes in both kids and adult sizes, and Stephanie is hosting a cast-on party over on Instagram in the New Year.

A golden mountain reflected in a lake, and light blue yarn speckled with gold and purple.

Rachel of Six and Seven Fiber’s wintry Grand Teton-inspired colorway is available to preorder on Indie Untangled through next Sunday, December 27 on three bases: Alfalfa, a luxurious 80/10/10 Superwash Merino/Cashmere/nylon heavy fingering-weight yarn, and Amaranth and Soybean, two rustic but soft non-Superwash Merino fingering and DK-weight yarns that would make excellent sweaters.

Six mini skeins of gray, white, purple and aqua yarn.

This set of Julie Asselin’s Nurtured yarn, a unique blend of Rambouillet, Targhee and Merino that Julie and Jean-François hand dye before it’s spun at Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont, is definitely one of my favorites, with the aqua Picnic and deep plum Tisane that brings out the pinks in the special Leaf Pile colorway (third from the top).

This is one of three color combinations available in the Nurtured Mini Boxes from Indie Untangled. These sets come with six mini skeins so you can try out this rustic Aran-weight yarn and see the nuanced colors in real life. The boxes are available to preorder only through January 8.

Champagne glasses and confetti in jewel tones.

After packaging and shipping out 100+ new year countdown boxes, and auctioning one off the benefit the American Nurses Foundation, Inc., I have several extra goodies that I decided to put together in mini mystery packs. You’ll receive four 20g, 87-92-yard, fingering-weight mini skeins dyed in coordinating jewel tones and one non-yarn goodie. (Please note that these packages are not individually wrapped and will ship on December 28.)

Stitch markers in red and white peppermint candy colors.

If you need a last minute stocking stuffer, Amanda of Doodle Dew Designs has some Christmas stitch markers left! This includes markers made with real candy canes and with fun holiday colors.

Stardust Fiber Studio has a new Winter Wonderland collection.

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

2

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: Peak yarn

A golden mountain reflected in a lake, and light blue yarn speckled with gold and purple.

For the latest installment of Knitting Our National Parks, Rachel of Six and Seven Fiber takes us to Grand Teton National Park, which I was lucky to visit in May of 2019 (which seems like ages ago). Her Jenny Lake colorway was inspired by the above photo taken by photographer Brian Johns.

This lightly speckled neutral is available to preorder on Indie Untangled through December 27 on three bases: Alfalfa, a luxurious 80/10/10 Superwash Merino/Cashmere/nylon heavy fingering-weight yarn, Amaranth, a toothy but soft non-Superwash Merino fingering (this one is my personal favorite) and Soybean, a non-Superwash Merino DK. Alfalfa would make amazing winter accessories, while the latter two are the perfect sweater yarns.

A woman holds a white fur pom-pom over a purple knit hat.

Speaking of non-Superwash yarns, designer Mary Annarella used Julie Asselin’s Nurtured yarn in the special Indie Untangled Leaf Pile colorway to design not just one but two new hats! The one above, with the zig zag purl pattern, is called Swipe Right (which means, in the world of Tinder dating, that you’re interested).

Mary’s other hat, called Take a Bough, has an elegant cable pattern reminiscent of pine trees and is a perfect match for the colorway, which is indeed like jumping into a leaf pile. The links above will take you to kits for the hat featuring this exclusive colorway, and they are discounted through Monday, December 14, no coupon code needed.

I also invite you to explore this incredible yarn further…

Skeins of gray, white, pink and gold yarn.

When I first learned about Julie Asselin’s Nurtured yarn — a rustic but soft blend of Rambouillet, Targhee and Merino that is hand dyed “in the wool” prior to being mill spun at Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont — it was love at first sight… through my computer monitor. Fortunately, when I finally got a chance to see it in person at a yarn festival, I was even more smitten — enough to ask Julie and her partner Jean-François to create a special colorway for Indie Untangled. 

Since we don’t have the ability to feel yarn in person at festivals, and I want everyone to discover the joy of knitting with Nurtured, I’m excited to collaborate with Julie and Jean-François on Nurtured Mini Boxes. These sets will allow you to try out this woolly Aran-weight yarn and see the incredible heathered colors in real life.

The boxes are available to preorder on Indie Untangled through January 8 and will ship in mid-March, allowing time for Julie and Jean-François to create mini skeins to order and for cross-border shipping.

Six knitted sweater designs on a diverse group of models.

I was so excited to see that Abbye and Selena of the design duo Wool & Pine, who I enjoyed learning more about during Indie Untangled Everywhere in October, had published their first pattern collection. I’m even more thrilled to be a stockist of this special new book! Featuring Wool & Pine’s first six garments, this softcover book is filled with beautiful images and size-inclusive patterns with written and charted directions. It also includes a digital download code and access to detailed video tutorials to help you knit your perfect sweater.

Blue and white speckled yarn.

The cold whether inspired Lanivendole’s Winter Mood palette, which will be available in Giulia and Stefania’s online shop today starting at 6 p.m. CET. There will also be limited edition handmade stitch markers from their friend Carla of @laboratorioindie.

A textured cowl in shades of blue.

Rebecca of WildWestDye, a natural dyer based in Canada, has lots of new kits uniquely dyed using indigo, including CabooseWay, a three-color, three-texture indigo kit launched with a new collection of worsted weight yarn.

A lacy gold shawl pin.

The Crafty Flutterby Creations seasonal Victorian Christmas Collection features shawl pins or vegan leather shawl cuffs with sophisticated lace designs. Michelle also has limited edition sparkly holiday end minders, which help keep your ends neat and tidy while you work. All orders placed by Monday will ship in time for Christmas within the U.S.

Multicolored skeins of yarn and faux fur pom-poms.

Megan of Megs & Co has curated a collection of hand-dyed hat kits to get you ready for the cold weather. Kits include a skein of Folk Song Aran paired with one skein of Head in the Clouds mohair and silk laceweight, plus a hand-stuffed faux fur pom-pom.

A teal textured hat.

Speaking of hats, all Softyarn Designs hat patterns are 25% off through Wednesday, December 16, with the code Hatknitting on Ravelry and Etsy. Lena’s Pebble Street Hat, pictured above, is a quick knit using Aran-weight yarn and a slip-stitch pattern.

Dragon Thistle Fibers has Merino/Angora in sets of four 50-gram skeins.