What to stash this week: Yarny holidays

Hanukkah collage with orange, purple, pink and gray yarn.

The dyers collaborating with me on this Indie Untangled Eight Nights of Hanukkah Kit all have their own beautiful aesthetics: Spencer and Reggie of The Fiberists create vibrant semisolids, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has a talent for subtle speckles and Raya of Blissful Knits is known for her colorful mini skeins. While their full skeins/mini sets for the kit will be a surprise, here is an example of their talents.

Preorders are open only through the end of the day today. I hope you celebrate with us!

Pink, green and blue yarn.

Sue of Invictus Yarns is also getting ready for the holidays (it’s not too early!) and has been adding to her collection of holiday colorways, restocked some that had sold out and have added gift cards to the shop.

A beige oversized cardigan

Issue 4 of the NF Magazine comes out today and is filled with fall warmth. It includes four knitting patterns and three cold-weather recipes.

A pink scarf that looks like leaves.

Andi Smith’s newest book for Cooperative Press, called Scarves Two Ways, will make you a scarf knitter again. The book, released at Rhinebeck, includes a dozen new scarf designs using a variety of techniques. The patterns are both charted and fully written out, hence there are two ways you can create them. The motifs from scarf to scarf also riff off each other. You can save $6.95 through the end of 2019 by using the code STARGAZER on Ravelry.

Post-Rhinebeck Untangling: Debra Gerhard of Spruce Lane Designs

Debra Gerhard of Spruce Lane Designs in gray sweater with a pink and red geometric yoke

Debra Gerhard models her Once Again sweater.

This is the 17th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2019 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Debra Gerhard of Spruce Lane Designs has a background as a designer, but not in fashion. For years she worked as an environmental engineer, addressing environmental impacts. These days, her design work involves taking hand-dyed yarn and turning them into colorful geometric sweaters and shawls with stripes, lace, cables and other textured stitches.

How did you decide to become a knitwear designer?

I was never one to follow a pattern exactly as written. I would usually use the pattern as a “guide” and then add my own shaping, motifs, edgings or other personal touches. A number of years ago after I left engineering to be home with my son, I started sample knitting for a few yarn companies which subsequently lead to technical editing of patterns. Around this same time, I took a few knitwear design classes at the Rhode Island School of Design.

I released my first design, Checks Mix Cowl, which was based on a swatch I had done for one of my classes. However, I didn’t release anything else for about two years after this initial design and instead spent my time doing more technical editing for a number of designers and yarn companies. I finally made the leap to mostly designing around 2017 and now I find myself struggling at times to turn out all the ideas I have in my head. I love the process, and I especially enjoy seeing knitters’ interpretations of my patterns and their use of color combinations and various yarn bases.

How has your background as an environmental engineer informed your work?

As an environmental engineer, I would be charged with designing and applying the best remedy for addressing environmental impacts. And just as each impacted site presented a unique set of issues, I find that the processes I used to identity these issues and form a solution are very similar to the processes I use in my designing. I have also found that my love of math is deeply ingrained in designing and grading. I love to see the numbers unfold, and I enjoy applying geometrical concepts to some of my shawl designs.

Tell me about what inspires your designs.

I take my inspiration from a variety of sources: an architectural detail, a colorful sunset, a spider web I may spy when out for a hike, bark on a tree, nature, found objects and many other sources. I have been known to tell my hubby to “pull over” so that I can take a picture of something that inspires me. I am drawn to color and patterns. I like to create colorful knits that fuel the imagination of each knitter and hopefully inspires them make my pattern their own.

When and how did you learn to knit?

My mom taught me how to knit when I was 10. My mom knits continental style, which suited me fine as I am left handed. I started with the garter stitch scarf and seamed hat as my first knitting items and continued with more hats and a few mittens. I didn’t knit much during junior high and high school, but in college I picked it up again and knitted the “boyfriend” sweater. I started to seriously knit in my late 20s after getting married, and I haven’t stopped since that time.

A pink speckled lace shawl.

Sunrise Over Bryce for Knitting Our National Parks.

What’s the first thing you do when you start designing a pattern?

After deciding on yarn, I will make a large swatch of the design/motif that I have in mind to see how the colors play together and to get gauge. Once I’ve gotten gauge, I will work up the numbers and write out a draft of the pattern, including any charts, if needed. I like to have the pattern completed as much as possible before I begin knitting so that I am in a sense, “testing” my own design and I have the ability to make edits as I knit.

What are your favorite colors and have they changed at all since you started designing?

My favorite colors are purples, reds and other rich, saturated colors, and that hasn’t changed much. I also like the playfulness of speckled yarn with the surprising pops of color. Additionally, I am just starting to explore the color and textural effects of working with two strands of yarn, specifically a mohair/silk base coupled with a Merino base.

What to stash this week: Eight crazy, yarn-y nights

Hanukkah kit collage.

The latest Indie Untangled project, the Eight Nights of Hanukkah Kit, is gratifying to me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I get to celebrate my Jewish heritage and share that joyful feeling of opening a gift each night with my fellow yarn lovers.
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The second reason I’m excited about it is that after taking a dyeing workshop with my friend Geraldine of the newly-launched yarn line The Wandering Flock, I’ve been inspired to add my own work to the kit. So, in addition to full skeins (or the mini set equivalent) from Blissful Knits, The Fiberists and Pandia’s Jewels, there will be a true IU exclusive in the package!

Preorders are limited and open only until next Friday, November 15.

Bunnies wrapped in yarn.

Bunny Hugs are a clever invention from Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations. She created these animal-shaped “end minders” earlier this year to solve the problem of cast on-tails getting tangled. While some knitting friends suggested using bread tags, they didn’t always do the trick and weren’t exactly an attractive fiber accessory. So, after Michelle’s family got a 3D printer for Christmas last year, and she set about building her menagerie, starting with what she named the Suavest Sheep and then bunnies.

A red polka dotted fabric case.

Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios is debuting a brand new travel size needle and hook organizer. It will be available in several different fabric options today at 9 a.m. Pacific. 

Silver yarn with orange speckles.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns recently debuted her new Brimham High Twist base. It has the same 85/15 blend of extrafine Superwash Merino and nylon as the Brimham 4ply, but with two strands twisted tightly together.

Green, blue and gold self-striping yarn.

I was so excited to get to work with Catherine of Gauge Dye Works again on another special self-striping colorway. This is called Field and Pasture and is inspired by a fall colors on the horizon. It’s available on a Merino Worsted with generous yardage for those cozy winter scarves or baby sweaters.

In addition to being available in the shop, this colorway will also be at the Indie Goes West: Hollywood Edition popup in LA tomorrow.

Meet Grace, Espace Tricot’s newest addition

Lisa and Melissa of Espace Tricot

This is the 16th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2019 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Espace Tricot is a modern yarn shop located in Montreal, Canada, and owners Lisa Di Fruscia and Melissa Clulow recently began venturing beyond its carefully curated selection of yarns, notions, accessories, books and patterns, and established its own hand-dyed yarn line.

Their newest addition is Grace, a singly-ply Merino. Working with local hand-dyer Annie Paaren, Lisa and Melissa created a palette of 28 colors, designed to reflect the unique atmosphere both of Montreal and the store. The name Grace is inspired by both the luxury of the Merino/silk/Cashmere blend and Espace Tricot’s location in the neighborhood of Notre-Dâme-de-Grace.

Colorful skeins of yarn.

The color palette ranges from essential neutrals through moody hues and perfectly balanced brights. All the colors are inspired by Melissa and Lisa’s aesthetic as shop owners and knitters, and include the shades they have been drawn to knit with over the years. Annie combined their input with her own dyeing expertise to craft a cohesive and complex palette.

Grace is ideal for sweaters, such as Espace Tricot’s Gracious sweater, as well as “one-skein-wonder” patterns. You can also hold it with a mohair/silk blend for projects like the Bonjour/Hi cowl and Frankie sweater.

In naming the colors, Lisa and Melissa wanted to reflect Montreal’s geography, architecture and history, along with Quebec’s culture and identity:

The warmth of Opéra and Truffle recalls lazy strolls along Montreal’s quirky streets of brick terraces. Take a cosy walk on Mount Royal in fall with the bold autumnal colors of Érable and Sous-bois. Revel in the frolics of Cirque du Soleil with Cirque. Bask in the bright summer sun by the river with the dappled tones of Printemps and Nuage. Adventure out east to take in the beauty of the Gulf of St Lawrence with Tadoussac, Baleine, and Madeleine. Or dress up in your most low-key glamorous “I woke up like this” neutrals for a stylish lunch in the Old Port in Leonard and Chateau.

And of course, don’t miss a trip to Espace Tricot’s brick-and-mortar store, where the staff will greet you with a friendly “Bonjour/Hi!” in a nod to Montreal’s bilingual spirit. You might even bump into Les Filles – “the girls” Lisa and Melissa themselves.

You can also meet them virtually on their YouTube channel.

What to stash this week: yarn to dye for

Red yarn

Elizabeth Colorful Eclectic has launched her Murderino Collection, inspired by the hit true crime/comedy podcast My Favorite Murder, and named for its adoring fan base. The collection includes nine colors with a black dappled effect. They include the signature red dubbed “Stay Sexy, Knit a Sweater,” and a chilling green called “Toxic Masculinity Ruins The Party Again.”

And perhaps the best thing about this collection? Through the end of the year, Colorful Eclectic is donating $2 from each skein of the Murderino Collection sold to End the Backlog, an initiative to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits in the United States.

A yarn skein menorah and the words Indie Untangled presents Eight Nights of Hanukkah.

I have fond memories of celebrating Hanukkah as a child, deciding which present to unwrap each night. Should it be the one that I know is a cassette I’ve been lusting after because of how it’s shaped and sounds when you shake it? Or the large package that has to be a Cricket doll?

With that in mind, I was inspired to collaborate with some fellow Jewish fiber friends — Julia of Pandia’s Jewels, Spencer and Reggie of The Fiberists and Raya of Blissful Knits — on an Indie Untangled Eight Nights of Hanukkah Kit! Kits will include individually-wrapped items from all of these folks, plus a few special surprises.

We’re partying like it’s the 5780s with an ’80s-themed palette inspired by the colors in the skein-menorah above. Preorders are limited and open only until November 15.

A drawstring bag with women scientist fabric.

Alisa is back after a semester in England for graduate school and debuted sweater-sized bags at Indie Untangled. They are now available in her Etsy shop! There are both drawstring bags and box bags in a size designed to hold a worsted weight sweater quantity of yarn. As always, Alisa will donate 15% of the sale price to RAICES Texas. 

Skeins of powder blue yarn.
Sue collaborated with designer Adrienne Fong, who recently lost her battle with cancer, on a special colorway called Wisdom. She will be donating $10 for each skein sold to the American Cancer Society in Adrienne’s memory.

Fall foliage and green to red ombré yarn.

Prior to this year’s Indie Untangled, Shireen of The Blue Brick embarked on a fall ombré colorway, taking inspiration from her own photo of fall foliage to create leaf peeping in yarn form. Autumnal premiered at IU and it is now available on the Indie Untangled website on Killarney Sock (regular and 800-yard Woolly Mammoth) and Manitoulin Merino Sparkle. ⁣

This colorway will also be at the Indie Goes West: Hollywood Edition popup in LA on November 9.

8 Nights of Hanukkah Gift Set

Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs, who creates project bags, is collaborating with other makers for holiday gift sets. Her 12 Days of Christmas and 8 Nights of Hanukkah gift sets include items from Fairy Tale Yarn Co, TurtleMade, One Sock Wonder bags and Me Time Botanicals. Preorders are up now, and packages will ship in late November/early December.

A gift tag that reads "This gift is brought to you by Netflix."

Augusta of adknits just had a shop update filled with gift tags and festive stitch markers for your holiday knitting, new notecards and the latest sticker in the Knitional Park Series.

McMullin Fiber Co. Le Societe d'Orsay

Kate has opened sign-ups for her Le Societe d’Orsay, a yarn club where each month’s colorway will be inspired by art from the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. She is also once again celebrating Socktoberfest with some amazing giveaways and a 24% off sale.

An aqua drawstring bag with pink yarn balls and the words Knit Happens.

Laura is once again collaborating with artist Cynthia Frenette on some knit-centric items! Orders open today at 9 a.m. Pacific time and close on Monday at midnight.

Julia of Pandia’s Jewels is opening preorders for her Purple Magic yarn set today.

What to stash this week: Jump into the Leaf Pile

A purple sweater with two skeins of yarn.

Last year at VKL NYC, after taking a dyeing class with the duo, I was chatting with Julie Asselin about the upcoming Indie Untangled show and had one of those lightbulb moments that led to a question: would she and Jean-Francois be up for creating a custom Nurtured colorway for IU? They enthusiastically agreed and I requested a peachy pink with a hint of purple. The result is Leaf Pile, which reads purple from afar, but up close is incredibly nuanced. I’m so excited to debut the yarn in the Indie Untangled shop this week, along with some other goodies.

Pink orange and speckled yarn.

Heather of Sew Happy Jane is having a shop update today at 5 p.m. Mountain time that features “perfect pairing” yarn bundles and warm and toasty worsted weight yarn.

A collage with a night sky and purple yarn.

Today is the last day to preorder the Dragonfly Fibers Petrified Forest colorway, inspired by Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Handmaine Knits has a Star Wars-themed Advent-style calendar called Holidays On Hoth.

Post-Rhinebeck Untangling: Heather Love of Hellomello

A woman knitting while surrounded by yarn.

This is the 14th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2019 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Hellomello Handspun is a Brooklyn hipster indie yarn company: dyer Heather Love was using farm-fresh yarn before it was cool.

Heather starting out selling handspun, hence the name, and then fell down the rabbit hole of sourcing local wool, like the super springy and soft Cormo she offers on a range of hand-dyed colorways (designer Paula Pereira used it for Yullana, a sweater that’s part of a collection she launched this past weekend at Indie Untangled and the New York Sheep and Wool Festival).

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I’ve always been a bit of a textile nerd, so by the time I made it to art school I was a pretty experienced seamstress and had a regular side hustle “restyling” vintage clothing and stitching for a few local designers. Because of this, I made an effort to spend most of my studio time exploring other artistic avenues, including glass and photography. With the exception of a few bookbinding classes, my only textile class was a year-long African Dye Resist intensive that I took for fun.

Really and truly, hand-spinning was what got me started down the rabbit hole though. I took a class 10 or 12 years ago and got hooked. Fleeces were purchased. There was a lot of experimentation with carding and dyeing. Pretty soon, I had “too much” handspun and started selling it. It’s funny how things circle back around sometimes.

Purple hand-dyed yarn.

How did you come to source local yarn blends and how challenging is it to do this?

At a certain point, I realized that I couldn’t keep up spinning everything by hand — most people seemed more interested in my dye work, anyway. The problem for me was that I really wasn’t inspired by the idea of using a standard Superwash wool. Like most hand-spinners, I crave the tactile spring and softness of lanolin-rich wools. So in 2010, I decided to try sending a few fleeces to the mill for processing and had a small batch of my own yarn made. What I got back changed everything.

There are a lot of challenges in manufacturing. Sourcing fleece is just the start. Everything about milling takes time, a long time, and a lot can go wrong along the way. Prices climb higher with every season, but, in the end, I know it’s a worthwhile endeavor and I love being able to create amazing yarns that no one else has. My runs are very limited but that’s what keeps it interesting. Every batch is a little different and, with hand dyeing, every skein is uniquely beautiful.

What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?

Brooklyn by way of Boston. The city is ever changing, sometimes exhausting, always inspiring: music, fashion, traffic and graffiti. There is always something new to photograph and explore. I am lucky to have lived in such vibrant cities and have met so many wonderful people along the way.

A hank of bright orange yarn.

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

I don’t have a favorite, I need the whole box of crayons. For me, it is all about the interaction and influence of colors on one another. I love how a color changes based on what it is paired with. The more vibration, the better I like it.

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

At the moment, I’m obsessed with super-saturated neons. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with layering color and over dyeing these lately and there are a couple of surprises in the works for VKL in January.

A black cropped sweater with bobbles.

Paula Pereira’s Yullana sweater in Hellomello Cormo.

When and how did you learn to knit?

My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was young. As a kid I spent a lot of time stitching intricate little acrylic outfits for my army of Barbies. I favored crochet for its quicker finish until I started knitting garments for myself in high school. These days, I can knit much more quickly than I crochet.

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

Sewing is my other craft job. I wrote book called 30 Minute Sewing a few years back. I’ve also worked as an on-set tailor, stylist, costume designer and sewing instructor. I especially love the quiet pleasure of hand sewing techniques like embroidery, Sashiko and quilting.

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

I was floored when my friend told me that Stephen West used my yarn in his Amazing Technicolor Dream Sweater and featured it in one of his sweater books — I had no idea.

Recently, there was also a really beautiful Soldotna by Pia Cooperman.

Melissa Fitzpatrick made a killer Tecumseh.

But, one of my all-time favorite neons is the Maria Sweater by Yamil Anglada. It’s like bottled sunshine.

What to stash this week at Indie or not

A woman models a mustard textured sweater.

One of my favorite parts of the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show is getting to see indie yarn in action with the beautiful samples on display. I’m particularly excited to see designer Paula Pereira’s capsule collection that’s debuting at the show. This collaboration between Paula and two indie dyers from my hometown of New York City — Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks and Heather of Hellomello Handspun — is a sophisticated and fun set of designs. It includes three sweaters, a triangular shawl knit with a textured fabric and a pair of socks with a geometric stitch motif.

A collage with a night sky and purple yarn.

If you’ll be at Indie Untangled today, you’ll also get to see Kate and Nancye of Dragonfly Fibers’ Petrified Forest colorway, inspired by Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, in person. It is available to preorder online until next Friday, October 25. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Christmas packages

Is your mother a hamster? Does your father smell of elderberries? Or do you just need a shrubbery? Then you’ll want to preorder this Monty Python Advent Calendar from Fairy Tale Yarn Co.

Purple bags

Laura’s Hocus Pocus-inspired Bag of the Month collection shipped out early, so you can get the extras in time for Halloween. Pounce like a black cat today at 9 a.m. Pacific.

A taupe lace wrap.

Fall definitely requires a light layer of warmth, so check out this new lace wrap from White Lies Designs.

Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Candice English of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers

Candice English of The Farmer's Daughter Fibers

This is the 13th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2019 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers first caught my eye when I was at The Knot House for the 2017 Maryland Sheep & Wool indie pop-up. I was intrigued by dyer Candice’s subtle palette that was comprised of many of my favorite colors: berry pinks, steely grays and watery blues.

In the last few years, Candice, whose home state of Montana infuses her brand, has become involved in Indie Untangled and this year I’m excited for her to debut a new concept at the Rhinebeck Trunk Show — she will be taking over part of the lounge at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory with her Sisters United initiative, a massive fundraiser that benefits organizations that are dedicated to supporting Native American women.

At the show she will be collaborating with another IU veteran, Rochelle of Home Row Fiber Co., to offer her October initiative with custom Sisters United bag, a skein of a custom FDF colorway and a pattern. All proceeds from this collaboration are donated to the initiative.

How would you say your heritage has informed the story of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers?

When I first started our company, I was going through all of the first initial steps anyone does; brainstorming about branding, what story we wanted to tell, who was our target audience, etc. It first started with knowing that a lot of people I would run into in Portland and Seattle would be totally enamored with the fact I was from Montana. I thought a lot about that and realized a lot people are seeking from this slower-paced, easygoing, hard-working lifestyle. Then came a naming of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers from a song my cousin sings me by Merle Haggard. Something clicked once we named it and our heritage became the focus and center around the culture and art of FDF.

What inspired you to launch the Sisters United Initiative?

In June of 2017 a young girl named Ashley Heavyrunner Loring went missing on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The way her case was handled was messed up, and I knew that if she was a white girl things would have went a lot differently. I didn’t know Ashley personally but something about her going missing touched a nerve that had been brewing for sometime. I see all of these issues every single day that effect American Indians and at a certain point it becomes too much. The anxiety was really eating at me and it felt like I would explode if I didn’t try to help. By January 2019, FDF had that ability.

Sisters United bags

Tell us about the organizations that benefit from the initiative.

This changes all the time and you can find a list on the Sister’s United page of our website. Recently we set up a $5,000 college scholarship for a Native American student and our next project we will be putting together healing bundles for trauma survivors. I am doing some of the ground work with our local human trafficking and MMIP (Murdered and Missing Indigenous People) task force, so this helps steer us to see where we are needed.

How do you decide on the artisans to work with for the project?

This year everyone has reached out to me, which has been amazing! At this point I could honestly make Sister’s United my full time job. So without the help of my fellow makers I could not pull this off. I ask them to have creative control on what they are contributing and we follow their lead, it makes it manageable for me.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

I first started doing a lot of natural dying — my mom practices traditional plant medicine — and I wanted to bring my love of fiber together with her love of plants. Three years later and I was in a job where I was working 60-plus hours a week and really unhappy in general. I knew I wanted to do something within the knitting industry, but plant dying was too spiritual for me to want to sell out. So I tried using acid dyes and fell in love with the process.

Blue speckled yarn

Crow Camp

Which of your colorways are you most proud of?

Crow Camp is probably up there, one of my favorite artists Kevin Red Star sent me a Christmas card one year (btw this was one of those mailing list type cards, but that didn’t stop me from being a dorky fan girl!) and I replicated his colors on Crow Camp. I sent it to him and he thought is was pretty cool!

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

Anything blush colored, pinks, purples, raspberry. Always and forever!

How did you learn to knit?

I was using one of those Kniffty Knitter looms and my husband encouraged me to ask my friend Brooke to teach me how to “really” knit. I always say those were his famous last words! Poor guy just wanted me to make him some hats and now we have family business based off the industry!

Golden speckled yarn

Ode to Autumn

Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?

I am getting back into traditional beading! I love to do any new fun craft with my daughter too.

What advice would you have for people just getting started in the industry?

Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing. Listen to your inner creative spirit and let that be your driving force to how you want to run your business. I remember it being really difficult for me at first to decide where and how I wanted to grow Farmer’s Daughter, as there are so many different routes you can go. First, make sure it makes you happy when you are doing it, and second it will eventually make you some money because it matters more than you think in the beginning. Burnout is real, but having financial stability is a good cure.

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.