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January 2017

Readers’ Choice: Indie Yarn Dyers

I hate to gloat, but if you’re buried in snow, pelted by sleet, drug down by the Dark, Dark, Dark days, or just generally cold…well, I am living it up somewhere warm and sunny.

And I just might not come home. #endlessvacation

Because for the first time in WEEKS, my hands are finally warm and don’t ache.

Among other benefits.

(Hey River Nights by Knitley Road)

Don’t worry. I didn’t abandon you entirely. I have left you with a fabulous Yarn Shopping Opportunity. (I have yet to meet a knitter who doesn’t love to shop for yarn…)

Thank you to everyone for your fabulously supportive responses to my Proclamation that 2017 is the Year of the Indie Dyer. I am glad you all are on board.

(Worsted Merino Chartreuse by Allison Barnes Collection)

Many thanks to readers who were kind enough to chime in with their favorite indie dyers! I have compiled everyone’s input into a list (below, in no particular order) with hyperlinks to webpages. Shop away!

There is also a second list of some of the yarn dyers I have made connections with and hope to collaborate with later this year. Please check out their sites as well!

(Blood Orange Superwash Sock by Dye Monkey Yarns)

Reader Suggested:

Long Dog Yarn

Fiber and Hue


Supernatural Yarns


Moonlight and Laughter

Kindred Red

(Unicorn Sprinkles by Fiber and Hue)

My Peeps so Far:

Allison B Collection

Knitley Road

Beloved Yarn

Simply Ewe Fiberworks

Dye Monkey Yarns

(Pink Champagne Lace by Simply Ewe Fiberworks)

**NOTE: All photo credits revert back to the indie dyers and are used here for positive promotional purposes only. Please consider supporting these fiber artists next time you are buying yarn. Shops are listed in random order. I have not yet tried any of these yarns but very much look forward to doing so soon!

Getting Ready to Launch

The year has been off to a crazier-than-normal start–a flurry of work, remodeling and painting up to my eyeballs, and, now, packing.

It’s kind of like I am picking up in the middle of a hurricane, leaving the mess in situ, preserving my disastrous life like a time capsule of chaos. At least until I get home and the storm resumes. Paint, fix, work, and maybe sleep.


Well…it’s been quieter than normal here, which is a bit ironic considering I have BIG PLANS for this space this year. But, they’ll have to wait a bit. My New Year just might start…in April, I am guessing (hoping!).

Thanks for sticking with me.

I have, however, PACKED my knitting. I’ve got 1,600 yards (1,463 m) of fingering/sock weight yarn to keep me busy for the next 2 1/2 weeks. That should be enough for at least one light pink cowl (hopefully two), a pair of stripy socks, and a pair of orange Emergency Socks, in case I actually make it through the first three skeins. Or, in case I lose/break/ruin a knitting project.

Best to be over prepared.

My toe nails are freshly painted and bags are (mostly) packed. Reed keeps sneaking all his worldly possessions into his own little suitcase, out of fear we’ll never come home. Thus, I am unpacking at a rate not dissimilar to the rate at which I am actually packing.

Otherwise, I am behind on pretty much everything.

Returning calls? Nope (sorry, Grandma).

Cleaning the house? (Dirt? What dirt?)

Saying something to my child other than No, Did you pee?, Did you eat?, Did you wash your hands? I am counting to three and that’s it!, I said NO!!!

Also, no.

Like I said, it’s a hurricane here in this mad-dash out the door to the airport.

I so look forward to that finally making it onto the plane (a red eye, no less), settling into my seat, closing my eyes, and waking up somewhere warmer.

(Did I mention I LOATHE winter weather?)

The good news is I did manage to figure out a REAL Provisional Cast On for the first time ever, after having borrowed a crochet hook from my dearest knitting friend (I possessed known of my own). I goofed the first try by twisting my join (of course) and was off to a slow start. I still question the number of stitches I decided on (always! why?!?!), but I am moving forward anyway. Nothing will stop me now.

As to where I am going…

Keep your eye on Facebook and Instagram for clues. It’ll be like Where’s Waldo for Knitters.

I will give you a few hints, because I suck at keeping secrets. It’s warm (duh), there are monkeys, and people will be speaking Spanish/Espanol.

I have a couple little tidbits of knitting joy lined up for you while I am gone. Otherwise, it’ll be quiet around these parts. Just know I will be thinking of you as I sip my tropical cocktails and commune with monkeys. (I only hope the monkeys don’t scurry off with my knitting…)

Knit on, dear friends. Knit on.

Year of the Indie Yarn Dyer

We all must lift each other up.

‘Cause no one else is going to do it.

If economic statistics hold true, there isn’t a single person who will read this post who is wealthy in any sort of real sense. In fact, most of you are broke, in debt, and possibly a paycheck away from not being able to pay rent. Or the mortgage. You buy your groceries with a credit card. Sometimes.

Or all the time.

A handful of you are lucky. You’re in the middle. Life is okay. Maybe you’re even retired or actually making ends meet comfortably.

Here’s the deal.

It’s a dog eat dog world out there. And it isn’t getting any better. In fact, the math is straightforward on this issue.

It’s getting worse.

Every day, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

And that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon. You’ll be spending the next decade of your life trying to decide what to pay first: the electricity bill or the yarn bill.

(I say go with the yarn bill…)

Since I am the dictator (Duchess sounds better, actually…) of this very small corner of the world/Internet, I’ve self-declared 2017 the Year of the Indie Dyer.

Across this country, and probably across many others, there are women and families who have turned their kitchens, garages, yards, and who-know-what-else into yarn dying studios.

Because they like yarn.

And color.

They have passion. Talent.

They’ve started fledgling businesses.

To make money.

Because they NEED money. As do we all.

Some of these shops have taken off. It’s working. They are actually selling yarn.

Most of them are fledgling, obscure, and lost in the morass of Etsy and Instagram, waiting to be discovered. Growing slowly, but likely too slowly to pay any bills in the meantime.

We MUST lift each other up. Knitters, let’s support these yarn dyers!

Am I still going to buy yarn from brand labels in my favorite yarn shops and online?


They’re great businesses, many of them promoting amazing ethics and choices I support in this ever-globalizing economy.


I am also putting intention behind supporting indie dyers. The very meager bit of economic fuel I inject into the nation’s yarn economy probably won’t make much of a difference.

But all of us together?

Well, together, we’ll make a slightly bigger difference.

So far, I’ve been buying all of my sock yarn from Etsy shops (says the knitter who just cast off a pair of Knit Picks Hawthorne socks earlier today…). I’ve literally gone on Etsy, searched for “sock yarn,” scrolled around a bit and picked a random shop.

Is it hard not to feel the yarn and squish it?


Do I hate paying for shipping?


Was my first skein of yarn soft enough?

Truthfully, no.

It’s been a little hit and miss with the quality, I’ll be honest. And I wish the Etsy shops I’ve browsed have been more upfront about what they are using for a base. It is front China or domestic sheep? Are they buying white yarn from Knit Picks and dying it, or is there something more going on? I do not know.

But I wish I did.

In the end, you know what? They’re socks! My feet are going to be okay.

I’ve also made a point to collaborate with indie yarn dyers** as I develop new patterns this year. I’ve made good connections with several talented dyers so far, and I can’t wait to introduce you to them soon.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! Have you discovered a great indie dye shop online that you LOVE? Soft yarn, good colors, and great folks? Please share in the comments!

Year of the Indie Yarn Dyer. We all must lift each other up!

I just stumbled upon this skein of 100% merino fingering* from the Iria Yarn Company. It’s their Great Pumpkin colorway. Who doesn’t need orange socks? I mean, seriously!

Gotta jet, knitters. Etsy browsing is calling my name!

*If you are an indie dyer and would like to collaborate on a project or other such adventure, please be in touch!

**Sock knitters, what’s the scoop on nylon in sock yarn? Do you like it or not? I thought the yarn I was buying wasn’t soft enough because it was a nylon blend…But then I bought a skein of Knit Picks Stroll, which also is a nylon blend and is SOFT. So now I am just confused on nylon and its potential impact on that buttery yarn feeling that I seek.

My 2017 Bucket List of Must Knits

A knitter's seriously awesome bucket list of must knits for 2017. Carefully curated for your entertainment pleasure by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

I’ve been such a hot knitting mess lately! In the last few days, I’ve made so many mistakes!

  • I’ve spend an absurd amount of time picking out a frogged mitt, stitch by stitch, wondering why it was taking SO long before I realized I was trying to unravel the WRONG end of my mitt.
  • I also knit up an entire heal flap with an extra four (maybe six?) stitches stolen from the non-heal flap stitches before realizing the error in my ways. I thought about ripping back but decided hek no! It’s a sock for goodness sake. And, no, the socks aren’t identical as a result. The incongruity adds character. Or evidence of incompetence. Hard to say.
  • Oh, and I knit a cowl that wasn’t supposed to roll, fold, or in anyway misbehave in all those aforementioned ways that drive me nuts…but, despite my carefully selected knit/purl strategy, the darn things still rolled AND folded. It’s blocking now, so perhaps I will be saved by the water. Or perhaps not.

I figure if I haven’t jabbed my eye out with a knitting needle, all is well.

I’m determined nonetheless and newly armed with a worthy  bucket list of must knits for the upcoming year, mistakes or no. You can’t have fun if you don’t play the game.

Here’s what’s on my bucket list for 2017. What’s on yours?

Indulge Myself and Knit a Tee (or Possibly Three?!?!)

I have two knitted tees that fit well, and I wear them a ton. I’m keen to work a third one into my wardrobe. I have my list of potential options narrowed down to these five, although I already swatched Riverton with my stashed yarn of choice (Swans Island fingering). In classic form, the gage didn’t match, so really I am down to four potential candidates…or I have to buy more yarn.

Drool Over Texture by Hannah Fettig

I still haven’t finished knitting every.single.pattern from Home & Away (but I will), but that isn’t going to stop me from buying Hannah Fettig’s new book, Texture (available for pre-order now), if only to look at all the pretty pictures. I don’t buy too many knitting books (does anyone?), but I will buy this one. I am still determined to knit Lesley this year!

Use My Scraps

If for no other purpose than to declutter my hall closet, my scraps will be put to good use this year. I keep my stash to a minimum, yet it has been taking up an extraordinary amount of space. I have come to realize it is all scraps. I’ve parted with the undesirables and spent a bit of time bagging them up by weight or like yarns. My collection of Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted (including frogging a design-fail TRIO of mitts…I of course knit two lefts before knitting the right…whoops) doesn’t exactly scream coordinating shades for a colorwork project, but I’ve decided to knit them all together into a cowl anyway. Pashmina Worsted is simply too luxurious to let linger in the hall closet any longer.

My 2017 Bucket List of Must Knits by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Knit Something White and Sparkly

Given I’ve sworn off grey for the new year, I’m left to seek new neutrals. I’m very drawn to white and cream of late, which is of course a horrible idea because (A) I have a four year old and my entire life seems to be coated in a layer of butter and jelly (B) my project will likely be stained and dirty before it even comes off the needles and (C) if I do manage to knit this to-be cowl without smudging the thing in grime, it will surely be smattered during its first wear.

And I thought I was an optimist.

Note this project is further doomed (yet still irresistible) because my skein of Isager smacks dangerously of LACE WEIGHT even though it is technically fingering. Further note I have sworn off lace weight. I asked the yarn store owner if my lace weight would become fingering when I worked it up with the second sequin skein, only to hear the reply: [punctuated pause] well, light fingering. With significant emphasis on “light.” But seriously…there’s sequins, people!!! Who can resist a little sparkle? Given I am that nearing 40, adult woman who wishes I could wear a glitter tee from the little girls section of Target EVERY DAY, surely you can understand how the sequins just HAVE TO BE.

I will further note here that it is dreadfully ironic that I selected the WHITE shade of Isager given the gorgeous color pallette. (Reminds me of the shades from Quince. Quite classy). Yet I passed them all up for…white.

My 2017 Bucket List of Must Knits by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Knit Reed Another Sweater

This one might be a bit premature, given the first sweater is happily tolerated but not requested. I really enjoyed knitting Reed’s first sweater. It warmed my heart. And it came out so CUTE! I don’t have another pattern specifically in mind, but I know one will grab me soon enough.

Learn Brioche

Last year, my goal was to learn colorwork. I wouldn’t say I “learned” the discipline, but I tried it and worked up my first colorwork projects. This year, I have brioche on my list. I will probably be signing up for this Craftsy class when I am ready to expand my brain. I don’t have a particular pattern in my queue, but I am sure you’ll give me lots of hot tips for beginning brioche projects in the comments.

More Socks

I really enjoy knitting socks during those in-between times where I need something easy for the ten minutes I steal here and there. This year, I am making a point to grab my sock yarn from indie dyers via Etsy and similar sites (minus the two pairs of Knit Picks socks I am currently working up…eh hem…). I plan to espouse more on this whole Year of the Indie Dyer bit soon enough, so stay posted for that forthcoming oratory. In all honestly, I’ve been knitting up one vanilla pair after the other, but I do hope I can make it through some of these free patterns this year as well.

Designs of My Own

I’m still hard at it, oftentimes ending up with more misses than hits. I plan to continue designing this year, working with some of my favorite (and new!) mainstream yarn brands as well as developing partnerships with indie dyers (look for more on that soon!). I also plan to start systematically going through my earliest patterns and revamping them to be up to snuff with my current standards for pattern releases. Slow and steady…that’s me!

In case you missed it, the 201 6 Bucket List of Must Knits is here.


Reed’s Sweater: Locksley by Emily Ringelman

Locksley by Emily Ringelman. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life in Swish Worsted DK (Knit Picks).

One of the many things about having kids is sometimes they make you surprise even yourself. As in, you’re out the door, gracing your back yard with your p.j.-clad presence shortly after 7:00 a.m. to send your son shooting down the normally gently sloped back yard on his sled, laughing as he chants at tremendous volume, Go Super Reed! Go Super Reed!

Whereas normally, you’d be (a) still in bed or, worse case, (b) calming sipping perfectly concocted early grey tea from the warm and dry locale of the living room sofa.

To Reed’s defense, we don’t get snow often where we live, so it is quite exciting and special when so much as a mere inch (2.54 cm) accumulates.

Locksley by Emily Ringelman. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life in Swish Worsted DK (Knit Picks).

I had this pattern (Locksley by Emily Ringelman via Knittin Little) in my queue for more than a year before I finally got around to it. This is the first sweater I have knit for Reed (bad mom!) and my first venture into colorwork (brave mom!).  After a month of solid knitting, I was well on track for a Christmas sweater to gift my darling child who still kicks me all night long (we often still sleep together), demonstrates highly selective hearing anytime I ask him to do anything that doesn’t involve receiving a yummy treat, and throws fits every time I utter the word “no.”

Kids. Gotta love ’em.

I chose to knit up the Size 6, which seemed to be working out perfectly. I had a hunch the sweater would be big enough for room to grow but not too big to be unwearable. This required purchasing 8 skeins of Knit Picks Swish Worsted at around $35*  (plus the two skeins of random sock yarn needed to bring the total up to $50 to qualify for free shipping). (And I had enough yarn left to knit up a corresponding hat! Stay posted for future pom pom, forthcoming shortly!!!)

Like I said, everything was going perfectly.

Until I ran into one glitch.

Because there is always a glitch.

I hit sleeve #2 (fully engrossed in a horrible case of Second Sleeve Syndrome) and ran out of the main color. I wasn’t even close to finishing the sweater.


Now, I will admit I didn’t keep particularly close track of my yarn for this project. It went places with me. It made various appearances for photo shoots and such. It was stored in the hall closet which is about half as organized as an over-cluttered Good Will.

I had a Strong Hunch I had indeed bought enough yarn but couldn’t seem to FIND my last skein.

I think.

I asked Reed if he had it, because he has an odd little habit of taking things he deems might be IMPORTANT to you and storing them in odd places. Like his backpack.

Except, thanks to the generosity of three sets of grandparents, he now has not one but THREE backpacks, each well stocked with various four-year-old necessities.

So I did what any wise mom would do: I searched all three backpacks.

No luck.

I scanned the hall closet as best as my anxiety level could tolerate.

No missing skein.

I triple checked my knitting bag and checked on top of the fridge (you never know).

Still nothing.

For all I know, that skein of yarn is rotting somewhere along the side of the road in some remote corner of Humboldt County.

Could happen.

This left me no choice but to order a Replacement Skein,which wouldn’t have been a big deal ($5 or so USD)…except I then felt Completely Compelled to also purchase an additional $65 of yarn** from the Knit Picks site to qualify for free 2-day shipping and meet my Christmas sweater deadline (which I did ultimately achieve!)

Not the most cost-effective choice. But worth it.

Locksley by Emily Ringelman. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life in Swish Worsted DK (Knit Picks).

(If you are noticing that odd strangulation mark under Reed’s chin, it’s not because I lost my temper. I swear. There was a collision between Reed’s head and a piece of furniture during an indoor scooter riding session. Truly.)

I’ve already let go of any expectation of keeping this sweater neat and clean. Reed managed to snag it (big time) in under an hour. I do remove it before meals but otherwise expect it will quickly be covered in odd, sticky substances and quite possibly littered with holes. I can tell the single ply Swish Worsted is going to pill and shed like crazy (it’s barely been worn and is already FUZZY), which may inspire the much needed purchase of a gleaner.

Now that I’ve finished this first sweater, I am itching to knit him a second. They’re just so cute! Send pattern suggestions my way, please!

*I hadn’t knit with Knit Picks yarn before and will admit to feeling a little snooty about it whenever my Knit Picks-loving friend raved about her latest score from the well-priced site. I am pleased to say I quite LOVED the Swish Worsted  and would use it again any day. It was very soft to work with.

**If you’ve done the math here, you will note I somehow managed to spend $120 to knit a $35 sweater. (But I will someday enjoy two pairs of socks a something big and colorful in Swish DK.)

General pattern notes: this was a great pattern! I was able to follow it without mods and didn’t screw up too much. The sweater is knit in the round, bottom up, before separating for the front and back. The collar is knit last by picking up stitches and working some short rows. I was weary about this but followed the instructions and seemed to have survived mostly unscathed. It’s super cute, although I have to remind Reed to “make a fist” with his hands when I pull it on/off so he doesn’t snag the strands in the sleeves (which are numerous.)

I hope to see you over at the Yarn Along this week. I am still reading This Must be The Place and like it…although late night knitting has infringed on page turning. Sigh.

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