Episode 42: Competition and Creativity

Episode 42 finds me at the crossroads of competition (Sheep to Shawl) and creativity (how do I get it all done?!?) I can also reveal one of the secret test knits I’ve been working on for LB Handknits–including her book release Facing North! I announce the winners of the Purl & Ply giveaway and show off my new Vary the Gate shawl–including my i-cord bind-off modification. And there is plenty of talk about and video of the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival’s inaugural Sheep to Shawl competition–at the end of the cast. Come hang out a while?


You can find me:
On Ravelry as knittingthestash
and via email at knittingthestash@gmail.com

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

Show Notes:


Posted in Casapinka, challenging, Champaign Urbana Spinners and Weavers Guild, community, competition, giveaway, knitting podcast, LB Hand Knits, LB Handknits, podcast, Purl & Ply, Sheep to Shawl, spinning, sweater, sweater design, Vary the Gate, weaving, Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool!

I’m dropping in to say: the prep and pressure is on! Our guild, the Champaign-Urbana Spinners and Weavers will be competing in the inaugural Sheep to Shawl Competition *this weekend* up in Wisconsin!! We have a team of 8, screen printed aprons, pairs and pair of hand cards, a fleece from Cathe of Seven Sisters Farm, and a crazy idea that we can do this thing in 4 hours ❤ If you’re going to be at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, send me an email at knittingthestash@gmail.com OR just come out and support us on Sunday morning anytime between 9:00-1:30!



Posted in community, competition, Sheep to Shawl, spinners and weavers guild, spinning, unexpected, Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival | 7 Comments

Episode 41: Purl & Ply and Qiviut!

Hello happy fiber folk! I have so much to share! There is a review of Purl & Ply’s beautiful singles yarn knit up in Casapinka’s “Vary the Gate”; a giveaway from Purl & Ply; Sheep to Shawl Competition talk for Wisconsin Sheep and Wool (I’ll be there–will you??); and lots of fiber fun with qiviut (Musk Ox). Come hang out for a little while, eh? ~Melissa

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Purl & Ply has offered two beautiful skeins for this giveaway! I will accept comment entries for two weeks before I close the giveaway. You can enter here, on the blog, in the Ravelry thread, or over on IG. Due to postage costs, I have to restrict this giveaway to US residents only.

To enter the giveaway, Please answer ONE of the following questions here, on Youtube (episode 41), on IG or in the Ravelry thread!

  • What is your favorite Purl & Ply colorway? OR
  • What is your favorite yarn base (weight/composition)?

Show Notes:

Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittiingthestash

Knit Together Project Info: Lots of maker communities collaborate or play “tag” with fun objects, ideas, materials, or FOs. Right now, for example, there is an ice pick making the rounds with YouTubers . . . each person who receives the ice pick makes a video about using the object. I thought that we fiber-fellows could make up a collective project of our own. Won’t you join us?

Posted in community, episode, fiber, fiber festival, Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, hand dyed yarn, interview, knitting podcast, podcast, Purl & Ply, qiviut, Sheep to Shawl, variegated yarn, video, Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival | 8 Comments

Indie Dyer Feature: Purl & Ply

I bet you have all been watching the recent launch of Purl & Ply along with me! The ladies behind those beautiful and utterly Instagramable colorways are Brit and Mel–a couple of indie dyer, home-school moms who love fiber, and knitting. Well, we got to talking and it turns out they watch the knittingthestash podcast from time to time 🙂 I offered an interview, and this blogspot was born! I’m super excited that in the process Brit and Mel also offered to sponsor a giveaway for you all! More details on the podcast this weekend! It’ll be a doubly awesome giveaway because Purl and Ply yarn is hard to come by! Their shop updates seem to go quickly . . . The ladies also host their own Purl & Ply Podcast  where you can check out their sense of humor and knitting skillz. Episode 4 features the Zweig sweater that I have seen popping up in a lot of Ravelry feeds. Enjoy the interview and the photos (all reposted here with permission)!

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Where did the inspiration for Purl & Ply come from?
The inspiration for Purl & Ply came simply from a love of fiber arts and this community. Brittani began knitting almost 5 years ago and taught Melody in 2016. We both started learning more and more about knitting through watching podcasts and Ravelry. From there we both began spinning within a year of each other and started dyeing yarn as a hobby.  It really just  grew from there. We really love the fiber arts community and getting to be a part of this community as a job – icing on the cake!

What’s special about the yarn bases you feature?
We really try to provide a range with the yarn bases we feature. We want to have something available for everyone. We love superwash yarn because it takes dye so well. Our Soft Sock base is the softest, squishiest Superwash Merino/Nylon I’ve every used. We also love our Single Merino and Luxe MCN sock bases.

In addition to our superwash yarns, we also offer our timeless base which is a 100% non-superwash merino.  We are currently working on perfecting this base so we will be bringing it back into the shop sometime in the fall.

We will also be looking to add different weights to our shop soon, so be on the look out!

Who are your biggest crafting influences/inspirations?
The community is so full of influences and inspirations for us. We enjoy watching the knittingthestash podcast and have found so much inspiration for learning about the entire process from sheep to finished object. Currently we are loving designs by Ysolda Teague, Thea Coleman, and Caitlin Hunter to name a few. The simplicity and wearability of garments by Ysolda and Thea is amazing. Caitlin Hunter is extremely inspiring to us as indie dyers. She is making beautiful fresh and modern color work out of indie-dyed yarn, which is super exciting for us. We really enjoy doing color-work with more traditional yarns, but getting to use our own hand dyed yarn has been so gratifying.

How do you juggle home schooling, yarn selling, podcasting?
Juggling is definitely the word to use. 🙂 Work/life balance has definitely been a struggle as Purl & Ply is constantly on our minds. I’d say the biggest help to us is support from our families. It has been crazy lately with launching and growing our business. Our sons are actually starting school this year for the first time. Sending them to school has been in our minds for a while now. It is definitely bittersweet. With our children in school, we are hoping to be better at this work/life balance thing – is that a thing? haha

Any advice for new dyers?
Watch Amy Florence’s video “So You Want to be an Indie Dyer” on YouTube – you’ll get a laugh and some very important realities to being an indie dyer.

Also, write down everything! Sometimes you think, “Oh, I’ll remember that!” but, you wont. Really, you won’t! lol

Where can folks find your shop? or find out more about you?

What’s new on the horizon for Purl & Ply?
We have some exciting things happening this Fall and Winter:

  • We are currently hosting a spin and knit along on our YouTube Channel and Ravelry group for the Shift by Andrea Mowry. This will be an ongoing project for a while – and we will be giving away prizes for those who participate!
  • We are also hoping to come out with some new bases and colorways in the Fall!
  • We will have a trunk show on August 25th, at Fingerplay Studio in Louisville, CO during the Yarn Along the Rockies annual yarn crawl.
  • South Park Dry Goods in San Diego will also be hosting a trunk show featuring Purl & Ply mid September.
  • If viewers are in or around East Texas in November, we will be vending at the East Texas Fiber Festival in Lindale, TX on November 9th & 10th.

* * *

Thanks so much, Brit and Mel!

I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)

Posted in blogspot, community, hand dyed yarn, indie, indie dyer, interview, knitting, Purl & Ply, sock yarn, variegated yarn, yarn | 3 Comments

Knitting at Work: A Manifesto

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I was recently promoted to full professor  . . . yay!  . . . and I’ve decided on a few resolutions for the upcoming years in the profession. Among other ideas, such as stress less, I’ve added “knitting at work” to my list.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have long knitted while traveling for work, at symposia, while listening to lectures, etc. But I am upping the game here, folks! I’ve decided to use my new status to authorize knitting during meetings. This excludes meetings that I am chairing, dissertation defenses, and any time that I need to be writing at the same time as I am listening; I also want to be sure my grad students know that I respect them and their presentations. But run of the mill faculty meetings, check. Random committee meetings, check. Faculty senate, check.

You may have noticed that I said I would use my new status to authorize knitting at work. And I really do meant what I said. I have some privilege now and feel that it’s important to help–particularly American–audiences understand that handwork/craftwork is a perfectly acceptable thing to do *while doing other things–especially listening!* I, for one, know that I can actually pay better attention if my hands are engaged with fiber and yarn. I am a better participant when I am working acres of stockinette. But, the thing is: not everyone knows this! A lot of folks assume that knitting (or other handcrafts) are a distraction, that the crafter is otherwise engaged and tuning out–and, sure, some crafters and at some times, this is the case. But meeting knitting is my way of being an even better citizen: I’m more relaxed, more engaged, and I feel like my time is not being wasted, so I am more likely to be in attendance and ready to chat when the time is right.

During the time I’ve spent in England and Europe as a whole, I’ve found knitting to be a far more accepted practice during academic events. When I was in Berlin last Spring, knitting away during the presentations, I found that it was an excellent conversation starter and that other academics wanted to talk about what I was making and even get into their own interests and crafts. It was a fun community and I loved that they scoffed (just a bit) at any American academics who were less than supportive of knitting in public meetings.

Now, that said, I did find plenty of fine folks at my faculty meeting today (in the US) who asked about my knitting and were super supportive. So, perhaps the tide is already turning. Even so, I’ll be doing my part to make knitting a recognizable element of my everyday work environment. I want to make space for others who may be nervous about doing something with their hands while they sit through meetings. And I want to dismantle the assumption that public knitters are disengaged, unprofessional, or bored.

We just want to knit while we talk to you or listen to you or sit quietly.

I suppose this is a manifesto of sorts . . . who’s with me?



Posted in community, Knit in public, knitters, knitting, manifesto, work knitting | 44 Comments

Episode 40: A June Cashmere Yarn Story

Hello happy fiber folk! I have a fun-filled episode for you all about cashmere–and June Cashmere in particular. I am fortunate enough to be doing some sample knitting for their fall line and became really interested in the story behind the yarn. So, I spoke to Amy Swanson, the US Operations Manager a bit more about the company’s origins, mission, and goals. Plus, I did some fun research . . . and I’m including some of the links below in case you want to learn more about where this cashmere yarn comes from!

I’m also happy to be chatting about my FO Phoenix Sweater–THANK YOU test knitters!!–a test knit for LB Handknits, and a WIP: the East Neuk Hoodie by Kristen Orme. Won’t you join me for a half hour of fun?




Posted in cashmere, community, East Neuk Hoodie, episode, FO, information, June Cashmere, knitting, knitting podcast, laceweight, LB Hand Knits, LB Handknits, review, sample knitting, video, WIP, yarn, yarn review | 1 Comment

KnitCrate July Surprises!

As you all know, the folks at KnitCrate have offered to send me some of their subscription boxes for review. I’ve been posting about them at intervals here and discussing them on the blog–just a few posts ago, I showed off an FO I made with some of their beautiful sock yarn! And remember, because I’m a reviewer, it means you all get a 20% discount if you use this code on their site: KTS20 🙂

First up is the Sock Crate: I’m not usually into greens (unless they are from Megan Morrell of Old Crow Art Yarns), but this modern primary green was pretty cool. The tricky think about this skein is that it’s dyed so that the knitter can achieve contrasting cuffs and heels! Fabulous! The Uru Yarn is a KnitCrate house blend that’s very soft.


And in the Artisan Crate? Oh my goodless! Two skeins of Shalimar Yarns in gorious blues and purples (my favorite!). These skeins are destined for a multi-skein project: a fingering weight sweater that calls for some variegated yarn. More on that in the coming year, I hope! For now, I’ll leave you with the skeins in all of their glory. . .



If you are interested in trying out KnitCrate‘s subscription boxes, don’t forget to take your discount code with you over to their site! KTS20

Posted in community, KnitCrate, review, sock yarn, variegated yarn, yarn, yarn review | Leave a comment