How do we chose colors? Well, in a variety of ways. Sure, there's some research into what Pantone is forecasting for the year or season, because color is their business and a lot of folks in the fashion industry take their cues from Pantone - or maybe give their cues to Pantone (I've ever been exactly sure about that). But sometimes I think they make lousy choices, so we'll 86 those colors. Then, there's nature - birds, flowers and fish. And sometimes I'll just have an idea of a color in my head and do a few tests - and in turn sometimes those tests yield other colors or other ideas. I might see something someone is wearing and get an idea. Then there's the testing phase and Mr. gnarledpaw. Luckily, he's a graphic designer so he knows color. I'll run the newest colors or colorways past him and if he gets a certain look on his face and then says it's "nice" I know I've a bit more work to do - not that I always trust his opinion. It's as complicated as marriage, right?

One new area of inspriation this year comes from Children's Illustrated Literature. Since moving gnarledpaw to Chicago so I could see my grandson regularly, I've been reading a lot of storybooks to him and some illustrators really push my color buttons. William Joyce, for one. And Graham Base, for another. 

So, stay tuned for Labor Day to see what colors we'll unveil and which old favorites will be making a repeat performance!



Huge congrats go out to Gillian, Meg and Judith - with a special honorable mention to Annie for their very funny captions. You'll each receive an email from me requesting your address - unless I know it - so I can get your yarn to you! Thank you to everyone who played and stay tuned for the next Free Yarn Day on June 14th, 2017.  As always, if you have an idea for a FYD contest? Do send it in! If we use it, you'll get free yarn too!



OK, please write a silly caption to go with this photo - what's the story? You have until 10am Thursday morning, March 18th, to get it in. Send it to me: We'll pick the best couple of captions and announce the winners around lunchtime Thursday!

Please note  - this photo was chosen at random, although because it did make me laugh, I can't give credit for it because there's none listed. Sorry!

Please note - this photo was chosen at random, although because it did make me laugh, I can't give credit for it because there's none listed. Sorry!



Cruddy selfie! Sorry!

Cruddy selfie! Sorry!

Did you order yarn for the Enie Poncho at the Artisan Market on Sunday, Feb 19th? If you did, I told you to order TOP DOG DK Light. But you may be looking at the pattern itself saying, What the??? because the pattern calls for using fingering weight held double, which was a royal pain in the tush, so I put it - the first one I made using fingering held double - out of my mind! I made it again and used TOP DOG WORSTED!
    I'm so sorry! Anyway, I am automatically substituting the correct yarn for you, and you will get an email from me explaining my goof!
   So again, if you ordered yarn for the Enie - fret not, you will get the right yarn to make the right pattern. You are simply going to substitute Worsted for the fingering-held-double. (I suspect the designer was stash-busting when she made it.)


OWL & CAT KAL - Jan. 14th, 2017

Owl & Cat is an anagram for Cowl & Hat but CAT is a word that most knitters will find without reading glasses - in other words, it's always on their radar. We hope this KAL is on your radar too, because Graphica's orginal "Inspira-Cowl" inspired not only this mini-cowl version, but also, this hat pattern by our very own Afifa! But the best part of all - beyond the free patterns, the multitude of variations, the camaraderie of knitting it with others, the prizes and silliness that goes on with one of these KALs, it's this.: IT'S SO MUCH FUN TO KNIT! And it's a quick knit!  Also, I promise, people will stop you and ask where you got your hat and cowl. I don't ever wear mine that someone doesn't ask me where it came from or how she can get one too.


This cowl features an optional background accent of a stripe in addition to the pleasing array of colored tabs.

This cowl relies on the most saturated Fuchsia to make it yell happiness across a wintry scene!

This cowl also features the background color offset stripe, but instead of repeating some tabs, chooses all different colors to make a vibrant and happy

Here, a semi-solid background hosts a variegated yarn for the tabs, illustrating that if you can dream it up, you can probably do it with this pattern!

For information on how you can join in, check out the Owl & Cat Topic on our Ravelry Group. There are even a limited number of Gradients sets still available in the shop!



The skein above is random and not necessarily an actual prize!!

The skein above is random and not necessarily an actual prize!!

And here we go, the last contest for FREE YARN in 2016! Not that I'm going to miss 2016, mind you... don't let the door hit you in the butt as you go, 2016! Or, yes! Do! Do let it smack you into the haze of the past, 2016!

But before that, let's play MAD LIBS for yarn. Your remember those? You'd buy the pad and play on long car trips or when it rained and you had to stay inside to play? Essentially, you ask the person across from you to name a verb, noun, direction, number, adjective, etc, and then when you fill in the blanks and read it back, it's really silly.

Well, we're doing a knitting and crochet version. There are 5 statements about the crafts, but you won't see those until we pic the winners. What you do is download the little pdf form, fill it out right on your computer, pad or phone, save it, and email it back. (To ensure we get your answers, SAVE the file after you fill it out!) If you have trouble with the form, you can send an email with your responses typed out, just be sure to label the group of word/numbers with the statement they go to– 1, 2, 3 , etc. Then email then to BY NOON ON THURSDAY, DEC 15 and we announce winners for 5 different skeins of yarn that evening or Friday morning.

Sorry! this contest is open to those in the USA only!

Click the pic for the new form...

Click the pic for the new form...


Owl & cat KAL

This is the "gradient version."  Check out the Ravelry group for other ideas.

This is the "gradient version." Check out the Ravelry group for other ideas.

Come January 14th, 2017, (we think) we're hosting a KAL based graphica's Inspira-Cowl!  In addition to the cowl, we will also have the option of adding to it a hat to go with, thanks to our brilliant in-house designer: Afifa! It you're wondering why Owl & Cat, it's simple - it's just an anagram for cowl and hat.

For more info, visit the Ravelry Group topic. You can sign up there, too, just by saying: count me in, or something to that effect. Download this variation of pattern here, or if you prefer to do the original, larger cowl, download that pattern from the link above. We'll post a link for the hat cowl in a few days.

Questions? Email us! Meanwhile, download the variation pattern here.


That's today - Wednesday,
November 23rd, 2016!


The 3rd FRee Yarn Day is rapidly Approaching!

Here's how it's going to work this time around:

  • Check this spot at 3pm TUESDAY, Sept 13th for "THE ASSIGNMENT"
  • You will have 24 hrs to work on the assignment before EMAILING the results to us with time stamp prior to 3:01PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
  • We will announce the WINNERS at 8PM Wednesday the 14th
  • Sara, Afifa and Liz will all be judging. Any ties will be broken by Mr. gnarledpaw
  • There will be 10 winners = 10 skeins. One of the skeins will be a custom skein - the winner will choose her/his favorite base and colorway.
  • Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, knitting group, crochet pals, the guy who sits next to you on the bus each morning, the vet checking over your cat, your husband's brother, your kid's teacher, the guy there to read your gas meter... Tell them, there's going to be some fun afoot at gnarledpaw next week!



Post a photo of a flower or plant you're growing or wish you were growing that you think might inspire me to make a colorway and if it does, you win a skein of that yarn!  If you know gnarledpaw yarn, you know many of our colorways were inspired by flowers, so here's your chance to win some yarn and be responsible for a new colorway! BUT! You may need to polish your photo skills just a little bit. If you send a picture like this one:

Well, you're not likey to inspire much– I can't see the flowers! And if you're hoping to inspire a variegated or striped colorway, well, I have to be honest and tell you that this picture isn't going to light a fire under my creativity. Get close, as close as your camera can focus to catch my attention and spark my creativity. Like this photo:

© evalentine, 2007

© evalentine, 2007

See? This shot catches my attention. It's elevated the color to a point of inspiration because the shapes are interesting to look at. So whip out your camera or your phone and get close, then get a lot closer. Now try!

Once you have something you think will inspire, post it to the Garden Contest topic on the gnarledpaw Ravelry page. Have a question about the contest or about photography? Email me! I'll refer your photo questions on to Son gnarledpaw, a professional photographer and a great teacher.

What have you got to loose? Besides, you have all summer! You can keep entering!



Gradient Mini Skeins seen in a stylized and photoshopped photo of Robust Blue

Beginning on Saturday, March 12th (which, incidentally, is "Shipping's" 9th birthday) you'll be able to order your Mini Gradients! Download the order form here and look for all the colorway photos to post over the next couple days, both here and on the Ravelry Group under the Mini Gradients Topic!



New Yarns! 

gnarledpaw welcomes three new yarn bases in February, 2016! The first is Reshami (Hindi word for silk) - a fingering weight yarn that’s 50% SW Merino and 50% Silk! 100 grams is 438 yds. Reshami retails for $25 per skein. It’s simply luscious to work with! 

Colorway is 4Th of July


Joining Reshami is Yak-Yak, another fingering weight exotic fiber blend of 70% SW Merino, 20% Yak and 10% Nylon. 100 grams os 437 yds. Like the Reshami, Yak-Yak sells for $25 per skein. It feels very similar to Splendid, one of my very favorite yarns.

Colorway is Urban Stripes

And finally, we are so thrilled to offer a Worsted Weight version of our DK Light. If you’ve used DK Light, you know what a fabulously springy yarn it is. The stitch definition on this is fantastic, and there’s an almost silky sheen to it, as if the sheep had her wool buffed just for you prior to shearing! Each 100 gram skein is 218 yds and sells for $22 per skein, although if you buy four skeins or more, the price drops to $20! We call this new name Top Dog Worsted or TDW for short. And now the DK version is Top Dog DK Light. 

Colorway is Double Bubble



Download your gnarledpaw 2016 "interactive" calendar now! Interactive means you can leave it on your computer and add your own important date information like birthdays, anniversaries, appointments and such. And you can find important gnarledpaw dates like Free Yarn Days (yep, we're going to have a few of those this year - more on that in the coming days) There’s also sale info and you’ll find at least one in-person event listed. We'll update the calendar as more info is available - from KAL dates to gnarledpaw on the road events and more.

It's also interactive in that you can print it out and hang it up on your wall to write stuff down. Of course, you'll have that pesky binding problem but you could tape it together yourself or zip over to Kinkos to have it “cookbook” (mechanically) bound for three or four bucks. Of course, when we update the calendar again, you might be frustrated - or could, I suppose, print out the page or pages with added info and past them over the old ones! The yarn pic pages won’t change!

This is a big file - about 161MB. Stay tuned for more fun and games via the blog, Facebook or on the Ravelry group pages. 

gnarledpaw is THRILLED to announce that we will be at the Rochester Knitting Guild's Shop Night on Monday, Nov. 9th, 2015. And we do mean WE! That's right, Afifa, our fantastic designer in virtual residence will be in actual residence that evening!

That's right, The RKG Shop Night is your opportunity to score some great deals on gnarledpaw hand-dyed yarns and swag. Plus, you'll be able to examine and possibly purchase Afifa's samples up-close. You can talk to her about her work, the design process and how we work together, or maybe the drought in California - her home. 

Mark your calendar now - if you're anywhere near Rochester, make a point to be there Nov. 9th at 6:30pm. There will be awesome yarn deals along with Afifa with her patterns and samples. Sadly, Shipping & Receiving will not be in attendance - but maybe next time. 


it's a brewry, an MFA writing program, a Gay Bar, and a magazine. But it's also afifa's newest knitting pattern!


Today we are so, so, thrilled to announce the release of Afifa’s newest, fun-est and most colorful pattern yet - the Faultline Sweater. It’s the perfect pattern: it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s fast and it’s sharp! You can wear it with leggings, jeans or slacks. You can make it bold or make it subtle, whatever your own style dictates.

We’re offering Faultline for download in the gnarledpaw shop as-is for $5, AND we’re offering it as a complete kit for $80. Pick any color or colorway in our gallery or that you can describle, choose 100% superwash merino Sportyor 80/20% superwash merino/nylon Super Sporty

I’ve asked Afifa to talk a little bit about how she comes up with her ideas. I mean, holly cow, can she come up with fun and different with the blink of an eye or what? But before we get to that, I just want to let you know about a iittle Easter Egg. We’re really pulling out the stops to get the word out about this pattern and in one spot - this one  - we’ve planted the code: Footfault20 - be sure to use it in all-caps! And, use it quickly, because it will only work for the first 24 hours to save you $20 off a kit. Offer good for one kit only.

And now Afifa:

Liz asked me to talk a little about how I come up with my ideas. I literally thought to myself wouldn’t it be fun to have an easy-wear, super-comfy, graphic sweater for fall? Oh, and wouldn’t it be perfect if it could be flattering, too? 

First, I figured out the lines I wanted it to have - diagonal makes for long and narrow. And I wanted to play with diagonal and triangular shapes and combine them with my unusual constructions. I prefer to knit something that’ll keep my interest and is completely seamless. AND, I love the juxtaposition of stockinette and garter, particularly in contrasting colors. 

I always knit the pattern in my head to make sure it’s feasible before I begin to knit the actual sample. Construction problems do come up and when they do, I’ll put the design away to sleep on it. In fact, I have my best ideas in the middle of the night – the sole joy of being a crappy sleeper. 

I don’t tell Liz what colors to send me but in this case I did tell her I wanted the colors for this to be equally bold. That doesn’t mean you’re bound by my vision, because the best part about seeing Faultline confirmed as a wearable, stylish garment is that I can see more ways it can work.

Finally, you need to know this was named for a 4.2 trembler we had the day I finished it up. That makes it legitimately quake-tested and approved. Not every knitting pattern can say that! ;-)



Alaska in the lower 48: 

The newest pattern from Afifa Sayeed

Asymmetrical, garter stitch and multi-colored stripes - what's hotter and more fun to knit than that? Nothing! Knit in 100% sport weight  - gnarledpaw's Sporty  (or you can use Super Sporty, with a nylon blend) - in Stainless Steel and Oswald Orange, it's a great project for newer knitters and seasoned pros alike. 

Visit Afifa's Ravelry page for the pattern and then stop by the gnarledpaw shop for some yarn. Remember turn around times for custom dyeing are typically no more than a week, so don't hesitate to order the colors you want the way you want them on the base you prefer. 

Questions? Just holler. We're here to help!