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Surviving The Boyfriend Sweater Curse

The sweater is done! I’ve never made a dude a sweater before, so this is kinda huge. Really huge is the fact I finished and it fits just like he wanted it to. I admit that I procrastinated a little. I’m not typically superstitious, but this boyfriend sweater curse idea has been floating around on the outskirts of my little crafting world ever since I first learned to knit. I think I heard about The Curse before I could even maneuver a purl stitch. So, when I agreed to not only knit Rick a sweater but design it too I knew I was on risky ground.

Rick showed me a few photos of cardigans he liked. Number one on the list was the sweater on the cover of the Empire Records DVD. A slouchy open cardigan walking the line between hip and old man. Hipster, old man chic. I chose Knit Picks City Tweed HW immediately. I’ve worked with the yarn in the past (It was actually one of the very first yarnlines I designed in! You can see it in my Shake the Barley Hat & Mitts.)

Now that the sweater is done, Rick got to experience a Fiddle Knits photo shoot for the first time. I think he had fun modeling! Part of the deal of him modeling was he got to select which photos to use. These are the ones that passed his inspection.

My next step is sizing. Rick is wearing what I would consider a men’s medium. I’ll be working all the sizes to CYC standards. Hopefully I get to focus on this part soon and can get the design out to pattern testers. I’d like to get the design up ASAP! I feel like it’s been in the works forever. In reality I began some time in the Fall.

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Making Love: A Sweater WIP

I broke and ordered a sweater kit from Wool And The Gang. It’s just better to not resist.

Anyway, they were running a sale and I jumped on it and got this cute little cropped bell sleeve number. It’s knit up using Tina Tape. According to the pattern it’s knit in one piece from sleeve to sleeve. I like the shape, but didn’t want to do the one-piece thing. So I’m actually making two sleeves, a back, and a front and then seaming it all together. Other than that all the measurements and stitch pattern will be the same as the original WATG design.

I like having the seams in sweaters to give it stability and hold the shape. I do not like sewing said seams together. I know I’ll appreciate the extra effort once I’m done, though.

Turns out Tina Tape is a pretty nice yarn. It’s something outside of my typical yarn choices. I’ve only used one tape yarn before and that was Rewind by Lion Brand yarn. (I designed a wrap in it…. really need to photograph and post that.) As I work up the WATG “Love Thing” sweater I’m already dreaming of how this yarn can be used for casual Spring tops. It has an amazing drape and the flat yarn works up in such a way that airflow is guaranteed.

It’s currently 8 degrees outside. So I have a little time to plan out my Spring wardrobe…. πŸ₯Ά

This year’s goal: make more garments for me!

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Oyster Bay: A Knit Shawl Pattern

knit shawl pattern by Fiddle Knits in We Are Knitters MeriPaca

This design has been a long time coming. I started it last Winter and by the time it made it through full pattern writing and test knitting I’d decided the weather was getting a bit too warm for a chunky shawl. So it sat over the Summer and then I moved… and it was out of sight. With the imminent threat of snow I dug this, last year’s favorite shawl, out of hiding.

And so here it is. You can download the pattern for $5.00 (PDF) via Ravelry.com. (You do not need to have a Ravelry or PayPal account to get the pattern.)

Oyster Bay shawl in We Are Knitters MeriPaca yarn

Oyster Bay uses 4 skeins of We Are Knitters MeriPaca yarn. It’s a beautiful bulky weight blend of 20% baby alpaca and 80% merino wool. I’m a huge fan of this combination! There’s enough baby alpaca to notice the softness, but not enough that you get that halo of fuzz that can irritate more sensitive skin types. And, of course, merino wool is hands down my favorite fiber out there. So I can’t really go wrong with this yarn.

It does appear that the original color I used has since gone out of stock, but MeriPaca is still offered in a few very pretty colors. [VIEW ALL]

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Go For Faux Yarn

Lion Brand Go for Faux - faux fur knit blanket - free knitting pattern

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting photos of a fur yarn. It’s calledΒ Go For Faux and it’s sold by Lion Brand Yarn. It’s very on-trend for this Winter. There’s faux fur blankets and jackets, and cropped sweaters popping up everywhere. I’m working on a Go For Faux blanket and finished a simple pullover sweater. I used different colors for each project and had slightly different experiences with them.

fullsizeoutput_493a.jpeg

It sheds. That’s been the number one question. My experience so far is some colors shed more than others. The pastels (blue, white, & pink) seem to have more shedding than Bear and Pomeranian. I knit a sweater (that took a total of 2 evenings!) in the Blue Bengal colorway and it created a disaster in my apartment. The photo below is an example, but doesn’t truly convey the full extent of the shedding.

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I didn’t mind the yarn getting all over me since I expected the shedding before casting on. The cats cats didn’t seem to care either. The dog and the boyfriend might have had more of a problem. It got in the dog’s mouth and the boyfriend found it was irritating his face.

How soft the fabric is and how fast the sweater went made me feel ok about the fur particles flying around everywhere while I was knitting. Sort of an ends justify the means kinda thing. I used US size 15 needles and 6 skeins of yarn to complete my sweater. Rick lovingly calls it my “Sexy Blue Carpet Sweater.”

After I was done assembling the sweater I tossed it in the wash. Delicate cycle (cold water) with regular laundry soap and then in the dryer on delicate for a half hour. The lint tray was FULL! But the sweater held up and didn’t shrink. The shedding seemed minimal. I rubbed it on my black leggings to see what happened and there was some fuzz, but none of the flying clumps of faux fur that was happening pre-washing.

I wore the Sexy Blue sweater to work this week. It’s warm! In the office I was actually wishing I’d brought a t-shirt or a flannel to put on instead of the sweater. Since it’s 100% polyester it doesn’t have much breathability. If I’d knit tighter I might have died of a hot flash. But hey, if I was out in the snow and wanted to look good I’d probably have been pretty comfortable.

Unfortunately I wasn’t super impressed with how the fabric held up on the sleeves. The body was fine. But the sleeve of my right arm, which was gliding across my desk all day using the computer or writing, got very worn looking. Picture a little matted and not “fresh” looking. The fur was pressed down and slightly clumpy.

Lion Brand Go for Faux - faux fur knit blanket - free knitting pattern

The blanket using the Bear colorway is amazing! I’m almost done and will have used 12 skeins in total. This color doesn’t shed like the blue. It’s soft and fluffy and will become my new favorite blanket. I’ll have to fight the cats and dog for it, though. They’re all already trying to claim it as their own! I have to ship the blanket off for photographs once I’m done knitting. I’ll be counting the days until I get it back!


Pros and Cons

  • Con – It sheds like crazy
  • Con – It adds more pounds to your figure than a camera
  • Con – High friction areas get matted quickly
  • Pro – It’s super soft
  • Pro – It works up crazy fast
  • Pro – It’s on trend
  • Pro – It’s machine wash/dry
  • Pro – It’s vegan! The fur look without harming animals

Ending Thoughts

Would I use it again? Yes. I’m actually already planning another design that uses the Chinchilla colorway as an edging only. I wouldn’t use it again for a full sweater due to the sleeves. Blankets, pillows, accessories, and garment accents/edges are what I think Go For Faux is best suited for. I’m not sure I would personally want to crochet this yarn. 1) I just generally like knitting better and 2) I feel like it might be hard to see where to put the crochet hook. With that said, I have not actually tried crocheting it.

Mama In A Stitch did work up a crochet pattern for the yarn. You can get the pattern on her website or the kit (yarn and pattern) on LionBrand.com. If you plan on working with Go For Faux it’s worth taking a read through her post to form a fuller picture before diving in.

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Show Those WIPs!

Show off those #FiddleKnits WIPs on Instagram!

Use the hashtag #FiddleKnits so I can admire (and maybe share your pic, with permission and credit, of course!)

Oh, and follow me! I keep my @FiddleKnitsDesigns profile strictly yarn related, but you can also find me @FiddleKnits for cats and food and knitting and tattoos if you’re into that kinda thing.

I’m late to the party in really learning to use all of Instagram’s features. I still barely know what I’m doing. πŸ˜‚ I only posted my first “story” in the past couple weeks.

Anyway, all my new pattern PDFs will have links to Instagram to remind you to tag and share your WIPs! Let’s see whatcha got goin’ on!

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Piedmont Raglan: Test Knit Call!

I know a few of you out there have been waiting on this design. It’s ready for testing! Interested? Email me at: fiddleknitsdesigns@gmail.com

I’d consider this a Fall or Spring sweater. For transitional weather. Based on the sleeve length and the yarn I used. Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable as a winter sweater as well depending on your style and location.

For the test you you may use any yarn you like to achieve the gauge in the pattern. I’d like to have this fully tested by the end of the year. I know we’re in full blown holiday season, so I’m flexible on the dates. What I do ask of test knitters is semi regular check ins with progress updates. Something brief on a weekly basis is fine. Just so I know the project is still in the loop and don’t need to post another call for more testers.

This isn’t a super secret knit, so do feel free to post and share your WIPs as you wish. If adding a project to Ravelry please tag with “fiddleknits” and “piedmont”. Once tested this will be a free pattern available via my blog and I will post it on Ravelry.

Deadline: December 16 (Can be flexible if testers maintains communication on progress.)
I’m looking for some folks willing to test knit or proofread a raglan sweater pattern. I know this is a pretty hectic time of year for most people, so I’m giving what I hope is a good deadline and I’m willing to be flexible if you want to do it, but need an extra week or two.

NOTE: Please feel free to use your favorite yarn that lets you achieve gauge.

Yarn
2 (2, 3, 3, 3, 4) cakes Lion Brand Yarn, Comfy Cotton Blend
[392 yards, 200 grams, CYC #3, 50% Cotton / 50% Polyester]
Color: Whipped Cream

Needles
US size 7 / 4.5mm 32” circular needle and set of DPNs for body and sleeves
US size 8 / 5mm 32” circular needlefor hem

Gauge
16 sts & 26 rnds = 4” in stockinette stitch

Sizes
Hip: 36 (42, 48, 54, 54)”
Bust: 36 (40, 46, 50, 52)”
Length to underarm: 22 (23, 23.5, 24, 24)”
Sleeve Length: 12”
Upper arm: 14 (14, 15, 15, 15)”

Skill Level: Intermediate

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The sleeves are 3/4 length. If you wish to adjust yours to be short or long sleeve please do so, but also please check pattern as is and make sure it reads correctly. Then modify your as desired so you’ll enjoy your finished sweater!

Communications may take place through this thread so you can discuss with fellow testers. You may also email me. Please try and check in at least weekly with progress updates. A finished photo would be great at the end!

This is not a secret knit, so feel free to create a project page. Once the pattern is listed on Ravelry I would like your project linked to the pattern so Ravelers can see finished items of the design.

Project tags: FiddleKnits, Piedmont

I do work a full time job, but I will check in to this thread at least once a day and will answer questions and comments as quickly as possible.

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The Boyfriend Sweater: Do You Believe the Curse?

If you’ve been a yarn crafter for at least a day or so you’ve probably stumbled across the myth of the boyfriend sweater curse. I don’t buy it. For me it was always a blanket. I started making a boyfriend an afghan (following a Lion Brand pattern and using homespun yarn…) and I broke up with him before it was done. A couple years later I was dating someone else and found the half finished afghan and decided to finish it and regift it to the new guy. We broke up about a month later. πŸ˜‚ So is it an afghan curse or was it just that particular one?

Other than that I only made small knit gifts for my boyfriends. Lots of hats. A pair of socks here and there. Now fast forward to Rick. Last Christmas (our first together) I made him a crocheted blanket (again with Lion Brand yarn, but this time Wool-Ease Thick & Quick). Approaching another Christmas and we’re still together. I haven’t made him anything else. But he’s been eyeing all the sweaters I’m making myself and asking for one. So I decided to go for it. I don’t believe it that damn curse anyway. So he’s getting a Fiddle Knits original design using Knit Picks City Tweed HW in Toad. I searched for it a couple nights ago and last night cast on for the back.

I’m going with a broken ribbing for the bottom. The fronts will be ribbed into stockinette. We might go for some afterthought patch pockets. Sleeves will also have rubbed cuffs and stockinette main. I’m contemplating the ribbing for the entire back, though…. probably a modified from shoulder because he wants a casual look. He says messy but not sloppy. I think a Raglan shoulder might be too fitted for what he’s thinking. He’s says he’ll wear what I make no matter what! 😁

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Test Knit Call: The Remake Raglan

raglan sweater knit in Lion Brand wool-ease yarn

Love test knitting? Here’s one for you then.

I just finished writing up the Remake Raglan sweater and need some eyes on it. Once checked it will become a free pattern available via my blog and Ravelry.

Here’s what you need to know…

  • Worked from the bottom up.
  • The yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted. But test knitters can use their favorite yarn.
    • If you do use Lion Brand Yarn you’ll need:Black: 3 (4, 4, 5, 5) skeins

      Oxford Grey: 1 (1, 2, 2, 2) skeins

      Grey Heather: 1 (1, 2, 2, 2) skeins

  • Gauge: 20 sts & 28 rnds = 4” in stockinette stitch
  • It’s striped, but feel free to make it a solid color.
  • Finished bust sizes are: 36 (39, 44, 47, 52)”
  • Sleeves are ΒΎ length. Make them longer if you wish.
  • Back hem is 2″ longer than front.
  • Front hem hits at the hips.
  • Neckline is wide and semi off the shoulder, but a few extra decrease rounds in the shaping section easily closes that up for a more modest neckline.
  • Deadline: Thanksgiving

Interested? Email me! Fiddleknitsdesigns@gmail.com

Can’t make the commitment to the deadline, but still willing to look the pattern over? That’s fine too! Extra eyes are always welcome. Once you’ve stared at a pattern so long all the words and numbers get jumbled up. Fresh eyes are a huge help!

The skill level on this is around advanced beginner or low level intermediate. It has some basic shaping, color changes, and working in the round.

I feel like I usually hear about top down raglans. They’re great, but I’ve always had an issue with them. It’s easy to begin and increase and try on as you go. Takes some guesswork out. However, at the end I absolutely cannot stand working the sleeves! Turning the entire sweater around and around as you work the small sleeve circumference feels cumbersome to me. So I’ve embraced the bottom up raglan. Still working in the round, still a well fitting classic shape. But this way once you attach those sleeves you’re on the home stretch and the knitting goes by crazy fast. Unless I’m working a cap sleeve design, I don’t plan on going back to the top down structure.

Next up: the next sweater up for testing will be Piedmont. I know a few of you have been patiently (or impatiently lol) waiting to see that one. Expect a test knit call within the next few days.

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On A Roll With Raglans

I don’t know if it’s the cool weather kicking in or what, but I’ve been on a serious sweater kick recently. And so far they’re all raglans. Bottom up (because I hate flipping the whole sweater around to work the sleeves of a top down raglan). I’m on my third sweater in about a month. All are my own design. The goal is that they will all be free patterns.

comfy cotton blend yarn from Lion BrandThe first sweater is Piedmont. It’s worked in Comfy Cotton Blend from Lion Brand Yarn. The body features reverse stockinette and the sleeves are traditional stockinette. The ribbed decrease line of the raglan sleeves joins the two textures.

I made the sleeves ΒΎ length because I’m constantly pushing my long sleeves up out of the way anyway. I like having my wrists exposed. Unless I’m snuggling in for some knitting and kitty cuddles. In which case I’m wearing an oversized sweatshirt and not a hand knit sweater anyway.

raglan sweater in the petite wool from we are knitters

The second sweater is Down Port. This short sleeve cropped sweater works up in no time using We Are Knitters Petite Wool and size 10.5 needles. Even though I designed it cropped you can easily add length prior to the waist shaping. My version used 3 skeins of Black and 1 black/white twist and 1 yellow.

The third sweater is currently on my needles. This one is a striped raglan in Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Worsted. I used this yarn waaaaaaayyy back in the day when I was first discovering knitting. At this point it’s about 14 years ago. Frightening thought.

I haven’t quite figured out how I’m working the stripe sequence on this one. Currently I’m thinking of alternating between the main color and coordinating color 1 until after the waist shaping. Then switching to Coordinating color 1 and 2. Then just a little bit at the end with colors 2 and 3. Sleeves will be 3/4 length like I did for the Piedmont sweater.

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My [current] Top 3 Places to Spend Money on Yarn

I have 3 favorite mass market online yarn suppliers that I stalk and shop from on a regular basis. This list changes, but it’s accurate for the past couple months at least. Until I find a new supplier to feed my addiction. 😬 You might be surprised at the combination of shops. Or maybe not. They’re different, and between all 3 I can pretty much cover any project I’m dreaming up.

1. We Are Knitters
This one is a new obsession and currently highly stalked. (I just completed a design using some of their Pima Cotton in Terra-cotta.) I love the simplicity and high quality of their yarns. The patterns are inspirational, but nothing I need as they are mostly basic shapes I can complete without a pattern. However, I do often buy yarn as a kit from them because of the deals they run. And why not? An extra pattern laying around never hurt. Plus the packaging is so cute. Yarn, printed pattern, a garment label, yarn needles, and [optional] crochet hook or knitting needles all come packaged in a heavy duty brown paper bag with a color photo on the front displaying what design the kit is. A+ on the marketing to We Are Knitters.

Favorite Yarn: The MeriPaca

We are knitters the meri paca yarn
We Are Knitters, The Meri Paca Yarn


2. Knit Picks
KP and I go pretty far back. When I was just starting out as a novice knitwear designer they were one of the first companies to back me up and give me a chance to prove myself. For that they will always have a spot in my heart no matter what. Plus they’re really just super awesome people. I met some of the staff this Winter at Vogue Knitting Live and I was not let down. Over the 9+ years since I published my first design with them I’ve had the opportunity to correspond with lots of the staff at KP and they’ve all been a pleasure to work with.

If you need a good yarn that’s not going to break the bank you’ll be able to find something on KnitPicks.com. They used to be strictly plainer yarns. The basic wool and acrylic and cotton. However, as the years go by they’re branching out into all sorts of exciting new fiber combinations. (WonderFluff is like holding kittens on clouds.)

Favorite Yarn: Color Mist, Swish Worsted

Knit picks Color Mist yarn
Knit Picks Color Mist yarn


3. Lion Brand Yarn
If you follow my Instagram (@FiddleKnitsDesigns) you’ll see I use Lion Brand pretty frequently. This is relatively new for me. We Are Knitters is on the higher end, Knit Picks falls comfortably in the middle, and Lion Brand brings in a good affordable option. It’s solid yarn. Most of the offerings are all, or nearly all, manmade fiber. They do have the LB Collection which brings in more natural and higher end fibers. It is, however, online available at their NYC retail store or directly through LionBrand.com. While some yarnies turn up their nose at manmade box-store yarns, I think there is a time and place for them in my project lineup. Good acrylics are what I want for blankets and every day type garments that will endure a lot of wear. Sometimes I want to make things that I don’t want to feel like I have to treat like an heirloom. Give me a sweater I can pull on quickly, get a little sweaty in, and toss into the washing machine.

Favorite Yarn: Flikka/Comfy Cotton Blend, ZZ Twist, and Feels Like Butta

Ikon brand Flikka yarn
Lion Brand, Flikka yarn


So there you have it. My current 3 favorite go-to brands. What are your top 3? Do you usually stay in a niche? Or do you have favorites for different needs? I want to know! Maybe you can introduce me to my next yarn obsession. 😬