I Have A Problem

As I stood looking through one of my project bags this morning I realized something. I have a problem. I have so many projects in the works that I’ve officially lost track of how many exactly there are. It’s Spring, so that’s official cleaning time. Right? Time to hit the yarn piles. Hard. With cold stony non-attachment. Rip or toss. That will be the question.

Now I need to know, how many projects are too many? Two? One knit and one crochet? Four? Two travel (one knit and one crochet) and two for at home (one knit and one crochet)??

I also have to consider, I’m moving in July! Eek! My boyfriend knows, but doesn’t know, just what he’s getting into with all this yarn. There’s just. So. Much! He’ll learn fast. And he’ll be ok with it. 😬

In the Name

Naming patterns is sometimes the most difficult part. I find myself having designed and worked through an entire pattern and then I sit staring at my computer completely baffled for what to call it. Like right now, I’m working on this cabled stole in Rewind. And what have I been referring to it as?? The Rewind Stole. Not a name that screams “make me!” Plus you can’t use descriptives like stole, shawl, hat, etc. in names on Ravelry, so there’s that to consider.

I used to use a lot of musical inspiration for my pattern and yarn names. These days, though, I find myself drawn to places. Eventually I’ll run out of local spots, but for now I’m finding inspiration in my surroundings. I think it’s because of my daily long train rides to and from NYC. I pass the signs at the station and am reminded of local history and the beauty that surrounds me here on Long Island. (And also of course the really broken down and unloved places too. Life isn’t all puppy dogs and roses.)

I think I might go with the name “Forest Hills” on this particular design. Yet another stop along the LIRR. And when I run out of LI places I’ll just have to go on vacation for name inspiration from other locales. 😬

Knit it, Drop it

Rewind. It’s one of the new [gasp] acrylic yarns I cant stop playing with. Lightweight, yet speedy quick and bulky. Interesting and fun, but not expensive. This yarn has been keeping my imagination rolling in high gear.

I’m working on a very repetitive cable and drop stitch stole. I envision it being worn walking along a beach on a cool Summer night. Draped over bare shoulders to ward of that chill coming in off the water.

Ok. Two things — I might be slightly romantic. Also, I’m in desperate need of a vacation. I’m thinking somewhere I can put this vision into action.

I frogged this design a couple times over the weekend until I got the arrangement of stitches I was happy with. There is a leaf motif as the center focal point and I was having some trouble making up my mind how best to show it off. I ended up asking Rick’s opinion. (So if you guys hate it we can blame him. Hehe. Also, we’re moving in together in July! It’s good he gets used to being a sounding board for my designs now. Give him a taste of what he’s in for 24/7 😂)

I cannot wait for this design, along with the ZZ Top shell, Rewind raglan, and Flikka shawl to all be wrapped up. Beach photo shoot here I come! 💛

ZZ TwistY!

I’m working on take II of a crocheted shell I designed in Lion Brand’s ZZ Twist yarn. This yarn was created with a “Z” twist meant for crocheters. (Z is opposite of the standard S twist. It’s spinning term stuff relating to spinning a single and then counter-spinning to balance the energy in the yarn.)

I like the definition and drape of the fabric that this yarn produces. This is another yarn that I wasn’t overly impressed with when I first touched it. I was like meh, I like natural fibers. Truly. However, the appeal of a washable garment is pretty strong because I hate hand washing and feeling like I have to treat garments like they’re about to break. I have some weird contradicting feelings and habits I guess. 🙂

Anyway, I gave the yarn a shot because it was there. So really, why not? The top came out nice (Annalee already added it to her wardrobe) and I’ve begun to consider other patterns I can write for it (all garments). Something that I found does happen, though, is the yarn gets a little twisted up. I think it might be a little overspun. Just my opinion. As I worked I’d notice the strand of yarn feeding into the project would twist around and start to double back on itself. Like when you’re making a twisted cord. (Twist, twist, twist, fold and let double back on itself. That kind of thing.) It’s a very minor annoyance and so far my only semi-negative comment.

As soon as I finish and photograph take II of this top I’ll get to work sizing up the pattern. After that it’ll be some proof reading and the pattern will be listed!

Fast Crochet

I posted a teaser photo of Flikka yarn on my Instagram feed not too long ago sharing the fact that I hated this yarn when I originally saw it. Honestly it reminded me of some crappy 70s throwback. All the colors are multi rag-type looking options. Would I want an entire garment in it? Not so much. But as an accent color to another yarn I think it does pretty well.

flikka yarn

So I designed this crochet shawl (lots of crochet recently!) using Lion Brand yarns Jeans and Flikka. Jeans is a very soft acrylic yarn. (If you’re looking for an non-traditional baby yarn you might want to consider this as an option. It comes in traditional denim inspired colors.) Flikka is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% acrylic. It’s not to die for soft, but it’s softer than it is rough.

I made this shawl twice. The original (shown in photos) uses Jeans in Vintage and Flikka in Keepsake. Since it worked up stupid fast I decided to make another. I used Vintage again, but this time paired it with Jump rope. Photos of that combination will hopefully be shot this coming weekend. Weather permitting. No pattern release day yet. It will be available here on the blog and via Ravelry as soon as it is properly tested, photographed, and laid out as a PDF.

flikka yarn

Interested in test crocheting this design?! Send me an email:

fiddleknitsdesigns@gmail.com

The Details: Pattern test opened April 23, 2018. Deadline for finishing the pattern is May 31, 2018. Testers may use the yarn of their choice. This is not a secret test, so crocheters are free to post about their WIP.

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Revisiting Rewind

A few days ago I wrote about a new yarn I was using called Rewind. It’s made by Lion Brand yarn and it’s a bulky weight acrylic tape. At that point I’d only been working with it for a day or two, so I didn’t have a complete read on how it behaved. Now, almost done with my raglan, I have a little more to say.

I still really enjoy this yarn. It is not a beginner friendly choice. Because it is a very airy smooth tape, instead of a more substantial rounded strand, there are moments when it slips or drifts right out of my hand as I work. This happens more frequently the faster I start to knit. Annoying? On occasion. Overall would it prevent me from using the yarn again? Nope. In fact, I’ve already begun designing a second pattern using the stuff. (Design two will be a warm weather stole in a cable and drop stitch pattern. I’m in love with the idea!)

I’m very close to done with my simple top-down raglan sweater. The next thing to see is how this yarn stands up to wearing and washing. Stay tuned!

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Rewind

Revved Up Over Rewind

I feel like I’ve been into all sorts of new yarns recently. New companies, embracing new colors, and breaking out of my little niche of hand-dyed fingering weight merino. Currently I’m working with tape yarn. Yup. TAPE yarn. It’s this flat, paper-like acrylic stuff. A year ago if you had said I’d pick it up by choice and *like* it I might have laughed at you. However, that’s exactly what I did.

Lion Brand Yarn released a new yarn called Rewind. It’s a bulky weight tape yarn made from 70% polyester and 30% viscose. There are 242 yards per 100 grams. Since this is a bulky weight (I’m using US size 11 knitting needles) you can get a sense of how airy the yarn is from the yardage per grams.

The color I’m working with is Greige. Doesn’t that translate to gray? It’s really more of a non-descript tannish kind of color. Almost like that weird thin paper in cheap notepads for kitds. Sounds kind of awful, but it’s not. Rewind

So why exactly do I like this yarn? It’s fun. It’s light. It works up fast. It’s a good alternative to cotton for warmer weather projects (I hate cotton). It’s great value. On LionBrand.com it goes for $7.99 for a 100 gram / 242 yard ball. And remember it’s a bulky weight. You can go pretty far on that. And let’s face it, yarns that feel good, look good, and are reasonably priced are pretty appealing.

I decided to make my first project in Rewind a top down raglan. Simple. I wanted to see the texture of the yarn. So far it’s working up nicely. I got through the entire sleeve increase section with just a single ball of yarn. (Yes! Value.) Even though it’s bulky, I don’t think the sweater will be crazy heavy/warm. On the US 11 needles the fabric is relatively open (13 sts per 4 inches).

rewind

Once I finish this project I’m going to move on to a stole using the Olive You, a muted olive green. (The website describes is as a “dark charcoal gray”. This is incorrect. It is very much a green color. Not a bright green, but not charcoal gray. I think fringe on the end of a shawl in this yarn will look amazing. And the lightness of the yarn… So breezy.

Lion Brand Rewind

So far I haven’t found anything I don’t like about the yarn. I’m not a huge fan of the fact it’s manmade materials, but that’s my slight yarn snob coming out. We’ll see how it washes and wears and if it stands up and keeps its shape. Only time will tell.


*Note: This post was not commissioned. The yarn was purchased by me (not supplied by company) and the content is purely my own opinion.

Love for the LYS

Tomorrow is Local Yarn Store Day. If you use yarn then I *highly* encourage you to participate. Why? Because everyone can always use more yarn and I’m an enabler. But also, the LYS is a fading gem and if we want any to be there when we need them then they really need us yarnaholics to show our support.
Yes, shopping online in the comfort of your home in pajamas, no make up, with your furbabies cuddled up to you is very appealing. I’m guilty of spending most of my allotted yarn money in this fashion, especially since I enjoy companies I can’t actually pop in to a store for. (We Are Knitters, Knit Picks, Wool and the Gang) However, it’s a special kind of awesome when you can take your time to browse and
combine your sense of touch with sight and smell for a full yarn experience. Shopping in a store gives you a greater sense of what you can do with your yarn.

OK, so this is a whole bunch of stuff we already know. The main thing? If you like having an LYS handy then go on and let them know, otherwise there’s a good chance they’ll be gone soon. Can’t physically get out? Most stores these days have website and yes, that kind of online shopping counts for supporting your local yarn seller. I’d include local indie dyers as well. Go for it. Celebrate LYS day and enhance that stash. …. And then Knit Faster!

Higher End: A Side of Lion Brand You May Not Know

My first projects used Lion Brand Yarn that I’d purchased at my local Michaels store. Combined with Red Heart and Caron, that’s all I knew of yarn. (Nobody in my life was a yarn crafter.) This was years ago, probably about 10. I remember piles of Fun Fur and Homespun and Vanna’s Choice. None of which I was a fan of. I never liked textured yarns by any brand. And Vanna’s Choice was just “too acrylic.”

I never considered myself an outright “yarn snob,” but I definitely appreciate good stuff. Recently I’ve become addicted to We Are Knitters. (Particularly their MeriPaca yarn.) Over the years I’ve used a whole lot of Knit Picks yarn, which I consider somewhere between the big box store offerings and the higher end.

Recently I’ve been exposed to a lot of Lion Brand yarn . With a lower price point and weekly promotions, it’s good for being on a tight budget. Easily accessible. Yada yada.

And then there’s the LB Collection. This set of higher end yarns from Lion Brand can only be found in their NYC retail store or tucked away on their website. No running down to Michaels for this stuff. I was completely unaware of its existence until my local knitting guild was visited by Shira Blumenthal, LB’s brand ambassador.

If you go looking for LB Collection yarns in the LBY Studio (34 West 15th street, New York, NY 10011) you need to walk all the way to the back of the shop. It’s like their best kept, public secret. It’s there, but not really discussed.

My favorite in the LB Collection (so far) is the Angora Merino. Kinda want a sweater in the stuff. Is super soft. Right now I’m using small smidgens of it mixed in with Superwash Merino and Merino Yak Alpaca for a garter stitch squares blanket I’m making for my cousin’s wedding. I completely want to keep said blanket for myself, but I will try not to be greedy and actually gift it.

At some point I’ll do an in-depth review of the yarns. For now I will say that the SW Merino is pretty good, very bouncy. Merino Yak Alpaca is a little scratchy. Angora Merino is a dream. And I’m not a huge fan of the Cotton Bamboo, but only because I don’t really like plant fiber yarns. There are other yarns in the collection too. The Jumbo Alpaca I used for two scarves this winter is another.


Note: This post was not commissioned by any brand and was written completely from my point of view.

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scarfie yarn

Rainy Days Call for Sunshiny Yarn

It’s practically a monsoon out there today. I’m working from home, thankfully. Otherwise I think I might have floated away. Accompanying me are my four-legged furry coworkers and some bright sunny Scarfie yarn.

knitting with cats

The furbabies are quite happy I’m home today since I was away all weekend. They have barely let me out of their site. Even Deetz (the fluffy black one that’s blending into my knitting bag) who usually likes to have her own space, has been hopping up on the couch with me off and on.

scarfie yarn

I’m going between real work and knitting on this one-piece baby duffle coat in Scarfie, one of my new favorite yarns. That black and gray blanket Kaya is sleeping on is also worked in Scarfie yarn. (Pattern is written, but I need to finish the sample! I’m about half way. Next Fall/Winter pattern release!)

Follow along with the process of all my projects on my Instagram! @FiddleKnitsDesigns