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The Yarn Aisle

Let’s go to Michaels, I said. And he said sure. If that isn’t saying something I don’t know what is. ♥️

The boyfriend (Rick) mentioned he wants to learn to crochet. As you can see, we’ve started making moves on that one. Learn to crochet? Interest in yarn? This means being okay with my massive and ever enlarging yarn stash??! Ummm ok.

He has no idea what’s going on with that yarn and hook he’s holding. He’s cute though. I crocheted him the swatch and said here hold this and look pretty for a photo. He was confused. 😂

We’ll keep working in the crochet skills. And the more time he spends with me, the more he’s going to pick up on by osmosis. You can’t escape. It’s inevitable. I remember when I still lived home with my parents one day my dad spit out some yarn facts about CYC standard weights and it cracked me up. It’s happened with friends too. Really drives home just how obsessed with yarn crafting I am. Apparently I talk so much these guys are learning. But hey, everyone should knit or crochet, so it’s all good.

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Next Up: Stony Brook

I finished up the Oyster Bay shawl last week. The knitting is done, shawl is blocked, pattern is written. Just two more crucial things: photos and test knitting. (Interested in test knitting? Send me an email at: fiddleknitsdesigns@gmail.com and I will sign you up to receive test knitting calls!)

I love the way this shawl turned out. It’s simple, but not boring. The Arab weight yarn knit up with a nice drape on US 10.5 needles. With an easy to memorize center panel and an easy texture to the body, the design made great travel knitting. So with it done I needed to replace my commuting project. That’s where the Stony Brook shawl comes in.

I wanted to create another pattern that was simple, but not plain. I had recently come across photos of my Aquamarine shawl and was inspired to do something similar.

Knit shawl pattern

For Stony Brook I plan on doing a garter stitch center and knitted on border as I did for Aquamarine. However, I’m doing a sweetheart shaping in the style of The Red Queen shawl.

Philosophers stone shawl

The combination of garter stitch center and knitted on cable and lace border makes for a great shawl. For me. I love designing the intricate patterns like Philosopher’s Stone or Bonnie’s Wish, but I also love simple pieces with interesting accents.

I also love, love, love the smooth buttery feel of Sugar Baby Alpaca. It’s a dream to work with! I would definitely work with it again. The only downside is that since it’s 100% alpaca there’s no natural elasticity. (Merino wool will always be my first and truest fiber love 😻)

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Weave and Spin

I was intrigued by Lion Brand’s Jumbo Alpaca as soon as I saw it. It comes in a hank of 62 yards. It’s gigantic and soft and kind of bizarre looking and I like things that are a little weird.

Jumbo alpaca

I worked on the knit Statement Scarf first and then set out to create a crochet design. I grabbed a jumbo hook and got going. After not even two full rows I realized I wasn’t going to be happy with the outcome. It was just way to chunky and messy for me.

So if it’s too bulky to crochet, but I needed to crochet, what was left to do? That’s when I pulled out WoolSpun (have a mentioned I love this yarn?) and started in on a mesh stitch to weave the Jumbo Alpaca through.

At first I wasn’t sure. It still looked like it might be messy. However, I learned a long time ago that some art (and crafts) look like total garbage in the process and amazing at the end. Actually, some of the best things look the worst in progress. I’ve learned the lesson, but it’s still a hard one to remember.

If you catch this post before February 8, 2018 then you can get the Weave and Spin crochet kit (2 balls of Woolspun, 1 hank Jumbo Alpaca, pattern PDF) on the Lion Brand website for 25% off. Currently the kit is the only way to get the pattern.

I had perhaps just as much fun modeling this one as I did designing it. Usually you all see my sister in design photos and I’m behind the camera. I switched it up this time tho! I’m not a very practiced model. Annalee was yelling at me the whole time that I was either moving too much or not enough. Haha 😆 You can tell we had some fun though!

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Make a Statement

I knew I wanted to knit this scarf the moment I saw the yarn. The texture and color and idea all made perfect sense together. Jumbo Alpaca is so soft you can pretty much curl up in it and be happy and sleepy and comfortable forever.

And the pompoms in this stuff! Oooo la la! 😍 They’re everybody’s favorite part.

Jumbo Alpaca has a somewhat rustic feel to it. I’m not sure how to even explain the texture. A ladder? It’s not a regular plied yarn and it’s not a single. It’s mostly natural fibers (43% baby alpaca and 43% wool) with 14% polyamide in there holding the fiber fluff together.

As you can see the scarf, which I named the Statement Scarf (because hello, you’re gonna get noticed!) is available in LionBrand.com as a kit (2 skeins if Jumbo Alpaca in the color of your choice and pattern). This, along with Weave and Spin, are my first designs published with Lion Brand.

Easy knit scarf kit

For reference, I am 5’6″ so this is one loooooong scarf!

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Finding Inspiration

Creativity can’t be turned on with the push of a button. Not for me anyway. I wish that were the case. I could never come up with anything worthwhile under the gun, so to speak. My design method always involved putting the yarn I wanted to use within sight and waiting for an idea to spark. Sometimes it was an explosion and other times a slow sizzle. In the case of the past several months it hasn’t even sputtered. Lots of stuff happening within my personal private life.

Fairisle mittens

I know it kinda sorta looks like I was designing for Knit Picks because a few patterns were published with them. However, I turn designs in to KP just about a year before they reach the public eye, so all those patterns were done well before I stepped back from designing. The In Rhythm hats came out as planned until I reached the point where all the patterns I’d done were out and I crashed into that wall of not designing.

Fair isle hat

Sometime in the Fall I started to really miss designing and the inspiration started coming back. Life stopped being completely upside down and I started crawling out of my funk. I know I’m being vague, purposely, nobody needs to hear my whining. Ha!

So anyway, I truly wish over those last few years of designing I hadn’t let it spiral out. When designing was under control and flowing and test knits were organized and patterns were checked and it was a small, but well maintained and oiled machine life was good. I enjoy seeing people knitting my creations. Just for the joy of it. Slowly, slowly with tiny cautious baby steps I’m crawling back to that. Not the crazy wacky can’t keep a handle on my sh*t where I ended up. I’ve been taking stock of what needs to get done to be 100% where everything needs to be. Obviously step one is posting those last In Rhythm hats. After that I’ll tackle a cardigan finally. Probably in Knit Picks yarn and it will get sent to everyone that purchased Woodland Wylde, despite the fact I already refunded purchasers the missing cardi pattern, I’d still like to publish a design.

After those items are off the table I’ll proceed as I have in the last weeks. Posting progress shots, talking about the designs, and when they’re done I’ll upload them. (The shawls and blankets and such that I’m posting aren’t coming out before the In Rhythm hats wrap up. They may come out before the cardi, though, as progress on that hasn’t yet begun. It was an idea that only popped back up for me last night. I do have a few very basic things on the way that will show up before the final two IN a Rhythm designs are listed.) No preordering or yarn dyeing or anything that involves potential missed deadlines and disappointments. The path of less stress. For everyone.

Knit hat

And oh my, oh my how the inspiration does come back when you find your happy place again.

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So Snuggly

knitting love

This yarn is way far out of my normal comfort zone, especially for a garment. Yup. I’m making a sweater out of this bright pink lumpy bumpy yarn. It will be a simple boxy pullover and I plan on pairing it with my pink plaid lounge pants for Netflix & Knit nights at home.

The yarn is new from Lion Brand and if you couldn’t take a guess, it’s marketed for babies. The name says it all: Baby Soft Boucle. It is indeed soft enough for a baby. There are some other colors that probably make more sense for a grown-ass adult, but go big or go home. Right?

Originally I thought about crocheting with this yarn, but that turned into a big NOPE. You can’t see your stitches in this at all. (Definitely not beginner friendly.) Knitting is working out just fine in plain old garter stitch on US size 11 needles. This also makes it a pretty speedy knit. For he moment the newness and novelty of the yarn is keeping me I retested enough to knit rectangles. Let’s hope my speed outlasts my boredom with repetition so I end up with a wearable snuggly sweater.

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Coming Soon: A Free Pattern

A couple months ago I whipped up this simple hat. The design was originally intended to be part of the In Rhythm hat collection, but I swapped it out. Instead of Knit Picks yarn I settled on Scarfie from Lion Brand. It’s a 2-Color ombré yarn with single ply construction and a bulky weight. It’s super lofty and worked out great for the hat.

Originally I intended it to be just a slouch style, but it looks good cuffed and worn as a beanie as well.

I wear this one pretty often. The coloring works out well for my wardrobe with black matching everything and the pink offering a fun pop to winter colors. I rocked it while shoveling out from our blizzard a few weeks ago.

You can see the difference in fit between my head and my sister. Same hat. Worn uncuffed. It’s less floppy on me. I also tend to pull my hats down further over my ears.

Stay tuned for the free pattern! I’m hope next week (weekend of the 27th/28th) that I get some solid time to work on uploading designs.

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Taking Shape

I won this amazing Meri Paca yarn from We Are Knitters (WAK) back in December. They were running a contest over on their Instagram feed and by some miracle my name got picked. I never win anything! (Dont we all say that?)

Originally I thought the yarn would become a cute little short sleeved pullover worked in reverse stockinette on the body with some cable detail on top. I got halfway through the second ball and decided nope, this wasn’t it.

Earlier in the day I went on a little shawl design spree and sketched out 4 new ideas. The Meri Paca yarn seemed like the perfect choice for one of them. So it was tinked back to begin a new journey. I think we’re on the right path now.

I absolutely love the way this yarn is knitting up. WAK may potentially have been elevated to my current favorite yarn company. (I have another project going with their Meri Wool and it is also to die for if you like single ply yarns.)

The shawl in progress is worked from the top down with standard triangle increases. Meaning you will increase on every right side row with wrong side rows being worked as established. The center panel repeat is only 12 rows long (only 6 pattern rows) making it super easy to memorize. I’m finding it to be a great project to work on during my commute.

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Next Up Will Be

I was able to snap some photos of the Psychedelic Sundaze hat yesterday. We had to move fast. It was freezing out there! How did we have nearly 60 degree weather at the end of last week and the weekend went back down to 10 and windy? Dearest Mother Nature, it’s not nice to tease like that!

The actual hat pattern isn’t quite ready yet, but the photos bring it a step closer! Yarn used is Knit Picks Galerie in the “Psychedelic” Color way.

As is my tendency to do, I made the house somewhat slouchy. And also as I like to mention, you can adjust the length according to your personal style preferences.

This one is a simple pattern meant to let the amazing colors of Galerie do their thing. The yarn reminds me of a Noro-type yarn. The colors are great, but it’s not the softest stuff in the world.

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Fiddle Knits on Instagram!

I’m addicted to photos. Taking them and browsing them. I enjoy documenting all aspects of my life and fall into the category of those people that have a gazillion photos of their pets and food in their phone. This means the FiddleKnits Instagram account (my personal account) is full of yarn and WIPs, but also me and my boyfriend and my cats and my dinners… and not all you crafters want to see those things. Just bring on the yarn inspiration, right? So for that I created an entirely new Instagram account: FiddleKnitsDesigns.

This account will be purely about yarn and yarn related inspiration. None of the personal life extras. So, if this is more your jam then check it. Or follow both for a little yarn and life overlap. Because are they really separate?