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. 😂 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! 😁
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.
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.)
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.
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. 😬
I’m working to get you the next (#11) In Rhythm hat! Knitting is being done with Knit Picks City Tweed Aran/HW and US size 8 needles. The design is a series of cable twists worked over a ribbing. I’m thinking I will put a Pom on top, completely optional, of course. My current favorite hats, though, are all finished off with a good Pom. Who doesn’t love a Pom? (I know the answer is lots of people. Haha.)
Needles and Leaves (above) is my favorite hat to wear that I’ve ever made. Im actually wearing it right now! I’d take a selfie, but i don’t want to be “that person” on the train!
The current (as of yet unnamed) In Rhythm design kind of has a similar feel to Needles and Leaves with the cable rib type pattern and an Aran weight yarn.
We’re getting close to the end of this collection! Then we can move onward with some new things. I cannot wait to delve back into more shawls and I have gotten pretty hooked on doing more sweaters.
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.
I went to Vogue Knitting Live for the first time ever today. I live on Long Island, yet somehow I’ve never been. Why?! Anyway, I’m so glad I went because I got to meet some of my very favorite yarn people. After 8 (or did we decide it’s 9….?) years of emailing and publishing designs with the Knit Picks team we finally met! Voices to the words on a computer screen. And I’m happy to say they’re all as lovely in person as they appear from online.
And a pleasant surprise. One of my designs was on display as a sample in the Knit Picks booth! The design is Sheenagh, a highly cabled ruana/poncho.
After the exhausting week I’ve had, end my Friday with this was amazing. I just wish I’d taken some selfies with the KP team and maybe one of me wearing my design. Oh well. Hindsight. I was too carried away in the enthusiasm of the moment.
Side note. I felt Wonderfluff yarn and it’s magical. I need me a sweater knit from the stuff. I imagine it’s like wearing a cloud. Ideas are already running through my head!
As I mentioned yesterday, the In Rhythm hat collection got [hugely] delayed, but not forgotten. I’m still plugging away at the designs and will get them out as quickly as possible. My model (aka my sister) is coming to visit on Sunday and I plan on snapping some photos of finished designs so I can hurry up and complete them already.
This morning on my commute I’m working on one of the hats in question. I’m very close to the crown decrease, so this should end up photographed Sunday as well.
The yarn is Knit Picks Brava Sport in the “Almond” color. Brava is a great no-worry yarn. It’s 100% acrylic, which means it’s easy to care for and safe for sensitive skin. There is a light shine to the yarn. Needles are US size 4. The design Knits up surprisingly fast considering the stitch patterning and small needles.
I find I often work faster with this combo (moderate stitch pattern and smaller needles). My hands have the easiest time manipulating needles between sizes US 3 and US 8. And the semi-detailed stitching is enough to keep me interested and not put me to sleep. Does anyone else sometimes use a stockinette or garter stitch project to put themselves to bed?
2017 brought about a lot of changes in my world. Some endings. Some beginnings. It was both exciting as terrifying. In the beginning I wasn’t sure how I would possible make it through. But there’s always a way if you look and try hard enough. That being said, it was a crazy, crazy ride. And here we are in 2018!
I stepped away from Fiddle Knits almost entirely during 2017. There was a hat collection happening, which became delayed (much like the LIRR that I now commute in every day for work). It’s still happening. I have 2 more designs to finish before it’s complete and 2 more that are done but I need to photograph on my model (whom I now live an hour away from). I will have those 2 finished designs up and out within the week along with a note to everyone waiting the completion of the collection (as per my original agreement you can choose to be refunded for the late designs, or trust that they will indeed come though they are late. More info will be in the email sent specially to purchasers of the collection to whom the information is relevant).
Note: all photos in post are WIPs from the In Rhythm collection.