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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. 😂 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 ¾ 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 ¾ 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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Settling In

I moved! In the last week Rick and I have been settling in to our new apartment. It’s good to be back out on Eastern LI. We’re mostly unpacked. Mostly. All my yarn and needles are still in bins in the craft closest. But I have a set of circulars and a few projects unpacked that I can work on! Of course, the yarn I have out and available I didn’t want to work on. So I got some new yarn. Woe is me.

Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Yarn

Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend in “Whipped Cream”. I cast it on as soon as I brought it home. It’s becoming a bottom-up raglan. Yet another design in progress that I’ll need to photograph and write up so I can release it.

I’m hoping that now, being back out east, I can get back into the swing of semi-regular photoshoots with my sister. With me being in more photos as well. Because I want to make some sweaters in my size!

This current design in progress (DIP?) began with inspiration from a Japanese knitting stitch dictionary my dad gave me for my birthday. I’m using the stitch on the hem and probably will incorporate it into the sleeve somehow. However, the majority of the sweater is worked in plain reverse stockinette stitch in the round. Yes, I know. There are lots of you knitters out there that hate lurking over and over and over again. I’m not one of those knitters. Purling has never bothered me. In fact, sometimes I even like it better than knitting. There. I said it.

If you’re not a purl fan like me then you can flip your work (after the hem detail) to knit the sweater inside out until you get to the sleeves. This lets you knit ever round instead of lurking endless inches. Work as your mood strikes you. Or heck, change the pattern entirely and make the right side in regular stockinette. I’m a big proponent of changing up patterns to make them work for you. So what if it was written on way? You do you!

Lion Brand yarn Comfy Cotton blend

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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. 😬

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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! 💛

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Train Knitting

Knitting on the train is very limiting. For me it is anyway. I was never one of those avid sock knitter types. I admit, I actually find knitting socks pretty boring. Even if they are highly patterned. And I never wear them. Nope. I’m all about the mass produced low ankle sport socks. But I digress.

Trying to knit or crochet on the train is difficult. The morning commute is a little easier. I take the 6:55. It’s slightly over an hour (presuming everything is running on schedule) and it’s sleepy and quiet. My stop is far enough east that there are still plenty of open seats. I can sit down and get all settled and set up with my project before I have someone sitting with me.

The ride home, however, is an entirely different beast. Leaving from Penn station at 6pm along with the masses of other people scrambling to get on a very busy branch… it’s chaotic and hot and noisy. People push to try and get a seat (the first stop isn’t for a very long 45 minutes if you’re standing) and often the aisles are packed with those unlucky enough to be at the back of the pack and miss even the worst of seats. Knitting anything very large or complex is impossible. And if you know my designs you know how I love shawls that lean toward the highly patterned.

With that being said, I am attempting this rather large project. It’s a simple top down raglan sweater using We Are Knitters “The Meri Wool” in Sprinkle Pink. In the morning I can usually work on it without issue. Much of the time it proves too large for the evening commute. It does fit the bill on simple, though.

When I first started commuting I wasn’t really knitting at all on the train. I tried and it was too much trouble. I’d take my project out and put it away. A ew Stitches here and there. Same project stalled on the needles for months. Now, though, I’m embracing the simpler designs and have begun utilizing my few hours a day on the train to play with yarn. And it’s so satisfying.

Simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Simple has its place. Lesson learned. I’ve also branched our to more crochet projects. Turns out crochet is fast and sometimes easier in cramped spaces. Yay crochet! However, knitting will always be my true yarn love.