Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Sweater Project: Backstory

So I had this crazy idea…
You see, as a performing musician I get to spend a lot of time in the car. For me a lot of time in the car means a lot of time that I spend daydreaming and scheming up new ideas. On one particular drive my mind began wandering to sweaters and sweater design. I don’t know if this train of thought was more inspired by the current sweater project I was working on, or by the fact it was a frigid 9 degrees outside and I could hear, and feel, the wind howling through any available seams in our van and what I wanted most of all in that moment was to be snuggled up in a comfortable handknit and not getting ready to unload massive amounts of sound equipment and instruments. But that’s not important. However it happened, I had an idea. I had an idea that I got so excited about within the first 30 seconds of it’s conception that I knew I had better just do it.

My idea was this — I would design and knit a sweater in one month and document the entire thing here on my blog. I’m planning on putting all of it out there for the world to see. All the different ideas along with every frustration, mistake, and success. Once the design is complete I will publish the pattern along with the it’s entire story in an e-book type format.

I know my last post said this new idea wasn't happening yet and to stay tuned near the end of February, but.... I changed my mind. (Surprise surprise!) Project Sweater Design gets underway tomorrow. Check back often!

Knitting on the Road

So I had this idea... and I think it's a good idea, but of course since it's my idea I could be a little biased... You all will have to hang tight for a bit longer though because I can't quite say yet. Somewhere around the last week of February I'll be posting an outline of my project. All that I'm going to say now is ya might wanna be following along here in March. Stay tuned!

• Knitting on the road during the trip to Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY •

There's been a lot of knitting on the road happening recently. Last weekend we (aka The Homegrown String Band) headed up to Caffe Lena for a show. It was our 4th visit there and every time is always a good time. The audience is always amazing and definitely one of the best we ever get, so attentive and enthusiastic. What made this visit there stand out, however, was the knitters. Knitters are wonderful people! (But we did already know that, right?) We decided that before our show we'd have a knitting circle. I'm always knitting right before showtime, so why not have some good company? Several local yarn stores were contacted in the weeks before our trip and the response was lovely. There was an hour long knitting circle prior to out concert and then during the intermission we did a drawing for a knitting basket stuffed chock full of goodies. It included my pattern for the Lute Hat, stitch markers, 3 buttons to complete the hat from Roosterick Designs, handmade soap (by Annalee), and our latest HGSB CD "Ragged but Right." Overall the entire night was a wonderful success.

During the car trip up to Saratoga I was working what will soon be another new design for the Knit Picks IDP. The photo above left shows the little I had done during the first leg of the drive. The sweater design is a top-down cardigan, so the garter stitch bit you can see is the collar portion. There was considerable progress made the next day as we drove from Saratoga down into New Jersey for our next show. As you can see from the photo to the right, the sweater got much larger. Not sure how that happened... oh yeah, I wasn't distracted by the internet. Silly me. I must mention how much I'm currently in mad crazy love with top-down raglans. I do not think my love will ever die. Top-down raglan how I love thee! Be mine forever. :-)

• Me and my knitting on the way to Middletown CT for a gig at the Buttonwood Tree.

I haven't gotten to work much on the sweater while at home. I have a project that is quite larger taking up most of my home time. And it's a Christmas present.... from last Christmas, so it really needs to hurry up and grow up and take a leap off the needles pronto. The BIG project is an afghan for Chris's mom. At this very second it's a mere 8 rows and some grafting away from being a grown up blankie. I'm hoping I might actually get it off the needles tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Even with little work being done at home on the sweater it seems to have grown quite nicely within the week. (I might possibly have some elves hiding in my closet that come out to do my work at night, but that's a secret, so don't tell anyone.) The photo to the left shows how the sweater looked this Friday on our way to Middletown CT to play at the Buttonwood Tree Arts & Cultural Center. Within the next few days I should be able to post some more photos of the sweater, which, by the way, is called "Bonnie Kate."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lute Hat (pattern)

The Lute hat has arrived!
*Part of the Sweet Sounds Collection*
$1.99 USD

I am absolutely in love with this design! Unfortunately for me I have a big noggin and a lot of hair, so the sample size is now property of Annalee, who has a little pinhead.
I am determined to someday knit this again in the larger size for myself, but... I always seem to fall in love with the next new design whenever I make myself those kind of promises. Something newer and shinier is always waiting for me around the corner....

Here's the pattern description for Lute:
The Lute hat was designed to be fun, casual, elegant, comfortable, and stylish all at the same time. The brim is worked flat with knitting being joined into the round after seed stitch section is complete. Once you begin on the main portion of the hat you will be amazed at how quickly the knitting flies by as you work your way around to do “just one more” round to see the eyelet pattern emerge. It’s a knit you won’t want to put down! And, with how fast it works up you’ll have time to make one in every color to match your wardrobe.

Instructions include directions to knit the super slouchy version as shown, or a shorter variation. The long and short versions of this hat are worked in the same manner except for the number of repeats in the main body section.

Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style DK [100% merino wool; 123 yards / 112 meters; 50g. / 1.76 oz.]

Long Version (shown in photos): 2(3) skeins. Shown in “Vanilla.”
Short Version: 2(2) skeins.

US size 6(4mm) 16” circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
US size 6(4mm) dpns, or size needed to obtain gauge

20 sts & 36 rows = 4” in seed stitch (or 5 sts & 9 rows = 1”)
20 sts & 28 rnds = 4” in stockinette stitch (or 5 sts & 7 rnds = 1”)

• 3 buttons (5/8 inch), buttons shown are “Mini Plaid” from Roosterick Designs (
• Stitchmarkers (1 easily distinguishable marker to note rnd & 2 for marking cable and crown decreases)

Finished Size
Approx. 18.5(20)” brim circumference

Long Version: approx. 10” length
Short Version: approx. 8” length

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help for Haiti

January 15 – 31
Here's your chance to do some good. Help Haiti and get a fun new pattern to knit. From January 15 to 31, Fiddle Knits Designs will be donating 50% of sales from the following patterns to relief efforts in Haiti.

Funky #7

Wylde Oats


Monday, January 11, 2010

Pins and Needles

Sneak peek! Shhh.....
Coming soon to Fiddle Knits Designs and the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program.... The Lute Hat! I know, the photo doesn't really show much to give you an idea, but that's kinda the whole point. ;) You'll have to stay tuned to see the whole thing once it's officially released. I have to say... this hat looks great on Annalee. It's quite disgusting how good it looks actually.

And now on to the pins and needles part....
I got to be a human pincushion today! Well, that may be a little over dramatic. For Christmas Chris gave me a gift certificate for a few acupuncture sessions and I redeemed my first one today. I have to say I was a bit apprehensive going into it, but it turned out very nice and I'm looking forward to my next session, which I scheduled for a little over a week from now. Chris got me the sessions 1) because I've mentioned wanting to try it, and 2) he thought it might help with my stomach problems. According to the acupuncturist (is he just called a doctor?) I should see some good results after the 4 sessions I have on my gift certificate. Hearing that thrilled me. The constant nausea and cramps are really not as fun as one may think.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I posted a litle bit about this back in early December when the IDP patterns went up on the Knit Picks site, but now's the big, important, official launch. The banner at right describes the program in KP's own words. And you can believe every word they wrote. It is great that there is a Website to purchase affordable patterns and the recommended yarn (also affordable) to knit them in. As a designer working with the Knit Picks staff has been a dream. I get to play with yarn, get creative, and then send it all on over to the office where they get it all loaded onto the Web for you guys to enjoy. It's a win/win situation as far as I can tell.

Currently you can find 6 Fiddle Knits patterns as part of the IDP. These include the Shake the Barley Set (hat and fingerless gloves), the Shiver Set (hat and scarf), Grey Eagle Socks, and the Petticoat Loose cotton tank top. More will certainly be coming in the future. As long as Knit Picks keeps this program running I'll be right there designing for it.