Friday, January 28, 2011

Success!

Anyone that saw my couple posts about the one-week crocheted fingering weight wrap (not the official name) will be happy to know I finished right on time! The day before the deadline, to be precise. The official name for this design is being confirmed as "January Wedding" after the special occasion it was designed for. It will be available as a free pattern on About.com, but I'm holding off posting it for a little while longer since I just released another stole pattern (Trellis Lace Stole).

I'm really happy with how the January Wedding Wrap turned out. I made it in black fingering weight yarn, which can prove troublesome. I have to say, I wasn't really fond of the yarn I chose, but it was cheap and I was trying not to go over my wardrobe budget. A word to you who might follow the pattern, choose a different yarn! For the price the yarn I had was good (I think it was around $3.00 a skein). There were no knots in the skein or other flaws of that sort. It was a little sticky, though. It almost seemed to be felting together without really felting. If that makes sense. An experienced knitter or crocheter would be fine, however, if you're a beginner you'd be in for some frustration. In case you're wondering by now, the name of the yarn I used was Universal Inc. Pace. A better bang for your buck choice? Knit Picks anything fingering weight. All this being said, the end product is perfectly wearable. It's not silky smooth, but I didn't find myself scratching my skin off either. A real plus, right?

I made the wrap approximately 20 x 40." It's a single openwork stitch the entire way with a dainty little bead a picot edging on either short end. There are also flowers in colors that matched my dress and the wedding party. I love it and I hope other people will too. :o)

I brought my camera along to the wedding fully intending to take loads of pictures. However, I decided in the moment that I would rather be dancing, drinking, eating, and generally making merry than having to worry about dragging around a bag and camera. So my things got dumped in the bridal suite. Once photos start showing up on Facebook (what would we do without FB?!) I'll see if I can find any of me and share them over here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fiddle Knits Favorites Sale!

Fiddle Knits Favorite* patterns will be available for 50% off the regular price
Yes, 50%! But each pattern will eligible for the discount for one week only, so mark you calendars!

The details: One pattern a week for the next 10 weeks will be available for half off. You don't need to enter any coupon codes are do any special dances to get the discounted price. The name of the pattern, the week it goes on sale, and the price are all listed below. Set yourself a reminder for the date your favorite patterns go on sale! Some of these are being sold for incredibly low prices.

Offer is valid on purchases through my website (via the page for eligible pattern) or through Ravelry.
Price on pattern page of my website may not show discount. Price will be adjusted in your shopping cart before checkout.


So what was your favorite Fiddle Knits pattern from 2010? The count is in and here are the results:
  1. Bonnie Kate Cardi -- Week 1 (Jan. 30–Feb. 5): Sale Price $0.99
  2. Lute Hat -- Week 2 (Feb. 6–Feb. 12): Sale Price $0.99
  3. Scalliwag Slouch Hat -- Week 3 (Feb. 13–Feb. 19): Sale Price $0.99
  4. Georgianna Shawlette -- Week 4 (Feb. 20–26): Sale Price $0.99
  5. Polyphonic Hat -- Week 5 (Feb. 27–Mar. 5): Sale Price $2.50
  6. Darling Honey Hat -- Week 6 (Mar. 6–Mar. 12): Sale Price $0.99
  7. Interlude Hat -- Week 7 (Mar. 13–Mar. 19): Sale Price $1.75
  8. Scotch Mary Cardi -- Week 8 (Mar. 20–Mar. 26): Sale Price $2.50
  9. Sugared Berries Shawlette -- Week 9 (Mar. 27– Apr. 2): Sale Price $2.00
  10. Paradiddle Skull Cap -- Week 10 (Apr. 3–Apr. 9): Sale Price $2.50

*Fiddle Knits Favorites for 2010 are only selected from patterns that were published during the 2010 calendar year.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So Far, So Slow

I announced on Sunday that I was going to make an attempt to design and finish a crocheted fingering weight stole in exactly one week to wear to a friend's wedding. So far it's going painfully slow.

I spent the entire day on Sunday swatching and finally settled on this cute mesh stitch with occasional daisy clusters made from puff stitches thrown in. Sounds good, right? I thought so. All day I worked on it and then realized I was screwing up the stitch count and my rows were getting progressively shorter. I have no idea what I was doing, but I'm vowing to revisit the stitch because it was cute and I won't let it beat me. However, perhaps next time I should use a light colored yarn instead of the black I'm working with now.

The daisy puff cluster stitch thingamajig got ripped at around 7pm Sunday. I chose a new stitch and got going, but by then I was pretty annoyed. By Sunday night when I went to bed the stole was all of 2 rows long.

Yesterday could have been a good day to work on the stole, which I have dubbed "January Wedding," at least for the time being. I figured I should be responsible, though, and do some work on a piece of deadline knitting. Knitting that I thought was only a few hours from being done. And then I checked my gauge... half a stitch too big. First I rip my crochet and then my knitting? What am I coming to?! So the knitting got ripped and restarted. By 4pm I had approximately 5 rows of crochet and half an inch of knitting. I packed everything in at that point because I'd made a date with Chris to go look for shoes to wear to the wedding. The shoe shopping trip was successful. (Thankfully something is going my way!)

I got back to work on the stole at around 9pm and worked on it until midnight when I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I haven't looked at it yet today, so I'm hoping I didn't mess up anything too horribly in my delirium. I'm guessing I'm at around 6 inches. My goal is about 40. Yeah... I better get to work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can I Finish in a Week?

Next Sunday (January 23, 2011) I'm going to a wedding. Chris and I hung out with the soon to be bride and groom over the weekend and I was asked if I'd figured out what I was wearing yet. Ummm... Kinda. I have a few different dresses, but I wasn't sure about shoes, or really even what to do about the dress. All of mine are sleeveless and it is January after all. However, the ceremony and reception are all in one location, so I won't need to go outside.

Last night I decided I'd better try on my dresses and pick one so that I could find shoes or tights if necessary. I settled on a simple but funky black and gray dress that I will pair over tights and match black boots I already own. I grabbed the Trellis Lace Stole I recently completed for About.com and draped it over my shoulders. Good idea, bad color combo. Too bad I don't have a similar item in black or gray. Hmmm.... I have some black fingering weight yarn. The gears in my pea brain started turning. How about I design another stole? Why not? I can finish in a week, right?

If you're looking for me today I will be locked in my room with a stitch dictionary, yarn, and crochet hook working furiously away on this stole.

The race is on...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preview: Shady Grove Cardigan

Mom modeling the Shady Grove Cardigan
This design has been a long time coming. I feel like it was another lifetime ago when I worked up the Shady Grove Cardigan. It's almost here now! Yarn Forward launched their content preview for issue #34 this morning, so I'm officially allowed to talk about the design.

See the Yarn Forward preview page.

I designed Shady Grove thinking of my Mom and what she looked for in a sweater. The original prototype had short sleeves, which she prefers, but I opted for long sleeves when I submitted the design for consideration. As usual, when I completed the sample knit Mom saw it and said, "can I keep it?" It must be good then, right? Although Moms think anything is good.

Shady Grove is a top-down raglan with A-line shaping. It is knit in one piece and the sleeves are then picked up and worked later. The button band is knit at the same time as the bodice, so decide before you begin whether you like the 3-button style or if you prefer your sweater to button down its entire length. I loved this sweater so much that I went and knit myself one as well. I modified mine to have buttons all the way down because a 3-button cardi doesn't suit my body shape very well.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fiddle Knits... Crochet?

Everyday Crocheted Slouch Hat 
Some of you may have seen the About.com newsletter announcing my first crochet designs that I passed around last week. It has been an interesting (in a good way) experience to be designing crochet patterns once more. It's like a blast from the past.

I learned to crochet several years before I learned to knit. During the time I was crocheting I don't even think I realized there was such a thing as patterns. Too bad, maybe I would have made something decent! After many afghans and bungled attempts at wearable accessories I gave up the hook. About 9 years later I decided I wanted to learn how to knit so I could make something I considered decent to wear. It was then that I started noticing pattern books and magazines for knitting and crochet. I also discovered there was something of a rivalry between the two crafts. This gave me a good laugh. Because I could do both techniques (crochet is like riding a bike, with hook in hand it came right back to me) I knew that each had their merits.

I learned to knit while following patterns. In doing this I also learned how to write and structure patterns, something I didn't get from crochet (because remember, I didn't know crochet patterns existed when I was learning). When I decided I wanted to try my hand at designing I went knit all the way. I was more confident in writing these patterns, which I'm sure had to do with my own learning process.

Over the summer of 2010 I began experimenting with crochet again. I started studying how patterns were written and what abbreviations got used. The timing was perfect. A few short months later I got an email from my Mom telling me I should go check out About.com because they were looking for a crochet designer. Her thought was perhaps they needed a knit designer, but I wasn't really interested (and they had that position filled anyway). I do enough knitwear design already. So, I checked out the crochet application, mulled it over for a few days, and decided I wanted to take the opportunity.

Being a very deadline driven person, I gave myself a schedule and began sketching and designing like crazy. Currently 3 of my crochet designs (and a tutorial) have been released on About.com Crochet. You can see them, and everything else I do as it gets released, on my Free Crochet Patterns page of my website.

Now I have a question, have you learned to crochet yet? Visit Crochet.About.com for article and step-by-step tutorials that will have you hooking in no time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

All Ages Pixie Hood

Crochet Pixie Hood
This lovely little pixie hood whips up in practically no time flat. It utilizes chunky yarn and a simple shape making it a great project for the new crocheter or weekend project for someone more advanced.

The photos show the hood in infant size, however, the pattern includes instructions for sizes up to adult medium. Make one for everyone in the family and stay stylishly warm through the winter!






The fine print:
This pattern is from Crochet.About.com. These patterns are always free for your use. Remember, however, that "free" doesn't mean it's not copyrighted. Use the patterns, print a copy for yourself, email your friends links to the patterns, crochet gifts using the patterns, spread the crochet joy! But please do not sell items made from these patterns or redistribute printed copies of the patterns. Iif you want to share the pattern please email a link to the pattern page for your friend to print. Thank you!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dear 2011

Dear 2011,


I welcome you with high expectations. Please don't be put off by this, but 2010 was a great year for me and I really hope you can live up to your predecessors standards. There is one area, dear 2011, that I am hoping can be improved on. 2010 was not kind to my waistline. Let us please work to forge an understanding on this point.


Peace, Erica


In 2010 I was reminded again and again what a wonderful boyfriend I have. Our relationship grew and continues to. I could gush, but I'm going to spare you. ;o)

2010 was a very good year indeed for me professionally. At the beginning of the year I made it my goal to learn to design garments. Over 12 months I not only learned to design a sweater, but designed 6 of them! (One is currently not yet published. It will arrive soon in Yarn Forward #34.) Another professional goal was to get published in another magazine (previously I had only worked with Yarn Forward). I managed to wiggle my way into Creative Knitting and some Interweave publications. The Interweave designs aren't released yet, but they were accepted and the contracts were signed, so I am counting them as being part of my 2010 goal (magazines work 6-12 months in advance). Two designs were also accepted to be part of Shannon Okey's Fresh Designs Series, a collection of 10 books. My designs were chosen for the Hats and Mens Designs books.

In the Fall I decided to take my designs "back to my roots," so to speak. When I first starting playing with string I was a crocheter. It wasn't until many years later that I picked up the sticks. When I received an email from About.com saying they were looking for a crochet designer I decided to take this opportunity to expand. I applied and was overjoyed to get the gig. So now, 4 times a month, you will be seeing a free crochet pattern from me go live on About.com's crochet site. I will be posting links to these free patterns (and occasional tutorials) on Ravelry and my website. I'm a little behind on the website part of it, but I hope to get it up to date within the next 2 weeks and from then on out will keep on top of the updates (hopefully... I'll be doing my darndest anyway). So far I have released a pair of fingerless mitts/wrist warmers, a pixie hood (sized for the whole family, but pictured in infant size), and a crocheting in the round tutorial. I am completely loving this experience and the challenge of adding crochet designs back into my repertoire.

All that being said, I should get back to work. There are some very important deadlines looming! I'll try and post individual posts with photos of my new designs soonish!