Saturday, February 26, 2011

25% off Fiddle Knits Designs

25% off all Fiddle Knits Designs 
pattern sale purchases over $5.00!
Every PDF on my website & Ravelry shop qualifies, including collections.

Anyone that’s been listening to the FKD podcast, specifically the last episode, knows that Chris and I are getting down to the wire on moving. I need to raise some money pronto to use as my contribution to the down payment. What better way to do that than have a pattern sale? :o)

There is no coupon code needed for this pattern sale. A 25% discount is simply applied to your shopping cart upon checkout for purchase over $5.00. Spread the deal and tell all your knitting friends! And thanks in advance for shopping FKD!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Updated Market Bag

Updated Market Bag
Another free crochet pattern has arrived! I mentioned this design a few weeks back and promised to let you all know when it was available. So here you go!

The Updated Market Bag was crocheted from Knit Picks Simply Cotton Sport in Golden Heather. This is one of the very few cotton yarns I actually like.

My Mom has been asking for this market bag ever since she heard I was going to design one. You should have seen her! I mentioned a market bag as one of my to-do designs for About.com and she started showing me the bags she'd crocheted and pointing out what she did and didn't like about each. Helpful and funny at the same time. I have Mom to ask about any home accessories patterns and Chris as my expert on mens designs. (Nobody can be a part of my life and not somehow a part of my designs.)

Back on track...
This market bag is fairly simple. I wouldn't make it as your first crochet project, but it could be done as one of the first things you do if you're confident with yourself or have a friend to help out. The hardest part is the foundation round for the base of the bag. You work a chain, turn and single crochet along it, and then you have to rotate your work 90ยบ and crochet back along the bottom edge of your chain stitches. If you can get past that than the rest of the bag is comprised of single crochet, double crochet, and some chain stitches.

Find the free pattern on About.com:Crochet as the Updated Market Bag.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On The Move

Fiddle Knits is on the move! Well, almost... Getting there... Chris and I have been looking for a place to rent together. The driving back and forth between houses is just too much, plus we need more space than we both currently have. We've spent some time looking at different options (whole house? garden apartment?) and possible towns. Spurred on by the housing search I decided to check out my yarn stash. We might need an extra room! I'm not sure if Chris realizes just how much yarn I have, and of course I need to take it all with me! I'm not a yarn stasher, I'm really not. I don't buy yarn because I just have to have it or I feel the impulse to take something pretty home with me. All my yarn is for my "work." I get yarn, I design something, and that's that. Yarn moves through my stash pretty rapidly. Certain skeins hang around a little longer because I'll use it specifically for proposal swatches. I told Chris I needed my own knitting room. He laughed. How much space could I possibly take up? I can hear all you knitters and crocheters out there laughing. Oooooooh boy.

What I Want: A yarn room with large windows for plenty of natural lighting. A set up in one corner with a pretty dressform and backdrop to take photos of my designs. One or two of those three tired baskets from Lantern Moon would be amazing. I'd like to arrange yarn around the room decoratively in baskets so I have plenty of visible inspiration and motivation. Sounds good so far, right?

What I'll Get: Let's see what we can afford on Long Island. It's too expensive around these parts, but neither of us want to move away and leave our families behind. So this means I need to knit more, submit more patterns, and make sure I keep my butt in gear. Off I go! Keepin' on the move...

Georgiana Shawlette pattern SALE!

Georgiana Shawlette
This week only (Feb. 20–26, 2011) you can get the Georgiana Shawlette pattern pdf for 50%! That's just $0.99 for the download!


Price will be adjusted upon checkout. Pattern page does not reflect sale price. For any questions please feel free to leave a comment or email me at Erica@FiddleKnits.com
 

Georgiana Shawlette description from my website:
Skill Level: Easy

Simply elegant.
Color, stitches, and shape combine to form a design that represents timeless romance.

The Georgianna Shawlette is constructed by working the main body and small garter stitch lace edge side-to-side in one piece. Stitches are then picked up along one edge to work the bell ruffle. If you find using your knitting needles to pick up stitches is awkward then you may want to try using a crochet hook to assist you in this step. Simply use the hook to catch the yarn and then place the loop on your right-hand needle.

Techniques

  • Bind off (preferred method)
  • Cast on (preferred method)
  • M1* – make 1
  • SSK* – slip, slip, knit
  • TBL* – through back loop
  • YO – yarn over
*Indicates instructions provided for technique within pattern.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Snowflake Cloche

The Snowflake Cloche
Stay warm through the winter with this cute crocheted cap. It's a combination between a slouch style hat and a cloche. It begins from the crown and is worked using half double crochet stitches for a soft, loose fabric. The top of the hat is worked long enough to give a slight slouchy appearance, but not too long as to appear sloppy. A change of stitch and hooks pulls the hat in for the forehead band and then a slight brim is worked to create the classic bell-shaped cloche.

The snowflake is worked separate from the hat and sewn on as applique after the cloche has been completed. To make the design more versatile you can sew the snowflake onto a pin so it can easily be removed. Of course, this cloche is so easy to crochet you could just make two or three or four.... and embellish them all differently! Snowflakes, flowers, buttons, and ribbons all make wonderful accents.

The Snowflake Cloche is brought to you as a free pattern from About.com: Crochet and me!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Scalliwag Pattern SALE!

Scalliwag Slouch Hat modeled by Annalee
This week only (Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, 2011) you can get the Scalliwag Hat pattern for just $0.99 USD!

Price will be adjusted upon checkout. Pattern page does not reflect sale price. For any questions please feel free to leave a comment or email me at Erica@FiddleKnits.com


Scalliwag description from my website:

I love slouch hats. I think they’re flattering on nearly everyone no matter what type of hairstyle or face shape they have. Plus they’re also just plain fun to knit. However, I do have one complaint with this style of hat. Sometimes it seems there is just too much bunched up material sagging at the back of your head. From the front this appearance is quite cute, but from the back it might not be. And then there's the fussing to make sure the hat slouches properly to get just the right look. Scalliwag is a compromise and takes care of these concerns. Using short rows, the hat is shaped so that the front portion is longer than the back. This causes the look of a slouched hat without all the added material. (An added bonus is that the hat works up nice and quick since you’re cutting out a large section of fabric.) Also, there's no messing about trying to get correct slouch since the top will always lean toward the back (the portion with less rows). The decreases were worked in a box-like manner, which gives the shape of the hat a bandanna-like appearance when viewed from the front. Although Scalliwag was intended to slouch toward the back you may find it fun to flip it to the side to switch things up a bit.

Techniques

  • Decreases
  • Knit
  • Knitting in the round
  • Purl
  • Short rows
  • Twisted stitches

*This design is part of the Fiddle Knits Favorites pattern sale. For a complete list of patterns and sale dates check the Fiddle Knits Favorites blog post.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love Birds Chapeau

It has arrived! I blogged a preview a few days ago and it met with some very lovely comments. (Thank you!) Now the design is officially launched and you can see the entirety of it instead of just a piece. The yarn really did all the hard work. It was insanely easy to keep knitting on the hat despite the stranded work because I simply had to see what color the yarn was next and how it looked as a bird. I'm telling you, Chroma is my new addiction. If you haven't tried it then you should. If you live out of the country then find a friend to make a trade with. It's really fun yarn. I can promise more designs in Chroma for the near future... I might have already ordered some more...

From one skein on the main color (Natural/Bare) and one skein of the coordinating color (Rollerskate) I was able to complete 2 slouch style hats. I have a little bit of the Natural left and enough of the Rollerskate to make another hat. This yarn gets thumbs up for good mileage. I plan on using the remaining Rollerskate to do another colorwork hat, but this time there will be butterflies instead of birds.

You can purchase the Love Birds Chapeau pattern via my website (Love Birds Page) or by visiting Knit Picks. It is a $1.99 for the pdf download in both locations.

I want to stress something about buying my patterns, or any other designers pattern via the Knit Picks IDP: they give designers 100% of the pattern price. By shopping there you are still supporting the independent designers. You're actually doing a really great thing for indie designers by shopping via the KP IDP. By buying patterns in this way you are letting Knit Picks know that the demand is there and that they should continue their partnership with indie designers. Knit Picks provides great exposure for folks that are just hitting the scene. I can say nothing but good things about the way they treat the designers they work with. So go ahead and purchase patterns there and feel good about helping new designers take a stab at this crazy dream.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Off to Market

The idea of a crocheted or knit market bag is very romantic. It makes me start to daydream about warm Spring days and walking down cobblestone streets peering at the goods being sold by street vendors. There would be fruits and fresh baked breads, perhaps some handmade crafts as well. I would be dressed in a lovely floral sundress, or perhaps a flowing skirt and blouse. A slight breeze would be blowing. Just enough to tousle my curls. I would carry this market bag I had made from organic cotton and fill it with so many goodies.

This all sounds amazing. Wonderful. Glorious. But how often am I going to find myself in this situation? Forget about how often, I should probably be asking if I ever would. Yet I'm making a market bag anyway. An "updated market bag," as I've named it, that is worked from Knit Picks Simply Cotton Sport in golden heather. It will be a free crochet pattern for About.com, so you can all head over there when it's done and create your own little daydream while you work on it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Knit and Crochet for Charity

Do you knit or crochet for charity? If you do then I'd like your feedback on which charities you love to donate your handmade items to. Or perhaps you don't give to a specific charity, but drop your goods off at a local animal shelter or hospital. I'd like to know about those things to. Why? I'm gathering information to put online so folks without much experience can read through and get ideas for what items to make and where those items would be useful.

Another question, what type of items/patterns would you like to see more of for charity crochet? Many of you know by now that I've begun working with About.com on their crochet site. With Amy, the crochet Guide, I'm working to provide the crochet community with free, easy to follow patterns. One area we'd like to focus more effort on is patterns for charity work. I know there is a lot of need for preemie sized hats and clothing, so this is something I'm currently tackling. However, feel free to comment on preemie items if you have thoughts on materials, sizes, etc.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bring on the Birds!

Isn't it about time for a new Fiddle Knits Design? Well, the Love Birds Chapeau is nearly here! The files are loading up for me to send over to Knit Picks as I type this. I really like this hat because I think the combo of the bird and the yarn rocks. As usual, I'm probably biased.

The photo at right shows one version of the Love Birds colorwork for the hat. I ended up taking so long with this design because I did two variations of the heart patterning, the crown shaping, and the length. Typically I never like to knit a design twice, unless I've completely screwed up and I have to. However, this yarn kept me wanting to knit just a little bit more... and a little more... so when I got to the end of the first hat and I'd only touched on half the colors in the skein I was ready and willing to go for round two.

Both variations of the hat are in one pattern, so you get a little extra bang for your buck. Even though the instructions are very similar, with just some added extras, I decided to write the pattern for a Semi Slouchy version and then directly following that is a Super Slouch version. This keeps it very clear as to what I did in the different photo sample and what you would need to do to get my results. I give little tips for switching it up to fit you, so make sure to read the notes. (I'm guilty of not being a note reader and simply looking at the pretty pictures. Shame on me!)

Off I go to finish the upload. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Waste of Time, but a Learning Experience

I managed to get a lot accomplished yesterday despite one major time suck.

Recently I've gotten some questions asking where my podcast went and why it stopped along with some requests that I start back up again. I've been thinking about the podcast a lot, so I figured all the signs were pointing to me getting it going once more. I just did a major overhaul to my website, changing the template and colors and cleaning up the layout on several pages. With this in mind, it seemed like a good idea to get my blog and podcast hosted on the same provider so it all matched. I bought a month subscription to a "blogcast" (duel hosting for blog and podcast) and got to work. I switched the template so it matched my website. This was not easy. It kept refusing to change and the colors seemed to reset themselves. I spent a lot of time on this before finally tossing in the towel and saying I'd just come back to it. While cooling down from that experience I set up my computer to record. This part went smoothly (thank you Apple and Garage Band). I recorded a half hour podcast (Episode 13: Fiddle Knits Goes Crochet), saved it as an mp3 and opened the blogcast page to upload it. I spent nothing short of an hour trying to upload it to the site. It would get partially loaded and then freeze. I kept having to cancel and reload. My patience was running painfully low. Finally it uploaded. I filled in all the shownotes and linked everything I talked about. For each link I had to wait for a new window in the blogcast to load. Another 30 minutes later and the shownotes were finally linked. I hit "post" and went to the site. Nothing. No podcast. I checked my iTunes feed. Nothing. No podcast. I cursed a little (maybe a lot), made sure I'd done everything right, confirmed I had, let it settle for a half hour, checked to see if it magically appeared, it hadn't. I then cancelled my blogcast subscription. What a waste of time! Never would I recommend GoDaddy Blogcast to anyone. Their website building program is fine, kinda glitchy sometimes, but I can deal because it's easy to navigate. The blogcast looked crappy and worked crappier.

I uploaded my podcast via Apple's Mobile Me and iWeb program like I had been doing. (Thank you to Apple once more for such a painless experience.) It was done in a matter of short minutes. The podcast will stay hosted this way until I cannot use Mobile Me any longer.

Even with all this fuss over podcasting and hosting and blogging, I still managed to crochet an entire hat and make progress on the Love Birds hat version 2.0. In the end it all worked out, but man... what frustration!

The current podcast episode will always be available to listen directly on my website.