Monday, April 25, 2011

January Wedding Crochet Stole

Waaaaaay back in January (which seems like ages ago at this point) I blogged about making a fingering weight crochet stole in a week to wear to a friend's wedding. Well, I finished and it was a success. Yay!

*If you're interested in the back story you can read the blogs: Can I Finish in a Week?, So Far, So Slow, Success!

Unfortunately I never did get a photo of myself wearing the stole at the wedding. I opted not to bring my camera with me because whenever I do I end up getting distracted by taking photos and not participating in the fun as much. And I really wanted to have fun. (Come on, it was a wedding, you're supposed to have fun!)

I wore the shawl (until I got too hot from dancing) and it received many compliments. If you're interested in making a January Wedding stole for yourself you can get the free crochet stole pattern over on About.com Crochet.

The lace pattern of January Wedding took me a few rows to get used to, unlike the Easy Trellis Lace Crocheted Stole which basically crochets itself. (That one is way easier to make than it is to say. What was I thinking on the name? Geez!) I think the side cluster of flowers (Easy Crochet Flower) made a nice touch. I sewed small shell buttons to the center for added sparkle. My favorite part? The stole can get paired with jeans and a tee or a dress/skirt and looks stunning either way. Score!

On Ravelry? Find other January Wedding Stole projects by clicking the button below.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Crochet

Updated Market Bag
Happy Earth Day! Celebrate with some good for the earth (and good for you!) crochet. I designed the Updated Market Bag for About.com: Crochet specifically with Earth Day in mind.

The Updated Market Bag is crocheted using sport weight 100% organic cotton. I used Knit Picks Simply Cotton Sport in Golden Heather. It's a good deal, just $2.99 a skein (you'll need 3).
My least favorite part of making bags? The handles. I got around that problem on this bag by making short, shopping bag style handles that are part of the whole.

The Green Movement has been growing recently. Now it's become "cool," "hip," and trendy to Be Green. I have mixed feelings about this aspect of it. I mean, it's good that people are noticing and all that, but when it's for the wrong reasons I'm not sure it's not very well understood.

My Mom is crazy for crochet market bags. She tried to steal the updated market bag away from me as soon as it was an idea. Forget about actually even seeing wat it looked like. She wanted it from the moment I said "I'm going to make. . ." She doesn't know it yet, or maybe she does because she's a mom an moms always know, but I'm going to give her the bag eventually. I'm just waiting for the right occasion. . .

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Making More of My Own

The whole reason I learned how to knit and crochet was so that I could make more of my own clothes. I always liked having unique stuff. I have always been notorious for altering my store-bought clothes to suit my own style. Pretty much the only things I don't change in some way are absolutely plain tees and tanks. I need those to layer under my sweaters, so they're useful as is.

Recently I realized that I wasn't living up to my expectations for making my own wardrobe. Sure, I knit and crochet A LOT of stuff. However, I give most of it away. I love, love, love designing and knitting hats, but I don't wear them. Funny, right? If I wore hats I'd love the ones I design. However, big curly hair and hats aren't the most compatible. Chris says I just need to make bigger hats to accomodate my hair. I think he might be right. If I wear the hats I make for him (24" circumference) they look pretty good on my hair and don't flatten it. I can always tuck all my hair under the hat. Now having had that revelation I'm going to make some large size hats for myself. We'll see if I end up wearing them.

One item I design, make, and actually wear are my shawls and wraps. Those get a lot of use from me. Good. Thumbs up. (I'm *really* looking forward to being able to wear the Certain Shade of Green Shawl, but I can't until I get some good pattern photos...) I have several more knit and crochet shawls and wraps planned for the future and have even started [slowly] working on an eBook collection of them. At least two of the designs in the Shades of Green Collection will be shawls.

Something I'd like to successfully design and wear? A super lightweight (around fingering weight) knit tee and/or camisole. This is going to be one of the next things I tackle. I'm thinking I might actually even include a lightweight top design in the Shades of Green Collection.

I don't wear handknit socks very often. Gasp! I know... But I'm really picky with my foot wear. I hate anything that remotely feels baggy or comes above my ankle bone. I like completely plain socks, which are pointless to "design" since plain is, well, plain and therefore kinda lacking the design element. There are so many better things I could be doing than short, plain socks. Like shawls, for instance. However, I do like slippers and slipper socks. I need to make myself a pair of my Simple Crochet Slippers. I did the pattern for About.com: Crochet. Mom did the sample because she wanted to take part. This was nice and helpful, but it means I don't have a pair of slippers. Dang.

Dwelling on wanting to make more of my own clothes led me to... (ready for this?) ... I want to learn to sew. As if I need something else to do! I'm not interested in sewing anything fancy. Basically my main objective is to make skirts. I like in skirts, jeans, or lounge pants. Jeans are out of the questions to make. Lounge/pajama pants seem like they could be doable at some point, but the skirts... Now they seem simple and very appealing. So, my plan? Sew myself some skirts and get on to designing some knit tops. ... And making those slippers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Suspense!

We're just a few short days away from clue 1 of the Mystery Shawl KAL. (Have you signed up yet? Registration ends on Friday, April 22, 2011.)

I'm going to be blogging about each clue shortly after it goes out. Most likely I'll wait a few days for people to see the clue and get going. Wouldn't want to spoil the mystery that you've all been waiting so patiently for! However, I figured it might be interesting for folks to get little insights into why I did what I did in the design.

The official name for the Mystery Shawl is "A Certain Shade of Green." It's the first pattern from the Shades of Green knitting pattern collection. I plan on taking preorders for the full collection around the end of the KAL (preorders will be open to everyone, not just KAL participants). All participants will be getting the second collection pattern, The Greener Side, as a bonus design.

So that's it for now. Just a short little howdy. I'm off to complete the final stages on another shawl from the Shades of Green Collection. This one's bulky weight in Noro Iro.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easy Crocheted Baby Layette Set

I finally finished the last piece in my first ever crocheted baby layette set. Really is was my first ever baby set, never mind it being crocheted. I haven't gotten around to creating the page for the entire set. I kind of figured it could wait until the final pattern was completed. Now it is. Mostly. The crocheting is done. The pattern is written. I need to pick up a few buttons and sew them on before I can take photos and deem the project 100%.

The set began with my Easy Crochet Baby Blanket, which would later be dubbed the "Sweet Potato Baby Blanket" because it sounds way cuter. This was my first baby blanket design ever and I'm very pleased with how it came out. It's simple with a bit of detail like puff stitches around the edge and a coordinating color stripe. Very much my style. I'll be keeping this piece for my baby hope chest.

The second design I did were the Simple Crochet Baby Slippers, aka "Sweet Potato Baby Slippers." These were so cute I had to make an adult version too! Mom was gracious enough to do the pattern sample for me (under the condition she got to keep the slippers. They look so comfy. I want a pair!)

The third and fourth designs were hats. I was originally just going to do the square hat (Easy Crocheted Baby Hat, ahem... I know, creative names, right? My version of the name, used on Ravelry, is "Sweet Potato Squared"), but I decided a beanie would be pretty nice to have too. Variety is the spice of life they say. (The beanie is: Simple Crochet Baby Beanie, aka "Sweet Potato Baby Beanie".)

The pattern I finished today is the (you guessed it) Easy Crochet Baby Sweater, or the "Sweet Potato Baby Tee." I can't link to that yet since no photos = no post. Soon!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shade of Green Mystery Shawl KAL



Registration will remain open until Friday, April 22 when the first clue is released.

All the information necessary for the KAL is on my website, however, I'll go over it here as well. Let's start with what you get by joining:

  • A pretty PDF shawl pattern – At the end of the KAL period you'll receive the final layout edited PDF version of the pattern. (Along the way you'll be getting text and chart only segments as is customary with mystery knit-alongs.)
  • An Extra accessory pattern – A week after the final clue is delivered you will receive a bonus pattern that coordinates with your new shawl. Consider this the Bonus Round.
  • Exclusive promo offers for other Fiddle Knits patterns. You'll get your first offer in the info packet after registering. 
  • 50% off the price of the Shades of Green Collection. (The Certain Shade of Green Mystery Shawl will ultimately be a part of this collection.) The coupon code you get for this will be valid for 6 months after the KAL, so you don't need to make a decision to pre-order.

Wanna Talk About It?
A huge part of mystery KALs is getting to chat with other knitters also participating. So where can you do that? The FKD forums are the hot spot to be. KAL chatter has it's own special section. Hop on over and join discussions on yarn or find help if you get stumped on a clue. I'll be popping in there to make sure everything is running smoothly. The forum also allows you to post photos and link to blogs or project pages if you so desire. You will need to register to use the forums (it's free). – Join the KAL group: http://Chat.FiddleKnits.com

Looking for the KAL on Ravelry?
If you're on Raverlry you can find the KAL's pattern page by searching "Certain Shade of Green – Mystery Shawl KAL". The knit-along also has a group over there, so feel free to join!

Needles – Straight or circular? 
Circular. This design is knit flat (in rows) however, straight needles will not be able to accomodate all your stitches. I used circular needles with a 37" cord.

Charts?
Clues 1 & 2 are given in charted and written formats. Clue 3 is presented in written form only. (The reason why will make perfect sense when you get there.)

Pattern Format 
Clues will be emailed to you in PDF form. Final completed pattern will be emailed to you as a PDF after completion of last clue.

Construction? 
Sorry folks. No answer on this. It is a mystery after all, remember? It's in one piece. You'll have to sew a little, but I mean a real little, about 3 stitches little. No biggie. 

Finally, the most important question of all. . .  Yarn?
What colors? One color? Two? I used two. Is this necessary. No! This design will look good in one color or in two coordinating shades.

When I worked my shawl I chose to use two colors in the same color family, one a little darker than the other. You can see my yarn below.

Briar Rose Fibers - Fourth of July

The above photo shows the 2 skeins of Briar Rose Fibers Fourth of July that I used to create my Certain Shade of Green Shawl. Photo was taken after knitting was complete to illustrate how much of each color was used. Both skeins weighed the same at 500 yards ad 227 grams. 
The darker skein to the right was my beginning color. I used 456 yards of this color and had 44 yards left over. 
The lighter color to the left was my second color. I used 115 yards of this skein. This left me with 385 yards of this second color after shawl was complete. Perfect for completing the bonus pattern that all KAL participants will get after final clue is released (Friday, May 13, 2011).

Hope to see all of you in the KAL group on Ravelry or on my forum. Happy knitting!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coming Soon: Mystery Shawl KAL

I just wanted to pop in real quick and let everyone know to keep their eyes open and on the lookout for a mystery shawl KAL from Fiddle Knits Designs. (I'm excited, are you?!) Sign ups will open near the end of this week. I anticipate to have everything set up by Friday, so you can begin hunting for just the right yarn over next weekend. This KAL will cost (not more than $5) and will include some goodies to make it even more fun. There will be coupon codes, offers for free patterns, and a bonus design thrown in at the last stage of the KAL. That's really all I can say at the moment. Tomorrow I will begin setting up signup pages and organizing a schedule for when each piece will be released. Once the signups open I'll be posting again here, and also on Twitter, Facebook, Ravelry, and my new forums.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Forums for Fiddle Knits

Yes, Fiddle Knits Designs now has forums! Come join the discussion and stay up to date on the newest knitting and crochet patterns, be the first to hear about sales and KALs, get exclusive coupon and promo codes for free patterns and early release dates on collections.... Need I go on? It's where all the cool kids are hanging out. So pop on over to: http://Chat.FiddleKnits.com.

I tried to announce the forums in an email newsletter a few days ago. I ended up wanting to rip my hair out. The way I've been sending my newsletters just decided it didn't want to work. Go figure. I manage to create a forum (on only the second try!) and the bit that's spits in my face was the part I expected to be easy! I still haven't figured out what's going on with my newsletter. I'm not sure if it ever went through or if it went through to each person 100 times. (If you received it multiple times I am truly sorry!) I've added "find reliable html email template/service" to my ever growing list of things to do. Someday before I die I'll get to it all. Really.... I have the best intentions! In the meantime... forums! Go. Now. Be chatty. I like that.