Spud says (the blog)

April 28, 2016

Armchair Knitting: Route 99

If you’re planning to hit the road this summer, a lightweight hat is a must for windy days and chilly nights. Lee Meredith’s new turban-style hat in Spud & Chloë Fine, Route 99, is a colorful way to accessorize your journey!

Lee was kind enough to share some insight on her design inspiration for this pattern:

I came up with the Route 99 design concept when browsing Art Deco patterns and vintage styles, combining an idea for a slip-stitch colorwork stitch pattern with the turban style shape. I had previously designed a hat with a panel which squished the body fabric in a little bit (called Unbroken), so my shaping idea was to use that same modular construction, but to pull in the body stitches much more dramatically. In order to make this all work out how I envisioned it, I designed it for fingering weight yarn, in two highly contrasting true solid colors. I knit up a prototype in 100% wool yarn, which worked out alright, but I knew it would work even better in a yarn with some kind of drape factor; a silk blend would be perfect. The design is published in Stranded Magazine, so they were in charge of yarn – they chose the Spud & Chloë Fine yarn (80% Wool, 20% Silk) which was an absolutely perfect fit! The colors were based on their cheery road trip theme, and I was so happy because orange is always a favorite color of mine. The bright orange & white makes for a totally different feeling hat from my black & off-white prototype version, but it works so well!

Click here to view the entire Fine palette.
Click here to find your nearest Spud & Chloë Stockist.

April 14, 2016

Knitting for Wee Ones This Spring

Knitting for baby can be so rewarding – not only does the project work up quickly, but the end result is oh-so-cute! Last year, we released our Little Spuds collection for birth to 12 months. Each adorable pattern includes a bonus coordinated accessory, and they are sure to be the hit of the baby shower.

Top: Pint-Size Pullover and Happy Hat; Bottom (L-R): Honeybear Hoodie and Sweetie Socks & Bundle Me Blankie. All patterns designed by Sarah Smuland.

Top: Roundabout Romper and Sweetie Socks; Bottom: Boo Boo Bottoms and Tiny Topper. Both patterns by Sarah Smuland.

Once your little spud outgrows his or her first handknits, they can graduate to our Tiny Tots Collection which will be arriving in June! Sized for 18 months to 4T for girls and boys, the Tiny Tots collection will include 7 new patterns for sale and 1 new free pattern, all designed in Fine, Stripey Fine, Sweater and Outer yarns. Stay tuned for more details!

March 24, 2016

Interview with a Yarnbomber

Today we have a special treat for our blog readers: an interview with the mysterious Knitteapolis, a local knitter-turned-yarnbomber whose work we frequently spot while out and about in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. We’ve shared some of our own photos of Knitteapolis’ work on today’s post, and you can see more photos at knitteapolis.tumblr.com.

When did you learn to knit?
My girlfriend taught me how to knit eight years ago. We both worked in theater, so when she was teaching me, she helped me learn the feel of the stitches so that I could knit in the dark backstage. It was a wonderful trick and now I never look down at my needles unless I’m doing a particularly tricky pattern.

What inspired you to begin yarnbombing in your community?
I saw my first yarnbomb roughly 2 1/2 years ago. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen and was very excited by the fact that it looked like something I could do. I’ve always been a huge fan of street art and I thought that knit signs and benches would be absolutely fabulous and something that everyone in the Twin Cities could enjoy.

What is the most ambitious location you’ve bombed to date?
I’ve yarnbombed some pretty awesome places, but I think most ambitious yarnbomb I’ve ever done was the Minnehaha Falls danger sign. I had to jump the fence to install it, but it looks fabulous and is probably the most photographed of all of my yarnbombs. It’s pretty dangerous to get to, so hopefully that means it will last for many years.

Have you ever gotten caught in the act?
I love talking with people who come up to me while I’m yarnbombing. I do all of my installations during the day and don’t really try to hide, so if you see me out there, please do come say hi!


When you aren’t creating new yarn bombs, what types of projects do you like to knit?
When I’m not knitting yarnbombs, I’m usually knitting yarnbombs! I’m almost always creating something in colorful acrylic on size 11 needles to put up outside. I do miss knitting dark slouch hats w/ insanely soft alpaca on size 5 needles sometimes, but that’s alright. Whenever I start missing my smaller needles I’ll knit a silly stuffed animal monster or two for a friend and hide it at their home or work and then I feel better.

Knitting is one of the most therapeutic and calming activities a person can learn to do. That’s why I really enjoy teaching the yarn arts to kids. I teach a knitting class at the Boys and Girls Club in south Minneapolis and will also begin teaching at Kiddywampus in Hopkins soon. It can be tricky at first, but once they start getting the hang of knitting, they become completely obsessed. I had one gal in my B&G Club class tell me knitting makes her brain calm down and the boy sitting next to her agreed and told her that he that felt better when he was knitting. I think every fiber artist can relate to that. Whether you knit, crochet, or yarnbomb stop signs, playing with yarn makes you feel good inside.

March 10, 2016

Sock Inspiration: Martian Spring

A freshly-knit pair of socks is a great way to put a little spring in your step this month. Virginia Sattler-Reimer’s newest design in Spud & Chloë Fine yarn, Martian Spring, features a pretty lace motif in a vibrant color (shown here in #7812 Lizard). Knit in the round from the top down, these striking socks will be your favorites for frolicking this season!

Virginia was kind enough to share her thoughts about the design process with us:

When choosing yarn for my new lace sock idea, I knew I wanted to use something with great stitch definition that would also feel soft on the feet, and Fine is the perfect choice! A Minnesota winter really makes a person long for the bright greens of spring, especially in February and March when it seems like so much of the world is already bursting into bloom, so I chose this really bright and happy green. I love working with Fine, the fiber mix (80% wool/20% silk) makes it lovely for lots of items, and a great choice for socks.

Click here to view the entire Fine palette.
Click here to find your nearest Spud & Chloë Stockist.

February 25, 2016

Designer Spotlight: Heidi Gustad

Heidi Gustad currently resides in Chicago; she enjoys spending her time blogging, pattern writing, knitting and crocheting. Recently, two of her patterns caught our attention: the Quad Cable Scarf and the Long John Cowl, both of which are available for free and knit with Spud & Chloë Outer Yarn. On today’s post, you can get to know Heidi a little better and get inspired to give cabling a try, too!

1. How did you get started knitting?
My grandma knew I loved crafts as a kid. She also knew I was pretty anxious. She’d tried giving me journals to write in and meditation tapes to listen to, but I was still having a hard time sleeping at night despite being 8 years old. One day when she visited, she brought some old aluminum knitting needles and leftover yarn from a baby mitten project. I still have the needles – they’re pink and the color has worn off the tips. The yarn was variegated acrylic, flowing between pink, white and blue. Unsurprisingly, I was a very tight knitter at first! Obviously, I fell in love with the craft after I loosened up a bit, in more than one sense of the word. :)

2. What are your favorite projects to knit for yourself? Does that differ from what you prefer to design?

I feel like I swing really wildly in what I like to knit for myself. I like a good sweater, but so often find myself knitting on deadlines and rarely make time for stuff for just me. I’m more likely to knit a gift when I’ve got a lull in deadlines instead of tackling a cardigan my wardrobe desperately needs. It’s ironic how many worn out, store bought sweaters I wear!

I love knitting and designing with lace and cables, but I also love knitting completely mindless projects too. Working lace and cables with long repeats is something I find really meditative – I just love getting completely lost in focusing on the pattern. I think the process of designing with lace and cables is my favorite. Then again, I love putting on an audiobook or a tv show on auto-play and plowing away at some garter or stockinette too!

3. Your newest pattern, the Quad Cable Scarf, features intricate-looking cables that might be intimidating to newer knitters. What are some of your best tips for folks who are new to cables?  

Always use a cable needle! I used to think the only cable needles out there were the ones shaped like a shrug, sort of like this shape: ¯¯¯\__/¯¯¯, and I hated them. I felt like I was always dropping stitches with them or dropping the needle itself on the floor while my hands were full of live stitches. Then I discovered cable needles shaped like a shepherd’s hook, and my cable knitting life was saved! You can hook these needles in the collar of your shirt to keep track of it while you work, and they’re so much harder to drop stitches with. I recently found a cable needle necklace that has a similar shepherd’s hook shape, and I think I might have to splurge on it for myself since it looks like it might be even more convenient than the hook/collar trick I currently use.

Heidi’s Patterns are available on Ravelry: the Quad Cable Scarf and the Long John Cowl.

You can visit www.handsoccupied.com to see more of Heidi’s work and read her blog.