Spud says (the blog)

Archive for August 2009

August 30, 2009

Anatomy of a Hoodie


Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, I love the behind the scenes, the development, the struggles and the hits and misses of the design process. That final project that you see in the end often starts as a completely different story. Awhile ago I was asked to design a woman’s hoodie sweater for the premier patterns for the Spud & Chloë launch. I was thrilled that I received this opportunity because I love knitting adult sweaters but my focus has usually fallen toward baby/kid/toy knitting. This would be something new, fresh and fun for me to work on in the midst of writing a knitted toy book. 

I want to walk you through the journey of how the Camp Hoodie came to be. Instead of a sweater I had a sleeveless hoodie in my mind. I had been wearing a sleeveless hoodie with a zipper front all winter long and I had been longing to design one of my own to knit. I requested a change in the pattern idea to become a sleeveless hoodie sweater. When I got the okay to design a sleeveless hoodie I immediately started sketching. These sketches only take me minutes to draw up. They are simple and provide a sounding board for the people you are working with so they can see the direction you are headed. It is an important step.

The first sketch above is most like the hoodie I had been wearing all winter. It was rejected. I never mind or worry when this happens, I just wipe off my pencil tip and try again. It’s business.


The other element that was requested was that fair isle be worked into the design. Here is the second sketch I came up with. Now I was on the right path with the shape of the hoodie so that was a go. The circle fair isle pattern was not quite right for what they were looking for. I still like the circles and will definitely do something like this on some project in the future. 

Back to the drawing board for me on the color work, the shape will stay the same.


This final sketch was right on track. All was approved, the shape and the fair isle pattern. Now that I had a good concept down I had to think about colors. Time to make this thing come to life. The real fun for me begins here.


I selected the colors of Spud & Chloë Sweater in Firecracker, Grass, Ice Cream, Moonlight and Toast as the main color. The next step most knitters do is to make a swatch. I admit that I am not much of a swatcher and I probably never will be. Instead I set out on a slightly different path.


In an evening I whipped up this baby hat as my swatch. It really is the perfect small try for this pattern. It is knit in the round just like the vest starts out for the body. I could try out the fair isle in the round in the baby hat just as I had intended the vest would use. I also wanted to see how a multi-colored pom-pom would look. I loved all of the components and so did the team at Blue Sky. 


Now I was all set to fly. I had my yarn, my fair isle pattern, my sketch to work from and the sky was the limit. I even ended up with a pretty sweet looking baby hat that I later gave as a gift to an expectant mother I knew. It was all perfect. I worked long and hard on knitting the sample and writing the pattern for the Camp Hoodie and I had a ball doing it.


I want to point out a few features of this garment. First off, you cannot find an easier and more satisfying fair isle pattern for any level of knitter. You are using a variety of colors and basically you are making a checkerboard pattern which is basic and simple. If you are a beginner and you are dying to try a little color work, here you go! This will get you started working with two colors at a time and in a simple straight forward pattern. I held one strand in my left hand and the other color strand in my right hand, throwing and picking along the rounds. It went very fast. If you are experienced as a knitter, you can do this pattern in your sleep. Plus it gives a beautiful effect in the end. Everyone needs a no-brainer sometimes.

The color work accentuates the slight shaping at the waist. This brings the eye in and makes for a flattering and fitted silhouette.


I was determined to add an element of surprise around the hood and collar by turning under a shock of Firecracker. This type of detail and finishing makes or breaks any design for me. A little extra detail effort takes any design to a whole new level. When I see the band of red peeking out of the collar and hood it drives me crazy with happiness. It’s the little things that count in design. I love it and it isn’t difficult to do.


The cord is strung right through the casing of the hood so gathering the hood up a bit while you are wearing it on your head is an option. When I am sitting at the cool fall soccer games or hiking through the woods the extra warmth of a closer fitting hood really helps at times for warmth and for keeping the hood on your head. I wanted to make a garment that people could really live in and use.


The embroidery is sweet and simple. A simple X is stitched on the main color squares and then an extra stitch is drawn through at the center of the X’s to hold the stitches in place. You can use a long length of the yarn strung on a yarn needle to work across the rows. I love hand-stitched embroidery on knitting. It adds texture and interest in a unique way. Plus it is fun to do.


Of course before I sent off the knitted sample of the Camp Hoodie to Minnesota I had to try it on and take a quick photo. Now I want to knit a Camp Hoodie for myself in the worst way. I am thinking about an all-over stripey version using lots of colors of the Sweater yarn. The sample was knit in a size small but for me to keep I would make a size medium. I like things a little looser and a little longer but that’s just me. (I’m getting old:) The small actually fit fine, too. The extra-small size would easily fit kids of many sizes, too. My 10-year-old daughter has requested her own Camp Hoodie but it will have to wait for a bit. There is too much to knit in a day, right?

Anyway, look here for details on the Camp Hoodie pattern. And look here for stockists who will happily help you purchase the pattern.

On to a few other quick things, thanks for all of the ideas for naming Ribbit’s friend. I love them all and will put my thinking cap on when I choose. It’s fun to have help naming a project. I will definitely do that again! That pattern is coming soon, I promise. 

I was just on a brief vacation where I started working on a pair of socks out of Fine that are super long, fun, colorful, gorgeous and slouchy. I am using one skein of each color. You are going to flip over these socks because that’s what I am doing. I could not stop knitting on my stripey slouch sock the entire vacation. I was spellbound. I have almost completed the first one and I will post a sneak peek when I am getting close to releasing the free pattern for you or even sooner. What a fun project.

I have quite a line up of free patterns coming down the line. It should be a good fall season on Spud says! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a beat. I have been working on my son’s Track Jacket, too. I am making progress (I’m on the left front) and he is already thinking I won’t get it done. I have assured him that as soon as it is sweater weather around here he will have his completed sweater. I love that he is so anxious for his handknit sweater. That’s good.

One last note for this long post, if any of you shop owners are interested in being a featured shop on Spud says! please email me. I want to post about shops that are carrying the Spud & Chloë line. I want to see your displays, hear your thoughts and reviews and see what your local knitters are making with the S & C yarns and patterns. Don’t be shy! I’d love to post about you here.

Have a great start to your week! Each week poses a new opportunity for knitting, at least that’s how I see it.

August 22, 2009

A friend for Ribbit

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Coming up soon I will be posting the pattern for Ribbit’s friend, a bouncy little bunny. I haven’t finished this one up quite yet but I thought I’d share a sneak peek anyway. I will finish this up within the next week or two.

I haven’t named the bunny yet so if you have any good ideas let me know!

August 20, 2009

Ribbed Socks for Kids-Free Pattern


Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Please note!!! Edited to add a correction: Gusset, Rnd 1: Needle 1: knit; Needle 2: (k3, p1) repeat to end of needle; Needle 3: knit

I am excited to offer you a new Spud & Chloë free pattern. This is a basic ribbed sock pattern using one skein of Fine, any color will work great. This pair is knit up in Clementine #7802. I used a set of four US size 2 double-pointed needles.


The pattern is for kids 4-10 years-old. The ribbed fabric is clingy and stretchy at the same time which is perfect to fit a wide range of foot sizes. The pattern is simple and a good way to start knitting socks if you haven’t tried before. These will go quickly and will teach you the basics of sock knitting in no time flat.

I hope you all grab a skein of Spud & Chloë Fine and fire up your needles to knit up a pair of ribbed socks for your favorite kid! You can throw them right in the wash with no troubles at all. The yarn softens with washing.

Have fun!

Click here to download the pdf for Ribbed Socks for Kids

August 15, 2009

On the Horizon


Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Here’s a little heads up for you today, next week I am posting a sock knitting project for you to knit for little feet. This is the perfect project to try out a basic pair of socks for the first time. It is also a great pair of socks for any level sock knitter to whip up quickly. These socks are not a huge yarn and time commitment because the cuff and foot of the sock are short. You can get a pair of socks out of one skein of Spud & Chloë Fine. Any color will be wonderful or maybe you’ll want to stripe a few together and then you’d be able to get a few pair of kids socks.

Fine washes in the machine and I even threw this pair in the dryer on low and they came out beautifully. I knit up the sample pair for my daughter on US size 2 double-pointed needles but you’ll need to see what size needles you need to get gauge (7 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch).

The pattern will knit up a pair of socks to fit kids who are 4-10 years old.

I hope you’ll get ready to knit some socks for kids with me next week! Have a great weekend and don’t forget to squeeze in some knitting time.

August 12, 2009

Marked in a Fine Way


Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

I have been making quite a few bookmarks lately. I’ve been a little obsessed, actually. I want to share a few new bookmarks I just whipped up in Spud & Chloë Fine. After you finish your Fine socks here is a wonderful little project to use up your odds and ends. Fine is thin and will easily slide between the pages of your novel or knitting book without too much bulk. Before I get into the stitch patterns I used for the bookmarks let me tell you a little about this spectacular yarn.

Fine is a fingering weight or sock weight yarn. This means it is perfect for making socks, baby items, shawls, scarves and sweaters, not to mention gloves or mittens and hats. Sometimes a lightweight yarn is simply more comfortable to wear. It is a delight to work with because the blend is a bit different from other sock yarns you may find. Fine is 80% superwash wool for softness and convenience and 20% silk for strength and body. Plus the silk adds a luster and sheen that I adore. The yarn is designed to soften with washing. You will be amazed at the softness and durability of Fine after washing. Here’s why I know this as a fact.

Coming up, I have a free sock pattern for kids made out of Fine. My daughter, some of you may know her as The Collector, modeled the socks for a few photos. After I was done taking the photos for the pattern she left her new handknit socks on and ran around outside on the cement driveway and our yard without shoes for a long time. I didn’t know this until I found her socks later.  They were really dirty on the bottom but even after being worn shoeless on cement they were still in great shape. I threw them in the washer and then the dryer on low and they came out like new! Plus they are softer then ever! Check back next week sometime for this upcoming free sock pattern. You will love the pattern and the yarn.

Now, back to the bookmark madness. The leafy bookmark, above, is my favorite version. I made it for a gift so I will have to make another one to keep. The leaf stitch pattern is found in a wonderful book called, Super Stitches Knitting, by Karen Hemingway, on page 128. (This is a terrific stitch dictionary if you are interested.) I made my bookmark in Fine using Cricket #7804. I used US size 2 needles and worked the stitch pattern 6 times. Lastly, added a 3 stitch I-cord for about 2 inches to make a knot at the top.

Next, I want to knit this exact same stitch pattern in Outer in Peat on size 13 or 15 needles for a gorgeous leafy scarf. Are you with me? You’ll see my leaf scarf soon, I promise. 


After my leafy adventure I pulled out my size E crochet hook and whipped up three little sassy bookmarks. Don’t they look like candy?


From right to left:

The bookmark on the right is crocheted in Clementine #7802, Glow Worm #7801, Anemone #7805, and Popcorn #7800. With my E crochet hook I made a chain that measured 10 inches. Then I did 2 rows of single crochet and a chain 1 at the ends when turning in each of the colorways. 

The second curvy bookmark from the right is crocheted in Tutu #7807. For this version I started with a 10 inch chain with an E crochet hook and then did one row of single crochet. Then for the next row I repeated the following to the end:

(single crochet, double crochet, triple crochet, double crochet)

Next I cut the yarn and went back to the first chain row. I did one more row of single crochet. Turned and completed the repeat row one more time.

For the third bookmark from the right I crocheted in Popcorn #7800, Tutu #7807 and Dachshund #7803, ice cream colors. I chained with an E crochet hook for 10 inches. I did one double crochet row with each color and a chain 2 at each end when turning.

I heavily steamed each bookmark with my iron to make them lay flat and to make the stitches crisp. I let them air dry.

There you have it! I hope you will try a bookmark for yourself or for a quick and lovely little handmade gift. A sweet gesture like this could really brighten someone’s day.