Spud says (the blog)

Archive for August 2009

August 8, 2009

Rambling – Free Pattern

rambling-cement

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

I am excited to offer you Rambling today as a free downloadable pattern. The pattern is fun because you are in charge of placing your own cable twists. There is no rhyme or reason, when you feel one of the three columns of knit stitches on the right side of the scarf needs a twist you throw one in. You’re the designer and no two versions of Rambling will ever be the same.

When I started knitting my own Rambling I didn’t want to be bothered with counting a single row or repeat. I wanted to see where the road would take me. You will enjoy making this scarf like no other because it will hold your interest all the way to the end. It is exciting to see how the various columns turn out.

rambling-on-form

The reason Rambling is the perfect first cable project for any level of knitter, even the newest of the new, is because the cable twist is the easiest sort of cable and choosing when to place the twist gives the knitter an understanding of how spacing the twists will give different looks to each column. It is an instant and simple study of easy cables.

evan-in-rambling

Here is what you will need:

Spud & Chloë Sweater, 2 skeins ( I used Rootbeer but any color or even stripes would be fantastic!)

US size 9 needles ( or size to give a 4 stitches per inch gauge)

Cable needle

Tape measure

Note: I made my Rambling for a man. I think a scarf around 62-inches is the perfect length for an average height man so I stopped at 62-inches. If I were making this scarf for me or for a woman I would have kept going until I used up all of the 2 skeins of yarn.

For the back story on Rambling click here.

Have fun, Knitters! You are going to absolutely love knitting and wearing and gifting this lush, scrumptious cable scarf. I can’t wait to see how your versions of Rambling turn out!

Click here to download free Rambling pattern

August 6, 2009

Up Next

rambling-cement

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Recently a dear friend and colleague of mine, Trent, had a family member pass away. Whenever I hear of sad news that effects friends or family members the first thing I always think of is what I can do for them or make for them. Making things for someone during a sad or stressful time always makes me feel better and more importantly my hope is that it will make the other person feel better. Since Trent is in New York I can’t physically be there to help so making something was definitely in order. I think a lot of knitters feel this same way.

Out of my concern and sadness for my friend this beautiful, lush, cabled scarf emerged. It will be perfect for him. In fact, I just mailed it off to him this afternoon. This scarf is the next free pattern for Spud says! I want to spread the love I sent to my friend to all of you as well. 

I am naming this scarf, Rambling. If you look closely you will see that there are three columns of rambling cables. I’ll tell you how to make your own rambling cables in the pattern, it is really fun. I loved the name especially when I looked up the definition in the dictionary.

Rambling:

1. aimlessly wandering.
2. taking an irregular course; straggling: a rambling brook.
3. spread out irregularly in various directions.

 

Anyway, it’s a perfect name to fit the scarf. I used two skeins of Spud & Chloë Sweater in Rootbeer, a gorgeous dark brown. I worked on US size 9 needles at 4 stitches per inch. Rambling is an excellent scarf for a man or woman. Get your yarn and needles ready to go! You are going to love this pattern. It is incredibly simple and it will give you a fantastic and impressive looking result.

Well, that’s it for today. I’ll get the free pattern up within the next day or two.

I’ll be rambling on….

August 4, 2009

Lulu’s Story

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

In the last post I threw out the notion that if any of the designers wanted to share their behind the scenes story of their Spud & Chloë pattern design I would love to share it here.  I asked Rachel Russ, who designed the Lulu Leggings, if she had any fun insight into how these playful and colorful leggings came to be. She is so wonderful, I couldn’t have written it any better so I am sharing her writing with you. You will enjoy her thoughtful process of design and how she intertwined her family roots right into the leggings.

Here are the photos and note Rachel sent me:

vintage-patterns

Lulu Leggings had an interesting start. I think because I am new at designing, and this business, I am figuring it out as I go along! I do a lot of trial, have a lot of error, and occasionally come up with something that works.  Everyone’s process is different, so mine is probably a bit more unconventional.    

Much of my knitting is influenced by my great grandmother who came to the USA from Riga, Latvia, when she was in her 60’s. She watched me when I was a baby and a young child, and she spoke only in Latvian. We had a lot of one sided conversations! She was always knitting or gardening when we spent afternoons outside in her yard. If the weather was bad, sometimes a whole sock would emerge from her needles before lunch. I loved her balls of yarn and would watch her fingers fly with the needles. My heritage is something that greatly influences my knitting. I put alittle bit of great grandma and grandma in most of what I knit up for myself. They were my two biggest knitting influences.
I have been gifted a stack of old Latvian knitting magazines and booklets that were my grandmother’s when she went to a Latvian Textile School. She recently found lots of knitting treasures in an old box that came out of storage. It’s not hard to read a color chart, so English isn’t necessarily needed to “read” them. Inspiration comes from vintage weaving charts in those old clothing booklets as well. Along with more updated books available on ethnic color work for techniques and particulars, the library is my other choice for browsing! 

fair-isle-swatch

Fair Isle leg warmers was the concept I was given to work on from Blue Sky Alpacas. They gave me a couple of descriptions with the type they were looking for and then they turned me loose! 

I was pretty excited to try out this new line of yarn—not to mention addicted to it instantly after working with it. The new FINE yarn colors were so intriguing to me I started swatching the colors together to see how they looked. For me, swatching is fun! 

lulu-legging-fair-isle

I’m a “do it” person—and while I may like something I see in a picture, I have to work it out myself to understand the construction and the feel of it. I may not like how it knits up, or I may change something to the stitch pattern to make it workable for the look I’m after. 

I make several squares of stitch patterns and color ways, or knit small tubes in the round to try out a new technique. I pieced those elements I liked together to create the Lulu Leggings. After I selected many inspirational designs, I started knitting them in swatches with different colors to see what “spoke” to me. I might combine 2 different designs to come up with a new one on graph paper first. Then I let the yarn and the needles do the work.  

The owner of Blue Sky Alpacas was particularly taken with a color swatch and the shapes in it—so I had my main element to work with. From there I swatched and visited the frog pond a lot, to come up with the final project. 

The diamonds were in too much of an order in my first attempt, random was more the look needed, so I mixed it up a bit more and came up with the final piece (see above). The cuffs were worked on a separate swatch and I tried until I found one that would be easier on the leg and stretchy, also not be overbearing to the Fair Isle on the leg part. 

lulu-leggings-stripes

The striped leggings were much easier to work up. I just took random stripes and colors and knit until the right combination showed itself.  While I am not a fan of frogging, I have found I am much happier knitting as I go and writing things down. I don’t panic anymore when I have jump into that frog pond, I just console myself with how much better the design and colors will look after I get it “right.” How things looks on paper, for me, is not necessarily how it looks once it’s knit up. I tend to make a lot of changes as I go along. I cross out, scribble, highlight and jot down notes continually as I go along to keep track of those changes. Colored pencils are a must along with graph paper. 

I find every designer’s process of birthing their designs fascinating! Much thought and effort goes into each project differently for everyone. 

Thank you for sharing my designing story!  Taking a peek behind the scenes may inspire someone else to pick up their needles and yarn and design their own masterpiece! 

Rachel, your hard work and efforts really turned into a beautiful project in the end. You must be very proud! Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. You show how thoughtful, purposeful knitting with a little family history wrapped inside can make a fantastic project in the end. I need a pair for me and a couple more for my daughters. Lovely.

In other brief news, I dropped off the giveaway items off to the wonderful Andrea or Selkie on Ravelry today. Turns out she works at the University  of Wisconsin right here in Madison. Who knew? It was fun to meet Andrea and she is very excited to try out the yarn and the pattern and the pattern box and the pom tree. Congratulations!

August 2, 2009

Let’s Try That Again

sweater-yarn-stacked

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Well, unfortunately for the first winner of the giveaway the deadline has expired and I need to select a new winner. And without further ado…the winner the second time around entered the following comment:

July 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm Andrea says:

I love a giveaway and have desperately wanted to try this yarn. I’m Selkie on Ravelry…

Yay, Andrea!! Congratulations. Now, Andrea you have two days to contact me. My email is always on the sidebar under, “Contact Susan.” That means if I don’t hear from you by the end of Tuesday I will select a new winner on Wednesday. Hopefully Selkie you will see this!! Pssst…if you know Andrea tell her she won.

On to some other news now, look here for a fantastic version of the Hoot Hat. Loop is a great stockist if you have any Spud & Chloë needs and Craig is working up a bunch of the patterns. I will write about this hat in more detail a little later.

You know, if any of the other Spud & Chloë designers out there have behind the scenes sketches, photos of the work in progress or fun background information about their design(s) for the first collection of patterns, please let me know and I’d love to post about it here. I love that type of background information, that’s the best. It kind of gives you a different perspective on the finished pattern, I think.

Oh, and I have one more wonderful thing to share, well, two wonderful things. Alana of the Never Not Knitting podcast did a fun review of Spud & Chloë on her latest episode #21. Take a listen if you have a chance! The other thing is that she has come up with a beautiful little sweater out of our Sweater named Chloë. It is really cute and you would have enough yarn to knit up a Cupcake or a Watermelon Hat on the side with some of your left overs. Plus Alana is a watermelon lover just like me! Gotta like that. Pop on over to check out her blog and podcast and Spud & Chloë pattern, you won’t regret it.

I’m crossing my fingers for Andrea, winner #2. I’ll keep you all posted.

I just remembered another fun thing I forgot to mention earlier. I did an interview on the fantastic podcast called, Ready, Set, Knit! The hosts are Steve and Kathy Elkins of Webs. It is interview #138. I talked about how I got involved with the Spud & Chloë line and then I spill some secrets about the naming of Spud & Chloë. You can upload it to your ipod or whatever you use or you can listen right on your computer. Jump over to take a listen if you are interested!