Spud says (the blog)

Archive for ‘Things We Love’

August 8, 2013

New Adventures

Well, dear readers, can you believe it has been nearly a year since we started our adventures together? In that time, I’ve learned to knit with proficiency, conquered socks, made silly sing-along videos, offered up some free crochet patterns, befriended color, interviewed many a LYS, and even traveled to TNNA (where I got to meet some of my interviewees in person!). Phew! What an activity-filled year. :)

But, the time has come, dear readers, for me to say goodbye as I move on to new adventures. I am so thankful for your support, comments, and interest during this time we had together! Never fear, though, as Cousin Katie will still be here to talk about patterns and projects, continue the LYS interview series, host some giveaways, and more! Whoo!

Flying Neighbor Jillian

Neighbor Jillian is off on new adventures!

July 18, 2013

This is Your Brain on Knitting


Photo © Knitic

Your brain waves translated into the stitches and patterning of a scarf–what a beautiful marriage of science and art!

(Click here if you cannot see the video.)

For the first NeuroKnitting case study, Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” Aria and its first seven variations were used. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired these brain waves, click here.

Photo © Knitic

The EGG measured relaxation, excitement, and cognitive load to “make tangible our implicit states.”

Don’t you wonder what the same scarf would look like if different music been used?

Or perhaps reading? What if you were reading about NeuroKnitting?

To get truly meta, one might use the EGG to monitor their brain waves while knitting… to be translated into a knit scarf!

Visit the Knitic website.

July 11, 2013

Color Lessons

Lately, color seems to be a topic that is much abuzz. Several crafty blogs I visit have talked about color as a main topic lately and I seem to be in the same mode!

Despite what my typically drab wardrobe may belie, color has always been a part of my life, just in other avenues (such as toy collections, yarn crafts, knickknacks, and home decor). But, even though I appreciated it, there were still nuances of color that I felt awkward around, like I was sitting next to someone named Color whom I greatly admired and wanted to say a million things to, but we had nothing in common so instead we just sat there in uncomfortable silence.

Neighbor Jillian and Color, Awkward Together

Self-portrait of Neighbor Jillian and Color, sitting awkwardly next to each other.

I really liked Color, but I also wanted it to like me back so that I could be good at mixing it up in fun ways that “just work.” I thought that combining colors in a pleasing way was an innate talent only some people were gifted with and that was that. It never occurred to me that, like most things in life, even if you can’t do it innately, you can learn—a conclusion I came to shortly after I began working at Spud & Chloë World Headquarters. Here, I am surrounded by relentlessly creative people for hours every day. It is impossible not to be inspired by their verve and emboldened by their experimentation, encouragement, and guidance. Where once I had no mentor, I now have many.

So, for the past year, I have embraced Color wholeheartedly where crafting is concerned, and we have been forging our friendship with a vengeance! First, through the Patchwork Market Tote, then through brightly colored socks (here and here). And, when I saw Cat’s Pajamas

Cat's Pajamas

The adorable Cat’s Pajamas!

…the opportunity to really challenge myself by choosing bright, unrealistic colors was undeniable. Fortunately, the Spud & Chloë Sweater palette leaves lots of room for experimentation!

Tabby Full

Meet Tabitha Taloola Lulubelle, or Tabby for short. What fun and funkalicious colors!

And then because that wasn’t enough (go big or go home, right?)…

Patch Full

I may have gone a little overboard.

…I made ol’ Patch here as a friend for Tabby.

The basic color challenges to overcome with this pattern were the same for both cats, despite how different they look: 1) choose colors that are funky but still pleasing and 2) determine the color order (MC vs. CC for Tabby and stripe sequence for Patch). Although I had decided on Grape Jelly #7516 as the MC and Jelly Bean #7513 as the CC, I entertained the notion of doing Tabitha’s face in Jelly Bean instead of Grape Jelly, even though the pattern calls for MC for the face color. It was plainly obvious after finishing the Bag Body, however, that the darker color for the face would balance everything out better. While some people (like Cousin Katie!) have gut instincts that tell them things like that from the get-go, I am still learning through doing. And, for Patch’s stripe sequence, though it may look like I randomly threw the colors together, he is actually the result of half a dozen back-and-forths until I finally felt I’d nailed it with both the color choices and their sequence.

What is extra fun about this pattern is that the colorplay doesn’t end when the knitting is done because you must still give your cat a face. You can sit it on your lap, look into its eyes (figuratively), and see who your cat is going to be. Tabby ”felt” like a girl, and she wanted a girlie face with eyelashes and bright eyes that contrasted with her “fur,” whereas Patch loudly noted that he is a boy thankyouverymuch who wanted a more understated face since the rest of him is so crazy. Well, okay, then. Their wish was my command!

Cat Faces

So much fun designing their faces!

There you have it. Patch and Tabitha: Lessons In Color.

And, do you know what I’ve learned through all this practice lately, and most especially with Tabitha and Patch? There is no wrong way to do color. Yes, one combination might appeal more to one person than another person, but what matters most in the end is what you like. Color is one of those puzzle pieces of life that shows us that no one person is the same as another person, and that’s what makes the world go ’round. That is the beauty of color—the beauty of every creative activity, really. Just go for it with confidence, a desire to learn, and an open mind, and see where Color leads you!

Neighbor Jillian and Color Wheel

Yay! An official portrait of Neighbor Jillian and Color who are now friends! No more awkwardness!

What will your Cat’s Pajamas look like? Leave a comment to let us know!

The Details

Pattern: Cat’s Pajamas
Designer: Alison Stewart-Guinee
Size: Bag height, from base to neck: 11”
• Bag circumference at widest point: 20”
• Bag base diameter: 5½”
• Head height: 5”
• Head width: 6”
Needle: Size 5 (3.75mm) 16″ circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
• Size 5 (3.75mm) double pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Spud & Chloë Sweater, Tabby shown in Grape Jelly #7516 and Jelly Bean #7513
• Patch shown in Ice Cream #7500, Watermelon #7512, Billiard #7527, Firefly #7505, Moonlight #7507, Cedar #7515, Grass #7502, Pollen #7508, Jelly Bean #7513, Beluga #7521, Lake #7504, and Life Jacket #7528
Pattern available at the Spud & Chloë Pattern Store


Skip the zippered pocket: Under the Bag Body section, for rows 55 – 62, continue to k all rnds in the Stripe Pattern (rather than doing the BO and p). Finish rnds 63 – 96 as directed, but begin stuffing the body with polyfill at rnd 84, making sure that the final result is just a bit of squishiness without making the cat rotund (the cat body was designed to be floppy, not stiff, so its size is too exaggerated to be conducive to tons of stuffing). Cinch the top of the body closed, then make the head as directed. At rnd 30, begin to add polyfill, making sure the head is plumper and more structured than the body. Skip the “Stuffing the Head” section completely, and finish the rest of the cat as directed!

How to do Patch’s stripes: Arrange twelve colors (A – L) of Spud & Chloë Sweater in an order you like. This will become the color sequence and works out to an even four repeats of the colors for the body. For the Bag Body section, CO with Color A and complete rnds 1 and 2 with Color A, rnds 3 and 4 with Color B, rnds 5 and 6 with Color C, etc., until rnds 23 and 24 have been worked with Color L; rep color sequence for rnds 25 – 48, rnds 49 – 72, and rnds 73 – 96. For the head, reuse the color sequence to make the cat even more colorful, either by matching the color sequence of the head to the body by starting the head with Color I at rnd 90 (this is how Patch was made) or simply start over with Color A. When done with the Bag Body and the Head, choose a different two-color pairing for each of the legs, arms, and ears (reusing each of the twelve colors once more), then select a final color pairing for the tail.

Ol' Patch

See where Color leads you!

June 27, 2013

Kids & Dolls

Brandy Fortune, co-editor of Petite Purls, has a new book for children. With her experience as a designer and editor, this book is sure to feature well-written, kid-friendly, colorful patterns.

Photo © Brandy Fortune

But Just Like Me Knits: Matching Patterns for Kids and Their Favorite Dolls is not just your average book of knits for boys and girls. It holds nineteen awesome knit projects for kids plus nineteen matching patterns for 15- to 18-inch dolls!

Photo © Brandy Fortune

Matching play clothes and pajamas are typical, but not of such versatile pieces of clothing like the Elliot Cabled Vest–for school, for play, for any special occasion. The cables look harder than they are and prove easy-to-memorize. Brandy thinks of what knitters really like to make!

The Details

Pattern: Elliot Cabled Vest
Designer: Brandy Fortune
Size: 2 (4, 6, 8, 10) years
Needles: Size 8 (5mm) needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
• Size 7 (4.5mm) needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Spud & Chloë Sweater, shown in Chocolate Milk #7524
Pattern available in Just Like Me Knits: Matching Patterns for Kids and Their Favorite Dolls

Photo © Brandy Fortune

The stag motif stitched into the Brett Deer Vest is simple and subtle–exactly the kind of detail both parents and kids (and dolls!) love.

The Details

Pattern: Brett Deer Vest
Designer: Brandy Fortune
Size: 4 (6, 8, 10, 12) years
Needles: Size 6 (4mm) needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Spud & Chloë Sweater, shown in Cider #7515
Pattern available in Just Like Me Knits: Matching Patterns for Kids and Their Favorite Dolls

Photo © Brandy Fortune

The Quinn Blanket is reversible, colorful, and simple, but not boring. All things busy parents look for in a good blanket design. Easy to wrap your little one in, and to wrap up their doll friend when they aren’t using the blanket themselves!

These knits are a ton of fun to make and will be enjoyed for years to come. Filled with classic concepts, this book is a welcome addition to any knitting library.

The Details

Pattern: Quinn Blanket
Designer: Brandy Fortune
Size: 20 (36½)” x 20 (36½)”
Needles: Size 9 (5.5mm) needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Spud & Chloë Sweater, shown in Ice Cream #7500, Barn #7518, Pollen #7508, Grass #7502, Splash #7510
Pattern available in Just Like Me Knits: Matching Patterns for Kids and Their Favorite Dolls

June 19, 2013

Psst… Hey, Cousin Katie

Remember that pointer you gave me about the Cuphea Socks?

You were right! They are right up my alley, and I’ve started on them already…

Pink Cuphea Socks

So many fun textures!

They are the most challenging socks I’ve made yet, with twisted rib stitches and lace combined with chart reading—all techniques I’ve never done before! Sadly, I have not been able to knit these flower-like socks outside amongst the actual flowers because the weather here in Minnesota, as you know, has been cloudy and cold for so long. Instead, I knit them inside and stay cozy while dreaming of the days when our weather here will finally be warm and sunny!

Thanks for the tip!

Tickled Pink

New color in Spud & Chloë Fine! Tickled Pink #7826

By the way, dear dears, the blossomy color I’m using to make these socks is one of our new Spud & Chloë Fine colors! It is called Tickled Pink, and…

Black Pepper

New color in Spud & Chloë Fine! Black Pepper #7825

…it is very striking with our other new color, Black Pepper! It is the blackest black ever—a color I’m sure many color workers have been waiting for! :D (Personally, I completely adore these two new colors together, and am plotting how to use them in a project.)

The Details

Pattern: Cuphea Socks
Designer: Rachel Coopey
Size: Foot circumference – 7½”
• From back of heel to tip of toe – 9″
Needles: Size 1½ (2.5mm) double pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Spud & Chloë Fine, shown in Tickled Pink #7826
Pattern available in Knitscene, Accessories 2013

Close-up of Pink Cuphea Socks

A close-up of the loopy cuff, as well as the rib and lace details.