Logging Along

Have you been following the new log cabin knitalong happening over at the Fringe Association blog? It's nicely open-ended: You can join anytime and make whatever you like using some form of log cabin construction. All sorts of log cabin projects are sprouting up in the #fringeandfriendslogalong Instagram feed, from very traditional to freeform blankets, to beer bottle cozies, to treasure bags, to an utterly genius translation of a Joseph Albers painting into a cowl. (Seriously!)

Intrigued (I've never made anything remotely log cabin-ish), I flirted with the idea of joining — then told myself no, that's crazy, I've got too much going on already. After all, I've got my own Treat Yourself KAL going full steam in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group, plus magazine projects to finish, design submissions to send in, and new patterns to prepare for publishing. In other words, a lot on my plate!

But in spare moments after Christmas I found myself getting more and more drawn in. I started perusing log cabin projects on Ravelry. I pulled out stash bins to see if I had anything that might work and discovered several leftover skeins of Cascade 220 in colors that played really well together. At the same time, I received the happy news that a friend was getting married! Well, that did it. I decided the perfect gift would be a log cabin throw . . .  or afghan . . .  or blanket (that part will get sorted out eventually).

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On New Year's Day, I cast on. With no plan. No sketch. No worrying or fretting in advance. I'm going to improvise and do what looks good, just as I do when painting or stitching abstractly. I may change my mind now and then and have to rip back, but that's OK. It's part of the process.

I'm using three colors of Cascade 220 from my stash (silver grey, straw, and doeskin heather), plus one color of Valley Yarns Northampton (lake heather) — which I did have to purchase.

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No predetermined plans, just one recurring design element: each log will have a few contrasting rows of the color that will be the main color of the next log. So the first log was grey, with straw stripes. The second log was straw, with doeskin heather stripes. And so on.

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After binding off each log, I'm reorienting the piece and picking up stitches along another edge. So each log is connected to the last yet knit in a different direction (see photo above). I'm keeping scrupulous notes, so I can write up the pattern later on. (The pattern will be called Next in Line.)

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I've thought about knitting a log cabin blanket before, but one thing held me back: all that garter stitch. I was afraid I'd get bored and never finish. But now that I've begun, I'm pleasantly surprised. So far, it's been a satisfying, joyful knitting project — even weaving in the ends has been fun (I'm weaving them in log by log, so as not to have a gazillion to deal with at the end).

It's a nice change of pace to knit something without referring to a chart, or keeping track of shaping. And it hasn't been boring because each log brings new creative decisions: what color should it be, how long and deep, how many stripes should there be, where should they be placed, etc. 

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The is open-ended, with no set deadline for finishing. Read all the blog posts about the Fringe and Friends Log Along here and see all the Instagram posts here. What do you think? Will you join the party?

Treat Yourself KAL Starts Today (and Sale Ends)

It's cast on time! The Treat Yourself KAL starts today in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. For the next six weeks, you're invited to join us as you knit yourself a special accessory or sweater.

Perhaps a new cowl? There's my newest pattern — Waverleigh — and lots of others to choose from. Just a reminder, all individual patterns in my Ravelry pattern store are 20% off through midnight tonight (Sunday) with the coupon code TREATYOURSELF.

Clockwise from upper left: Waverleigh, Singing Beach, Calliopsis, Birchleaf, Erste, and Cordulia

Clockwise from upper left: Waverleigh, Singing Beach, Calliopsis, Birchleaf, Erste, and Cordulia

A number of knitters are making the Rowhouse Socks for the KAL. I can't wait to see how they look in different colors! If you haven't done stranded-color socks before, this would be a wonderful pattern to start with. After the colorwork on the calf is done, the knitting is quite simple.

Rowhouse Socks, by Bonnie Sennott

Rowhouse Socks, by Bonnie Sennott

The Treat Yourself KAL lasts a full six weeks, ending on February 25. So there's plenty of time to delve into a shawl or sweater. Maybe a lace cardigan, like the Drafter's Cardigan, or a chic layering piece for spring, like the Mathews Street Vest? Both are available as PDF downloads from Interweave.com.

photo courtesy F&W Media/Harper Point Photography

photo courtesy F&W Media/Harper Point Photography

photo courtesy F&W Media/Harper Point Photography

photo courtesy F&W Media/Harper Point Photography

If you haven't got a lot of free time for knitting, then maybe a new pair of mitts might be perfect. (That's probably what I'm making.) Whatever you choose, I look forward to seeing you in the KAL!

The Blue Peninsula January sale ends midnight, Sunday, January 14!

The Blue Peninsula January sale ends midnight, Sunday, January 14!

Solstice to Equinox Project

It's winter solstice, always a happy day! I love this day so much, because from this point onward, the days will grow longer. As a morning person — or more accurately, a very early morning person — I'm excited that in the weeks ahead the sun will rise earlier and earlier.

I'm also excited to start a new project: Solstice to Equinox — Out of the Darkness into the Light. Organized by the 100DayProject, Solstice to Equinox invites you to "study, document, journal, create, practice, explore, make, observe, or initiate something new each week. This is meant to be a weekly hands-on visual, written, or audio interpretation of whatever interests you during the 13 weeks between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Whatever helps bring you out of the darkness. . . ."

Such a great idea! I already have a daily art practice in the form of a stitch journal, "Presence/Absence" (learn more about it at my Patreon page). So I don't want to add another art project to my already-full days. But one thing I would like to make more time for is swatching. Trying out new-to-me stitch patterns or combinations, or new-to-me yarns, is how nearly all of my knitwear designs come into being. Swatches are essential to keeping design ideas flowing. The more robust my "swatch stash," the better.

Plus, swatching is just plain fun!  I love discovering how a stitch on the page of a stitch dictionary looks "in real life." So with the goals of fun, creative play, and developing new designs, I'm going to swatch as much as possible in the 13 weeks of Solstice to Equinox.

Some of the yarns I want to swatch with, from left to right: Stitch Sprouts Crater Lake, Periwinkle Sheep Purpose, Bartlettyarns, Inc. Sport, and Bare Naked Wools Breakfast Blend fingering.

Some of the yarns I want to swatch with, from left to right: Stitch Sprouts Crater Lake, Periwinkle Sheep Purpose, Bartlettyarns, Inc. Sport, and Bare Naked Wools Breakfast Blend fingering.

There are no rules for the Solstice to Equinox project, other than doing something hands-on with your project at least once a week. So it's not as high-pressure as a daily project — you have some breathing room in when and how much you work on it. 

I'm also doing a personal yoga project. I'll be focusing on one pose a week, studying it in my various yoga books, trying variations, watching videos, and making an effort to learn the Sanskrit name (I'm pretty bad about that).

This week I'm starting with Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose). It seemed appropriate because these 13 weeks will be a bridge from fall, through winter, into spring. And also because I tend to avoid Bridge, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'll figure that out in the coming week!

Are you joining the Solstice to Equinox Project, or the 2018 100DayProject? Have you done a 100DayProject in the past? I'd love to hear how it went, or what your upcoming project(s) will be.

Happy Solstice!

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Yarn Giveaway

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Instagram yarn giveaway! I have two pairs of 100-yard mini skeins of American Sock by Pigeonroof Studios to give away -- the lovely yarn I used for the contrast colors in my new Rowhouse Socks.

To enter, head to my Instagram feed and follow the instructions on the yarn giveaway photo. (Don't leave a comment here on the blog -- only on Instagram.) Good luck!

Rowhouse Socks by Bonnie Sennott

Rowhouse Socks by Bonnie Sennott

New Pattern: Rowhouse Socks

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New in my Ravelry pattern store: Rowhouse Socks, a sweet colorwork design to brighten your winter knitting.

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A pretty row of houses circles the calf in these top-down socks knit in three colors of fingering weight/sock yarn. If you've never done colorwork before, the Rowhouse Socks are a great project for getting your feet wet (sorry about the pun — I couldn't resist!). The colorwork pattern is an easy 8-stitch repeat, and you never use more than two colors in any round.

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I knit them with yarns hand-dyed by Krista McCurdy of Pigeonroof Studios. The main color is her High Twist Sock (100% superwash merino) in the Picholine colorway. The two contrast colors are her American Sock (also 100% superwash merino), chosen from a mini skein set of six one-of-a-kind naturally dyed colors. Krista's colors are rich and vibrant, really perfect for colorwork knitting.

The pattern's now in my Ravelry pattern store. As always, you can save 20% with my Create Your Own Collection promotion: purchase four individual Blue Peninsula patterns at the same time to automatically receive a 20% discount on all four patterns (no coupon code required).

Thanks very much for reading, and happy sock knitting!

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Sneak Peek: Rowhouse Socks

Kitchener stitch — do you love it, or hate it? When I first learned to knit socks, grafting the toes with kitchener stitch made me nervous. Incredibly nervous. I'm not sure why, because if you take your time and follow the steps, it's not difficult. Maybe it was just a big fear of "messing up." 

Anyway, I grafted the toe of a sock yesterday — and it went without a hitch. I have no nervousness whatsoever about kitchener anymore. So if it makes you feel queasy, hang in there! As with many things in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

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The sock in question is my next pattern, the Rowhouse Socks. They're knit in hand-dyed superwash merino by Pigeonroof Studios (the same indie dyer whose gradient set I used for my Purlish Mitts). For this design, I tweaked the little houses from my Rowhouse Hat so they'd work top-down, and jazzed it up a little by using three colors instead of two.

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These socks require focused attention at the beginning, but once you're past the colorwork, the knitting is easy. That makes them a great travel project and perfect for taking to knit night or work. They also make good walk-and-knit projects, if you're so inclined. As you can guess from these photos, I love to walk and knit — as long as it's not freezing cold. 

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The pattern's written and edited, and the socks are blocked. All that's left is a photo shoot. So they'll be ready for release soon — probably next week!

Indie Design Gift-a-Long: From Neck to Toe

Cowls and socks — it's hard for me to imagine getting through winter without them. I wear both around the house — as well as out and about — nearly every day in cold weather. They're fun to knit, they're warm, and they help me keep my heating bills in check.

Cowls and socks also make thoughtful gifts! So on this last day of the Indie Design Gift-a-Long Sale, I thought I'd highlight some of the cowl and sock designs you can find among my sale patterns. The sale ends at midnight tonight — use the coupon code giftalong2017 for a 25% discount on these and other patterns.

Clockwise from top left: Cordulia, knit in Foxhill Farm Cormo DK; Calliopsis, knit in two colors of The Fibre Co. Meadow; and Singing Beach, knit in Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II.

Clockwise from top left: Cordulia, knit in Foxhill Farm Cormo DK; Calliopsis, knit in two colors of The Fibre Co. Meadow; and Singing Beach, knit in Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II.

Clockwise from top left: Tortoise Shells, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere; Couplet, knit in Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors Sock 75/25; and Plumtree, knit in Luna Grey Fiber Arts Altair.

Clockwise from top left: Tortoise Shells, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere; Couplet, knit in Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors Sock 75/25; and Plumtree, knit in Luna Grey Fiber Arts Altair.

Are you making any projects for the Gift-a-Long? I've cast on the Hermia Hat by Sarah Jordan (see my last post). I'm not sure if it's a gift or for me, though — that's TBD! 

I'd love to know what you're making — please leave a comment, with a link to your project(s) or the pattern(s). It's always nice to be introduced to new designers and patterns.

Though the Gift-a-Long Sale ends at midnight tonight, the GAL continues through December 31. There are threads in the forum for every category, with lots of chatting and, of course, games and prizes. Hope to see you there!

Indie Design Gift-a-Long: Hats

A five-day weekend means I have plenty of time to browse the patterns in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long on Ravelry. So much to ooh and aah over! So many great choices! I find I'm especially drawn to hats — they make great gifts for kids, women, and men, and they're quick and easy to knit. 

Here are a few that have caught my eye so far:

Hermia, by Sarah Jordan. This one has already landed in my Ravelry library — I purchased it as soon as the sale began. I love the simplicity of the design and how it makes such elegant use of twisted stitches. It's perfect for those special skeins of sock yarn in my stash. (And if you like fingerless mitts, check out the matching Hermia Mitts, also on sale!)

Hermia, by Sarah Jordan. This one has already landed in my Ravelry library — I purchased it as soon as the sale began. I love the simplicity of the design and how it makes such elegant use of twisted stitches. It's perfect for those special skeins of sock yarn in my stash. (And if you like fingerless mitts, check out the matching Hermia Mitts, also on sale!)

Leah B. Thibault's Woodland Hat would be a thoughtful gift for nature lovers or hikers on your gift list. It's knit in two colors of sportweight yarn, with several sizes ranging from child to adult large. Even better — there are matching mittens (also on sale)! 

Leah B. Thibault's Woodland Hat would be a thoughtful gift for nature lovers or hikers on your gift list. It's knit in two colors of sportweight yarn, with several sizes ranging from child to adult large. Even better — there are matching mittens (also on sale)! 

Another great colorwork hat is Jennifer Dassau's Bubble Tea. Isn't it fun? Such an original design, and one that will look good in pretty much any color combination. Plus, it's worked in worsted weight yarn, so the knitting will go fast.

Another great colorwork hat is Jennifer Dassau's Bubble Tea. Isn't it fun? Such an original design, and one that will look good in pretty much any color combination. Plus, it's worked in worsted weight yarn, so the knitting will go fast.

The GAL definitely includes more knitting than crochet patterns, but crocheters are by no means left out. Crochet queen Sara Delaney's slouchy Sweet Clementine beret features spiraling bobbles and crisp ribbing on the brim. It's a great stash-busting project because you can make it in fingering, sport, or DK weight yarn.

The GAL definitely includes more knitting than crochet patterns, but crocheters are by no means left out. Crochet queen Sara Delaney's slouchy Sweet Clementine beret features spiraling bobbles and crisp ribbing on the brim. It's a great stash-busting project because you can make it in fingering, sport, or DK weight yarn.

Another design with great texture is Amy van de Laar's Beeswax Hat. I love everything about this close-fitting toque, from the color to the clever mini cables. Another plus — the pattern gives instructions for working them without a cable needle. If you like the hat, you might fall equally hard for the matching cowl, mitts, and scarf.

Another design with great texture is Amy van de Laar's Beeswax Hat. I love everything about this close-fitting toque, from the color to the clever mini cables. Another plus — the pattern gives instructions for working them without a cable needle. If you like the hat, you might fall equally hard for the matching cowl, mitts, and scarf.

Lastly, for the men on your gift-knitting list: I Can't Control My Brain, by the endlessly inventive Barbara Benson. Knit in sport weight Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone, this unisex hat has a super deep brim to keep ears toasty warm. Best of all, it's perfect for all of us Ramones fans.

Lastly, for the men on your gift-knitting list: I Can't Control My Brain, by the endlessly inventive Barbara Benson. Knit in sport weight Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone, this unisex hat has a super deep brim to keep ears toasty warm. Best of all, it's perfect for all of us Ramones fans.

These and other gift-worthy designs by independent designers are on sale for 25% off through November 28 with the coupon code giftalong 2017. After the sale ends, the GAL continues through December 31 with lots of games, prizes, and general knit and crochet merriment.

Are you making any hats for holiday gifts? Please share your favorite patterns in the comments!

LINKS
Indie Design Gift-a-Long
My GAL Sale Patterns