New Pattern: Cordulia Cowl

Another dragonfly-inspired design has winged its way into my Ravelry pattern store! The Cordulia cowl is now ready for your knitting needles.

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To celebrate its release, I'm having an introductory sale: through Sunday, September 24, save 25% on Cordulia with the coupon code COWL25.

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Named after a genus of dragonflies, Cordulia is one of three lace accessories in my new ebook collection, Dragonfly Days. The first was the Enallagma shawl, released earlier this summer. The third and final design will be released this fall. 

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The Dragonfly Days collection was born during the early days of summer 2017. As I swatched a pretty lace stitch for the Enallagma shawl, I really loved two things about it — the way the cast-on edge naturally formed gentle scallops, and the way parts of the lace resembled dragonfly wings.

The more I worked on the shawl, the more I wanted to explore the lace stitch further. So I played around with it, modifying it to create Cordulia. From start to finish, designing this cowl was an enjoyable process, and I can't wait to work with this beautiful lace stitch again for another design.

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I’ve always been fascinated by dragonflies. I love their glittering wings. I love watching them dart back and forth over the water. Although they’re so quick, they make me want to slow down — slow down and pay closer attention to the natural world. 

With the Dragonfly Days patterns, you can keep the warmth of summer and the magic of dragonflies near you all year long. I hope you enjoy them — and thanks very much for reading!

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Sneak Peek: Cordulia Cowl

The marigold-dyed cowl is finished! Here it is, just off the needles and ready for blocking:

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I'm going to call it Cordulia, which is a genus of dragonflies. This is my second dragonfly-inspired design (the first was the Enallagma Shawl). I used a 24-inch US5/3.75mm circular needle and one skein of Foxhill Farm DK-weight Cormo, which I dyed with marigolds (it took about 295 yards/270 m). If you're curious about how I dyed the yarn, there's more info in this blog post.

Here's how it looks after a light blocking:

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I've finished the pattern and sent it off to my tech editor, so it won't be too long before it's ready to publish. Look for it before the end of September.

P.S. The Free Fall KAL in the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group just kicked off the other day. Each week as we knit, we're also discussing a different topic. This week the topic is: What are your favorite resources for learning new techniques? Books and magazines, classes at your LYS, online videos, your knitting group?

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You're welcome to join the KAL anytime between now and November 15, to share your thoughts and knit any of my designs (new projects and WIPs are both welcome). At the end of the KAL, prizes will be awarded randomly to posts in the discussion thread, so everyone who participates has a chance to win, even if they don't finish their project. Hope to see you!

Free Fall KAL

Ready to start a new knitting project for fall? Come join us for the Free Fall KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group! 

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Lasting just over eight weeks, the Free Fall KAL allows plenty of time for finishing larger projects, like sweaters or shawls, without feeling pressured. To keep the focus on the fun of knitting and getting to know fellow knitters — rather than on finishing by a deadline — the prizes will be awarded randomly to posts in the discussion thread. So if you tend to avoid knitalongs because you're not a fast knitter, or just don't like knitting with a deadline looming over your head, this is the KAL for you.

The Free Fall KAL starts next Friday, September 15. I hope you'll join us!

Marigold Dyeing

Happy Labor Day! I hope you're having a beautiful holiday (or a beautiful regular day, if you're not in the U.S.). I've just come back from a ride on our local bike trail. So glad I went! It's sunny, a little breezy, and an all-around gorgeous day. After yesterday's rain, there was no doubt in my mind that today had to include getting out in the sun.

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Sunshine has been the theme of this long weekend (even during the rainy parts), thanks to my latest natural dyeing experiment. I decided to try dyeing with marigolds, using some Cormo yarn that I bought from Foxhill Farm's booth at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair in May.

It was a great success! The flowers produced a beautiful sunshine-y yellow:

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After consulting my favorite natural dyeing reference — Jenny Dean's Wild Color — I gathered both fresh and spent blooms from the pots of marigolds on my balcony and let them soak in water for about an hour. I strained the water into my dye pot — an old enamel pot I picked up for a few cents at a yard sale — and heated it to a very gentle simmer. While the dye pot was heating, I prepared the yarn by immersing it in a mordant bath, using a tablespoon of alum for the mordant. 

After letting the dye pot cool down a bit, I added the yarn, which immediately took on a yellow hue. So pretty! I then put the pot back on low heat and let it stay there for about 45 minutes, gently stirring the yarn every so often to promote even dyeing (but not agitating it, to avoid felting).

I'm not usually drawn to yellows for knitting but this one is just so cheerful. I couldn't wait to get it on my needles. While the yarn was drying, I got busy plotting and charting. I've already cast on a new design — a dragonfly-inspired cowl, using a modified version of the lace stitch from my Enallagma Shawl. It's coming along nicely:

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Every time I wear this cowl, it will remind me of summer sun lighting up the marigolds. I'm definitely going to save more of the spent blooms for dyeing again later this fall, after Rhinebeck (I'm hoping to pick up more yarn for dyeing there).

Have you ever dyed with marigolds? Or other flowers? Please leave a comment — I'd love to hear how it worked out for you. 

P.S. We're starting to plan the next KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. I've set up a poll to find out what everybody would like to do. Hope you'll come and vote, and join us for fall knitting fun!

Etsy Labor Day Sale

Did you know about the big Etsy Labor Day Sale? Shops across Etsy are participating, with lots of beautiful items by talented artists and designers on sale.

In my Blue Peninsula shop, patterns for cowls, scarves, mitts, sweaters, shawls, socks, and more are discounted 25% through Monday (Labor Day in the U.S.). No coupon code required. Happy shopping!

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New Pattern: Tortoise Shells Socks

Just published: a new sock pattern called Tortoise Shells.

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Worked in the round, from the top down, the Tortoise Shells Socks feature cable-and-lace medallions (like tortoise shells in miniature) encircling the upper leg. Pretty columns of faux-cable twists flow down to the foot, set off by a bit of 2x2 ribbing at the sides.

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They're knit with 385 yards/355 m of sock yarn. The sample pair are in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, in a colorway called Strange Harvest. I loved this color more and more as I knit the socks. Its rich blend of golds and greens seemed absolutely perfect for fall.

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The pattern provides complete instructions for a women's medium size. You can easily make them smaller or larger by changing the needle size and/or yarn weight. The stitch patterns are given in both written form and charts, and instructions for grafting the toes using kitchener stitch are included.

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The test knitters in the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group have had very positive things to say about these socks: "This pattern is practically knitting itself!" "Pattern is well written and creates a lovely finished project." For me, it's been great to see that these socks look good in both variegated yarns and solids. View finished and in-progress Tortoise Shells here — maybe they'll inspire you to make your very own!

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P.S. Did you know Etsy is holding a big Labor Day Sale? I'm excited to join the fun, with 25% off individual knitting patterns in my Etsy shop, August 31 through September 4. There's no minimum and no coupon code needed. It's a great time to stock up on patterns for your fall projects!

A Sock's Progress

I saw a few red leaves on a maple tree in the backyard the other morning. That, and new coolness in the air, made me realize it's time to savor every remaining moment of summer.

I love the freedom and ease of wearing sandals, but even so, I'm not sad to start thinking about wearing my hand-knit socks again. I've had a great time the past few weeks working on a new sock design. It's got cables and lace, something for everyone. The yarn is the luxurious Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere. Cashmere! Always a happy fiber to knit with.

One sock is done and I've sent the pattern to the tech editor. That's progress!

If you're interested in test knitting, please keep an eye on the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group — I'll post a call there pretty soon.

Throwback Thursday: Pomegranate Pullover

It may be far too warm for wool sweaters right now, but that doesn't stop me thinking about them! The knitting part of my brain is already obsessed with fall. In fact, this week I cast on my Rhinebeck sweater. It's a new design — a pullover in worsted weight yarn (Quince & Co. Owl). More on that in the weeks ahead.

With this post, I'm introducing a new feature on the blog — Throwback Thursdays. Every now and then, I'll post about an "oldie but goodie," to introduce newer followers of my designs to patterns they may not have seen yet (and maybe remind longtime followers about designs they forgot they had in their queues!).

So let's start with one of my most popular sweater patterns, the Pomegranate Pullover.

Knit in sportweight yarn (I used Quince & Co. Chickadee), Pomegranate features a wide lace panel on front and back, deep hip ribbing, and crisp twisted ribbing on the sleeves and neckband. It's worked in the round from the bottom up and there's not much seaming — just the shoulders — because the set-in sleeves are worked top down, using short rows to shape the sleeve caps. 

It's a versatile, classic pattern that looks terrific on many different figures. More than 170 knitters have posted finished Pomegranates on Ravelry, and it's really wonderful to see the wide range of colors and yarns they've used with great success. It's also nice to read how some knitters have made modifications to make this design truly their own. Some have knit long sleeves, some have converted it to a cardigan, others have skipped the lace on the back, and some have changed up the style of the neckband.

Want to give Pomegranate a try? The pattern is on sale in my Ravelry store for 25% off today through Sunday, August 6, with the coupon code POM25. Happy fall knitting!