New Pattern: About Town Mitts

Just released on Ravelry — my new About Town Mitts:

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Sometimes it’s the simple, uncomplicated things that lift your spirits and make life extra sweet — like a pair of cozy fingerless mitts. Worked in the round on double-pointed needles, the About Town Mitts knit up quickly and easily (no charts to follow). Through February 25, they're on sale in my Ravelry pattern store for just $4.50.

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The pattern provides instructions for three sizes — S, M, L — using 120–150 yards/110–140 m of sportweight yarn. For the sample pair, I chose The Fibre Co.'s Road to China Light, a sportweight blend of alpaca, silk, camel, and cashmere. It's soft and sumptuous, a luxurious treat for your hands. 

The About Town Mitts would be a lovely project to make for the Treat Yourself KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. There's still plenty of time to cast on — the KAL (and the pattern sale) continue through February 25. I hope you can join us!

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New Pattern: Evergreen Mountain Pullover

The spring 2018 Interweave Knits is now arriving in stores and mailboxes, and I'm excited to share that I have a new sweater design in this issue.

All photos copyright 2018 Interweave/F&W Media/Harper Point Photography

All photos copyright 2018 Interweave/F&W Media/Harper Point Photography

The Evergreen Mountain Pullover features striking sculptural and textural lace on the back and front, with patterning that’s easy to memorize and satisfying to knit. The body of this drop-shoulder pullover is worked from the bottom up in pieces and blocked before the neck and sleeves are worked in the round.

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The call for submissions for this issue asked designers what they'd most like to wear on a springtime retreat in the mountains. (Doesn't that sound nice? Wish I could go on one!) For me, the perfect sweater would have a casual, relaxed fit — a comfy pullover that's warm enough for chilly mornings when layered over a heavy T or a long-sleeve shirt — but also comfortable on warmer spring days when worn over something lighter, like a camisole.

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I do love to knit sweaters in the round, but for Evergreen Mountain I chose to knit the front and back separately. That’s because the stitch pattern really needs to be well blocked to open up and reveal its true beauty. I knew the blocking would be much more effective if the pieces were knit flat. After the sides are seamed, though, the sleeve stitches are picked up around the armholes and then the sleeves are knit in the round, downwards to the cuff.

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This sweater has one of my very favorite neckbands: a 1x1 rib that’s knit to double the intended length, then folded to the inside and sewn in place. It’s a little more knitting than just binding off in pattern, but I think the end result is well worth it.

For this design, I didn’t use the same ribbing on the hem, sleeve cuffs, and neckband. Instead, they’re all different — the split hems have a wide rib that flows perfectly into the lace stitch of the body, while the sleeves have a 2x2 ribbing. I could have used the wide rib on the cuffs, but I felt it would have been out of proportion on that narrower circumference.

Evergreen Mountain is knit in a worsted weight wool — Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok worsted. It was new to me, and I liked it quite a lot. It worked beautifully for the lace stitch and produced smooth and even stockinette on the sleeves. I would love to knit another sweater with it, especially with one of the natural (undyed) colors.

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If you'd like to cast on your own Evergreen Mountain, you can get the spring 2018 Interweave Knits online — or look for it at your LYS or local bookstore.

Logalong Progress

Confession: When I cast on for the Fringe and Friends Log Cabin Make-along, I wasn't sure how far I'd get with it. For one thing, there was the worry about garter stitch being boring (turns out it's not boring at all, but soothing, meditative knitting). I also wondered if this project would steal too much time from other design work, causing me to put it "on the back burner." That concern also has disappeared — my Next in Line throw is actually moving along at a respectable pace, and so far it's left me sufficient time for other projects.

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The design process is enormously satisfying. I'm enjoying choosing the next color for each log, deciding how wide it should be, and where the contrast color stripes should be placed. The more I knit, the more I love these colors! Knitters have contacted me to ask about them, so here they are: Cascade 220 in Silver Grey, Straw, and Doeskin Heather, and Valley Yarns Northampton in Lake Heather.

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I might be a little too smitten with it — Snickers has had to remind me to take breaks and remember that "all knitting and no play" makes me a very dull girl.

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Yesterday, I finished Log No. 8 and began No. 9. The piece now measures about 22 x 24 inches, so I've got a ways to go — I'm aiming for about 48 x 60 inches. I don't want it to be as small as a baby blanket, but it's not meant to be a bedspread, either.

What do you think? What's your preferred size for an afghan or throw?

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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 Josef 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. Lo and behold, I had 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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There is 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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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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