Indie Design Gift-a-Long 2018

It’s that time of year! Time for the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, an annual KAL/CAL where knitters and crocheters join together on Ravelry to make their holiday gifts. It’s a big virtual party with lots of good cheer, games, and great prizes (yarns, patterns, stitch markers, project bags, and more).

There’s also an amazing sale on patterns by more than 300 independent knit and crochet designers. Thousands of patterns are discounted 25% with the coupon code giftalong2018. You can use this same coupon code for each participating designer’s sale patterns, and you use it as many times as you wish now through midnight EST, November 29.

This year, I’ve got 20 patterns in the sale, including quick gift ideas, like the Fee-bee Mitts or Erste Cowl, as well as larger projects you might want to make for yourself after the GAL ends, like the Mount Pollux Pullover or the Notch Shawl.

Whether you’re participating for the first time, or returning for your sixth year, the Indie Design Gift-a-Long is a fun way to get inspired to cast on and finish your holiday gift making (and maybe try a tasty recipe or two!). Here are links to help you jump right in:

Indie Design Gift-a-Long

Bonnie Sennott: GAL Sale Patterns

GAL 2018 Participating Designers

Rhinebeck Preview in Black and White

With only a couple of weeks left until Rhinebeck, my mind is occupied with almost nothing else. Today it’s sunny and in the 60s — really perfect weather for a day wandering around the beautiful Dutchess County fairgrounds. I hope we have exactly the same weather for Rhinebeck. Last year, it was far too hot for wearing wool sweaters, so fingers crossed we don’t have a repeat of that.

Secret Rhinebeck Shawl

Secret Rhinebeck Shawl

This year Rhinebeck is even more exciting because I’ve created a new design just for the fair. It’s knit in the exclusive Rhinebeck 2018 colorway dyed by an indie dyer who will be there. Since I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the color, my photos are all black and white for now. But trust me, it’s lovely — really, really lovely — a soothing and calming color that goes with just about everything.

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The yarn will be revealed and the pattern released during the days leading up to Rhinebeck. For now, I can share that it’s a garter stitch and lace crescent shawl, in two sizes. After working the lace, you transition to easy garter stitch short rows (very easy — you don’t even have to pick up the wraps, because they are hidden within the garter stitch). After the lace — which does require being attentive to a chart or the row-by-row written instructions — the project is refreshingly simple, perfect for taking along to a cafe or knit night.

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The dyer and I both wanted this design to be a one-skein project. After knitting lots of swatches and trying out different lace ideas, I made my best calculations about yardage and cast on. And at the end, when I cast off, there were only a few yards remaining. Not ideal! So I wrote up the pattern for two sizes, one 60 inches long and the other about 66 inches. The smaller size definitely requires just one skein (or about 425 yards of fingering weight); the larger one calls for two skeins (475 yards). I did manage to squeeze the larger size out of just one skein, but it was a very close call and it’s possible the skein had a little extra yardage in it. I don’t want anyone to lose at “yarn chicken” when they’re nearly finished, so I’m recommending two skeins for the larger/longer size.

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Will you be at Rhinebeck (or another fiber festival) this year? I’m getting more and more excited every day about seeing so much beautiful and inspiring knitwear all in one place, plus petting sheep, and goats, and alpacas, and bunnies. I can’t wait!

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Traveling Wonderberry

My Wonderberry Shawl is making the rounds of fall fiber festivals. Last weekend, it was on display in the Periwinkle Sheep booth at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival. This coming weekend, it’s traveling to the Adirondack Wool and Arts Festival in Greenwich, New York. To celebrate, the pattern is 15% off on Ravelry with the coupon code WONDER15.

Wonderberry Shawl  by Bonnie Sennott

Wonderberry Shawl by Bonnie Sennott

The shawl will be on display all weekend in the Periwinkle Sheep booth. She’ll have lots of colors of her fingering weight Watercolors II yarn (the shawl is in Rose Quartz) plus all her other gorgeous yarns.

Are you excited that the fall fiber festival season is here? Which are you going to? I’ll be at Rhinebeck — can’t wait!

The Wonderberry Shawl sale ends Monday, September 24. Find the pattern here.

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Sweater Sale and 100 Knits Book

100 Knits: Interweave's Ultimate Pattern Collection

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Have you seen Interweave's beautiful new book of their most popular knitting patterns? I'm excited to have two designs in it — Chili Pepper Cardigan and Drafter's Cardigan

100 Knits: Interweave's Ultimate Pattern Collection is a gorgeous compendium of hats, cowls, cardigans, pullovers, shawls, socks, and more. At 500+ pages, with lots of full-page photos and patterns by many, many talented knitwear designers, it's incredibly inspiring to flip through — a knitting reference you'll treasure for years to come. The only problem will be finding time to make everything in it that you love!

100 Knits: Interweave's Ultimate Pattern Collection is available both as a print book and a downloadable ebook from Interweave. It's also available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sweater Sale!

As summer draws to a close, it's time to start planning your fall sweater knitting — and to make that easier, I'm having a sale. Save 20% on Blue Peninsula pullover, vest, and cardigan patterns in my Ravelry pattern store with the coupon code SALE20. The sale ends Tuesday, September 4 and you can use the code as many times as you wish. (Magazine and yarn collection patterns are not included.)

Happy Labor Day Weekend (if you're in the U.S.) and happy fall knitting!

My Year of Garter Stitch

I guess working on my Next in Line afghan from January to July just didn't give me quite enough time with garter stitch this year: recently, I cast on two more garter stitch projects. One is a shawl design (only partly garter stitch — lots of lace, too) that will debut in October, just before Rhinebeck.

The other is a square for an MDK Team Blanket.

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Over at Mason-Dixon Knitting, Ann and Kay have started the Team Blanket project, encouraging knitters either to coordinate a blanket for someone in need or to volunteer to knit a single square. It started last month when Ann decided to knit a blanket for Tia Coleman, who lost nine family members in a boating disaster. "Knitting a blanket," she wrote, "is not going to fix anything, but knitting is a measure of time spent thinking about someone."

Teams quickly formed. Since I had a little extra knitting time to spare, plus stash yarns at the ready, I signed up for Team Blanket No. 1. We are making squares for a woman who lost her fiance in a farming accident just two weeks before their wedding. Her story moved me to tears. I thought about her a lot as I knit my square, wishing her the strength to get through this sad time and find a way to go on, somehow.

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Our team has used the Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern, by Kay Gardiner (all proceeds go to Mercy Corps, an international relief organization) — a simple yet striking design that brings together miters (paired decreases that magically create a square) with log cabin blanket construction.

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The pattern is easy to follow and the knitting went quickly. In a way, it's like colorwork, in that you feel motivated to keep knitting to see how it's going to look when you finish each section.

As with any project, knitting a swatch is a good idea. I started off with the recommended needle size, but after finishing one miter I could see it was coming out too large. Dropping down a needle size and swapping out a too-heavy yarn fixed the problem. I ended up using Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair (in ice blue) for the center cross and Thelma & Louise from Wing and a Prayer Farm (left over from my Enallagma Shawl) for the borders. My finished blanket square measured exactly the size needed after blocking. I guess the knitting deities were smiling on me!

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If you've got a cat — or a friend with one — you can put your swatch to good use by turning it into a catnip toy. I folded mine in half, sewed up three sides, filled it with catnip, then sewed the final edge.

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I enjoyed knitting this clever mitered square so much! It doesn't require a lot of yarn or a lot of time — just a desire to join other knitters in creating comfort for someone who is suffering. Here are links, if you'd like to get involved:

Mason-Dixon Team Blanket blog post
Mason-Dixon Forums (join a team here)
Mitered Crosses Blanket FOR MERCY CORPS

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