It's Almost Here! Sunshine + Socks KAL

We’re gearing up to knit lots of socks this summer in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. This Friday is not only the first day of summer, it’s the first day of the Sunshine + Socks Knitalong.

You can make any of my sock patterns for this KAL, and they’re all on sale through Friday, June 21. Use the coupon code SUNSHINE to save 20% (you can use the code as many times as you like).

If you love lace, cast on Plumtree or Couplet. If color is your thing, go for the Rowhouse Socks or Sugar Dusted. Find more ideas in my Ravelry socks/mitts/hats pattern bundle.

A sock is the kind of knitting project you can fit into any summer day, no matter how high the temps go or where you happen to be. A few rounds here and there, and before you know it, you’ll have a new pair of socks for fall (or gift giving). And you needn’t feel rushed — the knitalong lasts until September 1.

Join us on Ravelry for a fun summer of sock knitting!

LINKS

Downy Has Flown to Round 2!

The results are in: of the initial 64 patterns in this year’s Mason-Dixon Knitting March Mayhem bracket, 32 have advanced to Round 2 — and I’m thrilled that Downy is among them.

Today and tomorrow (March 26 and 27), you can vote for four patterns in each of the bracket’s categories: Head & Hands, Neck & Shoulders, Pullovers, and Cardigans. The top vote getters will advance to the next round on Friday.

Thank you so much for the love you’ve shown for Downy. Be sure to vote in Round 2! And just a reminder: through April 15, you can save 20% on the pattern in my Ravelry store. Use the coupon code MAYHEM to get the discount.

Happy voting — and happy knitting!

New Pattern: Bay Road Cowl

Knitters of cowls, lovers of cables and lace: I’ve got a new design that’s just for you!

The Bay Road Cowl has just been released on Ravelry, where it’s on sale for 20% off. Use the coupon code COWL20 to get the discount.

Named after a winding road with views of apple orchards in my hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, the Bay Road Cowl features gently curving cables and pretty wrapped cluster lace stitches, all framed by crisp seed stitch.

The cowl is knit flat, end to end, in fingering weight yarn, beginning with a provisional crochet cast-on. Finishing is simple: after the piece is blocked, the two ends are joined with a three-needle bind-off. The pattern includes instructions for both the cast-on and bind-off, in case either of those techniques are new to you.

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With a circumference of 51.5 inches/131 cm, the Bay Road Cowl can be worn either in a single loop or — on those coldest days — doubled up for extra warmth. In yesterday’s freezing temperatures, it kept my neck toasty warm all day.

For this design, I used a special skein of yarn that I purchased from White Barn Farm Sheep and Wool at Rhinebeck last fall. I fell in love with both the lovely color and the soft Cormo wool. This is a new, 2-ply fingering weight version of their DK NEST yarn. It’s not in the Ravelry database yet; according to the label there are 365yd/334m in the 100g skein. The cowl used nearly all of the skein.

The 20% off sale ends this Sunday, February 3. Happy knitting — and if you’re dealing with record-breaking cold, I hope you are warm and safe!

Flash BOGO Sale!

Buy One-Get One Sale

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To celebrate my birthday, I’m having a flash sale in my Ravelry pattern store! When you place two individual patterns or ebooks in your cart, you’ll get the lower-priced one FREE, with the coupon code BIRTHDAY (sale ends at midnight tonight — Monday, January 14). The sale applies only to my self-published patterns (patterns from books, magazines, or yarn companies are not included).

Treat Yourself KAL Starts Today

Today’s the first day of the Blue Peninsula Treat Yourself Knitalong. All of my designs are eligible for this fun annual KAL. You can cast on today or anytime during the KAL, which runs six weeks and ends February 25. Come knit with us and treat yourself to a special handknit garment or accessory!

I’m making a new pair of Indikon Mitts for the KAL, using handspun Springdelle Farm Cormo that I dyed with hickory nuts. The sheep and farm, their wool, the hickory nuts, the designer (me), and the knitter (also me) are all from western Massachusetts, making this project about as local as it can get.

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The Treat Yourself KAL is always a fun event. As an added bonus, lovely prizes of yarn and other goodies will be awarded to FOs. And one prize will be awarded randomly to a post in the discussion thread — so even if you don’t finish your project, you still might win a prize. I hope you’ll join us!

Sneak Peek: Downy Hat

A few years back, when Kate Davies released her DK weight yarn Buachaille, I joined her Seven Skeins Club and had a wonderful time making three different pairs of Pawkies for my sisters. Since then, the leftover yarn has remained in my stash, and every now and again I’d look at it and ponder what it might become.

Watching downy woodpeckers at my bird feeder recently, a lightbulb went off: wouldn’t it be great to design a stranded-color hat inspired by the woodpeckers’ colors and markings? (I especially like the red streak on the male downy’s head.) I weighed my leftover colors of Buachaille and realized I definitely had enough, if I was careful about how I designed it.

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The ends are woven in, the hat’s already blocked, and a pom-pom has been made. Today I sent the pattern off to my tech editor, and I’ve arranged for a photo shoot. So everything’s on track to publish the pattern by year’s end.

There are four sizes, with circumferences of 16 (18, 20, 22) inches/41 (46, 51, 56) cm. You’ll need one skein each of Buachaille in Highland Coo, Haar, Squall, and Ptarmigan (120 yards/110 m per 50 gram skein). The pattern provides exact amounts for each size, should you want to substitute yarns.

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I was undecided about adding a pom-pom, so I took a poll on Instagram and in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. Knitters voted for a pom-pom by a margin of 2 to 1! You can make your pom-pom in any of the four colors — I went with Highland Coo (the red-orange color) because I had the most left over of that color.

Do you have a favorite method for making pom-poms? I use the Clover pom-pom tools, which work quite well. This time, I also tried something new: steaming my pom-pom. I first read about it at Mason-Dixon Knitting and now I’m a convert. Steaming is easy and adds a little extra poof and polish, taking a pom-pom from pretty nice to pretty perfect. I dangled the pom-pom in front of my Dritz steamer, twirling it this way and that for a couple minutes (watching it carefully because I didn’t want to felt it). If you don’t have a steamer, I imagine steam from a tea kettle would do just fine.

Look for the Downy Hat pattern later this month. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying a peaceful and happy holiday season!

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