New Designs: Senna & Seneka

The idea for the Senna design came from my test knitter and patron Nivine who liked the diamond shaped cable I used for the Gyro dress and wanted a long cardigan with pockets in the  cable pattern. I thought this was a brilliant idea as the cable is fun to knit. Now what yarn should I use? I heard about the Neighborhood Fiber Co. Organic Studio Worsted in several podcast and was very keen to try it out. I found their vivid hand dyed colours inspiring and wanted to test the hard twist knits up, so I picked the Woodberry shade. I sent a request to the yarn company and wondered if they would sponsor yarn for a design and I had a long oversized cardigan in mind. The Neighboorhood Fiber Co. agreed to sponsor yarn for the cardigan.

Each sleeve and front has one cable repeat, while the back has four cable repeats at the center. I began knitting the sleeves, then the back and finally the fronts. What happened next is that I ran out of yarn less than halfway up the fronts and ordered more, this time enough to make a matching straight skirt to go with it. In the end I made the skirt with an a-line instead and had to undo my swatch to have enough yarn to finish it. Running out of yarn is a familiar issue, indeed!

In the mean time Neighborhood Fiber Co. had replaced worsted yarn base with an organic base and the yarn was only available in 4 ounces/113 gram skeins not 8 ounces/226 gram skeins, so I bought 6 more skeins to have enough… I used my first oversized cardigan Irpa as a template for the Senna pattern. The rib should be looser, hence I changed the stitch pattern for it. I liked the tuck as a transformer from one stitch pattern to the next. The stitch count is the same for the bottom pattern as for the cable pattern hence the tuck is not dead straight.

The gauge for both the cardigan – Senna – and the skirt – Seneka – is 20 stitches and 28 rows in stockinette stitch using a 4 mm/US 6 needle measures 10 cm/4″ square. I knitted both the cardigan and the skirt in size Small, but have graded both in sizes XS to 5XL. The bust measurement for the cardigan is from 102 to 191 cm/40.25 to 75.5″ with + 20-30 cm/8-11.75″ intended ease. The sample shown is 110 cm/43.25″ and I wearing it with + 22 cm/8.75″ ease, I stand 175 cm/5’8″ tall. The waist measurement on the skirt is from 76 to 132 cm/30 to 52″, while the hip measurement is from 86 to 156 cm/33.75 to 61.5″. I am wearing it with no ease on my hips.

Senna is a botanical name of Arabic origin meaning brightness and suited this long oversized cardigan with a deep v-neck and A-line shaping. Elaborate cables cover the center back, while only one single cable adornseach front and sleeve. A wavy tuck introduces the cables from the check rib bottom. Senna is knitted in the divine Neighborhood Fiber Co. Organic Studio Worsted with side pockets worked together with the front. Bespoke buttons act like small gems and highlight the beautiful hand dyed shade. Wear Senna with the matching Seneka; as a skirt or a poncho or a maxi hood.

The cardigan is knitted in pieces and seamed. The second part of the v-neck decreases on the fronts moves to the opposite side of the cable in order for the cable to continue to the shoulder. The two vertical side pockets are worked at the same time as the front with extra stitches for the pocket band, with the lining attached horizontally at the bottom and top of the pocket. 

Seneka, a nickname for Senna meaning brightness in Arabic. This is an A-line skirt with an elaborate cabled center that ends in a waistband; knitted like a hem in one piece with boot laces placed inside. Seneka is knitted in the divine Neighborhood Fiber Co. Organic Studio Worsted and can be worn as a skirt or a poncho or a maxi hood – all together with the matching Senna cardigan.

The skirt is knitted in pieces and seamed. If you want to adjust the length of the skirt, remove up to 8 cm/3.25″ or add an extra length before shaping the hip. The waist band is worked like a hem, with boot laces laid inside it before it is closed.

I made sure that all sizes have stockinette stitches in the sides of the skirt to avoid adding too much volume around your hips. Hence I did increase the number of cable repeats at the center for the different sizes.

The bespoke buttons are made by Siri Berrefjord and she has taken a number of brilliant photographs of them on the swatch, see the previous blogpost: Happy New Year! Welcome 2021!. A separate blog post is coming with all of those. You can also look forward to seeing this set worn by Olivia Lindtein during our photoshoot in November 2020.

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