Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: First Knitting Magazine

The first knitting magazine I ever bought was the premiere issue (1984) of Knitters. It featured articles and designs by Elizabeth Zimmerman, Meg Swansen, Deborah Newton, editor Elaine Rowley, and Lizbeth Upitis, among others.

First knitting magazine I ever bought #tbt #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #elizabethzimmerman

As a new knitter, teaching myself to knit by making the funny but instructive sampler in Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop, I studied the magazine page by page, immersing myself in a fascinating world where I learned about the guernsey tradition, strong opinions about wool (Zimmerman's "The Opinionated Knitter" column), and charts (as an artist who loved grids, these especially appealed to me).

After I finished Fee's book and sampler, I went on to create my first sweater, which was knit well enough but I never wore. I made the mistake of putting a colorful band of stranded knitting above the body ribbing. I realized too late that a big band of color around my hips was not especially flattering. (I gave that one away.) 

My next sweater was for my ex-husband, knit in a beautiful tweedy dark green wool. For that one, I used some of the motifs from Harriet Adams's Tiffany's Gansey and Zimmerman's Gaffer's Gansey, both in this issue of Knitters. My sweater, though, was not a gansey but a bottom-up raglan knit in the round—I was still staying safely within the realm of Fee's instructions for raglans. It fit him perfectly! He loved it and wore it for years, often when bicycling, and looked quite dashing in it.

Leafing through the magazine today, I see that though fashions and pattern-writing conventions have changed, some things have not—there's an amusing piece by Millie Sass titled "The Great Rip-Out," which sings the praises of ripping out.

Here's to new beginnings #bluepeninsula #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #beginagain

Indeed! I engaged in a bit of ripping-out therapy myself just this weekend as I worked on some design submissions.

What was the first knitting magazine you ever bought? Do you still have it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

First Rhinebeck

Pretty critters ...

Four-legged beauty at Rhinebeck #rhinebeck #rhinebeck2014 #nysheepandwool

Rhinebeck 2014

Rhinebeck 2014

Caught the very end of the critter parade #rhinebeck #rhinebeck2014 #nysheepandwool

Pretty yarns and other acquisitions ...

Rhinebeck 2014

Rhinebeck Acquisitions
(got to meet Heather Zoppetti, author of Everyday Lace!)

Rhinebeck 2014

Sister silliness ...

All kinds of critters at Rhinebeck! #rhinebeck #rhinebeck2014 #nysheepandwool
(Betsey)

Proof I Was There
(Me, wearing Meadow Road)

Beautiful foliage  ...

Rhinebeck 2014

Rhinebeck 2014

And so many sweaters!!! I didn't even try to photograph them. There wouldn't have been time for anything else.

Boots, bag, leaves #rhinebeck #rhinebeck2014 #nysheepandwool

That about sums up my first Rhinebeck experience. It was a blast!



Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Pattern: Meadow Road

Meadow Road, a long-sleeve women's pullover featuring pretty lace and twisted stitch details on front and back, is now available in my Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy pattern stores.

Meadow Road Pullover
Pattern: Meadow Road, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone (80 percent wool, 20 percent silk) in the Bison colorway
Needles: US #5/3.75mm and US #3/3.25mm

Meadow Road—named after the road in Montague, Massachusetts, where the photos were taken—utilizes a mostly seamless construction. It's worked in the round on a long circular needle from the bottom up to the armholes; front and back are then worked flat and joined at the shoulders. Sleeves are worked in the round, top down, using short rows to shape the sleeve caps.

The sweater's A-line silhouette is designed to be attractive on a wide variety of figures; bust sizes range from 32.25 inches/82 cm to 51.75/131 cm. For a loose, comfortable fit as shown in the photos, choose a size with 4–5 inches/10–13 cm of positive ease at the bust. If you prefer a closer fit, choose a size with 2–3 inches/5–8 cm of ease. The sample was modeled with approximately 4.5 inches/11 cm of ease.

Meadow_Road_Back_3

Meadow_Road_Hem_1

I'm not a fan of crew necks—I find them uncomfortable to wear, and they're rarely attractive on me. So I gave Meadow Road the kind of neckline I like best: wider than a typical crew neck but not as wide as a boatneck. I finished the neckband with reverse stockinette, which rolls inward, creating a neat, clean edge. The same reverse stockinette edging is worked on the sleeve cuffs.

Meadow Road is one of those sweaters you can easily adjust to your body and your preferences. The length of the sleeves can be modified by working fewer rounds before the gathered cuff. The body can be lengthened or shortened as well, by working the lace chart more or fewer times after the hem. (Keep in mind that if you add length, you may need more yarn.)

Meadow_Road_Full_1

This sweater evolved from my Bluet cowl design, published last spring. I originally envisioned a cardigan with the stitch patterns from Bluet placed on each side of the buttonbands. But I wasn't entirely happy with how the lace flowed into the neck shaping. So I shifted the stitches around to make them symmetrical, added reverse stockinette in the middle for texture, and changed the plan from a cardigan to a pullover. Voila! Meadow Road was born.

Meadow_Road_Back_1

The placement of decreases within the center panel gives the appearance of cables, but in fact there are no cables—it's all lace: just decreases and yarn overs. 

Meadow_Road_FB_2

The yarn is a lovely wool/silk blend from Stitch Sprouts, called Yellowstone. From the first swatch, I was smitten with it. Yellowstone produces stockinette that's smooth and even and shows off textures really well. I'd use it again in a heartbeat!

Meadow_Road_Full_4

Credits: Thanks are in order to my sisters Jenny, who tech edited the pattern, and Betsey, who graciously modeled. The scarf is naturally dyed cotton gauze, from Cozy Memories

If you're at Rhinebeck Saturday and run into me, you'll get to see the sweater in person—I'll be wearing it there.

Thank you very much for reading!




Monday, October 13, 2014

Ready for Rhinebeck

I'm all set for Rhinebeck—the sweater is done! Now I'm busy editing photos while the tech editor reviews the pattern. I plan to publish it in the next week or two.

Meadow Road

I'll be wearing it Saturday at Rhinebeck. My sister Betsey (who modeled the sweater) and I are going for the first time. We can't wait to experience the legendary festival.

Meadow Road

The yarn is a new sportweight merino/silk blend from Stitch Sprouts called Yellowstone, in the Bison colorway. On US5 needles, it knit up at a blocked gauge of 5.75 stitches to the inch. It's the same yarn I recently used for a new sample of my Bluet cowl. Once again, it produced beautifully even stitches and a lovely fabric.

Meadow Road

If you're still working on your Rhinebeck sweater—good luck!

P.S. The naturally dyed cotton gauze scarf is made by Sonia of Cozy Memories. I love her natural colors, use of organic materials, and exquisite sense of design.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Neckwear KALProjects, Part II and Giveaway Winner

September flew by—and so did the Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL. More than 30 projects were cast on—and most were finished by the end of the month. Today I thought I'd share with you a few more of the finished cowls and scarves. 

Shallows was a popular pattern in the KAL, which didn't surprise me as it's one of my most popular patterns. I think one reason is that it lends itself to a wide variety of yarns—and, you can make it as either a cowl or a scarf.

Two knitters' Shallows demonstrated how very different yarns can result in quite different but equally beautiful projects. Sylvia used Dream in Color Smooshy, a fingering weight merino, and beads that closely matched her lovely plum-colored yarn:


Natalia, on the other hand, used a pink laceweight 100% silk yarn (Dye for Yarn's PaperSilk) with large mint green beads:


Although I designed the original with wool, Natalie's Shallows shows that the pattern works really well with silk. Another scarf knit up in a silk yarn (Handmaiden Sea Silk) was Dana's lovely silver Kernel:


Beautiful lace knitting, isn't it? Makes me want to get some Sea Silk on my needles soon!


Julie used Hazel Knits Entice MCN, a fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend, for her Biscuit. I thought I'd share this particular photo because it lets you see the gorgeous color up close and because it shows how nicely she blocked the cowl, using T-pins to accentuate the scallops. 

Knitters made Bluet in a variety of yarns for the KAL, and we discovered that it works just as well in a worsted weight yarn as in DK or sport weight. Elisabeth, for example, used Cascade 220 Heathers for her pretty Bluet:


What's next for Blue Peninsula KALs? We're taking a break during October, as I ready a couple of new patterns for release. Coming up in November will be the annual Indie Design Gift-a-Long. The exact dates haven't yet been announced, but I suspect there will be news very soon.

In January, after the holiday gift knitting season is over, we'll have a Selfish Knitting KAL. So mark your calendars! I'll post details in the Blue Peninsula group later this year. Or, subscribe to my newsletter to stay in the loop.

And now, without further ado, the winner of the Bluet pattern and Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone giveaway: The Random Number Generator picked comment #8. 


Congrats, Beth! I've added the pattern to your Ravelry library and hope you love the yarn. Thanks to everyone who left comments about blocking. I learned some useful tips, and hope you did too.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FO and a Giveaway

Ever since I published Bluet last spring, I've wanted to make another in a fall color. So that's what I cast on for the Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL, and I'm so glad I did. Knit in a lush blend of wool and silk, it's beautifully soft against the skin, and the color is perfect, too. 

Caldera Bluet_1
Pattern: Bluet, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone (80% wool, 20% silk) in the Caldera colorway
Needle: US 4/3.50mm

Caldera Bluet_4

Caldera Bluet_5

This was my first time knitting with Yellowstone, a new DK weight wool/silk blend from Stitch Sprouts. With a brand-new yarn, you never know how things will go—but from my first swatch, I fell in love. Yellowstone knits up beautifully, producing even stitches that look perfect even before blocking. It's got great stitch definition, and the silk content gives the fabric a subtle, satisfying luster.

Caldera Bluet_3

My first Bluet used around 425 yards (nearly all of two skeins) of Louet Gems Sport, so when the Yellowstone arrived, I wound up both skeins right away. But, this new Bluet used just under one skein—about 270 yards. The difference in yardage was surprising, but the good news is I have a full skein of Yellowstone left. So I've decided to give it away, along with a copy of the pattern.

Bluet

Have you got a favorite way to block cowls or other projects knit in the round? To block Bluet, I gave it a soak in Eucalan and water, then let it dry on a towel. I used a rolled-up dinner napkin on each end and shifted it every few hours, like a scroll or a conveyor belt, so that creases didn't form.

Yelliwstone

For a chance to win this skein of Yellowstone and the Bluet pattern, just leave a comment about your favorite method of blocking by midnight EST, Friday, October 3. I'll use a random number generator to select the winner. Be sure to leave your Ravelry username or email, so I know how to contact you. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumn Equinox Flash Sale


In celebration of the autumn equinox, I'm having a one-day sale in my Ravelry pattern store. Use the coupon code FALL2014 to get 20% off any Blue Peninsula pattern or ebook.

Sale ends tomorrow (September 23) at 8:00 am EST. 

Happy fall!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Neckwear KAL Projects, Part I

Shawls, scarves, and cowls are flying off the needles in the Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL, and today I thought I'd share a few of them with you. One of the first projects finished was Beth's Peppernut, which she knit in the Topaz colorway of Isager Strik's Highland Yarn.


Beautiful, isn't it? In her project notes, Beth links to this video tutorial for working nupps with a crochet hook. I haven't tried this technique, but now that I've watched the video, I definitely want to give it a try. It looks so easy!


Several knitters are making Shallows for the KAL, some with beads and some without. Hannah knit hers with a natural undyed laceweight yarn called Mimi. I think her substitution of laceweight for the fingering weight specified in the pattern worked out really well. Her elegant Shallows has a beautiful halo and looks incredibly soft and cozy.

When it comes to color, I often gravitate toward neutrals, so it's a revelation to see my designs knit in bright, saturated colors. Like Heather's Stagger Cowl, in a stunning electric blue colorway of Berroco's Vintage DK:


Another example: Amy's lovely Skipperling. She says the hot pink colorway of Malabrigo Sock, chosen by her ten-year-old daughter, will be a welcome pop of color on a cold winter day. I agree!


Another bright FO: Arlene's Warble Cowl. She used a rich red colorway of Quince & Co. Chickadee (Pomegranate):


Judi's elegant Skipperling, just off her needles, shows how the pattern works in a more subdued color. She knit hers with Skacel's HiKoo yarn in a colorway called Hawaiian Volcanoes. 


Bluet is another popular KAL pattern. For her Bluet, Sherri used a deep blue shade of Handwerks Silky DK. What a great choice of yarn—its stitch definition is perfectly suited for this design. (By the way, Sherri's a prolific KAL member—she's also already finished a lovely lavender Shallows.)


My own Bluet, which I'm making in Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone in a burnt orange color called Caldera, is coming along ...

First knitting for today: a few rounds of Bluet in Yellowstone #bluepeninsula #bpnk2014 #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knit #cowl

See more of the KAL FOs here. We're continuing through the end of the month, and quite a few people are making two, even three, projects. It's not too late to join—you can cast on any time. Hope to see you!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September Events

The fall craft fair and fiber festival season is here! I can't wait to go to Rhinebeck next month. I'm working on a Rhinebeck sweater, but other than that I haven't thought a whole lot about October yet. There's so much happening this month that I need to focus on before I can wrap my head around next month. (I'm sure you know the feeling!)

Next Saturday, I'll be participating once again in Art Behind the Barn at my CSA, the Brookfield Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts. It's 8:00 am–1:00 pm, Saturday, September 20, at 24 Hulst Road (off Bay Road in South Amherst, just east of South East Street).

Couple more ... Does my studio smell nice! #embroidery #lavender  #sachets

Art Behind the Barn features handmade items by farm shareholders—everything from greeting cards to jewelry to items for the home. We set up our tables under the lean-to behind the barn, and the event happens rain or shine. 

These two use an up cycled blouse and ties #embroidery #upcycle #lavender

I'll be selling my embroidered lavender/chamomile sachets, linen/cotton bags, and Moleskin journal covers. 

Linen and cotton project bags

Linen and cotton project bag with Lotta Jansdotter fabrics #sewing

Detail #sewing

The bags are lined with contrasting fabrics and are the perfect size for small to medium knitting projects. And the journal covers can be used again and again—just put in a fresh notebook when you've filled the old one.

Moleskin journal covers (reusable)

The following Saturday—September 27—I'll be teaching embroidery at Knack: The Art of Clever Reuse in Easthampton. You'll learn basic embroidery techniques as you stitch a simple design that you can use to make a sachet. 

Stitching up lavender-chamomile sachets today for Art Behind the Barn 9/20 #embroidery #lavender

We usually don't have time during the two-hour class to sew the sachet, but you'll take home instructions for that—along with your own fragrant bag of chamomile and lavender. You don't need previous embroidery experience and all supplies are provided. Sign up at Knack

Last one! Might be my first sewing session where I didn't accidentally sew two wrong sides together

Knack is located at Eastworks, a renovated mill in Easthampton, Massachusetts. After class—if you can manage to pry yourself away from Knack's amazing collection of upcycled crafting supplies (fabric, threads, paper, yarn, needles, paint, burlap bags, books, charms, etc. etc. etc.)—it's fun to explore the building. It's home to shops, artist lofts, yoga and ballet studios, my favorite hair salon (The Lift), restaurants, and more. 

If you're in western Mass., I hope you can make it to Art Behind the Barn or Knack. Wherever you are, I hope you have a beautiful Sunday.