Friday, February 05, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 5

January is complete, on to February ...

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 29

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 30

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 31

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 32

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 33

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 34

Stitch Journal 2016: Day 35

This month I'm layering linen scraps that I dyed with walnuts collected from my backyard last fall. So the piece will have a bit of the yard in the very fabric.

I'll take finished photos of the January piece after I've stretched it on a canvas ... which I don't have yet ... I need to order them ... all in good time!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

New Pattern: Purlish Mitts

New pattern for a new month: my colorwork mitts called Purlish are ready for you to knit!

Pattern: Purlish, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: 240-yard mini skein set from Pigeonroof Studios, in the Sahara Desert colorway

They're on sale 25% off in my Ravelry pattern store through Friday, February 5, with the coupon code PURLISH. They're also included in Simple Colorwork, an ebook that offers both the Purlish Mitts and my Rowhouse Hat for just $8.00.


While the Purlish Mitts may look complicated, they're really not—if you've knit socks or any other project in the round on double-pointed needles, you should have no trouble with this pattern. The stitches are just knits and purls, and the colorwork is quite simple. The pattern provides instructions for two sizes and includes helpful print and online resources for knitters new to stranded colorwork.


These mitts offer a great way to use fingering-weight gradient sets like those from Pigeonroof Studios to maximum effect. My challenge in designing them was to devise a sequence that wouldn't use more than 40 yards of any of the six colors and that flowed attractively from one color to the next.. It took a couple of tries for me to settle on a sequence I really liked, but before long it all came together. 


If you want to substitute yarns from your stash, that's no problem. The pattern provides the weights/yardage you'll need for each of the six colors. They'll look as good in bright colors as they do in neutrals. Here's a pair knit in the Bloody Mary colorway from Pigeonroof Studios (aptly named, don't you think?):

Purlish Mitts, by Bonnie Sennott

Big thanks to speedy knitter Heather (afeistyknitter on Ravelry) for knitting up the Bloody Mary sample, to my sister Jenny for her careful tech editing, and to my sister Betsey for her inspired modeling. I really loved this Bowie/Heroes-inspired pose she struck during our photo shoot:

Forgive my enthusiasm ... just have to share one more Purlish photo. I loved this Bowie-inspired pose struck by @samediff during our photo shoot. #bluepeninsula #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #knitmitts

Thank you very much for reading!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 4

Stitch Journal 2016, Week 4: No snow for us this week, unlike other parts of the East Coast, so I worked mostly with tawny browns. It's been an unusually snowless January here in western Massachusetts. I had envisioned this first piece in the series being mostly white. It was not to be!

Day 22: the buff color of mourning doves

Day 23: tiny white flecks, for the snow still left on the ground (no new snow yet)

Day 24: more French knots the tawny color of the far field in sharp morning light

Day 25: a scattering of French knots, color of the chickadee's belly

Day 26: Stitch Journal 2016

Day 27: Stitch Journal 2016

Day 28: Stitch Journal 2016

I continue to stitch in the early morning, which is my favorite time of day for observing light. It's always changing—one day sharp and warm, the next soft and cool—constantly altering the colors of the winter weeds, the fields, the trunks of the birch trees.

"Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?" (from The Waking, by Theodore Roethke)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mitts A-Coming

It's hard to blog about my design work right now because three of the four projects I'm working on must be kept secret until much later this year. But I can show you what's happening with a pair of mitts in progress.

I'm knitting them with a mini skein set of hand-dyed fingering weight yarn from Pigeonroof Studios:

Colorwork Mitts in Progress

I guess I've finally caught the gradient bug! I set myself the challenge of devising a Bohus-inspired colorwork mitt in two sizes that could be knit without running out of any of the six colors. (Bohus Stickning is a Swedish style of stranded-color knitting that flourished from the 1940s through the 1960s. A hallmark of Bohus designs are the purl stitches, which animate the surface with tiny flecks of color. To learn more, see this post about a Bohus workshop I took with Susanna Hansson.)

Colorwork Mitts in Progress

I began by charting out a few ideas on graph paper, then knit most of one mitt, only to decide that I didn't like the color sequence and felt the stitch pattern needed simplifying, too. So I ripped back, revised the chart, and started over. To keep track of how much I used of each color, I weighed them all at the start, and again after finishing.

Here's a shot showing how I block mitts (and all the bits left after weaving in ends):

Colorwork Mitts in Progress

A knitter friend commented that these mitts look hard—but I assure you, they're not. If you have some experience working in the round on double-pointed needles, you'll be fine. The stitches are knits and purls, and two out of every four rounds are just single-color knitting (I think of them as the "rest rounds").

A gradient set of six colors (40 yards each; mine was the Sahara Desert colorway from Pigeonroof Studios), is ideal for this design, but you can substitute fingering weight yarns from your stash. The pattern lists the yardage and grams needed for each color.

Colorwork Mitts in Progress

The Selfish Knitting KAL is going strong in the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group. It doesn't end until February 7, so there's still plenty of time to cast on something small—maybe a Rowhouse Hat? That would be a great way to practice some easy colorwork before the mitts are published.

If you are snowed in today, I hope you're able to curl up with some hot cocoa or tea and enjoy lots of uninterrupted knitting time. We didn't get any snow here in western Massachusetts. I have mixed feelings about that—I'm sad for the children who love the snow, but I'm really glad I don't have to shovel!

Anyway, I stayed in yesterday as if it really were a snow day and got the mitts pattern off to the tech editor. Look for it in February.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 3

New colors this week: red, for the cardinal, and grey-brown, for the trunks of the birch trees.

Day 15: more French knots, color of the far field emerging from under snow

Day 16: red, for the cardinal

Day 17: more red, for the cardinal

Day 18: white, for the unexpected dusting of snow

Day 19: seed stitch in the color of winter weeds

Day 20: French knots

Day 21: grey-brown, the color of the birch trees

This piece is a lot less white than I had anticipated, because we've had a surprisingly snow-free January here in Massachusetts. That might change this weekend, depending on how the storm on the  East Coast plays out. Will we get lots of snow, only a little, or none?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 2

Colors of snow, tawny fields, and tree trunks this week, as the composition grows outward from the center.

Day 8: tiny running stitch

Stitch Journal 2016, Day 9

Day 10: white seed stitch, for the little bits of snow the rain hasn't yet washed away

Day 11: French knots the color of last year's leaves in sharp morning light

Day 12: color of tree bark

Day 13: white seed stitch, for the new snow

Day 14: more snow this morning, more white seed stitch

On Wednesday, I stitched away from home, as I spent the day at Kripalu for my birthday.

Here's a sketch I made while there (I had to wait until afternoon for the snow squalls to stop so I could see the hills and lake):

Finally, the snow squalls stopped so I could see the hills and lake and draw! #bonniesennott #drawing #sketch #kripalu #lakemahkeenac #berkshires

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 1

So far, this has been a joyful project. I guess I half expected that a daily art project might feel like a burden or obligation some days. But so far, not at all. Just the opposite—I look forward to stitching each day. Knowing this task lies before me makes me incredibly happy.

I also expected that I wouldn't want to document each day's work. I thought that might feel like drudgery and take some of the joy out of the project. But again, not so. So far, I've been posting a photo on Instagram every day. Documenting is starting to seem like an integral part of the project.

I'm also keeping a paper "calendar" for each month, making a few stitches each day under the date. Not sure what I'll end up doing with these—they could be framed and shown with the 12 finished pieces, or maybe bound together. We'll see.

Day 1: seed stitch. White, for snow. Seeds of hope and new beginnings.

Day 2: running stitch, tawny color of winter weeds

Stitch Journal Day 3: the breeze blew in some French knots

Day 4: dark green of the tall pines

Day 5: more seed stitch

Day 6, in progress: running stitch the color of frosty fields

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Year, New Cowl, and a Flash Sale

On this first day of the New Year, I'm pleased to share my first pattern for 2016, a cowl called Erste (which means "first" in German). 

Erste Cowl
Pattern: Erste, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Plucky Knitter Traveler Sport

Erst Cowl

To celebrate its release, I'm having a flash sale: Erste and all individual Blue Peninsula patterns in my Ravelry store are 20% off, now through midnight EST Sunday, January 3. No coupon code required!


Erste is a seamless cowl that pairs columns of cables with a wide lace pattern that looks like cables—but isn't. It's knit in the round on a circular needle, with no seaming or grafting required.

Erste Cowl

For a warm and luxurious cowl, I recommend a solid color yarn with great stitch definition. For the sample, I used Plucky Knitter Traveler Sport (a blend of merino, silk, and yak)—the same yarn I used for my Fee-bee Mitts. Ever since I designed those mitts, I've wanted to use Traveler Sport again. It comes in such rich, sophisticated colors and feels so good against your skin.

Erste would be a nice project for the second annual Blue Peninsula Selfish Knitting KAL (starts today). Hope to see you in the KAL! It continues through February 7, and you can cast on anytime.

Erste Cowl

Many thanks to my sister Jenny for editing the pattern (thanks for catching that I left a cable needle off the list of supplies, Jen!). 

Thank you very much for reading, and best wishes for a very happy 2016.