Friday, January 16, 2015

Winners!

I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts on what you like about January. It may not be the warmest or most colorful month of the year, but as so many of you noted, it does have its charms ... a more relaxed pace after frantic December, snow days (perfect for staying in and knitting), citrus fruit, bright sun sparkling on fresh snow ... and (best of all, to me), longer days. Lately the light, especially in the early mornings, has been exquisite. 


Thanks to all who left a comment and/or joined the Blue Peninsula group. The winner of the Shields of Garnet Periwinkle Sheep sock yarn is prairiepoet, and the winner of the project bag is joyceetta. Congrats! I'll be in touch with you both on Ravelry.


Many of you commented about having the chance during January to knit for yourself, now that the holiday gift knitting is done. If you'd like, come join the Blue Peninsula Selfish Knitting KAL. There's still plenty of time to make something—it ends February 8 and there are some lovely prizes. 

Hope you have a beautiful weekend that includes plenty of relaxed knitting time!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Birthday Giveaway and Sale


It's my birthday! And since birthdays call for celebration, I'm having a little giveaway—and a sale, too.

First, the sale: Today only in my Ravelry store, use the coupon code BIRTHDAY to get 30% off individual patterns (ebooks excluded). This will be my last sale in a while, so it's a great opportunity to stock up. You can use the code as often as you like. The sale ends at midnight EST tonight. (Unfortunately, due to new EU VAT regulations, this promotion is not available to EU customers.)


Second, the giveaway: Since garnet is the birthstone for January, I'm giving away this beautiful skein of Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II yarn—400 yards of fingering weight merino—in the Shields of Garnet colorway.


I'm also giving away a project bag that I made using natural linen and cotton fabrics. It's the perfect size for small to medium projects like shawls, scarves, hats, or socks. (The needles are not part of the giveaway—they're just props.)



There are two ways to enter: 1) Leave a comment on this post telling one thing you like about January. To me, January is one of the dreariest months of the year, so it helps to be reminded of the positive things about it. 2) If you haven't already, join the Blue Peninsula group on Ravelry. Do both to increase your chances of winning!

On Friday, I'll use a random number generator to draw one name from among the blog comments for one of the prizes, and one name from among the Blue Peninsula group members (everybody, new and old) for the other prize. If you're leaving a comment, please mention your Ravelry username or another way to contact you.

Good luck—and thank you for stopping by!


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Stitching News

I started a new daily embroidery piece on New Year's Day. Inspired by Rilke's  poem "Abend," it's starting out with deep blue cross stitches surrounding the silhouettes of trees:





I'm astonished that today is already Day 7! Slow down, time! I usually stitch first thing in the morning, but I haven't yet today. A little thing called work got in the way. Soon, though.

I'm still stitching a wrinkle embroidery piece that I began last summer. The daily work on that faltered during December, what with traveling to my mom's, the holidays, and getting sick. I'm glad to be back at it.



If you'd like to see one of my embroidery pieces in person, please come to the Open Call: NNE (North-Northeast) exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont. It opens this Saturday, January 10, with a reception at 11 am, and continues through February 7. I am honored to be one of 38 New England artists chosen from among 475 applicants for this show.

The juror, Richard Klein of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Center, chose my piece titled 55 Days (Begin Again), which features the words "begin again" stitched in seven different yellow hues worked in succession, one color each day for 55 days.


My daily embroidery pieces are first and foremost a way to make my creative work a priority in my daily life. By committing to doing at least some stitching each day, I make time for my artwork no matter what other tasks and responsibilities the day holds.


To me Begin Again also has a bit of a Zen meaning, something like the saying, "Before enlightenment, carry water, chop wood; after enlightenment, carry water, chop wood." Humble, mundane daily tasks can be meditative if we let them, a way to stay present and be fully aware in each moment.

I chose yellow because it is the color of the sun (not to mention Van Gogh's glorious sunflowers), which each day brings new opportunities to begin again. No matter how wobbly or uneven our stitches of the previous day, it is a good spiritual practice to accept these imperfections and each morning begin again with renewed hope and optimism. 


If you're in the area and can attend the opening, I'd love to see you! I'm not sure what time it ends, but I expect I'll be there until at least 1 pm or so.

P.S. For the curious, here are a couple of posts showing sources for the fonts used in the piece: September 7, 2012 and September 30, 2012.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

52 Weeks of Swatches

When my sister Betsey told me she's planning to make a swatch every week during 2015, I thought, what a fabulous idea. Swatches are a great way to try out unfamiliar stitch patterns and/or new yarns. They definitely get the creative juices flowing. So I asked if I could join in, and she said sure.

Here's Betsey's first two, one in Woolen Rabbit Emma (left) and one in Paton's Grace (right):


Lovely, aren't they?

Over the weekend, I got started by swatching the lace pattern from the Windsor Cardi by Amy Christoffers. I've got a sweater's worth of Woolen Rabbit Grace in this chocolate-y Godiva colorway and think maybe this pattern is what it should become. I got gauge and like the fabric—that's a good start.


My sister Jenny has decided to get on the bandwagon, too. Her first swatch was knit with some blue Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. I love the all-over texture and strong diagonals:


Another one I made this weekend was knit with Shibui Cima and Silk Cloud held together:


I was so pleased with this swatch, I immediately made another to tweak a few things. After that I did some measuring and some math ... and a new design is under way!

If you're up for swatching this year—whether just for fun or to make gauge swatches for patterns—feel free to post your swatches on Instagram with the hashtag #52weeksofswatches. Knitting, crochet, weaving—anything you like. As Betsey said, "the more the merrier and inspiring."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Silverleaf Update and Year-end Sale


Last June, I was excited to share that my Silverleaf shawl was part of the Woolen Rabbit's 2014 yarn club. For the past six months, the pattern has been available only to club subscribers, but now it's available for anyone to purchase. 

To celebrate, I'm having a flash sale on Ravelry—purchase any two of my patterns, get a third free! To get the discount, put three individual patterns or sets in your cart and apply the coupon code BYE2014 at checkout. The sale ends January 1 at midnight EST.

Pattern: Silverleaf, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Woolen Rabbit Lucent in Oak Moss


With its wide center panel, Silverleaf is similar to Faroese shawls. But unlike traditional Faroese shawls, which involve casting on hundreds of stitches and working from the bottom up, it's worked top down, beginning with just a few stitches.


I've expanded the pattern to include a new fingering weight version with a picot bind-off. The fingering weight version—shown here in the gorgeous Oak Moss colorway of Woolen Rabbit's Lucent yarn—takes just 385 yards. So it's ideal for those special skeins of sock yarn we all have in our stashes.


Lucent is a blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon—a soft, luscious yarn that's perfectly suited to shawls, cowls, and scarves. With its tawny golds, mossy greens, and warm browns, the Oak Moss colorway made me happy every time I sat down to knit. I just might have to get my hands on more of it, maybe in another base ... a sweater, maybe? We'll see! In any case, I'm excited to start the new year wearing a warm new accessory.


Just a reminder—the Selfish Knitting KAL starts January 1. After all the busyness of the holidays, it's a chance to relax and knit something special just for yourself. At the end of the KAL on February 8, yarn, patterns, and other goodies will be randomly awarded to finished projects. Any of my designs, including free patterns, are eligible. I hope you'll come join us!




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Four Years in the Making

I guess we all have "back burner" projects—things we pick up and set down, working on them here and there, in no hurry to finish.


For four years, one of mine has been the Seersucker afghan, from Berroco's book Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans


Pattern: Seersucker, by Margery Winter
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in Summer Sky Heather
Needles: US 5


Designed by Margery Winter, Seersucker is a big, cozy, bedspread-size blanket. On the plus side, it's a great take-along knitting project because each ruched square is knit individually. On the down side, you have to seam together 48 squares. I finished the knitting ages ago; it's the seaming that dragged on, unfinished, for most of this year.

In my defense, I've definitely been busy with many other projects, and design work always takes precedence over personal knitting. Even so, I really didn't want this project to drag on into 2015. 


What a wonderful afghan! The book has lots of beautiful patterns, but Seersucker remains my favorite. I love wrapping myself up in it on these cold mornings. So glad I finally finished it.



Snickers is glad, too. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Last-Minute Gifts

Less than a week to Christmas! If you are immersed in gift knitting, I wish you all the best in finishing up your gifts on time. And if you can't finish on time, it's always fun to wrap up a project still on the needles with a sweet promise that it will soon be finished. After all, it's the thought that counts.

At this point, it's probably too late to cast on a gift sweater, but if you're looking for ideas for projects you can make in under a week, here are a few ...

Shallows Mitts: 120–135 yards of fingering weight yarn (beads are optional)

Bluet Cowl: approx. 300 yards DK or sportweight yarn

Sawmill River Hat: 215–285 yards of fingering weight yarn

Buttermilk Sky Cowl: approx. 150 yards of DK weight yarn or 200–220 yards worsted weight

Rowhouse Hat: 185-225 yards of DK weight yarn

Fee-bee Mitts: 130 yards of sport weight yarn

In the midst of all the holiday busyness, I hope you are able to find some quiet moments—especially when knitting. May each stitch bring you happiness and joy!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New Pattern: Fee-bee Mitts


I'm pleased to share a new pattern today, named after a song of the chickadee: Fee-bee Mitts. It's now available in my Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy pattern stores. 

Pattern: Fee-bee Mitts, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Plucky Knitter Traveler Sport in the Wooden Shoe colorway
Needles: US5/3.75mm and US4/3.50mm


They're easy and quick to knit up—an ideal holiday gift project. And they don't requite a lot of yarn either (about 130 yards). With the Plucky Knitter Traveler Sport that I used for the sample pair, you could easily get two pairs out of a skein. How I loved this yarn! With its merino/silk/yak fiber content, it is heavenly—cushy and soft, a dream to knit with.



They're knit flat, back and forth, then seamed, leaving a small opening for the thumb. A bit of shaping provides for a comfortable fit across the palm. The pattern gives instructions for a women's medium; the mitts are quite stretchy and should fit a wide range of hand sizes. The stitch patterns are provided in both written form and charts.


The pretty lace stitch on the cuffs reminded me of bird tracks, so I wanted to name the pattern after a bird. I settled on the lovely "fee-bee" song of the black-capped chickadee, the state bird of Massachusetts, where I live. They flock to my feeders all winter long, making the cold days so much cheerier. 


The pattern is on sale at a discounted price in my RavelryEtsy, and Craftsy pattern stores through New Year's Day. No coupon code required!

Heartfelt thanks go to my sisters Jenny (for editing the pattern) and Betsey (for taking time out of her Thanksgiving weekend to model the mitts). 

Thank you very much for reading!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finished!

Looks like setting an intention works—I've finished the Couplets for my sister Jackie in time for Thanksgiving. The toe shaping and grafting went smoothly with the help of some chai ...



Untitled
Pattern: Couplet, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors sock yarn in the Chai colorway
Needles: US 1/2.25mm dpns

The Chai colorway is one of my favorites from Periwinkle Sheep. I also used it for Streusel, and I wouldn't be surprised if I end up designing with it again—it's that beautiful.


Fat snowflakes are falling as I write this—we're in for a big Nor-easter—and the morning of our June Couplet photo shoot at the Brookfield Farm seems far away. The season had just begun, everything was fresh and new and green. Yesterday, when I pulled into the farm's parking lot for my last pickup of the 2014 season, brown dominated the landscape.


This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful that I had the good fortune of enjoying another season at the farm—my 18th. The strawberries this year were the best ever! I'm grateful for my family, especially my three sisters, whose modeling and editing and feedback on pattern names make this whole knitwear design endeavor so much fun. And I'm grateful for the support of all of you who knit my designs and share them on your blogs and Instagram and Facebook and Ravelry ... you have no idea how much it means to me.

Tomorrow I'll show up at Jackie's with not only finished socks in hand but also these:


Heavenly Chocolates!—my favorite local chocolatier. It is hard to have these in the house and refrain from opening the box, but I shall persevere.

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a beautiful holiday. Safe travels!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Pattern: Sawmill River Hat

I'm excited to finally be able to share a project I spent a good bit of time on last summer—my Sawmill River Hat. It's part of the latest Brooklyn Tweed guest designer collection, Wool People 8

 © Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

© Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

This cables-and-texture hat is knit in LOFT, Brooklyn Tweed's fingering weight wool. It's worked in the round, seamlessly, from the garter stitch brim to the crown, which ends with a whimsical I-cord knob. 

 © Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

The pattern provides instructions for two versions—a close-fitting cap and a longer, slouchy beanie. For each version, there are two sizes. And the hat knits up quickly, making it a nice choice for holiday gift knitting. 

 © Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

It's such an honor to be included in Wool People 8! The lookbook is truly a work of art—in addition to sweaters and accessories by designers from seven different countries, there's the gorgeous photography we have come to expect from Jared Flood and thoughtful writing, including an essay about the Brooklyn Tweed yarns, which are entirely American made.

My Sawmill River Hat, at the Sawmill River in Montague, MA. I'm so excited and honored to be a part of @brooklyntweed Wool People 8!

I named the hat after the Sawmill River, which I see whenever I spend time at the Lady Killigrew Cafe and the Bookmill—both housed in a picturesque former mill in Montague, Massachusetts. In fact, I worked there yesterday in celebration of Wool People 8's release. With great WiFi, good food and coffee, and lots of light, it's my favorite "studio/office away from home." (Read more about the spot here.)

—links—

Thank you very much for reading!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Setting an Intention

Couplet socks

I started a second pair of Couplets back in June as a gift for the Couplet model, my sister Jackie. During the summer, I was in no rush to finish them—after all, there aren't too many days in summer when you want to wear wool socks.

But today? We had our first snow! I need to get these off the needles. I'm determined to finish by Thanksgiving. I fully intend to show up at her house on Thanksgiving with the pair in hand. Blocked. Ends woven in.

A bit of Couplet knitting this morning. I am determined to finish them by Thanksgiving! #bluepeninsula #coupletsocks #knit #knitting #sockknitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram

I'm not allowing myself to cast on anything else (other than design projects) until they are done. That's my intention. I hereby state it publicly. I shall stick to it!

Have you set any knitting intentions for this fall or the holiday season? I wish you all the best with them!

Couplet_2_72

(By the way, Couplet is part of the Indie Holiday Gift-A-Long sale. It's 25% off on Ravelry with the coupon code giftalong2014 through November 21.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Indie Design Gift-A-Long

Who: Knitters and crocheters around the world
Where: Ravelry
When: November 13 (starting at 8 pm EST) through December 31
Why: Make holiday gifts, have fun, join KAL/CALs, win prizes, and save!

Thursday's the day: The Indie Design Gift-A-Long starts at 8 pm EST. This event was such a success on Ravelry last year that designers decided to do it again. During November and December, knitters and crocheters can join KAL/CALs to make holiday gifts, participate in games, and win prizes. Every designer has contributed at least five coupon codes for free patterns. Do the math—that's a lot of free patterns! There are also hundreds of physical prizes—yarn, stitch markers, gift certificates, and other goodies.

And if you'd like to save on patterns, you certainly can! Each designer is offering 4–20 patterns at a discount of 25 percent. From November 13 at 8 pm EST to midnight November 21, use the coupon code giftalong2014 to receive the discount.

For the KAL/CALs, you can make any for-sale (not free) patterns by a participating designer, not just those that are discounted. Check out the details here.

This year, 293 designers are participating, with a total of 3,822 patterns discounted. See all the designers here; see my own Gift-A-Long patterns here. I've chosen nine lace projects that would make nice gifts (or a treat for yourself, after the holidays).

GAL2014_Mosaic

In the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group, we'll cheer each other on as we work our way through our holiday gift lists. Hope you can join us—and good luck with your holiday knitting!

Friday, November 07, 2014

New Pattern: Eastward

Temperatures are dropping, winter is coming ... the time is here for warm neckwear (not to mention holiday gift knitting). With that in mind, today I'm happy to release a new cowl pattern, called Eastward. It's now available in my RavelryEtsy, and Craftsy pattern stores.

Eastward_1
Pattern: Eastward, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Faded Quilt colorway

Eastward_5

A cozy cabled cowl, Eastward can be worn as a single long loop or doubled around the neck for extra warmth. It pairs a sculptural cable running the length of the cowl with columns of slipped stitches and a textured rib stitch. 

Eastward_4

Eastward_6

It's knit in worsted weight yarn (about 410 yards). The cable stitches are not complicated, which makes it a good first cabling project. It also means the knitting goes quickly—so there's plenty of time to make an Eastward or two for folks on your holiday gift list!

For the sample, I used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, a tweedy worsted weight yarn of 100% American-made wool. Shelter brings out the best in cables and textured stitches—it really seemed the ideal yarn for this design. The Faded Quilt colorway is my kind of blue, bordering on grey, subtly enhanced with lovely bits of turquoise.

Eastward_7

Eastward is worked flat (back and forth) from a provisional cast on. After blocking, the two ends are joined with a three-needle bind-off to create the loop. The pattern provides instructions for the crochet provisional cast on and three-needle bind-off, as well as helpful links. Stitch patterns are provided in written (line by line) form and in a chart.

The pattern was tech edited by Jenny Sennott (see this post for info about her woven goods and guild sale this weekend), and blocked under the watchful supervision of Snickers.

Cat naps, cowl dries #bluepeninsula #knit #cowl #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #knitting

Eastward_2

Thank you very much for reading!