Friday, July 22, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 29

Lots of green and yellow this week. Some light beige running stitch too, for patches of bleached-out grass. (We had some rain recently, but we still need more.)

What a completely different palette from January, when I began this project! With each stitch, I feel I'm collecting some of the sunlight and greenness and squirreling it away, to keep with me always.

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Stitch Journal, Day 197

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Stitch Journal, Day 199

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Stitch Journal, Day 200

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Stitch Journal, Day 201

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Stitch Journal, Day 202

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Stitch Journal, Day 203

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!

LINKS

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When the Scale Is Your Friend

Streusel Scarf

This summer I've been working on a new sample of my Streusel scarf pattern. It's one of those triangular scarves/shawls worked end-to-end, where the shape results from increases during the first half of the scarf and decreases during the second half. It's a simple construction and—since much of the knitting is garter stitch—you really only have to pay close attention when you're working the lace section of each row. That makes scarves like Streusel or shawls like Hop Brook very nice summer/travel knitting.

But there's a danger with this type of scarf or shawl: If you use up more than half your yarn during the increase section, you will run out of yarn before you get to the end of the decrease section. You'll have to rip back a long way. And that's pretty frustrating!

Streusel, by Bonnie Sennott

So here's where a scale is truly your friend: weigh your yarn at the outset. As you approach the midpoint of the scarf, start checking the weight of the remaining yarn. Be sure to start the decrease section before you've used up more than half your yarn.

For example, my skein of Periwinkle Sheep Delirium weighed 100 grams. I'd like to make my Streusel as long as possible, so I will knit the increase section until I have at least 52 or 53 grams left (I like to play it safe). Then I'll start the decrease section. That way, I won't run out at the other end of the scarf.

For these types of scarves/shawls, it's also a good idea to swatch—and to block your swatch—before you start the project. If your stitch and/or row gauge is significantly looser than the gauge the pattern states, you'll use more yarn and you might run out (because bigger stitches = more yarn).

Knitters sometimes think gauge doesn't matter in items where fit isn't crucial, but I think gauge matters pretty much always. It affects both your yardage as well as the finished look and feel of the blocked piece. If your gauge is much looser than the designer intended, your finished piece will not only be larger but the stitches may look sloppy, with little definition. The fabric might have so much drape that the scarf or cowl becomes limp and lifeless. If you like the appearance of the designer's sample but you need or want to substitute a different yarn, choose a yarn with a similar fiber content and be sure to swatch. If needed, change your needle size to get the same gauge.

Streusel, by Bonnie Sennott

I'm knitting Streusel with Delirium, a new yarn coming out soon from Periwinkle Sheep (I was lucky enough to get a skein in advance). Delirium seems pretty perfect for lace—my swatches with this merino/yak/nylon fingering weight yarn knit up and blocked beautifully. It's going to make its debut at Stitches Midwest, where Karin and her yarns will be at the Yarn Culture booth. If you're going to Stitches Midwest, stop by and tell her I said hello!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 28

Ahh, July. It's so incredibly green, but this week I chose to stitch other colors instead. Like the pale beige of the undersides of leaves blown across the grass by a storm. The orange of nasturtiums and the pink of zinnias. The yellow of goldfinches and patches of light on the grass in early morning. The delicate off-white of chipmunk's stripes and clover. The grey-white of birch bark.

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Stitch Journal, Day 190

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Stitch Journal, Day 196

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!

LINKS

Monday, July 11, 2016

Exhibit Announcement: Gallery A3

If you're in the vicinity of Amherst, Massachusetts, during July, please stop by Gallery A3 to see the current exhibit. My abstract embroidery piece titled Winter Flame is part of the gallery's third annual juried show.

Winter Flame
Winter Flame, by Bonnie Sennott, 2016, perle cotton on linen, 14" x 14"

The show includes 53 works by artists from around the Pioneer Valley, selected from over 200 submissions by juror Mara Williams, curator at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. There's a reception for the artists this Saturday, July 16, 4:00–7:00 pm. And on Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 pm, the gallery is hosting an informal conversation with the artists. Hope to see you at one or both of these events!

Gallery A3 is located at 28 Amity Street in the center of downtown Amherst (next door to Amherst Cinema). Regular gallery hours are Thursday–Sunday, 1:00–7:00 pm. The show ends July 30. 

LINKS

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Stitch Journal: Weeks 26 and 27

Today's post covers two weeks of my Stitch Journal project. I don't like to fall behind on posting, but the past couple of weeks were full of work on design projects and editing, and since that's paying work—and blogging about the Stitch Journal isn't—I prioritized my free time accordingly. If you're a creative entrepreneur, I'm sure you know what that's like!

The last June stitching included meandering "trails" in green, orange French knots for the Monarch butterfly, browns for the chipmunks and groundhogs, yellow for the finches.

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Stitch Journal, Day 176

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Stitch Journal, Day 177

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Stitch Journal, Day 179

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Stitch Journal, Day 180

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Stitch Journal, Day 181

Day 182 (Thursday, June 30)
Stitch Journal, Day 182

July's piece began with lots of green in running stitch and back stitch, and lozenges of yellow (for patches of sunlight) and pale beige (for the undersides of maple leaves that wind scattered across the lawn).

Day 183 (Friday, July 1)
Stitch Journal, Day 183

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Stitch Journal, Day 186

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Stitch Journal, Day 188

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Stitch Journal, Day 189

The world is so lush now. Even if I stitched from dawn to dusk, I don't think I could really capture the richness of the green hues that greet my eyes every morning.

July morning

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!

LINKS

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Countdown to the Tour

The Tour de Fleece team in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group has begun training in earnest: we're busy planning, carding, spinning, plying.  The Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday, July 2 and runs until Sunday, July 24 (with rest days and challenge days, just like the actual Tour de France). We have room for more team members, so if you want to devote more time to your spinning projects during July, come join us!

Spinners of all levels are welcome. Though the main goal of the TDF is to have fun, we've got fiber and yarn prizes too, to add a little extra incentive to post often. The prizes will be awarded randomly for posting (rather than for spinning achievements), to keep things low pressure and give everybody a chance at winning.

Because I have a lot of other projects to keep on schedule, my TDF goal is simple: spin on one of my three drop spindle WIPs for at least 20 minutes every day and—I hope—do some plying as well. I've got some mixed BFL going:

Spinning WIPs, June 2016

Also some dark chocolate CVM/Romeldale (gifted to me last year by Christine Link of Skeinny Dipping):

Spinning WIPs, June 2016

And some creamy white Cormo from Foxfire Fiber (some of which I've already plyed and dyed with hickory nuts):

Spinning WIPs, June 2016

Frankly, I'll be glad to make any amount of progress, even a little, on these. I confess I've been neglecting my spinning for months. Time to remedy that situation!

I also can't wait to see what my fellow team members spin. They are mostly working with more colorful fibers than I am (Three Waters Farm seems to be a particular favorite).

Are you joining the Tour de Fleece this year? If you are, I hope your pre-TDF training is going well. Good luck!

Spinning WIPs, June 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 25

This week I stitched the colors of cardinals, tree trunks in shadow, walnut leaves, the sky at dawn, goldfinches, and the rings around the chipmunks' eyes.

If you'd like to see the project on a daily basis, follow my Instagram feed. I post there immediately after stitching each day.

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Stitch Journal, Day 169

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Day 171
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Day 175 
Stitch Journal, Day 175

Just a reminder—free shipping continues! Through June 30, I'm offering free shipping on purchases of $15 or more in my Etsy shop, with the coupon code FREESHIP2016.

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!

LINKS

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thankful

Did you knit in public for Worldwide Knit in Public Day? I did—at a cafe where my sister Jackie and I got together to catch up over ice tea. I was working on a secret project for a magazine, though, so I didn't take a photo.

But actually, I knit in public almost every day. In the past week, I knit during my lunch hour next to a beautiful lake . . .

Summer knitting

I knit on my new Streusel sample at the Lady Killigrew cafe above the Sawmill River (the yarn is a new base called Delirium, coming soon from Periwinkle Sheep) . . . 

Streusel Scarf

and today I bicycled to Share Coffee in downtown Amherst, where I got several more inches done on a fall design (more about it another time; the yarn is Quince and Co. Finch in Egret):

Knitting at Share (formerly Rao's)

As a designer, I usually have 2–3 projects with me that I work on each day. Short spurts of knitting here and there really add up and help me stay on schedule with deadline projects.

I'm thankful to live in an area with lots of pleasant coffeeshops perfect for knitting away from home. And I'm thankful for all of your support—it makes my work as a knitwear designer so satisfying! I was excited this week to see the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group has grown to over 600 members. Every time someone leaves a positive comment about a pattern, or posts a stunning finished project, or likes a design in progress on Instagram, it makes my day. All of these kindnesses make me feel appreciated and affirmed as a designer.

In thanks for your support, I'm offering a discount in my Ravelry pattern store: save $1 on any individual Blue Peninsula pattern or ebook with the coupon code THANKYOU. The code will be good through midnight EST Monday, July 4 (one use per customer).

And now—back to knitting!  The secret project is not going to knit itself. :-)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 24

I continued working satin stitch this week, until the terrible news of the mass shooting in Orlando. The next morning I stitched white French knots, for those whose lives were cut short.

Why is it still so easy for individuals to obtain military weapons like semiautomatic rifles? When will we finally put better gun control laws in place? How many times does this have to happen? Why, why, why?

Sad news came over the radio each morning this week, while I stitched and observed the beauty outside my window. Such a study in contrasts. Violence in the news, but here—peace. Finches and cardinals. Phoebes and common yellowthroats. Mourning doves cooing. Chipmunks chipping and scampering through the grass.

The small brown stitches are for the chipmunks and the groundhog that's been active around the edges of the yard on recent evenings. 

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Stitch Journal, Day 162

Day 163
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Stitch Journal, Day 164

Day 165
Stitch Journal, Day 165

Day 166
Stitch Journal, Day 166

Day 167
Stitch Journal, Day 167

Day 168
Stitch Journal, Day 168

Just a reminder—free shipping continues! Through June 30, I'm offering free shipping on purchases of $15 or more, with the coupon code FREESHIP2016.

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy shop to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!

LINKS