Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hottest Year on Record

The news today is bad: 2016 was the hottest year on record. For the third year in a row, Earth's temperature has soared past previous records.

Now I'm even more alarmed that on Friday a climate change denier who calls it "a hoax" will be sworn in as president. And Scott Pruitt, the president-elect's nominee to head the EPA? He's spent his career suing that very organization and challenging federal regulations that protect our environment. Things are not looking good (in so many ways!).

Please join me in supporting the Sierra Club, the nation's oldest and most influential environmental organization, in their efforts to oppose Pruitt. I will donate 20 percent of Ravelry sales of my Golden Valley shawl through this Friday—Inauguration Day—to the Sierra Club. Every little bit counts!

Golden Valley Shawl

As an added incentive: I'm working on a fingering weight version of Golden Valley in Anzula Squishy. So if you prefer shawls in fingering weight yarns, you'll get your wish! If you purchase the pattern now, you'll automatically get an update later. An updated PDF with yardage, dimensions, and gauge for both sport weight and fingering weight yarn will be delivered to your Ravelry library when it's ready.

Golden Valley, fingering weight version


Friday, January 13, 2017

Birthday Sale!

It's my birthday! To celebrate, I'm having a "buy one, get one" pattern sale in my Ravelry store.

Knitwear Designs by Bonnie Sennott

When you place two ebooks or individual patterns in your cart and use the coupon code BIRTHDAY, you'll get the lower-priced item free. Sale ends at midnight on Sunday, January 15. There's no limit on the number of times you can use this code.

Golden Valley Shawl by Bonnie Sennott

Just a reminder: 20% of proceeds from sales of my Golden Valley shawl between January 1–20 will be donated to the Sierra Club, to support their work fighting climate change and protecting our environment.

Happy shopping!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Stitch Journal 2016: Final Days

In the final days of my 2016 Stitch Journal, colors ranged from browns for winter weeds, field stubble, and squirrels; to orange for a leaping fox; to red for bittersweet. On December 31, I ended the year as I began it last January, with white seed stitches, for snow.

Day 358
Stitch Journal, Day 358

Day 359
Stitch Journal, Day 359

Day 360
Stitch Journal, Day 360

Day 361
Stitch Journal, Day 361

Day 362
Stitch Journal, Day 362

Day 363
Stitch Journal, Day 363

Day 364
Stitch Journal, Day 364

Day 365
Stitch Journal, Day 365

Day 366
Stitch Journal 2016: Day 366. Final Day!

By stitching every day for a year, I proved to myself that art can be a daily practice and need not be relegated to "spare time." This was incredibly affirming to me as an artist. It was also a real pleasure to spend a year observing nature each morning in my corner of western Massachusetts. Thanks to this project, I feel more deeply tied than ever to the place where I live.

Best of all, those following me on Instagram grew to anticipate my daily posts—and knowing how much they looked forward to each day's stitching made me very happy. This was easily the most satisfying project of my career as an artist, thanks in no small part to the delight expressed by my Instagram followers. Even though I sometimes felt tethered to social media, I'm so glad I shared this journey every day, all year. And I look forward to witnessing the seeds I have planted grow, as others begin their own stitch journals!

Here is a shot of four of the months together (January, March, October, and December):

Stitch Journal 2016: January, March, October, December

Next steps? I need to raise funds for stretchers, professional photography, and a website. After that, I'll seek exhibition opportunities for the project, so you can come see it in person. 

Many followers have asked if I will have a new Stitch Journal this year, and the answer is a resounding "yes!" The theme for 2017 will be "Presence/Absence." I'll begin it on my birthday, January 13, and it will involve both embroidery and drawings. I will document it on my new Patreon page.

I hope you enjoyed this year of daily art and stitching. Thank you so much for following along. 


Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Pattern: Golden Valley Shawl

Golden Valley Shawl

Happy New Year! To welcome 2017, I'm releasing a new pattern: the Golden Valley shawl.

Golden Valley Shawl

Golden Valley is a triangular shawl knit in Anzula Ava, a sportweight blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon. It's a big, cozy, warm shawl—just what you want to wrap yourself in during these cold winter months.

The pattern's name comes from a verse in Woody Guthrie's song, "This Land Is Your Land."
“As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.”

Golden Valley Shawl

Golden Valley is knit from the top down with 635 yards/580 m sportweight yarn. The pattern provides complete instructions for techniques, including the garter stitch tab cast-on and picot bind-off. Stitch patterns are provided in charts.

The finished shawl measures 64 inches/163 cm wide across the top edge and 29 inches/74 cm long at the center. (If you'd like a smaller shawl, you can use fingering weight yarn and smaller needles.)

Golden Valley Shawl

When you purchase Golden Valley, you'll join with other knitters to help protect the Earth's environment and preserve our wilderness: 20 percent of proceeds between January 1–20 will be donated to the Sierra Club, the nation's largest and most influential environmental organization.

Golden Valley Shawl

Thanks go to Jenny Sennott for editing the pattern and to Amber Ladley for bravely modeling the shawl on a chilly day here in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.

Thank you very much for reading!

P.S. If you'd like to knit something special for yourself now that the holidays are winding down, please join us for the Third Annual Selfish Knitting KAL. It starts today and continues through February 12. Any of my patterns can be made for this KAL.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Third Annual Selfish Knitting KAL

Mark your calendars!  January 1 will bring not only a new year but a new shawl pattern and the next Blue Peninsula knitalong. For the third year running, we're having a Selfish Knitting KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. After the busyness of the holidays, this is a chance to hang out with fellow knitters and make a special project just for you.

At the end of the KAL (February 12), some lovely prizes will be awarded, including this gorgeous skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light:

Tosh Merino Light

Also on January 1, I'll publish a new pattern, the Golden Valley Shawl:

Golden Valley Shawl by Bonnie Sennott

For preview photos and details about yarns, needle size, etc., visit my Ravelry project page. And if you don't already get the Blue Peninsula newsletter, now is a great time to subscribe—there will be a special subscribers-only discount for Golden Valley in the next issue. 

Hope to see you in the KAL!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 51

Red for the cardinals, browns for tree trunks and winter weeds, buff for chickadee feathers, white for snow: the palette for December more limited than for other months of the year yet still beautiful. I have to admit, though, there are moments when I look out and miss the myriad colors of summer—masses of green leaves, patches of yellow sunlight on the grass, orange daylilies.

There's little more than a week to go for this project. I can't say time has flown by this year—not at all. It has been a long year for me, in some ways a difficult year. Last January now feels very far off. But thanks to this stitch journal, a part of every day in 2016 was focused on nature, beauty, and art. As an artist, I can't ask for more than that!

People have been asking me if I plan to do another stitch journal project in 2017. The answer is yes—but I'm still pondering its form and theme. I'll let you know more soon.

Day 351
Stitch Journal, Day 351

Day 352
Stitch Journal, Day 352

Day 353
Stitch Journal, Day 353

Day 354
Stitch Journal, Day 354

Day 355
Stitch Journal, Day 355

Day 356
Stitch Journal, Day 356

Day 357
Stitch Journal, Day 357

If you have enjoyed my Stitch Journal project throughout 2016, 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!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Home Stretch!

I've been working madly on a new shawl design and the good news is, it's done and blocked and will be ready to share with you soon!

Golden Valley Shawl

It's a triangular shawl worked from the top down using 635 yards of sportweight yarn. The sample was knit with two skeins of Anzula Ava, a merino/cashmere/nylon blend. It blocked out really beautifully:

Golden Valley Shawl

The shawl begins with a knit-purl section that transitions into lace:

Golden Valley Shawl

It ends with a garter-stitch edging finished with a picot bind-off:

Golden Valley Shawl

The pattern is currently being tech edited and I'll be doing a photo shoot soon. Fingers crossed, I will publish it on New Year's Day! The Blue Peninsula newsletter will go out the same day, and there will be something special in it just for subscribers. So if you haven't subscribed yet, now's a good time! Sign up here.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stitch Journal: Weeks 49 and 50

As I write this, snow is falling. Steady, fine, lovely. Naturally, I chose to stitch with white thread today. Tiny white scattered stitches.

This month I've been stitching round and round, outward from the center. Circles have appeared in every month's piece, so now I'm rounding out the year (pun intended) with one large circle/spiral. I'm also revisiting stitches that appeared in previous months, as a way of tying together the entire year. There are only two weeks of daily stitching left in 2016!

Day 337, Week 49
Stitch Journal, Day 337

Day 338
Stitch Journal, Day 338

Day 339
Stitch Journal, Day 339

Day 340
Stitch Journal, Day 340

Day 341
Stitch Journal, Day 341

Day 342
Stitch Journal, Day 342

Day 343
Stitch Journal, Day 343

Day 344, Week 50
Stitch Journal, Day 344

Day 345
Stitch Journal, Day 345

Day 346
Stitch Journal, Day 346

Day 347
Stitch Journal, Day 347

Day 348
Stitch Journal, Day 348

Day 349
Stitch Journal, Day 349

Day 350
Stitch Journal, Day 350

I'm so grateful that it's Saturday and there's no need to go anywhere. I can simply stay put and enjoy the beauty!

December snow

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!


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Stitch Journal: Highlights of Weeks 46-48

With all the busyness of November—new pattern releases, the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, Thanksgiving—I've fallen a bit behind with my weekly Stitch Journal posts. Sorry about that! Of course, I've continued to stitch every day, and post on Instagram. But the blog suffered a little. 

So rather than post a long string of photos, I thought today I'd share a few highlights of the past weeks. Overall, November was visually quieter than October, with more subtle, less saturated colors. One little tree (not sure what kind) held onto its lemon-yellow leaves for longer than all the others, so over several days I stitched a golden circle of French knots.

Day 319
Stitch Journal,'Day 319

Day 320
Stitch Journal, Day 320

The dense wildflowers at the eastern edge of the yard—where all summer the groundhogs feasted on the leaves of the Joe Pye weed—are now dry stalks of a marvelous brick-red color. They're especially beautiful in sharp morning light. That color went into the journal as well, along with greys and browns for squirrels and birch bark.

Day 324
Stitch Journal, Day 324

Day 328
Stitch Journal, Day 328

And then, there's the bittersweet: brights bits of red and orange among the bramble at the far western side of the yard, where the woods begin. For the bittersweet, I stitched red crosses and orange French knots over several days.

Day 325
Stitch Journal, Day 325

Day 327
Stitch Journal, Day 327

Faded leaves, frost on the fields: pale colors dominated in the last week of November.

Day 331
Stitch Journal, Day 331

And now, here we are at the final month of the year and of the project: today I began stitching the December piece, white French knots for droplets of water sparkling on bare branches.

Day 336
Stitch Journal, Day 336

Morning, December 1, 2016

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!