Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye July!

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.

—William Blake

Brookfield Farm


Flower Meadow at Kripalu

Hummingbird at Kripalu

Where did July go? How can it be over already? 

I had a quick vacation at Kripalu, which is where I snapped the flower meadow and hummingbird. It was a brief visit, but long enough to renew my energy and spirit, and it gave me lots of sketching, knitting, and stitching time ... 


Couplet sock at Kripalu

Kripalu Sketch

Wrinkle Embroidery in progress

Kripalu Sketch

new wrinkle embroidery piece

Scarf in Progress, at Kripalu

The scarf on the picnic table? It's a new design, with lots of lace, a nice transitional piece for late summer/early fall. The yarn? A fingering weight blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon called Luxury Sock, from Sunshine Yarns.

Scarf Knitting at the Lady Killigrew

After getting a Eucalan bath yesterday, it was ready for its transformation on the blocking wires.

Eucalan Bath

New Scarf Design, Blocking

Details will be forthcoming just as soon as the pattern writing, editing, and photography are done. It will be available sometime in August—definitely before the start of the September Neckwear KAL we're having in the Blue Peninsula group on Ravelry.

To stay in the loop about the scarf, the KAL, and other news, sign up for the Blue Peninsula newsletter. The next issue will go out in August. 

Hummingbird at Kripalu

So often during July I wished I could slow down time. I wanted to hold on to summer's beauty forever. But of course, Blake's right—you have to kiss the joy as it flies—and just ...

Let Go
Meditation Garden at Kripalu

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Couplet Roundup #2

Lots of beautiful socks are being knit in the Couplet KAL on Ravelry. Some lightning-fast knitters have already finished, some have started the second sock, and others are just casting on.

One of the first to finish was mstephanie2. She chose a beautiful rose colorway of Trekking XXL:

Pinks and reds seem to be a popular color for Couplet. Kathy (kattyradie) is using a colorway called Raspberry Rose from Grant Creek Yarns:

Nadia (tricoteuse007) is knitting her Couplets in a pink color with the delightful name Land of Happy, from Three Irish Girls:

Blacks and browns are popular, too. Kristina (nordling) is using Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors in black. She worked an Eye of Partridge heel because she finds it more comfortable:

Meredith is making the "without lace" version of Couplet for her husband. The socks are truly a "couples" project, since he dyed the yarn in a workshop they took at Neighborhood Fiber Co. in Baltimore! (She has a very pretty knitting companion, don't you think?)

Maybe socks and dogs go together? Brenda (Brennee) is knitting her Couplets in a colorway called Army Girl from Pagewood Farm.

A summery green called Arugula from Jill Draper Makes Stuff has clearly made Beth (pbtajr) happy. I love her joyful "sock in the air" photo:

Come on over and join us! There are prizes (free patterns, yarn, and more) and it's also a great way to pick up some new sock knitting skills—Couplet knitters are sharing tips on favorite cast-ons, how to fix mistakes, make modifications, etc. 

The Couplet KAL continues through August 6. You can find the pattern in my RavelryEtsy, and Craftsy pattern stores.

Friday, July 11, 2014

An Invitation

If you're in or around Amherst, Massachusetts, this month and you'd like to see some art, stop by Gallery A3 to see the current group show. Juried by Loretta Yarlow, director of the University Museum of Contemporary Art, the show presents work by 41 artists from the Pioneer Valley, including one of my abstract embroideries:

Bonnie Sennott, Wrinkle Embroidery VI, 2014, perle cotton on linen, 12 inches by 12 inches

As I've done with the others in my wrinkle embroidery series, I started this piece by wrinkling the linen, then selectively stitching the wrinkles with back stitch.

Wrinkle embroidery

The composition developed organically as I worked. One morning while stitching, I noticed a flash of red in my backyard—a cardinal—which inspired me to add some satin stitch in red. From that point on, the piece gradually acquired the feel of a landscape (not surprising, since here in the Pioneer Valley we are surrounded by hills and mountains, which I love to draw).

Daily Embroidery

Daily Embroidery

I do some stitching every day, usually in the early morning, no matter where I am. In this way, art is a daily part of my life, even on the busiest days.

Stitching in Progress

Stitching in Progress

These daily embroideries are an adventure—I discover where I'm going as I go. Working improvisationally—as opposed to planning everything in advance—does have its risks. The composition may end up too busy or lack focus. But this one held together, I think, and I'm glad to be showing it.

Daily Embroidery

There's a reception for the artists tomorrow, July 12, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, and the show continues through August 2. The gallery's located in the center of downtown Amherst, between Amherst Coffee and Amherst Cinema. Hope to see you!

If you're in western Mass. and you'd like to try your hand at embroidery, join me for my next embroidery class at Knack in Easthampton on Saturday, September 27. All materials are included. Sign up at Knack.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Landscapes

A few views around my neighborhood recently ... it's turning out to be a beautiful summer, excellent for cloud watching.

Summer 2014

Summer 2014

Summer 2014

Summer 2014

Summer 2014

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Couplet Roundup #1

The Couplet KAL in the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group doesn't officially start until Sunday, but some eager knitters (me included) have already cast on and are making terrific progress. So I thought I'd share a few of their projects. It's exciting to see how the pattern looks in a wide range of colors and yarns.

Noebell is using Forbidden Woolery Greed yarn in the Watermelon colorway (above) for her Couplets. She's knitting them with two circulars rather than dpns. 

Maryzona's luscious purple Couplets (below) are knit in a colorway with the intriguing name of Marie's Royal Purple. It's from See Jayne Knit Yarns, an Etsy shop that offers hand-dyed yarn as well roving, jewelry, and stitch markers. I'm beginning to suspect this KAL might get my wallet into trouble—so many tempting yarns!

Many of us are using the yarn I knit the Couplet sample with—Periwinkle Sheep's Watercolors. Jenny (MissouriTrouble) is making hers with a rich blue colorway called Ominous (above) and I'm knitting a second pair, a gift for the model, in Chai (below).

Coming along #coupletsocks #bluepeninsula

Are you up for some sock knitting this month? You can join the KAL anytime between now and August 6, but the last day to purchase the pattern at the sale price of $4.00 is Sunday, July 6. It's available in my RavelryEtsy, and Craftsy pattern stores.

Every Friday, from July 11 through August 1, I'll be giving away a free pattern. Other KAL prizes include a hand-embroidered Couplet lavender-chamomile sachet, a skein of BFL fingering weight that I dyed using madder and cochineal, and a skein of Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors in Gold Rush. Find all the details here.

Couplet KAL prizes: lavender sachet and 400 yards BFL fingering dyed by moi with madder and cochineal #coupletsocks #bluepeninsula

If you're on Instagram and want to see Couplets there, the hashtag is #coupletsocks. 

Happy knitting, and happy Fourth of July, to those of you in the U.S. Enjoy the long weekend—and stay cool!

Miss Golden Eyes #cats

(gratuitous Snickers pic, just because)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Keeping in Touch

Couplet sock start

The inaugural issue of the new Blue Peninsula newsletter will go out soon! To get the latest news about patterns, sales, KALs, etc. delivered directly to your inbox, sign up here. (Of course, I won't share your email with anyone.)

Just a reminder: The KAL for Couplet officially starts July 6 (which is the last day of the introductory sale price). Some of us have already cast on; others are deciding which yarn to use. Come on over to the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group and join the sock-knitting fun—and maybe win some prizes! The Periwinkle Sheep has generously donated a skein of her Watercolors sock yarn in the Gold Rush colorway. And I'm giving away some free patterns as well as stitching up a Couplet-inspired lavender sachet.

Hope your weekend includes lots of joyful knitting!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Pattern: Silverleaf

I can finally share something pretty that occupied quite a lot of my winter and spring:


Pattern: Silverleaf, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Woolen Rabbit Chantilly with Stellina (80 percent merino, 15 percent silk, 5 percent Stellina)

I designed Silverleaf for the Woolen Rabbit's 2014 Yarn Club. When Kim announced that the theme would be "Once Upon a Time," I knew right away I wanted to base my design on the Brothers Grimm tale of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (also known as "The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces"). This story of princesses who sneak away to dance every night was one of my favorites among the Classics Illustrated comic books my sisters and I read as kids.



In the story, a king can't understand how his 12 daughters wear out their dancing slippers night after night. Their bedroom is locked and bolted—so where can they be going?

He doesn't know that hidden under one of their beds is a secret passage leading to a magical underground world. Each night, the sisters pass through three groves of trees—one with leaves of silver, one with leaves of gold, and finally one with leaves of diamonds. They come to a great lake, where 12 princes in 12 boats row them across to a brightly lit castle. There they dance until the soles of their shoes are worn out. Then they return home to bed, pretending that they slept all night.

I loved the story's images of silver, gold, and diamond trees—and the whole idea of a secret underground lake and castle was so exciting and romantic! For my design, I decided to create a shawl a princess might wear on a secret midnight voyage. A leaf lace stitch pattern runs down the center of Silverleaf, to represent the groves of trees, and bands of lace on each side suggest the lake's rippling water.


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, Silverleaf is worked top-down, beginning with just a few stitches. The pattern offers two sizes—shown here is the larger size. 

When Kim sent me the first test skein to see what I thought of the color, my reaction was, "Yes! Perfect!" Like all of her colors, it has incredible depth. The yarn's slender bits of silver (Stellina) add to its charm. Swatching and planning and knitting Silverleaf was a delight because the yarn was so pleasant to knit and the color so lovely. I feel honored to be invited to be part of this year's Woolen Rabbit club—and I can't wait to see what the other designers create!


Silverleaf is available exclusively to Woolen Rabbit subscribers for six months. It will be available for purchase in my Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy shops in late December of this year.

Beautiful Family

The photo shoot was just as enjoyable as designing and knitting the shawl! Big, big thanks are due to the beautiful Jennifer, who graciously offered to model at her farm.

Princes and Princesses

Her "princes and princesses" made it the most laughter-filled and high-energy photo shoot I've ever experienced. The girls were excited to wear shawls, too, just like mom. Wonderberry is the red one (upside down, sorry!) and Peppernut is the grey one.

Princes and Princesses_2

Princess in a Red Shawl

Princess in a Grey Shawl

Silver Sandals

What a fun afternoon! The light was exquisite and I never really needed the light reflector. But I was glad I brought it ...

Fun with Light Reflector_1

Fun with Light Reflector_2

Thank you very much for reading. Have a beautiful Sunday!