Friday, June 16, 2017

Yarn Over, Yarn Over


The Yarn Over KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group is off to a great start. The focus is on lace for this "choose your own project" KAL—you can make any of my designs with yarn overs, everything from socks and sweaters, to scarves, cowls, shawls, or mitts. And there's still lots of time to cast on. This leisurely summer KAL continues through Sunday, July 30.

We already have a few finished projects, including a pair of Con Brio mitts, a beautiful Golden Valley shawl worked in two colors, and a Birchleaf cowl knit up in a gradient yarn. You can view all of them in the FO thread, and check out the prizes in the discussion thread.

I might cast on another pair of Plumtree socks for the KAL, but first I'm focusing on a new shawl design.

Shawl design in progress

Knit in a small-farm wool/mohair blend that I purchased at Rhinebeck last fall (Thelma & Louise from Wing and a Prayer Farm), this shawl will have the same kind of asymmetrical triangular shape as Notch. But, it's worked in the opposite direction—you cast on at the wide end and then decrease until only a few stitches remain. After the lace section, there's a transition to mostly garter stitch, which will make the project really zip along.

Shawl design in progress

More on the shawl later this summer. In the meantime, I hope you'll join us for the Yarn Over KAL. I started a fun "mini challenge" yesterday, asking folks to share photos of their WIPs with a pet. Here's Snickers, lounging next to me as I worked on the shawl the other evening:

Snickers and Lace

She looks pretty relaxed, doesn't she? I hope your weekend is just as relaxed, with plenty of knitting time!




Friday, June 09, 2017

Indie June Sale at Loveknitting

Every June, the UK knitting site Loveknitting celebrates independent designers and their contributions to the fiber arts. There are blog competitions, designer features, plus a great big Indie June sale.

Those of you in the U.S. might be more familiar with Ravelry than with Loveknitting. The two sites both are great platforms for finding patterns, discovering new designers, and sharing your finished projects. One difference: Loveknitting offers supplies as well. While browsing patterns you can also get needles, crochet hooks, notions, and yarn. So it's kind of a "one stop shop" for everything you might need for a project.

Five of my most popular patterns are discounted $1.50 during the Indie June sale:

Pomegranate_5

Birchleaf Cowl_Full_2

Shallows Mitts_72_with bag

Meadow_Road_Full_3

Hop Brook

Lots of patterns are on sale—from baby items to shawls, socks, sweaters, and more—by many, many talented designers. 

If you aren't yet acquainted with Loveknitting, the Indie June sale is a great time to explore the site! Maybe you'll find inspiration for your summer and fall knitting—while also supporting independent designers like myself. The sale and other Indie June activities continue through June 30.

Friday, June 02, 2017

New Pattern: Plumtree Socks

Plumtree Socks

Summer's just about here—always a great time for knitting socks. They're light and portable and don't involve large amounts of wool (which is never too comfortable on hot summer days).

So I'm pleased to announce a new sock pattern for the start of the summer season. Worked in the round from the top down, my Plumtree socks feature an appealing mix of lace and knit-purl textures. They're now available on Ravelry.

Plumtree Socks

Plumtree Socks

When I ordered the yarn months ago, I wanted a color that said, "summer," and when the skein arrived I was thrilled. To my eye, this Elderberry colorway of Altair sock yarn by Luna Grey Fiber Arts really embodies the sweetness of warm weather and sunny days. A blend of superwash merino, nylon, and Tencel, Altair has great stitch definition. The purl stitches and decreases are nice and crisp and the stockinette is beautifully even. I love when I take a chance on a new-to-me yarn and discover a new favorite!

Plumtree Socks

Like Hulst and Pomeroy, these socks are named after a street in my hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts. We shot the photos at one of my favorite Amherst spots, the Mount Pollux conservation area (you may recognize it—it's also where I shot Pomegranate and Wonderberry). It's a quiet, peaceful place with lots of trails, meadows, apple trees, and beautiful views of the surrounding Pioneer Valley and nearby Mount Norwottuck. I always feel refreshed after spending time there.

Plumtree Socks

Check out the #plumtreesocks hashtag on Instagram to see Plumtrees in other yarns and colors. I'm really grateful to the test knitters who responded to my call and enthusiastically knit up the socks! (Their speedy knitting confirmed these socks are really a quick knit.)

I'm also grateful to my sister Jackie for being such a terrific sock model and to Jenny for editing the pattern. Another Sennott Sisters production! And a shout out to Betsey, too—she and Jenny are both knitting their very own Plumtrees (you need to be logged on to Ravelry to follow these links to their projects).

Plumtree Socks

Since the socks have plenty of yarn overs, they're a perfect project for this summer's Yarn Over KAL. Join the fun in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group—you can cast on anytime between now and July 30.  We have some lovely prizes—including a skein of the same yarn and colorway I knit Plumtree with. 

Plumtree Socks

Thank you very much for reading. I hope your summer is off to a beautiful start!



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Countdown to the Yarn Over KAL


Are you up for some relaxed summer knitting among friends? The next Blue Peninsula knitalong starts in a week, with a focus on lace. For the Yarn Over KAL, you can knit any of my designs with a yarn over in it.

Socks, sweaters, shawls, scarves, cowls, mitts—all qualify for this KAL. The dates are Sunday, May 28 through Sunday, July 30.

There will be some lovely prizes, too. One is a skein of Luna Grey Fiber Arts Altair sock yarn, a blend of merino/nylon/Tencel. I'm knitting my next sock design with this yarn and am so pleased with its striking color and stitch definition, I decided to order another skein for a KAL prize.

Luna Grey Altair sock yarn

Another prize is two skeins of Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone, the sport weight wool/silk blend that I used for my Meadow Road pullover. Yellowstone works beautifully for lace, so it seemed like a natural choice for a prize. Two skeins are enough to make many of my cowl or shawl designs; see my Ravelry designer page for ideas.

Prize for Yarn Over KAL

I'll be announcing one more prize later this week in the KAL discussion thread. You can join now or anytime during the KAL, and WIPS are welcome, too. So if you started a sweater or a shawl a while ago and need incentive to finish up, this KAL is for you. 

Hope you can join us! Thanks for reading—and have a beautiful day.

May Flowers: Day 14



Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Flash Sale! Mitts for Mom

Mitts by Bonnie Sennott

Now through Wednesday: Save 25% on all fingerless mitts in my Ravelry pattern store with the coupon code MOM.

Fee-bee Mitts_2

There's still time to knit a pretty pair of mitts for Mother's Day, especially if you choose a style without a thumb gusset, like Fee-bee or Shallows.

Shallows Mitts_72_with bag

Happy knitting and happy Mother's Day!




Friday, May 05, 2017

Tra-la, it's May!

Here we are in May, possibly my very favorite month of the year. My sinuses don't love it, but my eyes are drunk—absolutely tipsy—on color. Flowers, flowers, everywhere!

I'm posting a flower photo every day in May on Instagram. Care to join me? Use the hashtag #floweradayinmay

Flower a Day in May: 1

May Flowers: Day 2

May Flowers: Day 3

Next January and February, when the world seems bereft of color, it will be such a balm to scroll through #floweradayinmay and dream of the beauty that lies ahead.

May Flowers: Day 5

May Flowers: Day 4

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Pattern: Spindler Mitts

Spindler Mitts

Today I'm pleased to share the first design I've created with handspun yarn: the Spindler Mitts. They're now available on Ravelry.

Spindler Mitts

A pretty mix of lace, garter stitch, and stockinette, the Spindler Mitts are just right for small amounts of handspun yarn, or for those partial skeins of fingering weight yarn we all have in our stashes. Using only 125 yards for the small/medium size (140 for the large size), they're a quick knit—perfect for a last-minute Mother's Day gift or for end-of-the-year teacher gifts. (You could get three pairs out of a typical skein of sock yarn!)

Spindler Mitts

Spindler Mitts

For the sample pair, I used Ashland Bay Mixed Bluefaced Leicester, spun and plied with drop spindles (16 wpi). As I mentioned in my last post, I found BFL pleasant to spin and was really excited to see how the 2-ply developed a soft, attractive halo after I blocked the mitts. 

Spindler Mitts_1

At Rhinebeck last fall, I picked up a bag of Cormo/alpaca fiber from the Foxhill Farm booth. I've started spinning and plying it, with good results. So now I'm pondering design ideas. Maybe a cowl to go with the Spindler Mitts, in time for Rhinebeck 2017? We'll see! Stay tuned here on the blog—or follow me on Instagram—to see how that works out.

Spindler Mitts

Heartfelt thanks go to Jenny Sennott for editing the pattern and Betsey Sennott for modeling. (Another Sennott Sisters production, yay!)

I hope you enjoy the pattern. Thank you very much for reading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pretty, Pretty BFL

What a busy month! With Calliopsis just published, a large secret project for a magazine under way, a new sock design in progress, and a new fingerless mitts pattern almost ready to publish, I basically have knitwear design on my mind 24 hours a day.

The mitts—a pretty combination of lace, stockinette, and garter stitch—are my first design with my own handspun yarn.

Handspun Mitt Beginning

The fiber is Ashland Bay Mixed BFL Top, which I spun and plied with drop spindles; the resulting two-ply yarn is fingering weight, 16 wpi.

Handspun BFL mitts

I had about 140 yards to work with. So I weighed the yarn carefully as I knit, making sure I wouldn't run out. In the end, the small/medium size used about 125 yards. There's also a large size, which requires about 140 yards.

Spindle-spun and Spindle-plied BFL

I think there will definitely be more BFL in my spinning future! I enjoyed both spinning and knitting it. But what I loved most was how, after a good soak in Eucalan, the fabric developed a really pretty halo. And it's so soft!  A delight to feel against your skin.

My sister Jenny, an accomplished spinner with years of experience (far more than me—I'm still a newbie), says BFL is her current favorite sheep breed because "it is a pleasure to spin and finishes up soft and lustrous, not as fussy or pill-prone as merino." So far, with my limited experience, I'd have to concur.

Handspun BFL and Mitts

They're called Spindler Mitts, and I hope to publish them next week. To get news about these and all my new patterns delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for the monthly Blue Peninsula newsletter.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

New Pattern: Calliopsis (and Cowl Sale!)

I'm excited to share a lovely new cowl for spring: Calliopsis.

Calliopsis_3

Knit in two colors of Fibre Co. Meadow, Calliopsis is a light and airy lace confection. It can be styled lots of different ways, depending on your mood, your outfit, or the weather.

The pattern is on sale—along with my other cowl patterns—through Sunday, April 9. Use the coupon code COWL25 to save 25% on cowls in my Ravelry store (magazine patterns are not included). The code can be used as many times as you like.

Calliopsis_1

Named after the flower Coreopsis (also known as Calliopsis or—less romantically—Tickweed), Calliopsis features two pretty lace stitches, each knit in its own color, separated by striped bands. These bands, knit back and forth on a circular needle, employ a really fun technique of sliding the stitches across the cable and knitting them again with the other color on the same side of the work. I first encountered this technique back in 2008 when I knit Norah Gaughan's Almost Garter Scarf. It's so clever!

Calliopsis_5

Calliopsis is worked flat from end to end, from a provisional cast on. After blocking, the two ends of the piece are joined with a three-needle bind off to form a loop. Instructions for these techniques are provided in the pattern, and the lace stitches are given in both charts and line-by-line written instructions.

Calliopsis_6

It's easy to customize this design. Aside from choosing any two colors you like, you can also vary the lengths of the two lace sections, to make a cowl that's uniquely your own. 

Calliopsis_7

Knit in a laceweight or light fingering weight yarn, Calliopsis is the perfect accessory for spring. I knit the sample in Fibre Co. Meadow—a luscious blend of merino, baby llama, silk, and linen—in Prairie (for the main color) and Bergamot (for the contrast color). As I mentioned in my previous post, after I swatched with Meadow I felt no need to look at other yarns for this design. It has an exquisite softness and drape—it's almost weightless—but a really pleasing rustic quality, too. This was my first time knitting with Meadow and I'm sure it won't be my last.

Calliopsis_2

If you get bored knitting scarves or cowls that are "the same thing over and over," you'll love Calliopsis. The lace and color changes are engaging and keep the knitting fun. 

Calliopsis Cowl

As always, I am grateful to Jenny Sennott for her careful tech editing. I'm so fortunate to have her eyes on my patterns, making sure they come to you error free.

Thank you very much for reading!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Unrumpled

Lace looks so unimpressive while you're knitting it ...

Cowl in progress

The rumpled stitches are like ugly ducklings, awaiting their transformation ...

Fibre Co. Meadow design in progress

But once lace gets a good soak in wool wash and is blocked, it's an ugly duckling no more. How I love that part of the process! It never fails to make my heart leap just a little (sometimes a lot).

Cowl Blocking

This is a new cowl design I'm working on, knit in Fibre Co. Meadow, a light fingering (almost laceweight) yarn. Usually, I like to audition a few yarns for a design, to get a feel for what fiber content and weight might be best. But once I made a couple swatches with Meadow, I felt no need to look at other yarns. Without a doubt, this rustic blend of merino, baby llama, silk, and linen was "the one." 

There's still some work to do on the pattern, plus photography, but it won't be too long a wait. Look for the pattern in early April.

P.S.  Did you know that free patterns are one of the rewards for my Patreon page? For a pledge of $2 per month, you'll receive a coupon code for one free pattern of your choice. For a $3 pledge, you'll get two free patterns. To learn more and see the progress of my Stitch Journal 2017 project, follow me on Patreon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

We're KALing!

The Shawls Etc. KAL started just last week, and already quite a few beautiful projects have been cast on. We've also been discussing podcasts, why we love knitting shawls, knitting in public, and other fun stuff. It's off to a great start!

Among the projects folks are making for the KAL: Firehouse Alley Cowl, from knit.wear fall 2016, which I knit in the soft and springy Elsa Wool Cormo Fingering (2 skeins, or about 900 yards).

This wide, lace-and-texture cowl is knit flat from a provisional cast-on. After blocking, the two ends can either be grafted or joined with a three-needle bind-off.

Firehouse Alley Cowl by Bonnie Sennott

Hop Brook is another popular KAL project—which I knit in the very same yarn (yes, I love it that much!). This shawl takes just one skein (or about 450 yards). A pleasing mix of garter stitch and lace, it's knit from one end to the other, gradually increasing to the center, then decreasing. 

Hop Brook Shawl by Bonnie Sennott

Next week, we'll have a Jeopardy-style Trivia Tuesday in the KAL, where free patterns will be given away. There will be another Trivia Tuesday later on, too. The KAL goes until April 20, so everyone can work at a comfortable, not-stressful pace. Hope to see you!