Sunday, May 01, 2016

Giveaway Winners

Thanks to all who left a comment on my giveaway post about which you prefer for stitch patterns—charts or line-by-line written instructions. I was curious because, as a knitter, I prefer working from charts—and if a pattern doesn't provide one, I will get out graph paper and draw my own chart. But, as a designer, I nearly always include both, even though that adds to production time and is one extra thing the tech editor has to check for errors.

The majority of those who left a comment prefer charts. But quite a few knitters either work only from written instructions and/or prefer to have them as a reference along with the chart. That's helpful to know. Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to share your preferences.

On to the winners! The Random Number Generator selected Gini/birbinia and Caitlin/thinkTAnkgirl.
Congrats! I'll contact you both on Ravelry—or feel free to message me there.

Streusel, in Periwinkle Sheep Delirium in the Cayenne colorway

The Yarn Over KAL is off to a great start, with Hop Brook, Erste, Bluet, and other lace patterns in progress. My own Streusel is going well—I'm loving this new Periwinkle Sheep Delirium yarn more and more (it's fingering weight merino/yak/nylon).

The KAL continues through May 29. Projects finished and posted by then are eligible for several lovely prizes, including Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn. I hope you'll join us!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 17

This week I stitched lots more running stitch with pale peach-pink thread—the color at the center of the daffodils a neighbor planted in the yard years ago. I like how, as people come and go in our building, they leave their mark on the property. Another neighbor who moved away last year left behind a bird feeder pole at the edge of the yard, so I moved my thistle feeder there. Now I can watch the finches flickering back and forth every morning but without the mess of dropped seeds on my balcony.

This week's embroidery has been full of yellow, for the finches. And for the forsythia on the far hill beyond the yard. Everywhere around the valley, forsythias are blooming, but this year there are noticeably fewer blossoms—they're quite sparse. I wonder if it has something to do with the very mild winter we had?

Where did April go? Only a couple of day's work left on this piece!

Day 113
Stitch Journal, Day 113

Day 114
Stitch Journal, Day 114

Day 115
Stitch Journal, Day 115

Day 116
Stitch Journal, Day 116

Day 117
Stitch Journal, Day 117

Day 118
Stitch Journal, Day 118

Day 119
Stitch Journal, Day 119

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy shop to help support it. If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Triple Happiness: Yarn Over KAL, Lace Sale, and Giveaway

The Yarn Over KAL starts today! Will you join us? We've got some great prizes, including pretty yarns and an eye pillow from my Etsy shop (the winner gets to choose which design they'd like). It continues through May 29, so there's plenty of time to knit something large or small. You can cast on anytime between now and then.

For this KAL, I'm working on two different projects. One is a new design, an asymmetrical lace shawl that I'm knitting in Louet Gems fingering:

Lace, daffodils, rushing river: my weekend is off to a good start. How's yours? #bluepeninsula #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #igknitters

It's coming along nicely and, fingers crossed, the pattern should be available before the KAL ends. The other project is a new sample of my Streusel scarf, which I just cast on this morning. The Periwinkle Sheep merino/silk that I first designed Streusel with has been discontinued, so this time around I'm using a brand-new yarn. It's a fingering weight merino/yak/nylon blend from Periwinkle Sheep that's wonderfully soft and seems perfectly suited for lace—it blocks out beautifully and has a lovely drape. This new yarn isn't in her Etsy shop yet, but Karin has announced on Facebook that some of it will be available at her open house next weekend.

Streusel Start

I'm excited to be going back to an older pattern and knitting it again. I love that Streusel is completely reversible—there's no right or wrong side to worry about when you're wearing it. And the gentle shaping really appeals to me. The increases and decreases are spaced so that it grows in width (and then narrows again after the center point) very gradually. The end result is a light scarf rather than a bulky shawl—just right for spring and summer.

Streusel and my other lace patterns—not just scarves and shawls but socks, sweaters, hats, and mitts, too—are on sale through midnight tonight in my Ravelry pattern store. Save 20% on individual patterns with the coupon code YARNOVER (you can use the code as many times as you like).

Now . . .  on to the giveaway promised in the title of this post! This is an old-fashioned blog giveaway where all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (no liking or sharing or tagging on other social media required). Just answer the question: When you knit lace (or any kind of stitch pattern), which do you prefer to work from—charts or line-by-line written instructions? What makes you like one option better than the other?

Two winners will each receive a hand-embroidered lavender-chamomile sachet and a couple of cute owl stitch markers from Lavender Hill Knits. Lavender is a natural moth repellant—I keep sachets all over the house, in every closet, drawer, basket, or bin that contains wool. I've added a vintage lace ribbon so you can hang the sachet in a closet or anywhere you'd like a fresh herbal scent.

Blog Giveaway Prizes

Blog Giveaway Prizes

Blog Giveaway Prizes

Leave your comment by Friday, April 29. I'll announce the winners next weekend. Please include your Ravelry username or email in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you are a winner. 

Blog Giveaway Prizes

Good luck and happy knitting!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 16

Greys and browns this week—for mourning doves and for last year's leaves under trees at the edges of the yard. Yellows and reds—for finches, cardinals, forsythia, dandelions. Violet—for creeping Charlie. Orange—for the sky at dawn this morning above the Pelham Hills.

The season of color is at hand!

Day 106
Stitch Journal, Day 106

Day 107
Stitch Journal, Day 107 (April 16)

Day 108
Stitch Journal, Day 108

Day 109
Stitch Journal, Day 109

Day 110
Stitch Journal, Day 110

Day 111
Stitch Journal, Day 111

Day 112
Stitch Journal, Day 112

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy shop to help support it. If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lace Sale!

Hop Brook

The second annual Yarn Over KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group starts next Sunday. To celebrate, I'm having a sale: all lace patterns in my Ravelry store are 20% off now through April 24. Use the coupon code YARNOVER to get the discount—you can use it as many times as you like. 

The sale includes any pattern with a yarn over in it—from shawls and scarves to socks, mitts, and sweaters. There are old favorites, like Pomegranate, Birchleaf, and Biscuit . . .

Pomegranate_Ribbing and Lace Detail

Birchleaf Cowl Doubled


. . . and new favorites, too! Like Hop BrookErste, and Con Brio.

Hop Brook Scarf

Erste Cowl

Con Brio Mitts 1

I hope you'll join us in the Yarn Over KAL.  Prizes have been announced and folks are already discussing yarns and patterns. I will be designing a new shawl during the KAL as well as knitting a new sample of my Streusel scarf. I've already started swatching with a luscious merino/yak fingering weight (coming soon from the Periwinkle Sheep).

Swatch for a new Streusel sample

The Yarn Over KAL starts next Sunday. In the meantime, enjoy the sale—and happy lace knitting!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 15

Hard to believe more than 100 days have passed! I admit, there are days when I have doubts about this project, when I worry it is absurd or has no value.

And yet—I continue. Because it brings me joy. Because I can't not. And because I know some of you who are following the project here on the blog or on Instagram or Flickr are enjoying it as well. You have been kind enough to tell me that. And some have even been inspired to start their own daily stitch journals.

The project and the year are rolling along, like the eyelet wheels I introduced this week. The past week brought longer days and lots of yellow in the form of dandelions and forsythia. Brighter light and more green everywhere. A feeling of possibility and adventure is in the air.

Day 99
Stitch Journal, Day 99

Day 100
Stitch Journal, Day 100

Day 101
Stitch Journal, Day 101

Day 102
Stitch Journal, Day 102

Day 103
Stitch Journal, Day 103

Day 104
Stitch Journal, Day 104

Day 105
Stitch Journal, Day 105

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy shop to help support it. If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Inside the Design Process: Yarn Auditions

Knitters have stashes. Some are big, some are virtuously small, but we all indulge from time to time in buying yarns that we don't have immediate plans for. We even have special vocabulary for stash: When we see a new pattern we like, we talk about going "stash diving." We go on "stash diets," especially when our stash approaches SABLE (stash amassed beyond life expectancy). We blame our "stash enhancement" on "yarn fumes."

As a designer, I'm as guilty of amassing stash as anyone else. But it's all strictly for professional reasons—I can't design without yarn, right? I also save leftovers from finished projects to use for future swatching. If I like a yarn, I will probably use it again, so it's worth keeping the odd bits.

Over the past week or so, I "auditioned" stash yarns for a lace shawl I'm planning. The first two were Rhinebeck acquisitions: a fingering weight alpaca/merino/nylon blend from Tika Designs that I dyed with red onion skins, and some blue-grey Pakokku Sock from Into the Whirled

Shawl Swatching

Shawl Swatching

Auditioning yarns for a shawl design. Who will get the part? (The one on the right I dyed with red onion skins.) #bluepeninsula #knitweardesign #knitweardesigner #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram

I love this part of the design process: Seeing how a yarn knits up with the stitch patterns I have in mind. Figuring out the best needle size to use. Measuring swatches before and after blocking to learn how the yarn behaves. Hanging up the swatches and imagining how the finished, much larger piece will look.

Blocking results. A third contender is now being blocked, because why stop at two? #bonniesennott #bluepeninsula #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #knitweardesign #knitweardesigner

Though I liked both of these first two swatches, I did feel the lighter-colored yarn showed off the lace better. I felt the fabric could have been a little less firm, though. Had I decided to go with this yarn, I'd have tried a larger needle size to see how that would affect the drape.

But these two swatches suggested to me that my design might look best in a very "crisp" solid-color yarn, and I remembered how well Louet Gems fingering had worked for one of my early lace scarf designs, Anita Caroline. Into my fingering weight stash basket I dove, looking for a bit of leftover Gems.

Shawl Swatching

I felt that everything came together with the Gems swatch: The yarn and needle size were just right for each other, the lace stitches looked terrific. Unfortunately, I didn't have any unused skeins in my stash . . .  but fortunately, Louet Gems is on sale this month at WEBS, so off I went.

Shawl Swatching

The two yarns that didn't get the part will definitely be used before long. I have another shawl idea in mind that I think the onion-skin-dyed yarn would be perfect for. The blue-grey yarn may end up as socks (which is why I bought it in the first place).

Three swatches is not bad—I sometimes knit many more than that while working out a new design. Aside from showing me which yarn worked best, they helped me tweak my charts. After making some adjustments to the placement of stitches along the edge of the triangle that "grows" with every right-side row, I was ready to cast on.

Shawl Swatching

So far, so good!  The terra cotta color from my stash is discontinued, so I went with brick red.

I hope to publish the pattern in May, during the next Blue Peninsula knitalong, Yarn Over 2016. The KAL starts April 24, but we'll start talking about yarns and patterns before then. Will you be stash diving or getting new yarn?

Friday, April 08, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 14

The fourth month of the project has begun and so far has been somewhat surprising. We've had snow—twice! I began by pinning a scrap of walnut-dyed linen to the main piece, folded to recall the hills that surround me in this valley. I think it will function as a kind of horizon line or anchor for this month's composition.

Right now, until the trees leaf out, I can still see much of the Holyoke Range to the south. Soon those silent blue presences will disappear from view, until next fall.

Day 92
Stitch Journal, Day 92 (April 1, 2016)

Day 93
Stitch Journal, Day 93

Day 94
Stitch Journal, Day 94

Day 95
Stitch Journal, Day 95

Day 96
Stitch Journal, Day 96

Day 97
Stitch Journal, Day 97

Day 98
Stitch Journal, Day 98

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy shop to help support it. If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!