Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 34

Colors stitched into the Stitch Journal this week: golden yellow, for zinnias; lots of greens, for the grass and leaves; tawny ochre, for leaves beginning to change; orange, for jewelweed. 

I find myself focused on listening to the yard recently—cicadas, crickets, chickadees and goldfinches, hummingbirds, chipmunks, distant hawks, katydids—trying to take it all in and preserve it, to "put it by" so I can come back to all this richness during winter's silence.

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***
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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Neckwear KAL Prizes

Today I'm excited to share the prizes for the 2016 Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL—I hope you like them as much as I do. The KAL starts September 7, so there's still plenty of time to decide on yarns and patterns.

Prize #1: Three skeins of Louet Gems Fingering in Linen Grey, enough to make my Notch shawl:
Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL 2016 Prizes

Prize #2: A skein of Luna Grey Fiber Arts Celeste in Razzmatazz, 400 yards of fingering weight superwash merino:
Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL 2016 Prizes

Prizes #3 and #4: Notions Notecards, designed exclusively for Ravelry by Jill Zielinski/Knitterella:
Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL 2016 Prizes

The yarns will be awarded to projects finished by the end of the KAL. But the cards will be awarded to posts in the discussion thread—once at the end of the KAL and once midway through. This way, even if you don't finish your project, you still have a chance to win a prize. It's my way of saying "thanks" to everybody who participates. 

Of course, just making something you love is reward in itself. But maybe these prizes will provide a little extra incentive to join the fun!

I hope you're enjoying these last few weeks of summer. It's been mostly hot and humid here in Massachusetts, not the best knitting weather. But the other day, while I was knitting next to a lake at lunch, something about the breeze and rustling leaves whispered, "fall." 

And early this morning, in the backyard, I spotted this:
Notch Shawl Detail

I'm sitting in front of a fan as I type this—it feels 100% like summer today. But it won't be long before I stop using my Notch shawl as a photo backdrop and start wearing it, right?

How's your end-of-summer knitting going? Are you gearing up for fall projects?


Friday, August 19, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 33

This week yellow, orange, green, dusty rose—the colors of August—filled my stitch journal. A few leaves on one of the maple trees have already turned red, but I haven't stitched these hints of fall yet. I will, of course . . .  but for the moment, I'm holding fast to summer.

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***
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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Neckwear KAL: Dates and a Giveaway

The dates are set for the 2016 Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL: join us Wednesday, September 7 through Wednesday, October 12 to knit something lovely for your fall wardrobe (or perhaps an early holiday gift?). Any of my scarf, shawl, or cowl patterns can be made for this KAL.

KAL collage

To celebrate, I'm having a pattern giveaway on Instagram. It's easy to enter - just leave a comment tagging a friend - that's it! I'll draw one comment Friday and both folks (commenter AND friend) will win a shawl, cowl, or scarf pattern of their choice.

I hope you'll be knitting with us in September. Me, I've got some design projects I'll be knitting behind the scenes during the KAL, but as time allows I'll work on the new sample of my Streusel scarf:

Streusel in Progress

I'm past the halfway point, so it will go quicker and quicker now that I'm on the decrease section. By the way, this lovely hand-dyed yarn—a blend of merino, silk, and yak—is a brand-new base called Delirium from the Periwinkle Sheep. It's just become available in her Etsy shop, in a beautiful range of colors.

See you in the Neckwear KAL! We'll have several great prizes—including some very pretty yarns. I'll be sharing more info about them soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 32

This week's stitches and colors: lots of green, dark and light, for grass refreshed by rain, tall wildflowers, shadows under leaves on rainy mornings. Yellow, for the Jerusalem artichokes shooting up behind the Joe Pye weed. Orange, for the last of the day lilies. Dusty rose, for a fading zinnia. 

It's still summer. There's no doubt about that as I type sitting right in front of a fan (which only relieves the mugginess a little). But there's definitely a feeling of change in the air, a hint of winding down. "Stitch our bright colors while we're still here," say the zinnias and nasturtiums.

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***
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

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Neckwear KAL: Vote!

We're starting to get the ball rolling for the third annual Neckwear KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. Three sets of dates are being considered—please stop over and vote for the time frame that works best for you.

Neckwear KAL Mosaic_2016_WHEN?

All of my scarf, cowl, and shawl patterns qualify. We'll have some wonderful prizes, too. Come join us to make yourself a new accessory for fall or get started on your holiday gift knitting.  Hope to see you!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 31

The colors of daylilies, bleached grass, and cloudy skies made their way into the final days of July's stitch journal piece.

With the arrival of August came much-needed rain, so I stitched darker colors—those of wet brown bark and evergreens. The water refreshed the many stressed wildflowers and weeds that fill the wild, untended areas around the edges of the yard. The Joe Pye weed—a favorite of groundhogs, butterflies, and hummingbirds—shot up even taller, its purple blooms filling out. I recorded that sudden abundance in the stitch journal with a cluster of violet French knots.

I have grown to enjoy the improvisational nature of this project. A few stitches are laid down and from that small beginning the month's composition grows, sometimes in surprising ways, but always in response to the daily life I observe in this small patch of land in western Massachusetts. 

As we head into the eighth month of the project, I want to thank you for joining me on this journey. I've been enjoying it immensely, and I hope you have been, too. 

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***
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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Stitch Journal: Week 30

If I had to describe the past week of July—and of my Stitch Journal project—that word would be "heat." The morning light has been bright and strong, and every day the temperatures have risen into the 90s. Leaves are curling and dropping. The grass is drying out, mostly bleached and faded now, though still green in the few spots that are aways damp.

Thankfully, as I type these words, it's raining. And not just a brief burst—it looks like we'll have at least a full morning of rain. What a blessing!

By the way, tomorrow (Saturday, July 30) is the last day to see my piece Winter Flame in the group show at Gallery A3 in Amherst. If you're in the vicinity, I hope you'll come see it. Gallery hours are 1:00–7:00 pm.

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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

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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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!