Sunday, August 02, 2015

Wonderberry Flash Sale

For no reason other than we're in the height of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere—and because I originally photographed and published it in summer—I'm having a flash sale on my Wonderberry shawl.

Now through Tuesday, August 4, get $2 off the pattern—no coupon code needed—only in my Ravelry pattern store.



Wonderberry is knit in fingering weight yarn. I used a merino silk blend, and that bit of silk gives it a lovely drape. But any fingering weight wool that you like for lace accessories is sure to work well.


Wonderberry is worked top-down and can be knit in three sizes. The pattern provides instructions for placing beads using the crochet hook method, but if you don't care for beads, you can simply omit them. 


On these hot summer days, knitting a worsted-weight sweater can seem completely out of the question. Too heavy, too sticky! But an airy shawl in cool, silky fingering weight yarn? For me, that's the perfect late summer project.


Sale ends Tuesday. Happy knitting!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hulst KAL Wrap-up

Some of us finished our socks in the Hulst KAL, and some didn't—but either way, we had a good time knitting and sharing summer recipes. The range of colors and yarns was inspiring! Everything from bright greens to deep browns to buttery yellows.

Remember Brenda of End of the Row yarns, who I interviewed back in May? She's so speedy she made not one but two pairs of Hulst. The first was in her 80/20 sock yarn, in the My Favorite Martian colorway:

The second was in her Platinum BFL base, in a colorway she calls On the Edge:

End of the Row Yarns proved to be popular for this KAL. Susan (suzygirl) knit hers in Brenda's Winter Sage colorway:

Brenda wasn't the only one to knit two pair—so did Nadia (tricoteuse007)! First she knit a lovely women's pair in Woolen Rabbit Pearl:

Then she created a men's version by working the back-of-leg faux-cable stitch on the front and eliminating the lace. She used the Raven colorway of Woolen Rabbit Harmony—a great color for a man's sock. I loved how it worked out and hope other knitters will give Nadia's modification a try.

Ruth's Hulsts were definitely the sunniest socks in the KAL. She knit hers in the Butterscotch colorway of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply:

Another beautiful color in the KAL was a soft lavender-grey called Haze. This pair was knit by Lu Ann (wanny) in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock: 

Heather (afeistyknitter) didn't finish her socks, but for a very good reason—she's got lots of other projects to finish for her October wedding. She chose an acid green colorway of Periwinkle Sheep yarn called Antidote for her Hulsts (it matches her engagement ring). She also contributed some excellent recipes, including a cooler called Summer in a Glass

Due to a couple of secret projects. I didn't finish my own Hulsts—knit in Into the Whirled Gloucester Sock. But now that I've put one big project in the mail, I definitely plan to spend more time on them:

Hulst sock in progress

Thank you very much for reading—hope to see you in the next Blue Peninsula KAL!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A-Plying Myself

Spindles, last day of the Tour de Fleece

On this last day of the Tour de Fleece, I plan to spin a little of each of my three fibers—mixed BFL, Cormo, and the chocolate brown CVM/Romeldale.

My goal for the TDF was to spin for 15 minutes a day, and I more than met that—in fact, most days I spun for at least a half hour. As a beginner, I simply wanted to get better at spindle spinning, and the daily spinning of the TDF helped a lot.

Day 17, Tour de Fleece: spun some BFL. Forgot to take a rest day yesterday and plied my Cormo! #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015 #spindlespinning #spinnersofinstagram #igspindlers  #handmade #yarn

When I plied some Cormo the other day, I could see real progress—the singles I spun more recently were definitely more even, with fewer slubs. My proudest moment of the TDF came when I posted a photo of the Cormo skein and my sister Jenny—an accomplished spinner on both the wheel and spindle—commented, "A spinner is born!"

Tour de Fleece Cormo progress: 110 yards plied, next spindle begun! #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015 #yarn #spindlespinning #spinnersofinstagram #igspindlers  #handmade #handspun

So far I've got about 110 yards of plied Cormo. I'm not sure I'll have enough in the end for a Shallows cowl, but there will definitely be enough for the mitts. I'll just keep spinning and see what happens. In the meantime, the 25% off sale on the Shallows cowl, mitts, and set ends at midnight EST tonight.

Tour de Fleece Shallows cowl and mitts sale ends tomorrow! Get 25% off with the coupon code TDF2015 in my Ravelry shop #bluepeninsula #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015

In other news, the Hulst socks KAL in our Blue Peninsula group on Ravelry ended a few days ago. Many lovely pairs were knit in bright summery colors. I'll share some of the finished socks here later this week.

Have a good Sunday!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lessons of the Tour de Fleece

Tour de Fleece 2015

OK, I confess—I haven't actually watched the Tour de France. Not having a television or cable (by choice) means I only pick up tour news here and there online.

BUT! Things are spinning around here, nonetheless. The Tour de Fleece has been great fun and productive. Instead of spindling 15 minutes a day, I've mostly been doing 30 minutes or more.

Some things I have learned: As your spindles fill, they get heavier. Which means they are going to topple over if you put them in a small glass jar. I've switched to a heavy ceramic mug filled with rice; no more toppling.


Tour de Fleece 2015

Tour de Fleece 2015

Also: Be patient. Really patient. It is humbling to learn a new skill and be a beginner again. When I see the perfect, beautiful yarns being produced by more experienced spinners on Team Spindlers, I admire them and envy them and want my yarn to be just as fabulous. Maybe it will be, someday. For now, I have to be patient and just keep spinning.

Tour de Fleece Day 9: BFL and Cormo progress #bonniesennott #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015 #spindlers #igspinners #spinning #spinnersofinstagram #bookhou

Another lesson: Don't mistake feet for yards. (Seems obvious but not for me, I guess!) My niddy noddy is a foot long, so when I wind my plied yarn onto it, I count the feet as I go. For one glorious morning I was thrilled at how much BFL I had spun—wow, so much! Although I was also a little puzzled—how come it doesn't look like that much? Finally I remembered I needed to divide the number of feet by three to get the number of yards I'd actually produced (a mere 62). 

Tour de Fleece 2015

Yet another lesson: Spinners are generous. My sister Jenny (an expert spinner) has shared spindles, books, a DVD ... not to mention loads of information and good advice every time I ply her with questions on Ravelry (pun intended). Without her, I wouldn't even be doing this.

And thanks to Christine of Skeinny Dipping, I've also started spinning some dark brown CVM/Romeldale. Out of the blue on Instagram, she offered to send me a little. Of course, I said yes! It's springy and gorgeous and I had it on a spindle within minutes of opening the package.

Oh boy! Something new to spin! Thank you so much for the CVM @skeinnydippingyarn !!! �� #tourdefleece #spin #spindlers #spinnersofinstagram #igspinners #cvm

So far I've produced two spindles' worth of mixed BFL and plied that into a 62-yard skein. I also tried dyeing the test skein of BFL I made before the Tour with hickory nuts (saved from last fall). I loved the resulting brown and may end up dyeing all of the BFL yarn the same way.

TDF Day 11: plied some BFL! I want it to be more even but as a new spinner I need to keep my expectations realistic, right? #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015 #spindlers #spindlespinning #bfl

Adventures in spindle spinning, plying, and dyeing: mixed BFL dyed with hickory (top) and undyed (bottom) #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015 #spinning #spindlers #spindlespinning

I've also spun one full spindle of Cormo and wound that off; a second spindle of Cormo is now in progress. 

TDF progress: I've plied one skein of BFL, about 60 yards. Cormo up next! #bonniesennott #tourdefleece #tourdefleece2015 #spindlers #spindlespinning #spinnersofinstagram #igspinners #bfl #cormo

Tour de Fleece 2015

When I first signed on for the Tour de Fleece, I wondered if I would regret it. Would I have time? Would I enjoy it? But instead, I'm so into it I have to remind myself there are other projects that need my attention (like a couple new designs I look forward to sharing soon). If you're taking part, I'd love to hear about your spinning. What lessons has the Tour de Fleece taught you?

A quick sale reminder: The Tour de Fleece discount on the Shallows cowl, mitts, or set ends July 26. Use the coupon code TDF2015 to save 25% in my Ravelry shop.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Fallen Stars

If you visit Gallery A3 in Amherst, Massachusetts, this month you can see one of my abstract embroidery pieces in a group show there. Wrinkle Embroidery VIII (The Fallen Stars) is one of 55 works chosen for the exhibit by John Stomberg, director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.

Sennott_The Fallen Stars_600
Bonnie Sennott, Wrinkle Embroidery VIII (The Fallen Stars), 2015, perle cotton on linen, 
14 x 14 inches

There's a reception for the artists tomorrow (Saturday, July 11) from 4 to 7 pm. I'll be there early on, during the first hour or so. Come say hi!

Wrinkle Embroidery in progress

As with my other wrinkle embroidery pieces, I began this one by purposely wrinkling the linen, then tracing the wrinkles with back stitch or running stitch. I work out the compositions of my wrinkle embroidery pieces as I go, with a process that's a mix of chance (how the fabric wrinkles) and choice (which wrinkles I choose to stitch). I rarely rip out, as it stresses the fabric. So the process is a lot like drawing with pen and ink—no erasing, no going back.

Today's daily stitching: white running stitch #dailyembroidery #embroidery

I started this one about a year ago, worked on it intensely for a while, then left it alone as I pondered what should come next. When I began adding in the brightly colored satin stitch, the piece took on a joyful tone.

Bright colors for a bright new year. Happy 2015, everyone! #embroidery #dailypractice #dailyembroidery #bonniesennott

But as I worked, this piece was always linked in my mind to last summer, because when I first began it Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 had just been shot down over the fields of Ukraine. So many innocent people killed. Such a terrible, unspeakable tragedy. 

The bright colors I used for the satin stitch were the joyful colors of summer, the colors of zinnias. But joy and beauty is only part of the story. I decided I wanted this piece to be more truthful. Eventually, I turned it upside down, so the "stars" fell. Later I introduced a wedge of black French knots, as a visual disruption that pierces the brightness.

Wrinkle embroidery in progress

Because that's how we are as a species, aren't we? Capable of great joy, and of acting with selflessness and kindness and love. But we're also capable of shooting children and their stuffed animals out of the sky on a sunny summer day.

Wrinkle Embroidery VIII_detail

If you're in western Massachusetts, I hope you can make it to the reception tomorrow or stop by another time. The show continues through August 1; the gallery is located in the Amherst Cinema Building in downtown Amherst (you can't miss it) and hours are 1–7 pm, Thursday–Sunday.

Thank you very much for reading!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Tour de Fleece and Shallows Sale

If you spin, you probably know the Tour de Fleece starts Saturday. If you don't, well ... in a nutshell, it's a Ravelry event in which spinners spin every day during the Tour de France and challenge themselves in some way. You can spin on drop spindles or wheels (or both). There are big teams for rookies, sprinters, climbers, etc., and lots of "wildcard" teams hosted by various Ravelry groups. 

Today's Tour de Fleece training is done. Getting better! #bonniesennott #spinning #spindlespinning #tourdefleece #bfl

As a drop spindle newbie, I've joined Team Spindlers, where I'm challenging myself to spin at least 15 minutes every day, more on challenge days. I will work my way through the only two fibers in my stash, some Ashland Bay mixed BFL top, and some pin-drafted Cormo roving from Barbara Parry's Springdelle Farm here in western Massachusetts.


Over the past couple of weeks, I've been training for the TDF by spinning, plying, and knitting swatches. I'm hoping to spin enough yarn to make myself a Shallows cowl or mitts—neither requires a lot of yardage and the lace pattern looks good even if the yarn is a little uneven. 

So here's where the sale comes in! Along with the daily spinning, I'm having a Tour de Fleece Shallows sale. Use the coupon code TDF2015 to get 25% off the cowl, the mitts, or the ebook set in my Ravelry pattern store, now through July 26.


I don't have a lot of equipment, so I've been plying on a spindle using the flower pot method—a ball of each single ply under a flowerpot, with the yarn coming through the hole in the bottom. There are faster and more sophisticated ways to ply, but right now, I'm really enjoying this very "homespun" way of doing it. (The balls I'm winding the singles on are cat toy rejects—Snickers turned her nose up at them.)

Ready to ply #spinning #spindlespinning #bonniesennott #yarn

Plying done! #spinning #spindlespinning #yarn #dropspindles

It's been a good day, yarnwise. About 188 yards of 2-ply BFL and 70 yards of the single. #dropspindles #spinning #spindlespinning #handmade #yarn #bfl

 I love that the TDF is not a competition, but lets you challenge yourself in ways that are meaningful to you. If you're a spinner, are you participating in the Tour de Fleece? I'd love to know what you're spinning and what your goals are! 

Single and double. Still a lot to learn but I'm getting better! #spinning #spindlespinning #bfl #handmade #yarn #tourdefleece #bonniesennott


Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Pattern: Grille

Brooklyn Tweed released Wool People 9 yesterday, a collection of new patterns by guest designers. I'm excited to be among them, with a textured vest called Grille.

Pattern: Grille, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed LOFT in Almanac

Grille is a light, loose-fitting tunic featuring gansey-style overall texture reminiscent of automotive grilles. It's worked from the bottom up in two pieces, after which the shoulders and sides are seamed. The ribbed neckband is picked up and worked in the round, then sewn to the inside for a clean, attractive finish.

Grille is an ideal summer project because it's all about simplicity—simple knitting, construction, and style. Cast on now, knit at your leisure, and by September you'll have a versatile layering piece that will carry you through the fall and even into winter. I designed Grille with many different styling options in mind: wear it with pants and a tailored shirt, or with a pencil skirt for the office, or over a long-sleeved tee and leggings or jeans for casual occasions.

All photos © Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

 There are 14 patterns in Wool People 9—seven lace pieces (I want to make them all!) and seven garments, contributed by designers hailing from Australia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Argentina, Japan, Canada, and the United States. It's truly an honor to be among them.


Thank you very much for reading!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gearing Up for the Hulst Socks KAL

On your mark! The Hulst Socks KAL starts a week from today. We have great prizes - yarn from Periwinkle Sheep, buttons from Katrinkles, and a project/tote bag made by @missouritrouble. Hope to see you! @katrinkles_knitting_jewelry @periwinklesheep #bluepe

Only a few days until the Hulst Socks KAL starts! Have you got your yarn and pattern? 


The discount on the pattern in my Ravelry store continues through Saturday, June 20. Use the coupon code HULSTKAL to receive $1.00 off.

This KAL is a celebration of both summer sock knitting and summer produce, farmers markets, and CSAs. Already some great recipes have been shared—like a watermelon-cucumber cooler called Summer in a Glass. Find it right here. (Gin is entirely optional, and I can't vouch for how it might affect your sock knitting.)

We have some great prizes, too—free patterns, a lovely project bag, buttons—and a skein of the yarn I knit the sample in, Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors in the Atlantic colorway.

Look what I brought home after having coffee with @periwinklesheep �� Can't wait to design some socks with it! #bluepeninsula #periwinklesheep #knit #knitsocks #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram

I've cast on a second pair, this time using Into the Whirled Gloucester Sock in a chocolately color called Blackthorn. The dark color is a little hard to photograph, but so far the yarn is working really well with this pattern.

Making a pair of Hulst just for me with Into the Whirled Gloucester Sock from Rhinebeck - and feeling like l ought to have chocolate for lunch  ������ #bluepeninsula #knit #knitsocks #knitstagram #knittersofinstagram

Hope to see in you in the KAL! It starts Sunday, but you can join whenever you like.

P.S. A few people have asked about the project bag I'm using for these socks. I sewed it using a Dropcloth Sampler by Rebecca Ringquist. She's got lots of cheerful embroidery samplers in her Etsy shop.