Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Pattern: Hop Brook

Introducing Hop Brook, a scarf/shawlette named after a lovely brook in my hometown. With its relaxing garter stitch and not-too-complicated lace, Hop Brook is the perfect end-of-summer knitting project. It's now available in my Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy shops, and at Loveknitting as well.

Hop Brook Scarf
Pattern: Hop Brook, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Elsa Wool Cormo woolen-spun fingering in light grey

Hop Brook Scarf

Hop Brook's elegant, tapered crescent shape results from gradually spaced increases and decreases in the garter stitch portion of the scarf. Like my Streusel scarf, it is worked from one end to the other, with no grafting or short rows. The pattern includes instructions for making it longer or shorter, and the stitch patterns are provided both in charts and in row-by-row written form.

Hop Brook Scarf

This was my first time knitting with Elsa Wool Cormo and it certainly won't be my last. This beautiful undyed yarn comes from purebred Cormo sheep in Colorado and Montana. It is a good, honest yarn that's a pleasure to have on the needles. Its softness makes it ideal for anything worn against the skin.

Hop Brook Scarf

Hop Brook is the fourth pattern in my 2015 All You Need Is One collection of designs that require just one skein of yarn. When you purchase the collection (available only on Ravelry), the PDF is automatically updated in your Ravelry library each time a new pattern is released. One more pattern will be added to the collection this fall; at $16 for five patterns, it's a great deal!

Hop Brook Scarf

In conjunction with the second annual Neckwear KAL, I'm offering a discount on Hop Brook through September 10, only on Ravelry. Enter the coupon code NECKWEARKAL at checkout to get 25% off.

Hop Brook Scarf

I hope you'll join us for the KAL! Last year's was lots of fun, so we're doing it again. The Blue Peninsula Neckwear KAL starts Thursday, September 10 and ends Thursday, October 15. Whether you're knitting something special for yourself or gearing up for holiday gift giving, it's going to be a fun, low-pressure KAL with some nice prizes (including a skein of Elsa Wool Cormo!).

The scarf takes its name from a brook in Amherst, Massachusetts. On a very hot Sunday earlier this month, I took a break from creating the pattern's charts to go for a walk on the local bike trail. When I passed a little sign for Hop Brook, I stopped and realized I'd never gone down that particular path before. So I did, and within five minutes came upon this beautiful view:

Hop Brook, Amherst, MA

And just like that, I had found the name for my scarf! Goes to show, it's good to take breaks when you've been working a lot (especially on Sundays!) and to head down unfamiliar paths once in a while.

Hop Brook Scarf

Hop Brook Scarf

 As always, thanks go to my sister Jenny for her expert tech editing. Couldn't do it without her! 

Thank you very much for reading.







Monday, August 10, 2015

In August

Ah summer! #summer #joy #beauty #waterlilies #bonniesennott

What's not to love about August? Blue skies, puffy clouds, all of nature full and in bloom.

Another moment to squirrel away for next February #Brookfieldfarm #summer #joy #cosmos #eveninglight #mytown #amherstma #westernma

Since the Tour de Fleece ended, I've continued spinning every day. Yesterday I plied my second skein of mixed BFL. When I compare it to the first, I see real progress! The singles were more evenly spun, and the plied yarn has less twist. Overall, the yarn is more relaxed, though I feel a little less twist would be even better.

It's a yarn-making kind of Sunday! #dropspindles #spindlespinning #spinnersofinstagram #spindlersofinstagram #yarn

It might be hard to see, but you can definitely feel the difference between the two. The skein on top is the new one; the one below is my first:

Skein No. 2 of my mixed BFL (on top) is a big improvement over Skein No. 1 (bottom). More evenly spun, less tightly plied. Finally making yarn I would want to knit! #bonniesennott #spindlespinning #spinnersofinstagram #spindlersofinstagram #yarn #igspindl

I'm in between designs right now. Sent one off just recently that you won't get to see for a while. Now I'm focused on the next, knitting on it outdoors when I can, and sometimes in coffeeshops, too (no surprise, that). 

Ah, lakeside knitting in summer! Working on the next All You Need Is One design... #bluepeninsula #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #secretknitting #knittersofinstagram #summer #joy

Still don't have a name for the next design - Iced Coffee comes to mind, but it's already taken, darn! #bluepeninsula #knit #knitlace #cormo #elsawool #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram

It's a neckwear accessory, knit with ElsaWool Cormo fingering. I can't wait to share it with you! It'll be ready later this month, before we start the next Blue Peninsula knitalong.

The 2015 Neckwear KAL is coming up in September. Details soon!

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_7_72

Wonderberry_3_72

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_6_72

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. 

Wonderberry_8_72

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.

Wonderberry_2_72

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.

Spindles

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!