Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring FOs

I blocked a second Shallows this weekend, knit in a delicious raspberry color that made me think of sorbet the whole time I was working on it:

Raspberry Shallows_2
Pattern: Shallows, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Swans Island Organic Merino, fingering weight
Needles: US4/3.5mm

Raspberry Shallows_3

Raspberry Shallows_5

This is the scarf version of my Shallows pattern, which can be made either as an infinity cowl or a scarf. I made this one wider by adding an extra repeat of the lace stitch pattern.  (If you want to do the same, cast on 55 stitches; you'll need 136 beads.)

Raspberry Shallows_6

Raspberry Shallows_1

This was one of those projects that you're kind of sorry to finish, because the yarn was so pleasant to knit. I would love to knit a sweater in this Swans Island merino. It's so soft, cozy, luxurious.

Speaking of sweaters, my other FO makes me very happy, so much so I've already worn it twice since casting off.

Petra Pullover
Pattern: Petra, by Pam Allen
Yarn: Quince and Co. Lark in the Bark colorway
Needles: US4, US5

Petra is an easy top-down design; both body and sleeves are knit in the round. I customized the fit by adding two inches of length and adjusting the shaping—details on my Ravelry project page.

Petra Detail

Petra is the kind of sweater I like best—the perfect marriage of an attractive stitch pattern and just the right amount of stockinette. I hope the cool weather we've had recently continues, so I can wear it a few more times this spring.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wholeheartedly Happy

The two yarns I'm using for my Wholehearted Shawl seem like they were destined to be together:

Wholehearted Shawl_2
Pattern: Wholehearted, by Erika Flory
Yarns: Quince and Co. Finch in Kumlien's Gull and String Theory Caper Sock in Sandy River
Needle: US4 Hiya Hiya circular

I find I am picking up this project often. It's easily memorized—which makes it a good travel project. But mostly I just want to see what will happen next with the dusty blues and greys and tans.

Wholehearted Shawl_3

Wholehearted Shawl_1

Don't you think Sandy River is the perfect name for the String Theory Caper Sock colorway?


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fabric Disk Tutorial

For Mother's Day, I thought I'd share a hand-sewing project that I learned recently from my mother, Anita Sennott, who learned it from her mother, Anna Kruse (nee Koestner).

Mom's Antimacassar_1

When I visited my mother in Florida during March, I asked her where she got the cover on one of her living room chairs. I was really taken with those little circles.

Mom's Antimacassar_2

She said she made it. So then I asked about the pattern, but she said there was no pattern. She learned to make these fabric disks from her mother, who stitched them together to make pillow covers and other household items. I was touched to see this tangible connection to the grandmother I never knew (she died when my mom was only 14).

Mom offered to show me how to make them. She didn't have any fabric on hand, so we planned to go to Jo-Ann Fabrics later in the week. Unfortunately, we never made it due to a medical procedure being delayed (not a fun story, though it had a good outcome). I had to return to Massachusetts without learning to make the fabric disks.

A week or so later, an envelope arrived in the mail. Inside was a disk and instructions typed up by my mother. With her permission, I'm sharing them here:

Mom's Fabric Disk Instructions

It was brilliant of her to leave the disk unfinished, so that I could open it up and see how it was made.

Mom's Butterfly Fabric Disk

Fabric Disk Stitches_detail_1

I found her instructions easy to follow. To make one, I used a cereal bowl and a disappearing ink pen to mark the circle.

Fabric, Bowl, Pen

You can make the disks any size. My bowl, which was about 5 1/4 inches in diameter, produced a disk about 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

After cutting the fabric, you simply thread a needle, knot the thread, fold over 1/4 inch or less of fabric, and start stitching. I found it easiest to gather the fabric as I went, rather than wait to gather it at the end.

Green Fabric Disk in Progress

Green Fabric Disk in Progress_2

When you're back where you started, pull the thread tight tight and tie a knot. The photo below shows the difference in size between the cut fabric and the finished disk.

Completed Fabric Disk

Join them together with a few small stitches to make whatever you like: garlands, pillow covers, chair covers, book covers ...

 Mom's Antimacassar_3

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Thank you for letting me share your creativity on my blog.



Sunday, May 06, 2012

Giveaway Winners

Thank you all for leaving so many comments here on the blog and for joining the new Blue Peninsula group on Ravelry in the past week. The names selected by the random number generator were: Fleurtje-Eliza, greyowl, and knitknucklehead.  Congrats to each of you!  I'll contact you on Ravelry to get your mailing information.

We knitters are known for our generosity and willingness to help each other and larger causes (Knitters without Borders is just one example). Recently I read on Jody's blog about a knitter/designer whose daughter has suffered a serious house fire. From now through the end of May, Erika Flory is donating proceeds from the sale of her Wholehearted Shawl pattern to help her daughter rebuild her life.

Wholehearted Start_2
Pattern: Wholehearted by Erika Flory
Yarns: Quince and Co. Finch in Kumlien's Gull; String Theory Caper Sock in Sandy River
Needle: US4

Wholehearted is a heart-shaped shawl knit with solid color and variegated sock yarns. It's a great way to use those partial skeins of sock yarns in your stash. The end result can be subtle and subdued or bright and dazzling, depending on your color choices.

Wholehearted Start

I hope you'll consider helping Erika and her daughter out. If the shawl isn't something you'd knit for yourself, considering gifting the pattern to a friend on Ravelry. I myself have never had to live through a house fire—I can't even imagine how hard that would be.

Thanks again, everyone, for participating in the Triple Giveaway.  Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pattern Release: Goodnough

My newest design, Goodnough (pronounced "good-no"), is now available on Ravelry and in my Etsy shop.

2_Goodnough 
Pattern: Goodnough, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Fiberphile Super Squish DK [100% superwash merino wool; 230 yd/210 m per 100g skein]; color: Mithril
Needles: US6/4.00mm and US4/3.5mm 

5_Goodnough 

Goodnough is an open front cardigan featuring a mirrored cable pattern on its two front bands. With 3/4-length sleeves and A-line shaping, it's a perfect layering piece for spring, summer, and fall.

9_Goodnough

The pattern is written for DK or light worsted weight yarns that knit up at 5 stitches to the inch. I was very pleased with the Fiberphile Super Squish DK that I knit the sample with. It's a plump, smooth yarn that produces a beautifully even stockinette fabric. The yarn relaxes nicely after blocking, resulting in good drape and excellent stitch definition. And that Mithril colorway? It's beyond lovely.

3_Goodnough

I designed Goodnough to be worn with 0-2 inches/0-5 cm positive ease, but it can also look attractive worn with negative ease. The model in the photos is wearing it with a small amount of negative ease, and I think it looks great on her.


8_Goodnough

The sweater is worked bottom up in one piece to the armholes, then divided for back and fronts. Only a little bit of seaming is required: the shoulders are seamed, and the front bands are seamed at the back neck. The sleeves are worked top-down, in the round, using short rows to shape the sleeve caps. Stitch patterns are given in both written form and charts.

6_Goodnough 


4_Goodnough

Goodnough is named after the Goodnough Dike at the Quabbin Reservoir, in Ware, Massachusetts. It's a beautiful place, especially in the early morning. But it can be cold up there on the dike, even in late April. (How cold? 35F!) If you look closely, you can see goosebumps on Clarity's arms in some of the pictures. This was more appropriate gear for the morning:


Goodnough Shoot Weather-Appropriate Gear

Thanks go to Katherine for her thorough tech editing, and to Clarity, model and videographer extraordinaire, for all her help and enthusiasm. Clarity's sense of humor and adventure made the photo shoot fun from start to finish. (Also memorable was the fantastic breakfast we had afterwards next to a toasty fireplace at the Roadhouse Cafe in Belchertown.) 
7_Goodnough


Goodnough Dike_Boulder

I really can never get enough of the views at the Goodnough Dike. We're landlocked in western Mass., but at least we have big expanses of water and sky at the Quabbin. When I took preliminary photos there the morning before the photo shoot, the Kinks song "This Is Where I Belong" came into my head.

10_Goodnough


Indeed. This is where I belong.

(Don't forget! The Triple Giveaway continues through midnight Saturday. Winners will be announced next week.)