Making Monday

Sunrise this morning over Sidney, Maine

It’s a new week and a new opportunity to make things! When I started this blog, it was meant to be about all of the things I made with a focus on knitting. So, here we are at another Monday and I am starting a whole new week of making.

I finished something yesterday! Woo! Hoo! I love to knit and I love to finish projects and send them on their merry way. This is a baby blanket that my sister-in-love asked me to make for her niece. I love this pattern because it’s a classic style that pleases everyone. I knit this with Berroco Vintage Chunky, an acrylic and wool blend that is machine washable and dryable, both very important for a new mom. The pattern is called Three Cable Baby Blanket and it’s a pattern that we hand out for free at the yarn shop where I work. This blanket took four hanks of yarn The chunky yarn makes it take a lot less time than a finer yarn and it’ll be nice and warm for the baby!

Banana Nut Muffins with Blueberries

Because I live in Maine, I like to add blueberries to almost everything I bake. They’re also good for us, right? My sweet husband loves to have something sweet in the morning with his coffee. When I bake for him, he’s a happy camper. You know the saying, “sometimes you feel like a nut”? He always likes nuts and these have a full cup of chopped walnuts in them. The recipe is one that I was given forever ago from a friend. It says it’s the recipe from the West Milton Inn. You can find the recipe here! This is the best banana bread recipe that I have ever had. I freeze the bananas when they’re getting old and when I defrost them, I add all the liquid and the bananas. Try making them plain, as written, and then play with adding different things: 1 cup of chocolate chips or a cup of blueberries or a cup of nuts (walnuts or pecans are great!)

I made granola!

I usually add dried cranberries in place of the raisins and I add 1/4 cup of maple syrup, too. I’ve been known to add chopped pecans or walnuts (remember that my husband likes nuts!) I now like to add pepitas (pumpkin seeds), too. I love this with a bit of almond milk or even with greek yogurt for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack when I forgot lunch and don’t want to ruin my dinner.

So, there you go! I’ve started my week making … baking!

Three Little Pumpkins

I have finished these adorable little pumpkins and I love them! I found a few skeins of Lion Brand Thick and Quick in my stash and, you all know, that I’ve been working hard to knit down my stash. Many of the yarns that I have are nearly antiques! (Some are legit antiques but that’s another story.)

Three Little Pumpkins

I have knitted this pattern before. It’s “Pumpkin” by Marnie Ann Joyce and it’s free on Ravelry. I’ve made these little pumpkins in super bulky and worsted weight yarns before. So when I found the leftovers of orange and green Lion Brand Yarns Thick and Quick, I knew what I needed to do – and the timing is so right on! Right?

I used US 10 1/2 DPNs for this project which made them a little smaller than previous versions but they’re perfect this way because none of the stuffing shows through and they’re pretty indestructible … and since they’re going west to my nieces and nephew, they’ll be bounced around a little bit (or a lot!)

These guys knit up in a flash. I was able to finish one in about two hours. I added the icord stem by knitting a 5-stitch icord for two or three rounds, and then decreasing to a 4-stitch icord for a couple of rounds and ended up with a 3-stitch icord until I thought it was the way I liked it. The green pumpkin has a special curved stem that has two stitches (one leg of each stitch) knitted together to stick them that way forever!

Gone knitting.

Pug Dog Sweater by Elizabeth Watkins

Look at this cute little guy!

This is my newest grand-dog, Gus. Gus is a Pug puppy and he’s absolutely edible. He has puppy toes and he’s in love with his dad (my son. I happen to agree that his dad is the bestest of the bestest!)

My son had asked me to knit a sweater for Gus because he’s going to be chilly this winter when they go out for their walks in New York City. I knit the first iteration in a pretty green but it was way too short. It fit perfectly around him but not with his harness. I also forgot to make a little hole where the harness will attach to the leash. So, when it came out looking like a crop top, I got back to knitting the second iteration in blue.

Gus in green

This pattern is a free pattern on Ravelry called Pug Dog Sweater. I knitted both sweaters in stashed leftover Berroco Vintage yarns. The pattern is sized for a lot of Pugs (and I’m going to try it for my Shitzu) from teeny tiny to sausage size. Gus doesn’t seem to be the typical Pug shape. He’s all leg (just like his father!) and he’s long and lean.

More information is on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Follow my knitting antics on FB at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner or on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.

Triggered but Grateful

Rainbow After the Storm

This morning I had a “discussion” on Facebook with high school friends about the current situation in our country with the coronavirus and the president. I have always been willing to give people I meet (and don’t meet) the benefit of the doubt. I did with this president, too. But I’m done. I am done giving the president the benefit of the doubt. I’m done with people “putting words in my mouth” both literally and proverbially. I’m calling BS on those who continually harken back to Hillary or Obama to compare. Let’s stick to the present and give credit where the credit is due.

The president is a liar. Google “all the presidents lies” and see what comes up. Note: I didn’t say which president or put an apostrophe before the “s”. See what comes up. Go ahead, I’ll wait!

This morning I realized that this is a problem for me because I lived with a man who was a lot like the president for nearly thirty years. I lived with a person who was verbally and emotionally abusive (especially when he was drinking) and a person who lied. A person who manipulated words, twisted the truth, told partial truths. A person who eroded my sense of self, my confidence, and erased my laugh. I was told, “of course I’m not having an affair with another woman” and “if you were a better (wife, mother, housekeeper … fill in the blank) I’d come home at night”. They were all lies and this is why what comes out of the White House, America’s house, triggers so many emotions in me and why I’m feeling anxious lately.

I’m so grateful that I can realize the trigger for what it is and name it and claim it. I’m grateful that I no longer live with a liar. I’m grateful for the new husband in my life who loves my craziness and supports me. I’m grateful for the self-awareness after nearly 30 years of therapy so that I can see why my anxiety is presenting itself in my life today. I love that I valued myself enough to make the investment of time and money to go to therapy week after week for so long. I am thankful that those women with whom I worked shared their deep knowledge of humanness with me. I am thankful that I have a voice and feel heard.

Foggy, cooler morning

Today I have “nothing” to do. The sun has come out after a foggy and gray morning and I am going to take my knitting and sit outside on the porch and watch the loons fish. It’s fall now, the temperatures have cooled, the leaves are changing color and it’ll soon be too cool to sit on the porch. I’m going to take advantage of today and soothe my soul with yarn and needles.

Gone knitting.

Just Keep Knitting …

A Sunrise View from my Bedroom Window

The world is getting uglier and I am feeling more tense and anxious. I dislike conflict and I really despise lies and there is a lot of conflict and a lot of lies flying around in America in advance of the November election.

If I ruled the world, PACs wouldn’t be allowed to advertise. They’re the most hateful and dishonest advertisers. Candidates would only be allowed to advertise about themselves; what they believe, what they stand for, what they will do if elected. If I ruled the world, Facebook posts that call people names would be immediately deleted, even if it was calling someone a republican or a democrat, a liberal or a conservative or any of the mangled iterations of those words we’ve come to accept as normal.

To deal with my anxiety, I’ve been following some sage advice:

Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.

Elizabeth Zimmerman
Gus in Green

This is my newest grand-dog, Gus. My son adopted Gus and asked me to knit him a sweater because … well, just because I can. I found a sweater specifically for Pugs on Ravelry, Pug Dog Sweater. This seemed a really good place to begin. I measured Gus and knit the XXXS, Sammie Size in a lovely shade of green. Yarn is Berroco Vintage, a worsted weight acrylic and wool blend that is machine washable and dryable. The pattern is a simple and quick knit, especially when you’re knitting a teeny tiny sweater for a little puppy. (Have a gander at the Pug photos in sweaters on the pattern page and you’ll notice that our Gus isn’t a typically shaped Pug.) The green sweater fit around him perfectly IF he isn’t wearing his harness but it’s a couple of inches too short.

So, back to the drawing board I went and knit him a blue version, also in Vintage, in the next size up, XXS. It’s in the mail as we speak and I am eager to see how this one fits. Pictures will follow.

Blue Pug Sweater, version 2

I’ve also been knitting socks like crazy for the 2020 Sock Challenge that we were having at the shop and that I announced to my FB followers. To my delight, some of my FB followers have gotten in on the fun! I’ve just finished my September socks … there are two pairs because I finished the main pair in record time and decided a pair of baby socks in a ball of yarn that I’v had sitting around forever (since before I knew that you needed three balls of this yarn to make an adult pair of socks, perhaps?)

The first pair are in Raggi sock yarn. I love this yarn and I love that it knits up so quickly in an Aran weight. These socks are Urban Rustic Socks by Elizabeth McCarten. This is a new to me (free) pattern that used a seeded rib (which I’d never knitted before) and a new-to-me heel construction. It’s a heel flap and gusset but knitted differently than I’ve ever seen. I love that there is no pattern below the ankle because my feet don’t like patterns on them, apparently. These socks come in two sizes, I made the smaller size. I can’t wait for boot weather now!

The bonus socks this month are a pair of teeny tiny baby socks. I had a ball of Patons Kroy Sock yarn in my stash that I’ve been itching to knit with because I only had the one ball. (I also have a couple of single balls of Regia baby sock yarn to use up.) I used my favorite sock pattern for this one, Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks #29 by Melinda Goodfellow. If you don’t have this pattern, you need it. NEED it! I did my best without sweating it too much – because I am knitting to be LESS anxious, right? – to match the two socks and they’re pretty close. I love this yarn and they’re really soft for baby. I have more yarn and will knit more little bitty socks as time allows.

Hope Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

My Hope Cardigan is once again on the needles … the first half of the sweater, pictured above, is done and I have gotten most of the way up the second arm. This sweater is knitted from cuff to middle twice and then stitched together (don’t ask me how, I’ve not read that far ahead.) I am not sure what I did for the first sleeve, however, and I’ve reached the end of the written instructions for the second sleeve and it’s about two and a half inches shorter than it needs to be. So … today I’ll be having a closer look in the good daytime light to see what I did on the first sleeve so I can complete the second sleeve and move on. This pattern is only available in Making Magazine #3, Dots. These magazines are a bit pricey but they’re so worth it. I love the variation of crafts that they feature in the books and I have made quite a few projects out of them. I’m knitting my Hope Cardigan in the suggested yarn, Berroco Remix Light. I love the drape and weight of this yarn. I also love the feel of it against my skin.

I made a Khamaseen in 2017 with this yarn and I love wearing it alone and with a shirt under it.

Humulus by Isabell Kraemer

I wore my Humulus sweater for the first time this week and I was so excited about the way it fit! It’s going to be one that I wear a lot this fall and winter. I love the colors that I chose and I love the weight of it. I have loved this sweater since I saw it on the MDK March Mayhem pattern bracket back in 2017 (I think.) I loved the colors that the original sweater was knitted up in (yellow and grey are my colors!) but I wanted something more sedate and I wear a lot of blue so … when we got a shipment of Ella Rae Classic Wool into the shop, on sale no less, I jumped and bought enough for the Humulus. I went back a forth a few times with the contrasting color for the yoke but I’m very happy with the blue that I settled on.

While I’m knocking knits off my list, the list isn’t getting any shorter. My step-daughter has requested an afghan for their new house for Christmas in a denim-y blue. A college friend asked me to knit a family favorite Christmas stocking for her nephew’s new fiancee. And I still have at least six sweaters worth of yarn in my stash. I can tell you that once the Hope cardigan is finished, I’ll be casting on my Dissent Cardigan by Andrea Rangel. I have black as the main color and a cream for the contrasting color. I’ll diverge from the pattern, which is written to knit back and forth, and knit this one with a steek. I much prefer to knit in the round if at all possible. I look forward to wearing it and honoring the Notorious RBG.

Gone knitting!

More details about each of my projects is on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. You can follow me on Instragram @QueenBeeKnits and on FB at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.

We Dodged A Bullet

Matrix Bullet Dodge | Know Your Meme

This week, my husband and I dodged a bullet.

One night my husband coughed in the middle of the night. The next day he woke up with a horrible cough and chest congestion. Our first thought and our fear was that he had Covid-19. We both feel very strongly that we should do the right thing so he went to have a Covid test. We also believed that we needed to report it to his employer, to our family who were just here and the friend who was in our house the day before.

I cancelled my classes for the week and found a colleague to work for me. He called his boss and took the rest of the week off. His boss closed down the company. We all did the right thing.

Yesterday, a couple of days ahead of the five days that we were told it would take, we got his results and they were negative. (I also did an at-home Covid test and I got my results yesterday, too. Mine were also negative.)

Today we are so grateful that we can live in the same house without having our masks on. We are so grateful that we dodged a bullet that so many families haven’t been able to dodge. The incidence of Covid-19 in Maine, and especially in our county, are still low in relation to other states and counties but our numbers are rising. We were fortunate this time and we were reminded that this disease is not “over” and “gone”. We will be wearing our masks, washing our hands and counting our blessings.

Gone knitting.

How is it Already September 20?

Good grief! I can’t imagine how we’ve gotten to “late” September! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (in a pandemic?)

The Apple Farm in Fairfield, Maine

I’ve been back to teaching a small class outside at a local park in Waterville, Maine until this week. My students were comfortable meeting outside, socially distanced and masked. I was, too. And then last week, it was chilly and we had to move from under the pergola in the shade into the sun to be comfortable. This week the high temperature was only going to reach 62 so we went into the store and were surprised that we were comfortable there, too.

Bickford’s Blueberries with the gang

Life has been full of visitors this summer, too. If there are to be blessings found in the Covid-19 pandemic, this is one! All of our children have visited for at least a week and a couple visited for two weeks and four weeks! Working from home/remotely does have its benefits. Nothing makes this mom happier than a house full of our kids! We are so proud of all of them and how gracefully they’re handling life under Covid-19. It’s been difficult; isolating at times, frustrating at times, fraught with financial uncertainty. My kids all work in the Arts in New York City … there won’t be solid work for them at least until 2021. They’ll all make it through this and they’ll all grow because of it.

(I missed grand-dog Severus. Boo! And the Littles were unimpressed and not on the porch.)

We have been eating well (everyone likes to cook) and the baking has been lots of fun! Notice that the photos are almost all of baked goods!? Ha! We made focaccia with a beautiful vegetable “picture” on it, lobster is always a favorite, raspberry ice cream cookie sandwiches, blueberries, blueberry buckle, a rustic peach and blueberry galette, blueberry bundt cake, blueberry muffins, Mrs. Dejonkheere’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, blueberry pie #1, lobster eggs Benedict, maple blueberry scones, squash pie, veggie frittata and apple pie. The raspberries, blueberries and apples were all picked by our hands! What a lot of fun.

There has been yarn in my hands throughout the visits! I’ve started and finished a few things that I wanted to share with you, too.

First up were two emPower People cowls in their signature purple.

The first is the emPower People Cowl by Casapinka. This is a simple garter stitch cowl that asks for a DK or sport weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Rios which is a light worsted weight. It’s a cowl so I really didn’t mind if it came out a little bit larger (or smaller). It was a quick and simple knit project and it’s a sample at the store right now. It’s so soft and will be a nice garment to wear and a good reminder to VOTE!

The second is EmPower Lace by Romi. I was a test knitter for this cowl and it was another really fun knit. This could be considered a bit more difficult than the first cowl, but it’s a great first lace project. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool this time and I love this yarn. It was a new yarn to me. It shows the lace well and it’s soft and sturdy. Empower Lace is also a free Raverly download.

Next up are two pairs of baby booties. I confess that I have a collection of Cascade’s Fixation yarn from which I’ve made several pairs of baby booties and a few baby hats to match. But I had over-bought! Can you imagine that? Ha! Ha! So, in my pledge to use up stashed yarn, I decided to pull out all of the Fixation and use it up by making some baby booties. Two pairs down and I have plenty more to go. The green pair has a different bottom color and the pink ones are simple solid pink. The pattern is one that I can’t find online anywhere called Sue’s Baby Booties. It was a free pattern at the store. If you love it, let me know and I can scan it and email it to you.

I’ve started and finished a baby gift for a special baby boy coming soon so I can’t show you a full photograph of the gift that I’ve finished. I used Hayfield’s Baby Blossom Chunky to knit a Three Cable Baby Blanket and will make a little sweater and hat to match. I’ll update this post when I have given the gift to the mom-to-be. It’s soft, warm and washable and dry-able. All good things when you’re a new mother.

I’ve finished the first of my September socks from our 2020 Sock Challenge. This is another stashed yarn, one that I collected when we learned that there wasn’t going to be a US distributor for this wonderful Raggi yarn. (There is a distributor now, thank heavens!) Raggi is a worsted/aran weight wool and nylon blend so it’s perfect for knitting socks. The pattern, Urban Rustic Socks, I just happened across when I was looking for a worsted weight sock pattern that I hadn’t already made. I love these socks and they’re a fun knit, too. It’s a free Ravelry pattern.

I’m working away on making more masks for my kids, I’ve fixed a hat for a customer, fixed a shawl several times for a former student (the shawl has traveled from Florida to Maine and back several times) and I’ve got a bunch of projects on the needles. I’m still working on finishing my Arne and Carlos Quarantine Knitting blocks (I think it’s going to be a pillow) and my Hope Cardigan is half-done. So, life is busy and full … I wanted to catch up here so that the next post won’t be so long.

Gone knitting!

Finished!

I’ve finally finished a couple of things …

So, let’s first talk about the Shape of a Bay. This is a gorgeous shawl that I bought as a kit with some gorgeous Cashmere People yarn at the Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat two years ago. It was my first time going back to the camp where I spent several very happy summer as a child and a teenager and it was my camp splurge. When I started it at camp, I learned fairly quickly that it wasn’t a have an adult beverage and knit this kind of project. It has been languishing in my time out drawer for a long, long time.

Sadly, I ran out of yarn and didn’t get to knit the last six rows or so of the last section but I wasn’t going to try to buy more yarn at this point in time – even though I know that they still have the same colorway, I’m not sure if it’ll match … and for six or seven rows? Yeah. No. I played yarn chicken and lost near the end. Needless to say, I had to frog back a couple of rows … a mere 1046 stitches but who was counting?

The Shape of a Bay shawl by Bristol Ivy in Cashmere People yarn (unblocked)

This shawl is a knitting challenge as I might have assumed knowing Bristol’s mind. I loved the project, though and I enjoyed the brain exercise. Even when I had to frog a few rows because I was an idiot and decided I was too smart to use a lifeline. Note to self and to future knitters of this pattern – lifelines are your friend. Use them! The textures in this shawl are amazing and lots of fun. Bristol is a knitting/knitted stitch genius.

Cashmere People yarn is sold at PortFiber in Portland, Maine and it’s really really special to knit with and it blocks out into a lovely lace shawl. I love working with this yarn. I love the way it feels and the way the stitches just pop out on it. Amazing.

EmPower People Bandana Cowl in Malabrigo Rios

My emPower People cowl is also finished. I made this as a sample to loan to the store (Yardgoods Center where I work) for a time. It’s a quick and simple bandana cowl and it is a free Ravelry pattern. It was a quick knit for me … it took about 3 days of a short amount of knitting. I chose the Rios which is technically a worsted weight yarn and the pattern calls for a DK. I think Rios is a light worsted or a heavy sport which is close to a DK. This cowl is knit on a US 7 needle and I know that the fabric with Rios on a 7 is a good thing so I went ahead and cast on. I really like the heft of the cowl and the fabric. This will be a good neck warmer this fall and winter.

This pattern is from Casapinka and it’s a free pattern. The emPower people project is about getting out the vote. As it says on the pattern page:

emPower people is a purple colored craftivism project aimed at uniting crafters to spark conversation, engagement, and action. Wear it when you vote, grocery shop, march, or knit in your socially isolated bedroom. We would love to see a sea of purple to represent unity so please tell your friends, family, knitting groups, or anyone who can knit, crochet, or sew a simple pattern. Make a bandana and a commitment to vote

If I had more time and fewer projects that I wanted to knit, I’d knit this one again … and maybe add something a bit fancier to one side or add the word “vote” to the bottom. It was a fun, quick knit.

We are “enjoying” a heat wave here at the lake and while it’s lovely outside, I sure don’t love the heat. We moved to Maine to get out of the heat in Florida … I remember returning to work in Florida after being up here for the summer or a part of it and it was dreadfully hot and humid. Even our pool was like bath water! At least the lake is refreshing!

Gone knitting!

More information is available for these projects and others on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. You can also follow me on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits and on Facebook Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner.

Time Off

I haven’t written in what seems like forever and I’m not even going to apologize because I’m not sorry. There, I’ve said it. I needed to take this little bit of time off to spend with my kids and just “be”.

This pandemic life has been really stressful and I have had lots and lots of ups and downs. I’ve had days when I thought I could live like this forever and then the next day I can’t wait for life to go back to “normal” so it will all end. Somewhere in the middle of all of this is the real spot where I balance (sort of!) So, when my daughter asked if I’d be ok with her visiting with her husband and dogs, I said “yes!” I also decided that our kids are the only ones who I’m comfortable having visit for now. I also give myself permission to change my mind.

For the last two weeks my daughter and her husband have been visiting. It was wonderful. Easy and comfortable and lots of fun. Kate and Spencer have a great energy and it was fun to spend time with them. They were initially going to spend a week and extended it to two because they weren’t excited about going back to the heat of NYC. They worked, I worked/volunteered. We did a bunch of baking and berry picking. They also overlapped with my step-daughter and her boyfriend and dog which made it even sweeter because they’ve not really been able to spend time like that together. COVID-19 has brought our house and my heart much needed filling up. I have counted my blessings a lot lately and I am feeling completely blessed.

I”m grateful for the time we had to spend together with our oldest and youngest. I’m so happy to have met my grand-dog, Benny, for the first time. I’m grateful for a wonderful spouse who I get to share life with. We are so lucky to live is such a beautiful place and have the room to accommodate visitors for weeks at a time. Our lake provides a calming influence on world-weary travelers, ourselves included.

Gone knitting.

GRRRR!

When you are knitting lace and there are obvious demarcations between sections, it’s so simple to take a few minutes to put in a safety line … it’s so simple! So, why in the world did I go zipping on by? Laziness is my only excuse.

The Shape of a Bay by Bristol Ivy in Cashmere People Yarns Fingering Weight

So, I’ve been knitting along on my The Shape of A Bay shawl by Bristol Ivy and I’ve been right on the stitch count all along. Until section 7. I learned this 12 rows in when the pattern wasn’t working. I counted my stitches and, if I am counting stitches correctly, I should remain at 523 stitches througout. I had 403. That’s a difference of 120 stitches. Yikes!!! No way to fudge through 120 too few stitches (and I have no idea why that happened.) I had no choice other than to frog back the 12 rows to where section 7 begins and start over and knit more carefully!

A safety line will help. When I get to the 523 spot again, I’ll put in a safety line. A safety line is a long piece of, in my case mint flavored dental floss, thread or yarn that is the same weight of the yarn you’re knitting with or finer. Thread the long piece onto a sewing needle with a blunt tip so as to not pierce the yarn and bring it through the bottom of the stitches on the needle. On the first row after installing the safety line, be careful not to knit the safety line into your pattern. Let the safety line hang out until you are finished or reach another milestone or stitch count that is correct. You can put on in every couple of rows if you want. Or not. The purpose of the safety line is so that, God forbid, you make a mistake and have to frog back (again?!) you can just rip back to the safety line, put your stitches back on your needle and start again. It’s much simpler, especially when knitting a 2-sided lace pattern like mine, than finding all of your stitches, making sure you’ve not dropped any, etc.

As of this afternoon, I’m back to 523 stitches on my needles and I’ll restart section 7.

Humulus by Isabell Kraemer in Ella Rae Classic Wool, sleeve #1

But for the rest of the day, I’m going to work on my Humulus sweater’s sleeve and see if I can get it finished and ready to block. It’s pouring rain and thundering and lighting … I have a very frightened BBD here by my side … so anything that gets wet will likely stay wet for awhile!

Gone knitting!