One of the things that I got for Christmas this year is a New York Times Food subscription. I am wanting to make cooking (and you all know I love baking) more fun and maybe attempt to get out of our cooking “rut”.
I was reading something online and saw a photograph of these scones. They looked really yummy and the idea of Cinnamon Roll Scones … well, suffice it to say, the hubby and I were delighted with the idea! So, since I had all of the ingredients (I had half and half not cream) in the house, I jumped in!
Oh. My. Goodness!!! They were divine. So much so that we considered not sharing with our neighbor who loves baked goods but doesn’t have a spouse that bakes. (We did share in the end.)
My friend and co-worker came up with the idea at the end of 2019 to do a Sock Challenge for 2020 with our classes. I also invited followers from my Queen Bee Knits facebook page. I hesitate to commit to things like this because I’m not very good about sticking with it but in this case, I did it!
Twelve pairs of socks. The challenge was to have two months where you challenged yourself and no more than two “little” socks. Here’s what I did this past year. (Gosh, it feels good to talk about 2020 in the past!) Here they are for your perusal … the proof is in the pudding, right?
You can see all of the details of yarn and patterns for all of these socks on my Ravelry project page! My Ravelry name is “lindar”! I hope you’ll add me as a friend on Ravelry!
Clog Socks (one was done, this was the second one needed)
Good Karma Shawl
Mitts for Flo
Socks for Rose
This year I finished the The Shape of a Bay shawl. It was a kit that I bought at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp two summers ago. it got sidelined but I really wanted to finish it and wear it! It’s a beauty! I also finished the socks for my granddaughter, Rose.
I didn’t even begin two of the “WIPs” … so, do they even count as WIPs if I didn’t ever start them? Maybe they should have been put on a wish list rather than a WIPs list. Anyway, the Good Karma shawl and mitts for Flo have not even seen the needles yet. Needless to say, I’ll carry them along.
I frogged the clog sock because who knew, all those months later, what size I made (I didn’t mark my pattern well before I put it in time out.) I also frogged the Maine mittens. I have two skeins of Bartlett yarn and ton of stashed fingering bits and bobs enough for clog socks. I won’t carry them forward but I will eventually make the clog socks again (I’ve felted a couple of pairs) and I really want to make the mittens but they were too hard on my hands this year.
Remaining on my needles, or off of them and in time out, are Dolores, Lobster Hat, Hope Cardigan and the Battenberg Blanket.
I got some good progress done on the Hope Cardigan this year and I’m excited to keep going on it. I like the weight and the different construction of this sweater so I’ll take it with me into 2021. I’ll also commit to finishing Dolores (and the outfits that I have bought) and the Battenberg Blanket. Although I won’t make any more tiny granny squares, I’ll just attach them and make do with whatever size it makes. The assembly is what I find way too tedious!
I had 10 WIPs on my list in my new Bullet Journal planner. I listened to the Yarniacs podcast this morning and I decided to look at those WIPs and decide how many I really want/NEED to carry along into the New Year.
I have decided to cut my WIPs down to
Fine Sand Sweater
Arne & Carlos Quarantine KAL cushion
I’ll add Mitts for Flo, Good Karma shawl and Fish #3 to my list of things I want to knit … maybe my Ravelry queue would be a more appropriate place for them to sit since they’ve never been started and they’re not technically WIPs. That will feel better.
While I was adding to my Ravelry queue, I deleted a bunch of projects/patterns that I had marked as favorites or put on my queue and that lightened my load a bit more. Now, if I could only get that efficiency in the house … closets, drawers, pantry …
As we step out of 2020 and into 2021, I’d like to wish each of you a lightened load. This has been a trying time and it sounds like masks and distancing will continue in the future. It’s all about how we carry these “restrictions” with us. I choose to take the blessings with me – our health, my love of family, gratitude for a roof over our heads and food in our pantry among others – When I can do that I make my life easier and happier. Light, love and laughter keep me smiling (and I can see it in the eyes of others!) I’m so grateful to be a maker this year. Making – knitting, baking, sewing, etc. keeps me focused on a forward-looking task. While I am sometimes fearful, I am mostly content and I wish you the same contentment. Thank you for reading my blog and I appreciate the sweet comments and encouragement you’ve offered over this year. I know 2021 is going to be another great year. Cheers!
I may only be twenty-five percent of the way through twenty-four new Christmas ball patterns by Arne and Carlos, but I wanted to show you how great they are!
These beautiful balls have been such a wonderful opportunity during these tumultuous months to find comfort and peace in knitting. Each pattern is different … and they take just enough concentration to accomplish. I am so appreciative of Arne and Carlos’ “Sit and Knits for a Bit” podcasts over the last several weeks and months. It’s been a bright spot in my week to sit with my yarn and the podcasts and to center myself and my attention on something other than pandemics and politics.
I’ve barely made a dent in my yarn (yes, I purchased new yarn for this project … I didn’t have the right yarn in my stash) so I’ll be knitting more. There’s one that’s a VW bug with a tree on top … that’s one that I for sure need to knit!
The plan is to put them on our tree but for now, they’re on the wooden Skandinavian Christmas tree that a sweet, dear friend made for me over a decade ago. I enjoy seeing them together … for now.
See my Ravelry project page for more information about the yarn and needles I used.
This year I’ve been touched by a few, perhaps many, different podcasts, people and situations all over the world. The inspiration helped me get creative a few times this year but until this week, it’s been sitting around my studio. Unfinished.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an amazingly bright, strong woman who lived an exceptional life. She was thoughtful and fair as a judge and I respected her perseverance. I dug deep into my crafting stash and found some felt and lace and made a pin. I like it even more as an ornament. I’ll remember RBG each time I place this simple ornament on our tree.
I finished the stitching on this mitten ornament, bought as a kit, a year or so ago. It’s one of a set of mittens but I’ve only made one. I probably won’t make another. This one is finished and on the tree this year. While it wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular, I was inspired to get it hung on the tree after spending more time than in the past at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, my sweet and talented husband helped me to make a new project. Inspired by Arne and Carlos and their “Sit and Knit for a Bit” Advent series this year. Arne and Carlos made this on their podcast but I first saw Kate (from The Last Lonely Home podcast) make it on her podcast. International inspiration! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one to put out on our boathouse. My husband cut the boards for me from his wood stash. (The family that stashes together stays together? LOL) and today I put it together. We need a short extension cord so that we can plug it in, but here it is during the day.
This afternoon I made the second of two up-cycled tote bags from bird seed bags. They’re so strong and so pretty, I couldn’t resist.
I have begun to stuff and finish the first six ornaments from Arne & Carlos’ Advent KAL – 24 new Christmas balls! I’m happy that I’ve finished six and I’ll work on finishing the rest over the next few months.
I started the repair of my daughter’s quilt that was chewed by her dog. It needs a couple more patches and a new border. Once the quilt top is finished, I’ll take it to a local sewing studio to quilt it on her long arm machine, I think.
It feels good to get some of these “old” projects wrapped up. The New Year is a good time to start fresh … so this lazy lady needs to get some projects finished! Inspiration from everywhere!
Our lake is iced over this morning and it’s the Solstice! I can’t believe that this year is nearing the end. I’m so grateful that my husband and I, our family and friends (for the most part) have had good health and are not struggling too badly. I’m a lot of things (I wear a lot of hats) but I’m first and foremost a mom and this mom is so grateful for our healthy kids!!!
In all its glory, our tree is up. We weren’t sure we wanted to put one up this year because the kids aren’t coming and we aren’t sure we really “care” but I decided that it was important, maybe more this year than ever before, to maintain some sense of “normal” and put it up. I’ve enjoyed seeing the ornaments and have been making a few. I hung up two that I made last night and I’ll get them photographed and update this post when I do. But here are a few of my most favorites:
Handmade by my kids in preschool and kindergarten, the last three are my most favorite. It’s amazing to think of all the years that have passed since they were this little. And what marvelous humans they are today. The pig, made by my favorite art teacher, was “won” in a battle for the ornaments at a traditional holiday gathering in Ohio and I adore it. Her gifts were always treasured by the whole group!
My “au pair” snowman is also special as it recalls all of the wonderful men and women from all over the world who spent a year with me in Cincinnati … it was my job to provide counseling and guidance to make their year successful and happy. International exchange at its very best! I learned so much about different cultures and realized that we all share so much more in common than we are different and I am so excited that I am still in touch with so many of them! Now, though, they’re raising their own families, living such interesting lives, traveling (pre-covid) to some cool places … enriching my life and keeping my mind open.
As I sit here at my computer to reflect on the year and to begin to think about looking ahead, I see a lot of the same in the coming year but perhaps with a little bit of hope. I am rethinking my Queen Bee Knits business and what I really, really want it to be. I’m trying to figure out a better revenue stream to maintain my/our finances in 2021 that might allow me an opportunity to spend a bit more time at home in my studio. Sewing may be a part of this. I am not completely adept at sewing but it occupies my mind differently than knitting does and it’s quicker? (Maybe it’ll be quicker as I get more proficient.) I made one upcycled tote bag yesterday out of a bird seed bag. It took me hours but I think it’s something to work on and very useful.
Well, Christmas isn’t going to happen if I don’t get out of the house for a little bit today.
The last knitted gifts are going out tomorrow! I’m very excited to start knitting some Christmas balls and to get up to date with my MKAL Gnome-Along. Here is what i’ve knitted so far … I won’t show the MKAL gnome pieces because I don’t want to ruin the fun for anyone else.
Arne and Carlos’ new Christmas balls. They’ve designed one for each day in December, like an Advent calendar. I’m several days behind but I’m doing the best that I can. I am using Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm. The pattern called for three colors in a DK weight yarn. I love the way this yarn feels! Needles are US 4.
Ball 1, “Spruce”
Balls 2 and 3, “Old Fashioned” and “Mutton” …
Mutton is my favorite so far. I’ve decided to knit them and stuff them when I have a few to stuff rather than stuffing one at a time.
It was a glorious start to the day today. We are so lucky to live here and to be able to enjoy Mother Nature’s art work every time we look out the window!
We have been without power (but we have a generator that runs the house) since the Nor’easter hit on Saturday late afternoon and into Sunday. Power blinked on and off a few times, came back on and then went off. My sweet hubby lugged the generator out of the garage and plugged it in. We were back in business.
A couple of hours passed and the power came back on. Hubby went out and covered up the generator and changed the power back over to the house but it wasn’t long before the power flickered and went out again. It’s been out ever since!
Our family around the country says that our Nor’easter has made the news. They’re worrying and here we are warm and doing all the things that we normally do. We are so fortunate!
Is it possible that already a week has passed since Thanksgiving? And it’s been two weeks since I’ve been to work! Amazing how quickly time passes … and how I manage to keep busy despite having “nothing” to do!
We’ve been working around the house to (begin to) get ready for Christmas. Christmas is not and has never been my favorite holiday. I much prefer Thanksgiving and we had hoped that at least a couple of our kiddos would be coming up for Thanksgiving but Covid-19 quashed that plan. It was too difficult to get tests as required by the states and the risk was too great. This latest surge is a beast. But the hubby and I had a lovely Thanksgiving alone together. We cooked a twenty pound turkey and all the fixings and I made two pies; chocolate peanut butter for him and pumpkin for me. I “cheated” and used a prepared pie crust for my pumpkin pie and it was awful … we ended up pitching all but one slice. It simply wasn’t worth the calories! I have a pie crust in the ‘fridge and some pumpkin I cooked and plan to make another one this weekend.
I saw planters like the one we made (above) at a local garden center. Their greens were expensive and we live in the woods so the weekend after Thanksgiving the hubby and I went foraging in the woods for some greens and birch logs. It didn’t take long to find them and we are pretty pleased with our front door decoration. We added some fairy lights to make it extra sparkly.
We had to buy new lights for the outdoor fir tree that we planted when we had our gardens done after we built the house. The tree has grown a lot and the old lights were all dead – perhaps because of the squirrels that like to hide in the tree and “yell” at us. Two extra long sets of lights weren’t enough and even the third doesn’t quite finish the job.
Inside, I’ve been up to some decorating, too. I bought 100 feet of fairy lights from Amazon after I saw this idea on Instagram. Leila Raven (@leila_raven) was the first post that I saw and I’ve since seen a lot of others. It’s not “easy” to knit lights on wire but it sure turns out to be sparkly. The hubby wants me to knit 400 feet next. I’m not sure if that’s a goal that I want to take on right now. Ha! Ha!
My fairy lights “swatch” was knit using US13 needles and I cast on 24 stitches with a backward loop cast on. Garter stitch all the way to the end of the lights and pull the end through the last stitch. Ours are hanging in the front hall where they greet us as we come and go.
I’ve knitted several pairs of mittens for a friend and customer for her grandsons (did I mention this already?). I had a bit of yarn left over and made another pair of mittens for my local school. Kids around here always need mittens, right? I finished the thumbs last night and will drop them off today on the way to work.
I’m also working on a Christmas stocking for a friend and customer. Her mother was a knitwear designer for Columbia-Minerva back in the day and the family all have stockings in her designs. I’m making one for a new family member. I have to say, intarsia is not my favorite technique. It’s fiddly and messy and there are millions of ends to weave in. With that said, I’m making progress and hope to get the colorwork part finished up this weekend and then it’s clear sailing to the toe. I had said I couldn’t promise the stocking for Christmas but I think and hope that I can get it delivered. I’m sure going to make a good old college try!
I’m participating in a couple of KALs this month. One is a gnome MKAL (mystery knit-a-long) hosted by Imagined Landscapes. I love her gnome patterns and will eventually knit a collection of them since I’ve purchased the patterns. This month it’s an ADVENTure Gnome MKAL. Four colors of fingering weight yarn and US1 needles is all you need. I’m knitting entirely from stash. Clue 1 came out on Tuesday and I’ve finished it but won’t show it until later. Stay tuned.
I’m also going to do Arne and Carlos’ 24 new Christmas balls. I’ve printed the patterns out and I’m already feeling stressed because I’m two days behind (soon to be three days behind) but I had purchased yarn that was an acrylic and wool blend and I’ve decided that I really want to use wool because they’ll block out so much more nicely. Acrylic yarn really doesn’t block at all. So, today, when I’m at work I’m going to search around for some wool yarn that isn’t superwash to use for this project and then I can start knitting. You can find the pattern at Arne and Carlos dot com. They have an entire book of Christmas balls, too. I haven’t (yet) gone down that road but we’ll see how I like the 24 that I have the pattern for! I’ll write more as I get one or two done … or find yarn!
I’ve decided to make some of my own decorations this year inside the house. I also think I may make some simmering potpourri for my students as a little holiday gift. My hubby found a dryer ages ago and we’ve used it once or twice but most of the time it’s been stored in a cabinet. Well, I’m making good use of it! I’ve dried six oranges and three limes so far. I’ll be adding some pine and cranberries to my indoor decorations and cinnamon sticks and cloves. This weekend is bound to be another busy one!
I got a sweet text message yesterday from the “little girl” that I’ve mentored since she was 9 years old. I met her in Florida when I was looking for a volunteer job and it turned out to be one of the best “jobs” I’ve ever had. Kind of like my job as a mother!
So, my girl is having her first baby in December … early December. They live in Florida right now but they’re moving to Colorado soon after the baby is born so he’s going to need lots of warm clothes!
I love this sweater. Plain and simply love it. I made my first iteration of this sweater for my “niece-to-be” when I found a bulky hand-dyed yarn in Massachusetts! We had gone to Gloucester to drop off a box of books for a friend in Florida on our way (from Florida) to Maine for the summer. We just happened to find a yarn shop … hey! There was a big sign on the sidewalk!
Ha! Well, this time, the sweater was knit up in Hayfield’s Baby Blossom Chunky. This yarn is mostly acrylic (man-made fiber) and is machine washable and dry-able. Any of us who have been fortunate enough to have children know that it is really important, especially the first time, to have easy-care hand-knits! I made the whole kit and caboodle with this yarn and I really liked the way it felt in my hands. If it feels soft and cozy, it’s good for a new baby! Right?
The blanket is a 3-cable baby blanket out of the same yarn. This pattern was a free pattern (is a free pattern) at the yarn shop where I work. Super simple (unless you twist a cable the wrong way like I did) and I have loved it both in this printed yarn and in the solid yarn, too.
I also knitted a little hat with a pompom. I didn’t use a pattern for this and I hope it’ll turn out to fit the baby at about the same time as the sweater. If it doesn’t, so be it. I’m not even sure I wrote down what I did with the hat but if I did, it’ll be on my project page on Ravelry.
The little bonus was the pair of booties and the socks. Both of which I loved making and think are so stinking cute! Sue’s Baby Booties are one of those “vintage” patterns that I can’t find on Ravelry but have made for years (dare I say, decades?) I love making them with Cascade Fixation yarn because they tend to stretch a bit and not fall off as easily as anything you put on baby feet does. I have added an icord lace for my booties in a contrasting color and these make me really happy.
The littlest socks are from Yankee Knitter’s pattern “Socks for the Family” which is my go-to pattern when I am knitting socks. These tiny ones are the smallest size and in fingering weight yarn. The yarn is Paton’s Kroy which is a heavy fingering but I love this print and have had it in my stash for a while. Perfect time to use up a bit of it and keep a baby’s toes warm at the same time. I’ll knit more baby-sized socks when the Christmas knitting jobs are all done.
I have a lot of “fun” knitting I want to do … a couple of sweaters or six, Frog and Toad (have you seen this pattern?), I want to finish my Dolores by Franklin Habit and knit her some outfits, too, and there is a KAL with Arne and Carlos for 24 new Christmas balls (I’ve bought the yarn for that and it starts 12/1). There’s a gnome KAL starting in December and I have a pattern for a Scandinavian doll that I’ve been wanting to knit forever. I have a MochiMochi bee kit to knit, too.
I’m hoping to get the Christmas stocking knitted in good part today … no time like the present!