Blue BeeHive Mind

My husband and I have decided to self-isolate here at our home in Maine. The main reason is that I have a chronic cough/allergies/possible asthma and I’m apparently a senior citizen. At least my kids tell me that I am. Regardless, we feel that for my protection that this is the best option for us at this time.

So, today is day three for me and day one for him. We went for a ride to the dump … Wednesday is dump day and we had a mattress, an old mattress, to get rid of because our new one arrived yesterday. We also needed to get some provisions for the next few days or weeks. The fewer the trips out, the less likely the virus is to spread, right? Needless to say, I’m not going to work this week and I doubt that I’ll return unless and until I feel safe. Sadly, because the testing began so late – and we still don’t have a lot of tests here in Maine – we don’t have any idea how many people are infected.

I hope that I will settle into some sense of calm and normal but this has me a little bit freaked out. I’m not in a panic, it’s just frightening to not know what to expect. I know it will all end and we are so lucky to have a home to stay warm in, food to eat and hobbies that we enjoy that keep us entertained. I am concerned about all the kids out of school who suffer from food insecurity. Families who live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford NOT to work. God bless the people in the grocery industry, the heathcare industry and the first responders. They’re in a tough position.

Here in Maine, the schools are helping with childcare for healthcare workers, I’m told and they’re also delivering breakfast and lunch to several places around our school district for the kiddos and their families who may not be able to afford food under these circumstances. I’m delighted to hear this and I always knew Mainers were special!

As I sit here writing, I want you all to know that I am knitting a little as my focus allows. I am trying to stay away from Facebook especially because it’s way too unnerving to read – everything is focused around the Corona Virus pandemic, politics and general nastiness. As an empathic person, this bothers me on a visceral level. Behind the scenes, I’m helping our store to host a shawl KAL – our first! We are posting clues each morning through April 8th at 8am. Clue 1 is on the Yardgoodsyarns Facebook page. Worsted Weight yarn. 32 inch US 10 circular needle. Cast on 225 stitches. Collect a bunch of worsted weight yarns … this is a stash buster!!! Clue 2 will be posted tomorrow, 3/19/2020 at 8am. I’ve heard people saying they don’t want to knit a shawl … don’t fret! The KAL goes until 4/8 but we can always make it a little bit longer so that It’s a lab blanket! Once you see where it goes, you can decide. Or if you’re not going to wear a shawl, consider donating it to a local nursing home, hospital or homeless shelter!

Good can come out of this difficult time if we look to make it a positive experience. In Italy their singing. In rural Maine, we’re knitting. More to come!

Gone knitting.

So Many WIPs, So Little Time

Y’all! I have so many WIPs and so little time!

I probably have almost twenty (yes, 20!!!) projects that are in progress. I had promised myself that I would finish the ones started before starting any new ones and I’ve failed miserably at that “promise”! So, I’m still trying to keep my spirits up and to enjoy what I am working on while also making a somewhat feeble attempt to pick up an older WIP here and there.

Currently, I’m working to finish one sock, it’s a “ped” or a “clog sock”. A very small sock. I stopped knitting after the first one was finished and set the yarn and sock aside. Who knows why. Suffice it to say, if I actually applied myself, I could probably knit it up in two days. But I decided that I wanted to knit a sweater for my new (year-old) nephew. So, I cast on last week. I’m knitting him a little pullover and I’ll make it big so he can wear it next fall. It’s going to be my adaptation of a sweater that’s free on Ravelry but I’m making a pullover version and it’s with diggers!!! My son loved any trucks and diggers when he was little and I hope Hugh will, too.

Can you see the increase “lines”? I didn’t like this at all and was concerned it wouldn’t block out!

I have a couple of sweaters for me on the needles, too. Humulus, a colorwork yoke sweater and then a cotton/linen blend cardigan. I’m not going to go into details here. All of the details are in my Ravelry project page (lindar). I love knitting the Humulus although I had a few issues with my first attempt because I didn’t like the way the increases looked. I frogged it and started over and have used what I call the “Arne and Carlos” increases (raising the “mother” stitch from the row below) which I like better. Fine Sand is the cardigan … I will love the final result but I don’t love knitting with linen/cotton. It’s splitty. I’ll suffer through, though. I’ll get it finished one of these years.

I’ve got a pair of socks for my son on the needles. He turns 30 in April so these will be for his birthday. They’re a sport weight yarn with a bit of cashmere so they’re really soft. I hope he loves them.

There are more. But if I keep sitting here writing, they’re not going to knit themselves!

Gone knitting!

Find me on Facebook (Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner), Instagram (@QueenBeeKnits) and Ravelry (lindar)!

Oatmeal!

All of my life I’ve been unable to eat oatmeal or any hot cereal or semblance thereof. It’s a texture thing.

My Baked Oatmeal

On the other hand, I really want to love oatmeal because I know it’s healthy and I love the idea that you can have something hot for breakfast that is relatively simple to make.

While deeply lost in Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, I found a baked oatmeal recipe. It had all the yummy things I like to eat: blueberries, apple, nuts, cinnamon and maple syrup. And oatmeal. so I decided to try it and see. If I didn’t like it, my dear husband would eat it, right?

You can find the recipe here:

https://thefoodiephysician.com/dining-with-doc-blueberry-apple-walnut/

Yum! I can report that I love it! The recipe says it makes 12 servings so I cut the cooled oatmeal and freeze 12 portions. In the morning I can microwave it in less than two minutes. I pour in a little almond milk and honey or maple syrup and I’m good to go. I’m such a happy camper!

Gone knitting.

A Fear of Stranded Knitting Conquered

Starting the Lobster Hat

I bought a Lobster Hat kit at Over the Rainbow Yarns in Rockland, Maine several years ago. I bought it for my daughter for Christmas that year with a promise that I’d knit it for her. Fast forward to today and I “found” the kit in my time out cabinet and decided to give it a go and see if I can’t finish it (finally!!!) All those years ago, I’d begun the knitting but I wasn’t particularly confident about it. I didn’t know how to carry the floats well and my tension was wonky. So I frogged what I had begun, rewound the yarn and started over.

I had avoided stranded knitting/colorwork and Fair Isle for a long, long time. I’ve blogged about this before. But a few years ago my co-worker showed my a pair of beautiful (and warm) Snowflake Mittens and I HAD to knit them. I’ve knitted many pairs of them (one story included two left hands!) and have taught many knitters to make them, too. Worsted weight yarn and only two colors didn’t feel too overwhelming but I wasn’t really eager to try the finer yarns or more than two colors.

This year, however, the stranded knitting projects have been coming at me from everywhere! My co-worker, Peggy, and I made the Sunset Highway sweater. I found a knitted coffee cup cozy pattern that is a Fair Isle pattern knit in the round and steeked as a practice for a sweater I want to knit. I made a Christmas stocking for my daughter. I am knitting a pair of socks, as part of a MKAL and our 2020 Sock Knitting Challenge that is stranded knitting. I just took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone that turned into a test knit project for her, the subject of which was a Fair Isle cowl (the pattern is coming soon!) And then I found the Lobster Hat.

So, riight now, on my needles is a pair of socks and (ta! da!) the lobster hat. I need to cast on another pair of Snowflake mittens, too, for a friend. I’m really pleased and proud to say that I am feeling very confident with colorwork/stranded knitting. Progress through practice!

Gone Knitting!

You can find out more about these projects and more on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.

Mary Jane Mucklestone!!!

The American Queen of Fair Isle Knitting, Mary Jane Mucklestone at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. Mary Jane is holding my knitting and balancing on one leg because her class sample is on her raised right leg! She does it all!

YOU GUYS!!! I took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone!!!

Late last week, my co-worker, Glenda, shared with me that she was going to take a class at the Farnsworth with Mary Jane Mucklestone. Needless to say, I was hoping that my calendar and husband would be supportive of me doing the same … and that there would still be space in the class when I signed up! The knitting gods were smiling in my favor so on Saturday afternoon, Glenda and I, driven by my handsome hubby, went to Rockland!

Mary Jane is a wonderful and knowledgable teacher. The class was inspired by my friend and knitting idol, Katharine Cobey, who has a one woman show at the Farnsworth through April 12, 2020. Go see the show. It’s magnificent. I blogged about it here. Katharine made famous diagonal knitting and the class was a Fair Isle design based on “diagonal” knitting but the Fair Isle way. Mary Jane was kind enough to bring one pattern for her Flying Geese Cowl about which she had intended to teach the class. She also was inspired to design another cowl pattern very shortly (days) before the class was to happen and we also got that cowl. It is, as yet, unnamed.

Choosing Colors

We learned a lot about choosing colors when knitting in the Fair Isle way. We were to come to class with an inch or so of ribbing in a dark, high-contrast color. I chose an Ella Rae Classic Wool in a dark charcoal gray. (Details on all my yarns are on my Ravelry project page. Find me on Ravelry, I’m “lindar”.) I brought a bunch of leftovers from my stash in various colors that I like which you can see above. Since you don’t need a whole lot of any one color, in this case, I brought bits and bobs. We needed three colors to really have some fun and I finally chose the creamy white Galway worsted and the one right next to it which is an ice blue colorway in a Paton’s Classic wool. All three are worsted weight and plain old wool.

While we were knitting, Mary Jane serenaded us with stories and tales about her travels to and knitting from Fair Isle. She is a wonderful story teller and full of knitting knowledge. I really enjoyed listening to her talk. She brought TONS of samples of Fair Isle motifs, talked about and demonstrated how some yarn colors, shades and tones, play well together – or don’t. It was a wonderful day.

Glenda, my co-worker, has finished knitting her Flying Geese cowl and she was blocking it when we last spoke. I must be knitting too slowly. I am planning to finish my cowl today because we have a snow day today so it’s an unexpected “free” day to sit in my atelier to knit. I don’t think I have to tell you that both cowls are fun to knit and a good way to learn to knit with two colors at a time (and you don’t have to catch the floats!)

I offered and Mary Jane has accepted me as a test knitter for this pattern and I am happy to oblige. Deadline is 2/13/2020 … so I had best stop “talking” and go knit!

Gone knitting!

Proof. Fan girl photo! Thanks for obliging me, Mary Jane!

2020 The Year of the Rat

Hello 2020!

Time sure does fly. I’ve told more than one friend and/or family member that I thought life would slow down and change after my kids were little and life was so busy-active. Once they grew up and had homes of their own, I imagined that time would slow and life would be less busy. Turns out that I was totally wrong. The time seems to only go by more quickly.

So, with that said, this is my first post of the new year and new decade. The year of the rat according to the Chinese calendar. I think it’s going to be another wonderful healthy year full of fun and lots of good knitting!

We have started 2020 with a Sock Challenge. Twelve pairs of socks, one each month. Two pairs can be little socks for children or “peds”, two need to be something you’ve never done before. I have finished two pairs of socks so far this year and am up to the heel on the first sock of the third pair.

January pair number one is for my granddaughter, Rose. Her name explains the color choice, n’est ce pas? Pattern is Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks for the Whole Family. I did a 3 x 1 rib down the leg and on the top of the foot. Knitting for children, who grow too quickly, I like to build in a little bit of wiggle room. I measured their feet in May so I gave them an extra half-inch in foot length and made the large child size. This Cascade Heritage wool is nice and soft.

February pair number two is my DH’s Christmas socks. I’ve begun to give him a ball of yarn in his Christmas stocking (also hand-knit, not by me) because we all know that Christmas knitting leaves little time for selfish knitting and it’s the old cobbler’s children philosophy: no hand knit socks for my DH until after the paid knitting is finished. Anyway, this pair is also Yankee Knitter’s Classic Sock pattern and it’s a sport weight yarn by KFI with a touch of cashmere. They’re very soft and felt good on my knitting hands! That said, there are spots where it seemed like the dye hadn’t completely saturated the yarn but I hope that doesn’t reflect on the socks themselves. I have two more balls of this yarn because it feels so good. Another blue and a grey.

I’ve been wearing and loving wearing my Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I love the yarn, the weight, the color and the fit. This may be my very most favorite sweater of the year and decade (so far!) I have a couple of other sweaters coming up on my queue and it’ll be interesting to see if I like them as well as I like my Love Note!

Today we had a visitor in our yard. I am so privileged to live on the edge of a lake in Central Maine. The Belgrade Lakes area is a well-known summer spot but it’s also a fun place to live in the winter. I know, many of you are wondering if my mental health is stable but I have to say, I love the snow and I love watching the different seasons and the way the lake and life changes. Today has been a relatively warm winter day for Maine and the lake was crawling with ice fishermen (and women), snow machines, and birds. I was thrilled when I returned from lunching with a girlfriend and saw a Bald Eagle on the lake about three quarters of a mile from our front porch. Later this afternoon, as I was sitting at my desk working, another (or maybe the same) eagle left the ice and flew straight toward our house and landed in our tree. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “it doesn’t get old”! What a thrill watching these birds! I do have to watch the little dogs very carefully in the winter – an eagle or a big owl or hawk would love a shitzu feast.

Not a great photograph but he or she flew off just after I snapped this photo!

My philosophy for the next year is to be kind. Truthful and kind. Accepting and kind. Healthy and kind. Happy and kind. Loving and kind. Simply put I want to bee happy … and kind.

Gone knitting!

You can read more about my projects and yarns on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is Lindar. You can also find Queen Bee Knits on Facebook and @QueenBeeKnits on Instagram.

Final FOs of 2019

Today is the last day of 2019 … a year ending and a decade ending! Yikes! I’ve been working to get a couple of projects finished so that I could happily say that I finished 60 projects this year.

This morning I finished the Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits. I love this sweater and I love the way it fits! The way that the neckline is designed is brilliant! A provisional cast on leaves live stitches and you just knit a few rounds above the yoke and ta! da! the neckline (and the sweater) are complete. I was worried that it would be too wide but it’s not. It’s perfect!

I loved the way this sweater knit up quickly holding together two strands of yarn on large needles. I used Jojoland Ballad and Debbie Bliss Angel in this beautiful teal-y blue color that I love. The yoke is a simple lace pattern repeated a couple of times and then there’s a bunch of stockinette stitch. The body of the sweater was great car knitting for our trip from Maine to New York City for Christmas! I’m really excited to wear it! I made the XL-XXL size and used five skeins of each yarn.

I finished my very last last FO for 2019 this afternoon. The pattern is Mochi Plus Trout Fishy. This pattern was very sweetly sent to me by another knitter. I reached out to her through Ravelry because when I finally got around to knitting the first fish, the pattern was gone. Gone! No longer available. Anywhere! The yarn company was gone and so was its website and the free patterns. I was so sad! I’d even collected some Mochi Plus for the first few fish. I’m so grateful to her for being willing to scan and email me the pattern and I think you’ll have to agree that the fish is wonderful!!!

My original goal was to knit a school of fish to hang from the ceiling between our front door and the door onto our porch on the lake. I’ve since decided that it could be any handmade fish … because I’ll be knitting fish until I die and there are a lot of other things that I want to knit!

Two down, seventy-bazillion left to go! 🙂

Gone Knitting!

Learn more about my project on my Ravelry project page. I’m LindaR on Ravelry. I’d love to have you follow me on Facebook where I am Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner. I’m also on Instagram as @QueenBeeKnits.