While I’m at my Desk This Morning

Let me update you on the week I’ve had. It was busy and full as usual but with a bit of an added twist … we think it was food poisoning!

This week on Messalonskee

Friday night I woke up with my heart beating (what I thought was) extra fast. Fast enough that I felt unsure of what was happening and a bit fearful, to be totally honest. I got up out of bed and got a glass of water, sat in the living room for a bit until I decided I needed to be close to my dear hubby in case something bad happened. My arms and legs and head felt “fuzzy” (tingly?) and I woke him up, asking him to call 911. Fortunately he waited a minute or two because I realized I was going to vomit … all the blood was going to my stomach! I have never realized how my body works so efficiently! (Ha!) Soon, I was feeling better and we went back to bed and to sleep, my heart returning to its normal rate. Yesterday I spent the day in my PJs. I was tired enough to take a nap and miss a call from my dear daughter. Napping is not something I do unless I’m not feeling well (needless to say, it doesn’t happen often!)

Today, I am feeling much better, thank goodness! I dare say, I feel “normal” again. I’ve been up at my desk playing catch-up. I needed to write a newsletter for work, add a bunch of new people to the store email list, writing a membership article for our lake association newsletter, etc. and I figured I’d let you know what’s happening in my knitting world.

#295 Bulky Baby Pullover

I finished the baby sweater, Diane Soucy’s Bulky Baby Pullover, for a special little baby. This completes the gift that will be sent off sometime soon. Baby isn’t due for a few more weeks but I want him to have it when he’s born. He’s moving from Florida to Colorado in January and he’ll need a bunch of warm clothes! I really enjoyed knitting with this chunky yarn and because it’s easy care, the new mom won’t have to stress about washing. Once the gift has been received, I’ll post pictures of the gift in its entirety.

Tin Can Knits The World’s Simplest Mittens

This is a custom order from a wonderful customer (and friend) for her grandsons. Mittens! Here in Maine we all need at least a pair of warm mittens in the winter (and sometimes in the fall, too.) These mittens are knit in Berroco’s Ultra Wool Chunky and, as such, they knit up really quickly. If my mind could concentrate, I’d have finished a pair in a day. I love the Ultra Wool yarns for their superwash ease and their heft. These will be warm mittens. The pattern, another free Tin Can Knits pattern on Ravelry, is really simple and is written for fingering, DK, worsted and chunky yarns (so, any gauge, really). If you don’t have my vintage mittens pattern, you need this one. And frankly, if you want to knit mittens in any gauge, this is a good pattern. Peruse the other free or paid Tin Can Knits patterns, they’re all pretty special!

Fingerless Mitts in purple

I have offered to make some fingerless mitts for the Maine Arts Academy to use to incentivize students at times. Or, frankly, to use in any manner that the administration sees fit. There may be a student who needs some love and that’s ok, too. So, I’ve knitted the mitts with some stashed Patons Classic Wool yarn in a deep purple colorway. My plan is to add some snowflakes to the back of the hands to make them a bit more interesting. This will be an ongoing opportunity for me to knit down some of my stash and to give back to the MeAA community. It’s a wonderful school of which I feel so privileged to be a part. (I know that’s grammatically correct, but gee, it sure sounds stuffy, doesn’t it?)

These mitts are based on the vintage pattern seen in the photograph. This is a classic mitten pattern that I knit to the knuckles or wherever I deem fit to stop knitting and add a few rows of ribbing. Simple, clear and include sizes for children and adults. I love this book and when I retire and have more time (does that ever happen?) I will knit all the things in the book. The mitten pattern itself is free on Ravelry but you can buy the whole book at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine 207-872-2118 … we’ll send it out to you if you don’t live nearby! You might even talk to me!

I’ll post a few more pictures when I get the ends woven in and the snowflakes added.

Gone knitting …

Whatever Lola Wants

Lola’s New Sweater

This little dog is not a cooperative model but here is Lola’s new sweater!

I found this big box craft store yarn in my stash and decided that I needed to knit it up and get it used up and out of my “collection”. It was in the same bin as the camo yarn that I found for Boq’s sweater … and I’ve been carrying it around for years. (The camo yarn has been around much longer but still!)

I used the pattern, Pug Dog Sweater, the same pattern that I used for Boq’s sweater (see my previous post) and I did change this one up a bit, too. Female dogs don’t have a problem with sweaters coming low on the belly so I added more rounds to Lola’s sweater to make it longer under her belly and then I only did a few rounds of decreases to cover her back. I have written the details in my Ravelry project pages for both sweaters. (Or I will after I finish writing this post. Ha!)

I still have a bunch of this yarn so I think that when life calms down a little bit that I’ll knit up some fingerless mitts and mittens and bring them across the lake to the Maine Arts Academy. I’m sure there are students with cold fingers over there!

Gone Knitting!

New Sweater for Boq

Pug Dog Sweater in Camo

I don’t generally like knitting with Red Heart yarn. I don’t like the way it feels in my hand when I’m knitting and there are better quality acrylic yarns out these days that, while they are a little bit more expensive, they are so much better to work with and to wear. So, when I went searching for stashed yarns for a future project, I found an extra skein of this camouflage yarn that I believe I had used about 20 years ago to make a blanket for my son. Yes, I know. I’ve been carrying around some yarn forever!

My little Boq likes to wear a sweater these days. He seems to get chilly more as he’s aged and his old sweater has been starting to show its age … he’s caught it on his nails and pulled it, it’s pilled and stretched out (and with male dogs, a sweater pulled out around the belly is its own problem.) So, I decided to give a new sweater a go …

Attempt one.

I had knitted the pattern, Pug Dog Sweater, for my grand dog, Gus and blogged about it here. It worked pretty well after two tries at getting the size right. When you’re knitting for a puppy, it’s difficult because the little buggers are growing like weeds! Knitting for a senior citizen shitzu isn’t as difficult and he also lives here so I can knit and check the size/length. I knitted the XXS size for Boq and decided to extend the length of the chest by several rounds. I also extended the length after the legs so Boq’s back is covered. It was bunchy around his shoulders.

Attempt two.

I knitted the pattern again. This time as written to the sleeves and then I extended the length as I did on the first attempt. This time the fit was much better. I had to unravel the first sweater to finish the second one, but that was fine with me. I pitched the knitted bit of the first sweater that I didn’t need to unravel … I’m really working to use the stashed yarn!

Now, I think Lola needs a new sweater, too! I have a skein of acrylic yarn from a folly trip to Hobby Lobby. I’ll use this up, too.

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.

FIN! Starflake and Devon

The knitted portion of my Starflake Shawl by Stephen West (Westknits) is done! Finally!

Starflake by Stephen West in Emma’s Yarn “Wish you were Beer” and “Nailed it!” colorways

I started this project with the best of intentions and then the world went crazy! Between holiday orders, crazy busy work and volunteer life (lives?) and then the Corona Virus … I couldn’t concentrate on this pattern so it went into a brief time out. As my concentration returned, I pulled it back out and got it finished yesterday with the exception of weaving in the ends and blocking. This will happen today!

This shawl was a good challenge. I liked the variation of stitches and the different techniques that Stephen used. It’s a different shape and I love a good i-cord! This shawl is loaded with i-cord. I also loved working with Emma’s yarn. This is a merino and silk blend fingering weight hand-dyed yarn. Emma’s yarn is dyed by two sisters in Winter Haven, Florida. Their parents own and run the beautiful Four Purls Yarn shop … and they’ve got a yarn truck that I used to shop from when I lived in the suburbs of Orlando. The Black Sheep Shop, where I used to teach, partners with Four Purls for some wonderful yarny fun!

I’ll update photos when the shawl is blocked. I can’t wait to see how this shawl “blooms” with blocking. Blocking works miracles!

Devon Hat in Ra Ra Raffia yarn

My Devon hat is also finished … except for the little tail that is hanging off the back of the hat. This was also a fun project. The Devon Hat is a simple crochet project. I still consider myself a beginner in crochet. This hat’s first few rounds are a bit wonk but the end result, despite being a little bit too big, is pretty stinking cute! The RaRa Raffia yarn is from Wool and the Gang. I bought it on the Wool and the Gang website directly but it would be a fun yarn for yarn shops to carry specifically for making hats and tote bags, too!

The hat is crocheted at a pretty tight gauge so my hands were a bit sore but I took breaks – and you should take breaks and stretch when you’re knitting or crocheting for a extended period of time. Stretching is a good thing – I promise, I know!

I never wear hats because I have a big head. “One size fits all” sure doesn’t. So, I thought this would be a good solution to my problem. I love hats but I can’t find hats that fit. This one will work when I’m sitting in the sun knitting.

Gone knitting!

Fingerless Mitts in a Weekend – a free pattern

This weekend was Thanksgiving and I decided to cast on a new and very simple project. Something I can make to sell. Well, they’re already off to their new home and I got them started AND finished over the course of the weekend. And I didn’t sell them. My daughter wanted them and I was more than happy to oblige!

Several people have asked me for my pattern. It’s an antique pattern with a lot of little changes.

Fingerless Mitts in a Weekend

220 yards (100g) Worsted Weight wool yarn. For my sample I used Ella Rae Classic Wool in colorway #164; a heathery light purple.

Set of 4 US 4 double pointed needles

1 stitch marker

Lengths of scrap yarn or yarn holders to hold thumb stitches

Cuff: to make a women’s mitt cast on 44 stitches and K2, P2 for 3 inches. You can certainly make the cuff longer but remember you may need more yarn. On the last row (it can be an extra row after 3 inches, don’t sweat it. Just remember what you did so you can do the same on the second mitt) *k1, k1fb, p2, (k2, P2) ten times, repeat from * one more time. Two stitches increased. 46 stitches total.

Knit six rounds plain. (No increases or decreases.)

Begin Thumb Gusset increases:

K1fb, k1, K1fb, PM (place marker) knit to the beginning of the round.

Knit 1 round plain

K1fb, k3, K1fb, SM (slip marker) knit to the beginning of round.

Knit 1 round plain

Continue in this manner, increasing in the first stitch and the stitch before the marker, slip the marker and then knit to the end of the round; knit two rounds plain until there are 15 thumb stitches. (The stitches between the beginning of round and the marker are the thumb gusset, extra stitches to accommodate your thumb.) You need to remember to knit two rounds after the last increase round.

Now thread a needle with some scrap yarn about a foot long. Slip the 15 thumb stitches from the DPN to scrap of yarn (or a stitch holder. I like using a scrap of yarn because I can keep trying on the mitts.) You have 15 thumb stitches on holder and 46 stitches on the Dpns.

Cast on three stitches, connect again for knotting around the hand stitches. Knit all stitches in the round until the hand is as long as you want it to be. I like my hands (mostly) covered so I knit until the hand is about at the first joint of my pinkie finger.

Begin ribbing: k2tog, K1, (P2, K2) to the last two sts, P2. 48 sts total.

Continue on pattern as set (Knit 2, Purl 2 around) for five rounds. Bind off in pattern.

Thumb: slip 15 thumb stitches onto dpns. cast on 5 stitches at the «crotch » of the thumb (where you cast on three stitches.)

Knit 3 rounds plain

K2, P2 around for five rounds. Bind off in pattern.

Make the second mitt just the same.

Weave in ends. Block gently. Or just wear them!

Mind you, I haven’t had these mitts test knit or tech edited. I’m happy to take your suggestions and edits should you find « issues » when you’re knitting.

These are the mitts that I taught last session at the adult education program here. I also taught my students to embroider on the fabric knitted. There are lots of pictures out there of embroidery on knitting. I also used this pattern for these mitts with self-patterning yarn. Be fearless! Have fun!

Gone knitting.

Follow me on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits

I’m also on Facebook: Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner

I’m lindar on Ravelry

Virus Shawl … FO!

This is one of my wonderful Friday knitting students, Annie! Annie’s from East Texas and has the beautiful accent to prove it!  My boss took this photograph of us on Friday after my class. I’m wearing my Virus Shawl for the first time.

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I am really happy with the way the shawl turned out. It’s my first “real” crochet project and I think it’s really pretty. I used two hanks of Malabrigo Sock in the Candombe colorway. I’m not sure why I love it so since green is not really “my color” but I do love it and I was happy to wear it!

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Candombe has greens and purples and a great grellow color all smooshed together to make another great colorway for knitted garments. The way the colors, with very short color changes, move is really quite wonderful and I think I’d even like it as a sweater or other garment.

The pattern for this shawl is a simple chart that you repeat. I memorized it and could just crochet away. It could be made in any weight of yarn. (Since I get hot easily, I most always choose fingering weight yarns for shawls and, increasingly, choose sport or fingering for sweaters, too.) The only stitches are single crochet, double crochet and chain stitches. Simple! Even for me!

Fun! I’m feeling accomplished!

1898 Hat – A different construction

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1898 Hat in Cascade Eco Duo

The 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes is a free pattern on Ravelry. We sell a lot of yarn for them at my LYS, Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. It may help that we have a great sample, in hat and headband form, right near the cash register!

I’ve been in Maine now for three winters. Winters are cold here. Hats are a must for my husband, in particular, because he has no hair. I almost always wear a coat with a hood which is enough for me but I have been known to wear a hat, too. All of this is to say that I am shocked that I haven’t knitted this hat before now.

A few weeks ago, a woman came into the shop when I was working and she wanted to have someone knit a 1898 hat for her out of some lovely Cascade Eco Duo alpaca yarn that she had bought. I’ve never seen this hat in alpaca before. I offered to knit it for her. When I called her to have her come pick it up, she asked me to make another in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

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1898 Hat in Lamb’s Pride Worsted

Both hats are wonderful. The alpaca was so soft and the Lamb’s Pride Worsted is so squishy. AND the knit was fun for me, too!

IMG_2313The headband is knit flat in garter stitch with increases for the ear flaps. It has a provisional cast on – I used a crochet cast on. It’s knit in garter stitch on either side of three slipped stitches on the wrong side (they’re knit on the right side) which makes it fold in half to make the headband double thickness and really, really warm! You graft the ends of the headband together with Kitchener Stitch (if you do it properly it’s completely invisible!) and then pick up the stitches from both sides of the headband to make the rest of the hat in the round like any “normal” hat.

One hank/skein/ball of worsted weight yarn worked for each hat. I KNOW my sweet hubby needs one of these hats. He works outside. In Maine. In the winter. It’s really, really cold. He has no hair. Did I mention that he has no hair?

Gone Knitting!

 

 

Color in the Winter – Happy Gloves

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I finished my gloves today. The colors make me so happy! The fit, not so much.

These gloves were “copied” from one of our customers. She is a wonderful knitter and came into the shop one day with gloves made with Adriafil’s Stella Jacq yarn. We had a couple of balls left on the shelf and I put them aside for post-Christmas knitting. I’ve just completed three post-Christmas orders and it was the perfect time to cast on my gloves. My gift to myself for getting all the knitting done.

I used a free pattern on Ravelry called Modified Army Gloves. (Note: I just read the Ravelry page and realized that there is a free woman’s pattern, too. I used the men’s pattern and that’s why the fit it a bit off. The hand of my gloves are a bit large for my hand … and I don’t have small hands!) The pattern is clear and concise, good step-by-step instructions. I really like the crazy fun, bright and cheerful colors. They make me happy. An advanced beginner or intermediate knitter should be able to complete the gloves without being totally lost.

IMG_2096My yarn was Stella Jacq yarn (in color #80). I used two 50 gram balls and have a little bit left over from each ball. … As a complete aside, I am one day going to buy a big glass vessel to put in my atelier. I’ll fill it with tiny balls of yarn from my favorite projects. Kind of like my friends who own beach houses have vessels filled with sea glass… but I digress!

I didn’t worry about matching the gloves so that they’d be identical. It could certainly be done but with all the fingers, I didn’t want to “deal” with it. My gloves are even crazier because they don’t match, right? If you want your gloves to match, make note of where in the color sequence you begin your first glove and then find the same spot to start glove number two.

I may have to buy one more ball of yarn and make the women’s gloves … but for now, I’ll wear my “man-hand” gloves that are a bit big and I’ll smile because I’m human. At least I didn’t make two left mittens!

Way to keep me humble knitting!

 

 

Vaill Island Vest Version 2

I’ve had this vest in my WIP pile (actually a pile of project bags full of future projects and projects half-done) forEVER! I love the first version of this vest so much that I’ve encouraged a couple of my knitting students to give it a try AND I cast another one for myself on back in mid-January. Yes, it’s been that long!

Every once-in-a-while I’ve pulled it out and finished a few rows and then away it goes in favor of another more current and seemingly imperative knit. Well, yesterday I took it to my knitting class with me with the thought that I didn’t even remember how much I had left to knit. I got the back finished and one of the front sides nearly finished at class and then continued late into the night … when I started to notice mistakes. (Hey! I’m usually in bed by 9 or 9:30 and last night it was after 11.) This morning I will frog back a couple of rows on the last front side and re-knit so that I can get it finished this weekend and I will be able to wear it this fall.

Vaill Island Vest designed by Gwynn Ericsson for Halcyon Yarn in 2008. This is a free pattern on Ravelry.

I really like this pattern. The repeat is simple, it’s knit bottom up in one piece (at least mostly in one piece) and I can wear it over my self-imposed work “uniform” which is almost always a pair of slacks and an oversized tunic/blouse. A wool vest will be great … as is the cotton vest (first iteration). I used Ella Rae worsted wool in a deep red colorway (it’s on my Ravelry project page). The color is really closer to the first picture. The second is to show a close-up of the stitch pattern. So close!

Vaill Island Vest … nearing completion

Stitch Pattern … this yarn has great stitch definition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a mistake in the pattern, though, last night. The directions for the left front say that when I slip the stitches from the holder that I should have 45 stitches. Well, I had 50. That’s the number of stitches that I was told to slip onto the holder and they’ve just been sitting out there for all this time. So, having adjusted the stitch numbers, I had 50 to slip onto the needles, I bound off 8 right away (42 sts). Then I begin decreases, one every other round six times, to 36 stitches. Neck decreases total to 5+4+11=20 and now I have 16 stitches which is the correct number in the pattern. Thankfully, I am still able to count and could figure this out as I knit so it’s all good in the end. I will write to the designer and see why this hasn’t been corrected since the pattern’s been out for several years!

Happy Saturday to anyone who reads this!

Gone knitting!

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