Knitting Queen (Bee)

Rainy Day on the Lake – but the plants inside are on point

I’m knitting. I promise, I’m knitting! Today is a rainy day at the lake but I’m happy about it because everything was dry and that’s never a good thing when you have gardens and a well. Despite the abundance of water just outside our windows, we would much rather have rain than have to water the gardens. The veggie garden was planted (seeds, sewn directly) and we have signs that it was a success as baby plants are popping their heads above the dirt. Our perennial gardens have been showing us iris, lilacs, and more. I’ve tried to get some weeding and edging done with some, albeit limited, success. One or two gardens have had added compost and I hope to get some mulch delivered to spread around. We also have to replenish the rocks in our drip lines around the house and add them around the boathouse and other outbuildings on our property.

But I am knitting!

I’ve finished a pair of bibs and a pair of baby socks, a “journal band” and my husband’s felted slippers, I even finished them on his actual birthday!

I have a lineup of projects on the needles and reaady to go onto the needles. But I’ll keep this short … I hope. And “light” … I hope.

Bibs

These two bibs are so cute and so fun to knit. These are both free patterns on Ravelry. I knit a bib as a baby gift for one of my daughter’s friends when she had a baby boy. I may be knitting more of these … well, I still have yarn from the ball of Berroco Pima 100 … let’s see how far it goes, right? So, here you have a baby starfish and a pumpkin. It isn’t easy to choose which design to knit, I have to be honest. The next one, already on my needles is an owl Who Loves Ya. My niece loves owls.

I chose to knit the short rows for the start of the bibs. Because the bibs start with seed stitch and are highly textured, you don’t have to worry about picking up the stitches that are wrapped … actually, you don’t have to wrap the stitches at all. I got each of them finished in a couple of hours and it was a good break from my rows and rows of fingering or lace weight stripes.

On my needles (still) is my Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I am making progress but it’s slow progress. I have posted about this pattern before and I know that once it’s finished, that I will wear it a lot and love it but, geez, it’s not particularly exciting after the fronts are picked up from the back. It’s miles and miles of four-row stripes. For my size, I need to knit stripes until the length from the arm pit to the bottom measures about 15 inches. I have about 9. I’ll keep on keeping on.

I do love the yarns that I chose for this cardigan. The Malabrigo Sock is merino wool and it’s the softest wool to work with. The Berroco Aerial mohair lace is also really soft (and so fine!) Once this sweater is finished and blocked, I think it’s going to be a favorite go-to.

I have finished, in an attempt to knit from my stash, another pair of booties and a pair of baby sock and a pumpkin hat. I had two little balls of Regia baby sock yarn (I may be a bit off on the name of the yarn but it’s Regia for sure.) I knit up the pink pair quite a while ago and now I knit up the blue pair. The tiny balls of yarn are cute but probably silly (and more expensive than a full 100 gram ball. The ones that I bought were on sale, if memory serves, and they were too cute to resist. And I knew that there would be babies born in the future. They’ll go into my gift drawer. The booties, are a repeat of former projects, too. I have a bag full of Cascade Fixation yarn that I have bought over the years. I’m working on getting that yarn used up, too. And last, when I was cleaning out my worsted weight yarn stash, I found the Lamb’s Pride Cotton Fleece yarn in green and orange that I’ve made several hats out of and thought I needed to use it up, too. So, I made a hat for my niece’s baby-to-be and it looks like I still have another hat’s worth. I’ll keep going with my fingers crossed … the green might be a yarn chicken game.

Bullet Journal Band with Pen Pocket

A couple of days ago, I came upon a pattern for a Journal Band with Pen Pocket. This is a perfect little project to use up some of my fingering weight scraps. It’s so small that I’ll have to knit hundreds of them … I may find a better use for my scraps to use more than a tiny bit. I’ve also found some book mark patterns that I will have to knit. Have you seen the Flat Rat bookmark? There are so many cute bookmark patterns. My Journal Band will live on my bullet journal and will hold my pen so I don’t have to hunt for it in my purse. It’s a rainbow band because it’s pride month.

Love and Light by Laura Nelkin

I knitted another Love and Light by Laura Nelkin for my bonus daughter, Robin and her fiance, Evan. I got some pink lights for this project and knitted it up in a few hours. When they were here for my hubby’s birthday, I missed hearing them say that they loved the one in our living room window – and then I gifted them theirs. I hope they hang it in a place of honor to remind them of the love they share today and keep working to build it every day.

My two bonus daughters and their significant others came to Maine to surprise their dad for his birthday. A few months ago, he was in the store (I work in a yarn shop) and I had him pick out some yarn to make him a new pair of felted slippers and this time I planned to add the full leather sole. I had finished the knitting a week or so before his birthday but I hadn’t had the time to felt them. On his birthday I did felt them and then attached the soles and he’s happily wearing them even in the summer. Our mornings, to be fair, are cool and slipper-worthy. I think I posted about them before, the pattern is Fiber Trends Felted Clogs and I used four skeins of Ella Rae Classic Wool, chosen by my husband. He needs the soles so he doesn’t slip on our concrete floors. They’re wonderful leather soles purchased at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine (where I work.)

I’ve seen two moths in my atelier in the last week and that meant I had to clean my yarn shelves. I’d be devastated to have a moth (larva) problem. I’ve even considered going out to buy some plastic bins for yarn storage … but I’m not there quite yet. I’ve sorted and shaken and cleaned the shelves and added a lot of new lavender buds to the shelves. I hope that will deter them. One more moth and I’ll be heading to buy air tight yarn storage bins … and my beautiful visible yarn will be no more.

I haven’t been baking lately. Too much going on in my world. I did make a 65th birthday blueberry pie that wasn’t beautiful but it tasted good. Prior to that I had baked blueberry banana nut muffins and blueberry muffins, too. But I haven’t had the time or energy to bake much since that. I’ll get my baking mojo back soon, I hope. I picked some rhubarb out of our yard and I’ve got a cake that I want to try with strawberries and rhubarb in it.

I’ve been working too hard on lake association stuff to have much time to breathe. But we’re making progress and have a location and date for our Annual Meeting, a new location for our DASH boat and docks, we have hired a wonderful new Administrative Coordinator and our season is just starting. We also arrived at the end of the year for the Maine Arts Academy and graduation was fantastic! Listening to the student speakers and our wonderful Head of School speak was very uplifting. I left graduation feeling grateful and hopeful (at least for awhile.)

Today is my first day home alone in a couple of weeks. With visitors, meetings and other goings on I have neglected the laundry and house so I will end here and head down to finish the laundry and clean up a little bit before I head out this evening for dinner with my co-workers. I am fortunate to work with three really wonderful women.

Laundry first and then some knitting.

Yardgoods Spring Sweater KAL/CAL

On May 1 we kicked off a project at the yarn shop (where I work.) Spring Sweater KAL/CAL is the first “garment sized” knit or crochet along that we’ve tried and we are so pleased that there are 15 people participating. This project is meant to be a relaxing, fun, supportive, encouraging project for our customers near and far. Our first “meeting” was via Zoom for our kick-off headed by Donna and Glenda. (I was on a train heading to Connecticut from New York City after visiting with my kids and because the train was quite full, I felt that it would have been rude to hop on the call.

Today we are having our second meeting and it will be a hybrid meeting. We’ll have two computers on Zoom for those who can’t be with us in person and we’ll be at the shop in the classroom.

Elton by Joji Locatelli

I’m knitting my Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I’ve enjoyed the process thus far, and am having fun seeing how the cardigan goes together. The construction is quite brilliant making a sweater (cardigan) all in one piece top down. I cast on first for the back of the sweater and with some short rows, and stripes of the main and contrasting yarns, got 6 1/2 inches completed and then I headed to the front. Stitches are picked up, along first one shoulder and then the next, and matching short rows and stripes until the front sides are also 6 1/2 inches. And here is where the fun begins because everything is put back on the needles and striping continues. I reached that point yesterday!

For my main color I’m using Malabrigo Sock yarn in Cote D’Azure, a really dark navy blue. It’s so dark, it’s nearly black. The contrasting color is Berroco’s Aerial in their dark navy colorway. I sure hope that I planned this well because I think it’s going to be elegant. The Malabrigo Sock has just enough sheen to be quite snazzy looking and the sheer lace weight mohair in stripes between is really pretty. The directions say that you should block this aggressively to get the fabric to open up and relax and I think it’s going to be really pretty. Those thoughts are what are going to keep me knitting endless stripes of garter stitch.

We had five of us (and six if you count Bette who had to work) in the shop and one via zoom from Canada! Beth had never been in the store before and she found our little group on Ravelry. Wonderful news for us and we were thrilled to welcome Beth to our group. She has a friend in Maine so we hope to meet her someday soon! There is only one duplicated pattern on the needles from the group of women who reported. Glenda and I are knitting Elton. Glenda is knitting hers in the “Wish You Were Beer” colorway of Emma’s yarn Practically Perfect Sock and their laceweight mohair to match. Otherwise, the patterns are very diverse.

Donna is knititng Flax Light (short sleeves) in Malabrigo Sock, Diane is knitting Berroco Ultra Wool fine and I can’t believe I can’t remember her pattern name. Lynn is knitting Pull Johanna in Berroco Alpaca Socks, Beth is knitting Hitofude in Lang Sock, and Bette is knitting miMa (don’t remember that yarn either. Glenda will set me straight! I know she took notes.) It was fun seeing what everyone was knitting and what challenges they were facing. I’m eager to see where everyone is in three weeks when we meet again!

Gone knitting.

A Return to Summer … in May?

Like a Summer Day but May

If this past weekend is any indication, we are going to have a wicked warm summer. It was close to 90 degrees … too hot, too early. Thankfully, the temperatures have returned to more normal and we got a little bit of rain.

I’ve been working like a crazy woman. I don’t know if I’ve shared the fact that I am president of our lake association and we have had a lot going on. We are doing a huge project in the entire watershed area in order to limit the amount of runoff into the lake. We’ve identified 247 different properties that need to have significant work done and we are in the process of applying for a 319 grant to help landowners pay for the improvements. AND we are moving out of our office, changing storage areas, and still trying to run our normal milfoil removal program and our courtesy boat inspector program at our two boat launches. It’s a lot!

I estimate that I am spending about 20 hours weekly on lake stuff. Mondays are my lake days and I almost always spend the full day working on lake stuff – meetings, committees, fundraising, memberships, banking stuff, finances … and on and on. I’m so grateful that I have a good group of people helping me with a lot of it. I’d like to clone them!

Add my real job (the one that pays me) and writing a newsletter for the yarn shop and I’ve been super busy. I’m trying to remember to make time for my sweet husband – he puts up with my nonsense without complaining – but I haven’t been baking as much as I normally do (or that he’d like) and I’m (almost) getting my normal house stuff done. The yard, though, needs a lot of work and our project this year is to fix up our guest cottage … I sure hope it gets done. We’ll be renting it once it’s finished.

My Traveling Sweater

I’ve finished my “Traveling” sweater and brought it to the store to show if off on Friday. This was a fun knit and I’ve inspired a couple of my students to give knitting an adult-sized sweater, too! When we are all finished with our sweaters, we’ll take a group photo … in the fall. This is a Knitting Plain & Simple top-down pullover pattern. I used ten balls, 9 different colorways, of Plymouth Gina. I chose the balls fairly randomly and knit the entire ball and then spit-joined the next one. The only “fudging” I did was to sort of match the first part of the sleeves to the start of the body. It just looks neater.

The other thing I did a little bit differently is to turn it inside out. That’s right, I’m going to wear it on the “wrong” side or the reverse stockinette side. SO, to make that happen, I had to frog back the bottom of the body and then re-knit it so that it rolled the right way. I did the same to the sleeves and the collar. It fits well, it’s going to be really comfy when the weather gets colder again. (It’s worsted weight and I tend to run warm, so … )

Noro Striped Mittens

I also finished my Noro Striped and lined mittens. So, this was a stash busting project. I’ve had a skein of this Noro yarn in my studio for a couple of years. When I saw these mittens, I jumped at the idea of using the one skein. I only had to buy two more skeins to get it done, but it’s done! This pattern uses two skeins of Noro (or you could use a worsted or Aran weight yarn of your choice) yarn for the stripes and another yarn, I used Berroco Folio, for the lining. These are fun mittens and I love them … but I’ll be gifting them because I don’t NEED them. (Remember my Northman Mittens? And my 4-Needle Snowflake mittens? And my Gray Fuzzy Mittens? LOL. I have a few pairs. I don’t need any more.) I do know who is going to get these lovely mittens. She’ll be so surprised.

I have been working right along on one more pair of socks for my daughter. I made it to the heel flap of the second sock this morning when I was waiting for my car to have its oil changed. One heel flap and on to the foot. They won’t take long now. (And I’ll return the clean socks I borrowed when I was in New York when I send the new socks.)

Last but not least, I’ve cast on an Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. One of my co-workers and a student and I are doing a KAL/CAL at the store where we work and knit. Our Spring Sweater KAL/CAL only requires that participants use fingering weight yarn for their sweater. They can choose any sweater pattern to knit or crochet and there are no deadlines or pressure. It’s meant to be a fun, no pressure, supportive experience and we have 17 people in the group. We’ve had one virtual meeting that kicked off the KAL/CAL on May 1 and we’re having our second meeting, a hybrid meeting, in person and virtually, on 5/21. I need to make some progress for that meeting! I’m feeling the pressure, for sure. I bought the Elton pattern ages ago and then used the yarn that I was planning to use to knit a Love Note instead. So, this time, I’ve chosen for my main color, Malabrigo Sock in the Cote D’Azure colorway (a really deep navy blue) and for the accent color, Berroco Aerial in a deep navy. I think it’s going to be elegant and I’m thinking that I could wear it to my step-daughter’s wedding in December if I can find a dress to wear under it. I’ll add a photo or two when I have enough knitted to bother to take a photo.

Fiber Trends Felted Clogs Pre-felting

I just finished the sewing up of a pair of slippers that I knitted for my husband for his birthday. I only need to felt them now and sew on the sole. His last pair were completely worn out and I had him throw them away. They had suede sole pieces. The new ones will have a full suede sole. I’m getting so fancy … or he is. LOL.

Gone knitting.

I really AM knitting, I promise.

I’ve finished an order for a customer (again!) of two tams. These are hats number five and six for this season. Whew! But she loves them and they’re not difficult to knit for her at all. I delivered them to the store this morning so that she can pick them up. The pattern is Quick Lacy Slouch hat and is free on Ravelry. I’ve made these hats in several different bulky weight yarns. These happen to be in Cascade 128 which is superwash and soft. The stitch definition is also quite lovely.

I’ve finished one pair and started a second pair of socks for daughter number two. She’s daughter number two in birth order only. I swear that I have knitted socks for her before but she said I didn’t so, she chose her yarn when she was here this winter and I’ve been knitting some for her. I hope they fit. If not, I’ll adjust them and my pattern for her (not so) little feet.

I also delivered a pair of camo dish cloths to my son for his birthday – it’s a joke. He had to have a camouflage afghan when he was younger and still at home. I had to make them when I saw the yarn.

I am on sleeve island. My “Patsy’s Traveling Sweater” is almost done, I have a few inches of each sleeve to knit up and then it’ll be ready for a collar and blocking. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to wear it right side out or wrong side out. One of my co-workers made one of these sweaters and she wears it on the “wrong” side. If I decide to wear it on the “wrong” side, I’ll have to re-knit the bottom of the body so it will roll the right way. It’s all good. Time will tell.

Noro Striped Mittens

I’ve finished the lining on one of my Noro Striped mittens and have begun the second. I’ll admit that these mittens are a bit short for me and they may be sold or given away. But they’re really pretty and the Berroco Folio lining is very soft (and will add extra warmth.) As I believe I’ve said before, my favorite thing about these mittens was knitting the thumb before knitting the hand which made the thumb color not stick out like, well, like a sore thumb. (Sorry.)

I’ve begun a pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for my sweet hubby for his birthday at the end of the month. He stopped in the store one day (to bring me food) and I had him choose his color(s). I’m knitting these in Ella Rae Classic Wool. He chose a gray and a purple which I’m holding together. His old slippers were worn out because he really loved them and wore them a lot.

I’m going to end here. I have bunches of future knitting projects lining up and I brought home more yarn from work this week. I love working in a yarn store so I have access to people who fill my head with future knitting ideas – and some of them seem so important that I have to bring yarn home immediately.

Gone knitting.

Noro Striped Mittens by Kelly Ziegler

Yesterday when I wrote, I said that I would likely finish the #12 Advent Jumper. I didn’t.

Instead, I picked up my needles and two balls of Noro Silk Garden (Aran/50g/109yards) and knitted the funnest mittens that I’ve knitted in a while. So, I’ve had the one ball of yarn in my stash for years. YEARS! I remember buying it at the Wags and Wool in Lubec when I traveled there with my knitting girls on the Maine Yarn Cruise and that has to be at least four or five years ago. I bought the yarn to make mittens but didn’t like the pattern at all so … onto my shelf the yarn went. And it has been very patient waiting for me to pick it up again.

I found this pattern within the last week or so and sometimes I just HAVE to cast on a new project because I’m excited about it. This is one of those projects. I bought a second ball of Silk Garden at the shop last week and cast on yesterday. Since the yarn is heavy worsted weight, they knit up pretty quickly. I’ll cast on the second mitten today and, with any luck, I’ll get it finished to and then the magic happens … they’re lined!

I had nearly a full ball of DK weight alpaca yarn in a bright pink colorway from my Northman Mittens so I bought another one just in case. I’ll knit the lining next week. I hope. It’s going to be another busy week. BUT I think these will be fun and warm mittens to wear next winter.

What’s wonderful about this pattern is the way the designer (who reached out to me on Instagram this morning!) handles the thumb. It’s brilliant, really, as the thumb is knit first so that the colorways match and the thumb doesn’t stick out like, well, a sore thumb. I’m so happy with this magical step that makes the mitten colors work!

Gone knitting.

Ice Out and Critters Return – Welcome Spring!

The Critter

As soon as the ice goes out (this year it happened on April 6th) the water birds and critters return to the lake. It’s miraculous, really, that they know when it’s safe to come back out on the lake. This year we heard reports from the northern end of the lake that the loons had returned while our section of the lake was still covered by ice. BUT as soon as the ice was gone, the loons were calling from the cove. There’s nothing quite like living so close to nature. We are so grateful to be able to witness the seasonal changes, to watch the sun change its position in the sky, and to know that there are more miracles coming soon when the babies are back with their parents. It won’t be long.

Since the ice went out, we’ve seen all the weather. Beautiful blue bird skies, thick fog and days of rain. Fortunately, it seems that mud season was relatively short this year and early. I had some white knuckle trips down our road and I may have let a few four-letter words escape my lips while hoping that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud.

I’ve been knitting like a mad woman. I seem to want to cast on all the new projects and I am trying to stay focused on finishing some, too.

Grandma’s Favorite

I’ve got a full basket of cotton yarns that I’ve collected over the years. I am trying to knit down the stash and one of my favorite projects is dishcloths/washcloths that I’ll pop into my gift drawer and pull out as needed. These two are from deeply stashed yarn from a big box store and they’re obviously seasonal. We use them here at home and the kids like them, too. They’re great stocking stuffers or as a gift with a special bar of soap. The pattern is so simple and easy to remember which makes these dishcloths good TV knitting.

Arne & Carlos Advent Jumpers

I’m almost half-way through the collection of Advent jumpers from Arne and Carlos. I love knitting these little sweaters and they knit up so quickly. I’m using Patagonia Organic Merino yarn from Juniper Moon Farm and, I have to say, this is my favorite yarn right now. I’ve made my Humlebi Shawl in it and I’ve got the charcoal gray colorway set aside to make an Emsworth vest. Number 12 will likely be finished by the end of the day today. I like to spend Sunday knitting for fun. I also like to bake and I’ve eaten all of my granola and my baked oatmeal.

Patsy’s Traveling Sweater

The body of my Traveling Sweater is nearly done (it may, actually be done but I have to measure it again to make sure.) This has been a fun knit. Patsy is a customer who has come into the store a bunch of times to purchase Plymouth Gina yarn for the sweaters that she makes. She has a Facebook page for the sweaters because she’s knitted over 100 of them. I have loved the sweater since I first saw it and have almost bought the yarn once before. When we heard that Plymouth was discontinuing the yarn, I put aside what colors we had in the shop and the boss ordered bags of each remaining color. When they came in, I bought the yarn and cast on my sweater.

The pattern is a Knitting Plain and Simple pattern #9724, Neck Down Pullover for Women. These patterns are simple beginner patterns and are knit top down in the round with minimal seaming. The sizing is somewhat size-inclusive but they certainly could be expanded. It would be wonderful if they added full stitch counts, too. But I recommend these patterns often for customers and students knitting their first garments. I’ve chosen 10 colorways of the Gina yarn and have randomly pulled them out of the bag to knit next. I have simple knitted the whole ball and then spit-spliced the next ball and kept knitting. I had a bit of a challenge making gauge but I decided that I would use the recommended needles and knit the size larger so that it would fit comfortably. I’m thinking that I may use a folded hem rather than a rolled hem but I haven’t decided yet. I suppose I can knit the rolled hem and then sew it up if I change my mind.

I’ve got to buy one more ball of Gina so that my sleeves, at least at the shoulders, match as closely as possible to the body of the sweater. After that, random is fine.

Spring has sprung!

Gone knitting.

Binge Watching and Knitting

Saturday morning

I was back home and back to work this week after my week away and, maybe I didn’t drink enough coffee this morning, I’m tired. Not motivated to “do” anything much. So, I’ve retreated to my atelier and I’ve been binge watching Outlander’s sixth season and knitting. And I’ve made good progress despite one “bad stitch.”

I cast on my Patsy’s Traveling Sweater on Wednesday. It was a challenge getting gauge and I decided that since I couldn’t get it just right, I’d make the next larger size and hope it’ll fit! So, I’ve been knitting along and increasing every other round as the pattern dictates. This is a sweater that has been made over 100 times by one of our customers. The first time I met Patsy I admired her sweater and I’ve admired it each time since. The pattern is simple; it’s Knitting Pure and Simple #9724 “Neckdown Pullover for Women”. Patsy knits hers in diverse balls of Plymouth’s Gina (worsted weight wool, 50 grams, 109 yards, made in Turkey.

Linda’s Traveling Sweater

I started mine with color number 12 and have since knitted color number 4 and 3 and I now have to go to my bag of colors and choose another. The stripes are fun and happy and the sweaters, when finished, are warm and really appealing. (I hope I won’t be allergic to mine. Someone will inherit it if I am!)

The one bad stitch was about three rounds back … just about exactly where I stopped knitting last night. I noticed that I hadn’t completed a stitch (it looked like a yarn-over and a wrong-colored stitch) and made a mental note to fix it on the next round. I must have decided to go to bed before I fixed it and then forgot over night. Needless to say, three rounds in this morning, I noticed the mistake and there’s no way to fix it without frogging it back and starting over. It’s now done, fixed, and I’ve reknit all that I pulled out and then some. It’s a perfect binge watching sweater.

I also have socks for my daughter on my needles and I am waiting for her to measure her feet so I can make them fit perfectly. I chose a simple gray yarn for her first pair and I have another couple of balls set aside for more for her. I’ve got a full sock drawer now and I am delighted to knit for her for a bit. I should also knit another pair for my son since his birthday is at the end of the month. If all goes as planned, I’ll be heading to New York for a visit at the end of April. I just have to pick a couple of days and notify the crew!

Socks for my Daughter

I blocked my Humlebi Shawl and wore it to work on Thursday. It was quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be from the photograph on the pattern but it’s really wonderful. I blocked it “aggressively” and it’s at least as big as the schematic says it should be. I like it and will enjoy wearing it a couple more times before all the knitwear goes away for the summer.

We are really glad to be here right now because the ice is thinning quickly and it will probably be gone very soon. The color has changed to a medium gray and we have about six feet of open water at the shoreline. Up the lake a bit there is much more open water and I’ve heard that some loons have returned to the lake. I wish I knew how they know exactly when the ice has opened up and they can return to the lake. I can’t wait to see them and HEAR them! Each season here is a wonder. I will miss the ice but I’ll welcome the open water and the returning waterbirds.

It was a very good Saturday. Gone knitting

On the Road Again

Marblehead Light from Fort Sewell, Marblehead, MA

The past week I’ve been living “on the road” which is saying that I’m not home. This is the first road trip that I’ve taken by myself in two years. I found myself very anxious when I was leaving the house. My GPS on my car wouldn’t connect, I couldn’t get it to play my podcasts that I had hoped to listen to, nor would it play my music that “I” downloaded (with lots of help and support from my sweet husband.) Turns out that if you turn the car off and then re-start it, that it works. Phew. I was so grateful for my husband’s suggestion.

First stop was to my “oldest” friend’s house in Connecticut to celebrate the life of her son. He died on Valentine’s day in a one car crash. He was 28 years old. The memorial service or “Irish Wake” was wonderfully well put together for Scudder. He didn’t want a church funeral or, really, any formal service. So, we all ate and drank and remembered the young man who was so loved by his family and friends. His sister’s and mother’s lives will be forever changed. I was lucky to be able to spend the night at my friend’s house and chat for a few hours before heading off to Massachusetts.

Second stop was Salem, Massachusetts. My sister-in-love is house and dog sitting for my niece and her husband who are honeymooning in Italy! We haven’t been able to have a lot of girl time since I moved to Maine (we have plenty of time together with husbands and kids and other siblings but not just the two of us) so I really wanted to visit for a couple of days. And I did … and I extended my visit to a week! One of my wonderful co-workers worked for me on Thursday and I cancelled my class (I know, that’s not normal!) on Friday. Today the husbands arrive and we’ll spend the weekend celebrating my nephew who is off on an excellent adventure to Alaska for a few months.

I am knitting! I finished my Humlebi Shawl by Fiber Tales. I knit this shawl in Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm. I love the oatmealy-gray yarn and the bumble bees that are knitted in around the edge are fabulous! I will block it aggressively rather than gently and I hope it’ll be an ok size for me. I used just over one skein and I’ll weigh the remaining one to figure out how much I used in total. I checked my gauge and I measured 19 sts per inch rather than 17. So, I wasn’t too far off but it probably would have been a bit better for me on a larger needle. It was a fun knit so I may consider knitting it again just to see what happens when I change the gauge to what it’s really supposed to be and I have more yarn.

Humelbi Shawl blocking close-up

I also knitted up a couple of pairs of booties for a new mom (and dad)-to-be. I knitted up the pattern that I found at the store years ago and that I really love to knit. It’s called Sue’s Baby Booties and I knit it up in Cascade Yarn’s FIxation. When I ran out of projects (daughter’s socks are at the toe and I need her foot measurement, Humelbi Shawl was finished except for blocking, and I only had Arne & Carlos’ Advent Jumpers left which take too much concentration to knit in a group) so I cast on another pair for my brother and sister-in-law’s neighbors who just had a baby girl. This pattern makes me so happy! I love all the combinations.

I have reached the toe decreases on the socks for my dear daughter. Plain vanilla socks for the first pair to see how she likes them and how they fit. Since I don’t have her feet to try them on or measure. I sent her a text to trace and measure her foot so I know how long to knit them. We used to have the same shoe size but mine are bigger these days, I guess. Anyway, I’ll put the first sock onto a holder and start on the second sock so I can continue my progress. I’m feeling successful and productive with all these small projects.

Spring in Massachusetts is a couple of weeks ahead of us here in Maine. I can’t wait to see our spring bulbs in bloom. They’re coming!!! The snow in the yard is all gone, the road has already dried up a bit from the muddy mess that it was when I left. The lake is still mostly covered with ice (it’s certainly ice-covered at our house but each end is more open than a week ago) and it’s turning grayer. I’m ready to see the water again.

Gone knitting!

Humlebi Shawl

Can you see them?

When I saw this shawl on Ravelry, I knew I had to buy yarn and cast on. I had to!

Bees!

Pattern: Humlebi Shawl by Fiber Tales

Yarn: Patagonia Organic Merino (Light Grey colorway; three hanks)

I have knitted a lot of shawls and this is the first one that I’ve knitted that starts with a pico cast on – and over 300 stitches! I’m not convinced (yet) that the picot is picot-y enough, but I hope that if I block the shawl and pin each of the picots that it will be more accentuated. I can’t wait for the yarn. to bloom and to see what happens to the little bees. They’re knitted over a few rows so the first half of them is just a couple of wings and a bobble … bee butts! I had to laugh when I saw them. And then you go back and knit another bobble row and the bee is finished. They’re adorable and I’d like to add them into every single thing that I knit from today forward. (I probably won’t do that but, gosh, they’re stinking cute.

I am knitting this shawl in Patagonia Organic Merino yarn by Juniper Moon Farm. This may be my new favorite yarn. I have a vest worth in a charcoal gray and I have a sweater quantity in a rusty orange color. It’s a rustic wool but it has a nice hand and it’s just sticky enough that it would be a perfect pick for a colorwork project. Obviously, this isn’t colorwork but it’s a fun and simple enough project.

The bees are simple enough as are the flowers. The rest of the shawl is garter stitch with decreases. Lots and lots of garter stitch and decreases. Once I reach seven stitches, I’m done. More on that as I make progress!

Gone knitting.

WIP – Moorland Socks

Years ago, I was intrigued by A Year of Techniques “club” that came from the Arnall-Culliford Knitwear company out of the UK. I often seek to increase my knowledge of knitting so that I can pass what I learn on to my students and this seemed to fit right into that column. AND it was a year of improving knitting by a monthly technique project. There was a book and twelve projects so it seemed to be something that I could manage with everything else in my life.

That first year, I managed to complete a bunch of the patterns in the book. I also made the decision to buy the yarn collection for all of the projects because, being a company based in the UK, they were using yarns that I had not seen nor worked with. It would be an additional bit of knowledge that I could gather about yarn and how to match yarns and patterns and maybe, too, a little bit about color.

That first year I finished seven of the twelve projects. I ended up frogging one and not completing another because I didn’t like the fit, so we’ll count it as five projects completed and enjoyed. The next year they did Boost Your Knitting: A Second Year of Techniques followed the third year by Confident Knitting. Each year I went along and bought the yarns and have really, really enjoyed knitting with yarns that I may not have otherwise been exposed to in rural Maine. (Until I get to Paris and Shetland, anyway.)

But I digress because where I wanted to go with this post was to tell you about my Moorland Socks WIP. Moorland Socks were in the third group of technique projects. The yarn is from Fab Funky Fibers and contains two mini skeins as the main color of the socks, a wonderful self-striping multi-colored yarn with another mini for a contrasting heel. The technique for this project is a Garter stitch short row heel.

Today I finally finished the first short row heel and what fun it was to knit. (I can’t wait to try it on and see how it fits and how it feels to wear!) Because the heel and short rows are garter stitch, there is no need to pick up and knit the wraps for the short rows and that makes it much simpler and more straight forward to knit. I found that I did need to keep count of the stitches between the wraps, however; at least until I figured out how to read my knitting. It was more difficult on the increases (after the decreases on the first half of the heel) but I managed it, I think, quite well and it’s a super cute heel if I do say so myself.

Such a pretty heel, such a pretty sock! Since I wrote this I’ve finished sock number 1 and have cast on sock number 2. The mini skeins made it pretty easy to “match” the socks (so they look alike … or as alike as I care to make them look.) The fit’s pretty good, too. I’ll be curious to see how this heel wears compared to my favorite heel flap and gusset. I’ll let you know.

Gone knitting.