Finishing Line

Over the Christmas holidays and the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly but surely finishing up some projects. Others, I have finished photos of and can freely post them here without any surprises being ruined.

This past week, I started and finished a Boxet Bag. This pattern is in Making Magazine #5, Color and it’s designed by Cal Patch. I had been home all week with a “broken” back … not sure what I did but I finished my morning stretching and couldn’t stand up … and I needed to do something fun! I have a full bin of wool bits and bobs that I’ve been carrying around with me since we lived in Florida and I thought this was a good way to use some of it up. If there was any disappointment, it’s that it isn’t bigger and didn’t use more but I really love this little tote. I used Patons Classic Wool in several colors. This is a crochet project and I’m so pleased that this knitter is finally feeling more sure of herself when it comes to crochet. I only had to pull it back once or twice and that means I’m learning!!! It’s so cute and it’ll be so much fun to carry!

On Sunday I frogged my Malabrigo Rios cardigan. I was finished with the body and could try it on and I hated it. It’s just not for my body – there’s nothing wrong with the sweater, it’s just not right for my body. I’m still learning that. I do love the yarn and I need to find another simple cardigan pattern that will accentuate the beautiful Malabrigo colorways. The yarn is back into it’s caked format and ready to go. Pattern suggestions are welcome. It sure seems to me that when I knit sweaters I need to make two and frog them before I get it right!

My embroidered mittens are finished and have been worn quite a lot. They’ve also inspired a few other knitters to make some of their own! I love seeing everyone’s work!

I started knitting a Newborn Vertebrae sweater as a baby gift and then I didn’t have the right needles at work so I switched gift ideas in mid-stream. I made baby Izzy a pair of adorable baby booties and sent them off to New York and then I finished the Vertebrae and it will be added to the gift drawer in my atelier for another little baby. Vertebrae is a free pattern on Ravelry and I knit it with leftovers of On the Round Signature Sock yarn in the Silverlining Tweed colorway. It’s super cute! (And so tiny!) The Booties are made in Cascade Yarn’s Fixation and the pattern is Sue’s Baby Booties. Have a look at my projects page in Ravelry (I’m Lindar.)

Have I posted pictures of my niece’s Unicorn Mittens yet? They really came out super cute and I love them! I sent sparkly Unicorn purses from Target and a few other little things that I found and thought the girls would like. But the mittens are my favorite!!! One pair had blue eyes and one had green eyes. The bright colors are fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Last photo for this post is the pillow that I made, ostensibly for my hubby. He has a brand new (to him) red truck and he loves the old fashioned trucks that he drove at camp as a teenager. I had purchased this embroidery kit forever ago and had never made it up. So, since I was resting my knitting arm, I decided to give it a shot. It turned out well but if I were to do it again, I’d choose fabric that isn’t so Christmas specific so it could be kept out for a longer time. Oh well. I keep learning as I make!

So, there you are! A few more updates as promised in the older posts. I hope that you’ll check them out, too. I have so much fun making things for my family and friends. I would much rather make than buy … it seems more personal and I enjoy the process of thinking about what people would like!

Gone knitting.

WIP No More

Since before Christmas, I’ve been putting aside pictures of projects that I have made as gifts and didn’t want to show to the “world” (all three of you) that reads my blog. SO … now that Christmas is well over, it’s time to catch up with my WIPs that are no longer.

A lot of my gifts this past year were sewn because my arm was giving me trouble when I knitted. So, with that, here are some pictures of completed gifts … and some sewing projects that weren’t gifts, too!

I made pillow cases for all of our kids this year. I found this cardinal fabric at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine and knew that for my daughters, this was one choice I had to make. And then I found the “color your pillowcase” fabric, also with cardinals, at Marden’s. I love the way they turned out and I hope the kids love them, too. I know that at least one of the kids didn’t know that they were pillowcases. Ha! Ha! The tools were for my sweet hubby and his daughter’s boyfriend, E. Both of them work in carpentry and when I saw the tools, I couldn’t resist buying the fabric! There are more pillowcases that I made for his daughters and for my son … but I didn’t photograph them. Oops!

Next, I made this pillow for my dear hubby. It’s got a red truck and it’s a vintage truck that I embroidered. I bought this pattern years (YEARS!) ago at the Augusta, Maine quilt show. I have a stack of patterns and projects that I bought and never finished. Never made. When I went through that stack, I found it and, again, since I was nursing a sore arm, I thought that I could embroider the truck and finish one more project. I think it came out pretty well considering it’s the first such pattern I’ve ever made.

One more sewn project that I don’t seem to have ever shown you here, is my American Flag quilt. I took a class to make this quilt with a friend who is an accomplished quilter. It was my first sewing class … and, while it was fun, it was quite a stretch for this novice! BUT I am happy to say that even though all the points don’t quite match, I am totally satisfied with this quilt and it hangs a good half of the year on the wall in our entry way. I even did the quilting with the help of Candy who owns a sewing school in Clinton, Maine and also “rents” her long arm quilting machine. I’m very proud to hang this quilt.

So, that’s it for today. I’ve blown out my back and this is the time limit for sitting at my desk.

Gone knitting!

Teaching This Old Dog a New Trick: Still Learning

Attic Heirlooms January 2019 Ornament

My wonderful co-worker provided me with a kit of wool and supplies for this month’s ornament pattern from Attic Heirlooms. I’d put it into the pile of projects that I am amassing and it seems that this morning was the morning to get it done!

As I stitched away, I realized that I was doing the blanket stitch all wrong. All wrong, all along. I pulled out the outside edge but decided to leave the stitching on the flower in the center just to remind myself that I can still learn. I grew up hearing “can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I am here to tell you that I am calling BS on this one! I am proof that you can keep learning no matter how old or young you are!

You can see that I have left the “wrong” stitching around the pink part of the flower and continued in the “right” stitching around the red leaves. I pulled out the green around the mitten after a little bit of thought because I really do want to be proud of my work.

I had always wondered why my blanket stitches didn’t really stay square. Now I know. I was doing it the wrong way! That’s what happens when you teach yourself (sometimes!)

All done! All I need is a little string to hang the ornament with and it’s ready for our tree … in a few months, anyway!

Attic Heirlooms is on Main Street in beautiful Damariscotta, Maine. You can find the free patterns or reasonably priced kits on their website. There are some cute shops, good food and a lovely coastal feel to Damariscotta. You should visit!

Gone knitting!

You can find me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner and on Instagram as QueenBeeKnits. I’m on Ravelry @lindar. I hope you’ll join me there!

A Safe Place for All People

An Inclusive, Accepting, Safe Place for all People

The community of makers: knitters, crocheters, stitchers of all kinds has been having a discussion around racism and inclusiveness in our community and the broader communities we all live in, in our country, in the world.

When my children were little, I volunteered to run a program in the elementary school called “Everybody Counts.” It was to teach young children what it is like to live with physical challenges. As part of the program, the children wore socks on their hands, walked blindfolded with a cane, wore eyeglasses covered with scotch tape, and more. The idea being that if they experienced what it felt like to live with these challenges then they would be compassionate and accepting of others who are “differently abled.” Who are different.

I wish that we, as adults. could all spend some time in the shoes /lives of others; those with different skin colors, those who live in different countries, who are a different gender, religion. To better understand their experiences. I have friends who are white and have children who are black. I know their experience of having sons is different from my experience. I never thought that my son’s life would be in danger if he was stopped for a minor traffic infraction. My friends do. This is not acceptable. My daughters aren’t (to the best of my knowledge) followed by clerks in stores. My friend’s daughter is. This is not acceptable. These are only two experiences that I know about. I’m sure there are many, many more.

I can’t step into your lives, your shoes, your bodies but I want you to know that I am listening to the stories on Instagram and elsewhere by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) and I will continue to listen and to do my own work. I can do better. My goal is to make my little world here on the internet and in my classes, safe and accessible for all people. ALL people.

I see you, I hear you. I am listening. Thank you for your stories.

(Any negative comments will be deleted. If there is to be a discussion, keep it positive and civil. Thank you.)

Is There a Thing Called “Knitter’s Elbow?”

IMG_3480I’m entering week four … WEEK FOUR … of not knitting. Nearly four weeks of not knitting is a huge punishment for me. I always knit; every day! Even on those days that I teach all day I go home and knit.

This started at my fiber arts retreat (aka camp). I started to feel a pull in my left elbow but because I was at camp, I just kept knitting. When I got home on August 4th, I began my “rest” from knitting expecting a quick healing since it was a short time that it “hurt”. Well, here we are, three weeks and a little bit more later. And I still can’t knit.

What’s a knitter to do when she can’t knit?

IMG_3502 I bought a little bit of linen fabric at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine a few weeks ago. I also bought some needles and some DMC floss in six or seven different colors and an embroidery hoop. With my Making Magazine, “Color” issue in hand, I cut the fabric and started stitching. I’m making a project bag. It’s not knitting but it’s better than nothing! And it will be useful when I get back to knitting sometime soon.

I’ve been to pick blueberries (with my right hand!) and bought some peaches. I’ve made blueberry “Afternoon Cake” (two of them) and blueberry muffins. The recipe is in another Making Magazine “Dots”. I even made a peach pie with almost all of the four pounds of peaches. It was delicious! DH and I made blueberry ice cream, too … it goes very well with peach pie! And we’ve been getting pounds and pounds of squash both zucchini and summer from our CSA half-share. There are zucchini bread muffins and loaves in the freezer. So many frozen baked goods that we may need to buy a stand alone freezer!

 

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And today I finished my first Christmas gift. I can’t tell you what it is or who it’s for or I’d have to kill you (not really, but you know what I mean!) But suffice it to say that it’s a sewn and quilted gift for a very special person. It was the messiest project ever and I took it to a laundromat to wash and dry before I could put it into my machine to finish the drying process. It still filled up my lint thingy with lots of tiny pieces of thread. But I’m happy with the end result. Now it just needs a tag and some photographs taken. I’ll show more pictures after Christmas!

I’ve also read three books! I posted (here) about A Stash of One’s Own by Clara Parkes that I finished and was very moved by. I also finished my book club book The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn which I loved. I couldn’t put it down. Since I’m not knitting, I read it in record time. And I just finished The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg. That’s THREE books this month! You can tell I’m not knitting!

Next project is … oh, sorry, I can’t tell you that either!

 

Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat

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I went back to camp last week.

When I was thirteen, my parents sent me to Medokawanda Camp for Girls. It was a wonderful experience and I loved every minute. I learned a lot about who I was at summer camp, away from the control of my parents. I learned to smoke cigarettes behind our cabin (not necessarily a good thing) and I learned that I loved singing and theater and being outside in the woods and on the lakes. I loved waterskiing, too. It was a special place and remains so today. So when I found out that there was a Fiber Arts Retreat at my old camp, I jumped at the opportunity.

Who knew that forty-two years later that the place would be just as special and that the women I met would be as welcoming and wonderful. I’m pretty sure that some will be lifelong friends.

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On Sunday afternoon, we all checked in to our cabins. I was in a “dormitory” cabin with three other campers; two that I knew (alumnae from earlier years, one a counselor of mine) and one that I didn’t. The cabins are simple but comfortable. Linens, towels, blankets and pillows are supplied by the camp and we were very comfortable. Most importantly for women of a certain age, there is a full bathroom and shower in each cabin. (I did get an extra blanket after the first night because I wasn’t warm enough. I also brought a box fan which was a good suggestion from a multi-year camper!)

Sunday night, dinner was the first official event and the food was amazing. The kitchen staff is incredibly accommodating to those who are gluten-free or vegan or vegetarian or who have allergies to food. The food is fresh and fantastic, healthy and mostly local. And it was amazing. Fresh bread, fresh vegetables, wonderful desserts and even a lobster dinner the final night. We ate well!

There was a great diversity of choices for classes, too. Weaving, writing, knitting, dying, wet felting, spinning, needle felting, and more. I took a 4-class series of knitting classes with the indomitable Bristol Ivy. Knitting being my first real love, I HAD to take this class and it was absolutely packed full of useful information that will make me a better knitter and a better knitting teacher. I learned some new skills, too.

I learned about cleaning, carding and combing raw fiber from Rachel Bingham Kessler. This was a fabulous class, especially after having learned about all sorts of different yarn types, particularly worsted spun and woolen spun yarns. I learned that carding and combing fibers changes the way the fiber “organizes itself” and that’s how roving is made. I truly believe that I will be able to recognize the difference in the fiber I see and sell in the future.

IMG_3350I learned to use a drop-spindle and spin yarn! Casey Ryder from Portfiber in Portland, Maine was the spinning teacher and she made this experience so much fun. We were provided with a borrowed spindle and some fiber (two combed and two carded) and it was really fun to see how the fiber is manipulated into something you can knit or weave with! (I bought the spindle. I want to keep doing this!)

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I went to a yoga class at 7:30 in the morning, before coffee! I was so glad I did. It made me feel energized and ready to face a very hot day.

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The View

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The Studio

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The icon – with Bristol, an icon in the making

We went on two field trips. The first was to the studio of Katharine Cobey in Cushing, Maine. Katharine is a gem. A successful poet, Katharine chose to make knitting her career. Her husband built her a beautiful studio above a finger of the ocean. She has become an icon of knitting and knitting as art. She has studied the process of knitting and is perhaps one of the most wise and wonderful knitters that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Katharine held a mini-class describing the ONE stitch that there is in knitting – the knit stitch. The purl stitch is just a knit stitch viewed from the back. We swatched an i-cord that was knitted and a garter stitch i-cord. And we learned Portuguese Knitting at her feet. I fell in love that day with an 80-year-old woman. I’d like to study at her feet. She is my new knitting idol.

The second field trip was to a fiber farm and mill in Waldoboro. Only minutes from camp, New Aim Farm is a working mill. Nancy and her husband are raising pigs for meat (they’ll keep one and sell the others) and some sheep for fiber. Nancy runs the mill and takes fiber from other farms and she’s very busy! It was a fascinating time spent learning about the milling process (and buying some very pretty yarn!) Nancy also is the current president of the Maine Fiber Frolic, the only fiber fair in Maine and the first of the New England season.

IMG_3352One evening I learned to needle felt. It was a loonapalooza! Once again, Casey organized a wonderful class and we had some really good belly laughs. I laughed until I cried … mostly because my loon had a very large beak. But everyone succeeded in creating a loon and we all had fun. Emily named them Zebra, LooLoo and Kandoo.

This is a beautiful place, close to nature. At the top of the hill was our cabin, the yurt, a field full of wild Maine blueberries, free for the picking. The dining hall, the Lodge, the barn and the lawn were all places for classes. Surrounded by perennials and Morning Glories, bird song and pine trees. It’s still a very special place. A place that I have visited throughout my adult life, a place that has tugged at my heart since I was thirteen.

Some of the classes that I wasn’t able to take were weaving on a rigid hettle loom, weaving an amulet and a doll as part of the Weaving a Life program. I didn’t take the slow sewing class or the wet felting class or the lichen, safflower or indigo dying classes … all of which looked like lots of fun, too. Next year, I’ll try more classes and I can’t wait to go back to camp.

I’m so grateful to have been able to return as a camper, surrounded by creative women, wise and knowledgeable teachers, and a beautiful spot. It was the best vacation that I’ve taken since moving to Maine and I look forward to returning next year!

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I’m a happy camper!

PS- I haven’t written about everything here. I’d have written for days. So, suffice it to say that it was an amazing week … a life changing week … a life challenging week. I know I’ll be working on so many pieces of my life, enhancing and creating. Check out the details at the website for Medomak Retreat Center.

 

 

Life is Good!

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This is the view from my studio chair this evening. I love when the shore across the lake is all lit up in the afternoon. It really is magnificent.

Today was a good day. Good morning, good day at work, happy to be home and then this view when I looked out the window.

Our plants are blooming and most survived the winter and it feels good to be home. Here are a few pictures of the plants that I took today. I’m no photographer but I sure do love to see things grow!

Wild rose, “ever blooming” rose and yellow iris. The iris have been here forever and continue to spread all across the shore. The roses are both new. Rosa Rugosa (the wild rose) is a native plant and fully expected to live happily against the lakeshore. We shall see about my friend Janet’s gift from last year but I love these flowers. They are fragrant and low-maintenance and bloom all summer long.

How did we get so lucky?

Gone knitting.