Yesterday was a beautiful day! We both had the day off and it was a very special day for us. We got our first Covid vaccines! I have never been so excited to get a shot in my life. Today I feel like the psychological weight of Covid-19 is finally beginning to lift. The fear of getting this disease that has killed over a half million Americans and many more around the world has been weighing hard on me. Those of you who don’t live with me, work with me or aren’t related to me don’t know about my chronic cough. I’ve had this cough for at least two decades. It’s allergy-related, chronic post nasal drip causes my throat to tickle and I cough. I can control it with keeping my environment scent-free, chemical-free and (to the best of my ability) dust-free. Anywhere out of my control is just that.
Anyway, along with a couple of million other people, I got my vaccine and my sweetheart did, too. That is a good day. Oh! Did I mention that it was cold but sunny and that was pretty sweet, too?
It’s been almost 13 months since I last got my hair cut. Maybe I can make an appointment for early April! Gone knitting.
My emotions have been very close to the surface recently. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mourning the last year that we’ve “lost” because of Covid-19 or because there is finally a sense of calm in our Nation’s capital with the new administration. I’m not sure what it is that I am feeling so deeply or that’s bubbling up but it’s there and with this post I am acknowledging it. I am looking forward to the day when it feels safe to leave the house and when I can see my family again. I miss them all so much but I am also so grateful that they’ve all remained healthy.
We woke to sub-zero temperatures today and lots of wind gusts! It was blowing all night but we have been fortunate to retain our power today while lots of other communities in Maine have not. The sun is out and the sky is bluebird blue and that always helps my “attitude”. I would love to see a really good snowstorm before spring but they posted our road yesterday and our camp road has been a muddy mess for a week or more so I may not get my wish.
Today I finally seamed the underarms of my test knit sweater, Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston. I like it more than I thought I would before it was blocked. The fabric relaxed a lot in its bath. I also learned a few new techniques: folded cuffs and neck and saddle shoulders. This sweater was fun to knit, partly because it’s somewhat cropped and knit in an Aran weight yarn. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool (a washable acrylic and wool blend) and it was heavy on the US8 needles … my hands got tired knitting! After seaming the underarms, I put the sweater on – this is the coldest day of our winter so far – and it’s nice and warm, the sleeve length is perfect and I like the pockets placed on the side of the sweater. I can’t show you any photographs yet but when I have permission, I’ll add them here.
Meanwhile, I have cast on a pair of socks for my March 2021 Sock Challenge. This month I’m knitting worsted weight boot socks in Raggi yarn. Gray and white marled leg and foot, red cuff and toe. I’ve nearly got one sock finished and will have to attach sock #2 as soon as #1 is finished. These will be super warm socks and they’re so cute!
I’ve also chosen to participate in the Confident Knitting year-long program hosted by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I also chose to splurge and purchase their yarns – typically not yarns we carry at the yarn shop where I work here in Maine. It’s a great chance to taste yarns that I may otherwise not get a chance to work with. AND they had a cool pink project bag!
I’ve started the March project, Flux Handwarmers by Martina Behm. The techniques learned this month are crochet provisional cast on and a folded edge. I chose to do a picot edge which is so cute! This month’s yarn is the springtime colorway of a Crazy Zauberball. These mitts will be a nice weight and they’ll be so cheerful. I’ve participated in A Year of Techniques and Boost Your Knitting for the two previous years and I learned a lot. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks this year, too! What I love about these programs is that there are detailed tutorials on all of the techniques and even when I already know one, I can find something to learn (or it just hammers it into my head.)
I’ve been spending a lot of time “worrying” about my sweet Lola. She’s not eating well and her hind legs are unstable. She sleeps most of the day but she still finds a tail wag or two to gift me with every day. For months I’ve been looking at the little kit that I bought when I was out shopping pre-pandemic. The little felt mitten has a bee on it and I couldn’t resist. This will eventually live on our Christmas tree but until Christmas, it’ll likely live on my desk lamp!
I finished two black tams for a customer and they’ve been delivered to the store for her to pick up. She wants two more navy blue ones. It’s sweet of her to ask me. I made a tarte tatin over the weekend. It was delicious! A few apples, some sugar, butter and a home made crust and it was dessert for two for several days. Yummy!
We’ve been spending lots of time doing puzzles. My hubby gave me a really difficult puzzle for Christmas and we stuck to it and finished it … and he ordered another one for Valentine’s day which we’re working on at the dining room table. Luckily, there are only the two of us so we only need one end of the table for eating (although we generally eat up in my studio and watch the news.)
We have all seen the memes of Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his now iconic recycled sweater mittens and Vermont-made “snow jacket” at the inauguration of Joe Biden last week. Bernie’s been traveling EVERYWHERE!!!
Thankfully, my sweet friend, Bryan in MA sent this photo to my personal Facebook page because this old gal hasn’t got a clue, nor, frankly, has she got the gumption, to figure out how to do this! It makes me giggle and we all need a good giggle now and again, right?
I’m pictured here in my me-made lobster mask and my hand-knit Sunset Highway sweater. (Click on the link to head on over to my Ravelry project page. Email me if you can’t do Ravelry and I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions.)
Clog Socks (one was done, this was the second one needed)
Good Karma Shawl
Mitts for Flo
Socks for Rose
This year I finished the The Shape of a Bay shawl. It was a kit that I bought at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp two summers ago. it got sidelined but I really wanted to finish it and wear it! It’s a beauty! I also finished the socks for my granddaughter, Rose.
I didn’t even begin two of the “WIPs” … so, do they even count as WIPs if I didn’t ever start them? Maybe they should have been put on a wish list rather than a WIPs list. Anyway, the Good Karma shawl and mitts for Flo have not even seen the needles yet. Needless to say, I’ll carry them along.
I frogged the clog sock because who knew, all those months later, what size I made (I didn’t mark my pattern well before I put it in time out.) I also frogged the Maine mittens. I have two skeins of Bartlett yarn and ton of stashed fingering bits and bobs enough for clog socks. I won’t carry them forward but I will eventually make the clog socks again (I’ve felted a couple of pairs) and I really want to make the mittens but they were too hard on my hands this year.
Remaining on my needles, or off of them and in time out, are Dolores, Lobster Hat, Hope Cardigan and the Battenberg Blanket.
I got some good progress done on the Hope Cardigan this year and I’m excited to keep going on it. I like the weight and the different construction of this sweater so I’ll take it with me into 2021. I’ll also commit to finishing Dolores (and the outfits that I have bought) and the Battenberg Blanket. Although I won’t make any more tiny granny squares, I’ll just attach them and make do with whatever size it makes. The assembly is what I find way too tedious!
I had 10 WIPs on my list in my new Bullet Journal planner. I listened to the Yarniacs podcast this morning and I decided to look at those WIPs and decide how many I really want/NEED to carry along into the New Year.
I have decided to cut my WIPs down to
Fine Sand Sweater
Arne & Carlos Quarantine KAL cushion
I’ll add Mitts for Flo, Good Karma shawl and Fish #3 to my list of things I want to knit … maybe my Ravelry queue would be a more appropriate place for them to sit since they’ve never been started and they’re not technically WIPs. That will feel better.
While I was adding to my Ravelry queue, I deleted a bunch of projects/patterns that I had marked as favorites or put on my queue and that lightened my load a bit more. Now, if I could only get that efficiency in the house … closets, drawers, pantry …
As we step out of 2020 and into 2021, I’d like to wish each of you a lightened load. This has been a trying time and it sounds like masks and distancing will continue in the future. It’s all about how we carry these “restrictions” with us. I choose to take the blessings with me – our health, my love of family, gratitude for a roof over our heads and food in our pantry among others – When I can do that I make my life easier and happier. Light, love and laughter keep me smiling (and I can see it in the eyes of others!) I’m so grateful to be a maker this year. Making – knitting, baking, sewing, etc. keeps me focused on a forward-looking task. While I am sometimes fearful, I am mostly content and I wish you the same contentment. Thank you for reading my blog and I appreciate the sweet comments and encouragement you’ve offered over this year. I know 2021 is going to be another great year. Cheers!
This year I’ve been touched by a few, perhaps many, different podcasts, people and situations all over the world. The inspiration helped me get creative a few times this year but until this week, it’s been sitting around my studio. Unfinished.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an amazingly bright, strong woman who lived an exceptional life. She was thoughtful and fair as a judge and I respected her perseverance. I dug deep into my crafting stash and found some felt and lace and made a pin. I like it even more as an ornament. I’ll remember RBG each time I place this simple ornament on our tree.
I finished the stitching on this mitten ornament, bought as a kit, a year or so ago. It’s one of a set of mittens but I’ve only made one. I probably won’t make another. This one is finished and on the tree this year. While it wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular, I was inspired to get it hung on the tree after spending more time than in the past at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, my sweet and talented husband helped me to make a new project. Inspired by Arne and Carlos and their “Sit and Knit for a Bit” Advent series this year. Arne and Carlos made this on their podcast but I first saw Kate (from The Last Lonely Home podcast) make it on her podcast. International inspiration! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one to put out on our boathouse. My husband cut the boards for me from his wood stash. (The family that stashes together stays together? LOL) and today I put it together. We need a short extension cord so that we can plug it in, but here it is during the day.
This afternoon I made the second of two up-cycled tote bags from bird seed bags. They’re so strong and so pretty, I couldn’t resist.
I have begun to stuff and finish the first six ornaments from Arne & Carlos’ Advent KAL – 24 new Christmas balls! I’m happy that I’ve finished six and I’ll work on finishing the rest over the next few months.
I started the repair of my daughter’s quilt that was chewed by her dog. It needs a couple more patches and a new border. Once the quilt top is finished, I’ll take it to a local sewing studio to quilt it on her long arm machine, I think.
It feels good to get some of these “old” projects wrapped up. The New Year is a good time to start fresh … so this lazy lady needs to get some projects finished! Inspiration from everywhere!
This morning I made “Fire Cider” or “Master Tonic” from scratch. I even made it from memory (which may not be a good thing.) I saw the recipe on a Youtube channel that I follow and found the vlog about it here.
I had ordered all of the ingredients from the grocery store (believe it or not!) and so today I just had to process all the ingredients and put them in my jars to “stew”! In a few weeks, this will be strained, and I’ll add a bunch of local honey to make it (even a little bit) palatable. This stuff is rough to swallow, I’ll be honest, but this winter is bound to be a doozy!
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!
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.
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!)
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!
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!
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.)