Pure and Simple Start to April!

IMG_2638I’ve made it through the winter without any illnesses and as soon as spring pops onto the calendar, BOOM! For the last couple of days I’ve been pumping EmergenC and AirBorne and vitamins with my Wellness Formula. My sweet husband has taken good care of me, I drank a lot of tea, and I am feeling better today.

I’ve also been knitting.

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I started a little pullover, #214 Baby Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple, for a new mom’s little baby girl. (I hope she doesn’t read my blog. I don’t think she does. I don’t want to give the surprise away.) I found the yarn on the shelf at the store when I was making room for some new yarns. (if you didn’t know that I work in a yarn shop, now you do … come visit at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine!)

Sirdar has a chunky yarn called Imagination and it reminded me of a Monet Water Lilies painting. You all know what the Water Lilies paintings look like, right? If you don’t, Google it! They’re magnificent. This yarn is machine washable so easy for a new mom. I never machine dry my hand-knits. Some yarns are dry-able but I’d rather be certain and consistent so I hang/lay flat all my hand-knits. Sweaters I lay flat. Socks I hang over a hanger. This extends their lives and I never shrink any special hand-knits. (NOTE! Some yarn is not washable. If it isn’t super wash or acrylic or mostly acrylic, hand wash! You’ll never be sorry if you take that extra care!)

img_2640.jpgI immediately fell in love with the colors. I have whipped through the body of the sweater in a couple of days. It’s chunky so it knits up quickly. I’m making the 24 months size so that little Julianna can grow into it! Today I’ll get to the sleeves and maybe the collar, too. It’s soft, it’s washable, it’s so pretty! Did I mention that there are no seams?!

I’m also working on a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan for myself.

IMG_2622I’ve had this beautiful blue/gray colorway of Malabrigo Rios forever. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my atelier for at least a year and maybe more like two. When I opened the bag of this yarn at the shop, I immediately put it aside for myself because I loved it so much. I’m making the 50″ size and my gauge is slightly off (the pattern calls for 4 stitches per inch and I am knitting at 4.375 stitches per inch). This will make my sweater just a bit smaller than the last sweater I made with this pattern. Which will be OK. I may decide to add a few additional increases to be sure it’s not too small. I’ll know when I have the sleeve stitches on a holder and I can try it on! I’ll have all the details on my Ravelry project page. I love, love, love the color and this yarn feels so amazing in your hands as you work with it. This will take me a couple more than a couple days to knit but it’ll knit up pretty quickly and it’s so pretty!!!

IMG_2614I finished the Ma Belle Amie cowl for my aunt and it’s wrapped and on it’s way to Lake Tahoe just in time for spring! I doubt that she’ll get to wear it too many times between now and next fall but what can one do?! I had to knit it and it had to be for her! I love the colors that I chose … they remind me of my aunt and her beautiful red hair (well, it was red when she was younger, it’s “bleached out” as she’s gone around the sun a few times! (Where’s the laughing until you cry emoji when you need it?!) This pattern is very versatile and can be knitted up in any yarn, really. I have one in solid colored wool that I love and this one has a variegated which I love, too. Choose a smaller needle for a tighter fabric or a finer yarn (or heavier yarn). The sky’s the limit!

I also knitted up a little rabbit on Tuesday when I was home sick. Baby Bunnies by Frankie Brown popped up in my Facebook feed one day and when I wasn’t feeling well, I grabbed a few scraps of yarn and knit up a baby bunny. He’s awfully cute! I think there will be an addition of some embroidery (eventually) but for now, I’m enjoying my sweaters so my bunny awaits!

I hope you had a happy Easter and Passover. I wish you peace.

Gone knitting!

Winter’s Refusal … getting stuck

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Snow! Snow! Snow!

It seems that Winter is not quite ready to concede to Spring. At least not yet. It’s really cold here again and we have been warned by the weather-people that we are likely to have more snow on Tuesday.

I’ve got some great knitting projects on my needles and have been plugging right along on Ma Belle Amie for my aunt. This is a remarkably simple cowl but I love the way that it gives the yarn permission to shine. I’ve made one in a discontinued Maine yarn, Apogee, for myself. You can see it on my Ravlery project page here. The yarn, conveniently, came in four colors. Just what the cowl required. It is a very wearable accessory! The current version is being knitted in three solid colors of Berroco’s Folio and a variegated Folio Color. This is a great project to work on when you’re having an adult beverage or sitting in a knitting group and want to chat instead of counting.

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I’ve also been working on Susan B. Anderson’s Split Back Snowflake Hat which I’m knitting in Berroco Yarn’s Ultra Alpaca worsted-weight yarn. I’ve chosen a medium gray and a white/cream. I love this hat because I love cables and color work. This hat has both … and it’s satisfying to knit hats because they don’t take forever to knit. Finishing projects makes me feel good about myself and makes me feel accomplished because I start and complete a project within a “reasonable” time frame!

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Last, but certainly not least, I’m working on a pair of Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens for a college friend. This is what made me think about writing this post today.

This project began upon my friend seeing this photograph on my Facebook page.

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Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens; top by Terri and bottom by Peggy

The two pairs of mittens above were knit by a talented student and a talented co-worker. A customer wore another pair of mittens into the shop one Friday and we all fell in love with the pattern. It’s free on Ravelry here. I can’t tell you that my attempts to knit these have been easy. I’ve knitted and frogged them multiple times.

Sometimes I think I have a mental block and am quite literally more challenged by some patterns/projects. I didn’t pay attention at the thumb gusset in one attempt and when I looked down, it was a mess. Back I ripped to before the gusset increases. The stream pattern didn’t have the right stitch count. Back I went to the top of the cuff. This is not a difficult pattern. I’ve knitted color work mittens before. So, why, for heaven’s sake, does this pattern present such a challenge for me? I wish I had the answer.

My mittens have one difference. I used an i-cord cast on so that the edge doesn’t roll. And I like the way the edge looks. (Another option would be to cast on the stitches and then purl one round.)

I remain a firm believer in patience in the process. I take a deep breath and frog whatever needs to be re-knit. …If I was knitting for myself, I might not be so particular and “make” it work a bit more “creatively,” but when I am knitting for someone else I am particular about doing it “right”. Knitting soothes my soul and helps me relax. My day isn’t complete when I don’t knit.

Gone knitting.

 

You can find more details about my projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar. Follow me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.

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Snow Day!

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I’m so thankful to be here in Maine. Florida was a nice place to live but it never really felt like home. Maine is home. Many of my friends ask if we are sick of the snow yet or if we regret moving here, regret leaving the south. Nope. Not even one little, teeny tiny bit!

Yesterday was my regular day off and I was nursing a sore back. Today my back feels mostly better and my boss closed the yarn shop for the day. Snow Day!!! Most everything is closed; restaurants, town offices, schools, courts, etc. I’m up in my studio finishing projects and working on others. I love working in my studio.

Yesterday I was working on my Zick Zack Scarf. I have admired this scarf at the shop for a long time. I even loved the colors of our store sample so picking my colorways was easy. I love this scarf and may be able to get it finished today!

I was also working to finish my fingerless mitts kit from the Alpaca Yarn Company.

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The Forget Not Mitts are really pretty and I love the argyle pattern. The yarn is gorgeous and I love knitting with it. I wish there was more contrast between the two colors in the kit. I feel like the pattern doesn’t pop like it could. I’ve got two thumbs to complete as of this morning and then I’ll block them. These will be finished today.

I finished a shop sample last week. It’s a really cute hat! We used Juniper Moon Farm’s Moonshine in a deep red colorway.

img_2509.jpgThe pattern is the Gigi Hat and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I knit the hat exactly according to the pattern (because it’s a shop sample and it would be misleading to change a pattern and then show if off in the shop.) The only thing I did differently was to add an i-cord around the brim of the hat, tied in a little knot. I think it came out really well and the yarn is so … SO … super soft! I love it.

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Last, but certainly not least, is the 1898 Hat for my husband. I’ve made four of these hats now and this one is the last for now, but also the warmest. (I even blogged about it before. Here.) I gave N. one of these hats for Valentine’s day in a beautiful Malabrigo Rios to match his slip stitch scarf. He asked me if I could make the top of the hat doubled like the earflaps. He also asked for the two colors which I happened to have in my stash. When knitting the hat, I followed the directions on the hat and then picked up the stitches inside the brim and knit the top of the hat a second time. I knit two fewer rounds in order to compensate for a smaller space inside the first hat and then decreased exactly according to the hat pattern. I wove the ends inside the hat so they’re visible but still inside. He loves the hat and it sure will keep his head and ears warm.

Gone knitting!

 

All of these projects have more details on my Ravelry project page. I’m “lindar” on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook as Queen Bee Knits. I’m on Instagram, too!

 

Camden Hills Poncho

IMG_2486I have another finished object! My Camden Hills Poncho is done, done, done! It’s even blocked and ends woven in done!

I really enjoyed knitting this poncho. It’s a very simple design with just enough detail in the lace at the bottom front and the neck to make the knitting interesting and then a lot of stockinette stitches to finish it up.

The bottom front and back are knitted flat and then joined to knit in the round from the bottom to the top. No sleeves (sometimes it’s really nice to not have sleeves!) to worry about or attach at the end. This was a very satisfying knit and I’m thrilled to be able to wear it to work this week!

IMG_2487I knit mine in Berroco Ultra Wool in the Beetroot (33151) colorway. I used five balls nearly to the inch! I love this yarn. It’s a true worsted and it feels really nice while your knitting but it blooms really beautifully when it’s blocked. I also love the color of the beetroot. It’s a deep beet red. It seems to be the color of the year in my wardrobe!

Complete information is available on my Ravelry project page.

Gone knitting!

Queen Bee’s Injured Wing

beewingI may have an injured wing but I’m still knitting!

My right shoulder has been hurting for a while now. I have done everything I know to help it but when I can’t put on a shirt/jacket/coat without a problem and I can’t take off my bra without pain, that’s the last straw. Thursday after work I went to a massage therapist for a deep tissue massage and it has helped. I have some bruising … I asked her to use the full force of her skills against the knots in my shoulder, arm, and anything else that was “tight”. So, this week I am recovering and working on stretching the muscles and opening my chest muscles. Good news is that I can put on my deodorant but I have a long way to go.

I’m working on a couple of projects. Sample socks for the adult education class that I am teaching this spring. The class is “Socks 101”. We’ll be knitting our first socks in a worsted weight yarn. Preparing to move to smaller needles and finer yarn. I’m knitting my samples in Plymouth Encore Worsted in a very pale yellow. Light yarn reveals the stitch details for my students.

IMG_2447I have nearly finished a 1898 Hat for my dear husband and valentine. I’m knitting it in Malabrigo Rios in the Piedras colorway. It will match his scarf that I made last year. He works outside (in Maine, in the winter, in all kinds of weather) and the doubled garter brim of this hat ought to keep his ears warm! This yarn is absolutely amazing and I hope he’ll love it as much as I love him. He takes such good  care of me. I can’t imagine life without him.

IMG_2388I have a scarf on the needles, too. I’ve been wanting to knit the Zick Zack Scarf for a long time. We have a sample in the shop that I have always liked and chose to do it in the “original” colorway. I’ve gotten half-way through the project and find it monotonous at best. The pattern is the same row throughout and it’s even repeated across the rows. But the color changes in the Lang Mille Colori Baby yarn is exquisite and I love the way it looks. I’ll keep plugging because it’s really bee-utiful.

I finished one of the pair of my Forget Not Mitts. This is a kit put out by the Alpaca Yarn Company. I chose a kit with a kiwi green and a variegated purple/pink/green. I love the colors and the yarn is really nice work with but there isn’t enough contrast between the two yarn colors and as a result, the argyle pattern on the front of the mitt isn’t particularly clear. I love the broken rib and the 1×1 vertical stripe but I am bummed about the argyle. Oh well. The second one won’t take too long to finish and they’ll keep my hands or someone else’s warm in the spring or fall.

I have been plugging along on my Camden Hills Poncho and if I was to sit and focus on it for one day, I’d have it finished. I’m working on the back of the poncho and am nearly to the shoulder decreases and neck. I’ll get it done but have to finish hubby’s hat first … Valentine’s Day is the day after tomorrow.

I bought all the yarn for a fair isle yoked cardigan. I’ll be knitting my Ellen Cardigan in Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca. The main color will be navy blue. I’ll write more about it later. I have also lined up a couple of other sweaters. A green wool using Ella Rae Classic Wool for my husband and something wonderful for me in Malabrigo’s Rios. I am thinking a boxy pullover for this one. More about each of these as I get the first projects finished up!

Details of all of these projects and more are available on my Ravelry project pages. My Ravelry name is Lindar.

Gone Knitting.

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!

 

 

CDD

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The pattern … see why I was attracted to it?

In the last twenty-four hours I’ve chosen two patterns that called for a CDD. I’m not sure that I’ve ever encountered a CDD before. No, really. It’s the truth.

That said, I do know what a CDD is! It’s a centered double decrease. Essentially, what it does is decreases one stitch on either side of the center stitch in a pattern. And they’re very pretty if used properly!

First up, a dishcloth pattern that I bought a couple of years ago to support the Special Olympics and it’s called Sinkmates by Lorilee Beltman ($2 on Ravelry). I had unrealistic expectations around this dishcloth pattern, having assumed that it was a mitered square. Wrong. It was a CDD! It’s fun to knit and the first thing I’d do next time is to make the i-cord on a larger needle than the rest of the project. Mine came out somewhat lop-sided. But it’s a dishcloth. Enough said.

Next, Hartland Slipper Socks from Berroco Folio, Vol. 4. by Amy Christoffers. I loved these at first glance and knew I had to make them. Thankfully, they’ve got short cuffs and are knitted in worsted weight Berroco Ultra Wool which makes them knit up quickly. And since I had a whole weekend off this weekend, I have spent a lot of time in my studio. I love them and will be making more! There is a CDD in the “flower” design at the ankle. I’m going to show you my sequence of stitches on the dishcloth because it’s on almost-white cotton and you’ll be able to see the stitches really well!

So, here is my photo tutorial on how to do a CDD if you don’t know already …

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The CDD on Sinkmates Dishcloth … rows of CDD straight up the middle!

Knit over to the stitch before the center stitch (the CDD “line”) … see photo below!

Remember, worked stitches are on the right-hand needle, stitches to be worked are on the left needle.

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Knit up to one stitch before the center

You are going to work the stitch before and the center stitch together as if to knit two together (K2tog). (Insert the right needle knitwise into the two stitches at the same time from left to right as if you’re going to knit them together. Don’t wrap the stitches, though … see photo below.

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You can see the ridges on my thumb nail. I need a manicure!

Next, complete the slip. Slip the stitches onto the right-hand needle by pulling the left needle back and out of the stitches, leaving them on the right needle. OK so far?

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Knit the next stitch on the left needle. In the photo below you can see the two slipped stitches and then the knitted stitch sitting on the right needle. You can see them, can’t you?

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Now, get ready! You’re going to slip the two slipped stitches over the knitted one. (Insert the left needle into the two slipped stitches from left to right, holding your working yarn in your right hand and keeping some tension on the working yarn, slip the two stitches over the knitted one.)

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When it’s all said and done, and the stitches are slipped over, this is what you’ll see.

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When the left needle is pulled out of the completed stitch, you will have something like this. Hopefully, it’ll be exactly like this! The CDD is in line with all of its sister stitches below and you’ll have two fewer stitches in total on your dishcloth.

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See how pretty it is?

Go buy the pattern and give it a try! Share pictures with me of your attempts on my Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner Facebook page! I’m excited for you to try something new!

Follow me on Facebook (Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner) and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits. I’m also on Ravelry (lindar).