My friend and co-worker came up with the idea at the end of 2019 to do a Sock Challenge for 2020 with our classes. I also invited followers from my Queen Bee Knits facebook page. I hesitate to commit to things like this because I’m not very good about sticking with it but in this case, I did it!
Twelve pairs of socks. The challenge was to have two months where you challenged yourself and no more than two “little” socks. Here’s what I did this past year. (Gosh, it feels good to talk about 2020 in the past!) Here they are for your perusal … the proof is in the pudding, right?
You can see all of the details of yarn and patterns for all of these socks on my Ravelry project page! My Ravelry name is “lindar”! I hope you’ll add me as a friend on Ravelry!
The world is getting uglier and I am feeling more tense and anxious. I dislike conflict and I really despise lies and there is a lot of conflict and a lot of lies flying around in America in advance of the November election.
If I ruled the world, PACs wouldn’t be allowed to advertise. They’re the most hateful and dishonest advertisers. Candidates would only be allowed to advertise about themselves; what they believe, what they stand for, what they will do if elected. If I ruled the world, Facebook posts that call people names would be immediately deleted, even if it was calling someone a republican or a democrat, a liberal or a conservative or any of the mangled iterations of those words we’ve come to accept as normal.
To deal with my anxiety, I’ve been following some sage advice:
Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.
This is my newest grand-dog, Gus. My son adopted Gus and asked me to knit him a sweater because … well, just because I can. I found a sweater specifically for Pugs on Ravelry, Pug Dog Sweater. This seemed a really good place to begin. I measured Gus and knit the XXXS, Sammie Size in a lovely shade of green. Yarn is Berroco Vintage, a worsted weight acrylic and wool blend that is machine washable and dryable. The pattern is a simple and quick knit, especially when you’re knitting a teeny tiny sweater for a little puppy. (Have a gander at the Pug photos in sweaters on the pattern page and you’ll notice that our Gus isn’t a typically shaped Pug.) The green sweater fit around him perfectly IF he isn’t wearing his harness but it’s a couple of inches too short.
So, back to the drawing board I went and knit him a blue version, also in Vintage, in the next size up, XXS. It’s in the mail as we speak and I am eager to see how this one fits. Pictures will follow.
I’ve also been knitting socks like crazy for the 2020 Sock Challenge that we were having at the shop and that I announced to my FB followers. To my delight, some of my FB followers have gotten in on the fun! I’ve just finished my September socks … there are two pairs because I finished the main pair in record time and decided a pair of baby socks in a ball of yarn that I’v had sitting around forever (since before I knew that you needed three balls of this yarn to make an adult pair of socks, perhaps?)
The first pair are in Raggi sock yarn. I love this yarn and I love that it knits up so quickly in an Aran weight. These socks are Urban Rustic Socks by Elizabeth McCarten. This is a new to me (free) pattern that used a seeded rib (which I’d never knitted before) and a new-to-me heel construction. It’s a heel flap and gusset but knitted differently than I’ve ever seen. I love that there is no pattern below the ankle because my feet don’t like patterns on them, apparently. These socks come in two sizes, I made the smaller size. I can’t wait for boot weather now!
The bonus socks this month are a pair of teeny tiny baby socks. I had a ball of Patons Kroy Sock yarn in my stash that I’ve been itching to knit with because I only had the one ball. (I also have a couple of single balls of Regia baby sock yarn to use up.) I used my favorite sock pattern for this one, Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks #29 by Melinda Goodfellow. If you don’t have this pattern, you need it. NEED it! I did my best without sweating it too much – because I am knitting to be LESS anxious, right? – to match the two socks and they’re pretty close. I love this yarn and they’re really soft for baby. I have more yarn and will knit more little bitty socks as time allows.
My Hope Cardigan is once again on the needles … the first half of the sweater, pictured above, is done and I have gotten most of the way up the second arm. This sweater is knitted from cuff to middle twice and then stitched together (don’t ask me how, I’ve not read that far ahead.) I am not sure what I did for the first sleeve, however, and I’ve reached the end of the written instructions for the second sleeve and it’s about two and a half inches shorter than it needs to be. So … today I’ll be having a closer look in the good daytime light to see what I did on the first sleeve so I can complete the second sleeve and move on. This pattern is only available in Making Magazine #3, Dots. These magazines are a bit pricey but they’re so worth it. I love the variation of crafts that they feature in the books and I have made quite a few projects out of them. I’m knitting my Hope Cardigan in the suggested yarn, Berroco Remix Light. I love the drape and weight of this yarn. I also love the feel of it against my skin.
I made a Khamaseen in 2017 with this yarn and I love wearing it alone and with a shirt under it.
I wore my Humulus sweater for the first time this week and I was so excited about the way it fit! It’s going to be one that I wear a lot this fall and winter. I love the colors that I chose and I love the weight of it. I have loved this sweater since I saw it on the MDK March Mayhem pattern bracket back in 2017 (I think.) I loved the colors that the original sweater was knitted up in (yellow and grey are my colors!) but I wanted something more sedate and I wear a lot of blue so … when we got a shipment of Ella Rae Classic Wool into the shop, on sale no less, I jumped and bought enough for the Humulus. I went back a forth a few times with the contrasting color for the yoke but I’m very happy with the blue that I settled on.
While I’m knocking knits off my list, the list isn’t getting any shorter. My step-daughter has requested an afghan for their new house for Christmas in a denim-y blue. A college friend asked me to knit a family favorite Christmas stocking for her nephew’s new fiancee. And I still have at least six sweaters worth of yarn in my stash. I can tell you that once the Hope cardigan is finished, I’ll be casting on my Dissent Cardigan by Andrea Rangel. I have black as the main color and a cream for the contrasting color. I’ll diverge from the pattern, which is written to knit back and forth, and knit this one with a steek. I much prefer to knit in the round if at all possible. I look forward to wearing it and honoring the Notorious RBG.
More details about each of my projects is on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. You can follow me on Instragram @QueenBeeKnits and on FB at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.
Good grief! I can’t imagine how we’ve gotten to “late” September! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (in a pandemic?)
I’ve been back to teaching a small class outside at a local park in Waterville, Maine until this week. My students were comfortable meeting outside, socially distanced and masked. I was, too. And then last week, it was chilly and we had to move from under the pergola in the shade into the sun to be comfortable. This week the high temperature was only going to reach 62 so we went into the store and were surprised that we were comfortable there, too.
Life has been full of visitors this summer, too. If there are to be blessings found in the Covid-19 pandemic, this is one! All of our children have visited for at least a week and a couple visited for two weeks and four weeks! Working from home/remotely does have its benefits. Nothing makes this mom happier than a house full of our kids! We are so proud of all of them and how gracefully they’re handling life under Covid-19. It’s been difficult; isolating at times, frustrating at times, fraught with financial uncertainty. My kids all work in the Arts in New York City … there won’t be solid work for them at least until 2021. They’ll all make it through this and they’ll all grow because of it.
(I missed grand-dog Severus. Boo! And the Littles were unimpressed and not on the porch.)
We have been eating well (everyone likes to cook) and the baking has been lots of fun! Notice that the photos are almost all of baked goods!? Ha! We made focaccia with a beautiful vegetable “picture” on it, lobster is always a favorite, raspberry ice cream cookie sandwiches, blueberries, blueberry buckle, a rustic peach and blueberry galette, blueberry bundt cake, blueberry muffins, Mrs. Dejonkheere’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, blueberry pie #1, lobster eggs Benedict, maple blueberry scones, squash pie, veggie frittata and apple pie. The raspberries, blueberries and apples were all picked by our hands! What a lot of fun.
There has been yarn in my hands throughout the visits! I’ve started and finished a few things that I wanted to share with you, too.
First up were two emPower People cowls in their signature purple.
The first is the emPower People Cowl by Casapinka. This is a simple garter stitch cowl that asks for a DK or sport weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Rios which is a light worsted weight. It’s a cowl so I really didn’t mind if it came out a little bit larger (or smaller). It was a quick and simple knit project and it’s a sample at the store right now. It’s so soft and will be a nice garment to wear and a good reminder to VOTE!
The second is EmPower Lace by Romi. I was a test knitter for this cowl and it was another really fun knit. This could be considered a bit more difficult than the first cowl, but it’s a great first lace project. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool this time and I love this yarn. It was a new yarn to me. It shows the lace well and it’s soft and sturdy. Empower Lace is also a free Raverly download.
Next up are two pairs of baby booties. I confess that I have a collection of Cascade’s Fixation yarn from which I’ve made several pairs of baby booties and a few baby hats to match. But I had over-bought! Can you imagine that? Ha! Ha! So, in my pledge to use up stashed yarn, I decided to pull out all of the Fixation and use it up by making some baby booties. Two pairs down and I have plenty more to go. The green pair has a different bottom color and the pink ones are simple solid pink. The pattern is one that I can’t find online anywhere called Sue’s Baby Booties. It was a free pattern at the store. If you love it, let me know and I can scan it and email it to you.
I’ve started and finished a baby gift for a special baby boy coming soon so I can’t show you a full photograph of the gift that I’ve finished. I used Hayfield’s Baby Blossom Chunky to knit a Three Cable Baby Blanket and will make a little sweater and hat to match. I’ll update this post when I have given the gift to the mom-to-be. It’s soft, warm and washable and dry-able. All good things when you’re a new mother.
I’ve finished the first of my September socks from our 2020 Sock Challenge. This is another stashed yarn, one that I collected when we learned that there wasn’t going to be a US distributor for this wonderful Raggi yarn. (There is a distributor now, thank heavens!) Raggi is a worsted/aran weight wool and nylon blend so it’s perfect for knitting socks. The pattern, Urban Rustic Socks, I just happened across when I was looking for a worsted weight sock pattern that I hadn’t already made. I love these socks and they’re a fun knit, too. It’s a free Ravelry pattern.
I’m working away on making more masks for my kids, I’ve fixed a hat for a customer, fixed a shawl several times for a former student (the shawl has traveled from Florida to Maine and back several times) and I’ve got a bunch of projects on the needles. I’m still working on finishing my Arne and Carlos Quarantine Knitting blocks (I think it’s going to be a pillow) and my Hope Cardigan is half-done. So, life is busy and full … I wanted to catch up here so that the next post won’t be so long.
The Longest Day (summer solstice and the Alzheimer’s Association fundraising day) was June 20th this year. I participated for the first time as a member of Ann Budd’s team. Ann has been doing this for years (and I’m sorry I didn’t know about it sooner!) One of my co-workers was participating and I thought it was a wonderful way to remember my mother who died from Alzheimer’s in 2008 at the age of 76.
The day started with a wonderful sunrise and coffee on the porch. It quickly got too hot to sit on the front porch in the sun so I moved to location number two, the screened porch.
My goal for the day, in addition to remembering my mom, was to finish projects or at least work to that end. I finished my June socks first. I had knitted them to the toe so it wasn’t a stretch! This yarn is another One the Round Signature Sock, fingering weight wool and nylon. I love knitting with it and I love wearing it. As you can see, I don’t worry about “matchy-matchy” and there’s a funny spot at the ankle of one and a little less funny spot at the ankle of the other. (Can you see me hunching my shoulders? I really don’t mind; they’re socks.)
My next project was either my Humulus sweater or my The Shape of a Bay shawl. I chose the shawl because it’s been languishing in time out for nearly two years. I bought this kit at my fiber camp not last summer but the summer before. It’s two skeins of Cashmere People Fingering yarn and the pattern. The yarn is super yummy. I just finished a shawl test knit for Lori Versaci (VersaciKnits) for her pattern Campfire. ( blogged about it here.) This yarn is very special and the colors are so beautiful. Oddly enough, one of the colors in my Campfire shawl is the same color, albeit in a different weight, as my Shape of a Bay shawl. Go figure.
The Shape of A Bay is by Bristol Ivy. It is a half-pi shape shawl with double sided lace. I have learned that some lace is different than others. Some lace, typically more simple, is knitted with the lace-y stitches on one side only, usually the right side, and knits/purls on the wrong side. This pattern has those lace-y stitches on both sides, right and wrong side. When I am knitting a project that requires lace concentration, I like to do them earlier in the day, post coffee and pre-tired end-of-day eyes and/or cocktails. I love knitting this pattern and working with this yarn. It’s a treat. Two years ago I had worked into the pebbles section. (Lucky for me I had marked my pattern so I knew where I had stopped and I was able to start up without any trouble.) On the Longest Day, I got through the end of the pebbles section and finished most of the first repeat of the ripples section.
In the photo above, I’m through the pebbles section and starting the ripples. I had a lot of interruptions from the Littles who are getting old and have to be let out frequently … and who don’t always make it outside quite fast enough. I might have gotten further but I am grateful to be home with them when they’re really in need of their humans.
My end-of-day view was in my atelier, Littles at my feet, working on something mindless until the sun set. I took a break for dinner and a cocktail with my wonderful hubby and then we retreated to the air conditioning and a little bit of “stupid TV”. I have been working on using up some of the odds and ends of my fingering weight/sock yarns in a crochet blanket project called the Battenberg Blanket. Mine is not likely to look as “orderly” as the pattern is intended but I will have the pleasure of remembering all of the socks, shawls and other projects that I made. I am planning to use a solid color to put them all together but I’d like to make a big (queen-size perhaps) blanket so I’ll be making squares deep into my 90s. Ha! Ha!
My friends and family helped me to surpass my fundraising goal and together we will donate over $1,700.00 to fight the good fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. I don’t ever want another family member to experience the ravages of this disease that stole my mother from me and their beloved GranJan from my children and nephews. Thank you to Ann Budd and Glenda for making it so easy to participate. It was a privilege to knit on the Longest Day and I look forward to knitting again next year.
Y’all! What is happening? I’m sitting here wondering, trying to remember if it’s ever snowed in May … on Mother’s Day weekend … in my lifetime. I don’t think it has. One of our local television stations says that there was accumulation of five inches on May 10-11 1945 and 1963. I wasn’t born in ‘45 and I was 4 in ‘63. So there you go.
I’ve been keeping myself busy though. A zoom call with my Friday knitters yesterday was the highlight of my week. As it usually is, Friday is a great day when my students and I gather around the table. Or in this case around our computers. At least we can be together virtually. I bought a subscription to zoom this week so we can visit for more than 30 minutes.
Im using up a ton (well, that may be an exaggeration) of leftover bits and bobs of sock yarn making little crocheted squares for a Battenberg Blanket. This seems to be a project that I can focus on. Especially at the end of the day when my body and mind are tired. The mis-matched squares will be unified with squares of a single color … I’m not sure what that color will be yet. Time will tell.
My Humulus sweater is back out of time out … although the way it’s been behaving may warrant a return. I have managed to complete a couple of rounds but not without some drama. Mostly because my focus is stunted and I miss a stitch, typically at the end of a chart repeat and I don’t notice it until I’m at least half way around. Frogging is our friend in knitting, right? Sewing is not so forgiving. (Don’t ask!) I will soldier on and get the color work yoke finished one of these days. Then it’ll be smooth sailing to the bottom. 🤞🏼
My June socks are progressing. These are for the 2020 Sock Challenge that I’m doing with my students, a co-worker and her classes, plus a few of my wonderful FB followers. I can work on these at night, too. I’ve chosen to crochet for the last few evenings. This month, I’m using On the Round Signature Sock yarn and a US 1.5 needle and knitting the largest size. They sure are pretty.
Queen Bee’s Note: It’s now the end of the day, the snow has stopped and is mostly melted. I’ve not knitted a stitch yet.
Time sure does fly. I’ve told more than one friend and/or family member that I thought life would slow down and change after my kids were little and life was so busy-active. Once they grew up and had homes of their own, I imagined that time would slow and life would be less busy. Turns out that I was totally wrong. The time seems to only go by more quickly.
So, with that said, this is my first post of the new year and new decade. The year of the rat according to the Chinese calendar. I think it’s going to be another wonderful healthy year full of fun and lots of good knitting!
We have started 2020 with a Sock Challenge. Twelve pairs of socks, one each month. Two pairs can be little socks for children or “peds”, two need to be something you’ve never done before. I have finished two pairs of socks so far this year and am up to the heel on the first sock of the third pair.
January pair number one is for my granddaughter, Rose. Her name explains the color choice, n’est ce pas? Pattern is Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks for the Whole Family. I did a 3 x 1 rib down the leg and on the top of the foot. Knitting for children, who grow too quickly, I like to build in a little bit of wiggle room. I measured their feet in May so I gave them an extra half-inch in foot length and made the large child size. This Cascade Heritage wool is nice and soft.
February pair number two is my DH’s Christmas socks. I’ve begun to give him a ball of yarn in his Christmas stocking (also hand-knit, not by me) because we all know that Christmas knitting leaves little time for selfish knitting and it’s the old cobbler’s children philosophy: no hand knit socks for my DH until after the paid knitting is finished. Anyway, this pair is also Yankee Knitter’s Classic Sock pattern and it’s a sport weight yarn by KFI with a touch of cashmere. They’re very soft and felt good on my knitting hands! That said, there are spots where it seemed like the dye hadn’t completely saturated the yarn but I hope that doesn’t reflect on the socks themselves. I have two more balls of this yarn because it feels so good. Another blue and a grey.
I’ve been wearing and loving wearing my Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I love the yarn, the weight, the color and the fit. This may be my very most favorite sweater of the year and decade (so far!) I have a couple of other sweaters coming up on my queue and it’ll be interesting to see if I like them as well as I like my Love Note!
Today we had a visitor in our yard. I am so privileged to live on the edge of a lake in Central Maine. The Belgrade Lakes area is a well-known summer spot but it’s also a fun place to live in the winter. I know, many of you are wondering if my mental health is stable but I have to say, I love the snow and I love watching the different seasons and the way the lake and life changes. Today has been a relatively warm winter day for Maine and the lake was crawling with ice fishermen (and women), snow machines, and birds. I was thrilled when I returned from lunching with a girlfriend and saw a Bald Eagle on the lake about three quarters of a mile from our front porch. Later this afternoon, as I was sitting at my desk working, another (or maybe the same) eagle left the ice and flew straight toward our house and landed in our tree. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “it doesn’t get old”! What a thrill watching these birds! I do have to watch the little dogs very carefully in the winter – an eagle or a big owl or hawk would love a shitzu feast.
My philosophy for the next year is to be kind. Truthful and kind. Accepting and kind. Healthy and kind. Happy and kind. Loving and kind. Simply put I want to bee happy … and kind.
You can read more about my projects and yarns on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is Lindar. You can also find Queen Bee Knits on Facebook and @QueenBeeKnits on Instagram.