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 last knitted gifts are going out tomorrow! I’m very excited to start knitting some Christmas balls and to get up to date with my MKAL Gnome-Along. Here is what i’ve knitted so far … I won’t show the MKAL gnome pieces because I don’t want to ruin the fun for anyone else.
Arne and Carlos’ new Christmas balls. They’ve designed one for each day in December, like an Advent calendar. I’m several days behind but I’m doing the best that I can. I am using Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm. The pattern called for three colors in a DK weight yarn. I love the way this yarn feels! Needles are US 4.
Ball 1, “Spruce”
Balls 2 and 3, “Old Fashioned” and “Mutton” …
Mutton is my favorite so far. I’ve decided to knit them and stuff them when I have a few to stuff rather than stuffing one at a time.
Is it possible that already a week has passed since Thanksgiving? And it’s been two weeks since I’ve been to work! Amazing how quickly time passes … and how I manage to keep busy despite having “nothing” to do!
We’ve been working around the house to (begin to) get ready for Christmas. Christmas is not and has never been my favorite holiday. I much prefer Thanksgiving and we had hoped that at least a couple of our kiddos would be coming up for Thanksgiving but Covid-19 quashed that plan. It was too difficult to get tests as required by the states and the risk was too great. This latest surge is a beast. But the hubby and I had a lovely Thanksgiving alone together. We cooked a twenty pound turkey and all the fixings and I made two pies; chocolate peanut butter for him and pumpkin for me. I “cheated” and used a prepared pie crust for my pumpkin pie and it was awful … we ended up pitching all but one slice. It simply wasn’t worth the calories! I have a pie crust in the ‘fridge and some pumpkin I cooked and plan to make another one this weekend.
I saw planters like the one we made (above) at a local garden center. Their greens were expensive and we live in the woods so the weekend after Thanksgiving the hubby and I went foraging in the woods for some greens and birch logs. It didn’t take long to find them and we are pretty pleased with our front door decoration. We added some fairy lights to make it extra sparkly.
We had to buy new lights for the outdoor fir tree that we planted when we had our gardens done after we built the house. The tree has grown a lot and the old lights were all dead – perhaps because of the squirrels that like to hide in the tree and “yell” at us. Two extra long sets of lights weren’t enough and even the third doesn’t quite finish the job.
Inside, I’ve been up to some decorating, too. I bought 100 feet of fairy lights from Amazon after I saw this idea on Instagram. Leila Raven (@leila_raven) was the first post that I saw and I’ve since seen a lot of others. It’s not “easy” to knit lights on wire but it sure turns out to be sparkly. The hubby wants me to knit 400 feet next. I’m not sure if that’s a goal that I want to take on right now. Ha! Ha!
My fairy lights “swatch” was knit using US13 needles and I cast on 24 stitches with a backward loop cast on. Garter stitch all the way to the end of the lights and pull the end through the last stitch. Ours are hanging in the front hall where they greet us as we come and go.
I’ve knitted several pairs of mittens for a friend and customer for her grandsons (did I mention this already?). I had a bit of yarn left over and made another pair of mittens for my local school. Kids around here always need mittens, right? I finished the thumbs last night and will drop them off today on the way to work.
I’m also working on a Christmas stocking for a friend and customer. Her mother was a knitwear designer for Columbia-Minerva back in the day and the family all have stockings in her designs. I’m making one for a new family member. I have to say, intarsia is not my favorite technique. It’s fiddly and messy and there are millions of ends to weave in. With that said, I’m making progress and hope to get the colorwork part finished up this weekend and then it’s clear sailing to the toe. I had said I couldn’t promise the stocking for Christmas but I think and hope that I can get it delivered. I’m sure going to make a good old college try!
I’m participating in a couple of KALs this month. One is a gnome MKAL (mystery knit-a-long) hosted by Imagined Landscapes. I love her gnome patterns and will eventually knit a collection of them since I’ve purchased the patterns. This month it’s an ADVENTure Gnome MKAL. Four colors of fingering weight yarn and US1 needles is all you need. I’m knitting entirely from stash. Clue 1 came out on Tuesday and I’ve finished it but won’t show it until later. Stay tuned.
I’m also going to do Arne and Carlos’ 24 new Christmas balls. I’ve printed the patterns out and I’m already feeling stressed because I’m two days behind (soon to be three days behind) but I had purchased yarn that was an acrylic and wool blend and I’ve decided that I really want to use wool because they’ll block out so much more nicely. Acrylic yarn really doesn’t block at all. So, today, when I’m at work I’m going to search around for some wool yarn that isn’t superwash to use for this project and then I can start knitting. You can find the pattern at Arne and Carlos dot com. They have an entire book of Christmas balls, too. I haven’t (yet) gone down that road but we’ll see how I like the 24 that I have the pattern for! I’ll write more as I get one or two done … or find yarn!
I’ve decided to make some of my own decorations this year inside the house. I also think I may make some simmering potpourri for my students as a little holiday gift. My hubby found a dryer ages ago and we’ve used it once or twice but most of the time it’s been stored in a cabinet. Well, I’m making good use of it! I’ve dried six oranges and three limes so far. I’ll be adding some pine and cranberries to my indoor decorations and cinnamon sticks and cloves. This weekend is bound to be another busy one!
Let me update you on the week I’ve had. It was busy and full as usual but with a bit of an added twist … we think it was food poisoning!
Friday night I woke up with my heart beating (what I thought was) extra fast. Fast enough that I felt unsure of what was happening and a bit fearful, to be totally honest. I got up out of bed and got a glass of water, sat in the living room for a bit until I decided I needed to be close to my dear hubby in case something bad happened. My arms and legs and head felt “fuzzy” (tingly?) and I woke him up, asking him to call 911. Fortunately he waited a minute or two because I realized I was going to vomit … all the blood was going to my stomach! I have never realized how my body works so efficiently! (Ha!) Soon, I was feeling better and we went back to bed and to sleep, my heart returning to its normal rate. Yesterday I spent the day in my PJs. I was tired enough to take a nap and miss a call from my dear daughter. Napping is not something I do unless I’m not feeling well (needless to say, it doesn’t happen often!)
Today, I am feeling much better, thank goodness! I dare say, I feel “normal” again. I’ve been up at my desk playing catch-up. I needed to write a newsletter for work, add a bunch of new people to the store email list, writing a membership article for our lake association newsletter, etc. and I figured I’d let you know what’s happening in my knitting world.
I finished the baby sweater, Diane Soucy’s Bulky Baby Pullover, for a special little baby. This completes the gift that will be sent off sometime soon. Baby isn’t due for a few more weeks but I want him to have it when he’s born. He’s moving from Florida to Colorado in January and he’ll need a bunch of warm clothes! I really enjoyed knitting with this chunky yarn and because it’s easy care, the new mom won’t have to stress about washing. Once the gift has been received, I’ll post pictures of the gift in its entirety.
This is a custom order from a wonderful customer (and friend) for her grandsons. Mittens! Here in Maine we all need at least a pair of warm mittens in the winter (and sometimes in the fall, too.) These mittens are knit in Berroco’s Ultra Wool Chunky and, as such, they knit up really quickly. If my mind could concentrate, I’d have finished a pair in a day. I love the Ultra Wool yarns for their superwash ease and their heft. These will be warm mittens. The pattern, another free Tin Can Knits pattern on Ravelry, is really simple and is written for fingering, DK, worsted and chunky yarns (so, any gauge, really). If you don’t have my vintage mittens pattern, you need this one. And frankly, if you want to knit mittens in any gauge, this is a good pattern. Peruse the other free or paid Tin Can Knits patterns, they’re all pretty special!
I have offered to make some fingerless mitts for the Maine Arts Academy to use to incentivize students at times. Or, frankly, to use in any manner that the administration sees fit. There may be a student who needs some love and that’s ok, too. So, I’ve knitted the mitts with some stashed Patons Classic Wool yarn in a deep purple colorway. My plan is to add some snowflakes to the back of the hands to make them a bit more interesting. This will be an ongoing opportunity for me to knit down some of my stash and to give back to the MeAA community. It’s a wonderful school of which I feel so privileged to be a part. (I know that’s grammatically correct, but gee, it sure sounds stuffy, doesn’t it?)
These mitts are based on the vintage pattern seen in the photograph. This is a classic mitten pattern that I knit to the knuckles or wherever I deem fit to stop knitting and add a few rows of ribbing. Simple, clear and include sizes for children and adults. I love this book and when I retire and have more time (does that ever happen?) I will knit all the things in the book. The mitten pattern itself is free on Ravelry but you can buy the whole book at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine 207-872-2118 … we’ll send it out to you if you don’t live nearby! You might even talk to me!
I’ll post a few more pictures when I get the ends woven in and the snowflakes added.
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!
I found this big box craft store yarn in my stash and decided that I needed to knit it up and get it used up and out of my “collection”. It was in the same bin as the camo yarn that I found for Boq’s sweater … and I’ve been carrying it around for years. (The camo yarn has been around much longer but still!)
I used the pattern, Pug Dog Sweater, the same pattern that I used for Boq’s sweater (see my previous post) and I did change this one up a bit, too. Female dogs don’t have a problem with sweaters coming low on the belly so I added more rounds to Lola’s sweater to make it longer under her belly and then I only did a few rounds of decreases to cover her back. I have written the details in my Ravelry project pages for both sweaters. (Or I will after I finish writing this post. Ha!)
I still have a bunch of this yarn so I think that when life calms down a little bit that I’ll knit up some fingerless mitts and mittens and bring them across the lake to the Maine Arts Academy. I’m sure there are students with cold fingers over there!
I don’t generally like knitting with Red Heart yarn. I don’t like the way it feels in my hand when I’m knitting and there are better quality acrylic yarns out these days that, while they are a little bit more expensive, they are so much better to work with and to wear. So, when I went searching for stashed yarns for a future project, I found an extra skein of this camouflage yarn that I believe I had used about 20 years ago to make a blanket for my son. Yes, I know. I’ve been carrying around some yarn forever!
My little Boq likes to wear a sweater these days. He seems to get chilly more as he’s aged and his old sweater has been starting to show its age … he’s caught it on his nails and pulled it, it’s pilled and stretched out (and with male dogs, a sweater pulled out around the belly is its own problem.) So, I decided to give a new sweater a go …
I had knitted the pattern, Pug Dog Sweater, for my grand dog, Gus and blogged about it here. It worked pretty well after two tries at getting the size right. When you’re knitting for a puppy, it’s difficult because the little buggers are growing like weeds! Knitting for a senior citizen shitzu isn’t as difficult and he also lives here so I can knit and check the size/length. I knitted the XXS size for Boq and decided to extend the length of the chest by several rounds. I also extended the length after the legs so Boq’s back is covered. It was bunchy around his shoulders.
I knitted the pattern again. This time as written to the sleeves and then I extended the length as I did on the first attempt. This time the fit was much better. I had to unravel the first sweater to finish the second one, but that was fine with me. I pitched the knitted bit of the first sweater that I didn’t need to unravel … I’m really working to use the stashed yarn!
Now, I think Lola needs a new sweater, too! I have a skein of acrylic yarn from a folly trip to Hobby Lobby. I’ll use this up, too.
It’s a new week and a new opportunity to make things! When I started this blog, it was meant to be about all of the things I made with a focus on knitting. So, here we are at another Monday and I am starting a whole new week of making.
I finished something yesterday! Woo! Hoo! I love to knit and I love to finish projects and send them on their merry way. This is a baby blanket that my sister-in-love asked me to make for her niece. I love this pattern because it’s a classic style that pleases everyone. I knit this with Berroco Vintage Chunky, an acrylic and wool blend that is machine washable and dryable, both very important for a new mom. The pattern is called Three Cable Baby Blanket and it’s a pattern that we hand out for free at the yarn shop where I work. This blanket took four hanks of yarn The chunky yarn makes it take a lot less time than a finer yarn and it’ll be nice and warm for the baby!
Because I live in Maine, I like to add blueberries to almost everything I bake. They’re also good for us, right? My sweet husband loves to have something sweet in the morning with his coffee. When I bake for him, he’s a happy camper. You know the saying, “sometimes you feel like a nut”? He always likes nuts and these have a full cup of chopped walnuts in them. The recipe is one that I was given forever ago from a friend. It says it’s the recipe from the West Milton Inn. You can find the recipe here! This is the best banana bread recipe that I have ever had. I freeze the bananas when they’re getting old and when I defrost them, I add all the liquid and the bananas. Try making them plain, as written, and then play with adding different things: 1 cup of chocolate chips or a cup of blueberries or a cup of nuts (walnuts or pecans are great!)
I usually add dried cranberries in place of the raisins and I add 1/4 cup of maple syrup, too. I’ve been known to add chopped pecans or walnuts (remember that my husband likes nuts!) I now like to add pepitas (pumpkin seeds), too. I love this with a bit of almond milk or even with greek yogurt for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack when I forgot lunch and don’t want to ruin my dinner.
So, there you go! I’ve started my week making … baking!
This is my newest grand-dog, Gus. Gus is a Pug puppy and he’s absolutely edible. He has puppy toes and he’s in love with his dad (my son. I happen to agree that his dad is the bestest of the bestest!)
My son had asked me to knit a sweater for Gus because he’s going to be chilly this winter when they go out for their walks in New York City. I knit the first iteration in a pretty green but it was way too short. It fit perfectly around him but not with his harness. I also forgot to make a little hole where the harness will attach to the leash. So, when it came out looking like a crop top, I got back to knitting the second iteration in blue.
This pattern is a free pattern on Ravelry called Pug Dog Sweater. I knitted both sweaters in stashed leftover Berroco Vintage yarns. The pattern is sized for a lot of Pugs (and I’m going to try it for my Shitzu) from teeny tiny to sausage size. Gus doesn’t seem to be the typical Pug shape. He’s all leg (just like his father!) and he’s long and lean.
More information is on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Follow my knitting antics on FB at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner or on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.
This morning I had a “discussion” on Facebook with high school friends about the current situation in our country with the coronavirus and the president. I have always been willing to give people I meet (and don’t meet) the benefit of the doubt. I did with this president, too. But I’m done. I am done giving the president the benefit of the doubt. I’m done with people “putting words in my mouth” both literally and proverbially. I’m calling BS on those who continually harken back to Hillary or Obama to compare. Let’s stick to the present and give credit where the credit is due.
The president is a liar. Google “all the presidents lies” and see what comes up. Note: I didn’t say which president or put an apostrophe before the “s”. See what comes up. Go ahead, I’ll wait!
This morning I realized that this is a problem for me because I lived with a man who was a lot like the president for nearly thirty years. I lived with a person who was verbally and emotionally abusive (especially when he was drinking) and a person who lied. A person who manipulated words, twisted the truth, told partial truths. A person who eroded my sense of self, my confidence, and erased my laugh. I was told, “of course I’m not having an affair with another woman” and “if you were a better (wife, mother, housekeeper … fill in the blank) I’d come home at night”. They were all lies and this is why what comes out of the White House, America’s house, triggers so many emotions in me and why I’m feeling anxious lately.
I’m so grateful that I can realize the trigger for what it is and name it and claim it. I’m grateful that I no longer live with a liar. I’m grateful for the new husband in my life who loves my craziness and supports me. I’m grateful for the self-awareness after nearly 30 years of therapy so that I can see why my anxiety is presenting itself in my life today. I love that I valued myself enough to make the investment of time and money to go to therapy week after week for so long. I am thankful that those women with whom I worked shared their deep knowledge of humanness with me. I am thankful that I have a voice and feel heard.
Today I have “nothing” to do. The sun has come out after a foggy and gray morning and I am going to take my knitting and sit outside on the porch and watch the loons fish. It’s fall now, the temperatures have cooled, the leaves are changing color and it’ll soon be too cool to sit on the porch. I’m going to take advantage of today and soothe my soul with yarn and needles.