Years ago, I was intrigued by A Year of Techniques “club” that came from the Arnall-Culliford Knitwear company out of the UK. I often seek to increase my knowledge of knitting so that I can pass what I learn on to my students and this seemed to fit right into that column. AND it was a year of improving knitting by a monthly technique project. There was a book and twelve projects so it seemed to be something that I could manage with everything else in my life.
That first year, I managed to complete a bunch of the patterns in the book. I also made the decision to buy the yarn collection for all of the projects because, being a company based in the UK, they were using yarns that I had not seen nor worked with. It would be an additional bit of knowledge that I could gather about yarn and how to match yarns and patterns and maybe, too, a little bit about color.
That first year I finished seven of the twelve projects. I ended up frogging one and not completing another because I didn’t like the fit, so we’ll count it as five projects completed and enjoyed. The next year they did Boost Your Knitting: A Second Year of Techniques followed the third year by Confident Knitting. Each year I went along and bought the yarns and have really, really enjoyed knitting with yarns that I may not have otherwise been exposed to in rural Maine. (Until I get to Paris and Shetland, anyway.)
But I digress because where I wanted to go with this post was to tell you about my Moorland Socks WIP. Moorland Socks were in the third group of technique projects. The yarn is from Fab Funky Fibers and contains two mini skeins as the main color of the socks, a wonderful self-striping multi-colored yarn with another mini for a contrasting heel. The technique for this project is a Garter stitch short row heel.
Today I finally finished the first short row heel and what fun it was to knit. (I can’t wait to try it on and see how it fits and how it feels to wear!) Because the heel and short rows are garter stitch, there is no need to pick up and knit the wraps for the short rows and that makes it much simpler and more straight forward to knit. I found that I did need to keep count of the stitches between the wraps, however; at least until I figured out how to read my knitting. It was more difficult on the increases (after the decreases on the first half of the heel) but I managed it, I think, quite well and it’s a super cute heel if I do say so myself.
Such a pretty heel, such a pretty sock! Since I wrote this I’ve finished sock number 1 and have cast on sock number 2. The mini skeins made it pretty easy to “match” the socks (so they look alike … or as alike as I care to make them look.) The fit’s pretty good, too. I’ll be curious to see how this heel wears compared to my favorite heel flap and gusset. I’ll let you know.
Yesterday was a rough day. I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t slept well for a couple of nights and that usually means that there’s a full moon or that something is bubbling up inside me that needs to be gone from me … my life … my belief system … whatever it is. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, sad, angry, tearful (like the ugly cry kind) and, by the end of the day, traumatized. I know I’ll work through it and the personal stuff in detail isn’t something that really belongs here. I know I can work through it and if I can’t, I can reach out to my (former not old) therapist who will guide me in the right direction. In the meantime, today I’m going to burn some sage in the house to cleanse the energy in it and I’ll take time to be quiet and see what my mind/body/soul reveals.
Oddly enough, in addition to having a traumatic, emotional day, I heard a phone ringing in the house. It was neither mine nor my husband’s. It was distant but seemed to be coming from inside out house. This morning I heard it again when I was standing in the kitchen. There isn’t another phone in the house. Yeah, I know. This is an odd one. Anywhoo …
When I went outside this morning to take my morning shot of the lake (it will be a video) I made a discovery. Crocus! I had completely forgotten that we planted a couple of bunches of crocus bulbs last fall. What a pleasant and welcome surprise. Some critter is munching on the lakeside spot and he or she will pay for that if I have anything to say about it but I was so pleased to see a couple of flowering buds and more coming. It makes me feel hopeful again.
Lots has happened around the lake since I last posted. The husband and I have both received and recovered from our second Moderna doses. We had what I would call very, very mild symptoms of what may have been fever (I had chills one afternoon) and fatigue. My arm hurt a little bit as did his. Overall, however, we are so grateful to be closer to living without the fear of this virus being ever-present in our minds. The vaccine feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. I can’t wait to hug my kids and my friends!
We had ice out on our lake!
What a difference a day makes! And with the ice going out, the loons and water birds are coming back. In fact, as soon as there was open water, the birds were returning. Pairs of mergansers, at least one loon (we saw it and heard it, too), mallards, Canada geese and others are here again. It’s quite a wonderful change of pace after the winter months. Our bird feeders are full of bright yellow goldfinch, and my hubby said he’s seen purple finch. They’re eating us out our house and home!
I’ve been knitting madly away on a few projects that are on my needles.
On Easter Sunday I knitted one of the eggs from Arne and Carlos’ new collection of Twelve Easter Eggs. I’m using tiny balls of Sirdar Happy cotton yarn and they’re fun and relatively quick to knit. I’ve begun a second but I’ve put it aside to finish a project for a customer … or at least get it started.
I”m to the bottom colorwork band on my Daytripper cardigan so the mindless rounds of stockinette stitch are done and I’ll have to concentrate again (and count). I love the colors that I chose and this will be a great addition to my sweater collection.
I’ve cast on the Evolve Cowl by Hunter Hammersen which is the second project in the Confident Knitting program from Arnall-Culliford Knitwear. The yarn is Dusty Dimples DK, this is a hand-dyed yarn from the UK and it’s really delightful to knit with. The yarn was purchased as a kit to go with the book (for now virtual) that includes a lot of technique tutorials. This is the third such program that I’ve purchased and I have yet to be sorry that I did. I have not finished all of the projects from the first two books; Some I probably won’t ever make and some I know that I will. When the time is right. The technique this month is blocking a cowl in the round so that it doesn’t have the horrible creases. Good to know.
The Flux Handwarmers were the first project from Confident Knitting and they’re finished. I don’t love them to be completely honest because they’re a bit too short for my liking. I like fingerless mitts that at least keep my fingers protected from the cold steering wheel. These don’t. But the Zauberball (the yarn, Muffin) is pretty and I like the weight of the mitts. They’ll be a good gift for someone one day.
March socks are pretty rudimentary average everyday boot socks. They’re made out of Raggi yarn which I love. I made it just under the wire finishing these socks in March with a day to go. I’m not sure what socks will be happening in April … and I may skip a month. How do you like that? Ha! Ha! I do have some green buffalo wool sock yarn that is begging to be Christmas tree socks … time will tell.
Opus. What can I say about Opus? I love him/her so much. What a joy to knit and I love seeing it on my guest room bed every time I walk by. It seems a bit silly to enjoy something so apparently random but I do. I wrote about him/her here before I got to the tentacles. What a creative project.
My Fine Sand cardigan is slow progressing. I have it down in the living room now, next to my chair so that I can knit a few rows when I’m sitting down there. It’s endless rows of stockinette stitching now with every sixth row having some shaping increases and decreases. If I’m lucky, this will be done before the end of the summer … and since it’s a summery cotton/linen blend yarn, it’d be nice to be able to wear it this year. But it’s definitely going to be awhile.
So, there you have it. My life and knitting in a nutshell. I haven’t been baking much but I have the intention of making apple dumplings today … whole apples, cored and wrapped in pastry dough and baked. I have such fond memories of these at the Ohio State Fair with my singing kiddos! I’ve been eating my granola like crazy in the mornings or sometimes for lunch after work. Overall, I’m so grateful to be where I am and with who I’m with … life is good.
It’s almost time for me to make those resolutions that I never manage to keep … so this year, as I enter 2018, I am resolving to be kind, to think positively, and to remember to write 2018 on my checks!
For Queen Bee Knits, that means to get the planner for next year out, get my studio (atelier) clean and organized and to keep learning more about my craft. I had a great learning experience this year with the Year of Techniques hosted by Mason Dixon Knitting here in the USA. A few things that I loved about it were that I learned a few tricks that I can pass on to my students at work, I reviewed techniques that I’ve been using – many not very often – and I got to work with yarns that I wouldn’t normally have knitted because they’re UK-based yarns. I chose to purchase the kids that were offered for each project, not that I have completed them all! The yarns were wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the new yarn experiences! This was a wonderful collaboration and I would join in again if it is offered.
I’ve done a lot of knitting this year but I’d dare say that it was less than previous years because of my job at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. I have often dreamed about what it would be like to work in or even own a yarn shop. I am gaining experience each day that I work there and I am finding that I really do love it! Working as a clerk and teacher, I go to work happy every day and I love helping our customers find their knitting mojo! I also enjoy being part of the local movement – we are a small, family-owned business (68 years old in 2017) and each customer that I encourage to make a purchase supports our community and local business. Waterville is not a fancy, thriving, seasonal, coastal community but there are lots of family small businesses struggling along.
This week I learned that another local small business yarn shop, Over the Rainbow, in Rockland, Maine is closing its doors. My heart breaks to see another local yarn shop going out of business. I’ve visited OTR many times and will miss having it on my list of places to visit when in Rockland. OTR joins Quilt Divas that closed a year or so ago.
😦 This is me making a sad face.
We’ve had a great year personally … my daughter was married, my other daughter booked a Broadway show. The husband and I entertained a few visitors at our house and traveled a little bit to be entertained by others. Our family is healthy and thriving and we are so grateful for our health, too.
I’m finishing up a few knitting projects and am looking forward to some pleasure knitting.
I’m knitting a striped baby blanket for my sister-in-law to give to one of her employees as a gift. I’m using Encore worsted (baby items must be washable and dry-able) in a navy and white strip with an apple green i-cord edge. It is the nature of stockinette stitch to curl and it’s curling a bit at the edges but the baby won’t mind! It’s really cute! I’m half way around with the edge … getting there! Then I’ll wash, block and send it.
I’ve finished and will block (today!) a hat for a college friend who has a friend who is going through chemotherapy. It’s a lovely soft alpaca in DK weight. The pattern is by Susan B. Anderson, “Ruche Beret” in the Weekend Hats book. I love it’s simple lines and may have to make one for myself!
I’m also working on another hat for a customer at the shop. She bought yarn and is using the 1898 Hat (free) pattern on Ravelry. This hat is very popular in Maine in the winter – especially this winter because it’s been wicked cold! Knitted with worsted weight yarn, it’s a one-skein-wonder, too! I’m knitting “mine” in Cascade Eco Duo in a great colorway – it’s so soft and it will be super warm, too! I have some Eco Duo in my stash … hmmm. My little boy dog was sitting in my lap the other morning when I was swatching with the US 7 needle. He doesn’t like the yarn to touch him and he kept stretching out farther and farther on my legs. 🙂 I love him!
I have many (MANY) project bags with UFOs in them. Projects that were set aside for Christmas knitting. That’s a whole new blog post! For today, I’m done. I’ve rested my hands, had a little lunch and now it’s time to get back to knitting! I love my work!
Happy New Year to my readers … all two or three of you! 🙂 May we all be blessed with love and kindness, good health and warm yarn!
I joined a knitting challenge this year. It is called “A Year of Techniques” with Arnall-Culliford Knitwear and Mason-Dixon Knitting. Twelve months of technique-improving knitting projects. As a knitting teacher, it’s always fun to try something new. If I can master a new technique, I can share it with my students, too!
I am already way behind on these projects. (Too many projects and not enough time.) I told my husband, with tongue-in-cheek, that I will need to quit working to keep up with my knitting!
I knitted the first project (at least half of it) a pair of fingerless mitts called “Hyacinthus Armwarmers” and a technique for striping without a jog called “helical stripes”! I loved the technique but I didn’t love the yarn I pulled out of my stash for the mitts. I knit one mitt and put the rest aside!
I “skipped” (for the time being) a shawl project featuring color-blocking and intarsia. The pattern is designed my Maine’s own Bristol Ivy. I have five skeins of cumulus yarn for this project and I will probably get to it eventually. I also “skipped” a little stuffed toy, a mouse, using a pinhole cast on. But you can see that the projects are diverse and fun. I am enjoying the process!
This month’s project is a hat, a cloche, actually, that also begins with the pinhole cast on and also works on knitting on an edging. The cloche was designed by Romi Hill. The Talmadge Cloche is a lovely piece and it’s been fun to knit. Although it’s not anything to knit while drinking an adult beverage or while at a knitting group as each stitch needs to be counted.
I’ve enjoyed seeing this piece come together and I love the Year of Techniques series, too. Each month there is a tutorial (click here to go to the knitted-on edging tutorial) that accompanies the project. You can purchase a yarn “kit” or not. I did and have enjoyed working with yarns that I may not have otherwise held in my hands.