Starting the New Year off with FOs!

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First finished object is the Ruche Beret by Susan B. Anderson. I love this hat and hope that the new owner will wear it through some challenges and into a lifetime of good health. I knit this for a friend from college who has a friend going through chemo treatments. I knit this in this pretty beige-y taupe-y color and it’s a dk-weight yarn, Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK. I love knitting with this yarn! It’s so soft and will feel so good on a “naked” head. The best thing about this hat is the simplicity of the design. I just love it.

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Next up, the 1898 Hat. This is a free pattern on Ravelry and calls for a worsted weight yarn and US 7 needles. I started knitting with the needle as in the pattern but it was too small. So, I changed to a US 8 and the hat is lovely! I knit with the customer’s Cascade Yarns Eco Duo. Another super soft yarn and it will be so warm. The construction of the hat is a little bit different – the “cuff” is knitted in garter stitch with slipped stitches that is folded in half and grafted into a “headband”. Stitches are picked up around the cuff and the hat is completed in a more traditional manner. The customer was so happy that she’s asked me to knit another one out of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride. Stay tuned!

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Last but not least, a baby blanket for my sister-in-love. They have an employee who is having a baby this month and she asked me to knit a blanket. I love stripes, so this was my suggestion. Knitted in Plymouth Encore (navy, white and bright green) to make life easier for the new mom (it’s washable and dry-able!) This is a simple knit – almost boring, actually – two rows of each color, carrying the yarn up the side. The green is an i-cord edge. I love the way the green pops! It’s blocking on my guest bed (sans sheets after Christmas) and it will be sent very soon.

Speaking of Christmas … I haven’t shown you all of the Christmas knits that were finished and given.

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An eyeglass case in Berroco Comfort DK (red and green, obviously!) The pattern is Sweet Sunglasses Case by Ambah O’brien. This was a fun little something to knit for my co-worker who is super sweet. I will make more of these. The Comfort yarn is very soft and won’t scratch glasses … it could be lined but I stink at sewing.

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These are really a better and brighter blue with a bit of sparkle and were sent to my adorable mentee. I met this darling girl when she was ten years old and I was her mentor at school for a couple of years before she moved about 2 hours away. She had a rough transition and I adored her so I traveled to meet her for lunch at her new school every week. Zip ahead and she’s now a beautiful teenager and I still adore her.

Pattern is Holywood Mitts and was a free pattern at our store. I knit these in Holywood by Cascade Yarns. It’s just enough sparkle. And I loved the button that I found to serve as a ring!

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Wow! This is a terrible photograph! These are alpaca fingerless mitts knitted in Cascade Yarn’s Eco Alpaca in black. The pattern is Maize by Tin Can Knits. I love, love, love Tin Can Knits designs! I made the mitts a bit longer than the pattern called for because when I am driving I want to have the fabric of fingerless mitts between my hands and the freezing cold steering wheel. Most fingerless mitts are a bit too short. I hope my son-in-love loves them. I figure that they’re classic enough that they’ll go with any coat in New York City. Right?

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Another questionable photograph but these are the felted slippers that I made for my step-daughter. (I don’t love that “title” and will need to think of an alternate term for my husband’s wonderful daughters.) Anyway, I made these for her for Christmas at her request. Her favorite color is blue so I chose two shades of blue Cascade 220 Heathers. The pattern is Fiber Trends Felted Clogs by Bev Galeskas. I’ve made several pairs of these for different people and they are fun to knit, interesting construction, and they’re very cozy, too.

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I made several of these hats! This is another Tin Can Knits pattern called Barley. I made a trial Barley for my husband and he loved it so I made one for all the boys in the family for Christmas. This one is Plymouth Yarn’s Homestead in Brown Heather colorway. The other three, for the NYC boys were knitted in Berroco Ultra Wool in black. All city people like black. I like black, too. I love the Ultra Wool! it’s a wonderful super wash wool and I am looking forward to seeing how it holds up to the washing machine!

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Two more! For my other step-daughter, a cowl made with Universal’s Bamboo Bloom in shades of pink and Wisdom Yarn’s Poems. I love the Hanassaku Cowl pattern, too! It’s fairly simple pattern is easy (-ish) to follow. I say “fairly” and “-ish” because it always seems to me that when I let myself believe that something is easy, I always make mistakes. I started this cowl twice because I assumed that I knew what I was doing and I also pretended that I could count! Needless to say, I couldn’t do either! It was better on the second try! I started my cowl with the Poems and ended with it, too. Mine is not nearly as wide as the pattern suggested. I used one skein of each and knit until it was gone. I love it and I hope she does, too.

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I used a Top This! Hat “kit” to make this little crocheted lamb lovie for my dental hygienist. Well, not for her, exactly, for her new baby. I am going to visit her next week and will deliver it then. The pattern is a free pattern that I found at the shop (Yardgoods Center, my LYS). I started to knit the pattern and didn’t like the way that the fabric felt. I decided to try to crochet it instead and really had fun making my fourth (or fifth) crocheted project! I hope the baby will love it. It’s really just a great big granny square – and I love making granny squares!

I finished a pair of socks for my handsome hubby, too. I used a ball of Regia (their worsted weight sock yarn) and he’s happy as a clam. He was “nagging” me about a new pair of socks for him and I knit them at work or at knitting group so that he had no clue I was making him socks. I do love a surprise when I can keep them! I haven’t taken a photograph of them … they’re already in the laundry.

So, that was a long post full of finished objects. It feels good to see that I have gotten a lot of knitting done and gifted. I love to make gifts! More details are in my Ravelry project page. I’m “lindar” on Ravelry!

Gone knitting!

Wrapping up 2017!

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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.

IMG_2248I’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. IMG_2249My 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!

Gone knitting!

Remembering Why I Love Cables

Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting Patten #1516

Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting Patten #1516

Perhaps it’s partly my Irish heritage (the part of my heritage that I feel most connected to) or maybe it has no relation at all but I love, love, love cables!

I have two projects on the needles right now that I am enjoying. One is a little cable-knit poncho for my niece in California (I’ll be knitting a matching one for her little sister, too) the other is an infinity scarf/cowl for my daughter. The poncho has a great cable pattern that I am loving. It’s a Sirdar pattern (#1516), using Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting (DK) yarn and a size US3 and US6 knitting needle. I’m using my Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles which have great points for this yarn. You can buy them here or here. I love mine!!!

I’m going to spend this post talking about why cables are so simple and look so difficult and show a few pictures so that, if you’re a newbie to knitting and are a little bit afraid of cables, you’ll jump right in … because they’re really so much easier than they appear to be! Be brave! Go for it! Give it a try! (Rah! Rah!)

What my cable pattern looks like~ complicated, right? Wrong!

What my cable pattern looks like~ complicated, right?  …Wrong!

It really does look complicated, doesn’t it? I promise you that it’s really not complicated at all. All you need to do is lift a couple of stitches off the left needle and then knit a couple of stitches and then knit the lifted/slipped stitches. Follow along with me, I’m going to show you what I mean in a step-by-step tutorial.

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Left needle is holding stitches to be worked next … and we’re ready to make a cable!

I’ve knitted (or in this case, purled) over to where the stitches are that will be my cable (they are the knitted stitches, 8 of them between purl bumps).

If you examine the photo carefully, it’s just like it was sitting in your lap. The right hand needle is the one holding stitches that have already been worked. The left hand needle is the stitches that will be worked next. You can see the stitches several rows below where I am now working that have been cabled already. That’s a helpful hint. In  this pattern, the cables are neatly stacked up on top of each other.

It is time to slip two stitches off the left-hand needle and hold them to the front of my work with my cable needle. I am using a cheap aluminum cable needle that I bought at JoAnn’s ages ago. I lose a lot of cable needles so cheap is good for me.

Slip two stitches from the left-hand needle to the cable needle without twisting or as if to purl.

To the left is a picture of the two stitches slipped onto the cable needle and being “held” in front of my work. If not careful, the cable needle will slip out of the stitches whether you hold it or not. But it’s not a crisis. The only time any damage comes to “dropped” stitches is when you pull. If you don’t pull your stitches, you can slip them right back onto the cable needle (or any other needle for that matter).

Now, I’m goinIMG_5450g to knit the next two stitches on the left-hand needle. And hopefully I will not drop the cable needle. And then I will knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

When that is done, I’m half way there.

I still have one more part of the bigger cable to do and that means slipping two stitches to the back of my work in the same manner that I slipped the stitches to the front. I will knit two stitches from the left hand needle and then knit the two stitches that are held on the cable needle in back of my work. Wait! I’m going to show you …

Just a note about cables – Cables are always either left-leaning or right-leaning. When you hold your cable stitches to the front the cable will be left-leaning (I remember that by thinking about left having the “f” in it which stands for front). And in the same vein, the right leaning cables will always be worked from stitches that are held to the back. (I haven’t got a mnemonic for that, but you have the one for the left-leaning so I hope you don’t need one for the right-leaning …. right?)

Knitted two from the working needle and two from the cable needle held in front. Now it's time to slip two more stitches and hold them to the back.

Knitted two from the working needle and two from the cable needle held in front. Now it’s time to slip two more stitches and hold them to the back.

Here is my work after having knitted the first four stitches (two from the needle and two from the cable needle held in front.)

Now it’s time to finish the cable.

We are going to slip two stitches from the left-hand needle to the cable needle and hold it to the back of our work. (This will be a right-leaning cable … can you see how the first part of this cable that we just finished is leaning to the left?)

 

 

 

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We have slipped two stitches onto the cable needle and they are being held to the back of our work …

Once the two stitches are on the cable needle and at the back of the work as in the photograph to the right, you can knit the next two stitches from left-hand needle … and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Ta! Da!

You’ve just worked a cable! Woo! Hoo!

 

 

 

 

8-stitch cable with one side leaning right and one side leaning left

8-stitch cable with one side leaning right and one side leaning left

My two fingers are marking the eight stitches that we’ve just manipulated to make this “double” cable. The first side we knitted (on the right in this photo) leans to the left and the second side (on the left in this photo) leans to the right. Can you see this??? Under my fingers are two purl bumps … there are purl stitches on both sides of the cable. Purl stitches make the cable pop!

Simpler still, a 4-stitch cable

Simpler still, a 4-stitch cable that leans to the left and to the right

 

 

 

 

The other cable in this pattern is a simpler four-stitch cable.

The process is the same as far as the knitting goes. This cable leans to the left and then it leans to the right. Yup, you guessed it! When making up this cable, one time you’ll bring your cable needle with its two stitches to the front (left-leaning) and then the next time, you’ll bring it to the back (right-leaning).

Every cable pattern has a number of rows that it takes to make the cable happen consistently (and look just right!) This pattern just happens to have an eight-row repeat and the “difficult” rows are the first and fifth. These are the rows where I use the cable needle and cross or twist my stitches. The other six rows are super simple combinations of knit and purl stitches.

So now you’re ready to cast on some stitches and give cables a try, right? I hope this has helped to make you feel more comfortable with the idea of cables … cast on 22 stitches with any plain-colored light yarn and an appropriately-sized set of needles and give this a try! Here’s your “pattern”…

Cast on 22 stitches

Set up Row (wrong side of knitting): K2, P4, K3, P8, K3, P4, K2

Row 1 (right side of knitting): P2, C4B, P3, C4B, C4F, P3, C4B, P2

(remember: C4B means hold 2 slipped stitches to the back of work, knit 2 from working needle, knit 2 from cable needle and C4F means hold 2 slipped stitches to the front of work, knit 2 from working needle and then knit 2 from cable needle)

Row 2 (and all other even rows): K2, P4, K3, P8, K3, P4, K2

Row 3: P2, K4, P3, K8, P3, K4, K2

Row 5: K2, C4F, P3, C4F, C4B, P3, C4F, K2

Row 7: repeat row 3

Row 8: repeat row 2 (obviously)! This is the end of the 8-row repeat.

Give it a try and let me know how you do!

For now, I’ve gone knitting!

 

 

WIP to Finished!

It always feels so good!

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Lesser Evil Socks (Toe Up, Two at a Time!)

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My own design … baby blanket backed with polar fleece & silk border (sewn by me … and, no, I’m not a great seamstress!)

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And finally my Wonderful Wallaby … heading to my niece on the west coast for next year … or maybe the next year. We’ll see when it fits her!

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Gone knitting!

Finishing and Starting Over Again

The other day it was miserably cold and rainy and we were beginning to have a bit of cabin fever. Late in the afternoon, however, the weather changed and we had a lovely double rainbow on the other side of the lake. Clear. Colorful. Perfect in every way! And then the rain came back with a vengence.

I liked being reminded (thanks Mother Nature!) that every day is a new opportunity to start over again. Sometimes we get to start over more than once. Life is full of choices – the question is whether we make an effort to start over … or not.

When I got home after four days on the road and on the run, I was exhausted and a little bit cranky (hard to believe, I know!) When I found out that my daughter went to bed at ten, I didn’t feel quite so badly that I went to bed at nine thirty. I started over several times in those couple of cranky, tired, sensitive days.

I’ve been able to start and finish several knitting projects, too. Started a pair of socks with my Maine Fiber Frolic “Maine Lobstah” sock yarn. Loving the way it is knitting up – bright and so lobstery! FInished the cute little sweater for the baby-to-be also in bright rainbow colors – perfect to start a new winter season in! Finished the “Lakeside Log Cabin” baby blanket with a crocheted edge to give it a really stable, finished-looking edge. Started and (almost) finished a couple of loads of laundry today and have been enjoying the sunny day and an opportunity to sit on the front porch (aka my Northern Atelier) in the sun and cool breeze.

I like the idea of starting a new day every day. Giving myself a new opportunity to pursue my dreams. I still dream of owning a yarn shop. A place that is warm and welcoming and has two little dogs to greet customers. Where I can teach knitting and be surrounded by the fiber that I love so much. I’d love to learn to spin and teach spinning and maybe even weaving. One day maybe pottery too (.. what a mess pottery would make in a yarn shop!) But certainly it will be a place where my personality is infused in every corner – happy, warm, honest, sincere, always learning, full of love. I also dream of traveling in my RV – doesn’t have to be huge or fancy. Just warm and safe.

So, off I go to finish some projects and to start some new ones. Every day I am learning more about myself and just how little I really need to be content in my own skin. I keep simplifying and it’s all good!

Gone knitting!

From my Northern Atelier

A dog on my lap, and knitting in my northern atelier … this is the best place I could be today. The sun is shining and there’s a gentle breeze blowing, the first laundry load of the season is hanging on the line. Life is good!

Thought I would catch you up with my knitting projects that are currently on my needles … they are growing and I have a bunch planned for this summer. I even brought a huge L.L. Bean bag full of yarn with patterns for most of them up with us from Florida. I had thought to knit all that up before buying any more yarn … well … it was a good try!

#1 – Log Cabin(-ish) Baby Blanket – I’ve never knitted one of these before and having seen a couple on the Internet, I decided to give it a shot. The yarn is an acrylic yarn because baby blankets have to be super washable and somewhat ordinary. But the blanket is coming along and almost finished. It’s pretty cute and I hope my customer likes it. After this, one more baby blanket will complete the order.

Log Cabin(-ish) Baby Blanket (Queen Bee Knits Original)

#2 – My tunic … which takes a back seat to “real work” is growing a bit since I last photographed it. I still love the color but the yarn is really splitty … maybe why it was wearing such a discounted price? Whatever … when it’s done, I think I’ll love it.

Dropps Tunic (Pattern #111-21) in Berroco Pure Pima (color 2243)

#3 – Fingerless gloves. These poor things have been sitting in their project bag minding their own business for way too long. I started them last fall and then put them aside because orders were flowing in and needed to be a priority (not that I’m complaining, that’s a great problem to have!) So, maybe now it’s time to pay some attention to them and get the second mitt knitted up, attach a couple of thumbs and send them to their intended recipient.

Vancouver Fog Fingerless Gloves in Cascade Yarns Lana Banbu (lot 93979 col 02)

#4 – One of the yarns that I bought in Gloucester is being knitted into a simple baby sweater and I’m totally in love with the yarn and the sweater (and the baby, too). The woman at Coveted Yarns told me that when you knit up the yarn it almost becomes a neutral and I’m starting to think she was right – despite the bright rainbow colors of the hand-dyed yarn. Hopefully, I’ll have enough to make a sweater and a hat or booties … but I am way ahead of the baby (who is not fully cooked yet!)

Knitting Pure & Simple Bulky Baby Pullover in Flat Rocks Yarns Whirlpool (#28 Grateful Threads)

#5 – Cooked Lobster Claw mittens – this my first original pattern that I will soon be adding to my shop on Ravelry. I have had two test knitters give the pattern a go and they’ve given me some wonderful feedback and a few photos of their projects. I’m happy to report that they’re really great looking and I think knitters will love it! I have one pair and one mitten knitted – so, unless I can sell single mittens, I had best make a matching one!

Oops! That's the real thing!

Ha! Well, now you know what I’m up to … I leave you with a photo of my laundry drying (yes, seriously!)

Gone Knitting!

New on the Needles

I bought some yummy cotton yarn to make myself a Drops knitted tunic that I saw somewhere online when I was wandering. The pattern is a free Ravelry download. The yarn was on sale (serious sale! I think it was $3.99 a skein!) at WEBS. It’s Berroco’s Pure Pima (color #2243 “Barely Blue”). I love that Jimmy Bean’s sent me a bag and matched the dye lots of the extra few skeins. It’s a pretty sky blue color with a bit of a gray undertone and I really like it. The pattern is found here!


Classic and simple patterning … I loved the yellow but my mother always said that when I wore yellow I looked green. I don’t want to look green!

Will be winding a skein and doing a swatch … because I know that if I don’t swatch, I will make the sweater in the wrong size! I guess I had best measure my chest, too … just in case! (Note to self – gauge is not for wussies!)

Also trying a pair of baby socks by Cat Bordhi – you can find out all about Cat at her website CatBordhi dot com. All of a sudden, I have an interest in knitting baby things … could be that there’s a new little niece or nephew in the oven!? Anyway, it’s the Baby Life Rings socks and they’re cuter than cute. Found some Cascade Yarns Fixation (also at WEBS) in a couple of colors … color #9030 (“denim”, if my memory serves) and color #9936 (“pacific”in really great ocean colors.) It looks like they’ll stay on the baby feet with three rings around the ankles. Always an issue for new parents, keeping feet on those wiggle pigs … I aim to please!

Already on the needles, my son’s socks. I’ll report on the yarn … because it’s not making this knitter happy. I’ve never had a ball of sock yarn “fight” with me quite so much! Promised by his graduation in June … who can believe that my baby will be graduating from college? And the baby blanket – reversible cables in a white acrylic yarn (to make it easier to wash over and over!)

Finished – a pair of lobster mittens (cooked, of course!) and two pairs of slipper socks. Also finished is a dishcloth … ours are getting pretty yucky! Photos will come soon … maybe tomorrow!

Grateful for fingers that work.

Gone knitting!