What a Week! Let’s Stick to Knitting

Mullein in bloom

What a week. What a series of weeks. On top of the Supreme Court decision, I’ve been so busy for the last several months volunteering for our lake association. Maybe too busy. I really needed to take this weekend off. I needed the time to recharge my batteries and to have some time to process everything. In addition to the Supreme Court decision, today would have been my father’s 100th birthday. He died suddenly in 1985 at the age of 62. Now that I’m nearly 64, it’s so evident that he was too young to die. And he’s missed so much. I would so love to be able to talk to him again. I have so many questions (for him and my mother.)

Trip Around the World Quilt

This week I finally got to repairing my daughter’s quilt. I made this quilt 35 years ago when my second-born was still in a crib. I remember hanging it behind her crib in her room in our Sharon, CT house. This quilt was a special gift that I made for her when my life wasn’t really my own. I was a stay-at-home mother of two little girls and quilts are an expensive hobby on one income – and I didn’t buy the fabric at an “expensive” (quality) fabric store.

Back in 1987 we had only the polyester, fluffy quilt batting. Since my daughter’s quilt was a tied quilt, the batting had separated and was extra fluffy in some areas and nonexistent in others. But it was her quilt and she loved it … until her puppy had a few unsupervised minutes and chewed a good bit of one side of the border. I got it back to repair probably two years ago and I just haven’t taken the time to fix it.

I had found the fabric for a new backing and a new border that matched pretty well. I also bought some red print fabric for the binding. I bought one of the new, better, more stable, natural batts. I used some of the old borders to make patches for the holes in the quilt top and stitched them on. And then I added the new borders … unfortunately, I didn’t remember what I had planned when I bought the fabric and I cut them months ago and they weren’t exactly what I wanted. But I made it work and sewed them on. I spent a good bit of time trimming threads from the back of the quilt (it had been washed a couple of times in 35 years) and on Friday after work, I dropped all the pieces off with a dear friend who is going to quilt it on her long arm. The quilting will make the quilt more stable and it will last longer. Once quilted, I’ll trim it and measure it and then cut and apply the binding. I will machine sew one side of the binding and hand sew the other. And then it will be ready to gift back to my daughter – a new old quilt for the ages.

Whoooo Loves Ya, Baby?

This owl bib is the third one that I have knitted. This one is absolutely for my niece’s baby boy because the mama-to-be loves owls. And I love this designer! She has lots of cute bib and washcloth pattern on Ravelry and they’re free! The pattern is Whooo Loves Ya, Baby? and I knit it in a premium cotton, Berroco Pima 100. I love the peach color and I love the yarn. I have a hank of green Pima 100 and I will be making more bibs. (All details are on my Ravelry project page.) The other two bibs I posted about here.

I knit these two sets of hats and thumbless mittens for two babies-to-be. I love knitting baby gifts and these are so cute! I knit them with a new yarn in the LYS where I work, Lang Merino 200 Bebe. One skein was enough to make both the hat and the mittens – complete with the icord string to hold them in the baby’s jacket. This is fingering weight yarn (it’s a fine yarn, Muffin) and will be a good weight for a fall baby. The pattern is a free pattern at our shop. The sample in the shop was knitted by a customer and this is her pattern. If anybody wants the pattern, please let me know and I can send it to you via email.

This morning I needed something to do for my family. I needed to disconnect and go outside and it was summery-warm here in Maine yesterday and today. So, we got out early and headed to Stevenson’s Strawberry Farm in Wayne, Maine. The berries were ripe for the picking and in about 45 minutes we picked 12 pounds of berries. When we got home I made the crust and put it in the refrigerator to chill. After lunch I washed my car for the first time in a few years – we have a pump that pulls lake water for our gardens and outside water activities and it wasn’t working properly. We finally got it, or rather the pipe from the lake, fixed and we’re back in outside water business again.

Once the crust was chilled, I made the rest of the Strawberry Glaze Pie. In my Friday morning knitting class, Jan brought in a strawberry glaze pie and after having a slice (or two), I knew I had to make one for my husband. It was a delicious fresh strawberry pie. The berries are perfectly sweet and this pie should be the most wonderful, fresh strawberry pie. I may have to make one tomorrow for my board meeting. If I plan my time well in the morning, I should be able to make the pie crust, go pick up my groceries, make the pie and then head to the car dealership so they can figure out what’s wrong with my screen – it keeps going black in the middle of a trip where I need to use GPS. Baking was something that I did with my grandmother and it always centers and grounds me and helps me to process my emotions and events of the day. I needed it today!

Our gardens are coming along. We have peppers forming and tomatoes blossoming. The garlic scapes are ready to be pinched and brought inside. Tonight we’re having pasta with the garlic pesto from last year’s harvest. Our lettuce is almost ready to pick and the peas are ready to have a trellis to climb. My Shasta Daisies are just about to pop. My dad loved his gardens and I hope he’d be proud of what we’ve built here and the good life we have here in Maine. My dad loved Maine.

I’m sure as I process the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I’ll have something to say. I’m absolutely pro-choice and once again it’s about wealthy white men needing to be in control. This time it’s a dangerous line being crossed where politics and religion are being prioritized over the law and people of color and the poor are going bear the brunt of this decision. Women deserve better.

Gone knitting.

Pumpkin Hats, etc.

I’ve been working on knitting down my (sizable) stash. When a knitter talks about his/her stash, we all respond that we have bins and bins of yarn. And we do. It seems to me that we all think we have the largest stash but we likely don’t. BUT mine is sizable and I’m proud to say that I did really well to knit only from stash UNTIL I went back to work and customers started giving me ideas again.

This is the yarn corner of my atelier. I had the shelf (and a matching one on the other side of the window holds my knitting books and fabric in the cupboard. Sadly, I have three Ikea shelf sets that also hold yarn. A total of about a dozen fabric boxes in addition to my built-ins. It’s a good sized collection … and I like to think that it adds to the r-value of our home.

Anyway … I digress. I have been trying to knit down my stash so that when I die my children won’t have to deal with it. Partly because they don’t have a clue as to its value. At the end of the year, I dumped out all of the little bins and boxes and went through the yarn to try to cull some that I knew I wouldn’t be knitting with – not ever. I also noticed some that I could knit up and get out. One of those was the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I have had forever (or the last time I had fall babies to knit for.) I knew that this yarn had to be a pumpkin hat for my great-nephew-to-be who is due in September and who will live in Salem, MA. A perfect gift for a Salem baby.

So, last week I cast on and knit the smallest size pumpkin hat. I had forgotten how cute the hat is and how little yarn those tiny hats use. I had a significant amount still left. Surely, I thought, I can use it all up if I make a medium-size pumpkin hat, right? This weekend I cast on again and am nearly finished with pumpkin hat number two. And guess what? I have a feeling I have enough for a third hat, too. The extra hats will go into my gifts drawer or maybe I’ll have a giveaway on my Instagram page. I haven’t done that for a long time.

The Fiber Trends Patrick’s Pumpkin hat is really one of my favorite patterns. It’s a clever construction with a “shark tooth” piece done up first in garter stitch and then added to a rolled brim. When the hat is finished and blocked you can tack the pieces to that they stay in the right spot. The pumpkin part is so simple and yet so obviously a large orange gourd and it makes a great gift for a fall baby’s arrival. Especially in New England.

Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep is what I have always bought for this hat. I’m not sure why but it is. I love knitting with this cotton/wool blend yarn. It’s not as stretchy or squishy as full wool but for a baby’s tender head, it’s a soft but warm alternative to acrylics or acrylic blends. And we all know that cotton yarn doesn’t really hold its shape. So … this seems the perfect solution. I also love Brown Sheep because it’s an American company.

Brown Sheep was started over 100 years ago and pivoted in the 1970s when farming prices were low and the market for lamb was dropping off. The Brown family pivoted and began processing wool from their sheep and the rest is history. The Brown family (now with the last name Wells after a couple of generations of marriage) still owns and runs Brown Sheep.

I’ve made a LOT of these hats but on this last one, for whatever reason, I increased in every stitch when the color changed to orange so I had WAY more than 90 stitches. After an inch or so, when the stitches were so squished on the 16″ needle, I had a second look at the pattern and kept knitting. After two inches, I pulled it out, realizing my error. Good grief. Knitting keeps me humble.

I recovered my place again last night while I was watching the Tony Awards. I’m about ready to decrease for the crown of the hat and then I’ll weigh the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for one more hat. It must be my Yankee upbringing that makes it difficult for me to “dispose” of yarn that could still be used. I hope my fingers and wrists hold up well into old age.

Gone knitting.

Putting it “Out There”

Last year, for the first time, I joined my knitting guild group and entered a couple of items in our Central Florida Fair. I was (super) nervous about putting my work “out there”! But the rewards were great – not only did my work receive recognition, but I felt so good doing it.

This year, I’ve decided to enter a few items again. I can always change my mind but I think it’s healthy to submit my work asking for criticism and showing people the work that I am so proud to do. So, what did I submit?

The rules state that all items have to be completed during the calendar year between fairs. I have chosen the “mini-me” leg warmers that I knitted copying the adult-size ones that I made for my daughter for Christmas. My first efforts at Fair Isle knitting (and I, honestly, forgot to watch the joins which are not joggless so we’ll see how that goes.) I may even re-knit them. Time permitting.

"mini me" infant leg warmers - original Fair Isle pattern

“mini me” infant leg warmers – original Fair Isle pattern

I also entered a little light green seed stitch dog coat that I designed for my little dogs. Last year I submitted my first original dog design for my Prima Dogma line. This is number two. I like the color and the edge which is a simple single crochet in a black & white wool which contrasts really nicely with the light green. It was a quick knit … I really need to write down the pattern and post it! I need to find a way to display it … stuffed dog or something!

The last three items are still on my needles.

My Vintage Velvet scarf with its wonderful reversible cables is one. Second is the little hat that I started knitting yesterday and will finish today, Downton. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Check it out! Third is the fingerless mitts that I will finish (I hope) in time to submit that I am knitting along with the Jimmy Beans Wool Downton Abbey KAL “Lady Violet’s Dinner Gauntlets”. Despite the fact that I am not totally in love with the colorway, I like the project. (And it’s my first ever KAL!) Both the scarf and gauntlets can be seen in my previous post, Queen Bee WIP here.

I will report on the final decisions of what I will submit (the deadline is still distant enough to add a project or two if I decide to do so) or that I may decide to withdraw. It’s a woman’s perrogative to change her mind, after all!

Gone knitting!

UFOs and Abracadabra, Y’all!

They’re finished!

I sent off the Baby Life Ring socks and the hat that I designed to match with it’s little dreadlocks on top and the Grandmother-to-be loves them. Makes me so happy to please people with yarn-y wonderful-ness! And I have to be perfectly honest, the little hat is pretty stinkin’ cute!

An original Queen Bee Knits design – “Baby Dreads”

While visiting my college roommate here in Atlanta, I’ve finished knitting and embellishing the “This Little Piggy” hat that I designed for another friend’s granddaughter. I’ve knitted up a pair of thumbless mittens to match. The pattern is called Stay Put Baby Mitts by Jillian Neary. It’s on Ravelry … of course! The pattern is really simple to knit up and since it’s knit in a worsted-weight yarn (at least that’s what I used), they knit up quickly. The little single-crochet “string” tie at the wrist keeps the mitts on the baby’s hands. The string attaching them together keeps them from falling off and getting lost. They’re not embroidered yet (they need to have cloven hooves) but they will be finished and sent out as soon as I am back in my southern atelier!

“This Little Piggy” hat – an original Queen Bee Knits design

The hat pattern will be joining my other originals on Ravelry when I get it test knitted. I am really pleased with the adorable piggy ears and it’s little curly tail. I giggle when I look at it because the pig’s face seems so quizzical … like it doesn’t know what to do – go to market or stay home!

Next up, my Boxy Cardigan. Pattern and yarn by Seacolors Yarn. The process Seacolors uses is very unique. It’s hand-dyed with sea water, thus it’s name! The cardigan pattern is very simple and square. What makes it unique is color-blocking and I’ve purchased (after a long, long, long time wandering their booth at the Maine Fiber Frolic) some great colors that I’m very excited to see come together in this sweater! I’m already dreaming of buttons … they also will have to have been made in Maine! I started knitting with the US size 7 needles as the pattern suggests but have frogged that bit knitted up because it didn’t make the gauge. I’m starting again with my US size 8 needles and we’ll see how it goes! I’m knitting the large size.

I’ve also had a request to knit up another top down baby sweater in the fabulous “Grateful Threads” colorway from Coveted Yarn. I am really excited about knitting with this yarn again!

My tunic is still coming along. Knitting a ribbed stitch on US size 1 needles is slow going and very tedious so I have to break up that work with other projects.

Dropps Tunic (Dropps 111-21)

Detail of the “gathering” effect

The construction of the tunic (it’s a Dropps design) is quite simple and the switch from the US size 6 needles in stockinette stitch to the 1×1 ribbing on US size 1 needles creates a bit of a gathered effect which is very pleasing. The back is nearly complete!

I am so grateful for the friends and family who have encouraged me to follow my passion around knitting and I’m certain that the future holds all great things for my business as it grows right along with me!

Gone knitting (in Atlanta), Y’all!

Cabled Baby

The hats and booties are done and adorable … if this Queen Bee does says so herself!

The patterns were both found on Ravelry and the hat pattern was flawlessly written. The pattern is Heirloom Stitches’ Little Boy Blue Hat. It knits up a hat for a 12-24 month child. I think this is a great gift to give to a new baby … because people are apt to get teeny tiny clothes but not much for the baby when he or she gets a bit bigger.

The booties were a bit more difficult and had a couple of places where I had to go to work “fixing” the pattern. So, next time, when I have to make some booties, I’ll be writing my own pattern. The pattern, also from Ravelry, is called Seamless Cable Booties by Crumbgrubbers Knits. It’s a free download and I just noticed that there are comments that repair the “problems” – so, the problems were mine! LOL! I made one pair for a girl and one for a boy – if one can’t figure out which is which … well … ’nuff said!

Gone knitting!

 

Lost & Found

I lost my 40″ circular needle wire (with some points on it) and was having difficulty knitting the booties that I wanted to start. wanting to make I’m not sure I’ve ever made booties before and wasn’t sure how the process went … consequently, my super long cord was essential to the project. I searched my entire Atelier to no avail. But yesterday after my Michael’s knitting demo, I searched for a third time and voila! I found the needle! An Easter miracle the day before Easter?

I got the first bootie cast on and finished now. It’s cute. I’ve used a pattern that I found on Ravelry but I’ve changed it up a bit – as a knitter has a tendency to do. So, one little bootie is finished. Three to go! (And I have to make a couple of pompoms for the matching hats, too.)

Haven’t moved much on the first of three (or more) baby blankets but those aren’t “due” until summer. And I have all the days of driving north … it’s almost time again!

It’s a beautiful day here in Florida. Great Easter egg-hunt weather and I’m sure kids all over are having a joyous day. I have such fond memories of the egg hunts at our house when the kids were little (and not so little) and one failed hunt when I decided to fill the kids’ baskets and hide the baskets. That never happened again (though the baskets were a success!)

Gone knitting!

Spud and Chloe Little Boy Blue Baby Hat – in progress

It must be time for a post about knitting! (Ya think!?)

Heirloom Stitches "Little Boy Blue Hat"

I’m making a baby hat for my sister to present as a baby gift for a friend (booties will be knitted to match). I bought a pattern and yarn in Cincinnati when I was there to be a back-up support for my kids. Who knew that I could love a yarn so much?

So, here are the details.

1. LYS – Fiberge in Montgomery, Ohio. Fiberge has changed hands and moved to a new location since I lived in Cincinnati. it’s still a nice little yarn shop, however. The selection of yarns is delicious – and I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to knit with. Always a good thing! I decided to be responsible and since I had just purchased a ball of really special novelty yarn here in Florida for me, I bought a pattern and yarn for one of my orders … which leads us to the pattern.

2. Pattern – Heirloom Stitches‘ Little Boy Blue Hat (you can find the pattern on Ravelry (Ravelry dot com) or on the designer’s site  … click here to be magically transported. It’s a really sweet classic Aran design with seed stitch (my favorite these days) and cables. Sized to fit a 12-24 month baby … always a good thing when you’re knitting for a new baby. They always get tons of tiny clothes and nothing to “save for later”. Anyway, I loved the pattern and it’s a breeze to knit! Pattern calls for US #7 needles and a yarn that Fiberge didn’t have but gauge is 5 sts = 1 inch. So, I picked …

3. Yarn – Oh. My. Goodness! I totally love the yarn that I chose to knit this hat! Spud & Chloe by Blue Sky Alpacas “Sweater Worsted” is a worsted weight superwash blend of 55% wool and 45% organic cotton. (They’re going to love that part in California!) Color is, again, that classic Aran ivory (color #7500 “Ice Cream” – love the name! – , lot # 0831). I simply love knitting with this yarn. It doesn’t split or pill and it’s so soft! The baby’s head will not be itchy at all and it’s knitting up to be so cute! I think I may be in love! 🙂

The hat takes a few hours to complete  – hey! I’m a purposeful knitter … each stitch is thoughtful and meditative. Therapeutic. Imbued with love and peace with wishes for health and happiness for the recipient.

I’ll post finished pictures later. But now, I’m gone knitting!

Duck, Duck …

The sun is out today and I’m typing on my favorite desk in my favorite office … my lap is my desk and the front porch is my office. We have a new family of ducks who have been coming by to visit … and get a little bit of bread from me! 🙂

Listening to President Obama’s speech at the University of Richmond while I blog. In the sun! Just having the sun out makes my attitude so much better. I’ve finished the two baby hats that I’ve been working on and they’re really cute. I wish I had a doll or a stuffed animal to put them on for photographs. Neither my hand nor my yarn spool makes a great baby face! Regardless, they’ve turned out well.

Hat #1 is the Aviatrix Hat from Justine Turner (and a free download on Ravelry.) I knit this hat in Plymouth Yarn’s Baby Alpaca DK (colorway 753) in a wonderful grey-blue color. I love it! There are two buttons on the hat so that when baby’s chinny-chin-chin gets all pudgy and kissable, mom can loosen the strap and it will still fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hat #2 is Garnstudio’s Dropps Bonnet in Rib in Alpaca . It’s such a cute hat and I know it’s going to grow well with the baby as the 3×3 rib is really stretchy. The reason I really like this hat is that it goes over baby’s head like a hood – and they can’t pull it off! I knit this with Reynolds Revue 100% Merino wool in (color 1431) a raisin color – it’s a pretty brownish wine color (in these photos it looks way more pink than in real life!)  that I think will be very “in” this year since it’s an organic color and found in nature. The only “issue” I have with this hat is, I think, the nature of merino wool in that it shows all the increases around the bottom of the hat. Fortunately, it will be under the baby’s jacket but it’s still aggravating for me to be able to see the “irregularity” of the stitches.

I’m having a really proud moment, though, because I tried something that I’ve never done before. (Although, my knitting friend Bob in Ohio did it for me once several years ago.) Anyway, after reviewing several videos, I did a single crochet edging around the opening of the hat and it looks great! I wish I had a doll or a stuffed animal here that I could put the hat on to show it off better … hope my new mom will send me a photo of baby in the hat and for the meantime, my photos on my antique spool will have to do. That’s life!

I found a really quick baby mittens pattern to send along with the hats … without having to knit a thumb gusset, it’s a really quick knit and very quick, indeed!

I’ve been thinking that I need to design and knit up a case for my new computer … cabled? or patterned? lined? unlined? We’ll see what I come up with. I have some really cool yarn that I bought out in northern California in December that has some cat hair in it … and pretty sparkly blue, too. I think that will be my yarn choice! I also have the “Kate Middleton” shawl that I bought some new yarn for. I’ll let you know what I decide!

So, from my porch office with the breezes blowing gently … gone knitting!