Winter’s Refusal … getting stuck

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Snow! Snow! Snow!

It seems that Winter is not quite ready to concede to Spring. At least not yet. It’s really cold here again and we have been warned by the weather-people that we are likely to have more snow on Tuesday.

I’ve got some great knitting projects on my needles and have been plugging right along on Ma Belle Amie for my aunt. This is a remarkably simple cowl but I love the way that it gives the yarn permission to shine. I’ve made one in a discontinued Maine yarn, Apogee, for myself. You can see it on my Ravlery project page here. The yarn, conveniently, came in four colors. Just what the cowl required. It is a very wearable accessory! The current version is being knitted in three solid colors of Berroco’s Folio and a variegated Folio Color. This is a great project to work on when you’re having an adult beverage or sitting in a knitting group and want to chat instead of counting.

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I’ve also been working on Susan B. Anderson’s Split Back Snowflake Hat which I’m knitting in Berroco Yarn’s Ultra Alpaca worsted-weight yarn. I’ve chosen a medium gray and a white/cream. I love this hat because I love cables and color work. This hat has both … and it’s satisfying to knit hats because they don’t take forever to knit. Finishing projects makes me feel good about myself and makes me feel accomplished because I start and complete a project within a “reasonable” time frame!

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Last, but certainly not least, I’m working on a pair of Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens for a college friend. This is what made me think about writing this post today.

This project began upon my friend seeing this photograph on my Facebook page.

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Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens; top by Terri and bottom by Peggy

The two pairs of mittens above were knit by a talented student and a talented co-worker. A customer wore another pair of mittens into the shop one Friday and we all fell in love with the pattern. It’s free on Ravelry here. I can’t tell you that my attempts to knit these have been easy. I’ve knitted and frogged them multiple times.

Sometimes I think I have a mental block and am quite literally more challenged by some patterns/projects. I didn’t pay attention at the thumb gusset in one attempt and when I looked down, it was a mess. Back I ripped to before the gusset increases. The stream pattern didn’t have the right stitch count. Back I went to the top of the cuff. This is not a difficult pattern. I’ve knitted color work mittens before. So, why, for heaven’s sake, does this pattern present such a challenge for me? I wish I had the answer.

My mittens have one difference. I used an i-cord cast on so that the edge doesn’t roll. And I like the way the edge looks. (Another option would be to cast on the stitches and then purl one round.)

I remain a firm believer in patience in the process. I take a deep breath and frog whatever needs to be re-knit. …If I was knitting for myself, I might not be so particular and “make” it work a bit more “creatively,” but when I am knitting for someone else I am particular about doing it “right”. Knitting soothes my soul and helps me relax. My day isn’t complete when I don’t knit.

Gone knitting.

 

You can find more details about my projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar. Follow me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.

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Tartan Knitting

 

Be still my heart! I love this shawl!

Three of us, all teachers, decided to do a MKAL together and chose an “oldie”that we had all seen on Facebook and loved, the Dragonfly MKAL 2016 by Rachel Roden. This pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry.

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The Yarn!

I am using two skeins of Manos del Uruguay’s “Alegria” fingering yarn (75% merino wool and 25% nylon) in two colors, Kohl, and Teal. Both colors are tonals which means that there is a slight variation of shade in the yarn. When I chose the yarn colors I probably had a choice of 20 different colors and it was not easy … but this was my favorite combination at the end of the day. I love the teal and I love the gray with it.

There are five clues. They are well divided and very satisfying to knit. Clue 1 starts at the center of the neck and has the first section of plaid knitting. The clues and the shawl grow well together and I especially loved knitting the sideways cables (braids).

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Nearing the end!

I am currently knitting the very last section of the shawl with over 400 stitches and it is a pleated ruffle border and I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s complete. I also can’t wait to block and wear it.

My goal is to have it finished and blocked this week so I can take it with me to visit my kids in New York this weekend.

Yes, you should give this pattern a try! Use your stashed yarn or come visit me at my LYS!

Gone Knitting!

UFOs Finished!

Like any “good” knitter, I tend to put off finishing projects that I don’t really want to do “right now”. I have a complete sweater sitting in time out waiting for me to seam it. A full sweater. One that I would like to wear but I really don’t love finishing sweaters. This one will take maybe 2 hours to finish … after many more hours than that of knitting it. Regardless, while the sweater sits in time out, I have begun and finished several projects.

Pussy Cat Hats in Pink and Gray … my pattern

Two Pussy Cat hats or Kit Kat hats. One is bright pink for those days when I feel like taking a stand and the other is grey for those days when I want to stand firm but not bring attention to myself. I like they way these worked out. I used Plymouth Yarns Encore Chunky yarn for both hats. Normally, I’d rather knit with natural fibers but these hats are soft and chunky and they knit up super quickly. I also can wash and dry them in my machine. I sent my original hat that I knit in Malabrigo Rios worsted yarn to my future son-in-law. He wanted a hat and I was happy to send mine and knit another for myself.

The pattern is mine.

Queen Bee Knits Pussy Hat

 

With bulky yarn and US 10 16″ circular needle, cast on 72 stitches. K2, P2 ribbing for 12 rounds. Knit around until hat is 9″ from cast on edge. Use a 3-needle bind off to cast off all stitches. Weave in ends. 

 

Feel free to use the pattern for personal use. If you want to give away hats, that’s fine. Please don’t sell these hats. Thank you.

A cowl for a customer. I have a customer who loves my knitted accessories. I’ve knitted her three or four tams in different weights and now a cabled cowl. The latest is a Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho which is a free pattern on Revelry or the Purl Soho website. She didn’t understand that the picture of the cabled cowl wasn’t really how a cowl worked. She was wanting a “dickey” that will sit down on her chest and around her neck rather than a cowl that solely goes around the neck. I’ve finished this one is Cascade 128 Superwash in a lovely teal colorway. It will match the hat that I just made her. She still wants another pair of hats. One in a yellow Cascade 128 and another in a Noro yarn.

I also finished the first block of my Cascade Knitterati Afghan MKAL. I love doing things that are a little bit different. I am not knitting with the same colors that the KAL is recommending (why would I do that?) but have picked one colorway so far that is a dark Granny Smith apple green. I’ve loved the color from afar for a long time and it’s high time to use it somewhere. Squares two and three have been released. I’ll likely knit square three before two because it’s a single color square and I have a single color yarn.

I have been knitting dish cloths for the daughters. It all started with sending three to my children at Christmas time. Daughter #1 asked for more so that they aren’t using paper towels any longer. They’ve been sent. In the meantime, I’ve knitted a few more for Daughter #2. And then I’ve knitted three tiny ones for the little California nieces. I’ve got to mail them away soon. The pattern is Grandma’s Favorite Dish Cloth and it’s a free Rarely pattern. These are all Lily Sugar and Cream yarns one is a pink camouflage colorway and the other simply made me think “Valentines Day”!

Fornicating Deer Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I made my handsome and bald hubby a hat for Valentine’s Day this year. I used a navy and a gray worsted wool by Lamb’s Pride. A long time ago, I saw a chart on Pinterest and I saved it. It made me laugh and it is totally my husband’s sense of humor. It’s called the Fornicating Deer chart by Ann Rutten. It’s on Ravelry. Needless to say, I didn’t have a pattern to go with the chart but I looked at my expected gauge and decided to knit three repeats of the chart. I also decided that once the deer were finished that I would do my decreases and not finish the entire chart. He likes caps that fit tightly but cover his ears. When he came home after work the first day he wore it, he said, “hey hon, now I really have sex on the brain!” Yup. I think he loves his hat.

Oh, I need a better camera. The color is way off!

I do love to finish projects! Today I hope to finish a pair of bright orange work socks (the picture doesn’t come close to the bright “hunting orange” color) for my husband. He loves to wear the thick, warm Raggi yarn socks to work. He works outside in Maine in the winter. Enough said?

Gone knitting!

I Heart Aran – Nearing the Finish Line

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I Heart Aran by Tanis Fiber Arts – blocking!

I started knitting the I Heart Aran sweater by Tanis Fiber Arts in early September. It’s a 32nd birthday gift for my eldest daughter. I’m not sure how she got to be so old when I remain young and nearly the same age as she! Kate chose the sweater pattern from Ravelry and this was the one she loved the most. This morning I finished the knitting and it’s blocked. Woo! Hoo!

I was gifted the yarn by my sister-in-law, Annie, who found it and some purple at an estate or garage sale several years ago. For ten dollars! She’s a very thoughtful person and I’m delighted to be able to make a sweater with five of the ten skeins of ivory/aran color that she gave me which leaves several skeins for me to make something for Annie! It’s Shetland by Jaeger (80% wool, 20% alpaca 100 g/166m). The hand on this yarn is wonderfully soft thanks to the alpaca. It was great to knit with – not splitty and no little bits of wool all over my dark jeans. Because it’s an Aran weight yarn and the sweater was rather small, it knit up in no time at all. It helped, too, because the sleeves and back are all a very simple, almost boring, stockinette. If I were going to knit this sweater again, I’d consider adding a cable up the sleeves or on the back or both. The stitch definition is amazing and there is enough wool so that the sweater shouldn’t stretch out (or grow!)

Superior Stitch Definition

Superior Stitch Definition

I used my good old Hiya Hiya Interchangeable needles with the US6 and US8 tips. I used the US6 tips only for the sleeve ribbing and chose to use the US8 (not the US6 as written in the pattern) because I don’t love sweaters with very tight ribbing at the waist. Hiya Hiya Interchangeables are decent needles. The join is mostly smooth. The tips could be pointier.  They were ok for this project because the yarn is heavy enough and the cables weren’t too tight. I chose to knit flat on my circular needles. You could also have knitted this on straight needles.

A good set of schematics make blocking so much simpler!

A good set of schematics make blocking so much simpler!

One of the things I liked about this pattern is that it had a perfect schematic so that when I was blocking (and knitting) I knew exactly what the measurements were to be. This makes my life as a pattern-follower so much easier than when I have to go back into the pattern to decide what the measurements are – and Tanis even added the measurement that is supposed to be across the neck (3″) to eliminate any guesswork. Thank you! The directions were clear and concise.

There was only one place where I was unsure of the directions and I think it was the knitter not the instructions after a quick discussion with knitwear designer Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits.

If it says, “Dec every 8 rows”, you should make the first decrease after 8 rows. If the designers means for you to make the first dec on the next row then start every 8 rows, the directions should say, “Dec on next and then every 8 rows” or something like that!

– Lori Versaci, VersaciKnits

Fortunately, I had figured it out because the decrease instructions all happened on the RS (right side) rows which meant that it was going to have to happen on rows 1 and 9 not on row 8. Being thoughtful, taking a pause to think about my knitting answered the question for me. A life lesson put to use in my knitting yet again.

I block everything on my guest room bed. Today I have two projects blocking – a hat for a customer and the sweater. I can’t wait until it’s dry and can be assembled and I can knit the collar. Then we can choose a button on Tuesday when I’m at the yarn shop and send it off to Kate who is in rehearsal for Carousel which will open later this month at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. I know it’s sweater weather in Maine (at least in the morning and afternoon) but I’m not sure about the Washington area.

I’ll show you the finished garment in a day or two!

Gone knitting.

Interweave Knits Fall 2016

I got my new Interweave Knits Fall 2016 magazine a couple of days ago and it’s full of wonderful designs. But one pattern really caught my eye on my first pass through it, though – Thompson River Socks pattern by Carolyn Kern.

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Seldom does a pattern jump out at me that says, “Go buy this yarn now and cast on as soon as possible!” But this pattern said just that! So, I listened.

It just so happened that I was teaching at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine last Tuesday (the following day) and we carry the Raggi yarn by Jarbo Garn that is called for in the pattern. I grabbed three balls – two in the gray and one red – and set them aside to purchase after my class.

(Note from the Queen Bee: I have it on good authority that the company that makes Raggi yarns is closing up shop. This is a travesty because I love their sock yarns. I wish I could buy the company and keep making the yarn I love it so much. I have a dozen or so balls on hold at my LYS and I may add more to the bag. You might consider collecting some for your stash, too!)

undertheweatherYesterday, when I was at home recovering from the horrible stomach bug/food poisoning that had bitten me on Tuesday night and Wednesday, I cast on the socks. I am surprised that the pattern calls for a US 3 needle which will make the stitches very dense. But, like a good rule follower, I forged ahead.

These socks are knitted toe-up and use a simple cast on and long circular needles (I am using the magic loop method to knit these babies! The pattern for the top of the sock is simple. Since I am knitting the largest size, I added four of the pattern stitches on either side of the cable pattern. The directions weren’t clear on this so I made an executive decision. I’m not sure what I would do if I was knitting the medium size … but this time I am not. The wonderful world of Ravelry.com has allowed me to send a message straight to the inbox of the wonderful designer, however. I am awaiting her reply to make sure I did the right thing … and to find out how to adjust the pattern for the medium-sized pattern since it is my intention to knit those for myself next!

My hands get tired since the fabric is so dense but I made good headway – Here is my progress …

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Gone knitting!

#20 Adults Aran Sweater by Yankee Knitter Designs

Love Love Love the Raspberry Stitch in the middle

Love Love Love the Raspberry Stitch in the middle

The Adult Aran Sweater has been a bucket list project for a couple of years. I love the cardigan … I love the pullover, too. There is something so classic and beautiful about Aran knitting. I have always felt drawn to the Irish part of me (yes, I am partly Irish) and maybe my attraction to Aran knitting is because of that. (or maybe not.)

Regardless, I’ve mostly completed the cardigan for myself. It has been blocked and is nearly dry enough to seam together. It should be a cinch to seam as most of the seams will be straight  and simple. That said, I will wait to finish the seaming before I go about bragging about it being easy – I’m sure to jinx myself.

This pattern was a joy to knit. I loved the pattern and it was the first time that the pattern was so well planned that it was easy for me to memorize so that I didn’t need to refer to the pattern every row. I knitted mine in stashed yarn that I have been carrying around for nearly a decade, Galway Worsted yarn in the natural colorway. The yarn is made by Plymouth Yarn Co. It’s a sturdy worsted weight wool and it should wear well. I plan to wear this sweater a lot!

I love the Galway worsted yarn by Plymouth. I bought a whole bag (or maybe two) to make the Great American Aran Afghan about eight years ago. I’ve started a square twice and never finished them. So, when I was searching my stash to make this sweater (because I am in a severe stash busting mode right now) it was evident that I would have more than enough of this yarn to complete my cardigan and I would bust my stash a bit, too! The afghan will go back on my knitting challenge bucket list for those times when I can sit quietly by myself and count all the stitches. For now, my life is too full of people and activities and that’s a good thing.

A good start - I chose to make my ribbing with the larger size needle so it doesn't get too blouse-y

A good start – I chose to make my ribbing with the larger size needle so it doesn’t get too blouse-y

I chose to knit my ribbing both on the bottom of the body and the sleeves with the same size needle that I knit the rest of the sweater with. I didn’t want it to be super blousey. I loved the twisted rib and it adds a little something special to the sweater’s edges. Otherwise, I knit the sweater as the pattern is written. I made the sleeves a little bit longer than the 20 inches called for because I have gorilla arms.

Blocking

Blocking

I always seem to block my knitwear on the guest bed in our guest room. It’s so much easier on my back! I blocked this out to the chest size that was in the pattern and the sleeves were blocked to the length that I wanted them. The only thing that would improve this pattern (and be helpful for blocking) would be to have a schematic diagram of the way that the pieces are supposed to measure. But, having a little bit of experience, I knew that the crucial measurements for me are the chest and the arm length. The rest will work itself out.

I never buy buttons until the sweater is completed and I won’t break my rule for this sweater. I imagine that I will choose simple buttons because the knitted pattern is so pretty that I don’t want to take away from it but I will cross that river when I get there. (And I will check my button stash first, too!)

Once dry, I will weave in the ends and then seam the sweater up! I can’t wait to have this one finished. And, of course, it’s now summertime and it’s going to be awhile until I get to wear it. But when it’s done, I will post photos of it all together.

Gone knitting.

Another (Dead) Fish Hat and Other Things – Finished Objects

I threw out my back a week and a half ago and was “stuck” in bed … I really didn’t want to move because it hurt so much … for three days and am still not functioning at 100% – mostly because I’m afraid to reinjure myself! Anyway, I got a lot of knitting done in three days and I’m happy to say, some of those WIPs are now finished, labeled and waiting for their intended recipients!

One such item is the second Fish Hat – Dead or Alive. These hats are super fun and very cheerful (for dead fish!) I loved knitting them and I am super pleased with them! (I blogged about the first one here.)

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Fish Hat (Dead or Alive)

The pattern is on Ravelry and I’ve been looking at it for a long time. When the opportunity came to make two hats for two very special little boys, I immediately thought of the fish hats! This one is heading to Florida to one of my former students who has a spinal injury and who is just a special kid who I miss dearly. I love the way this hat turned out and I hope my little buddy loves it, too. Every stitch has a bunch of love in it and good “mojo”!

IMG_5681I love the eyes on this one … and the other one, too. But this one really makes me laugh.

So, as soon as his mom texts me their address, I’ll be bagging and tagging this one! Woo Hoo!

Another FO is my poncho for my first California niece. I still have to knit a “twin” poncho for her little sister. This pattern I fell upon at my LYS while I was working there this summer. I saw the poncho and hat in a book of patterns and I knew I had to make them for the girls. The first one still has to be fringed, but I am going to wait and fringe them both at the same time. I really enjoyed making this poncho (even with the silly “not paying attention” mistakes that I made.

Cabled Poncho

Cabled Poncho

The color is waaaay off in this picture. The blue is much brighter. Sometimes photos don’t come out perfectly. I’ll try to take some more accurate photos later. (Note the word “try”!)

Reversible Cable Cowl

Reversible Cable Cowl

This cowl has been on my needles for a long (LONG!) time. I noted in my Ravelry project description that it was in June. Well, now it’s of the needles! There’s a lot of seed stitch on this bugger! I loved the yarn and I love the cables which are reversible and thus when the cowl is twisted twice around a head, it’ll look the same. I think it’s really pretty and I’m making a cabled headband to go with it. I loved knitting with the Berroco Ultra Alpaca. It’s soft and not at all splitty. I think it’s going to be very warm on those blustery New York City streets this winter! The pattern is On the Side and it’s in Ravelry.

IMG_5690Last, but certainly not least, I finished my Arne and Carlos socks. Just in time to wear them yesterday. Our laundry pile was out of control and I only brought a few pairs of socks with me when we moved from our house in Florida. It was April in Florida and I wasn’t thinking of being into the fall in Maine and needing socks – the rest of them are in storage with all of our belongings. Anyway, they’re beautiful and they fit perfectly! I followed Susan B. Anderson’s “How I Knit My Socks” from her blog. I wear a size 9 shoe or a 39 European size for Birkenstocks or 40 for my closed-heeled Dansko clogs. My foot is nine and a half inches or so long. I knit the foot to seven and three quarters and then knitted the toe. This is my third pair and the more I knit, the more I tweak the sizing to make them fit perfectly. I can’t wait to cast on the next pair of socks … the yarn is so yummy and I’m going to do toes, cuff and heel in a contrasting color.

Don’t you just love the endless possibilities!?

I also finished a hat that I was using for demonstration purposes for a class that I was teaching and a cowl (same reason, same class). And my gorgeous Girasol afghan. I blogged about that here. They’re all listed on my projects page … I’m Lindar on Ravelry. Let’s be friends!

Gone knitting!