2020 The Year of the Rat

Hello 2020!

Time sure does fly. I’ve told more than one friend and/or family member that I thought life would slow down and change after my kids were little and life was so busy-active. Once they grew up and had homes of their own, I imagined that time would slow and life would be less busy. Turns out that I was totally wrong. The time seems to only go by more quickly.

So, with that said, this is my first post of the new year and new decade. The year of the rat according to the Chinese calendar. I think it’s going to be another wonderful healthy year full of fun and lots of good knitting!

We have started 2020 with a Sock Challenge. Twelve pairs of socks, one each month. Two pairs can be little socks for children or “peds”, two need to be something you’ve never done before. I have finished two pairs of socks so far this year and am up to the heel on the first sock of the third pair.

January pair number one is for my granddaughter, Rose. Her name explains the color choice, n’est ce pas? Pattern is Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks for the Whole Family. I did a 3 x 1 rib down the leg and on the top of the foot. Knitting for children, who grow too quickly, I like to build in a little bit of wiggle room. I measured their feet in May so I gave them an extra half-inch in foot length and made the large child size. This Cascade Heritage wool is nice and soft.

February pair number two is my DH’s Christmas socks. I’ve begun to give him a ball of yarn in his Christmas stocking (also hand-knit, not by me) because we all know that Christmas knitting leaves little time for selfish knitting and it’s the old cobbler’s children philosophy: no hand knit socks for my DH until after the paid knitting is finished. Anyway, this pair is also Yankee Knitter’s Classic Sock pattern and it’s a sport weight yarn by KFI with a touch of cashmere. They’re very soft and felt good on my knitting hands! That said, there are spots where it seemed like the dye hadn’t completely saturated the yarn but I hope that doesn’t reflect on the socks themselves. I have two more balls of this yarn because it feels so good. Another blue and a grey.

I’ve been wearing and loving wearing my Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I love the yarn, the weight, the color and the fit. This may be my very most favorite sweater of the year and decade (so far!) I have a couple of other sweaters coming up on my queue and it’ll be interesting to see if I like them as well as I like my Love Note!

Today we had a visitor in our yard. I am so privileged to live on the edge of a lake in Central Maine. The Belgrade Lakes area is a well-known summer spot but it’s also a fun place to live in the winter. I know, many of you are wondering if my mental health is stable but I have to say, I love the snow and I love watching the different seasons and the way the lake and life changes. Today has been a relatively warm winter day for Maine and the lake was crawling with ice fishermen (and women), snow machines, and birds. I was thrilled when I returned from lunching with a girlfriend and saw a Bald Eagle on the lake about three quarters of a mile from our front porch. Later this afternoon, as I was sitting at my desk working, another (or maybe the same) eagle left the ice and flew straight toward our house and landed in our tree. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “it doesn’t get old”! What a thrill watching these birds! I do have to watch the little dogs very carefully in the winter – an eagle or a big owl or hawk would love a shitzu feast.

Not a great photograph but he or she flew off just after I snapped this photo!

My philosophy for the next year is to be kind. Truthful and kind. Accepting and kind. Healthy and kind. Happy and kind. Loving and kind. Simply put I want to bee happy … and kind.

Gone knitting!

You can read more about my projects and yarns on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is Lindar. You can also find Queen Bee Knits on Facebook and @QueenBeeKnits on Instagram.

1898 Hat – A different construction

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1898 Hat in Cascade Eco Duo

The 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes is a free pattern on Ravelry. We sell a lot of yarn for them at my LYS, Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. It may help that we have a great sample, in hat and headband form, right near the cash register!

I’ve been in Maine now for three winters. Winters are cold here. Hats are a must for my husband, in particular, because he has no hair. I almost always wear a coat with a hood which is enough for me but I have been known to wear a hat, too. All of this is to say that I am shocked that I haven’t knitted this hat before now.

A few weeks ago, a woman came into the shop when I was working and she wanted to have someone knit a 1898 hat for her out of some lovely Cascade Eco Duo alpaca yarn that she had bought. I’ve never seen this hat in alpaca before. I offered to knit it for her. When I called her to have her come pick it up, she asked me to make another in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

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1898 Hat in Lamb’s Pride Worsted

Both hats are wonderful. The alpaca was so soft and the Lamb’s Pride Worsted is so squishy. AND the knit was fun for me, too!

IMG_2313The headband is knit flat in garter stitch with increases for the ear flaps. It has a provisional cast on – I used a crochet cast on. It’s knit in garter stitch on either side of three slipped stitches on the wrong side (they’re knit on the right side) which makes it fold in half to make the headband double thickness and really, really warm! You graft the ends of the headband together with Kitchener Stitch (if you do it properly it’s completely invisible!) and then pick up the stitches from both sides of the headband to make the rest of the hat in the round like any “normal” hat.

One hank/skein/ball of worsted weight yarn worked for each hat. I KNOW my sweet hubby needs one of these hats. He works outside. In Maine. In the winter. It’s really, really cold. He has no hair. Did I mention that he has no hair?

Gone Knitting!

 

 

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!

Ho! Ho! Ho! No More UFO!

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For Clark and Stephanie

I’ve just finished a long project (like any good knitter, I kept finding other projects to do) that was a true work of love. My college roommate, Mary Frances, aka Muffin, asked me to copy her lifetime Christmas stocking for her new grandson and daughter-in-love.

I had no pattern but assumed that I could copy just about anything. The stocking arrived at my house several months ago and I set about copying the stitches to make a chart. This part was pretty simple and straight forward. If you can count stitches, you can chart.

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My Chart

I knew I wanted to knit the top part of the giant sock flat so I could embellish with beard and sequins more easily. I also wanted to use the intarsia-style of knitting because stranding would be crazy wasteful. Once done with the chart, I took the original stocking to the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine … where I happen to work … to find yarn colors that were as close as possible. Lucky me! I found Christmas Green, Red and Blue that matched in good old Cascade 220 100% wool. I knew I had a similar ivory/off white in my stash and some black, too.

When you’re knitting stockings, you’re knitting them upside down and it’s fun to watch the images develop stitch by stitch. The intarsia creates lots and lots of ends to weave in. I am so thankful for the invention of bobbins. I couldn’t have done this without them. The fact that I stitched them flat made the weaving of ends simpler, too!

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Once past the charted section, it was a super quick process to the bell at the tip of the toe. I joined the stocking at the ankle and knitted the rest of the “giant sock” in the round. At the toe, with the tail of the yarn, I attached a silver bell just like on the original stocking.

I knew that I would add the lettering, and the eyes and nose on Santa at the end in duplicate stitch. I believe that the original stocking had lettering that was stranded but with a couple of washings, the stocking has withered a bit and the lettering doesn’t stand out as well as I would like. I’m very happy with the results of the duplicate stitch lettering. Then it was time to give Santa a beard and a pom-pom on his hat. I used short pieces of wool that I looped around itself and then clipped short and steam blocked to that it “frizzed” up. I love the beards, especially!

I am so pleased with the way the Santas and the trees turned out. I sewed individual sequins on all of the Christmas trees. I am not the most graceful sewer, but the sequins add such a wonderful sparkle on the trees! A braided loop for hanging was the last addition after steam blocking and seaming the back of the stocking. The seam is a blessing in disguise – it gives some substance and stability to the back of the stocking and makes it sturdier since it will be stuffed and hung on the mantel!

I love that they’re finished … and just in the (Saint) Nick of time! Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas to you, my dear friend, Muffin! I know this will be a happy one at your house!

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All three stockings together, in public, for the first time! (LOL!)

Gone knitting!

Hot off the Needles

Well, I’ve gone and done it! I’ve actually got some finished projects!

First, I started and finished an adorable layette for a customer. At the suggestion of a co-worker, I chose a sweet garter stitch cardigan and bonnet and then found an adorable pair of baby booties that match perfectly! I hope that our customer loves the outfit as much as I do. I used Universal Yarns “Adore” DK weight yarn (two skeins with a lot of left-overs!) I love the peachy-pink color which is not quite a baby pink and not quite a peach. I think the lacy leaves pattern is wonderful around the neckline and it’s also on the back of the little bonnet. I found the perfect buttons for the cardigan before I knew I would need any for the shoes. Lucky for me, I’d already bought the package which contained 5 buttons. The perfect number with none left over!

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The shoes may be my favorite part! They were a simple knit and they’re so stinking cute!

IMG_7867I have also finished a cowl that I wanted to try. This was a free pattern at our shop that used a Galway worsted wool and a Gina, both by Plymouth Yarns. I had a charcoal gray Cascade 220 Worsted in my stash and a skein of Gina left over from my favorite mittens ever. I hadn’t ever “really” knitted anything in Brioche stitch so this was a learning experience which was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If you know how to knit and purl, try Brioche! Another of my co-workers knitted the same pattern for a store sample and hers came out similar but stretched a LOT more than mine did when blocked. She used a different main color yarn that had some silk in it – and hers is significantly less scratchy than my wool one. But I learned something. By the way, I didn’t make mine like the pattern directed. I used less than one skein of Cascade 220 and one skein only of the Gina … I am not sure I’m going to love it and wear it.

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I also finished another commission for a returning customer. She wanted a bulky/chunky lacy slouch hat/tam exactly like I have made for her before and a cowl to match. The hat pattern is a free pattern from Revelry called Quick Lacy Slouch Hat. The cowl pattern that she found is in a little Leisure Arts book and it’s called Berry Twist Cowl. Each used one skein of Cascade 128 Superwash yarn. Knitting with large needles and with chunky yarn, these were a relatively quick knit and I got them done in a weekend. I hope our customer is happy with these as she was with the other things that I’ve knitted for her. IMG_7883

I will be looking for “sparkly” buttons for the cowl at work tomorrow and then the set will be ready to go to their new owner!

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With all the finished objects, that leaves a few projects still on the needles …

I still haven’t seamed my Aran Cardigan. (It’s easy to keep putting it off!)

I haven’t finished my wool Vail Island Vest because it’s boring!

I am working on a store sample for Yardgoods Center in a bee-utiful Manos Silky Blend.

I still have that linen top in the project bag – when I frog it, it will truly be “dead” to me.

I started a new felted bag yesterday. I’m using all of the stashed Paton’s wool … well, I’ll use some of it, anyway.

I have one sock of a pair done. Second sock will get cast on this week – I like to take my socks in my purse just in case I find some knitting time.

My KAL shawl is in process … middle of clue 3, if memory serves!

So, there you have it. I think. Three projects finished and seven on the needles. I wish I didn’t need to sleep! You can find more information on any of these projects by visiting “lindar” on Ravelry.

Gone knitting!

WIPS Wrestling – Ravellenics 2016

imageRavelry has a wonderful knitting challenge during the Olympics and I’ve chosen to be on the “WIPS Wrestling” team and challenge myself to finish several projects during the Olympic Games. I’m proud to say that I have challenged myself to finish, and have finished  four projects so far.

Rustling Leaves Beret

Rustling Leaves Beret

I had a commission to make a lace hat for a customer. Her hat was begun just before the Olympics started. I knit Rustling Leaves Beret by Alana Dakos. It’s a fun knit and pret quick to knit up as well. My customer bought Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock yarn in a navy color. Now, all knitters worth their salt know that dark colors (particularly black but any dark color) are difficult to see your stitches. The biggest challenge for me with this hat was counting, or more specifically, dividing stitches. You begin the hat casting in stitches and I used DPNs. Needless to say, I divided wrong the first time and came up with 30 stitches short. It was going to be a very small hat! The hat is delivered and my customer has requested another hat just like it but in a little brighter blue! I blocked the hat, as directed, on a dinner plate and it was just gorgeous!

Drachenfels - times two

Drachenfels – times two

I also finished my Drachenfels Shawl. I really enjoyed knitting this shawl. I had chosen yarn based on a sample that I saw knitted up at the Maine Fiber Frolic in June. Green is not usually a color I knit with but I loved the three colors together. Drachenfels is by Melanie Berg and is a slightly “off kilter” triangular shawl knit in garter stitch with an Icord bind off. I knit mine with a dark gray, a medium blue and a deep apple green. I loved knitting it and I love e finished result. The sport-weight yarn makes it a quick knit and the shawl is a good size! Two other women in my Froday class are/have knitted this shawl and it’s really fun to see the results in different colors.

Number 2 Pencil Socks

Number 2 Pencil Socks

The wonderful and fun Number 2 Pencil socks are also finished. This was yarn that I waited for for what seemed like forever because the first shipment was lost or stolen in transit. When I finally did get it, it went immediately into my stash to be used as encouragement for me – encouraging me to finish some other projects. It was a very fun project and I can’t wait until it’s cooler and I can actually wear them! The yarn is hand-dyed by Yarn Enabler (she has an Etsy shop). I had seen in on Susan B. anderson’s blog or Facebook page  and it was a total impulse buy but totally worth it  I bought the pattern from Yarn Enabler, too though truth be told, I only partially followed it  I used a heal flap heel rather than a FLK – but I’ll attempt the Fish Lips Kiss heel another time for fun!

4 Needle Snowflake Mittens

4 Needle Snowflake Mittens

Last but not least, is the second pair of Snowflake Mittens. This pattern is a very old pattern gifted to me by my friend and colleague Bette. I made myself a pair and this pair is for my friend. I’ll make a third pair for my sister-in-law in Massachusetts. I typically have a rule to never knit two of the same thing. This pattern is an exception and I fully plan to knit it repeatedly! I used Brown Sheep Company’s Lambs Pride Worsted in White Frost and Navy Sailor. I love the contrast in the colors and I love these mittens. I avoided color work for years but this pattern made me begin to think about conquering my fear of color work. I think I have succeeded. My favorite part of these mittens is the pattern on the inside of the thumb. Isn’t that silly?

The only other thing I’d really like to compete is the Aran Sweater that is sitting in a bag in my studio. It’s been swealtering hot the last few days and I could not sit under it. It was too darned hot! Tomorrow I head to the beach in Virginia with my college girls for a few days. Friends for 40 years, we always have a wonderful time together and Virginia Beach is gorgeous for a little R&R. I may choose to drag it with me and try to seam it in air conditioning. I really haven’t decided.

Next another hat will go on the needles.

Gone knitting!

Sockhead Hat #2 … My Way

The love of my life has no hair on his head. It never occurred to me that these men who are folicly challenged need a hat even when it seems warm to me. His little head is cold. Who’d have thunk it!?

I’ve knitted several hats for him and some with greater success than others. His current favorite is a beautiful silver-gray worsted weight cap. It’s perfect … when it’s a little cooler than it is right now. So, he needs a lighter-weigh hat. We’ve looked at many (MANY!) patterns and pictures and we’ve settled on a “shorter” less-slouchy version of the Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure or a one-color version of the Scraptastic Hat by Jane Tanner, both free patterns on Ravelry.

We also went through the sock yarn in my stash (remember, I’m on a serious yarn diet!) and found a pretty red/blue/purple Cascade 150 Paints Sock Yarn (Bordeau Blend – out of stock in most places – Color #9768 Lot #1454). It’s a lovely soft merino and nylon mix (75%/25%), it’s washable and I’m positive it won’t be itchy. And the yardage is fabulous. I think I may still be able to get a pair of short socks made after the hat is finished or a pair of fingerless mitts.

My Maine friends were surprised to see me knitting a hat with sock yarn but they’re thinking winter hats and I’m knitting a spring hat. Men without hair have special needs!

Gone knitting.

Queen Bee’s Striped iPad Envelope

Somebody loves me! I got an iPad for Christmas!

Somebody loves me! I got an iPad for Christmas! Isn’t she beautiful!?

I love my snazzy new iPad. When I’ve taken it to work in my purse or knitting bag, I have worried about scratching the silver back of the thing. So, as any reasonable person would do, I decided to whip up a little envelope to put it in.

Finished iPad Envelope

Finished iPad Envelope

Into my Odds and Ends stash I went and found some Paton’s Classic Wool that I had in two shades of grey, and acid green and one cream that’s Plymouth Yarn, Galway Worsted. My iPad measures about 9.5 x 7.5 inches and I have the Apple screen cover … I knew I didn’t want to fight to put the device into the envelope every time so I wanted it to be a little bit bigger than that. (And don’t forget when you’re designing something, that you have to take into consideration the depth of the device.)

Left-overs from previous projects

Left-overs from previous projects … the starting point!

Looking at my yarn ball band (20 stitches=4 inches) and knowing that I knit pretty close to gauge, I cast on 80 stitches on my US 7 16-inch circular needles.

You can use as many or as few colors as you like. I used four colors. If my scraps were smaller, I’d have used more (and I may make one to give away!) Click on the link to download the pattern!

The Queen Bee’s iPad Envelope

I do have a few suggestions that will make your knitting simpler and may also make you happier with the process and the finishing!

1) You can carry the dark grey yarn up the piece because you’re going to use it every three rows. This saves you a bunch of ends to knit as you go or weave in. You can carry yarn when you have three or fewer rows before you’re going to use the color again. But there will be two ends for every other color change so …

2) Weave in your ends as you go. If, when you add a new yarn, you carry the ends of the yarns for a few stitches, you won’t have a bunch of ends to weave in. I’ve written about this in my blog click here! This makes knitting strips SO much more pleasant when you get to the end of your project. Promise!

3) If you are a “type A” and you like your knitted projects to be “perfect”, you’re not going to be pleased with the way the piece looks unless you work a “jog-less join”. It’s an added task to remember when you’re changing colors, but if you think of knitting in the round as creating a spiral rather than row upon row of knitting, you’re never going to have everything line up perfectly when you’re knitting stripes. I’ve blogged about the “jog-less join” before so check it out before you start. I didn’t worry about it and this is what my edge looks like … could you live with this? If so, don’t worry about the jog-less join. If not, give it a shot!

Without Jog-less joins! Not perfect but I'm OK with that  (this time!)

Without Jog-less joins! Not perfect but I’m OK with that (this time!)

So, there you have it! Another knitting adventure with the Queen Bee.

I hope you enjoy this first free pattern! It’s widely known in the knitting community that free patterns are to be used for your own personal knitting and not for your commercial benefit … please don’t sell items made from this pattern. Contact me if you would like permission to use the pattern for anything other than personal use. Thanks.

Gone knitting!

Sleepless and Blogging

I can’t believe that I haven’t blogged for so long. I apologize to those of you (all two or three of you) who want to read something of substance about knitting and were looking to me to blog about something. I’ve failed you. (Ha! Ha!)

I’ve been knitting a bunch and have been having fun while doing it. I have my new scarf on the needles with some pretty beads. The pattern is a free one from my LYS called “Beaded Scarf” and it’s a skein of fingering weight yarn – I chose Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock Yarn (Color 5630/ Lot 075) in a light turquoise blue with beads that are the same color and lined in silver (Deanna’s 6/0 beads). I have seen it on the counter in a different yarn and decided that I liked the simplicity of the yarn I picked and it’s simple and understated and I really liked it. The only “difficult” part was figuring out how to get the beads onto the yarn easily. Thankfully, I have knitting friends who are helpful (thanks to Beverly) and got the job done. I did have to buy some straight needles to knit this project. I haven’t knitted on straight needles forever but you have to have them for the beading … or you’ll be moving beads around which is a tedious job.

The beginning ... after stringing on three strands of beads.

The beginning … after stringing on three strands of beads.

These beads needed more light!

These beads needed more light!

I found out today that my brother’s feet are not a size 13 but a size 14 which means that I have a bit more knitting to do before I can finish the toe and deliver the gift. Did you know that a man’s size 14 shoe converts to a 12 inch foot? It’s like knitting for a giant’s foot! 😉 I hope he’ll love them and I am going to work on them tomorrow because I’m ready to cast on another new project and promised myself that I would finish the socks first. I will keep this promise to myself … better than the no buying any new yarn promise.

Keep knitting! Keep Knitting! Socks for "giant" feet!

Keep knitting! Keep Knitting! Socks for “giant” feet!

I have about 11 inches of the knitted bag finished. Knitting this project is hard on my hands. It’s double worsted weight yarn held together and the pattern asks for a size US 6 needle. The fabric is very stiff and, of course, being stockinette stitch, it rolls up and is fairly unforgiving. I can only do a few rows of this before my arms are tired. A strange “complaint” for a knitter (but you’d understand if you tried it!) I am loving the colorway that I chose which is a dark gray but not quite charcoal gray. I think the bag is going to be pretty and I am eager to get to the two lace panels which are what I think will make the bag!

Dark Grey Purse Fabric ... getting there!

Dark Grey Purse Fabric … getting there!

I haven’t touched my DROPS tunic. So be it. Other projects are taking precedence now and that has to be OK. My new yarn awaits and I have a new order for a baby blanket so I have to find some yarn and get moving on that, too.

Meanwhile, our house is full of family tonight and it’s such fun to have my brothers and their families in our house. We had a fabulous dinner of lobster (caught by my brother) and fresh Striped Bass. Life is good and I feel so blessed.

Gone knitting!