I have finished and mailed off another family heirloom for a customer and friend. This stocking is the second one that I’ve knitted for her. The coolest part of the whole story is that her mother, now deceased, designed these stocking patterns for a very well-known stocking pattern company. Her mom had knitted stockings for the whole family and they’re trying to keep the tradition alive by knitting her mother’s patterns for new additions to the family. Cool, right?
The Frosty the Snowman stocking is relatively simple Intarsia knitting. A top hat wearing snowman who is holding a striped candy cane. My friend asked that I use angora as the pattern requires. With little bits of green for his scarf and mittens, black for buttons and hat, the most clever and my favorite piece of the design is the way she designed the candy cane – with white stripes on the red fabric and red stripes on the white. Sooo clever and it works so well!
What I don’t like about the Intarsia technique is weaving in the ends. The front looks so clean and clear but the back is bedlam! Each color across a row requires a different length of yarn and that means there are lots of bits of yarn dangling from the back. Every one needs to be woven into the reverse side of the stocking without being visible on the front. I also add the name in duplicate stitch on the front and then seam up the back and add a braided length of yarn to hang the stocking. Lots of work!
I was very happy with this stocking and I hope she is, too. I wish that their family has a very merry Christmas this year and every one after.
This is my favorite time of the day. The time when the sun is beginning to set and the opposite side of the lake gets lit up. My photos don’t begin to show you what it actually looks like. Trust me, it’s spectacular.
We have had a lovely day. We got our bedroom cleaned up, the bed changed, the (disgusting) side windows and screens washed, and the laundry done. My sweet hubby cleaned out the “curiosity cabinet” in the stairway. It needed it so badly.
I got a load of sheets and towels washed and dried and folded and put away (it doesn’t always happen, yay, me!) I made a batch of granola and a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I also made progress on my knitting.
Yesterday I tried something new. It didn’t work. The Intarsia Christmas stocking that I’m working on for a customer friend calls for angora. I’ve always held the angora yarn together with a worsted weight wool. The angora claims to be a worsted weight and “should” be ok to knit alone. Well, no.
So, today I frogged it back to the start of the angora in the pattern and re-knit. It’s much better now and I’ll be happy to knit on to the end of the Intarsia part and down to the toe. I’ll need to weave in the hundreds of millions of ends and embroider a smile and eyebrows (seriously, eyebrows?), duplicate stitch a name and off it’ll go to New York City.
I may get there tomorrow. Definitely, the knitting will be finished by the end of this week. I’m working to be finished in time to mail it before the end of October. Way in advance of Christmas!
Is it possible that already a week has passed since Thanksgiving? And it’s been two weeks since I’ve been to work! Amazing how quickly time passes … and how I manage to keep busy despite having “nothing” to do!
We’ve been working around the house to (begin to) get ready for Christmas. Christmas is not and has never been my favorite holiday. I much prefer Thanksgiving and we had hoped that at least a couple of our kiddos would be coming up for Thanksgiving but Covid-19 quashed that plan. It was too difficult to get tests as required by the states and the risk was too great. This latest surge is a beast. But the hubby and I had a lovely Thanksgiving alone together. We cooked a twenty pound turkey and all the fixings and I made two pies; chocolate peanut butter for him and pumpkin for me. I “cheated” and used a prepared pie crust for my pumpkin pie and it was awful … we ended up pitching all but one slice. It simply wasn’t worth the calories! I have a pie crust in the ‘fridge and some pumpkin I cooked and plan to make another one this weekend.
I saw planters like the one we made (above) at a local garden center. Their greens were expensive and we live in the woods so the weekend after Thanksgiving the hubby and I went foraging in the woods for some greens and birch logs. It didn’t take long to find them and we are pretty pleased with our front door decoration. We added some fairy lights to make it extra sparkly.
We had to buy new lights for the outdoor fir tree that we planted when we had our gardens done after we built the house. The tree has grown a lot and the old lights were all dead – perhaps because of the squirrels that like to hide in the tree and “yell” at us. Two extra long sets of lights weren’t enough and even the third doesn’t quite finish the job.
Inside, I’ve been up to some decorating, too. I bought 100 feet of fairy lights from Amazon after I saw this idea on Instagram. Leila Raven (@leila_raven) was the first post that I saw and I’ve since seen a lot of others. It’s not “easy” to knit lights on wire but it sure turns out to be sparkly. The hubby wants me to knit 400 feet next. I’m not sure if that’s a goal that I want to take on right now. Ha! Ha!
My fairy lights “swatch” was knit using US13 needles and I cast on 24 stitches with a backward loop cast on. Garter stitch all the way to the end of the lights and pull the end through the last stitch. Ours are hanging in the front hall where they greet us as we come and go.
I’ve knitted several pairs of mittens for a friend and customer for her grandsons (did I mention this already?). I had a bit of yarn left over and made another pair of mittens for my local school. Kids around here always need mittens, right? I finished the thumbs last night and will drop them off today on the way to work.
I’m also working on a Christmas stocking for a friend and customer. Her mother was a knitwear designer for Columbia-Minerva back in the day and the family all have stockings in her designs. I’m making one for a new family member. I have to say, intarsia is not my favorite technique. It’s fiddly and messy and there are millions of ends to weave in. With that said, I’m making progress and hope to get the colorwork part finished up this weekend and then it’s clear sailing to the toe. I had said I couldn’t promise the stocking for Christmas but I think and hope that I can get it delivered. I’m sure going to make a good old college try!
I’m participating in a couple of KALs this month. One is a gnome MKAL (mystery knit-a-long) hosted by Imagined Landscapes. I love her gnome patterns and will eventually knit a collection of them since I’ve purchased the patterns. This month it’s an ADVENTure Gnome MKAL. Four colors of fingering weight yarn and US1 needles is all you need. I’m knitting entirely from stash. Clue 1 came out on Tuesday and I’ve finished it but won’t show it until later. Stay tuned.
I’m also going to do Arne and Carlos’ 24 new Christmas balls. I’ve printed the patterns out and I’m already feeling stressed because I’m two days behind (soon to be three days behind) but I had purchased yarn that was an acrylic and wool blend and I’ve decided that I really want to use wool because they’ll block out so much more nicely. Acrylic yarn really doesn’t block at all. So, today, when I’m at work I’m going to search around for some wool yarn that isn’t superwash to use for this project and then I can start knitting. You can find the pattern at Arne and Carlos dot com. They have an entire book of Christmas balls, too. I haven’t (yet) gone down that road but we’ll see how I like the 24 that I have the pattern for! I’ll write more as I get one or two done … or find yarn!
I’ve decided to make some of my own decorations this year inside the house. I also think I may make some simmering potpourri for my students as a little holiday gift. My hubby found a dryer ages ago and we’ve used it once or twice but most of the time it’s been stored in a cabinet. Well, I’m making good use of it! I’ve dried six oranges and three limes so far. I’ll be adding some pine and cranberries to my indoor decorations and cinnamon sticks and cloves. This weekend is bound to be another busy one!
The world is getting uglier and I am feeling more tense and anxious. I dislike conflict and I really despise lies and there is a lot of conflict and a lot of lies flying around in America in advance of the November election.
If I ruled the world, PACs wouldn’t be allowed to advertise. They’re the most hateful and dishonest advertisers. Candidates would only be allowed to advertise about themselves; what they believe, what they stand for, what they will do if elected. If I ruled the world, Facebook posts that call people names would be immediately deleted, even if it was calling someone a republican or a democrat, a liberal or a conservative or any of the mangled iterations of those words we’ve come to accept as normal.
To deal with my anxiety, I’ve been following some sage advice:
Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.
This is my newest grand-dog, Gus. My son adopted Gus and asked me to knit him a sweater because … well, just because I can. I found a sweater specifically for Pugs on Ravelry, Pug Dog Sweater. This seemed a really good place to begin. I measured Gus and knit the XXXS, Sammie Size in a lovely shade of green. Yarn is Berroco Vintage, a worsted weight acrylic and wool blend that is machine washable and dryable. The pattern is a simple and quick knit, especially when you’re knitting a teeny tiny sweater for a little puppy. (Have a gander at the Pug photos in sweaters on the pattern page and you’ll notice that our Gus isn’t a typically shaped Pug.) The green sweater fit around him perfectly IF he isn’t wearing his harness but it’s a couple of inches too short.
So, back to the drawing board I went and knit him a blue version, also in Vintage, in the next size up, XXS. It’s in the mail as we speak and I am eager to see how this one fits. Pictures will follow.
I’ve also been knitting socks like crazy for the 2020 Sock Challenge that we were having at the shop and that I announced to my FB followers. To my delight, some of my FB followers have gotten in on the fun! I’ve just finished my September socks … there are two pairs because I finished the main pair in record time and decided a pair of baby socks in a ball of yarn that I’v had sitting around forever (since before I knew that you needed three balls of this yarn to make an adult pair of socks, perhaps?)
The first pair are in Raggi sock yarn. I love this yarn and I love that it knits up so quickly in an Aran weight. These socks are Urban Rustic Socks by Elizabeth McCarten. This is a new to me (free) pattern that used a seeded rib (which I’d never knitted before) and a new-to-me heel construction. It’s a heel flap and gusset but knitted differently than I’ve ever seen. I love that there is no pattern below the ankle because my feet don’t like patterns on them, apparently. These socks come in two sizes, I made the smaller size. I can’t wait for boot weather now!
The bonus socks this month are a pair of teeny tiny baby socks. I had a ball of Patons Kroy Sock yarn in my stash that I’ve been itching to knit with because I only had the one ball. (I also have a couple of single balls of Regia baby sock yarn to use up.) I used my favorite sock pattern for this one, Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks #29 by Melinda Goodfellow. If you don’t have this pattern, you need it. NEED it! I did my best without sweating it too much – because I am knitting to be LESS anxious, right? – to match the two socks and they’re pretty close. I love this yarn and they’re really soft for baby. I have more yarn and will knit more little bitty socks as time allows.
My Hope Cardigan is once again on the needles … the first half of the sweater, pictured above, is done and I have gotten most of the way up the second arm. This sweater is knitted from cuff to middle twice and then stitched together (don’t ask me how, I’ve not read that far ahead.) I am not sure what I did for the first sleeve, however, and I’ve reached the end of the written instructions for the second sleeve and it’s about two and a half inches shorter than it needs to be. So … today I’ll be having a closer look in the good daytime light to see what I did on the first sleeve so I can complete the second sleeve and move on. This pattern is only available in Making Magazine #3, Dots. These magazines are a bit pricey but they’re so worth it. I love the variation of crafts that they feature in the books and I have made quite a few projects out of them. I’m knitting my Hope Cardigan in the suggested yarn, Berroco Remix Light. I love the drape and weight of this yarn. I also love the feel of it against my skin.
I made a Khamaseen in 2017 with this yarn and I love wearing it alone and with a shirt under it.
I wore my Humulus sweater for the first time this week and I was so excited about the way it fit! It’s going to be one that I wear a lot this fall and winter. I love the colors that I chose and I love the weight of it. I have loved this sweater since I saw it on the MDK March Mayhem pattern bracket back in 2017 (I think.) I loved the colors that the original sweater was knitted up in (yellow and grey are my colors!) but I wanted something more sedate and I wear a lot of blue so … when we got a shipment of Ella Rae Classic Wool into the shop, on sale no less, I jumped and bought enough for the Humulus. I went back a forth a few times with the contrasting color for the yoke but I’m very happy with the blue that I settled on.
While I’m knocking knits off my list, the list isn’t getting any shorter. My step-daughter has requested an afghan for their new house for Christmas in a denim-y blue. A college friend asked me to knit a family favorite Christmas stocking for her nephew’s new fiancee. And I still have at least six sweaters worth of yarn in my stash. I can tell you that once the Hope cardigan is finished, I’ll be casting on my Dissent Cardigan by Andrea Rangel. I have black as the main color and a cream for the contrasting color. I’ll diverge from the pattern, which is written to knit back and forth, and knit this one with a steek. I much prefer to knit in the round if at all possible. I look forward to wearing it and honoring the Notorious RBG.
More details about each of my projects is on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. You can follow me on Instragram @QueenBeeKnits and on FB at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.
What is our measure of success? People measure success by the cars they drive, the homes they own, the jobs they have, how much money they make and a lot of other things. It’s different for all of us. Right?
I’ve measured my success by looking at what others think of me for much of my life. It’s only after a ton of therapy and the grace of having had a lot of time on this planet, that I can say that I feel successful. I’m content. Content with the life that we’ve built here on the lake in Maine.
I feel successful at work. I have created a circle of customers and friends and students who I enjoy spending time with. I feel like I am making a difference by sitting on two boards of trustees go organizations that have meaning to me. My kids are grown and living full lives. I’m deeply in love with the person I married and he loves me despite my perfect imperfections. (*ha! ha! ha!)
I’m feeling confident as a knitter. I’m wearing my Sunset Highway sweater today for the first time. It fits and it’s really lovely. I am quite proud to be able to make garments that I can wear. I have been finishing some projects, too, projects that have been hanging around in my studio for a long (long!) time!
Last year I was going to knit Christmas stockings for my daughter and son-in-love. Because I got a pretty good case of tendonitis, I wasn’t able to knit the stiff fabric for the stockings. But I just got them finished … with a little help from my friend and co-worker, Peggy. She took the first stocking, which I had begun over a year ago, and whipped it into shape while I started and finished the second one. They’re all steamed and finished now and ready to be gifted to the wonderful couple. Their anniversary is next week but I think I’ll save them until Thanksgiving and give them as an early Christmas present!
The stockings are both kits from Accessories Unlimited. Kits #402, Toy Soldiers and #103, Christmas Tree Stocking. The yarn isn’t what I would choose to knit with. It’s very stiff and scratchy but because it won’t be worn, it’s ok. They will hold up well and the stitches are pretty well-defined. I am very pleased with them both.
I’ve also finished a scarf promised as a trade with my herbalist. I had wanted it to be done a year ago as well but for the same reasons that the stockings weren’t done, the scarf was shelved (quite literally). Yesterday I brought it over to Danielle and she loved it. I’m pleased. It was (is) gorgeous. This is the first project I actually blocked with blocking wires. Lace really requires it. The pattern was a free one, Sage Smudging Scarf, on Ravelry and I knit it with the most gorgeous shade of gold Alegria by Manos. All of the details are on my Ravelry projects page. Suffice it to say that this scarf will adorn a neck and feel soooooo good!
When I was at Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (or as I call it, Fiber Camp) this summer, we designed a lace cowl in our Lace class with Bristol Ivy. I have finally finished and photographed my cowl. The pattern was created using a process called “encoding” which was first brought to knitting by Naomi Parkhurst. In the yarnovers, there is a secret message.
I’ve finished a new sample, a baby sweater, for Yardgoods. It’s Knitting Pure and Simple pattern #214, Baby Pullover. We chose a Cascade yarn, Pacific Color Wave, to knit it up in and since it’s teeny-tiny, it takes only one ball of yarn and knits up in no time at all.
I still have several projects to finish and a few to start, but I’m feeling the success all around me and it feels really good.
You can find more details about these projects and others on my Ravelry projects page. I’m Lindar. Also, follow me on Facebook, Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner, and on Instagram, @QueenBeeKnits.
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.
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!
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!
All three stockings together, in public, for the first time! (LOL!)
The love of my life loves his Christmas stocking. We aren’t sure WHO made it for him but he thinks it may have been his mother who was a knitter. Last year, or maybe the year before that if truth be told, I noticed that the wool was beginning to wear in a couple of places. When I filled it, a hole was born. Actually, two holes were born.
What’s a girl to do!?
I offered to make another stocking and he didn’t want a new one. I actually think that this would have been the easiest choice. But he loves his stocking. So, I took it to my local yarn shop here in Maine and found yarns that would match as closely as possible the original colors (50+ years later.)
As Close as Possible (all these years later!)
I’ve not done a lot of mending but I was determined to finish mending it before Santa had to fill it this year on Christmas Eve. It took me the better part of an afternoon sitting in my chair and quite a few starts and stops but I managed to repair the holes and am really pleased with the results!
For the bigger hole, I picked up stitches below the hole and knitted a rectangular patch which I then grafted to the top and seamed into the sides. The green is a bit different but in the next 50 years, it’ll blend better!
No More Hole #1
Hole #2 was a little bit easier but also more difficult … the hole was smaller but the problem was more difficult. But I wove my doubled DK yarn in and out and around and I think it looks fairly well. Not perfect but not bad for a first mending effort!
No More Hole #2
The stocking had a ribbon tied in a knot that had been poked between the ribbing at the top of the cuff. I made a new hanger for the stocking, too … that was Ned’s favorite part. Go figure! But I’m glad he was happy to have his stocking on Christmas morning and not be afraid to handle it. Especially when it was full of stuff … wish I had taken a picture of the stuffed stocking!
New Hanging Braid
I braided the three colors and still poked it through the ribbing but my hanger is at the seam at the back of the stocking. This is a much stronger place to have stress placed on the fabric. I hope it will last us fifty years or more!