Getting ‘er done!

I’ve had a lot of projects hanging out there all in many different stages of done-ness. I’m really proud that I am getting them done and happy with the way they’ve turned out.

You thought I’d give something away? These are for Christmas gifts! 🙂

The mystery Christmas gifts are done. More of them than I had hoped for – and they work really well. I have totally tested the product in the last day or so to make sure I didn’t goof it up. I hope that means there will be some happy gift-recipients on my list!

Flat Rocks Yarns “Whirlpool” in the Grateful Thread color way

I just finished a darling top-down sweater (no seaming makes this Queen Bee very happy!) for a customer on the Cape. She saw an earlier sweater that I made this summer in a brightly colored bulky yarn that I bought, quite by happenstance, up on the Massachusetts shore. It took (seemingly) forever for the new batch of yarn to be hand-dyed and delivered to the shop but it was a joy to knit with the second time around. The shop, Coveted Yarns in Gloucester, MA carries this hand-dyed yarn in several weights. This one is called Whirlpool by Flat Rocks Yarns. It’s a 100% superwash Merino (3/3.5 sts. per inch on Us#10/11. The colorway I bought is called “Grateful Thread”. (Appropriate on so many levels!)

I’m nearly finished with the baby blanket that has been plaguing me – and all because I had to use up some old yarn and not waste it! So, I’ve nearly finished the striped blanket (and it’s actually pretty cute). It’s a simple garter stitch pattern that I created as I knitted. It will be backed with fleece and a satin binding and will be in my shop soon.

I’ve started a pair of one-skein Malabrigo fingerless mitts in a really great denim-blue colorway. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost or pitched the yarn’s tag but I am loving the way it feels and it is knitting up in to such a nice warm mitten/glove/thing. These, too, will be in my shop soon as I get the second mitt finished and photographed.

I sent off two hats to day for the victims of hurricane Sandy. One is a simple cap for a small adult/large child. I striped it in grey and red for a male person as that was what was needed. The color-changes were nearly perfect with the jogless join method that I’ve blogged about here. It’s amazing how many years I have knitted without using stripes when knitting in the round … and how simple it is once you try it out! I may stripe everything for awhile! My friend Kelly won a skein of yarn at our yarn tasting and fashion show last weekend and she gave it to me to knit up for donating, too. So, I did. Knitted the little lacy slouch hat for a female (it’s a vivid purple colorway) and I assume a girl would rather wear it.

The last project still on the needles is the “count every stitch” scarf that I am making as a gift for a friend (I think). It’s been quite the project. It’s pretty (but not that pretty!) I’ve made it to the decreases and will be so happy when that is finished (and will file the pattern in the  “not sure I want to make this again” file! 🙂

It’s feeling good getting all these projects wrapped up … and that means I can start new ones, right?

Gone knitting!

From my Northern Atelier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops! That's the real thing!

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

Gone Knitting!

Road Trip!

Here I am in my northern “Atelier” … and I feel driven (ha! no pun intended) to chronicle our road trip – another excellent adventure! Our annual pilgrimage to our favorite spot on the planet Earth – Belgrade, Maine.

We took off on Tuesday morning, a day earlier than we had planned to leave because we got “worried” about the Memorial Day weekend traffic. Call it a gut feeling. And the drive was uneventful which is a good thing when you’re towing a Hobie Cat and have three dogs in the car! We got as far as Richmond, Virginia where we stopped the first night – we love dog-friendly LaQuinta Hotels! A ten hour drive in twelve (or so hours) is always tenuous … but we do it well!

Day two began in Richmond and we had no plan for where it was going to end. BUT when we looked at the map and since we got an early start (very early, thanks to Max) … we thought we might make it to Connecticut.

Washington Monument Straight Ahead!

And then we hit Washington, DC and made a “wrong turn” … what’s the deal with road signs in our nations capital? We ended up in a traffic jam and in downtown Washington … with a boat and trailer. Really!?

Ha! Wrong turns lead to interesting blog photos!

Thankfully, we can laugh at our mistakes and on we pushed toward New York where we had another near miss on the New Jersey Turnpike and darn near ended up in Manhattan … but managed to pull off a “fix” and swing around via the Garden State Parkway and headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Tappan Zee Traffic over the Hudson

Once over on the New York side, we realized we could make Massachusetts and pushed on … another 13 hour day but we were at my brother’s house around 8 … and we adore being in Marblehead. (If you’ve never been to the North Shore of Boston, you have got to make a trip … Marblehead is the sweetest town and a great place to escape to when you need to get away!)

Marblehead Harbor - Evening

After a night with our family – the nephews, dogs, and their parents – we headed off one more time … picked up the boat and spied on the movie people who are filming the movie “Grown Ups” there … with Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek. (I had to spy!)

Hooking up the trailer - last time!

Movie Stars in Marblehead

The last leg of our journey included dropping a box of books off for a knitting friend of mine. These books belonged to her mother, now deceased, and she just felt that the books needed to be returned to Gloucester, MA (where they came from). So, up Route 128 we headed to Gloucester … and dropped off the books at Isabel’s house. Ned and I both remarked at how special it is to live in towns where you don’t have to lock your doors. Raising children in towns like that must be very special.

And then I saw this sign …

Coveted Yarn - Gloucester, MA

What knitter could resist? Not this one, that’s for sure. So into the shop I wander… Heaven! Coveted Yarn is a sweet shop that looks teeny-tiny and is really packed to the rafters (cleverly so!) with the most wonderful fibers and yarns! I could easily have spent the better part of the day there fingering fiber … but had to settle for an hour and hope one day soon to be able to get back! (Maybe to meet Isabel, too!) I bought some of their locally dyed yarns … one skein of sock weight and two bulky weight in magnificent color ways and a pattern, too. (Nope, not sharing, it’s a gift for someone really, really special!) I can hardly wait to get my needles unpacked.

And then off to Maine … with a little luncheon stop at Stop and Shop – did you know that grocery stores offer some more healthy choices on the quick? ~ we had eaten enough junk the day before! Only a couple of hours more and we were in Maine … crossing the last bridge of our trip!

Piscataqua River Bridge - Welcome to Maine!

Upon arriving at the house, we always sigh a sigh of relief. It was still standing  … 100 years and counting  … this house has been the one constant for Ned and we spent some special time here when we dated the first time (in 1976). I feel very much at home in New England.

The Littles - Glad to be Out of the Car!

The lawn was (and parts still are) knee-high. Buttercups, little white daisies and dandelions are blooming everywhere!

The vegetable garden was (until tomorrow) completely over-taken with weeds.

Only the "seedy" rhubarb is visible in the Vegetable Garden!

After several hours cleaning and disinfecting and moving in groceries and clothes and yarn (duh!) and when our backs couldn’t do another chore, we showered and it was cocktail time. A bit too breezy to spend more than a cursory few minutes on the front porch … we are so grateful to be able to spend time here in this beautiful place that we love so much. I’ll be writing more about our summer adventures – my knitting group meets on Wednesday night and I’m already itching to see my Maine knitting girls!

Gone knitting!