One night my husband coughed in the middle of the night. The next day he woke up with a horrible cough and chest congestion. Our first thought and our fear was that he had Covid-19. We both feel very strongly that we should do the right thing so he went to have a Covid test. We also believed that we needed to report it to his employer, to our family who were just here and the friend who was in our house the day before.
I cancelled my classes for the week and found a colleague to work for me. He called his boss and took the rest of the week off. His boss closed down the company. We all did the right thing.
Yesterday, a couple of days ahead of the five days that we were told it would take, we got his results and they were negative. (I also did an at-home Covid test and I got my results yesterday, too. Mine were also negative.)
Today we are so grateful that we can live in the same house without having our masks on. We are so grateful that we dodged a bullet that so many families haven’t been able to dodge. The incidence of Covid-19 in Maine, and especially in our county, are still low in relation to other states and counties but our numbers are rising. We were fortunate this time and we were reminded that this disease is not “over” and “gone”. We will be wearing our masks, washing our hands and counting our blessings.
Good grief! I can’t imagine how we’ve gotten to “late” September! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (in a pandemic?)
I’ve been back to teaching a small class outside at a local park in Waterville, Maine until this week. My students were comfortable meeting outside, socially distanced and masked. I was, too. And then last week, it was chilly and we had to move from under the pergola in the shade into the sun to be comfortable. This week the high temperature was only going to reach 62 so we went into the store and were surprised that we were comfortable there, too.
Life has been full of visitors this summer, too. If there are to be blessings found in the Covid-19 pandemic, this is one! All of our children have visited for at least a week and a couple visited for two weeks and four weeks! Working from home/remotely does have its benefits. Nothing makes this mom happier than a house full of our kids! We are so proud of all of them and how gracefully they’re handling life under Covid-19. It’s been difficult; isolating at times, frustrating at times, fraught with financial uncertainty. My kids all work in the Arts in New York City … there won’t be solid work for them at least until 2021. They’ll all make it through this and they’ll all grow because of it.
(I missed grand-dog Severus. Boo! And the Littles were unimpressed and not on the porch.)
We have been eating well (everyone likes to cook) and the baking has been lots of fun! Notice that the photos are almost all of baked goods!? Ha! We made focaccia with a beautiful vegetable “picture” on it, lobster is always a favorite, raspberry ice cream cookie sandwiches, blueberries, blueberry buckle, a rustic peach and blueberry galette, blueberry bundt cake, blueberry muffins, Mrs. Dejonkheere’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, blueberry pie #1, lobster eggs Benedict, maple blueberry scones, squash pie, veggie frittata and apple pie. The raspberries, blueberries and apples were all picked by our hands! What a lot of fun.
There has been yarn in my hands throughout the visits! I’ve started and finished a few things that I wanted to share with you, too.
First up were two emPower People cowls in their signature purple.
The first is the emPower People Cowl by Casapinka. This is a simple garter stitch cowl that asks for a DK or sport weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Rios which is a light worsted weight. It’s a cowl so I really didn’t mind if it came out a little bit larger (or smaller). It was a quick and simple knit project and it’s a sample at the store right now. It’s so soft and will be a nice garment to wear and a good reminder to VOTE!
The second is EmPower Lace by Romi. I was a test knitter for this cowl and it was another really fun knit. This could be considered a bit more difficult than the first cowl, but it’s a great first lace project. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool this time and I love this yarn. It was a new yarn to me. It shows the lace well and it’s soft and sturdy. Empower Lace is also a free Raverly download.
Next up are two pairs of baby booties. I confess that I have a collection of Cascade’s Fixation yarn from which I’ve made several pairs of baby booties and a few baby hats to match. But I had over-bought! Can you imagine that? Ha! Ha! So, in my pledge to use up stashed yarn, I decided to pull out all of the Fixation and use it up by making some baby booties. Two pairs down and I have plenty more to go. The green pair has a different bottom color and the pink ones are simple solid pink. The pattern is one that I can’t find online anywhere called Sue’s Baby Booties. It was a free pattern at the store. If you love it, let me know and I can scan it and email it to you.
I’ve started and finished a baby gift for a special baby boy coming soon so I can’t show you a full photograph of the gift that I’ve finished. I used Hayfield’s Baby Blossom Chunky to knit a Three Cable Baby Blanket and will make a little sweater and hat to match. I’ll update this post when I have given the gift to the mom-to-be. It’s soft, warm and washable and dry-able. All good things when you’re a new mother.
I’ve finished the first of my September socks from our 2020 Sock Challenge. This is another stashed yarn, one that I collected when we learned that there wasn’t going to be a US distributor for this wonderful Raggi yarn. (There is a distributor now, thank heavens!) Raggi is a worsted/aran weight wool and nylon blend so it’s perfect for knitting socks. The pattern, Urban Rustic Socks, I just happened across when I was looking for a worsted weight sock pattern that I hadn’t already made. I love these socks and they’re a fun knit, too. It’s a free Ravelry pattern.
I’m working away on making more masks for my kids, I’ve fixed a hat for a customer, fixed a shawl several times for a former student (the shawl has traveled from Florida to Maine and back several times) and I’ve got a bunch of projects on the needles. I’m still working on finishing my Arne and Carlos Quarantine Knitting blocks (I think it’s going to be a pillow) and my Hope Cardigan is half-done. So, life is busy and full … I wanted to catch up here so that the next post won’t be so long.
I haven’t written in what seems like forever and I’m not even going to apologize because I’m not sorry. There, I’ve said it. I needed to take this little bit of time off to spend with my kids and just “be”.
This pandemic life has been really stressful and I have had lots and lots of ups and downs. I’ve had days when I thought I could live like this forever and then the next day I can’t wait for life to go back to “normal” so it will all end. Somewhere in the middle of all of this is the real spot where I balance (sort of!) So, when my daughter asked if I’d be ok with her visiting with her husband and dogs, I said “yes!” I also decided that our kids are the only ones who I’m comfortable having visit for now. I also give myself permission to change my mind.
For the last two weeks my daughter and her husband have been visiting. It was wonderful. Easy and comfortable and lots of fun. Kate and Spencer have a great energy and it was fun to spend time with them. They were initially going to spend a week and extended it to two because they weren’t excited about going back to the heat of NYC. They worked, I worked/volunteered. We did a bunch of baking and berry picking. They also overlapped with my step-daughter and her boyfriend and dog which made it even sweeter because they’ve not really been able to spend time like that together. COVID-19 has brought our house and my heart much needed filling up. I have counted my blessings a lot lately and I am feeling completely blessed.
I”m grateful for the time we had to spend together with our oldest and youngest. I’m so happy to have met my grand-dog, Benny, for the first time. I’m grateful for a wonderful spouse who I get to share life with. We are so lucky to live is such a beautiful place and have the room to accommodate visitors for weeks at a time. Our lake provides a calming influence on world-weary travelers, ourselves included.
When I posted a photo of our garden with all (ALL!) of the kale pilfered but spinach and lettuces untouched, lots of doubters commented that we were lucky that it was gone. I will not apologize for liking kale … I like kale! And some rotten critter has eaten it all! Every single leaf has been nibbled to the nubs.
My StarflakeShawl is blocked and it’s beautiful! I am so thrilled about this shawl. I have to admit that I was not a big fan as I was knitting this. I wasn’t sure it would be something I would wear and I was pondering the idea of selling it or giving it away. BUT when I blocked this baby, I fell in love! I adore it!
The yarn is among the yummiest yarns that I have worked with. I used two shades of Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect Sock in “Wish You Were Beer” (gold) and “Nailed It” (silver) -the names of the colorways remind me of the OPI nail polish names, they’re so clever! The yarn bloomed when the shawl was blocked, the stitches opened up and the i-cord edging and bind off are spectacular.
This was my first Stephen West (big) project and I doubted at times that I’d get it finished. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck Maine, I lost my knitting mojo and/or my ability to concentrate. This shawl is NOT a simple pattern. I spent so much time knitting and then frogging that I ended up putting it in time out for awhile. A few weeks ago, I got it back out because I realized that I was settling into a new “normal” and I wanted a bit of a challenge. Well, I’m so glad to report that in the end, the result is incredible!
Here’s what else I’ve been up to …
Gardening! I’ve got a small yard but a lot of gardens. We have the raised vegetable garden with greens, tomatoes, peppers and squash. We have several perennial gardens that were put in before we were married. Some have been more successful than others but they all need care and love. I’ve been outside weeding, edging and transplanting (and forgetting to water the newly moved plants … lucky I have a lot of creeping flox. My peonies are just about ready to pop for the first time.
Volunteering! I am on two Boards of local organizations that I care deeply about. One is our lake association, Friends of Messalonskee. It’s weird to be running a volunteer organization in a pandemic but it we let the invasive plants take hold for one summer, we will have lost a lot of (if not all) the progress we have made. So, we are carefully optimistic that our state and local funding will come through so we can do our good work. Maine Arts Academy is the second organization and combines my passions for education and the arts. MEAA is a free public charter high school for the arts. We just graduated 53 students on Sunday in a “drive through” graduation. It was awesome and the kids are heading off prepared for whatever they choose to do next!
And I have sewn some more face masks for these cuties! I’m so glad that my children, all in New York City, are being smart and wearing masks. Daughter number two and her hubby have a few different masks to get them through the new “normal” in the city. I think they’ll be wearing masks for quite a while.
Life is good. I feel very grateful for a healthy family, especially now.
All of my knitting projects and even some sewing projects can be found on my Ravelry project page, I’m lindar on Ravelry.
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Y’all! What is happening? I’m sitting here wondering, trying to remember if it’s ever snowed in May … on Mother’s Day weekend … in my lifetime. I don’t think it has. One of our local television stations says that there was accumulation of five inches on May 10-11 1945 and 1963. I wasn’t born in ‘45 and I was 4 in ‘63. So there you go.
I’ve been keeping myself busy though. A zoom call with my Friday knitters yesterday was the highlight of my week. As it usually is, Friday is a great day when my students and I gather around the table. Or in this case around our computers. At least we can be together virtually. I bought a subscription to zoom this week so we can visit for more than 30 minutes.
Im using up a ton (well, that may be an exaggeration) of leftover bits and bobs of sock yarn making little crocheted squares for a Battenberg Blanket. This seems to be a project that I can focus on. Especially at the end of the day when my body and mind are tired. The mis-matched squares will be unified with squares of a single color … I’m not sure what that color will be yet. Time will tell.
My Humulus sweater is back out of time out … although the way it’s been behaving may warrant a return. I have managed to complete a couple of rounds but not without some drama. Mostly because my focus is stunted and I miss a stitch, typically at the end of a chart repeat and I don’t notice it until I’m at least half way around. Frogging is our friend in knitting, right? Sewing is not so forgiving. (Don’t ask!) I will soldier on and get the color work yoke finished one of these days. Then it’ll be smooth sailing to the bottom. 🤞🏼
My June socks are progressing. These are for the 2020 Sock Challenge that I’m doing with my students, a co-worker and her classes, plus a few of my wonderful FB followers. I can work on these at night, too. I’ve chosen to crochet for the last few evenings. This month, I’m using On the Round Signature Sock yarn and a US 1.5 needle and knitting the largest size. They sure are pretty.
Queen Bee’s Note: It’s now the end of the day, the snow has stopped and is mostly melted. I’ve not knitted a stitch yet.
My newest family member is my nephew, Hugh. He just turned a year old and because of life and Corona Virus, I’ve not met him in person yet. When we were facetime-ing a little while back, I decided that I wanted to make him a sweater.
I went through the normal (ha! like anything I do is “normal”) process of figuring out what pattern and what yarn to use … I had this great blue tweed in my stash and it’s a worsted weight yarn. This, I decided, would be the color. BUT we had a sweater pattern at work called Digger Jacket and I loved the idea of putting a construction vehicle on the sweater. I didn’t love the jacket pattern, however. I considered knitting the jacket in my chosen yarn with the intarsia vehicles but I really love the Wonderful Wallaby pattern. I love the construction method of Wallaby and the pouch is something little kids love. SO, I decided to knit the Wallaby with no hood, a crew neckline and a steam roller on the pouch.
To be very honest, I had planned to knit the steam roller into the pocket but I forgot. It’s one of the “symptoms” of anxiety and lack of focus that I’ve been experiencing during this Corona Virus/Covid-19 pandemic and physical distancing. So, I made lemonade and duplicate stitched the pattern onto the pouch after the sweater was completed. I’m really pleased with the outcome!
My nephew lives in Northern California and I didn’t think that the hood as the Wallaby pattern is written would be a good idea. Typically, the Wallaby has a divided placket and a hood, neither of which I wanted. I followed the pattern up to where the placket begins and then I went off on my own, fingers crossed, hoping that I really do know what I am doing. I continued the decreases at the shoulders as set until I had 60 stitches. The head opening was too small. I frogged back to where I had 76 stitches and it was much better. Six rounds of 1×1 ribbing and a bind off round in pattern and the sweater is pretty much done … I just have to seam the underarm and sew in the ends, block it and put it into the mail. I already got online and sent a little board book about construction vehicles in advance of the sweater. My son loved his trucks books and I hope Hugh will, too.
Join me on Facebook: Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner, on Instagram: @QueenBeeKnits and you can see all of my photos and information on this project and others on Ravelry, I’m lindar.
This week saw the release of Lori Versaci’s VersaciKnits newest shawl pattern, Campfire.
I was fortunate to have been asked to test knit this beautiful pattern and with that was a request to knit it in Cashmere People Yarns, Cashgora Sport.
When I called Portfiber in Portland, Maine to order my yarn, I spoke with owner, Casey Rider, a friend and “camp counselor” at one of my favorite places on earth, Medomak Fiber Retreat. Casey is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. I wanted my shawl to evoke the feeling you get when you wear a comfortable pair of worn-in blue jeans. I’d looked at the colors of Cashgora Sport on Portfiber’s website so I had some idea of what colors I liked but I also knew that the colors on the computer aren’t always like those in your hands. I counted on Casey to take my initial ideas and transform them into reality – and she did a magnificent job. I love the colors individually and together. While this shawl was a financial investment, it’s worth every single penny spent. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting every stitch (even the ones I had to frog and re-stitch because I can’t count!) and I love wearing it.
The pattern is clear and not at all difficult for even an adventurous beginner. Increases are always in the same space, There is some stockinette stitching which makes the pattern stitch areas worth knitting. The contrast between the patterns and stockinette are so satisfying. And the finished product is stunning … even if I do say so myself!
Campfire is made with three skeins of Cashgora Sport. I used Scree (natural), Toile (light blue) and Denim (darker blue). But you should check out the colors … they’re amazing! And the purchase of these yarns support the women in Tajikistan and Afghanistan who spin and dye it. Giving these women work means that they can support themselves and their families. Doing good.
For the month of May, you can also help Lori and Casey do some more good … Lori is donating 100% of pattern sales to Vinylhaven Community Outreach, a non-profit supporting the needs of people on this Maine island that depends on the lobster industry that has taken a big hit during this Covid-19 pandemic. Portfiber (Casey) is donating 20% of Cashmere People yarn sales during the month of May to Full Plates Full Potential, a Maine non-profit that provides breakfast and lunch to Maine children even during this pandemic.
Spring is just about to really make a commitment here in Maine! We had some rain and some very light flurries this morning … and I’m really hoping that we don’t see any more snow until October. Thank you very much!
I’ve been working on a Wonderful Wallaby sweater for my nephew. He’s already a year old and he’s growing like a weed. I love the Wonderful Wallaby sweater and I’ve made a few of them. One of them was for his big sister long ago and far away.
The Wonderful Wallaby sweater is knit from the bottom up. The pocket (that’s why it’s a Wallaby) is knitted at the same time as the body of the sweater. The pocket and the body are knitted together, and the body is continued. Sleeves are then knitted in and you finish knitting the yoke and a hood. I am not going to make the hood this time. I’m going to knit a simple crewneck by continuing the decreases at the shoulders until there are 60 stitches and then knit a 1×1 rib on the smaller needles. At least that’s my plan. At this time, I am thinking that I will use the duplicate stitch to add a surprise on the pocket. I don’t want to tell you exactly what that will be until it’s done and delivered. The yarn has been following me around for over a decade. I did made myself a top down sweater with it. Elsebeth Lavold’s Tweedy Wool is 85% highland wool, 10.5% acrylic and the remainder is viscose, 136 yards in a 50 gram ball and it’s discontinued. The little surprise will be stitched in Cascade 220 Superwash … because I could get the right colors!
I’ve made a new batch, with a new recipe, of baked oatmeal this morning and it’s my favorite so far. It’s full of pecans, almonds, carrots, coconut, and cranberries in place of cherries. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it’s super delicious! I actually had a serving and a bit more for “lunch” today … I had to try it! The recipe is on Cooking in Stilettos. I fully recommend it! And I don’t like oatmeal! I will freeze the eight other servings and pull them out as I want them and “zap” them for a minute or so. I ate mine today with just a bit of almond milk … I didn’t need to use any additional sweetener which is always a win!
I seem to be hitting my stride here in “quarantine” and it’s feeling a bit more “normal”. I have made an effort to reach a level of acceptance around this time. It’s surely the weirdest experience that I’ve had in my life (and I’m no spring chicken!) I have been counting my blessings, finding things to be grateful for every day and talking to and checking up on people that I love. I am coming to believe that this time of not being so busy has been a blessing. I’m talking to my kids more, my friends more and my students and co-workers, too. I’m also getting my knitting groove back. I am able to concentrate a bit more … although I do have days when I get nothing done. I’m not perfect.
Our weather is improving. We’ve had some beautiful days and we have been able to have coffee on the porch. This is what we wait all winter for!
Follow me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner and @QueenBeeKnits on Instagram. All of the details on my knitting and crochet projects are on my Ravelry projects page, I’m lindar.
Here we are on Saturday again. I’m trying like crazy to make the weekends feel like a weekend, like normal. At least a new normal. Today we went on a drive to Farmington, Maine to get some lobster and steamers for dinner, They were out of fish already. There was a long line of people, respectfully standing six feet apart, some with masks. I stayed in the car while my hubby went to get the food. I am realizing that I am fearful of other people and I need to conquer that fear because my dear hubby is at risk, too. Not just me.
The drive was enjoyable and I was glad to leave “campus” (home). It was actually sunnier in Farmington than it was here today. But we are enjoying the merganzers and loons and other feathered creatures returning to the lake. We scared a critter swimming by the house early this morning – the tail slap told us that it was a beaver. Pretty wonderful.
I’ve finished a dishcloth promised to my middle child. I had made one for her brother for Christmas and she wanted the same one because she liked the larger size.
I’ve also finished my son’s birthday socks. If you see him, please don’t tell him about them. He’s entitled to one pleasant surprise on his 30th birthday. This will be a tough day for all of us when we can’t be together to celebrate but when this is over, there’s going to be a massive celebration!
I used a KFI sock yarn that is cashmere and wool and these are so soft! I made a pair for my sweet hubby for Christmas with the same yarn. I liked it so much that I bought a second ball to make for my boy. I had a kerfuffle around the number of stitches on the first sock so I had to frog a bit and reknit, but they’re done and they’re lovely. I hope he will love them and know how much I love him – he has huge feet and his socks take forever to knit.
Once I got my Find Sand sweater to the place where I divided the sleeves from the body, I tried it on. Boy, am I glad I did. I didn’t do a swatch for this sweater and I should have. Call me lazy. I have frogged the whole project and will now do a swatch and reknit the pattern. It was too small and my stitch count was way off. I had two more stitches per two inches … when you’re making a “me-size” sweater, you will have a significantly smaller sweater if you’re this far off. No amount of blocking will help. Hence, frogging. If I didn’t laugh at myself, I’d be miserable. I can laugh, give myself a brief slap on the wrist and then move on. This is one of the great lessons that I’ve learned from knitting. Forgiveness of self.
I’ve finished 18 patches for the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL and they’re great! This has been such a happy project for this difficult time. While I was unable to focus on larger projects, as I’ve said before, I could focus on these little ones. I am waiting to see what Arne and Carlos say that we’re making before I finish mine but I am thinking that I’d like to make a wall hanging rather than a pair of pillows. BUT with that said, I kind of like the idea of pillows, too. I’d back mine with denim and they’ll match the pillow I wove at Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat last summer. I’ll let you know.
Find all the details on these projects and more on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner and on Instagram as @QueenBeeKnits
Today is Wednesday Tuesday (Ha! Thanks for the help! I guess I had lost track of the days!) not that it really matters. The only difference between the days is the weather. Yesterday was a true beauty and today is a little cooler but the brilliant sunshine always makes me feel better. We are going for a ride today to buy lobsters for dinner. Change it up a little bit.
I’m making progress (finally!) on my test-knit shawl which is being called Cashmere People Shawl. The design is by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. What I really love about Lori’s designs is the classic style. This is my third test knit for Lori, the first was my Mainstay Pullover in 2015. Sadly, this sweater has gone to live elsewhere because the yarn, a Berroco product, wasn’t color fast and it discolored when I washed it. Boo. The design, however was wonderful and I’ll make it again when I am finished with all my WIPs. (Like that will ever happen!) The second test knit was Open Star which finished in late 2015/early 2016. This is a cardigan and I still love this sweater. You can check out my Ravelry project page for details on both sweaters.
I struggled with the star section of this shawl for whatever reasons. Maybe it’s a simple as the counting; an ability that I often lack. But once I decided to go with reading my knitting, I zipped right along. I’m now into the last section of the shawl which is a “ruffle” of brioche. I need a longer cable on my needles because there are nearly 400 stitches at this point and cramming stitches on the needle and brioche don’t go well together. I’m eager to get this OFF the needles so I can see it in all it’s glory!
I continue to be behind on the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL. But I get about one done each day so, again, progress. I continue to enjoy this KAL because it takes just enough concentration to keep my mind busy and it’s very comforting. I’m trying to avoid Facebook and the news because it’s not very pleasant and plays with my head/anxiety levels. No news is good news just as long as my kids are ok.
And last but not least, I have the correct number of stitches on my son’s birthday socks and I’m (not really) zipping down the foot of the first sock. They’ll be easy to finish because it’s sport weight wool – with a bit of cashmere – so they do knit up a little bit more quickly than fingering weight would. This yarn, KFI Luxury Collection’s Indulgence Cashmere, is so soft. I need to make myself a pair. Or not. In fairness, I have an entire sock drawer full of my hand-knitted socks.