Happy New Year! New Year, New Yarn!

Winter Wonderland!

This was my view on the way to work the other day. The camp road is slippery and ice-covered but so beautiful! This is why we love living here in Maine. Every season has its beauty if you are open to seeing it!

We had a wonderful Christmas with my sweet husband’s daughters and one boyfriend. The Christmas tree was beautiful and the weather was perfect – except we didn’t have any snow! But the ice on the lake was perfect for ice skating and other wintery exploits!

I’m knitting away … well, not completely “normal” but I’m making progress working through the WIPs in my atelier. And I may have cast on a new project, too.

Yip Yips by Carissa Browning (crochet version)

This Yip Yip was a gift for my husband who has trouble keeping track of his wallet. Sometimes it’s in the kitchen or the bedroom or bathroom or his office or truck (among other locales) and I thought this Yip Yip would be a silly and fun container for the wallet. This is free pattern on Ravelry in either knit or crochet. Mine is the crochet version. It was quick to make and I think it’s hilarious! The ping pong ball eyes are the best! I will make more of these! They make me smile.

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This is the best mitten pattern! I love mittens in Maine in the winter and this is a good mitten pattern for the whole family! I had a skein of Knitting Fever’s Painted Sky and a bit of mohair that I knitted together at the same time and they’re really soft and they’ll be really warm. I’m planning to do a little bit of embroidery on them to give them a little bit of color. They’ll likely be inside my leather choppers. The pattern is out of print but it’s out there if you look.

And I have another pair of mittens that I have finished … this yarn and the pattern came from Knitty.com back in 2005! The pattern is actually from Knitty in the fall of 2002. I printed the pattern with the plan to make them for my daughter who was in high school. She chose the yarn which I bought from Knit Picks online.

2005 project finished

These are convertible mittens … they can be mittens and they can be fingerless mitts … well, they have partial fingers so they’re not really fingerless, are they?

Broad Street Mitts by Janis Corteses

Back in 2005, I wasn’t as confident a knitter as I am today. I was wondering why I didn’t finish these way back when and I think it was the “reverse all shaping” for the second mitt. I didn’t understand what that meant and the internet wasn’t nearly as good at showing you anything you want to know or learn. Now, however, I am able to reverse the shaping and knit the second mitt. I put the mittens in the mail to New York City as a surprise and my daughter was delighted. These are the Broad Street Mitts and they’re available on Knitty and Ravelry. They’re made from a fingering weight yarn and I used Knit Picks sock landscape. I don’t know if they still make it but it felt really nice to knit with!

Son-in-Love Socks – Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow

I just finished a pair of Birthday socks for my son-in-love whose birthday is later this month. My daughter said that he wouldn’t wear them but I said he needed to try them anyway … I think he’ll love them if he tries them. My son had the same reaction initially and he loves his hand knit socks (and is asking for more … they’re on the needles!) I love the Lang yarn and I used my favorite sock pattern by Yankee Knitter! I used a 3×1 rib on the cuff and instep. Socks are still one of my favorite things to knit.

Lallybroch Shawl by KnitzyBlonde (inspired by Outlander)

I may have slipped and cast on a new project the other day. I had bought three hanks of Malabrigo Arroyo (sport) in a pretty color way. I had thought it would knit up into a very pretty Lallybroch Shawl. And then I had a customer who has knit more than one and used the Rios by Malabrigo and I worried for awhile that the Arroyo wouldn’t be heavy enough. So I set aside three hanks of Rios in the Paris Night colorway. So, the other day when it was quiet at work, I wound one hank of the Arroyo to see how it worked up … and I am so happy to report that it is perfect. I really don’t love worsted weight shawls. They’re too warm for me – I tend to run hot – and the sport will be much better. I love this yarn and this colorway. I can’t wait to wear it.

As an aside, if you’ve not been watching Outlander on the Stars Network, watch it! I love it. And the books are incredible – it’s a time travel, historical fiction, love story with some really spectacular knitwear!

I still have many (MANY) WIPs still waiting for my attention but I am working my way down the list. I have “promised” myself that I won’t buy any more new yarn until I get a couple of the sweaters that I have all of the yarn for, by the way, done! I think my Malabrigo Rios sweater will be first. I’m going to be knitting it on a smaller needle as if it was a DK weight yarn so it won’t pill as much. I’ll let you know when I get rolling!

Gone knitting! I leave you with the sunrise picture I took this week. It’s been beautiful!

Sunrise and Ice Fishing Shack on Messalonskee

Virus Shawl … FO!

This is one of my wonderful Friday knitting students, Annie! Annie’s from East Texas and has the beautiful accent to prove it!  My boss took this photograph of us on Friday after my class. I’m wearing my Virus Shawl for the first time.

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I am really happy with the way the shawl turned out. It’s my first “real” crochet project and I think it’s really pretty. I used two hanks of Malabrigo Sock in the Candombe colorway. I’m not sure why I love it so since green is not really “my color” but I do love it and I was happy to wear it!

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Candombe has greens and purples and a great grellow color all smooshed together to make another great colorway for knitted garments. The way the colors, with very short color changes, move is really quite wonderful and I think I’d even like it as a sweater or other garment.

The pattern for this shawl is a simple chart that you repeat. I memorized it and could just crochet away. It could be made in any weight of yarn. (Since I get hot easily, I most always choose fingering weight yarns for shawls and, increasingly, choose sport or fingering for sweaters, too.) The only stitches are single crochet, double crochet and chain stitches. Simple! Even for me!

Fun! I’m feeling accomplished!

Hurricane Florence & Working with Yarn Again

IMG_3598We have had the most glorious weather here in Maine in the last few weeks. It’s hard to believe that at the same time we were having beautiful sunrises, a few hundred miles south, a hurricane has soaked several states!

My heart goes out to those who have been affected by Hurricane Florence. I have one friend and customer who was in harm’s way and was evacuated and I have a few family members down south who certainly will see a lot of rain. It has to be frightening and even heartbreaking to have your home flooded. While the stuff can be replaced and life is the most important thing, it’s still a lot of loss to bear. It sure seems that we have been seeing more huge storms over the last decade or so.

I’m so grateful for my dry, safe home and I’m so glad that I have been able to do some knitting again. Short sessions of knitting and crochet helps my elbow/arm to continue to heal without hurting. I’m thrilled to have yarn in my hands!

IMG_3623On my crochet hook, the Virus Shawl. This is a free pattern on Ravelry. It’s really just a crochet chart but there is a series of several very good tutorials that help you get started if you’re a beginner like me. Initially, I was going to use some stashed Noro Kureon Sock  (above) to make this shawl but it was so sticky that I had trouble working with it. It might be something I go back to because I love the colors! I practiced the first few sets on it and ultimately I chose some Malabrigo Sock in the Kandombe colorway to make my (first) Virus Shawl.

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I’ve been slowly making progress on my Sleeping Cedars baby sleeper sacque. This is a gift for a new baby who is arriving in late fall. I am knitting with Universal Yarn’s Adore (machine wash and dry but still mostly merino wool) in a the Cloud Gray colorway (color #105). I really like working with this yarn.

I am fairly certain that the gauge was spot on but this garment looks a little bit on the large size for a newborn. It might be more a 3-6 months size. I guess time will tell.

This is a fun knit. The body of this garment is knit in one piece from the bottom to the underarms and then split for the front and back. The lace detail on the front is just perfect. I love it. I finished the body by seaming the shoulders and then picked up the stitches for the sleeves. I’ve completed one sleeve and started the second and my working yarn is looking like it’ll be a good game of yarn chicken. I think finishing the collar will be nearly impossible. (Emphasis on THINK!) Fortunately I have an extra ball on layaway at my LYS (where I work!)

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Last but not least, I am very slowly working on my Frosting Shawl in Manos’ Alegria yarn. (Click through to the Ravelry pattern page and you’ll see why!) This shawl is super simple with a reversible cable on the edge of rows and rows of garter stitch. What appealed to me about this shawl was first, the yarn and then the tassels!!! When I saw it on (I think) Facebook, I recognized the colorway and I knew that I was going to buy that yarn and knit this shawl! I would have been so upset had it been sold on my day off! I have an extra hank on layaway at work just in case I want to make it larger than the pattern suggests. I love Alegria! It has a wonderfully soft hand and I love the colors. I have several other hanks that will one day be socks … they’re going to be the best socks! The winding job that I did was less than satisfactory and I had to undo a huge knotty mess in the middle of my knitting so I will have a few extra ends to weave in! I’ll be happy to wear this shawl when it’s finally done.

This “not knitting a lot” stuff really is a challenge for me! I really am grateful that I am able to knit at all and I really want to heal completely! I find I am reading a lot more and I have been doing a bit of sewing, too. My Christmas gifts for all of our kids are going to be sewn this year. Not knitted! But I can’t tell you anything more about this for now. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag!

I hope we will all be kind to each other while we clean up and recover from Hurricane Florence. So many people are going to need every kindness we can muster. Our country is experiencing some of the nastiest times I’ve seen in my sixty years. It bothers me that the people we’ve elected to lead us are behaving like children and that they seem unable to work together for the benefit of those who they serve. I hope you’ll consider calling your elected officials and let them know how you feel about their behavior.

Gone (not) 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!

I’m a Crochet Queen Bee!

That's What I'm Talking About!!!

That’s What I’m Talking About!!!

Those of you who are loyal readers (such as it is since I haven’t been posting very often … this thing called work really obliterates my time to knit and blog about it) know that I’ve been saying that I have to learn to crochet. Well, I think I have accomplished a few steps in that direction.

I have a dear knitting friend, Terri, who is an accomplished crocheter, a good knitter and she is the Queen of Nuno Felting. One evening at our Wild Rows gathering, I asked her to show me a Granny Square and she did. I practiced for a couple of days until it started to feel more natural. Now I have a collection of Granny Squares …. I had thought I would make an afghan but I think I will make a cover for my ottoman that lives in my atelier. Time will tell but the pile keeps growing.

Granny Squares

Granny Squares

Then, my knitting group decided to make a baby blanket for one of our members. Terri reminded me that since it was to be a 12 x 12 inch square, it was a good way to practice more. This time we were asked to keep our squares to blues and/or browns.

12 x 12 inch Granny Squ

12 x 12 inch Granny Square

And then I found this bag pattern somewhere in the blog-oshpere or on Facebook or Ravelry. The pattern is here. It’s not in American crochet terms, which, I have learned are different from English/European (?) crochet terms so beware. I marched right out to my local Joann Fabrics and buy some cheap-o yarn to give it a go. I’d never followed a crochet pattern before and I didn’t know what the stitches were called. I found a tutorial on YouTube and off I went. My first attempt is in the “use it another day” bin because it didn’t look right. The second attempt is pretty darned good … in my humble opinion!

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I can even make a flower!

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The bag … lying down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was very pleased with my little flowers! They were to hide the rather ugly join that I had to make to get the handles attached to the bag. I think next time I would make the handles part of the body of the bag and leave it at that. BUT I love the little flowers and am glad to know how to make them … and add a couple of leaves on a couple of the handles and this is what they look like! I think it will become a gift this Christmas … stay tuned!IMG_3983Another project in the finished pile and now I can use the yarn to make a sampler blanket (baby sized) and learn a few more crochet stitches. Yay!

Gone knitting!

 

Learning Something New

This week I started a new job with a day of training and then “bam!” I hit the ground running. I am the Clinic Assistant at my local elementary school … what used to be the school nurse but public school budgets don’t have the budget to pay an RN so they train us to do the job under their supervision.

So, I’m learning a lot of new things. How to take in and administer medications for students in my school. How to deal with angry parents who didn’t educate themselves. How to follow new procedures. How to deal with “politics” in the office and how to create healthy boundaries so that we all do our jobs in a cooperative, collaborative and happy environment.

Today I taught myself something else new. I learned to crochet!

I learned it by watching this most excellent tutorial on Youtube! It’s provided from All Free Crochet (dot) com and Nastazia … check them out (since I can’t teach crochet just yet!)

My first attempt was nowhere near a square shape. The sides were all sorts of wonky.

First Attempts

First Attempt

It was supposed to be a washcloth or dishcloth but I didn’t have the proper size of crochet hook. My hook was somewhat smaller and so was my swatch … so we’ll call it a coaster! 🙂 I also used cotton rather than acrylic (because if my dishcloth had been dishcloth size, I would certainly not have wanted it to be acrylic … acrylic doesn’t really absorb! Anyway, my first attempt (which isn’t well photographed) looks much better here than it turned out. It was the most oddly shaped piece of work EVER! So, I frogged it and started again.

I’m super pleased with my second attempt!

Second Attempt

Second Attempt

My second swatch is a real square and it has fairly decent tension. Tah! Dah!

I guess I am going to have to take a trip to Joann’s now to buy some larger metal crochet hooks so I can keep learning … it is a lot quicker than knitting and some of the new patterns that I have been seeing (in crochet) are so cute. I have been threatening to learn for so long. It’s about time I finally just did it!

And now I am feeling proud!

I can crochet … the Queen Bee Knits and Crochets, too!

Gone shopping!

All my Yarn is Packed?

Cascade 220 and Colinette Jitterbug

Cascade 220 and Colinette Jitterbug

When we head north to Maine for vacation in the summer, we’ve always driven. And I’ve been able to take a bunch of yarn (often more yarn than clothes) so that I can pick and choose my knitting projects.

This year, however, I’ve been working and wasn’t able to leave when N. decided it was time for him to go. So, I kissed him and our big brown dog goodbye and off they drove. What I didn’t realize is that I would have to be really choosy about what yarn I bring because I haven’t got a big plastic box to fill … I have one suitcase (which will fly free, thank you Jet Blue!) to fill with clothes, N’s birthday gifts and yarn, needles, patterns and all the notions that I need to do what I do! Yikes!

So, here’s what I am planning …

1) I have four skeins of Cascade 220 in a multi-colored colorway that will be knitted into slippers for N. Part of his Happy Birthday. The pattern will be Fiber Trends Felt Clogs (design by Bev Galeskas).They may get leather soles so that they last longer. To be added when we get home and they’re felted.

2) I have four skeins of Cascade 220 in a turquoise colorway that will be knitted into slippers for me. I’ve been waiting to use the pattern by French Press Knits, French Press Felted Slippers (by Melynda Bernardi). I’ve been coveting this pattern for ages and it’s time to give it a try!

3) The beautiful blue Colinette merino is going to be made into a vest from the book, Swing Swagger and Drape (by Jane Slicer-Smith). A vest because I live in Florida. I can always add sleeves if needed later on. I saw the pattern, Boxes Drape, at the Maine Fiber Frolic and it was love at first sight.

4) I’m taking the Purl Bee cowl to fix and finish.

5) I’m taking my brothers 50th birthday socks to finish.

Fiber Frolic 2012 Yarn ... frogged Boxy Cardigan

Fiber Frolic 2012 Yarn … frogged Boxy Cardigan

6) I’m taking my yarn from the Maine Fiber Frolic … the frogged Boxy Cardigan … hoping to find some inspiration and get it knit up into a wearable piece of Maine to bring back to Florida in the fall.

7) The cotton tank tunic is also going along unless it’s finished before I can leave.

8) Lasts but not least, N took his “boyfriend” sweater up in the truck. It has been closeted away (literally) for at least a year because I can’t bear to look at it. All the work and expensive yarn … and it doesn’t fit. Not even close. Another do-over opportunity.

9) I have to add to this list that I will be teaching myself to crochet this summer too, in addition to the knitting projects that I have on my list. I’ve wanted to learn and am making this promise to myself. I will be able to crochet (at least be a beginner)!

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend some time in Maine again this summer. I am also grateful for the opportunity to work for the school that I’ve worked for for the last 50 days. I have loved the experience, the students, the teachers, the administration … it’s been great to be part of the Woodlands family.

Gone knitting!