Well, Hello There!

From our bedroom window this morning

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I can’t believe that I haven’t written for such a long time … but I’m here today. It’s a questionably nice summer day today. We woke to rain, heavy rain, which is very welcome since Maine has been very dry. Parts of the state are talking about drought conditions. Not good this early.

I’ve been knitting along on the same projects. They seem to be taking forever to finish and that says that I’m not knitting as much as I think I am. With all sorts of time, it’s astounding to me that I get less and less done. Regardless …

Humulus Sweater in Ella Rae Classis Wool

My Humulus sweater is coming along. I’ve finished one sleeve and started the second one. If I really sat myself down and got off social media, I could probably finish it today. I am pretty pleased with the fit of this sweater and I really like the colors I chose. Ella Rae Classic wool is a good workhorse yarn. I would love to make another one of these sweaters (or one like it) in Malabrigo Rios or some other more luxurious yarn … some day. I have a list of sweaters and have already purchased the yarn for several that I have to knit first.

Next up, my Bristol Ivy shawl … The Shape of A Bay, I bought this pattern and yarn at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp not last summer but the summer before. It was my splurge. I started it immediately and then realized that it wasn’t a pattern to work on when you’re trying to converse with other people so I put it away until after camp. Time rolls on and then all of a sudden two years have passed and I hadn’t touched it since.

The Shape of a Bay in Cashmere People Yarns

I love the yarn so much. It feels wonderful as it passes through my hands. I also am loving the intricate stitch patterns in this shawl. It’s brilliant. Way more brilliant than I can ever imagine designing myself … and that’s one of the reasons that I adore Bristol Ivy so much. She’s a knitting geek. Her designs are different, thoughtful, and wicked smaht! I am continually amazed at her creativity. I’m thoroughly enjoying knitting this shawl and I can hardly wait to see it in all its glory after it’s blocked!!!

Simple Slippers in Brown Sheep’s Lambs Pride Bulky

I started a new project when I saw the newest Making magazine. There is so much in these little books that I want to make! I love these simple crochet slippers by Cal Patch (and I love Cal, too) so much and I eagerly finished both slipper bottoms in one porch-sitting day. I haven’t pulled them out again since. I am not as proficient at crochet as I am at knitting but I find it’s good for my hands and arms to change the movements up now and again. So, I change to crochet. This project, while simple for some, takes quite a bit of concentration for me but it is fun to succeed. And they’ll be warm and cozy when they’re finished and felted.

Crochet squares for my Battenberg Blanket in fingering weight scraps

This is my other crochet project. The Battenberg blanket will be something I’ll be working on for(maybe)ever. These tiny little squares will be crocheted together eventually and I’d like to have it be big enough to cuddle an adult up in … it may be a baby blanket, however. Time will tell. I have several dozen of them finished in random sock yarns that I’ve used over the years. I have to find a solid or two to use to unify all the oddball patches. But I can make these in my sleep now. It’s a good end of the day project.

Maple-Blueberry Scones

Both my husband and my college roommate showed me this recipe … that’s a strong hint. And they’re delicious. I spent a good part of the day one day this week making these and some peanut butter oatmeal cookies with nuts and chocolate chips added (because what’s a cookie without adding some extra good stuff?). I will not be shedding pounds this week, that’s for sure. This recipe can be found on the NY Times Cooking website. Let me know if you try them!

Last but not least, I finally cast on my July socks. I’ve blogged before about our 2020 Sock Challenge and I have a few friends of QBK on Facebook who are knitting socks with me this year. It’s been fun … but this month I almost forgot to start a pair! I had initially thought I’d make a pair that I saw online somewhere that was made with two yarns in contrasting colors, knit two stitches with color one and knit two stitches with color two and then after two rounds, switch the colors and so forth. But when I got started, I didn’t like the two colors together – not enough contrast – so I am knitting a simple pair of socks using my favorite Yankee Knitter sock pattern. The yarn is On the Round yarn in the Rebel colorway.

Yankee Knitter Socks for the Family in On The Round Signature Sock

I’ve been working at weeding our gardens. So far the weeds are winning but we’ve had some wonderful floral successes this year. Have a look at my bee balm! The hummingbirds are so happy with these flowers!

Gone knittng!

All of my projects are on my Ravelry project page. You can find them there! My Rav name is Lindar. Find me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.

Mary Jane Mucklestone!!!

The American Queen of Fair Isle Knitting, Mary Jane Mucklestone at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. Mary Jane is holding my knitting and balancing on one leg because her class sample is on her raised right leg! She does it all!

YOU GUYS!!! I took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone!!!

Late last week, my co-worker, Glenda, shared with me that she was going to take a class at the Farnsworth with Mary Jane Mucklestone. Needless to say, I was hoping that my calendar and husband would be supportive of me doing the same … and that there would still be space in the class when I signed up! The knitting gods were smiling in my favor so on Saturday afternoon, Glenda and I, driven by my handsome hubby, went to Rockland!

Mary Jane is a wonderful and knowledgable teacher. The class was inspired by my friend and knitting idol, Katharine Cobey, who has a one woman show at the Farnsworth through April 12, 2020. Go see the show. It’s magnificent. I blogged about it here. Katharine made famous diagonal knitting and the class was a Fair Isle design based on “diagonal” knitting but the Fair Isle way. Mary Jane was kind enough to bring one pattern for her Flying Geese Cowl about which she had intended to teach the class. She also was inspired to design another cowl pattern very shortly (days) before the class was to happen and we also got that cowl. It is, as yet, unnamed.

Choosing Colors

We learned a lot about choosing colors when knitting in the Fair Isle way. We were to come to class with an inch or so of ribbing in a dark, high-contrast color. I chose an Ella Rae Classic Wool in a dark charcoal gray. (Details on all my yarns are on my Ravelry project page. Find me on Ravelry, I’m “lindar”.) I brought a bunch of leftovers from my stash in various colors that I like which you can see above. Since you don’t need a whole lot of any one color, in this case, I brought bits and bobs. We needed three colors to really have some fun and I finally chose the creamy white Galway worsted and the one right next to it which is an ice blue colorway in a Paton’s Classic wool. All three are worsted weight and plain old wool.

While we were knitting, Mary Jane serenaded us with stories and tales about her travels to and knitting from Fair Isle. She is a wonderful story teller and full of knitting knowledge. I really enjoyed listening to her talk. She brought TONS of samples of Fair Isle motifs, talked about and demonstrated how some yarn colors, shades and tones, play well together – or don’t. It was a wonderful day.

Glenda, my co-worker, has finished knitting her Flying Geese cowl and she was blocking it when we last spoke. I must be knitting too slowly. I am planning to finish my cowl today because we have a snow day today so it’s an unexpected “free” day to sit in my atelier to knit. I don’t think I have to tell you that both cowls are fun to knit and a good way to learn to knit with two colors at a time (and you don’t have to catch the floats!)

I offered and Mary Jane has accepted me as a test knitter for this pattern and I am happy to oblige. Deadline is 2/13/2020 … so I had best stop “talking” and go knit!

Gone knitting!

Proof. Fan girl photo! Thanks for obliging me, Mary Jane!

Fingerless Mitts in a Weekend – a free pattern

This weekend was Thanksgiving and I decided to cast on a new and very simple project. Something I can make to sell. Well, they’re already off to their new home and I got them started AND finished over the course of the weekend. And I didn’t sell them. My daughter wanted them and I was more than happy to oblige!

Several people have asked me for my pattern. It’s an antique pattern with a lot of little changes.

Fingerless Mitts in a Weekend

220 yards (100g) Worsted Weight wool yarn. For my sample I used Ella Rae Classic Wool in colorway #164; a heathery light purple.

Set of 4 US 4 double pointed needles

1 stitch marker

Lengths of scrap yarn or yarn holders to hold thumb stitches

Cuff: to make a women’s mitt cast on 44 stitches and K2, P2 for 3 inches. You can certainly make the cuff longer but remember you may need more yarn. On the last row (it can be an extra row after 3 inches, don’t sweat it. Just remember what you did so you can do the same on the second mitt) *k1, k1fb, p2, (k2, P2) ten times, repeat from * one more time. Two stitches increased. 46 stitches total.

Knit six rounds plain. (No increases or decreases.)

Begin Thumb Gusset increases:

K1fb, k1, K1fb, PM (place marker) knit to the beginning of the round.

Knit 1 round plain

K1fb, k3, K1fb, SM (slip marker) knit to the beginning of round.

Knit 1 round plain

Continue in this manner, increasing in the first stitch and the stitch before the marker, slip the marker and then knit to the end of the round; knit two rounds plain until there are 15 thumb stitches. (The stitches between the beginning of round and the marker are the thumb gusset, extra stitches to accommodate your thumb.) You need to remember to knit two rounds after the last increase round.

Now thread a needle with some scrap yarn about a foot long. Slip the 15 thumb stitches from the DPN to scrap of yarn (or a stitch holder. I like using a scrap of yarn because I can keep trying on the mitts.) You have 15 thumb stitches on holder and 46 stitches on the Dpns.

Cast on three stitches, connect again for knotting around the hand stitches. Knit all stitches in the round until the hand is as long as you want it to be. I like my hands (mostly) covered so I knit until the hand is about at the first joint of my pinkie finger.

Begin ribbing: k2tog, K1, (P2, K2) to the last two sts, P2. 48 sts total.

Continue on pattern as set (Knit 2, Purl 2 around) for five rounds. Bind off in pattern.

Thumb: slip 15 thumb stitches onto dpns. cast on 5 stitches at the «crotch » of the thumb (where you cast on three stitches.)

Knit 3 rounds plain

K2, P2 around for five rounds. Bind off in pattern.

Make the second mitt just the same.

Weave in ends. Block gently. Or just wear them!

Mind you, I haven’t had these mitts test knit or tech edited. I’m happy to take your suggestions and edits should you find « issues » when you’re knitting.

These are the mitts that I taught last session at the adult education program here. I also taught my students to embroider on the fabric knitted. There are lots of pictures out there of embroidery on knitting. I also used this pattern for these mitts with self-patterning yarn. Be fearless! Have fun!

Gone knitting.

Follow me on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits

I’m also on Facebook: Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner

I’m lindar on Ravelry

WIP … 1, 2, 3, … No Yarn, No Fabric

In my knitting bag

Today I was up in my atelier after doing all of my day off list of activities when I decided to see what I’ve got in my knitting bag. I tend toward throwing whatever I want to have at work into the bag and taking it with me. Sometimes it just needs to be cleaned out. Today I discovered five projects, WIPs, in my knitting bag. All in process … some further ahead than others.

First, my husband’s sweater. I’m really working hard to knit up some of the projects already in my stash. If fact, I have a new mantra … No Yarn! No Fabric! I repeated it over and over again when my two friends at work and I went on the Maine Yarn Cruise. Anyway … I’m knitting my husband a Knitting Pure and Simple sweater in Ella Rae Classic Wool. I love these patterns because they are time-tested. The pattern is Knitting Pure and Simple #255 Henley Neck Down Pullover for Men. The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool in color 125.

And then there is the beautiful lace scarf that I am knitting for my herbalist friend. She needs a gift for a friend and she didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to knit a scarf. I love the Manos Alegria yarn. It’s very soft and not splitty. The color for this project is absolutely amazing. The pattern is pretty but it’s actually boring to knit. A four-row lace pattern repeated one hundred twenty times … or more. Pattern: The Sage Smudging Scarf, free on Ravelry. Yarn is Alegria by Manos del Uruguay in the Turmeric colorway.

For Christmas this year, my husband gave me some lovely wool yarn. And then he told me that it was for him – he wanted me to knit socks for him. Perhaps he should have put the yarn in HIS stocking?! This yarn is what I would call a heavy worsted and it’s working up really well but it’s a bit hard on my hands! He’ll love these socks in the winter. One sock is finished and the second sock is begun but I have put this one aside until I get a couple of projects finished that are “due” sooner. The yarn is Briggs and Little Tuffy in the Granite colorway. The pattern is Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter.

I’m knitting a pair of mittens as a sample for my Messalonskee Adult Ed class that begins in a couple of weeks. We will knit a pair of mittens and then embellish them with embroidery. I’m knitting with Ella Rae Classic Wool … they’ll be pretty mittens and they’ll also be very pretty. The plan is to embroider a bee on one mitten and maybe some flowers on the other. Maybe two bees! The pattern is Classic Mittens and Gloves for the Entire Family (this is a must-have pattern, by the way!). The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool in colorway 177.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the cutest crocheted hat on Facebook. It was made with a rafia “yarn” that I quickly found online and ordered. Oops? I had a bit of a challenge with the very start of the hat but with a couple of tries, I was successful and was going around and around! I’m making progress. I thought I’d have it done by Friday, but I remembered the scarf was promised in September. The hat probably won’t be worn until spring. The yarn is called Ra Ra Rafia by Wool and the Gang. The pattern is the Devon Hat (it’s free on Ravelry!)

I have two Christmas stockings, one Delores, a pair of socks, and several other projects on my atelier shelf. The stockings have got to be done by November! They’re the next two projects that have to rise to the top of the list! I have the yarn and patterns chosen for five more sweaters for me, too!

I haven’t sewn for a year but I have the fabric for two twin size quilts for the guest bedroom on the third floor, a tree quilt and a few other projects.

No yarn! No fabric!

Gone knitting!

Winter’s Refusal … getting stuck

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Snow! Snow! Snow!

It seems that Winter is not quite ready to concede to Spring. At least not yet. It’s really cold here again and we have been warned by the weather-people that we are likely to have more snow on Tuesday.

I’ve got some great knitting projects on my needles and have been plugging right along on Ma Belle Amie for my aunt. This is a remarkably simple cowl but I love the way that it gives the yarn permission to shine. I’ve made one in a discontinued Maine yarn, Apogee, for myself. You can see it on my Ravlery project page here. The yarn, conveniently, came in four colors. Just what the cowl required. It is a very wearable accessory! The current version is being knitted in three solid colors of Berroco’s Folio and a variegated Folio Color. This is a great project to work on when you’re having an adult beverage or sitting in a knitting group and want to chat instead of counting.

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I’ve also been working on Susan B. Anderson’s Split Back Snowflake Hat which I’m knitting in Berroco Yarn’s Ultra Alpaca worsted-weight yarn. I’ve chosen a medium gray and a white/cream. I love this hat because I love cables and color work. This hat has both … and it’s satisfying to knit hats because they don’t take forever to knit. Finishing projects makes me feel good about myself and makes me feel accomplished because I start and complete a project within a “reasonable” time frame!

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Last, but certainly not least, I’m working on a pair of Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens for a college friend. This is what made me think about writing this post today.

This project began upon my friend seeing this photograph on my Facebook page.

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Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens; top by Terri and bottom by Peggy

The two pairs of mittens above were knit by a talented student and a talented co-worker. A customer wore another pair of mittens into the shop one Friday and we all fell in love with the pattern. It’s free on Ravelry here. I can’t tell you that my attempts to knit these have been easy. I’ve knitted and frogged them multiple times.

Sometimes I think I have a mental block and am quite literally more challenged by some patterns/projects. I didn’t pay attention at the thumb gusset in one attempt and when I looked down, it was a mess. Back I ripped to before the gusset increases. The stream pattern didn’t have the right stitch count. Back I went to the top of the cuff. This is not a difficult pattern. I’ve knitted color work mittens before. So, why, for heaven’s sake, does this pattern present such a challenge for me? I wish I had the answer.

My mittens have one difference. I used an i-cord cast on so that the edge doesn’t roll. And I like the way the edge looks. (Another option would be to cast on the stitches and then purl one round.)

I remain a firm believer in patience in the process. I take a deep breath and frog whatever needs to be re-knit. …If I was knitting for myself, I might not be so particular and “make” it work a bit more “creatively,” but when I am knitting for someone else I am particular about doing it “right”. Knitting soothes my soul and helps me relax. My day isn’t complete when I don’t knit.

Gone knitting.

 

You can find more details about my projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar. Follow me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.

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“Flax” by Tin Can Knits

It’s finished and my husband wore it on Friday!

I loved knitting Flax by Tin Can Knits!

Flax is a free pattern for a simple top down sweater with an interesting and different sleeve treatment called a grater sleeve. Basically, the sleeve has a garter stitch “stripe” from the top of the shoulder to the cuff. It looks great and adds a bit of interest to an otherwise simple sweater.

That said, I’ve been knitting for over 30 years and I do not like seaming. I can do it and I can do it well but I still don’t like it. Any time I can avoid it, I will! And I did on this sweater – I win! 🙂

I knitted Flax in Ella Rae Classic Wool in a beautiful medium-blue. This yarn came to my LYS (and the wonderful place that I work) as a clearance yarn. It is 100% wool and has a good hand. I wanted to give it a try so I can recommend it (or not) to our customers. It was reasonably priced and made for making an affordable sweater for an adult at just around the $50.00 mark. I liked the yarn although when I blocked the sweater there was a lot of color bleed. I’m glad I didn’t stripe it!

This was a good knitting project and would be a great first garment. The sizing in the pattern is from baby to man or teeny to really big. Knitted in worsted-weight yarn it is a quick project, too. Not that knitting should ever be a race! It’s all about the process.

Hubby is happy and I am happy, too. Check out the beautiful patterns by Tin Can Knits on Ravelry.

Gone Knitting!

Happy Mothers/Mother’s/Mothers’ Day!

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It’s hard to imagine that nearly a month has passed (again) since I’ve posted something about my knitting life – or anything about my life. I wish that I could say that I’ve been on an exotic trip to Africa or on a tour around Europe but I’ve been happily ensconced in my normal day-to-day life in Maine, USA.

Today is Mother’s Day. I heard from all five kids and have eaten my gift of Graeter’s Ice Cream (six flavors, all with chocolate chunks) twice a day since it arrived. I’ve been knitting less and resting my hands more. Sadly, I’ve got some arm aches that lead to thumb pain on Friday and that’s enough to make me slow down.

I took my Orange Peel quilt to the long arm machine yesterday and got it about half-quilted before something happened with the machine. Initially we thought it was a band slipping but as I worked, the noise got worse and it was bad enough to stop using it. With any luck, the repair man is coming on Thursday and maybe I can finish quilting on Friday after class.

I’ve been happy at work at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville. I’m in the store Tuesday and Thursday and I teach on Friday. I love our customers and I love working with creative people. We are participating in the first “Maine Yarn Cruise” this summer and we’ve been getting our planning done. Prizes, patterns, kits, etc. There is a lot of planning to do and 19 or so shops participating from around the state. I love teaching, too. I had 20 students last week – three of whom stayed all day – and I so enjoy helping my students conquer their knitting challenges and learn something new. I also enjoy stretching my own knitting knowledge. Each challenge that students bring to me are a new test of my skills as a knitter and I realize each time that I am really a good knitter, capable of figuring out just about anything that’s brought my way. Confidence building!

I am knitting and making progress.

I cast on for the Joji Locatelli “Starting Point MKAL” and have gotten about half-way through clue number 1. Trying to pace myself. More details will follow but you can also check me out in Ravelry (lindar). I’m nearly finished with a sweater for my sweetie. I’m knitting “Flax” by Tin Can Knits. What a great garment! I’ll have to make more. “Flax” is designed to be worked in worsted weight yarn. I’m using Ella Rae Classic Wool in a really pretty blue color. My husband will look wonderful in the blue! I’ve got most of one sleeve to complete and then the ribbing for two sleeves (after it’s tried on once more).

I have two pairs of socks on the needles – one cuff-down in a speckled yarn and a toe-up pair in Heritage Print by Cascade in Christmas colors. These are the socks that I taught in my adult ed class this past session. One class turned into two … two nights of teaching each week may be one of the reasons I haven’t been posting a whole lot! I also have started another pair of Miriam Felton’s “Footie Socks”. One down, one to go.

I’ve finished husband’s scarf and several “knitted knockers” (www.KnittedKnockers.org). Have also knitted a pair of socks for my new cousin. I’m in the process of making him a flannel quilt like I made for his big sister.

Image (1) knitting-002-199x300.jpg for post 1462My little dog, Lola, has had kennel cough and is now struggling with a goopy eye. Probably spring allergies. Both little dogs are heading to a new groomer on Wednesday and I’m sure that will help – we’re horribly over due for a hair cut! I’m working on finding a new hair dresser, too!

Moving to a new place is a challenge. I’m still working on finding all of the doctors, hair and nail people, groomers, veterinarians, stores to shop in, etc. But we are so glad that we moved to Maine. We are looking forward to more time on the front porch and summer visitors!

Gone knitting!