Finished!

Woo! Hoo! Yay me!!! My very first Covid-19 Pandemic FO! Socks for my neighbor’s big birthday.

I find it difficult to buy gifts for friends. I want to get them something they will love. I put a lot of pressure on myself to find the perfect, most wonderful gift. So, often I am stuck with no good ideas. This time, I decided to give my neighbor a ball of yarn and a promise that I would make her socks.

She traced her foot and brought the yarn back to me a few days ago. Today I delivered the finished pair to her and she loves them. Yay!!!

The yarn is EYC Fair Isle (aran weight) and I used the most wonderful sock pattern, Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks for the Family (#29). I love this pattern because it provides the best-fitting socks for baby through adult man and you can tailor the socks to the yarn you’re using. In this case, the yarn is self-patterning so I wanted a very simple sock so the pattern shows. (If I’d used cables or patterns they’d have been lost in the pattern of the yarn.)

Every pair of socks that I make, I use my “most favoritest” sock knitting tool, the Sock Ruler. I was given my adult sock ruler by my sister-in-love. I wasn’t sure I’d use it because I have knitted so many socks. I didn’t think I needed it. Well, was I wrong! I use it to measure the length of the leg and the the BEST part is when you’re knitting the foot – and the sock ruler fits down into the heel so you can measure how far you’ve knitted the foot without the fiddly heel/gusset interference! You know, the part where you try to lay the sock flat with three needles and measure from the outside at the end of the heel to the needles? Well, the sock ruler takes all that fiddly stuff out of the equation! You can find the Sock Ruler at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine or online. I wish I had come up with the idea but I don’t make any money if you buy them.

Gone knitting!

To learn more about my knitting projects, find me on Facebook (QueenBeeKnits by LindaWarner), Instagram (@queenbeeknits) and Ravelry (lindar).

Frogged Again!

The sun is out again today and it’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood. It’s not even that cold! Somehow, the days keep ticking by and are filled with all sorts of different activities.

Yesterday I made five face masks.

Germ-free me

They’re not perfect but they’ll work and they’re all made with lots of love! I hope they’ll help people who need them. I bought a kit from a store in Auburn, Maine and I got about 30 pairs of fabric rectangles all cut out to 7×9 inches. I also got the elastic cord that you can’t find anywhere around these days! I am a very slow stitcher and it took me forever to get these done, but I did it and I will do the rest over a few days. Or weeks.

Cashmere People Shawl

I posted this picture a few posts back. This is a shawl that I am test knitting for Lori Versaci (VersaciKnits). I am having focus problems that I’ve written about earlier. Well, this is no exception. I have knitted and frogged and knitted and frogged again on one section. I don’t seem to be able to count to three, yarn over and go again. Ha! Ha! I am going to try once more and have the right number of stitches on row 4. On I go … and I hope I can count and yarn over this time. I can certainly count my stitches and read my knitting but this is ridiculous!

I am attributing this lack of focus to the corona virus pandemic and my concern about my little Lola who hasn’t eaten again today. It looks like the dreaded three hour drive to Massachusetts is on for tomorrow. We will drive down, drop her at my brother’s office and wait for her tests to be done. Then we’ll drive back home. We will wear gloves, wash our hands, bring our own lunch and shower when we get home. And we will have some answers.

I continue to knock out the Arne and Carlos blocks for their Quarantine KAL. We are up to day eight and I have through day six finished (one block needs ends woven in.) I continue to enjoy this. It’s in manageable bites and it feels good to be able to manage something in this chaos.

I also got my neighbor’s birthday gift delivered back to me. She turned 60 a month or so ago and I gave her yarn for her birthday with the promise to make her a pair of socks. They’ll be worsted weight and shorted in the leg so they can be worn as slipper socks or socks. I’ve not knitted with the yarn before – it’s new to our shop. I’ll get pictures up and the story of the pattern as I get something knitted and have something to show!

Gone knitting!

Sunrise Messalonskee style

A Fear of Stranded Knitting Conquered

Starting the Lobster Hat

I bought a Lobster Hat kit at Over the Rainbow Yarns in Rockland, Maine several years ago. I bought it for my daughter for Christmas that year with a promise that I’d knit it for her. Fast forward to today and I “found” the kit in my time out cabinet and decided to give it a go and see if I can’t finish it (finally!!!) All those years ago, I’d begun the knitting but I wasn’t particularly confident about it. I didn’t know how to carry the floats well and my tension was wonky. So I frogged what I had begun, rewound the yarn and started over.

I had avoided stranded knitting/colorwork and Fair Isle for a long, long time. I’ve blogged about this before. But a few years ago my co-worker showed my a pair of beautiful (and warm) Snowflake Mittens and I HAD to knit them. I’ve knitted many pairs of them (one story included two left hands!) and have taught many knitters to make them, too. Worsted weight yarn and only two colors didn’t feel too overwhelming but I wasn’t really eager to try the finer yarns or more than two colors.

This year, however, the stranded knitting projects have been coming at me from everywhere! My co-worker, Peggy, and I made the Sunset Highway sweater. I found a knitted coffee cup cozy pattern that is a Fair Isle pattern knit in the round and steeked as a practice for a sweater I want to knit. I made a Christmas stocking for my daughter. I am knitting a pair of socks, as part of a MKAL and our 2020 Sock Knitting Challenge that is stranded knitting. I just took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone that turned into a test knit project for her, the subject of which was a Fair Isle cowl (the pattern is coming soon!) And then I found the Lobster Hat.

So, riight now, on my needles is a pair of socks and (ta! da!) the lobster hat. I need to cast on another pair of Snowflake mittens, too, for a friend. I’m really pleased and proud to say that I am feeling very confident with colorwork/stranded knitting. Progress through practice!

Gone Knitting!

You can find out more about these projects and more on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook 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!

CYC Certified Knitting Teacher

I passed my second level of knitting certification and will soon have my certificate and pin to prove that I am a certified knitting teacher! A step up from Certified Knitting Instructor! Yay, me!

It’s amazing to think about spending an hour on the phone talking about knitting and designing knitwear with a stranger, but that’s what the process was. My master teacher, Edie Eckman, received my packet of materials (close to the end of the time frame that I had to complete the work) and reviewed it and we had a lovely chat about my work.

I had not tried several of the techniques that I had to knit swatches for – but I feel as though I am at a place in my knitting career where I am rather fearless and can try anything. Most everything I try, I can do. And I can do it well enough to teach it to someone else. Whether or not I will choose to do a lot of knitting (intarsia and mosaic and fair isle) in some of these styles (?) remains to be seen. But I feel comfortable enough with them.

I would, come to think of it, like to make a pair of fair isle mittens or a hat … some garment to use this technique as I think it’s remarkably pretty. I have a sweater pattern to make for my niece that will give me a chance to try it, too.

So, the Certified Knitting Instructor has grown into the Certified Knitting Teacher … now I have to decide whether to attempt the next level or if I’ll do the Knitting Guild’s Master Knitting. I need to keep learning and stretching in order to grow in my craft. It’s wonderful to that I have choices to invest in for myself.

Gone knitting!

Soon to be Certified Teacher!

Soon to be Certified Teacher!

Putting it “Out There”

Last year, for the first time, I joined my knitting guild group and entered a couple of items in our Central Florida Fair. I was (super) nervous about putting my work “out there”! But the rewards were great – not only did my work receive recognition, but I felt so good doing it.

This year, I’ve decided to enter a few items again. I can always change my mind but I think it’s healthy to submit my work asking for criticism and showing people the work that I am so proud to do. So, what did I submit?

The rules state that all items have to be completed during the calendar year between fairs. I have chosen the “mini-me” leg warmers that I knitted copying the adult-size ones that I made for my daughter for Christmas. My first efforts at Fair Isle knitting (and I, honestly, forgot to watch the joins which are not joggless so we’ll see how that goes.) I may even re-knit them. Time permitting.

"mini me" infant leg warmers - original Fair Isle pattern

“mini me” infant leg warmers – original Fair Isle pattern

I also entered a little light green seed stitch dog coat that I designed for my little dogs. Last year I submitted my first original dog design for my Prima Dogma line. This is number two. I like the color and the edge which is a simple single crochet in a black & white wool which contrasts really nicely with the light green. It was a quick knit … I really need to write down the pattern and post it! I need to find a way to display it … stuffed dog or something!

The last three items are still on my needles.

My Vintage Velvet scarf with its wonderful reversible cables is one. Second is the little hat that I started knitting yesterday and will finish today, Downton. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Check it out! Third is the fingerless mitts that I will finish (I hope) in time to submit that I am knitting along with the Jimmy Beans Wool Downton Abbey KAL “Lady Violet’s Dinner Gauntlets”. Despite the fact that I am not totally in love with the colorway, I like the project. (And it’s my first ever KAL!) Both the scarf and gauntlets can be seen in my previous post, Queen Bee WIP here.

I will report on the final decisions of what I will submit (the deadline is still distant enough to add a project or two if I decide to do so) or that I may decide to withdraw. It’s a woman’s perrogative to change her mind, after all!

Gone knitting!