A Good Week

Just before dawn

Every once in a while my husband who is a “real” photographer takes a morning photo for me to post on Facebook. The daily photos have become a much appreciated habit and a welcome gift for my friends and family – particularly during the covid shutdown. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and I feel driven to share it with the world. We were, for the most part, pretty happy to be locked up here.

This week the CDC announced that all vaccinated people can go out in public without masks. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, right? Returning to normal. Yeah, well, I’m not sure how I feel about this seemingly quick change. I think it’s great to be able to spend time with other vaccinated people in small groups of friends without masks but I’m not sure I trust the rest of the population to do the right thing if they’re not vaccinated. I’ll likely be wearing a mask at work for the near future. I’ll feel better that way.

Lilac in bloom

I’ve also spent a few hours outside on the porch and in the gardens. We were talking one day recently wondering how people take care of their yards and homes as they get older. It’s a big job around here! I am grateful that we can do it now but what happens when we get older? It may just all got to hell. Meanwhile, our goal is to make everything easier to care for. Native plants that are good for the birds and bees, ground covers that aren’t invasive so that weeds aren’t as prevalent, etc. Another work in progress …

Meanwhile, I’ve been finishing up a few projects and I’ve been starting a few, too. Ha! Ha! I’ve finished over 33 items so far this calendar year. Most recently I finished slippers for my big brother (his beautiful bride will be felting them so they’ll fit him perfectly), Socks for a new baby boy and his big brother, and I’ve completely finished (well, I haven’t found perfect buttons yet) my Daytripper Cardigan. I’ve also been baking a bit. Apple Pie Scones are among our new favorites (and used the old apples in the refrigerator before they were rotten, banana nut muffins with blueberries use the old bananas. Waste not want not.

I have a new shawl, Gallbladder by Becky Sorensen, on the needles at the request of my younger daughter. I’m making the shawl in Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect Sock in two colorways. A silvery gray called “Jackie O” and a darker gray speckle called “Stolen Dances”. This shawl is designed by a college friend and she said she’d love it for her birthday. I’m thrilled to make it for her.

Gallbladder for my daughter

Also new to the needles are socks for my husband’s birthday. I almost used this Manos Allegria yarn for my son’s birthday socks but I changed my mind. So, this week I cast on sock for my husband. This is my sixth pair of socks so far this year. I’m once again participating in the annual Sock Challenge and these are my June socks. Allegria is so soft on my hands. I’m sure they’ll be wonderful to wear! My new socks in progress are first below … the rest are after that.

I took two classes this weekend and I’m so happy that I did. Yesterday I took a mending class with Bristol Ivy and today I took a finishing class with Deborah Newton. Both were wonderful and I always learn something new and useful. This has been a blessing in the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. To be able to take classes for a reasonable price with internationally known teachers is marvelous! I’m grateful to have been able to “indulge” in several classes over the past year. I’m grateful to still be learning.

My classes on Friday at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine have started up in person again as of May. It’s so wonderful to gather together again. Zoom is a good situation when you absolutely can’t safely gather but it’s far better to be together in person. Friday is, again, my favorite day!

Gone knitting.

A Long-Awaited Visit

It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to see our family. This past weekend, we were able to travel to New York City to visit my children. We brought my mother’s piano (in a u-haul trailer) to my daughter who will USE it. We don’t use it and it’s a real shame that it just sat in the living room and wasn’t played.

On Saturday it was a gorgeous day and we walked parallel to the river with my daughters and their husbands and dogs to the weekly farmers market and to drop off their compost materials (they freeze it and then walk it to be composted every week!) My daughter’s step counter said it was more than 12,000 steps. She guesses it’s about 5 miles and the last bit was up hill. I haven’t walked five miles in forever! It was such a fun day and we completed it with a family dinner to celebrate (for the first time) my son’s 31st birthday. We were supposed to celebrate 30 last year when Covid required that we stay home.

I have been knitting! I knitted a pair of birthday socks for my son. I’ve never used this Schoppe-Wolle Das Paar sock yarn before. A customer last week bought a hank and asked that it be wound … I thought there was something wrong when it “broke” about half-way through until I realized that it was meant to happen! They made the yarn so that you get two socks that are the same! So, I had to try it and I loved it. I liked the hand (feel) of the yarn as I was knitting and the socks are exquisite! I’ve put aside two more hanks for future sock knitting.

I’ve begun a baby gift of socks for one of my daughter’s friends who had a new baby recently. The gift is socks for the boys – each the same, two-color socks (heels, toes and cuffs will be red and the body of the sock a marled gray.) I love knitting little socks! These are especially cute in my humble opinion.

When we got home I reinforced and steeked my Daytripper Cardigan. It’s thrilling to cut down the middle of a sweater and have the stitches hold. I’ve since picked up my stitches for the button bands and only have to secure the back side of the steek and find eight buttons to make the sweater wearable … just in time for warmer weather. I’ve steam blocked it to make it easier to steek but I’ll still give it a good wet block before it’s really and truly finished.

This is the beginning of my next “surprise” gift. New felted clog slippers for my LA brother. I made him a pair … I did the knitting and my sister-in-law did the felting and added the slipper soles … a bunch of years ago and they’re holey. She asked if I’d make him a new pair … we’ll handle it the same way as last time so they are felted to fit his feet (they live in Louisiana so it’s difficult to do at a distance!) This time he’s getting some LSU slippers. I decided to hold two strands of the different colors together which will make them quite different from the former pair that were dark gray or black. I hope he loves them. He’s such a LSU fan that he had a purple leather chair.

We came home on Monday to another beautiful day and the blossoms of spring in Maine. The forsythia is blooming and the rhubarb is starting to grow. It won’t be long before strawberry rhubarb jam season. My bleeding heart plant is growing so fast that I think you could actually see it growing. The daffodils are up and the birds are all traveling through … no sign yet of our hummingbirds but I’m sure they’ll be here early this year.

Life is good.

Gone knitting.

Finishing Projects

Today I can proudly say that I survived my first week as a Clinic Assistant. It wasn’t without bumps and bruises but I escaped mostly unscathed.

This weekend is a little bit bittersweet since I say goodbye to my guy on Monday for a week – he’s spending a week with the guys in North Carolina – and I have decided that I need to concentrate on finishing those projects that I’ve been carrying around for ages … well, at least one has been carried around for ages.

DROPPS Tunic ... ready to travel

DROPPS Tunic … ready to travel

My DROPS Design tunic is the first on my list. I’ve taken it to my knitting guild meeting and to my knitting group this week. I have an inch or so of 1×1 ribbing (on size 1 needles) to go before I reach the straps … and then I “just have to seam it”! Since it’s been so blasted hot here in Florida this August, I’ll be excited to have it finished and be able to wear it!

Hair Elastics holding my stitches on the DPNs

Hair Elastics holding my stitches on the DPNs

The beaded scarf is ready to be grafted together. The construction is unique to me in that it is knitted from the bottom up in two pieces (with the beading being on the bottom or at the beginning of each piece.) Now, both pieces are a bit longer than the 27 inches that is suggested in the pattern so that (I hope) it can be wrapped double around my neck and the beaded edges pulled through the loop. We’ll see when it’s grafted. I haven’t ever grafted a 2×2 rib before so this will be a new adventure for me. I found a YouTube video that was a very *very* brief explanation of how to do this and I’ll be writing about my experience after I’m successful!

I have my bag with the lace end panels, too, to finish. They’ve really taken a back seat in my knitting bag. Mostly because I have to start working on the lace in relative seclusion. So, next week, when I’m alone at night after work, I will be working on the lace panels. I’ve already knitted and frogged the first panel several times. Maybe the fifth or sixth time will be the charm.

Felted Scuffs ready to be Felted Today!

Felted Scuffs ready to be Felted Today!

Last, but not least, I have to felt the scuffs that I knitted in Maine this summer for N. Just a bit of hot water in the washer and I’ll be good to get that done this afternoon. Maybe after his daughter, R, washes her couch slip cover … I hear it needs it! 🙂

Gone knitting!

Ready-to-Felt

Ready for Felting

Ready for Felting

Along the same lines as “ready to wear” or, en Francais, “prêt à porter”, I have a ready to felt project!

I’ve finished the pair of scuffs to be felted for N. I chose a multicolored colorway in Cascade 220 and as the yarn is knit doubled, it’s a quick knit. The felting will wait until I get back to Florida because lake water in Maine is never warm enough for felting wool! And I’m not going to do the early settler thing and heat the water!

Gone knitting!

 

Proof – on the needles and newly finished

Here are the photos, as promised!

Socks for my Boy!

Socks for my boy in Trekking XXL (75% super wash wool, 25% polyamid). This yarn might be the most wonderful sock yarn ever but knitting with it has been a nightmare! The center-pull ball has been in knots from the first pull. Grrr! What a pain in the neck (or needles!) But the socks are looking good and the boy has asked for them (the third pair!) Promised for graduation in mid-June.

New yarn arrival!

Yes, you can ooooh and ahhhh!

I bought the Berroco Pure Pima and Cascade Yarns Fixation for two projects. The Berroco is for a cotton sweater (sleeveless tunic) for moi. The Fixation is for a pair or two of baby socks … trying a new pattern!

Also FO –

HUGE socks ... soon to be felted!

Two super huge socks all ready to be felted. These are for my Etsy shop at the end of the summer. One lavender and one multi-colored, fall colors (green, orange, brown, purple, burgundy) both will be felted to size and be ready to go to some cold tootsies!

Flower Power Dish Cloth

Also trying to use up some of the cotton yarn that I’ve been carrying around. This green turned into a dish cloth. Perhaps it will live in my kitchen (replacing the icky ones that are there) or perhaps it will be matched with a couple more and sold in my shop. We’ll see what I decide.

Cooked Lobster Mittens (a Queen Bee Knits Original Pattern)

Since I have a bunch of wonderful merino wool that I bought in Maine last summer, I decided to resurrect my original pattern and make some more Cooked Lobster Mittens. I love these cute little mittens for kids. I’ll be knitting up several small pairs (and knitting up the bands for the claws, too) for my shop. One down … if you want a pair in a specific size, best to request because I know they’ll fly off the shelves!

Meantime, a friend of mine and her partner welcomed to the world a beautiful baby girl yesterday. I’m thinking a pair of those lovely cabled baby booties needs to be knit up and sent to West Palm Beach! What yarn to use? What yarn to buy?

Oh, the challenges this Queen Bee faces every day! (The last was said in sarcasm … next, in all truth and sincerity) How lucky I am!

Got to wait for my camera battery to charge so I can post the pictures. For now, I’m gone knitting!

GINORMOUS Purple Socks

I’ve finished another project today. This one is for my Etsy shop. Have you visited my Etsy shop yet? If not, please do! I’d be delighted to give you a tour – and soon, I’ll be heading out on a little vacation and all of my items will be expiring and there will be nothing to buy until I come back!

Use coupon code “FREESHIP” and you’ll enjoy free shipping on some of the loveliest hand-knit items ever. I really love what’s in my shop!

But I digress …

Today I finished the second of a pair of soon-to-be-felted slipper socks. These are in a lovely lavender (how’s that for alliteration?) I think I am going to go buy a bit of roving and needle felt something on these slippers once they are felted and dry. I was watching my friend Cindi at knitting on Thursday and it looks like it’s a blast. So, we’ll see!

Happy Feet Slipper Socks by Queen Bee Knits

My goal is to get one more pair knitted up before I leave on vacation … a multicolored pair just like the ones I made for my friend Erika. I really loved the way hers came out – and, coincidentally, so did she!

The pattern, once tested, will be available on my website and Ravelry. How exciting is that!?

Gone knitting!

Work and Risk and the Central Florida Fair

Entered in the Central Florida Fair

So, I had an interview today with Michael’s … I’ve applied to teach knitting in their store in Sanford, FL. It’s very interesting to bring my knitted samples and listen to the feedback. Talk about confirmation! I’m excited about the opportunity to teach there.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished knitting a pair of felted slippers for my former colleague at the Health Improvement Collaborative (the best little non-profit in Cincinnati), Erika. She chose the yarn and I think she’s going to be very pleased. I’m eager to see how they look felted! I’m not sure I’d have chosen the yarn but I’m glad Erika did because I really like it! Goes to show you what happens when you try something new and different … something that you might not have tried.

I’m not really a risk taker. It’s (normally) frightening to try new things in life. That being said, it’s such a good way to stretch myself. I found the same satisfaction in my Ohio book club where it was sometimes challenging to even think about reading some of the book choices. But I liked most of the books.

SO, on that note, I’ve entered two pieces of my knitting in the Central Florida Fair. I’m a bit weirded out about it because I’ve never done anything like this before but I’m also energized by the idea. And, frankly, am thinking about what I can knit to submit next year, too! I hope to have the opportunity to join my knitting group for demonstrations so that I can also go and see (and photograph) the knitting entries … and see what’s there.

Off I go into my day. I’m hoping to take before and after photos of Erika’s slippers later today and will post them here!

Gone knitting!