WIPs and Phew!

It’s been a little bit since I’ve written here and there is a LOT going on in my life. That may be why. Regardless, let me report on a few things that I”ve been up to both in the knitting world and my life in general.

I’m knitting away but I’ve also been working extra hours because my boss is in Hawaii for five weeks, and two of our colleagues are on vacation for a week or more. We’ve got a delicate balance for the four of us and we are all picking up extra hours. Personally, I’ve got a new car payment so I don’t mind too much … except for the fact that work is cutting into my knitting time.

From top to bottom, here are my WIPs and FOs (Muffin, that’s works in progress and finished objects) … I’m on sleeve island for my Fine Sand cardigan. I’m making very slow progress on this sweater despite the fact that NOW is the time I might be able to wear it. It’s knit in Juniper Moon Farm Zooey and as such is very unforgiving so my hands get really tired knitting it. And there are 20 rounds between sleeve decreases so … lots of little stitches.

Pink butterfly washcloth. I’ve got a few generic dish/washcloths made but this one is for someone special. I have a couple more to make, too.

A baby blanket that will fade from gray to white and is perfect for airplane or knitting class knitting. I don’t have to think much when working on this blanket because it’s that simple. The yarn, however, is really splitty – cotton threads loosely spun – so I have had to go back and fix the funky spots a few times.

A FO – the cotton hand towel that I made to keep my husband from his towel thievery. This is the simplest towel to make and it seems to stay put so I can find a towel when my hands are dripping wet without searching all over the kitchen or house! I believe I’ve put the pattern on my facebook page but if you want it, let me know.

The Slip Stitch hat is also finished. This is a cute hat with two yarns. One deeply stashed DK weight yarn that I bought after a yarn company closed at deep discount. The contrasting color band is a hand-spun gifted to me by my daughter. This hat is for sale or will be donated in my community since it doesn’t have a body to call its own. The two yarns in this hat are really beautiful – the main color is merino and silk and so soft – no forehead itch here!

A pair of baby socks is finished. I’ve had two baby-sized balls of sock yarn in my stash for ages and I am finally getting around to knitting them up and they’ve kept me in the sock challenge. I also got a pair of socks … well, one partially-finished sock and the yarn and needles … from a friend and former knitting student. She has eye problems and isn’t able to see her stitches anymore. So I’ve fixed and finished her sock and started the second sock for her. I’ll send them on to her to finish the cuff and I’ll probably be seeing them again to finish the heel and the second sock. (There’s no photo of these socks because I remembered too late. They’re packaged to mail.)

Last, FO! The Gallbladder Shawl for my younger daughter is off the needles, blocked, and ready to be gifted. I loved knitting this shawl – it’s such a unique design and it was fun to see it as it “grew” and then the second side was knitted and it was grafted together. I knitted this yarn in two shades of Emma’s Yarn and I am really happy with the way it turned out. I think my daughter will be able to wear it a lot this fall/winter!

I’m saving my “big trip” for another post but I’ve got to report that I am the new president of our lake association board. I’ve been serving on the board of trustees for Friends of Messalonskee for several years and have just been elected president as we are jumping off on a new (big!) project. The work that we’ve been doing, primarily mitigation of invasive milfoil by hand- and DASH harvesting and providing Courtesy Boat Inspections at our two boat launches, will be doubled as we begin a Watershed Survey. We will have volunteers walking every acre of our watershed to find sources of phosphorus runoff and then we’ll help the landowners to get financing for the repair of the problems. Passion projects for those of us that are lucky enough to live on the shores of this beautiful lake. With warming temperatures and land development, we’re seeing warmer water temps and more algae, etc. None of this is a good thing and we can repair the problems but it’s going to be a lot of work!

Keeping the view beautiful like this for generations to come!

Gone knitting!

Details for all of my knitting projects are on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Like Queen Bee Knits on Facebook and Instagram!

Our First (Post Pandemic) Car Trip

We always have trouble leaving home (and we were both a little cranky packing on Thursday night) but we really wanted to see N’s eldest daughter’s “new” home in suburban DC. So … off we went on Friday morning. Traffic was HORRIBLE and turned a 7-8 hours trip to southern New Jersey and our stop for the first night into 11 1/2 hours. It was a long day but it afforded us to get a glimpse of the new Tappanzee/Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge and wave toward my three kiddos in New York City. I finished N’s birthday socks and he’s happy about them. Thank you Yankee Knitter for the wonderful pattern. We were traveling with our dogs and have always liked staying at LaQuinta Hotels that are dog friendly (dogs stay for free!) Cheers at the end of the day in plastic hotel cups and a nearby restaurant for to-go food eaten in the hotel.

Day two we made it to Maryland early (it was only a couple of hours to Robin’s house.) As is my habit, I completely forgot to take photographs of the kids or their house or their cats who were mostly invisible. I mentioned that we traveled with our dogs, right? Needless to say, though, we had a wonderful time!

Part two was three days with the kids and adventures in the Greater Washington, DC area. N lived here as a young child and my grandparents are buried here. Go figure. A walk down memory lane led us to Oak Hill Cemetery where my Rockwell family is buried. Oak Hill is an historic cemetery and parts of it, including where my family rests, is very old.

You can’t see the names of my grandmother, Elizabeth Sheldon Dow Rockwell (June 1887 – March 1984), or my grandfather, Horace Lewis Rockwell (August 1886 – December 1942) without zooming in, but they share the side of the monument with Sarah Alice Rockwell who died at 18 months of age.

According to my family genealogy, my great-great-grandfather, Henry Ensign Rockwell (3/24/1811 – 1/22/1882) was the Secretary of the US Fish Commission. In 1867 he was a Representative in the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from Millbury. He is buried here with his second wife, Sarah Jemima Hathaway Rockwell (9/25/1824 – 2/6/1898). They were married in Boston on September 25, 1824. She lived a good long life, passing at age 73. Henry and Sarah had three children: Julius Ensign, Sarah Alice and Julia Lee all buried here. Julius and his wife Mabel Rose had two sons: Henry Ensign and Horace Lewis (my grandfather) who was a patent attorney and a Second Lieutenant in WW I. When he died, my grandmother had a “nervous breakdown” and was institutionalized at the Institute for Living in Hartford, CT. The children, my father included, were sent to live with friends of the family.

Next we were on to visit N’s special place, the Tastee Diner, that his father started in the 1940s. It has been moved from its original location but it remains very similar … including the original countertop in the diner section. Our “snack” became dinner … the dinner of champions! LOL

One of Robin’s requests was to make a pie. We ended up making a galette with fresh blueberries after a visit to a huge and wonderful Wegman’s grocery store! Galettes are so simple because you don’t need a special pan or other baking utensils. A little flour, sugar and butter, add fruit and voila! I hope she’ll try to make another galette when her mom visits!

Too soon we were back on the road back home and leg three of our trip. This time through Hartford, CT and the LaQuinta in Windsor Locks. We visited my parents who are buried at the Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford. The last time I visited the area was for my 40th high school reunion and I couldn’t find the plot. I’ve decided that I have to claim having the very worst sense of direction of any human on this planet. Thankfully, my sweet husband has a good sense of direction and we did manage to find them this time!

We had dinner with two dear high school friends on Tuesday night in Windsor, CT. The only time I remember visiting the Windsor area was to go to the airport but it’s a lovely area and there are some wonderful sculptures. It was a wonderful reunion.

Wednesday morning we got up early again and headed to East Cemetery in Manchester where I needed to find my grandmother Barnard who was my favorite person in my family when she was alive. I have so many wonderful memories of doing things with Gram. She didn’t have a lot of money but she spent time with me and that’s what I will always treasure.

I don’t know who all the “players” in the Robb family are so I will do some research one day. But I found my grandmother, Maude Elizabeth Robb Barnard and her husband, my grandfather, Irwin Henry “Jack” Barnard. We found them first. I had assumed that Gram would be buried by her sister Ethel and was surprised to see that they’re actually at opposite ends of the cemetery.

We hunted for my great-aunt, Ethel May Robb next. Aunt Ethel was the principal at Wadsworth Elementary School in Manchester and we spent a lot of time with her, too, as children. Aunt Ethel took me on my college visits. Ethel is buried with the rest of the Robb family near the Robb Monument. I’ll assume that Josiah Robb and his wife, Eliza Jackson (?) are the parents of Ethel, Maude, Willard and Gladys. I remember Aunt Violet who I believe was married to Willard. Gladys died young and I never met her. More work to be done on this part of the family!

The last couple of days I focused on my Fine Sand Cardigan and made great progress with it. I’m closing in on the bottom of the body – woo! hoo! When we arrived at home, we found that the resident woodchucks had decimated my hollyhocks which were nearly six feet high when we left. The rubble left from them is above right. It’s war, now! They also ate every single petunia in the pot on our front steps. Grrr.

There’s no place like home!

Gone knitting!

A Traumatic Day

Yesterday was a rough day. I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t slept well for a couple of nights and that usually means that there’s a full moon or that something is bubbling up inside me that needs to be gone from me … my life … my belief system … whatever it is. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, sad, angry, tearful (like the ugly cry kind) and, by the end of the day, traumatized. I know I’ll work through it and the personal stuff in detail isn’t something that really belongs here. I know I can work through it and if I can’t, I can reach out to my (former not old) therapist who will guide me in the right direction. In the meantime, today I’m going to burn some sage in the house to cleanse the energy in it and I’ll take time to be quiet and see what my mind/body/soul reveals.

Oddly enough, in addition to having a traumatic, emotional day, I heard a phone ringing in the house. It was neither mine nor my husband’s. It was distant but seemed to be coming from inside out house. This morning I heard it again when I was standing in the kitchen. There isn’t another phone in the house. Yeah, I know. This is an odd one. Anywhoo …

Signs of hope in the garden this morning

When I went outside this morning to take my morning shot of the lake (it will be a video) I made a discovery. Crocus! I had completely forgotten that we planted a couple of bunches of crocus bulbs last fall. What a pleasant and welcome surprise. Some critter is munching on the lakeside spot and he or she will pay for that if I have anything to say about it but I was so pleased to see a couple of flowering buds and more coming. It makes me feel hopeful again.

Lots has happened around the lake since I last posted. The husband and I have both received and recovered from our second Moderna doses. We had what I would call very, very mild symptoms of what may have been fever (I had chills one afternoon) and fatigue. My arm hurt a little bit as did his. Overall, however, we are so grateful to be closer to living without the fear of this virus being ever-present in our minds. The vaccine feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. I can’t wait to hug my kids and my friends!

We had ice out on our lake!

What a difference a day makes! And with the ice going out, the loons and water birds are coming back. In fact, as soon as there was open water, the birds were returning. Pairs of mergansers, at least one loon (we saw it and heard it, too), mallards, Canada geese and others are here again. It’s quite a wonderful change of pace after the winter months. Our bird feeders are full of bright yellow goldfinch, and my hubby said he’s seen purple finch. They’re eating us out our house and home!

I’ve been knitting madly away on a few projects that are on my needles.

On Easter Sunday I knitted one of the eggs from Arne and Carlos’ new collection of Twelve Easter Eggs. I’m using tiny balls of Sirdar Happy cotton yarn and they’re fun and relatively quick to knit. I’ve begun a second but I’ve put it aside to finish a project for a customer … or at least get it started.

I”m to the bottom colorwork band on my Daytripper cardigan so the mindless rounds of stockinette stitch are done and I’ll have to concentrate again (and count). I love the colors that I chose and this will be a great addition to my sweater collection.

I’ve cast on the Evolve Cowl by Hunter Hammersen which is the second project in the Confident Knitting program from Arnall-Culliford Knitwear. The yarn is Dusty Dimples DK, this is a hand-dyed yarn from the UK and it’s really delightful to knit with. The yarn was purchased as a kit to go with the book (for now virtual) that includes a lot of technique tutorials. This is the third such program that I’ve purchased and I have yet to be sorry that I did. I have not finished all of the projects from the first two books; Some I probably won’t ever make and some I know that I will. When the time is right. The technique this month is blocking a cowl in the round so that it doesn’t have the horrible creases. Good to know.

The Flux Handwarmers were the first project from Confident Knitting and they’re finished. I don’t love them to be completely honest because they’re a bit too short for my liking. I like fingerless mitts that at least keep my fingers protected from the cold steering wheel. These don’t. But the Zauberball (the yarn, Muffin) is pretty and I like the weight of the mitts. They’ll be a good gift for someone one day.

March socks are pretty rudimentary average everyday boot socks. They’re made out of Raggi yarn which I love. I made it just under the wire finishing these socks in March with a day to go. I’m not sure what socks will be happening in April … and I may skip a month. How do you like that? Ha! Ha! I do have some green buffalo wool sock yarn that is begging to be Christmas tree socks … time will tell.

Opus. What can I say about Opus? I love him/her so much. What a joy to knit and I love seeing it on my guest room bed every time I walk by. It seems a bit silly to enjoy something so apparently random but I do. I wrote about him/her here before I got to the tentacles. What a creative project.

My Fine Sand cardigan is slow progressing. I have it down in the living room now, next to my chair so that I can knit a few rows when I’m sitting down there. It’s endless rows of stockinette stitching now with every sixth row having some shaping increases and decreases. If I’m lucky, this will be done before the end of the summer … and since it’s a summery cotton/linen blend yarn, it’d be nice to be able to wear it this year. But it’s definitely going to be awhile.

So, there you have it. My life and knitting in a nutshell. I haven’t been baking much but I have the intention of making apple dumplings today … whole apples, cored and wrapped in pastry dough and baked. I have such fond memories of these at the Ohio State Fair with my singing kiddos! I’ve been eating my granola like crazy in the mornings or sometimes for lunch after work. Overall, I’m so grateful to be where I am and with who I’m with … life is good.

Gone knitting.

Spring has Sprung!

The ice has been groaning and bumping. Sometimes it’s loud enough to hear inside with all the windows tightly shut. It’s an incredible, living thing and as our temperatures warm up (yesterday it was near 50 degrees if not more) the ice is changing quickly and will soon be gone completely. I’ll try to do a better job this year of chronicling the ice leaving. It’s fascinating!

Meanwhile, I’m knitting. I admit that most of my attention has been on my Opus octopus because I’m so entranced and enthralled by it. The pattern is great. I had no trouble at all getting the entire piece knitted without anything more than minor counting problems – and counting problems are completely on me! I am so happy with my color choices and the Malabrigo Rios yarn is soft and perfect for a knitted stuffed toy. At least one for me … it might be a bit pilly if it is loved by a child. I think I’d have used a different yarn if this hadn’t been for me … perhaps Berroco Vintage which is soft but more tightly twisted than Rios. Vintage is Acrylic which will make it harder-wearing and it would also be more affordable.

This morning I stuffed the head of my Opus.

I will attempt seaming of the tentacles today and stuffing them with fiberfill. I have fiberfill but as the pattern calls for wool roving, if the fiberfill doesn’t work, I can pick up roving at work tomorrow. I think the fiberfill will work, though. I’m really excited about it!

I’ve also been working on a couple of other projects and planning is in the works for a new projects, too. I’m working along on my Flux Handwarmers.

Flux Handwarmers

Honestly, these aren’t my favorite. I think the way the thumb gusset is designed is a bit fiddly. They’re pretty but they’re kind of silly. We’ll see what happens because I sometimes wear my least favorite projects the most. More on that later. But I have the first mitt done with the exception of the thumb which won’t take a long time to finish. The second mitt is finished to separating the thumb gusset stitches. I was out on the porch, sitting in the sun and knitting, when I reached this point and didn’t have a needle or a bit of scrap yarn to put the stitches on so I had to stop.

Fine Sand Cardigan

I’m working away, slowly on my Fine Sand cardigan. This is slow and steady work. I have reached the separating stage, separating the sleeves from the body of the sweater. Now I have endless stockinette stitch with a few shaping spots left to go … and a couple of sleeves. A friend of mine from Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (aka Knitting Camp) was wearing this sweater two summers ago and I admired it then. It’s been on the needles for nearly that long! I knew we carried the yarn at the store where I work so I bought the yarn … and then it got set aside for something else as often happens. This is a pandemic finishing project.

I think, once it’s done, it will be a very wonderful summer sweater. Perfect for the cooler summer evenings outside.

My Color Choices.

I’m working on the color choices of my next project.

I’ll be joining the Modern Daily Knitting (MDK) Lopi knit-a-long that begins today. The KAL is all about MaryJane Mucklestone’s Field Guide #17 – Lopi and I’ll be knitting her cardigan called Daytripper. This will be my first Lopi sweater and I’m excited to give it a try – I’m also a bit “concerned” that I won’t be able to wear the Lopi because of my allergies but I’m going ahead and we shall see. I had originally bought the yarn to make a Stopover pullover but when the new pattern came out I decided to switch for two reasons: I think I’ll get more wear from a cardigan and I hope the cardigan opening will mitigate some of my allergic reaction by virtue of having less wool right under my nose. (Ha! Ha! I’m hoping!) I want to have a bit of pink in this sweater because I have nothing pink in my sweater collection and for some reason, I’m liking pink. (Top left is main color, bottom left is color A, the rest of the colors are for accents.)

Gone knitting!

What is a Weekend?

Saturday Morning 4/18/2020

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.

Not Really a Mystery Dish Cloth in Sugar and Cream

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!

Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter

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.

Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaeir

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.

Gone knitting!

View from my Atelier window … there’s a loon out there, fishing

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

Settling In, Settling Down

“Zeaster”

After a month of being “locked in” and lots of worry and unknown, we are settling in to a routine (if you can call it that). We “celebrated” Easter with a Zoom (thus “Zeaster”) meeting with all of our kids. That helped a lot. Knowing they’re all safe makes a mom feel good.

I’m actually knitting again and able to concentrate as well.

Cashmere People Shawl by Versaciknits

I have finished my Cashmere People Shawl test knit project for Versaciknits. I wore it yesterday. When I’m told that I can post pictures, I will. Until then, it’ll have to remain a secret with a few shots of sections close-up.

Yesterday I worked on my cotton/linen sweater in Juniper Moon Farm’s Zooey. The sweater is called Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier. I’ll be making the XL size. The yoke is an interesting challenge with right- and left-leaning lifted increases and a chart that I struggled with at first. But I’ve now completed all of the yoke and have the right number of stitches which is phenomenal!!!

Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier

Knitting tip: when a designer gives you a stitch count in a pattern, stop knitting and count your stitches! It’s so worth the time to check stitch count as often as you can to make sure you’re on track for success!

Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter Designs

The 30th Birthday socks are half-finished and the second sock is started. It’s going to be difficult for this mom to not celebrate with my favorite boy on his birthday. We will be sending a care package and will have to Zoom together.

Thanks, EZ!

Gone knitting.

You can find more information on all of these projects and more on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook – Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner and on Instagram – @QueenBeeKnits