Forever I’ve wanted to make Opus the Octopus by Cate Carter-Evans. Yes, forever! I first saw this pattern in Knitty magazine way back when it was one of the only (if not THE only) online, free, knitting magazines, in the “deep fall” issue from 2014. I was attracted to the pattern for whatever reason … perhaps because I was living in landlocked Ohio, Or maybe not but whatever the reason, I’ve remained attracted to the pattern and I finally bit the bullet and bought yarn for my Opus.
I decided that I loved the Malabrigo colors the best for what I had envisioned for my octopus. I wanted it to be deep rusty red with a peach/light orange underbelly. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn held doubled but I decided to use a single strand of worsted weight (Rios). I chose colors 049 Jupiter (the red) and 695 Peachy (the peach) and I’m thrilled by my choices so far.
First up is knitting the “head” of the octopus. Simple after the initial 4 stitch cast on which was super fiddly. But once past the first couple of rounds, it’s simple. I am knitting on a US 5 needle. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t measure my gauge because it doesn’t matter in this case. Nobody’s going to wear this guy and the fabric is tight enough that the stuffing won’t peek through.
I got a bit stumped by the addition of the eyes, mostly because I didn’t have any safety eyes and for whatever reason, I couldn’t find them at work. But I went back to work and DID find them and came home prepared to get moving again. The pattern wants you to knit four eyelids from one strand of yarn … since I changed my yarn weight, I also changed the eyelids … I just knit with my yarn on the US 1 needles and they turned out fine! I may have chosen to make the eyelids a little bit smaller (perhaps cast on two fewer or one fewer stitches to make the eyes open up just a bit but I am satisfied with my finished eyes.
Yesterday I started to knit the underbelly. Again, the initial cast on of four stitches on four DPNs and then immediately starting to double the stitches with increases, is a bit fiddly but I managed through it and am at the point where it’s time to start knitting the tentacles … all eight of them!
According to the pattern, they want me to knit the legs intarsia-style, flat and then, I guess (because I don’t read ahead in the pattern) I’ll stuff them and seam them? I guess it wouldn’t be a horribly bad idea to read ahead a bit so I have some idea about what I’m going to be doing. I’ll let you know!
I have finished these adorable little pumpkins and I love them! I found a few skeins of Lion Brand Thick and Quick in my stash and, you all know, that I’ve been working hard to knit down my stash. Many of the yarns that I have are nearly antiques! (Some are legit antiques but that’s another story.)
I have knitted this pattern before. It’s “Pumpkin” by Marnie Ann Joyce and it’s free on Ravelry. I’ve made these little pumpkins in super bulky and worsted weight yarns before. So when I found the leftovers of orange and green Lion Brand Yarns Thick and Quick, I knew what I needed to do – and the timing is so right on! Right?
I used US 10 1/2 DPNs for this project which made them a little smaller than previous versions but they’re perfect this way because none of the stuffing shows through and they’re pretty indestructible … and since they’re going west to my nieces and nephew, they’ll be bounced around a little bit (or a lot!)
These guys knit up in a flash. I was able to finish one in about two hours. I added the icord stem by knitting a 5-stitch icord for two or three rounds, and then decreasing to a 4-stitch icord for a couple of rounds and ended up with a 3-stitch icord until I thought it was the way I liked it. The green pumpkin has a special curved stem that has two stitches (one leg of each stitch) knitted together to stick them that way forever!
Good grief! I can’t imagine how we’ve gotten to “late” September! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (in a pandemic?)
I’ve been back to teaching a small class outside at a local park in Waterville, Maine until this week. My students were comfortable meeting outside, socially distanced and masked. I was, too. And then last week, it was chilly and we had to move from under the pergola in the shade into the sun to be comfortable. This week the high temperature was only going to reach 62 so we went into the store and were surprised that we were comfortable there, too.
Life has been full of visitors this summer, too. If there are to be blessings found in the Covid-19 pandemic, this is one! All of our children have visited for at least a week and a couple visited for two weeks and four weeks! Working from home/remotely does have its benefits. Nothing makes this mom happier than a house full of our kids! We are so proud of all of them and how gracefully they’re handling life under Covid-19. It’s been difficult; isolating at times, frustrating at times, fraught with financial uncertainty. My kids all work in the Arts in New York City … there won’t be solid work for them at least until 2021. They’ll all make it through this and they’ll all grow because of it.
(I missed grand-dog Severus. Boo! And the Littles were unimpressed and not on the porch.)
We have been eating well (everyone likes to cook) and the baking has been lots of fun! Notice that the photos are almost all of baked goods!? Ha! We made focaccia with a beautiful vegetable “picture” on it, lobster is always a favorite, raspberry ice cream cookie sandwiches, blueberries, blueberry buckle, a rustic peach and blueberry galette, blueberry bundt cake, blueberry muffins, Mrs. Dejonkheere’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, blueberry pie #1, lobster eggs Benedict, maple blueberry scones, squash pie, veggie frittata and apple pie. The raspberries, blueberries and apples were all picked by our hands! What a lot of fun.
There has been yarn in my hands throughout the visits! I’ve started and finished a few things that I wanted to share with you, too.
First up were two emPower People cowls in their signature purple.
The first is the emPower People Cowl by Casapinka. This is a simple garter stitch cowl that asks for a DK or sport weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Rios which is a light worsted weight. It’s a cowl so I really didn’t mind if it came out a little bit larger (or smaller). It was a quick and simple knit project and it’s a sample at the store right now. It’s so soft and will be a nice garment to wear and a good reminder to VOTE!
The second is EmPower Lace by Romi. I was a test knitter for this cowl and it was another really fun knit. This could be considered a bit more difficult than the first cowl, but it’s a great first lace project. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool this time and I love this yarn. It was a new yarn to me. It shows the lace well and it’s soft and sturdy. Empower Lace is also a free Raverly download.
Next up are two pairs of baby booties. I confess that I have a collection of Cascade’s Fixation yarn from which I’ve made several pairs of baby booties and a few baby hats to match. But I had over-bought! Can you imagine that? Ha! Ha! So, in my pledge to use up stashed yarn, I decided to pull out all of the Fixation and use it up by making some baby booties. Two pairs down and I have plenty more to go. The green pair has a different bottom color and the pink ones are simple solid pink. The pattern is one that I can’t find online anywhere called Sue’s Baby Booties. It was a free pattern at the store. If you love it, let me know and I can scan it and email it to you.
I’ve started and finished a baby gift for a special baby boy coming soon so I can’t show you a full photograph of the gift that I’ve finished. I used Hayfield’s Baby Blossom Chunky to knit a Three Cable Baby Blanket and will make a little sweater and hat to match. I’ll update this post when I have given the gift to the mom-to-be. It’s soft, warm and washable and dry-able. All good things when you’re a new mother.
I’ve finished the first of my September socks from our 2020 Sock Challenge. This is another stashed yarn, one that I collected when we learned that there wasn’t going to be a US distributor for this wonderful Raggi yarn. (There is a distributor now, thank heavens!) Raggi is a worsted/aran weight wool and nylon blend so it’s perfect for knitting socks. The pattern, Urban Rustic Socks, I just happened across when I was looking for a worsted weight sock pattern that I hadn’t already made. I love these socks and they’re a fun knit, too. It’s a free Ravelry pattern.
I’m working away on making more masks for my kids, I’ve fixed a hat for a customer, fixed a shawl several times for a former student (the shawl has traveled from Florida to Maine and back several times) and I’ve got a bunch of projects on the needles. I’m still working on finishing my Arne and Carlos Quarantine Knitting blocks (I think it’s going to be a pillow) and my Hope Cardigan is half-done. So, life is busy and full … I wanted to catch up here so that the next post won’t be so long.
Over the Christmas holidays and the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly but surely finishing up some projects. Others, I have finished photos of and can freely post them here without any surprises being ruined.
This past week, I started and finished a Boxet Bag. This pattern is in Making Magazine #5, Color and it’s designed by Cal Patch. I had been home all week with a “broken” back … not sure what I did but I finished my morning stretching and couldn’t stand up … and I needed to do something fun! I have a full bin of wool bits and bobs that I’ve been carrying around with me since we lived in Florida and I thought this was a good way to use some of it up. If there was any disappointment, it’s that it isn’t bigger and didn’t use more but I really love this little tote. I used Patons Classic Wool in several colors. This is a crochet project and I’m so pleased that this knitter is finally feeling more sure of herself when it comes to crochet. I only had to pull it back once or twice and that means I’m learning!!! It’s so cute and it’ll be so much fun to carry!
On Sunday I frogged my Malabrigo Rios cardigan. I was finished with the body and could try it on and I hated it. It’s just not for my body – there’s nothing wrong with the sweater, it’s just not right for my body. I’m still learning that. I do love the yarn and I need to find another simple cardigan pattern that will accentuate the beautiful Malabrigo colorways. The yarn is back into it’s caked format and ready to go. Pattern suggestions are welcome. It sure seems to me that when I knit sweaters I need to make two and frog them before I get it right!
My embroidered mittens are finished and have been worn quite a lot. They’ve also inspired a few other knitters to make some of their own! I love seeing everyone’s work!
I started knitting a Newborn Vertebrae sweater as a baby gift and then I didn’t have the right needles at work so I switched gift ideas in mid-stream. I made baby Izzy a pair of adorable baby booties and sent them off to New York and then I finished the Vertebrae and it will be added to the gift drawer in my atelier for another little baby. Vertebrae is a free pattern on Ravelry and I knit it with leftovers of On the Round Signature Sock yarn in the Silverlining Tweed colorway. It’s super cute! (And so tiny!) The Booties are made in Cascade Yarn’s Fixation and the pattern is Sue’s Baby Booties. Have a look at my projects page in Ravelry (I’m Lindar.)
Have I posted pictures of my niece’s Unicorn Mittens yet? They really came out super cute and I love them! I sent sparkly Unicorn purses from Target and a few other little things that I found and thought the girls would like. But the mittens are my favorite!!! One pair had blue eyes and one had green eyes. The bright colors are fabulous, if I do say so myself.
Last photo for this post is the pillow that I made, ostensibly for my hubby. He has a brand new (to him) red truck and he loves the old fashioned trucks that he drove at camp as a teenager. I had purchased this embroidery kit forever ago and had never made it up. So, since I was resting my knitting arm, I decided to give it a shot. It turned out well but if I were to do it again, I’d choose fabric that isn’t so Christmas specific so it could be kept out for a longer time. Oh well. I keep learning as I make!
So, there you are! A few more updates as promised in the older posts. I hope that you’ll check them out, too. I have so much fun making things for my family and friends. I would much rather make than buy … it seems more personal and I enjoy the process of thinking about what people would like!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
You may (or may not) know that I had my French daughter, her husband and baby boy here for a visit. We’d not seen each other for more than ten years and it was a wonderful reunion. I am continually amazed by how you can reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost touch over the years and, if they’re also willing, can start over where you left off!
It was as if no time had passed. (Well, except for the fact that she found a husband and has a baby!) We laughed and cried, ate, talked, shopped … a trip to TJ Maxx, Walmart and Wendy’s were some highlights. At Wendy’s N taught “la boulette” to dip his fries in ketchup! To watch a really cute short video, click here: bouletteatw
Happy Boulette bathes in the kitchen sink!
When it came time to put them on the airplane, the tears were just like those shed in years past. I’d “forgotten” how much I love “my kids” and how much it hurts to say “good bye”. But at the same time, how wonderful is it that I have this little family that isn’t really mine but feels like it!? And I know we’ll be together again (hopefully, soon!)
Bet you thought that I’d forgotten the free knitting pattern, didn’t you?
Nope! Here it is! This is perhaps an ugly blanket because I had to use yarn that I had here and it was very last minute when I realized that a warm blanket was going to be needed – badly needed!
“La Boulette” Blanket (an Original Queen Bee Knits design)
Needles: size 15 circular needle (or larger or smaller to fit your yarn)
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand 4 skeins, knitted with yarn doubled throughout. (Note: this is a very simple blanket, knitted on the bias. It will make a square blanket and could be knit with ANY yarn and needles appropriate to the yarn weight. Just knit as in the pattern directions until it’s the width that you want and then start the decreases! Easy!)
Cast on 4 sts.
K2, YO, K to end
Turn and K2, YO, K to end of row
Repeat these two rows (which are actually identical) until the blanket is the width that you want.
K2, YO, K2tog, K to end of row
Repeat the last row three times more (total of four rows)
now it’s decrease time!
K2, YO, K2tog, knit to 4 sts before end of row, K2tog, K2
Repeat the last row until there are 4 sts on the needles (decreasing one stitch in each row)
Cast off 4 sts
Weave in all ends
And here’s the little lesson …
How do you count rows when you’re knitting all rows (otherwise known as stockinette stitch)?
Counting Rows for Stockinette Stitch
Each “pair” of bumps, one looks like it arches up like the letter “u” and the other arches down, is a row. In this photo, there are five bump pairs which means that you’ve knitted ten rows … hunh? you say? Yes, you’ve knitted ten rows because there is a corresponding bump on the back of the fabric, too. For each row you see on one side of the fabric, there is a bump on the other side of the fabric when you knit “back”. See what I mean?
Try knitting a few rows. Yup, take out your needles and a single strand of yarn (the sample above is a double strand of yarn). Cast on about 20 stitches and knit across them. Then knit back again. Now … look at what you have. You’ve knitted two rows and there are two “pairs of bumps” one on the right side and one on the wrong side.
If you don’t get it, comment on this post and I’ll illustrate further!