Winter’s Refusal … getting stuck

IMG_2561

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.

IMG_2562

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!

IMG_2554

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.

IMG_2541

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.

SaveSave

Color in the Winter – Happy Gloves

img_2295.jpg

I finished my gloves today. The colors make me so happy! The fit, not so much.

These gloves were “copied” from one of our customers. She is a wonderful knitter and came into the shop one day with gloves made with Adriafil’s Stella Jacq yarn. We had a couple of balls left on the shelf and I put them aside for post-Christmas knitting. I’ve just completed three post-Christmas orders and it was the perfect time to cast on my gloves. My gift to myself for getting all the knitting done.

I used a free pattern on Ravelry called Modified Army Gloves. (Note: I just read the Ravelry page and realized that there is a free woman’s pattern, too. I used the men’s pattern and that’s why the fit it a bit off. The hand of my gloves are a bit large for my hand … and I don’t have small hands!) The pattern is clear and concise, good step-by-step instructions. I really like the crazy fun, bright and cheerful colors. They make me happy. An advanced beginner or intermediate knitter should be able to complete the gloves without being totally lost.

IMG_2096My yarn was Stella Jacq yarn (in color #80). I used two 50 gram balls and have a little bit left over from each ball. … As a complete aside, I am one day going to buy a big glass vessel to put in my atelier. I’ll fill it with tiny balls of yarn from my favorite projects. Kind of like my friends who own beach houses have vessels filled with sea glass… but I digress!

I didn’t worry about matching the gloves so that they’d be identical. It could certainly be done but with all the fingers, I didn’t want to “deal” with it. My gloves are even crazier because they don’t match, right? If you want your gloves to match, make note of where in the color sequence you begin your first glove and then find the same spot to start glove number two.

I may have to buy one more ball of yarn and make the women’s gloves … but for now, I’ll wear my “man-hand” gloves that are a bit big and I’ll smile because I’m human. At least I didn’t make two left mittens!

Way to keep me humble knitting!

 

 

Spider!

Spider Hat

Spider Hat

When you live out in the woods of Maine, you have to wear a bright (neon bright) orange hat around the periphery of your yard and down the road when you get your mail. It is ill-advised to go outside bare-headed. Because hunters.

One of our friends has a large piece of land and often, though their property is posted (No Trespassing signs all around), they have hunters with guns in close proximity to their house. So, to be smart and wear an orange hat during hunting season is just something we do. (We also put a bright orange collar on our dog!)

Last winter I bought some bright orange … hunting orange … yarn. I made a quick hat for my husband because he’s out more than I am and walks the dog a couple times a day. I put the yarn for my hat and one for a visitor in the stash … but it’s getting near time to wear our orange hats again. With all the nice hats I’ve made for him, he wears the bright orange one most often. Go figure!

The pattern is called Spider Hat it’s a free pattern from Kitterly. It has two yarn weights (worsted and DK) and is quite a fun knit. I am knitting with Encore Worsted yarn by Plymouth Yarns in color 479. It’s the only REAL hunting orange yarn we had in our shop (and I had to wait for it to come in last year.) There are two kinds of spiders to make and I’ve tried both in this hat. The “easy” spider body was made first and the “bobble” spider body was made second. In the next hat, I’ll do only the “bobble” spiders. They’re so much more wonderful!

It’s going to be fun to wear. Way better than the one we bought for five bucks at Christy’s that popped off my head fifteen times before I got to the mailbox!

Gone knitting.

Sockhead Hat #2 … My Way

The love of my life has no hair on his head. It never occurred to me that these men who are folicly challenged need a hat even when it seems warm to me. His little head is cold. Who’d have thunk it!?

I’ve knitted several hats for him and some with greater success than others. His current favorite is a beautiful silver-gray worsted weight cap. It’s perfect … when it’s a little cooler than it is right now. So, he needs a lighter-weigh hat. We’ve looked at many (MANY!) patterns and pictures and we’ve settled on a “shorter” less-slouchy version of the Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure or a one-color version of the Scraptastic Hat by Jane Tanner, both free patterns on Ravelry.

We also went through the sock yarn in my stash (remember, I’m on a serious yarn diet!) and found a pretty red/blue/purple Cascade 150 Paints Sock Yarn (Bordeau Blend – out of stock in most places – Color #9768 Lot #1454). It’s a lovely soft merino and nylon mix (75%/25%), it’s washable and I’m positive it won’t be itchy. And the yardage is fabulous. I think I may still be able to get a pair of short socks made after the hat is finished or a pair of fingerless mitts.

My Maine friends were surprised to see me knitting a hat with sock yarn but they’re thinking winter hats and I’m knitting a spring hat. Men without hair have special needs!

Gone knitting.

A Hare Pair (Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza)

IMG_4456I have had this ball of white-ish yarn (Oasis Farm Fiber Mill “Bunny Yarn”) in my stash for years. It’s tried to be a scarf a couple of times and, subsequently, frogged. I had set it aside because I didn’t know what it wanted to be. Until I saw the Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza on Facebook one morning a couple of weeks ago.

I have two adorable nieces in northern California and I just HAD to make the Rabbit Hats for them for Easter!

I used the following yarns from my stash for the hats: Oasis Farm Fiber Mill Classic Bunny in white. I had two skeins that I wound into one huge cake. I used about half of the two skein cake for both hats. (Don’t you love knitting for children and babies?) I needed something pink for the inside of the ears in a similar weight. I had a skein of Lorna’s Laces Sportweight wool in a very pale pink (pale pink colorway, I think) that I won in a contest for a soapbox package. It was perfect!

First Hat

First Hat

The first hat was the larger of the two and I made it as the pattern was written with a kitchener stitch graft at the top of the hat and reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears (the pink part).

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

The pattern was easy to follow and the hat is adorable. The hat is knit in the round and the ears are knit in two pieces each from stitches placed on stitch holders. Once knitted, the ears are seamed. Easy enough.

What I found “awkward” was that all of the decreases for the ears were all done as K2tog. It seemed to me that the top of the hat could be more easily seamed with a 3 needle bind off rather than kitchener stitch and be nearly as pretty (and take a lot less time to seam). I guess it will be up to you to decide what you want to do but I wanted to share with you what I did with the second little hat for the baby sister!

Hat 2

Hat 2

I knit the hat just as the pattern was written. (I happen to love a little rolled brim on a hat!)

The changes that I made came in the top seam and the ears.

For the top of the hat, I did a 3 needle bind off. Next time I would turn the hat inside out first but I am not unhappy with the little seam on the top of the hat. I took a bit of time to adjust the stitches onto holders … I had to knit the first six stitches to get the yarn into the right place to bind off the top of the hat but otherwise, it was a cinch!

I knit the ears with a K2tog (knit two together) decrease for a right-leaning decrease on the left sides of the ear pieces and a SSK (slip slip knit) decrease for a left-leaning decrease on the right sides of the ear pieces rather than always using a K2tog decrease as written in the pattern. I think this looks a little bit prettier.  I also was thinking about treating the ear as one piece circularly and carrying the contrasting yarn across. I decided to seam them instead to save the yarn. (Hey! I am a Yankee at heart!)

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Because it was the second hat, I wasn’t paying attention to the pattern directions and totally forgot about the reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears. As a result, they are stockinette stitch. And it’s fine. Bonus! I find the seaming easier this way.

Since I was using natural fibers, I steam blocked both hats and made sure the pink insides of the ears were “hugged” by the creamy white backs of the ears all around. I think they are adorable and can’t wait to see my little nieces wearing them!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

Which one do you like best? The pattern can be found on Ravelry and is a minimal charge … buy the pattern and support the designer!

Gone knitting!

Working is Ruining my Knitting Time!

Child BandaidYou may or may not know that I am a “clinic assistant” at our local elementary school. I am the “school nurse” paid on a lower pay scale and not a real nurse. I love the job most of the time and I adore working with the little germy kids. It’s very fulfilling … part mom (boo-boo kisser and ice pack provider) and part therapist (talking to kids with headaches and sore tummies really works miracles) and part EMT … I’m trained in first aid, and AED/CPR. So, if any of the adults decide to keel over on us during the school day, it’s me who is on the front lines. I hope I never have to use my training.

Anyway, I digress …

I came home from my summer in Maine at the beginning of August with several projects in tow. I left several in Maine to come home with my better half when he drives home. I’ve finished quite a few and have been putting off a couple, too. (I seem to want to ignore the color work projects – fingerless mitt and lobster had.) Instead, I’ve started several little projects that have been really fun. One of those is these cute little pumpkins.

Pumpkins!

Pumpkins!

The pattern is a free pattern that I found because my new son-in-law wanted to know if I could make them a trio of pumpkins. Click here to be transported magically to the website with the pattern! What I love about this pattern is that it is very simple (and mindless) and good for watching TV knitting. You can use any weight of yarn and appropriate needles and get several sizes of pumpkins … I used a Wool Ease super bulky yarn for the biggest pumpkin. The smaller ones were knit with worsted weight wool (Patons Classic Wool). I like the i-cord stems, too … and had some fun making them all a little bit different.

I have since made one more large pumpkin for my clinic (the kids will love it!) and have started a trio for my Chicago daughter. I hope she doesn’t read my blog … that’ll ruin the surprise. Totally.

Gone knitting!

A Secret Surprise Project

I have a friend who has a husband who we all love. He’s the sweetest, most thoughtful, most attentive husband that we’ve ever met. And he is totally in love with his wife.

He is also in the retail “restaurant quality” food business and has recently been promoted to Manager of his own store. The store opens in about ten days and I wanted to make him a present … for his “bow tie Wednesdays”.

Rodney's Bow Tie Wednesday Tie

Rodney’s Bow Tie Wednesday Tie

The pattern is free on the Web. (Click here to be magically transported!)

What I love about this pattern is that it’s quick … it took me about an hour and a half to knit from beginning to end. Well, it may have taken a bit longer for the i-cord, but I did it while I was watching TV so it hardly counts. I used some scraps of Noro yarn that I had in my stash, knowing that he’d want something a little bit “wild”.

I love that within the instructions there are two videos to help you with a new stitch (the lateral braid) and how to knit an i-cord. I-cord is such a fun thing to knit and can be used for so many applications … good to know!

This pattern is made for a dog but can easily be made for a human, too. I didn’t swatch (I know, don’t judge me!) but I decided if it was “awful” that I’d just pitch it. It was a bit too wide so I stuffed the ends into the middle until the tie was the size I thought was appropriate. I finished it according to the instructions and made my i-cord neck piece long enough to go over my head and so he can make it tighten to fit his neck.

IMG_3075

 

It will also come untied but I hope it’s easy enough to fix … and he knows where I live! 🙂

Don’t tell Rodney if you see him!

Gone knitting.