Yip Yips for Christmas

It’s a perfectly miserable weather day here in Maine. The wind was blowing across the ice this morning and by mid-day there was freezing rain/sleet and continued wind. A good day to stay inside (and knit!)

Since they’ve been gifted, I thought I’d show you the Yip Yips that I crocheted for my nieces and nephew for Christmas. I think these little containers are so sweet and they make me laugh. I hope their parents have shown them videos of the Yip Yips on old Sesame Street shows (they’re on Youtube if you want to Google them). The one that I particularly loved was the telephone one. I may have posted it here before. I love them! This pattern is easy to follow for those like me who aren’t expert crocheters (yet!) I’ve heard that some people have made a whole family of these to use in lieu of Christmas stockings. I’m not sure I’m ready to go that far, but they sure are happy little creations.

Yip Yips (crochet) by Carissa Browning

I filled the Yip Yips with little gifts, too, of course. A hand-knit wash cloth (I can’t believe I forgot to photograph them), a toy car for my nephew and a couple of birds in nests for my nieces. These are designed by Susan B. Anderson and are called Simple Little Bird and Nest. I think they’re adorable and they were fun to knit.

Simple Little Bird and Nest by Susan B. Anderson

I sent a few other hand-knit gifts this year. Socks for my son, market bags for my daughter and my son’s girlfriend, dish cloths for all the kids, a Bankhead hat for my husband, and I’m currently working on a new sweater for my youngest grand-dog, Gus. All of these projects and all of the details about them are on my Ravelry project page.

Gone knitting!

2022 – First or Last FO?

A Gray Start to 2022

2021 is now behind us. Thank goodness. Hello, 2022. I sure hope you’re more gentle with us than your predecessor.

I spent the day today doing paper work for my volunteer job as the president of our lake association. We did a photography contest among our members and then the members voted for their favorites and we printed them in a calendar for 2022. We ordered 105 calendars and we’ve almost sold them all. Yay! So, today I was trying to figure out how much money we’d made and, despite the fact that we have about 20 left to sell, we’ve made some money. Yay!

After that, I did a bit of knitting.

I had knitted the first of the pair of socks and a half of the second sock but I didn’t finish it last night. I went to bed. I finished it today. I’m hoping that the knitting gods will forgive me for counting the pair as knitted in 2021. This pair will make my 12th pair in the year and fulfills my 2021 Sock Challenge. It’s my favorite sock pattern, Classic Socks by Melinda Goodfellow, Yankee Knitter. I had realized that I have not one pair of solid colored socks so these are “boring” navy blue. I used Sisu by Sandnes Garn (colorway 6062) and I think I’m going to be happy with these socks. I knitted them up on a US 1 1/2 needle because I really like a smaller gauge sock. I neglected to knit the men’s size this time (I usually do this when I use small needles) so I am hoping they fit. If they don’t, they’ll be given away. It’s all good, right?

Happy New Year from the Queen Bee.

Gone knitting.

Looking Ahead to a New Year

Not my photo, I “stole” it … but I love it!

If I told you that I love Christmas, I’d be lying. I don’t. Every year I try to change my attitude and every year I manage it poorly. This year was no exception. Compound Christmas preparations this year with the first Lola’s-birthday-without-Lola, and I have been a hot, teary-eyed mess. And then, at the (somewhat) last minute, my step-daughters decided they couldn’t come celebrate with us. With that, the grocery shopping for a gang, the stocking and gift shopping, the planning that went into a holiday with our kids had taken energy away from other things that I might have been able to use at work and at home. My poor husband has had to put up with me all this time.

Anyway, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day weren’t as sad as we thought. We managed our way through without me crying and we are now on the other side of Christmas and heading into the New Year. I sure hope that 2022 is a “better” year and that the pandemic and all the negative news is made much less a priority. It’s been exhausting.

A little bit of time to review 2021 as 2022 is coming in quickly with or without permission.

I’ve been semi-successful at my 2021 Sock Challenge. I have completed 11 pairs of socks. Three of them, however, are small children sizes which is a stretch to the “rules”. I do have a pair on my needles and I have almost finished the first sock. I’ll count that one as a half sock completed. I’m 1/2 a sock short of my goal. Considering the year … I done good!

I finished three sweaters this year! And a fourth is so close that I’ve only got one sleeve (or is it two? I’ve not looked at it for a bit.) I have at least enough yarn for five more sweaters in my atelier. I’ve got my knitting cut out for me. LOL

I’m racing to finish one more pair of mittens before the end of the year. I might make it! And these may be my favorite mittens ever, replacing my favorite mittens to date – my Snowflake Mittens. My Snowflake Mittens were my first ever colorwork project. I knitted them way, wayyyyy back in 2016 and they’re still like new. I love them so much but the Lamb’s Pride wool/mohair yarn is a bit prickly. The new mittens are a blend of wool/alpaca and they’re so soft. AND as a bonus, they’re lined with pure alpaca. Hmm. That gives me an idea … perhaps I’ll line my snowflake mittens!

According to my list in my bullet journal, I’ve completed 65 projects this year. My Ravelry queue tells me that I’ve completed 77 (but I think a few actually belong in 2020.) I’m not sure which one is right but either way, I’m satisfied with my productivity. I’ve made several items that were given as donations to the needy. Some hats and mittens went to our local police department to give to those who need them. Some socks went to the homeless shelter. My LYS, Yardgoods Center, donated a bunch of hand-knit socks to the Mid-Maine Homeless shelter for “Socktober”. It was sweet! We will do it again next year.

You can see all of my 2021 projects on my Ravelry project page. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I’m lindar on Ravelry. Please be my Ravelry friend.

I have some goals for the New Year. I am free to change or modify them as the year goes on. I can even delete them totally. I’m going to find a doctor and have a physical. I’m going to look forward more (and backward less). I will choose to be with people who value me and treat me well and I will “divorce” people who don’t. I’ll remember to be grateful every day for what I have and for my health and the health of my family and friends. There are three days left in 2021.

Gone knitting.

Another FO – Knitting Pure and Simple #233 Neck Down Shaped T-shirt

I just finished another sweater that I knitted. This time, the sweater is for my student, Lucille, who is going to be 93 years old on Friday.

Lucille has some beautiful sweaters and some are quite complex knitting projects. She’s been coming to my Friday knitting class for several years and I’ve grown to care for her a lot. Enough so that I pick her up and bring her home after class every week. She’s a valued member of our class. We also have noticed (and reported to her family) that her memory isn’t what it used to be and her knitting has really been a struggle.

This sweater was one she really wanted to knit and I really thought that it would be simple enough for her to manage successfully. I got the sweater cast on for her, reviewed the sweater pattern with her in class and then sent her home. The following week at class I had to frog her sweater back because she’d knitted half of the rounds, increasing every round and not knitting a plain round in between them. I took the sweater home that week and returned it to her with all of the increases made and the sleeves separated so that she’d only have to knit around on the body stitches. That didn’t work either. She asked me if I could finish the sweater for her and “charge her a lot!” LOL

As an “expert” knitter, I picked up Lucille’s needles and cast on the sweater and started knitting. When I got to the end of the body, it was time to do a few rows of ribbing … on a size US 3. It was a HUGE difference between the two needle sizes so I decided to measure Lucille’s needle that I had knitted the entire sweater with … it was a US 8, not the US 6 that the pattern called for nor did the gauge match. Fortunately, the gauge was only a little bit off and it was a little bit larger than she wanted it to be – and it fits! So, I went ahead and knitted the sleeves in the same size needle and did the ribbing on a US 5. Phew. Note to self: even the teacher sometimes forgets to check gauge. I will attempt to remember that I should check the needle size before picking up a student’s project.

All done with the body … on a US 8

Today I finished her sweater and it’s had its bath and is drying. Our house is very dry so I am hoping that I can give it to her on Friday, her birthday, when we have a little celebration at our class. I’m bringing a cake!

Gone Knitting!

Details about this and all of my projects (some aren’t knitting!) are on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry.

FO – Frosty the Snowman Christmas Stocking

I have finished and mailed off another family heirloom for a customer and friend. This stocking is the second one that I’ve knitted for her. The coolest part of the whole story is that her mother, now deceased, designed these stocking patterns for a very well-known stocking pattern company. Her mom had knitted stockings for the whole family and they’re trying to keep the tradition alive by knitting her mother’s patterns for new additions to the family. Cool, right?

The Frosty the Snowman stocking is relatively simple Intarsia knitting. A top hat wearing snowman who is holding a striped candy cane. My friend asked that I use angora as the pattern requires. With little bits of green for his scarf and mittens, black for buttons and hat, the most clever and my favorite piece of the design is the way she designed the candy cane – with white stripes on the red fabric and red stripes on the white. Sooo clever and it works so well!

What I don’t like about the Intarsia technique is weaving in the ends. The front looks so clean and clear but the back is bedlam! Each color across a row requires a different length of yarn and that means there are lots of bits of yarn dangling from the back. Every one needs to be woven into the reverse side of the stocking without being visible on the front. I also add the name in duplicate stitch on the front and then seam up the back and add a braided length of yarn to hang the stocking. Lots of work!

I was very happy with this stocking and I hope she is, too. I wish that their family has a very merry Christmas this year and every one after.

Gone knitting!

FO – Sunday Morning Shawl by Espace Tricot

I have been knitting and knitting and I finally have some FOs to show for it. Finally!

When we went on vacation, I decided to give myself the gift of a new “vacation” knitting project. Three hours to Rhode Island, a week at the beach and three hours home to Maine. I can’t say that I got a ton of knitting done but I did knit some while we were away.

Sunday Morning Shawl by Espace Tricot

I have now finished my Sunday Morning Shawl by Espace Tricot. I used The Fibre Company’s Lore, 100% wool yarn, in a gorgeous mustardy yellow. The shawl design is simple and classic with a bit of twisted rib and stockinette and a wonderful row of bobbles. I loved knitting this shawl and I love wearing it now that it’s finished and blocked. I can’t tell you, though, that it was finished without drama.

I got to the twisted rib edging and was almost half-way through when I noticed the “line.”

The line – finger pointing for emphasis

I really thought that since it was for me that I could “deal” with the little problem so I continued knitting … and realized I couldn’t… deal with it.

Have you ever had a problem with a knitting project and thought you could ignore it and knit on? And the you realized that you couldn’t ignore it and needed to fix the problem? Well, that’s what I did – dropped down every other row where it was twisted when it shouldn’t have been and then pulled the stitches back up so I could knit on.

Almost fixed
Fixed! Finger to help you see there is no line! 🙂

I dropped about one hundred stitches down ten rows or so and pulled them up. As I fixed each stitch ans the line disappeared, I felt so much better about my work. The design is amazing, the yarn and color are perfect and I love this vacation shawl! I wore it to work for the first time today.

Gone knititng!

My Favorite Time of Day

This is my favorite time of the day. The time when the sun is beginning to set and the opposite side of the lake gets lit up. My photos don’t begin to show you what it actually looks like. Trust me, it’s spectacular.

We have had a lovely day. We got our bedroom cleaned up, the bed changed, the (disgusting) side windows and screens washed, and the laundry done. My sweet hubby cleaned out the “curiosity cabinet” in the stairway. It needed it so badly.

I got a load of sheets and towels washed and dried and folded and put away (it doesn’t always happen, yay, me!) I made a batch of granola and a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I also made progress on my knitting.

Yesterday I tried something new. It didn’t work. The Intarsia Christmas stocking that I’m working on for a customer friend calls for angora. I’ve always held the angora yarn together with a worsted weight wool. The angora claims to be a worsted weight and “should” be ok to knit alone. Well, no.

So, today I frogged it back to the start of the angora in the pattern and re-knit. It’s much better now and I’ll be happy to knit on to the end of the Intarsia part and down to the toe. I’ll need to weave in the hundreds of millions of ends and embroider a smile and eyebrows (seriously, eyebrows?), duplicate stitch a name and off it’ll go to New York City.

I may get there tomorrow. Definitely, the knitting will be finished by the end of this week. I’m working to be finished in time to mail it before the end of October. Way in advance of Christmas!

FOs to come.

Gone knitting.

How ’bout Some Knitting?

Does it look like an Octopus?

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!

The “Seamy Underbelly”

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!

Gone knitting.

Three Little Pumpkins

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.)

Three Little Pumpkins

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!

Gone knitting.

Well, Hello There!

From our bedroom window this morning

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I can’t believe that I haven’t written for such a long time … but I’m here today. It’s a questionably nice summer day today. We woke to rain, heavy rain, which is very welcome since Maine has been very dry. Parts of the state are talking about drought conditions. Not good this early.

I’ve been knitting along on the same projects. They seem to be taking forever to finish and that says that I’m not knitting as much as I think I am. With all sorts of time, it’s astounding to me that I get less and less done. Regardless …

Humulus Sweater in Ella Rae Classis Wool

My Humulus sweater is coming along. I’ve finished one sleeve and started the second one. If I really sat myself down and got off social media, I could probably finish it today. I am pretty pleased with the fit of this sweater and I really like the colors I chose. Ella Rae Classic wool is a good workhorse yarn. I would love to make another one of these sweaters (or one like it) in Malabrigo Rios or some other more luxurious yarn … some day. I have a list of sweaters and have already purchased the yarn for several that I have to knit first.

Next up, my Bristol Ivy shawl … The Shape of A Bay, I bought this pattern and yarn at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp not last summer but the summer before. It was my splurge. I started it immediately and then realized that it wasn’t a pattern to work on when you’re trying to converse with other people so I put it away until after camp. Time rolls on and then all of a sudden two years have passed and I hadn’t touched it since.

The Shape of a Bay in Cashmere People Yarns

I love the yarn so much. It feels wonderful as it passes through my hands. I also am loving the intricate stitch patterns in this shawl. It’s brilliant. Way more brilliant than I can ever imagine designing myself … and that’s one of the reasons that I adore Bristol Ivy so much. She’s a knitting geek. Her designs are different, thoughtful, and wicked smaht! I am continually amazed at her creativity. I’m thoroughly enjoying knitting this shawl and I can hardly wait to see it in all its glory after it’s blocked!!!

Simple Slippers in Brown Sheep’s Lambs Pride Bulky

I started a new project when I saw the newest Making magazine. There is so much in these little books that I want to make! I love these simple crochet slippers by Cal Patch (and I love Cal, too) so much and I eagerly finished both slipper bottoms in one porch-sitting day. I haven’t pulled them out again since. I am not as proficient at crochet as I am at knitting but I find it’s good for my hands and arms to change the movements up now and again. So, I change to crochet. This project, while simple for some, takes quite a bit of concentration for me but it is fun to succeed. And they’ll be warm and cozy when they’re finished and felted.

Crochet squares for my Battenberg Blanket in fingering weight scraps

This is my other crochet project. The Battenberg blanket will be something I’ll be working on for(maybe)ever. These tiny little squares will be crocheted together eventually and I’d like to have it be big enough to cuddle an adult up in … it may be a baby blanket, however. Time will tell. I have several dozen of them finished in random sock yarns that I’ve used over the years. I have to find a solid or two to use to unify all the oddball patches. But I can make these in my sleep now. It’s a good end of the day project.

Maple-Blueberry Scones

Both my husband and my college roommate showed me this recipe … that’s a strong hint. And they’re delicious. I spent a good part of the day one day this week making these and some peanut butter oatmeal cookies with nuts and chocolate chips added (because what’s a cookie without adding some extra good stuff?). I will not be shedding pounds this week, that’s for sure. This recipe can be found on the NY Times Cooking website. Let me know if you try them!

Last but not least, I finally cast on my July socks. I’ve blogged before about our 2020 Sock Challenge and I have a few friends of QBK on Facebook who are knitting socks with me this year. It’s been fun … but this month I almost forgot to start a pair! I had initially thought I’d make a pair that I saw online somewhere that was made with two yarns in contrasting colors, knit two stitches with color one and knit two stitches with color two and then after two rounds, switch the colors and so forth. But when I got started, I didn’t like the two colors together – not enough contrast – so I am knitting a simple pair of socks using my favorite Yankee Knitter sock pattern. The yarn is On the Round yarn in the Rebel colorway.

Yankee Knitter Socks for the Family in On The Round Signature Sock

I’ve been working at weeding our gardens. So far the weeds are winning but we’ve had some wonderful floral successes this year. Have a look at my bee balm! The hummingbirds are so happy with these flowers!

Gone knittng!

All of my projects are on my Ravelry project page. You can find them there! My Rav name is Lindar. Find me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.