FIN! Starflake and Devon

The knitted portion of my Starflake Shawl by Stephen West (Westknits) is done! Finally!

Starflake by Stephen West in Emma’s Yarn “Wish you were Beer” and “Nailed it!” colorways

I started this project with the best of intentions and then the world went crazy! Between holiday orders, crazy busy work and volunteer life (lives?) and then the Corona Virus … I couldn’t concentrate on this pattern so it went into a brief time out. As my concentration returned, I pulled it back out and got it finished yesterday with the exception of weaving in the ends and blocking. This will happen today!

This shawl was a good challenge. I liked the variation of stitches and the different techniques that Stephen used. It’s a different shape and I love a good i-cord! This shawl is loaded with i-cord. I also loved working with Emma’s yarn. This is a merino and silk blend fingering weight hand-dyed yarn. Emma’s yarn is dyed by two sisters in Winter Haven, Florida. Their parents own and run the beautiful Four Purls Yarn shop … and they’ve got a yarn truck that I used to shop from when I lived in the suburbs of Orlando. The Black Sheep Shop, where I used to teach, partners with Four Purls for some wonderful yarny fun!

I’ll update photos when the shawl is blocked. I can’t wait to see how this shawl “blooms” with blocking. Blocking works miracles!

Devon Hat in Ra Ra Raffia yarn

My Devon hat is also finished … except for the little tail that is hanging off the back of the hat. This was also a fun project. The Devon Hat is a simple crochet project. I still consider myself a beginner in crochet. This hat’s first few rounds are a bit wonk but the end result, despite being a little bit too big, is pretty stinking cute! The RaRa Raffia yarn is from Wool and the Gang. I bought it on the Wool and the Gang website directly but it would be a fun yarn for yarn shops to carry specifically for making hats and tote bags, too!

The hat is crocheted at a pretty tight gauge so my hands were a bit sore but I took breaks – and you should take breaks and stretch when you’re knitting or crocheting for a extended period of time. Stretching is a good thing – I promise, I know!

I never wear hats because I have a big head. “One size fits all” sure doesn’t. So, I thought this would be a good solution to my problem. I love hats but I can’t find hats that fit. This one will work when I’m sitting in the sun knitting.

Gone knitting!

Sock Challenge 2020

One of my co-workers and I have challenged our classes and our followers on Facebook and Instagram to a 2020 Sock Challenge. The challenge is that you must knit a pair of socks each month. Two pairs can be “tiny” socks and two should be a challenge, something you’ve never tried before or that stretches your comfort level!

So far, I’ve knitted six pairs and I’m working my way through the seventh.

January, rose colored socks for my granddaughter, Rose! This counts as a tiny pair. Earlier in the year I made a pair for my grandson because everything should be even. Oscar is more open about asking for what he wants. Little sister deserves some handknit socks, too. I am delighted to have these delightful, delicious kiddos to knit for!

February socks were for my sweet husband. It’s become a tradition for me to put a ball of sock yarn into his Christmas stocking. With all that happens in the weeks working up to Christmas, I haven’t been able to get his socks finished. When I can knit them after Christmas, it’s way more relaxing and fun.

March socks were a stretch for me. I’ve been “challenged” by fair isle or stranded knitting for EVER. I have avoided it, I’ve refused to do it, I have not bought beautiful patterns. This year and for part of last year, too, I have challenged myself to get myself more confident with stranded knitting. These socks, while they are a little bit too big, they’re really beautiful and I love them. And they’re so warm … duh! Because they’re double thickness!

April socks were a 60th birthday gift for my neighbor. Ya know, when you get to see 60 there’s not much that you “need” and maybe even want… except to spend time with your family and friends. So, when Tammy turned 60, we spent time together but I wanted to make her something. This yarn came into the yarn shop where I work and it was exactly what I needed.

May socks were for my boy. Finished in April, actually (I’m a bit ahead of myself because of the tiny pair that I started with!) My son turned 30 this year. How did that happen? This yarn is amazing and I love knitting with it. Both of my favorite guys have gotten a pair of socks in the same yarn and I have another ball left to knit up. Woo! Hoo!

The socks that I have called my May socks until I realized that they’re really June are in Rachel’s Ontheround sock yarn. I have had this yarn in my stash forever and I always knew it had to be socks because the other pair of Ontheround socks that I have are my favorite socks. The colorway of these is magnificent and I love the feel of them as I knit.

All of the details, yarns, needles and patterns for all of these socks are in my Ravelry project page. I even have a few non-knitting projects there. The plan is to make a pair of socks with some lace perhaps or a cable maybe. I guess I’ll figure it out as I get there. I love knitting socks because they’re practical and portable!

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

This Will be Short

Yesterday we had a Nor’Easter. It was coming down like crazy and it was wet snow. Needless to say, much of the state is now without power. We are without power … but we have a generator so we are not totally in the dark.

But I wanted to write to share that I’ve finished my test knit, named for now, the Cashmere People Shawl because it’s knit with Cashmere People yarn. This shawl is designed by Lori Versaci of VERSACIKNITS. As with Lori’s other designs, it’s a classic design and a textural wonderland. Such a fun project to knit.

I started this shawl project just as I was going into self-isolation in mid-March. The shawl calls for three colors of cashgora yarn in sport weight. I really wanted to have my shawl look and feel like a comfy pair of jeans. Casey Rider at Portfiber in Portland, Maine picked the three colors for me and she did an excellent job! I love the way the colors work together and I can’t wait until it’s dry and I can wear it!

I had a tense few moments at the end because I was very afraid I’d run out of the natural color of yarn at the edge. I’m happy to report that I won the game of yarn chicken this time! Woo! Hoo!

This afternoon I wove in the ends and blocked my shawl and I’m so happy to have it done. When the pattern is released, I’ll let you know.

Gone knitting!

Progress

The sun came up again today!

Today is Wednesday Tuesday (Ha! Thanks for the help! I guess I had lost track of the days!) not that it really matters. The only difference between the days is the weather. Yesterday was a true beauty and today is a little cooler but the brilliant sunshine always makes me feel better. We are going for a ride today to buy lobsters for dinner. Change it up a little bit.

I’m making progress (finally!) on my test-knit shawl which is being called Cashmere People Shawl. The design is by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. What I really love about Lori’s designs is the classic style. This is my third test knit for Lori, the first was my Mainstay Pullover in 2015. Sadly, this sweater has gone to live elsewhere because the yarn, a Berroco product, wasn’t color fast and it discolored when I washed it. Boo. The design, however was wonderful and I’ll make it again when I am finished with all my WIPs. (Like that will ever happen!) The second test knit was Open Star which finished in late 2015/early 2016. This is a cardigan and I still love this sweater. You can check out my Ravelry project page for details on both sweaters.

Star section at the bottom of photo, stockinette in navy and the start of a beautiful brioche

I struggled with the star section of this shawl for whatever reasons. Maybe it’s a simple as the counting; an ability that I often lack. But once I decided to go with reading my knitting, I zipped right along. I’m now into the last section of the shawl which is a “ruffle” of brioche. I need a longer cable on my needles because there are nearly 400 stitches at this point and cramming stitches on the needle and brioche don’t go well together. I’m eager to get this OFF the needles so I can see it in all it’s glory!

I continue to be behind on the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL. But I get about one done each day so, again, progress. I continue to enjoy this KAL because it takes just enough concentration to keep my mind busy and it’s very comforting. I’m trying to avoid Facebook and the news because it’s not very pleasant and plays with my head/anxiety levels. No news is good news just as long as my kids are ok.

And last but not least, I have the correct number of stitches on my son’s birthday socks and I’m (not really) zipping down the foot of the first sock. They’ll be easy to finish because it’s sport weight wool – with a bit of cashmere – so they do knit up a little bit more quickly than fingering weight would. This yarn, KFI Luxury Collection’s Indulgence Cashmere, is so soft. I need to make myself a pair. Or not. In fairness, I have an entire sock drawer full of my hand-knitted socks.

So, that’s progress.

Gone Knitting!

Ahhhh! The perfect spot to relax!

Frogged Again!

The sun is out again today and it’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood. It’s not even that cold! Somehow, the days keep ticking by and are filled with all sorts of different activities.

Yesterday I made five face masks.

Germ-free me

They’re not perfect but they’ll work and they’re all made with lots of love! I hope they’ll help people who need them. I bought a kit from a store in Auburn, Maine and I got about 30 pairs of fabric rectangles all cut out to 7×9 inches. I also got the elastic cord that you can’t find anywhere around these days! I am a very slow stitcher and it took me forever to get these done, but I did it and I will do the rest over a few days. Or weeks.

Cashmere People Shawl

I posted this picture a few posts back. This is a shawl that I am test knitting for Lori Versaci (VersaciKnits). I am having focus problems that I’ve written about earlier. Well, this is no exception. I have knitted and frogged and knitted and frogged again on one section. I don’t seem to be able to count to three, yarn over and go again. Ha! Ha! I am going to try once more and have the right number of stitches on row 4. On I go … and I hope I can count and yarn over this time. I can certainly count my stitches and read my knitting but this is ridiculous!

I am attributing this lack of focus to the corona virus pandemic and my concern about my little Lola who hasn’t eaten again today. It looks like the dreaded three hour drive to Massachusetts is on for tomorrow. We will drive down, drop her at my brother’s office and wait for her tests to be done. Then we’ll drive back home. We will wear gloves, wash our hands, bring our own lunch and shower when we get home. And we will have some answers.

I continue to knock out the Arne and Carlos blocks for their Quarantine KAL. We are up to day eight and I have through day six finished (one block needs ends woven in.) I continue to enjoy this. It’s in manageable bites and it feels good to be able to manage something in this chaos.

I also got my neighbor’s birthday gift delivered back to me. She turned 60 a month or so ago and I gave her yarn for her birthday with the promise to make her a pair of socks. They’ll be worsted weight and shorted in the leg so they can be worn as slipper socks or socks. I’ve not knitted with the yarn before – it’s new to our shop. I’ll get pictures up and the story of the pattern as I get something knitted and have something to show!

Gone knitting!

Sunrise Messalonskee style

A Fear of Stranded Knitting Conquered

Starting the Lobster Hat

I bought a Lobster Hat kit at Over the Rainbow Yarns in Rockland, Maine several years ago. I bought it for my daughter for Christmas that year with a promise that I’d knit it for her. Fast forward to today and I “found” the kit in my time out cabinet and decided to give it a go and see if I can’t finish it (finally!!!) All those years ago, I’d begun the knitting but I wasn’t particularly confident about it. I didn’t know how to carry the floats well and my tension was wonky. So I frogged what I had begun, rewound the yarn and started over.

I had avoided stranded knitting/colorwork and Fair Isle for a long, long time. I’ve blogged about this before. But a few years ago my co-worker showed my a pair of beautiful (and warm) Snowflake Mittens and I HAD to knit them. I’ve knitted many pairs of them (one story included two left hands!) and have taught many knitters to make them, too. Worsted weight yarn and only two colors didn’t feel too overwhelming but I wasn’t really eager to try the finer yarns or more than two colors.

This year, however, the stranded knitting projects have been coming at me from everywhere! My co-worker, Peggy, and I made the Sunset Highway sweater. I found a knitted coffee cup cozy pattern that is a Fair Isle pattern knit in the round and steeked as a practice for a sweater I want to knit. I made a Christmas stocking for my daughter. I am knitting a pair of socks, as part of a MKAL and our 2020 Sock Knitting Challenge that is stranded knitting. I just took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone that turned into a test knit project for her, the subject of which was a Fair Isle cowl (the pattern is coming soon!) And then I found the Lobster Hat.

So, riight now, on my needles is a pair of socks and (ta! da!) the lobster hat. I need to cast on another pair of Snowflake mittens, too, for a friend. I’m really pleased and proud to say that I am feeling very confident with colorwork/stranded knitting. Progress through practice!

Gone Knitting!

You can find out more about these projects and more on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.

Mary Jane Mucklestone!!!

The American Queen of Fair Isle Knitting, Mary Jane Mucklestone at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. Mary Jane is holding my knitting and balancing on one leg because her class sample is on her raised right leg! She does it all!

YOU GUYS!!! I took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone!!!

Late last week, my co-worker, Glenda, shared with me that she was going to take a class at the Farnsworth with Mary Jane Mucklestone. Needless to say, I was hoping that my calendar and husband would be supportive of me doing the same … and that there would still be space in the class when I signed up! The knitting gods were smiling in my favor so on Saturday afternoon, Glenda and I, driven by my handsome hubby, went to Rockland!

Mary Jane is a wonderful and knowledgable teacher. The class was inspired by my friend and knitting idol, Katharine Cobey, who has a one woman show at the Farnsworth through April 12, 2020. Go see the show. It’s magnificent. I blogged about it here. Katharine made famous diagonal knitting and the class was a Fair Isle design based on “diagonal” knitting but the Fair Isle way. Mary Jane was kind enough to bring one pattern for her Flying Geese Cowl about which she had intended to teach the class. She also was inspired to design another cowl pattern very shortly (days) before the class was to happen and we also got that cowl. It is, as yet, unnamed.

Choosing Colors

We learned a lot about choosing colors when knitting in the Fair Isle way. We were to come to class with an inch or so of ribbing in a dark, high-contrast color. I chose an Ella Rae Classic Wool in a dark charcoal gray. (Details on all my yarns are on my Ravelry project page. Find me on Ravelry, I’m “lindar”.) I brought a bunch of leftovers from my stash in various colors that I like which you can see above. Since you don’t need a whole lot of any one color, in this case, I brought bits and bobs. We needed three colors to really have some fun and I finally chose the creamy white Galway worsted and the one right next to it which is an ice blue colorway in a Paton’s Classic wool. All three are worsted weight and plain old wool.

While we were knitting, Mary Jane serenaded us with stories and tales about her travels to and knitting from Fair Isle. She is a wonderful story teller and full of knitting knowledge. I really enjoyed listening to her talk. She brought TONS of samples of Fair Isle motifs, talked about and demonstrated how some yarn colors, shades and tones, play well together – or don’t. It was a wonderful day.

Glenda, my co-worker, has finished knitting her Flying Geese cowl and she was blocking it when we last spoke. I must be knitting too slowly. I am planning to finish my cowl today because we have a snow day today so it’s an unexpected “free” day to sit in my atelier to knit. I don’t think I have to tell you that both cowls are fun to knit and a good way to learn to knit with two colors at a time (and you don’t have to catch the floats!)

I offered and Mary Jane has accepted me as a test knitter for this pattern and I am happy to oblige. Deadline is 2/13/2020 … so I had best stop “talking” and go knit!

Gone knitting!

Proof. Fan girl photo! Thanks for obliging me, Mary Jane!

Final FOs of 2019

Today is the last day of 2019 … a year ending and a decade ending! Yikes! I’ve been working to get a couple of projects finished so that I could happily say that I finished 60 projects this year.

This morning I finished the Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits. I love this sweater and I love the way it fits! The way that the neckline is designed is brilliant! A provisional cast on leaves live stitches and you just knit a few rounds above the yoke and ta! da! the neckline (and the sweater) are complete. I was worried that it would be too wide but it’s not. It’s perfect!

I loved the way this sweater knit up quickly holding together two strands of yarn on large needles. I used Jojoland Ballad and Debbie Bliss Angel in this beautiful teal-y blue color that I love. The yoke is a simple lace pattern repeated a couple of times and then there’s a bunch of stockinette stitch. The body of the sweater was great car knitting for our trip from Maine to New York City for Christmas! I’m really excited to wear it! I made the XL-XXL size and used five skeins of each yarn.

I finished my very last last FO for 2019 this afternoon. The pattern is Mochi Plus Trout Fishy. This pattern was very sweetly sent to me by another knitter. I reached out to her through Ravelry because when I finally got around to knitting the first fish, the pattern was gone. Gone! No longer available. Anywhere! The yarn company was gone and so was its website and the free patterns. I was so sad! I’d even collected some Mochi Plus for the first few fish. I’m so grateful to her for being willing to scan and email me the pattern and I think you’ll have to agree that the fish is wonderful!!!

My original goal was to knit a school of fish to hang from the ceiling between our front door and the door onto our porch on the lake. I’ve since decided that it could be any handmade fish … because I’ll be knitting fish until I die and there are a lot of other things that I want to knit!

Two down, seventy-bazillion left to go! 🙂

Gone Knitting!

Learn more about my project on my Ravelry project page. I’m LindaR on Ravelry. I’d love to have you follow me on Facebook where I am Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner. I’m also on Instagram as @QueenBeeKnits.