Happy New Year! New Year, New Yarn!

Winter Wonderland!

This was my view on the way to work the other day. The camp road is slippery and ice-covered but so beautiful! This is why we love living here in Maine. Every season has its beauty if you are open to seeing it!

We had a wonderful Christmas with my sweet husband’s daughters and one boyfriend. The Christmas tree was beautiful and the weather was perfect – except we didn’t have any snow! But the ice on the lake was perfect for ice skating and other wintery exploits!

I’m knitting away … well, not completely “normal” but I’m making progress working through the WIPs in my atelier. And I may have cast on a new project, too.

Yip Yips by Carissa Browning (crochet version)

This Yip Yip was a gift for my husband who has trouble keeping track of his wallet. Sometimes it’s in the kitchen or the bedroom or bathroom or his office or truck (among other locales) and I thought this Yip Yip would be a silly and fun container for the wallet. This is free pattern on Ravelry in either knit or crochet. Mine is the crochet version. It was quick to make and I think it’s hilarious! The ping pong ball eyes are the best! I will make more of these! They make me smile.

M

This is the best mitten pattern! I love mittens in Maine in the winter and this is a good mitten pattern for the whole family! I had a skein of Knitting Fever’s Painted Sky and a bit of mohair that I knitted together at the same time and they’re really soft and they’ll be really warm. I’m planning to do a little bit of embroidery on them to give them a little bit of color. They’ll likely be inside my leather choppers. The pattern is out of print but it’s out there if you look.

And I have another pair of mittens that I have finished … this yarn and the pattern came from Knitty.com back in 2005! The pattern is actually from Knitty in the fall of 2002. I printed the pattern with the plan to make them for my daughter who was in high school. She chose the yarn which I bought from Knit Picks online.

2005 project finished

These are convertible mittens … they can be mittens and they can be fingerless mitts … well, they have partial fingers so they’re not really fingerless, are they?

Broad Street Mitts by Janis Corteses

Back in 2005, I wasn’t as confident a knitter as I am today. I was wondering why I didn’t finish these way back when and I think it was the “reverse all shaping” for the second mitt. I didn’t understand what that meant and the internet wasn’t nearly as good at showing you anything you want to know or learn. Now, however, I am able to reverse the shaping and knit the second mitt. I put the mittens in the mail to New York City as a surprise and my daughter was delighted. These are the Broad Street Mitts and they’re available on Knitty and Ravelry. They’re made from a fingering weight yarn and I used Knit Picks sock landscape. I don’t know if they still make it but it felt really nice to knit with!

Son-in-Love Socks – Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow

I just finished a pair of Birthday socks for my son-in-love whose birthday is later this month. My daughter said that he wouldn’t wear them but I said he needed to try them anyway … I think he’ll love them if he tries them. My son had the same reaction initially and he loves his hand knit socks (and is asking for more … they’re on the needles!) I love the Lang yarn and I used my favorite sock pattern by Yankee Knitter! I used a 3×1 rib on the cuff and instep. Socks are still one of my favorite things to knit.

Lallybroch Shawl by KnitzyBlonde (inspired by Outlander)

I may have slipped and cast on a new project the other day. I had bought three hanks of Malabrigo Arroyo (sport) in a pretty color way. I had thought it would knit up into a very pretty Lallybroch Shawl. And then I had a customer who has knit more than one and used the Rios by Malabrigo and I worried for awhile that the Arroyo wouldn’t be heavy enough. So I set aside three hanks of Rios in the Paris Night colorway. So, the other day when it was quiet at work, I wound one hank of the Arroyo to see how it worked up … and I am so happy to report that it is perfect. I really don’t love worsted weight shawls. They’re too warm for me – I tend to run hot – and the sport will be much better. I love this yarn and this colorway. I can’t wait to wear it.

As an aside, if you’ve not been watching Outlander on the Stars Network, watch it! I love it. And the books are incredible – it’s a time travel, historical fiction, love story with some really spectacular knitwear!

I still have many (MANY) WIPs still waiting for my attention but I am working my way down the list. I have “promised” myself that I won’t buy any more new yarn until I get a couple of the sweaters that I have all of the yarn for, by the way, done! I think my Malabrigo Rios sweater will be first. I’m going to be knitting it on a smaller needle as if it was a DK weight yarn so it won’t pill as much. I’ll let you know when I get rolling!

Gone knitting! I leave you with the sunrise picture I took this week. It’s been beautiful!

Sunrise and Ice Fishing Shack on Messalonskee

Something’s Fishy

IMG_5626 I’ve been wanting to work on so many projects that you might think I had an attention disorder. Right now on the needles I have a Girasol afghan. I’m nearly finished and the edge lace pattern is a bit boring (but it’ll be worth it!) I also have the cabled poncho for my niece (and another one for her sister) to finish by Christmas. I’ll get it done. (Them done!) And then there is a half-done pair of socks, my daughter’s Christmas cowl and the headband that I promised last winter and, of course, the lobster hat that was supposed to be last year’s partial birthday gift. I think I need a few projects finished before starting anything new.

And thus I’ve started a new project. A fish hat. I’m sure you’ve seen it on Ravelry or Facebook or somewhere. It is a Knitty pattern that has made me laugh several times. Fish Hat (Dead or Alive?) can be found as a free pattern on Ravelry or Knitty.

IMG_5625So, when I saw my friend Harry’s bald little head the other day and knowing winter is coming I decided to make a run to the yarn shop and buy some new yarn … My stash is all in storage, remember? I chose good old Plymouth Encore Worsted because it’s soft and washable. And when you’re knitting for children, especially boys, washable is best. My colors are “different” for me but I fell in love with the teal-y blue and had to have it. And I love charcoal gray. The coral and tweedy green were the last add-ins because I needed a bright and something to unite all the colors. I’m knitting with my trusty and well-loved Knitters Pride Dreamz interchangeable needles (US 7). Harry is hairless this winter because he is being treated for Leukemia. He has been such a good sport – he always seems to have a smile on his face despite what many would say are really rough days. Handsome Harry, I hope your fish hat makes you smile!

The hat is knitting up pretty quickly and I only have one more to knit. The second one will be for a student that I worked with at school down in Florida. He was and will always be one of my favorite students. This little guy was hit by a car at the beach when he was two. He suffered a spinal injury and is “handicapped” … unable to walk and in a wheelchair. But he’s such an “able” kid with an incredible spirit and he is smart and sassy. I hope that the fact that I made him a crazy hat will make him smile. And he will have bragging rights at school … I can hear him telling the other kids, “What!? Mrs. Rockwell made it for me!”

It makes me smile to do something for these sweet boys. Gone knitting!

 

The Anatomy of a Sock

Circle of Life Socks

Circle of Life Socks for baby – pattern by Cat Bordhi

As I was sitting here in my atelier last night, I started thinking about how much people know about socks. I’ve knitted quite a few socks; baby socks, short socks, bed socks, yoga socks, cabled socks, patterned socks … toe up socks, cuff down socks, socks on DPNs, socks on two circs, magic loop socks … you get the general idea. Right?

Turkish Bed Sock

Turkish Bed Sock by Queen Bee Knits – pattern by Churchmouse Yarns

Well, what are the parts of a sock? Do you know what they’re all called? If you’re a knitter like me, you may … or may not! So, let’s do a post about the anatomy of a sock.

Whenever I’m preparing to write a post on knitting, I go out to the internet to search the topic. I searched the internet “Anatomy of a Sock” and this is what I found. A wonderful article, entitled Sock 101, already written beautifully by Knitty – a great resource and some fun free patterns – so I don’t have to write it myself. I can merely comment and compliment the Knitty article. Because there’s no use recreating the wheel, right?

Knitty's Picture of the Anatomy of a Sock

Knitty’s Picture of the Anatomy of a Sock

There it is. The perfect picture of the anatomy of a sock! Perfect!

Depending on the pattern that you’re using, you may start at the toe or the cuff. Everyone stresses (at least when you’re a new sock knitter) about turning the heel. The beauty of it, however, is that all socks have all the same parts. Once you know the anatomy of ONE sock, you know it all! It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Birthday Party Socks - by Queen Bee Knits

Birthday Party Socks – by Queen Bee Knits

If you haven’t knitted socks yet, you really should give it a shot – they’re so satisfying to knit and when they are finished and you put them on your feet or give them to someone as a gift, it’s amazing. They fit so well, they feel so good. And as a gift, they’re not soon forgotten – a true labor of love.

A personal sock story and then I’m going to end – I bought a ball of sock yarn with the idea that I’d make them for my son (then a freshman in college) because the colorway was similar to tiger stripes and he’s a Cincinnati Bengals fan – hey, no comments necessary, we lived his entire lifetime in Cincinnati! When I told him I was making him socks, he sweetly(-ish) told me he didn’t want hand-knit socks. Because I had the yarn, though, I didn’t pay attention and knitted the socks and gave them to him for Christmas one year.

Who Dey!

Who Dey! Socks by Queen Bee Knits

He graciously put them on his feet on Christmas day. Then, awhile later, I got a call from him,

“Mom, about the socks you knitted for me …?”

“Yes?”

“I love them. Will you make me some more?”

Like a good custom shirt or suit or whatever else is made specifically for you, hand made socks are super special. My brothers, boyfriend, niece and at least one daughter have pairs of their own. My goal is to knit some for all of my family. My son has three pairs that I’ve made to his request … including a brown pair that have a short cuff, a black pair and the Who Dey! socks that were his first. We all know that our first is something special!

The anatomy of a sock. There you have it. Now go get your yarn and needles and start knitting a pair! A good place to start is with Knitty’s Fuzzy Feet … worsted weight yarn and on a large scale. One step at a time. You can do it!

Gone knitting!

“Fetching”

I knitted up a pair of “fetching” fingerless mittens today (for a Christmas gift) in a really pretty red merino. I love the way the mittens look in their finished-ness. (No, I haven’t been drinking. I like the word!)

"Fetching"

The pattern is free at Knitty(dot)com and if you click here, you can be magically transported to the pattern.

The cuff is a couple of little cables which makes the fabric really nice and firm but stretchy. It also seems to keep it’s shape and not get all stretched out. The finger end, has another cable and ends with a little bit of a picot edge. A nice touch – makes a nice looking fingerless glove (is it a glove or a mitten?)

I think I’m just an Irish lassie at heart. I absolutely adore cables. I had already knit one fingerless mitten in red and cream with a little design but I didn’t like it. Call me crazy. I am sure that someone will like it and I will likely finish the second mitt and put them up for sale in my shop on Esty. I like to give gifts that I would want myself and the “fetching” gloves, I’d like to have. Although, my hands are a bit too big for these mitts – others fit me better.

Not so Much ...

So, one “fetching” pair is finished and I think I need to make one more … that’ll make a total of 17 1/2 pairs of fingerless mittens that I have knitted in the last few weeks. I’m ever so grateful that my fingers and hands feel as healthy as they do!

Gone to rest my fingers!

Yummy Yarn and One I Can’t Find in Maine

I bought the most wonderful yarn to make my big brother a pair of socks for his double nickel birthday. I had to really search my brain to remember where I found this picture which was and is my inspiration for the pair that I’m knitting. But, I found it on Ravelry when I was searching for a pattern for a pair of socks for a man (with pictures and free.) The pattern was found on Ravelry (if you’re a knitter and don’t know about Ravelry, I’m sure you must have just crawled out from under a rock in a far, far off land!) but it was originally from Knitty (again … if you don’t know about it, not sure where you’ve been living.) If you visit the Knitty Website and search for “Java”, you’ll find this lovely sock pattern (and many other patterns) for FREE!

Anywhoooo … I have my very own tried and true pattern and since these are a gift, I’m going to use my trusty old pattern and I’m going to endeavor to add a couple of these beautiful cables. BUT, the reason that I’m writing about this picture really, is all about the yarn.

I loved the name, Java, first and foremost because I love coffee and so does my big brother. I’m not, however, a huge fan of brown but this pattern showed a lovely mix or tones of brown and so I decided to look into the yarn and the place from whence it comes. Which lead me to String Theory and their hand-dyed Bluestocking yarns. Imagine my surprise, when I realized that they’re only about two hours away in Blue Hill, Maine! So, feeling like this was karma, I ordered a skein of the yarn and had it mailed to our “camp” in Maine hoping that it would arrive before we had to leave for a weekend in Florida. Which, thanks to the good old US Postal Service (thank you very much!), it did!

On the Needles

And it is the yummiest yarn I’ve had the pleasure to knit with since knitting the Senorita Lolita sweater with the Koigu KPPM yarn (“skeinlettes” that I won in the Jimmy Beans Wool facebook design contest ever so long ago and which, it seems, I can’t yet buy in Maine despite the fact that it’s made just over the border in Canada!) I’ve wandered off again but as I reign myself back in to talk about the Bluestocking yarn from Maine, it’s the softest yarn and it’s a delight to knit with – never splitting and sliding smoothly over my needles and off. And … it really is pretty, too! And now I’m going to have to beg for another fiber field trip to the shop where maybe I can witness some dyeing!

… and according to the String Theory Website, there’s a fiber fair coming up really soon and I’m wondering what I’d have to promise my sweetie in order to get there for a workshop or two!

Gone knitting!