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.

Queen Bee’s Injured Wing

beewingI may have an injured wing but I’m still knitting!

My right shoulder has been hurting for a while now. I have done everything I know to help it but when I can’t put on a shirt/jacket/coat without a problem and I can’t take off my bra without pain, that’s the last straw. Thursday after work I went to a massage therapist for a deep tissue massage and it has helped. I have some bruising … I asked her to use the full force of her skills against the knots in my shoulder, arm, and anything else that was “tight”. So, this week I am recovering and working on stretching the muscles and opening my chest muscles. Good news is that I can put on my deodorant but I have a long way to go.

I’m working on a couple of projects. Sample socks for the adult education class that I am teaching this spring. The class is “Socks 101”. We’ll be knitting our first socks in a worsted weight yarn. Preparing to move to smaller needles and finer yarn. I’m knitting my samples in Plymouth Encore Worsted in a very pale yellow. Light yarn reveals the stitch details for my students.

IMG_2447I have nearly finished a 1898 Hat for my dear husband and valentine. I’m knitting it in Malabrigo Rios in the Piedras colorway. It will match his scarf that I made last year. He works outside (in Maine, in the winter, in all kinds of weather) and the doubled garter brim of this hat ought to keep his ears warm! This yarn is absolutely amazing and I hope he’ll love it as much as I love him. He takes such good  care of me. I can’t imagine life without him.

IMG_2388I have a scarf on the needles, too. I’ve been wanting to knit the Zick Zack Scarf for a long time. We have a sample in the shop that I have always liked and chose to do it in the “original” colorway. I’ve gotten half-way through the project and find it monotonous at best. The pattern is the same row throughout and it’s even repeated across the rows. But the color changes in the Lang Mille Colori Baby yarn is exquisite and I love the way it looks. I’ll keep plugging because it’s really bee-utiful.

I finished one of the pair of my Forget Not Mitts. This is a kit put out by the Alpaca Yarn Company. I chose a kit with a kiwi green and a variegated purple/pink/green. I love the colors and the yarn is really nice work with but there isn’t enough contrast between the two yarn colors and as a result, the argyle pattern on the front of the mitt isn’t particularly clear. I love the broken rib and the 1×1 vertical stripe but I am bummed about the argyle. Oh well. The second one won’t take too long to finish and they’ll keep my hands or someone else’s warm in the spring or fall.

I have been plugging along on my Camden Hills Poncho and if I was to sit and focus on it for one day, I’d have it finished. I’m working on the back of the poncho and am nearly to the shoulder decreases and neck. I’ll get it done but have to finish hubby’s hat first … Valentine’s Day is the day after tomorrow.

I bought all the yarn for a fair isle yoked cardigan. I’ll be knitting my Ellen Cardigan in Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca. The main color will be navy blue. I’ll write more about it later. I have also lined up a couple of other sweaters. A green wool using Ella Rae Classic Wool for my husband and something wonderful for me in Malabrigo’s Rios. I am thinking a boxy pullover for this one. More about each of these as I get the first projects finished up!

Details of all of these projects and more are available on my Ravelry project pages. My Ravelry name is Lindar.

Gone Knitting.

CDD

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The pattern … see why I was attracted to it?

In the last twenty-four hours I’ve chosen two patterns that called for a CDD. I’m not sure that I’ve ever encountered a CDD before. No, really. It’s the truth.

That said, I do know what a CDD is! It’s a centered double decrease. Essentially, what it does is decreases one stitch on either side of the center stitch in a pattern. And they’re very pretty if used properly!

First up, a dishcloth pattern that I bought a couple of years ago to support the Special Olympics and it’s called Sinkmates by Lorilee Beltman ($2 on Ravelry). I had unrealistic expectations around this dishcloth pattern, having assumed that it was a mitered square. Wrong. It was a CDD! It’s fun to knit and the first thing I’d do next time is to make the i-cord on a larger needle than the rest of the project. Mine came out somewhat lop-sided. But it’s a dishcloth. Enough said.

Next, Hartland Slipper Socks from Berroco Folio, Vol. 4. by Amy Christoffers. I loved these at first glance and knew I had to make them. Thankfully, they’ve got short cuffs and are knitted in worsted weight Berroco Ultra Wool which makes them knit up quickly. And since I had a whole weekend off this weekend, I have spent a lot of time in my studio. I love them and will be making more! There is a CDD in the “flower” design at the ankle. I’m going to show you my sequence of stitches on the dishcloth because it’s on almost-white cotton and you’ll be able to see the stitches really well!

So, here is my photo tutorial on how to do a CDD if you don’t know already …

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The CDD on Sinkmates Dishcloth … rows of CDD straight up the middle!

Knit over to the stitch before the center stitch (the CDD “line”) … see photo below!

Remember, worked stitches are on the right-hand needle, stitches to be worked are on the left needle.

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Knit up to one stitch before the center

You are going to work the stitch before and the center stitch together as if to knit two together (K2tog). (Insert the right needle knitwise into the two stitches at the same time from left to right as if you’re going to knit them together. Don’t wrap the stitches, though … see photo below.

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You can see the ridges on my thumb nail. I need a manicure!

Next, complete the slip. Slip the stitches onto the right-hand needle by pulling the left needle back and out of the stitches, leaving them on the right needle. OK so far?

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Knit the next stitch on the left needle. In the photo below you can see the two slipped stitches and then the knitted stitch sitting on the right needle. You can see them, can’t you?

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Now, get ready! You’re going to slip the two slipped stitches over the knitted one. (Insert the left needle into the two slipped stitches from left to right, holding your working yarn in your right hand and keeping some tension on the working yarn, slip the two stitches over the knitted one.)

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When it’s all said and done, and the stitches are slipped over, this is what you’ll see.

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When the left needle is pulled out of the completed stitch, you will have something like this. Hopefully, it’ll be exactly like this! The CDD is in line with all of its sister stitches below and you’ll have two fewer stitches in total on your dishcloth.

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See how pretty it is?

Go buy the pattern and give it a try! Share pictures with me of your attempts on my Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner Facebook page! I’m excited for you to try something new!

Follow me on Facebook (Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner) and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits. I’m also on Ravelry (lindar).