Drachenfels by Melanie Berg

View from our House

View from our House

We have been super busy here along the shores of Messalonskee Lake! We are preparing for our family to arrive at the end of July for our wedding and the chores are never-ending! The yard has been landscaped. Inside projects are getting finished. With that, I am getting a bit of knitting and sewing in … more knitting than sewing … but I still haven’t attacked the seaming of my Aran Cardigan because it’s been stinking hot in addition to busy.

There is nothing worse that sitting under the pieces of a wool sweater when the temperatures are in the 80s here in Maine. We don’t have any air conditioning at our house. Normally we only need it a couple of days a year. And our nights are always cool enough to put a sheet and a blanket over us. But I’m not going to work on the seaming of the cardigan until it’s a little bit cooler. So, I’ve cast on another new project that I’ve been waiting to knit. Drachenfels by Melanie Berg.

Drachenfels is a triangular shawl in three colors. I bought my yarn at this year’s Maine Fiber Frolic. The Frolic is the first fiber festival to kick off the season here. I love the event and generally spend a day volunteering and visiting the booths. This year I was determined to live by my stash knitting program. Ha! I blew it when I came upon the sample knit up in the String Theory booth … I bought a different yarn but the same colors that were in her sample shawl and I am very excited about knitting this garter stitch beauty.

My Three Colors

My Three Colors

My yarn is String Theory’s 100% domestic super wash Merino. Each of the three skeins has a generous 425 yards of squishy yumminess. Which should be more than enough – the pattern calls for 333 (of two colors) and 301 yards respectively.  I bought three colors: charcoal gray, blue and green. I chose these three because they were exactly the colors of the sample that I saw. Little did I know that two of my students in my Friday knitting class are also working on this shawl. They’re all lovely. (I’ll try to remember to take pictures!)

This yarn is knitting up to be so soft and squishy. I am loving the feel of it in my hands as I knit.

The first two sections of my Drachenfels

The first two sections of my Drachenfels

The pattern is a simple pattern that starts at one “wingtip” with double increases on one side and a decrease on the other so that it’s a slightly asymmetrical triangle. The first two sections which I have completed are straight forward (I did use a marker to mark the right side of the fabric) and when the first complimentary color was introduced, I got really excited. I love my colors! The blue just pops off the gray!

The section two slip stitch pattern is lovely and I am rolling right along. The first part of the pattern repeats sections 1 and 2 several times. I’ve repeated twice and am on to the third. Rolling right along.

I have a feeling that one of my daughters may want to steal this one from me.

Gone knitting.

Maine Fiber Frolic 2013

IMG_1586 What a wonderful day!

We headed out early to miss the worst of the heat – who knew that Maine would be seeing temperatures in the high 80s on June 1? The natives must all have their air conditioners whirring! Windsor Fair Grounds was abuzz by 9-ish when we arrived. Eager fiber hoarders (like me) lining up to pay their admission and see what wonders were on the other side of the fence.

My Mr. N decided to tag along this year … decreeing that he’d be close but in the shade. All except for the sheep herding which he wanted to see. That was in the full sun. He reported that it was utterly amazing. Did you know that you can pick a sheep up behind its front teeth and place it on it’s butt and it won’t move? Neither did we. Nor did we know that if a sheep somehow ends up on its back that it may die. Learn something new every day! 😉

Cute babies galore!

Cute babies galore!

The Fiber Frolic was another great event this year. Lots of vendors. Lots of sheep and goats and rabbits and alpaca!

Fabulous Fleece ... and there were many!

Fabulous Fleece … and there were many

I spoke to a few new vendors like Northern LIght Fibers from Block Island, RI. I have some history there so I enjoyed hearing that there is a full fiber mill on the island now. They’re working to change the tourist-trade calendar on the island and trying to encourage people to venture out even when it’s not summer. I hope they succeed. They’re hosting the Block Island Lace Knitting Retreat the weekend of October 11-14, 2013 with Galina Khemeleva. I’d love to go. We shall see what the late summer promises!

Had a lovely chat with several yarn folks. Tidal Yarns‘, Patricia Fortinsky, from Old Lyme, CT, was particularly sweet. It was in her booth that I bought a wooden button for my Vail Island Vest. I’ll add photos later today of all my goodies! And I wanted to buy some rather bulky yarn but didn’t get back … figure there’s always the Internet, right?

I also stopped to talk with Cindy (I hope I’m remembering her name correctly. I didn’t write it down) from One Lupine Fiber Arts in Bangor. I’ve been in the shop a year or two ago and fell in love with a painted window in the gift shop upstairs. If we ever renovate this house, I’d love to paint a window or two (or better yet, have them painted by someone who knows what they’re doing!) Anyway, I have to make a trip back because their yarns were lovely and the downstairs is now devoted to fiber. As am I.

Nice Bangs!

Nice Bangs!

I bought a few things … some goat’s milk soap for Mr. N. I hope it will help his psoriasis. Some Swans Island yarn (seconds!) from Warner Graphics from Camden, ME. and finally one of the wonderful Bolga Elephant Grass baskets that I have been coveting for years. Each year I’ve seen a basket that I liked and vowed that I would come back after it upon taking one “loop” around the Fiber Frolic. And each year, the basket was gone. This year, I bought my basket and toted it around! A little surprise was what I found at Maple Lane Pottery (which is also a working farm and B&B) … they had cute mugs and bowls and other stuff with cardinals, crows, porcupines (adorable!) and other Maine critters. But as I turned the corner there was a tiny flash of yellow … bees! I was so excited to buy myself a new piece of pottery!

New Pottery!

New Pottery!

We had the most delicious gyro … they brought an old-fashioned pot belly stove to cook on … and some sweet potato fries. The most difficult part of the day was trying to stay cool! It was another great event and a fun day! And I saved some of my yarn-buying for when my friends and family come to visit!

Gone knitting!

All my Yarn is Packed?

Cascade 220 and Colinette Jitterbug

Cascade 220 and Colinette Jitterbug

When we head north to Maine for vacation in the summer, we’ve always driven. And I’ve been able to take a bunch of yarn (often more yarn than clothes) so that I can pick and choose my knitting projects.

This year, however, I’ve been working and wasn’t able to leave when N. decided it was time for him to go. So, I kissed him and our big brown dog goodbye and off they drove. What I didn’t realize is that I would have to be really choosy about what yarn I bring because I haven’t got a big plastic box to fill … I have one suitcase (which will fly free, thank you Jet Blue!) to fill with clothes, N’s birthday gifts and yarn, needles, patterns and all the notions that I need to do what I do! Yikes!

So, here’s what I am planning …

1) I have four skeins of Cascade 220 in a multi-colored colorway that will be knitted into slippers for N. Part of his Happy Birthday. The pattern will be Fiber Trends Felt Clogs (design by Bev Galeskas).They may get leather soles so that they last longer. To be added when we get home and they’re felted.

2) I have four skeins of Cascade 220 in a turquoise colorway that will be knitted into slippers for me. I’ve been waiting to use the pattern by French Press Knits, French Press Felted Slippers (by Melynda Bernardi). I’ve been coveting this pattern for ages and it’s time to give it a try!

3) The beautiful blue Colinette merino is going to be made into a vest from the book, Swing Swagger and Drape (by Jane Slicer-Smith). A vest because I live in Florida. I can always add sleeves if needed later on. I saw the pattern, Boxes Drape, at the Maine Fiber Frolic and it was love at first sight.

4) I’m taking the Purl Bee cowl to fix and finish.

5) I’m taking my brothers 50th birthday socks to finish.

Fiber Frolic 2012 Yarn ... frogged Boxy Cardigan

Fiber Frolic 2012 Yarn … frogged Boxy Cardigan

6) I’m taking my yarn from the Maine Fiber Frolic … the frogged Boxy Cardigan … hoping to find some inspiration and get it knit up into a wearable piece of Maine to bring back to Florida in the fall.

7) The cotton tank tunic is also going along unless it’s finished before I can leave.

8) Lasts but not least, N took his “boyfriend” sweater up in the truck. It has been closeted away (literally) for at least a year because I can’t bear to look at it. All the work and expensive yarn … and it doesn’t fit. Not even close. Another do-over opportunity.

9) I have to add to this list that I will be teaching myself to crochet this summer too, in addition to the knitting projects that I have on my list. I’ve wanted to learn and am making this promise to myself. I will be able to crochet (at least be a beginner)!

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend some time in Maine again this summer. I am also grateful for the opportunity to work for the school that I’ve worked for for the last 50 days. I have loved the experience, the students, the teachers, the administration … it’s been great to be part of the Woodlands family.

Gone knitting!

 

Making the Big Decisions

Last summer I bought the most beautiful yarn at the Maine Fiber Frolic.

Seacolors Yarn

Seacolors Yarn

 

And I also got a “free” pattern with the sweater. I really liked the idea of the boxy cardigan with this yarn using a random pattern with the three colors. Different sleeves. Not too matchy-matchy.

Over the summer and fall, I got all the pieces knitted and was ready to put them together. The shoulders and sleeves, though, didn’t fit. They were at least two inches off (the sleeves were too small for the space that they were supposed to fit into). Well, what to do?

I mulled it over and decided that I had to re-knit the sleeves. Frog them and re-knit them with more increases so that they’d fit into the space … and then as I prepared to frog the sleeves and re-knit them, I noticed that I had (for some unknown reason) joined two balls of yarn in the middle of the back right about exactly where it would be most noticeable. What was I thinking? So, I decided to frog the back to the join and re-knit that, too. And then when I got that far down and was ready to rejoin the yarn, I noticed that I did it not once, but twice and there was another join just about two inches below the first one.

A second join in the middle of the back ... what was I thinking?

A second join in the middle of the back … what was I thinking?

 

That did it. I frogged the whole sweater. It went from this …

All the pieces were finished and blocked

All the pieces were finished and blocked …

To this … in just a few minutes!IMG_1420

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh well, that’s one of the most wonderful things about knitting … you can start anything over if it isn’t pleasing you. This one wasn’t pleasing me at all. But I do love the yarn!

And if anyone is wondering why we may be allergic to wool? Well, check out what was left on my desk after I frogged and re-wound the wool!

Wool dust ... ahhhhh - choo!

Wool dust … ahhhhh – choo!

 

Gone knitting!

Free Patterns – Sometimes You Get What you Pay For!

At the Maine Fiber Frolic this summer, I bought this wonderful yarn from one of the booths.

Seacolors Yarn

The yarn came with a free pattern for a Boxy Cardigan sweater with color blocking that I loved so much that it took me an hour to pick out the yarn. That being said, now that I am on the downside of the project (or thought I was), I am finding that the free pattern isn’t really a great pattern … seems that the sleeves are nearly four inches too narrow for the arm/shoulder inset space. Ugh!

I even re-knitted the bind-off on the sleeve to make it stretch a bit more but the one sleeve that I seamed really looks awful. And for the price paid for the yarn, I would prefer that I be able to wear the sweater at the end.

See? …

Shoulder seam and puckery sleeve seam – looks yucky!

And this would be the reason why! The sleeve is four inches too narrow for the opening!

So, what’s a Queen Bee to do? The only idea that I can come up with is to “frog” the sleeve down to where the increases stopped and increase more … and the sleeves will be almost like dolman sleeves! Or, the other option is to “frog” the top of the sweater and take out some of the body length where the sleeve will fit.

I am going to take the project to a few of my knitting friends and see which choice they would choose … or if they have another idea that may be even better than my two options!

Have you got any ideas, dear readers?!

Gone knitting!

Get ‘er Done!

I’m getting a lot of stuff done so why am I still beating myself up and saying that I’m unproductive? Why do I “worry” about being unproductive when I am getting work done? Because it’s not the work that I “need” to be doing? That others expect me to be doing? Because I’m not making “enough” money? I just need enough to pay the bills and can make do with less than most so what’s all the “anxiety” about?

My Boxy Cardigan is two thirds complete. Sleeves are all that is left to do. They should go pretty quickly and I hope that I love the sweater as much as I remember loving the one on display that I saw at the Maine fiber frolic.

The cotton tunic has kind of been set aside so that I can make a few new items to add to my Etsy shop … or new 3 B Street shop (more about this in a later post) … but the back is so close to being done – despite the inches and inches of 1×1 ribbing on US #1 needles!

I have knitted a new pair of fingerless mittens in a very simple 2×1 rib and just have to weave in the ends. I suspect that they will need a button or some embellishment because just by themselves they’re a bit flat – at least in my opinion – despite a variegated yarn.

And then there’s the Rasta Basket that I have knitted in a wonderful colorway called “Archangel” and while the knitting part is finished, the finishing part is a bit sticky for me! I am not really a sewer. (I can hear friends of mine in my head telling me that I am labeling myself and if I want to be a success I need to consider myself an adept sewer!) Yesterday I got out the old Singer and it took me a good part of the afternoon to assemble the lining only to discover that the handles that I chose are about two inches too big for the bag! Back I go to the store today to see if I can find some that are smaller!

I have pulled out the old Michael’s samples that I haven’t seen while I was away this summer. I am ready to make my board for knitting classes (did you see my calendar for classes?) and have to take some signs for the yarn aisle in the store. I also need to make copies of the calendar for the demo desk! I sure hope that the knitting classes will pick up since it’s fall …I hope!

My to-do list keeps growing but I am checking things off, too. Just for today, I am going to be pleased about what I have gotten done and what I will do today. Life is good.

Gone knitting!

 

A Little Bit of Progress

Those of you who know me well, know that I like to eat. I also like to bake (can anybody say, “sweet tooth”?) And over the years, it’s become my mother that I see when I walk to the mirror. Now don’t get me wrong, my mother was a lovely woman and I love her a lot. But I never wanted to have her body. SO, I’ve been to see a lovely woman In Portland, Maine who is helping me try to get my hormones into balance with food. Of course, I’m also going to have to move my body up off the knitting couch … but since my feet are finally healed (or healthy for now, anyway), I feel confident that we can start walking and hiking at the very least!

Gaia Shoulder Hug by Anne Carol Gilmour
(A FREE pattern on Ravelry!)

So, tonight’s knitting night again and while we drove to Portland and back, I didn’t knit on the way home. I slept. I’m looking forward to visiting with the “girls” and I hope to finish the last few repeats of my Gaia Shoulder Hug.

Piggy Hat Pink

I think that I will start the commissioned piggie hat next … and it’s going to be sent with matching mittens. (Since they’re for a baby, she’ll need the little stringy thing to go through her jacket so mittens don’t get lost! I) think I can sew/embroider a cloven hoof on the mitten and that will be cute. I’ll try!

Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber “Maine Lobstah” Superwash Sock

 

 

I have finished one Maine Lobstah sock and it’s quite tight. Since this is my handy-dandy go-to pattern for socks, I am a bit surprised but am not going to worry much. On occasion, even Queen Bees make mistakes. I may be using a smaller needle … or maybe was using a bigger, inappropriate needle before. Whatever the reason, if they’re too small, they’ll be a gift for someone in my family with slightly smaller feet than I have at Christmas time. I bought two hanks of the yarn because I loved it so much and the woman said I can probably get three socks out of each hank! Woo-hoo! I love knitting with this yarn. It’s really got a great hand, it’s washable and it’s not “splitty” at all! I also happen to love the colorway that I chose!

Dropps Tunic … going nowhere! But check out the beautiful Signature needles!

My poor tunic hasn’t budged out of my knitting bag. Oh well! I still love the yarn color and I adore knitting on my first of many pairs of Signature needles (green is US6).

I will be knitting up a Falling Leaves scarf designed by Lucy Neatby with some yarn that I bought at the Maine Fiber Frolic last year (2011). I fell in love with the pattern and have bought it on Ravelry.com with my white bunny blend yarn in mind. Another gift for a friend who is so deserving!

Had a lobster roll for lunch after fasting for a blood test. Not sure what’s for dinner but I’m looking forward to balancing these hormones and seeing myself in the mirror again! A big grocery shop tomorrow!

Gone knitting.

(An aside … bought some new stitch markers and thought you should see the cutest ones … by Lantern Moon, purchased online! They’re buzzing around my Gaia!)