Sweater Weather!

IMG_2703It’s April 15 today and it’s winter again. Today was not blue skies and sunny. We had snow flurries, a little sleet, a mixed bag of yuck! It’s truly sweater weather!

IMG_2706I’ve been drooling over some sock yarn by On the Round. On the Round is a Maine yarn and is hand-dyed in Owls Head, Maine. Rachel has been knitting since she was seven and she home schools her children … and dyes yarn in her “spare” time! Busy lady! Anyway, I finally decided to buy a hank of Silver Lining Tweed in Signature Sock and I am so glad I did. I haven’t knit socks in a little while and it felt like I was sitting with an old friend as I cast on and worked down the cuff of my sock. I always (almost always) use the Yankee Knitter pattern, Classic Socks for the Family and I am using it this time. I nearly know it by heart (always need help when I am turning the heel). I’m a happy camper …

IMG_2710I’m also working on my Malabrigo Rios sweater using the Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down Cardigan for Women pattern. I didn’t get the right gauge of 16 stitches over four inches with this yarn. Probably because the Rios is more a light worsted. So, with my gauge of 17.5 stitches over four inches (4.375 stitches per inch), I’ve decided to make a size larger so that I have some positive ease. I love the colorway that I chose. It’s a blue and a grey at the same time. It’s tonal and I love it! I haven’t had an easy start with this sweater, though. I noticed, just as I was about to separate the sleeves, that I was a couple of stitches short on one side of the front. And I SAW that the reason why I was a couple of stitches short was because I hadn’t increased on one side of the marker. It was the one side that was front and center of course. I decided relatively quickly that I was not going to be happy with it and had to rip it back and fix it. It set me back a bit, but it was totally worth it. I am so excited to wear this sweater!

IMG_2709I have also cast on a shawl using my yarn from the sheep at Bedlam Farm. Mine is a sport weight from Susie and another sheep. It’s a lovely grayish brown. I had a customer at the shop who needed help with her shawl and it was pretty and simple. I like pretty and simple because it lets the yarn shine. So, I cast on the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief and I pick it up now and then when I want to knit something simple. It’s going to be pretty! I think this shawl will be used to do some good. Stay tuned.

IMG_2688At home, we have begun the process of rebuilding our boat house. The original boat house was re-built around 1950 and then a “garage” with a dirt floor was added after that. The foundation of the building is in remarkably good shape so we are simply rebuilding the same building so that my husband can move his workshop into the garage part and we can turn the existing workshop (the white building at right), we hope, into a two-car garage in the future. This week we are hoping to see the roof joists and roof go up. It’s very exciting.

IMG_2601Our family thrives! All five kids are working hard and make us very proud. Youngest, Amy, made my blueberry muffins this weekend and they looked wonderful. A great first attempt.

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photo by Jenny Anderson

Oldest, Kate, opened in Mean Girls on Broadway last weekend. This is a big deal for her and she has worked so hard to get here. She’s a star and it seems that she’s stealing the show! We look forward to seeing the show in a few weeks and hope to see all the kids and their significant others here this summer.

Life is good!

Gone knitting.

(Find more information about my knitting projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar.)

Pure and Simple Start to April!

IMG_2638I’ve made it through the winter without any illnesses and as soon as spring pops onto the calendar, BOOM! For the last couple of days I’ve been pumping EmergenC and AirBorne and vitamins with my Wellness Formula. My sweet husband has taken good care of me, I drank a lot of tea, and I am feeling better today.

I’ve also been knitting.

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I started a little pullover, #214 Baby Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple, for a new mom’s little baby girl. (I hope she doesn’t read my blog. I don’t think she does. I don’t want to give the surprise away.) I found the yarn on the shelf at the store when I was making room for some new yarns. (if you didn’t know that I work in a yarn shop, now you do … come visit at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine!)

Sirdar has a chunky yarn called Imagination and it reminded me of a Monet Water Lilies painting. You all know what the Water Lilies paintings look like, right? If you don’t, Google it! They’re magnificent. This yarn is machine washable so easy for a new mom. I never machine dry my hand-knits. Some yarns are dry-able but I’d rather be certain and consistent so I hang/lay flat all my hand-knits. Sweaters I lay flat. Socks I hang over a hanger. This extends their lives and I never shrink any special hand-knits. (NOTE! Some yarn is not washable. If it isn’t super wash or acrylic or mostly acrylic, hand wash! You’ll never be sorry if you take that extra care!)

img_2640.jpgI immediately fell in love with the colors. I have whipped through the body of the sweater in a couple of days. It’s chunky so it knits up quickly. I’m making the 24 months size so that little Julianna can grow into it! Today I’ll get to the sleeves and maybe the collar, too. It’s soft, it’s washable, it’s so pretty! Did I mention that there are no seams?!

I’m also working on a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan for myself.

IMG_2622I’ve had this beautiful blue/gray colorway of Malabrigo Rios forever. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my atelier for at least a year and maybe more like two. When I opened the bag of this yarn at the shop, I immediately put it aside for myself because I loved it so much. I’m making the 50″ size and my gauge is slightly off (the pattern calls for 4 stitches per inch and I am knitting at 4.375 stitches per inch). This will make my sweater just a bit smaller than the last sweater I made with this pattern. Which will be OK. I may decide to add a few additional increases to be sure it’s not too small. I’ll know when I have the sleeve stitches on a holder and I can try it on! I’ll have all the details on my Ravelry project page. I love, love, love the color and this yarn feels so amazing in your hands as you work with it. This will take me a couple more than a couple days to knit but it’ll knit up pretty quickly and it’s so pretty!!!

IMG_2614I finished the Ma Belle Amie cowl for my aunt and it’s wrapped and on it’s way to Lake Tahoe just in time for spring! I doubt that she’ll get to wear it too many times between now and next fall but what can one do?! I had to knit it and it had to be for her! I love the colors that I chose … they remind me of my aunt and her beautiful red hair (well, it was red when she was younger, it’s “bleached out” as she’s gone around the sun a few times! (Where’s the laughing until you cry emoji when you need it?!) This pattern is very versatile and can be knitted up in any yarn, really. I have one in solid colored wool that I love and this one has a variegated which I love, too. Choose a smaller needle for a tighter fabric or a finer yarn (or heavier yarn). The sky’s the limit!

I also knitted up a little rabbit on Tuesday when I was home sick. Baby Bunnies by Frankie Brown popped up in my Facebook feed one day and when I wasn’t feeling well, I grabbed a few scraps of yarn and knit up a baby bunny. He’s awfully cute! I think there will be an addition of some embroidery (eventually) but for now, I’m enjoying my sweaters so my bunny awaits!

I hope you had a happy Easter and Passover. I wish you peace.

Gone knitting!

Snow Day!

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I’m so thankful to be here in Maine. Florida was a nice place to live but it never really felt like home. Maine is home. Many of my friends ask if we are sick of the snow yet or if we regret moving here, regret leaving the south. Nope. Not even one little, teeny tiny bit!

Yesterday was my regular day off and I was nursing a sore back. Today my back feels mostly better and my boss closed the yarn shop for the day. Snow Day!!! Most everything is closed; restaurants, town offices, schools, courts, etc. I’m up in my studio finishing projects and working on others. I love working in my studio.

Yesterday I was working on my Zick Zack Scarf. I have admired this scarf at the shop for a long time. I even loved the colors of our store sample so picking my colorways was easy. I love this scarf and may be able to get it finished today!

I was also working to finish my fingerless mitts kit from the Alpaca Yarn Company.

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The Forget Not Mitts are really pretty and I love the argyle pattern. The yarn is gorgeous and I love knitting with it. I wish there was more contrast between the two colors in the kit. I feel like the pattern doesn’t pop like it could. I’ve got two thumbs to complete as of this morning and then I’ll block them. These will be finished today.

I finished a shop sample last week. It’s a really cute hat! We used Juniper Moon Farm’s Moonshine in a deep red colorway.

img_2509.jpgThe pattern is the Gigi Hat and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I knit the hat exactly according to the pattern (because it’s a shop sample and it would be misleading to change a pattern and then show if off in the shop.) The only thing I did differently was to add an i-cord around the brim of the hat, tied in a little knot. I think it came out really well and the yarn is so … SO … super soft! I love it.

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Last, but certainly not least, is the 1898 Hat for my husband. I’ve made four of these hats now and this one is the last for now, but also the warmest. (I even blogged about it before. Here.) I gave N. one of these hats for Valentine’s day in a beautiful Malabrigo Rios to match his slip stitch scarf. He asked me if I could make the top of the hat doubled like the earflaps. He also asked for the two colors which I happened to have in my stash. When knitting the hat, I followed the directions on the hat and then picked up the stitches inside the brim and knit the top of the hat a second time. I knit two fewer rounds in order to compensate for a smaller space inside the first hat and then decreased exactly according to the hat pattern. I wove the ends inside the hat so they’re visible but still inside. He loves the hat and it sure will keep his head and ears warm.

Gone knitting!

 

All of these projects have more details on my Ravelry project page. I’m “lindar” on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook as Queen Bee Knits. I’m on Instagram, too!

 

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.

WIP(s) Queen Bee Style

I have a few projects on the needles. It’s just the way I roll … some days I don’t feel like thinking about knitting and so I need some “mindless” knitting. And some days I want to challenge myself and for those days I need something on the needles to stretch my brain. Some projects have to be portable. Some need a bag of their own (and I have a good collection!)

I am working on a Dr. Who scarf that I hope to have finished in February … it’s quite boring as knitting goes. Garter stitch all the way. I’m weaving in the ends as I go so I don’t have to do that later. I started out thinking I was smarter than the average bear and decided to add one row to each color/stripe so there would be no “wrong” side. I didn’t like it so I have stopped that. Hope it’ll be loved even though I didn’t frog the whole thing from the point where I changed my mind. The colors are not exact but I decided to use Paton’s Classic Wool which I could get in my knitting bag in a day … lots of yarn and it requires a bag of it’s own! 😉

Dr. Who Scarf WIP#1

Dr. Who Scarf WIP#1

I have a Valentine’s day project that I’ve started. Some left-over red cotton and my beautiful new red Signature needles and that’s all it took to get me going. Needles were a wonderful Christmas gift from my number one son! Dish cloths are perfectly portable! I love to pitch a project in my plastic zip-locks for my purse! (alliteration!)

Valentine's WIP#2

Valentine’s WIP#2

Plugging along on my Downton Abbey Mystery KAL with Jimmy Beans Wool. I love the yarn that I chose (Malabrigo Silky Merino #856 Azules) as an alternate to the Lorna’s Laces which would have been here way too late to begin the KAL. I also love the color way. We know that final project will be a shawl and that’s all … that’s why it’s called a “Mystery” KAL (knit-a-long). I still have one week of work to do to catch up before tomorrow’s episode. Check out the JBW blog … it will be a written pattern at the end of it all. This is a pay attention pattern. Except for the garter stitch sections, I have to concentrate – not to be knitted while chatting!

Downton Abbey KAL WIP#3

Downton Abbey KAL WIP#3

I’ve got the big (boring, stockinette stitch) panels done for my “Just So Bag” tote. I just have the lace “ends” left to finish. I must confess, that I have frogged these ends more than once because I didn’t keep track of where I stopped. Not a wise choice when you’re knitting a lace pattern. Even when the lace is being knitted in a heavier weight yarn (Lambs Pride Worsted in charcoal grey). I have a wonderful collection of Interweave Knits magazines that I can’t bear to part with … so it was a free pattern for me. This pattern needs to be knitted in my atelier. No talking. No TV. Lots of counting. Since my super quiet time is somewhat limited, I haven’t even cast on this project (again) yet.

WIP #4 Lace Panels (two) not on the needles yet!

WIP #4 Lace Panels (two) not on the needles yet!

My sister-in-law and brother sent me a wonderful Zauberball (Color1564, 100g) sock yarn ball for Christmas and I love knitting socks. I am on a mission (sort of) to knit a whole drawer full of socks and this pair will add to it, I’m sure. They’re super portable which is what I love about knitting socks. I had thought to do a cuff-down pair but I think I’ll do two-at-a-time from the toe up just for kicks! That means I have to split the ball (or I’ll have a mess!) I’ll let you know what I decide.

Zauberball Socks WIP #5

Zauberball Socks WIP #5

Last, but not least, I have some odds and ends of worsted weight yarns that I have been knitting into tiny trees (with wine cork “trunks”). Patterns are Pint Sized Pines by Julie Tarsha. This is a free download on Ravelry … mine aren’t as colorful (yet) but I do love them! Just so happens that I have saved a few corks … this is a great quick knitting project and they’re so cute. Plan is to add some beads, etc. to some of the trees making them look like Christmas Trees.

Tiny Trees WIP #6

Tiny Trees WIP #6

There you have it! All of my WIPs and my reason (excuse?) for having so many on the needles at one time. I have enough yarn for three sweaters in my stash that I want to start next … and I’m trying to hold off from casting on until I have finished at least the February deadline projects. Must get going!

Gone knitting!

Didn’t Knit. Not a stitch!

Yesterday I didn’t knit a stitch. Not one. WTF?

Didn’t knit it yesterday …. but I love the fabric of this yarn!                                                          Malabrigo Rasta in Archangel Colorway

I’m not sure what happened yesterday that allowed that to happen, but it did. Sadly, it did. Hurricane Isaac was blowing through (weakly) and we went for a walk. I spent several hours working on my new shop, I went to the grocery store and to return some stuff that I bought and didn’t need to finish my Rasta Basket. I made dinner. No construction happened (Thanks, Isaac!). Hunh. Not sure where the day went but I know I wasn’t knitting.

Rasta Basket – Finished!

Rasta Basket – inside (not a lot of contrast in the lining but it’s OK!)

Gone knitting! (No, really! I am going to knit! Now!)

Re-Entry

I struggle every year when we have to leave Maine just in time for August in *gasp* Florida. The shock to my body and our culture is, well, shocking! The temperature has climbed from reasonable and comfortable to Oh My God, how can it be so hot that I can’t walk to the mailbox in bare feet? Even the pool in the back yard is not refreshing.

That said, while you’re all assuming that I am outside enjoying the sun down here (that’s what people in Florida do, right?) I’m really in my atelier, blinds closed, A/C and ceiling fans on, knitting and planning.

Today I’ve been working on a “basket” (bag) that I found somewhere on the internet that uses one skein of Malabrigo’s Rasta yarn. I’ve written about this yarn before but I have to reiterate just how much I love knitting with it. It’s super bulky and the color way that I have is rich purples and burgundies interjected with gold, green and orange (amongst others). Simply fabulous! And since it’s super bulky, it knits up in a flash.

The basket is an interesting construction. I couldn’t figure it out at first glance but I have really enjoyed watching the basket come along. It’s knit in the round on four DPNs but it comes out square! Very clever. I got the bottom of the basket done in an hour or so (after the hour or so that I took to realize that I wasn’t reading the directions correctly – and it was really me. Must be the heat!)  The pattern is called “Rasta Basket” by Kate Vanover and you can find it on Ravelry. I’ll add pictures to this post just as soon as it’s done.

Gone knitting!