Busy Busy (Queen) Bee

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All About That Brioche by Lisa Hannes

I can’t believe that I’ve not written a post since Father’s Day! Yikes! I didn’t realize how busy I’ve been … or how I’ve totally neglected my blog!

We have had visitors a couple of times. My aunt and cousin and his family came for a visit from the other coast. We had a hoot and I got my fill of babies and toddlers. The kids were so much fun and I am so grateful that my cousin’s wife wanted to come east to spend time with us. My eldest daughter and her husband and their dogs came for a visit, too. I am always happiest when one of my kids is in the house! Both visits put my knitting on hold for a few days.

Today I finished my All About That Brioche shawl by Lisa Hannes. Let me chronicle the adventure that was this shawl for you!

I bought the kit from Kitterly. Yellow … NEON yellow and charcoal gray. What’s not to love? They’re bee colors! Madeline Tosh (Merino Light) yarn is very soft and not plied. Sometimes it gets a little fluffy which is not always what you want. Regardless, it’s a delight to knit with and will be a delight to wear. The pattern is fun to knit. A bias-knit garter to begin and then two bands of contrasting two-color Brioche. I needed to pay a little bit of attention to the increases and decreases but it’s a relatively simple six row repeat.

Initially, I thought I wanted to add an additional colorway to the mix but after knitting a little bit of the way, I decided that there was a reason the original design had only two colors. The addition of a third would have messed up the contrast. So, I frogged the first attempt and proceeded with the gray/yellow color palette.

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I’m not crazy about the edge on one side of the shawl, if I’m totally honest. I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention to how the rows begin. The point is to slip the first stitch and then bring the working yarn to the back or front so the edge has a consistent color.

This is right.

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This is not right.

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Can you see the black yarn crossing over the yellow edge stitches? And to the right there is yellow yarn crossing over the gray edge stitches? Yeah. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. BUT I also decided that it wasn’t worth frogging the Brioche section to repair this so I went forward knowing that I was going to have a funky edge on one side of the shawl. I’m ok with it (most of the time, anyway!)

I need to weave in my ends and block it today to make it wearable. I think the size will increase exponentially when I block it. Right now it’s a little bit too small for my liking. But I can’t wait to wear it … and it won’t be long until fall! We are experiencing crisp, clear, cool mornings and evenings here in Maine! I love the changing seasons!

Gone knitting!

Design – 2012 Trends

I’m already laughing because the original title to this post was written “Design – 2010 Trends” … and it’s true that I am not a fashion plate, what the heck gives me the chops to design? And my response to myself is, “it’s for dogs!”

I do believe that fashion trends are created by the industry solely to give designers and fabricators job security. Those of you who are fashion-driven (I do not belong to this group) will be drooling over the new colors and styles paraded across magazines and runways and city streets. I just happen to be missing that gene. But, dressing my dogs … that’s a whole other situation!

Bright colors seem to be the trend and lots of pattern. The Señorita Lolita is still in vogue (no, not the magazine) and I still believe that neutrals and traditional cables like the MacTire are timeless. This little coat is really cute – celery green and with the fabulous seed stitch texture. I have to find the right buttons to go along with it … perhaps one that is feminine and one that is masculine (for obvious reasons.)

I knit this coat with a super bulky merino wool by Rowan called “rowan big wool”. It’s 100 gram ball (at approximately 87 yards) was just enough to make a coat for a or 11 pound dog … with a little bit of wiggle room depending on button placement. The shade that I used (29) is a light celery green … one of my favorites! I love knitting with this wool. It’s soft and not at all splitty and knit up it’s light weight but really warm. Care for this wool by washing in cold water by hand and dry flat. Never wring hand knits – simply roll them up in a big towel and press the water out of the garment, unroll and dry flat.

Rowan has a bunch of beautiful patterns FREE on their website! You’ll need to register but, trust me, it’s worth it! Their patterns are beautiful and plentiful!

I think the second draft will have to be in a tangerine orange color as the Pantone color of the year is “tangerine tango” a vivid red-orange that would look so wonderful on my boy, Boogie! I never liked “orange” but find myself wearing it today! Go figure! I’m so stylin’!

So, off to the yarn store in the world wide web I go.

Photos to follow soon of all my finished projects!

Gone knitting!

Duck, Duck …

The sun is out today and I’m typing on my favorite desk in my favorite office … my lap is my desk and the front porch is my office. We have a new family of ducks who have been coming by to visit … and get a little bit of bread from me! 🙂

Listening to President Obama’s speech at the University of Richmond while I blog. In the sun! Just having the sun out makes my attitude so much better. I’ve finished the two baby hats that I’ve been working on and they’re really cute. I wish I had a doll or a stuffed animal to put them on for photographs. Neither my hand nor my yarn spool makes a great baby face! Regardless, they’ve turned out well.

Hat #1 is the Aviatrix Hat from Justine Turner (and a free download on Ravelry.) I knit this hat in Plymouth Yarn’s Baby Alpaca DK (colorway 753) in a wonderful grey-blue color. I love it! There are two buttons on the hat so that when baby’s chinny-chin-chin gets all pudgy and kissable, mom can loosen the strap and it will still fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hat #2 is Garnstudio’s Dropps Bonnet in Rib in Alpaca . It’s such a cute hat and I know it’s going to grow well with the baby as the 3×3 rib is really stretchy. The reason I really like this hat is that it goes over baby’s head like a hood – and they can’t pull it off! I knit this with Reynolds Revue 100% Merino wool in (color 1431) a raisin color – it’s a pretty brownish wine color (in these photos it looks way more pink than in real life!)  that I think will be very “in” this year since it’s an organic color and found in nature. The only “issue” I have with this hat is, I think, the nature of merino wool in that it shows all the increases around the bottom of the hat. Fortunately, it will be under the baby’s jacket but it’s still aggravating for me to be able to see the “irregularity” of the stitches.

I’m having a really proud moment, though, because I tried something that I’ve never done before. (Although, my knitting friend Bob in Ohio did it for me once several years ago.) Anyway, after reviewing several videos, I did a single crochet edging around the opening of the hat and it looks great! I wish I had a doll or a stuffed animal here that I could put the hat on to show it off better … hope my new mom will send me a photo of baby in the hat and for the meantime, my photos on my antique spool will have to do. That’s life!

I found a really quick baby mittens pattern to send along with the hats … without having to knit a thumb gusset, it’s a really quick knit and very quick, indeed!

I’ve been thinking that I need to design and knit up a case for my new computer … cabled? or patterned? lined? unlined? We’ll see what I come up with. I have some really cool yarn that I bought out in northern California in December that has some cat hair in it … and pretty sparkly blue, too. I think that will be my yarn choice! I also have the “Kate Middleton” shawl that I bought some new yarn for. I’ll let you know what I decide!

So, from my porch office with the breezes blowing gently … gone knitting!

Home?

Back in the land of heat and humidity and the yard weeds are taller than the plants that we dug holes for. Go figure! At least the pots in the front yard aren’t dead and my (now) puny “jazz hands” palm tree is still alive and growing after a near death experience.

I’ve had a fun day today and am going to continue having fun when my girlfriend comes for dinner but I thought I’d take a few minutes to show you what I’ve been working on while I wasn’t blogging … it’s not “much” but it’s work, none the less!

I’ve finished the coveted “Turkish Bed Socks” (find the pattern HERE at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas) and it just reinforced to me how much I love knitting with Koigu wool. It’s simply wonderful to knit with … if you try it on my recommendation and don’t love the way the yarn feels and knits, let me know and I will buy the yarn from you. The colorways are endless, too … you’re bound to love at least one (hundred) colors! The construction was interesting and I only got a bit confused once … and when I stopped reading ahead, I was fine. They’re cute and I’ll be they’re super to wear with my clogs in the winter.

I have made two more pairs of fingerless “Gauntlets”. One is in a gray alpaca DK weight yarn from Village Farm Alpacas in Waldoboro, Maine. The yarn is absolutely the softest and it was good to knit with … nearly as good as the Koigu, just not quite.

The second pair is almost finished. These were knit with a wool and silk blend from Plymouth Yarn Company called Mulberry Merino in a dark emerald green colorway (color 686, Lot 531). The yarn is so soft and the fingerless mitten pattern is wonderful. The yarn is spun loosely and it’s not as much fun to knit with because it splits on the needles and then gets stuck which is annoying! These will either go up on my Etsy site or be given away when I reach 100 “likes” on the Queen Bee Knits facebook page.

My vest in coming along. I’ve finished the back and have started working up one side of the front but I have to be honest, I haven’t really done much knitting. The last few days I was playing with my “old” friends from college at Virginia Beach and there was no time for knitting … I was out riding the waves (body surfing) for over an hour on Saturday. I’m sunburned and getting that “I’m going to peel” itch but it was worth it.

So, now I’m home and I have an order for a baby hat for one of my former au pairs. She’s adopting a little Latino boy from Illinois in October. She’ll be present at the baby’s birth if she has enough time to get from her house to Chicago area in time. How exciting is that? So, I’m off to find some cute patterns for the baby hat and then will hit the shops in person and/or online for yarn. Any suggestions?

Gone knitting … or pattern hunting!