Laughing All the Way

I have had a wonderful experience teaching three wonderful students a stranded knitting class. We made “my” Four Needle Snowflake Mittens. These are my favorite mittens to date. I love knitting them. The pattern came from my colleague and teacher, Bette. It’s an old and often-copied pattern but it’s a great one!

At our last class, I was explaining the difference between mittens that are the same (can be worn on either hand) and mittens that are knitted specifically for either the left or right hand. I pulled out my finished pair of mittens to show the ladies what I was talking about  and …img_7658

Do you see the problem?

How about now?

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Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s so good that I have learned how to laugh at myself! I realized that I had knitted TWO LEFT MITTENS!!! What a teachable moment! Even the teacher can make mistakes!

I’ve shared this story with everyone at work, my other classes and just about everyone that I have spoken to and every single time I laugh. Out loud! I still find it hilarious!

Since these were to be a Christmas gift for a very special person who happens to have a left and a right hand, I have had to finish a third mitten … this one is for the other hand! LOL. My students continue to teach me as much as I teach them!

Now, I’ve got them fixed – and the fourth mitten will be finished after I complete another pair. Wait until you see them!

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Today’s lesson learned – never take yourself too seriously!

Gone knitting.

Moving, Test Knitting and Christmas

IMG_5849I can’t figure out what drove me to say “yes” to a test knitting project this close to Christmas when I knew I had several knitting projects that had to be completed before Christmas! What was I thinking? Oh, yes. Maybe I was thinking that the last sweater I test knitted for Lori was a big hit and I loved it and this one would be great, too?

So, I have set aside all the other projects in favor of “Open Star” by VersaciKnits. Lori designs classic and timeless sweaters for adults and children. I love her designs. Open Star is a cardigan with a classic shape and a unique stitch pattern that leaves a “lacey” look without being a lace pattern. Knit in a worsted- or aran-weight yarn, it’s a relative quick-knit. (I’d have had it done long ago if I hadn’t had to move into a new home two weeks before it was due to be completed.) Needless to say, my test knit is late this time. But I have enjoyed it … most of the time.

To complete this sweater, one has to be able to count to four and three. Sometimes this is a challenge for me. This is where I have made mistakes and had to frog back several rows (time after time.) To be fair, it can be a bit confusing when you get to the shaping of the shoulder and neck. But not confusing enough for me to have made so many silly mistakes. I think my head and heart were unpacking boxes when my hands were knitting.

I love the yarn that I chose and that is Quince and Co’s Lark in the Lupine colorway. The yarn is smooth and squishy and feels wonderful in my hands. It’s got a wonderfully soft hand and isn’t splitty. I love the color, too.

I am looking forward to finishing the sleeves so that I can assemble and wear this lovely cardigan … especially since this “winter” in Maine has been so warm. This would be the perfect “jacket” to wear out Christmas shopping!

Gone knitting!

A Hare Pair (Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza)

IMG_4456I have had this ball of white-ish yarn (Oasis Farm Fiber Mill “Bunny Yarn”) in my stash for years. It’s tried to be a scarf a couple of times and, subsequently, frogged. I had set it aside because I didn’t know what it wanted to be. Until I saw the Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza on Facebook one morning a couple of weeks ago.

I have two adorable nieces in northern California and I just HAD to make the Rabbit Hats for them for Easter!

I used the following yarns from my stash for the hats: Oasis Farm Fiber Mill Classic Bunny in white. I had two skeins that I wound into one huge cake. I used about half of the two skein cake for both hats. (Don’t you love knitting for children and babies?) I needed something pink for the inside of the ears in a similar weight. I had a skein of Lorna’s Laces Sportweight wool in a very pale pink (pale pink colorway, I think) that I won in a contest for a soapbox package. It was perfect!

First Hat

First Hat

The first hat was the larger of the two and I made it as the pattern was written with a kitchener stitch graft at the top of the hat and reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears (the pink part).

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

The pattern was easy to follow and the hat is adorable. The hat is knit in the round and the ears are knit in two pieces each from stitches placed on stitch holders. Once knitted, the ears are seamed. Easy enough.

What I found “awkward” was that all of the decreases for the ears were all done as K2tog. It seemed to me that the top of the hat could be more easily seamed with a 3 needle bind off rather than kitchener stitch and be nearly as pretty (and take a lot less time to seam). I guess it will be up to you to decide what you want to do but I wanted to share with you what I did with the second little hat for the baby sister!

Hat 2

Hat 2

I knit the hat just as the pattern was written. (I happen to love a little rolled brim on a hat!)

The changes that I made came in the top seam and the ears.

For the top of the hat, I did a 3 needle bind off. Next time I would turn the hat inside out first but I am not unhappy with the little seam on the top of the hat. I took a bit of time to adjust the stitches onto holders … I had to knit the first six stitches to get the yarn into the right place to bind off the top of the hat but otherwise, it was a cinch!

I knit the ears with a K2tog (knit two together) decrease for a right-leaning decrease on the left sides of the ear pieces and a SSK (slip slip knit) decrease for a left-leaning decrease on the right sides of the ear pieces rather than always using a K2tog decrease as written in the pattern. I think this looks a little bit prettier.  I also was thinking about treating the ear as one piece circularly and carrying the contrasting yarn across. I decided to seam them instead to save the yarn. (Hey! I am a Yankee at heart!)

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Because it was the second hat, I wasn’t paying attention to the pattern directions and totally forgot about the reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears. As a result, they are stockinette stitch. And it’s fine. Bonus! I find the seaming easier this way.

Since I was using natural fibers, I steam blocked both hats and made sure the pink insides of the ears were “hugged” by the creamy white backs of the ears all around. I think they are adorable and can’t wait to see my little nieces wearing them!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

Which one do you like best? The pattern can be found on Ravelry and is a minimal charge … buy the pattern and support the designer!

Gone knitting!

Note to Self …

note-to-selfMy sister-in-law is awesome. She helped take care of my mother when she had alzheimer’s disease and wasn’t very nice to her. (My mother wasn’t nice. My sister-in-law was a saint!) She is raising three great boys. She’s supported my brother and his business and has even gone back to work there now that the kids are bigger (not that they are independent, just bigger). She’s always happy to welcome us into her home, three dogs and all, with or without any of our children, planned visit or last minute … she’s really a great lady.

Anyway, I digress. She happened to mention that she wanted a beige wrap to match a pair of shoes she just bought and to wear on those nights when you just need a little something more to be comfortable. I offered, because I love the idea of doing something for her, to knit her something. I found a great beige yarn and a pattern. Good, right? Then I went off on a road trip and found another pattern that would be great for her shawl but the yarn is too heavy-weight. So, let’s be flexible and adapt the pattern, right? Easy peasy lemon squeezey. I bought two skeins of yarn and off I went.

I’ve been knitting away for a few days … and for the last couple not paying a whole lot of attention. And today I ran out of yarn. Oops! Twelve rows to go and I’m out of yarn. Good grief!

Note to self: buy more than you need. (I hope they have more in the same dye lot at the yarn shop tonight.)

Gone knitting.

P.S. We should remind ourselves and others how awesome we are more often. Life goes by so quickly and we just don’t “take the time” … but I am awesome, and my life is, too. And my friends and family are, too. I’m one lucky gal!

Foiled … or Frogged Again!

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One side in process … double strand worsted weight yarn on size 6 US needles!

This summer I started knitting the most wonderful bag. My Friday Knitting teacher had one that I absolutely loved and, of course, I needed one, too! So, I bought the yarn they suggested and started knitting.

The pattern is called the “Just So Bag” by Andrea Babb and calls for Rowan Pure Wool Aran (Superwash). It was suggested to me that we could use Lambs Pride Worsted in its place. I wish I had been thinking about that – because the mohair in the Lambs Pride yarn makes it fuzzy. Duh! (And the worsted is a little bit heavier weight than the aran.)

The first parts to be knitted are knit with double strands of worsted weight wool. On fairly small needles. Hard on your hands! But I got them all done. And they look good!

But the lace ends of the bag (one needs to knit two) … another story all together! Ugh!

The lace end ... 2nd or 3rd attempt!

The lace end … 2nd or 3rd attempt! See the fuzz?

Today I frogged the lace end (I’ve only started one … and started and started again) for the third or fourth time. Ugh! I really need a bigger chart and I really need less fuzzy yarn. When you’re knitting lace (even if it’s worsted weight yarn) it really needs to be smooth so that the stitches are visible. These are somewhat blurred (and I helped by dropping a stitch that I could not recover.) Because of the mohair blended in, it’s very difficult to read my stitches and makes repairing a dropped stitch, or any other mistake (yes, I do make mistakes!) much more complicated than if it were plain wool. (Which is why the pattern calls for wool, BTW, and not a wool blend.)

So, I will start again but not until I have knitted something cute that I want to knit  … something relatively simple. Maybe the cute pair of striped fingerless mitts that I’ve been seeing. Or the felted slippers (I only bought the pattern ages ago!) Or the little sweater for Faye for Christmas. Or the headband for Libet. So many choices that I may have to just go have an adult beverage and a swim and call it a day! Tomorrow is Monday after all and I am back to work! This job has sure cut into my knitting time! 🙂

Gone …. well, maybe I’ll be knitting.

I Hate it When This Happens!

I was happily knitting along on my Twisted Rib Hat when all of a sudden I noticed this …

I Hate it When This Happens!

I Hate it When This Happens!

Can you see how I’ve goofed up the pattern?

Simple as it is, I have knitted when I should have purled and purled when I should have knitted. And it’s actually not the top most row that I’ve just finished either! So, in this case, what does one do?

I thought briefly about pulling out my needles and ripping back a couple of rows. But with the twisted rib, and only about ten or maybe a few more stitches in the mix, I figured it may just be easier to fix it stitch by stitch. So, I un-knitted back to the stitch where I first got off course and dropped the first stitch.

The stitch on the pink crochet hook is the dropped stitch.

The stitch on the pink crochet hook is the dropped stitch.

Now, I have to fix it. Remembering that it’s a twisted rib, each stitch has to be twisted before pulling through the next yarn “bar” with the crochet hook.

 

Twist the knitted stitch(es) one half twist to the back or to the right before inserting the crochet hook

Twist the knitted stitch(es) one half twist to the back or to the right before inserting the crochet hook

And then you insert the crochet hook and pull the dropped stitch above it through from the back to the front (this is what you do when you’re picking up a dropped stitch, too.)

Pull the next stitch through from the back to the front. (You've inserted the crochet hook in from the front, too)

Pull the next stitch through from the back to the front. (You’ve inserted the crochet hook in from the front, too)

Now you take the new stitch just pulled through off the crochet hook and give it a twist just like the last time. Insert your crochet hook from the front of the stitch and pull through the next dropped stitch. You’re working from the bottom to the top, picking up a stitch for each row that you’ve dropped.

Put the new/fixed stitch back on the left-hand needleThen put the stitch on your left-hand needle (when there are no more to be picked up) and knit it – in this case, you’ll be knitting into the back of the stitch to give it that twist!

Since this is a 1 x 1 rib, the next stitch to be dropped and picked up is a purl stitch. You drop the stitch – you may have to give it a tug to get it to drop down below your mistake – and then I work the purl stitches from the wrong side of the garment. I turn the garment to the wrong side and insert the crochet hook from front to back just like I did on the knit stitch on the right side of the garment and pull through each dropped row of stitches (no twist on this one!). When you’ve picked up all the dropped rows, turn the garment to the right side and place the new stitch on the left-hand needle and purl it.

Next! Repeat this process for each of the “mistakes” …

All Fixed!

All Fixed!

There you have it! I had to fix about ten stitches – I probably looked away for a few seconds … it may be my little dogs’ fault! They can be so distracting! 🙂

Gone knitting!

 

Frustration Strikes!

Yes, it did strike today … and on more than one level. Kind of like the s#%t that hit the fan a couple of days/posts ago. Many little annoyances … placed carefully in one day so that I’ll appreciate the easier days, perhaps?

I had gotten pretty close to done with the back of my Dropps tunic. Only to realize today that I was making the XXL size rather than the XL. I’m simply not an XXL. So … without further ado, I had to frog it. Had to. There was no way to finagle it to be right without a battle. I’ve pulled my beautiful green Signature needles out again and have cast on the proper number of stitches for the XL tunic and will get back to where I need to be!

I did finish the fingerless mitts that have been languishing in my project bag for ages. I think they were started way back before Christmas when I was making oodles of fingerless mitts for an order. These were made with Lana Bamboo by Cascade and they’re really pretty – will go well with denim as they’re a lovely mottled blue color way. I am pleased with the pattern even though I didn’t care for the needles that I used (at least for the second one). Nor did I mark the pattern well when I knitted up the first mitt so that I made a couple of matching errors on mitt number two. No matter, I frogged a few rows and started again so they were “right” and they matched each other.

The “throne” at our Maine house has been malfunctioning this summer. It’s been “out of service” for several days. Today I was told it was finished and ready to be used again. Discovered that it’s not really and will have to wait until Thursday … in the meantime, I guess I’m grateful for the upstairs bathroom!

Company arrives Thursday and we still haven’t gotten a new vacuum – well, we did but it didn’t suck. Literally. It’s been returned but the house needs vacuuming NOW! 🙂 Maybe we can get a new vacuum with suction included tomorrow. I don’t think our blankets will be back from the dry cleaner in time for their beds. Sure hope the weekend is warmer than it’s been so they don’t miss them. Antique wool blankets are wonderful but they do have to be cleaned once every decade or so. LOL!

Please don’t notice the dirty/old stove! Thanks!

I did make a successful breakfast food – pull-apart cinnamon bread. It looks pretty good and I hope it tastes equally good. I was in the way in the kitchen but dinner was also on the table at a decent hour. With construction and dogs and all that has been happening in this house over the last few days, it’s a miracle that I can get anything accomplished.

If I could see in the dark, I’d be going for a bit of a walk tonight to walk off the frustration. For now, I’m not knitting. I’m just done. Maybe it’s time for bed.

 

Repairing Knitting

I’ve designed a baby blanket.

Long story short, I loved the blue color and the price of the yarn that I saw a while ago at JoAnn. I bought it and decided that rather than follow an existing pattern, I’d design one and add it to my Queen Bee Knits originals.

I’m on a seed stitch kick! I love seed stitch. I love the texture and I love the way the stitch feels when I am knitting. So, my blanket needed to have a seed stitch border. I also like “simple” for babies and didn’t want too many “holes” or lace in the blanket because baby fingers and toes get stuck in them. So, for the body of the blanket, I chose to do a simple stockinette stitch with a tiny lace row between the two.

I got the entire blanket finished and held it up … and there it was. A stitch right smack dab in the middle of the blanket had split and only part of the yarn formed the stitch and it looked like there was a gaping hole in the center of the blanket. UGH! (I think I may have said something I’d rather not type here!) So, because of the seed stitch and the lace, it wasn’t possible to drop one stitch and “zip” down to the mess. So, I “frogged” the seed stitch top border and the lace row and then zipped down to the mess and, with my trusty pink plastic crochet hook, stitched my way back up to the top. One row of lace and a few rows more of seed stitch border and it’ll be done again. This time without a hole in the middle.

I love that when I see a problem with knitting today that I can laugh at my mistakes and then solve the problem without a lot of drama. I love that there is relatively little drama in my life today – and when there is drama, it’s usually something that’s out of my control.

I’ll be publishing the pattern as a free pattern very soon. Just have to write it down!

Gone knitting (and finishing the blanket!) Photos coming soon!

Second Iteration?

So, you’ve seen the Malabrigo Rasta cowl that I knitted (in a simple seed stitch and in a lousy photograph) a few posts ago.

Poor color (not accurate) and not a great look!

Well, I decided to redesign it … which meant frogging it and then re-knitting.

I totally love the yarn and want to work with it but it’s just not working with me … or for me! I’ve knitted three really long 5-stitch I-cords and braided them together and this is what it looks like now!

(photo coming soon!)

I’m still not sure I’m in love with this and probably will frog it, too! I really want to use this yarn for something that I love love love … something that I will wear or carry or otherwise use on a regular basis! For now, it’s going to sit on the needles and we’ll see where it takes me!

Knitting is a lot like life – you never know where you’re going to end up. One day you may be very productive and other days, never get out of your own way. It’s learning to recognize each day for the value that it adds  and accepting every one as it is. Judge me not, I don’t get a ton accomplished every day but over the course of time, it all balances out and I’m proud of where I am today.

Gone knitting!

 

UFOs No More!

Woo! Hoo! I’m wrapping up some (long overdue?) projects … it feels really good to get them off the needles and into use. Socks from hell. These are the ones that I tried (and won’t try again – at least for awhile) to do two socks on one needle. It was a struggle to get the hang of knitting two socks on one needle but I’m always open to a new knitting challenge. This one was OK until I came to turning the heel. I asked Betty (my Maine knitting teacher) who couldn’t explain her method to me and did it for me. I’m sure there are others  – perhaps one person who is in my new knitting group – who like to have their socks exactly the same and that’s what this method is best known for. Perhaps, after a while, I’ll decide to give it another shot. For now, I am glad that these socks are off the needles and I may just have to put them on my feet today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Bag Blue. I have had this yarn hanging around in my stash (yes, I have a pretty amazing stash … what’s the big deal?) since my eldest daughter (now 27 1/2) was around two. My son got quite a giggle about this this morning on the phone and pointed out that the yarn has been traveling around with me for more than two decades. Well, yeah, and so?! 🙂 Anyway, this project grew out of needing a properly-fitting bag for my new Mac. I used a seed stitch for the main body of the bag and then used a more stretchable 2×2 rib (in two colors because I ran out of blue) for the pouch on front that holds the cord. I think it came out well. The black leather button seals it all up and adds a pop – different texture and different color family. I am really proud of the end result and now I need somewhere to travel!

Prima Dogma Bulky Turtle(neck) This is the first half of my first Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits first order. It’s based loosely on a design that I’ve made before but needed to change quite a bit in order to fit a teeny-weeny dog. Truthfully, I’ve knit this sweater twice and “frogged” it twice before I got it right. Now, I have to type up the pattern and will likely start offering these for sale in my Etsy shop. My client asked me to make it pink with grey stripes … I love the colors that I chose and I hope she will like them, too. The sweater is styled to look like you’re wearing your boyfriend’s sweater … a bit big and bulky but oh so very warm and cozy. Yarn is a bulky baby alpaca – super soft and it will also be super warm! Before I block it, Lola will model and I’ll post photos.

Next on the needles… Prima Dogma for Queen Bee Knits Señorita Lolita sweater in a pretty peachy pink wool. Not sure what the flower will be yet. Stay tuned! Also, a hat for my son. Another custom pattern in specific stripes – black, grey and orange – with cables and earflaps. Also black socks (they’re started but haven’t gotten very far) for my son.

Left to finish … my Noni felted bag. Knitting and felting is done but the lining and handles need to be added so I can tote it around. It’s so pretty … maybe tomorrow? I’m not a super-sewer!

We’re off to get outside in this beautiful cooler-but-warming-up weather! It’s already past noon! How does that happen!

Gone knitting!