Hot! Lobster Claws … fresh out of the pot

Hot, hot, hot weekend! We’re having June weather in May. It’s too hot to go outside and I dream of having a car with auto-start so I could get the A/C going before I have to leave. Are you figuring out that I dislike the heat? Even our back “sun room” is super hot … by the time I’m awake, it’s time to get out of there to my cooler Atelier!

My inside activities have been cleaning up and knitting … and knitting planning! I have several original patterns that I’ve written and have been “afraid” to put out for test knitting. Partly because I didn’t know how to do it … but I’ve found a Ravelry group that does test knitting and as soon as I knit my patterns one more time, off they’re going!

"Cooked Lobster" Mittens

First one to be leaving the fold is the “Cooked Lobster” mittens for children. This is one that I wrote after having bought a pattern that didn’t look like lobster claws at all! I love my pattern, though – complete with the knitted band … looks like it’s just out of the pot! And if it was just out of the pot, it would be steaming hot!

Gone knitting (in my cooler Atelier!)

 

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!

1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something. 2. new; fresh; inventive; novel

I’ve been working on designing a line of original dog sweaters and coats for a year or so now. I just came across the notes I took from a teleconference with a friend who has been in the garment industry (for people) for her entire career and whose wisdom and experience I truly value. We had talked about having twelve (TWELVE!?) designs and changing out the fabrics for the seasons. Well, the seasons may be do-able but no (freaking) way I’ll have twelve designs any time soon! A girl’s got to make a living and without taking my little business all the way to an Andean village where women can knit for me, I need to get these patterns written, tested and knit up a few samples.

I have four designs at this point in time that I can use as my base.

The Señorita Lolita, a sassy dress with a ruffled skirt and a big colorful flower on the shoulder. Fingering weight yarn makes it more time-consuming to knit but makes the little dress flow-y and light. I just sent my first iteration of this sweater off to the Central Florida Fair as my submission to the “Other” category. Submitted with this photograph of my little Lola (“Whatever Lola Wants…”) who is my inspiration for the design.

The Boyfriend is a classic turtleneck sweater knit in bulky yarn which makes it pretty quick to knit up unlike it’s sibling above. The design is based on the women’s sweaters with the same name that are bulky and loose and snuggly … hoping that the feeling of wearing a boyfriend’s sweater will translate to the feeling of caring for your fur baby.

The MacTire. Irish knit-style cabled sweater with a turtle neck collar. Right out of the pages of GQ! (Is that still in print?) I love this sweater with the “hugs and kisses” cable down the back. Also a relatively quick knit as it’s in a bulky wool, it’s simply classic and appeals to my Irish roots.

MacTire (mock teerah)

Last but certainly not least is the Nor’Easter Coat. Seed stitch is one of my favorite textural stitches and with this bulky or super-bulky wool, it is a visual thrill. The stitches are tightly knit and make a really warm coat for chilly days. I’m working on the finishing touches to the pattern. This may be my current favorite!

Patterns to come!

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!

 

Free Knitting Pattern (and a little lesson)

You may (or may not) know that I had my French daughter, her husband and baby boy here for a visit. We’d not seen each other for more than ten years and it was a wonderful reunion. I am continually amazed by how you can reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost touch over the years and, if they’re also willing, can start over where you left off!

It was as if no time had passed. (Well, except for the fact that she found a husband and has a baby!) We laughed and cried, ate, talked, shopped … a trip to TJ Maxx, Walmart and Wendy’s were some highlights. At Wendy’s N taught “la boulette” to dip his fries in ketchup! To watch a really cute short video, click here: bouletteatw

Happy Boulette bathes in the kitchen sink!

When it came time to put them on the airplane, the tears were just like those shed in years past. I’d “forgotten” how much I love “my kids” and how much it hurts to say “good bye”. But at the same time, how wonderful is it that I have this little family that isn’t really mine but feels like it!? And I know we’ll be together again (hopefully, soon!)

Bet you thought that I’d forgotten the free knitting pattern, didn’t you?

Nope! Here it is! This is perhaps an ugly blanket because I had to use yarn that I had here and it was very last minute when I realized that a warm blanket was going to be needed – badly needed!

“La Boulette” Blanket (an Original Queen Bee Knits design)

Needles: size 15 circular needle (or larger or smaller to fit your yarn)

Yarn: Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand 4 skeins, knitted with yarn doubled throughout. (Note: this is a very simple blanket, knitted on the bias. It will make a square blanket and could be knit with ANY yarn and needles appropriate to the yarn weight. Just knit as in the pattern directions until it’s the width that you want and then start the decreases! Easy!)

Blanket Directions:

Cast on 4 sts.
K2, YO, K to end
Turn and K2, YO, K to end of row
Repeat these two rows (which are actually identical) until the blanket is the width that you want.

Middle

K2, YO, K2tog, K to end of row
Turn
Repeat the last row three times more (total of four rows)

now it’s decrease time!

K2, YO, K2tog, knit to 4 sts before end of row, K2tog, K2
Turn
Repeat the last row until there are 4 sts on the needles (decreasing one stitch in each row)
Cast off 4 sts
Weave in all ends

And here’s the little lesson …

How do you count rows when you’re knitting all rows (otherwise known as stockinette stitch)?

Counting Rows for Stockinette Stitch

Each “pair” of bumps, one looks like it arches up like the letter “u” and the other arches down, is a row. In this photo, there are five bump pairs which means that you’ve knitted ten rows … hunh? you say? Yes, you’ve knitted ten rows because there is a corresponding bump on the back of the fabric, too. For each row you see on one side of the fabric, there is a bump on the other side of the fabric when you knit “back”. See what I mean?

Try knitting a few rows. Yup, take out your needles and a single strand of yarn (the sample above is a double strand of yarn). Cast on about 20 stitches and knit across them. Then knit back again. Now … look at what you have. You’ve knitted two rows and there are two “pairs of bumps” one on the right side and one on the wrong side.

If you don’t get it, comment on this post and I’ll illustrate further!

But for now, I’ve gone knitting!

 

 

Writing it Down …

"Senorita Lolita" - Prima Dogma for Queen Bee Knits Copyright 2010

It’s been a challenge but I’ve finally knitted a second iteration of the Senorita Lolita Sweater and written down the pattern.

Version 2 Complete! Pattern is ready for test-knitters!

For some reason, I couldn’t get it right and have knitted and frogged several times. Finally, however, I’ve gotten it done! I only have to knit the flower to “jazz it up” and it’s done. Lola will have another sweater to wear and I’ll have a first original pattern for my Queen Bee Knits “Prima Dogma” line. The second design is on the needles but I’m struggling through it as well and am trying not to let it get the better of me! For now, I’m reveling in the sense of accomplishment that I have for getting the first one done.

I used a cheap-o ball of sock yarn that I had in my stash from JoAnn Fabrics. Nothing special as far as the yarn goes, but pink does look great on my little girl! The needles that I used, however, were a different story.

Takumi Clover (US 5). The needles knit just fine but when you have to slide the knitting to the other side of the needles, it’s nearly impossible to get the stitches onto the bamboo part. I think I’m going to have to splurge and get some new needles for the Queen Bee!

Photos soon but for now, I’m off to eat my first Maine lobster of the season!

 

On the Needles

I started a new project last night. The “Munchkin Boq” sweater … chunky cables for my little boy. This is a new design using the Aran cables that I love so much. The idea for an Irish knit little dog sweater to add to the Prima Dogma line that I’m designing came to me the other day. I’m using some stashed wool for the first iteration and will find some lovely pure wool for the next ones made.

When there’s enough for you to see, I’ll post photos. It feels good to be knitting!

Update: May 19, 2011

Here’s the progress to date!

Closeup of X and O (Kisses and Hugs) Munchkin Boq Sweater copyright 2011 Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits