Success!?

What is our measure of success? People measure success by the cars they drive, the homes they own, the jobs they have, how much money they make and a lot of other things. It’s different for all of us. Right?

I’ve measured my success by looking at what others think of me for much of my life. It’s only after a ton of therapy and the grace of having had a lot of time on this planet, that I can say that I feel successful. I’m content. Content with the life that we’ve built here on the lake in Maine.

Members of my Friday Knitting Group loving each other … kindness is rampant in this group!

I feel successful at work. I have created a circle of customers and friends and students who I enjoy spending time with. I feel like I am making a difference by sitting on two boards of trustees go organizations that have meaning to me. My kids are grown and living full lives. I’m deeply in love with the person I married and he loves me despite my perfect imperfections. (*ha! ha! ha!)

I’m feeling confident as a knitter. I’m wearing my Sunset Highway sweater today for the first time. It fits and it’s really lovely. I am quite proud to be able to make garments that I can wear. I have been finishing some projects, too, projects that have been hanging around in my studio for a long (long!) time!

Last year I was going to knit Christmas stockings for my daughter and son-in-love. Because I got a pretty good case of tendonitis, I wasn’t able to knit the stiff fabric for the stockings. But I just got them finished … with a little help from my friend and co-worker, Peggy. She took the first stocking, which I had begun over a year ago, and whipped it into shape while I started and finished the second one. They’re all steamed and finished now and ready to be gifted to the wonderful couple. Their anniversary is next week but I think I’ll save them until Thanksgiving and give them as an early Christmas present!

The stockings are both kits from Accessories Unlimited. Kits #402, Toy Soldiers and #103, Christmas Tree Stocking. The yarn isn’t what I would choose to knit with. It’s very stiff and scratchy but because it won’t be worn, it’s ok. They will hold up well and the stitches are pretty well-defined. I am very pleased with them both.

I’ve also finished a scarf promised as a trade with my herbalist. I had wanted it to be done a year ago as well but for the same reasons that the stockings weren’t done, the scarf was shelved (quite literally). Yesterday I brought it over to Danielle and she loved it. I’m pleased. It was (is) gorgeous. This is the first project I actually blocked with blocking wires. Lace really requires it. The pattern was a free one, Sage Smudging Scarf, on Ravelry and I knit it with the most gorgeous shade of gold Alegria by Manos. All of the details are on my Ravelry projects page. Suffice it to say that this scarf will adorn a neck and feel soooooo good!

When I was at Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (or as I call it, Fiber Camp) this summer, we designed a lace cowl in our Lace class with Bristol Ivy. I have finally finished and photographed my cowl. The pattern was created using a process called “encoding” which was first brought to knitting by Naomi Parkhurst. In the yarnovers, there is a secret message.

Encoded lace … “I love Ned” and “Embraced” are hidden in the yarnovers

I’ve finished a new sample, a baby sweater, for Yardgoods. It’s Knitting Pure and Simple pattern #214, Baby Pullover. We chose a Cascade yarn, Pacific Color Wave, to knit it up in and since it’s teeny-tiny, it takes only one ball of yarn and knits up in no time at all.

I still have several projects to finish and a few to start, but I’m feeling the success all around me and it feels really good.

Gone knitting!

You can find more details about these projects and others on my Ravelry projects page. I’m Lindar. Also, follow me on Facebook, Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner, and on Instagram, @QueenBeeKnits.

I Made a Project Bag!

IMG_3660I made a functional sewn item! Yes, I did! Me! The one who wasn’t allowed to sew costumes at my childrens’ school!

When I over-knitted this summer at Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat, I decided that I needed to take some time to rest my left arm. I decided that I would make a project bag, following (loosely) the project in my Making Magazine. Initially I thought I would make it exactly according to the pattern … until I had to figure out how to “trace” the pattern for the embroidery onto a piece of linen fabric. That was way too much to expect from me.

I decided to “wing it” with the pattern. No tracing. I went to my LYS (where I work) and bought some linen fabric, some embroidery floss and needles, too. I worked the stitches to make flowers on the linen. It wasn’t knitting but it was making something with my hands.

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Once I was satisfied with the look of the embroidered flowers, I put the bag together.

 

Lucky for me, I have a pretty decent stash of fabric, too. I went (obviously) for some bee fabrics for the lining and the little bit that makes the space for the draw string. I chose a very light color for the lining because I hate a “black hole” in my purse or my knitting bag. I needed this to be super simple this first time. Next time, I’ll probably put a pocket in the lining. I love pockets!

I only had a bright yellow grosgrain ribbon for the drawstring. I have since found a ribbon (again, at my LYS) that is the same color as the lines on the fabric on top of my bag. I like it much better. I also made a small change to this part of the bag. I made it a little bit wider and stitched 1/4 inch along the top to make a more finished edge.

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Ta-da! I’m very pleased and will proudly carry this project bag … filled with knitting … for a bunch of years!

Gone (not) knitting!

“Its fantastic!! Absolutely love it!”

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The “Terror Towel Throw” is delivered and I am delighted to report that my friend, the owner, is thrilled with it! Yay! I’m so glad that he loves it.

What a process! (I have already written about it here.)

I worried about it while finishing a bunch of things that had to come first. Picked brains. And worried some more. (I don’t really worry, more like obsessive thinking.) The good news is that I figured it out, and got the top assembled and I really liked the result. Then the choice of batting and backing … and I chose flannel. A plain white flannel in the middle in place of thick bulky batting and a medium gray flannel for the backing. With a flanged border. The border worked out really well and frames the towels perfectly!

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I used a simple stitch in the ditch for quilting because I didn’t want to “mess up” the printing on the towels with stitching over it. I thought that simpler was better. I like it. The border was the last and most difficult decision. I happened to see a tutorial on Facebook (of all places) and thought it would be a perfect frame for the quilt top. I was happy with the tutorial and I really love the way it went together.

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I am thrilled to have gotten the enthusiastic reaction to the throw and I am thrilled to have completed my first quilt “design”. It’s simple and I am so pleased with it. And proud of myself. I know it’s not knitting but it’s part of my creative development and so it’s all good. (And this is MY blog after all!)

I’ve got so many projects, both yarn and fabric, and I’m working at the yarn shop quite a bit for the next month. My boss has left on her annual holiday in Hawaii. I hope she has a wonderful and relaxing vacation.

We’re binge watching Mad Men … just a little bit behind!

Gone knitting.

Queen Bee’s Striped iPad Envelope

Somebody loves me! I got an iPad for Christmas!

Somebody loves me! I got an iPad for Christmas! Isn’t she beautiful!?

I love my snazzy new iPad. When I’ve taken it to work in my purse or knitting bag, I have worried about scratching the silver back of the thing. So, as any reasonable person would do, I decided to whip up a little envelope to put it in.

Finished iPad Envelope

Finished iPad Envelope

Into my Odds and Ends stash I went and found some Paton’s Classic Wool that I had in two shades of grey, and acid green and one cream that’s Plymouth Yarn, Galway Worsted. My iPad measures about 9.5 x 7.5 inches and I have the Apple screen cover … I knew I didn’t want to fight to put the device into the envelope every time so I wanted it to be a little bit bigger than that. (And don’t forget when you’re designing something, that you have to take into consideration the depth of the device.)

Left-overs from previous projects

Left-overs from previous projects … the starting point!

Looking at my yarn ball band (20 stitches=4 inches) and knowing that I knit pretty close to gauge, I cast on 80 stitches on my US 7 16-inch circular needles.

You can use as many or as few colors as you like. I used four colors. If my scraps were smaller, I’d have used more (and I may make one to give away!) Click on the link to download the pattern!

The Queen Bee’s iPad Envelope

I do have a few suggestions that will make your knitting simpler and may also make you happier with the process and the finishing!

1) You can carry the dark grey yarn up the piece because you’re going to use it every three rows. This saves you a bunch of ends to knit as you go or weave in. You can carry yarn when you have three or fewer rows before you’re going to use the color again. But there will be two ends for every other color change so …

2) Weave in your ends as you go. If, when you add a new yarn, you carry the ends of the yarns for a few stitches, you won’t have a bunch of ends to weave in. I’ve written about this in my blog click here! This makes knitting strips SO much more pleasant when you get to the end of your project. Promise!

3) If you are a “type A” and you like your knitted projects to be “perfect”, you’re not going to be pleased with the way the piece looks unless you work a “jog-less join”. It’s an added task to remember when you’re changing colors, but if you think of knitting in the round as creating a spiral rather than row upon row of knitting, you’re never going to have everything line up perfectly when you’re knitting stripes. I’ve blogged about the “jog-less join” before so check it out before you start. I didn’t worry about it and this is what my edge looks like … could you live with this? If so, don’t worry about the jog-less join. If not, give it a shot!

Without Jog-less joins! Not perfect but I'm OK with that  (this time!)

Without Jog-less joins! Not perfect but I’m OK with that (this time!)

So, there you have it! Another knitting adventure with the Queen Bee.

I hope you enjoy this first free pattern! It’s widely known in the knitting community that free patterns are to be used for your own personal knitting and not for your commercial benefit … please don’t sell items made from this pattern. Contact me if you would like permission to use the pattern for anything other than personal use. Thanks.

Gone knitting!

Burning a hole in my … stash?

Like other knitters, I have a fairly extensive stash. No, not mustache, a yarn stash – that little bit of collected yarns from here and there that you have to buy because it’s so soft or pretty or pretty soft.

I bought this yarn last summer in Maine. I think what made it so appealing was the price … and maybe the color. Yes, I paid $2.49 a ball for it at Marden’s! It’s Main Street by Reynolds (color 6760, lot 8078, 53% wool, 47% acrylic, 50 grams/approx. 98 yards) – 16 sts and 22 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch on US #8 needles.

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Yesterday, I was going through one of my stash bins and found this yarn (I have only two balls) and I was thinking about what I could make with it. It’s wool and acrylic. Soft. And it occurred to me that it would make a great hat. I’m envisioning a rolled brim cap that could be rolled down so that it would be slouchy. And then I was reminded of the Steven West post about pompoms that I saw on Facebook (I love making pompoms) and so I think it needs to have a pom pom at the top. Maybe even a crazy multi-colored pompom. That decision has not yet been made!

I measured my own (oversized) head and cast on 80 stitches that, with a ribbed hat, should accommodate larger and smaller heads. And I decided to make it a (sort of) twisted 1×1 rib (knit 1, purl 1) by knitting into the back of the knitted stitches. I love it when there is that little bit of twist in the knitted stitches. It’s just a little bit different and very pretty.

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See? Aren’t those lines of twisted knit stitches so pretty?! I can get so excited about the simplest little things! I think this is going to be one fun hat! Wait until you see the way the colors subtly shift from purple to nearly red! You can already see a couple of very subtle variations on purple. I’ll keep this pattern going for 9 inches or so. More pictures will be forthcoming at the hat “grows”!

Gone knitting!

My 3 B Street Shop is Open for Business

So, I’ve been knitting my fingers off for a couple of years between custom orders and have a lovely bunch of knitted garments … fingerless mittens, scarves, shawls, hats, socks and the like that I have wanted to photograph and get into my online shop.

Then, a year or so ago, I got a call from Laurie Barron (her mother was my eldest daughter’s junior high school English teacher and we have become friends) who was starting her own version of Etsy but without all the “extra” stuff. And the stores were going to have to apply and be “juried” so-to-speak. It keeps the workmanship levels up and the quality of the items in the shops is really high. Within the last few months, 3 B Street shops were in Beta mode and then went live!

Yesterday, we photographed my entire box of knitted items and I uploaded them to my shop. I hope you’ll agree that it’s a great sampling of knitted items and I am (as always) willing to knit just about anything custom for you, dear reader.

Without further ado, please visit my Queen Bee Knits shop at 3 B Street (dot) com. I hope you like it and always welcome  your feedback!

Gone knitting!

This Little … pppppProject!

Ya know … some days this blogging stuff is for the birds. I had a whole (yes, WHOLE) post typed and the front half of it just disappeared. Vanished. Gone. Perhaps stolen by the Blogging Gods?

Anyway …

I just cut off the piggy’s snout.

Don’t feel badly. It was only the second version.

The ears have been frogged and cut off multiple times. Note to self, don’t weave in the ends until you’re absolutely sure that all the parts are placed JUST where you want them to be!

While I’m not ready to show you the whole hat (yet!) … here are some sneak peeks at the porcine pieces!

First, the tail …

This Little Piggy … curly tail
(In the design process.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And secondly, one of the little ears …

This Little Piggie … one little ear

I think this ear looks authentic. The first ones were way too tiny. They looked more like a cat’s ear. That’s the problem that I see when I look at patterns online. Cat’s ears. Not pig’s ears. Think about Piglet!!!

 

 

 

 

 

So, now I have a bit more work to do … but there’s your little sneak peek at my “This Little Piggy”.

Gone knitting!