While I’m at my Desk This Morning

Let me update you on the week I’ve had. It was busy and full as usual but with a bit of an added twist … we think it was food poisoning!

This week on Messalonskee

Friday night I woke up with my heart beating (what I thought was) extra fast. Fast enough that I felt unsure of what was happening and a bit fearful, to be totally honest. I got up out of bed and got a glass of water, sat in the living room for a bit until I decided I needed to be close to my dear hubby in case something bad happened. My arms and legs and head felt “fuzzy” (tingly?) and I woke him up, asking him to call 911. Fortunately he waited a minute or two because I realized I was going to vomit … all the blood was going to my stomach! I have never realized how my body works so efficiently! (Ha!) Soon, I was feeling better and we went back to bed and to sleep, my heart returning to its normal rate. Yesterday I spent the day in my PJs. I was tired enough to take a nap and miss a call from my dear daughter. Napping is not something I do unless I’m not feeling well (needless to say, it doesn’t happen often!)

Today, I am feeling much better, thank goodness! I dare say, I feel “normal” again. I’ve been up at my desk playing catch-up. I needed to write a newsletter for work, add a bunch of new people to the store email list, writing a membership article for our lake association newsletter, etc. and I figured I’d let you know what’s happening in my knitting world.

#295 Bulky Baby Pullover

I finished the baby sweater, Diane Soucy’s Bulky Baby Pullover, for a special little baby. This completes the gift that will be sent off sometime soon. Baby isn’t due for a few more weeks but I want him to have it when he’s born. He’s moving from Florida to Colorado in January and he’ll need a bunch of warm clothes! I really enjoyed knitting with this chunky yarn and because it’s easy care, the new mom won’t have to stress about washing. Once the gift has been received, I’ll post pictures of the gift in its entirety.

Tin Can Knits The World’s Simplest Mittens

This is a custom order from a wonderful customer (and friend) for her grandsons. Mittens! Here in Maine we all need at least a pair of warm mittens in the winter (and sometimes in the fall, too.) These mittens are knit in Berroco’s Ultra Wool Chunky and, as such, they knit up really quickly. If my mind could concentrate, I’d have finished a pair in a day. I love the Ultra Wool yarns for their superwash ease and their heft. These will be warm mittens. The pattern, another free Tin Can Knits pattern on Ravelry, is really simple and is written for fingering, DK, worsted and chunky yarns (so, any gauge, really). If you don’t have my vintage mittens pattern, you need this one. And frankly, if you want to knit mittens in any gauge, this is a good pattern. Peruse the other free or paid Tin Can Knits patterns, they’re all pretty special!

Fingerless Mitts in purple

I have offered to make some fingerless mitts for the Maine Arts Academy to use to incentivize students at times. Or, frankly, to use in any manner that the administration sees fit. There may be a student who needs some love and that’s ok, too. So, I’ve knitted the mitts with some stashed Patons Classic Wool yarn in a deep purple colorway. My plan is to add some snowflakes to the back of the hands to make them a bit more interesting. This will be an ongoing opportunity for me to knit down some of my stash and to give back to the MeAA community. It’s a wonderful school of which I feel so privileged to be a part. (I know that’s grammatically correct, but gee, it sure sounds stuffy, doesn’t it?)

These mitts are based on the vintage pattern seen in the photograph. This is a classic mitten pattern that I knit to the knuckles or wherever I deem fit to stop knitting and add a few rows of ribbing. Simple, clear and include sizes for children and adults. I love this book and when I retire and have more time (does that ever happen?) I will knit all the things in the book. The mitten pattern itself is free on Ravelry but you can buy the whole book at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine 207-872-2118 … we’ll send it out to you if you don’t live nearby! You might even talk to me!

I’ll post a few more pictures when I get the ends woven in and the snowflakes added.

Gone knitting …

My Fingers Smell Like Garlic

“Fire Cider”

This morning I made “Fire Cider” or “Master Tonic” from scratch. I even made it from memory (which may not be a good thing.) I saw the recipe on a Youtube channel that I follow and found the vlog about it here.

I had ordered all of the ingredients from the grocery store (believe it or not!) and so today I just had to process all the ingredients and put them in my jars to “stew”! In a few weeks, this will be strained, and I’ll add a bunch of local honey to make it (even a little bit) palatable. This stuff is rough to swallow, I’ll be honest, but this winter is bound to be a doozy!

Gone knitting!

New Sweater for Boq

Pug Dog Sweater in Camo

I don’t generally like knitting with Red Heart yarn. I don’t like the way it feels in my hand when I’m knitting and there are better quality acrylic yarns out these days that, while they are a little bit more expensive, they are so much better to work with and to wear. So, when I went searching for stashed yarns for a future project, I found an extra skein of this camouflage yarn that I believe I had used about 20 years ago to make a blanket for my son. Yes, I know. I’ve been carrying around some yarn forever!

My little Boq likes to wear a sweater these days. He seems to get chilly more as he’s aged and his old sweater has been starting to show its age … he’s caught it on his nails and pulled it, it’s pilled and stretched out (and with male dogs, a sweater pulled out around the belly is its own problem.) So, I decided to give a new sweater a go …

Attempt one.

I had knitted the pattern, Pug Dog Sweater, for my grand dog, Gus and blogged about it here. It worked pretty well after two tries at getting the size right. When you’re knitting for a puppy, it’s difficult because the little buggers are growing like weeds! Knitting for a senior citizen shitzu isn’t as difficult and he also lives here so I can knit and check the size/length. I knitted the XXS size for Boq and decided to extend the length of the chest by several rounds. I also extended the length after the legs so Boq’s back is covered. It was bunchy around his shoulders.

Attempt two.

I knitted the pattern again. This time as written to the sleeves and then I extended the length as I did on the first attempt. This time the fit was much better. I had to unravel the first sweater to finish the second one, but that was fine with me. I pitched the knitted bit of the first sweater that I didn’t need to unravel … I’m really working to use the stashed yarn!

Now, I think Lola needs a new sweater, too! I have a skein of acrylic yarn from a folly trip to Hobby Lobby. I’ll use this up, too.

Gone knitting.

Making Monday

Sunrise this morning over Sidney, Maine

It’s a new week and a new opportunity to make things! When I started this blog, it was meant to be about all of the things I made with a focus on knitting. So, here we are at another Monday and I am starting a whole new week of making.

I finished something yesterday! Woo! Hoo! I love to knit and I love to finish projects and send them on their merry way. This is a baby blanket that my sister-in-love asked me to make for her niece. I love this pattern because it’s a classic style that pleases everyone. I knit this with Berroco Vintage Chunky, an acrylic and wool blend that is machine washable and dryable, both very important for a new mom. The pattern is called Three Cable Baby Blanket and it’s a pattern that we hand out for free at the yarn shop where I work. This blanket took four hanks of yarn The chunky yarn makes it take a lot less time than a finer yarn and it’ll be nice and warm for the baby!

Banana Nut Muffins with Blueberries

Because I live in Maine, I like to add blueberries to almost everything I bake. They’re also good for us, right? My sweet husband loves to have something sweet in the morning with his coffee. When I bake for him, he’s a happy camper. You know the saying, “sometimes you feel like a nut”? He always likes nuts and these have a full cup of chopped walnuts in them. The recipe is one that I was given forever ago from a friend. It says it’s the recipe from the West Milton Inn. You can find the recipe here! This is the best banana bread recipe that I have ever had. I freeze the bananas when they’re getting old and when I defrost them, I add all the liquid and the bananas. Try making them plain, as written, and then play with adding different things: 1 cup of chocolate chips or a cup of blueberries or a cup of nuts (walnuts or pecans are great!)

I made granola!

I usually add dried cranberries in place of the raisins and I add 1/4 cup of maple syrup, too. I’ve been known to add chopped pecans or walnuts (remember that my husband likes nuts!) I now like to add pepitas (pumpkin seeds), too. I love this with a bit of almond milk or even with greek yogurt for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack when I forgot lunch and don’t want to ruin my dinner.

So, there you go! I’ve started my week making … baking!

Three Little Pumpkins

I have finished these adorable little pumpkins and I love them! I found a few skeins of Lion Brand Thick and Quick in my stash and, you all know, that I’ve been working hard to knit down my stash. Many of the yarns that I have are nearly antiques! (Some are legit antiques but that’s another story.)

Three Little Pumpkins

I have knitted this pattern before. It’s “Pumpkin” by Marnie Ann Joyce and it’s free on Ravelry. I’ve made these little pumpkins in super bulky and worsted weight yarns before. So when I found the leftovers of orange and green Lion Brand Yarns Thick and Quick, I knew what I needed to do – and the timing is so right on! Right?

I used US 10 1/2 DPNs for this project which made them a little smaller than previous versions but they’re perfect this way because none of the stuffing shows through and they’re pretty indestructible … and since they’re going west to my nieces and nephew, they’ll be bounced around a little bit (or a lot!)

These guys knit up in a flash. I was able to finish one in about two hours. I added the icord stem by knitting a 5-stitch icord for two or three rounds, and then decreasing to a 4-stitch icord for a couple of rounds and ended up with a 3-stitch icord until I thought it was the way I liked it. The green pumpkin has a special curved stem that has two stitches (one leg of each stitch) knitted together to stick them that way forever!

Gone knitting.

Pug Dog Sweater by Elizabeth Watkins

Look at this cute little guy!

This is my newest grand-dog, Gus. Gus is a Pug puppy and he’s absolutely edible. He has puppy toes and he’s in love with his dad (my son. I happen to agree that his dad is the bestest of the bestest!)

My son had asked me to knit a sweater for Gus because he’s going to be chilly this winter when they go out for their walks in New York City. I knit the first iteration in a pretty green but it was way too short. It fit perfectly around him but not with his harness. I also forgot to make a little hole where the harness will attach to the leash. So, when it came out looking like a crop top, I got back to knitting the second iteration in blue.

Gus in green

This pattern is a free pattern on Ravelry called Pug Dog Sweater. I knitted both sweaters in stashed leftover Berroco Vintage yarns. The pattern is sized for a lot of Pugs (and I’m going to try it for my Shitzu) from teeny tiny to sausage size. Gus doesn’t seem to be the typical Pug shape. He’s all leg (just like his father!) and he’s long and lean.

More information is on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Follow my knitting antics on FB at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner or on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.

We Dodged A Bullet

Matrix Bullet Dodge | Know Your Meme

This week, my husband and I dodged a bullet.

One night my husband coughed in the middle of the night. The next day he woke up with a horrible cough and chest congestion. Our first thought and our fear was that he had Covid-19. We both feel very strongly that we should do the right thing so he went to have a Covid test. We also believed that we needed to report it to his employer, to our family who were just here and the friend who was in our house the day before.

I cancelled my classes for the week and found a colleague to work for me. He called his boss and took the rest of the week off. His boss closed down the company. We all did the right thing.

Yesterday, a couple of days ahead of the five days that we were told it would take, we got his results and they were negative. (I also did an at-home Covid test and I got my results yesterday, too. Mine were also negative.)

Today we are so grateful that we can live in the same house without having our masks on. We are so grateful that we dodged a bullet that so many families haven’t been able to dodge. The incidence of Covid-19 in Maine, and especially in our county, are still low in relation to other states and counties but our numbers are rising. We were fortunate this time and we were reminded that this disease is not “over” and “gone”. We will be wearing our masks, washing our hands and counting our blessings.

Gone knitting.

Finished!

I’ve finally finished a couple of things …

So, let’s first talk about the Shape of a Bay. This is a gorgeous shawl that I bought as a kit with some gorgeous Cashmere People yarn at the Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat two years ago. It was my first time going back to the camp where I spent several very happy summer as a child and a teenager and it was my camp splurge. When I started it at camp, I learned fairly quickly that it wasn’t a have an adult beverage and knit this kind of project. It has been languishing in my time out drawer for a long, long time.

Sadly, I ran out of yarn and didn’t get to knit the last six rows or so of the last section but I wasn’t going to try to buy more yarn at this point in time – even though I know that they still have the same colorway, I’m not sure if it’ll match … and for six or seven rows? Yeah. No. I played yarn chicken and lost near the end. Needless to say, I had to frog back a couple of rows … a mere 1046 stitches but who was counting?

The Shape of a Bay shawl by Bristol Ivy in Cashmere People yarn (unblocked)

This shawl is a knitting challenge as I might have assumed knowing Bristol’s mind. I loved the project, though and I enjoyed the brain exercise. Even when I had to frog a few rows because I was an idiot and decided I was too smart to use a lifeline. Note to self and to future knitters of this pattern – lifelines are your friend. Use them! The textures in this shawl are amazing and lots of fun. Bristol is a knitting/knitted stitch genius.

Cashmere People yarn is sold at PortFiber in Portland, Maine and it’s really really special to knit with and it blocks out into a lovely lace shawl. I love working with this yarn. I love the way it feels and the way the stitches just pop out on it. Amazing.

EmPower People Bandana Cowl in Malabrigo Rios

My emPower People cowl is also finished. I made this as a sample to loan to the store (Yardgoods Center where I work) for a time. It’s a quick and simple bandana cowl and it is a free Ravelry pattern. It was a quick knit for me … it took about 3 days of a short amount of knitting. I chose the Rios which is technically a worsted weight yarn and the pattern calls for a DK. I think Rios is a light worsted or a heavy sport which is close to a DK. This cowl is knit on a US 7 needle and I know that the fabric with Rios on a 7 is a good thing so I went ahead and cast on. I really like the heft of the cowl and the fabric. This will be a good neck warmer this fall and winter.

This pattern is from Casapinka and it’s a free pattern. The emPower people project is about getting out the vote. As it says on the pattern page:

emPower people is a purple colored craftivism project aimed at uniting crafters to spark conversation, engagement, and action. Wear it when you vote, grocery shop, march, or knit in your socially isolated bedroom. We would love to see a sea of purple to represent unity so please tell your friends, family, knitting groups, or anyone who can knit, crochet, or sew a simple pattern. Make a bandana and a commitment to vote

If I had more time and fewer projects that I wanted to knit, I’d knit this one again … and maybe add something a bit fancier to one side or add the word “vote” to the bottom. It was a fun, quick knit.

We are “enjoying” a heat wave here at the lake and while it’s lovely outside, I sure don’t love the heat. We moved to Maine to get out of the heat in Florida … I remember returning to work in Florida after being up here for the summer or a part of it and it was dreadfully hot and humid. Even our pool was like bath water! At least the lake is refreshing!

Gone knitting!

More information is available for these projects and others on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. You can also follow me on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits and on Facebook Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner.

Time Off

I haven’t written in what seems like forever and I’m not even going to apologize because I’m not sorry. There, I’ve said it. I needed to take this little bit of time off to spend with my kids and just “be”.

This pandemic life has been really stressful and I have had lots and lots of ups and downs. I’ve had days when I thought I could live like this forever and then the next day I can’t wait for life to go back to “normal” so it will all end. Somewhere in the middle of all of this is the real spot where I balance (sort of!) So, when my daughter asked if I’d be ok with her visiting with her husband and dogs, I said “yes!” I also decided that our kids are the only ones who I’m comfortable having visit for now. I also give myself permission to change my mind.

For the last two weeks my daughter and her husband have been visiting. It was wonderful. Easy and comfortable and lots of fun. Kate and Spencer have a great energy and it was fun to spend time with them. They were initially going to spend a week and extended it to two because they weren’t excited about going back to the heat of NYC. They worked, I worked/volunteered. We did a bunch of baking and berry picking. They also overlapped with my step-daughter and her boyfriend and dog which made it even sweeter because they’ve not really been able to spend time like that together. COVID-19 has brought our house and my heart much needed filling up. I have counted my blessings a lot lately and I am feeling completely blessed.

I”m grateful for the time we had to spend together with our oldest and youngest. I’m so happy to have met my grand-dog, Benny, for the first time. I’m grateful for a wonderful spouse who I get to share life with. We are so lucky to live is such a beautiful place and have the room to accommodate visitors for weeks at a time. Our lake provides a calming influence on world-weary travelers, ourselves included.

Gone knitting.

Well, Hello There!

From our bedroom window this morning

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I can’t believe that I haven’t written for such a long time … but I’m here today. It’s a questionably nice summer day today. We woke to rain, heavy rain, which is very welcome since Maine has been very dry. Parts of the state are talking about drought conditions. Not good this early.

I’ve been knitting along on the same projects. They seem to be taking forever to finish and that says that I’m not knitting as much as I think I am. With all sorts of time, it’s astounding to me that I get less and less done. Regardless …

Humulus Sweater in Ella Rae Classis Wool

My Humulus sweater is coming along. I’ve finished one sleeve and started the second one. If I really sat myself down and got off social media, I could probably finish it today. I am pretty pleased with the fit of this sweater and I really like the colors I chose. Ella Rae Classic wool is a good workhorse yarn. I would love to make another one of these sweaters (or one like it) in Malabrigo Rios or some other more luxurious yarn … some day. I have a list of sweaters and have already purchased the yarn for several that I have to knit first.

Next up, my Bristol Ivy shawl … The Shape of A Bay, I bought this pattern and yarn at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp not last summer but the summer before. It was my splurge. I started it immediately and then realized that it wasn’t a pattern to work on when you’re trying to converse with other people so I put it away until after camp. Time rolls on and then all of a sudden two years have passed and I hadn’t touched it since.

The Shape of a Bay in Cashmere People Yarns

I love the yarn so much. It feels wonderful as it passes through my hands. I also am loving the intricate stitch patterns in this shawl. It’s brilliant. Way more brilliant than I can ever imagine designing myself … and that’s one of the reasons that I adore Bristol Ivy so much. She’s a knitting geek. Her designs are different, thoughtful, and wicked smaht! I am continually amazed at her creativity. I’m thoroughly enjoying knitting this shawl and I can hardly wait to see it in all its glory after it’s blocked!!!

Simple Slippers in Brown Sheep’s Lambs Pride Bulky

I started a new project when I saw the newest Making magazine. There is so much in these little books that I want to make! I love these simple crochet slippers by Cal Patch (and I love Cal, too) so much and I eagerly finished both slipper bottoms in one porch-sitting day. I haven’t pulled them out again since. I am not as proficient at crochet as I am at knitting but I find it’s good for my hands and arms to change the movements up now and again. So, I change to crochet. This project, while simple for some, takes quite a bit of concentration for me but it is fun to succeed. And they’ll be warm and cozy when they’re finished and felted.

Crochet squares for my Battenberg Blanket in fingering weight scraps

This is my other crochet project. The Battenberg blanket will be something I’ll be working on for(maybe)ever. These tiny little squares will be crocheted together eventually and I’d like to have it be big enough to cuddle an adult up in … it may be a baby blanket, however. Time will tell. I have several dozen of them finished in random sock yarns that I’ve used over the years. I have to find a solid or two to use to unify all the oddball patches. But I can make these in my sleep now. It’s a good end of the day project.

Maple-Blueberry Scones

Both my husband and my college roommate showed me this recipe … that’s a strong hint. And they’re delicious. I spent a good part of the day one day this week making these and some peanut butter oatmeal cookies with nuts and chocolate chips added (because what’s a cookie without adding some extra good stuff?). I will not be shedding pounds this week, that’s for sure. This recipe can be found on the NY Times Cooking website. Let me know if you try them!

Last but not least, I finally cast on my July socks. I’ve blogged before about our 2020 Sock Challenge and I have a few friends of QBK on Facebook who are knitting socks with me this year. It’s been fun … but this month I almost forgot to start a pair! I had initially thought I’d make a pair that I saw online somewhere that was made with two yarns in contrasting colors, knit two stitches with color one and knit two stitches with color two and then after two rounds, switch the colors and so forth. But when I got started, I didn’t like the two colors together – not enough contrast – so I am knitting a simple pair of socks using my favorite Yankee Knitter sock pattern. The yarn is On the Round yarn in the Rebel colorway.

Yankee Knitter Socks for the Family in On The Round Signature Sock

I’ve been working at weeding our gardens. So far the weeds are winning but we’ve had some wonderful floral successes this year. Have a look at my bee balm! The hummingbirds are so happy with these flowers!

Gone knittng!

All of my projects are on my Ravelry project page. You can find them there! My Rav name is Lindar. Find me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.