A Fear of Stranded Knitting Conquered

Starting the Lobster Hat

I bought a Lobster Hat kit at Over the Rainbow Yarns in Rockland, Maine several years ago. I bought it for my daughter for Christmas that year with a promise that I’d knit it for her. Fast forward to today and I “found” the kit in my time out cabinet and decided to give it a go and see if I can’t finish it (finally!!!) All those years ago, I’d begun the knitting but I wasn’t particularly confident about it. I didn’t know how to carry the floats well and my tension was wonky. So I frogged what I had begun, rewound the yarn and started over.

I had avoided stranded knitting/colorwork and Fair Isle for a long, long time. I’ve blogged about this before. But a few years ago my co-worker showed my a pair of beautiful (and warm) Snowflake Mittens and I HAD to knit them. I’ve knitted many pairs of them (one story included two left hands!) and have taught many knitters to make them, too. Worsted weight yarn and only two colors didn’t feel too overwhelming but I wasn’t really eager to try the finer yarns or more than two colors.

This year, however, the stranded knitting projects have been coming at me from everywhere! My co-worker, Peggy, and I made the Sunset Highway sweater. I found a knitted coffee cup cozy pattern that is a Fair Isle pattern knit in the round and steeked as a practice for a sweater I want to knit. I made a Christmas stocking for my daughter. I am knitting a pair of socks, as part of a MKAL and our 2020 Sock Knitting Challenge that is stranded knitting. I just took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone that turned into a test knit project for her, the subject of which was a Fair Isle cowl (the pattern is coming soon!) And then I found the Lobster Hat.

So, riight now, on my needles is a pair of socks and (ta! da!) the lobster hat. I need to cast on another pair of Snowflake mittens, too, for a friend. I’m really pleased and proud to say that I am feeling very confident with colorwork/stranded knitting. Progress through practice!

Gone Knitting!

You can find out more about these projects and more on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.

2020 The Year of the Rat

Hello 2020!

Time sure does fly. I’ve told more than one friend and/or family member that I thought life would slow down and change after my kids were little and life was so busy-active. Once they grew up and had homes of their own, I imagined that time would slow and life would be less busy. Turns out that I was totally wrong. The time seems to only go by more quickly.

So, with that said, this is my first post of the new year and new decade. The year of the rat according to the Chinese calendar. I think it’s going to be another wonderful healthy year full of fun and lots of good knitting!

We have started 2020 with a Sock Challenge. Twelve pairs of socks, one each month. Two pairs can be little socks for children or “peds”, two need to be something you’ve never done before. I have finished two pairs of socks so far this year and am up to the heel on the first sock of the third pair.

January pair number one is for my granddaughter, Rose. Her name explains the color choice, n’est ce pas? Pattern is Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks for the Whole Family. I did a 3 x 1 rib down the leg and on the top of the foot. Knitting for children, who grow too quickly, I like to build in a little bit of wiggle room. I measured their feet in May so I gave them an extra half-inch in foot length and made the large child size. This Cascade Heritage wool is nice and soft.

February pair number two is my DH’s Christmas socks. I’ve begun to give him a ball of yarn in his Christmas stocking (also hand-knit, not by me) because we all know that Christmas knitting leaves little time for selfish knitting and it’s the old cobbler’s children philosophy: no hand knit socks for my DH until after the paid knitting is finished. Anyway, this pair is also Yankee Knitter’s Classic Sock pattern and it’s a sport weight yarn by KFI with a touch of cashmere. They’re very soft and felt good on my knitting hands! That said, there are spots where it seemed like the dye hadn’t completely saturated the yarn but I hope that doesn’t reflect on the socks themselves. I have two more balls of this yarn because it feels so good. Another blue and a grey.

I’ve been wearing and loving wearing my Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I love the yarn, the weight, the color and the fit. This may be my very most favorite sweater of the year and decade (so far!) I have a couple of other sweaters coming up on my queue and it’ll be interesting to see if I like them as well as I like my Love Note!

Today we had a visitor in our yard. I am so privileged to live on the edge of a lake in Central Maine. The Belgrade Lakes area is a well-known summer spot but it’s also a fun place to live in the winter. I know, many of you are wondering if my mental health is stable but I have to say, I love the snow and I love watching the different seasons and the way the lake and life changes. Today has been a relatively warm winter day for Maine and the lake was crawling with ice fishermen (and women), snow machines, and birds. I was thrilled when I returned from lunching with a girlfriend and saw a Bald Eagle on the lake about three quarters of a mile from our front porch. Later this afternoon, as I was sitting at my desk working, another (or maybe the same) eagle left the ice and flew straight toward our house and landed in our tree. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “it doesn’t get old”! What a thrill watching these birds! I do have to watch the little dogs very carefully in the winter – an eagle or a big owl or hawk would love a shitzu feast.

Not a great photograph but he or she flew off just after I snapped this photo!

My philosophy for the next year is to be kind. Truthful and kind. Accepting and kind. Healthy and kind. Happy and kind. Loving and kind. Simply put I want to bee happy … and kind.

Gone knitting!

You can read more about my projects and yarns on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is Lindar. You can also find Queen Bee Knits on Facebook and @QueenBeeKnits on Instagram.

Finished Objects, WIPs and taking flight

Today I had a day off and I wan’t feeling quite right. (If I don’t eat before noon, you know something’s “off”.) Despite feeling a little bit off, I had a wonderful day.

My Radiant Reflections quilt is finished! I actually finished it last night but it was too dark to take photos. I am really pleased with this quilt! I started it as a class a couple of years ago at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine. We used templates on this project to cut all the pieces. It was a technique that I liked and it helped my corners match up really well. I think it’s the best quilt that I’ve made yet – maybe it’s because with more practice, you’re bound to improve your techniques. Regardless, I love the colors, I love the pattern, it was a challenge and I was successful in completing it on my own.

I also finished my “halloween” socks. I wish that I remembered where I bought this yarn because I really loved the feel of the yarn as I knit the socks. I also love the stripes! A friend reminded me that they are the colors of the Cincinnati Bengals and I like that idea, too. My son and I used to watch sports on television when he was younger and those were fun times. I’m not sure how he learned so much about sports because neither his father or I knew diddly about sports. Go figure! I’l be wearing these socks for any Bengals games and on Halloween, too!

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On the needles, and currently in rotation, are two shawls that I am really pleased with. I’m making progress on my Protest is Patriotic Shawlette by Craftiest Elizabeth Sovern. I know that my red yarn is a Malabrigo Sock in the Ravelry Red colorway. The white is a Cascade Heritage sock yarn and the blue is something that I have no clue what it is. It’s been in my stash and my stash has been moved, organized, packed, and moved again. I’ve lost a few labels. I bought the beads online because the only beads I could find locally were really too small. I am using 3/0 glass beads. I love the way they pop off the blue yarn! I’m hoping to have this done for the 4th of July week!

The other shawl is the Brambling Shawl by Bristol Ivy. This was one of the projects, perhaps one of the first projects in the Year of Techniques project. I really liked this “class” and I have enjoyed each project that I have attempted. I also bought the yarn kits for each season. I love the yarn. This yarn is fyberspates cumulus and it’s really soft and sticky … this is a “don’t make a mistake because thinking back is going to be difficult”! The colors aren’t necessarily ones that I would have chosen but I like them and I am happy mohave my boundaries challenged! I have not ever “studied” intarsia and this project has made me feel very confident with this technique.

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Perhaps the best thing that happened today was watching a family of barn swallows who were flying all over in front of our house. I noticed the swooping birds and went to look out the window of my atelier. There were two baby birds sitting on the roof … learning to fly! Later, I checked again and the parents were coming up to feed the babies … all FIVE of them! I spent the day watching them in complete fascination! Mother Nature is absolutely amazing and I loved this part of my day. Here is a pic of the babies! Mom and dad were way too speedy on the wing to catch in a photograph!

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It was a good day! Gone knitting.

 

 

Queen Bee’s Injured Wing

beewingI may have an injured wing but I’m still knitting!

My right shoulder has been hurting for a while now. I have done everything I know to help it but when I can’t put on a shirt/jacket/coat without a problem and I can’t take off my bra without pain, that’s the last straw. Thursday after work I went to a massage therapist for a deep tissue massage and it has helped. I have some bruising … I asked her to use the full force of her skills against the knots in my shoulder, arm, and anything else that was “tight”. So, this week I am recovering and working on stretching the muscles and opening my chest muscles. Good news is that I can put on my deodorant but I have a long way to go.

I’m working on a couple of projects. Sample socks for the adult education class that I am teaching this spring. The class is “Socks 101”. We’ll be knitting our first socks in a worsted weight yarn. Preparing to move to smaller needles and finer yarn. I’m knitting my samples in Plymouth Encore Worsted in a very pale yellow. Light yarn reveals the stitch details for my students.

IMG_2447I have nearly finished a 1898 Hat for my dear husband and valentine. I’m knitting it in Malabrigo Rios in the Piedras colorway. It will match his scarf that I made last year. He works outside (in Maine, in the winter, in all kinds of weather) and the doubled garter brim of this hat ought to keep his ears warm! This yarn is absolutely amazing and I hope he’ll love it as much as I love him. He takes such good  care of me. I can’t imagine life without him.

IMG_2388I have a scarf on the needles, too. I’ve been wanting to knit the Zick Zack Scarf for a long time. We have a sample in the shop that I have always liked and chose to do it in the “original” colorway. I’ve gotten half-way through the project and find it monotonous at best. The pattern is the same row throughout and it’s even repeated across the rows. But the color changes in the Lang Mille Colori Baby yarn is exquisite and I love the way it looks. I’ll keep plugging because it’s really bee-utiful.

I finished one of the pair of my Forget Not Mitts. This is a kit put out by the Alpaca Yarn Company. I chose a kit with a kiwi green and a variegated purple/pink/green. I love the colors and the yarn is really nice work with but there isn’t enough contrast between the two yarn colors and as a result, the argyle pattern on the front of the mitt isn’t particularly clear. I love the broken rib and the 1×1 vertical stripe but I am bummed about the argyle. Oh well. The second one won’t take too long to finish and they’ll keep my hands or someone else’s warm in the spring or fall.

I have been plugging along on my Camden Hills Poncho and if I was to sit and focus on it for one day, I’d have it finished. I’m working on the back of the poncho and am nearly to the shoulder decreases and neck. I’ll get it done but have to finish hubby’s hat first … Valentine’s Day is the day after tomorrow.

I bought all the yarn for a fair isle yoked cardigan. I’ll be knitting my Ellen Cardigan in Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca. The main color will be navy blue. I’ll write more about it later. I have also lined up a couple of other sweaters. A green wool using Ella Rae Classic Wool for my husband and something wonderful for me in Malabrigo’s Rios. I am thinking a boxy pullover for this one. More about each of these as I get the first projects finished up!

Details of all of these projects and more are available on my Ravelry project pages. My Ravelry name is Lindar.

Gone Knitting.

Glitches!

cropped-bee5am6.jpgI knew that moving my website (it’s really a blog) from one place to another was going to be time-consuming. Well, little did I know it would take WEEKS!

I can only call the tech support people on Mondays when I am home from work and so it’s been a series of Mondays to get things moved over to my new WordPress.com platform. One would think that to move from WordPress.org to WordPress.com would be a painless and simple task. Not so. I’ve had to deal with GoDaddy where I bought my website name and also with HostGator who has been hosting my blog but who wants $85 a year for the next three years to host the site. Needless to say, I’d rather not go that far for a blog that I enjoy keeping and some of my friends like to read but I’m not making money from it … so. I’d prefer to keep it as inexpensive as possible. Thus my ideas to change the hosting platform to WordPress.com which is less expensive.

A lot of jabber to say that I am having some glitches. I can’t see my pictures and I am getting a message that says that my website can’t be authenticated. A little bit scary considering that I have several years of content that I want to keep!

I’m working on it … and I have only the ability to email the tech people at WordPress. It might be easier to actually have someone to talk to!

Gone … oh, crap! I wish I was knitting!

100 Years of Colorful

Yesterday I went to the Central Florida Fair which is celebrating its 100th year. Wow! 100 Years! Quite an accomplishment for a little regional fair. I’d never been to the fair before but my knitting girls brought it into my awareness and I decided to give it a try – trying new things is good for me!

The Knit or Knot Guild was doing demonstrations in the Creative Arts Building – which was air conditioned … for which I am eternally grateful as it was near 90 degrees outside. We demonstrated and taught knitting, crochet and spinning to fair-goers young and old. And enjoyed an afternoon of knitting together. As usual, I made a mistake in my knitting while my jaw was exercising and had to “frog” a dozen or so rows this morning. But it was such a fun afternoon!

We ate fair food.

My sugar-coated sweetie!

We saw horses, calves, 4H calf roping contests, bunnies, colorful people and chickens. Lots of wonderful chickens … a few of which were happy to pose for me!

               

I posted before about submitting knitted items to the fair, didn’t I? Without expectation, I submitted the Señorita Lolita sweater in the “Other” Knitting category and won a second place ribbon. I also submitted my Cambridge Shawl in the “Shawls/Scarves” Knitting category and won a third place ribbon. Yay for me!!! I also will be receiving a check for $30 which, as one of my knitting gals said, I can use for buying more yarn. (Like I need more yarn!?)

I feel very proud that my knitting was acknowledged by a judge and am already thinking ahead to next year’s fair and what I can submit … especially since I know better what the categories are and what gets submitted! Look out world, the Queen Bee’s on the prowl!

Gone Knitting!

Short Rows Superwoman!

Short Rows.

I’ve attempted a couple of short rows projects over the years. Never successfully. Until today – and thanks to a great short rows tutorial posted by the Purl Bee. Click here to head on over to see the tutorial and bookmark it!

I’m becoming a short rows expert today. I’m in my atelier working on a new project that I saw for the first time when I was in Lafayette, LA for my nephew’s wedding. With all the hoopla surrounding the wedding, my sister and I HAD to make a trip to her LYS – the Yarn Nook – and that’s where I found the Bandana Cowl pattern (free from the Purl Bee!) and bought some yummy, super soft Manos Maxima (color way M8881) in Queen Bee colors (mostly yellow and golds and browns and blacks but a touch of grey and blue too).

I love the Manos yarn. It’s 100% extra fine merino wool, kettle dyed and fair trade! They call themselves the “fair trade merino”. The Bandana Cowl is a one-skein project using a little bit more than 100 yards of chunky-weight yarn. My skein has 219 yards (200 m). Gauge is 18-20 stitches per 4 inches (10 cm) on a 6-8 needle (4-5 mm). The yarn doesn’t split much at all despite it’s loosely spun look and feel. The hand of the extrafine merino is so soft, it’s like knitting with a cashmere blend and I’m quite certain that it will feel really nice around my neck.

Now that I have the hang (sort of, I am only referring back to the tutorial once every three wraps!) of the short rows, it’s knitting up pretty quickly. I’m not sure when I’ll have an opportunity to wear this cowl but you can be sure that I’ll be wearing it soon – at least to take a few photos for you!

Gone knitting!