Broken Hearted

Last week I lost one of the loves of my life. My little dog, Boq, died on Friday.

Wicked’s Munchkin Boq (aka Boogie Man, Pee-Pee Boy, Brother, Booger, Sweet Boy)

I got home from work on Thursday to a mess on the living room floor and Lola walking back and forth through it. Suffice it to say, I was confused and getting upset because my husband didn’t answer my calls … yells … screams … I was afraid. Afraid for my husband, first, and then realizing that his truck was missing, afraid for Boq. And as that realization dawned, I found my sweet husband and a towel-wrapped bundle coming into the house. He had saved Boq, who’d had a seizure, was in shock and his little body was shutting down. He had rushed Boogie to the vet where, with a little warming and some IV fluids, he “pinked up” and was sent home. But the next day it was clear that he was not ok and the vet report was not encouraging. They found a tumor the size of a navel orange on his liver. The tumor was taking up 60% of his abdomen and he was showing signs of serious discomfort. It was clear that he was at life’s end at almost 15 (105 in dog years.)

After talking with my sister-in-law (she and my brother owns a veterinary hospital and have such amazing wisdom) and my kids we made the difficult decision to help him leave us so he wouldn’t suffer. We are so grateful that our veterinarian here allowed us to be with Boq as they helped him go. It was so peaceful and it was so sad. He is no longer suffering but our hearts are broken.

He was the sweetest, best boy. He was never house trained, we were. He was always a little bit “off” and kept us eternally amused. He sat facing the back seat of the car, he kept trying to dig his way back to China or wherever his ancestors came from. He was a wonderful paper shredder, a snuggly bug, a chill dude. I miss him so much.

Rest in peace, sweet boy. We will never ever forget you.

WIPs … What to carry into the New Year


My Amarylis is Blooming! Happy, bright colors help in Maine winters!

I started 2020 with a list of WIPs.

  1. Dolores by Franklin Habit
  2. Bristol Ivy’s shawl
  3. Clog Socks (one was done, this was the second one needed)
  4. Lobster Hat
  5. Hope Cardigan
  6. Good Karma Shawl
  7. Mitts for Flo
  8. Battenberg Blanket
  9. Socks for Rose
  10. Maine Mittens

This year I finished the The Shape of a Bay shawl. It was a kit that I bought at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp two summers ago. it got sidelined but I really wanted to finish it and wear it! It’s a beauty! I also finished the socks for my granddaughter, Rose.

Shape of a Bay (pre-blocking)

I didn’t even begin two of the “WIPs” … so, do they even count as WIPs if I didn’t ever start them? Maybe they should have been put on a wish list rather than a WIPs list. Anyway, the Good Karma shawl and mitts for Flo have not even seen the needles yet. Needless to say, I’ll carry them along.

I frogged the clog sock because who knew, all those months later, what size I made (I didn’t mark my pattern well before I put it in time out.) I also frogged the Maine mittens. I have two skeins of Bartlett yarn and ton of stashed fingering bits and bobs enough for clog socks. I won’t carry them forward but I will eventually make the clog socks again (I’ve felted a couple of pairs) and I really want to make the mittens but they were too hard on my hands this year.

Remaining on my needles, or off of them and in time out, are Dolores, Lobster Hat, Hope Cardigan and the Battenberg Blanket.

I got some good progress done on the Hope Cardigan this year and I’m excited to keep going on it. I like the weight and the different construction of this sweater so I’ll take it with me into 2021. I’ll also commit to finishing Dolores (and the outfits that I have bought) and the Battenberg Blanket. Although I won’t make any more tiny granny squares, I’ll just attach them and make do with whatever size it makes. The assembly is what I find way too tedious!

Hope Cardigan in process

I had 10 WIPs on my list in my new Bullet Journal planner. I listened to the Yarniacs podcast this morning and I decided to look at those WIPs and decide how many I really want/NEED to carry along into the New Year.

I have decided to cut my WIPs down to

  1. Dolores
  2. Hope Cardigan
  3. Battenberg Blanket
  4. Fine Sand Sweater
  5. Arne & Carlos Quarantine KAL cushion

I’ll add Mitts for Flo, Good Karma shawl and Fish #3 to my list of things I want to knit … maybe my Ravelry queue would be a more appropriate place for them to sit since they’ve never been started and they’re not technically WIPs. That will feel better.

While I was adding to my Ravelry queue, I deleted a bunch of projects/patterns that I had marked as favorites or put on my queue and that lightened my load a bit more. Now, if I could only get that efficiency in the house … closets, drawers, pantry …

As we step out of 2020 and into 2021, I’d like to wish each of you a lightened load. This has been a trying time and it sounds like masks and distancing will continue in the future. It’s all about how we carry these “restrictions” with us. I choose to take the blessings with me – our health, my love of family, gratitude for a roof over our heads and food in our pantry among others – When I can do that I make my life easier and happier. Light, love and laughter keep me smiling (and I can see it in the eyes of others!) I’m so grateful to be a maker this year. Making – knitting, baking, sewing, etc. keeps me focused on a forward-looking task. While I am sometimes fearful, I am mostly content and I wish you the same contentment. Thank you for reading my blog and I appreciate the sweet comments and encouragement you’ve offered over this year. I know 2021 is going to be another great year. Cheers!

Christmas Balls

I may only be twenty-five percent of the way through twenty-four new Christmas ball patterns by Arne and Carlos, but I wanted to show you how great they are!

These beautiful balls have been such a wonderful opportunity during these tumultuous months to find comfort and peace in knitting. Each pattern is different … and they take just enough concentration to accomplish. I am so appreciative of Arne and Carlos’ “Sit and Knits for a Bit” podcasts over the last several weeks and months. It’s been a bright spot in my week to sit with my yarn and the podcasts and to center myself and my attention on something other than pandemics and politics.

I’ve barely made a dent in my yarn (yes, I purchased new yarn for this project … I didn’t have the right yarn in my stash) so I’ll be knitting more. There’s one that’s a VW bug with a tree on top … that’s one that I for sure need to knit!

The plan is to put them on our tree but for now, they’re on the wooden Skandinavian Christmas tree that a sweet, dear friend made for me over a decade ago. I enjoy seeing them together … for now.

See my Ravelry project page for more information about the yarn and needles I used.

Gone knitting!

Making Stories

This year I’ve been touched by a few, perhaps many, different podcasts, people and situations all over the world. The inspiration helped me get creative a few times this year but until this week, it’s been sitting around my studio. Unfinished.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an amazingly bright, strong woman who lived an exceptional life. She was thoughtful and fair as a judge and I respected her perseverance. I dug deep into my crafting stash and found some felt and lace and made a pin. I like it even more as an ornament. I’ll remember RBG each time I place this simple ornament on our tree.

RBG ornament. Felt, lace and wool.

I finished the stitching on this mitten ornament, bought as a kit, a year or so ago. It’s one of a set of mittens but I’ve only made one. I probably won’t make another. This one is finished and on the tree this year. While it wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular, I was inspired to get it hung on the tree after spending more time than in the past at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2019 Wool Felt Mitten Ornament with poinsettia

Today, my sweet and talented husband helped me to make a new project. Inspired by Arne and Carlos and their “Sit and Knit for a Bit” Advent series this year. Arne and Carlos made this on their podcast but I first saw Kate (from The Last Lonely Home podcast) make it on her podcast. International inspiration! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one to put out on our boathouse. My husband cut the boards for me from his wood stash. (The family that stashes together stays together? LOL) and today I put it together. We need a short extension cord so that we can plug it in, but here it is during the day.

Arne & Carlos’ Advent Star
Our Christmas star at night

This afternoon I made the second of two up-cycled tote bags from bird seed bags. They’re so strong and so pretty, I couldn’t resist.

I have begun to stuff and finish the first six ornaments from Arne & Carlos’ Advent KAL – 24 new Christmas balls! I’m happy that I’ve finished six and I’ll work on finishing the rest over the next few months.

I started the repair of my daughter’s quilt that was chewed by her dog. It needs a couple more patches and a new border. Once the quilt top is finished, I’ll take it to a local sewing studio to quilt it on her long arm machine, I think.

It feels good to get some of these “old” projects wrapped up. The New Year is a good time to start fresh … so this lazy lady needs to get some projects finished! Inspiration from everywhere!

Gone finishing!

Oh (Covid) Christmas Tree!

Sunday Morning … Ice In?

Our lake is iced over this morning and it’s the Solstice! I can’t believe that this year is nearing the end. I’m so grateful that my husband and I, our family and friends (for the most part) have had good health and are not struggling too badly. I’m a lot of things (I wear a lot of hats) but I’m first and foremost a mom and this mom is so grateful for our healthy kids!!!

Our Covid Christmas tree

In all its glory, our tree is up. We weren’t sure we wanted to put one up this year because the kids aren’t coming and we aren’t sure we really “care” but I decided that it was important, maybe more this year than ever before, to maintain some sense of “normal” and put it up. I’ve enjoyed seeing the ornaments and have been making a few. I hung up two that I made last night and I’ll get them photographed and update this post when I do. But here are a few of my most favorites:

Handmade by my kids in preschool and kindergarten, the last three are my most favorite. It’s amazing to think of all the years that have passed since they were this little. And what marvelous humans they are today. The pig, made by my favorite art teacher, was “won” in a battle for the ornaments at a traditional holiday gathering in Ohio and I adore it. Her gifts were always treasured by the whole group!

My “au pair” snowman is also special as it recalls all of the wonderful men and women from all over the world who spent a year with me in Cincinnati … it was my job to provide counseling and guidance to make their year successful and happy. International exchange at its very best! I learned so much about different cultures and realized that we all share so much more in common than we are different and I am so excited that I am still in touch with so many of them! Now, though, they’re raising their own families, living such interesting lives, traveling (pre-covid) to some cool places … enriching my life and keeping my mind open.

As I sit here at my computer to reflect on the year and to begin to think about looking ahead, I see a lot of the same in the coming year but perhaps with a little bit of hope. I am rethinking my Queen Bee Knits business and what I really, really want it to be. I’m trying to figure out a better revenue stream to maintain my/our finances in 2021 that might allow me an opportunity to spend a bit more time at home in my studio. Sewing may be a part of this. I am not completely adept at sewing but it occupies my mind differently than knitting does and it’s quicker? (Maybe it’ll be quicker as I get more proficient.) I made one upcycled tote bag yesterday out of a bird seed bag. It took me hours but I think it’s something to work on and very useful.

Well, Christmas isn’t going to happen if I don’t get out of the house for a little bit today.

Gone Shopping.

Grateful for Generators

Sunrise over Sidney, Maine 12/7/2020

It was a glorious start to the day today. We are so lucky to live here and to be able to enjoy Mother Nature’s art work every time we look out the window!

We have been without power (but we have a generator that runs the house) since the Nor’easter hit on Saturday late afternoon and into Sunday. Power blinked on and off a few times, came back on and then went off. My sweet hubby lugged the generator out of the garage and plugged it in. We were back in business.

A couple of hours passed and the power came back on. Hubby went out and covered up the generator and changed the power back over to the house but it wasn’t long before the power flickered and went out again. It’s been out ever since!

Our family around the country says that our Nor’easter has made the news. They’re worrying and here we are warm and doing all the things that we normally do. We are so fortunate!

Beautiful “bluebird” sky this afternoon

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!

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.