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.

Triggered but Grateful

Rainbow After the Storm

This morning I had a “discussion” on Facebook with high school friends about the current situation in our country with the coronavirus and the president. I have always been willing to give people I meet (and don’t meet) the benefit of the doubt. I did with this president, too. But I’m done. I am done giving the president the benefit of the doubt. I’m done with people “putting words in my mouth” both literally and proverbially. I’m calling BS on those who continually harken back to Hillary or Obama to compare. Let’s stick to the present and give credit where the credit is due.

The president is a liar. Google “all the presidents lies” and see what comes up. Note: I didn’t say which president or put an apostrophe before the “s”. See what comes up. Go ahead, I’ll wait!

This morning I realized that this is a problem for me because I lived with a man who was a lot like the president for nearly thirty years. I lived with a person who was verbally and emotionally abusive (especially when he was drinking) and a person who lied. A person who manipulated words, twisted the truth, told partial truths. A person who eroded my sense of self, my confidence, and erased my laugh. I was told, “of course I’m not having an affair with another woman” and “if you were a better (wife, mother, housekeeper … fill in the blank) I’d come home at night”. They were all lies and this is why what comes out of the White House, America’s house, triggers so many emotions in me and why I’m feeling anxious lately.

I’m so grateful that I can realize the trigger for what it is and name it and claim it. I’m grateful that I no longer live with a liar. I’m grateful for the new husband in my life who loves my craziness and supports me. I’m grateful for the self-awareness after nearly 30 years of therapy so that I can see why my anxiety is presenting itself in my life today. I love that I valued myself enough to make the investment of time and money to go to therapy week after week for so long. I am thankful that those women with whom I worked shared their deep knowledge of humanness with me. I am thankful that I have a voice and feel heard.

Foggy, cooler morning

Today I have “nothing” to do. The sun has come out after a foggy and gray morning and I am going to take my knitting and sit outside on the porch and watch the loons fish. It’s fall now, the temperatures have cooled, the leaves are changing color and it’ll soon be too cool to sit on the porch. I’m going to take advantage of today and soothe my soul with yarn and needles.

Gone knitting.

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.

How is it Already September 20?

Good grief! I can’t imagine how we’ve gotten to “late” September! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (in a pandemic?)

The Apple Farm in Fairfield, Maine

I’ve been back to teaching a small class outside at a local park in Waterville, Maine until this week. My students were comfortable meeting outside, socially distanced and masked. I was, too. And then last week, it was chilly and we had to move from under the pergola in the shade into the sun to be comfortable. This week the high temperature was only going to reach 62 so we went into the store and were surprised that we were comfortable there, too.

Bickford’s Blueberries with the gang

Life has been full of visitors this summer, too. If there are to be blessings found in the Covid-19 pandemic, this is one! All of our children have visited for at least a week and a couple visited for two weeks and four weeks! Working from home/remotely does have its benefits. Nothing makes this mom happier than a house full of our kids! We are so proud of all of them and how gracefully they’re handling life under Covid-19. It’s been difficult; isolating at times, frustrating at times, fraught with financial uncertainty. My kids all work in the Arts in New York City … there won’t be solid work for them at least until 2021. They’ll all make it through this and they’ll all grow because of it.

(I missed grand-dog Severus. Boo! And the Littles were unimpressed and not on the porch.)

We have been eating well (everyone likes to cook) and the baking has been lots of fun! Notice that the photos are almost all of baked goods!? Ha! We made focaccia with a beautiful vegetable “picture” on it, lobster is always a favorite, raspberry ice cream cookie sandwiches, blueberries, blueberry buckle, a rustic peach and blueberry galette, blueberry bundt cake, blueberry muffins, Mrs. Dejonkheere’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, blueberry pie #1, lobster eggs Benedict, maple blueberry scones, squash pie, veggie frittata and apple pie. The raspberries, blueberries and apples were all picked by our hands! What a lot of fun.

There has been yarn in my hands throughout the visits! I’ve started and finished a few things that I wanted to share with you, too.

First up were two emPower People cowls in their signature purple.

The first is the emPower People Cowl by Casapinka. This is a simple garter stitch cowl that asks for a DK or sport weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Rios which is a light worsted weight. It’s a cowl so I really didn’t mind if it came out a little bit larger (or smaller). It was a quick and simple knit project and it’s a sample at the store right now. It’s so soft and will be a nice garment to wear and a good reminder to VOTE!

The second is EmPower Lace by Romi. I was a test knitter for this cowl and it was another really fun knit. This could be considered a bit more difficult than the first cowl, but it’s a great first lace project. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool this time and I love this yarn. It was a new yarn to me. It shows the lace well and it’s soft and sturdy. Empower Lace is also a free Raverly download.

Next up are two pairs of baby booties. I confess that I have a collection of Cascade’s Fixation yarn from which I’ve made several pairs of baby booties and a few baby hats to match. But I had over-bought! Can you imagine that? Ha! Ha! So, in my pledge to use up stashed yarn, I decided to pull out all of the Fixation and use it up by making some baby booties. Two pairs down and I have plenty more to go. The green pair has a different bottom color and the pink ones are simple solid pink. The pattern is one that I can’t find online anywhere called Sue’s Baby Booties. It was a free pattern at the store. If you love it, let me know and I can scan it and email it to you.

I’ve started and finished a baby gift for a special baby boy coming soon so I can’t show you a full photograph of the gift that I’ve finished. I used Hayfield’s Baby Blossom Chunky to knit a Three Cable Baby Blanket and will make a little sweater and hat to match. I’ll update this post when I have given the gift to the mom-to-be. It’s soft, warm and washable and dry-able. All good things when you’re a new mother.

I’ve finished the first of my September socks from our 2020 Sock Challenge. This is another stashed yarn, one that I collected when we learned that there wasn’t going to be a US distributor for this wonderful Raggi yarn. (There is a distributor now, thank heavens!) Raggi is a worsted/aran weight wool and nylon blend so it’s perfect for knitting socks. The pattern, Urban Rustic Socks, I just happened across when I was looking for a worsted weight sock pattern that I hadn’t already made. I love these socks and they’re a fun knit, too. It’s a free Ravelry pattern.

I’m working away on making more masks for my kids, I’ve fixed a hat for a customer, fixed a shawl several times for a former student (the shawl has traveled from Florida to Maine and back several times) and I’ve got a bunch of projects on the needles. I’m still working on finishing my Arne and Carlos Quarantine Knitting blocks (I think it’s going to be a pillow) and my Hope Cardigan is half-done. So, life is busy and full … I wanted to catch up here so that the next post won’t be so long.

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.

Someone is Eating my Kale!

When I posted a photo of our garden with all (ALL!) of the kale pilfered but spinach and lettuces untouched, lots of doubters commented that we were lucky that it was gone. I will not apologize for liking kale … I like kale! And some rotten critter has eaten it all! Every single leaf has been nibbled to the nubs.

Starflake Shawl by Stephen West

My Starflake Shawl is blocked and it’s beautiful! I am so thrilled about this shawl. I have to admit that I was not a big fan as I was knitting this. I wasn’t sure it would be something I would wear and I was pondering the idea of selling it or giving it away. BUT when I blocked this baby, I fell in love! I adore it!

The yarn is among the yummiest yarns that I have worked with. I used two shades of Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect Sock in “Wish You Were Beer” (gold) and “Nailed It” (silver) -the names of the colorways remind me of the OPI nail polish names, they’re so clever! The yarn bloomed when the shawl was blocked, the stitches opened up and the i-cord edging and bind off are spectacular.

This was my first Stephen West (big) project and I doubted at times that I’d get it finished. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck Maine, I lost my knitting mojo and/or my ability to concentrate. This shawl is NOT a simple pattern. I spent so much time knitting and then frogging that I ended up putting it in time out for awhile. A few weeks ago, I got it back out because I realized that I was settling into a new “normal” and I wanted a bit of a challenge. Well, I’m so glad to report that in the end, the result is incredible!

Here’s what else I’ve been up to …

Gardening! I’ve got a small yard but a lot of gardens. We have the raised vegetable garden with greens, tomatoes, peppers and squash. We have several perennial gardens that were put in before we were married. Some have been more successful than others but they all need care and love. I’ve been outside weeding, edging and transplanting (and forgetting to water the newly moved plants … lucky I have a lot of creeping flox. My peonies are just about ready to pop for the first time.

Volunteering! I am on two Boards of local organizations that I care deeply about. One is our lake association, Friends of Messalonskee. It’s weird to be running a volunteer organization in a pandemic but it we let the invasive plants take hold for one summer, we will have lost a lot of (if not all) the progress we have made. So, we are carefully optimistic that our state and local funding will come through so we can do our good work. Maine Arts Academy is the second organization and combines my passions for education and the arts. MEAA is a free public charter high school for the arts. We just graduated 53 students on Sunday in a “drive through” graduation. It was awesome and the kids are heading off prepared for whatever they choose to do next!

And I have sewn some more face masks for these cuties! I’m so glad that my children, all in New York City, are being smart and wearing masks. Daughter number two and her hubby have a few different masks to get them through the new “normal” in the city. I think they’ll be wearing masks for quite a while.

Life is good. I feel very grateful for a healthy family, especially now.

Gone knitting!

All of my knitting projects and even some sewing projects can be found on my Ravelry project page, I’m lindar on Ravelry.

Follow me on Facebook – QueenBeeKnits by Linda Warner and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits

Making No. 9 Simple – Simple Bird and Nest

I love this magazine! Every one that I have purchased has at least a few patterns that I’d like to try to make. Note, I said, “try”.

This time, in issue 9 Simple, it’s the Simple Bird and Nest by Susan B. Anderson. Susan has made a beautiful little business for herself designing the most exquisite “toys”. Ostensibly for children, the toys are so clever that they’re tempting to make for yourself (even if you’re a senior citizen!) This time, the birds just got me.

I dove deep into my stash and found a couple of colors of DK or Sport weight yarn. I know the first color is a Knit Picks City Tweed DK that I was given for mothers’ day a long, long time ago. It’s a soft, 2-ply yarn that knits up beautifully. Just so happens that I am planning two bird and i had two colors of this yarn in my stash. One is more purple and the other more a dusty rose. The pattern calls for several colors … I found a creamy white, a brown, and a grey. Since they’re for toys that probably won’t be washed, I’m not going to worry about fiber content. Suffice it to say, they’re all wool or wool blends and some may be superwash.

The pattern is so simply written that it makes it a cinch to knit. The bird is quick to knit with a couple of rounds of beginner colorwork. Not too scary when you can do it on something small. The nest has a Latvian braid at the top which is, again, described so as to make it easy for anybody to try. I finished the bird and nests in a couple of sittings but I do knit quickly – and have a lot of experience. The eggs, too, are quick and simple. I’ve got one knitted for each bird so far. Again, stashed “rainbow” yarn will make the eggs completely fictional but colorful. My intent is to write a little story to go along with the gifts … we will see if I get that part done.

Gone knitting!

Sock Challenge 2020

One of my co-workers and I have challenged our classes and our followers on Facebook and Instagram to a 2020 Sock Challenge. The challenge is that you must knit a pair of socks each month. Two pairs can be “tiny” socks and two should be a challenge, something you’ve never tried before or that stretches your comfort level!

So far, I’ve knitted six pairs and I’m working my way through the seventh.

January, rose colored socks for my granddaughter, Rose! This counts as a tiny pair. Earlier in the year I made a pair for my grandson because everything should be even. Oscar is more open about asking for what he wants. Little sister deserves some handknit socks, too. I am delighted to have these delightful, delicious kiddos to knit for!

February socks were for my sweet husband. It’s become a tradition for me to put a ball of sock yarn into his Christmas stocking. With all that happens in the weeks working up to Christmas, I haven’t been able to get his socks finished. When I can knit them after Christmas, it’s way more relaxing and fun.

March socks were a stretch for me. I’ve been “challenged” by fair isle or stranded knitting for EVER. I have avoided it, I’ve refused to do it, I have not bought beautiful patterns. This year and for part of last year, too, I have challenged myself to get myself more confident with stranded knitting. These socks, while they are a little bit too big, they’re really beautiful and I love them. And they’re so warm … duh! Because they’re double thickness!

April socks were a 60th birthday gift for my neighbor. Ya know, when you get to see 60 there’s not much that you “need” and maybe even want… except to spend time with your family and friends. So, when Tammy turned 60, we spent time together but I wanted to make her something. This yarn came into the yarn shop where I work and it was exactly what I needed.

May socks were for my boy. Finished in April, actually (I’m a bit ahead of myself because of the tiny pair that I started with!) My son turned 30 this year. How did that happen? This yarn is amazing and I love knitting with it. Both of my favorite guys have gotten a pair of socks in the same yarn and I have another ball left to knit up. Woo! Hoo!

The socks that I have called my May socks until I realized that they’re really June are in Rachel’s Ontheround sock yarn. I have had this yarn in my stash forever and I always knew it had to be socks because the other pair of Ontheround socks that I have are my favorite socks. The colorway of these is magnificent and I love the feel of them as I knit.

All of the details, yarns, needles and patterns for all of these socks are in my Ravelry project page. I even have a few non-knitting projects there. The plan is to make a pair of socks with some lace perhaps or a cable maybe. I guess I’ll figure it out as I get there. I love knitting socks because they’re practical and portable!

Gone knitting!

I Made a Thing

Yesterday I FINALLY made something that I’ve been thinking about (and telling my sweet hubby about) for several days … or weeks? I made cinnamon rolls (with pecans because sometimes you feel like a nut.

I followed the KIng Arthur Flour pattern recipe for Cinna-Buns from their website. You can Google it! It’s a pretty simple recipe. The only “problem” I had was patience … and waiting for the dough to rise. It didn’t rise like bread dough. I’m not sure it was supposed to … but it didn’t. I forged ahead anyway because, well, why not? And they are beautiful! And yummy!

Next time, I’ll hold back on the frosting because then I can freeze them (and frost them when they’re defrosted and reheated because they’re best warm!) A dozen is a big batch and the two of us can’t eat all of them before they’re stale. And I can’t really share them with anybody right now, can I? So, I’ll wrap them up and freeze a few. We’ll see how that goes!

Gone knitting!