Pure and Simple Start to April!

IMG_2638I’ve made it through the winter without any illnesses and as soon as spring pops onto the calendar, BOOM! For the last couple of days I’ve been pumping EmergenC and AirBorne and vitamins with my Wellness Formula. My sweet husband has taken good care of me, I drank a lot of tea, and I am feeling better today.

I’ve also been knitting.

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I started a little pullover, #214 Baby Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple, for a new mom’s little baby girl. (I hope she doesn’t read my blog. I don’t think she does. I don’t want to give the surprise away.) I found the yarn on the shelf at the store when I was making room for some new yarns. (if you didn’t know that I work in a yarn shop, now you do … come visit at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine!)

Sirdar has a chunky yarn called Imagination and it reminded me of a Monet Water Lilies painting. You all know what the Water Lilies paintings look like, right? If you don’t, Google it! They’re magnificent. This yarn is machine washable so easy for a new mom. I never machine dry my hand-knits. Some yarns are dry-able but I’d rather be certain and consistent so I hang/lay flat all my hand-knits. Sweaters I lay flat. Socks I hang over a hanger. This extends their lives and I never shrink any special hand-knits. (NOTE! Some yarn is not washable. If it isn’t super wash or acrylic or mostly acrylic, hand wash! You’ll never be sorry if you take that extra care!)

img_2640.jpgI immediately fell in love with the colors. I have whipped through the body of the sweater in a couple of days. It’s chunky so it knits up quickly. I’m making the 24 months size so that little Julianna can grow into it! Today I’ll get to the sleeves and maybe the collar, too. It’s soft, it’s washable, it’s so pretty! Did I mention that there are no seams?!

I’m also working on a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan for myself.

IMG_2622I’ve had this beautiful blue/gray colorway of Malabrigo Rios forever. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my atelier for at least a year and maybe more like two. When I opened the bag of this yarn at the shop, I immediately put it aside for myself because I loved it so much. I’m making the 50″ size and my gauge is slightly off (the pattern calls for 4 stitches per inch and I am knitting at 4.375 stitches per inch). This will make my sweater just a bit smaller than the last sweater I made with this pattern. Which will be OK. I may decide to add a few additional increases to be sure it’s not too small. I’ll know when I have the sleeve stitches on a holder and I can try it on! I’ll have all the details on my Ravelry project page. I love, love, love the color and this yarn feels so amazing in your hands as you work with it. This will take me a couple more than a couple days to knit but it’ll knit up pretty quickly and it’s so pretty!!!

IMG_2614I finished the Ma Belle Amie cowl for my aunt and it’s wrapped and on it’s way to Lake Tahoe just in time for spring! I doubt that she’ll get to wear it too many times between now and next fall but what can one do?! I had to knit it and it had to be for her! I love the colors that I chose … they remind me of my aunt and her beautiful red hair (well, it was red when she was younger, it’s “bleached out” as she’s gone around the sun a few times! (Where’s the laughing until you cry emoji when you need it?!) This pattern is very versatile and can be knitted up in any yarn, really. I have one in solid colored wool that I love and this one has a variegated which I love, too. Choose a smaller needle for a tighter fabric or a finer yarn (or heavier yarn). The sky’s the limit!

I also knitted up a little rabbit on Tuesday when I was home sick. Baby Bunnies by Frankie Brown popped up in my Facebook feed one day and when I wasn’t feeling well, I grabbed a few scraps of yarn and knit up a baby bunny. He’s awfully cute! I think there will be an addition of some embroidery (eventually) but for now, I’m enjoying my sweaters so my bunny awaits!

I hope you had a happy Easter and Passover. I wish you peace.

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.

1898 Hat – A different construction

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1898 Hat in Cascade Eco Duo

The 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes is a free pattern on Ravelry. We sell a lot of yarn for them at my LYS, Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. It may help that we have a great sample, in hat and headband form, right near the cash register!

I’ve been in Maine now for three winters. Winters are cold here. Hats are a must for my husband, in particular, because he has no hair. I almost always wear a coat with a hood which is enough for me but I have been known to wear a hat, too. All of this is to say that I am shocked that I haven’t knitted this hat before now.

A few weeks ago, a woman came into the shop when I was working and she wanted to have someone knit a 1898 hat for her out of some lovely Cascade Eco Duo alpaca yarn that she had bought. I’ve never seen this hat in alpaca before. I offered to knit it for her. When I called her to have her come pick it up, she asked me to make another in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

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1898 Hat in Lamb’s Pride Worsted

Both hats are wonderful. The alpaca was so soft and the Lamb’s Pride Worsted is so squishy. AND the knit was fun for me, too!

IMG_2313The headband is knit flat in garter stitch with increases for the ear flaps. It has a provisional cast on – I used a crochet cast on. It’s knit in garter stitch on either side of three slipped stitches on the wrong side (they’re knit on the right side) which makes it fold in half to make the headband double thickness and really, really warm! You graft the ends of the headband together with Kitchener Stitch (if you do it properly it’s completely invisible!) and then pick up the stitches from both sides of the headband to make the rest of the hat in the round like any “normal” hat.

One hank/skein/ball of worsted weight yarn worked for each hat. I KNOW my sweet hubby needs one of these hats. He works outside. In Maine. In the winter. It’s really, really cold. He has no hair. Did I mention that he has no hair?

Gone Knitting!

 

 

CDD

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The pattern … see why I was attracted to it?

In the last twenty-four hours I’ve chosen two patterns that called for a CDD. I’m not sure that I’ve ever encountered a CDD before. No, really. It’s the truth.

That said, I do know what a CDD is! It’s a centered double decrease. Essentially, what it does is decreases one stitch on either side of the center stitch in a pattern. And they’re very pretty if used properly!

First up, a dishcloth pattern that I bought a couple of years ago to support the Special Olympics and it’s called Sinkmates by Lorilee Beltman ($2 on Ravelry). I had unrealistic expectations around this dishcloth pattern, having assumed that it was a mitered square. Wrong. It was a CDD! It’s fun to knit and the first thing I’d do next time is to make the i-cord on a larger needle than the rest of the project. Mine came out somewhat lop-sided. But it’s a dishcloth. Enough said.

Next, Hartland Slipper Socks from Berroco Folio, Vol. 4. by Amy Christoffers. I loved these at first glance and knew I had to make them. Thankfully, they’ve got short cuffs and are knitted in worsted weight Berroco Ultra Wool which makes them knit up quickly. And since I had a whole weekend off this weekend, I have spent a lot of time in my studio. I love them and will be making more! There is a CDD in the “flower” design at the ankle. I’m going to show you my sequence of stitches on the dishcloth because it’s on almost-white cotton and you’ll be able to see the stitches really well!

So, here is my photo tutorial on how to do a CDD if you don’t know already …

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The CDD on Sinkmates Dishcloth … rows of CDD straight up the middle!

Knit over to the stitch before the center stitch (the CDD “line”) … see photo below!

Remember, worked stitches are on the right-hand needle, stitches to be worked are on the left needle.

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Knit up to one stitch before the center

You are going to work the stitch before and the center stitch together as if to knit two together (K2tog). (Insert the right needle knitwise into the two stitches at the same time from left to right as if you’re going to knit them together. Don’t wrap the stitches, though … see photo below.

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You can see the ridges on my thumb nail. I need a manicure!

Next, complete the slip. Slip the stitches onto the right-hand needle by pulling the left needle back and out of the stitches, leaving them on the right needle. OK so far?

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Knit the next stitch on the left needle. In the photo below you can see the two slipped stitches and then the knitted stitch sitting on the right needle. You can see them, can’t you?

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Now, get ready! You’re going to slip the two slipped stitches over the knitted one. (Insert the left needle into the two slipped stitches from left to right, holding your working yarn in your right hand and keeping some tension on the working yarn, slip the two stitches over the knitted one.)

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When it’s all said and done, and the stitches are slipped over, this is what you’ll see.

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When the left needle is pulled out of the completed stitch, you will have something like this. Hopefully, it’ll be exactly like this! The CDD is in line with all of its sister stitches below and you’ll have two fewer stitches in total on your dishcloth.

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See how pretty it is?

Go buy the pattern and give it a try! Share pictures with me of your attempts on my Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner Facebook page! I’m excited for you to try something new!

Follow me on Facebook (Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner) and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits. I’m also on Ravelry (lindar).

 

Color in the Winter – Happy Gloves

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I finished my gloves today. The colors make me so happy! The fit, not so much.

These gloves were “copied” from one of our customers. She is a wonderful knitter and came into the shop one day with gloves made with Adriafil’s Stella Jacq yarn. We had a couple of balls left on the shelf and I put them aside for post-Christmas knitting. I’ve just completed three post-Christmas orders and it was the perfect time to cast on my gloves. My gift to myself for getting all the knitting done.

I used a free pattern on Ravelry called Modified Army Gloves. (Note: I just read the Ravelry page and realized that there is a free woman’s pattern, too. I used the men’s pattern and that’s why the fit it a bit off. The hand of my gloves are a bit large for my hand … and I don’t have small hands!) The pattern is clear and concise, good step-by-step instructions. I really like the crazy fun, bright and cheerful colors. They make me happy. An advanced beginner or intermediate knitter should be able to complete the gloves without being totally lost.

IMG_2096My yarn was Stella Jacq yarn (in color #80). I used two 50 gram balls and have a little bit left over from each ball. … As a complete aside, I am one day going to buy a big glass vessel to put in my atelier. I’ll fill it with tiny balls of yarn from my favorite projects. Kind of like my friends who own beach houses have vessels filled with sea glass… but I digress!

I didn’t worry about matching the gloves so that they’d be identical. It could certainly be done but with all the fingers, I didn’t want to “deal” with it. My gloves are even crazier because they don’t match, right? If you want your gloves to match, make note of where in the color sequence you begin your first glove and then find the same spot to start glove number two.

I may have to buy one more ball of yarn and make the women’s gloves … but for now, I’ll wear my “man-hand” gloves that are a bit big and I’ll smile because I’m human. At least I didn’t make two left mittens!

Way to keep me humble knitting!

 

 

Starting the New Year off with FOs!

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First finished object is the Ruche Beret by Susan B. Anderson. I love this hat and hope that the new owner will wear it through some challenges and into a lifetime of good health. I knit this for a friend from college who has a friend going through chemo treatments. I knit this in this pretty beige-y taupe-y color and it’s a dk-weight yarn, Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK. I love knitting with this yarn! It’s so soft and will feel so good on a “naked” head. The best thing about this hat is the simplicity of the design. I just love it.

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Next up, the 1898 Hat. This is a free pattern on Ravelry and calls for a worsted weight yarn and US 7 needles. I started knitting with the needle as in the pattern but it was too small. So, I changed to a US 8 and the hat is lovely! I knit with the customer’s Cascade Yarns Eco Duo. Another super soft yarn and it will be so warm. The construction of the hat is a little bit different – the “cuff” is knitted in garter stitch with slipped stitches that is folded in half and grafted into a “headband”. Stitches are picked up around the cuff and the hat is completed in a more traditional manner. The customer was so happy that she’s asked me to knit another one out of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride. Stay tuned!

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Last but not least, a baby blanket for my sister-in-love. They have an employee who is having a baby this month and she asked me to knit a blanket. I love stripes, so this was my suggestion. Knitted in Plymouth Encore (navy, white and bright green) to make life easier for the new mom (it’s washable and dry-able!) This is a simple knit – almost boring, actually – two rows of each color, carrying the yarn up the side. The green is an i-cord edge. I love the way the green pops! It’s blocking on my guest bed (sans sheets after Christmas) and it will be sent very soon.

Speaking of Christmas … I haven’t shown you all of the Christmas knits that were finished and given.

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An eyeglass case in Berroco Comfort DK (red and green, obviously!) The pattern is Sweet Sunglasses Case by Ambah O’brien. This was a fun little something to knit for my co-worker who is super sweet. I will make more of these. The Comfort yarn is very soft and won’t scratch glasses … it could be lined but I stink at sewing.

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These are really a better and brighter blue with a bit of sparkle and were sent to my adorable mentee. I met this darling girl when she was ten years old and I was her mentor at school for a couple of years before she moved about 2 hours away. She had a rough transition and I adored her so I traveled to meet her for lunch at her new school every week. Zip ahead and she’s now a beautiful teenager and I still adore her.

Pattern is Holywood Mitts and was a free pattern at our store. I knit these in Holywood by Cascade Yarns. It’s just enough sparkle. And I loved the button that I found to serve as a ring!

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Wow! This is a terrible photograph! These are alpaca fingerless mitts knitted in Cascade Yarn’s Eco Alpaca in black. The pattern is Maize by Tin Can Knits. I love, love, love Tin Can Knits designs! I made the mitts a bit longer than the pattern called for because when I am driving I want to have the fabric of fingerless mitts between my hands and the freezing cold steering wheel. Most fingerless mitts are a bit too short. I hope my son-in-love loves them. I figure that they’re classic enough that they’ll go with any coat in New York City. Right?

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Another questionable photograph but these are the felted slippers that I made for my step-daughter. (I don’t love that “title” and will need to think of an alternate term for my husband’s wonderful daughters.) Anyway, I made these for her for Christmas at her request. Her favorite color is blue so I chose two shades of blue Cascade 220 Heathers. The pattern is Fiber Trends Felted Clogs by Bev Galeskas. I’ve made several pairs of these for different people and they are fun to knit, interesting construction, and they’re very cozy, too.

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I made several of these hats! This is another Tin Can Knits pattern called Barley. I made a trial Barley for my husband and he loved it so I made one for all the boys in the family for Christmas. This one is Plymouth Yarn’s Homestead in Brown Heather colorway. The other three, for the NYC boys were knitted in Berroco Ultra Wool in black. All city people like black. I like black, too. I love the Ultra Wool! it’s a wonderful super wash wool and I am looking forward to seeing how it holds up to the washing machine!

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Two more! For my other step-daughter, a cowl made with Universal’s Bamboo Bloom in shades of pink and Wisdom Yarn’s Poems. I love the Hanassaku Cowl pattern, too! It’s fairly simple pattern is easy (-ish) to follow. I say “fairly” and “-ish” because it always seems to me that when I let myself believe that something is easy, I always make mistakes. I started this cowl twice because I assumed that I knew what I was doing and I also pretended that I could count! Needless to say, I couldn’t do either! It was better on the second try! I started my cowl with the Poems and ended with it, too. Mine is not nearly as wide as the pattern suggested. I used one skein of each and knit until it was gone. I love it and I hope she does, too.

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I used a Top This! Hat “kit” to make this little crocheted lamb lovie for my dental hygienist. Well, not for her, exactly, for her new baby. I am going to visit her next week and will deliver it then. The pattern is a free pattern that I found at the shop (Yardgoods Center, my LYS). I started to knit the pattern and didn’t like the way that the fabric felt. I decided to try to crochet it instead and really had fun making my fourth (or fifth) crocheted project! I hope the baby will love it. It’s really just a great big granny square – and I love making granny squares!

I finished a pair of socks for my handsome hubby, too. I used a ball of Regia (their worsted weight sock yarn) and he’s happy as a clam. He was “nagging” me about a new pair of socks for him and I knit them at work or at knitting group so that he had no clue I was making him socks. I do love a surprise when I can keep them! I haven’t taken a photograph of them … they’re already in the laundry.

So, that was a long post full of finished objects. It feels good to see that I have gotten a lot of knitting done and gifted. I love to make gifts! More details are in my Ravelry project page. I’m “lindar” on Ravelry!

Gone knitting!

Wrapping up 2017!

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It’s almost time for me to make those resolutions that I never manage to keep … so this year, as I enter 2018, I am resolving to be kind, to think positively, and to remember to write 2018 on my checks!

For Queen Bee Knits, that means to get the planner for next year out, get my studio (atelier) clean and organized and to keep learning more about my craft. I had a great learning experience this year with the Year of Techniques hosted by Mason Dixon Knitting here in the USA. A few things that I loved about it were that I learned a few tricks that I can pass on to my students at work, I reviewed techniques that I’ve been using – many not very often – and I got to work with yarns that I wouldn’t normally have knitted because they’re UK-based yarns. I chose to purchase the kids that were offered for each project, not that I have completed them all! The yarns were wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the new yarn experiences!  This was a wonderful collaboration and I would join in again if it is offered.

I’ve done a lot of knitting this year but I’d dare say that it was less than previous years because of my job at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. I have often dreamed about what it would be like to work in or even own a yarn shop. I am gaining experience each day that I work there and I am finding that I really do love it! Working as a clerk and teacher, I go to work happy every day and I love helping our customers find their knitting mojo! I also enjoy being part of the local movement – we are a small, family-owned business (68 years old in 2017) and each customer that I encourage to make a purchase supports our community and local business. Waterville is not a fancy, thriving, seasonal, coastal community but there are lots of family small businesses struggling along.

This week I learned that another local small business yarn shop, Over the Rainbow, in Rockland, Maine is closing its doors. My heart breaks to see another local yarn shop going out of business. I’ve visited OTR many times and will miss having it on my list of places to visit when in Rockland. OTR joins Quilt Divas that closed a year or so ago.

😦 This is me making a sad face.

We’ve had a great year personally … my daughter was married, my other daughter booked a Broadway show. The husband and I entertained a few visitors at our house and traveled a little bit to be entertained by others. Our family is healthy and thriving and we are so grateful for our health, too.

I’m finishing up a few knitting projects and am looking forward to some pleasure knitting.

IMG_2248I’m knitting a striped baby blanket for my sister-in-law to give to one of her employees as a gift. I’m using Encore worsted (baby items must be washable and dry-able) in a navy and white strip with an apple green i-cord edge. It is the nature of stockinette stitch to curl and it’s curling a bit at the edges but the baby won’t mind! It’s really cute! I’m half way around with the edge … getting there! Then I’ll wash, block and send it.

I’ve finished and will block (today!) a hat for a college friend who has a friend who is going through chemotherapy. It’s a lovely soft alpaca in DK weight. The pattern is by Susan B. Anderson, “Ruche Beret” in the Weekend Hats book. I love it’s simple lines and may have to make one for myself!

I’m also working on another hat for a customer at the shop. She bought yarn and is using the 1898 Hat (free) pattern on Ravelry. This hat is very popular in Maine in the winter – especially this winter because it’s been wicked cold! Knitted with worsted weight yarn, it’s a one-skein-wonder, too! I’m knitting “mine” in Cascade Eco Duo in a great colorway – it’s so soft and it will be super warm, too! I have some Eco Duo in my stash … hmmm. IMG_2249My little boy dog was sitting in my lap the other morning when I was swatching with the US 7 needle. He doesn’t like the yarn to touch him and he kept stretching out farther and farther on my legs. 🙂 I love him!

I have many (MANY) project bags with UFOs in them. Projects that were set aside for Christmas knitting. That’s a whole new blog post! For today, I’m done. I’ve rested my hands, had a little lunch and now it’s time to get back to knitting! I love my work!

Happy New Year to my readers … all two or three of you! 🙂 May we all be blessed with love and kindness, good health and warm yarn!

Gone knitting!