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.

Green Cleaning Recipes

Essential Oils - Clean Without Chemicals

I found this wonderful article in a magazine for home-made cleaners that will clean your home (and my home) without using chemicals. This is important to me because I have some pretty wicked allergies … and chemicals and perfumes make me cough. It’s so bad that I don’t even have any pretty perfume to wear. It’s not worth it for me. This article provided recipes for cleaners using essential oils which, first and foremost, can be expensive. But they are also natural and many have antimicrobial properties so they can disinfect and smell great, too.

Note: not all oils are created equal … make sure that you are buying 100% pure essential oils (not fragrance oils or nature-identical or perfume oils which may be oils combined with chemicals.) Also, buy oils in dark glass bottles without rubber stopper tops which can degrade oils. Buying oils in small (4 oz or smaller) dark or opaque glass bottles.

Anyway, I wanted to share these recipes with you (and, honestly, I want to throw away the little piece of paper that I saved, too.)

Surface cleaner – 2 cups of water in a spay bottle and add seven drops of one of the following essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, cinnamon, clove, thyme, pine, grapefruit or oregano). Spray on surfaces.

Kitchen Cleaner – 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and add eight drops of essential oils mixture. Spray on surfaces. (The mixture is as follows: 8 drops lavender,10 drops lemon, 5 drops eucalyptus, 8 drops rosewood,and 3 drops palma rose.)

Floor Cleaner – Combine 1/4 cup white vinegar with 10 drops lemon oil and 4 drops oregano oil. Add to a bucket of water. For extra cleaning strength, add several drops of dish soap (but follow with a clean-water mop so floors are not slippery!)

Flea Killer – Mix 2 cups borax with 10 to 15 drops of essential oils. Try pine or balsam fir in the winter; lemongrass or lavender or a citrus oil in the spring and summer. Sprinkle on carpets … wait a few minutes and then vacuum.

So, there you go! A few recipes for chemical-free cleaners. We work hard to keep our house clean for ourselves and our pets (and the kids when they visit) and I plan to try a few of these to see how they work – if you try them, let me know!

Gone knitting!

Passion … fruit?

My baby RIPE Pineapple

I love to “cook” (translation – bake) and wanted to share a few recipes with you that are my favorites in this blog. While this isn’t actually a baking recipe, it’s one of my favorites!

Pineapple-infused Vodka

1 fresh, ripe pineapple
1 bottle cheap (or pricey) vodka

Peel and slice the pineapple and place the good stuff in a large plastic or glass container with a lid. Open the vodka bottle and pour the contents over the pineapple. Put the lid on the bottle and stash it in the refrigerator for no less than two weeks. Strain vodka, toss out the pineapple (taste it, it’s nasty now!) and keep refrigerated.

(I love this over ice, equal parts of pineapple vodka and pomegranate juice with a wedge of lime, squeezed.)

LOL!  … guess my priorities are enjoyment.

Lesson 1: I like to have fun … a cold beverage is lovely at the end of the day and I do enjoy one  … or two.
I am a (mostly) happy person and embrace life with an open heart and an open mind … and am truly blessed.

PS – the little pineapple grew in a pot at our front door. Right before we were to leave on vacation, we picked it and ate it. It was good. Thank you pineapple!