About Yesterday

View from my bedroom window

Yesterday was a difficult day in corona virus isolation. I wasn’t in a good head space and I was really struggling with anxiety. Because of my chronic cough/allergies and my age, I’m in a higher risk group of (crap!) older people. I woke up yesterday morning feeling a little bit off … and I couldn’t pick myself up all darn day. And it was a beautiful day, too!

We started the day with accidents in the house. Two little dogs both getting old and they’re having some health challenges right now. Both of them together. So, we started the morning cleaning up after little white dogs. The rest of the day, I spent trying to focus on anything other than worry …

But you’re not reading this blog to (necessarily) hear all about my ‘crazy’ days. I have been able to knit some more of the Arne and Carlos blocks for their Quarantine KAL. If you’re not following this KAL, they were on a cruise away from home and were ordered to quarantine for 14 days after their arrival back. While in quarantine, they decided to do a KAL. I’ve really enjoyed it. I haven’t been able to watch all the videos yet but I have gotten many of the blocks finished. There have been ten designed for the first two weeks and there will be ten more coming … they’ve decided to do an additional two weeks because we’re all enjoying it so much!

I also started on the socks for my neighbor’s birthday. She was kind enough to trace her foot so they’ll be a perfect fit! I got one finished yesterday and I started the second one today after I did some baking. I made my hubby’s favorite scones. He’s been asking for them forever! It’s only fair since he went to take my car to get the snow tires taken off and took some mail to the post office for me. We freeze the scones so he can have one a day!

By the end of the day I was feeling better and went to bed early … today is a new day!

Gone knitting!

Frogged Again!

The sun is out again today and it’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood. It’s not even that cold! Somehow, the days keep ticking by and are filled with all sorts of different activities.

Yesterday I made five face masks.

Germ-free me

They’re not perfect but they’ll work and they’re all made with lots of love! I hope they’ll help people who need them. I bought a kit from a store in Auburn, Maine and I got about 30 pairs of fabric rectangles all cut out to 7×9 inches. I also got the elastic cord that you can’t find anywhere around these days! I am a very slow stitcher and it took me forever to get these done, but I did it and I will do the rest over a few days. Or weeks.

Cashmere People Shawl

I posted this picture a few posts back. This is a shawl that I am test knitting for Lori Versaci (VersaciKnits). I am having focus problems that I’ve written about earlier. Well, this is no exception. I have knitted and frogged and knitted and frogged again on one section. I don’t seem to be able to count to three, yarn over and go again. Ha! Ha! I am going to try once more and have the right number of stitches on row 4. On I go … and I hope I can count and yarn over this time. I can certainly count my stitches and read my knitting but this is ridiculous!

I am attributing this lack of focus to the corona virus pandemic and my concern about my little Lola who hasn’t eaten again today. It looks like the dreaded three hour drive to Massachusetts is on for tomorrow. We will drive down, drop her at my brother’s office and wait for her tests to be done. Then we’ll drive back home. We will wear gloves, wash our hands, bring our own lunch and shower when we get home. And we will have some answers.

I continue to knock out the Arne and Carlos blocks for their Quarantine KAL. We are up to day eight and I have through day six finished (one block needs ends woven in.) I continue to enjoy this. It’s in manageable bites and it feels good to be able to manage something in this chaos.

I also got my neighbor’s birthday gift delivered back to me. She turned 60 a month or so ago and I gave her yarn for her birthday with the promise to make her a pair of socks. They’ll be worsted weight and shorted in the leg so they can be worn as slipper socks or socks. I’ve not knitted with the yarn before – it’s new to our shop. I’ll get pictures up and the story of the pattern as I get something knitted and have something to show!

Gone knitting!

Sunrise Messalonskee style

So Many WIPs, So Little Time

Y’all! I have so many WIPs and so little time!

I probably have almost twenty (yes, 20!!!) projects that are in progress. I had promised myself that I would finish the ones started before starting any new ones and I’ve failed miserably at that “promise”! So, I’m still trying to keep my spirits up and to enjoy what I am working on while also making a somewhat feeble attempt to pick up an older WIP here and there.

Currently, I’m working to finish one sock, it’s a “ped” or a “clog sock”. A very small sock. I stopped knitting after the first one was finished and set the yarn and sock aside. Who knows why. Suffice it to say, if I actually applied myself, I could probably knit it up in two days. But I decided that I wanted to knit a sweater for my new (year-old) nephew. So, I cast on last week. I’m knitting him a little pullover and I’ll make it big so he can wear it next fall. It’s going to be my adaptation of a sweater that’s free on Ravelry but I’m making a pullover version and it’s with diggers!!! My son loved any trucks and diggers when he was little and I hope Hugh will, too.

Can you see the increase “lines”? I didn’t like this at all and was concerned it wouldn’t block out!

I have a couple of sweaters for me on the needles, too. Humulus, a colorwork yoke sweater and then a cotton/linen blend cardigan. I’m not going to go into details here. All of the details are in my Ravelry project page (lindar). I love knitting the Humulus although I had a few issues with my first attempt because I didn’t like the way the increases looked. I frogged it and started over and have used what I call the “Arne and Carlos” increases (raising the “mother” stitch from the row below) which I like better. Fine Sand is the cardigan … I will love the final result but I don’t love knitting with linen/cotton. It’s splitty. I’ll suffer through, though. I’ll get it finished one of these years.

I’ve got a pair of socks for my son on the needles. He turns 30 in April so these will be for his birthday. They’re a sport weight yarn with a bit of cashmere so they’re really soft. I hope he loves them.

There are more. But if I keep sitting here writing, they’re not going to knit themselves!

Gone knitting!

Find me on Facebook (Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner), Instagram (@QueenBeeKnits) and Ravelry (lindar)!

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.

Collaboration

I’ve completed a collaborative knitting project with my friend and lady farmer, Mary Perry of Winterberry Farm, the last organic farm in Belgrade, Maine. Winterberry Farm is also animal powered … not a tractor to be found!

My DH and I have been fans and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members for several years. This year, I helped Mary at her farm store on several winter days when the interns aren’t yet arrived to help with the farm. My DH fed all of the animals a few times when Mary and her family were away overnight. I learned a lot about what it takes to own and run a farm. Anyway, I got a call from Mary a few weeks back and she wanted to put together some knitting kits with her yarn and needed some help finding simple patterns that would work with her yarn that she has spun at a mill nearby.

I chose three patterns: a simple hat, a simple scarf and socks.

The hat pattern was knitted up in the blue colorway and is Barley Light by Tin Can Knits. What I love about this hat is that it is a simple stitch pattern that results in a lovely hat in a lighter weight which is good for the border seasons of fall and spring.

The scarf pattern that I chose has been a favorite in my knitting classes for students who are starting to feel more comfortable with their knitting and are willing to branch out and try something new … and a bit more “complex”. The Workday Scarf by Sue Flanders is one of my favorite simple scarf patterns. I chose to knit the shop sample in the neutral, undyed/natural colorway and it is stunning! There is nothing better than a lace pattern (or any pattern for that matter) knitted up in a light natural color yarn. Both the yarn and the pattern are allowed to shine!

The sock pattern is being knitted up for Mary by her sock knitter, a local woman who knits socks for purchase (in case someone doesn’t knit their own) in the Winterberry Farm Shop. I sent the pattern for the socks to Mary and they’re being knitted for the shop. I guess you’ll have to stop by the shop to see which colorway was selected and what the socks look like!

Winterberry Farm is located at 538 Augusta Road (Route 27) in Belgrade, Maine. Come see the farm and shop for yarn! Or buy a kit! They’ll be available soon. Meanwhile, come visit the farm, join the CSA and shop for pies, farm-made canned goods and frozen foods, and yarn!

Gone knitting.

Happy New Year! New Year, New Yarn!

Winter Wonderland!

This was my view on the way to work the other day. The camp road is slippery and ice-covered but so beautiful! This is why we love living here in Maine. Every season has its beauty if you are open to seeing it!

We had a wonderful Christmas with my sweet husband’s daughters and one boyfriend. The Christmas tree was beautiful and the weather was perfect – except we didn’t have any snow! But the ice on the lake was perfect for ice skating and other wintery exploits!

I’m knitting away … well, not completely “normal” but I’m making progress working through the WIPs in my atelier. And I may have cast on a new project, too.

Yip Yips by Carissa Browning (crochet version)

This Yip Yip was a gift for my husband who has trouble keeping track of his wallet. Sometimes it’s in the kitchen or the bedroom or bathroom or his office or truck (among other locales) and I thought this Yip Yip would be a silly and fun container for the wallet. This is free pattern on Ravelry in either knit or crochet. Mine is the crochet version. It was quick to make and I think it’s hilarious! The ping pong ball eyes are the best! I will make more of these! They make me smile.

M

This is the best mitten pattern! I love mittens in Maine in the winter and this is a good mitten pattern for the whole family! I had a skein of Knitting Fever’s Painted Sky and a bit of mohair that I knitted together at the same time and they’re really soft and they’ll be really warm. I’m planning to do a little bit of embroidery on them to give them a little bit of color. They’ll likely be inside my leather choppers. The pattern is out of print but it’s out there if you look.

And I have another pair of mittens that I have finished … this yarn and the pattern came from Knitty.com back in 2005! The pattern is actually from Knitty in the fall of 2002. I printed the pattern with the plan to make them for my daughter who was in high school. She chose the yarn which I bought from Knit Picks online.

2005 project finished

These are convertible mittens … they can be mittens and they can be fingerless mitts … well, they have partial fingers so they’re not really fingerless, are they?

Broad Street Mitts by Janis Corteses

Back in 2005, I wasn’t as confident a knitter as I am today. I was wondering why I didn’t finish these way back when and I think it was the “reverse all shaping” for the second mitt. I didn’t understand what that meant and the internet wasn’t nearly as good at showing you anything you want to know or learn. Now, however, I am able to reverse the shaping and knit the second mitt. I put the mittens in the mail to New York City as a surprise and my daughter was delighted. These are the Broad Street Mitts and they’re available on Knitty and Ravelry. They’re made from a fingering weight yarn and I used Knit Picks sock landscape. I don’t know if they still make it but it felt really nice to knit with!

Son-in-Love Socks – Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow

I just finished a pair of Birthday socks for my son-in-love whose birthday is later this month. My daughter said that he wouldn’t wear them but I said he needed to try them anyway … I think he’ll love them if he tries them. My son had the same reaction initially and he loves his hand knit socks (and is asking for more … they’re on the needles!) I love the Lang yarn and I used my favorite sock pattern by Yankee Knitter! I used a 3×1 rib on the cuff and instep. Socks are still one of my favorite things to knit.

Lallybroch Shawl by KnitzyBlonde (inspired by Outlander)

I may have slipped and cast on a new project the other day. I had bought three hanks of Malabrigo Arroyo (sport) in a pretty color way. I had thought it would knit up into a very pretty Lallybroch Shawl. And then I had a customer who has knit more than one and used the Rios by Malabrigo and I worried for awhile that the Arroyo wouldn’t be heavy enough. So I set aside three hanks of Rios in the Paris Night colorway. So, the other day when it was quiet at work, I wound one hank of the Arroyo to see how it worked up … and I am so happy to report that it is perfect. I really don’t love worsted weight shawls. They’re too warm for me – I tend to run hot – and the sport will be much better. I love this yarn and this colorway. I can’t wait to wear it.

As an aside, if you’ve not been watching Outlander on the Stars Network, watch it! I love it. And the books are incredible – it’s a time travel, historical fiction, love story with some really spectacular knitwear!

I still have many (MANY) WIPs still waiting for my attention but I am working my way down the list. I have “promised” myself that I won’t buy any more new yarn until I get a couple of the sweaters that I have all of the yarn for, by the way, done! I think my Malabrigo Rios sweater will be first. I’m going to be knitting it on a smaller needle as if it was a DK weight yarn so it won’t pill as much. I’ll let you know when I get rolling!

Gone knitting! I leave you with the sunrise picture I took this week. It’s been beautiful!

Sunrise and Ice Fishing Shack on Messalonskee

Regia Pairfect Tips & Tricks

IMG_3277.jpgI have never really worried about having socks (that I have knit) match. I have been working on a sock drawer full of handknitted socks for me and out of them all, only two or three match. Maybe only one. Anyway, Regia has a great new sock yarn that sets you up for success when you want to knit two socks that match! Regia Pairfect.

I’ve been looking at this sock yarn for quite a long time and I’ve had a lot of questions from our customers about how it works. The knitting instructions, if you can call them that, are inside the ball band so they’re difficult to read unless you buy the yarn. Even when you read them, they’re not very detailed and I did make a mistake when I was starting sock number two.

I used the Yankee Knitter Socks for the Family pattern as a basis for my Pairfect socks. I cast on 60 stitches on a US2 DPN. Because of the self-patterning yarn, it’s not necessary to do anything but knit the majority of the sock. The directions tell you to make a K1, P1 rib until the green yarn is used up and then start the leg, knitting until the blue yarn appears. I’ll suggest that you follow your favorite sock pattern, one that you know fits you.

So, here are a couple of tips and tricks that I discovered while I was knitting my matching socks with Pairfect yarn.

First, at the end of the yellow yarn, measure how far along the green yarn you start your cast on. Write it down so you remember it when you’re ready to start sock #2.

IMG_3164 3

My first short row heel!

Next, I’d suggest checking out the short row heel that Arne and Carlos use. This way they’ll look like the ones on the yarn label. There’s no surprise. Their short row heel is a quick and easy way to knit a heel. I think mine fits quite well. (Mine are going to be a gift for a friend who shares my size 9 foot size. I hope the socks fit her as well as they do me.)

Third, I misunderstood the directions on starting sock two. What you need to do (not what I originally did) is to finish the toe of the first sock and then start winding off the yarn beginning at the same place you just cut the yarn. Your yarn ball will be green and then yellow and THEN when you see the green again, you can start sock two.

I hope you took tip #1 and wrote down how many inches it was to where you started your cast on!

IMG_3278.jpgHere’s what my socks look like all finished. I hope you enjoy knitting a pair of matching socks (the easy way!)

Gone knitting!