Happy Mothers/Mother’s/Mothers’ Day!

IMG_8309

It’s hard to imagine that nearly a month has passed (again) since I’ve posted something about my knitting life – or anything about my life. I wish that I could say that I’ve been on an exotic trip to Africa or on a tour around Europe but I’ve been happily ensconced in my normal day-to-day life in Maine, USA.

Today is Mother’s Day. I heard from all five kids and have eaten my gift of Graeter’s Ice Cream (six flavors, all with chocolate chunks) twice a day since it arrived. I’ve been knitting less and resting my hands more. Sadly, I’ve got some arm aches that lead to thumb pain on Friday and that’s enough to make me slow down.

I took my Orange Peel quilt to the long arm machine yesterday and got it about half-quilted before something happened with the machine. Initially we thought it was a band slipping but as I worked, the noise got worse and it was bad enough to stop using it. With any luck, the repair man is coming on Thursday and maybe I can finish quilting on Friday after class.

I’ve been happy at work at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville. I’m in the store Tuesday and Thursday and I teach on Friday. I love our customers and I love working with creative people. We are participating in the first “Maine Yarn Cruise” this summer and we’ve been getting our planning done. Prizes, patterns, kits, etc. There is a lot of planning to do and 19 or so shops participating from around the state. I love teaching, too. I had 20 students last week – three of whom stayed all day – and I so enjoy helping my students conquer their knitting challenges and learn something new. I also enjoy stretching my own knitting knowledge. Each challenge that students bring to me are a new test of my skills as a knitter and I realize each time that I am really a good knitter, capable of figuring out just about anything that’s brought my way. Confidence building!

I am knitting and making progress.

I cast on for the Joji Locatelli “Starting Point MKAL” and have gotten about half-way through clue number 1. Trying to pace myself. More details will follow but you can also check me out in Ravelry (lindar). I’m nearly finished with a sweater for my sweetie. I’m knitting “Flax” by Tin Can Knits. What a great garment! I’ll have to make more. “Flax” is designed to be worked in worsted weight yarn. I’m using Ella Rae Classic Wool in a really pretty blue color. My husband will look wonderful in the blue! I’ve got most of one sleeve to complete and then the ribbing for two sleeves (after it’s tried on once more).

I have two pairs of socks on the needles – one cuff-down in a speckled yarn and a toe-up pair in Heritage Print by Cascade in Christmas colors. These are the socks that I taught in my adult ed class this past session. One class turned into two … two nights of teaching each week may be one of the reasons I haven’t been posting a whole lot! I also have started another pair of Miriam Felton’s “Footie Socks”. One down, one to go.

I’ve finished husband’s scarf and several “knitted knockers” (www.KnittedKnockers.org). Have also knitted a pair of socks for my new cousin. I’m in the process of making him a flannel quilt like I made for his big sister.

Image (1) knitting-002-199x300.jpg for post 1462My little dog, Lola, has had kennel cough and is now struggling with a goopy eye. Probably spring allergies. Both little dogs are heading to a new groomer on Wednesday and I’m sure that will help – we’re horribly over due for a hair cut! I’m working on finding a new hair dresser, too!

Moving to a new place is a challenge. I’m still working on finding all of the doctors, hair and nail people, groomers, veterinarians, stores to shop in, etc. But we are so glad that we moved to Maine. We are looking forward to more time on the front porch and summer visitors!

Gone knitting!

Yes, I’m knitting!

I haven’t been posting a lot. Life is busier than it “should” be for me! We spent a wonderful extended Easter weekend in Marblehead, Massachusetts with my family there. Although most of the Marblehead family was in Hawaii for Spring Break but we helped my sister-in-law dog and house sit! And my boss has been in Florida on vacation so my hours at the Yardgoods Center have been a little bit more than usual. And before Easter both my husband and I were sick with the flu – fortunately, the upper respiratory flu!

I have been knitting and would like to share a couple of projects with you ….

IMG_8228I am teaching a two-at-a-time toe-up socks class for the RSU 18/Messalonskee High School Adult Education program. My class filled really quickly this time … and we offered and filled a second class. So, I’m teaching two evenings a week this month. The pattern we are using is a free pattern on Ravelry called “Lesser Evil” socks. I like this pattern because it’s well-written and it provides some good links for helpful support. My students did a great job! The most difficult part is the cast on and getting used to knitting with magic loop. Tonight is my second Monday class (of three) and I’m hoping they’ll be able to do the gusset increases by next week’s class. I think they will be fine. Because I am who I am, I’m knitting socks, too … partly to remember the pattern which I haven’t used in a few years, and partly because I had a skein of Christmas-y sock yarn that I wanted to knit up!

IMG_8236I’ve pulled out my red wool Vaill Island Vest (also a free pattern on Ravelry) that I started months ago! I love my cotton version of this vest and I am hoping I’ll feel the same about this one. I’m knitting it in Ella Rae Classic worsted wool in a deep red colorway. This is a simple vest, no seaming necessary, and I like the slipped stitches that make the vest visually elongated.

img_8237.jpgBecause I can’t stop starting new projects, I’m also knitting a sweater for my husband in the Ella Rae Classic worsted wool in a beautiful “bright” blue. I chose to knit him “Flax” by Tin Can Knits. I am loving this pattern! It’s a top down (again, no seaming) pullover in sizes baby through adult. I am eager to knit another one in baby sizes. This may be the next class that I teach for the Adult Ed Continuing Education program!

IMG_8238I’ve been working on a cowl, too! I bought some special yarn from a new Maine yarn company called Apogee Yarns out of Saco, Maine. The yarn is wool and on the website it says it’s a fingering weight. On the yarn tag, it says it’s sport weight. I would guess that it’s somewhere in between the two weights … heavier than fingering and not as heavy as sport. The labeling should be consistent, however. They have four colorways – a grey, a rusty-orange, a bee-utiful blue and a creamy white. I love the colors, especially the grey and the blue. I had started a different pattern with this yarn and I didn’t love the way it was knitting up and then one of my Friday students made a cowl that I loved. It’s called “Ma Belle Ami” and it uses all four colors of the Apogee yarn. This pattern is free on Ravelry.

There are several other projects that I am working on but I am going to stop here and go knit for a bit before class. I’ll write more in the future about some of the other projects. You’ve got to be crazy after reading this long post!

Gone knitting!

UFOs Finished!

Like any “good” knitter, I tend to put off finishing projects that I don’t really want to do “right now”. I have a complete sweater sitting in time out waiting for me to seam it. A full sweater. One that I would like to wear but I really don’t love finishing sweaters. This one will take maybe 2 hours to finish … after many more hours than that of knitting it. Regardless, while the sweater sits in time out, I have begun and finished several projects.

Pussy Cat Hats in Pink and Gray … my pattern

Two Pussy Cat hats or Kit Kat hats. One is bright pink for those days when I feel like taking a stand and the other is grey for those days when I want to stand firm but not bring attention to myself. I like they way these worked out. I used Plymouth Yarns Encore Chunky yarn for both hats. Normally, I’d rather knit with natural fibers but these hats are soft and chunky and they knit up super quickly. I also can wash and dry them in my machine. I sent my original hat that I knit in Malabrigo Rios worsted yarn to my future son-in-law. He wanted a hat and I was happy to send mine and knit another for myself.

The pattern is mine.

Queen Bee Knits Pussy Hat

 

With bulky yarn and US 10 16″ circular needle, cast on 72 stitches. K2, P2 ribbing for 12 rounds. Knit around until hat is 9″ from cast on edge. Use a 3-needle bind off to cast off all stitches. Weave in ends. 

 

Feel free to use the pattern for personal use. If you want to give away hats, that’s fine. Please don’t sell these hats. Thank you.

A cowl for a customer. I have a customer who loves my knitted accessories. I’ve knitted her three or four tams in different weights and now a cabled cowl. The latest is a Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho which is a free pattern on Revelry or the Purl Soho website. She didn’t understand that the picture of the cabled cowl wasn’t really how a cowl worked. She was wanting a “dickey” that will sit down on her chest and around her neck rather than a cowl that solely goes around the neck. I’ve finished this one is Cascade 128 Superwash in a lovely teal colorway. It will match the hat that I just made her. She still wants another pair of hats. One in a yellow Cascade 128 and another in a Noro yarn.

I also finished the first block of my Cascade Knitterati Afghan MKAL. I love doing things that are a little bit different. I am not knitting with the same colors that the KAL is recommending (why would I do that?) but have picked one colorway so far that is a dark Granny Smith apple green. I’ve loved the color from afar for a long time and it’s high time to use it somewhere. Squares two and three have been released. I’ll likely knit square three before two because it’s a single color square and I have a single color yarn.

I have been knitting dish cloths for the daughters. It all started with sending three to my children at Christmas time. Daughter #1 asked for more so that they aren’t using paper towels any longer. They’ve been sent. In the meantime, I’ve knitted a few more for Daughter #2. And then I’ve knitted three tiny ones for the little California nieces. I’ve got to mail them away soon. The pattern is Grandma’s Favorite Dish Cloth and it’s a free Rarely pattern. These are all Lily Sugar and Cream yarns one is a pink camouflage colorway and the other simply made me think “Valentines Day”!

Fornicating Deer Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I made my handsome and bald hubby a hat for Valentine’s Day this year. I used a navy and a gray worsted wool by Lamb’s Pride. A long time ago, I saw a chart on Pinterest and I saved it. It made me laugh and it is totally my husband’s sense of humor. It’s called the Fornicating Deer chart by Ann Rutten. It’s on Ravelry. Needless to say, I didn’t have a pattern to go with the chart but I looked at my expected gauge and decided to knit three repeats of the chart. I also decided that once the deer were finished that I would do my decreases and not finish the entire chart. He likes caps that fit tightly but cover his ears. When he came home after work the first day he wore it, he said, “hey hon, now I really have sex on the brain!” Yup. I think he loves his hat.

Oh, I need a better camera. The color is way off!

I do love to finish projects! Today I hope to finish a pair of bright orange work socks (the picture doesn’t come close to the bright “hunting orange” color) for my husband. He loves to wear the thick, warm Raggi yarn socks to work. He works outside in Maine in the winter. Enough said?

Gone knitting!

Teaching and Technology

Choices!

Choices!

Last week I sent some yarn to a customer who lives far away. She wanted to make socks out of Encore Worsted yarn. I sent her a picture of a few choices and we got it mailed to her. On Wednesday I got a phone call and she was stuck. She had gotten her leg and heel flap done, had turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches. But despite having done all the “hard” work she was stuck on the directions to knit the next part – mostly on having the right number of stitches on each needle so she could decrease in the right spot!

Now, any of you who have ever tried to explain something over the phone understand how difficult it is, right? I think every teacher, at one time or another, assigns students to give directions in writing for someone who has never done something. Dialing a phone, making tuna salad? It’s not easy to fully describe any task where you are unable to see the person to whom you are giving directions.

So, I’m on the phone with a customer who is stuck on her sock. First I have to figure out where she is exactly. Next, I have to explain to her what to do next. Well, on Wednesday I didn’t do a good job. We couldn’t find a place where we could communicate with each other well enough to solve the problem. I was feeling like a failure and she was frustrated.

And then she suggested that she might send me a picture! It was a genius idea!

img_7714

This was the picture I got via email

This is the picture that I got. You can see where the working yarn is (at the bottom left-hand corner of the needles) and, if you’ve knit many (MANY) pairs of socks, you know exactly what you would do next. Right? But can you describe to someone over the phone what to do? Well, after spending fifteen minutes on the phone without making any real progress, we finally had a new starting place and new hope!

Once I saw exactly where she was, I could then explain to her what she needed to do next.

She knitted down the left-hand needle and then knitted half of the heel (top) stitches. This becomes needle number three. We are now at the new beginning of the round. Now she can begin her first round with gusset decreases – Needle one will be the second half of the heel stitches and the right-hand needle stitches, the bottom needle is the top of the foot and will be needle two. We already know where needle three is!

Working together with our photograph and the use of our wonderful new technology …

Success!

img_7715

Now she’s ready to complete her foot.

I am so grateful for the challenges that I am given as a teacher.  I love the brain work that it takes to figure out how to solve a challenge for the student and for me. And I have made some wonderful connections and created wonderful friendships, too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love teaching knitting!

knitonwithconfidence2

Footie Socks Failure

IMG_7250Last night I was up until 11pm finishing my first Footie Socks by Miriam Felton. I’ve made a pair before but I was especially excited to use my Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the Rockwell colorway.

When I put the sock on my foot I was really disappointed … it didn’t fit! I had an extra inch or so of space at the heel. The foot was a bit too loose too. I’m not sure how I was so far off! The picture below shows how much fabric I can easily pinch … way too much for the sock to stay as it is. Boo.

IMG_7252

This morning I frogged the sock and rewound it. I’ll remeasure my feet and start again … being more aware of the heel to make sure I get all the wraps and turns right. I love the new method of short rows that she describes! It makes seeing the short row wraps so much easier! More on that later.

Gone knitting.

Interweave Knits Fall 2016

I got my new Interweave Knits Fall 2016 magazine a couple of days ago and it’s full of wonderful designs. But one pattern really caught my eye on my first pass through it, though – Thompson River Socks pattern by Carolyn Kern.

IMG_7203

Seldom does a pattern jump out at me that says, “Go buy this yarn now and cast on as soon as possible!” But this pattern said just that! So, I listened.

It just so happened that I was teaching at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine last Tuesday (the following day) and we carry the Raggi yarn by Jarbo Garn that is called for in the pattern. I grabbed three balls – two in the gray and one red – and set them aside to purchase after my class.

(Note from the Queen Bee: I have it on good authority that the company that makes Raggi yarns is closing up shop. This is a travesty because I love their sock yarns. I wish I could buy the company and keep making the yarn I love it so much. I have a dozen or so balls on hold at my LYS and I may add more to the bag. You might consider collecting some for your stash, too!)

undertheweatherYesterday, when I was at home recovering from the horrible stomach bug/food poisoning that had bitten me on Tuesday night and Wednesday, I cast on the socks. I am surprised that the pattern calls for a US 3 needle which will make the stitches very dense. But, like a good rule follower, I forged ahead.

These socks are knitted toe-up and use a simple cast on and long circular needles (I am using the magic loop method to knit these babies! The pattern for the top of the sock is simple. Since I am knitting the largest size, I added four of the pattern stitches on either side of the cable pattern. The directions weren’t clear on this so I made an executive decision. I’m not sure what I would do if I was knitting the medium size … but this time I am not. The wonderful world of Ravelry.com has allowed me to send a message straight to the inbox of the wonderful designer, however. I am awaiting her reply to make sure I did the right thing … and to find out how to adjust the pattern for the medium-sized pattern since it is my intention to knit those for myself next!

My hands get tired since the fabric is so dense but I made good headway – Here is my progress …

IMG_7201

Gone knitting!

WIPS Wrestling – Ravellenics 2016

imageRavelry has a wonderful knitting challenge during the Olympics and I’ve chosen to be on the “WIPS Wrestling” team and challenge myself to finish several projects during the Olympic Games. I’m proud to say that I have challenged myself to finish, and have finished  four projects so far.

Rustling Leaves Beret

Rustling Leaves Beret

I had a commission to make a lace hat for a customer. Her hat was begun just before the Olympics started. I knit Rustling Leaves Beret by Alana Dakos. It’s a fun knit and pret quick to knit up as well. My customer bought Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock yarn in a navy color. Now, all knitters worth their salt know that dark colors (particularly black but any dark color) are difficult to see your stitches. The biggest challenge for me with this hat was counting, or more specifically, dividing stitches. You begin the hat casting in stitches and I used DPNs. Needless to say, I divided wrong the first time and came up with 30 stitches short. It was going to be a very small hat! The hat is delivered and my customer has requested another hat just like it but in a little brighter blue! I blocked the hat, as directed, on a dinner plate and it was just gorgeous!

Drachenfels - times two

Drachenfels – times two

I also finished my Drachenfels Shawl. I really enjoyed knitting this shawl. I had chosen yarn based on a sample that I saw knitted up at the Maine Fiber Frolic in June. Green is not usually a color I knit with but I loved the three colors together. Drachenfels is by Melanie Berg and is a slightly “off kilter” triangular shawl knit in garter stitch with an Icord bind off. I knit mine with a dark gray, a medium blue and a deep apple green. I loved knitting it and I love e finished result. The sport-weight yarn makes it a quick knit and the shawl is a good size! Two other women in my Froday class are/have knitted this shawl and it’s really fun to see the results in different colors.

Number 2 Pencil Socks

Number 2 Pencil Socks

The wonderful and fun Number 2 Pencil socks are also finished. This was yarn that I waited for for what seemed like forever because the first shipment was lost or stolen in transit. When I finally did get it, it went immediately into my stash to be used as encouragement for me – encouraging me to finish some other projects. It was a very fun project and I can’t wait until it’s cooler and I can actually wear them! The yarn is hand-dyed by Yarn Enabler (she has an Etsy shop). I had seen in on Susan B. anderson’s blog or Facebook page  and it was a total impulse buy but totally worth it  I bought the pattern from Yarn Enabler, too though truth be told, I only partially followed it  I used a heal flap heel rather than a FLK – but I’ll attempt the Fish Lips Kiss heel another time for fun!

4 Needle Snowflake Mittens

4 Needle Snowflake Mittens

Last but not least, is the second pair of Snowflake Mittens. This pattern is a very old pattern gifted to me by my friend and colleague Bette. I made myself a pair and this pair is for my friend. I’ll make a third pair for my sister-in-law in Massachusetts. I typically have a rule to never knit two of the same thing. This pattern is an exception and I fully plan to knit it repeatedly! I used Brown Sheep Company’s Lambs Pride Worsted in White Frost and Navy Sailor. I love the contrast in the colors and I love these mittens. I avoided color work for years but this pattern made me begin to think about conquering my fear of color work. I think I have succeeded. My favorite part of these mittens is the pattern on the inside of the thumb. Isn’t that silly?

The only other thing I’d really like to compete is the Aran Sweater that is sitting in a bag in my studio. It’s been swealtering hot the last few days and I could not sit under it. It was too darned hot! Tomorrow I head to the beach in Virginia with my college girls for a few days. Friends for 40 years, we always have a wonderful time together and Virginia Beach is gorgeous for a little R&R. I may choose to drag it with me and try to seam it in air conditioning. I really haven’t decided.

Next another hat will go on the needles.

Gone knitting!