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!

Drachenfels by Melanie Berg

View from our House

View from our House

We have been super busy here along the shores of Messalonskee Lake! We are preparing for our family to arrive at the end of July for our wedding and the chores are never-ending! The yard has been landscaped. Inside projects are getting finished. With that, I am getting a bit of knitting and sewing in … more knitting than sewing … but I still haven’t attacked the seaming of my Aran Cardigan because it’s been stinking hot in addition to busy.

There is nothing worse that sitting under the pieces of a wool sweater when the temperatures are in the 80s here in Maine. We don’t have any air conditioning at our house. Normally we only need it a couple of days a year. And our nights are always cool enough to put a sheet and a blanket over us. But I’m not going to work on the seaming of the cardigan until it’s a little bit cooler. So, I’ve cast on another new project that I’ve been waiting to knit. Drachenfels by Melanie Berg.

Drachenfels is a triangular shawl in three colors. I bought my yarn at this year’s Maine Fiber Frolic. The Frolic is the first fiber festival to kick off the season here. I love the event and generally spend a day volunteering and visiting the booths. This year I was determined to live by my stash knitting program. Ha! I blew it when I came upon the sample knit up in the String Theory booth … I bought a different yarn but the same colors that were in her sample shawl and I am very excited about knitting this garter stitch beauty.

My Three Colors

My Three Colors

My yarn is String Theory’s 100% domestic super wash Merino. Each of the three skeins has a generous 425 yards of squishy yumminess. Which should be more than enough – the pattern calls for 333 (of two colors) and 301 yards respectively.  I bought three colors: charcoal gray, blue and green. I chose these three because they were exactly the colors of the sample that I saw. Little did I know that two of my students in my Friday knitting class are also working on this shawl. They’re all lovely. (I’ll try to remember to take pictures!)

This yarn is knitting up to be so soft and squishy. I am loving the feel of it in my hands as I knit.

The first two sections of my Drachenfels

The first two sections of my Drachenfels

The pattern is a simple pattern that starts at one “wingtip” with double increases on one side and a decrease on the other so that it’s a slightly asymmetrical triangle. The first two sections which I have completed are straight forward (I did use a marker to mark the right side of the fabric) and when the first complimentary color was introduced, I got really excited. I love my colors! The blue just pops off the gray!

The section two slip stitch pattern is lovely and I am rolling right along. The first part of the pattern repeats sections 1 and 2 several times. I’ve repeated twice and am on to the third. Rolling right along.

I have a feeling that one of my daughters may want to steal this one from me.

Gone knitting.

On the Needles

I finished my taxes so I treated myself to a new  project!

The Atchafalaya Swamp

The Atchafalaya Swamp

When I was in Louisiana for Spring Break, I taught a couple of classes at the Yarn Nook. It’s a really wonderful shop in Lafayette, LA and it just so happens that my sister-in-love works there. When she knew I was coming for a visit she told the owners and they invited me to teach a class. It is humbling to have them ask me back and I was thrilled to accept.

Teaching aside, Wednesday was a work day for my sister-in-law, Kathy. And of course I went along! Who wouldn’t want to spend the day in a yarn shop?

While I was there, I wandered the shop to check out the yarn, bags, and all the good stuff. I happened to notice a Churchmouse Yarns pattern for a mohair striped wrap. I loved the colors, the feel of the yarn and, the fact is, I’m moving to Maine from Florida and I’m going to need warm clothes. So, all my teaching money (and then some) went to new yarn and pattern rather than gas! I purchased four balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe in four different colorways. I’m knitting it with my Knitters Pride Dreams circular needle (US 7) because the yarn is very slippery and it would slip right off my Signature needles!

"Graffiti" Sock #1

“Graffiti” Sock #1

I have a pair of socks that I’m knitting from Susan B. Anderson’s “How I Make my Socks” pattern. The yarn is one that I saw on Susan’s Instagram feed and went immediately to buy from Gale’s Art on Etsy in the Graffiti colorway. I am loving the way the yarn is knitting up and I love the sock pattern. The first sock fits like a glove. (Well, not really, it fits like a sock. And it fits perfectly!) The pattern is super easy to follow and the socks are knitting up in a jiffy!

Frontenac

Frontenac

My Frontenac vest is knitting up bee-utifully and very quickly due to the bulkier weight yarn that I bought. The yarn is Berroco’s Inca Tweed in two colorways: 8901 Playa and 8934 Noche. One is a beige or camel color and the other is a slate gray. The front and over the shoulders will be beige and the back, gray with a turtle neck. It’s a quick and simple knit thus far and I am looking forward to wearing it over a turtleneck shirt with long sleeves when we get up to Maine! Inca Tweed is a yummy soft yarn with just enough tweedy flecks in it to make it interesting. It’s got a little bit of thick and thin going on and it’s not split-y or annoying to knit with. I’m loving this project!

Still in time out is the Lobster Hat that I started up in Maine last summer. It’s a testament to the fact that I don’t like color work and, particularly, I don’t care for carrying the yarns behind the work. I find it tedious. Maybe because I’ve not done enough of it and my tension is sometimes inconsistent but I will finish it one of these days (or years).

I frogged the Olivia Cowl that I started. I was knitting it with some bee-utiful light blue worsted-weight yarn from Swans Island Yarn Company. The yarn is too pretty to be knit into something that I don’t love. Olivia is frogged. The yarn is waiting for my calling.

On my queue are a few other projects … worsted-weight “hiking” socks for my sweetie, a sock-weight hat for him, too. I have a dress that I want to knit, too. And a “boxy” sweater, probably a cardigan, to knit for me. Of course, when I finish my second graffiti sock, I’ll have to start another pair!

Gone knitting!

 

Queen Bee’s Striped iPad Envelope

Somebody loves me! I got an iPad for Christmas!

Somebody loves me! I got an iPad for Christmas! Isn’t she beautiful!?

I love my snazzy new iPad. When I’ve taken it to work in my purse or knitting bag, I have worried about scratching the silver back of the thing. So, as any reasonable person would do, I decided to whip up a little envelope to put it in.

Finished iPad Envelope

Finished iPad Envelope

Into my Odds and Ends stash I went and found some Paton’s Classic Wool that I had in two shades of grey, and acid green and one cream that’s Plymouth Yarn, Galway Worsted. My iPad measures about 9.5 x 7.5 inches and I have the Apple screen cover … I knew I didn’t want to fight to put the device into the envelope every time so I wanted it to be a little bit bigger than that. (And don’t forget when you’re designing something, that you have to take into consideration the depth of the device.)

Left-overs from previous projects

Left-overs from previous projects … the starting point!

Looking at my yarn ball band (20 stitches=4 inches) and knowing that I knit pretty close to gauge, I cast on 80 stitches on my US 7 16-inch circular needles.

You can use as many or as few colors as you like. I used four colors. If my scraps were smaller, I’d have used more (and I may make one to give away!) Click on the link to download the pattern!

The Queen Bee’s iPad Envelope

I do have a few suggestions that will make your knitting simpler and may also make you happier with the process and the finishing!

1) You can carry the dark grey yarn up the piece because you’re going to use it every three rows. This saves you a bunch of ends to knit as you go or weave in. You can carry yarn when you have three or fewer rows before you’re going to use the color again. But there will be two ends for every other color change so …

2) Weave in your ends as you go. If, when you add a new yarn, you carry the ends of the yarns for a few stitches, you won’t have a bunch of ends to weave in. I’ve written about this in my blog click here! This makes knitting strips SO much more pleasant when you get to the end of your project. Promise!

3) If you are a “type A” and you like your knitted projects to be “perfect”, you’re not going to be pleased with the way the piece looks unless you work a “jog-less join”. It’s an added task to remember when you’re changing colors, but if you think of knitting in the round as creating a spiral rather than row upon row of knitting, you’re never going to have everything line up perfectly when you’re knitting stripes. I’ve blogged about the “jog-less join” before so check it out before you start. I didn’t worry about it and this is what my edge looks like … could you live with this? If so, don’t worry about the jog-less join. If not, give it a shot!

Without Jog-less joins! Not perfect but I'm OK with that  (this time!)

Without Jog-less joins! Not perfect but I’m OK with that (this time!)

So, there you have it! Another knitting adventure with the Queen Bee.

I hope you enjoy this first free pattern! It’s widely known in the knitting community that free patterns are to be used for your own personal knitting and not for your commercial benefit … please don’t sell items made from this pattern. Contact me if you would like permission to use the pattern for anything other than personal use. Thanks.

Gone knitting!

How to Weave in Ends as you Knit!

I just completed a pair of wonderful striped Christmas stockings. They are beautiful – but they had a bazillion ends that needed to be woven in at the end of the project

At least a bazillion loose ends!

… unless you knew this trick!

You can weave in the ends as you go and avoid the drudgery at the end! (It’s a bit like avoiding seaming by learning to knit in the round!)

So, “how do you do it?” you ask? Here’s how.

When you’ve knit to the place where you need to change colors or yarns, you can make your first stitch with the new yarn. And what you’re going to do is ” carry” the yarn to be woven in (the old color of yarn) across the next row of stitches by alternatively bringing the old yarn tail up and over your needle and knitting a stitch and then bringing the tail down and knitting a stitch.

Here are a couple of illustrations:

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On right is first green stitch. Making stitch #2

Making the second stitch of the first green row of stitches by inserting right hand needle into the second stitch knit-wise.

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Carry the yarn tail

Bring the yarn tail to be woven in (the black yarn) across the stitches. First bring the tail up over the needle and then wrap your new yarn around the stitch to be made.

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With tail over the needle, wrap your new yarn around the needle to make the next stitch (green)

Bring the tail back down and then finish your stitch.

IMG_0820Make the next stitch “normally” with the tail being held down so that your yarn is carried over the tail yarn (black) when you make the stitch.

Alternate bringing the tail yarn over the needles and holding the tail yarn down while you make the next four or five stitches. That should be enough to hold the tail. You can finish your row and cut the tails close to your stitches.

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The tail is woven in and doesn’t even show – unfortunately, I chose black yarn so you really can’t see the tail!

I hope this helps!

Gone knitting!

 

Jogless Joins … say that three times fast!

So, I’ve been wanting to knit one of the beer can mittens that I have seen a couple of on Facebook. Thinking that they must be a pretty normal mitten that is somehow connected back to the base of the mitten (by the cuff). Today is the day!

I pulled out my trusty Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn from my stash in two colors: Onyx and Limeade (not sure where to find my purple shade but that’s already off topic!) and cast on 24 stitches on my size 7US DPNs. Ribbing for a few inches and then switched up to my size 10US needles and added four stitches in the first row of stockinette stitch.

After a few rounds, I decided that the black needed to be broken up with a few stripes. But every time I’ve worked in the round with stripes, I have had that awkward “jog” where the stripes don’t quite match up. Which makes sense because knitting in the round is more like knitting a spiral than stacks of rows that line up (as in straight knitting).

So, to fix the jog, all we need to do is pick up a stitch and knit two together … and this is done very easily in the first stitch of the second round. When you’re ready to change colors, just change colors. Knit one round in your new color. At the beginning of the second round, pick up the right leg of the stitch under (in the old color) your first new color stitch and pull it up and slip it onto your left needle. Then you simply knit the two stitches together and knit to the end of your round. Here is a photo of my knitting … I am going to change from green to black …

First … knit one round with the new color (if you’re using a marker to mark the start of a new round, slip the marker) you are now back to the first stitch.

I’ve finished my first row of my new color (black)

Second … Pick up the right leg of the stitch below with your extra needle and slip it onto your left needle.

The stitch (green) right in front of my thumb is the stitch below. The black stitch above it is the first stitch of my first new color row. (Hope that makes sense!)

I’m picking up the right leg of the stitch below (purl-wise)

and slipping the stitch onto my left-hand needle

And now you can just knit the first two stitches together and then knit to the end of your round.

Knitting the two stitches together (one is the stitch from below and the other is the first stitch with the new color.)

That’s all there is to this method. And as you can see, there is no awkward “jog” now on my stripes.

No jog! 🙂

Note that this works for stripes of at least two rounds. I haven’t figured out if there is a way to do this with one row stripes. I saw one video (on my search for the answers) where Euny Jang alternated where the stripes started rather than stacking them up but starting in the exact same place at the start of the row. But that tutorial will come later. For now you’re all set to knit stripes in the round … with two or more rows per stripe!

Have fun!

Gone knitting!

 

 

Fun and Games – Random Stripe Generator

I found this wonderful knitting tool on a blog. (Does anyone else get lost following from one blog to another around the Internet?) Anyway, I digress …

I found this wonderful knitting tool on Caitlin’s blog (biscuitsandjam dot com) and it helps you create a random stripe pattern for your knits. If, for example you’re knitting a striped scarf, you can click on the colors of yarn you want to use and the number/numbers of rows in each stripe that you want to have in your scarf and the random generator shows you what your scarf will look like.

Better yet, if you don’t like the first pattern, refresh your screen and it will show you another and another and another until you love one. Scroll down and there’s your pattern! Marvelous!

Here’s the link to take you (magically) to biscuitsandjam dot com’s random stripe generator … have fun playing with stripes! And a big thank you to Caitlin (in Portland, OR) for the tool. And the fun blog!