Winter’s Refusal … getting stuck

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Snow! Snow! Snow!

It seems that Winter is not quite ready to concede to Spring. At least not yet. It’s really cold here again and we have been warned by the weather-people that we are likely to have more snow on Tuesday.

I’ve got some great knitting projects on my needles and have been plugging right along on Ma Belle Amie for my aunt. This is a remarkably simple cowl but I love the way that it gives the yarn permission to shine. I’ve made one in a discontinued Maine yarn, Apogee, for myself. You can see it on my Ravlery project page here. The yarn, conveniently, came in four colors. Just what the cowl required. It is a very wearable accessory! The current version is being knitted in three solid colors of Berroco’s Folio and a variegated Folio Color. This is a great project to work on when you’re having an adult beverage or sitting in a knitting group and want to chat instead of counting.

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I’ve also been working on Susan B. Anderson’s Split Back Snowflake Hat which I’m knitting in Berroco Yarn’s Ultra Alpaca worsted-weight yarn. I’ve chosen a medium gray and a white/cream. I love this hat because I love cables and color work. This hat has both … and it’s satisfying to knit hats because they don’t take forever to knit. Finishing projects makes me feel good about myself and makes me feel accomplished because I start and complete a project within a “reasonable” time frame!

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Last, but certainly not least, I’m working on a pair of Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens for a college friend. This is what made me think about writing this post today.

This project began upon my friend seeing this photograph on my Facebook page.

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Maine Woods and Rivers Mittens; top by Terri and bottom by Peggy

The two pairs of mittens above were knit by a talented student and a talented co-worker. A customer wore another pair of mittens into the shop one Friday and we all fell in love with the pattern. It’s free on Ravelry here. I can’t tell you that my attempts to knit these have been easy. I’ve knitted and frogged them multiple times.

Sometimes I think I have a mental block and am quite literally more challenged by some patterns/projects. I didn’t pay attention at the thumb gusset in one attempt and when I looked down, it was a mess. Back I ripped to before the gusset increases. The stream pattern didn’t have the right stitch count. Back I went to the top of the cuff. This is not a difficult pattern. I’ve knitted color work mittens before. So, why, for heaven’s sake, does this pattern present such a challenge for me? I wish I had the answer.

My mittens have one difference. I used an i-cord cast on so that the edge doesn’t roll. And I like the way the edge looks. (Another option would be to cast on the stitches and then purl one round.)

I remain a firm believer in patience in the process. I take a deep breath and frog whatever needs to be re-knit. …If I was knitting for myself, I might not be so particular and “make” it work a bit more “creatively,” but when I am knitting for someone else I am particular about doing it “right”. Knitting soothes my soul and helps me relax. My day isn’t complete when I don’t knit.

Gone knitting.

 

You can find more details about my projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar. Follow me on Facebook at Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner.

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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!

Two Fewer UFOs

This weekend I have finished two projects!

Graffiti Socks

Graffiti Socks

My Susan B. Anthony socks in Gale’s Art Wonder Sock in the Graffiti colorway are finished! I had to frog back the toes of the first one because the knitting gremlins talked me into making the foot seven (rather than seven and a half) inches. My feet are not nine inches long. They are nine and a half inches long. So, for a half inch, I frogged back and re-knit the toes. They’re much better and I am a happy camper. This yarn was amazingly wonderful to work with and I love the way that the colors change. I probably have enough yarn to make one more sock. I may do that … or not. Regardless, I have one more pair of hand knit socks to add to my sock drawer!

Frontenac (front)

Frontenac (front)

I have also finished my Frontenac tunic vest. (This photo is not the finished one, it’s a reasonable facsimile.) It must be a vest since it has no sleeves and I sure do hope I’m going to love it as much as I think I am. I loved this pattern and the yarn is very soft and cozy. That said, the yarn also sheds like crazy. I’m hoping that a good wash and block will change that a bit. Time will tell. This was a very simple knit and only two seams (on the sides) and tiny pockets to attach. The edge of the sleeves were very well designed and I think this will be a garment that I knit again … after I get all the other knitting that I want to do done.

I’m nearing the end of several other projects as well and that means that I can cast on some new ones. I think I will cast on another sweater – this time in the yarn that I bought at the Maine Fiber Frolic two years ago. It has been the pieces of a sweater once before but the pattern was so poor that the sleeves didn’t fit into the arm holes. So, rather than make a sweater that I knew I wouldn’t love, I frogged the whole thing and put the yarn aside. I have found a couple of patterns that I could use (I think) and one of them will be starting soon. I am also casting on a pair of pads/tennis socks for a special girl’s birthday in June. I imagine they’ll knit up super quickly and the self-patterning yarn is amazingly perfect! I also have a bunch of aran weight yarn that my sister-in-love was gifted and she’s not a knitter and gave it to me. I think it will also want to be a garment. Color blocks of ivory and deep purple. I’m seeing it as a longer cardigan, perhaps without buttons.

I brought all the yarn that I bought several years ago to make the Great American Aran Afghan … it’s another huge yarn commitment that I made a long time ago and never finished. Maybe I’ll pull that out and get working on that!

Gone knitting!

Wednesday Night Knitting

Last night was my first knitting night with some of my favorite ladies in Maine at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville. I’ve knitted with the Wednesday night group for several years (since 2007) and have enjoyed every one.

Last night was no exception!

There were some new ladies who joined this group since last summer ended for me. What I love most about knitting groups is that we all get along. While we may never be “besties”, we all enjoy a commonality that we can chat about and laugh about. The stories are not all about knitting. Last night Deb shared that she’d found a full set of false teeth when she was cleaning up her yard. We laughed about it and wondered whether beer was involved. How does someone lose their teeth? Even if they were lost in deep snow, wouldn’t you choose to look for them?

Frontenac (front)

Frontenac (front)

Frontenac (back)

Frontenac (back)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m nearly done with my Frontenac turtleneck tunic that I bought on the Yarn Crawl in Orlando. I’ve sewn in almost all the ends and have just the side seams left to go. I can’t wait to wear it! I can probably wear it to knitting next week! The yarn is so cozy and soft, I’ll bet this will be one of my favorite sweaters to wear.

I’ve been working on my two pairs of socks, too.

Graffiti Socks - two toes to go!

Graffiti Socks – two toes to go!

I frogged back the toe on the Graffiti socks because they were a tad too short. The yarn is hand-dyed and as such they’re not matchy-matchy at all. I still love them. This yarn is one that just makes me happy to look at. I need to get cracking and finish these so I can cast on a new pair (a birthday gift for a very special girl).

Patons Socks

Patons Socks

 

 

My Patons socks are coming along. I confess that I haven’t worked on these since we left Florida but I’ve finished the first sock and will get the second one rolling … I love the colorway of these socks. I can’t wait to wear them.

I’ll finish both pairs soon. I can wear them up here in Maine … socks are a necessity in late April! I sure wouldn’t have been wearing them in Florida right now!

Churchmouse Yarns Mohair Stripe Wrap

Churchmouse Yarns Mohair Stripe Wrap

I’ve worked a little bit on my mohair striped wrap and I’m going to love this next winter. Mohair by nature is a very light fiber but because it’s “fuzzy”, it’s also very warm. I know I will be living with this around my neck when it starts to get cold in the fall. I’m about half to two-thirds along on this. I have the better part of two and a half skeins of the yarn left. It’s such a simple knit project and it’s a good one to take to knitting group because I can chat and knit at the same time.

Next up is another sweater … a cardigan, I think. I have the most lovely yarn from the Fiber Frolic here in Maine about two years ago. I had it all knitted up and the sleeves didn’t fit in the arm holes. I frogged it … that’s what happens when you use a free pattern sometimes. Makes spending money to buy a pattern worthwhile when you have to frog a whole sweater. Typically, purchasing patterns means that they’ve been test-knitted and checked for accuracy! Also, I will be knitting some wonderful peds (short socks) for a special girl’s birthday in June. I have a beautiful blue yarn to knit a dress/tunic with also. I’m eager to knit up some wonderful garments to keep me warm in the fall! I gave away most of my sweaters when I moved to Florida!

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!