Yesterday we had a Nor’Easter. It was coming down like crazy and it was wet snow. Needless to say, much of the state is now without power. We are without power … but we have a generator so we are not totally in the dark.
But I wanted to write to share that I’ve finished my test knit, named for now, the Cashmere People Shawl because it’s knit with Cashmere People yarn. This shawl is designed by Lori Versaci of VERSACIKNITS. As with Lori’s other designs, it’s a classic design and a textural wonderland. Such a fun project to knit.
I started this shawl project just as I was going into self-isolation in mid-March. The shawl calls for three colors of cashgora yarn in sport weight. I really wanted to have my shawl look and feel like a comfy pair of jeans. Casey Rider at Portfiber in Portland, Maine picked the three colors for me and she did an excellent job! I love the way the colors work together and I can’t wait until it’s dry and I can wear it!
I had a tense few moments at the end because I was very afraid I’d run out of the natural color of yarn at the edge. I’m happy to report that I won the game of yarn chicken this time! Woo! Hoo!
This afternoon I wove in the ends and blocked my shawl and I’m so happy to have it done. When the pattern is released, I’ll let you know.
Today is Wednesday Tuesday (Ha! Thanks for the help! I guess I had lost track of the days!) not that it really matters. The only difference between the days is the weather. Yesterday was a true beauty and today is a little cooler but the brilliant sunshine always makes me feel better. We are going for a ride today to buy lobsters for dinner. Change it up a little bit.
I’m making progress (finally!) on my test-knit shawl which is being called Cashmere People Shawl. The design is by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. What I really love about Lori’s designs is the classic style. This is my third test knit for Lori, the first was my Mainstay Pullover in 2015. Sadly, this sweater has gone to live elsewhere because the yarn, a Berroco product, wasn’t color fast and it discolored when I washed it. Boo. The design, however was wonderful and I’ll make it again when I am finished with all my WIPs. (Like that will ever happen!) The second test knit was Open Star which finished in late 2015/early 2016. This is a cardigan and I still love this sweater. You can check out my Ravelry project page for details on both sweaters.
I struggled with the star section of this shawl for whatever reasons. Maybe it’s a simple as the counting; an ability that I often lack. But once I decided to go with reading my knitting, I zipped right along. I’m now into the last section of the shawl which is a “ruffle” of brioche. I need a longer cable on my needles because there are nearly 400 stitches at this point and cramming stitches on the needle and brioche don’t go well together. I’m eager to get this OFF the needles so I can see it in all it’s glory!
I continue to be behind on the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL. But I get about one done each day so, again, progress. I continue to enjoy this KAL because it takes just enough concentration to keep my mind busy and it’s very comforting. I’m trying to avoid Facebook and the news because it’s not very pleasant and plays with my head/anxiety levels. No news is good news just as long as my kids are ok.
And last but not least, I have the correct number of stitches on my son’s birthday socks and I’m (not really) zipping down the foot of the first sock. They’ll be easy to finish because it’s sport weight wool – with a bit of cashmere – so they do knit up a little bit more quickly than fingering weight would. This yarn, KFI Luxury Collection’s Indulgence Cashmere, is so soft. I need to make myself a pair. Or not. In fairness, I have an entire sock drawer full of my hand-knitted socks.
Y’all, this is difficult, isn’t it? I’m a very social person and I love working in a yarn shop, helping people, talking to people, laughing. So, this staying home thing is difficult. And I love my home!
So, here I am wondering how you are doing? I know that there are a few of you who actually read my blog, and I am appreciative of you (all three of you!!!)
I’m doing my best to make every day as positive as I can. I have made some masks and will be making more. My local farmer has asked for masks for her family so that they can go to the farmers’ markets and bring food to their customers’ cars from their farm stand. I also want to make some for my family. I’m not a competent sewist but I’m doing my best. I currently have eight masks that I am happy to donate to anyone who needs them. If you know someone, let me know. They’d be very appropriate for someone working with children.
What else am I doing to stay sane? Baking. Baking is always something that I love doing but when life is in full throttle busy I tend to let the baking slide … giving priority to other things that may not be as pleasurable. When this is all over, I will continue to make baking a priority in my life. My husband, in particular, enjoys the sweets and I do, too. I like to do things that he enjoys and baking reminds me of my grandmother.
I’m also doing some knitting. Not a lot, oddly. I’ve finished my socks (see the previous post) for my neighbor and that felt so good. I’ve been crocheting tiny squares out of my scraps of left-over sock yarn to make a blanket. I’m making progress but this project is going to require lots and lots of these little squares. I will have to buy a solid color to crochet them all together at the end. Here are the squares I made yesterday. They’re small so they’re also very satisfying.
I’ve also been continuing the blocks for the Arne and Carlos Quarantine KAL and I’ve been continuing to be behind! It’s all good. I’m happy with my progress and I like the blocks that I have made. I believe that I’m four blocks behind right now so I am grateful for the weekend when I can catch up a little bit. I believe they’re going to have one more week. I’ll be happy to have something finished that will remind us of this time in our life when life was anything but normal!
And wonder of wonders, I’ve finished the “star” section of my test knit shawl! I’m so happy to have that section behind me. I ended up having a few extra stitches but because I could read my knitting, I made the necessary adjustments and kept on … after the two times that I knew it wasn’t right and frogged back to the previous section. So now I can knit on to the next sections and maybe I’ll finish it before we’re out of “social distancing”!
I have been trying to get up and get showered and dressed every day. Today I’m not only showered and dressed but I’ve vacuumed my studio. It’s actually just over 50 degrees today so I cracked my studio window for some fresh air. Life is good. I hope you’re staying home and staying well.
This is what today looks like outside my house. My sweet hubby has gone out to find a newspaper and I’m dressed and in my studio. It’s damp outside but not too chilly … if you’re properly dressed!
I stayed up late (for me last) night knitting. I’ve finished the second stockinette section of the Cashmere People Shawl test knit and am heading into the star section. I’ll enjoy this textured section and knitting in a new color. Lori (Versaci of VersaciKnits) sure does know how to write a pattern! I’m loving this knit. Did I tell you yesterday that I was wearing the Open Star sweater that I test knit for her? Open Star is a great cardigan pattern. Quick to knit and wonderful texture to keep the knitting interesting!
I’m still two blocks behind on the Arne & Carlos Quarantine Knitting KAL. Ha! Ha! But I’m finding that I really like to have to “work” on this knitting because it takes my mind to a clearer, more focused, less anxious place. I get lost in the counting and the stitches. Concentrating on something is good for the soul! I’ll get block three done today … and maybe block four this weekend. The good news is that the weekend is catch-up time – no new blocks! Yippee!
I’m so grateful that my kids are doing ok in the big city. One of my daughter’s friends has tested positive for the virus. I’m hoping that he recovers fully and soon. A couple of the cities/states that I have lived in in the past are really taking the lead during these trying times. Shout out to NYC and Ohio! That is what leadership looks like. I read today about new evidence that a couple of our elected officials in Georgia and North (or is it South?) Carolina sold off a significant portion of their stock market portfolios to mitigate their losses while telling their constituents and the country that things weren’t so bad. I sure do hope that they get whatever they deserve. What self-serving, corrupt, despicable human beings they are. Karma’s a bitch, folks. (Stepping off my soapbox now.)
So, we will take full advantage of this grey, damp day and I hope you will, too. As always, I’m so grateful to have a warm home to hole up in, plenty of yarn (and food) in our house and friends and family checking in with us. More tomorrow!
Let’s be friends on Ravelry (lindar) and Facebook (QueenBeeKnits by Linda Warner) and Instagram (@QueenBeeKnits). For more information my knitting projects are all on Ravelry!
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and today is not. It’s overcast and gray and the wind is blowing off the lake which makes it cold. I’ve spent the better part of the day in my studio working on several projects.
First job was to call and email and text my class to announce, officially, that all of our classes have been cancelled until at least the end of the month. That’s twelve days at the least. And I’m thinking it’s going to be months instead of weeks. I sure hope I’m wrong! I have the most wonderful group of students. I know I’ve written about them before, but I mean it sincerely. I am really going to miss our Friday gathering.
I am working on a couple of projects … I was supposed to be finishing UFOs but I have cast on a couple of new “corona virus” projects. One is t a MKAL (mystery knit along) that we’re doing at Yardgoods Center. Clues are posted every morning at 8 to our facebook page.
Clue 1: Worsted weight bits and bobs of yarn. US 10 needles. Cast on 225 stitches
Clue 2: Knit 4 rows of garter stitch
Mine is cast on and knitted. That was my second order of business today.
Next I finished the second day of Arne and Carlos’s Quarantine KAL. While we don’t really know what we’re knitting, the small squares in Fair Isle is comforting and really makes my mind focus on the yarn and stitches that my hands are making. It’s a wonderful way to get lost in the process and it’s so comforting. I started off being behind and I’m still behind – as part 4 is being released today and I just finished part 2. Oh well. It’s all good, right?
I”m moving ahead with my test knit for Lori Versaci of Versaciknits. I am really loving the Cashmere People yarns that I am working for. Casey at Portfiber picked the perfect colors to make it feel like a comfy pair of jeans which was exactly what I was thinking for the feeling of this piece. This afternoon I will finish the second stockinette section and start on the next part. It’s not a difficult knit but it does mean that I have to be awake enough to count. I hope to make some good progress this afternoon and I will show you pictures when I get permission to do so. I love Lori’s designs. They’re classic, tailored and they’re brilliantly put together. I’m wearing the sweater that I test knit for her today … I’m going all in with comfy these days!
So, there you go. What we’re up to today. Day four, really, but also day six … it depends on when you started counting. I’ve mostly been in the house since Friday evening, 3/20/2020. While it’s still not “normal” it is feeling a bit less bizarre. We are settling in.
You can follow my knitting projects on Ravelry, “lindar”; on Facebook, QueenBeeKnits by Linda Warner and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.
I bought a Lobster Hat kit at Over the Rainbow Yarns in Rockland, Maine several years ago. I bought it for my daughter for Christmas that year with a promise that I’d knit it for her. Fast forward to today and I “found” the kit in my time out cabinet and decided to give it a go and see if I can’t finish it (finally!!!) All those years ago, I’d begun the knitting but I wasn’t particularly confident about it. I didn’t know how to carry the floats well and my tension was wonky. So I frogged what I had begun, rewound the yarn and started over.
I had avoided stranded knitting/colorwork and Fair Isle for a long, long time. I’ve blogged about this before. But a few years ago my co-worker showed my a pair of beautiful (and warm) Snowflake Mittens and I HAD to knit them. I’ve knitted many pairs of them (one story included two left hands!) and have taught many knitters to make them, too. Worsted weight yarn and only two colors didn’t feel too overwhelming but I wasn’t really eager to try the finer yarns or more than two colors.
This year, however, the stranded knitting projects have been coming at me from everywhere! My co-worker, Peggy, and I made the Sunset Highway sweater. I found a knitted coffee cup cozy pattern that is a Fair Isle pattern knit in the round and steeked as a practice for a sweater I want to knit. I made a Christmas stocking for my daughter. I am knitting a pair of socks, as part of a MKAL and our 2020 Sock Knitting Challenge that is stranded knitting. I just took a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone that turned into a test knit project for her, the subject of which was a Fair Isle cowl (the pattern is coming soon!) And then I found the Lobster Hat.
So, riight now, on my needles is a pair of socks and (ta! da!) the lobster hat. I need to cast on another pair of Snowflake mittens, too, for a friend. I’m really pleased and proud to say that I am feeling very confident with colorwork/stranded knitting. Progress through practice!
You can find out more about these projects and more on my Ravelry Project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Find me on Facebook and Instagram @QueenBeeKnits.
I can’t figure out what drove me to say “yes” to a test knitting project this close to Christmas when I knew I had several knitting projects that had to be completed before Christmas! What was I thinking? Oh, yes. Maybe I was thinking that the last sweater I test knitted for Lori was a big hit and I loved it and this one would be great, too?
So, I have set aside all the other projects in favor of “Open Star” by VersaciKnits. Lori designs classic and timeless sweaters for adults and children. I love her designs. Open Star is a cardigan with a classic shape and a unique stitch pattern that leaves a “lacey” look without being a lace pattern. Knit in a worsted- or aran-weight yarn, it’s a relative quick-knit. (I’d have had it done long ago if I hadn’t had to move into a new home two weeks before it was due to be completed.) Needless to say, my test knit is late this time. But I have enjoyed it … most of the time.
To complete this sweater, one has to be able to count to four and three. Sometimes this is a challenge for me. This is where I have made mistakes and had to frog back several rows (time after time.) To be fair, it can be a bit confusing when you get to the shaping of the shoulder and neck. But not confusing enough for me to have made so many silly mistakes. I think my head and heart were unpacking boxes when my hands were knitting.
I love the yarn that I chose and that is Quince and Co’s Lark in the Lupine colorway. The yarn is smooth and squishy and feels wonderful in my hands. It’s got a wonderfully soft hand and isn’t splitty. I love the color, too.
I am looking forward to finishing the sleeves so that I can assemble and wear this lovely cardigan … especially since this “winter” in Maine has been so warm. This would be the perfect “jacket” to wear out Christmas shopping!
I just spent a lovely week with my siblings, some spouses and some kids on the “left coast”. Two days in Marin County where my “Irish twin” brother (not really but close enough) lives with his wife and two adorable daughters.
Faye will be 3 in December and Lilah will be one at the end of November. They are precious! It was the first time any of us had met the girls and we all had a blast. Well, their parents are sleep-deprived because of Lilah’s teething. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The Aqua hotel in Marin was a perfect place to stay! They have rental bikes and a beautiful full breakfast buffet. In the evenings after dinner when the girls had to go to sleep, the rest of us sat in the lobby with Wendy (at the front desk) who poured us a glass of wine and baked us fresh hot cookies. She even got the nephews and a brother or two a glass of milk.
On Saturday we had to say farewell to my sister who was headed home to prepare for a bike trip to Italy. (She brought her bike to California and rode every day!) The rest of the crew headed out to Lake Tahoe, Nevada for a few days at the lake. Some fun pictures are at the end of this post!)
With all the family activity, I didn’t get a lot of knitting done. But I did do some.
My Arne & Carlos Regia sock number one is finished and sock number two is started. I love knitting with this yarn and I love the sock! I’m using Susan B. Anderson’s How I Make My Socks pattern which is a very simple, plain sock pattern and my Signature US 1 DPNs. Can’t wait to add them to my sock drawer. For now, they’re in time out so I can finish my test knit sweater. It’s called “Crew, by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. Knit with a DK yarn, I’m using Berroco Fiora in a deep teal color. (Color 3856, dye lot 83925) I am using my Knitters Pride interchangeable needles (US 5) and a 32 inch cord. The pattern is great and I love the drape of the fabric. I’m knitting two sleeves at a time to keep them even and (hopefully) accelerate the finish. I can’t wait to wear it! I’ve finished my Manos Serena shawl. It still needs to have the ends woven in and be blocked but in our little cabin there really isn’t room for me to block knitwear. If we have a sunny day tomorrow I may lay it outside on the grass. I’m eager to see it finished!
Gone knitting (deadline looms)!
Fay, Uncle Rick and Papa
Clowning around in the cul-de-sac
Catching Crawfish (we cooked and ate them, too!)
Old wooden boat on the lake.
Diane, Greg & Melissa – my cousins – at the beach picnic
If I show you a picture of the finished sweater, I think Lori would have to kill me. (Not really.) But just in case, I wanted to show you my progress on my test knitting project for VersaciKnits.
I “worried” about the yarn for several days and finally just “bit the bullet” and bought some lovely Berroco yarn in their Folia line (40% cotton, 30% viscose, 15% alpaca, 10% nylon, 5% wool). It’s like a mutt blend of yarn with a little bit of everything. But I liked the soft hand and the gauge looked like it would match the pattern requirements. I bought eight skeins/hanks to make the size large in the teal blue color #3856 (dye lot 83925) and, of course, neither of my photographs is color-accurate! I’m knitting with a US 5 circular needle (Knitter’s Pride Dreamz).
I have nine or ten inches knitted up and I am loving the drape and feel of the fabric. I guessI should recheck the gauge to make sure I’m on target. My swatch was pretty much perfect. Stitches were spot on and the rows were a tiny bit shy of what was required but I didn’t block the swatch very aggressively and I know I could have made it work. I’ll remember that with the sweater pieces before I seam!
Our timeline is to have the sweater finished in four to six weeks. We got the pattern on July 16th and have had one update since then. I’d better quit blogging and get knitting!
I am nearly done with my first test knitting “job”. It’s been a very rewarding experience, and beyond the knitting, I’ve been privileged to “meet” some wonderful and fun knitters. Enough so that I am hoping they’ll take me up on my offer to host a knitting retreat at our house in Maine next September (2015).
My pattern is called “Fannar” and will be in the new book, coming out soon, called “Frozen: Aurora Borealis Mittens.” (No, I didn’t get paid, since I know you’re all wondering!) When I received my yarn, “ordinary” Cascade 220 in a lovely ivory and grey tweed, I immediately felt some relief from my perceived design-envy. First lesson learned: You don’t have to use exotic (aka pricey) yarns when you design! Who knew!? I was so excited that I nearly tinkled! 🙂
The fabric – unfelted
The initial pattern that I was sent was a chart. Now, I’ve knitted from charts many times before but never for an entire pattern and it was intimidating for about ten minutes. Until I realized that I knew this! I know this! I had it covered and I could do it. And I cast on with a provisional cast on to leave some live stitches for the cuff.
I knitted up the largest size and after I’d reached the thumb crotch my gut was telling me that this puppy was absolutely over-the-top humongous! I sent a photo to Shannon and she, too, was amazed at its girth. So, I frogged the behemoth and we started from scratch. As Shannon was out of town, Andi stepped in and whipped up an entirely new mitten pattern. And I started knitting again … this time a more appropriate size, even knowing that it is going to be felted.
Thumb Gusset (part deux) – way more normal!
The second iteration of “Fannar” is much more normal and the knitting process is super quick. Since I got the one-color mitten, I think I got the easiest job in the book. It’s been super fun to follow the secret Facebook group and watch as other test knitters knit their patterns. And to learn about the comment threads via email, used to communicate. It makes me want to knit more color work. That may be my summer challenge.
I’m wrapping up the second mitten and will finish the second thumb today. Then my job will be over. I can’t wait to see the finished product – the mitten will be felted in Ohio and a cuff will be knitted on afterward (thus the special cast on). I think I am going to have to knit up a pair for myself and felt them and see how it turns out … just for sh#$s and giggles!