I have learned a great new provisional cast on.

I am beginning to knit a new pair of Footie Socks by Miriam Felton. I bought the pattern for these socks because I wear Dansko clogs a lot (A LOT!) and I like to wear socks with them so they don’t get sweaty and gross. I’ve tried the Turkish Bed Socks pattern with some mediocre success. Basically, the problem that I find is that the heel isn’t quite “tall” enough to stay on my heel and in the shoe. This new pattern, I decided to try when a bunch of my knitting friends also started chatting online about the pattern.

Anyway, the provisional cast on is the one that Miriam Felton suggests and she has made a lovely little Youtube video that I would love to share with you – this may be my new go-to provisional cast on! Get a length of scrap yarn (about the same “weight” as your project yarn) and give it a go!

It’s simple. I could manage it the first time and got my 12 stitches provisionally cast on. I’m getting better with the crochet hook and that surely helps. If I was trying to do this cast on and had no experience at all with crochet, it might take me a few tries! As she says at the end of the video, what’s really great about this cast on is that the stitches are oriented in the right direction so that you can just begin knitting with your project yarn.

Anyway … off I go into a new experience!

Gone knitting.

 

Queen Bee WIPs

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Downton Abbey KAL with Jimmy Beans Wool – Lady Violet’s Dinner Gauntlets

This KAL is my first and I am really enjoying it. We’re knitting “Lady Violet’s Dinner Gauntlets” with Lorna’s Laces Sportmate yarn. I love the yarn, although, because we were away for Christmas, I decided to postpone buying the Christmas at Downton colorway and I don’t like my substitute (Spats) as well. I fixed that last week, though, by ordering a new skein of the Downton color way and it should be arriving soon. When the first gauntlets are done, I will happily knit up a second pair! The gauntlets (as you may or may not be able to see) have a violet pattern made up of little yarn overs and they have a pair of eyelets up the inside of the arm. I’m guessing that they’ll be laced at the end. We shall see. Today’s clue will finish the hand and thumb and next week’s clue will tell us why we cast on with a provisional cast on. I must be a real knitting geek/nerd!

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Churchmouse Yarns & Teas – Turkish Bed Socks

These adorable bed socks are the third pair I’ve knitted. The first pair were too big (and I’ve tried to felt them (sort of) to make them fit better. They still fall off my heels but I wear them anyway. They’re wonderful with my clogs!

Pair #2 was frogged. Totally too small because I didn’t swatch with a different sock yarn which turned out to be significantly “thinner” than the Koigu KPPPM that the pattern was written for. That won’t discourage me from trying again because my bee stripe yarn really wants to be a pair of bed socks!

This, obviously is pair #3. The yarn is a hand-dyed colorway that I bought in Maine last summer called “Maine Lobstah” (if my memory serves.) I love it. I did have to go up a needle size to get gauge!

IMG_0926This pattern is a different way to construct socks and it’s fun to do something different for a change. I’ve just completed the heel and joined the flat first part to knit the foot in the round. I should be able to complete this pair with a few hours of knitting time.

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Cantaloupe Baby Feet Wash Cloth

Two Baby Feet wash cloths are finished and off the needles but for weaving in the ends and blocking. I now need to knit a couple of pairs of booties for said baby feet. A sweet friend of mine (a much younger friend) is having twins in February. I thought it appropriate to send her a little something hand knit from me. I really loved knowing her and they’re going to have such an exciting time with two little bundles of joy!

Salmon Baby Feet Wash Cloth

Salmon Baby Feet Wash Cloth

Vintage Velvet scarf

Vintage Velvet scarf from Scarf Style by Pam Allen

And last but certainly not least, my Vintage Velvet scarf. This pattern is from the book Scarf Style by Pam Allen. I’ve had this book for years. Maybe even for a decade. All because I saw this scarf, made by a college friend, way back when and I loved it. When I saw the price of the yarn, however, (Meunch Touch Me), I decided it was too much at that time to “fork over” for a scarf. No matter how much I wanted the scarf. So, I’ve been waiting and watching for an opportunity to buy the yarn on sale. And lo and behold, I got my chance at a yarn shop that was closing (sadly) where the yarn was 50% off! So, for half price, I got my yarn and I’m knitting the scarf.

I wish there were “feel-a-vision” … like smell-a-vision only for those of us who like to feel stuff instead of smell or watch! It is the softest yarn I’ve ever knitted with. And it will be interesting to see how it changes when it’s felted. Yes, you heard me right, I’m going to have to felt it – chenille. Felted. Doesn’t seem right, does it?

So, there you have it. The Queen Bee’s WIPs! Now that I’ve told you all about them, I’m signing off and …

Gone knitting!

Why Swatch?

Downton Abbey KAL swatch

Downton Abbey KAL swatch

I never used to swatch. But after a few knitting disasters, I’ve decided that it’s the new “must happen” in knitting.

My last post was about the trouble I was having with the Turkish Bed Socks pattern. The first time I knit them up, with the suggested yarn and needles, they turned out too large and slip off my heel. (I have to admit to making the foot longer because my feet are not – NOT – eight inches long.) The second time I used a lighter-weight fingering yarn and smaller needles. They looked adorable but they were way (WAY!) too small. I frogged them.

Did I ever tell you about my “boyfriend” sweater? I bought this beautiful bulky tweedy black yarn and knit the sweater. I actually did swatch this one and everything was working up just right – according to the directions. Perfect. Except that I was knitting the wrong size! So, even when you do swatch, you’re not guaranteed perfect fit but it sure will get you close. Next time, measure the boyfriend before knitting an entire sweater! (I’ll be frogging the sweater this summer in Maine. The lake-side frogging will help with my dismay!)

So, back to Turkish Bed socks – version three is on the needles. I’m using the Cooked Lobster colorway handspun that I bought this summer in Maine. I had to go up a needle size to get gauge so I’m knitting on a US #4 using magic loop (I really don’t like knitting with DPNs any more!)

I knitted three swatches for these socks. One on a smaller needle, one on the pattern sized needles and then finally settling on one size up. The only way I’m going to skip the swatch step from this day forward, is if I’m knitting a felted bag! Or something where the size is irrelevant – like …

I just joined to knit in the round … wish me luck!

Gone knitting!

The Trouble with Turkish Bed Socks

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Car Knitting – Turkish Bed Sock in Lorna’s Laces Bee Stripe

I wish I had been more awake last night when I frogged the Turkish Bed Socks that I knitted this weekend. But it was late and I wasn’t thinking well.

Needless to say, I gave it a shot with my wonderful Lorna’s Laces sock yarn and smaller needles (because that’s what the yarn needed). The striping came out really well and I liked the way the socks were looking but they were too small this time.

Turkish Bed Socks in Koigu KPPPM

Turkish Bed Socks in Koigu KPPPM – the first pair … too big!

The last pair (the first pair) I made were too large … which is why I decided to try smaller needles and thought the lighter-weight yarn would be OK. My first pair are wearable but the heel wrapped part is too low on my heel and they slip off. So I wanted to knit a second pair only smaller – But it was too much smaller. The heel wrap was too short (didn’t come up high enough on my heel) and the whole thing was just too tight. And, even though I added a bunch of rows to the length of the foot, they were still too small. OK. Let’s move on.

So, now I’m going shopping in my stashed yarn and I will find a more appropriate skein of yarn and then I will knit it again. When I get a pair of socks that I am happy with, I will happily adjust that pattern to work with lighter-weight yarn!

Gone knitting!

Home?

Back in the land of heat and humidity and the yard weeds are taller than the plants that we dug holes for. Go figure! At least the pots in the front yard aren’t dead and my (now) puny “jazz hands” palm tree is still alive and growing after a near death experience.

I’ve had a fun day today and am going to continue having fun when my girlfriend comes for dinner but I thought I’d take a few minutes to show you what I’ve been working on while I wasn’t blogging … it’s not “much” but it’s work, none the less!

I’ve finished the coveted “Turkish Bed Socks” (find the pattern HERE at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas) and it just reinforced to me how much I love knitting with Koigu wool. It’s simply wonderful to knit with … if you try it on my recommendation and don’t love the way the yarn feels and knits, let me know and I will buy the yarn from you. The colorways are endless, too … you’re bound to love at least one (hundred) colors! The construction was interesting and I only got a bit confused once … and when I stopped reading ahead, I was fine. They’re cute and I’ll be they’re super to wear with my clogs in the winter.

I have made two more pairs of fingerless “Gauntlets”. One is in a gray alpaca DK weight yarn from Village Farm Alpacas in Waldoboro, Maine. The yarn is absolutely the softest and it was good to knit with … nearly as good as the Koigu, just not quite.

The second pair is almost finished. These were knit with a wool and silk blend from Plymouth Yarn Company called Mulberry Merino in a dark emerald green colorway (color 686, Lot 531). The yarn is so soft and the fingerless mitten pattern is wonderful. The yarn is spun loosely and it’s not as much fun to knit with because it splits on the needles and then gets stuck which is annoying! These will either go up on my Etsy site or be given away when I reach 100 “likes” on the Queen Bee Knits facebook page.

My vest in coming along. I’ve finished the back and have started working up one side of the front but I have to be honest, I haven’t really done much knitting. The last few days I was playing with my “old” friends from college at Virginia Beach and there was no time for knitting … I was out riding the waves (body surfing) for over an hour on Saturday. I’m sunburned and getting that “I’m going to peel” itch but it was worth it.

So, now I’m home and I have an order for a baby hat for one of my former au pairs. She’s adopting a little Latino boy from Illinois in October. She’ll be present at the baby’s birth if she has enough time to get from her house to Chicago area in time. How exciting is that? So, I’m off to find some cute patterns for the baby hat and then will hit the shops in person and/or online for yarn. Any suggestions?

Gone knitting … or pattern hunting!