UFOs No More!

Woo! Hoo! I’m wrapping up some (long overdue?) projects … it feels really good to get them off the needles and into use. Socks from hell. These are the ones that I tried (and won’t try again – at least for awhile) to do two socks on one needle. It was a struggle to get the hang of knitting two socks on one needle but I’m always open to a new knitting challenge. This one was OK until I came to turning the heel. I asked Betty (my Maine knitting teacher) who couldn’t explain her method to me and did it for me. I’m sure there are others  – perhaps one person who is in my new knitting group – who like to have their socks exactly the same and that’s what this method is best known for. Perhaps, after a while, I’ll decide to give it another shot. For now, I am glad that these socks are off the needles and I may just have to put them on my feet today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Bag Blue. I have had this yarn hanging around in my stash (yes, I have a pretty amazing stash … what’s the big deal?) since my eldest daughter (now 27 1/2) was around two. My son got quite a giggle about this this morning on the phone and pointed out that the yarn has been traveling around with me for more than two decades. Well, yeah, and so?! 🙂 Anyway, this project grew out of needing a properly-fitting bag for my new Mac. I used a seed stitch for the main body of the bag and then used a more stretchable 2×2 rib (in two colors because I ran out of blue) for the pouch on front that holds the cord. I think it came out well. The black leather button seals it all up and adds a pop – different texture and different color family. I am really proud of the end result and now I need somewhere to travel!

Prima Dogma Bulky Turtle(neck) This is the first half of my first Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits first order. It’s based loosely on a design that I’ve made before but needed to change quite a bit in order to fit a teeny-weeny dog. Truthfully, I’ve knit this sweater twice and “frogged” it twice before I got it right. Now, I have to type up the pattern and will likely start offering these for sale in my Etsy shop. My client asked me to make it pink with grey stripes … I love the colors that I chose and I hope she will like them, too. The sweater is styled to look like you’re wearing your boyfriend’s sweater … a bit big and bulky but oh so very warm and cozy. Yarn is a bulky baby alpaca – super soft and it will also be super warm! Before I block it, Lola will model and I’ll post photos.

Next on the needles… Prima Dogma for Queen Bee Knits Señorita Lolita sweater in a pretty peachy pink wool. Not sure what the flower will be yet. Stay tuned! Also, a hat for my son. Another custom pattern in specific stripes – black, grey and orange – with cables and earflaps. Also black socks (they’re started but haven’t gotten very far) for my son.

Left to finish … my Noni felted bag. Knitting and felting is done but the lining and handles need to be added so I can tote it around. It’s so pretty … maybe tomorrow? I’m not a super-sewer!

We’re off to get outside in this beautiful cooler-but-warming-up weather! It’s already past noon! How does that happen!

Gone knitting!

 

On The Road Again

We’ve had to move out of our Maine house for the month of August which is N’s half-sister’s month. So, we’re on the road again … with our three crazy dogs.

First stop Ipswich, MA. If you’ve never eaten at the Clam Box, you’re missing the best whole-belly fried clams in the whole world! We’ve been there before and have never seen the place without a line out the door. We’re staying with our camp friend from forever ago, Bob … good company and a good friend!

Meanwhile, my Noni bag is mere single-digit rows away from completion! I’m really excited about this one because I’ve never done colorwork and I’m eager to see the finished project off the needles where I can really see the pattern. I got the handles delivered just before my birthday so I’m ready to put it all together when I get back to Orlando.

I’m doing my level best to work on it for a couple hours a day and get it all done before I’m dropped in Atlanta.

Two socks on one needle are frozen and in limbo. Who knew that when you got to turning the heel it wasn’t as easy to figure out. The needles only go one way and you can’t really skip over un-knit stitches to turn the heel as needed. God bless the Internet, though. I found a couple of sites with hints as to how to accomplish this feat … I’ll let you know how it works. BUT it seems that I have to turn one heel, pick up the gusset stitches and then do the second heel. I’ll try it … manana (in other, English, words … tomorrow!)

Gone knitting!

On the Needles (and in my head)

So many patterns and so little time!

I’ve got a couple of projects on the needles and I’m nearly finished with one of them. My big brother’s birthday socks – only a few more inches on the toe of the second sock and they’ll be done. I still love the yummy “java” sock yarn by String Theory … it feels so good knitting with it (and that doesn’t happen with all yarns!)

Today I visited my LYS here and bought a new knitting needle – a 40″ US 13 Addi that I will be using to make my life much (MUCH!) easier. I finished the bottom of my Noni Medallion tote bag and had started picking up the stitches around the bottom for the main part of the bag. The two needles that I had on hand were not working for me – yarn was getting twisted and it was a mess. My new needle makes life oh so very much easier! The two colored knitting colorwork is getting better and better with every row. Knitting in the round on the right side is so totally more easy than purling on the wrong side! Anyway, I got the new needle today because otherwise, I am going to have to knit with two needles and that’s a challenge for me – particularly since this is my first colorwork. Did I mention how much I like my colors? I am looking forward to seeing the bag once the colors and pattern really start to show!

When I was at the Yardgoods Center today, my darling Betty, who also happens to head up my Wednesday night knitting group, sold me a new sock yarn which I will wind and cast on this week! I’ll be happy to knit with and make another pair of socks – and she’s going to teach me how to do two socks at once. The yarn is a German brand … it’s hand-dyed and wound with two strands together so that when you make two socks at once they come out exactly the same. Fliegende Untertasse means flying saucer, she tells me … and that’s what the package looks like. Very different and we’ll see how it looks when I get knitting!

I started to look for a yarn with which to make some fingerless gloves for a darling girl who I haven’t knitted anything for yet. Her birthday’s coming up and she loves gray. Pattern will be with me on Wednesday (I love the Yardgoods Center! They have knitting classes several days and nights a week, it’s not overly expensive and you get a 10% discount on all purchases.) I’ll find yarn on my knitting night because I know I don’t have the right color in my stash that I brought up with me.

There are so many other projects that I have saved patterns for  … and they’re just burning a hole in my knitting bag (kind of like money burns a hole in a “normal” person’s pocket!)

OH, I forgot to mention  that I finished a new cowl. This one will go up for sale in my Etsy shop pretty soon. It’s made from two different navy blue wool blends so it feels really soft and it will be washable (in the machine, on cold and gentle cycle, always lay flat to dry) and wear like iron. I love the way it turned out and it reminds me of the color of our lake when it’s a beautiful blue day with a little breeze.

Bella mittens, colorwork fingerless mitts (fiddlehead pattern from Ravelry is really cool. The “yarn lady” at my LYS had a pair made in two shades of grey, black, cream and lined with grey – yes, in my head there is another pattern to try.) Oh, yeah, and there are the sweaters that I want to design for my dog line. Oh my goodness, there is a lot of yarn out there and I really want to try it all!

So, with that, I’m out of here – going to bed so I can knit again in the morning!

 

From Soft Ball to Hard Crack

This photo is from 2010 ... not yesterday!

I got three loads of laundry done yesterday. It’s a bit different here. I always know we’re home in Belgrade when the first load of wash goes up on the line. It’s totally old fashioned or retro or green or whatever you want to call it, but it’s comforting and I love looking out to see the clean clothes flapping in the breeze (or gale) off the lake. Towels were drying in an hour yesterday despite no sun. Everything smells better when it’s been dried outside – the towels are only a bit rougher!

Yesterday was a productive day – may be because the sun actually peeked it’s head out. I made some really yummy toffee with cashews in it (and dark chocolate on it!) Making candy is really a cinch if you can resist touching it when it’s all in the pan. It wasn’t easy the first time I did it but this time, I didn’t mind at all. A good candy thermometer is just about all you need … watch the mercury rise from soft ball to hard crack and then turn off the heat! The candy is yum-ers! If you’d like to get the recipe for the Sea Salt Chocolate Cashew Toffee, visit this wonderful blog … just click HERE and you’ll be magically transported (you may have to search for the recipe, links aren’t working properly, sorry!)! Since I changed a couple of things, you’ll have to know my toffee doesn’t look exactly like this (this is pretty but too “fussy” for me in Maine). I didn’t use sea salt because I used salted cashews. I had no Karo Syrup so I substituted honey. Finally, I used one 13 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips which I spread on top of the hot but starting to set toffee rather than dipping it in melted chocolate. If you let it get warmed up sitting on top of the hardening candy, you can easily spread it around with a knife. Then watch it disappear!

I’m finishing several little side projects.

You’ve already seen the picture of the Senorita Lolita Sweater (the first design for Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits). In case you’ve missed it, I’m providing another shot of the first and second iterations here. The first one “placed” in a design contest using Koigu skein-ettes. I am over the top pleased with it! The second, while it is not nearly as special visually, it’s perhaps more special to me in that it means that the pattern is written down and I’m making progress!!!

Senorita Lolita (Copyright 2011 Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits

 

I have finished the fingerless mittens … these are a gift for a very special person. The pattern was great to follow and you can find it HEREI did change just a few little things. I didn’t use the smaller needles to cast on (because I like the wider, looser, mitten cuffs and these climb up your arm), I likewise, didn’t cast off two stitches for the thumb (thought it might be too tight). But I love the yarn I used and they’re really pretty – can’t wait to present them to my sweet girl recipient (ha! thought I’d tell you who they are for, didn’t you?! Ha!) I used some yarn that my daughter gave me for my birthday last summer from KnitPicks. Click HERE to be magically transported … I used the “Enchanted” colorway. Pretty!

I did finish the boulette blanket (and wrote down the free pattern which is posted here in my blog) and it was really warm. Ugly but warm for the baby when he was here visiting!

Ugly but Warm - "Boulette" blanket copyright 2011 Queen Bee Knits

I’m finishing all these little already-on-the-needles projects because I forgot all the patterns that I had intended to knit while we’re back East. They’re all down south. Go figure. Lucky we’ve got an event to attend and are flying back there for a long weekend so I can get the patterns and continue my knitting progress.

In the meantime, I have a cowl on the needles and the second design for the Prima Dogma line. Only “problem” is that with all our gray and rainy weather, this designer doesn’t feel a lot like designing.

I have a third pair of Birthday Party socks (thanks to my sister Kathy for the name!) on the needles, too. The first pair was a gift to Kathy for her birthday. The second pair is for sale in my Etsy shop. You can click HERE if you’d like to visit my shop. (Thank you, BTW, for supporting the talented artisans on Etsy.com … if you’ve never visited the site, it’s really quite amazing.)

So, I’m going to go out and brave the wind off the lake and the drizzly rain … just as soon as I have a cup of tea!

Gone knitting!

 

 

Scrappy Socks … and Low Socks

Finishing some projects and it feels oh, so very good!

I’ve been making a concerted effort to use my stashed yarn to clean out the closet and while I’ve been knitting away, the closet doesn’t seem to have a lot more space. Oh well, it will!

I’ve finished Cousin Lisa’s cowl and all it needs is some buttons and it can be wrapped and mailed. Now that it’s warm up north, she will be able to put it in moth balls and wait to wear it in the fall/winter! It turned out to be quite pretty.

I made a pair of socks … well, I started to make a pair of socks ages ago for my daughter’s friend Peter (who collects socks). Got all the way to the tip of the toe and realized that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish two socks. Ok. What to do in this situation? I searched my LYS to see if I could match the yarn and do a toe in a complementary yarn. No such luck. SO, I just frogged them and put the yarn back in the stash and used another different yarn to complete the gift for Peter. Last week, I made a pair of “low” socks with the yarn and then started a pair of “Scrappy” socks to use up the many bits and pieces of sock yarn that I’ve collected (because I can’t throw it away!)

Anyway, I’m knitting … and that’s a good thing!

Woo-hoo!!! Queen Bee Knits is born.

It’s partly a dream come true and partly a necessity. I’ve been an unemployed fiber artist for over a year now. Sunny Florida just isn’t shelling out the wonderful career moves that I’m looking for. I’ve been a knitter for more than 20 years. I was knitting for my children when they were little and I’m still knitting for them now that they’re big. I’ve made a million and one gifts for babies, family members, graduating high school seniors (remind me to tell you about that one at another time!) and friends of my kids. Why not put some things that I’ve made up on the Internet and offer them for sale to others?

And why Queen Bee Knits? I am a true Queen Bee. It all began when a group of PTA moms (I was one of them) decided to build a new playground for the kids at Blue Ash Elementary School in Blue Ash, Ohio. We had a great group of caring mothers and fathers and a crummy old playground that we had inherited. We worked with the cities, parent groups, school district administration and staff and had designed a beautiful playground for the kids. After a “heated” meeting with the large group one of the school officials was overheard saying, “Now I know why there’s a “B” in Blue Ash.” From that day forth, all the moms celebrated being “Bees” and the PTA presidents (of which I was one) were the Queen Bees!

I have the most wonderful bee collection. One day I’ll take some photographs so you can see them. I’ve gotten picky in my “old age” because now I have so many and there’s nowhere to display them all. But I do love them and occasionally will still buy one or more. 😉

So, this blog is intended to tell you about my knitting. I love my craft and I will offer you tips (as I learn them) and show you my works in progress. Like all good knitters, I always have several UFOs that I can pull out of the old knitting bag depending on the time and situation … there is no good pattern to follow after a couple of martinis!

If I’m in a social setting like a knitting group, I have to bring a simple project so I don’t have to count every stitch. Socks are a marvelous simple project. My very most favorite sock pattern is Yankee Knitter Designs


(Pattern #29) Classic Socks for the Family. You can make a sock out of any weight of yarn and for any member of your family from baby to husband (or significant other or lover or … well, you get the idea.)

The reason that I love knitting is that in addition to keeping my hands busy and my head out of the fridge, is that it mirrors life so well. If I could only remember to follow my knitting intuition in life, I’d be so much more relaxed. No mistake is too big to undo – and you can “frog” a project as many times as you need to until you get it right. In life, that translates to no mistake is too big to repair. We can always re-do! I’ve made a few (ha!) mistakes in my life and you’ll hear about them more later, too.

We have so much to learn about knitting, life and each other. I’m so glad that you’ve decided to follow this blog!