Top This!


These three cuties are DMC kits: Top This! Hat. Obviously, a giraffe, a flower, and an oddly colored monkey. I knit the giraffe and the flower top, just as the pattern called for on the smallest size. I’d say they’d fit a 1-2 year old.

These hats are knit on size 9 needles (US). That means they take about 2 hours to knit–even if you take a nap for awhile between casting on and casting off.


The toppers are part of the kit. They are attached to the hat though a flexible piece of stiff foam material with two holes pre-drilled. The toppers come with ribbons already sewed on. You pull the ribbons through the holes, pull somewhat tight, tie off the ribbon in a knot and bow, and your hat is complete. Easy as could be. When the hats need to be washed, the ribbon can be undone and the topper can be removed.


I wonder if a little one might find that piece of foam tucked into these hats a bit irritating. I came down on the side of deciding it will feel OK. The foam is made of the same material as what’s used for switch-plate and outlet insulation–if you’ve ever worked with that stuff.

For the monkey, I experimented a bit. I cast on 68 stitches and was determined to use up more of the yarn. I added a few rounds to make a deeper hat. And I also put an extra round between the first several crown decrease rounds. I ended up with a hat sized for an older child or small adult.


The hats are kitted with acrylic yarn that (pretty much) flows from one type to the next with some obvious joins but no outright knots. Each kit comes with the pattern printed on the inside of the ball-band. The patterns, with additional sizes beyond what’s printed on the band, are available free somewhere on the DMC site. I’ve only been able to access it through Ravelry, though. There are three links on the Ravelry project page. Only the middle one, which mentions a PDF that will open immediately, accesses the pattern.

“…is it intervention time?”


I’m a huge fan of Amy Marie’s slip-stitch dishcloths. This pair is her “Dishscraper That Never Sleeps” pattern.  What? An almost-sophisticated dishcloth? How could that be? Maybe we should call this one a spa cloth. Here’s a closer look.

brown_cityAnd here’s its twin city.

skyscraper2I knit it in DROPS Muskat, a sport-weight cotton.

How about her “Flamingo Shores Kitchen and Spa Cloth?” Pretty spiffy, shown here in Knit Picks Dishie Solids.



Sometimes Amy Marie’s cloths are interesting color studies. This one, I call “Bunny Hiding in Spring Grass”–for obvious reasons.


Look what happens in colors that don’t share the same tonal qualities.


“Some Bunny Do the Dishes Cloth” really pops in contrasting colors.


“Squirrel Away the Dishes Cloth” worked well in both colorways I chose. These are knit in every dishcloth knitters’ old standby: Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream.


Definitely very cute, very clever, very easy.


Since I’ve worked through most of Amy Marie’s slip-stitch patterns, maybe Dot won’t need that intervention she has planned for me.  Check out more of this designer’s patterns available for purchase on Ravelry. And check out a few more that I’ve knit and blogged about already.

This amazing Long Lake


It doesn’t get much better than Long Lake in the fall. The sunsets can be dramatic or, as here, peaceful. The weather lately has been great. A bit warm for late September–into the high 70’s and even hitting 80. Cool nights. The mosquitos are gone. This is a wonderful month for napping in the Adirondack chairs.

But this was the lake last Saturday afternoon.


On Saturday morning, Nick braved the rains and winds and was skiing the lake. By afternoon, it was raining at one end of the lake but not the other. The waters were looking mean and green. And the sky. Well, the sky was what you see here.

Pure Michigan, for sure.

Starry, starry night


The weather has been amazing for the past week or so. Perfect temperatures in the 70’s or low 80’s, with clear skies at night. Steve headed out to the end of the dock to capture the night skies. The Big Dipper was clear, even though the glow of sunset hadn’t yet faded.

From the end of our Long Lake dock’s vantage point in the Milky Way, here’s our galaxy. It’s framed at the earth-end by the trees of our bay.


The night skies give a different sense of “up north,” with an emphasis on the “up” part. Humbling.

More warm hats during warm-weather knitting


This is Chameleon. A go-to hat knit for me. I’ve knit a zillion. Probably more like half a zillion. It’s a pattern by Nicky Epstein included in the original Vogue Knitting Caps & Hats book. It was one of the early books in Vogue’s very popular pint-sized hard-cover book series. According to Ravelry, it’s also included in Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Knitting and in Leisure Arts pamphlet 15914 and in Knitter’s Magazine #49, Winter 1997. I believe the first time I knit it was from Knitter’s Magazine.

I hope the reprintability of the pattern means that Epstein has raked in bucketloads of bucks from the pattern. But the way these things go, from what I’ve heard, I’m guessing that’s doubtful. The pattern is also available at Epstein’s website.

It is one good hat.


You can wear it lots of ways. You can fold the cuff up. You can roll the “cuff.” You can even fold the cuff unevenly and pretend you’re Robin Hood. It also has a well-behaved crown decrease. For me, that’s always the sign of a well designed hat. If you gift it to someone you don’t have to immediately start explaining: “I know it looks like it comes to a point, but when you put it on your head it won’t look that way.”

I knit this one in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash. Here’s one in Berroco Comfort.


Speaking of a good hat. This next one is the Easy Hombre Slouch Hat, a free pattern on Ravelry, by Paul S. Neary. It’s a great first Fair Isle project, if you haven’t tried that technique yet.

ombreIt’s crown is also nicely behaved.


This is true even though, off-head, it makes you wonder if you’ll look like you have ruffled brains (or a starfish hiding under your hat).


I knit my Hombre in wickedly great yarn: Shalimar Yarns Breathless in DK weight. 75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk.

Warm hats to celebrate the end of summer.