Peaceful times on Long Lake

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Mid-September on Long Lake. Lots of docks are already out. For many, Labor Day and back to school call a halt to lake activities. The Dog Day afternoons of August do seem far behind us. It was 37 degrees near dawn on Sunday morning.

These quiet times are often some of the best days of the year to be out on the water. Tubing and jet skis are rarely seen. But this can be the prime time for kayaks, the occasional pontoon, and even a paddle board for the wet-suit equipped.

The adult loons have left for their wintering grounds. Our lake’s adolescent chick will be here for at least another month. The chick is flapping its wings and seems to be trying to figure out how to take-off. We haven’t seen any flight yet, though.

Recently we’ve seen eagles, blue herons, and even a three foot long pike moving lazily in the shallows of Ghost Bay. In the lower lake, three river otters put on quite a playful show one afternoon. A doe is regularly bringing her two fawns onto our property. They seem to be enjoying our bumper crop of acorns. We’ve watched an adult pileated woodpecker feeding what must be a young offspring.

And the sunsets. My, the sunsets. We’ve had show-stopper reds and oranges, for sure. But the subtle grays and yellows, those are the calming ones that currently command our full attention.

Young at Heart Hat

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This is a new Knitwise Design hat pattern, Young at Heart, shown here in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. The pattern is set out in 4 sizes, for heads ranging from 18 inches (a toddler) to 24 inches (a pumpkin-headed adult).

Linda has been exploring an interesting slip stitch technique lately, first with the sock pattern, Flora and Stella, sporting slip stitch blossoms and stars on a striped background. And now we have the slip stitch hearts on this sweet hat.

I was so struck with this fun technique that I quickly made a second hat, reversing the colors.

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And you likely already spotted the cute heart topper.

yello_hearthat_topI had an extra incentive to knit two hats. Here’s one half of a set of twins who were gifted with these. They are perfect for twins who want to show off they’re twins, but not identical.

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If you can’t say something nice…

some advise to not say anything at all.

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Let’s see. The feather and fan type stitch was really fun to work. The construction was interesting and a friend and I laughed ourselves silly trying to figure out how this jigsaw puzzle knit fit together. Best laugh we’ve shared in a long time. The yarn, Sirdar Americana, a DK weight in 60% cotton, 40% acrylic, is really quite a nice summer weight yarn.

This is Sirdar’s “Lace Waistcoat” from their Americana booklet #441. I have already gotten some use out of it, on chilly mornings when just a bit of a wrap is all I need. I wear my waistcoat in the house. Where folks won’t see me.

The front of waistcoat is tolerable. The back? Well, that’s another story.

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It’s a large. I’m a large. My gauge was spot on correct. But this back? Not good. I’m short, at 5′ 3″. The model on the cover wearing the cute cowboy hat must be an Amazon or maybe a basketball player. I can’t really think of anything to salvage it. I could run a gathering stitch where the lace starts, but I don’t think what my waistcoat needs is a bit of a butt flare.

It was quite a slog to knit. And I needed one ball more than the pattern called for, by the way.

Ghost Bay raccoons

Steve was in Ghost Bay by 6:30 in the morning and heard quite a commotion in the woods. From all the racket, he prepared to finally get a glimpse of a bear or an elk at the Long Lake watering hole. And. And…

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raccoon2_lowresNo bear. No elk. Three raccoons. Possibly a parent and two almost-grown kits. Two of the raccoons were crashing through the woods, tumbling and nipping at each other. The third, possibly the parent, wore the raccoon equivalent of a long-suffering look. They worked the shoreline, presumably looking for tasty nibbles. Worms, crayfish, clams. Yum.

Duffers

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Mindy Talleck’s Duffers Revisited is a great felted slipper pattern available on Ravelry. Nearly 1300 Ravelers have knitted up a pair and posted about it on their Rav project page. The pattern is set up for basically all sized feet. Using a US size 11 needle, the knitting is quick–maybe 2 hours a slipper if you decide to take a wee nap instead of knit straight through. This top photo is how the slippers look before you felt them.

The green and gray yarn is Shepard’s Wool Worsted, by Stonehedge Fiber Mill. It was the fastest felter in the bunch. Next in the “I’m finished felting” race came the brown pair, in Rowan Creative Focus Worsted. And the slowest to felt? That was still an excellent felter, Lamb’s Pride Worsted, by Brown Sheep.

I decided to knit them all up and felt them together in my top-loading washing machine. I used the hottest water my hot water tank could muster and liquid Ivory Snow.

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I followed Talleck’s pattern precisely, including all the heel decreases. In the tightest of the felted pairs, the heel is a bit overly turned in. But it’s still comfortable on the right-sized foot. And the material molds to the wearer.

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The Rowan pair felted to the softest fabric of the three yarns. It also relaxed the most in the heel area and yielded the widest opening. My young neighbor who received these is studying ballet. I think she’s keen on them partly because they look a bit like a ballet slipper.

The tightest fabric was the Shepard’s wool. I was very happy that I moved up two needle sizes to bind off. Otherwise, I think feet would have had a very tough entry into these pair.

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Duffers look very sweet embellished with buttons or buckles. But my sewing skills are a bit impaired and my button box didn’t yield the perfect buttons. Sewing a few felted balls on this pair brightened them up.

stoneduffers_ballsI have it on good authority that Duffers allow little feet to slide amazingly well on hard-wood floors. So gift them with a warning. And definitely don’t wear them on non-carpeted stairs. If this old duffer makes a pair for herself, I believe she will apply some anti-skid “braking” product.