Water Lily Traveling Woman Shawl

I am not a skilled lace knitter. Too often I practice random acts of yarn overs and senseless placement of SSKs. But I am determined to improve and I am quite pleased with myself over my Traveling Woman small shawl.

Liz Abinante has designed this wonderful shawl, written up an exactly correct pattern, and priced it sensibly. It’s suited to just about every weight of yarn, but mine is knit in fingering weight Dream in Color Baby. The colorway is sour apple. My only modification of the large size was to add one repeat of the leaf chart.

This was a fun knit, though it was a challenge for me. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to keep it or gift it. For the moment, I’m just going to stare at it.

Here are a few more views for you to stare at. The last photo explains why mine is a Water Lily Traveling Woman. Steve’s Water Lily photo was taken in July early morning light on Hillman Michigan’s Long Lake, in Ghost Bay.

Plath’s Smoked Meats: a Rogers City Tradition

The Plath’s Smoked Meats story goes way back. Way back to 1913 when Emil Plath, Sr, a German immigrant, opened his small butcher shop in Rogers City and began selling sausages. I’m thinking many a homesick sailor out on the Great Lakes, and sailors shipped out of Rogers City in large numbers in those days, daydreamed about Emil’s sausages.

Plath’s is still going strong 98 years later. Their smoked pork is wonderful. We’ve also tried their hot dogs, polish sausage, bratwurst, and salami. Everything has been great. And their bacon tastes like bacon used to.

The third generation of Plaths runs the business now. Maybe it was Emil who bought the cash register. A big, big, bronze-colored, ornate cash register. With keys!  Keys, imagine that. Check out Plath’s website. But really, with a cash register like that, and such a hoot of a hot dog mascot, who needs a website anyway? Go to Rogers City and check out Plath’s in person but, at the very least, order some of their yummy smoked stuff via the web.

From Hillman to Rogers City is a pretty ride. Take your bikes with you and bike the Rogers City bike path along Lake Huron all the way to the 40th Mile Lighthouse. If your bike breaks, visit the Rogers City “BIKE SHOP” on Second Street (closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday). You can get your bike fixed, buy a snazzy new one, check out the selection of vintage guitars and water bottles, look through their old books and tons of what-nots, see their fence constructed of bike parts, and enjoy the shop’s special eccentricities. So go even if your bike is in good shape. Don’t miss the vintage, restored VW yellow Beetle in the backyard.

And, once you get to Plath’s, be sure to stop by The Painted Lady next door. They have everything from Polish Pottery (on the first floor) to a stuffed wolf (on the second floor). Toys, jewelry, books on local history, hand-crafts, kitchen stuff, a coffee shop, a framing store. The Painted Lady is one of the best gift shops in northeastern Michigan. Their facebook page has no photos, no discussions, no reviews, and nothing on their wall, but that’s because they are busy tending their really cute shop.

The sunrise side is not a shopping mecca.  But  there are some standouts and Rogers City has corralled a bunch of them.

EZ Pillbox

This is a lesson in what a difference a half-stitch in gauge makes. It is supposed to be three stitches to the inch, not 2.5. But I’ve had two skeins of Classic Elite’s Weekend Waterspun in my stash for years and this hat looked to be the pattern that yarn was waiting for. Plus I basically have a pumpkin for a head and I come from a family with other pumpkin heads. I do like loose hats, but this one is probably pushing it. I may felt it and, if I do, I’ll circle back around and post the results.

This is Pillbox Hat from Knit One, Knit All, Schoolhouse Press’s new book of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Garter Stitch Designs. The book is a real charmer. Filled with original comments by EZ, copies of her notes on the patterns, including more of her water color paintings. Garter stitch star booties, clever shaped hats, mittens that fit on either hand, gloves worked flat, and beautiful sweaters and vests. As always with EZ, and garter stitch, the look has a homely quality to it–meant in a good way as conjuring up all things cozy.

The projects are starting to sprout on Ravelry and the Zimmermaniacs are knitting up a storm. Jared Flood has a wonderful blog entry on the book, complete with photos of two never-photographed-before hats that EZ knitted for a neighbor, Joan Morhard Smith (who knew the guru of modern knitting as “Betty”). I bet Betty would be pleased that her daughter (Meg Swanson) was able to publish the garter stitch book EZ’s publishers thought would not sell. They are going to be proven wrong.