Baby blue

This Cottage Creations old stand-by is Babies and Bears, designed by Carol Anderson and Kristi Williams. It’s sized for newborns to toddlers (and teddy bears). The change in sizing is accomplished by the yarn selection. Mine is knit in Cascade 220 Superwash on size 7 needles. My somewhat educated guess is that it will fit a bear approximately the size of a six month old baby.

This pattern is a great knit, with surprises along the way. In fact, the designers credit Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise pattern for their inspiration. It’s knit from the wrists in to the center, first one half then the other. Graft the two pieces together. Add the hood. Toward the end you’ll be knitting button bands and the garter stitch framing at the bottom. For the detail panel on the front and back, you choose a gansey raised stitch pattern or an easy fair isle. This, of course, is the raised stitch pattern.

The solid color shows off the construction in a way I find very appealing. I’ve also knit it in variegated yarn and in a tweed. Both were cute and well-received by the recipient mom. But from now on I may stick to solids. This one is my definite favorite.

I am feeling rather smug about my button choice. Mom’s old button jar really produced some vintage gems for this piece. I know that parents now have safety concerns about buttons on baby sweaters. I’ve sewed them on well with very sturdy thread. But I’ll save some yarn and I could always remove the buttons, stitch up the buttonholes, and…  I’m not sure what the and would be. Snaps wouldn’t be good. Maybe sewn-on I-cord ties. For now, I’m imagining a teddy bear wearing this.


What a difference buttons can make


Not too long ago I posted about Pam Allen’s Comfy Cardigan, published in Clara Parke’s The Knitter’s Book of Wool. It is indeed comfortable. In fact, as I’m writing this I’m wearing Comfy on a chilly Michigan spring evening. But, nice as these wooden buttons are, they were too much button for this sweater. I looked at the sweater and only saw the buttons. Plus, the fabric is is a bit limp and the buttonholes are placed very close to the edge. So, despite my serious sewing impairment, replacing the buttons had to happen.

These Dill buttons, purchased recently at Mary Maxim’s in Port Huron, are a much better fit for this sweater. They are thin and very lightweight. The mottled yellow green works well with the yarn colorway.

Again while shopping at Mary Maxim’s I also found the perfect thread. I did not know that thread came in variegated colors these days. An interesting development and, again, a good choice for this sweater and these buttons.

Small fry Rambling Rows

This is another Rambling Rows, the brain child of Cottage Creations’ Carol Anderson and Pat Penney. It’s the smallest of the versions the pattern provides. On size 7 needles, knitted up in the worsted weight version of Berroco Comfort, it is 28 inches by 34 inches. To me, it seems like it would be an excellent size for a car seat cozy.

Comfort has great color selection: 66 solids, 13 heathers and 14 print shades. Color choice is not always my strong suit, but I am pleased with how these play together. Quite a 60’s sensibility, including avocado, burnt orange, dark brown. There are a lot of stitches to pick up as each of the individual 55 mitred blocks are connected together. Comfort was a bit splitty for that task. But with just a bit of extra care it worked out fairly well.


Good-bye to an old friend

The sweater is not the old friend. I’ve not worn the sweater much. It’s pretty but the boatneck neckline hasn’t been a favorite look. The “friend” isn’t the pattern either. A bit after completing it, in somewhat an overdose of de-cluttering, I recall throwing the pattern away. So I haven’t even been able to link to it on my Ravelry page and I can’t give attribution here. I just figured I wasn’t going to knit it again and I wouldn’t be recommending it to anyone, so why keep it. I recall it was from a magazine and possibly this was the cover sweater.

The friend is actually the yarn. Tahki’s Soho Bulky. The company seems to be called Tahki Stacy Charles now. I’m sure they are the purveyors of many fine yarns, but the company discontinued Soho Bulky quite a few years ago and knitters everywhere should mourn the loss. OK. That’s an exaggeration. But it was a great yarn. I knit this sweater and basically just keep it around to enjoy the look and feel of this wonderful rugged yarn.

I’ve knit gobs of bears out of Soho Bulky, including this long legged guy who was donated to a charity auction. His body is knit in Soho Bulky. His sweater is knit of a more “refined,” tame yarn.

This sweater, also knit from a pattern I can’t locate anymore, is pure Soho Bulky. It’s seen lots of wear and still looks and feels great.

I have a very high tolerance for wool-against-the-skin. When others are busy complaining about how “itchy” something woolen is, all I feel is nice and cozy. To me, that sense of scratchy yarn against the skin is a comfort. So I have no problem with hats of Soho Bulky.  This one is Jared Flood’s Quincy, with a wonderfully clever mobius strip construction.

And this was probably my Soho Bulky magnum opus. It’s Carol Andeson and Pat Penney’s Rambling Rows afghan knit using their pattern for its grid guide, but without regard for their instructions on color placement. This afghan is laid out on a queen sized bed. If gifted, which it won’t be until they crack open my will, it would come with a small child and cat warning. It could probably crush one under its weight. I lost count of how many skeins I knit to complete the project. When I used up my stash I had to scour the internet looking for extra skeins of the precious Soho Bulky.

I have no skeins left. I used the last of them, mixed in with Philospher’s Wool, to complete this log cabin throw.

So, old friend, it looks like we part company.

Beavers in Ghost Bay

It wouldn’t be half so horrible if they’d learned what we two-legged mammals teach our young’ns: “Finish the one you have before you take another.”

They are eating the living part of the tree. And they are only eating birch trees. I get it that beaver think birch is especially tasty. The Girl Scout Mint Cookie of the tree world, apparently. But this is so so disturbing.

That’s me near the entrance to Ghost Bay, inspecting the damage.

I do not find this even one bit of engineering clever.

We lost count of the number of birch trees toppled and munched all around the perimeter of Ghost Bay. And, as you can see by the lodge, the beaver aren’t even using much of the downed timber to reinforce their home.

These critters have made a royal mess of a place that means a lot to all of us on the lake. In the past, when I caught a glimpse of them swimming, I’d feel quite privileged to share the lake with them. For now, I’m just overcome by the wastefulness of their feeding habits.