Pinwheel baby blanket


This is Oat Couture’s “PInwheel Afghan,” a baby-sized blanket available for download on Patternfish.  Oat Couture has been designing wonderful knitting pattern booklets for decades. With the patterns now available on the web, that should mean that gobs of us knitters will find them more easily.

This is knit in an easy-care Plymouth Encore Worsted Tweed. I was aiming for a sophisticated look. Hopefully, the intended new mom will not just think the colors are drab.

The pattern calls for 1000 yards of yarn, and I needed just about every yard. I’ve knit this before and knew that the yardage was close, so I bought an extra just-in-case skein. Here  is the same pattern worked up in Encore Colorspun.




On Saturday morning, June 15th, one loon was on the nest tucked near the water on the west side of Belly Button Island. On June 16th, Father’s Day, we saw tiny brown puffs riding on a parent’s back. We weren’t sure if there was one chick or two.

This is the scene near the entrance to Ghost Bay one week later on June 23rd. One of the twins is the back seat driver and the other is trailing behind. We watched the chicks “viewing” underwater, with their heads nearly submerged. They’re learning to fish already. The second parent flew in a few minutes after this photo was taken. For a loon, he made an exceptional landing. Showing off for the kids, I guess. There was not the usual hard braking and skidding and splashing.

OK Long-lakers. We need to watch out for this little family during the upcoming 4th of July activities on the lake. Last year we lost one chick, somehow–maybe to a Bald Eagle or big snapping turtle or illness (and hopefully not a power boat). Let’s keep our fingers crossed that these two make it to their October loony adolescence.

Please also keep our fishing lines free of lead sinkers. The sinkers, especially split-shot, can easily end up on the lake bottom. Loons need to eat small pebbles from the lake bottom to aid their digestion. But if loons eat lead instead, it doesn’t take much for them to die of lead poisoning.

As of this past weekend, no sign that the second nest has been successful yet. The second pair is nesting in the lower lake, on the tiny island on the west side.

Turkey vulture


This beauty was spotted on County Road 628, about half of the way between County Road 459 and M-33.  He sprung out of the ditch, onto a low-hanging branch, and gave us the once-over.

Me: “Ah, my lovely…so sorry to have interrupted your repast.”

Buzz: “My repast? You mean that carcass I was ripping apart?”

Me: “Yes, that dead thing you were up to your eyeballs in.”

Buzz. “You can’t have it. If you even try, me and my kettle-buds will have your eyeballs as dessert.”

Me: “Enjoy.”

Camelot Best Friend Bear


This is Best Friend Bear, another Lion Brand pattern available free, after you sign on to their site. This is an easy, very cute pattern. My only modification was to gather the neck in a bit. It’s shown here in Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend. Quite a nice yarn, especially for baby and kid stuff that is going to lead a hopefully hard life. Some day, after this bear is gifted, I hope to encounter Best Friend Bear worn to a frazzle because some special child has adopted this bear as a favorite stuffed buddy.

But, the bear did look very bare.

I got to thinking about a particularly disappointing knit 3-4 years ago. I started working on a Lucy Neatby sock kit, with wonderful Koigu KPM sock yarn. The pattern is Neatby’s Camelot Socks. In fact, the featured sock is exactly the colorway I was working with, but at the time it was kitted with Koigu. I got all the way through the cuff and just beyond turning the heel when I realized I’d goofed up on the instep pattern on one side. I was at a loss to figure what I’d done wrong. I planned to let it rest for a few days and return to it later. It is rare that I put a project into hibernation. This one was too beautiful to abandon. But I did.

So, I slid the bear into my half-a-Camelot sock and realized that I might be able to modify the sock to fit the bear as a hooded dress. The garter stitch cuff could be hemmed to the correct length. I could add sleeves and then, gulp, steek on the inside. The heel could be the hood. I’d just need to do some finishing work to frame the face better.

So, this is my Camelot hooded dress:






OK, I know I’m tooting my own horn here, but this “save” has me totally pleased with myself. The knitting has not gone to waste. Neither has the yarn. And I don’t have to feel the least bit guilty for not finishing a project. In fact, it takes a trained knitting eye to even notice my patterning mistake.

Here’s the whole Lion Brand set, Long-Eared Bunny, Knitted Lion, Cute Cabled Lamb and Best Friend Bear:


Lion Brand lion


This is my version of Lion Brand’s Knitted Lion, a free pattern available on their website once you provide them with login info. Once again, I knit this with Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend left over from LeCirque.

My modifications were to embroider a face (rather than sew on felt features), add a mouth, and gather in the neck stitches. I also knit my own version of a mane, not of the Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash that the pattern calls for. I just used the same yarn I used for the body. Glitter Eyelash is a “fun fur” type yarn and I thought the mane would be more to my liking without quite so much, well, so much.

Here’s how I knit the mane, which is also my modification: cast on 4, knit one row. Cast on 4 stitches  and bind them off on the way back and continue to complete that row and then knit the row back. Next row, cast on again, and just keep doing that until you have enough knitted to ring the face. Between the ears, I alternated between casting on 4 and and casting on 6 (and always immediately binding off that same number). Then, for the sides and bottom of the mane, I alternated between 6 and 8 on the cast on (and the bind off).

These small stuffed buddies have been a fun project. They all knit up quickly. In addition to the lion, there’s a rabbit and a lamb.  I’ve also knit a bear that I’ll post soon.

Here’s the lion’s back side. Excuse me, the from-the-back view.