Bear Pair Teddy Bear

charity_bearThis is a Bear Pair Teddy Bear. The pattern is attributed to “A.B.” and is available free at Bev’s Country Cottage. I knit this from an easy care, no-name, acrylic yarn provided by my knitting guild, the Black Sheep Knitting Guild. The Guild will be donating these bears and other animals and dolls to children who need a softie to cuddle.

This is a very quick, very easy knit. Here’s another I completed, including a small stockinette scar accidentally knitted on bear’s face.

Bear_pair2

You may be wondering why “A.B.” calls her one-bear pattern a bear pair. Check out the clever construction. You just fold at the center point, sew the seams, stuff, and gather in the neck a tad.

Bear_skin

 

Grabbit

grabbit_blocked2

This is a Grabbit. It’s another interesting Cottage Creations pattern by Carol A. Anderson. Cottage Creations pattern booklets are available in local yarn shops, many on-line retailers, and via Carol’s website. The booklets aren’t (yet) downloadable, but they’re so worth the effort to find them.

A few more views of Grabbit show what makes it a tad idiosyncratic (if knitting can be called that).

Grabbit_blocked4

Grabbit_blocked3

It’s a carry-all. To create a neat bundle of belongings, you just thread the knitted loop through the gigantic buttonholes rimming the edge. But it’s also a nice playmat. It even works as a small blanket.

grabbit_blocked

Grabbit_blocked5This Grabbit is knit in my seemingly endless supply of Martha Stewart Lion Brand Extra Soft Wool Blend. I believe I purchased a tad more than I needed for LeCirque Baby Playmat, even if the  bunny, the lamb, the lion, the bear, the vest and the Grabbit had all been planned from the outset. Let’s just say, the layette is shaping up. And Grabbit is going to be the packaging for the stuffed buddies.

 

Osprey

osprey1_lowres

osprey2_lowresI would have thought the fish this osprey spotted in Ghost Bay didn’t have a chance. But this time the fish escaped. Look at that yellow eye and you can know it was among the last things many a fish saw. Osprey grab fish with their talons and not their beaks and they fly off to feed holding the fish in a head forward position. Less drag means they can manage a bigger fish in flight.

Osprey populations were decimated in the 1950’s and 1960’s mostly because of DDT use. Raptors are top-of-the-food-chain creatures. This means everybody else’s DDT collected in their bodies. They had no way to expel the toxins. One result? The bird’s calcium metabolism was interfered with. DDT-infested osprey laid eggs with shells so thin that they broke during incubation. But with DDT-bans in place for many decades now, the population has recovered. Wikipedia reports that the only raptor with a wider distribution is the peregrine falcon.

Osprey leave Long Lake (and Michigan) in the fall and return in the spring. Scientists are learning more about their wintering activities by attaching solar-battery backpacks to birds. During their 15-20 year lifespan, they may log 160,000 migration flight miles. During 13 days in 2008, one osprey flew 2700 miles–all the way from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts to French Guiana in South America. Young male osprey will spend two seasons in warmer places than Michigan and then return annually to the area where they hatched. Females disperse more widely.

If you know where the osprey are nesting on Long Lake, please leave a comment and let me know. It’s been many years since the stick nest atop the utility pole at the southern end of the lower bowl disappeared. And watch for these “fish hawks” on our lake. Usually it takes an osprey 12 minutes to catch a fish. That’s not a study at our lake, but let’s just say that my fishing success statistics are not quite that good.

Evolution of a pony

kaloula

I had 1/3 of a skein of this great hand-dyed Grande Merino worsted, from Karen Bradley of Kaloula Yarn, left over from my Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl. It would likely have been enough for a hat. Probably. But the long runs of color could have made selection of a pattern tricky. I thought of Wurm, but slouchy Quaker Rib Wurm is a yarn hog.

I decided to return to a pattern I’ve knit something like 200 times since first being introduced to it 24 years ago when my son attended a Waldorf preschool: Acorn Hill Pony.

First stage, some flat garter stitch skins slightly resembling ponies.

ponies

Next step, sewing and stuffing. The ponies begin to take shape.

pony_limp

I sewed them up on the drive to the lake this past weekend. For awhile, they perched on the dashboard.

Once stuffed, they need to get their braided tails and manes. That’s a modification I made to the pattern. Noro Kureyon is a big favorite for that.

Kureyon

The braiding takes about as long as the knitting.

One,

purple_ponytwo,

Gray_pony

three,

Blue_pony

makes a herd.

ponyherd2

You can check out more Acorn Ponies here, and here. Such a fun nostalgic knit. Thanks, Waldorf!

 

This is Crazy

Friends_meCrazy f/k/a Crazy Mill Ends is Stonehedge Fiber Mills’ merino, alpaca, llama entry into the DK weight class. If it were up to me, I’d gold medal it. Great yarn. My fingers tell me it’s heavy on the merino, which is just fine by me.

This crescent shaped shawl pattern, worked from the bottom up, is by Deby Lake of O/C Knitiot Designs. The only name it bears is Octoberfest Mystery KAL 2012. It’s available on Ravelry for $3.00. The drop stitch fringe is the star, but Lake provides an alternative fringe if dropped stitches don’t catch your fancy.

Here’s a few more views:

October_shawl

October_shawl4

I knit six repeats, rather than four, of the first two stitch patterns. That added some length, which I like. With the added repeats, the shawl used up all but 20 grams of three skeins. Mine is worked on US needle sizes 7 and 8, at a slightly smaller gauge than what the pattern calls for. Crazy was just not happy at the full gauge.

Minus the second skein from the left, here’s how the yarn looked skeined, before it grew up to be a shawl. I just let the colors land every way they wanted to. crazy_stonehedge