thar2This is Thar. Another in a series of Berroco hats named after. Hmm. Maybe the Thar Desert region to the east of the Indus River, in the Pakistani states of Rajasthan and Gujara. The hat doesn’t really remind me of Pakistan, though. Do you suppose Berroco meant tahr? A tahr is a goatlike mammal that lives on cliffs and mountains in southern India, Oman and the Himalayas. Probably not a typo. That’s not the kind of typo commercially produced patterns tend to have. There is a short little river in France named the Thar. There’s an SUV sold in India named Thar. Thar is a pharmaceutical company. And of course the word is also a variant of “there,” as in “them thar hills” or “thar she blows.”

So, meet Thar, a nice Berroco hat pattern that conjures up exotic goats, rugged cars, barren deserts, drugs and either bad or rustic or archaic grammar depending on your point of view. And it will also keep a head quite warm. Knit here in Lodge, a Berroco bulky mix of wool, rayon and nylon.


Jo-Jo’s Vest

jojovestThis is a new pattern from Linda at Knitwise Design: Jo-Jo’s Vest. I knit it in the very economical Paton’s Classic Wool Worsted, which was especially economical because the yarn was seriously discounted. The vest used only a tad over 650 yards, so just barely into the fourth skein. Vests are just the ticket when it comes to lots of bang for the buck.

Here is Jo-Jo’s in progress!


Jo-Jo’s Vest is available on Ravelry. The pattern includes directions for sizes 34 to 58 inch bust. There are even some extra hints for modifying the pattern to accommodate ample-sized bods. The pattern is worked from the bottom up. But it’s knit in one piece. The only seaming is where the neckband attaches at the back of the neck. Even the armhole bands and button bands are integral. To make the fit more flattering, there are a few subtle shapings built in and the sides of the vest are ribbed.

As soon as I finished this one I wanted to cast on for another! Everyone who’s knit it on Ravelry is raving about how well the vest fits. And a number of us are planning to knit another.




The Long Lake loons, 2013

loon_babies2_lowresThese two chicks were born on Belly Button Island, in the north section of Long Lake, on Father’s Day, June 16th. We spotted them riding on a parent’s back on their birthday, but weren’t sure if we were seeing one or two chicks. One week later, as one chick paddled behind a parent and one rode, we knew it was twins.

The chicks grew quickly.


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By September, the chicks are adolescents. They often hang out together without either parent. They are very efficient divers, though they don’t seem to stay underwater as long as the adults do. When a parent is around, they still head over hoping to get a snack, but the parents don’t seem to oblige them anymore. The young loon’s plumage is still immature, but size-wise they are only a tad smaller than the adults.



Like the parents, the young loons will approach a quiet boat. Sometimes they even seem to be drawn to our kayaks. Even this fisherman, on a recent chilly and foggy morning, didn’t frighten off the adolescent.


The parents will be leaving this month and will winter in warmer places down South. The twins will be left behind for another 4-6 weeks. They will stay on Long Lake late enough that we’ll start to worry if they know what they are supposed to do.  For now, they need to get stronger, bulk up a bit for the flight south and, oh yes, practice their take-offs and landings.

The adults are grooming their flight feathers. Well, either that or practicing their yoga poses.


Crossed Cardigan



This is Emily Wessel’s new child’s sweater pattern, crossed cardigan. Wessel and Alexa Ludamen are tincanknits. The pattern includes eight sizes, from 0 to 6 months and on to 11-13 years. I was part of the test knitters’ group and really enjoyed the knitting and the experience of working with these talented designers. The pattern was a bit of a challenge and definitely needs you to keep alert. You start knitting at the center back, with a pinhole cast-on. The designers’ website gives excellent instructions for that.

Here’s the back, followed by a closer look at it:


cross_cardi3My pinhole cast-on was a bit loosey goosey, but I am still very pleased with the sweater. It’s knit in Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool, a 100% merino lightweight worsted. This apricot with subtle yellow highlights is one of my favorites of their colorways.




This is a modification of Hinge, worn here by a 3-year old. Hinge is a hat pattern from Berroco’s Booklet #322. It’s an interesting booklet that includes four hats: Hinge, Gnat, Peel and Thar. (I don’t know why these name choices, but maybe they mean something to someone.)

Hinge is supposed to be slouch hat, but I had not quite enough yarn to give the slouch full sway. It’s knit in fisherman’s rib, a sort of “cheater’s” brioche stitch that involves knitting into the row below. I’d forgotten what a yarn hog the stitch is. It’s shown here in the yarn Berroco recommends for the pattern: Lodge, a bulky weight 47% nylon, 47% wool, 6% rayon blend. Berroco says its “mesmerizing color transitions are punctuated with vibrant tweed flecks” and that it “works up quickly into gorgeous stripes.” I agree it’s a very nice bulky weight. This beanie version of Hinge took 128 yards.

Here’s Hinge on a 6 year old:


Here’s Hinge on an 11-year old. And here’s also where you will see that it’s knit flat and then seamed and that bulky Hinge doesn’t take too well to seaming.