Wonderful Wallaby


Cottage Creations’ “Wonderful Wallaby” was described as an “adventure in seamless knitting” when seamless knitting really was a bit of an “adventure.” Most sweaters were still being knit in separate sections and then seamed together. For sure there were others doing seamless knitting, but Carol A. Anderson’s Wallaby was a milestone.

The booklet is chatty, pure Anderson, with sweet illustrations throughout. But the directions are totally clear and totally correct. The booklet includes directions for sizes 2 toddler to adult super-sized. It’s available in many local yarn shops, on-line, and direct (but not downloadable) from Cottage Creations.

Wonderfull Wallaby was copyrighted in 1984 and the booklet has been reprinted 23 times. It’s Anderson’s most popular pattern.

My Wallaby is knit in Plymouth Encore. Just over two skeins, 410 yards, was enough to knit a size two, complete with the garter stitch version of the hood and a full pouch.

And what’s most important? It’s very comfy and my grandson likes to wear it.


Loons: bathing, preening, socializing


There’s a pair of loons in lower Long Lake. There’s another pair with some activity on the northwest side of Belly Button Island–where the loons have been nesting the last few years.

The pair in the lower lake were about 30 feet apart when Steve observed a lot of sprucing-up going on. They were nibbling at their feathers–which is a loon’s way of getting rid of any damaged ones. In between nibbling and preening, they would submerge and splash like crazy. That “bathing” activity gets rid of the preening debris.

Then some behavior started that seemed partly aimed at each other in addition to personal grooming. There was a good deal of shaking and stretching going on. Oh and, as above, imitating the Pillsbury Doughboy‘s belly.

loon_display2_lowresWhen a loon rises out of the water and shakes itself, it’s getting rid of trapped droplets and getting its feathers all nicely smoothed out. Wing stretching like this often ends a bath and preening session. This loon does look mighty fine.


With this loon’s mate so close by, we wondered if maybe this was also part of re-establishing the pair’s bond. Unless the nests repeatedly fail, loons keep the same mate for many years and sometimes for life. But there isn’t any evidence that they migrate or winter together. So it could be that it was the human equivalent of a long, lonely winter.



We’re so pleased that the loons have decided to live on Long Lake again this summer. One nest will likely be on the island across from the public access. The other looks like it will be on the northwest side of the big island a/k/a Belly Button. Our local Loon Ranger will have a sign up on the big island soon. Let’s be sure to respect the loons’ nesting area. If all goes well, by around Father’s Day we’ll see the loon chicks riding on their parents’ backs.

Happy Holidays!


It’s April 22nd and this is getting a bit old. The dock is in the water. The pontoon boat is too. The paddleboat is bobbing around staked to a pole in its usual spot. And its snowing. Snowing.


Steve bundled up and took a spin around the lake anyway.

So, this wintry weather is a good excuse to feature some nice, warm, knitted hats and earwarmers. Here’s Molly, a great free pattern on Ravelry by Erin Ruth. More than 3000 Mollies have been knit and posted on Ravelry project pages.


Great texture. Great slouch. My only modification was to try a folded cast-on edge instead of straight 1-by-1 ribbing. It worked out well, but the extra effort wasn’t really needed.

The crown decreases are nicely organized.


My Molly is knit in one of the truly great discontinued luxury yarns: Classic Elite’s Princess. It’s 40% wool, 28% rayon, 15% nylon, 10% cashmere, 7% angora. Yipes! It’s wonderful and if you can find any, buy even a colorway you would otherwise spurn–it’s that nice to work with.

I had a bit of Princess left in this leaf colorway. I also had one skein of Princess in “regal teal” and a hankering to try Andi Satterlund‘s “Cabot.” Now, Cabot’s supposed to be all one color. But it’s a yarn eater and I my one skein wasn’t going to quite be enough.


So, I tried a two-toned Cabot. I have to say I’d have liked the finished hat much better if I hadn’t gone my own way on this one. It’s an excellent pattern and my version doesn’t do it justice.


Also while we are thinking of snow even though it’s almost May, I’ve been busy knitting more Calorimetries, that great free Knitty pattern by Kathryn Schoendorf. This is Calorimetry #17,464 on Ravelry,


It’s knit in Plymouth Yarns Boku. One skein, almost no leftovers. Great earwarmer.


Here’s #17,578, in another Boku colorway:


And, in between is Rav’s Calorimetry #17,467, worked up in a yarn I’ve not used before, Simpliworsted by HiKoo by skacel. Excellent yarn. I don’t know what’s up with the double “by” but it’s a great worsted. I was very much drawn to the olive green colorway:


Here’s another view that conjures up a tropical leaf:


While we’re not thinking summer, or even spring, I’ve also been busy with a few Earbuds by Knitwise Design:



The yarn is from my stash and is so totally unavailable anymore there’s really no sense in identifying it for you. But here’s a better view of just how cute and useful Earbuds are. They are knit in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. And they’re useful in the pocket of every winter coat you have.



The loons arrived!


Ice out was April 12th. At about 4 in the morning on April 17th, Steve awoke to the tremolo flight calls of the loons. Some of the rest of the Long Lake feathered flotilla also started making a bit of a ruckus. The Mergansers are here. And Black Ducks. And way, way too many Canada Geese.

Loons landed on Long Lake and then began all manner of loony tunes. They went through most of their repertoire of hoots and yodels and wails. The distinctive wail is the call that loons use to figure out where their loon buddies are. Listen to their vocalizations here, on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site.

The Loons arrived and are fishing for the little fish. Shelly the Great Dane and Jeff, her human, made a cameo appearance (see the upper left corner above). They are already out fishing for the big fish.

Here’s a few more shots of one of the loons.



The lowly dishcloth

three_spaThe designers of this set, Cindy Abernethy and Rebecca Coday, call it “Pearl Spa Cloths.” Spa Cloths. Pretty fancy lingo. Their patterns were part of the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl collection. That was a collaboration of 18 yarn shops in the Portland, Oregon area. The entire collection was briefly offered free on Ravelry. Since then this pattern (at least) has been peeled off and it’s sold on Ravelry. Unfortunately, the patterns were riddled with errors. But they’ve been corrected on the Rav pattern page. I assume the PDF being sold has been corrected as well.

Here’s a closer look at Barred Scallops, knitted in Knit Picks Dishie, the Conch colorway:


Here’s Chevron in Dishie, Azure:


And this is Horseshoe, in Dishie Tranquil:


Difficult to imagine a spa cloth named Horsehoe, but maybe. Nice dishcloths. And, yes, if you knit them in organic cotton, or a bunch of natural shades, you could pretend they are spa cloths.

Every once in awhile, the lowly dishcloth calls. This was my last bout of dishclothitus. There was also this one. This one. And this. Some knitters, not me, have been known to poke a bit of fun at dishcloth knitting. I enjoy it. And they do disappear from my holiday pick-your-gifts basket.

This recent bout was pretty intense, though. It was my first time knitting with Dishie. Excellent kitchen cotton.

This pair is Deb Buckingham’s “Spring Swatch Cloth.” She doesn’t want to call it a dishcloth either, I guess.


I was gifted a Spring, 2015 copy of the magazine “Love of Knitting” and this pattern is included. It was error-free and quite fun (and quick) to work up.

I recently discovered Louise Sarrazin’s patterns. She’s not afraid to call a dishcloth a dishcloth. This is the Sunflower Basket Dishcloth, available in Sarrazin’s Ravelry store.

Sunflowers copy

C’mon…that’s got to make you smile a tad. It was great fun to knit.

Continuing the Sarrazin (and Dishie) knitting marathon, I tried a picture dishcloth. There are a zillion of them on Rav, and this is one of Sarrazin’s free ones: Dragon.

dragon_clothDragon is a large dishcloth, at 45 stitches by 78 rows. I guess the dragon needed room to get that long tail and wing into the picture frame. That little blob near his mouth shows you he’s a fire-breathing dragon, not some dragon who should have covered his nose when he sneezed.

Here’s another excellent pattern from Sarrazin, her Twisted Tree Dishcloth:


It you’ve always wanted to knit a spectacular Tree of Life afghan, you could start with this pint-sized version and be done in an evening.