Cowl and Howl

Nice hat. There’d be room for a pony tail to hang free if you loosen the ties. And if you loosen the ties all the way, there’s room for a neck. Hat plus cowl equals Howl.

Howl, by Kimmy Zalec, is a free Ravlery download designed for exactly the yarn I used: Noro Silk Garden. Silk Garden is 45% mohair, 45% silk, 10% wool and charts out as an Aran weight. Two 50-gram skeins will do the trick and leave you with about 16 grams to spare.

Very cozy and very fun to knit. My Howl was gifted almost as soon as it left my needles. Here’s another look.

It needed blocking to make that unusual picot bind-off behave and to tame its curling. I’m planning to knit another of these soon.

Glass head is wearing Bobble Cowl by Joji Locatelli.

It’s an easy, rhythmic knit, filled with every knitter’s first stitch (garter), but with interesting details. The pattern is 48 rows, to be repeated a dozen times. I had to count rows. And a few times I lost count. But fortunately it’s easy to figure out where you are.

I decided not to block the cowl. I’m satisfied with the yarn-overs not opened up wide. I didn’t want to kill the cushiness of the garter stitch. I prefer a closer fitting cowl rather than one that drapes long.

Bobble cowl is knit flat. I used a crochet provisional cast-on and then grafted the beginning to the end. A three-needle bind off would have worked well too.

This is a new yarn to me. I’m a fan: Dark Side of the Moon by Alexandra’s Crafts in the Twilight colorway. It’s 80% Merino and 20% Tussah Silk. Bobble Cowl is a garter-stitch yarn-eater. So this cowl took nearly every yard of the 434 yard skein.

April 16th? Snow Central (Ave)

This Dark-Eyed Junco looks as if he’s dipped in snow. That’s actually the color of his belly feathers. He’s sitting atop a snow mound on our deck table.

We’d just started to see some grass, once the 10-12 inches of snow that fell a week earlier melted away. Then, this. It’s hard to tell, because the drifts are so high, but we estimate we’ve got about 15 inches of new snow. And the drifts, the drifts are thigh-high on my 5 foot three inch self.

Here’s a look at the deck table without the Junco.

And I’m jumping the gun a bit on this post because predictions are for another 3-5 inches today. It’s been snowing all morning.

This has to go down as one-to-remember. “Up north” Michigan is thinking more about wrestling with snow than tax forms today. Snowmobiles are reporting they’re getting stuck. Some of this snow is the gooey, water-laden kind that sticks to shovels, snowblowers, and snowmobiles.

That’s Steve with a big two-stage snowblower, trying to tame the first wave. We ended up hauling out the little guy for me to work on the cement pad during the third effort to get this under control.

You might be wondering how our snow-fencing effort fared. Good news!  This year it didn’t fall over. It stood there all winter, deep into this difficult early spring. But it hasn’t really done anything to significantly keep the snow off the parking pad. It does add a nice splash of orange though, don’t you think?

We aren’t even thinking about ice-out yet. Last year the last bits of ice were sent packing on April 25th into the 26th. So we have about ten days to go. I don’t think we’ll make it. At this rate we’ll still have snow on Memorial Day!

That’s the lake on the morning of April 16th. It’s been windy enough that the sunflower seeds that are whipping the finch flock into a feeding frenzy at our feeders have scattered around. Those finches who can’t command a perch at the feeders are picking at the snow crust searching for food. Every once in awhile the flock spooks and vanishes for half a minute or so, giving the chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, woodpeckers, and tufted titmice time to feed.

We’re worried about the trees on the property. We’ve been losing branches from some of the tall pines. So far, nothing has landed on the house. And nothing so major has fallen that we think the trees won’t pull through. But spring cleanup is going to be a major event. That’s assuming spring is eventually going to put in an appearance.

Here’s me, in my snow-covered Central Ave hat by Aimee Alexander. “Cheese.” We’d gone out for a second time to knock snow off the low-lying pine branches. Such a great hat. Knit in Swans Island Merino Worsted in the bittersweet colorway, it even matches the snow fence. I strive to be color-coordinated at all times.

More slipped stitch dishcloths…a lot more

This cloth is one of Amy Marie Vold’s new dishcloth/washcloth patterns: Bubble Bath. I knit this one in Lily Sugar ‘n Cream, using lime and hot orange. It was so much fun to knit that I had to start another almost immediately.

This next cloth is knit in Knit Picks Dishie in aquarium and clementine.

I just couldn’t stop knitting these guys. I wanted to knit a set in reverse to see how they’d work out. So next I tried Sugar ‘n Cream in hot orange and teal. Knitting Vold’s cloths in mirror-image sets is a boatload (or a bathtub) of fun. The way the eyes pop and the way the open mouth is burping out bubbles are perfect touches.

Vold released another fish pattern very soon after releasing Bubble Bath. This next one is Shore Lunch cloth. I knit my first in Sugar ‘n Cream teal and ecru.

And then came the mirror-image set, knit in Sugar ‘n Cream hot green and ecru.There’s something about the pair of pairs of luncheon fish that appeals.

Yes, it’s an odd pastime, this knitting of dishcloths. But I don’t intend to give up my somewhat guilty pleasure.

My set of Some Bunny to Do the Dishes was gifted soon after I completed them. Evelyn has been using them as baby doll blankets. Her set was knit in Garnstudio DROPS Paris, white and bright blue. A perfect bunny combo, at least that’s what baby doll thinks.

I’ve also recently completed a DROPS Paris set of Frog Prince of the Pad.

This pair of PurrPETual Domestic Supervisors is in DROPS Paris (dark beige and white). I just got started knitting these guys and the next thing I knew I’d knitted more than a dozen.

Here’s another set of Squirrel Away the Dishes Cloths. This pair is in Sugar ‘n Cream brown, sage green, and yellow.

And, finally, just to tax the patience of those who can’t abide knitters who waste their time knitting these useful itty bitty cloths, here’s a pair of Who Owl Help Cook & Clean. They’re knit in Sugar ‘n Cream white and overcast.

Try these. Bet you can’t knit just one.

Stash Knit Down

Late last year I found my fade.  Such a beautiful shawl, in seven coordinating (and expensive) skeins of fingering weight.

Having invested in all that beautiful yarn, I set the task for myself to use up the remnants. What I call my Faded Ursula Sockhead Hat worked out well.

This is a total mashup, that doesn’t bear much resemblance to Wendy Ellis’s After Ursula. But it was the inspiration for my hat. I cast on the Ursula number of stitches.  After 5 inches of ribbing in Madelintosh Merino Light in the “gilded” colorway, I worked 4 rounds of gilded in stockinette, followed by pairs of that shade, faded in with a second color from the shawl.  I worked the fade section over 12 rounds. Then I knit 8 rounds of color 2. Next came a fade section, alternating pairs of rounds in color 3 with color 2 over 12 rounds, followed by 8 rounds of color 3. And so on. I worked almost 8 inches of stockinette, after the ribbing, and then started the decreases.

I used the decreases from Kelly McClure’s Sockhead Slouch Hat–decreasing 18 stitches every 3 rounds. So, this is a mash up of Sockhead Hat, Find your Fade and a bit of After Ursula. And I used 6 of my 7 colors from my Find Your Fade shawl.

But there was still a ton of yarn left.The remaining color with the most yardage was Malabrigo Mechita in the Sabiduria colorway. I decided to knit tincanknits light version of their much-loved “Barley.” Here’s my child-sized Barley Light.

Glasshead wanted to model it, but I didn’t want it all stretched out.

Hmm. What to do with short yardage? I decided to knit for baby feet even though I don’t presently have many babies in my world. These are Vauvan Sukka (roughly, train socks, in Finnish), knit in Alexandra’s Craft’s Diamond Lake and a bit of Bad Amy yellow-gold.

I like to make these socks in interesting and sometimes arresting color combinations.

The Train Socks story has been retold a good bit, including on my blog.  The pattern is attributed on Ravelry to Kerttu Latvala, and is posted by her daughter Terttu Latvala as a free pattern. The story of Vauvan Sukka is explained by Terttu, as translated into English at Teakat Translation, where the free pattern is also available. In 1939, with World War II already underway in Europe, mother and child were evacuating.There were delays because sections of railroad track had been bombed. Terttu was an infant. An infant with no socks. While they waited, a fellow passenger unraveled yarn from her white hand-knit sweater and knit Terttu a pair of socks. To pay forward that passenger’s kindness, first Kerttu and then Terttu have gifted hundreds of pairs of these baby socks to newborns.

I gifted my pair to Cecelia, who has lots of socks but now has one more pair. A pair with a story.

With one set of warm baby feet, I sort of couldn’t stop myself.

This is Frankie Brown’s free pattern, Baby Boots. One piece, worked flat, on size one needles. That Number 2 pencil eraser (remember pencils, people used to use them to write stuff) is included to show you the tiny scale of these booties.

Totally sweet, in Hedgehog Fibers Sock, in the Truffles colorway. I don’t associate gold and rose with truffles, but maybe. And it’s wonderful yarn. These were the only booties Isaac didn’t kick off.

Emboldened, it was time for a booties and hat set for the baby I’ve not yet met. This next knit is an old favorite. I’ve knit it many times.The pattern is from Homespun, Handknit, edited by Linda Ligon. It’s a wonderful Interweave Press book published in 1988 filled with patterns for hats, scarves, socks, mittens and gloves.

This is Bouncing Baby Set, by Jean Scorgie, minus its thumbless mittens. Babies look super cute in this head-hugger hat. And the kneesocks. Well they stay on a baby’s feet, unlike so much other stuff that we knitters knit for the wee ones’ feet.

There was still a bit more yarn left. So I knit a pair of my very own bears, Sunrise Side Bear. But instead of using worsted weight and size 5 US needles, I knit this set in fingering weight Malabrigo Mechita on size 1 needles.

These Sunrise Side Bears stand 5 and 1/2 inches tall, with a fist-to-fist span of 3 and 1/2 inches. To appreciate the scale, that mouse in the middle is holding a US penny.

They were bare. I had a little yarn left. It was enough for a vest for Boy Bear and a dress for Girl Bear. And with the last bits, came their tiny scarves.

I am feel quite proud of completing my de-stash challenge.

White-tailed deer

Deer have been visiting us nearly every evening. They aren’t as scrawny as is typical for March. That must be because, except for two spells of frigid weather, we’ve had fairly moderate temperatures. Repeatedly this winter, there’s been snows, and then thaws. The deer must have been able to find more food than during a usual winter. And they’ve been in larger herds than we recall from other years.

Soon after Steve shot this video with his iPhone, more snow arrived.

The deer keep coming. A few are habituated to our bird feeder. They are eating what must mostly be oiled sunflower seed husks. Well, the finches have been coming in large flocks and one of their pastimes is picking a seed out of the feeder and dropping it on the ground. So there must be at least some sunflower seeds down there too.

This deer hung around and ate under the feeders long after the rest of the herd left the property. In fact, she wandered off a few times and then came back for more. She knows we’re watching and is hyper-alert. But still she eats her fill.

Chowing down under the feeder isn’t anything new. Almost exactly one year ago, check out what we caught on our game camera one night.

Even if their habits along our county roads suggest that deer aren’t the sharpest crayon in nature’s box, they are beautiful and interesting creatures.