Ribbon Weed Throw

This is Kate Bostwick’s Ribbon Weed from her Fundy Tides Collection. I decided to substitute an easy care superbulky yarn, Plymouth Yarns Encore Mega, instead of the wool superbulky Bostick designed it in. My Ribbon Weed is actually a wedding gift Ribbon Weed and I decided that the young couple I made it for would welcome not having to deal with keeping a large, heavy, wool throw clean.

Here’s a closer look at the patterning.

How perfect are these intertwining cables for two people starting down a path together?

I had some difficulties dealing with the many joins required. Encore is only 25% wool and that’s not enough for spit-splicing. I couldn’t hide the knots at the ends or under an edging since the garter stitch edge is knit as part of the overall pattern and because superbulky knots are, well, superbulky.  There were a lot of knots because the throw is knit on size 15 needles and these balls only contain 64 yards.

I ended up using the magic knot join technique. Magic Knot is a good knot for knitters to have in their tool chests. But, honestly for this application, except when I controlled placement by working into a “valley” section of the work, it’s still more visible than is ideal. That is a function of the superbulky yarn. Hopefully the knot will indeed be magical in the sense of it being absolutely firm.

The bride and groom were both sincerely pleased with their gift. I sent it to their home ahead of the wedding. They both took time on their wedding weekend to thank me because “hand-made gifts are the best,” as the bride put it.

Ah, the joys of knitting for the knitworthy!

Cold weather scarves

I’m at it again. Posting about recent scarves I’ve completed when summer is still upon us. This one is an old favorite–Jared Flood’s free pattern, Noro Striped Scarf. It’s more a recipe than a pattern. Select two colorways of a color-changing yarn. Alternate colorways every 2 rows. Slip the first and the last stitch of the second of each set of rows, purlwise. And if you choose Noro Silk Garden, the conventional wisdom is that it’s very difficult to find two colorways that fail to play nice.

I had need of a totally mindless knit. This was definitely it! And the color changing Noro Silk Garden keeps the knitting from becoming tedious. I widened the scarf and cast on 45 stitches. Four skeins of Silk Garden and I ended up with just under 70 inches of scarf.

Such a pretty thing. I’ve been a bit obsessive about knitting this scarf. Here are others I’ve knit since my first one in 2011.

Hmm. As I said, obsessed. In fact, seeing them all again makes me feel like I’d like to cast on for a new one.

Here’s another repeat performer. Antonia’s Scarf, by Aimee Alexander. This is another Noro knit, this time in Yuzen.

Yuzen is a DK weight spun of 56% wool, 34% silk,10% mohair. Honestly, it’s not a yarn with much of a cozy feel. But the colors are rich. And it softened in a Eucalan bath.

I modified the pattern some by casting on 35 stitches. Three skeins of Yuzon is about 350 yards. My scarf ate up that yardage and ended up 7.5 inches wide and 64 inches long.

So far, it’s been all about color. “Now for something completely different…”

This is 100% alpaca. It is soft, light, and will be incredibly warm. It is Jake Canton’s Two-Tone Mistake Rib Scarf, a free pattern offered through Purl Soho. This scarf took me weeks to make. I knit fairly quickly and I knit for many hours every day. I started on New Year’s Eve and didn’t complete this until early April. For sure, I knit a lot of other projects while this scarf was on my needles. I had to. It was almost as boring as knitting Origami, another ribbing purgatory knit. I exacerbated the boredom by using a very light weight sport yarn. To widen the scarf a tad, I cast on 75 (instead of 67) stitches.

But it’s such a classic and will be so comfortable to wear, that the boredom was totally worth it. In fact, I’m petting it at this very minute and I’ve totally forgotten that it was a real slog to complete.

My yarn is YarnDreamer, which is alpaca from Christa Newhouse‘s Michigan flock. Her yarn is beautiful. Her Bois Blanc Insel Haus bed & breakfast is beautiful. And so is Christa.

More mosaic dishcloths

So. I was working on a rather major project. It wasn’t totally holding my attention. I was wooed away from it by Amy Marie Vold’s newest dishcloth pattern: Balloon Rides.  The pattern includes the balloon and six center motifs to decorate the balloon. My red and white set is knit in Sugar ‘n Cream, the workhorse of dishcloth yarn. First, my white balloon. And now my red one.

For me, these are top drawer, the cat’s meow, the creme de la creme of dishcloths. Great fun to knit. And they are cheerful and useful.

I knit two and then immediately decided to knit another pair, this time in Knitpicks’ Dishie. And this time in two different motifs.

Some knitting is downright addictive. Vold’s mosaic cloths are that for me. She comes out with a new design and I “run, don’t walk” to Ravelry to download the pattern. I know that all the worsted weight ones work for me on size six needles (US). No need for gauge swatches. I just choose two contrasting colorways and set to knitting.

This next cloth is another of Vold’s newer ones: tOwl. I also knit this pair in Dishie.

I’ve never seen an owl in the wild. Hopefully that day will come and that will be a thrill. For now, I can knit their likeness.

Once I took my 4 balloon rides, I was ready to tackle that big project again: a wedding present throw. More on that, soon.

Kingbirds in the Cupholder

Once again this year, as in the last two, an Eastern Kingbird couple decided that the cupholder in one arm of our dock bench would make a nifty home for their brood. Out in the baking sun. No shade. In a black plastic cupholder about 5 inches deep and 4 inches across. Good idea. Eventually, there were 4 eggs in the nest.

Eastern Kingbirds’ scientific name is “tyrannus tyrannus.” That tells you all you really need to know about what happens when the birds hatch. The parents both become fierce tyrants. We let the growing family have the dock and dock bench all to themselves except when we wanted to come and go from our pontoon boat moored about 8 feet away from the nest.

There was hell to pay for our passage to and fro. This first photo shows the kingbirds’ otherwise hidden red patch flared, about to bounce off Steve’s behatted head.

We’ve both had our heads and torsos bumped and wingslapped. They even took to flying under the pontoon canopy to go after us once we were underway.  Here’s sort of the gestalt of the experience.

I tried not to think about the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds.

The parents had four growing babies to feed and they did not look kindly on intrusions. (These photos, of course, were taken at considerable distance.) And their definition of intrusion is born of a tyrannus tyrannus approach to the world around them. An osprey flying overhead? One parent, sometimes two, would mob it. They bounced off the osprey with the same abandon as they bounced off our hats. Their aggression bears no relationship to the threat, since osprey only eat fish and we don’t eat baby birds. Cornell reports that Kingbirds will defend their nest by attacking crows, hawks, squirrels and “have been known to knock unsuspecting Blue Jays out of trees.”

We let the tyrants rule the dock and only ran the gauntlet to get our pontoon boat out into the lake.

This next photo shows the scene on a nearly 100 degree afternoon. The parent, beak agape, seemed a bit stressed. The two parents rotated responsibilities. One would stand guard while perched on the back of the bench while the other hunted for dragonflies and other tasty morsels to feed the hungry babies.

The babies unstuffed themselves from the cupholder the day before they fledged. We think they fledged early. We’re imagining it was just way too hot out there to do otherwise. Anyway, we wish them lots of Long Lake buggy meals. We especially hope they are fond of mosquitos and deer flies.

Hundred degree hats

This week is not the week to tuck your sweaty head into one of these hats. Weather predictions say that in a few days it will be 101 degrees Fahrenheit in our neck of the woods. And daytime high temps are supposed to be in the nineties for about ten days. We hope the four Eastern Kingbird chicks who haven’t yet fledged from the cupholder in our dock-chair in the full sun will be able to make it through.

For some reason really hot weather always makes me think of the fun of knitting wool hats. So I’m featuring some here that I’ve knit recently that haven’t made it into the blog, including Suvi Simola’s great beanie “Bobbles & Cables Cap.” Mine is knit in Sugar Bush Yarns Rapture, a 50/50 llama/merino worsted weight that is next-to-the-skin soft. This is a product of Canada, Michigan’s (mostly) to the north great neighbor. The company says that “Sugar Bush Yarn is a tribute to a Canadian inclination to embrace its northern temperament.” Right now I’m working to embrace a southern temperament and not doing too well.

This pattern is included in one of the 60 Quick Knit Books whose errata typically span many pages. You won’t get bobbles like mine following the directions in the book. Simola has put out an errata, available on Ravelry as a note on the pattern page. But I decided to knit a still beefier one: knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one into one stitch. Turn and knit four. Turn and purl four. Pass the stitches over the one closest to the tip. This is the first time I’ve used a Sugar Bush yarn and I’m really liking this one.

What? Crochet? Crochet from this notorious non-hookerr?

Nope. It’s Wooly Wormhead’s 100% knitted Waffle Slouch. I was drawn to it partly because, except for the ribbing, it was knit masquerading as crochet. At least that’s what my eyes see.

My Waffle Slouch is worked up in Fibre Company’s Cumbria, 60% merino wool, 30% masham wool, and 10% mohair. I never heard of a Masham sheep and suspected it was somehow a mashup of more than one breed. That’s what it is. A crossbreed between either a Teeswater or Wensleydale ram with a Dalesbred or Swaydale Ewe. The result is a long lustrous fiber.

As always with a Wooly Wormhead beanie or slouch, she manages a disciplined, non-pointy crown.

I had a bit of difficulty with what should have been some pretty simple lacework in this next hat. Totally user error. It’s Tracey Lambert’s free pattern: Pennyroyal. It’s a keeper for sure.

I knitted mine in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted. It’s 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon. Great yarn. Great hat. I followed Lambert’s lead and added an extravagant pompom and the light highlights in the yarn really make the pompom pom.

If you try Pennyroyal, and please do, take note of the instructions on how to slip stitches. Slip the stitches knitwise. Ask me how I know that the more common purlwise just didn’t cut it.

This next hat is another Wooly Wormhead pattern: Tebe Slouch. I knit mine in Madelintosh DK in their beautiful nighthawk colorway.

Here’s another look at Tebe:

Great hat pattern and I will make it again. But one design feature doesn’t sit too well with me. You knit the caston together with the live stitches to form the picot edge with a purl row. The ridges just after the join don’t look right to me. I think I’d make the join with a knit row next time.