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.

Calvin’s Hobbes

A special niece recently asked me to knit a Hobbes for her friend’s new son, Calvin. I was daunted by the prospect but she’s a knitworthy niece. Once I settled on what I judged the clear winner on the pattern design, Tall Tiger by a Scottish designer with the Ravelry screen name of Browneyedbabs, I was even more daunted. Barbara’s pattern is a Ravelry freebie and must have required a zillion hours to work out. I am very proud of this knit.

Why daunted? I hadn’t done a Turkish cast on in a month of Sundays. I managed intarsia in the round on Jacobus and Saar, Annita Wilschut’s great monkey pattern. But that was just for a mouth. Wilschut practically supplied movement by movement instructions to make that mouth easier. But Hobbes (excuse me copyright police, Tall Tiger) was clearly going to be much more difficult. He needed it for the entire length of his white belly and his face. Many a Raveller has given up and just knit white patches and sewed them on. And then there was the little matter of trying to work jogless stripes. I’ve never mastered that technique. But clearly Hobbes was going to look goofy if I didn’t keep his stripes from jogging at one of his underarms.

Hobbes and I think this knitter did an excellent job on those jogless stripes.

The Turkish cast on link in the pattern also provided excellent directions. I’ll leave the matter of intarsia in the round for later in this post. But, in the end, my hack came out looking good.

An extra hint on those stripes? When knitting the limb (and tail) stripes, carry the black yarn up on the inside without twisting it, to avoid black showing through on the public side. Just don’t pull tightly when you start a black round. I also stitched up openings from the inside, as I saw them forming, e.g. at the base of the thumbs, the crotch, and the underarms.

I was so unsure about whether I could knit this guy, that I purchased Red Heart Hugs Light, a fairly inexpensive DK weight acrylic for the project. I reasoned that acrylic would be easy care, which is good. And the colors looked just like what I needed.

I followed the pattern and held the yarn doubled throughout, on size 6 needles. Hobbes turned out to be 20 inches tall, so quite close to the designer’s plan for an 18″ Tall Tiger. Hugs Light isn’t scratchy, so that’s good. But I have to say that it has an odd bumpiness. And the bumpy quality wasn’t well-served by doubling the yarn. Plus, it squeaked at times. It wasn’t any kind of fun to work with. And I’ve never had yarn talk back to me before. I don’t plan on using it again. With that little rant out of the way, the colors are perfect. And Hobbes can be popped in the washer and then the dryer and survive intact.

Faces are often not where I excel. But Hobbes is lookin’ good.

I decided I wanted the back of the ears to be stockinette so I doubled the stitches and knit them in the round. Otherwise I followed the pattern. Treating the ears that way also made it easier to sew the white inner ear onto the black.

For the mouth, I watched a few You Tube videos on the embroidery stem stitch. This is the best one I found, including because the stitcher works in yarn.

That’s loop stitch in the mane. With the loop tightly anchored, you cut it.

I found quite a few Calvin and Hobbes comic strips and laughed myself silly reading them. My trek through them was partly to see if Hobbes typically wore a bow tie. The pattern shows him with a bow tie. Since I didn’t see any of him with a bow tie, just a scarf occasionally, I left him without any clothes. The bow tie would serve well to hide a messy neck, but Calvin’s neck didn’t turn out messy.

Now, about intarsia in the round.

Despite buying the designer’s tutorial on working intarsia in the round, I simply didn’t understand her key instructions about pulling the “loop” of yarn and the photos in the tutorial didn’t help me. For other knitters, it’s been a different experience. Others report that it’s a fiddly maneuver but that it works well. First off, I am pretty sure whatever method you use for intarsia in the round, you have to cut the black yarn after each stripe in that belly section. With 5 rounds of orange it won’t work out that the black yarn ends up in the right spot when you need it. I think you could solve that problem by knitting 6 rounds of orange in between the black stripes, but that would yield a very tall tiger. And knitting 4 rounds of orange would work too but shrimp him up some.

One side of the intarsia join looks good without any work. But the other side, where the turn to purl is made…not so good. My hack, since I couldn’t master the technique that some others understood, was to anchor the turning side by attaching a long thread of white yarn at the base of that side of the tummy. At each turn to purl, or each continuation to knit on that side, I anchored the work by twisting the working yarn and the white yarn tail, tugging a bit to tighten the connection. I later (before stuffing) neatened up a few messy spots with mattress stitch, working from the public side. You probably have to be in the midst of this knit for that to make any sense. But if you give this knit a try and don’t understand what to do with the loop of yarn, maybe give my hack a try.

I needed far less yarn than the pattern called for, even doubling the yarn, and more orange than the other colors: 78 grams of white, 84 grams of orange, and 49 grams of black.

Isn’t that just the cat’s meow? Ahem, I guess the Tall Tiger’s meow? Dream on, Calvin!

On the wing…and the paw

Well. I’ll be. Here’s the news. This pretty cool nature photo wasn’t taken by Steve. I took this one. Through the great room window. With my iPad. (But Steve cropped it.)

This Pileated Woodpecker was chowing down at the paddle suet feeder for quite awhile. He was making a big mess, dropping the chunks of suet that the squirrels so appreciate. There is a red mustache on his face, so this really is a he. Pileateds at the feeder are skittery. You’d think they had eyes on the sides of their heads or something. Sometimes even if you get up from a chair 15 feet from the window they fly away. This one let me rise and approach the window with my iPad. But he flew away just as I snapped a few photos. I thought I’d missed him. I found I had this photo instead. It’s just after the pileated flew up from the feeder.

Such a magnificent bird.

It’s been a bit of a drought this winter in terms of nature posts. I’ve been knitting up a storm and my blog reflects that. But nature continues to capture our attention.

Sticking to the theme of bird feeder adventures, and of my own photography, check out this sorrowful fellow.

Close, but no cigar.

This raccoon’s saga continued for a bit. He was emerging in the daytime to poke around at the seed and suet droppings under the feeders. And he was emerging from under our main deck. That was somewhat concerning to us, so we decided to try to trap him and move him to another location.

We set out a humane trap. With a little lunch buffet laid out inside the trap. I put a paper bowl of crumbled up aromatic brie, a soft cow’s milk cheese. I really didn’t know if raccoons like brie but I don’t and we had some left over from the holidays. Brie in a paper bowl in the trap, with the door open. We put the trap out toward dusk and brought it inside the garage after a few hours. If we caught the critter, we didn’t want it to have to spend a scary night inside the trap. First evening. Nothing. Second evening. The aroma of the brie must have been too much to resist. I was in the great room when I thought I heard something. Sure enough. A raccoon. In the trap. Pawing away trying to get out.

Steve had his hatchback ready to transport. The plan was to drive several miles away and then release the raccoon. I didn’t go with Steve. I heard a raccoon cry once when I was young when dogs chased it up a small tree. It’s not a sound I wanted to hear again or inflict. Steve says the raccoon was quiet and calm. In fact, it polished off the rest of the brie during the ride.

Steve released it. And came home. We watched out for it in the days after, thinking the brie might have been so delicious that the raccoon would find the way back to our place.

There is a raccoon prowling about at night. But we don’t know it’s the brie-lover. And it isn’t living under our deck.

Here’s a view of the water flowing at the dam at the north end of Long Lake. Can spring really be just around the bend?