Golden

I just realized that I’ve been on a bit of a golden jag in some fairly recent projects. This one is “Little Lonely Cable,” a freebie by Joji Locatelli, available on Ravelry. Locatelli is a talented Argentinian knitwear designer who released this hat pattern free, back in 2013, to honor 3 years of support by Ravelers around the world.

The pattern is designed for DK weight. I knit mine in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK. It’s a 75% merino, 15% goat mohair, 10% silk yarn and works up beautifully, with great stitch definition.

Here’s a look at the crown decreases. They are rather abrupt–by design, of course. The decreases create a garter stitch snowflake top. And that one lonely cable continues throughout.

Next up is “Linden Cowl” by Jo-Anne Klim of KBJ Designs. Klim hails from Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. My version of Linden Cowl is knit in Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3-ply. Woolie Silk is, well, wooly silk. 65% wool, 35% silk. It’s also a DK weight.

I especially like the texture of this one. The lace is inspired by the shape of Linden Tree leaves.

Linden Cowl is an excellent fun knit. The yarn and the feel of this is so yummy that I kept the cowl for myself.

This next golden one is “Delfino,” another freebie available on Ravelry. This hat is designed by Luciano of LucianoLoop. She’s fairly new to her knitwear designer path.

I knit my Delfino in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted. It’s a worsted (obviously). And it’s yet another great yarn: 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, 10% nylon.

Delfino passes one of my key tests for a good hat. It has a nicely behaved crown decrease and doesn’t come to a poked-out point.

While I was knitting the crown, I thought that ditching the cables so suddenly caused the crown to get disorganized. But I was wrong about that. It looks great.

So, it’s Jojo Locatelli from Argentina, Jo-Anne Klim from Australia, and Luciano from Montevideo, Uruguay. With the incredible assist from Ravelry, every knitter’s work is enhanced by having access to designs from, well, from everywhere.

Jutta

Meet Jutta. She’s another amazing knitted creation by Dutch toy-designer Annita Wilschut.

Jutta’s skin is knit in a discontinued Cascade Yarn Aran-weight: Longwood. I searched for a good long while for just the right shade of pinky beige skin that I had in mind. A friend of mine spotted one lone ball of Longwood “Dew” hiding out in a sale bin. Perfect!

Jutta’s overalls are knit in “medium weight” Socks That Rock, a Blue Moon Fiber Arts, special colorway:”Doodle Doodle Honey Cocka Valkyrie Fledge.” I know, you’re thinking I made that up. I didn’t. But it is great yarn despite its name. I am very proud of myself for deciding to use it–especially the contrasting colorway that gave Jutta’s hair such a distinctive look. Medium weight is basically a DK.

Here’s Jutta from behind.

The I-cord hair is fiddly to knit, for sure. But Wilschut’s very detailed and clear pattern teaches a way to knit multiple I-cords at the same time. I won’t spill the beans. But it’s very ingenious. After a bit I was knitting eight strands at a time.

Speaking of Jutta’s behind.

You can see that the detail is quite extraordinary. Butt, hands, elbows, knees, heels. Even a belly button.

Look close–the belly button is subtle, and knitted in, not sewn on top.

One distinctive feature of Wilschut’s designs is that there are no parts to sew together. They are knit in the round. Off the needles. Stuff. No hours and hours of sewing, as with so many toy patterns. The only sewing you’ll need is to attach ears to some of the critters and to sew up the stuffing seams.

Here’s a few photos of Jutta unstuffed.

The pattern even provides detailed eye and mouth placement. That is extremely helpful to the sewing and embroidery impaired among us. I’ve not used safety eyes before, but I decided to give that a try with Jutta. I am quite satisfied.

Here’s Jutta’s skin from the back view.

Even the placement of the I-cord hair is controlled by the designer. You knit what’s basically Jutta’s scalp in the hair color. And you place an I-cord strand on each garter stitch bump. So clever!

I’ve made Joris the dragon, Jacobus the boy monkey, Saar the girl monkey, Vera the bear, and Karel the bunny. And some of these stuffed buddies I’ve knit more than once. With each new knit I’m impressed all over again with this designer. If you decide to try one of her patterns, you’ll not be disappointed. And I’m pretty sure that my soon-to-be-two year old granddaughter won’t be disappointed with Jutta.

Lookin’ lively

We’ve been seeing Bald Eagles regularly on the lake already this year. This one had been fishing. More likely scrounging.

A tasty morsel, for sure.

And there have been turkeys aplenty this year too. This tom was looking for a date and putting on quite a display.

Even though Bald Eagles may have untidy table manners, I am grateful that Ben Franklin didn’t win the argument about which bird should be our national symbol. Turkeys may be smarter in the bird IQ department. But there’s something about that head and beard that just don’t cut it for me.

A big snapper has been sunning on the small island just across from the public access dock in the lower lake.

If your small boat can make it through the narrow cut-through, watch for the trail of tamped down grass. Snapping turtles and turkeys. Two critters that remind that life is long on this planet earth.

Knitting comfort food

I believe it’s true that most long-term knitters have certain patterns they return to over and over. You just know that you’ll be satisfied when you cast off. You know it will fit. You know there aren’t any errors in the pattern. You can put your knitting brain into gear and just cruise.

Wonderful Wallaby by Carol A. Anderson of Cottage Creations is a pattern like that. Comfort food. This pattern is so retro that you won’t find it available for download anywhere. Head to your local yarn shop. Or buy it direct from Cottage Creations and they will m-a-i-l it to you. Yes, mail as in an envelope with a stamp. That still works!

I knit this one in Plymouth Encore. Easy-care works better for the young ones. I’m a big fan of the garter stitch hood. And I love the kangaroo pouch. Everyone can use a sweatshirt. My pattern booklet includes sizes for a two year old to the very portly. It looks like the newer booklets include one for kid sizes 2-12 and another for adults.

Bayfront Cap by Melinda VerMeer is more comfort food for me. I’ve knit at least six in the last few years. This yarn has some issues with thick and thin that didn’t quite do the pattern justice. As you can see, you knit miles of ribbing. And about when you are beginning to think maybe this is a tad too much ribbing,

…you get to this beautiful crown decrease. So pretty. So well thought out. So not suffering from PHS (Pointy Hat Syndrome.) Bayfront Cap is a wonderful knit.

Here’s another knitting recipe that always works up right: Katharina Nopp’s Wurm.

Mine is knit in Stonedge Fiber Mills Crazy. Crazy is basically a DK weight that’s constructed of a number of colorways. No knots, just spun together. No two skeins are the same.

I call this my Earth Wurm. Wurm is a yarn eater.  I always need more than the 175 yards of sportweight the pattern calls for. I guess I like extravagantly slouchy Wurms.

And then there’s what some now apparently call the Dairy Queen Hat. But it’s no Dairy Queen Hat. It’s Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Snail Hat. I’ve knit mine in exactly what the pattern calls for: Sheepsdown, sold by Schoolhouse Press.

I use size 10 needles. And I’ve made several over the years. You need to be very brave (or very cold) to wear the snail hat.

I very much enjoy knitting it. Just because no one eats the jello salad anymore–you know the one, with all the colorful layers–doesn’t mean you don’t make it anyway. (I still sort of like that salad, by the way.)

Spring on Long Lake

This was the evening of April 29th. As the sun sunk low, the sky above the tree line was a faint yellowy orange. Then suddenly this color burst out. And the lake echoed the color, spreading it right to the edge of our paddle boat.

The final arbiter of all color descriptions is Crayola. First Yellow-Orange, then Orange, and then a deep beautiful Sunset Orange. The transition hardly took two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Amazing.

And the loons are back. Definitely a pair around what we call Belly Button Island in the north part of the lake. And another pair in the lower lake. There are singles stopping by too. This loon was swimming in the narrows last week.

From the sublime, to the sublime, to…well, the Canada Geese are back. Would someone like to board their dog on our lawn from early June to about mid-August? Golden Retrievers and Labs are especially invited to apply.