Knitting along

This is Linda of Knitwise Design’s “Tidal Cove” Scarf. I worked it up in String Theory Merino DK. That very interesting open work is a hoot to knit. And it’s very simply done. The pattern explains it perfectly. Just when a knitter is thinking the garter stitch might need some breaking up, it’s time to knit the “cove.” I even made one of my infrequent trips to a bead shop to find some appropriate dangles.

I’ve knit this once before. (That is going to be a theme in this post). Here it is in Super-Sheep by Holiday Yarns.

Tidal Cove is a quick knit. My first one sold at a charity auction. My new one will likely make it into my holiday gift basket.

Recently Linda ran a leisurely paced Knit-a-long on Ravelry. OK, she ran a KAL. She invited knitters to knit any of her patterns, participate in her group chat, and offered generous prizes of patterns and yarn. It was great fun to return to some of her patterns I’d knit before. Like Winding Trail Headband.

This magenta beauty is knit in one of my favorite long-ago discontinued yarns: Classic Elite’s Tapestry.

This next one, in Pussy Hat color, is knit in the New Zealand Aran-weight, Wool-Pak 10 ply by Merino Sheepskin Company.

I often stutter in my accessory knitting, working two hats or two cowls in the same pattern in two different yarns or two different colors. “Double your pleasure, Double your fun…” that has nothing to do with Doublemint Gum. And if you can picture these two twins while you read and hear that old stupid jingle, instead of the slicker version from the middle 1980’s, well you might be as vintage an age as I am.

Here’s two other Winding Roads I knit in my first round of enjoying this pattern. The yellow gold is Classic Elite Tapestry and the deep rose is Harrisville Design’s discontinued Orchid with Cashmere.

I urge you, urge is a fine old-fashioned word that mouths don’t say much anymore–urge you to try this pattern. You will enjoy it. It’s knit flat and joined with a three-needle bind-off. You could do a provisional cast on and graft the beginning to the end. But why make more work for yourself?

My next Knitwise Design KAL knit was Earbuds. Earbuds are, basically, another headband. Except this one fastens with a button. And it concentrates just on ear-warming.

I had a left-over ball of Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky. This WEBS house brand is good stuff though I’ll grant you this shade of dullish brown isn’t going to win any prizes. It was supposed to go well with a blanket I made and the rest of the blanket shades looked so pretty I couldn’t bear to dull it down with this brown. But ears? Ears just need to be warm and everyone knows that dull colors are much warmer than bright ones.

This knit was a total stutter. I had one 100 gram ball. I was able to knit two sets of earbuds and even have a bit left over.

These aren’t my first earbuds. Here’s a few more. The green multi-color one is handspun (not mine). The two-toned one is a bulky mohair of long-ago discontinued Abedare Yarn. And that lavendery pink is a super-bulky: Cascade Yarns Lana Grande.

And, yes, I know that the middle guy looks a bit puppy-like.Trust me. It works on a head better than on a striped felted ball.

I couldn’t leave the KAL knitting only stuff I’d knit before, so I knit a pair of worsted weight socks in Brown Sheep’s Superwash Lamb’s Pride Worsted. These are “Cam’s Camping Socks.”

They didn’t photograph well. But they are totally cozy and fit Steve well. I’d have gotten a better photograph if it weren’t for the fact that he got cold feet and wore them before I could get a well-lit shot. Linda has used this diamond pattern in her sock pattern, her “Hunting Season Cap,” and in her most recent sweater pattern “Camp Cardigan.” Just looking at the project photos I felt a bit intimidated by the pattern. But it’s a piece ‘o cake.

Thanks, Linda! Great patterns. Great KAL.

Long Lake: bird’s eye view

Is there any wonder what the loons see in Long Lake? Here’s the view from 200 feet up near our house. August 7, 2017. This is the north section of the lake. That’s Belly Button Island looking like it’s just a tad away from “our” bay. And if your eyes look beyond the island, and turn left, you’d be in Ghost Bay.

Loons are very bad at landings. And they are even worse taker-offers. They beat their wings like crazy, hitting the water, and almost seem to be walking on those long feet of theirs on lift off. And landings aren’t graceful either. They end up skidding to a halt. So a long lake is perfect for the loons. Our lake also has two islands, which is ideal because loons prefer to nest on islands.

Here’s this year’s twins at three weeks.

And here they are just one week later. They still look a bit unpromising. But looks deceive. These guys are already diving for their own food and staying under water for longer and longer lengths of time.

The parents have obviously been feeding them well. Hopefully the twins will be strong and flying well by late October so they can make their flight south.

Some old stuff

This is “Knitted Silk Reticula” by Liza Prior Lucy. Actually, these are both “Knitted Silk Reticula.” Or possibly Reticulae. The pattern was published in Piecework back in 1993 and I knit it not too many years after publication.

It’s quite rare that I knit something in exactly the yarn called for. I knit this in the Halcyon Gemstone silk the pattern recommended. It’s a laceweight and I used exactly the colors called for: amber, deep amethyst, garnet and jacinth.

You are probably wondering about the glass pieces. My son was young at the time and played “Magic”–the card game. He kept his game pieces in a silk reticule. Wow. I knit the first one for me. When he asked if he could have it for his gaming, of course I said “yes.” And then I knit another for myself. Recently, I found my son’s Magic bag in my mom stash and returned it to him.

I never found a use for mine. But I still cherish it. Here’s a closer look minus the distracting glass globs.

Sometimes we knitters just need to knit something because we want to. We’ll find a use for it later. Or not. But the knitting is still very satisfying.

This next purse was another special project. Not perfectly executed, though again I increased my odds of making it work by using the exact yarns called for. This is “Rose Reticula” by Nicki Epstein. The pattern was in Knitter Magazine, 37, the 1994 winter edition.

The body of this is knit in an elasticized ribbon: Lacet Lastic, by Tiber. Most of the rest of the yarn was Tiber’s Doreale.  Buying the yarn was a definite stretch. My intarsia work was rather clumsy, but I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to embroider. Clumsy or not, my mom loved it. At least she said she did, even though I never saw her use it. I knit it. She lined it. I gave it to her. When she died, I got it back. It was still in the fancy stationary box that I wrapped it in when I gave it to her: the white padded box, with pink roses all over the top.

We’re done with the reticula now. Odd old word. These are both little fancy pouchy purses.

Now, for a few pillows. Pillow covers, actually. And they didn’t turn out to be usable in that form. In this view, it does look a tad pillow-like:

I remember that this was a Sirdar DK yarn. But the rest of its lineage is lost to the antiquities. My gauge was off and I never could find a pillow form to fit. So it sat. Then I decided to gather it up, pick up stitches for a sort of drawstring and top cuff. In fact, that’s leftover Lacet Lastic from the Rose Reticula (oops, I was supposed to be done with that word) at the top, along with some leftover Lastic navy blue.

Voila! A purse.  An overly colorful purse. I am a dolt in terms of what colors go with what.

This pattern was supposedly an original design from someone who participated at my (now deceased) mother-in-law’s senior center. Vivian gave me a copy of a well-worn, typed out pattern, with no attribution. But I’ve since learned that it is really Harlequin Cushion, by Paton’s UK. So, if you want to have a go at this one, the Paton’s pattern may be available on Ebay. And if you too fail at your cushion, try a purse.

I actually knit two pillow cushions, both out of the Sirdar yarn that I didn’t manage to knit to gauge.

This one, I’ve not turned into a purse. Instead, I use it as a small rug under a doll rocking chair that my Ravatar sits in. It’s a good resting place for her.

Architexture and Minnie

Architexture. No, not architecture. It’s archi-texture, as in the smoothness and roughness of a lot of different stitches all coming together to form an arch. No, not an arch. A shawl. A lot of different stitches all coming together to make a shawl. Shawlitexture. Archishawl. Enough. This is Architexture, by Jennifer Weissman.

I bought my Architexture as a Craftsy kit. It’s available now, kitted with the same Cloudborn Highland fingering weight yarn that I used, for $13.75. $13.75. How on earth does Craftsy manage that? Weissman sells her pattern for $5.00 on Ravelry. That leaves Craftsy $8.75 for 988 yards (two skeins, at 100 grams each) of 100% wool. Ok. Weissman must not be getting a lot of her well-earned $5. But, still, these poor sheep can’t possibly be making anything close to a minimum wage. They need to go on strike or something. I knit the largest size and still have 50 grams left.

Here’s another look.

Is Cloudborn Fiber’s Highland the greatest yarn ever? Nope. Not even close, in my opinion. I’d have rather used the Madelintosh Merino Light, or Dream in Color Jilly, or Wollmeise Pure that Weissman’s pattern calls for. But I like getting a bargain and this was (and is) an incredible bargain.

The Cloudborn yarn–unlike the other weights of this company’s yarn I’ve knit with–was very splitty working on size 6 needles. Once I switched to my ChiaoGoo lacepoints the yarn was tamed. Some. But the bottom line is I have an excellent shawl, in a color and shape I like. This pattern looked a bit daunting to me at the outset, but it was actually quite straightforward.

This next small shawl/long neckerchief is a free pattern available on Ravelry: Minnie by Jumper Cables’ Annie Baker.

Mine is knit in the amazing Extra, by Blue Sky Fibers. It’s an Aran weight, 55% alpaca, 45% merino. It is soft, extra soft actually.

I am a huge garter stitch fan, but even for a fan it can get tedious. This pattern has just enough detail to make it interesting, while still being super easy.

Instead of 38 repeats of the pattern, I did 44. And then I started the decreases. My Minnie is 11 inches at the widest point. It’s an extravagant 69 inches from end to end.

This is a wicked good little free pattern. Give it a try. And thanks, Annie Baker, for your generous gift to the knitting community.

Loon News

When the loons arrived on the lake, they weren’t all seeing eye to eye. It was sometimes more like beak to beak. There just seemed to be a little more tussling than usual this Spring. Plus there was lot of that scooting-around thing they do.

We’ve had loon chicks hatch as early as mid-June. In fact, back several years ago they hatched on Father’s Day, which always seemed sort of a nice coincidence. After all, loon dads do their sitting time on the nest, just like loon moms. And when the chicks are born, both parents work hard to feed the young ones.

We were concerned when we realized that there were no nests on Belly Button Island–the big island in the north part of the lake. Not to worry. One pair set up their nest on the west side of the small island just across from the public launch. And apparently the other pair just stood guard over the five loon nesting buoys at the big island, sort of faking everybody out.

The small island, especially on the west side, is a calm spot on the lake. So, good choice loon. Oh, except we’ve also seen a big snapping turtle laying eggs on the island and worried she’d decide to go after the eggs on one of the rare occasions when the nest was bare. Then, with just those few feet of water between the island and the land, the risk of raccoons, skunks, mink, otters, and fox getting the eggs seems high. In fact, just about everything walking or flying will raid loon nests sometimes, including gulls, ravens, crows, and there’s even some reports of Bald Eagles chowing down. Very worrisome.

But this pair was vigilant.

And, we are pretty sure that it was sometime on July 3rd that the chicks hatched and headed out on the water. Well, first on a parent’s back.

That red-eyed parental stare cuts right to the chase: “These twins can’t dive yet. Do not run them over. If you run them over I know where you live and we’ll be at the end of your dock yodeling all night while your trying to watch Game of Thrones.”

We didn’t applaud their timing. The lake is so busy over Independence Day. But, babies are born when they’re born.

Here’s another first-day photo.

Happily, the twins made it through their first challenging days. Here they are two days later, on July 5th, already looking like their parents are good providers.

By July 8th, the parents were leaving the chicks bobbing around while they both dove for food.

We can’t protect the twins from the big snappers, or the bald eagles or the giant pike or the rest of the hungry things.  But we can be sure they don’t get whacked by a tuber or run over by a PWC. So, let’s all look out for the little fuzzballs! Hopefully, come October, we’ll find out they’ve gotten a good start on Long Lake and are headed south for the winter.