Fall Early Morning Paddle

noreen_atdawn_ghost-bay_lowThis past Saturday, early in the morning, the fog was just beginning to thin when we headed out to Ghost Bay.  The light was filtered through the fog remains and everything was looking very  golden. There was no breeze.  Like so many fall mornings, there were no other boats or paddlers on the lake.  Not even the fisherman turned up until later in the day.  We shared the lake with an osprey.  A gull snatched a fish from Ghost Bay.  We startled three small ducks.  Small fish moved about in their usual schools in their usual places. Moose the black Labradoodle who lives in the red house greeted us coming and going.  In attendance was his never-far-behind companion, the chubby Beagle whose name we do not know.  On the water of Ghost Bay was the best place to be, drinking our morning cups of coffee.  In a very few weeks we’ll have to pack up the kayaks, but these last paddles of the season are so sweet.

Rambling Rows

noreen_knit_9-27-09_3This is an afghan pattern I’ve knitted six or seven times, in sizes ranging from a baby blanket to a blanket large enough to cover a queen-sized bed.  It’s “Rambling Rows,” by Carol A. Anderson and Pat Penney. It is knitted of 55 mitered geometric shapes: squares of two sizes and a rectangle that is half the size of the largest square (double the size of the smaller square).  Most afghans turn out to be major tests of a knitter’s sewing or crochet skills because bazillions of pieces need to be joined to create the finished object.  But the Anderson/Penney team figured out how to knit together the entire afghan.  When you complete the last section, you are done, except for knitting whatever edge you decide to use.  Quoting Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky: “Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”  ‘Cuz this here knitter is seriously sewing and crochet impaired.

Here are a few more RRs, including a queen-sized version knitted of bulky weight Tahki Soho Bulky Tweed wool where I followed the pattern but randomized the colors:



Baldfaced Hornets


I have been reading up on what this is.  It’s in one of the white pines very close to the main entrance to the house.   This is a baldfaced hornet nest.   We noticed it about two weeks ago, which is when people often spot them (late summer, early fall).  That’s when the nest starts reaching basketball size.  This one is sized somewhere between a soccer ball and a basketball at the moment.  If you don’t mess with baldfaced hornets, they don’t mess with you.  But if you do manage to disturb them, apparently there is almost no end to the number of times one of these hornets can sting you.  There can be several hundred hornets that call one nest a home.  Since I am not positive what the rules of engagement are, I have decided to experiment and see what heights regular grass can grow to if left unmowed under the spreading boughs of a white pine.

About that nest. The queen’s daughter workers chew wood fiber, mix it with the starch in their spit, and that’s how this beauty of a beast is formed.  One hornet mouthful at a time.  It’s basically paper.  The nest will be safe to remove after  a few hard frosts.  I’m planning on leading Steve’s cheering section when he mounts our offensive.  We could probably safely leave the nest alone  because the hornets freeze and die as cold temperatures move in.  Nests are not re-used.  The new queens hibernate outside the nest, waiting for the warmer weather to return.  And then it all starts over again for Dolichovespula Maculata. Hopefully not right outside our door though.

Here’s a close up of this lovely minor pollinator, from the wonderful website devoted to “Hornets, the Gentle Giants,” with credit to the biology department at Jackson State University:


Magical Silk Reticule


It’s quite rare that I knit something in exactly the yarn the pattern suggests. But I knitted this, about 16 years ago actually, in the Halcyon Gemstone silk that designer Liza Prior Lucy suggested. A reticule is a woman’s drawstring bag, used as a carryall–that’s what my dictionary says.  This one can’t carry much. It measures about six inches long and four inches wide.  I followed Lucy’s  pattern exactly, in colors amber, deep amethyst, garnet and jacinth. I made two.  One for my mom, who taught me to knit when I was in 3rd grade.  Another for me.  I never found a use for mine, but my son did.  He played “Magic”–the card game–at the time. There were a few pieces to the game, dice I think, and my son kept them in one of these bags.  The bag does look quite magical, I think.   The design was published in Piecework Magazine, March/April 1993.  I believe my son still has his stashed away with his Magic cards.   This one came full circle.  My mom died last year and I found this in her closet, carefully laying flat in a fancy padded stationary box covered in roses.  I know she liked it.  I think I know she figured I’d get it back some day.  I’m still keeping it in the fancy box.

More EZ Mittens


This is another Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern: Norwegian Mittens.  The I-cord band is used to pick up stitches for the cuff.  Quite an ingenious and elegant beginning to a mitten.  The two-color work knit in wool makes for a very warm mitten.  These have been worn for several seasons and aren’t tired yet.  A fun pattern.  A classic design.