Mitred crosses blanket

It went from this:

And this:

To this:

And finally to a folded up this:

And a bunched up this:


And a spread out (but not properly photographed) this:

This is the Mitred Crosses Blanket–for Japan, by Kay Gardiner, of the Mason-Dixon Blog. In 2011, all the proceeds from the sale of the pattern (which costs $5) goes to earthquake-tsunami relief in Japan. In the years to come, all the proceeds go to Mercy Corps to support their relief efforts. The pattern is available on Ravelry and on Gardiner’s blog, via a link to Rav.

The blanket is knitted up in Plymouth Encore and Colorspun, a 25% wool/75% acrylic easy-care workhorse of a yarn. The squares are each knitted separately. Then they are joined in strips, picking up edge stitches and then using a three-needle bind off.  Partial blocks are added to fill out the rows. Then the strips are joined, also using a three-needle bind off. Applied I-cord gives it a neat, finished edge.

A great pattern as well as a wonderfully generous donation by Gardiner. More than 600 blankets have been knit already and posted on Ravelry.

Fall rainbows

On a perfect spring or summer day, when everything is perky and bright anyway, rainbows are just the frosting on the cake. Very yummy but sort of more than you need. But once fall really gets going, it’s way different. It’s been raining for days and days now. You feel, in your bones, how cold it’s soon going to be. You are checking for cracks in every shell you live in trying to figure out how the cold will get at you.  Through the patio doors.  Through the electrical sockets. Through socks that have sprouted holes. Through a sweater that’s somehow not buttoning right anymore. You are bracing for the winter.

And then a rainbow like this happens. There is nothing better than a rainbow arched in a deep gray fall sky.

In a clearing off Sorenson Road, near Hillman’s Long Lake.  October 27, 2011.

Celtic Braid Hat

This is Mary Dominski’s Celtic Braid hat, knitted in Blackberry Ridge bulky weight 25% mohair, 75% Wool. I knitted this quite some time ago, but the pattern and the kit are still available on the Blackberry Ridge site.  The pattern is a great introduction to simple Fair Isle two-color knitting.  The double strand braid is a fun component, clearly explained in the pattern. There is a matching easy mitten pattern that repeats the Fair Isle pattern in the cuff. I’ve knit that as well, and again the pattern is very straightforward.

This is one seriously warm hat.

Meadow vole

Meet the lowly meadow vole. Microtus Pennsylvanicus. (And I have no idea what Pennsylvania has to do with it.) The meadow vole can birth up to fifteen litters a year. Litters average about seven pups. Female offspring are ready to birth their own litters in three weeks. (That “three” is not a typo.) A mother meadow vole has a postpartum estrus cycle that allows her to mate right after giving birth. With all the voles running around, I assume finding an interested male vole is probably not a problem. In captivity, voles can live for up to two years. In the wild, Wiki reports on studies estimating that 88% die within 30 days of being born.

With apologies to the tender-hearted, fortunately meadow voles are just about everybody’s favorite munchie. Snakes, birds of prey, dogs, coyotes, basically everything that lives (except squeamish us) eats voles whenever the opportunity arises. Otherwise, we’d be up to our eyeballs in meadow voles.

We have no idea why the meadow vole Steve photographed above was running in circles under our winter-ready row boat for about two hours on a cool sunny mid-October day. Maybe his behavior also shows why the most prolific mammal on the planet isn’t quite ready for prime time.

Oddment baby sweater

Before my son was  born, I knit up a storm. I still do, so that’s not exactly a newsflash. The colors in this little boxy sweater, with a boatneck collar, are the color blocks from this sweet “tumbling blocks” sweater and pants set. There was enough of the red left that I knit a cap and socks set. Even back then, more than 26 years ago, my fondness for garter stitch had set in.

The “design” was my own. I’ve saved this sweater all these years. A lot of my knitted baby items were loaned out to others and were never returned. That’s OK, I assume they were put to good use. I believe I kept this one because I was self-conscious that it was a clunky design and that my rather idiosyncratic sense of color was in full bloom.  But now, it’s kind of a fav.

As you can see, Dan looked cute in it.  And the clashy colors didn’t bother him one bit.