Acrylic: it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’

I moved into my first house in the early 1980’s. I knitted this afghan of acrylic yarn, Bucilla I believe, before then–while still living in an apartment. It has been washed something like 432 times. And dried in the dryer that same number of times.  This is a current day photo.  It looks, and feels, as soft and non-pilled as it did after its first washing.  I don’t knit very often in acrylic yarns anymore, having come under the enchantment of wools and other natural fibers.  But for durability and ease of care, modern acrylic yarn is an amazing invention.

This easy slip stitch baby-sized blanket was knit in rose and blue, since I didn’t yet know if the unborn babe would be a boy (Dan) or a girl (Ann).  Dan turned 26 this past June.  Again, I believe this was Bucilla yarn–because I used a lot of Bucilla back then.  It has been washed even more times than the first blanket in this post.  It is still in very good shape.  The pattern is Carol Jansen’s Brick Pattern Afghan, from Leisure Arts #144 Baby Booklet.  I still have the pattern and may break it out soon, for old time’s sake, and knit a new one.

This is another baby blanket, of my own nothing special design: seed stitch squares alternating with a square with a cable twist in the middle. This was one of Dan’s car seat blankets. These acrylic creations seem destined to last, basically, forever.

None of my blankets are particularly artful (meaning no insult to Jansen’s brick afghan). But they all evoke fond memories of a happy baby, a happy time, and some solid peaceful knitting hours.

Montmorency County, Michigan: fall color 2011

It’s drop dead beautiful here. The science of fall colors doesn’t seem to be much of a science. But wet weather followed by cold weather followed by very wet weather followed by very warm weather must have been the ticket.

This is just a taste of Montmorency County at its showiest. The maples are especially red this year. The birch are especially golden. And the steady green of the pines anchors the scene.

Calorimetry, again

Yes, again. This is my third Calorimetry: a headscarf that covers the ears and adjusts to assorted head sizes by clever use of short rows with unwrapped stitches. It’s great for the pony-tailed, because it allows one’s tail to wag freely.

Calorimetry is designed by Kathryn Schoendorf. Her free pattern was published in the Winter, 2006 Knitty.  13,514 Ravelers have completed the project and posted it on their project pages. This one is knitted in Brown Sheep Lanaloft worsted weight wool in the aptly named colorway: Salt Water Taffy. I’ve always thought it fun to knit dead-of-winter accessories in colors that evoke summer.  You can complete this quick knit in 2-3 hours.  100 yards will be enough. This version fastens with a big, pink vintage button that I found in my mom’s button jar.  

Why Calorimetry?  It is the scientific term for the measurement of heat loss or gained.  A somewhat appropriate name for what is basically a knitted headscarf.

No loon chicks this summer

That’s me paddling with five, yes five, loons.

We had no loon chicks hatch on the lake this summer. Early rumor was one hatched, but we think not. We know at least one pair was nesting on Belly Button Island when a major tornado-like blow blew through. Shortly after, the nest was abandoned. It is so cool to watch the chicks grow to the point where they are ready to head south in early October, but it was not to be.

Instead, our lake seemed to be a loon party lake of some sort. We saw gatherings of 5 or 6 loons several times. They fished, chortled to one another, and sometimes did the vulture pose thing. But mostly they quietly swam around the lake, sticking pretty close together.

At the moment, we have one somewhat confused adolescent loon still living on Long Lake. He appeared about six weeks ago and still hasn’t left. We’ve seen the adolescent fly around so he shouldn’t be with us much longer now. He’s been flying north, but hopefully he gets it that those are just his practice flights. We wish him a safe passage. South.