Lace knitting

I stink at lace knitting. This little creature, well actually I spotted her and she isn’t all that little, knows how to do it. The two-leggeds among us, we obsess about every yarn over and agonize over our nupps. Spiders understand that lace is just supposed to happen.  You get your legs going, rhythmically tangling and untangling your silk and, pretty soon, in flies (or crawls) lunch.

The “bridge thread” across the top of this “sheet web” was about 18 inches long. The 22 radial lines steady the web in the breeze. That bit in the middle, the center point of the “capture spiral,” was intact. But the dew had already dried on it. According to Wikipedia, spiders don’t stick in their own webs (usually) because they can spin sticky silk and non-sticky silk and they somehow know the difference and don’t walk on the sticky parts.

Did you know that two  spiders, Anita and Arabella, travelled to Skylab 3 in 1973 to do their lace knitting in zero gravity? It took them a few days to adjust. When they were first released into their window-like cage, they made disorganized swimming movements. At first their webs were incomplete, but in a bit they were building webs just like back home, but of finer silk. They were fed water and a housefly, and eventually rare filet mignon, but they soon died–probably of dehydration. Their remains are preserved at the Smithsonian. As far as I know, nobody else has been lace knitting in space.

The fog was very heavy this mid September morning on the lake. The dew was too. It dewed up the spider’s web, which is suspended on a corner of our dock. The morning sun and Steve and his camera did the rest.

Hoodie #92120

Congratulations to Susan Mills on this sweet but somewhat obscure design. I am the only one who has posted it to Ravelry. This is Hoodie #92120. No goofy-named hoodie. Just hoodie with a pattern booklet number. It’s an Artful Yarns pattern that is meant to be knitted in their now-discontinued “Virtue.” Virtue was a 100% cashmere yarn. Not your typical baby yarn.

My Hoodie #92120 is knitted in a very sensible Cascade 220 superwash. No need to baby this. I am fond of knitting little girl stuff in colors that are not pink or purple. Hunter green definitely qualifies as not pink or purple.

This is a 12 month size, but it knitted up very roomy. My very slightly built 4 year old neighbor tried it on and it fit just fine. She liked it. But I think she found the color, well, disappointing. I told her I was thinking of knitting a brightly colored flower to add to the sweater. She thought that would be a good addition. I was visiting Cynthia’s Too, a great shop in Petoskey, and spotted some sweet crocheted flower pins. I could not resist. My little neighbor will approve.

Doe “a deer, a female deer”

Isn’t she a beauty? She was alert to our presence, how could she not be, what with those gigantic ears of hers? But she still let us have a good long look at her.

Steve and the zoom feature on his camera lens captured her so clearly that I feel compelled to tell you that this white-tailed deer is not part of a natural history museum diorama.  She is standing on the west end of Long Lake’s Ghost Bay on a crisp late fall morning.

Copernicus shawl

This is Copernicus. A shawl so named because.  Because. Because of something having to do with “the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology” of our solar system. So says Wikipedia. No, that must not be right because I’ve seen paintings of Copernicus and I’ve not seen him wearing a shawl. The Copernicus shawl is so named because. Because. Because something about it would have bothered the Vatican back in the 1500’s. No, probably not correct on that theory either. Best not to ponder the “whys” of modern-day pattern names.

Copernicus is Tanis Gray‘s lovely worsted weight heavily cabled rectangular shawl. A digitized version is available on Ravelry. Gray’s pedigree as a knitting guru is impecable. Her Ravelry profile explains that she’s a former yarn editor at Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple, Knit.1, Yarn Market News and the Debbie Bliss magazines and was co-editor of Knit.1. She writes that she’s “fairly certain knitting is the best thing in the world.”

Gray’s pattern calls for a worsted weight that will knit up at 14 stitches and 22 rows over 4 inches, in stockinette. That gauge wouldn’t happen for me with the workhorse Patons Classic Wool I’d set aside for Copernicus. But, undaunted, I just knitted on size 8 needles–a good choice for this wool–until I ran out of yarn. With about 100 yards more than the pattern called for, my Copernicus turned out to be 51 inches long and 22 inches wide–longer and skinnier–than Gray’s.

There’s an unusual technique used for the two borders. It worked, but I was skeptical. You knit the center panel, knit the two borders, then pick up a zillion stitches on the length of a border and an equal zillion on the corresponding length of the center panel, then do a three-needle bind off. I’d probably just knit the borders as I go if I knit this again. Even with a fairly aggressive block, the borders are flipping forward a bit. But, particularly near the neck, the flip becomes a fairly nice design feature. It looks a bit like a collar.

Michigan has turned chilly. There’s a nip in the air. More than a nip actually. We’ve already had a 38-degree evening. Soon it will be time to turn the furnace on. For now, a comfy warm shawl like Copernicus is perfect.

A sucker is born

…every minute.

The intense campaign against Canada Geese and their fast-growing, poop-producing offspring is over for this year. We tried stringing the property. That worked for two weeks. We tried aggressive efforts, like running at them with arms waving, whenever we were there. We hoped our neighbors would invite visitors with dogs. Nothing worked when we weren’t present. Even taking a nap might mean that when you woke up you would find the six adults and their 13 goslings messing on your lawn. And I do mean messing.

In years past, it wasn’t much of an issue because the Golden Retriever who lived next door loved to chase geese. She didn’t get much chance at that because, knowing a dog was around, the geese steered clear of the property. But our Golden Retriever neighbor moved out in late May. So,we suffered through a difficult goose season.

I kind of knew that decoys are for chumps. After all, I’d tried Headley the Alligator with his sparkling eyes. Supposedly Canada Geese, since they winter in the south, know that gators would rather eat geese than almost anything else they eat. Headley was going to solve our goose problems. He didn’t work, not even a little bit and not even at the beginning, and you can read about it here.

But the internet is full of reviews of how this coyote decoy, meant for hunting, is working all kinds of goose deterrent magic. One reviewer says it’s so realistic that her neighbor was throwing rocks at it. Apparently some neighbors are dumber than Canada Geese. The only thing our ‘yote scared was me. Every time I came upon him, I startled.

I’m done with decoys.

Except, I have recently learned that the kind of decoy I should really want is a swan. Geese and swans are like oil and water. So, maybe a swan decoy just off shore next year might….no, please, stop me.