You Are My Sunshine


This is a quick knit vest, designed by Beatrice Perron Dahlen. Her “You Are My Sunshine Baby Vest,” sized for a 6 month old, is available free on her website. I was very much drawn to the open, fairly simple (I thought) lace work.

It is simple. But that didn’t stop me from being flummoxed by what to do in the row after the double yarn overs in row 4 of the 4 row pattern. When you come to those stitches in the first round after the double yarn over, knit 4 just wasn’t doing it for me.  I knit 2 together, knit one, purl one, knit one. If I knit this again, I might try knit 2 together, knit one, knit one through the back loop, knit one.

The underarm decreases are a tad ragged–which doesn’t matter since babies are pretty forgiving of such stuff. It works. Arms will be able to poke through the armholes quite nicely. Some Ravelers have tabbed the shoulder straps and added a buttonhole and button to each strap. That’s a nice look, but I decided to keep it buttonless.

This little vest hardly takes any yarn at all to knit up. I used only 2.8 ounces from one skein of Lion Brand Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend. Thanks Beatrice!

And when the baby spits up and messes on the vest, in a pinch (if you weave the yarn ends in carefully) you can just turn the vest inside out. Because it’s basically reversible. Oh, but moms would never do that. Never. And babies don’t spit up anymore, do they?


Baby Triangles Hat


This is the new Knitwise Design earflap cap for babes, the Baby Triangles Hat. The garter stitch design is very forgiving of outlier pumpkin heads, but it comes in two sizes (newborn to 3 months, and 6 to 12 months). The triangles are a breeze to make and the construction of the hat makes for an interesting knit. My version is knit in Tosh Sport. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry.

Here’s another look at the hat, in the larger size, and showing the earflaps better. It’s worked here in Valley Yarns, Valley Superwash DK:


I have no baby handy to model this sweet thing, so I’ve pressed a knitted hippo into service so you can see the crown decreases. (The hippo is not at all happy about this and would only consent to modeling the hat if I agreed to not show his face).


I know, you want to see it on a baby, not on a hippo. Linda, of Knitwise Design, has kindly given permission for me to reprint her pattern photo. Much better than on a hippo, don’t you think?


This is a pint-sized, ear-flapped hat, reminiscent of Knitwise Design’s Fun with Triangles Hat.




The hummers have been having their sky-battles this week. They are fierce competitors for food. One sits on the feeder, scanning the skies for intruders. Geez. Why not just eat? She nervously sticks her bill in the feeder hole and we see the food rippling and know she’s getting nourished. Here comes another and instead of sharing, they compete. We just realized there’s a third female that’s also trying to feed. We know that because all three of them were mixing it up a few minutes ago. They battle feet first, but also use their bills.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, those amazing tiny birds that fully grown weigh only three grams, are definitely not all sugar and spice and everything nice. But, speaking of sugar, a hummingbird will consume about half its weight in sugar every day. One odd hummer fact? All that sugar being extracted from nectar (and our feeders) creates a lot of water. Most birds have a kidney that’s efficient enough to manage water excess by turning it into uric acid (that white lumpy paste we all love to find on our windshields). Hummers handle their excess water by excreting clear urine–a lot of it. So, if you see beads of water being shed as a hummer leaves a feeder, the little guys aren’t sweating.

One amazing hummer fact? Ruby-throated Hummingbirds make an annual migration, flying 500 miles non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico in the fall. And they fly back over the Gulf in the spring.  Before the migration, they bulk up and add about 50% of their body weight. And no, they don’t migrate on the backs of geese.

One sort of creepy hummer fact? A main predator is the Praying Mantis. Yuck. And bullfrogs. Somehow, I imagined raptors, not big bugs and big frogs.

Juvenile Bald Eagle


At first we thought this big guy was an osprey. We watched him fly up from a tall pine in Ghost Bay, swoop fairly low over the water, and then fly up again and land near the very top of an even taller pine. But, he was no osprey. The blue jay knew before we knew. This is an immature Bald Eagle.

We are in good company in not recognizing him at first. On a trip up the Mississippi in 1814, the naturalist John James Audubon mistakenly thought that a juvenile Bald Eagle was a new species. He named it the Washington Sea Eagle. But it was really just a juvenile Bald Eagle. The typical adult plumage develops as early as 4 years and sometimes as late as 8 years.

So, this is a juvenile Haliaeecetus Leucocephalus (sea eagle, white-headed). He was sitting on the branch seeming to be minding his own business, but the blue jay thought he was up to no good (apparently). Maybe the jay was guarding a nest. He squawked, loud, in that lovely blue jay voice. And when the eagle paid him no attention and just sat,watchful, the jay started flying up at him. He sort of dive-bombed the eagle. A few times, we saw the jay actually hit the back of the eagle.

You would think that a bird of the eagle’s size would give that jay a swipe of a talon  and that would be the end of that. But instead,he let it go on for about ten minutes.


Finally, the eagle had enough of it and flew off.


The Loon twins are thriving

loonbabies_lowresFour weeks ago, to the day, these two twins weren’t yet hatched. Last weekend they were viewing under the surface just like their parents and doing the foot waggling thing that loons do. They stray a bit away from their parents and we think they are fishing on their own. They are growing fast. Compare. Hopefully, they have grown enough that they don’t seem like a tasty morsel for a big snapping turtle. Eagles are likely still a threat, though. We’ve watched the vigilant parents diving, coming up with tasty little fish, and feeding them to the twins.

Look for the family at the entrance to Ghost Bay, on the east side of Belly Button Island, and where the waters from the narrows spills in to the big lake. They are also feeding near the big weed pile that’s sprouted this year in the first bay north of the narrows on the east side.