Baby Boots


These are Frankie Brown’s “Baby Boots.”  Actually, these are Isaac’s baby boots, but Frankie Brown designed them. Brown is an amazingly prolific, creative and generous knitwear designer. She has 212 patterns currently posted on Ravelry and I’ve not yet encountered one that isn’t a freebie. All she asks, in exchange for knitting her patterns, is that we consider donating to the UK charity “Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.” The Foundation “takes action against the effects of childhood liver disease, providing information, emotional support, research funds and a voice for all affected.” You can follow Brown’s fundraising here, at

These baby boots are knit in 100% superwash wool, Wollmeise “Pure,” a 4-ply fingering weight. They are the cat’s meow if I do say so myself. They fit an 8-pound newborn, with a little room for growing.

Isaac’s grandmother even has a Color Affection Shawl that matches her first grandchild’s boots:


And, just to let Isaac’s inner hippie shine a bit, one of his boots–just one–has a hidden stripe:


The pike we didn’t catch


We do not catch fish like this on Long Lake. Other people catch fish like this on Long Lake. If we catch a fish it’s a teeny one. And we hardly ever catch even a teeny one. Of course, we don’t fish in the dedicated way that Jeff does. Jeff and his Great Dane were out on the lake when it was 40 degrees and the wind was blowing and fierce rain squalls were moving through the area.

This is the Northern Pike (Esox Lucius) that Jeff caught near the drop-off pretty much straight off from our dock on Friday October 24th. I saw him pull this fish out of the water as I sat knitting  and warming myself by the fire.  And, in case Jeff’s brother is reading this, this blogger, being first duly sworn, states that she personally measured this fish and it was 38 inches long. If I saw this pike swim by my kayak, I’d be hoping he wouldn’t eat my paddle. If I saw this pike swim by when I was swimming in the lake, I wouldn’t swim in the lake anymore. In fact, just knowing she’s in the lake (most big pikes are female) will make me think twice about dangling my feet off the dock next summer. Jeff released her right after this photo was taken and she swam away lickety-split.

The Northern Pike has a lot of goofy nicknames. Mr. Toothy is one and if an angler reaches in to that mouth to remove a hook, he finds out why. Wikipedia reports another nickname that captures the same quality: Sharptooth McGraw. But my personal fav is snot rocket. If you’ve seen a pike dart away you  know about the rocket part. And the snot part is the slime that covers the pike. It is a protective coating. Careful anglers make sure they don’t handle the fish any more than is absolutely necessary, not because they are squeamish (as I am) but because healthy pike need their mucous coating to avoid skin damage that can lead to death-by-infection.

The other angler on board is Jeff’s 2-year old Great Dane. What a great day to be a dog on Long Lake.


Colorflow Circle Shrug


This is Sarah Punderson’s Circle Short-Sleeved Cardigan, from Plymouth Yarns booklet #1610, Kudo. That probably feels like a tad more, and maybe a tad less, than you want to know. It is short-sleeved. But I consider it a shrug, not a cardigan. It’s a circle, with two arms knitted in. Slip your arms into the armholes–either arm either hole–and the long shawl collar falls into place.The upper half is identical to the lower half. Very ingenious. Very comfy. And a bunch of fun to knit.


My version is knit in Blackberry Ridge Colorflow yarn, in the Autumn Rag shade.It’s a great garment. If you gift it to someone, be sure to give wearing instructions. People will be puzzled by the lack of a neckhole.

Sediment Collar


This little dickens was darn hard to photograph. It is Laura Bellows a/k/a Jul Designs “Sediment Collar.” The very deep purple color of this Berroco Ultra Alpaca is really quite wonderful, though you wouldn’t know it from my photo. In my opinion, the same cannot be said of the collar.

First, for the good news. Knitting the welts is a hoot. I’ve always liked to knit welts, which some call “tucks.” And the recommended technique of threading waste yarn through the row of stitches that will be knit together with the stitches on your working needle is not something I’ve done before. It worked quite nicely in terms of marking the row so that the welt came out straight.

I’d purchased the recommended Jul snap clasp for this collar. You screw in the three screws on each side and then snap in the middle. Easy peasy. I was incentivized because I found the pricy leather and stainless steel clasp half off at a shop closing sale.


I figured some of the younger female members of my clan might enjoy a sort of steampunky cowl. (Actually, they still might). But the weight of this clasp was just too much for the cowl. Granted, the Ultra Alpaca was not the recommended yarn. And though it actually knit up quite firmly, given the welts, it just drooped under the weight of that heavy clasp. Then there’s that little problem of a bulky, uncomfortable thing poking into you. I placed it in various places and just couldn’t make it feel (or look) right.

So back to the drawing board. I took out a mortgage and bought two Jul “buttons.” No half price this time. I think my Sediment ends up with a kinder, gentler look. It’s more comfortable too.

Sediment_newbuttonsThere’s just one problem. That lovely stainless steel center on the button is actually a screw. And the fabric has basically zero give, so you can’t just slip the cowl over your head. “Yes, Virginia…” you really do have to screw yourself into this cowl. Two screws, Sigh.

If you have any suggestions for a “save,” please leave your comments. And if any members of my clan are reading this and like it, do let me know!


Hillman’s 2013 Applefest


Any of my regular readers know how much the loons on Long Lake matter to us. Every chick and every adult is special. This year’s twins are doing fine. Their parents have flown south and the adolescents soon will too. They have been flying low over the water, practicing their take-offs and landings.

This decorative decoy is handcrafted of Northeast Michigan Northern White Cedar. Bob Theiner, who lives on Theiner Trail in Hillman, carved and painted this adult loon with its just-hatched chick. It has landed an honored place at our Long Lake cottage. Here’s our 2013 chicks about a week after they hatched. An excellent interpretation, Bob!


Theiner, of Bob Theiner Decoys, was a featured maker at this year’s Brush Creek Mill‘s Applefest. Honestly, the Hillman area doesn’t grow many apples (and Posen already has dibs on the potatofest). But we have lots of home-grown talent, like Theiner, a master decoy maker. Here he is–along with his creations:

applefest9_lowres applefest10_lowres


We couldn’t be happier with our loon decoy purchase. Theiner’s work is top-notch. If you’re interested in his decoys, leave me a comment. Theiner doesn’t have a website (yet) but I can forward your comment on to him. Also, here’s his decoys Facebook page and his Flicker page.

HIllman did not catch a break on the weather today, but the event was still wonderful. A little rain, OK a lot of rain, just meant more of the event moved indoors. Great hot apple cider, homemade apple dumplings topped with ice cream and caramel, and lots of welcoming folks. Welcomes are something HIllman is especially good at.

Here’s the refurbished Brush Creek Mill, staffed mostly by an army of volunteers.


You can learn stuff here (yoga, computer skills, weaving), buy stuff at the River’s Edge Gift Shop, stop by and visit with a Montmorency County deputy sometimes, and check out the mill’s small collection of historic objects.

Here’s the view from the mill’s entrance looking toward Hillman’s new bridge, spanning the Thunder Bay River.


The bridge’s design echoes the design of the historic camelback bridge it replaced.

Even the mill’s mascot was decked out for Applefest.


There weren’t many apples for sale, but this farm booth had choice vegetables, beautifully displayed. (Check out the quilt covers!) We purchased a big green cabbage, the one behind the frilly leafed one, and will be steaming it for dinner.


The tomatoes, one of which I ate with lunch, are wonderful. And that’s quite remarkable, this late in the season.


The inside makers included jelly and jam specialists. Small batches of unique flavors like banana split (banana, pineapple & strawberry) and red velvet apricot plus all the traditional flavors you’d expect.


There were vendors of vintage pottery. I even “found” my grandmother’s drum table. I’m not kidding, I think I remember putting one of the scratches in it!


This is a working mill. The water powered wheel is powering the alternator.


This is the 8th year for Applefest and no Applefest would be complete without…you guessed it…yarnies!