Bosnian Slippers


Aren’t these just the cat’s meow? The bee’s knees? This is high on my personal best slippers pattern list. It’s also what seems to be the closest-to-available authentic Bosnian slipper pattern that isn’t written on crumbly paper with a family member’s cross-hatch marks on it. These are Nelly’s Bosnian Slippers, a free pattern available on Ravelry, attributed to Nelly Thorsnes and Johann Vartdal. Your choice for download will be Finnish or English. I opted for English.

The story goes that Nelly was gifted a pair knit by a Bosnian acquaintance and she reverse-engineered the pattern. So, she doesn’t claim to have designed it without a little help from her friends. Even with fifty-plus years of knitting I’d not have been able to figure these out.

Here’s an in-progress view just before sewing up the back seam.


Surprising, isn’t it?

The pattern is a bit terse by U.S. standards. It took me awhile to figure out what was supposed to happen with that fan stitch in the middle. The center point in each 4th row turns into six stitches. This instruction wasn’t cutting the mustard for me:

“Fan stitch (worked in between 2 st): pull up a loop and put on left needle, work the loop in garter st (it will now be on the right needle), repeat this for a total of 6 times.”

I could not figure out how to work that loop “in garter stitch.” What I did, and it seemed to work out just fine, was I pulled up the thread/loop and knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1 into the thread–as you might do if you were making the first row of a bobble. It worked just fine.

The body of the slipper is a slipped stitch pattern, two rows of color one, two rows of color two.There was something else kind of funky going on as I tried to keep the fleas of the contrast color (white in my pair) stacked atop each other in precise vertical rows despite the 6-stitch increase each 4th row. To keep the fleas lined up vertically, after the fan stitch in row 1, I followed the pattern and slipped the first stitch. But after the second fan in row 5, I knit the first stitch and slipped the second one. That kept the vertical lines of color correctly lined up. But, honestly I don’t know why that alternating thing worked and it’s not what the pattern says. And then I just keep repeating the 8 row pattern. Your mileage may vary. Possibly I misinterpreted something. But I don’t think so.

The pattern does not give a gauge. I used a lightweight worsted, Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, instead of the DK weight the pattern calls for. I knit 10 fans and otherwise followed the pattern exactly. These fit my size 8.5 tootsies just right. They would fit at least a few sizes smaller (since my bunions are taking up space) or even a size or so larger.

This pattern is definitely worth a bit of stick-to-itiveness. It’s been awhile since I’ve knit something so satisfying.

And my feet like them too.


Turtles’ Journey Cowl


This is Heather Anderson’s Turtles’ Journey Cowl. Quite the little knitting story, as the turtles leave the sandy shore and head for the water. Anderson, learnsomethingnew on Ravelry, recently ran a Turtles’ Journey knit-a-long. Knitters worked on this cowl, or the hat in the same series, or on the shawl or blanket in the same design. And, since the KAL, another shawl–Turtle Beach–has joined the family of patterns.


The cowl was a fun knit. You start with a provisional cast on, get the harder section done first (the turtles), move on to the waves, and then to the sand. A row of Kitchener and your end joins the beginning. Full circle.

Mine is knit in Michigan’s own Yarn Hollow, Tango. Tango is a DK weight wonder, with 85% merino and 15% silk.

Here’s my glass head showing it off.


I couldn’t knit just one. This next cowl is knit in Plymouth Yarn DK Merino Superwash.


And now the back.


Turtles are a wonderful part of our life on Long Lake. What a hoot to be able to combine my interest in turtles with my obsession for knitting!

Comins, Michigan


As you head north up M-33, between Fairview and the intersection with M-32, you’ll come to Comins. Entering town from the south, you’ll learn that Comins is billed as the “Ghost Town with a Lot of Spirit.” There are an unusual number of empty spaces in downtown Comins. And pretty much what isn’t empty space looks really new for this part of northern Michigan. The ghost town reference, I’ve assumed, is because the town was devastated by an F2 tornado on July 3, 1999.

The tornado hit Comins at 7:32pm. It cut a big swath through town, completely destroying a Mennonite church and the pastor’s home, the township hall, the fire department, the post office, four other businesses and about ten homes. Other businesses and homes were heavily damaged. Most of the town’s tall beautiful trees were uprooted. But the Comins Party Store survived. And, as its sign says, it’s “the best little store in town.”


OK. It’s also the only store in town. And its currrent owner is determined to keep his store thriving, cute and super-clean.

Here’s a view of the store’s new entrance.


The Comins Party Store doesn’t have a lot of anything. But it has a little bit of just about everything. Australian licorice, vintage candies, sweets of all sorts. Coffee. Lots of beers and wines that are not easy to find in this neck of the woods. At my last visit I noticed that they have marshmallows that are the size of tennis balls. If you didn’t dress warmly enough you can buy a sweatshirt. Or if you dressed too warmly you can buy a t-shirt. You can pick up a sandwich–sometimes there are hot dogs on the outdoor grill–and eat it at the picnic table. A few weeks ago there was no room at the picnic table, though. (But it didn’t seem like this gang was eating much.)


There’s more room at the picnic table now. The owner’s handiwork is scaling the roof.


You can get gas and propane at the store. And be sure to wander around and check out the vintage signs. Some, like this one, we probably better not think too hard about how it got there.

cummins_armyThere’s lots of old gas station signage on the exterior.


This sign sort of sums up the Comins Party Store “attitude:”


Best of all? Every time you come into the Comins Party Store you’ll get a friendly greeting. And if you come back again, the greetings just get friendlier and friendlier. Nice folks. Good little town.

You can visit the caboose too. It was donated to Comins in 1985.


Jeff’s Big Fish, Chapter 8,947


Jeff caught this big smallmouth bass on Saturday morning, October 10th. He caught it in the southern part of the upper lake. We happened by in the pontoon just as Jeff was reeling him in. His pole was almost bent in half. The fish was jumping as it neared the boat. Definitely a pair of worthy adversaries.

This bass measured 20.5 inches. Yipes!

Jeff releases the big guys. They go back into the lake and hopefully grow even bigger and then he has a chance to catch them again.

You know you are a great fisherman when you have a pet sea gull. Lately one has been hanging around Jeff’s boat begging for minnows.

Don’t get cold feet


This is the classic, vintage…let’s face it old pattern: Nola’s Slippers, by Nola Miller. The pattern is published as part of the Seaman’s Church Institute. Since 1898, during the Spanish-American War, volunteers of Seaman’s Church Institute have knitted and crocheted warm garments for mariners who are away from home for the December holidays. They call their program “Christmas at Sea.” Throughout the year, they collect hats, slippers, scarves, and mitts–with patterns published on their site, including Nola’s Slippers. This pair is knit in a yarn called “Canterbury Tweeds,” 100% New Zealand wool, worsted weight, and that’s about all I know about it.

The Seaman’s Institute says most of the mariners are men, so if you’re knitting for them keep that in mind. They discourage pastels. All donations must be knit in washable materials. No pom-poms or tassels (safety hazard). And they remind that mariners’ “work environment can get dirty,” so remember that when selecting materials.

These slippers call for worsted weight, held double.

Here’s another Nola’s pair, knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Marl, a bulky weight. So, no need to double the yarn.


These slippers will keep feet nice and toasty through the wintry weather, whether on board ship or sitting in front of your fireplace.

Veterans of knitting on the web will remember the camaraderie of the old knitlist. Did you get the daily digest or prefer to have a zillion emails fill your email box daily? It was in the knitlist days that I knit my first pair of Aunt Alm’s Dorm Boots. Amy Detjen was definitely the source and I recall that the pattern that she circulated was indeed a pattern from her Aunt Alm, with a few modifications. My original listserv copy is long-gone. This pair is a slight variation, by Brenda Zuk, with original attribution given to Detjen’s Aunt Alm, who died in 1998. The pattern is available on Zuk’s blog.

Aunt Alm and Zuk came up with a good comfy pair of slippers. Garter stitch soles for a bit of traction. A nice cuff so they don’t slip off. And an excellent spine up the top of the slipper for a bit of style. Mine are knit in long-discontinued Anny Blatt Mini-Sport which, despite its name, is actually a worsted weight.