goldlina2This is is Lina, designed by Johanna of Joko Knits. Lina is a free pattern available on Ravelry, with instructions in Finnish and English. Being the mono-lingual me, I used the English version. It is a great little hat, knitted here in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool DK. The yarn’s been discontinued, apparently. If you can find a supply, I give it a very positive recommendation.

Here’s Lina again, knit in Wollmeise Merino DK left over from Isaac’s Sirdar Cabled Cardigan. I finished one Lina and immediately decided to knit another.


This is not brioche, by the way. Fifty-six years knitting and I’ve still not learned to knit true brioche. But it’s definitely on my “to do” list. These are twisted stitch cables.

Now that I’ve enticed you in with how cool this hat turns out, the pattern has its challenges for those (like me) not well-versed in the streamlined European way of writing patterns. Actually, there’s only one complication. Even with photos showing how to do the cabling, I just couldn’t get the hang of this cable move:

“Cable: Slip seven stitches purl wise into right needle. Pick up the three first slipped stitches back to left needle (see picture) and remove all seven stitches from the right needle. Pick up the four loose stitches to right needle behind the left needle and move them back to the left needle. Knit (k1tbl, p1) three times, k1tbl.”

If that makes every bit of sense to you, the rest of the pattern is a snap. Go for it!

Here’s another photo to encourage you to persevere if your knitting head did what my knitting head did upon reading that cable direction.


Some people, especially those (like me) who need to use a cable needle to work a maneuver like that need a bit more translation. After poking around on Raverly projects, here’s what I learned works:

k 1tbl, p1, cable over the next 7 stitches, p1. Those 10 stitches are repeated across the round. And this how the 7-stitch cable is worked: hold 3 stitches in front, on the next 4 stitches, k1tbl, p1 k1tbl, p1. Then, work the 3 stitches held on the cable as k1tbl, p1, k1tbl.

I know. You’ll think that’s wrong. Because the 4 stitches worked as the first part of the cable are reversed in terms of how they appear on the needle. It will look wrong, but it will work wonderfully well. The reversal can’t be seen because the change is tucked into the twist.

It is such a blast to see what seems to be so wrong turn out to be so right.

My gold Lina is larger sized. The brown one is 120 stitches cast on and the gold is 140.

Some folks don’t care for the way the pattern has you work the crown decrease. Done as Johanna designed it, the crown decreases look like this:


I have no problem with the way that looks. And if I’d been a bit less tentative I bet it would have looked better. Besides, the top of your head is probably only visible to the tall and they oughtn’t to be looking down on your head anyway.

Some Ravelers follow the crown decreases posted by functionalknits on Ravelry on her “Cashmere Lina for Nat” project post. Nat was awfully lucky to get that cashmere hat, by the way. And the decreases look quite nice. I tried her Nat hat way on this Lina:


It’s a tad more organized looking, but there’s something a little funky going on at the top of the cables. I’m well-satisfied with the original. The pattern works with increases (or decreases) of 20 on the cast-on if you work the original crown decreases. But (from what I’ve read) 10-stitch incremental changes work if you use functionalknits’ crown decrease modification.

Lina totally passed under my radar for many years. At the moment there are 1753 Lina projects posted on Rav. Our knitting universe has so many generous designers offering these fine, free patterns. Lina is definitely a keeper.

Fructose, the hat


Fructose is the most water soluble sugar of all the sugars. It’s maligned for being a major cause of obesity, insulin resistance, and elevated “bad” cholesterol.

Ok. With that out of the way, this is Fructose, by Alex Tinsley. She blogs at Dull Roar and her patterns are available on Ravelry. Fructose is a very nice hat that won’t make you fat or sick. It will just keep your head cozy and your ears warm. I suppose Alex named this hat Fructose because it looks sweet.

My Fructose is knit with just over half a skein of Malabrigo Rios. This orange one is in the sunset colorway. And my lime one is the same yarn, in the lettuce colorway (and wouldn’t it have been better named lime).


As you can see, the hat can be pulled low on the nape of the neck. That’s because the ribbing has a nice deep v-cut. It could help out the pony-tailed population.


And, as for the top, no dreaded come-to-a-point.


All in all, one good hat. Thanks, Alex!

Ah…definitely winter


This is the dash of our Subaru Forester registering the temperature on Saturday at 7:52 in the morning. Yep. Minus 22. Officially it was only minus 14, but we’re not Alpena, where the National Weather Service reports out the weather. Our mild winter has suddenly turned frigid.

It seemed like a good time to think back to last summer, now that the lake is frozen and the ice fisherman are taking walleye and perch from the lake. Well, too cold for that right now.

Great Blue Herons are very patient fishermen. They will stand still for long periods waiting for fish or frogs or small snakes to mistake their twiggy feet for twigs and venture close. This one was startled in Ghost Bay and moved to a new fishing spot while Steve snapped photos.




Great Blue Herons are the largest herons in North America. When you see a big bird flying over Long Lake (or anywhere) with its neck curled into a tight “s” shape, trailing long legs behind, that will be a Great Blue. That neck position makes for a more aerodynamic flight. And the neck flexibility helps them pounce on prey from a distance.

These are very big birds. Cornell’s Ornithology Lab site says they have wingspans from 65 to 80 inches. They mostly forage alone and have a high number of rod-type photo-receptors in their eyes that allows them to hunt on the edge of Long Lake even in the dark.

Amazing Technicolor Dream Cowl


It started with this. All true yarnies know that this is pretty much irresistable. As long as the bills are getting paid and food’s on the table, Knitted Wit Gumball fingering weight in this kitted-up configuration is going to end up in a knitter’s shopping cart.

Knitted Wit Gumball is the yarn that Shannon Squire recommends for her Amazing Technicolor Dream Cowl. It’s a slip stitch (mosaic) pattern that’s easily mastered. And the result?


The result is a wonderful cowl.

I made a few modifications, more on that in a bit, but have a closer look at the front. That’s if I can pry it off my glass head, because she’s gotten a bit possessive about it.


A raid into my mom’s and my grandmother’s button box found three mismatched buttons that completed the look.

This is knit as a tube. I used circular needles, rather than “magic loop.” I decided not to make this the project where I finally learn Judy’s Magic Cast On. I’ve tried that before, and I hear it’s a great cast-on. But I’ve watched the recommended videos and I still can’t make it work for me. Instead, I did an easy provisional crochet cast-on. (Here’s Lucy Neatby’s great video on that one.) When I was finished, I just “kitchenered” the cast-on together to flatten the tube. Kitchener was already called for at the end section, anyway, soon after the three buttonholes are knit on both halves of the tube. I found that the buttonholes needed to be stitched together to make the cowl easier to button.

Squire provided the same clearly important caution about the order of the colors in different ways. I found the directions confusing. Color A/Color B, AND 2nd color and 1st color, had my head spinning. In case you have the same problem, this is my interpretation of the directions arrived at by studying the pattern sample photos and other cowls posted on Ravelry.

Cast on in whatever color you want to start with, white in my case. The next pair of the gumball pattern (in mine) is skyblue, white, skyblue, white. Next is medium green, skyblue, medium green, skyblue. Next is light gray, medium green, light gray, medium green. Then, brown, light gray, brown, light gray. In other words, each time you start another gumball pattern, you start the pattern so that the color you used first in the previous set of rounds becomes the color you use second in the next set of rounds. Sigh. I’m not sure if that’s any more clear. But once I understood it that way, well, then I understood it.

Here’s a look at the back:


I knit the wider/shorter version, rather than the skinnier/longer version.