Big George in the ER


This is my grandson Isaac’s “Big George.” Such a fine fellow. Here’s Big George in profile.


He’s actually “Mr. Ben” by Two Old Bags a/k/a Ann Swanson and Katie Nagorney, worked up in Blackberry Ridge sportweight from a kit that’s still available. I blogged about Mr. Ben’s a/k/a Big George’s creation here, way back in 2010 when Isaac was just a figment of my imagination. At that point my imagination couldn’t imagine why wool and unspun wool stuffing weren’t the most practical tools for the job.

Big George was looking mighty fine. He was even a bit haughty probably because ever since he was gifted he’s been a fixture in Isaac’s bed.


Here’s Roxie nosing Big George very suspiciously while Dan and Isaac read together back when Isaac wasn’t yet his 3-year old current self.


So, about that visit to the ER. Isaac recently had a 4-in-the-morning massive barf attack. (That’s barf, not bark. Roxie’s a sweetie.) The flu didn’t last long and Isaac was better before the day was finished. Big George didn’t fare so well. He was very ripe and disgusting, in a chunky kind of way that previewed his post-washing-machine condition.

Isaac’s mom texting Isaac’s grandmother: “Can Big George be washed in the washing machine?” Reply, “Do it. He’s wool stuffed with unspun wool and will felt, but you have no choice. I was a lunkhead to stuff him with wool. Go ahead and put him the dryer too. He’ll take forever to dry otherwise.”

This is how Big George emerged from the dryer.


Big George wasn’t actually twisted into the yoga pose you see here, but he was felted, covered with wool lint, and worst of all he had hard lumpy balls of unspun wool all through his innards. He’d totally lost his cuddle-ability.

Isaac to his mom upon seeing Big George as he headed to the washer: “Don’t worry, Big George. You’ll be OK.” When Big George emerged from the dryer, Isaac’s Mom fibbed a tad and told Isaac that Big George was still drying. We had to protect Isaac from the awful truth. Big George was now Lumpy George. He was disfigured by a horrid mess of tumors.

Isaac’s dad delivered George to grandmother’s ER.

Fortunately I have habitual ways of finishing off the limbs on my critters. I was able to locate the buried ends and unravel back enough to gain entrance to arms, legs, and tail. Then I started the slow process of peeling back Big George’s skin. This was necessary because the wool stuffing felted so much that it was stuck to the non-public side of the skin. After the limb tumors were removed, I approached Big George’s crotch seam with a degree of confidence. About 3 hours later, I emerged with Big George unstuffed, except for his muzzle that for some reason had maintained its integrity and unlumpiness.

This is Big George skinned and somewhat defuzzed.


He cut a sorrowful figure.

But one and one-quarter bag of polyfill later Big George was sitting pretty. He was his cuddly self again, with just a few new scars to show for his mishap.


I am feeling rather smug about my knitting ER skills.



Araluen is a town in New South Wales, Australia, that had 293 people at the 2011 census. Araluen means “water lily” or “place of the water lily” in the language of the first people of Australia. Before the local gold rush wrecked the place, there was an Araluen Creek that was filled with water lilies. No more. But Jo Anne Klim of Penrith, New South Wales, and kbjdesigns has her own view of Araluen. And I think I see echoes of water lily in this interesting but repetitive organic stitch.

This Araluen is a cowl. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry. My version is worked in Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel colorway. Here’s a closer look.


I wanted a really stretchy bind-off, so I used “Ribbing Bind Off” from page 118 of Cap Sease’s great book, “Cast on, Bind off.” You purl 2 together, knit one, lift the right stitch on the right needle over the left stitch and off the needle, then bring the yarn to the front, slip the stitch purl wise back from the right needle to the left. And keep repeating. It worked really well. It’s so much fun when old dogs learn new tricks.

I enjoyed knitting Araluen so much that I decided to cast on for another cowl right away. This next, much more calm version, is knit in Anzula’s great yarn For Better or Worsted. It’s 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon. Soft, flowing, great next to the skin.


Klim has released a number of patterns in this stitch, including socks, fingerless mitts, a hat, or an ebook with the entire collection of four patterns.

I completely enjoyed knitting the cowls and also gave the hat a whirl.


I knit mine in Malabrigo Rios. I’m a big fan of the Carrot Tops colorway. It can be just the ticket to banish the winter blahs. An interesting ribbing. An easy-to-memorize 4-row main pattern. And, a must for me, a doesn’t-come-to-a-point crown.


A very nice way to echo the stitch pattern in the crown because it keeps the squiggles in line.

In fact, I’ve now knit another. This time in the Rios colorway purple mystery. (And I have the purple fingertips and hands to prove it. The dye leached out like crazy.)


The Arualuens even have a surprise for knitters.


The reverse side looks great! So, when you give it to someone with a knitwear I.Q. in the single digits, they can wear it inside out and it will still look good and you won’t be shamed.

Long Lake in late fall


It was just after dawn. A light mist of rain was falling. A very rare sunrise rainbow appeared. Instead of the familiar red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, this rainbow was just red. Just red. I had no idea rainbows could be just red.

Wikipedia says that the light at sunrise or sunset can scatter the shorter blue and green wavelengths. If it is also raining, the rain can scatter the shorter wavelengths also. The result is this stunning monochrome red rainbow. If you look very closely on the upper left, you will even see a faint secondary rainbow. Here’s a more scientific explanation.

This beauty was on my bucket list and I didn’t even know it.

There has been some very mild weather this fall. Here’s a Ghost Bay paddle, likely my last of the season, on November 5th.


Life here is good.

Puppet Time


Here’s the whole gang. With the notable exception of that character in the center angling for your attention, these kid-sized puppets are “Critter Mitts” by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence. They are part of Toy Box, an ebook available on Knit Picks.

Now for some “up close and personals.” This first guy is Sea Monster.


Sea Monster is trying to show off his extra set of eyeballs in this next pic. I added those to the pattern. He just seemed to be a four-eyes sort. Love those frilly gills.


Here’s the King of the Jungle.


T-Rex is next, He wants to out-roar the King of the Jungle.


I love those silly puny front legs. Actually, this shot makes him look like he’s yawning. So here’s a view that makes him look a bit more ferocious. Great set of teeth!


Next is Triceratops. Check out the 3 horns. And don’t be distracted that his crest looks a bit like a piece of toast dripping with mint jam. Some fairly recent research suggests dinosaurs were likely quite colorful creatures. OK. Probably not this colorful.


Here’s T-Rex is in his twist and shout pose.


Now, here’s my add-on to the gang. These puppets are just a smallish mitten, with basically a somewhat wide and centrally placed thumb. Once you’ve made a few, it’s easy to dream up ways to personalize the set with some specialty characters. Obviously, this guy’s an anglerfish.


Don’t swim to close to that lure, now.


With some help from the hands of my young neighbors, here’s a few outdoor action shots.

Sea monster gets ready for a dive into ‘ye old swimming…bucket.


Lion is going to loll about in the grass.


T-Rex and Triceratops have decided they are vegetarians and both want to munch that tasty bush.



And the Anglerfish wants to get into the swim too.


Finally, another group shot. The gang gets along pretty well. Some of them sleep together in Isaac’s bed and so far there hasn’t been any rumble in the jumble.


Just think, they all started out like this.


This yarn is an old favorite of mine. It’s the long ago discontinued Classic Elite Tapestry. Great yarn. 75% wool, 25% mohair. Don’t think you’ll find any though.