Irresistable Colorways

I really like Blue Moon Socks That Rock. I love the way this fingering weight yarn knits up with a good sturdy twist. Hardly ever any narly bits to cut out and deal with. But, this skein?  Well, this skein was a challenge. Several years ago I ended up with it via my guild’s brown bag swap. Pick a bag. Open it. Keep it or steal from someone ahead of you. Apparently no one wanted to steal this from me.

I ended up with 800 yards of this Blue Moon Socks that Rock. That was an expensive and generous offering for a brown bag swap.  The aptly named colorway is Muddy Autumn Droplets. I just could not figure out what to do with it and it languished in my stash until the coronovirus started rearing its ugly in early March. It wasn’t just the colorway. It was 800 yards of it.

I thought I’d wind it to get a full view of its barfworthiness.

Hmmm. Looking so much better. Those droplet blobs in the skein started looking more tameable.

I could not be happier with how this turned out! It’s Justyna Lorkowska’s wonderful freebie Close to You. Thousands of Ravelers have knit this beauty. My Muddy Autumn Droplets version is my third. Check out my more sedate versions here. I once blocked the lace section and another time decided against it. This time I lightly steamed the shawlette and left the lace a bit closed up and bouncy.

The only problem with my new Close to You is that it only used up 420 of my 800 yards of Muddy Autumn Droplets.

Reading in one of the main Ravelry forum soon after finishing my new Close to You, someone mentioned a pattern specifically designed to soothe the savage variegated beast. It’s Bristol Ivy’s freebie, Sallah Cowl. Sallah was published in Knitty in 2012. Ivy’s write-up on the pattern says: “Every knitter has a skein of wonderfully hand-painted and variegated sock yarn in their stash that they don’t have any idea what to do with. The colors — beautiful, vivid tones that meld harmoniously in the skein — clash horribly in any project they try. So what’s a knitter to do?” I don’t think that Muddy Autumn Droplets even melded harmoniously in the skein. But the pattern sounded like just what I needed.

This pattern, which is knit flat, used a new-to-me easy technique that made it even more appealing. All wrong side rows are worked on a US size 10  needle. All right side rows are worked on a size 5 needle. Some folks put both needles on the same interchangeable cable. But I decided to break out my straights and just use one size 10 and one size 5. Sallah is knit on the bias, in a twisted rib, and is finished off with applied I-Cord.

I had a great time knitting Sallah. But I admit to being daunted by the finishing. Between the directions in the pattern and Ivy’s supplement on her blog, I was successful in blocking Sallah to the required parallelogram. It took some significant tugging and a serious dunking. The fabric is very stretchy. That made the task easier than I anticipated.

You fold the end you started with (where you see my yarn butterfly ) to the left point.You fold the end you finished with (where you see the ball of yarn) to the right point. The pattern directs that you use mattress stitch to seam the cowl closed. Quite a few Ravelers have been stumped by how to make that mattress seam look neat and to keep it from gathering up. Taking a look at many of the Ravelry projects shows that not too many negotiated that successfully.

I took the lead of a few of the Ravelers, endorsed by Ivy as she answers questions about the pattern on her blog, and joined the seam with I-Cord. I used two needles and picked up the same number of stitches on each side of the seam. Then I worked the applied I-Cord connecting the cord by working through the stitches, using one from the front needle and one from the back–as you would for a 3-needle bindoff. I think it worked remarkably well. It also echoes the top and bottom I-Cord detail.

Here’s Glass Head modeling the cowl. I’ve already worn and enjoyed this drapey colorful cowl.

Sallah used up 330 yards. I declare Muddy Autumn Droplets put to rest and to good uses. The remaining small yardage is now relegated to my fingering weight oddments bag. It may yet appear as a dress for one of Evelyn’s dolls or stuffed buddies.

Speaking of Canada Geese

I don’t have friendly feelings toward Canada Geese. I’ve written about this a lot on my blog over the years, including my efforts to chase them away with a big floating alligator head with shiny jewel eyes that sparkled in the sun.

That worked not one bit. In fact, a pair of black ducks decided to befriend Headly the first night he appeared at the dock and they soiled the dock big time.

And then there was the plastic coyote.

He had a big fluffy realistic tail that flapped in the wind. We moved him around the lawn thinking maybe we’d keep the geese wondering if he could do more than wave his tail at them. That didn’t work either. And everytime I caught a glimpse of him I startled.

We’ve strung the property (to the extent that we can). I’ve run after them in my white bathrobe yelling and waving a broom in the air. I have permission to go on my neighbors’ lots to chase them away. Nothing, except a dog–which we don’t have, works for longer than a few minutes unless THEY decide they want to graze elsewhere. So, from about June until September we have to deal with geese, their goslings, and–of course (and this is the point)–their slimy toostie roll droppings.

Last summer my grandchildren, then ages 3 and 5, visited for a week. They were quite entertained by the adult efforts to keep the geese at bay. Especially memorable was their mother herding the geese off the neighbor’s lawn screaming like a banshee as the geese fluttered ahead of her.

My daughter-in-law later suggested that the children would enjoy having knitted Canada Geese. They’d taken to calling themselves goslings and to teasing their parents sometimes by calling them Mama and Daddy Goose. Gulp. Knit geese? Knit Canada Geese?

These two made their appearance in time for a Valentine’s Day send-off to the kiddos. They were well-received. The children are totally sweet and totally knitworthy.

This is a pair of Betsy’s Goose, a freebie pattern on Ravelry offered by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. I decided to economize on the yarn and knit the geese in Paintbox Yarn Simply Aran, a 100% acrylic. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the yarn. Even knit at tight gauge, the yarn didn’t squeak as I knit. There were no knots. It’s an excellent acrylic in my view. The pattern was an easy knit.

Lots of folks have trouble with the legs. Basically, the geese don’t want to stand on them. Some knitters just leave the legs off. But I didn’t think that geese without legs and feet would suit. I positioned the legs in a few places. I tried them stiffened with a section of plastic straw. I tried running a length of yarn from the leg to an unobtrusive place in the neck to try to strengthen them. None of that worked. On a second try I borrowed feet from a different duck pattern where the feet are larger. That didn’t work either. Finally this is what I did:

I used the black yarn, doubled, and moved up to size 6 US needles rather than the size 4 that I used for the body. I followed rounds 1-4 for the leg, as the pattern directs. But I didn’t knit any rounds of the next one inch the pattern called for. I moved right into the remaining rounds, 1-8–as written. My idea was to double the yarn to make the legs stiffer and to shorten the legs, a lot. I ran a running stitch across the foot, at the base of the stumpy little legs to help flatten the feet a bit. When I fastened these feet to the goose in the place where goose feet ought to be, the goose toppled over–just as with all my other tries. I had to place the feet much further toward the neck than toward the tail before the goose would balance. So, not anatomically correct. But it worked and looks OK.

I wonder what this pair is looking at?

No. Please. No.

Rest easy. This is a photo of a Long Lake Canada Goose attack during the southern migration when, for reasons unknown (to me), the geese only rarely come ashore. At this time of the year, and through the summer, we tend to have “only” 4-5 geese pair on the lake. Oh, and each pair has between 3 and a dozen goslings that survive to what passes for maturity among these critters.

Ending on a more hopeful note, but still sticking to the theme, this is the Flying Geese Hat by Streelymade Designs.

I knit mine in Mirasol Umina. It’s 50% alpaca, 50% merino and lists on Ravelry as an Aran weight. I see it more as a worsted, though.

Good hat. Nice simple crown decrease.

Canada Geese. Beautiful birds. I just wish we weren’t up to our eyeballs in them.

April 21, 2020…when did winter end?

I am basically a weather-tolerant person. Well, except for the hot muggy stuff.

But 24 degrees and winds at Drake Passage speeds on April 21st is a bit much.

Here’s the place where the land meets Hillman’s Long Lake.

It’s even a bit colder this morning. Yesterday’s snow dusting is on the grass. The lake edge still gleams in the bright morning sun.

Patterns revisited

This is Aimee Alexander’s Antonia’s Scarf. I knit it in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Song. Song is a DK weight mix of 50% cotton, 50% wool. I wish I’d have discovered Song before Classic Elite did its swan dive. It’s excellent yarn. The feel is more cotton than wool.

I’ve knit this scarf  twice before, both times in Noro Yuzen. Even if you don’t know Yuzen, you’ll assume it’s many-colored (and you’d be correct). My Noro versions shout “look at me.” Song, by contrast, produced a subdued, calm scarf that just nestles into your coat and keeps your neck cozy.

One of the fun things about Antonia’s Scarf is that it knits up super fast. That triple wrap stitch eats yarn like crazy and adds three-quarters of an inch in two shakes of lamb’s tail.

This next repeat performer is Cecelia Compochiaro’s Swirl Hat, from Mason-Dixon’s Field Guide No 5. I knit it in my last remaining bits of Classic Elite Fresco. Fresco is, well was, a wonderful 60% Wool, 30% Alpaca, 10% Angora sportweight. I even added a machine-made pom-pom this time. Somehow the halo of the angora inspired me on that.

Great hat. Again (head to the end of the post). Such an interesting sequence knitting design. You just keep knitting the same sequence of knits and purls, each round, adjusting the stitch count at the start of a round every once in awhile. Surprisingly, the purl bumps zig first one way and then the opposite way. I didn’t understand much about why or how it worked the first time I knit it. And the light bulb didn’t go on the second time either. But it does work.

I had only 80 yard of worsted weight Rhichard Devrieze Fynn left after completing a recent project. Fynn is expensive enough that I’d saved my two skeins for years until the pandemic came along and I started to wonder what I was saving it for. After knitting myself a pair of bedsocks (yes, bedsocks), I set to looking for a pattern that would make good use of my remaining 80 yards.

Seventy-eight yards is all it took to knit myself one of the headbands from Knitwise Design’s Rugged Trail Headbands.

I’ve already found reason to wear this during the chilliest of these recent sunny late winter days. Great yarn, if you can forgive short yardage (175) and a major price tag.

Someone asked if my helmet/facemask could do any coronavirus duty. No. Too porous. But come next winter this helmet, knit in easy-care Plymouth Encore, will keep someone very warm. Three of my helmets are already hard at work on that task.

The pattern is from Carol A. Anderson’s a/k/a Cottage Creations R18 booklet “More Projects for the Community and Family.” Here’s the BIG Cottage Creations news. Almost every booklet in the Cottage Creations catalog, even the discontinued ones, are now available for download and purchase on Ravelry. Such great news!

No post on repeat performers of mine would be complete without including my newest Fetchings. These three sets of mitts are knit in my favorite yarn for this pattern: Noro Silk Garden. Unless you can find it on sale, it’s a splurge for a quick knit. But oh the colors!

These are my 8th, 9th, and 10th Fetching. Yep, I have a major stutter going when it comes to this pattern. My ten Fetchings posted on Ravelry contribute to the 21,216 total finished projects. I typically knit them just as Cheryl Niameth’s 2007 pattern directs. Some knitters lengthen the mitts some before binding off. Some work the bind-off to tame the bit of ruffle. But I find all the features somehow endearing.

Comfort foods hat patterns

Sometimes knitting what you’ve knit before can be very comforting. You know a pattern works out well. You know you won’t have any difficulty interpreting instructions. Maybe you even use the same yarn as on other knits and you don’t even need to bother with a gauge swatch. In can be just what the nurse practitioner ordered (since my doctor moved to the upper peninsula).

I was confident that the freebie DRIPS hat by Bethany Hill would work out well because I’ve knit it before.  And I think the dripping paint can look is a hoot.

I knit mine in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted and added a nice fluffy pom-pom.

Over the years since I first purchased Nicky Epstein’s 1997 book “The Knit Hat Book: 25 Hats from Basic Shapes” I’ve knit gobs of her Chameleon hats. The pattern is available now in a number of other somewhat hard-to-find publications. I treasure my copy of the book because I attended a 1997 Stitches convention and took a hat-making class from Epstein. Here’s the inscription she added to the title page of my book:

The “great hat’ she was referring to wasn’t Chameleon. It was (gulp) a pillbox style hat with big knitted flowers and leaves sewn all over it. I beg your forgiveness. But it was 23 years ago. Epstein and I both liked it. Anyway, I’ve probably knit Chameleon seven or eight times since 1997, more recently check out here and here. This current Chameleon is knit in Classic Elite Liberty Wool.

It works worn with a folded brim.

You can even wear it Robin Hood style, with the brim folded at uneven depths. And it works rolled.

It’s, it’s…a chameleon, sort of. And the crown decreases are well thought-out.

Chameleon’s definitely a knitting comfort food for me. In fact, I feel another Chameleon is likely in my very near future.

Michele by Sarah Punderson is another Ravelry freebie that’s a multiple knit for me. This time I knit it in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Chesapeake. A knitter can choose the slouch level and, in this version, I chose slightly slouchy.

Such a pretty thing. And wearing a sunny colored hat on a dull and wintry day can be a good pick-me-up.

For more of Michele, in a super-duper pick-me-up colorway, check this out.

Finally, next up is Katerina Nopp’s Wurm, one of the most popular Ravelry freebies, at 16,606 project pages by current count. Five of them are mine: Warm Wurm, Crazy Wurm, Creamsicle Wurm, Earth Wurm, and now another extravagant Crazy Wurm.

This one’s knit in Stonehedge Fiber’s Crazy, a 100% merino yarn usually described as a sport-weight. With Crazy, you get what you get–all without knots, in my experience.


Sometimes Crazy gives you a crazy surprise–like that stretch of orangey-red marl that ended up at the crown.

These are such difficult times as we live through the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Stay safe, please. Knit on!