Ice Out and Critters Return – Welcome Spring!

The Critter

As soon as the ice goes out (this year it happened on April 6th) the water birds and critters return to the lake. It’s miraculous, really, that they know when it’s safe to come back out on the lake. This year we heard reports from the northern end of the lake that the loons had returned while our section of the lake was still covered by ice. BUT as soon as the ice was gone, the loons were calling from the cove. There’s nothing quite like living so close to nature. We are so grateful to be able to witness the seasonal changes, to watch the sun change its position in the sky, and to know that there are more miracles coming soon when the babies are back with their parents. It won’t be long.

Since the ice went out, we’ve seen all the weather. Beautiful blue bird skies, thick fog and days of rain. Fortunately, it seems that mud season was relatively short this year and early. I had some white knuckle trips down our road and I may have let a few four-letter words escape my lips while hoping that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud.

I’ve been knitting like a mad woman. I seem to want to cast on all the new projects and I am trying to stay focused on finishing some, too.

Grandma’s Favorite

I’ve got a full basket of cotton yarns that I’ve collected over the years. I am trying to knit down the stash and one of my favorite projects is dishcloths/washcloths that I’ll pop into my gift drawer and pull out as needed. These two are from deeply stashed yarn from a big box store and they’re obviously seasonal. We use them here at home and the kids like them, too. They’re great stocking stuffers or as a gift with a special bar of soap. The pattern is so simple and easy to remember which makes these dishcloths good TV knitting.

Arne & Carlos Advent Jumpers

I’m almost half-way through the collection of Advent jumpers from Arne and Carlos. I love knitting these little sweaters and they knit up so quickly. I’m using Patagonia Organic Merino yarn from Juniper Moon Farm and, I have to say, this is my favorite yarn right now. I’ve made my Humlebi Shawl in it and I’ve got the charcoal gray colorway set aside to make an Emsworth vest. Number 12 will likely be finished by the end of the day today. I like to spend Sunday knitting for fun. I also like to bake and I’ve eaten all of my granola and my baked oatmeal.

Patsy’s Traveling Sweater

The body of my Traveling Sweater is nearly done (it may, actually be done but I have to measure it again to make sure.) This has been a fun knit. Patsy is a customer who has come into the store a bunch of times to purchase Plymouth Gina yarn for the sweaters that she makes. She has a Facebook page for the sweaters because she’s knitted over 100 of them. I have loved the sweater since I first saw it and have almost bought the yarn once before. When we heard that Plymouth was discontinuing the yarn, I put aside what colors we had in the shop and the boss ordered bags of each remaining color. When they came in, I bought the yarn and cast on my sweater.

The pattern is a Knitting Plain and Simple pattern #9724, Neck Down Pullover for Women. These patterns are simple beginner patterns and are knit top down in the round with minimal seaming. The sizing is somewhat size-inclusive but they certainly could be expanded. It would be wonderful if they added full stitch counts, too. But I recommend these patterns often for customers and students knitting their first garments. I’ve chosen 10 colorways of the Gina yarn and have randomly pulled them out of the bag to knit next. I have simple knitted the whole ball and then spit-spliced the next ball and kept knitting. I had a bit of a challenge making gauge but I decided that I would use the recommended needles and knit the size larger so that it would fit comfortably. I’m thinking that I may use a folded hem rather than a rolled hem but I haven’t decided yet. I suppose I can knit the rolled hem and then sew it up if I change my mind.

I’ve got to buy one more ball of Gina so that my sleeves, at least at the shoulders, match as closely as possible to the body of the sweater. After that, random is fine.

Spring has sprung!

Gone knitting.

Binge Watching and Knitting

Saturday morning

I was back home and back to work this week after my week away and, maybe I didn’t drink enough coffee this morning, I’m tired. Not motivated to “do” anything much. So, I’ve retreated to my atelier and I’ve been binge watching Outlander’s sixth season and knitting. And I’ve made good progress despite one “bad stitch.”

I cast on my Patsy’s Traveling Sweater on Wednesday. It was a challenge getting gauge and I decided that since I couldn’t get it just right, I’d make the next larger size and hope it’ll fit! So, I’ve been knitting along and increasing every other round as the pattern dictates. This is a sweater that has been made over 100 times by one of our customers. The first time I met Patsy I admired her sweater and I’ve admired it each time since. The pattern is simple; it’s Knitting Pure and Simple #9724 “Neckdown Pullover for Women”. Patsy knits hers in diverse balls of Plymouth’s Gina (worsted weight wool, 50 grams, 109 yards, made in Turkey.

Linda’s Traveling Sweater

I started mine with color number 12 and have since knitted color number 4 and 3 and I now have to go to my bag of colors and choose another. The stripes are fun and happy and the sweaters, when finished, are warm and really appealing. (I hope I won’t be allergic to mine. Someone will inherit it if I am!)

The one bad stitch was about three rounds back … just about exactly where I stopped knitting last night. I noticed that I hadn’t completed a stitch (it looked like a yarn-over and a wrong-colored stitch) and made a mental note to fix it on the next round. I must have decided to go to bed before I fixed it and then forgot over night. Needless to say, three rounds in this morning, I noticed the mistake and there’s no way to fix it without frogging it back and starting over. It’s now done, fixed, and I’ve reknit all that I pulled out and then some. It’s a perfect binge watching sweater.

I also have socks for my daughter on my needles and I am waiting for her to measure her feet so I can make them fit perfectly. I chose a simple gray yarn for her first pair and I have another couple of balls set aside for more for her. I’ve got a full sock drawer now and I am delighted to knit for her for a bit. I should also knit another pair for my son since his birthday is at the end of the month. If all goes as planned, I’ll be heading to New York for a visit at the end of April. I just have to pick a couple of days and notify the crew!

Socks for my Daughter

I blocked my Humlebi Shawl and wore it to work on Thursday. It was quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be from the photograph on the pattern but it’s really wonderful. I blocked it “aggressively” and it’s at least as big as the schematic says it should be. I like it and will enjoy wearing it a couple more times before all the knitwear goes away for the summer.

We are really glad to be here right now because the ice is thinning quickly and it will probably be gone very soon. The color has changed to a medium gray and we have about six feet of open water at the shoreline. Up the lake a bit there is much more open water and I’ve heard that some loons have returned to the lake. I wish I knew how they know exactly when the ice has opened up and they can return to the lake. I can’t wait to see them and HEAR them! Each season here is a wonder. I will miss the ice but I’ll welcome the open water and the returning waterbirds.

It was a very good Saturday. Gone knitting

Spider!

Spider Hat

Spider Hat

When you live out in the woods of Maine, you have to wear a bright (neon bright) orange hat around the periphery of your yard and down the road when you get your mail. It is ill-advised to go outside bare-headed. Because hunters.

One of our friends has a large piece of land and often, though their property is posted (No Trespassing signs all around), they have hunters with guns in close proximity to their house. So, to be smart and wear an orange hat during hunting season is just something we do. (We also put a bright orange collar on our dog!)

Last winter I bought some bright orange … hunting orange … yarn. I made a quick hat for my husband because he’s out more than I am and walks the dog a couple times a day. I put the yarn for my hat and one for a visitor in the stash … but it’s getting near time to wear our orange hats again. With all the nice hats I’ve made for him, he wears the bright orange one most often. Go figure!

The pattern is called Spider Hat it’s a free pattern from Kitterly. It has two yarn weights (worsted and DK) and is quite a fun knit. I am knitting with Encore Worsted yarn by Plymouth Yarns in color 479. It’s the only REAL hunting orange yarn we had in our shop (and I had to wait for it to come in last year.) There are two kinds of spiders to make and I’ve tried both in this hat. The “easy” spider body was made first and the “bobble” spider body was made second. In the next hat, I’ll do only the “bobble” spiders. They’re so much more wonderful!

It’s going to be fun to wear. Way better than the one we bought for five bucks at Christy’s that popped off my head fifteen times before I got to the mailbox!

Gone knitting.