Tag Archives: design

Snow Geese in Wool

After sighting a flock of Snow Geese in March 2017, I have been thinking about how to capture the migration of Snow Geese in wool. Last week, I finally sat down and knit up a hat in the species’ honor.

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The simple triangle motif based on quilters’ flying geese is knit in black, gray, and white to resemble Snow Geese flight feathers, and the three repeats form subtle V shapes to imply movement.

This hat is now winging its way to my uncle in Pennsylvania in time for winter.

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Sister’s Lake

Back in September, G and I spent a warm weekend in the Adirondacks. I was desperate for the smell of spruce forests and the feel of cool water. We packed our car, loaded the canoe, and headed east after work on Friday September 22. It is a long drive from Buffalo to the Adirondack State Park, so it was well into the night by the time we pulled over at a trailhead and lay down across the trunk and back seats in our small hatchback. Gazing through the back windshield, the wide canoe on our roof cut a black gash across the starry sky.


On Saturday, we took our time reaching our final destination. We first bought cider doughnuts and coffee in Old Forge, then drove Uncas Road to the trail for Black Bear Mountain. It was a perfect blue-skied day, warm enough for mid-summer though technically autumn had arrived. The maple trees were burning red and orange across the landscape, with the birch just beginning to glow yellow.

When we first arrived, G and I were the only people at the summit, but we were soon joined by an extended family with young children. They reached the peak, and immediately began to search for something. When we inquired, the father explained that one of his sons had passed away a few years ago and he, the father, had carved his son’s initials into the rock as a memorial. Now they were back a year later and could not find the carving. They looked for at least an hour, with no success. Perhaps they were on the wrong mountain. At the risk of sounded insensitive, I must say that we were glad that they did not find their carving. Engraving the Adirondack granite is leaving a trace to say the least. It implies a sense of self-importance and a disregard for the value of a natural area. It affects other people’s experiences. Fellow hikers, please follow Leave No Trace ethics and keep your penknives away.

In the afternoon, we drove to Big Moose Lake, where we parked our car at the public boat launch and headed out for the night. Our destination was a lean-to that lies three miles past the far end of the lake and is only accessible through a combination of boating and walking. This lean-to is perched on the edge of Sister’s Lake, with a natural rock outcrop serving as a swimmer’s ideal entry. We shared the location with three men who were also out for the weekend.

I had brought my Acadian hat with me as the weekend’s knitting project, which I had first knit as a memory piece from our honeymoon to Nova Scotia. The hat is made with Quince and Co. Lark yarn in calming blue-greens that remind me of early twilight. The original was in need of brim modifications. One of the men who was staying at the lean-to saw me knitting and liked my Acadian hat so much, he requested that I sell one to him. And so, I did. Last week, PH received his own Acadian hat, with just a few modification. I hope it keeps his cozy and warm all this winter long.

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Machrie Moor

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Two weekends ago, my family hiked Mt. VanHovenberg near Lake Placid, New York. At the peak, I celebrated the completion of a new Memory Piece.

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This sweater has been in progress, mentally and then physically, since April 2015, when my sister and I visited the Machrie Moor standing stones on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.

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The Machrie Moor standing stones have been in place for ~4000 years. M and I have been to many historic places, but I felt particularly honored to be at Machrie Moor. We spent a beautiful, windy morning touching the rocks, breathing in the wind, and warming our face with the sun. Our experience was intimate, but also shared with an unknown number of other humans. There were settlers who lived on this land before there were stones, there were workers who erected the stones, there were  worshippers who gathered at the stones, there were and are farmers who have maintained the land around the stones, and, now, there are visitors like us, trying to understand our own places in history.DSC_0144
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This particular stone especially appealed to me, and I chose the yarn (Tormentil in Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 3-ply) for my sweater based on its tone and texture.DSC_0153 - Copy

The cables in my sweater represent the ridges, and the different front and back reflect the distinct sides of the stone.DSC_0155
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On Ravelry here.

Wovember

For the past month, I have been following the WOVEMBER Blog, maintained by Felicity Ford and others. Wovember is all about WOOL and SHEEP. The goal of the Wovember campain is to increase awareness of what wool is and what it is not, and then to encourage people all over the world to wear thoughtfully raised and processed wool.

In the hiking world, wool clothing has been resurging in popularity due to the availability of Smartwool, Icebreaker, and other machine washable wool clothing. (“Superwash” wool is truly high-tech clothing, as it has gone through considerable processing.) I personally wear washable wool socks almost every day. Recently, I am also learning to knit wool garments for myself out of wool that is not “superwash”. Along with this, I am learning how to take care of these garments so that they can last for a long, long time. In general, it does not seem that many hikers put thought into where their high-tech wool clothing is sourced from, or how it came to be a shirt, socks, underwear, etc. I hope that campaigns like WOVEMBER and The Campain for Wool continue to reach new audiences in the UK and here in the US, to give us all a greater appreciation of processes that go into our being comfortable during winter walks.

On Sunday, the last day of Wovember/November, my brother and I went to Great Baehre Swamp for a few photos of my favorite new hat, which I knit as part of the 100% Wool Wovember Wool Along.

DSC_0372 The hat is a tribute to one of my favorite birds, the Loon, and I designed it last year. The fiber comes from sheep raised in the United States, and is spun into yarn in Maine for the Quince and Co. company. The hardest part of designing hats for me seems to be finalizing a PDF and posting it for sale on Ravelry, so I am sharing this here as incentive for myself.

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The hat is finished off with a little red eye…

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Here’s to wool and it’s amazing ability to keep me warm on winter walks!