Missing Mr. Mantis ~ late summer joys

Found this guyBrown Mantis on my hummingbird feeder three mornings in a row. Each morning I moved him to one of the flowering plants that miraculously survives in my seriously neglected perennial garden. (Confessions of a knitaholic.) When Mr. Mantis didn’t appear on the fourth morning, I felt a bit sad. Did he find a mate and not survive, was he preyed upon by a bat, or did he simply relocate? I’ll never know, but at least I learned that the male praying mantis doesn’t always become a meal for his mate and that this mantis may have been a Ms., not a Mr. More surprisingly, I found that the Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) has been observed preying on hummingbirds. Next time, the mantis gets relocated as far away from the hummingbird feeder as possible. Don’t think he would have had much luck snaring a bird, though. His brown camouflage was of no help on the red-topped feeder and his stature was on the small side.

Late summer spiders are amazing – big spiders building big webs. One morning large webs spanned all three exit/entries to the house. I kept forgetting to duck when I stepped off the back porch ending up with spider silk in my hair.Fall spider

The New Dawn climbing rose is in its last bloom of 2011. If I feed the poor bush and weed around it, maybe it will show signs of its former glory. I must put the knitting aside to care for one of my favorite climbing roses.Rose

The cool evenings and mornings have been wonderful. Sunday was cool enough for me to wear my newly blocked Summer Solstice, a pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier, knit up in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I finally finished it. Love the fit, but may shorten the sleeves. Sure is hard taking pictures of oneself. Us regular folk look so much better in motion.

SS fini

I love working with the Silky Wool – a fabulous choice for this cardi. I have two more sweater’s worth of the Silky Wool. Deciding if Sigrun should be knit in the green or burnt orange. Silky Wool lt green

Silky wool burnt orange

Leaning toward the green.

No starting other projects, though; I have to get a couple of projects (my Ravelry project page) off the needles first (just a couple, not all) – 2 pairs of socks, a scarf (hibernating since March), a second hat (should have been posted as my second pattern a month ago), a shawl, a shawlette (Catkin by Carina Spencer), and a tank top (Zigzag top by Marianne Isager). What I’m hoping to finish in the next two weeks are the Catkin (a birthday gift) and Zigzag top. Kinda looks impossible since I need to cast on a pair of mittens to match the Laura’s Spirals hat pattern, socks I promised my car mechanic for his wife and a sweater for my granddaughter.

When can I possibly get to Lemon by Helga Isager, Marianne’s daughter? After seeing Helga’s Camomille shawl up close and personal, I want to knit that too. So many fabulous designs and yarn to go with them. What’s a knitter to do, but welcome the cooler weather and bring out the hand-knit socks, sweaters, shawls…….

Once again…… Not about the knitting

~ I am sad to report that the chick in the burrow did not survive. It is thought that the chick starved because the parents weren’t bringing the right kind of fish. I was unaware until now that puffins are listed as threatened due to an increase in human activity that is causing a diminishing supply of the small fish they thrive on. To learn more about puffins, check out Project Puffin ~

After logging on with every intention of blogging about a knitting project or two, I decided to check the link to the puffin nest cam to see if it was still working. I caught a feeding! Mom flew in, dropped several shiny silver fish and immediately left. Felt sorry for the poor chick trying to gulp down a fish that looked way too big to fit through its mouth and down its throat. After several attempts to eat the fish, the chick dropped it one last time and moved on to successfully swallow smaller pickings. Keeping this post short. See, I’m not distracted!

Puffin chick with fish

Puffins, live!

~ Edited on August 2 to remove screen shots. I am sad to report that the chick in the burrow did not survive. ~

I will get to the knitting. For now, I have to stick with the birds! What’s not to love about puffins. A friend just turned me on to these Audubon web cams: live images are on the Explore.org web site.

Live cam showing chick in puffin burrow

The chick was visible earlier today. I wanted to reach in and feel its downy softness.

Live cam showing puffins on cliff edge

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to sit with puffins on Papa Westry – part of the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. What a treat! The chick will grow up quickly. Even in the burrow, birds aren’t alway present. I saw razorbills in addition to puffins on the cliff edge. Hope you get lucky!

A foray into the blogosphere

I am an avid knitter expanding, like so many others, into knitwear design. Figure if I start blogging about it, patterns will evolve into print. My first design is this shawl, but it has yet to manifest itself completely to the written page. In other words, I started writing the pattern and it waits patiently to be finished. The pattern name is Winging It. Used Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn, ~650 yd.

My first written pattern (hope to post it to Ravelry by week’s end) is this hat – Laura’s Hat. Very simple. It’s okay to start with a simple pattern. In fact, that’s probably better. Get a little experience under my belt. Big yarn: ~90 yards of Debbie Bliss Como. Most of my knits are in fingering or DK weight, but big yarn seems to be popular and who doesn’t like a quick knit….

now a free Raverly download

I have taken quite a few knitting classes, but no classes focusing entirely on how to design knitwear. I hope to bring home several new skills after my trip to Manchester, New Hampshire in October for Interweave Knitting Lab.

For today, this is about it. Just one more photo to share. Found this lovely on a potted plant near my side door.

Orgyia definita – Definite Tussock Moth – Packard, 1864

This catepillar eats tree leaves; however, there has to be an infestation for it to cause significant damage. So glad I can simply enjoy the critter for its very brief lifespan.