The Heart of Summer

For anyone on a traditional school-based schedule, the heart of summer on the calendar comes mid-July. In nature, it is a little different. To me in the Great Lakes region of the US it feels like summer tips away from spring and starts moving toward fall right about now. If you aren’t paying attention you might miss it, especially in a year like this when the air has been cooler than normal the majority of the summer. The signs are there though and this week — after helping Mr Knitting Sarah hang photographs in his new office — we had a little jaunt to one of our favourite spots on Earth: Horicon Marsh. This peak of summer is so rich in life it would be a shame to miss it in this beautiful stretch of land & water.

20130810-063646.jpgThe boardwalk offers unlimited opportunity for the kids to spy small fish…

20130810-063659.jpgAnd the vistas always include a big, breathtaking sky.

20130810-063714.jpgWhile this boardwalk can’t be easy to maintain — between occasional storm damage and routine maintenance, care must be constant — I am so thankful it is here for us to enjoy. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to boat in the areas of The Marsh where it is allowed, this is the next best thing.

20130810-063738.jpgEverything is so green right now…

20130810-063726.jpgAnd wildflowers are in abundance in pinks…

20130810-063817.jpgYellows…20130810-063828.jpgLavenders…

20130810-063841.jpgAnd more yellows.

20130810-063806.jpgEven in the wooded shady areas, life thrives.

20130810-063905.jpgThere are hiking trails that take us through fields where the grasses are taller than I am…20130810-063851.jpgAnd the flowers stretch for the sky, so far above my head they must be defying gravity.

We walked along a toad or frog (I’m not good at my amphibian identification) filled trail, critters leaping for the tall grass with every other step we took. We saw baby Black-Necked Stilts, bees swarming the flowers, crickets hopping all over, and even were lucky enough to get to watch two Peregrine falcons in an aerial courtship dance (if you haven’t seen this, all I can say is it’s so unbelievable that it’s pretty much guaranteed to leave you speechless). The Marsh simply could not have been humming with more life.

And yet, in the back of my head I am already thinking of the coming autumn. As knitters, aren’t we always looking ahead? It always helps to be a bit ahead of the weather so we are properly prepared (and attired) when the first hot day calls for linen or the cool breezes of autumn blow in demanding cozy wool sweaters. This year is no different for me. As soon as I felt that imperceptible shift toward fall, I started knitting away on my Shalom Cardigan. A quick & simple knit made in a bulky weight yarn, it is the perfect project to begin the slow march away from summer knitting. After an ill-conceived bulky wool blanket I decided to start knitting one hot August a few years back, I tend to steer clear of bulky wool in August. Shalom is different though. Short-sleeved and so quick to knit, you won’t boil beneath it while you knit — you’ll be done before you get a chance to! I’ve had relatively little time to knit since beginning this project 5days ago and yet I fully expect to finish up today or tomorrow.

20130810-071907.jpgIt seems so appropriate — a rich red sweater for the heart of summer.

The downside of the Shalom Cardigan is that it is only written for a small/medium size. This means, of course, that anyone wanting a larger sizes will need to make modifications. Thanks to Ravelry projects pages, there are countless notes & links to blog posts as to how other knitters have modified the pattern for different sizes & fits. While it may be intimidating to those who haven’t made mods to patterns in the past, I assure you that there are really good notes — starting with the designer’s own — available to you should you want to give it a go and need some guidance. Should you decide to give it a try, I recommend reading a bunch of reviews and notes — the more examples you have, the easier it will be for you to narrow down the right approach for you. I have adjusted to add just a bit of extra room and found the changes relatively easy to make. I will post my notes on my Ravelry project page shortly after I finish up.

My sweater craze will not stop with Shalom. I already have not one, not two, but three sweaters lined up to come next. We won’t discuss the two on top of these that are lurking in the back of my mind. I also have mittens to whip up for the kids. And my handknit sock inventory is getting a bit low. Ah yes, it must be that time of year; the heart of summer, the time to get knitting.

2 responses to “The Heart of Summer

  1. some how it doesn’t feel like August to me – the summer has slipped by so quickly. I love the pictures you took of the wild flowers and the marsh. it reminds me how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful state.

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