Monday, November 23, 2015

Seeing Stars and Walking with the Moon

I've been seeing a lot of stars lately. Neither celestial stars nor cinematic, but ****s - the kind found in crochet patterns.

When you design for crochet magazines, mailing off the completed projects is not the end of the process; it's only the beginning of the end.  Next comes pattern-writing (blogger emits hollow groan). Even after years of practice, with copious note-taking during project construction, it's sometimes a struggle for me to write a clear, concise pattern. I've often wondered why; language is, after all, my strong suit, and crochet patternese is just another language, right?

Wrong. After this last round of pattern-writing, I've reached the conclusion that crochet patterns are more akin to math than to grammar. Think about it: you've got numbers, brackets, addition and multiplication, sequential actions, parentheses, and mind-numbing strings of abbreviations, all combining into a mystical formula that you hope will yield the desired result (but so often doesn't). As with math, there's an order of operations to be followed, in both the writing and the stitching - and if you miss a step you get the wrong answer.

Brackets and stars in particular are my downfall. You know the sort of thing: *dc, shell, sc in next v-st. Rep from * to end of row. Or should it be [dc, shell, sc in next v-st] across to end? Or *[dc, shell, sc] in next v-st. Rep from * to end? Brackets are to crochet what commas are to grammar; misplace them and disaster can result.

After hours of pattern-typing and -proofing, staring at parentheses and semi-colons and repeating from * to **, my brain goes numb. I begin putting brackets around everything in sight, scattering asterisks with abandon in a futile-seeming effort to make sure the reader understands that something, somewhere, must be repeated until she reaches the next something, somewhere. Crystal-clear though the pattern may be in my brain, it somehow gets muddied on its way to the page - and polishing it up to make it fit for use is a laborious process.

Thank God for tech editors, say I. And for charts!

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I haven't posted any outdoor photos for weeks; not because I haven't been outdoors, but because I've had neither time nor energy to spare from yarny projects and yarny writing. But now that the woolly tide has ebbed, some pictures are in order.

November has, however temporarily, turned its face from fall to winter. At first it was red and gold, and still quite green underfoot, with surprisingly warm days fooling the trees into budding out. Poor trees! victims of a false spring, only to have their hopes frozen in the bud - for last week the mercury plummeted, and on Friday came an iron-cold snow. Saturday we woke to an icy white world that made summer seem distant and exceedingly unreal.


On Sunday I take a walk through this snowy world, with the moon for my companion. Here she is, shining silver-bright in a pale blue sky:

A marsh has frozen into satin stillness:

A Favourite Tree near the start of the trail is dusted with white along the bough:

Ahead is the moon, now scarfed with cloud:

Gone are the flowers of summer; in their places stand elegant brown ghosts:

Meanwhile the moon floats higher, over a horizon faintly tinged with rose...

...and over delicate grass seeds on the restored prairie:

The wind is bitter; it's time to head for home and warmth. The freshly-iced marshy lake reflects the pink of the sky as I pass:

Today (Monday), the temps are slowly rising. By Thursday the snow will probably be gone, but we've had our first taste of winter.

How's your weather? Is it cold where you are?


Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, and a happy week to all.

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