Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Southerly

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  Wild geese ride on the
     rollicking wind, calling "Spring!
        It's just behind us!"

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Last Saturday we stopped at Trader Joe's in Madison for a few necessities (and a few indulgences). Although I rarely buy cut flowers, I'm always tempted by their beautiful, reasonably priced bouquets. And when I saw they had small bunches of daffodils for only $1.69, I couldn't resist.

Here are the daffodils on Sunday:


Monday:


And ... drum roll please ... Tuesday:

Ta da!

The skies may be grey outside, but inside the sun is shining, and whiffs of April are drifting through the dining room.


Not bad for $1.69.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Squelchy Walk

A cold, windy afternoon as I set out to walk the snowmobile-less trails today. Most of the snow has melted off - even the inch or two we got just the other day - leaving the ground mostly bare and the trails squelchy and damp. It's been a very up-and-down winter.

The geese have been back for at least a couple of weeks now, which is a sure sign that spring is on its way. All they require is open water - and here's some showing on the marsh around the corner. Winter is definitely losing its grip.


Somehow this milkweed pod has managed to hold on to its seeds (you can see the floss blowing in the strong wind).


Just a few drifts of snow edge the buff-coloured fields. (Hello, favourite tree. I haven't seen you for weeks.)


Across the field, in the little thicket, small clumps of moss have appeared on the track...


...but there are still plenty of tiny dried flowers to look at.


A lichen-trimmed tree trunk rises from a carpet of leaves.


The afternoon is so golden, it might almost be fall.


A gnarled old tree is dreaming of spring...


...while the ground below is covered with last year's empty nutshells.


The sky is high and blue today, with scattered clouds scudding by on a fast wind.


Shell-like fungus adorn the shady side of an oak.


This tree's branches are covered with rosy, berry-like clusters...


...just waiting to burst into leaf.


I took my walk as late as possible today, hoping to catch the sunset on my way home. And here it is:




The wind has quieted, and the air smells of clean, damp earth. It's good to be back.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back In the Game

After years of languishing on the culinary bench (or, to be precise, in a California kitchen drawer), my mom's rolling pin is back in action.

Tonight it rolled out some pizza crust...


...waited while the toppings were prepared and the crust bathed in olive oil...

Feta and muenster cheeses,
sun-dried tomatoes, chicken breast,
and a pile of mixed herbs
(also fresh garlic, not pictured)

...then looked on approvingly at the finished product.


Despite its age and years of disuse, the rolling pin works just fine. I look forward to rolling out many a crust with it.

Thanks, Mom.

Mrs. Micawber's Pizza Crust (yields 2 medium thin crusts or 1 large thick crust)

Starter:
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar or honey

Stir well, cover, and let sit in warm place for at least 15 minutes. Add:

3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups flour (I use half whole wheat, half unbleached)
Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt

Knead about 5 minutes or until springy and elastic. Dough should be soft and slightly tacky; add a bit of water if necessary during kneading. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place until at least doubled. (Best if allowed to rise for a couple of hours.) Roll out to desired thickness and place on pizza pan(s) sprinkled with cornmeal. For thin crusts, dough may be used immediately. For a thick crust, cover and allow to rise a bit more in the pan while you prepare the toppings. Top as desired, and bake at 425┬║ 13-18 minutes or until done.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Cheerful Au Revoir...

...to February (almost)...

...to the worst of winter (I may be kidding myself on this one, but the geese are back and it feels as though we may for ONCE get an early spring)...

...and to Planet Penny's Reasons to Be Cheerful, which has brightened our wintry weeks and months, and, after today, is retiring for a time.

Here some things that brightened my week:

1. I won a giveaway! Liz (aka Astri) at Apple Blossom Dreams recently celebrated her blog's first anniversary by holding a generous giveaway. (Happy Blogiversary, Liz!) Among the prizes was a dozen Berlinerkranser - butter cookies baked by Liz from her father's recipe. Mine was the lucky name drawn to receive these buttery delights.

Liz's box arrived today - a rather larger box than I was expecting. I opened it up and saw:

A lovely note sitting atop lots of bubble wrap...

...which was covering two containers...

...filled with delicious berlinerkranser -
some dipped in pearl sugar...

...some dotted with cheerful
sprinkles of colour.

And when I pulled up the rest of the bubble wrap, I saw:

See's Candies (Molasses Chips and Bordeaux -
my favourites), AND 2 skeins of beautiful
Lavender Topaz sock yarn.

What a haul! (Liz said the extra goodies were included in case the cookies broke in transit, and the yarn was for cushioning.)

A very thoughtful gift that made me feel very cheerful.

2. Another reason for cheer: the lengthening days. It's no longer dark at 5 o'clock! Spring is surely on its way - a very gladdening thought.

3. My geranium likes the longer days too. It's sporting a huge cluster of fuschia-coloured blossom that brightens up the entire dining room.


I believe my very first Cheerful post featured this same geranium bursting into bloom last autumn, so it seems a fitting end to our season of appreciation.

What's chirking you up this week? Leave a happy comment below, or write a post of your own to share the joy. For more valedictory Cheer, head over to Planet Penny.

A Cheerful weekend to you all.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Soup of the Evening

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Lewis Carroll

Here is the Soup (so rich and green):


...and here is the Evening:


Our Soup of the Evening was Curried Split Pea, a variation of Curried Green Lentil Soup (pictured last month on T's Daily Treasures, who got the recipe from The Cilantropist [great name!], who adapted it from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. Whew.)


Topped with fresh cilantro (coriander) and generous amounts of crumbled feta, with fresh homemade bread on the side, it was indeed beautiful; also spicy, hearty, and filling. Click here for Cilantropist's recipe.


P.S. I used butter rather than coconut oil for sauteing (couldn't bring myself to spend $9-$12 on a jar of organic coconut oil), and scaled back on the red pepper flakes, as I don't like excessive heat. (Even with half the red pepper, it was pretty spicy.) Other than that I followed the recipe as given, using homemade chicken stock as a base.

Will I make it again? Oh, yes.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Smelling a Rat

I'm sure you've all noticed Blogger's charming new word verification scheme: two words (one of them often illegible) to be typed into a box to "prove you're not a robot" and thus leave a comment.

Sometimes the illegible word is partly readable; sometimes it's visual gibberish - in which case I am forced to make a wild surmise and simply type in my best guess. Yet somehow, Blogger always accepts what I type, and never challenges me to try again.

I'd begun to wonder if it even mattered what I typed in. My suspicions have now been confirmed. Whilst leaving a comment over on Angela's blog tonight, one of the required verification words was... wait for it... in Greek. I kid you not. I don't mean merely a Greek word, I mean a word written in the Greek alphabet. (The only letter I even recognized was the Omega, which looks like a capital O with an open bottom and a little foot [serif?] sticking out on each side.)

How in the world was I supposed to type Greek letters on a Roman keyboard? (And why didn't I capture a screen shot so you could see what I was up against?)

So I typed in something that very vaguely resembled the Greek word, followed by the other more legible word, and Blogger accepted it.

Hmm.

Perhaps getting one out of two is all they require.

Seems a bit fishy to me.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Cheerful Mementoes

(Is it just me, or does "mementoes" look funny? Mementos. Mementoes. Perhaps we should just say memorabilia and be done with it.)

All winter long, we've been linking up with Planet Penny for Reasons to be Cheerful. Penny (who started this weekly review-of-all-things-happy mainly to get us through the dark days of the chilly season) has announced that next week will be the last Cheerful linky party for a while. So I'd like to start off by thanking Penny for this pleasant tradition. It's given me something to look forward to each week, and, more importantly, has helped me to look for (and appreciate) moments of joy - even when life seemed bleak. (I guess that makes you my first Reason this week, Penny.)

Of great comfort and cheer in the last two weeks have been the loving and thoughtful comments left here, by readers and friends around the world, in response to my posts about my Mom's death. Thank you all, so very much, for your prayers and kind thoughts during this difficult time.

All of my other Reasons came from my parents' house, and travelled home with me from California a few days ago. In the general clearout that accompanied my mom's transfer to a nursing home (and her unexpected passing away a few days later), I fell heir to some wonderful little treasures which give me great joy:

First, my mom's old juicer. I don't know where she got it, but I love the size and the heavy green milk glass - and the "Sunkist" inscription on the side. Part of my California childhood, now transplanted to Wisconsin, it will be used often and lovingly. (I suppose an electric juicer would be more efficient, but Mr. M and I like to use hand tools as much as possible.)


Next, Mom's darning egg. Family legend has it that once upon a time Mom used to knit sweaters and argyle socks for Dad. I never saw her knit anything, or darn anything for that matter, but this darning egg was always in her sewing basket and always fascinated me. Now it has passed to me, and who knows? Perhaps it will inspire me to knit a pair of socks (if only for the pleasure of learning to darn them with the help of this charming tool).


And here's a very useful item: my Mom's old rolling pin. This has been part of her kitchen equipment for as long as I can remember. As a child I learned to roll out cookie dough and pastry with this wooden behemoth, and now it will find a new life in my kitchen. (I actually needed a new rolling pin and had almost ordered one from Amazon. I'm so glad I waited.) I love the peeling red paint on the handles.


Then there's a beautiful little square plate covered with happy roses. (I'm a sucker for square plates.) No one in the family knows where this plate came from, or how old it is - I suspect it to be a memento from one of Mom's relatives. But it's pretty and cheerful and will remind me of Mom whenever I use it.


(Not pictured is a lovely soft grey cashmere cardigan from Mom's closet. Dad told all the female family members to help themselves to any of Mom's clothing they liked, as the rest would be given to charity. I wore Mom's sweater the day I flew home and felt just a little closer to her each time I looked down at it.)

Not a great inheritance by the standards of some; just a few useful, beautiful items that remind me of my childhood and my Mom. They make me cheerful.


What's making you cheerful this week? Share the joy by leaving a comment below. And don't forget to hop over to Planet Penny - where you may see her beautiful Valentine's bouquet and a cunning little Alice doll, and find links to other Cheerful posts.

A happy weekend to all.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Isn't She Lovely?

In preparation for my mother's memorial service, my niece A and I spent hours going through family photos, looking for pictures of my mom. (Niece A wanted to make some photo collages for the reception.)

Since I don't take after my Mom facially (in fact my baby pictures look exactly like my Dad in a dress), I can say without reservation that she was a knockout. No wonder Dad fell for her.


Today is Mom's memorial service. All my siblings are here, and most of my nieces and nephews. A sad and happy day.

Goodbye, Mom. I love you.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not Exactly Cheerful, but Very Thankful

I've been wondering for days whether I'd be able to join Planet Penny's Cheerful party this week. If you read my last post, you'll know that I flew to California on Saturday for a visit to my parents, and that my mom had a massive stroke the day before I arrived. After lingering in a non-responsive state over the weekend, she died on Monday night.

So I'm not feeling exactly cheerful, but there are several things for which I am very thankful:

1. The kindness of the flight attendant on the second leg of my flight out, who could see that I was upset and asked if he could help in any way. When I told him that my mom was dying, literally dying as we spoke, and asked if there were any way I could get off the plane quickly when it landed, he moved me to a seat at the front of the plane, and ducked into the cockpit to speak to the pilot (we took off at least 30 minutes late for a 2 hour flight, but landed right on time - I'm pretty sure the pilot put the pedal to the metal for my sake due to the flight attendant's kindhearted intervention). The flight attendant, whose name was Thomas, kept a quiet eye on me throughout the flight (which I spent in tears), and was attentive without being obtrusive. I am so very thankful for the kindness of a stranger at such a difficult time. (I will be e-mailing the airline to let them know what a wonderful job he did.)

2. My mom was still alive when I reached California, and I was able to spend most of the next 53 hours at her side. On Monday morning and afternoon I had several precious hours alone with her. I was so grateful for this chance to sit with her and hold her hand; to tell her, over and over, that I loved her.

3. When my niece A came to watch with me Monday afternoon (a few hours before Mom died), we called my Michigan brother to ask him to play his guitar for her over the speaker phone. After he had played for some minutes, I happened to look away from my mom, and just then I heard my niece gasp. With hands to her face and eyes round with astonishment, she whispered, "Aunt Sue, she smiled!" (My mom had lain unmoving and unresponsive for 2 full days.) It was a small miracle. What a blessing for my brother and my mom. I am so glad that even across the miles he could add beauty and joy to my mom's last hours.

Monday evening, I left the hospital to get some rest and sleep at my dad's house. (My brother and my dad were planning to stay with my mom that night.) Just after 10 pm my brother called to say that Mom had slipped away quietly while no one was looking. He had suddenly realized that the room was very quiet, and when he looked at Mom, her pulse had stopped.

I am so very thankful that Mom had a quiet passing, surrounded by people and voices she loved. I'm thankful she had good medical care and the help of medicine to ease her dying. I'm thankful that by the grace of God I was able to be with her for her last days. Most of all, I'm thankful for her brand new heavenly body, and the joy she's now experiencing as she looks on the face of God.

(Photo taken by my niece when I wasn't looking.
Thank you, A, for this precious remembrance.)

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Watching the Sun Set

More than a week ago, I bought a plane ticket for California. My sister had just been there, but my dad still needed help with getting my mom settled in a nursing home and with making his own plans for the future. It was my turn to go out and lend a hand.

My flight was scheduled for Saturday, February 4th. On Friday the 3rd, my niece called to say that my mom had had a stroke and was in the hospital. On Saturday, while sitting in the Denver airport waiting for my connecting flight to Orange County, I got another call to say that Mom was deteriorating quickly. I didn't know if I would reach her in time.

By the grace of God she was still alive when I reached Orange County. My
brother and niece took me straight to the hospital to see her, and except for a few hours of sleep at my dad's house, I have been at the hospital ever since.

As of Monday night, my mom is still hanging on to life by a very slender thread. The stroke was a massive one, paralyzing the left side of her body and causing bleeding into the brain. She is in a near-coma, with only hours or days left to her. At least one family member is with her at all times. We hold her hand, we talk to her, we pray for her, we sing to her, we read scriptures to her. We tell her it's okay for her to let go. We remind her of the wonders that are waiting for her in heaven.

She lies in a morphine-induced sleep. Every time she draws another laboured breath, I wonder if it will be her last. As I watch the sun go down, and the colour in the sky fades to grey, I reflect that her light is dying too. (But I know she will wake to a greater light than any this earth can boast.)

Meanwhile, we wait.

I love you, Mom.

Taken from my mom's hospital room window

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Heartsease (& Cuddle Me) Cowl Crochet Pattern with Phototutorial

Hearts-ease and Cuddle Me are just two of the many charming names for the wild pansy, or viola. (Some of the others are: Love Lies Bleeding, Love in Idleness, Call Me to You, and Jack Jump Up and Kiss Me - all very evocative of romance.)

Heartsease

Cuddle Me

Here just in time for Valentine's Day is a quick-to-make and completely customizable cowl pattern. The Heartsease Cowl is trimmed with hearts top and bottom...


...while Cuddle Me features a simpler picot edging. Since they're stitched in the round, you can make these cowls as snug or loose as you like. Your starting ring will determine the size: use fewer motifs for a closer fit, and more for a drapier cowl.


All crochet terminology is American. You can click on any picture to see an enlargement.

Size: Custom

Yarn Requirements: 160-180 yarns of worsted weight (#4) yarn will make a smaller cowl (18"-22" diameter by 7"-8" tall).
Use more yarn for a longer or taller cowl.

Yarns I Used:
NaturallyCaron Joy in Cerise (1 entire skein) - finished size 18" x 7 1/2"
NaturallyCaron Country in Deep Taupe (1 entire skein) - finished size 22" x 8"

Hook Size: H or size appropriate for yarn

How Did These Yarns Behave?
Very well indeed. The Joy is a bit splitty, but very silky and slippery which makes it easy to work with. Joy develops a pleasant halo with wear, has lovely drape, and feels very nice against the skin. It blocked well, without undue stretching. Country is a wonderful yarn for the price. It works up well, gives great stitch definition, blocks nicely, and holds its shape.

I look happy because my
neck is nice and warm

Heartsease/Cuddle Me Starting Rounds Chart


Heartsease and Cuddle Me Cowl Crochet Shorthand Pattern

Stitch Notes:

Tr2tog (Triple crochet 2 together). Make a partial triple crochet in first area indicated, leaving the final loop on the hook, then another partial triple crochet in next area indicated, leaving the final loop on the hook. (There should now be 3 loops on the hook.) Pull through all 3 loops on hook to complete.

Ltr: (Linked Triple Crochet) Yo, insert hook in indicated stitch, pull up loop; insert hook into indicated space or stitch below; pull up loop; yo, pull through 2 loops; yo, pull through 3 loops; yo, pull through 2 loops.

Starting Row: Right side facing at all times.
Ch 3; tr in 1st ch; dtr in 1st ch (leaf made).
Ch 3, hdc under top 2 strands of dtr (do not turn; picot made).
*Ch 3, tr in picot sp; dtr in picot sp (leaf made). Ch 3, hdc in top 2 strands of dtr (picot made). Repeat from * to desired length, ending with picot.

(Heartsease has 14 leaves and picots, and is about 18" around. Cuddle Me used 18 leaves and picots, and is about 22" around. You can make whatever size you like by increasing the number of leaves and picots. Odd or even numbers are fine.)

Remove hook from loop. The picot edge is the top edge of the cowl. Bring ends of starting row together, wrong sides together (do not twist). Working yarn should be inside the ring. Insert hook from front to back through beginning ch st. Pull loop through beginning ch st.

For Cuddle Me cowl (picots only), proceed to Cowl Round 1, below. You will be working in the opposite direction, still with the right side facing.

For Heartsease cowl: Your hook will probably be pointing the wrong way. Remove it from the loop, and put it back through the loop so that it points towards the first picot (not back at the one you just made). The heart trim will be worked along the picot edge, right side facing. (The leaf rounds will be worked later into the dtrs along the bottom edge.)

Heart trim:
(This will be easier if your ball of yarn is above the ring. Pull it up through the ring if necessary.)
Ch 4, sc in next picot sp.
[*Ch 4; yo, ltr (insert hook in back loop of 2nd ch, yo, pull up loop; yo, insert hook in picot sp, pull up loop; yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through 3 loops, yo, pull through 2 loops); sc in same picot sp. First lobe made. Repeat from * for second lobe, working in same picot sp. Heart made.
Ch 3, sc in next picot.]
Continue making heart trim around starting row, ending with ch 3.
Remove hook. Insert hook, from bottom to top, through beginning stitch of starting round and back loop of 1st chain from trim round. Pull loop down through these stitches. This will bring the loop from the top to the bottom of the row, in position for the next round. Gently snug up loop.
Bring ball of yarn back through ring so that it is below work.

Cowl Round 1:
Ch 2 (counts as first dc throughout), dc in picot sp (stem made).
*Ch 4, tr2tog in top strands of dtr and dtr sp (first partial tr goes in top sp of leaf dtr, where picot was attached; second partial tr goes in dtr sp - see photos below for clarification). Leaf made. Dc 2 in next picot sp (stem made).
Repeat from * around, ending with leaf. Join final leaf with sl st to starting dc of round. (Do not join to ch 2.)

Following Rounds:
Ch 2, dc in same st (stem).
*Ch 4, tr2tog in back loops of 1st and 2nd ch below (leaf made). Dc 2 in second dc below.
Repeat from * around. Join round with sl st in first dc of round.

Continue making rounds until cowl is desired height. On last regular row, join ends as follows:

Heartsease Final Cowl Round: Join with sc in top of ch 2.

Cuddle Me Final Cowl Round: Join with sc in second dc.

Heartsease Base Trim:
Make heart trim as at top of cowl (note: each lobe will be attached to a separate dc of stem):
*Ch 4, ltr, sc in first dc of stem; ch 4, ltr, sc in second dc of stem. Ch 3, sc in next dc.
Repeat from * around.
Join final ch to first sc with sl st.

Cuddle Me Base Trim:
All picots will be made in second dc of stems.
*Ch 3, sc in same dc.
Ch 4, tr in sc just made (inserting hook through left 2 strands of sc), sc in second dc of next stem.
Repeat from * around.
Join final leaf to first sc with sl st.

Cut yarn, weave in ends, and block.


Heartsease and Cuddle Me Phototutorial with Instructions in Plain English:

Starting Row: The right side will be facing you at all times.

Chain 3:


Triple crochet in 1st chain:


Now double triple crochet in 1st chain (leaf made). (Don't forget to yarn over 3 times for the double triple crochet.)


Chain 3,
half double crochet under top 2 strands of the double triple crochet below (do not turn).
Picot made.


*Chain 3,
triple crochet in picot space;
double triple crochet in picot space (second leaf made).


Chain 3,
half double crochet in top 2 strands of double triple crochet below (second picot made).

These are the basic elements of the starting ring: the leaf and the picot. Keep making them (leaf, picot, leaf, picot) until your starting row is as long as you want.

If you're wondering how big my samples are: Heartsease (pink) has14 leaves and 14 picots, measures about 18" around, and fits closely. Cuddle Me (taupe) has 18 leaves and 18 picots - 22" around - and is a bit drapier. You can make whatever size you like by increasing the number of leaves and picots. Odd or even numbers work equally well. (Just be sure to end with a picot.)


When you're happy with the length of your starting row, it's time to join it into a ring. Instead of slip stitching the ends together, we're going to cheat a little bit (for a closer join):

Remove hook from loop. (Remember, the picot edge is the top edge of the cowl.) Bring ends of starting row together, wrong sides together (do not twist). Working yarn should be inside the ring.



Insert hook from front to back through beginning chain stitch,

and pull the loop through.


Here's what it looks like in the taupe yarn.
Insert the hook through the very first chain stitch,
then pull the working loop through.

For Cuddle Me cowl (picots only), proceed to Cowl Round 1, below. You will now be working in the opposite direction, still with the right side facing.

For Heartsease cowl: Your hook is probably pointing the wrong way now. Remove it from the loop, and put it back through the loop so that it points towards the very first picot (not back at the one you just made). The heart trim will be worked along the picot edge, right side facing. (The leaf rounds will be worked later into the double triple crochets, along the bottom edge.)

Heart trim:
(This will be easier if your ball of yarn is above the ring. Pull it up through the ring if necessary.)
Chain 4,
single crochet in next picot space.


Now it's time to make a heart. We'll be using an easy linked stitch in each lobe. Take a look at the picture below:


Ready? Here we go.

Heart:
*Chain 4;
make linked triple crochet:
yarn over once;
insert hook in back loop of 2nd chain, pull up loop;
yarn over, insert hook in picot space, pull up loop;
yarn over, pull through 2 loops,
yarn over, pull through 3 loops,
yarn over, pull through 2 loops - linked stitch made.
Single crochet in same picot space. Your first lobe is done!

Making the linked triple crochet.
Don't forget - hook goes through the back loop only
of the second chain stitch.

The chain 4 and the linked triple crochet
bend down to make the lobe,
which is attached with a single crochet
in the same space.

Repeat from * for second lobe, working in same picot space. Heart made. (All the following hearts will be made this way -  2 lobes in each picot space.

Chain 3,
single crochet in next picot. Now you're ready to make the next heart.



It's pretty simple: make a heart in each picot space, then chain 3 over to the next picot, attach with a single crochet, and make the next heart.


Continue making heart trim around starting row, ending with a chain 3 after the final heart.

Time for another sneaky move with the hook and yarn. Right now, the hook and the working loop are on top of the starting row. We want to move the working loop down to the bottom edge of the ring so we can start making the cowl rounds. Instead of breaking the yarn and reattaching it, we're going to pull the loop through to the bottom.


Remove hook from loop.
Insert hook, from bottom to top, through beginning stitch of starting round and back loop of 1st chain from heart trim round.
Pull loop down through these stitches.



Now the working loop is in position for the next round. Gently tug on yarn to snug up the loop. Bring ball of yarn through ring, if necessary, so that it is below the work.

The rest of the cowl will be stitched from the bottom of the starting ring down, and will go very quickly.  You'll be adding the bottom trim before you know it.

Cowl Round 1:
Chain 2 (counts as first double crochet throughout),
double crochet in picot space (first stem made).

Here's how the first stem looks
in the taupe cowl.

Take a look at your work, and at the picture below. Remember the small space you stitched into when making the picots - the space at the top of the double triple crochet? You'll be using that small space again in the next step, and the large space right next to it.



First stem made in the pink cowl.

Let' s make a leaf.

*Chain 4,
make leaf:
triple crochet 2 together in top strands of double triple crochet and in double triple crochet space;
(See Stitch Notes at top of shorthand pattern.
You're making one partial triple crochet in the top space of the double triple crochet, where picot was attached;
and a second partial triple crochet in the large space of the double triple crochet.
When both partial triple crochets have been made, you should have 3 loops on your hook.
Yarn over and pull through all loops.)

Leaf made!


Double crochet 2 in next picot space. Stem made.*



That's it: stem, chain 4, leaf. Stem, chain 4, leaf. Before you know it you'll be back where you started.

Repeat from * to * around, ending with leaf.
Join final leaf with slip stitch to starting double crochet of round. (Do not join to chain 2.)

Last leaf of this round...

gets slip stitched to first double crochet.
(Don't attach to the chain 2!)

The rest of the rounds are made the same way - the only difference being that you will attach each leaf to the chain 4 below, instead of stitching into a space.

Following Rounds:
Starting Stem:
Chain 2,
double crochet in same stitch.

Every round will start with a chain 2,
double crochet in same stitch.

Leaf:
*Chain 4,
triple crochet 2 together in back loops of 1st and 2nd chains below (leaf made).

Making the first leg of the leaf.
Hook goes through the first chain below.
(Be sure to stitch into the back loop only.)
The next leg of the leaf will go into
the back loop of the second chain.

Leaf made. See how neatly it's attached
to the chain 4 below it?

Regular Stem:
Double crochet 2 in second double crochet of stem below.

Both stem stitches go in the SECOND double crochet of the stem below.

Repeat from * around (leaf, stem, leaf, stem, all the way around).
Join round with slip stitch in first double crochet of round.
(Remember - don't slip stitch to the chain 2!)

Continue making rounds until cowl is desired height, or you're almost out of yarn. (My pink cowl was 12 rounds high, before adding base trim. The taupe cowl was 14 rounds high.)

When your cowl is tall enough and you're ready to add the bottom trim, finish the last regular round as follows:

Heartsease Cowl Final Round Ending:
Join with single crochet in top of chain 2.

This is the only time you stitch into that starting chain 2.

Finish last round with a single crochet.
Now it's time for some trim!
Cuddle Me Cowl Final Round Ending:
Join with single crochet in double crochet (again, skip the chain 2).

Cuddle Me ends in the usual spot, with a single crochet
instead of a slip stitch.

Ready to make the trim row? Just think - in 10 minutes your cowl will be done!

Heartsease Base Trim:
Make heart trim as at top of cowl (note: each lobe will be attached to a separate double crochet of stem below).

*Chain 4,
make linked triple crochet,
single crochet in first double crochet of next stem (first lobe made);
chain 4,
make linked triple crochet,
single crochet in second double crochet of stem (second lobe made).

First lobe is made in the first double crochet
of the stem below.

Second lobe is attached to second double crochet.

Chain 3,
single crochet in first double crochet of next stem.*

Chain 3, then attach to next stem for another heart.

Repeat from * to * around (heart, chain 3, heart, chain 3, all the way around).
Join final chain 3 to first single crochet with a slip stitch.

Cut yarns, weave in ends, and be sure to block. A good spraying and shaping will help those pretty hearts to flatten out and show their curves.

And you're finished! Isn't it beautiful?



Cuddle Me Base Trim:
All picots will be made in second double crochet of stems below.

*Chain 3,
single crochet in same stitch.



Chain 4,
triple crochet in single crochet just made (inserting hook through left 2 strands of single crochet),
single crochet in second double crochet of next stem.*

Leaf made, and attached to next stem, ready for another picot.

Repeat from * to * around (picot, leaf, picot, leaf).
Join final leaf to first single crochet with slip stitch.

Cut yarn, weave in ends, and block.

Now you're ready to make the next one...


You may do whatever you like with the items you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern or re-post it.

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!



P.S. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me in Ravelry, and I will be happy to help if I can.

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