Thursday, March 27, 2014

Speaking of Magazine Commissions....

The Spring 2014 Love of Crochet is now available, and look what's on the cover:

Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet

The Frost Blossom Wrap by Sue Perez. (Blogger coughs modestly while grinning from ear to ear - though it sounds like a physiological impossibility it can be done).

courtesy of Love of Crochet

This is my second cover project, and very exciting too.

Also in this issue - the lacy Frost Blossom Hat, to match the above wrap:

courtesy of Love of Crochet

and the Periwinkle Mitts, a quick and stretchy slip-stitch pattern simply loaded with texture:

courtesy of Love of Crochet

All found in the new Love of Crochet Spring 2014.

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It's fun to see these projects again - they were completed and shipped off in the dim mists of mid-2013, and I'd nearly forgotten what they looked like.

Here are a couple of photos taken at home last year:

Detail of Frost Blossom Wrap

Periwinkle Mitts on the blocking board

Tune in six months from now to see the commissions I finished this week. :)

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Two Walks

Hello, dear ol' blogging friends. How have you been? It seems an age since last we met - though really it's only been two weeks. An Aged Parent to visit and tend, and five (woo hoo!) crochet magazine commissions all due this week, have combined to keep me on the road, at my hook, and off the computer.

But the projects are done at last, at last, with only the patterns left to write. The Aged P is back in his apartment, still very tired from his surgery, needing a wheelchair to get around, but slowly getting stronger.

In the rare intervals of work and P-visiting and crochet, I took two sunset walks: one on the last Sunday of winter, and the next on the first Sunday of spring.

Here is the marshy lake-around-the-corner under a pale and rosy end-of-winter sky:

At the entrance to one of the snowmobile trails, the earth is slowly kicking off its white blankets, preparatory to waking up:

Oak trees against a sunset sky:

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A week later, I follow the same route. Though now officially spring, it's even colder than the previous Sunday, but the snow is nearly gone, and blackbirds have returned to sit high in the trees and sing over the still-frozen marsh.

Their sweet notes fall from the air and carry thoughts of summer and green trees, warmth and wildflowers to come.

On to the prairie restoration project, where most of the trails are denuded of snow:

Shadow of a waving blogger:

Favourite delicate grasses backlit by the sun:

Heading west again, I see that the trees in the next field look delightfully frothy on top:

And the badger's front door is once more visible.

Despite the cold and the bitter wind, these are encouraging signs of spring, with the promise of better things to come. (Never mind that it's snowing heavily as I finish writing these words....)


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Warm Day

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They say the year begins
on January 1st

but for me
this is the real New Year....

New year
new season
new miles
new joys

New hills
new valleys
new beauties
new roads

New skies
new clouds
new flowers
new trees

New thoughts
new breezes
new challenges
new thrills

One warm day
one short ride

and the year unrolls before me
like a song just waiting
to be sung

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Looking Up

Just as everyone was beginning to feel desperate, the weather finally moderated. From a depressing 18 below on Tuesday night, we have climbed to the giddy upper 30s during the last few days. This, combined with some sunnier-than-forecast weather, means that the white stuff is now melting in earnest. Patches of muddy ground are beginning to appear; the sidewalks are awash, and dirty piles of snow line the streets.

Which is one reason I spent Sunday's walk looking upward. It's much more beautiful above than below at the moment.

The church on the corner stands serenely under a pale spring sky:

The trees are no longer bare-knuckled:

Ever the opportunists, they have seized the 40° day and are budding out like crazy.

Even the pines have put on gladness, and are shooting off little green fireworks for joy that spring is near.

Things are definitely looking up.

Check out our weather forecast for the next few days:

If the weatherman is right, I see a bike ride in my very near future. (I shall ignore the dark and snowy end of the photo and concentrate on that one bright blue square to the left.)

Yes, things are definitely looking up.

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How's your weather?

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hearts are Joined

A few weeks ago, Kay of Georgia Girl With an English Heart (fellow Anglophile, crocheter, and a true kindred spirit) announced a giveaway. Here's what she wrote:
I have been crocheting some little hearts ... a very nice pattern from Lucy from Attic 24 .... And then, I read a way to join hearts and make them into a bunting! 
I rejoiced at the words from the pattern ... it said to keep connecting them until... "All hearts are joined". 
Oh, I really just loved that.  I made one of these heart buntings ... as a giveaway, to honor all the hearts joined together in our blogging world and to also honor the Olympic spirit that I have been enjoying this week.
Guess who won Kay's giveaway?


Her package arrived yesterday - a little package filled with big love. Inside were a beautiful card, the cheerful heart bunting, and a lovely little pale green doily (with pattern).

The heart bunting now hangs over my crafty side-table:

And the little doily came just in time to put under a tiny vase holding the first geranium blossoms of the year (which were knocked off the plant by accident - I would never have picked them!):

Hearts are joined. Isn't that one of the best parts of blogging?

Thank you so much, Kay. Your lovely and loving gift was just what I needed this week.

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And very sincere thanks to all of you who sent kind wishes for my dad's health. He was released from the hospital Monday and is now at a skilled nursing facility for therapy. He's very weak from all he's been through; we hope and pray that he can rest up and recover enough strength to enjoy life once more.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


February. What happened to it? And why is it still way-below-freezing, wrong-side-of-zero cold? It's March now, for heaven's sake. Spring is less than three weeks away. What's the deal?
When the days begin to lengthen,
The cold begins to strengthen.*
Boy, does it ever.

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Years ago I knit a scarf for Mr. M. The ends were basketweave and the body was stockinette, which curled HORRIDLY despite aggressive blocking. A few weeks ago I frogged the scarf back to one basketweave end, then re-knit it in garter stitch. Though unimaginative in design, the scarf is now beautifully flat, and actually covers Mr. M's neck (which is what a scarf should do in a climate like ours).

Yes, Mrs. M does knit upon occasion. But you can see why she prefers to stick to crochet. :)

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My Dad has been in the hospital all week. After several falls over several days, the last of which involved contact between his head and a corner of his nightstand, he took an ambulance ride to the local hospital for staples and a scan. The scan revealed several old blood clots and some fresh bleeding on the surface of his brain, so it was back in the ambulance for a longer ride down to a Madison hospital. There the neurosurgeon on call recommended immediate surgery. They whisked Dad into the OR and drilled three holes into his skull to clean out the clots and install drain tubes.

The neurosurgeon said that if Dad were a younger man he'd have been in a coma from the pressure of all those clots - but since his brain had atrophied with age, there was more space to accommodate them.

Poor Dad was pretty uncomfortable for a few days after his surgery, but is doing better now. The tubes are out, and he may be released to a rehab center in the next day or two.

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As Dad was being wheeled away to the OR, the last thing he said to me was, "We know Whose hands I'm in." I'm so grateful for this legacy of faith.

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A view from Dad's hospital room, where the Capitol rotunda can be glimpsed on the left, and an icy Lake Mendota on the right:

This is the same hospital, by the way, where Mr. M had his brain surgeries nearly 20 years ago. While Dad was in surgery, as I sat crocheting and praying and waiting for the periodic progress calls from the OR, I couldn't help but think of all the other times I had sat here doing virtually the same thing. (Though back then it was quilting, not crocheting.) Talk about déja vu.

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To nurses and nursing assistants everywhere: thank you. For kind words, for a friendly touch, for patience and cheerfulness and understanding when dealing with tired and grumpy patients, for willingness to do an often dirty and smelly job, for fetching and carrying and supporting and helping, for making family members feel welcome, for simply caring: thank you.

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Daffodils from Trader Joe's have been shedding their sunny magic over the dining room this week:

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How have you been? I've missed you all and hope to be around to visit you soon.

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*from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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