Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A Productive Month, or, Patterns! Patterns! Patterns!

June was a busy month here at Micawber Towers - a month in which I released not one, not two, but THREE new patterns. (Blogger pauses to breathe; wipes brow with back of hand.)

Jewelweed Shawl

The first is the Jewelweed Shawl, available in my Ravelry store here:

Jewelweed is a quick and lacy top-down shawl, featuring a single crochet v-stitch body accented with rows of chain loops and cluster stitches. A uniquely-constructed border evokes the shape of jewelweed blossoms.

You can easily customize your Jewelweed Shawl by varying the number and placement of accent rows. The pattern includes charts and an edging phototutorial (for you visual types), and suggestions for variations.

Jewelweed looks equally lovely in a gradient, tonal, or solid yarn. I used Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball for my peachy-pink sample; the turquoise-purple-citrus version was made from Omega Mimosa and Cascade 220 Fingering.

Bonus photo of actual jewelweed:

Night Garden Poncho

Next up is the Night Garden Poncho, published in Yarniverse June 2019, and available in my Ravelry store here.

Modelled photo (left) courtesy of Yarn Crush; used by permission.

Night Garden was worked in the softly glowing, deliciously squishy Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn Superwash Worsted, colorway Midnight Garden. (Can you sense a theme here?) The yarn, which looks blue from a distance, is highlighted with shadowy glints of purple and green:

Night Garden can be worn with the neck opening front-to-back, or side-to-side. The pattern is fully charted and includes tips for widening/lengthening your poncho, enlarging the neck opening, or working a smaller version as a scarf or wrap.

Sweet Rocket Shawl

Last but certainly not least is the Sweet Rocket Shawl, also published in Yarniverse June 2019 and available in my Ravelry store here.

Modelled photos (left and upper right) courtesy of Yarn Crush; used by permission.

Sweet Rocket is a curly-tipped crescent shawl. Like Jewelweed, Sweet Rocket is based on single crochet v-stitch, with eyelets that help form the shawl's curve. The shawl's name was inspired by Sweet Rocket, or Dame's Rocket, a gorgeous purple wildflower that blooms every June in Wisconsin.

The luscious sample shawl (which I can't wait to get back from the publisher) was worked in Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn Superwash Worsted, colorway Plum Pudding.

Fun botanical fact: Sweet Rocket is often confused with wild phlox. How can you tell them apart? Sweet Rocket blossoms have four petals each, and phlox blossoms have five. The Sweet Rocket Shawl's edging has four picots per shell to help you remember this important distinction. :)

Sweet Rocket: 4 petals per blossom

To all you lovely readers: use code BLOSSOMS to enjoy 25% off any or all of my self-published patterns until July 3, 2019.

I've got a month's worth of June flower photos to show you, but I'm saving those for another post.

How was your June?

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sweet with May

The apple blossoms were on the trees, and the hedges were sweet with May.
(Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage)

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May was really quite rainy and grey, but when I look back at my photos, I see mainly sunshine and flowers. A lot of flowers. But that's a good thing, right? :)


One Saturday early in May, a friend invited me over to see the trillium blooming in her woods:

These are Large-flowered Trillium, a protected species that may not be picked or dug up (they can, however, be purchased from reputable nurseries). My friend is lucky enough to have several patches of them growing wild, and we had a pleasant time walking through the trees from one clump to the next.

Sunday Ride

The next day I took a bike ride, in which I finally saw the marsh marigolds I'd been anxiously awaiting:

I also saw apple blossom, serviceberry, pussytoes, and ducks (there's a certain poetry in that phrase; in fact I rearranged the photos in this collage so I could say those words in just that order):

Apple blossom, serviceberry, pussytoes, and ducks :)

Riding to Work

This spring, I've been riding to work as often as the weather allows. I can't think of a better way to start and end a work day than riding down country roads, seeing trains and red-tailed hawks and curious cows heavy with calf:

What a treat to stop and sniff the wild plum blossom, then continue home under a sky like this:

Cloudy Sunday Walk

One Sunday in mid-May, when skies were grey and threatening, I walked to the prairie restoration project, passing scores of violets on the way:

(Happy sigh. I love violet time.)

The prairie restoration project was full of green and growing things: sticky chestnut buds, lichened trees, and sprouting lupine:

A sandhill crane stalked majestically at the edge of an adjoining field:

I saw other birds too: blackbirds singing in defiance of grey skies, and a mysterious bird of prey perched in a tree:

Cloudy days can be lovely too. :)

Mid-May Ride

In which I climbed down to a marsh's edge to photograph some cheery marsh marigolds and vivid green skunk cabbage, and nearly stepped on what I later found out was a morel mushroom:

Around a corner and down the road, my favourite May wildflower was in bloom:

Jacob's Ladder or Greek Valerian

The Jacob's Ladder was a little thin this year, but as beautiful as ever.

The Flower Parade Continues

A week later came a day so brilliantly sunny that the wet grey days preceding it seemed like a distant memory. Birch trees shone under sapphire skies, violets opened their arms to the warmth, and happy ants nibbled on... on... what is that white flower? (The prose comes to a crashing halt as the blogger pauses for internet research. Clickety-clickety, tap-tap-tap. Okay, I think it may be wild strawberry.) ...And a happy ant nibbled on wild strawberry blossom:

The first Golden Alexanders and wild geranium were blooming, and a faded barn slept like a cat in the sun:

Dame's Rocket, slightly early this year, made its first vivid appearance:

Memorial Weekend

I never know what to call the day before Memorial Day; suffice it to say that on that Sunday we went to church, came home and ate a lovely breakfast, after which I fell into a deep refreshing sleep (having been sick for several days the week before), and awoke ready for a long and leisurely ride.

It's hard to beat a sunny Sunday ride in May, especially with the added pleasure of knowing that the next day is a holiday.

Wild honeysuckle was in full bloom, scenting the air with sweetness:

I saw dogwood blossom, and wild calla lilies growing in a marsh:

I stopped in a little park to eat a snack and look up at the sun shining through the trees:

Down the road was a noble oak, with wild turkeys feeding at its base:

Barns and sheds and flowering crab added to the joy of the day:

I passed a large patch of flowering spurge, some with unusual orange blossoms:

On a hillside grew dainty fringed puccoon, and nearby a clump of mysterious asters with large blossoms and fleshy, hairy stems:

At the top of the hill, a favourite Memorial weekend sight - a fence decked with a row of flags:

A few miles later, I passed a happy herd of cows and calves in a green hill-pasture:

Then flew down the hill, around a curve, and past a favourite barn:

Also seen on this ride - pollen cones on pine trees, and bright-red velvety young oak leaves:

When I got home, Mr. M was just setting out on a short ride, so I joined him (and captured a rare double shadow shot):

Mid-Week Evening Ride

In which I see a fawn and the fawn sees me:

The Last Day of May

I thought my May photo album was complete, but when I rode to work today there were fresh wildflowers along the river trail, just begging to be photographed.

Yarrow, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Spiderwort (oh what a glorious purple!) and Penstemon:

Humbler, but no less beautiful, were these tiny yellow cinquefoil, clouds of starry chickweed, and snowy Canada anemone:

What a lovely finish to the month.

How was your May?