Sunday, June 30, 2019

June Blooms

June was such a busy month, I can hardly remember the start of it. Good thing I took plenty of photos to jog my memory....

First Sunday in June

A sunny day, a pleasant ride, and lots of lovely wildflower sightings:

Clockwise from upper left: Blue-eyed Grass, Wild Phlox,
Hoary Puccoon, Wild Columbine, Balsam Groundsel (I think)

Some fun botanical facts: Blue-eyed grass is not a grass at all, but a tiny member of the iris family:

This cheery groundsel belongs to the genus Packera, named not after the Green Bay football team, but after John Packer, a Canadian biosystematist:

Wild phlox is often confused with Dame's Rocket, another flower that blooms about the same time. One way to tell them apart is to count the petals; Dame's Rocket has four per blossom, while wild phlox has five:

Hoary Puccoon would make a great pirate name (okay, not a botanical fact, but fun):

"Avast, ye hoary puccoon!" says Tallulah

Early June Rides to Work

In which I see flowers (like this fleabane):

And deer. This one was standing in the middle of the road, staring at my approach. Luckily it turned and ran before an oncoming car reached it:

Second Sunday in June

On which I take a short ride, and see buttercups:


Yarrow in bud:

More fleabane:

My own shadow:

Golden Alexanders:

And the last of the apple blossom, beginning to look fruitful:

Another Ride to Work

The spiderwort this year is thicker than I've ever seen it before. On this sunny morning I pass grassy banks covered with purple clusters:

Down the road, cows are relaxing in a field:

The first salsify is blooming in the ditches. I stop for a flower shot, and later, when editing the photos, find to my delight that two bees have gotten in on the act:

What do you call a photobombing bee? A B-52 (ba dump bump)

Honey locust trees are flowering. In a few days wind and rain will tear the blossoms down, but today the sun is shining and the blossoms look and smell heavenly:

A Short Trip

Later in the month, we celebrate our anniversary with a weekend trip to Appleton, a city that boasts a private university, a minor league baseball team, great restaurants, fun museums, a yarn store, a large farmer's market, and more.

We see buildings and public art:

We visit the farmer's market, where we read and obey this city ordinance:

We eat and drink delicious things, and admire beautiful flowers:

We indulge in many scoops of ice cream:

And finally drive home through the always-interesting Wisconsin countryside:

Hear, hear!

Evening Walk to the Prairie Restoration Project

Late in June, a stormy Sunday keeps me off the bike, but in the evening the clouds roll back in time for a quick walk to the prairie restoration project.

Along the way I see wild daisies blooming:

Hoary alyssum:

Dandelion puffballs:

Curly dock:

Glorious clouds on the horizon:

And a family of wild geese in a pond:

At the prairie project, rough-fruited cinquefoil is blooming:

Grasses beyond number are glowing under an evening sky:

Lupine bears fuzzy seedpods:

Deer graze at the end of the track (can you spot them?):

A wild sunflower is preparing to bloom:

Chestnuts soak up the last rays of the sun:

Tall grasses are elegantly silhouetted against the sky:

And on the way home, pine blossoms redden the road's edge:

Last Two Rides of the Month

In the last week of June, spiderwort is still going strong, and lining the banks of the river trail, where it mingles with white wild indigo in bloom:

I see tall meadow rue, tossing creamy clouds of blossom:

And pass a quiet pond lying under blue summer skies:

The final ride of June is hot and humid, with thunderstorms lurking on the horizon. Angelica blossoms are withering under the blazing sun:

Shadows are cool under the pines:

And crown vetch is blooming thickly in shades of pink and rose:

Meeting Kathy B.

On the last Friday of June, my sister and I drove to Delavan to join Kathy B of Compassionknit for lunch and yarn shopping. Kathy is every bit as sweet and funny in real life as she is on her blog, and we had a wonderful time talking and swapping stories.

After lunch we drove to Needles 'n Pins, an absolutely wonderful yarn shop a few miles outside of Delavan, where (instead of taking photos as a good blogger should) I wandered in a happy daze, picking up one beautiful yarn after the other, wishing I could get one of everything.

Here we are, with smiles on our faces and yarn in our hands:

Sis, me, Kathy B.

Many thanks to Kathy for suggesting this outing, and for introducing us to a great yarn shop!


Today was a day of lightning and thunder; of dark clouds, wind, and rain. It's been good to look back on the sunny moments of June; to think of flowers seen and friends met.

Here's to a happy July!

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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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