Monday, September 27, 2021

Online Live Loop Cable Classes for October

 Many thanks to all who left kind comments on my last post. I really appreciate your words of comfort.

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In October I'll be teaching two online classes for the Crochet Guild of America:

Live Loop Cables II

This is a 2-day class, held on Saturday October 2nd and Saturday October 9th, from 1:30-3:30 pm, US Central Daylight Time.

Live Loop Cables II is a follow-up class for those who have already taken Intro to Live Loop Cables, or have completed a Live Loop cable project.

In this class, you'll learn to work Live Loop (LL) cables in back and forth rows, then take your skills to the next level with advanced cable techniques including horizontal LL cables, branching cables, merged cables, continuous or ring cables, and raised cables.

Click here to find out more. Registration for Live Loop Cables II closes Tuesday September 28th.

Archness Wrap

This is a 3-day class, held on Saturday October 16th, 23rd, and 30th, from 1:30-2:30 pm, US Central Daylight Time.

The Archness Wrap class is aimed at students who have completed Live Loop Cables II or who have completed a Live Loop cable project in back-and-forth rows.

In this class, you'll use your Live Loop skills to stitch a beautifully cabled center panel, then work outwards from each side to form lacy crochet "wings". The Archness Wrap features many unusual techniques, including Live Loop cables and bobbles, "cheater" I-cord edging, twisted loop lace, and more. All techniques will be demonstrated and practiced on a miniature sample during class time. Finished wrap size is approximately 82" wide by 13" deep. Pattern will include written directions, charts, illustrated tutorials for special techniques, and ideas for varying the size of your wrap.

Click here to find out more. Registration for the Archness Wrap closes Tuesday October 12th.

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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Thank You, Dad

Late last month, my dearest dad went home to be with his Lord. He was 94.

The deep and abiding loves of Dad's life were God, his family, and his country. (Next on the list would be planes, trains, and cameras.)

Dad the Marine

Dad was born and grew up in Southern California. As a young man he served with the US Occupation Army in Europe, and later with the Marine Corps in Korea. He then spent 42 happy years working in the aerospace industry, first as a bookkeeper, then carving out a position sourcing parts for the planes he loved.

Here he is at his desk, dapper in suit and tie:

Hard at work in the 60s

Dad worked hard to support his wife and five kids. We didn't have a lot growing up, but we had everything we needed: food, clothing, shelter, faith. Dad and Mom both came from broken families, and were far from perfect parents, but I know they loved us and did the best they could.

Husband and father

Money may have been tight when we were kids, but later on, when we'd all grown up and moved away, Dad delighted in generosity. He loved nothing more than taking the whole family out for a special meal on the rare occasions we were all together. Every Christmas he would send checks to all the kids and grandkids, and order pounds of See's Candy for family members near and far. And more than one of us has a story to tell of surprise checks received in the mail to help cover extraordinary medical expenses. Those meals, those checks, those boxes of See's, were little pieces of Dad's life and years of hard work, transmuted by love into gifts and support for the family he never stopped cherishing.

Walking me down the aisle in 1985

Over the years, that family grew to include many grandkids and great-grandkids. Dad loved to follow their exploits on social media, and download and print the photos they posted. His home was always full of their pictures and drawings.

With grandkids in 2009

Dad was widowed in 2012, and two years later he left California to start a new life in Wisconsin near my sister and me. He loved it here, and when anyone asked him what he thought of the cold weather, he invariably - and proudly - announced that he'd been through winter in Korea, so a Wisconsin winter was nothing to worry about!

At a military band concert, July 2015

Dad enjoyed many excellent adventures in the last seven years of his life, including visits to the EAA fly-in at Oshkosh, a Badger Honor Flight to Washington, DC, a trip in a World War II biplane, a helicopter ride, and many train-related outings. He also went through several major surgeries, somehow bouncing back from them all, and made it through the long Covid lockdown without a murmur.

Capturing autumn color

Dad's love of photography stayed with him to the end. When the day finally came that he could no longer lift his camera, he happily took pictures with his phone.

Here is one of the very last photos from that phone, snapped in June when Dad was in the hospital being diagnosed with the condition that would take his life:

Father's Day, 2021

A little over two months later, he was gone.

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I've been struggling to write this post for weeks. There was so much more to Dad than my words can convey: his sweetness, his stubbornness, his sense of fun, his delightful voice, his outspokenness, his loyalty, his courage, his stoicism, his devotion to duty, his sense of discipline, his determination, his vast and varied life experience, his astounding knowledge base (watching any WWII movie with Dad was an education in itself; he could point out everything that was right or wrong about the planes, ships, tanks, and armament).

Was he perfect? No. Did I agree with all his opinions, or approve of all his choices? Again, no. Did he  sometimes drive me crazy? Yes (and I'm sure the feeling was mutual). Did he make mistakes when raising us? Absolutely. But somehow the failings and friction don't seem to matter any more. Only the love remains.

I knew when Dad moved to Wisconsin that any day could be his last, so I spent the last seven and a half years telling him I loved him. As I think back over his life, and ponder all that he was and did, I wish I had said more.

If I could talk to him right now, this is what I would say:

Thank you, Dad. Thank you for all your loving care for us over the years, for your service to God and country, and for passing on your Christian faith to your family and those around you.

Thank you for those summer Sunday afternoons at the beach when we were young, and for the family trips to Northern California. Thank you for teaching us to love water and mountains and forests. Thank you for scrimping and saving so you could take five kids to Disneyland once every two years. Thank you for teaching us to work for what we wanted.

Thank you for filling the house with books so that we could learn to love reading. Thank you for sharing your love of planes and trains with us; to this day we all look up whenever we hear an airplane fly over. Thank you for the train layouts under the Christmas tree every year, and even more for the family Bible readings on Christmas mornings.

Thank you for holding my hand when I was little, for picking me up time and again when I fell, for letting me go when the time was right, and for always welcoming me back. Thank you for loving my husband as a son.

Thank you for graciously accepting the limitations of age, and for knowing when it was time to let your kids take charge. Thank you for trusting us.

Thank you for smiling at me through your pain when I held your hand in those final weeks. (I'm so sorry I didn't do that sooner, and more often. I hadn't realized how hungry you might be for a loving human touch.) Thank you for that last big hug, and those last loving words, when your strength was failing and your eyes growing dim, before you sank into the long sleep of your final days on earth. 

I know that you're in Heaven, Dad, and strong and healthy once more. I know that I will see you again one day. But I love you and miss you right now. Thank you again, for everything.

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Monday, August 9, 2021

A Tale of Two Crashes

Just over two months ago, on the first Friday of June, Wisconsin was in the middle of a most un-June-like heat wave. I had spent the morning and early afternoon editing photos for a blog post, but knocked off to take a short ride before dinner. Near the end of the ride, on the outskirts of town, a dog jumped out from someone's yard. It ran next to the bike for a second or two, barking, then turned and ran into my front wheel, taking the bike down hard and me with it. The bike and I bounced and skidded into the opposite lane, and I got pretty banged up in the process. (The dog was fine. It trotted around in the road for a bit, then headed homewards.)

A friendly sheriff who was parked just up the road kindly called an ambulance for me, and notified Mr. M of the accident. I spent the evening in the ER getting cleaned up and stitched, talking cycling and bike-fitting with the doctor and nurse. X-rays showed no broken bones, according to the ER doctor. But a few painful weeks later, when I still couldn't walk without crutches, I visited a sports medicine doctor who diagnosed a broken pelvis. An MRI a couple of weeks after that showed that I actually had three fractures: two pelvic and one vertebral.

Now, nine weeks out, I've finally started walking without a crutch. My first solo efforts resembled those of a tipsy penguin, but my gait is slowly improving. The last of my bruises have faded, and much of the swelling is gone. I've just been cleared for physical therapy, and the doctor says I should be back on the bike by fall.

That is the tale of Crash Number One.


A few days after my bike accident, Mr. M ran some updates on my computer, whereupon it too crashed. After many valiant but futile efforts to access the data, he removed the hard drive and took it to a repair shop, where the technician was able to recover some of my files and photos.

I now have a new hard drive and a new operating system, but my computer is set up to be used  standing, so (thanks to Crash Number One) I can't use it comfortably for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Over the last week, with Mr. M's help, I've begun re-loading programs onto it; when that's done, I'll start digging through the files that were saved from the wreck.

The most important files, like my patterns and book manuscript, were safely backed up elsewhere before the crash. Unfortunately, the drawing program I used for charts and illustrations was a legacy program that can't be recovered, and is no longer available for download, so none of my saved drawing files are accessible. This means I have a long road ahead of learning a new drawing program and reconstructing all my crochet symbol and in-progress chart files. On the bright side, it will be good exercise for my brain. :|

That is the tale of Crash Number Two.


In the middle of all this, my dad was hospitalized, and upon release, was enrolled in hospice. He has two terminal conditions, one of which is extremely painful and virtually untreatable. Please keep him in your prayers.


Gosh, this seems like a depressing post, but I don't mean it to be. I can't say I enjoyed being on crutches for two months, but being temporarily helpless has made me realize afresh what a great privilege it is to be healthy: to have the freedom and strength to walk around, or step outside whenever I want; to use the bathroom without help; to make a cup of tea and be able to carry it to the next room; to walk on my own without wobbling or hurting; to ride a bike. Some of those things I have regained, some are a work in progress, and some are still in the future, but I am so grateful for the hope of recovery.

I'm grateful too for decent (if sometimes fallible) medical care; for bones that knit and rebuild themselves; for the sure and certain hope of a new life and new body for my dad when his current body finally fails; for a computer capable of doing things that would have seemed miraculous a few decades ago; for a loving husband to help me through the good and bad times. And, not least, for good friends around the world.

Oh, and for the flowers in my yard, and a camera to capture their beauty:

I can't get to any wildflowers just yet, so am photographing the blossoms I can reach. :)

How are you? I hope the last two months have been kind to you.

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Monday, May 24, 2021

Meet the Torch Lily Shawl

I'm happy to announce that I've published a new pattern this month: the Torch Lily Shawl.

Torch Lily is a quick and lacy crescent-shaped shawl that combines chain loops and v-stitches for an openwork effect. The striking beaded edging was inspired by the flower for which the pattern is named. (Beads can be replaced with picots if desired; instructions for this are included in the pattern.) 

Torch Lily was designed for gradients, but will also look lovely in a solid or tonal yarn. It's easily customized for size, and adaptable to any yarn weight. 400 yards of sport, sock, or light dk weight yarn will make a pretty shoulder wrap (as in the teal/orange sample above); for a larger shawl with a deeper neck curve, try 600 - 800 yards (the green sample below used about 830 yards).

The Torch Lily Shawl pattern is available here in my Ravelry Store. Enjoy 25% off the pattern price until May 31st by using the coupon code MAYLILY at checkout.

(Note: Some Ravelry users have reported visual stress, eyestrain, ocular migraines, and other neurological reactions since the site's redesign last year. If you are prone to any of these symptoms, please be careful.)


Here's a little information on the yarns I used for my Torch Lily shawls:

Teal/Orange Sample: Highlands Stitchery 17 Micron Merino Fingering (100% merino wool, 426 yds per 115 gm), Teal and Orange Gradient.

This beautifully soft and vibrant yarn was hand-dyed by Robbin of Highlands Stitchery in British Columbia, Canada. Check out Robbin's Etsy shop for more yarny goodness. I was really pleased with her quality, pricing, communication, and service. (Is this a Shameless Product Review? Why yes, yes it is.)

Green sample: Cotton Kings Twirls (100% cotton, 875 yds per 200 gm), Emerald 07.

Cotton Kings Twirls is an unplied gradient yarn that takes a bit of getting used to (it's like crocheting with four lengths of thread), but the price and color selection can't be beat. It comes from Hobbii in Denmark.


It's hard to believe that May is nearly over. 2021 seems to be passing much more quickly than did 2020 (thank God).

My next post will have plenty of flowery photos from May bike rides. It's a beautiful time of year in Wisconsin;  I hope your May has been lovely as well.

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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Flowers for a Friend

This post is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Teresa Kasner: artist, illustrator, designer, craftswoman, generous contributor and volunteer, avid collector, loving and beloved wife, mother, grandmother, blogger, and friend.

Teresa's blog was a lovely place, full of warmth and life. She enjoyed chronicling the doings of her family and pets, her meetings with friends, the scenic beauty of Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge, her ongoing craft projects, and her amazing collections of antique glass and furniture. The flowers and trees that grew on her farm, and her beloved red barn, were frequent and familiar sights to all her blogging friends.

I'll miss reading Teresa's blog posts, and seeing her cheery comments on mine, often adorned with flourishes of type that reflected the season or holiday or simply her happy love of decoration.

Thank you, Teresa, for adding so much beauty to the world. These flowers are for you.

Lapel pin designed by Teresa. She
brought it as a gift for me when we
met in 2018.

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Friday, April 30, 2021

April Sights and Sounds (and Crochet)

April in Wisconsin is a changeable time, when spring plays tug-of-war with a winter reluctant to yield. From brown fields still patchy with snow, and bare-branched trees standing sentinel over the dried stalks of last year's plants, the month progresses to a glory of vivid emerald grass under mists of soft-tinted baby leaves, with the first wildflowers advancing on meadow and wood.

The air of April is full of sound: the whistle and creak of frogs in the marsh, the eerie cry of loons on the lake, the strange ululation of returning sandhill cranes, and, over all, the sweet piercing song of red-winged blackbirds.

Birds are everywhere, in fact; flying, darting, swooping, stalking, and perching:

April skies can be sunny and blue, scarfed with cloud and edged with budding trees:

Or lowering with the threat of rain (and sometimes snow):

All sorts of things are sprouting and growing, like fungi: 


And soft flowery catkins:

Leaves that are but a tiny thought at the beginning of the month...

... thicken to a carpet in a matter of days:

Larches begin to think green thoughts:

In the marsh at their feet bloom the first kingcups:

Lambs appear in the fields (though they're a bit hard to spot in this photo):

And violets peep from the grass:

The winds of April can be cold and northerly, or soft and southerly. Either way, it's a wonderful time for walks and rides:

For pausing on bridges to admire greening banks and smooth mirror-like water:

And spying with delight the first blossoming trees peeping out from the edge of the woods, like serviceberry:

And wild plum:

Best of all is scanning the verge with the eyes of memory and hope, and seeing old wildflower friends appear in their accustomed spots. Here is one of my very favorites, Greek valerian (or Jacob's ladder):

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This April has seemed colder than ever. We had a taste of summerlike warmth on Easter weekend, but since then there have been more clouds than sun, with plenty of freezing nights and days of chilling wind. The violets in the yard are a bit pinched this year, but I still found enough for a mini bouquet to adorn the dining table:

(The tiny doily under the flowers was a gift from Kay many years ago. Thanks again, Kay!)


April has been a busy design month for me, both at work and at home. I've been developing a Milflores Shawl variation with a deeper neck curve, and testing the pattern changes with this gorgeous 875-yard gradient cake:

I call this project A Plethora of Peonies

All that remains is to write the expanded instructions. If you already own the Milflores pattern, you'll get an automatic update that includes directions for the optional new shape. If you'd like to purchase the pattern now, and receive the update as soon as it comes out, visit my Ravelry store here. (Note: Some Ravelry users have reported visual stress, eyestrain, ocular migraines, and other neurological reactions since the site's redesign last year. If you are prone to any of these, please be careful.)


There's also a new shawl design in the works. One sample is done, and the second should be finished this weekend. Here's a sneak peek:

Watch for a new pattern release in the coming week!


In other news, we've had our first vaccine shots (yay!) and are scheduled to receive the second round next week. I had a definite (but brief) reaction to the first one, while Mr. M noticed very few symptoms. We're hoping round two goes well.

How has your April been?

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