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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