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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  1. Beautiful signs of spring where you live and it's so lovely to see some of your crochet work again. Beautiful shawls and I love both the gradient yarn colours. I lov e the name:
    A Plethora of Peonies because I adore Peonies during May, my birth month!

  2. Truly beautiful images. I have missed your nature walks ... sorry it should perhaps read biking and connecting with nature in your case :-) There is so much to look at... true eye candy! Fabulous shawl in such a lovely colour and the name alone spurs up images of late Spring. keep well Amanda x

    1. Thanks Amanda! Hope all is well in your part of the world. :)

  3. Amazing scenery and you describe it so beautifully. The shawl is lovely, fabulous colours. My April has been lots of walks and enjoying the first signs of new growth and wishing that I had your knowledge of wildlife and flowers. It looks like May is going to be what April should have been showers and very cool breezes. Good luck with your second vaccine shots I hope you have no side affects, my second one isn't due untill the end of May. Have a lovely weekend. x

    1. Thank you, Linda. May has started out very hot and windy for us, and now we're forecast for thunderstorms. I hope you'll get some warm sunny weather there along with the rain and cool breezes.

  4. You have a way with words. I find that I have very few the older I get. Ha! Lovely scenery all around you. April can be iffy here, too, but we only had a couple of rainshowers and that's it until October or after. Temps are close to 100 F during the day now so the a/c is on full-time. Both my boys are vaccinated (one in CO and the other in NY) and though we registered months ago, we've heard nothing (probably because they are first focusing on their own citizens). That shawl sure is pretty in pink and an appropriate name. Take care.

    1. Thanks, Tammy! It's good to know both your boys have been able to get vaccinated. I hope it will open up soon for you and your dear husband. Stay cool!

  5. Thank you, as always, for a lovely post!

    And thank you for identifying exactly the flowers I've noticed in the woods this past week but couldn't remember the names for. Seriously, you solved every one of my "what's this again?" flowers!

    1. Thank you, and you're very welcome! Enjoy those flowers. :)

  6. April was a bit cooler than usual but there were nice days, warm and southerly (what a lovely word). I arranged my vegeble garden and can't wait to plant more. However mid May some freezing nights are supposed to be, so I'm going to wait until the 15th of May. Meanwhile I am observing the tips of the onions breaking through. :-) Have a nice May, good luck with the vaccination. I'm still observing ...


    1. Thanks, Regula! We always have to wait until the 15th of May to plant, for fear of frost. Sometimes I wait until the end of May. Good luck with your vegetable garden! Thanks also for the good wishes about the vaccination. :)

  7. Thanks so much for your beautiful show and tell of April around you, Sue! The Milflores shawl variation is gorgeous, and I look forward to seeing more of the new shawl pattern. Today marks two weeks since my second Pfizer jab (I love the British descriptor :) I just felt a little out of it for a couple of days...tired and did not sleep well. Hope you have no ill effects! 🙏💞

  8. the Milflores shawl is stunning! Congratulations on designing another masterpiece. As always I'm very proud of your accomplishments.
    Love from your Big Sis

  9. Sue, You are so very, very talented at your crochet and yet, you can still appreciate the simple things, like my tiny doily! It made my day to see this on your post!
    By now, you might have gotten your 2nd vaccine. My husband and I had a bit of a reaction to the 2nd one but nothing major, just a bit tired but then, that's normal for me! LOL!
    Take care! xx


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