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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