Chronic Pain and the Work-Life Balance

I talk a lot about emotional healing. I’ve lived through a trauma that no one wishes on their worst enemies. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel _all_ the emotions. Some are days I can tolerate and push through, others make me feel like I’m falling all day.

On another personal healing note, this has been a very challenging summer for me with ongoing physical pain. I try hard to not put my physical challenges in the spotlight, and certainly not at the forefront of the wool shop. My hope for the shop is for it to feel like it belongs to our community, and isn’t all about me, so I try to keep the social media feeds focussed, while at the same time staying authentic and relatable.

The humidity this summer aggravated inflammation in my body in ways I haven’t experienced in years. Many days in recent months have been excruciating, but I’m very good at “walking it off”, dealing, staying on top of acupuncture and other therapies. I wear pain extremely well. Too well.

Flare ups can come out of nowhere, affect any joint or limb in my body- usually my arms, shoulders, and often my hips. They can last a few days to a couple weeks, and shift throughout my body in that time. The pain can waffle between a nuisance to debilitating. The last few days have been on the debilitating side. When it’s this bad I can’t do simple things like: get dressed by myself, wash or do my hair properly, put a bra on, pull up my underwear, put deodorant on… – these all become things that my amazingly supportive husband will do for me. Obviously in days like this I can’t drive, or do basic household things – which is extremely difficult when you have a small child.

This morning I had an injection of a powerful anti inflammatory and given some back up pills. I’m not crying anymore so I’d say it’s starting to work.

The culprit? Call me a medical mystery. It all started ten years ago in August 2009 when I caught what I thought was a flu. Within days I was having major flank pain, and by the time I saw my doctor I was deep into neurological problems. Lead suspect at first was Lyme’s, but since then

I’ve been diagnosed with everything from fibromyalgia to MS. It’s not MS. Current leading theory is back with Lyme, but what to do about it after ten years is highly questionable.

When I was first having symptoms it was primarily weakness in my hips and legs accompanied by extreme neurological pain in my shoulders and arms. Sitting has been extremely difficult at times over the years. I have to be able to move around freely to “walk it off” when needed.

Crochet, felting, knitting, and photography have all been outlets for me to both use my arms and keep sensation flowing, as well as a creative platform to seek mental healing. It’s not always easy, my arms often hurt and my coordination can be iffy., but I persevere because what else can I do.

I’m sharing all this now in order to explain a few reasons why I occasionally have to close the shop without much notice. Thankfully I have an amazing team of friends who volunteer and help out in all kinds of ways, but sometimes there are days I just can’t control it all. Thankfully I also have a supportive community with customers who understand the work-life balance.

Tomorrow, Friday August 23rd, my husband has to leave town to travel to Ottawa to pick up our daughter and all her belongings as she is now finished her university degree. I’m a very proud mom and excited to have her home, briefly. She’ll be heading off to basic trading with the Canadian Armed Forces shortly and off on endless adventures from there.

This also means that as of tomorrow morning I’m alone with our youngest, who still rides in a car seat. I have no strength to put the car seat in a cab, and likely won’t be able to drive myself anyway, which leaves us few options for both getting to daycare and work, but also getting home at the end of the day.

If this anti inflammatory shot doesn’t work by tomorrow I won’t be able to go anywhere. It’s not just about driving, but drying off after my shower, getting dressed, and simple basic life needs.

Hopefully the medication will kick in enough to allow me to move around tomorrow and be here at the shop – my healing space.

How much does this suck? So many ways. I want to be out on my bike again, I want to go kayaking, and I want to be able to pull my pants up after visiting a bathroom. Is that too much to ask?

While I continue to look for a solution to my problems I thank you for your patience and understanding. Chronic illnesses are often invisible to others, but are very, very real to those suffering.

My family doctor is very supportive and curious, and I have a team of support: acupuncture, physio, chiropractor, naturopath/nutrition, restorative yoga… you name it, I’ve got them by my side. What I don’t have is an infectious disease specialist focussed on chronic Lyme Disease. If any of you know of a doctor who could help I’m willing to go anywhere.

Thank you, everyone, for all you understanding.

Crochet Easter Egg Pattern

For these simple Easter eggs I used various yarn scraps. Any yarn will do, you can even mix and match scraps into stripes or colour work patterns. Obviously, a sock weight yarn will create a small egg, and an aran weight will create a larger egg. Most of my eggs were made with my go-to worsted weight yarn.

You will need:

  • 4 yards (or so) of yarn scraps
  • A crochet hook appropriate to your yarn (I often use a hook smaller than recommended to ensure a tight stitch, resulting in a solid fabric.)
  • Stitch marker (use your stitch marker to mark stitch number 1 of each round.)
  • A small amount of fibre fill
  • Darning needle

Abbreviations:

magic loop (magic ring, magic circle): Make a loop a few inches from the end of your yarn. Grasp the join of the loop (where the 2 strands of yarn overlap) between your left thumb and forefinger. Insert hook into the loop from front to back. Draw up a loop (also known as a chain [ch 1]). Insert hook into the loop, so you are crocheting over the loop and the yarn tail. Draw up a loop to begin your first sc of Round 1.

yo = yarn over: Yarning over (abbreviated yo) in crochet is the most basic step when making a stitch. Yarning over means wrapping the yarn over your crochet hook. Yarn overs are used before or after you insert the hook into the next stitch, and depending on the stitch you are working, you may yarn over two or more times.

sc = single crochet stitch Insert the hook through stitch space, yarn over and pull through from back to front.

sc inc = single crochet increase stitch Two single crochet stitches into one stitch of the previous round.

sc dec = single crochet decrease stitch Combining two stitches from the previous round into one stitch. Hook through the front loops of the following two stitches, yarn over and pull through both loops of the stitches, yarn over again and pull through the two loops on the hook, continue on to the next stitch.

fasten off = pull the working yarn through the stitch to close the loop to finish the project

Let’s begin!

Begin with a magic circle of 6 sc crochet stitches.

Round 1: sc in each (12)

Round 2: sc, sc inc – repeat (18)

Round 3: 2 sc, sc inc – repeat (24)

Round 4-10: sc in each (24)

Round 11: sc, sc dec – repeat: (18)

Round 12: sc in each (18)

Round 13: sc, sc dec – repeat: (12)

Stuff your egg with a small amount of fibre fill.

Round 14: sc in each (12)

Round 15: sc dec repeat: (6)

Fasten off.

Use a darning needle to stitch the remaining six stitches closed, then thread the yarn end though the egg to hide it, and snip off any remaining yarn end.

Decorative tip: Consider using other yarn scraps to decorate your egg using embroidery techniques.

If you’re interested in an Easter egg pattern that opens up allowing you to hide a small treasure or treat inside, check out my pattern for opening eggs:
https://olivesandbananas.blog/2017/04/17/easter-eggs-crochet-pattern/

Designer’s choice: not all my eggs are the same size – some have an extra round of stitches, others have a row less. The size is often dictated by the amount of yarn I have, and remembering that this is not an exact science, and some variation makes the end result a lot more interesting.

September 18th

My business is named for my children – my three children if you consider my logo. When people ask what ‘Olives and Bananas’ means I always reply that it’s a play on words using the names of my two living children, Oliver and Hannah, and when the moment seems right (which most often it is) I add that the dragonfly in the logo is for our son, Finn, who lived and died in 2013.

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In the first few years after Finn lived and died I spent a lot of time reflecting and writing about him.
I didn’t go out much, I felt exposed and fragile, while also feeling like my heartache was being worn like heavy armour. Five years later I still feel that way, though over time I’ve found ways to express my grief that make it more comfortable to wear.
In those first years there was a lot of alone time and space to think. I needed to talk about him, but silently while I worked on the right words. It was easy to purge my feelings in the Instagram community because I knew there were others out there who identified with my words, and that made it safe.
In the past year my safe place has become the wool shop. I know that one of the many reasons I don’t write as much about Finn as I once did is because I talk about him more, I have real life conversations about him now in ways couldn’t before. This past year has forced me into the confrontations and questions I feared the most, and in that I learned that I can handle it, I can cry in front of someone and recover and move on with my day, I can catch my breath. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay if I cry, and we can hug it out – or better let’s dance it out like Grey’s.
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The subject of child loss isn’t one that comes up often in casual conversation, but because the “how many kids do you have?” question is asked all too often, for some of us child loss does come up all.the.time.
I could have avoided the subject more easily by naming my shop ‘Amy’s Wool Shop’ or something equally uninspired, but there wasn’t much heart in that, and not in line with what the shop is about. More often than not people who shop & stitch here are making something for someone else; if not it’s something special for themselves. It’s more about the pride in creating and giving than anything else, and it’s been deeply inspiring to be surrounded in that kind of sharing.
I think naming the shop for my children points to who I’m creating for and why on a personal level, which opens the door to deeper conversations – which I think is lovely, and we need more of that in this world.

 

There’s a perception is that the subject of child loss is too sad or complicated to talk about openly, and I know some people worry about my response and wonder if they should bring up Finn and his story. You should, you always should. It would be much more sad to not hear his name, or feel like he’s being forgotten because he’s not physically present. When his name is said aloud he is acknowledged, as is our grief, and makes me feel less alone in remembering him.
The experiences in the months since opening the shop have been hard to put into words for many enormous and extraordinary reasons. There have some been some really profound exchanges and heartfelt moments, confessions, tears, sharing, hugs, laughter, …all the emotions that seem indescribable when I try to transcribe them.
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Finn’s photo in his rainbow knit elf hat hangs prominently in the shop. That hat, that photo, that memory… it all represents such an important step toward my business – long before I even knew the direction I was headed. By the time the path appeared I was already well on my way.
Some of you have come in wearing dragonfly clothing or jewelry as a gesture in honour of Finn. Some have brought me little dragonfly trinkets, candles, and bookmarks. You have shared heartfelt stories about what dragonflies mean to you, and the folklore that makes you believe there’s something magical about them. All of this demonstrating the best of the human heart, and I’m eternally grateful.
Finn’s dragonflies originate in a simple pencil drawing by Betsy Bowen, whose original sketch of ‘green darner dragonflies’ for the book Hawk’s Ridge was for sale as part of the 2012 Crossing Borders Art Studio Tour. I bought it a few months before I was even pregnant, but knew it was special instantly. It was he first thing I hung in Finn’s nursery in 2013.
In the shop I’ve been visited by other bereaved parents, who find the right moments to share their stories. Talking openly together somehow softens the effects of our tragic stories. Losing a child can feel isolating, it’s an incomprehensible grief unless you’re in it. You can imagine the worst – and I’ve lived the sad losses: my parents are both gone, friends, deeply missed, so many people live in my heart…, but nothing compares to the longing for Finn. My little Finn…
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It is so important to me that Finn is remembered for living as much if not more than because he died so young.
He lived.
Finn brought so much joy, relief, peace, and hope to our family when he was born. A rainbow baby himself, he was a bright light after years of miscarriages. Once he was in my arms I felt calm like I hadn’t in years. The future was wide open with potential and possibilities.
He was such a beautiful baby; his golden hair and bright, curious eyes made my heart melt. Tiny and loud, he was perfect in every way.
He had visitors, people held him, we all cooed over him. I nursed him, changed him, bathed him… unaware that all these firsts were his last. Our last. The only.
His death blindsided us.
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Five years later and for weeks now I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m waking in the very early hours and can’t fall back asleep despite all my hacks. In the months following Finn’s death I couldn’t sleep without some kind of white noise being pumped into my head, anything to drown out the wheels turning. The only times I felt I really slept was after an acupuncture treatment, and though I still see my acupuncturist weekly it’s not enough to ease this restlessness.
Every morning for weeks I’ve felt butterflies and anxiousness as if I’m heading into an important interview and it’s messing terribly with my physical well-being.
There’s nothing in particular keeping me awake or making me feel anxious; it’s simply a function of grief and the time of year bringing all the feelings to the surface. The air, the way the sun rises and sets, the changing colours of autumn, all of these earthly reminders of Finn are impossible to escape. And why would I want to? It’s always been my favourite time of year. I felt so lucky to be able to celebrate my special boy in this beautiful season.
Now he is everything autumn is to me; he is the lake breeze, the sunrise and shine, and all the warm colours – everything reminds me of him. It’s both paralyzing and full of static energy. He’s my forever baby, he will never grow up, he will never have a first day of school, ride a bike, play with friends, choose Halloween costumes, or celebrate Christmas. All these occasions still come and pass without him, and all I can do is imagine him and wonder who he would be.
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September is difficult to navigate. This year I’ve felt numb, distracted, and unable to express myself in the ways I’ve found healing in the past. I’ve learned enough from previous years to know that I can’t predict anything, the triggers will catch me off guard, some will devastate me and others will lift me (and everything in between). I try not to schedule too much or makes plans knowing that each day needs its own space.
Five years ago I thought I would never leave the house again. I definitely wouldn’t have believed I would be running a wool shop, talking to people about Finn, least of all smiling.
Thank you, to all of you who have shown such genuine thoughtfulness, compassion, and empathy for my little Finn, myself and my family. I’ve learned a lot more about humanity this year than wool. We really do need more togetherness in this world because we heal better in groups leaning on one another.

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I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Making of a Wool Shop: The Children’s Play Area

This area of the shop has evolved into a space of its own.

I knew the wall gets too much sun for yarn storage, so my first thought when I was planning the space was that it would be the community space. The wall did scream for a fireplace, and I loved the idea of cozy fireside seating by windows. We in the north have to source as much light and heat at possible!

It IS a cozy seating area beside a window and a fireplace, but it has become more of a children’s playroom than a yarn lovers gathering space. Stitchers do sit by the fire occasionally, but we usually squeeze around the three tables even if there’s too many of us. 😀 (which is so fun!)

The area around the fireplace grew into a wonderful play area for kids. The little table originally had a glass top and I had plans to fill it with decorative wool displays, but before I could put the glass back after painting it somehow filled with Oliver’s toys.

I’m often thanked for creating the space, but really it created itself. Kids now enjoy coming to the wool shop, and moms, dads, and grandparents appreciate the distraction while they shop. Sometimes kids have to be dragged out kicking and screaming when it’s time to go. :S

There’s a lot of weird stuff to pique the imagination: a mounted unicorn head (custom made by the beautifully talented @mommycansew), a monster garland made by @camphappyheart and me, melting snowmen, a toy alien by @sewwhimsicalbykatie, little felted creatures, crochet Oliver in a pumpkin, sheep and alpaca toys, and of course Shaun the Sheep on the smart tv.

This area isn’t what I originally planned but I couldn’t be happier with what it has become. I love that kids enjoy coming to the shop, and that their guardians feel a little less stress about taking littles out shopping. I know the juggle well.

My hope for a community creative space is constantly both affirming my intention and evolving on its own. It’s a great thing to watch.

Thank you all for making the shop what it is today!

Summer Stitch Along

Our summer stitch along is designed to be a workshop on the go. It’s difficult, especially in summer, to commit to weekends in a row at the yarn shop to complete a project in a designated workshop. By stitching along you can join us at the shop for tutorials and socials, while working on the steps in your own time.

To participate simply purchase your pattern from the designer and come by the shop to find your yarn. Cast on is June 16th from 1:00-4:00 pm at Olives and Bananas (or contact the shop to arrange a time to get you started).

Tiffany and I have been planning a combination of knit and crochet projects to keep us busy this summer. The Atelier cardigan by Heidi Kirrmaieris is our knit project, which Tiffany will lead. At the shop Tiffany has set aside kits of yarns measured in appropriate quantities for various sizes, so you don’t have to search the store for enough of the right yarn to use with this pattern. Don’t like what you see in the kits? We can help you find a yarn you’ll love.IMG_2423 (1)

~ ~ ~

I will host a couple different crochet projects: a simple amigurumi giraffe and a pretty crochet shawl made of flower motifs:

The amigurumi giraffe is one of my favourite toy patterns. It is designed by Allison North of KornflakeStew. Her patterns are well written, simple, and accessible for a beginner. Find her giraffe pattern here. IMG_1126 (2)

The amigurumi toys I make are worked in the round and all begin with the magic loop. This is an important step you’ll need to master to begin making these patterns. It just takes a little practice. Sharon Ojala has a simple YouTube tutorial on beginning that magic loop: watch it here. There are a few different approaches to the magic loop, but this video is closest to how I do it.

The Posy Crochet Shawl by Amanda Perkins was inspired by her summer garden, so I thought it was an appropriate project for the summer. This is a great pattern to use bits from your stash, or you can use just a couple colours to create a pattern. It would also look nice in autumn colours. There are lots of possibilities.

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Once again, to participate: purchase your pattern(s) from the designers, find your yarn from Olives and Bananas, and join Tiffany and I for the cast on June 16th from 1:00-4:00pm.

Crochet Pattern: Chocolate Covered Strawberries

IMG_6345Pattern writing doesn’t come easily to me, I think mostly because I prefer freestyle crochet and the variants that come of not worrying so much if your stitches are on point. Obviously, for straight items (blankets, squares, etc.) it’s important for stitch counts to match, but in the case of something like a strawberry is really doesn’t matter if you miss or add a stitch – the end result will still look alright.

When it comes to making these strawberries I encourage you to try to make each one different in some way – no two strawberries are the same size or shape, so use this pattern as a guide rather than an exact shape. When you create a tray of them they’ll look more realistic if they are all shaped uniquely.

I’m going to begin by directing you to this handy GUIDE TO CROCHET TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS from The Spruce, this CROCHET GLOSSARY from Free-Crochet.com and this tutorial on how to make and work with the “magic ring” in amigurumi crochet: MAGIC RING BY PLANET JUNE. To make the green leaves it helps to know how to stitch into the back bar of a chain.

Notes about this pattern:

Not each row ends as one might expect — some end with “an extra stitch.” Also some rows start with an increase or decrease seemingly out of place. I try to space my increases and decreases according to the shape I’m intending to create rather than worrying whether or not it follows a specific crochet guideline. I think this creates a more realistic looking result.

Materials:

brown, red, and green yarn in similar weights *Why use art yarn? Sure you can create these using any yarn, but by using a tonal yarn or one with a variant of shades your result will be that much more interesting. To make this pattern I used Malabrigo Rios in Coco, Malabrigo Rios in Ravelry Red, and a green that I’ve lost the tag for but I’m pretty sure was made by Fleece Artist. That’s at least $75 in quality yarn skeins, but so worth it. This is also a great project for leftover bits – and why not make some white chocolate strawberries too! Any yarn will do, it’s entirely up to you.

The crochet hook you use will depend on the weight of your yarn. I like to size down when making amigurumi to help keep my stitches tight – for these strawberries I’m using a worsted weight and a 3.25mm hook (I cheated for the photo and used the pink 3.5mm!…)(..the 3.25 hook is orange and threw off the whole photography thing, hahaha).

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You’ll also need:

a stitch marker

a darning needle

polyfill stuffing

scissors

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Crochet Pattern: 

  1. Begin with a magic ring of four stitches (4)
  2. 2 sc in each (8)
  3. sc in each (8)
  4. 2 sc, sc inc, repeat (10)
  5. 3sc, sc inc, repeat (13)
  6. sc in each (13)
  7. 2sc, sc inc, repeat (17)
  8. sc in each (17)
  9. 3sc, sc inc (with one extra stitch at the end) (21)
  10. sc in each (21)
  11. HDC in each (21)

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  1. SWITCH TO RED, back loop only: sc in each (21)
  2. sc in each (21)

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  1. sc in each (21)
  2. 3sc, 2sctog dec, repeat (one extra stitch at the end) (17) (STUFF YOUR STRAWBERRY)

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  1. 2sc, 2sctog dec, reapeat (one extra stitch at the end) (13)
  2. begin with 2sctog dec, 1sc, repeat (8)
  3. SWITCH TO GREEN *this part of the pattern is variable and should be different with each “leaf” for a more realistic look (I alternate chains of four, five, and 6 for different sized leaves.)* ~ sc, 2sctog dec, ch 6, turn and into the second stitch from the hook hdc into the back bar of the chain, hdc in each back bar, sc into the red, 2sctog dec, chain 5, turn and into the second stitch from the hook hdc into the back bar, sc back into the red, 2sctog dec, chain 6, …repeat this process until you have five leaved on top of your strawberry. I work in those final decrease stitches with the leaves to close the strawberry.

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Finish your strawberry by using the darning needle to fasten off the loose end. Stitch the end through the strawberry to hide it and snip off the end.

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Shop Update

If you were lucky enough to be in my shop a few Saturdays ago when my pipes froze and my bathroom exploded, you might have been even luckier to be one of the ones running to the back to offer help… at which point you would have learned that shop walls hide some horrific messes. For months the space outside the bathroom has served as my recycling pile area (imagine lots of boxes), furniture waiting to be painted area, tool storage area, photography area, boxes of bags area, my family’s kitchen, and my closet.

On my list of a million things to do this week, tidying this area was important.

There were three pieces of furniture to paint and add to the shop: my mother’s table, a clock which was donated to the store, and the base of one of the hutches – the top of which is in use housing the needles, it is on top of a dresser rather than its base because the dresser offers better storage for …more needles.

The base is now beside the checkout counter to gives me some extra storage for bags (Adrienne😂) and shop operations stuff. Now called my little blue sideboard, it is my favourite piece in the shop. (Still needs to be hinged, clearly..)

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ck was donated by some new friends, and I'm not sure how much if its story they would want to share. I think it's safe to say the clock was deeply appreciated by its original owner, but for complicated reasons it hasn't seen love (or the light of day) for years. It is the hope that the clock will find a new life in the shop. I think it already has.

My mother’s table has been in my sunroom for a few years serving as my workshop table. With its leaf it seats six, but Not comfortably. Without the leaf it transforms into an adorable pedestal table, and that is how I’ll use it. It was going to be painted white, and the first coat went on white – in fact the base already had its second coat when I decided to go at it with the blue paint, and I love it. Blue round table it is. We’ll use the round table near the entrance to the shop for a few purposes. I’ve noticed people need more space to put wool down and look at colours, compare, or match. This will be our table for that.

There has been some organisation accomplished this week, but still a lot to go. I’ll be moving on to plan B for the main shelving unit, so please be patient while I make the arrangements. There is no one more eager to see the shelves in place than me.

As for wool…

I’ve been busy coordinating the workshop schedule, and hope to post an updated list to the blog later this weekend. Upcoming classes include: beginner knitting, knit lace making, sock knitting, (hopefully knit fiddlehead mittens), crochet amigurumi cacti, crochet amigurumi mice, needle felt sculpture: chickadees, needle felt sculpture: valentine heart garland, needle felt sculpture: Easter eggs with simple embroidery embellishment.

< img src=”https://olivesandbananas.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/img_4403-1.jpg&#8221; class=”size-full wp-image-1750″ height=”3024″ width=”3024″>< img src=”https://olivesandbananas.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/img_5018.jpg&#8221; class=”wp-image-1754 size-full” height=”750″ width=”750″>< img src=”https://olivesandbananas.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/img_5015.jpg&#8221; class=”wp-image-1752 size-full” height=”750″ width=”750″><<<<<<
orkshops in planning include yoga for stitchers and knitting with an energy healer. (I'm really intrigued by these two!)

Thank you, everyone, for your patience as everything falls into place.

Shooting Stars crochet pattern

 

IMG_6314I recently revealed the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever made. This dissected unicorn made for Colleen and her daughter has been getting a lot of love over Facebook and I’ve had countless requests for the pattern.

The unicorn can be stuffed with all his parts and buttoned closed. Inside a unicorn we find rainbows and shooting stars, a big rainbow heart and perfectly pink lungs, sparkling intestine and a gumdrop stomach, kidneys the colour of the sea and a liver that sparkles (because unicorns only drink champagne). His bum is filled with rainbow poop.

I wish I could write the whole pattern now, but there just isn’t the time. In the meantime I hope a little shooting star will keep you all believing.

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Follow the link below to a FREE pdf pattern for the unicorn’s shooting stars:

SHOOTINGSTARS_crochetpatternbyOlivesandBananas

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Enjoy!

Easter Eggs Crochet Pattern

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These cute little Easter eggs are simple to make and fun for little ones’ fingers to fill and hide. This pattern makes an egg a little larger than a real chicken egg (size depends on your wool and hook size), and could be filled with anything your imagination can come up with. Little needle felted characters are an adorable addition – and someday I may find time to write an addendum to this pattern with instructions for those, but for now this egg pattern is an easy addition to Easter craft ideas, so I’m jotting it down to share with you all (even if Easter is over). 🙂

I used Bernat Satin 3.5 oz worsted in ‘Star Dust’ and an F hook (3.75mm). Your yarn and hook size will determine you finished product size. You’ll need a darning needle, stitch marker, and a pair of scissors.IMG_4009

Crochet Egg Pattern:

Begin with a magic circle of six.

Round 1: 2 sc in each = 12

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Round 2: sc, 2sctog inc, rep = 18

Round 3: 2 sc, 2sctog inc, rep = 24

Round 4: 3 sc, 2sctog inc, rep = 30

Rounds 5 – 8: sc in each = 30

Round 9: 3 sc, 2 sttog dec, rep = 24IMG_3997 (1)

Round 10: sc in each = 24

Round 11: sc in first six stitches, chain 19, connect with stitch 1 of 24 with a single crochet stich (beginning round 12.

Round 12: sc in each = 24 (when stitching into the 18 stitches of the chain, use the front loop only -flo- )

Round 13: 3 sc, 2 sttog dec, rep = 18

Round 14: sc in in each = 18

Round 15: 2 sc, 2 sttog dec, rep = 12

Round 16: sc in each = 12

Round 17: sc, 2 sttog dec, rep until youève got six stitches left in the round

Close using your darning needle to close the last six stitched, gently pulling it closed with each stitch. Bring the yarn through to the inside of your egg and secure with a hidden knot (or use a felting needle to secure the end).

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A Felted Garden

A couple years ago I planted over 600 bulbs in the garden beds surrounding our house. They bloomed spectacularly last year and I’m anxiously hoping for a repeat this year.

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In Finn’s garden ‘White Clouds’ tulips give way to ‘Blue Amiable’ then to giant purple alliums with Mother of Thyme blanketing the bed. Under my oak tree (a tree I often focus on when taking time to breathe and visualize during yoga) a rainbow of tulips circles the trunk in mixed varieties of blue, purple, pink, red, orange, apricot and yellow – some tall and slim, others short and full, with delicate lily flowering ones too.

A bold patch of tall orange tulips stand at a south-east corner of a bed that surrounds the house, with four different purple tulips varieties in groups near the doors. (My mother would be very disapproving of the number of purple flowers in my garden.) My favourite patch of tulips is a yellow/pink lily flowering sweetheart called ‘Elegant Lady’ that I have planted on the south side of our house near Oliver’s playset.

For years I’ve loved photographing my garden and playing around with macro lenses and light. I didn’t think I could find anything better to photograph – or blog about- until I discovered wool. Better yet: gardens and wool together. The complimentary colours and textures come together so well in every photo, each inspiring me to make something or plant something. It’s all beautiful to work with – whether it’s with my hands and needles or with a lens.

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I’m feeling somewhat determined to felt one of each of my tulips so that I’ll have a complete set forever. Tulips are a simple felting project, though creating a thin, smooth petal takes time and a little patience. I wrap armature wire in wool for the stem, and blend shades of green wool for the leaves.

While I’m felting my tulips it will be fun to share my enthusiasm for tulip gardening and felting with others. There’s no reason to stop at tulips either. I hope to felt all kinds of flowers this year as they bloom in #amysgardentbay. IMG_8638

 

 

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