Finally Spring!

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It has been winter for a good long while in these parts. And only recently has it finally begun to act like spring! That means bees are buzzing, buds are blooming, and birds are….birding. Obviously I have an obsessive need to document everything and have been taking lots of pictures of the little creatures enjoying the warmer weather as I sit outside and read through The Gulag Archipelago (because it’s such great springtime reading?). I guess you can take the girl out of the poli-sci but you can’t take the poli-sci out of the girl. The birds at least provide a nice counter balance to the sad gulag human rights abuses.

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Goldfinch! We only ever get one or two of them in the spring and summer, and he’s pretty elusive. I guess he was hungry this day.

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A plucky little cardinal.

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House finch sitting in a tree.

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Here are the two of them sharing the feeder! The cardinal looks terribly suspicious of me.

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From top left, clockwise: chickadee, house finch, grosbeak (female), and nuthatch.

We have also seen a new face at our brand new hummingbird feeder!

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It’s a ruby-throated hummingbird! He’s quite small and difficult to spot as he flits back and forth.

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Flapping those wings very hard and fast.

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Getting a hit of that sweet, sweet sugar water. He’s actually pretty frustrating to photograph because he moves so quickly and is so tiny.

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I think I might name him Waldo, after the eponymous and elusive striped-shirt wearer. Relatedly, I wish I had one of those enormous NatGeo zoom lenses the size of an 18th century cannon. Anyone wanna loan me $10,000?

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The caterpillars and the dandelions are also out in full swing. And, finally, the cherry tree in our yard is blossoming! It’s nice to finally see signs of life after all the snow.

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Crochet Garden Flowers Shawl

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*Drumroll* I finally finished my shawl that I have been working on for…..a million years? Okay, maybe just a year. Life got in the way! The timing is at least good…it’s finally spring!

It is made up of 39 individual flowers that were then joined together continuously. I had some issues with the pattern, so I’m going to post some of my corrections here.

The pattern: here it is! 

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Oh my Ford, I approached this like an assembly line. I made all the little centers of the flowers first. Here is a nice little pile of them (but obviously not all of them).

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Then, of course, I did the petals on the flowers. Here is a picture of a stack of about half of the flowers I made.

Okay, here is where things start getting tricky. The pattern for the flowers themselves was great. The pattern for joining the flowers…less so. Honestly, it was riddled with issues. Why, you ask? Let’s take a look:

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Source.

Here is the diagram in the pattern for joining the flowers. It’s great except for one glaring problem…

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Following the pattern exactly as it’s written will result in those gaps in the border (in the darker blue) in between the flowers! Compare the first row of flowers (wherein I followed the pattern exactly) with the second row (where I made some corrections). One clearly looks much better.

In order to get the border around the entire flower and also join it in two places, you will have to backtrack over some of your work. (Is this starting to feel like a weird middle school math problem yet?) I’m really not much of a pattern writer at all, but I did make a little diagram to help make things clearer for anyone who would like to do this pattern with corrections:

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So, loosely following the diagram from the pattern, this is what you will have when you’re ready to go around the bottom of a row of flowers. They will be half joined on top. Following the numbers in the picture:

1: continue working the pattern as written– (sc, ch 3, sc) in ch-1 sp, ch 5, sc between 2 sc, ch 5, repeat.

2: again, continue working the pattern. (sc, ch 3, sc) into the ch-1 sp, ch 5, sc between 2 sc, ch5. But then slip stitch into the ch-1 sp.

3: Slip stitch along the chain joining the two flowers and slip stitch into the ch-1 sp on the other flower. You should now be on the other flower.

4: Once in the ch-1 space, ch 5, sc between 2sc, ch 5.

5: Sc in ch-1 sp of the flower you are working on, ch 1, sc into ch-3 sp of opposite flower (you made the ch-3 sp on step 2, and this joins the two flowers), ch1, slip stitch back into ch1 space.

6: Ch 5, sc between 2 sc, repeat pattern as written with these corrections.

Hopefully some of that is coherent? It results in the most consistent-looking joins at the petals. Anyway, here are some more pictures of the finished shawl:

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All folded up.

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Folded in half because why not, I guess?

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All laid out so it looks like the joining diagram!

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Garden flower shawl in action! Disclaimer: it is beautiful but not particularly warm.