Please be aware that I will be removing my blog, Wolf Crochet, on July 15, 2015. I will also delete my Facebook page and my patterns on Ravelry. It seems that some folks are taking my free crochet patterns and/or photos and bundling them into eBooks with other patterns and then selling them on the internet. If you are interested in one of my patterns, please download them before July 15. I’m sorry about this but I have no interest in seeing somebody profit from the patterns that I was offering for free.
Recent events in my life have made it clear to me that it is time for me to walk in a new direction. I have been blogging or managing a website for 10 years now. I also wrote newsletters and a travel blog while we were on the road for 7 years in our RV. The intense interest I once had in designing and making crochet projects is gone. Our travels have ended as well, at least for the foreseeable future.
As each week progressed, I was finding it harder and harder to come up with interesting content and photos. I found myself beginning crochet projects simply to have something to write about. I also found myself taking hundreds of photos in the hope that I would have a few that I could share with you. I still dearly love to write but it is now clear that my subject matter must change if I am to continue.
My days are now so taken up with helping the old folks in my life that I have little energy left for blogging. On the days that I find some free time, I would prefer to spend my hours doing something else. I am considering a volunteer job with my community or simply beginning a regimen of visiting various art museums in the area to expand my knowledge a bit. I am also going to continue with my yoga twice a week.
I want to thank all of you for being such loyal and wonderful readers. Over two million of you have visited and over a thousand have become followers. I have made many friends through this blog. For a while, I will still provide pattern support and answer comments but over time, these will also cease. If you look for me, you will still find me on Ravelry under WolfCrochet. I am certain that I will be making crochet projects from time to time.
Farewell my friends!
I have been determined to keep a positive and up-beat outlook lately but sometimes the smallest things can make me grumpy. Recently a nice ranch house on Main Street showed evidence that the folks there were getting ready to move. This house is on the street adjacent to ours and, while not a part of our community, the neighborhood there still serves as an introduction to ours. One Saturday we noticed a big yard sale being held there. Before we knew it, the place was empty. When we returned from Florida this summer we were chagrined to note that the mailbox had been reattached to the post with multiple wraps of bright purple duct tape. Then the cars started to accumulate on the front lawn, as many as six at a time. But the final straw was the proliferation of “No Trespassing” signs in three windows of the house. Huh? First of all, I think that most people know that someone’s home is private property and signs are really not needed. It makes you wonder what is going on in that house!
And as much as I love our rural small town, I am not a huge fan of volunteer firefighters being called to work in the dead of night by sounding the siren. In this day and age of technology, haven’t we been able to come up with a better way of alerting our first responders that doesn’t wake up the whole town? I have an alert signal on my cell phone for weather emergencies. Why can’t they use that? (see what I mean about being grumpy?)
And while I’m going on about my town, the beautiful horse farm that always featured in my morning walks has been razed to make way for a new housing development. The stream that ran through the property has been diverted and most of the trees have been felled. But the real peeve I’m having is that dump trucks and concrete truck rumble up our road at top speed at all hours of the day. You take your life in your hands just going out to get your mail!
My last grumpy comment is about buying books and I have no one to blame for this problem but myself. Years ago when I began reading the thousands of books that I have read in my lifetime, I should have started a list! Lately I have found myself buying and re-buying books that I have already read, sometimes several times. I tend to be attracted to the same subjects and authors and have a strong bent towards Mann Booker Prize winners. I can’t believe that I went to the sale section of my local library this morning and came back with another book that I had already read. In fact, most likely it was that exact copy since I re-donate the books back when I am finished with them!
Everyone’s life contains little annoyances and I know that mine are very minor indeed. I suppose that this is a good time for me to practice all those qualities that I profess to embody: being nonjudgmental, being accepting, and loving myself. Serenity now…
My daughter Lana wanted a hooded scarf and found this pattern on Pinterest:
There are many beautiful hooded scarf patterns on the web but this is the one she chose so I ordered Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in silver. Working this project gave me an opportunity to use my new blocking boards. Several months ago I had snapped up a package of interlocking foam pads that were meant to be used as a shop mat. I found these pads at BJ’s and could immediately see the possibilities. After removing 6 pads for myself, there were enough left over for a shop mat for Paul! The whole thing cost $19.95, a lot cheaper than the blocking mats you find on-line.
As you can see, there is a block pattern embossed on the foam. This makes it even easier to keep your work lined up straight. I’m sorry to say that I believe that this was a one-time deal. I haven’t seen the same mats offered again in the store or on-line.
The scoodie came out exactly as pictured on the pattern. I hope that Lana likes it.
I had to lay aside my cardigan project while I worked on the scoodie but I have been making fairly good progress. This pattern is written in European terms but is very easy to follow. The construction is quite unusual, however. The sweater is worked in two pieces from the shoulders down and then joined at the underarms. The sleeves are crocheted directly onto the body.
I now have the delightful job of making the endless band of tiny ribbing that forms the bottom cuff of the cardigan. The ribbing is worked sideways along the hem and joined to the body with a slip stitch after each row. I feel that this portion will take me the rest of the winter! But I love the way this is coming out so I will be on the prowl for a dark green turtleneck to wear with it.
A couple of years ago my friend Rose and I decided to choose a day each week to go walking in nature. For the first few months we managed to meet often whenever the weather permitted. But lately, with my added responsibilities, I have not had the opportunity to enjoy the woods. Yesterday, while Paul was watching baseball and football, Rose and I enjoyed the gorgeous fall weather at Eden Mill Nature Center.
The air was bracing and a bit windy but it was a glorious morning to be outdoors. We opted for the level trails that meandered along Deer Creek and worked their way to a small dam. The fisherman that was angling at the foot of the small spillover was one of the few folks that were out and about yesterday morning. I caught a quick glimpse of a kayaker through the tall reeds lining the banks of the creek. Crossing a small bridge, we enjoyed watching two golden retrievers chase a tennis ball into the water.
Alas, chores beckoned and it was time to call it a day. I hope that we will have many more beautiful autumn days to enjoy outdoors before the really cold weather sets in.
My friend Rose from Ravelry has sent me a big hug in the form of a beautiful shawl! As you can see, this lovely wrap drapes beautifully. I love the shell pattern on the edges and the variegated yarn. Rose spent many hours working on this shawl and then she sent it all the way from Israel. Thank you Rose. I love my shawl and I feel blessed to have a friend like you!
Thank You Wayne!
In July, during some of the worst days of last summer, Paul and I had returned from Florida for a few days to prepare a place for my parents after my sister’s death. Our mail had been held at the post office since the third week of June. Imagine my surprise to discover a paper-wrapped parcel addressed to me! Inside I found a beautiful hand-crafted card and this charming set of tiny crocheted dolls. I was so touched that a total stranger would send such a thoughtful gift. The box also contained a cunning little pincushion which I use daily.
In the five years that I have been writing my blog, I have met some of the nicest people! Some friends followed me over from Crochetville and others joined me from Ravelry. But many, many of you have come from places far across the web. I am grateful for all of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wishes of goodwill and comfort.
The Dreaded New Computer
That’s right, I had to do it. I had been putting this off knowing that I would be faced with learning Windows 8.1, not to mention all the other quirks that come with a new machine. But one day I simply could not get anything to come up on the old Viaio. First I tried an iPad but after having it for a week, I took it back. It just didn’t have the feel of my old workhorse! A trip to Best Buy proved to be the right move. The salesperson was fantastic and spent a lot of time explaining various options. I settled on a Lenovo Yoga 2 which can function like a laptop or a tablet. But the grueling period of familiarization is not over yet!
The New Normal
So much has changed in the last few months that my life has now been turned completely upside down. Paul and I are providing support to three elderly people, all of whom are living in assisted living apartments but who still need our help constantly. Aside from the mountains of medical and financial paperwork that must be completed, we are driving the old folks to doctors, taking them for hearing aid repairs, optical, and dental appointments, shopping for them, and generally troubleshooting their difficulties with their televisions and phones. It seems that making a simple phone call has become all but impossible for any of them. It gets expensive to have the phone company come out only to find that they accidentally turned off their ringer!
Each trip we make to each living facility takes 40 minutes one way. Paul and I are having difficulties tending to our own affairs at home and find that our days are filled with errands and activities related to our parents. I am grateful that all the old folks have the funds to live in nice homes and that their personal needs are being met by caring and skilled staff. I can not imagine what life would be like if we also had to have everyone living with us! But for whatever reason that the gods ordained, we have been called to attend to three folks who are in their last years of life.
Paul’s mom, who is 92, is having cataract surgery this week. She has been losing her eyesight gradually over the last year. For a brief time, after her surgery, she will stay with us so that we can monitor her condition. My mom, who still imagines herself active and spry at 89 (she isn’t!) still wants to go shopping and out to lunch despite the fact that she can neither see nor hear and has difficulty keeping her balance. My dad has Alzheimer’s. He still recognizes us but he must be watched constantly so that he does not come to harm when away from the apartment. Both my parents, with their walkers, want me to take them to the mall to buy winter clothes!
I want to confess to you today that my creativity is nonexistent. Every once in a while, during a spare moment, I halfheartedly pick up my hook and resume work on the Lilac Time Cardigan that I started. But my interest is at a very low ebb. I have had some wonderful years traveling around the country with Paul, meeting my sister and brother-in-law at various National Parks, and indulging my love of crochet while on the road. We have been blessed enormously to have had the opportunity to live our retirement years as we wished. I imagine that it is now time to give something back and Paul and I are doing it willingly and with full hearts. We know that this situation will not last forever. But in the meantime, please bear with me as I take a small hiatus from blogging. I will continue to respond to comments but will not be making any new posts until I can devote myself to my writing with all the interest and passion that I once did.
In the spring, Paul decided to plant a small garden next to the shed in the back yard; nothing ambitious mind you, just a few tomato plants, some zucchini, peppers, and eggplant. We were delighted to watch the garden grow and when we spied our first little green tomatoes, we couldn’t wait to harvest them! Then disaster struck and we were needed in Florida for over a month.
The garden was a wreck when we returned! Plants were overflowing the chicken wire surround and all the tomatoes had slumped and were lying on the ground. You couldn’t set foot into the enclosure without crushing a plant or a vegetable. But what a bounty! Once Paul cleared a small space for our feet, we were amazed at the vegetables that had thrived in this wilderness during our absence. We immediately shared our largess with our neighbors and took the rest into the house.
There was still a mountain of fresh goodness to harvest every day. I got busy and dug out my biggest pan. I decided to make a vegetable sauce for pasta or perogies. Since there was such a overwelming amount, I couldn’t be bothered with seeding or peeling. I simply cut all the veggies into cubes, threw in some sliced onions and leftover fresh mushrooms and carmelized the whole batch in my pan coated with Pam. I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand but I simply love McCormick’s Herbes de Provence. This blend adds so much flavor and aromatic goodness to a dish that I am a bit ashamed to say that I use it in almost everything! I threw in about 2 tablespoons of this wonderful mixture.
The tomatoes began to release their juice so I turned the flame to low and continued cooking until the sauce had thickened, adding salt and pepper to taste. Once it had cooled, I spooned it into containers, keeping one for tomorrow’s dinner and freezing the remainder. What a feast this will be! Fresh vegetable sauce from the garden paired with whole wheat spaghetti or perogies and a little garlic bread on the side. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I know that I had begun the Adriana Top earlier in the spring but I simply couldn’t pick it up again. I had been working on this project when I learned of my sister’s death. One day I will try this pattern again with different yarn but for now, I have become very smitten with the Lilac Time Cardigan. I had a bit of a time tracking down the pattern as it is published in a UK magazine called Simply Crochet. This cardigan is worked in V-stitches so it is quite easy to make but for the reason the combination of these stitches with the wide ribbing really took my fancy.
I went for Knit Picks Palette Fingering Yarn in the color Ivy. I have no other dark green in my wardrobe but my mother has recently given me her emerald ring so I wanted to have something green with which to wear it. It’s a funny thing about green, although emerald is my birthstone, I have virtually never worn that color. But it turns out to be quite flattering after all so I’ll give it a try. At this point, my enthusiasm for crochet has not really returned but I have a real need to resume my normal activities.
Smoky Mountain Trip
It’s time to get back into that motorhome and take another trip before it becomes too cold. My daughter Lana and her family are visiting the Smokies in October so we will tag along and enjoy a week out in nature with her and the grandchildren, Sammi and Charli (both girls!). I went to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and some of my fondest memories involve those beautiful mountains. Of course, the kids will want to do all kinds of crazy things like zip-lining and bungee jumping but we’ll be happy to chronicle their adventures with photos. My last big adventure was free-fall skydiving when I was 41 but I think I’ll pass on anything that extreme now!