Love Bites Up

Love Bites Neckwarmer and Fingerless Gloves

If you’ve been on my Ravelry Designer page within the last 48 hours, you may have noticed that these patterns are up for sale. As promised, you can purchase them as a set for $7.00, or individually for $4.00 apiece.

In addition, way past my bedtime two nights ago I uploaded them to my Pattern Store on this site. The link routes you to PayPal to complete the purchase. I hope you’ll enjoy these projects – because even if you are not a fan of the Twilight books/movies, or the True Blood TV series, this is a project to love for its own sake.

Do Vampires Have A Sense of Humor?

And did you notice those brilliant red “drop of blood” buttons to fasten the neckwarmer? Resistance was futile, but they were selected with tongue firmly in cheek. Equally true for the toothsome (OK, a fang is a fang is a fang) “Shark’s Tooth” lace border that edges both the neckwarmer and the fingerless gloves.

This craze for all things vampire-ish seems to me to demand a sense of humor! That’s also the inspiration behind my cable choice for both projects; the X-O-X-O represents that strange attraction that humans seem to feel for vampires, and vice versa (at least according to the movies and TV shows that feature them).

 

Do Vampires Knit?

If you are an intermediate skilled knitter, or even an adventurous beginner, the Love Bites ensemble is designed to be only moderately challenging but provides a relatively quick reward for taking your knitting skills to the next level.

And just a reminder; the 1st, 13th, and 25th purchasers of one or both of these patterns will receive a skein (of my choosing) of indie dyed yarn. I’ll PM you so I can get your mailing details! Actually, Christina C. was the very first knitter to bite (hehehe!) when she purchased the neckwarmer two days ago, so she will receive a skein of luscious merino wool from Fearless Fibers.

Agapanthus means “Goose” in Gardenese

Every summer, among the dozens of agapanthus buds stirring in the front garden, we get a few of these mutants:

But this summer it’s a bonanza.

Every once in a while I am struck by the similarity between plant and animal life forms, and these gooseneck agapanthus buds crack me up. I do the same double-take when I see someone in Craftyland has knit up life-size, anatomically correct fruit and vegetables, space aliens, or sea creatures out of yarn.

But then, I am easily entertained.

My Favorite Accessory

In conversation with eyeglasses-wearing, outrageously creative Kim Werker the other day, I began to reflect on my own love for eyeglasses and how they have come to represent, in a couple of weird ways, my own creativity.

Yes, it’s strange, but I feel naked without them. I think better when I’m wearing them, or at the very least when they’re pushed up onto the top of my head, which is where they go when I need to read something.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a design for a knitted, felted eyeglass case. Something chic but functional. Cruising around Etsy, I saw a couple that are similar to what I have in  mind, such as this lovely horizontal version with a Swarovski crystal button embellishment, created by MaisonMilli:

I also really like this felted one by bonniegoldingpurses:

Those little roses are adorable, and the no-sew aspect is very appealing. Time to put on my creative thinking cap on and see how I can improve upon these ideas!  A hand-knit eyeglass case (or two or three) would be wonderful, and felting seems like the best way to give it some structure to protect the glasses within.

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was two years old, which might explain why it feels so natural to wear them, and so unnatural to face the world without them. At first, their purpose was to correct a lazy eye. One of the many reasons I will always love my mother is that when I was that toddler wearing the pink cat’s-eye glasses (with tiny silver stars in the corners! Fashionable even then, folks…), she worked with me both morning and evening on exercises to strengthen that lazy eye.

I have no recollection of that fluffy kitty I am holding in the photo above. Was it a muff? I am wearing a coat, so it must have been cold out. My favorite doll was my Raggedy Ann, and it’s hard to imagine this stuffed kitten usurping her place in my affections.

I have my mother to thank to this day for my improved vision, for which I am even more grateful knowing that the prevailing wisdom in those Mad Men days was apparently to operate on the lazy eye or risk losing the vision altogether.

Mom nixed the operation and put all her effort into getting that toddler me to concentrate on strengthening the eye muscles through a series of boring but necessary exercises that ultimately worked. Thank you, Mom!

Notwithstanding a brief flirtation with contact lenses in my twenties, I have worn glasses throughout my adult life. While I no longer have that gigantic pair from the 80’s (big shoulder pads and bigger hair were only two symptoms of the craze for everything oversized back then!) with lenses the size of a windshield, it’s obvious from the photo below that my color preferences have been consistent: either red or black frames work for me. I definitely opt for the squinchier variety now, as long as my lineless trifocal prescription can fit into them.

Glasses are definitely my favorite accessory (not counting a hand-knit accessory or garment, of course). And, of course, they bring the world into focus.

Color Me Pink and Green

I make a lot of bouquets out of whatever is blooming in my garden, and love having fresh flowers in the house as well as outside my windows. During the spring and summer months there are lots of possibilities, sometimes a seemingly infinite variety of options to combine. Friends of mine, aware of my flower obsession, have enabled me with gifts of vases and other vessels to contain these bouquets.

While I don’t pretend to have any special skill in flower arranging, every bouquet is a soul-satisfying opportunity to play with color and texture – and these are driving forces in my life. From my 20 years as an interior designer to my current and equally long-standing passion for knitting and beautiful fibers, the visual feasts of my garden and my yarn stash are what make me so happy to jump out of bed in the morning.

This particular arrangement includes pink calla lilies, astilbe, and pink yarrow, a single fat magenta rose paired with a cluster of equally intense geraniums, and leaves that range from chartreuse to bottle green. It’s a decidedly Lilly Pulitzeresque color combination, but one that works in both flower combinations AND yarn:

For all that I love color, it’s surprising that I do virtually no Fair Isle or other colorwork in  my knitting. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to, but that I am still so enamored of the textural possibilities in cables and lace. While I sometimes play with color combinations such as those above, time and again when choosing a new project, I return to my purist roots and gravitate toward the solid and semi-solid colors in my yarn stash. They work especially well with the textural stitches I enjoy building into the projects I design.

Love Bites

Just in time for the release of the third installment of the Twilight movie series (wow, is that ever a franchise!), here is my contribution to the ever-growing library of Twilight-inspired knitting projects. Please say hello to “Love Bites,” a pair of projects that includes a cozy side-buttoned neckwarmer and a pair of practical yet pretty fingerless mitts. The cynical among my readers should feel free to emphasize the “Bites”, while Twilight fans will no doubt prefer to come down on the “Love.” Both groups will undoubtedly pick up on the pun – we have X-O-X-O cables winding around the length of the neckwarmer and running up the back of each mitt, and both projects are embellished with a deliberately fang-like lace edging. 

Each project requires less than one skein of Sundara’s lovely Silky Merino; I used roughly one and a half skeins to complete both. If your own personal Twilight fan wears mitts but not neckwarmers, or the other way around, it’s easy enough to make just one of the projects. Some may consider the set a bit too matchy-matchy; others will love the idea of creating a set that – despite the odds – simply belongs together, just like Bella and Edward. 

The combination of X-O-X-O central cables and an easy sawtooth (ok, yes, ‘fangs’) edging makes this a wonderful pair of projects for the knitter who really wants to master cable and lace skills by tackling an intermediate project. I-cord button loops (and if my choice of little round, red, ‘drop-of-blood’ buttons doesn’t work for you, feel free to choose alternative ones you really love) secure the buttons that run vertically up the edge of the neckwarmer.

Readers of my blog already know that I have a real thing for Sundara’s glorious yarns. The semi-solid colors in this silk and merino blend were the real inspiration for the projects. Her wonderfully subtle palette of dusky reds, purples, and pinks spoke to me of mystery, romance, and forbidden love; this was definitely a project where the yarn itself told me what it wanted to be!

I will release the patterns for the two projects next week. Each pattern will be available separately, either through my blog or from Ravelry, for $4.00. If you prefer to buy the set, there will be a separate link to purchase both together for $7.00. The 1st, 13th, and 25th readers to purchase patterns for either the neckwarmer or the mitts, or for the two combined, will win a skein of fabulous yarn by the indie dyer of my choosing. I’ll PM the winners so you can send me your mailing information.

During the summer months, when I just can’t bear the thought of a pile of heavy knitting making my lap sweat, I love little projects like Love Bites. And even though it’s hard to think about what I want to knit for my holiday gift-giving when both the temperature and the humidity are hovering around 100, the fact remains that I still want to be knitting no matter how hot it gets. And this is just the sort of project I am happy to work on… hope you’ll agree!

Emily Dickinson’s Little Sister

While back in New York last week, in between my other activities I managed to complete the Emily Dickinson shawl. I made one particularly obvious mod, though, that makes me feel I must call this “Emily Dickinson’s Little Sister.” For starters, she is full of holes instead of beads.

I used Woolen Rabbit Whisper Lace merino yarn in the color “Chocolate Chambord,” which is really the color of roasted eggplant – the bruised purples and browns are enhanced by little skips of the most wonderful pale lilac. I used only about 1/4 of the 1700 yard skein, making this a very economical project. Placing beads only at the edge of the sawtooth border (where I quickly realized they would not be sparkly enough to show up), I worked simple yarnover/k2tog lace every fifth row or so.

The long edge of the shawl, blocked out, is 50″, and each of the two short sides is 30,” making this a wonderful neck wrap or shoulder warmer.

It’s good to be home! It feels as if I’ve missed the last of spring, and now we are already in the throes of summer.

Getting Old Is Not For Sissies

I can say that because a) I just had another birthday and it made me wonder if it would be kosher to start subtracting rather than adding a year from this point forward, and b) tonight I’m on my way back to New York to spend another week helping out with my parents. New round-the-clock aides are in place and (we all pray) will work out, meaning they will be able to tolerate my dad’s, ahem, quirky personality. Friends tell me that they see an entirely new – and not usually good – side of their own parents when their infirmities necessitate the help of paid companions. And my dad was not terribly patient to begin with. So, we’ll see.

I’ve already been ordered to make a stop at the pharmacy to pick up a new prescription on my way to their house from the airport. And believe me, it was not a request. Aye-aye, Dad, SIR. Make that aye-aye-ai-ai-ai!

Here’s a bit of what I’m leaving behind for the week:

I’m taking my knitting, and this time am determined to make more progress!

Up In The Air

I’m no Ryan Bingham, and certainly no (spoiler alert!) cheatin’ Alex, but lately I’ve been up in the air way too often for my liking. Air travel takes on a whole new perspective when you’re doing it because you HAVE to instead of because you WANT to. While I’d do anything for my family, this back-and-forthing from California to New York is taking a toll. I just don’t bounce back the way I used to, and it takes a full week for me to get back to normal (well, as normal as I ever get!) from the jet-lag.

Dad is back home after two weeks in the hospital, precipitated by a fall that broke 4 ribs and also caused him to 1) suffer massive internal bleeding when one of those broken ribs pierced an artery, and as a result required 2) several blood transfusions, leaving him so compromised that he 3) developed a serious bacterial infection, and 4) had a heart attack, and then 5) developed a secondary bacterial infection. The man is 89. Evidently, he has nine lives and if it is left up to him, he will tell you that he still has a few to go before he’s done.

In order to make it feasible for him and my mom to return to their very old and creaky two-story house, several things had to happen. The most important of these was that we had to make it possible for them to live exclusively on the ground floor. And then, we had to make it easy for a very frail man (who gets around s-l-o-w-l-y with a walker) to get from the house out to the car for the doctors office visits that now comprise the bulk of his activity. Ramps were installed, furniture was moved, new showerheads and grab bars were installed. And none of this takes into account my mother, whose dementia is pretty bad at this point and who was being taken care of by my dad until all this happened. And let me tell you, it takes a village – but we got it all done. This is what we do for our family, right?

Meanwhile, while I was away, the garden continued to do what it always does at this time of year: it bloomed! One of the best things about coming home from these trips is that I am blown away by the changes in the garden. This means these tiny heirloom roses that were in bud before I left, and ju-u-ust beginning to adapt to their new life climbing the pergola column on the back patio, are now in full, glorious bloom:

The Satsuma plum tree is LOADED with green fruit that over the next several weeks will turn miraculously deep purple and sweet. These plums make the most divine jam, not to mention tarts and crisps. Mmmmmm!

When I left home, the last of the irises from spring were beginning to fade away. The asiatic lilies of summer had not yet begun to bloom, and yet, upon my return it was clear they had decided in my absence that it was time to get their show on the road:

The roses bloom all summer long, and last month they were particularly gorgeous. Still, these Eden double-flowering ones are among my favorites. They cover a back fence (smother is more like it) in a profusion of delicate pink set off by shiny dark green serrated leaves. Although they have only the most subtle fragrance and I usually like my roses stronger, these are so lovely that I gladly forgive them their lack of scent.

Another good thing about travel is that it often presents the opportunity to knit. Ordinarily, I can get quite a lot accomplished when I’m out on the road, but under the circumstances I was often so exhausted by evening that it was all I could do to work a few rows of my current travel project, the Emily Dickinson Shawl by Kieran Foley. Never one to leave well enough alone, I’ve made a couple of modifications to Kieran’s lovely design. As already mentioned, these were the result of having insufficiently sparkly beads coupled with the need to make that broad swath of stockinette a bit more interesting to work sans beads. Wish I had more progress to show, but I also worked on a couple of secret projects for which I was under deadline. And unbelievably, I met those deadlines. Don’t ask me how.

Close-up of my little yarnover modification:

The best part of being home, however, was definitely seeing these two smiling faces again:

The Sandwich Generation

That’s what they call those of us with both elderly parents and children of our own; from our caught-in-the-middle perspective, the Sandwich Generation can be a challenging place.

Silence on this end for way too long, due to a family emergency. One of my parents has been in the hospital for two full weeks with a variety of serious ailments that started with a bad fall. I won’t go into all the details, because that’s not what this blog is about.

I’ll simply say this to anyone reading this entry: if you have children or other loved ones, please plan for your old age. Have a back-up plan should your health begin to fail. Be honest enough with yourself to accept that your needs may change as you age, and that you may have limitations you never expected. If your greatest wish is to die at home, be sure you choose a home that is safe and appropriate for you to remain in until the end of your days. Then, if there is a medical crisis it won’t send your entire family into a tailspin trying to make decisions on your behalf and fix the mess you made.  And that’s all I’m going to say.

In a week or so, I hope to be back to regular posts.

All Keyed Up

Have you ever done something so completely hare-brained that after the fact you can’t quite believe you actually did it? I’m still shaking my head over what happened at my house last night.

My husband and I were all dressed up and ready to head into the city for an event that we were really excited about. As avid back-yard gardeners ourselves, we follow the news about sustainable agriculture and were ready to celebrate the achievements of the NRDC Growing Green award recipients.

EEEeeeerrrhhhhh…!!! (That’s the sound of brakes being slammed on, in case you couldn’t tell from my phoneticization) Not so fast.

Carrying a tiny evening purse with space for little more than my lipstick and Blackberry (Oh, OK, and a couple of tissues – never leave home without ’em), I’d mentioned in passing to my husband that I would not be bringing my keys with me. He was driving us into the city in his car, so he had to bring his set anyway.  He went out by the front door, and I went out by the back door so I could grab the recyclables on my way out. As I pulled the door shut behind me, I heard a faint voice call out something that sounded vaguely like, “Don’t lock the door…..!”

Too late.

As I rounded the corner of the house into the driveway, my husband appeared with a look of total panic on his face. “You’ve got your keys, right?”

Uh, no. Actually, I don’t. We already covered this, no?

Thinking his keys were in his coat pocket, my husband had pulled the front door shut behind him (it locks automatically). A quick search of his pockets for the key ring soon revealed his mistake. As the early evening air grew distinctly chillier, and ominous rain clouds piled up in the distance, and the sun began to set, we pondered our options. A quick call to a neighbor confirmed my suspicion that although we had talked about exchanging keys for just such an emergency, we had never, in fact, completed the thought into action. And the local police don’t make house calls unless there’s an actual problem; say, if somebody other than ourselves was trying to break into our house, for example. We then wasted a good ten minutes surveying the garden and arguing about where we should have hidden a key that would not be obvious to a would-be burglar.

All I can say is, thank god mobile phones still work when you are locked out of your own house and feeling like a complete ninny. I called a locksmith who promised to get to our house as quickly as the rush hour traffic would allow. Then we pulled two lawn chairs into the driveway where the last rays of sun were warmest, and sat down in our dress-up clothes to await his arrival. Tick-tick-tick. When I think about how much knitting I could have completed while we were sitting there, I could cry. But if my keys didn’t fit into that tiny little evening bag, not even my smallest one-skein shawl project would have made the cut.

The awards ceremony started at 6:30 and by the time we got the locksmith on the phone, it was nearly 6:00. At three in the morning, the drive from our home into the city takes about 20 minutes, but during rush hour it can take an hour. When the locksmith finally did appear, he came supplied with a sophisticated set of lock-picking tools. I was most impressed – haven’t seen such equipment since that movie The Italian Job with Charlize Theron and that cutie pie Marky-Mark (Oh, yeah, he’s plain old Mark Wahlberg now). Unfortunately, this locksmith was no Marky-Mark, in that our locks proved un-pick-able. Who knew? Meanwhile, time’s a-wasting.

His next suggestion was to drill out the lock, and by that point we were not standing on ceremony. He could have suggested dynamiting the door and I probably would have agreed. Did I mention that my sister is the event planner for NRDC, and that this was the first event in San Francisco we were able to attend in all the years she has been with that estimable organization? No? Well, maybe that helps to explain why we were so anxious to get going. No dynamite proved necessary, but Mr. Locksmith still had a heckuva time drilling out the lock on our door. These locks were reassuringly, impenetrably solid, except when we needed them to give way! Another fifteen minutes ticked by with excruciating slowness, magnified dramatically by the whine of the drill as it failed, repeatedly, to incapacitate the door lock.

Finally, at about a quarter to seven, we were in!! Once the locksmith was paid and on his way to the next bone-headed home-owner lock-out emergency, we high-tailed it into the city for what was left of the evening. Turns out we were not the only guests to appear fashionably late, and we actually made it in time for the awards ceremony. It was sad that we missed the cocktail meet-and-greet hour (I seem to appreciate awards ceremonies better – especially ones featuring a comedian, like this one – when I’ve had time for a glass or two of wine ahead of time), but we still got to visit with my sister and meet some of her colleagues. In the end, a good time was had by all. It’s just, well, our back door knob looks a little funny with a hole drilled through the middle of it. Good thing we’ve still got that dead-bolt above it.

And yes, just to be on the safe side (better late than never, I always say), I crammed my keys into that teeny purse of mine. Because, well, you never know.

Iris’t My Case

Two titles in a row that feature bad puns… oy. Just couldn’t resist.

Today’s garden extravaganza is the iris population that has overtaken the garden. While the roses are mustering their strength for the long haul of late spring/summer blooms, the irises stand proudly in full regalia right now.

Some of them smell like grape soda, some like violet candy, and some like cotton candy – they are really amazing.

It must be pretty obvious from these photos that I am most attracted to the frilly, giant irises.

The garden had a few forlorn clumps of irises when we first moved in, and over the years I have supplemented those with enthusiasm.

When we lived in Montclair, NJ, it was a family tradition to visit the beautiful Presby Memorial Iris Garden every spring. That is where I first realized the incredible variety of irises out there, and where the first hint of my current passion was born.

A decade later, I’ve learned (a bit too well) that the Schreiner’s Iris catalogue offers substantial volume discounts that are as irresistible as the colors and fragrances of the flowers themselves.

I’ve also learned that there’s no such thing as too many irises in one’s garden, and that it is always possible to find a spot for one or two more – similar to the way I seem to be able to make room for one more skein of gorgeous yarn even when a dispassionate observer of my stash would consider that impossible.

The Wall Of The Roses

Never one to resist the lure of a good pun (or are puns, by their very nature, bad?) I was stopped dead in my tracks on the way out to fetch the paper this morning by this:

A wall of roses just waiting for the morning sun to hit them so they could release their fragrance into the spring air. These are Eden roses, a most excellent climber once established (which is not to minimize the fact that the process of their establishment was fraught with uncertainty for the first couple of years. Every aphid within a 50-mile radius seemed to have special radar for these roses, and latched on with the intent of sucking them dry, and even a slight misting of rain would bring out mildew and rust on the leaves. Once they struggled up tall enough to benefit from regular sun on the leaves and buds, however, our worries were over.).

Does this make up for the fact that I have no knitting content to discuss today? I am working on another secret project in addition to the Emily Dickinson shawl, on which there has been no progress worth blogging about. Once these are complete, however, I will begin work on a new self-published design. Feedback on that, when the time comes, will be much appreciated!

Emily Dickinson

Have I mentioned that I started the Emily Dickinson shawl by Kieran Foley after I saw what an absolutely bang-up job Ann had done with it?

Here is my start – and the fabulous color of this Woolen Rabbit yarn in Chocolate Chambord laceweight is dead accurate in the photo, for once.

I completed the border and decided that the beads I had selected were not shiny enough to show up.  And if they aren’t even going to show up, why am I even going to go to all the effort of working them into the shawl? The remainder of the project will, therefore, be beadless, but I’m excited to wear it nonetheless. I suspect Emily would approve; she seems to have been as austere in her person as she was emotional in her verse.

Zucchini and String Beans and ‘Maters, Oh My!

Last weekend, we planted the vegetable garden. I had just about given up on it (was truly on the verge of suggesting that my husband might want to convert it into a sport court) because our neighbors’ trees have grown so tall in the last couple of years that much of the garden has been shaded out – obliterated, is more like it. Then, my observant husband pointed out that the next-door neighbor had removed several large, broken branches from the tree that is the worst culprit of all. Not because it had been shading my vegetable garden, mind you, but because those broken branches were dangling perilously over their driveway – directly overhead from where they park one of the family cars. Personally, I don’t care what their motive was for removing those branches – the sun is brilliant once again, and that has made all the difference!

My husband and I have our specific gardening chores all worked out after all these years. He digs the soil amendment (Bumper Crop mixed together with the compost we make ourselves) into the raised beds – and this is the really back-breaking part of the job, but it gives him a great excuse to play in the dirt (and it means he doesn’t have to listen to me whine about how sore my back is afterwards… it’s a win-win situation, really). Then we make a trip to the local nursery for seedlings. Then, I step in with my spade and after much consideration of sun patterns, aesthetics, ripening needs, etc., I plant everything. Job done.

We scaled way back this year, just in case. Only 6 kinds of tomatoes – two years ago, we peaked at 12 varieties and were still eating home-grown pasta sauce six months later. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

This year, we’re also trying something a little different. After learning the hard way that the side yard does not get enough sun to produce anything edible (kind of like trying to make a certain yarn work well with a stitch pattern that is simply incompatible with its texture), we had to give up on that particular little patch of earth. My husband is not thrilled about the idea of planting what he sweetly refers to as “crops” in the front garden, and I thought I’d never hear the end of it when I snuck some lettuce plants in among the lavender one year. BUT – there are several gigantic clay pots on our back terrace, and I don’t know about you but I get a little bored with planting flowers in them year after year. It’s a nice sunny spot, too, and it suddenly occurred to me that we could plant some of the vegetables in those pots.

After filling the vegetable beds with tomatoes, string beans, zucchini, and cucumbers, and leaving plenty of room for basil and other herbs, those patio pots began to seem like a better and better idea for the overflow. So, very soon they will be home to two different kinds of eggplant, and two different kinds of peppers. Both are attractive, flowering, and edible. So much more interesting than the usual flowers, don’t you think?

Passiflora Errata

It has come to my attention that there is a problem with the lace charts in my Passiflora pattern, and I wanted to let knitters know how much I appreciate the feedback.

Something got lost in translation between submission of the pattern and its publication, and instead of stacking the yarn-overs and the ssk/k2tog repeats one above the other throughout the lace charts, the published versions show these stitches offset by one stitch place. What a perfect example of how one tiny error, repeated over the expanse of any lace pattern, will result in a complete inability to reproduce the lace correctly.  A few clever (and fearless and perhaps more experienced) knitters have been willing to experiment and discover the correct stitch placement on their own. As a proponent of trial and error myself, I am in awe of these intrepid individuals since my own efforts don’t always produce the desired results.

Please rest assured that the fine people at Twist are all over it, and that the pattern updates with corrections will be published shortly. Your patience is much appreciated, as well as all the kind feedback about my debut pattern. My post with further details about it appeared on the Twist blog here, for those who crave more information about my inspirations and intentions for Passiflora.

For those wishing to substitute yarn for the tunic, I was pleased with the performance of Sundara’s Aran Silky Merino. I used it to swatch the lace motifs, and found that it had both the soft drape and the lovely sheen to bring the lace motifs into beautiful relief. Another good option would be Sublime’s Bamboo and Pearls DK. Again, it has both the drape and the sheen to pull those lace motifs into sharp focus, but will require careful blocking to prevent it from growing too much.

Many thanks to Twist for publishing this pattern, and to Caro Benna Sheridan for her lovely photographs. Her work highlights all the best features of my design.