Thursday, August 12, 2021

Vibrant Celebration

As summer begins its gradual fade toward softer autumn days, I look back at the vibrant splashes of color that have punctuated this season of my life. My days have been filled with working remotely as a professional writing consultant for a community college, which I love tremendously. In the deepest part of our isolation due to the Covid pandemic I never felt alone. Though that took place last winter, it bears mentioning because it's an integral component to my color explosive summer. 

My workdays consist of hour-long writing consultations with students in which we are "live". The faces and voices of students fill my days with purpose, satisfaction, and comfort. The tongues of many nations often surround me as I work with students from all over the world. A bittersweet feeling always sweeps over me at the end of each semester. I must say goodbye to some I have worked with who are moving on, but I celebrate their academic achievements and am thankful to have been a small part of their journey. 
As the fall semester begins next week, I will remain in the online environment. While tidying my workspace and mentally preparing for a new semester, it occurred to me that my home is overflowing with joyful color. I attribute this to God's faithfulness in an unprecedented time; a time when the world turned upside down, yet I faired well. It has dawned on me that the profusion of color is my celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. Given the work that I do, I have been allowed a unique glimpse at just how strong we are individually and collectively. My soul overflowed and burst into colorful testaments throughout my house that will forever be a reminder to me that we are survivors. 
My kitchen drawer soon began to burst once I discovered this pattern for the Farmhouse Dishtowel and Farmhouse Dishcloth. It is addictive to crochet because the pattern is easily memorized with a simple two-row repeat. I found it self-soothing, and loved the customizable aspect of the pattern as I recently purchased a new double oven. For those of you who have one, you know that a standard length towel hangs down over the handle of the lower oven. You can crochet these with any worsted cotton and hooks you prefer. I used Knit Picks Dishie and Tulip Etimo Rose Crochet Hooks. The Dishie yarn holds up longer than other brands of worsted cotton and these hooks are worth the investment for those who have issues with hand or wrist pain.
There have been serene moments of colorwork on the porch swing, as I soaked up the freshness and promise that green life fortifies the spirit with. This cheery Giant Granny Square blanket is a free pattern that Sandra from Cherry Heart has offered for ages. The photo at the top is Sandra's Painted Roses Blanket in the vintage colors option. After longing to indulge in the crocheted splendor of both of these patterns for some time, I decided this was the right season of my life. The same soft Stylecraft Special DK yarn is used in both blankets. Typically having a preference for natural fibers and an aversion to acrylic yarn, I must admit that I love this yarn. I messaged back-and-forth with Sandra for reassurance on this fiber. Now that it is settling itself into my house, I believe it's here to stay. The overgrown granny square is nearly finished, but the blocks for the painted roses will be a work in progress for the unforeseeable future. 
I kicked the season off early with a smattering of embroidery. The floral piece in the round frame is a kit I purchased from the Crewel Ghoul. You can find the frame at Modern Hoopla.
The pieces above and below are both kits purchased from Nicki Franklin at the Stitchery Studio Shop.
When you look at her website you'll notice I added extra floss here and there to both of my pieces. That's not because the kit doesn't supply enough, it's because I have hoards of embroidery floss and don't know when to stop. The lovely wreath with the nest and blackbird is the Seasons Spring Wreath kit. I decided the overall roundness of the work would be enhanced by a square frame. I found this one at our local shop The Quilt Corner. It's safe to say I enjoyed stitching this more than any embroidery piece I have ever done in my life. 
Since pink trees have always made me stop and gasp for breath out of sheer delight that God would create such a wondrous thing, I knew I had to stitch this one! The lighting in the embroidery photos does not do the pieces justice, but they really are lovely sprinkled throughout my home. This sweet little tree is the Mini Embroidery Kit - Spring Blossom Tree. The darling frame and stand came as a set. As mentioned before, I went crazy with an abundance of French knots. I do love it though! 
My life is lived in and shaped by words, so many words. The words of others; written words and spoken words. It is also formed by my own words as I offer guidance, share stories, write essays for classes in which I am the academic student, and write poetry in which I am the continual student of life. In between it all, my days are filled with moments snatched at random and filled with a celebration of color because, above all else, the spirit within must always give thanks.

"Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works."
Virginia Woolf