Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Same Song, Second Verse - Our Anniversary Post

Annake blogging
Annake, at work on this blog
 Some time in late January 2013, about a month after our Etsy shop went online, J.D. announced, “You're going to become a blogger.”

“What's a blogger?” I asked innocently.

“Someone who writes a regular blog and posts it online,” J.D. replied.

Beginning to feel a prickle of apprehension, I asked, “What's a blog?” At that time I had never even read a blog. J.D. explained the basics. “How am I supposed to do that?” I cried. (You should know that J.D. is rather fond of throwing me into the deep end of things and expecting me to “swim”.)

“Easy,” he said. “Just think of something you're interested in and write a short article, like the ones you've been writing for your students and for other teachers all these years. I'll illustrate the articles with photographs if you give me something to work with.”

Although uneasy about the whole process, I did “swim”. On February 12, 2013, we posted the first of 24 Cuttings from Annake's Garden. I have enjoyed writing the blog and making the projects to illustrate the articles more than I could ever have imagined. (J.D. is probably not as thrilled, especially when I trot down to his workshop with an armful of projects and tell him, “Take lots of photos so we can pick the best ones.” Or when I ask, “Can you have this ready to post by tomorrow midnight?” Too bad. He started it, after all.)

spring thaw needlepoint wall hanging
"Spring Thaw"  needlepoint wall hanging
In reviewing the year's articles, I found that I had shown a lot of works-in-progress and talked about others that weren't shown. I decided that a good way to mark this first anniversary (and prove to you readers that I do finish what I start eventually), would be to show some of those projects in their completed state. For example, the second article (February 28, 2013) featured a long wall hanging on quickpoint canvas. The inspiration for this was a small (about 1 ½ inch by 3 ½ inches) picture that I cut out of a magazine ages ago. I started by taping several pieces of graph paper together and trimming them to the same relative proportions as the picture. I cut the canvas so that it had as many squares of mesh as the paper had quarter-inch squares. Then I sketched the features from the picture that I most wanted to show on graph paper in colored markers. I chose acrylic yarns which closely matched the marker colors and began at the bottom of the canvas, making one stitch for each square of the graph. The piece was rather unwieldy, so I devised a way to secure the canvas on a rolling cart so I could work on one section of canvas at a time, rolling up the completed canvas to keep it clean. That device, more than the hanging itself, was what I wanted to feature in the article. Here's a picture of the finished work, backed by felt and hung from a dowel. I call it Spring Thaw.

Most of my subjects are taken from Nature: animals, plants, landscapes, seascapes and skyscapes. But when I prepared to do an article about latch-hook (June 16, 2013), I wanted to do something different. Discovering that there were more packs of greens and pinks in my stock of rug yarn than there were of any other colors, I decided to use them in a geometric design. The chosen design creates a kind of optical illusion. Out came the graph paper again, to make a diagram of several repeats of the motif so that they flowed diagonally across the paper as they would in the rug itself. The resulting graph served as my pattern when I began making knots on the canvas. Above is a picture of the finished rug, entitled "Diamonds in Pink and Green".

new puppets lion raccoon owl
Some new puppets: Lion, Raccoon, and Owl
 Thanks to a LittlePink Pig (April 17, 2013) told the story of how I got involved in designing and making felt hand puppets for children. When people come up to me at shows to say they enjoy the blog, that's one item that's frequently mentioned. The puppets are such fun for me at Christmas. At the last show of the year, a grandmother gasped with delight when she saw the raccoon puppet. Her grandchild had asked for some kind of raccoon toy for Christmas. The whole family had been searching for nearly three weeks for any kind of raccoon, without results, and had nearly given up hope. How satisfying it was to be able to fulfill that little girl's wish. I also got a good laugh from another grandmother who described to me the ways she and her husband had played with the puppets they bought before they wrapped them for their grandsons. I thought you might like to see some of the puppets I've designed and made lately. So here are Raccoon, Owl, and Lion.

raspberry ripple crocheted afghan
Raspberry Ripple crocheted afghan, in our Etsy store
On June 2nd, we showed a ripple afghan that I had just started. The topic of the article was to promote using leftover materials to make useful items, rather than discarding them or leaving them to accumulate in storage. As carefully as I could, I divided each color of yarn in half before I began crocheting. When I reached the midpoint of the afghan, I reversed the order of the colors. I used up most of the yarn, except for short lengths. In one case, I had less than a foot of the color left when I completed the afghan. You can see the finished project in the photo on the right.

You have probably noticed that we have changed the background of the blog. Expect to see several new pictures from the garden as backgrounds at different times throughout the year. Coming soon, there will be additional changes to the mechanics of the blog to make it easier to navigate. And, of course, lots of new projects. For a glimpse of “coming attractions”, we've placed pictures of some future projects across the bottom of this page. From left to right, they are: a blackwork picture on monk's cloth, a 4-way bargello on a background of tent stitch, and a sample of Swedish weaving on huck. The items shown in the article are either already on our Etsy shop site, or will be there in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by,


coming attractions collage
Coming Attractions!

 Creative Commons LicenseThis post by Annake's Garden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. I've had emails from a couple of people saying that their comments haven't showed on the posts. We are not moderating comments at all, so if yours doesn't show up immediately, use our "Contact Us" form to 1) let me know and 2) pass your comment along so I can add it by hand.

    Apologies for the problems -- JD is working on it -- and we really do want your feedback.

    Thanks, all.

  2. This is a great idea. I am going to try it on my blog this month. I think a recap of a year's worth of blog projects is a great way to remind your reader's of what was covered and they may go back to re-read or check it out for the first time.

    1. I'm glad you liked it; thanks for stopping by.


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