An Undiscovered Sea Garden on the Back Deck

“Sometimes life is not going how we wish, isn’t it? But we are lucky to have crochet to help us cope with difficult times.” This is what Tatsiana Kupryianchyk of Lillabjörn Crochet wrote on her Facebook blog introducing her “Sea Garden Mandala” a month ago. As soon as it was published, I had to crochet it. The Sea Garden Mandala combines two much-loved crochet techniques: overlay and brioche, which I have grown very fond of (all Tatsiana’s “fault,” really! Remember the Stella Mandala, just to mention one?) Tatsiana has a friendly introduction section to overlay crochet on her blog. Depending on the yarn weight chosen and how many rounds you decide to work, it can be a “one size fits all” wonder (think hanging mandala, as I did, or doily or a cushion or part of a blanket (adding to my work-on-that wishlist). The texture is very pleasing, and it can be worked in an infinite amount of complimentary color combinations or even in monochrome to make it even more unique.

I had remnants of skeins here and there waiting to be used, and this mandala design presented the perfect opportunity to utilize them. I am sure many of you may have this bin or that box or that basket filled with such orphan skeins, leftovers of previous projects, or the oh-I-have-to-have-this-color! skein. As I crocheted along, the sense of amazement kept growing with every round. The design may look overwhelming, yet it is anything but (it does require focus, however). Irresistible, truly. You will find yourselves mumbling, “Just another round, and that is it for today,” but you may be unable to stick to that. Instead, you will be thinking about how to incorporate this design into your own home and in what way. For me, it was a simple desire: adding to the mandala wall on the back deck. I am tempted to work this design into a blanket or a series of different-sized cushions or pillows. One can never have enough of those; the cat, for one, would agree. Put this design on your to-do list!

The title of this design reminded me of a poem with the same title I read a few years back by Rosamond S. King, African American poet, author, and professor in the English department at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She describes herself as “drawing on reality to create non-literal interpretations of contemporary and historical experiences of African and Caribbean people […] the goal is to make people feel, wonder, and think, in that order.”

Sea Garden

Dead man’s fingers—
short and still
or waving spindles
brain coral,
mountain coral
ground small—they
would be pebbles
if they weren’t shards
hiding places
for trumpet
fish and crabs
live and dead coral
What is sand made of?
Who is to know
which is coral
and which
is bone
From the surface you
can see dark
patches where sea grass
and spirit hair grow

Rosamond S. King

Poet, Author, English Professor

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