At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic it helped to be actually doing something rather than just waiting for the world to expire. The immediate shut down of the country and the curtailment of life as we knew it was a shock and amidst feeling scared and nervous creating things became urgent and necessary. I churned out one craft project after another. I finished knits, made new ones, crocheted, cut and stitched fabrics, made presents and created things to use myself right then. I indulged in my love of making things but it was also a lot about tidying up in the home, validating items, it even crossed my mind about what loved ones might have to sort out if I didn’t make it through Covid 19. I wanted to enjoy what I had whilst I was able to. I wanted others not to have to sort through half done projects and wonder what on earth I had ever planned with the bags and boxes of (in their eyes) ‘stuff’. I am not sure I even voiced this, except to myself. Days merged into one another.
As the weeks have gone by my craft progress has declined. Not gone away totally, just slowed. Making things seems less pressing. I was talking (online) to some crafting friends and most of us agreed we are all in less of a crafting frenzy. For some, trying to get back to anything resembling ‘normality’ is now more urgent. We have mostly settled into some kind of rhythm. We are all still creating – even if something is in a planning stage rather than physical. In my own house I look around the areas where I usually craft and there again are the carefree signs, half used balls of yarn, snippets of fabric, piles of things not being used and not put back in any order (yet).
One little project just finished. A baby blanket for perhaps a crib or travel seat. This became my knit to hand when I watched tv. I am still working on last week’s crochet top which is being redesigned as it progresses. More next time about that.
Please know, I am not undermining the care we all have to continue with in our daily lives, be it in the home or outside, be it no change at all for now. Stay safe.
I am still using goodies I have at home to make useful (and not so useful but fun) things whilst in lockdown.
I was making a knitted mermaid for a little girl in my extended family but it beat me! The original tail and the reknit of the tail were a disaster. I now have something resembling the beginnings of a 1960’s toilet roll cover (think of a dolly with a skirt, this could be the ‘dolly’ as you don’t need to see legs or tail!).
With the little girl’s birthday now looming, emergency hooking took place. I knocked up a retro crochet cushion in 2 days. Then I made a round fabric cushion pad, crocheted some flowers, appliqued the first letter of her name on a bag and ‘hey presto’ – a pretty gift without leaving the house. Though now I do have to leave the house to go and post it!
This week I’ve also made several face masks. Mine are the pretty ones, the men in my house requested ‘plain’. Should we all be called to wear them whilst out in public we are prepared.
My last blog post mentioned a baby hoodie on the knitting needles. I am three quarters the way along. I shall return to that tonight once I’ve had a break.
So I’ll be off for now. Things to do. More stash to attack after a P O trip and a sit in the sunshine. Byee!
I should have been having surgery today. It was postponed in this current crisis. I totally understand why it’s not going ahead. I am glad not to have to risk being in a hospital perhaps rife with coronavirus and staff over stretched. I am glad not to have to face recovery without visitors coming in to cheer me up. I am glad I don’t have some life threatening condition that has to be ignored.
However, I am also a little sad. I am sad that this week isn’t happening the way I’d planned. I am sad that the recuperation at home with my husband to hand isn’t going to happen, although my husband is actually at home and working. I am sad that the mid term future might mean a holiday cancelled, surgery rebooked, help at hand different than expected. I am sad that my life will not change for several months, my condition won’t be fixed for a while.
I needed to say all this but I am fine. As the day progresses I shall craft a little, spend time with family, thank my lucky stars we are all safe. These few weeks have made me value some things a lot more.
It is perfectly acceptable to admit if you aren’t happy about everything. I am a woman, with many female friends, locked down in a house with a husband and grown up son. I know I, and friends too, use each other for sounding boards, to as I like to say ‘put the world to rights’. We are all in acceptance of what is going on right now and look forward to life after Corona and what it brings us, even if life is a little different from before.
So hopefully over the next few days they’ll be more posts with photos of knits and sewing projects, just maybe not today. Today there’s just a selection of needles ready to be donated to a second hand shop. One tiny part of my sorting out my craft stash!
None of us could have imagined being told, as a nation, to stay home, to stay put, to remain at a social distance, to not see our friends and families. If you think back to January, the promises of a new year, can you remember what you hoped 2020 would bring? For me it certainly wasn’t curtailment. I live with family so I have company. Some of my friends and relatives live alone and they are already feeling low without company, despite social media, despite the telephone calls, despite interaction from a distance.
Today some members of my weekly craft group took part in an online video meeting. It perked many of us up and the opportunity to say hello and to do ‘show and tell’ of latest makes made it feel a little like a ‘normal’ Thursday morning get-together over coffee.
I recently read an article from someone who’d been in lockdown elsewhere for a few weeks. He explained how for the first 2 weeks the situation was choppy to deal with, he couldn’t really settle at much, watched way too many news reports, worried an awful lot. Then he said week 3 kicked in and he began to enjoy being slowed down, became more proactive and productive, albeit inside his home, he even thought positively about days and weeks ahead.
I think in a way, I am entering my ‘week 3 zone’, if I include the week before lockdown in the UK when I was at home supporting my husband getting over an operation. I really thought I’d relax more, sit around sewing or knitting whilst he slept or rested. However, I couldn’t settle to much and crafting took a bit of a back bench, just a few knit rows here and there.
So my ‘week 3’ – there’s progress on the mermaid and the blanket. I am jumping between projects because I need good daylight for the mermaid and have to count more, whereas the blanket needs less concentration and has become my go-to for tv time.
I have even sewn a very little – part of an ongoing hexi patchwork project – a very little, mind you! Sometimes I wish the sofa throw I am working on had remained just a cushion project…
So there’s my show and tell. Where’s yours?
Returning from a New Year break in rural France I feel fired up to get on with new projects, tidy up old ones and reflect back on the successes and failures, craftwise, of 2019. A few days in the countryside with added trips to the coast has fed my imagination!
I am still on a journey to use up my stash of wool. I cast on my latest project 24th December, just after I’d finished my final Christmas gifts. Using Nepal and Alaska by DROPS Design and who doesn’t love a stripe or two?!
I was quite prolific last year, although there were gaps in creativity and not everything was a triumph. Luckily I blogged quite bit so there are truths to be told here and I realise some things didn’t even make it the page. I also learned a few things, one of which was a new crochet stitch. I have now made four things with hooks rather than knitting sticks, adding a different dimension to my crafting bow.
A mini summary of 2019 makes is:
Helping a friend with a baby knit project, knitting hats for the homeless, four baby/toddler cardigans, one set of booties, one scarf, one dreadful lacy top, handsewing a big handful of patchwork hexagons, machine sewing other patchwork (part of a throw and three elephants), bunting and Christmas decorations, two hats for a 3 year old, a baby tunic dress in clashing colours, and two crochet blankets (one a gift for MIL, brownie points here!) , and adding a big applique ‘M’ to a little girls’ book bag.
So onwards into 2020 what plans are afoot for all? Crafting – I intend to learn at least one new thing, not sure what it is yet!
I’d like to think there’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My ‘gold’ or my ‘reward’ is that I now have more time to work on other WIPs. Fellow crafters with mountains (or hillocks at least) of projects on the go may understand just that.
It took a few weeks but at last my mega kingsize crochet blanket is finished. The first photo was taken one morning, sun streaming in, the second one is not the best I admit, but this was taken in the twilight of the same evening and my cats had already dived onto the bed and ruffled it up. Now here’s a question – how do you stop cats padding and pulling on a woollen blanket??? This is not to be a precious blanket, after all it was a project to use up lots of my stash and is to be used, but it might be nice if it wasn’t snagged too much too quickly.
Due to other commitments and a winter cold too, I’ve not been here for a little while. I have had a few trips out enjoying others’ crafts, amongst which was one lovely little Quilting Show in Detling, Kent. There were a smattering of stalls and fabric jumped into my basket (more about that another day, one of my own quilt projects is already nine years in the making ..) but the exhibition showed some amazing skill. If I could have bottled a lot of it I would have, but here is just a little to share.
The Scandi Star was just amazing, enhanced by the simplicity of fabric colour, and the quilting was spectacular,
The more colourful quilts or panels hung as quilts were amazing. The creator made them as memories of places she’d been. You might recognise somewhere yourself, just like I did! My favourite over all was ‘Portugal’ – the tins of sardines! And I hate myself for not taking more details of the person who made these – I cannot scan in nearer and read her name, I obviously was just blinded by her style, I stood admiring for ages before the friend I was with dragged me off to see more. One day, I could be as talented as this (she says, maybe never).
Off to sew now for a little bit. I hope somewhere out there there are other crafters stitching or playing with knitting sticks or crochet hooks or felting needles or glueing with guns or pegging with nails (and so on and so forth) and they share their creations with us.
The rainbow crochet blanket in my last post has been on temporary hold but it still takes pride of place in my cosy crafting nook and has a ‘turn’ once a day, albeit only a row (all 250 loops). I am determined it won’t be long before it’s finished.
Instead of my usual admission (or despair) that a new project ‘accidently’ jumped into my hands (it’s the lure of new yarn or the rediscovery of yarn or fabric in my stash that tempts me…), I am surprisingly pleased more than one did and I have finished these new projects quickly. So quickly I am having a little show and tell here.
With the festive season on it’s way I crocheted a Christmas lap blanket for the MIL. I haven’t crocheted much before but after a couple of wobbles I had the pace of shell stitch in the bag. Using James C Brett Marble Chunky yarn made it fast hooking and it self patterns no changes of colour nor ends to sew in (unlike the rainbow blanket, there are lots!).
Then onto a little playing with fabric.
Ready for part of a charity Christmas tree decoration project I sewed some mini bunting and pumpkin pincushions.
In the run up to Christmas our local churches will have decorated trees donated by local businesses and groups and anyone can go along and admire them (hopefully they will anyway). My Thursday morning crafting group (we all take various ‘talents’ to the table) will be decorating a non traditional tree in an alternative crafting style – not necessarily with a Christmas theme as you might be able to tell. I loved making these and an added bonus was that the fabric came from my stash and one of my promises to myself for 2018 was to reduce the stash it helped a little (a very little but still a little!)
So, that’s been my mischief for a couple of weeks. What’s been yours?
Another hectic weekend just done and dusted. There were several hours of gardening and today I ache practically all over! We visited the mother in law too which is exhausting in other ways but I still managed to get a bit of knitting done. A few rows on a car journey and a big stretch one evening. There would be more but it’ been ripped back twice after discovering extra yarn overs in places there shouldn’t have been.
Knitting is my reward – this time making the weekend better after having to do chores. There has been a lot written about the therapy of knitting. Your brain is made to work in different ways, one way to work out a pattern, another to count, it is tactile, physically feeling the yarn feeding through your fingers, hopefully enjoying seeing the colour and shape of what you are uniquely making, to calm you without distraction, to switch off from the thrusts of today’s modern living. All these have been described as being ‘mindful’ or ways of ‘mindfulness’. I subscribe to all these and add ‘to teach you patience’. You sure have to be patient when ripping and reknitting!
I often throw down WIPs in frustration if they go wrong. I have been known to hide them from myself for days, years even. Today I shall revisit at least one and see if I can make progress on it. I will be working two projects together, not giving up on one nor the other.
What’s been the progress in your world, crafty or otherwise?
Oh despair! I recently started another new project – yes, I know I told myself and everyone here that I would not start something new until I had more finished projects .. there was a good reason for this one though and I used yarn from my stash which justified it.
I had a five hour car journey ahead of me. I thought I’d stretch myself, try something a little different. ‘What could go wrong?’ Ha! Lots it turns out!
My latest WIP had got to the stage of sewing up. Who can sew up knitting in a car? If there is anyone who can, please give me hints on how to keep pieces straight on my lap and not lose marker pins and sewing needles in the footwell – I am all ears. Note, I’d be the passenger not the driver, of course! I chose a new project over the sewing up this time.
I hadn’t made anything lacy in a very long time and realised early on it’s probably because I prefer simple knits. I am using a vintage pattern but am not using vintage cotton and I am adjusting size and shaping. The gauge is slightly off (it grows in length but the width seems ok). I am making it longer than the pattern says so I did two borders rather than one. I went wrong a lot, ripped it back, reknit it. I did not mark off some rows as I knitted, I counted wrong. You name it, I did it! The yellow lines are lifelines, thank goodness I knew about those and had spare yarn with me (of course, I never travel with the bare minimum, not only in my craft bag).
I am now onto the armhole shaping. I am a triangle, a lot less wide at the shoulder than Mrs Average (who is Mrs Average, by the way?). Therefore narrowing the shoulder line involves more counting. Whilst the main body lace is easier than the border, knitting when weary means another lifeline after going wrong again, missing out a row, losing a stitch several rows back (how did I not notice? possibly a missed YO somewhere). I think this may be one of those projects that will take a long time.
Note to self, future car journeys, knit small and easy! Our final destination was to our house in France. We had a glorious weekend of sunshine and R&R, despite the knitting calamity on the way.
Since then, we had a wedding to go to back here in the UK. These fairy lights are just a snippet of the day I wanted to share here. Fantastic day, lovely party, love a wedding!