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 not ignoring what is going on, just trying to think about something else and not drive myself to an early grave through worry. In the current climate we are all very concerned about what the future holds, what is going on where we live, in our town, in our own country, where our loved ones are. We watch the news and we read online about the scale of Covid-19 and wonder what the future holds. We want to feel safe, we want others to be safe too.
There are positives to being told to stay home and for that I am thankful. Many of us are spending more quality time family time together, mine included. Although my husband was at home anyway recuperating from a planned operation my son is now at home too and we have had longer, chattier meal times, remembered past fun times, made new memories and as well have had serious mature discussions.
We’ve also had more free time, for me that usually means crafting and I consider myself very lucky. I have, of course, knitting and sewing projects already in progress. I am still enjoying them, mostly. My chevron blanket, above, is already past it’s longest row (thank goodness, that middle section grew so slowly). But, being online more in general leads me to meander to craft sites (think Ravelry.com, Pinterest, etc) and to discover more things I want/need to make! I know I am not alone with this. My usual weekly craft group is now only socially online and we are all sharing the inspirations we find and doing ‘show and tell’ on our social media platforms too.
And then there’s the Crochet-Along I just heard about, starts next month … that could be a self-challenge as I am a very basic crocheter but given that there may be more time available maybe I should make myself learn something new? ..
And then there’s a new baby due in the family in two months, I haven’t finished the quilted baby gift yet. Top is pieced but that’s about all so far …
And then there’s another family baby due in the summer. I just saw the cutest pattern to knit a newborn hoodie and I know I have enough yarn in my stash … and another blanket pattern just took my eye …
What’s everyone else making during these troubled times to take their mind temporarily off what’s going on out there?
Many people struggle in the winter. The sun doesn’t show it’s face much some days. The grey skies, the drizzle, the chills, it can all be quite depressing.
Whilst I wait for the days to get a little longer and the weather (hopefully) to be a little more uplifting I try to make the most or the ‘best’ of things. It doesn’t always mean I am bouncing along like a new puppy and there are things that don’t get done and some things aren’t enjoyed, but overall life is good.
A visit with friends, a phone call, reading a good book, doing some crafting, enjoying a film, the theatre, there are lots of things to make me smile.
So, a grey visit to Camden Lock in London. It was grey, there was drizzle, but company was fun and the street food tasty!
Attacking my yarn stash – if you follow my posts you might recognise some of this yarn as this blanket grows. It’s an interesting construction as you begin in one corner and zigzag to the opposite corner.
Also, I have just finished a good book – The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock by Jane Riley. Have you ever thought about the person who runs a funeral parlour? This is about a man who has inherited the family business, he has a good few OCD quirks, the business is a little jaded, he’s a little jaded, this is his journey towards a happy future.
What’s everyone else doing to keep the sunshine in life when there isn’t much actual sunshine in the sky?
Am currently on hols – still crocheting but yarn is competing with paper.
I just finished a great novel – The Bed I Made by Lucie Whitehouse. It’s a psychological thriller. Fun part/topical line – ‘my Isle of Wight has been the one running 20 years behind the rest of southern England’. ‘… even a wool shop which I was sure had been there when I was a child’.
Then there’s a local guide book I brought with me. Plus a town guide in French – that really tested my brain today – so much I couldn’t understand!
Bye for now.
I recently began a crochet project and I am loving it. Every day I am finding time to do a few rows. Every day I love deciding which colour to crochet next. Every day I tell myself it is using up excess piles of yarn and I can look forward to searching out new ones to purchase and new projects to plan. My name is Tina and I am a yarnaholic !
My usual ‘thing’ is knitting and I dabble with sewing too. It’s so refreshing to be making something right now and enjoying every minute of it. There have been a few moments in the last few months when I haven’t had as much joy from crafting as I should have had. This week, this moment, this summer I am have a ‘Marie Kondo’ moment, yarnwise. I am sorting my yarn stash – deciding whether it ‘brings me joy’ or if I am ready to ‘let go’ and gift it to someone else (occasionally it goes back into the stash for another project, that’s allowed). I haven’t Marie Kondo’d any other areas of my life – but I almost feel I have joined the MK movement!
Who else is loving their crafting right now?
Or how long is ‘to the desired length’. I am talking knitting terms here. I am deliberating with myself. I am currently knitting a pattern called Spring Roll, by Annie Baker. The pattern recommends knitting with a particular cotton double knit yarn. Instead, I used yarn from my stash, a gorgeous Louisa Harding, Orielle which is mostly alpaca and knits more like a sport weight even on 4mm needles. Hopefully knitters reading this will understand the jargon. If not, you may learn something or move onto another blog post by someone else!
So it needs to drape artistically (!). Currently it’s 113cm at it’s longest point. If I’d gone with the suggested yarn I’d have needed 600m. I have about 550m. I am deciding whether to just keep going or whether I just won’t like it if it’s too short. Kind of playing yarn chicken, or just chicken. Do I continue or will it just not cut the mustard if it’s too short to be effective?
My last blog post was about progress and deciding to tackle another WIP. I put aside a pale green scarf and picked up a half-done cotton summer top.
So, I ripped back, knit, undid a few rows, found a fault, knitted again, found a dropped stitch, couldn’t pick it up, ripped back, continued (you get the idea!). Then yesterday I finally started sewing up and I am now on the home stretch. I am feeling rather proud this WIP has finally progressed but am frustrated this fairly easy knit nearly beat me, probably as I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, changed stitch count and sizing along the way.
Over the last couple of weeks I also thought about my fabric WIPs, none of which are top of the pile to revisit. Mine will be nothing as gorgeous of these, but wanted to share here to help inspire others. This first one is hanging in our local library. It is a work by Orpington Quilters Group. Beautiful, isn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t hung well, I couldn’t get a better photo of the whole quilt.
This fantastic one was made by a friend at my knitting group. It is her very first foray into quilting, techniques learnt at a Beginner’s quilting group. Despite (again) my photography skills I hope you think it’s fantastic too. Anne, beginner quilter extraordinaire you have definitely inspired me to do better and in particular try the quilt as you go method. I was wondering how I was ever going to tackle the length and breadth of one of my half done quilts!
It’s been a busy few days, woolly-wise. One baby jacket finished (loved doing the fluted bands!). A pair of booties have hopped off the needles too. The new baby in the family arrived yesterday and the gifts are ready – she was little so she might even fit into the prem baby cardigan and hat I made in a hurry just before Christmas when we were warned she might have been on her way.
So today it’s back to my other WIPs. The weather has turned bitterly cold so I have a great excuse to sit in the warm with pins and yarn and not venture outside too often. I am feeling proud to have finished something speedily (not the usual for me!) and I wish fellow crafters equal success with their current projects.
I realised when revisiting the list of things I intended to do last year that I’ve achieved many parts of that list. What I called my ‘Enthusiasms’, aka as ‘Resolutions’ did not fail for once.
I reached my diet goal and along the way my focus changed to become healthier and happier rather than just a little slimmer.
I intended to sort out my craft stuff. This year I used up my stash when I could. Just a few samples – I knitted a bunch of hats for charity.
Quilt pieces and bunting evolved from my fabric pile, some of which I’d saved since 1994, I even made a sample dress from a duvet cover found in a charity shop (a challenge from friends, see below!).
I have many knitting and sewing WIPs. One HUGE intention was to finish many of them in 2018 – or rip them back to reknit something else. I did some of this! I hated two cardigans I eventually finished – both wrong shapes for me so I gifted them and they were gratefully received. I ripped back three unfinished knits. One turned into hats. The others await 2019. For Christmas I received a book about how to knit to flatter – I think this may get good use this year!!! I don’t usually make toys but have a bunny fabric pattern – that’s one intention for 2019. Another is to finish at least one quilt (there are two part done!).
I didn’t exactly sort out my job/career. I haven’t leapt into anything in a blind panic. I have put my family and my health first this year. I didn’t juggle all the balls of life and succeed with none. No regrets.
I was supposed to make a bucket list of things to do compelled by a particular date was slightly superceded by two friends giving me a list of things to do over the next year to celebrate my birthday. Most were fun, some were treats, some slightly scary. Challenged to wear something from a charity shop (I do that all the time, my ‘take’ on it was to buy a second hand duvet cover then make it into a dress!)
The last on last year’s list was to become more involved in day to day household accounting/finance. This was a serious plan for 2018 and is ongoing. I muddle along yet our household finances are still primarily organised by my husband. I wanted to take some pressure off him but we agree he is just better at it. As long as there is ‘change’ after the bills are paid and I can add to my craft supplies I’m happy. I am hoping if he reads this he agrees – happy wife/happy life!
Adjective: Tranquil – free from disturbance, calm
My tranquil place last weekend, Houlgate beach, Normandy, France.
There was the odd other person there but mostly just seabirds strutting their stuff.
It was a bit chilly to knit at the beach (well, it is November!), so back to the house for some more calm, a hot chocolate, yarn and sticks. The basket of grey from last week is growing slowly into a chunky shrug. Progress so far.
I feel so lucky to get to France as often as I do. Home away from home. Jusqu’à la prochaine fois (until the next time) …