Friday, 4 January 2019

The Year That Was........


Dear Vanessa,

Goodness, that year went so fast. It seems that with every year that passes and one grows older (and hopefully wiser), the years just go by at a quicker rate. I'm sure soon it will feel like each year is only a month long.

Well, as I touched on in my November post, 2018 saw a creative year for you. Whilst 2017 felt really rather non-existant in creative terms, it seemed that as soon as the New Year of 2018 rang in, your brain exploded with a never ending list you felt you HAD to make. It was a bit of a shock actually, to go from really having no inclination to want to make anything, to ones brain just going haywire with a gazillion ideas all at once.

There were a couple of small projects........and there were a few LARGE projects.

You had started a blanket at the end of 2016, inspired by a patchwork quilt made by the talented Alicia Paulson from Posie Gets Cozy Blog. You've just about finished it. You found it hard going in 2017 to make any real progress on it. It turned out to be a huge blanket. It was slow going, the pattern on it was slow to emerge. You needed a lot of room to get all the colours out to do it. As much as you loved the blanket idea and knew it would look lovely when it was done, I have to say it's been your least favourite blanket to make. It took all of 2018 to finish it. You still have the border to do, but that's ok. It actually looks ok without a border and you have been in two minds whether to add to it. You have realised that you could have actually learned how to be a master quilter and made a proper quilt in the time it took you to crochet your version.The irony is not lost on you.

As lovely as the blanket looks now, it took you a whole year as you kept having to start new things just to get them out of my brain. You are usually a one project girl at a time. Especially blankets. You like to focus solely on one thing. However, this year, you felt like you needed to just keep starting things that were in your head. You felt like if you got them out of your head then your brain might slow down a bit and give you some peace. You found it both exciting and exhausting at the same time. Anyway, four blankets were on the go at the same time. It was super crazy. They were your usual big blankets too. What is wrong with you woman?! Even when you tell yourself that your next blanket will be a modest sized lap blanket, they end up being HUGE. You guess it's the whole snuggle thing. You just hate the thought of only one person being able to use them. The 'Isle of Skye' blanket was lovingly made, soon followed by 'Winterberry'. 

Three turned out nicely (although you have just remembered that 'Winterberry' needs the ends sewing in. Something you forgot when Christmas took over), the other (oh my, how you love it so much), did NOT turn out so well. That was actually due to the fact that it was a cushion pattern made in the round and you adapted it to make it a blanket. You were NOT paying attention to your first 20 rows and it went all wonky. You use it every evening to snuggle on your sofa, but you cannot bring myself to sew in the ends because it's not right. Actually, unless you lay it our flat you'd never know it was wonky, but you have the yarn to start again and produce another one, a perfect one. You love it THAT much. There goes your plan to not make any blankets in 2019. I wonder when it will get made. Remind me in a later post!

As for everyday life, things are ticking along ok. Life has its ups and downs and good and bad. You haven't really had a sense that you have achieved that much this past year. You seem to have found that time has been in such short supply. You work part time now, and on your days off you split it between trying to maintain some semblance of order in the house and trying to get creative stuff done. A domestic goddess you are NOT. You find it tedious, unrewarding, soul destroying, life sapping.......and many other things. The monotony of spending hours first thing every morning doing the same old stuff to just start your day with a clean house slate is...well....quite frankly...utterly pants. However, you have come to realise that this has been more of a problem recently because you have allowed way too much clutter to take over. Less stuff means less dusting. Remember that Vanessa for the future.

This was the year you came out from the 'rabbit hole' that you were lost in in 2017. It felt good to reconnect with people. You wonder why you feel the need to retreat into your own little world at times and just live with yourself, your thoughts and your little bubble of a family. You think you like your own company far too much. You have reached an age where you do what you feel you need to do in order to keep yourself happy, not what is expected of you. You realise it's actually quite 'freeing' to think like that. You are who you are.

Your Bears are growing up. Two now at College and one at Secondary School. Goodness, where has the time gone? You ache for the days that are slipping from your memory of Wibbly Pig books, cuddly toys, Lego and toy cars; of boys being small enough to scoop up and embrace entirely. The older Bears now scoop YOU up. You feel like you are being pushed into your new role in life instead of walking willingly. You still hate change that you haven't initiated.

Having said that, you find it a wonderful thing seeing your boys growing into fine young men. You feel that despite all the things you wish could have been different, you haven't done a bad job at the whole mother malarky. You have rather surprised yourself on that score.

You have also missed blogging this year. You have felt at times over the past 12 months that you've really wanted to get back to this little space of yours, and jot down a few thoughts and feelings. Never in the last few years has the desire felt so strong. You are reminded of how pants you are at computer stuff. You are also reminded how bad your memory is on how to actually blog. You have been feeling that you might like to do seasonal posts instead of yearly catch up posts. You have loved picking up your camera again and seeing the world through its happy lens instead of your phone.

So Vanessa, you have welcomed  2019. You wonder what the year will hold for you. Your creative brain has been ticking along on an even keel so far. That makes you happy at least! You hope to make this year the year of the garment and NOT the year of the blanket. Time will tell. As always, you have at least five blanket ideas in your head you want to get made at some point, but for now, you have around ten garment patterns that can keep you occupied!

Ness, I will leave you with some reminder pictures of how 2018 was for you. It is evident that you never stray too far from your favourite colours.....

Cheerio Ness, I'm sure when I say it, that it won't be so long until we next catch up. 


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Behind the Scenes......

Hellooooooooo.....How are you?

I'm just popping in, because I wanted to tell you the story of a blanket. I was going to do my usual yearly round up post in January, but I felt that this deserved a post of its own. I felt like it needed to be written down and remembered.

This year my hands have not stopped with a hook and yarn. It's been euphoric and draining all at once. I'll explain more about my crafty year in my round up post in January, but this blanket, well, I have thoroughly enjoyed its journey.

Here is the story of how it came about........

I had an idea to make a granny squares blanket using pastels. I had been spending time on a project that was draining my life force, and I was dreaming of a simple little granny squares blanket that would restore my 'happy' box. 

The kind of pastels I wanted were sludgy and faded pastels. 

That was all I knew.

Then I watched a film. The Light Between Oceans. Whilst I enjoyed the film, what struck me most was the scenery in which it was filmed......and the costumes. The film revolves around the life of two main characters who live on a lighthouse on a remote island. The time is just after the First World War.

The scenery was beautiful; windswept and rugged.

The costumes; natural fabrics, wool, lace and utilitarian.
The colours, oh the colours, they really spoke to me. Just lots of neutrals, greys of the sky, blue of the ocean and grey blues in their costumes.

After I had seen the film, I suddenly thought how nice the idea of my pastel blanket would be if it reflected the ruggedness of the land with the hues of the windswept skies and seas in the film.

So....a new blanket was born.

I had a specific idea on what I wanted. Similar tones, and a blanket with an outdoors utilitarian feel. I chose most of my yarns to be pure wool or Alpaca mixes. I think I had only two colours which had any percentage of acrylic, albeit a small percentage. Many were tweed yarns as I wanted to replicate this connection with nature. I did not want soft or fluffy or cosy. It's funny, because usually the soft warm feel is very important to me in a blanket. This was the total opposite! my usual haphazard, non thinky way, I just made the squares and made enough to try and work out what length and width I would like it to be. I needed 360 squares.

They were an utter joy to make.

After working on a project that was huge and all connected, it felt like total freedom to just make the odd square as and when I could.

Turns out I became absolutely besotted with the blanket. I couldn't crochet the squares quick enough. My brain would start itching about five in the morning, so I was up with a cup of tea and a hook. Yarn and a hook seemed to go everywhere with me to get the odd one in. I made the granny square quite a compact one, as I wanted it to feel thick and tightly bound.......more hard wearing for the outdoors. I wanted them to be quite openly seamed together to create a more vintage feel. For the border I wanted something simple, plain, and utilitarian. you want to see it in all its glory? Get ready for an epic amount of pics. It was a nice day, what can I say?


Isle Of Skye

It's everything I wanted....and more. I'm totally in love with it. It's HUGE. As usual it's way bigger than I had in my head! Of course it would be, it wouldn't be me if it wasn't big. 

360 squares. I made a basic granny square, but I wanted it quite compact so the blanket would be tight and robust. I just omitted the chain one from in-between each cluster, and did 6 trebles (uk) on the corners without any chains. I used a 3.5mm hook using dk yarn. It turned out just how I wanted it to turn out. It sort of links it to the era of the film in my mind (which is somewhat fitting too with Rembrance Sunday this weekend).

It's SOOOOOOOOO heavy. Oh my word it is heavy. Ridiculously so. The squares are compact and tightly crocheted, and using mainly pure wool yarn,'s hard on the back to carry!

Also, I'm not gonna has a faint whiff of sheep and wet dog. Sounds a tad gross I know, but actually, I like it. It sort of adds to the whole entity of what I wanted to achieve. It's a different one for me. I rarely just use one hue of colours. I loved working on it though. I loved how it was plain. I think my brain, at the time, needed plain. Of course, it looks totally out of place nestled in amongst my other blankets. However, this one will be amazing in the coming Winter. It's soooooooo warm. The Bear's are fighting over whose bed it will be going on. I'd like to think mine, but I am turning into the Princess and the Pea with the number of blankets thrown on my bed.

We shall see.

All I know is that I love it.

I truly LOVE it.

So there you are. One of my 2018 creations. I shall be back in the New Year with a round up post. I might even have my act together and have some photos of all the projects I have been working on. Seriously, I have been so creatively stupid this year, you wouldn't believe!!!!!

Have a super few months. I'll see you in the New Year with a round up post of all my 2018 makes and goings on.



P.S   I forgot how long it takes to write text and upload the gazillion photos I took of this blanket. I have loved it though. I have missed it a lot this year. I have thoughts I will share in January.

P.P.S  After I published this, I went and lay under said blanket with a huge cup of tea and a book. It was HEAVEN. This thing is going to be utterly toasty in the Winter months. BRING IT ON!