Well......who'd have thought 2020 would turn out to be like this? A year not easily to be forgotten that's for sure.
I walked into 2020 with such a heavy heart. Trying to deal with the grief of the loss of my brother has weighed so heavy on my soul. My new companion, Minnie, and my crafty love managed to drag me into 2020 with a little more lightness. Getting out for walks with her everyday lifted my mood......and of course, making accessories to cope with the outdoor winter weather helped no end. I did make rather a lot of hats! Worth their weight in gold I can tell you.
I used this pattern here if you are interested
As I write, we are still in the midst of lockdown of sorts. Four weeks now of utter anxiety, uncertainty and weirdness.
Whilst all in my little bubble are at home and some working from home, I am classed as a key worker ....so my days are still the same, but not the same. Just add a big dollop of stress and that's about it.
On my days off, I have been trying to just be calm and focus on all the things that make me happy. Crochet of course! I made a start on a blanket.....obviously a blanket....what else could I possibly think of doing?!
A picture on Pinterest caught my eye. I wished it hadn't........but you know......once you see something and it embeds in your memory, it's a hard thing to ignore. Ignore it I tried, because it was VERY similar to a blanket that almost killed me to make. It just wouldn't go from my head. It was an Irish Chain Quilt pattern. I made a crochet version of an Irish Chain Quilt that I had seen Alicia Paulson make on her blog. I can't sew. I loved the pattern, and I loved the colours and it was basically squares joined together. Easy peasy crochet then. The problem was the vast amount of squares. If you have read this blog for a while, you know that me and small blankets just aren't a thing. I kid myself it's because I want them big enough for all the family to snuggle under. Whilst the family have had MANY a snuggle together under my blankets, the real answer is that I'm utterly pants at planning, and the blankets just always end up huge because I have no size awareness.
The first blanket took forever, and I DID NOT enjoy it's process......HOWEVER, I utterly loved the result. You can be reminded of it with the snippets from this post .
I don't think I ever managed to photograph this blanket in all it's glory. It does deserve a post all of its own really. I should do that. The blanket still has a thread hanging from it as I couldn't decide whether to make a border for it. I still can't! It was a bit like having a baby. The birthing process is incredibly unpleasant, but you soon forget about all the pain when you stare at something so beautiful.
Well, I must have forgotten about all the pain, because sure enough, I wanted to make another one. The new blanket was slightly easier. Less squares in the pattern, bigger squares. This time also.......
I WAS GOING TO PLAN IT!!!!!
I had wanted a very soft and pastel blanket. I was loving the colours on the ZARA HOME website.....mainly in their kids section. I'm still very much needing the calm of pastels and soft hues. That sealed it for me. I worked up several sized squares, planned how many squares I would need, and what the sizes would be with each square to get the right size blanket. I then weighed the yarn amounts for each square to get an idea of the yarn quantities I would need to order. That way I wouldn't do my usual of not enough yarn and dye lot issues. Chart mapped out. Yarn ordered. A VERY excited me.
I felt so smug I can tell you. After years of never planning any blankets, this was my first. I was actually doing everything right.
Except I wasn't
It was pretty clear after the first two rows that my blanket was going to be another HUGE one. I hadn't planned on a really small one, but I hadn't planned on a huge one either. Seriously, even when I plan, I can't do it right! Just goes to show! Not sure how on earth I managed to get it so wrong.
It wasn't total chaos. I just made the width into the length (as the pattern allowed me to work it like that) and then cut off quite a few planned rows. It's fine. The pattern still works. I just worked it that I'd lose a couple of repeat rows. I just had a fair bit of leftover yarn now!!!!!!!
So....on the lockdown days, I had been calming my anxiety with this blanket. I was loving making it. No stress. Really enjoying it. Then I suddenly decided that Minnie, my sweet puppy, needed her own blanket ASAP. It was always my plan to make her a blanket of her own, but for some reason, it needed to be now.....and I had plenty of leftover yarn!
I think she gave me her seal of approval. At every opportunity when I had it on my lap, she was on me....on it.
The beautiful weather on the lockdown has helped enormously. The puppy has really blossomed and has loved just being with me sitting in the garden whilst I work away on her blanket. I have soaked up her comfort. She has been such a tonic over these last few months helping with my grief.
Ahhhhhhh just look at those colours. that just brings me so much happiness. My last few blankets have been in these shades. I feel like I really need them at the moment. They are soothing, and calming, and they scream comfort and big enveloping hugs.
Easter came and went. A strange one. I have (like us all) struggled with not seeing my outer family. However, technology is a wonderful thing. My mum and I have been replacing our coffee mornings with virtual Facetime coffee mornings. We grab a coffee and then have a Facetime chat catching up with the news and showing each other our latest projects. It makes all this bearable.
It has been hard having everyone on top of each other at home all the time. Our tiny little home is bursting to the brim. Finding somewhere to have a quiet few minutes is nigh on impossible. Trying to homeschool is a challenge. The lovely weather has meant at least I can sit outside and work a few rows of crochet. I am thankful for our tiny little garden space. It is really just the size of a postage stamp, but I have never been more grateful for it.
Whilst being drawn to the soothing and the pastels, I started playing around with my beads again. I haven't dipped into them for such a long time, but I wanted had a real urge to have Rose Quartz and Amazonite around my neck and wrists again. Those have always been my favourites to work with. I don't know if it's the placebo effect, but I find them so calming. When I wear anything that has the stones in, I feel very calm. When I am anxious or stressed I like to have something around my neck that I can just stroke with my hands. The colours of Amazonite and Rose Quartz have always featured heavily in my home colours and in my crafting. Can you tell?!!!!
Actually, the necklaces I made in this picture aren't either of those gemstones, but I have loved making and wearing them. I wanted really long necklaces and didn't have enough of either beads to create something so long so these made do. I have more beads on order and I'm super excited to get them and get beady creative.
I have a couple of knitting projects that I would like to start after I finish the two blankets. I realise that I need more stitch markers.....so my plan is to make myself some gemstone stitch markers. I would like to carry the calmness over into my knitting. Heaven knows I think I'm going to need all the calm I can get. Knitting just doesn't come easily to me. Maybe if I actually spent a good portion of my time knitting and trying to get better at it, that might help me!
I have baked a fair bit.
I have also put on a fair bit of weight that has come with aforementioned baking.
It's actually annoying that it's turning out so well. I would have given up if my fist attempt would have been awful. Bread is my complete downfall. Warm, crusty bread with melted butter. Hummmmmmm bliss. Not bliss for the old waistline. Need to do something about that soon. The Bears are very happy with my daily bread making arrangement, but they are just not quick enough to beat me to the first few (or ten) slices each day!
So.....that is my Spring. Two blankets in the making. Weird days. and other bits and pieces planned for the summer. If lockdown continues for a much greater length of time, I may be even more productive than I could have ever imagined.
Lets see what Summer 2020 holds........
Take care and stay safe everyone.