Well.....we continue with a weird 2020
Summer........what can I say?
I cannot report that I have done much this Summer. Being either at home on lockdown, or at work.....that's pretty much it. Two places for the last few months. No taking advantage of some glorious weather, getting out and sight seeing.
Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. However, I know it's been pretty much the same for everybody.
For the first time in what feels like years, we paid particular attention to the garden. It just hadn't been a priority. Our Garden is really no bigger than the size of a postage stamp, so it shouldn't be that difficult to sort and maintain, but for some reason it was just neglected. A small greenhouse was bought, and seeds were planted. It's been the first year we actually had colour in the garden for such a long time.
The hydrangeas were a particular beauty this year. They really took my breath away. My soil naturally turns the flowers pink, even when I buy blue hydrangeas which are my favourite, So I add more acid to the soil with a Hydrangea Colourant (available in most Garden Centres) and goodness me, they really put on a show this year. The most gorgeous shades of pink, pale lilac to the deepest blue. I picked so many to dry and almost everyone failed......except for three heads which seemed to dry well and retain their gorgeous blue shade. All the others I failed to dry well, I turned into confetti and stored in Mason Ball jars. Goodness knows what I'll do with them, but they were just too pretty to toss on the compost heap.
I grew my first Sweet Peas. Semi success. I planted too many together and they were a bit stunted. Never the less, I got to pick quite a few posies for little vases, and they made me so happy. New rose bushes were planted, I got a second wave of roses this year which thrilled me.......and I finally got some foxgloves in the garden. I have a list of plants I want to grow, and I just have a couple more that I want to get in the ground for next year.
Creatively wise, I have almost finished my third blanket of the year. No more blankets.....for this year anyway. I did donate several of my early blankets to charity just before lockdown. It felt good to create space, but it felt like losing a part of me. I have yet to make a medium or small blanket. The blankets I end up making take up such a huge amount of my time. There are often quite a few memories woven in, so it's strange to just let them go. It's like letting go of a piece of your life.
The last few months on a personal level have been quite tough. My frame of mind could quite simply be described as one of quiet chaos. I've found it hard to settle on anything and focus well. My grief at the loss of my brother is still very much apparent and pretty much still consumes my day. The blanket making has helped to an extent. It has managed to keep me level, but I have no real 'peace' at the moment. I'm working through things little by little, but I'm aware that it's going to take some time.....and I'm okay with that. Slowly but surely wins the race and all.
I am just finishing sewing in the final ends of my blanket started in my previous post. I started it at the beginning of 'Lockdown' at the end of March. It was a simplified version of the Irish Chain Quilt Crochet Blanket I completed. I don't know why on earth I thought it would be a good idea to make another one. As I explained in my last post.....the only blanket I had ever actually planned......and I still got it terribly wrong! It was okay, I just had to scale it back on repeat rows. It's big.....it's warm.....it's pretty......and I should really really love it......
.....but I can't say that I do.
For some reason it just didn't live up to the wonderful expectations I had in my head. The yarn palette was so pretty......it should have been so gorgeous. Don't get me wrong, it is pretty for sure.....but I think I was expecting it to have that 'WOW' factor......and it just fell short.
Perhaps I felt a little deflated with it......because half way through making the blanket......I started another one!!!!! I'm not sure why I did. I usually am a one project at a time kind of girl.
I had some yarn that I had wanted to make a blanket with. The yarn I had was was Drops Puna. It's one of my favourite yarns. I seem to use it a lot. It has a lovely vintage quality to it. I had bought the off white colour (which is actually more of a light wheat kind of shade). I knew I wanted it to be a lovely vintage style blanket but I had yet to find the perfect granny square. I had tried a few but none felt right. Then one day on a random search I stumbled across a square that looked perfect for the yarn. I made up a square and knew in an instant that I had found the one. Once the brain goes into overdrive, I had to put the other blanket down and crochet away with this new one.
OH MY WORD. I loved loved loved making this blanket. It's definitely got the 'WOW' factor for me. I couldn't get enough of this blanket. It just seemed so perfect in every way. Very very warm. Very vintage looking. It looked perfect on my bed. It was just one of those projects that wasn't at all planned but ended up exceeding all my expectations.
I truly love it.
So it seems, the unplanned blanket was a tremendous hit and the only ever planned blanket feel short of all expectations.
As usual, I'm quite pants with recording all the details of blankets that I make. The Drops Puna I had bought when it was on sale and I bought 20 50g balls. I literally found the granny square I wanted to crochet ( this one ) and crocheted until I pretty much just had a couple of balls left. I used those to do a border using a row of the granny square and then a puffed scallop to finish. It's a heavy blanket. Very warm. The pup takes every opportunity to fall asleep on it when she can.
It really is such a pretty blanket. I really would love to make another one, in a pale grey. But enough for now!
Back to the Irish Chain Blanket.....
I do like it. It actually goes well on the bed with the current bedding. It's warm and it'll get plenty of use that's for sure. I did have a piece of paper with all my workings on. I sized the squares, weighed the squares, worked out the yarn quantities, and thought I was doing so well. Now I cannot for the life of me find any of the information. If I find it and get my act together, I'll put it all up on Ravelry with more information. Seriously it's shocking how rubbish I am at recording stuff. I envy the organised!
I haven't even named my blankets yet. I always name my blankets! I'll think on it.
Oh well. Three blankets down this year and I'm done with them (I say that...and at the time of typing this, I REALLY mean it....but come on.....this is me after all!). I have a couple of sewing projects that I want to turn my attention to. It was supposed to FINALLY be sock knitting time......but I just don't think my brain can cope with the whole new learning curve of it. So I think sewing is the way forward which will continue to help with soothing my soul.
I am thinking that I'd quite like to make this though.......
It's the 'Sporty Poncho' by Amanda Tipton
The pattern is available on Ravelry.
I have some pretty yarn that I think would work well with this for the colder months.
I have continued to bake throughout Lockdown. I have continued to put on weight. Once again, My brain will have to deal with sorting that out when it's in a better coping mode.
I had fun making myself some progress markers. I realised whilst making the blankets, just how few progress keepers I actually had. I had made myself a few necklaces using semi precious stones. I don't know why, I just woke up one day and felt a strong urge to make myself some. I find Rose Quartz and Amazonite in particular incredibly soothing for my soul. As I had everything to hand, I made a few progress keepers using semi precious stones, and pearls and some pretty charms. I'm all set now, and happy to do a bit of creativity that wasn't crochet based.
Pumpkins are starting to make a re-appearance and more are being painted. I think this year I may have gone a little pumpkin overboard. Making up for lost time I am telling myself.
So the Summer moves along into Autumn. The mornings have a nip in the air but the days are still warm and relatively balmy. You can feel nature starting to feel a bit weary after its big Summer show. The feeling of slumber is apparent. I have loved the long days of Summer. Pup has loved the long days of Summer for sure.
I do like this transition of seasons though. I have dug out all my Autumnal candles (and possibly added a few more!). There is nothing nicer than a house smelling of apple & cinnamon and pumpkin spice. It really is heavenly.
This pink pumpkin was one I painted last year. It's a real squash I bought from the store and painted pink. All the other fresh ones I painted lasted a month or so, but for some reason, this little pumpkin has lasted all year. Only in the last couple of weeks did the paint start to chip. Just in time for me to paint a few new pumpkins!
Jumpers and cosy wraps have made their way to the forefront of the wardrobes and I'm deciding which blankets will go on which beds this year.
I treated myself to a new Autumn jacket.
(It's from here and I got in when it was on a special offer)
It had to be done. It was literally screaming my name. I just need to make some pretty wrist warmers and scarf now, and that excites me. Not that I actually NEED anymore accessories. I'm sure I can find something that I've made in the past that matches perfectly......but new season new accessories! Hats are in my mind too. I made a couple of pretty hats last winter that were real winners, especially on cold morning dog walks. I have an itch to make yet another. Ridiculous I know.
I have a list of things that need to be done around the house, but my motivation for things like that is still pretty much at rock bottom (not that it was ever very good on the best of days). Again, I'm not beating myself up about it all. I am letting go of all my control freakery this year and accepting things for where they are in my life. Hopefully, by the start of next year, I might have a bit more peace in my head to tackle more.
I head into Autumn with as much a sense of calm as I can at the moment. Let's see where it takes me. As I publish this, there are fears we, in the UK, are heading for a second lockdown. Goodness me, what a year.
So, for now, I bid you adieu, and hope that your Autumn is filled with sweet smelling spice and all things creative.