A Crafty Update

This morning, I felt the itch to get back to this blog after a few largely fallow months. Perhaps it was the joy of seeing some snow…..

Perhaps it is the growing sense of renewal that accompanies this time of year. But the reason doesn’t matter. It’s good to be typing this post, like reconnecting with an old friend*.

As the year draws to a close, I thought it would be nice to summarise where I am with my knitting and crochet activity. My last post on this subject celebrated the completion of my Fruit Garden blanket, and what a lovely project that was.

Since then, I have participated in and even completed another crochet-along (CAL) project, the Scheepjes CAL 2020 d’Histoire Naturelle, designed by the brilliant Christina (A Spoonful of Yarn). I plumped for the #Conchology colour-way using Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed yarn. These were new-to-me yarns, and not my usual type of colours. So it was a real adventure of the best kind. The design was inspired by elements of Anthony Doerr’s incredible novel All The Light We Cannot See, which is partly based in the National Natural History Museum of Paris, hence all the botanical, mineral and animal motifs.

It is remarkable how easy it is to make a very large project in a relatively short space of time (about 12 weeks) when one is following along with a pattern release timetable. I really enjoyed this CAL and was delighted with the result. It has gone to a good home at my sister’s house. I am pleased to report that she loves it!

 

I now have four main projects on the go. First, a brioche scarf which showcases some gorgeous yarn from RipplesCrafts. The pattern is Nancy Marchant’s Willow. I wasn’t sure about it at first because the ‘bulges’ seemed a bit concerning. But I am now pretty sure they will block flat, or at least will not be so pronounced and will give added interest to the finished item.

 

The second project is Stephen West’s Winter Lights Shawl published this week as part of his #Hiberknitalong2020. I am already loving how this is working up. The yarn is Scheepjes Our Tribe which is beautifully soft. I have included photos of both sides for Kelly and others who are interested in these things.

 

Thirdly, I am making a crochet cushion cover for my lovely Mum using a Scheepjes Whirl and the centre of the Sophie’s Universe pattern. This is side one and you can see that side two will start with that gorgeous orange in the centre, morphing to the charcoal grey. Yum!

 

 Finally, another blanket for my sister – this time it is the Marguerite pattern using Stylecraft Special DK yarn and a colour palette to match Rachel’s living room. I think this is going to be a corker!

So plenty to keep me out of mischief haha! Knitting and crochet continue to be the two activities that I cannot do without. I am grateful to have these absorbing and stimulating hobbies in my life. 😀

*good to be back posting, yes, but I have been reminded that the new WP editor is a nightmare. Encouraging words from fellow bloggers on this point would be welcome! X

Off The Needles; Off The Hook

In these ongoing troubled times, I continue to be drawn back to my knitting needles and crochet hooks. No matter how discombobulated I might feel, there is always room for an extra row or round. Indeed, the very act of becoming absorbed in a beautiful project is an essential part of my coping strategy at the moment.

Last April, I wrote about the completion of my beach-themed Rozeta blanket, which I absolutely loved making. In that post, I previewed my next large project – the Fruit Garden Blanket by Janie Crow. Over the weeks, I have beavered away on this project, along with hundreds of other crafters around the world. What an amazing pattern it is, and the perfect distraction from all things Covid-related. Continue reading “Off The Needles; Off The Hook”

Book Review: Making a Life by Melanie Falick

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” ~ Annie Dillard

This famous quote by Dillard from her brilliant book, The Writing Life, is the quietest yet most insistent of clarion calls: give small attention to the largest of questions about how to make the most of our lives. She goes on:

“There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life. A day that closely resembles every other day of the past ten or twenty years does not suggest itself as a good one. But who would not call Pasteur’s life a good one, or Thomas Mann’s?”

In Making A LifeMelanie Falick takes us on a worldwide journey to experience the creative ways in which people are crafting good lives for themselves and others. Through interviews with potters, weavers, printmakers, quilters and many more, Falick powerfully illustrates a universal truth – that we humans have forever been making things with our hands. Continue reading “Book Review: Making a Life by Melanie Falick”

The View From Here? Gratitude and admiration all the way

Greetings from a very sunny Edinburgh.  As I look out from our apartment across the city and beyond, it is hard to take in the enormity of this global challenge that we are facing.  I am full of gratitude and admiration for all the key workers who are striving so hard in such difficult circumstances to keep us all healthy, fed and with access to essential supplies and services.  I am also inspired and heartened by everyone who has taken steps to support support of people in vulnerable groups and those who are self-isolating.

Even for those of us who are helping our communities in various ways, we must also remember that one of the main things we can do to help as individuals is to stay home and observe all the public health guidance.  It has been amazing to see the emergence of a huge range of opportunities for sharing, learning and keeping ourselves busy and entertained.  And helpful also to remind ourselves of the wide variety of existing resources available.

Here are some links which might be of interest/help in providing support, entertainment or perhaps simply a distraction.  Some of the information may be UK-access only, but hopefully it provides inspiration for people to search for similar links more locally.  I should also emphasise that there are no affiliate links here, just things I like and admire.  🙂

 

  • Mental health and wellbeing:  There is lots of help and support available online for anyone who may be having difficulties coping with the anxiety and demands of the current situation.  This site by the Scottish Association for Mental Health is en excellent example, including where to find 24/7 support.

 

  • Some organisations have said they will stream performances and concerts live in the absence of ‘in-person’ audiences eg:

 

  • I also noticed that you can access plays and other events through MarqueeTV, which has a free 30-day trial.  I haven’t yet tried this, but the available content looks amazing.

 

 

  • There many art galleries and museums around the world which have digitised their collections for browsing eg:

 

 

  • There are lots of great podcasts to listen to.  I found this one to be of help in trying to come to terms with all the anxiety around what is currently happening.  My most favourite, and most frequently listened to podcast is the wonderful Tea, Toast and Trivia, which I highly recommend.

 

  • A number of independent publishers are joining forces to host an online book club.  What a great way to share in a love of reading, and support small businesses too.

 

  • The Hay Festival’s HayPlayer costs just £10 and gives access to a vast array of magnificent interviews.

 

  • And finally, check out this tweet for a lovely chuckle.

 

I am sure there are plenty of other great links too – I’d love to hear about some of your favourites.  Meanwhile, stay safe and well. 🙂