Unable to go out and about after work in the evenings and weekends during the last few months has enabled me to finally complete some very out of date projects . . . but first a quick look at a project I just managed to finish before lockdown and very poignantly marks the last time I could visit my mum in her care home in the North East . . . very, very sadly a long time ago now we’re into February 2021 and that was February half term 2020!
Let’s just hope we can visit our mum’s care home soon – and that it’s safe to do so.
With lockdown having been announced in England on the 23rd March 2020 I thought I would finally get out a project that I had abandoned about 15 or 16 years ago! The years really do fly by so quickly, how can it possibly have been so long since I started this? Anyway, what happened all those many years ago was that I had an adorable baby called Mila (she’s still adorable but is of course now pretty grown up). Mila adored a number of books by the wonderful illustrator and textile artist Clare Beaton we had a number of her gorgeous books and along with the ‘Playtime Rhymes for Little People’ and ‘Mother Goose Remembers’ which I would read to Mila we also had a board book called ‘Zoe and her Zebra A – Z’ and this inspired me to make an alphabet chart using Clare’s ideas – perfect for a child learning her a, b, c – shame I have only just finished it now!
I’m really pleased I’ve actually finished it and it truly is a work of art – though I admit I copied the wonderful work of Clare . . . but the reason I didn’t finish it in the first place was because I realised I didn’t quite know what to do with it. Originally my thought was to make a freeze for my daughter’s bedroom but quickly realised that it would be too big and expensive to frame . . . so, now it’s finished it’s bagged up and probably won’t see the light of day for quite some time but at least I can post it here so I can admire it if nothing else and it does bring back the happiest of memories of Mila growing up and her love of books and reading which she retains to this day!
It’s been good to finish some big old projects but I’ve also managed to complete some new projects such as this crochet blanket designed by Janie Crow – called ‘Sunshine and Showers which seemed to suit the mood for the beginning of Lockdown. It was a good antidote to avoid losing myself in obsessively following the news and kept me busy when I wasn’t snowed under with work – especially through the long summer holidays with no where to go. I wanted to make this blanket for Mila as she heads off to university next year. A reminder of our love for her when she flies the nest – a little something for her to take to university and remind her of home.
For me the project has made me look to Mila’s future and the inevitable ups and downs of life ‘Without rain nothing grows, learn to embrace the storms of your life.’ ‘Life is not waiting for the storm to pass …It’s about learning to dance in the rain.’ ‘Don’t confuse your path with your destinations. Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for the sunshine.’ – Quotations that inspired me and as Dolly Parton so aptly puts it ‘The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.’ ‘Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain, teardrops and laughter, pleasure and pain. Just remember, there was never a cloud that the sun couldn’t shine through.’ ‘When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.’
In the pattern Janie Crow has organised her design into the months of the year and I’ve used many of her words here to bring out the extra dimension of meaning.
A Year . . .
MAY: The perfect place to start – the month Mila was born – the beginning of a new life. The grass is at its greenest the weather is starting to warm and we can look forward to walks up rolling hills and through lush meadows – for me this a reminder of great holidays in Cumbria and Northumberland with its spectacular scenery.
By June our garden is usually looking at its best. The grass is still healthy and green thanks to the rain of late spring and lots of flowers are beginning to bloom. We have so much colour in the garden with the brightness and crispness of the promise of summer. You can see the pink flowers in the photograph above with the vivid green beneath and the blue sky above.
Is a month full of hope and promise for a lovely summer. It’s a time when the evenings are long and when hopefully we can all relax in the sunshine and have a few great days out at the beach or drive out into the countryside. You can almost feel the warmth of the summer sun in this sun motif.
Summer holidays – A time to do fun things together, relax and really recharge our batteries. August is a time for fun and recuperation before the hard work of autumn. This month I did the flower border – extending it round the sides which took a bit of working out but I really liked the colourful border the flowers made. I tried a few different designs for the sides as I wanted something a bit more than the stripes in the pattern . . .
I liked the small flowers but in the end I decided to continue with Janie’s top border and continue it along each length of the blanket too!
Long warm sunny day leading to the journey in to autumn, the days are starting to get shorter and colder. Here the motif is in the centre of the blanket.
Autumn – Halloween and all things pumpkin related. In October you can still be surprised by a really warm beautiful day and long walks kicking through fallen leaves.
Then month when it really hits home that winter is on the horizon. We’re in with a chance of getting lovely autumn days with a few glimpses of sunshine right up until 5th November when the weather seems to change almost overnight. There’s something really nice about snuggling up in front of an open fire and shutting out the cold and wet of the outside world. Snuggling under blankets and wraps to keep us warm in the winter.
Is the month when we embrace all things cosy and wintry, like open fires, hot chocolate and the company of friends and family – so warm shades used in the summer sections are used in stitches to resemble a wintry snowflake.
When it comes to light and weather January is a hard months, so we tend to spend quite a lot of time wrapped up inside trying to keep warm and cosy. January and February are the we’re most likely to get snow with the newly fallen snow and the sludgy sleety kind that goes grey and muddy really quickly. The repeated puff stitch is meant to convey the idea of the little snowballs.
February can be a pretty dull and dingy affair. The weather is rarely anything but cold, grey, wet and overcast, so it’s a good job that the month is brightened a little by the red hearts of Valentine’s Day and the first glimpses of crocuses and daffodils in the garden. By the end of February we start to feel like spring might just be on its way so the motif this month is trying to emulate those first sprigs of new leaves and blossom appearing outside in the cold and of course includes some love hearts!
After the dull days of winter we are beginning to see the promise of spring. The days are getting a little longer and the garden is starting to come back to life. The birds are busy building nests and there is far more activity out in the garden. The motif this month is meant to be reminiscent of rabbits (their ears) emerging from their holes in the countryside – albeit in the abstract colours! With the changing yarn shades used for the cluster stitches also reminiscent of crocuses and daffodils beginning to bloom.
This month represents the moon sitting high in the sky on a clear spring night.
I’ve been making other things too . . . such as my Janie Crow Crochet Blanket Fruit Garden Cal which I’ll add to a new post! As well as other creative projects – mittens and cloths for Waldorf dolls etc….
Of course I also did a bit of cooking . . .
I followed the craze and made my sour dough starter – which did produce exceptionally tasty bread though since the new school term I haven’t had time to continue but last summer . . . yum!
Strawberry cake . . .