Today is New Year’s Eve and this year has really flown by. I’ve picked a few photos out to have a meander through my crochet activities during the last 12 months. Its funny to remember projects that are done and dusted and to have my memory jogged of other things that were going on while they were being made.
Last year at this time my daughter was home for Christmas from Boston, USA. They were having blizzards and freezing weather and I was inspired by Vanessa Cabban, who had tragically died just before Christmas, to have a break from crochet and to have a go at knitting. I made a simple but very successful moss stitch scarf for my daughter to keep her snuggled and warm. Its in Stylecraft Special DK in Copper and I still remember steeling myself to do at least 20 rows per day to keep up so that she would have it before the weather got warm again.
Altogether it was a massive 2.5 metres. Even in chunky this was a major knitting achievement for me and I posted it off to Boston at the end of January feeling very pleased with myself.
I was also busy with a big crochet project, working on my autumn colours chunky hexagon blanket, fuelled by coffee in my favourite Noritake coffee pot and some Christmas cake! It seems like only yesterday!
This is how the blanket was looking by the end of the month. It now resides on my bed in its full glory and I absolutely love it to bits…
February was a mixed month. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, it was a very special month but I wouldn’t know that until much later in the year…
This was the month that my original family home was sold and passed to the new owners. My parents had built their own house in the early 1960s and my mum lived there, in Pontefract, until shortly before she died in July 2013. In February last year my brother and I cleared it out completely for the last time. I brought home the brass ornaments that my mum had displayed on her mantle piece for longer than I’ve been alive. It was a very emotional and significant thing – but so insignificant in the grander scheme of things.
At the very beginning of 2015 I decided that I would take more part in Instagram and was really beginning to enjoy it. I didn’t have many followers but I realised that lots of people were posting about their crafty projects, particularly sewing, knitting and crochet, so I began to comment and post more pictures. I started following a lovely lady called Heather @thepatchworkheart. She mentioned that she was running a community crochet project and was asking people to send in crochet squares featuring flowers. I emailed and was pleased to be accepted and spent one happy Sunday afternoon in February coming up with this…
Heather collected squares from over 100 other people and painstakingly put them all together to make a blanket of crochet flowers. The Spring Flower Blanket was raffled between the makers and – I won it. The rest, as they say, is history.
I decided that such a beautiful blanket should do more good than just sit in my house, so I set up a charity raffle using a Just Giving page to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. This UK organisation provides wonderful nurses who go into the homes of people who are terminally ill to support them and their families. Tracey and others from the Goole branch supported me in 2013 when I cared for my mum in her final weeks and I wanted to give something back to them to thank them for what they had done.
This was the result…
Yes, that is the blanket, and it is pictured with me, Heather from The Patchwork Heart and Lucy from Attic24, who both very generously shared and reshared my posts during the publicity phase of the raffle. And with the lovely Marie Curie nurses from the Goole district who came to visit with it. In the end, we raised nearly £11,000 for Marie Curie. I am weeping a few little tears as I write this as its still very emotional to know that a crochet blanket has done so much good. So many more people will be able to die with dignity in their own homes with the help of these lovely nurses.
But hang on to your hats because February was not finished with me yet… On a whim I decided to design a chunky granny square and turn it into…. a BAG. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE down the slippery slope I went. The chunky retro granny stash bag was born.
The bag was very well received on Facebook and Instagram – I was amazed. This was the time when I started to do some crochet tutorials on my blog and I followed up by making a retro granny stash box – worked around an ikea storage drawer lining box.
The monster stripy stash basket followed…
This was when I became a bit crochet bag obsessed but I did make another really nice project this month – a giant granny mandala is soft spring colours… inspired by those naughty but nice sugar coated Easter eggs 🙂
Around Easter time I did a pattern and tutorial based on my second granny mandala, this time in colours that just say Easter to me. Find the tutorial and pattern links here.
This was the month of the Spring Flower Blanket raffle and I was quite taken up with that for a lot of the time. I did manage to continue working on my chunky hexagon blanket though, and finally finished it towards the end of this month.
In early May I had a few days away in Scarborough with a good friend from London. The weather was great and we enjoyed lovely walks on the beach, meals out and many laughs. Just a few months later she is in the USA battling colon cancer – such a reminder of how life can have such painful twists and turns.
May was also the month that my knitting needles came out again. I saw on Facebook that Christine, from the blog Winwick Mum, was running a Sockalong and had lots of detailed tutorials to help first time sock knitters. For reasons that I cannot fathom, I have always wanted to knit socks. I am a rubbish knitter so this was always a very long shot. But I gave it my all – the yarn was lovely and the needles were very cute. The actual knitting, not so much… but I persevered like I had with the scarf in January. I have, to date, only completed one sock however. Bad, bad, bad…
This was the month that was the start of the BAGALONG!!! I posted on facebook about taking part in Christine’s sockalong and then just added, very casually without much thought, that a bagalong would be good. The response on instagram and facebook was amazing so, somehow, I found myself making more bags and setting up a new Facebook group. Bagalong with Crafternoon Treats to run crochet alongs just to make crochet bags.
In this first month, the retro granny stash bag was the featured crochet bag and I made four more… The giant seaside stash bag, which I took on holiday with me to Robin Hood’s Bay. The weather was variable for June, but Robin Hood’s Bay is spectacular and wonderful.
While I was there just for one week, I used some super chunky Deramores yarn to make a Festival bag. A small version of the stash bag, unlined for once. My daughter said it would be great to take to Leeds Fest, a music festival in Yorkshire that takes place in August each year.
I also adapted a pattern for an over-the-shoulder granny pocket pouch bag – which my daughter also stole when she went to Berlin for the weekend.
June was also the month when I was contacted by Craftsy to see if I wanted to become one of their regular crochet bloggers. Definitely I said. My first post took me hours, probably days (I have speeded up since) but I was rather pleased with the tulip design…
July was a month of more bags… At the end of June I had made an Attic24 Jolly Chunky bag and donated it to the local Marie Curie fundraising event as a raflle prize. It raised about £300 – not as much as the Spring flower blanket but a very respectable amount. The winner was delighted with it, which gave me a great buzz…
The next bag we made in the Bagalong group was a little sad – it was in tribute to the late Marinke Slump, better known as Wink from the blog A Creative Being. She took her own life at the end of June when suffering from depression. Such a great loss for the blogging community and more for her family. Her fat bottomed bag was a real treat and we all thought of her as we created. I used Deramores chunky yarn – the first project I’ve made with it and thought the colours were lovely.
I also decided to redo my little crochet logo for the Crafternoon Treats blog and for my Facebook and IG accounts. I did a new pattern and produced a stack of Crafternoon Treats flowers to photograph
I was completely taken by surprise when the flower pattern was shared by Lucy of Attic24 as a flower for Yarndale 2015!
I also made some crochet buttons for a Craftsy post, which I used for an upcycled vintage bag.
I like the idea of upcyling so I couldn’t resist a second one too…
I can’t now remember exactly when I started the second Facebook group, The Crafternooners but in August I did two new patterns just for this lovely group. The flower bunting and the daisy ripple cushion, both made with Deramores own brand Studio DK.
This is the month of the great Yarndale event in Skipton, now in its third year and I booked my tickets early, arranging to stay with my brother in Otley on the Saturday night so I could go for both days. What a wonderful weekend it was – I have some very good friends over there now and met up with Julie for breakfast at Coopers on the Saturday and had lunch with Yvonne (@bonnieslittlecrafts on instagram) for lunch. And of course saw Lucy briefly in her Knit and Natter lounge when she wasn’t being mobbed by the crowd!
I made this Harmony squares bag in honour of the occasion and took it along. It was very funny to have it recognised from the pictures I’d posted on Instagram and Facebook!
The Flowers for Memories display and the wall of mandalas were very special and my photos really don’t do them justice.
Just before Yarndale I had been busy making yet another new crochet bag. This one was for the Stylecraft blog tour and I chose a new stitch to show off the lovely colours in the Limited Edition pack of Special DK. This is knitting I can cope with (because its actually crochet!). The full pattern and tutorial for the rainbow tote bag is right here on my blog.
This month I also designed some fingerless mittens – to match the rainbow tote bag using the same stitches and colours.
I took them along to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in London, where I spent some time chatting with the people on the Stylecraft stand.
I also released my first pay-for pattern at the end of October, the Sammhain scarf in colours that just say Halloween and autumn.
Another bag for November, this time the Crochet Dreamz bag using my favourite shades of Stylecraft Special Chunky – gold, magenta, plum, emperor and burgundy.
This is the start of an as-yet unfinished project using the lovely Deramores Vintage Chunky. I think I have a bit of a thing for chunky weight yarn!!!
In November, Lucy started her crochet along at Attic24 and I decided to do a smaller version of the two blankets to try to bust a bit of my stash. I loved the log cabin square so much that I have just carried on working around it and its getting bigger and bigger…
Another pair of fingerless mittens also popped off my hook – these were also for a Craftsy blog post to demonstrate how to use the extended single crochet stitch. I made them into my second pay-for pattern and I am pleased to say that these Stormy Skies fingerless mittens have gone down a storm.
I’m venturing into paid patterns to try to make the blog self financing. It does cost to host a blog and to pay for routine maintenance and technical help as necessary so I need to make it earn a few pennies too. My patterns are currently only £1 each, or $1.50. After paypal takes its fees I only end up with about 3/4 of that – but every little helps as they say!
I really enjoyed doing a granny stripe blanket in the sunny CAL colours with Attic24 – this was my Christmas present to myself – a blanket to snuggle under in the evenings as I crochet and plan new projects and sometimes work on my blog. Although it does make the laptop overheat I find!
I began this month by making a trip to the Stylecraft Mill in Slaithwaite, just a few junctions west on the M62. What an interesting place! I loved the mill tour and rambled on and on about it…
I also celebrated the tadah! moment for my granny stripe blanket, finished a few days before Christmas. I love it to bits!
I also made two more bags – Christmas evening bags this time for a blog post on Love Crochet! I’ll be releasing this as a pattern in the New Year as an evening bag with a Valentine’s twist so watch this space…
My final bit of crochet for the year has been the Christmas giant granny mandala. I did think about trying to do the pattern but Christmas took over – I will do one so that its around for next Christmas!
What a year of crochet!
When I look back on it I realise how much I’ve achieved but I hope to do more next year, more bags, more crochet, more patterns and more fun. I hope you’ll join me and make 2016 an even better crochet year worth celebrating in 12 months time!
Thank you for all your support and lovely comments this year, on my blog and on Facebook and Instagram. Love you all xxxxxxxxxx