Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A New Look

So, you may have noticed that the blog is beginning to change...what do you think of my brand spanking new logo? It was designed for me by a very good friend who blogs over at The Bungaloo, where she has previewed the logos, too. She is a designer with a great eye, quirky style and is a genius with fonts, while she knows me well, so I knew I wanted to work with her on it. She came up with this beauty - I love the linear quality and the use of yarn within the text, while the colours are just so me. Hopefully we shall be working together more on the look of the blog and other, larger projects next year, so stay tuned!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

healing crafts

Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but I have finally had to make the admission to myself (which you may have already gathered yourself from my previous sporadic posting!) that I am a blogger of very good intentions but a lack of time to actually dedicate to posting! I don’t want to make excuses, but since my last post, added to all the regular work and life stuff, there have been other reasons for my lack of presence.

Looking back at my last post, all the way back in March, it feels like such a short time ago, but in that few months so much has changed for us. I don’t usually talk about personal things on this blog. I try to keep to the yarny stuff. I find that comes more easily to me. But recently there seem to be a lot of stories on the web about craft as a powerful healer and I have found crafting (and talking) has helped me through a hard time this year.

Recently I had a lovely chat with the gorgeous sisters behind the yarn company Millamia, which is experiencing its own transitional year in many ways and it made me think once more about my experiences this year and was the motivation for writing them down here. When I wrote that last post in March I was in the middle of writing a new book (due out next year) and I was making a soft, pretty granny blanket for it using the gorgeously squishy Millamia Aran weight.  When I began making the blanket it was a daily reminder of the impending exciting, positive changes I had to look forward to this year. I enjoyed working on that blanket so much, the yarn is a pleasure to work with and the colours are so calming. As anyone who follows me on Pinterest or Instagram will know, the greyscale and pop of warm ochre is one of my all time favourite colourways!

In the week following that last March post, two things happened – I got very ill and we moved home. Not just to a new house, but a new county. I have always lived in and around London, but this confirmed big city gal has overcome her vertigo and moved (slightly) north! Away from friends and family for a new adventure. Despite my initial worries, I am finding that I enjoy the slower pace of life, the serenity of the surrounding countryside and the large network of families who surround us. The most joyous thing is seeing my daughter play in our street with her new friends, which she never did in the city.

The blanket, meanwhile, became something different – it was a symbol of the hopefulness I had felt before that fateful week and a soothing project I needed to work through to help myself heal. I needed to finish that project before anything else. It needed ‘closure’. As I worked, I posted a picture on Instagram, my little reach out to the world. I mused about how many different, conflicting emotions could be captured in a project, entwined in the rhythmical knotting of one long piece of thread. I thought I was being cryptic enough to protect my own privacy, but a good friend insisted that we meet to talk. I was moved to tears. The healing had begun. I am now looking forward to hopefully having that blanket returned to me once the book is published as a tangible reminder of all I have been through this year, in the hope I will never forget the myriad of important emotions I experienced. Much like a Crochet Mood Blanket, it is more powerful than even a diary from the time could have been, when I couldn’t phrase all the things I needed to say, pick out the important stuff from all the thoughts rushing through my head.

I know that the way I have used crafting in my life to work through problems is not unique. I have heard many similar stories to mine over my years working with yarn, especially when I worked in Loop. Our ancestors knew all about yarn, crafts and their healing, commemorative properties, about the love that can be shared through one piece of fabric. I have discovered, from my own experiences teaching textiles, that groups of people crafting talk about things they would not usually share with strangers, a phenomenon that I have read people have utilised in therapeutic ways. I feel almost like an online crafting, creative community has also aided my own healing and I want to say thank you to all the people who have generously shared their own stories directly with me, or indirectly through sharing with the Internet at large. You have been a great help.

Normal service will continue shortly. Hopefully with a new-look blog and a rejuvenated approach. In my time away I have been planning more tutorials, free patterns and content that I hope you will find useful. I am now starting the process of teaching my little one to knit, which I shall also share here to aid you with teaching your own little ones. I am hoping she will enjoy it and use it as a tool for relaxation, creativity, healing – whatever she wishes. Perhaps she will even think fondly of the craft as a link to me, in the way that I feel I have a link to my own mother, and even my great grandmother and the generations further back that I have no knowledge of who passed down these skills. These are the things I love about yarn crafts. The things I am endlessly interested in. I hope you are too. I will never tire of talking about them, and want to encourage this talking, crafting and perhaps even healing.