In the second of my guest blog posts I’m delighted to introduce Caroline, a prolific crocheter with FOUR Homage blankets complete – and a beautiful Wallflowers WIP…..
Over half a century ago my grandmother taught me to crochet. When I was 15 I made a blanket in Tunisian crochet for my baby sister and in the 1960’s I picked up my hook again to make myself an evening dress. Ten years later I crocheted a christening gown for my daughter.
But I hadn’t done much in recent times, the patterns on sale didn’t appeal to me, it all felt very dated.
Then, in September 2019, a friend suggested I join her on Sue’s course, Homage to the (granny) Square crochet course and it was so exciting!
We had to choose a range of beautiful colours from Rowan Felted Tweed. Such rich, subtle, sensual colours! We spent over two hours just picking our wool. Some people agonised over their choices, I found myself drawn to certain colours quite instinctively and I decided to go with my gut feeling.
I learned so much on that course, new techniques but I also learned to trust that it would turn out just fine, even though at times I wondered if I had been a bit hasty in my colour choices. At the end of six months of hard work I completed my first blanket, and it’s beautiful!
I was nearing the end of this project when I saw an exhibition of Sue’s Wallflowers blankets and I was completely bowled over. I knew that I would have to undertake this as well. I wanted to leave some time before starting another challenging course so I decided to wait the following October.
Meanwhile I made another 3 Homage blankets.
Wallflowers has provided a rather different journey. We started off face to face, albeit socially distanced and wearing masks. Again, we spent nearly 3 hours picking the 16 colours we are using on this project.
Some of us were experienced crocheters and one brave person was starting out from scratch! By now I’m sure she is as skilled as the rest of us.
This is a very big undertaking. And having to work remotely has created its own challenges. Sue is a brilliant teacher, she’s calm and encouraging, gets you out of trouble and is endlessly patient. But after our first session we were only able to see her online.
In fact, it has worked very well. The instructions arrive by email, they are very clear and comprehensive and the accompanying videos are a good substitute for watching her demonstrate the stitches in person.
Once again I have learned so much. We still have a way to go but we are getting there and the finished blanket will undoubtedly be spectacular.
Lockdown has provided the time and space required for such a big task. The hexagons are joined ‘as you go’ so the piece gets larger and larger. One of our dogs loves to steal balls of wool so I have to guard them from her or retrieve them from her bed! Some of my colours are very dark and so I have to grab the few hours of winter daylight.
It has been such a rich and precious occupation during the isolation of lockdown.
I have found it very meditative. I have to put all my attention on some of the more complex motifs, and keep counting the stitches – and unpicking at times. There have been occasions where I have wondered if I could ever figure out exactly where a particular hexagon had to go, but I have stuck at it and I think it’s all coming together as it should.
We set up a WhatsApp group which has been great. We support and encourage one another and the monthly Zoom sessions allow us to show our work and iron out any problems with Sue.
I don’t intend to make another Wallflowers blanket, apart from the amount of work involved it is costly. But the Rowan wool is so beautiful that it is a joy to work with, and you would not want to scrimp on the materials for what will certainly be a family heirloom.
For the Wallflowers project I had an idea of the palette I wanted to use. Our fig tree was particularly generous last autumn and I had some photos that I took with me on the first day. Rich fig colours, purples and deep pink, silver greys and also sharp green and acid yellow. It was a very useful starting place.
Sue warned us that in all probability we would at some point question our colour choices, but one of the great attributes of this yarn is that the colours work so well with each other. Sometimes I felt that two shades were rather too close to one another but actually the differences are discernible in the finished piece. In any case a colour can look surprisingly different when worked alongside others.
She also suggested that we should not ask for other people’s opinions.
This is an intensely personal project; every piece is unique and reflects the personality of the maker.
We need to trust ourselves.