Sharing is an act of generosity and in this guest post Jess shares her emotive story of the role crochet has played in her most difficult of times……
“2020 has been a year we will all remember for so many reasons. The pandemic threw our worlds upside down and all of a sudden things were different. Out of nowhere, we were told to stay apart, stay home, and stay safe.
For me this was my worst nightmare. For as long as I can remember I’ve lived with anxiety and have always coped with that by keeping myself busy, going out and about and leaning on friends and family to support me. Suddenly all that was gone and to make it worse, it came at the most difficult time for me.
At the end of 2019 we lost our baby at 18wks, and then as lock down started I was in hospital losing another baby at 16wks.
The grief and loss was unimaginable and to face dealing with this at home with no friends or family to help was something I never thought I’d face.
Fortunately I had my amazing partner and my little 3 year old boy with me…my dream team!
I remember in March 2020 I was at flicking through Facebook when a photo popped up on The Mercerie’s Facebook page of a crochet leaf. I showed my partner and said
‘Isn’t this so beautiful? I’d love to make that!’
Little did I know that tiny leaf would turn into my absolute coping mechanism for the year to follow.
I began the Crojoretro project with some basic crochet skills from about 10 years before, thinking of it as ‘something to do to fill my time’ and use up lots of wool I had in the spare room upstairs. The spare room that should be a nursery and I daren’t walk into as my babies ashes were in there.
I walked into that room, and I found my wool…and gave a little smile to my babies.
I spent the next few months crocheting. Bit by bit I was making something beautiful. Sue’s teaching was amazing and her videos were so simple to follow. I began to feel like I was good at this!
There is no doubt in my mind that the meditative process of crochet helped me cope through this awful time. It calmed my anxiety, gave me a focus and a purpose when I felt like a failure. That blanket went everywhere with me!
I began looking round my garden for inspiration, beautiful Dahlias…they had to go in! Bright orange flowers, those too! And of course, lots of little blue forget-me-nots for my babies.
As I crocheted, I would talk to my babies. I would pour all the love and hope I had into this blanket… It was soft and I could cuddle it. It’s a bit lumpy bumpy in places and not ‘perfect’, a bit like my body now and I’m accepting that.
The image on the right was taken during a weekend spent at Chalet One Rainbows End
In September 2020, I decided to sign up to the Homage to the Granny Square course, with my new found confidence. Sue’s teaching is incredibly simple and easy to follow. The courses are paced perfectly so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
I met a wonderful group of online friends and created my blanket which I absolutely love! It’s bright and cheery and positive, which is how I have always seen myself… I’d just lost my way a little this year.
I chose rainbow colours and I visualised myself hanging it in a nursery one day.
Sadly in November 2020 I suffered a third miscarriage, but this time I felt I had my coping mechanisms in place.
My blankets will be loved, whatever their purpose. They are something I have completed in a time when it felt as though my body couldn’t complete the things I wanted it to.
I’ve just signed up to the Wallflowers course and can’t wait to pour my heart and soul into creating another piece of beauty, just because I can………”
All photos are by Jess Gallagher
Thank you Jess