In early 2020, just before the world changed, I ran a community crochet project at The Forum in Norwich as part of the Norfolk Makers Festival.
I love collaborations and any other excuse to bring people together with a shared goal and a packet of biscuits.
In 2019 the first few Wallflowers blankets had emerged from my initial ‘Mystery Blanket’ course and the 2020 Norfolk Makers Festival was the perfect opportunity to exhibit these beauties and host some crochet workshops inspired by them. It was also a chance to bring people together and raise money for a local charity – The Boudica Breast Cancer Appeal.
So over the course of two weeks I ran several crochet workshops where people could learn to make some of the Wallflower motifs whilst also contributing to a beautiful collective blanket that would be raffled to raise money for the appeal.
It was a fabulous and industrious two weeks. I met some wonderful people; many of them had their own personal reasons for wanting to support the project. Some people were new to crochet, some were experienced and some people just wanted to drop by to say hello, offer their support and have a chat.
Between us we made a number of crochet flowers and motifs which would be pieced together over the coming months in some follow up meetings and many of us were looking forward to another excuse to meet up; drawn together by our collective passion.
But we all know what happened next. COVID prevented any follow up meetings, progress stalled and for over a year the work remained in pieces – fragments of an arrested project with no visible conclusion.
I’m no stranger to unfinished projects. I know that craftwork can stall for many reasons – but most of them are generally self determined- we lose the enthusiasm, we’ve made a mistake and can’t face un-doing or we’re distracted by a new project.
This was different; I had no choice.
But I had to complete this project.
We’d raised £250, the raffle had been drawn and we had a winner.
But in March 2020 all they’d won was a bag full of bits with no blanket in sight.
I put the bag away and watched the outside world through the window of my laptop as all group activities ceased and I focused my attention online.
A year passed with no progress.
Then a few more months.
And then I met Jess, (now my brilliant assistant) and after a brief conversation about the languishing charity blanket she galvanised me into action and created The Charity Project Dream Team (left to right: Tricia, Bernie, me and Jess)
We met several times, dodging COVID scares as 2021 turned 22 and our bag of bits began to grow and take shape. Somehow in the midst of a pandemic we managed to laugh and find joy in this shared activity.
Design decisions were made spontaneously and my menopausal brain fog meant that on many occasions the blanket was swept away from me with a “don’t worry Sue we’ll sort it out”. There was always someone willing to ‘do the ends’ and somehow, miraculously we finished this epic project- and it’s beautiful.
I’m hugely grateful to everyone who began this project with me at The 2020 Norfolk Makers Festival, and I’m immensely grateful to the three people who picked up the threads and worked so generously and diligently to get it finished in time for this years festival.
If you’d like to see the finished blanket it will be on display in The Forum, Norwich from Wednesday 9th March – Sunday 20th March and if you come along on 16th March at 6pm you’ll also be able to hear me talk about my lockdown project Crojoretro; the project that helped to keep me, and many others around the world, distracted during the darkest days of the pandemic.
Oh – and there’s just one other thing I haven’t mentioned……..
I may be good at crochet, and bringing people together, but my admin and organisational skills are rubbish – so somewhere along the way I managed to lose the contact details of the lucky person who won the finished Collaborative Wallflowers Blanket. 🙄
So if you happen to know this person – or if it’s YOU- please get in touch and claim your beautiful prize; it’s time for me to pass it on.