December 2021 – Already?
Every year around this time, I realise that I had great intentions of becoming a world-famous craft blogger and then I don’t publish anything for a whole year. Here, we are again – the end of another year, 2021 is quickly drawing to a close. At the beginning of this year, I started with live video updates on some of my crafty projects and I absolutely loved it. I also enjoyed doing interviews with other crafters and thought it would be something I would continue doing, but 2021 was a difficult year.
Around the middle of the year my granny had to have hip replacement surgery. As I have said previously to you, she had dementia that was getting worse. So being admitted to hospital for surgery and again for observation for DVT, must have been very scary for her.
She was weaker both physically and mentally and we had to say our final goodbyes on the 2nd of August when she was taken from us. We didn’t attend her funeral as it unfortunately had to be held under very strict COVID restrictions. Two weeks later, my cousin passed on because of COVID complications, and yes you watch the funeral from another part of the country, but still feel like there is no closure.
When we first heard about COVID, it seemed to be something that a few people had and we still felt safe and protected, and in some weird way it almost felt that it was outside the bubble we operated in. Then suddenly it wasn’t just someone you know who knows someone, but it was the someone you know, then the someone you love. Whilst we continue trying to live our lives as normally as possible, there is still a lot of anxiety and fear whenever you have to leave home. Suddenly you become more aware of what your personal space means. With me working predominantly from home and never really having to venture out, I find that sometimes I jump out of the vehicle, take a few steps and realise, Oh dear, I forgot to put on my mask.
So, whilst I have not been keeping up to date with communicating, it has been a somewhat busy crafting year. I’ve thrown all my energy into crafting projects finding it to be the best stress reliever, helping me during times of grief, and finding solace in it during times of pain. I haven’t really gotten back into the full swing of crochet, but I released a pattern for a shawl this year called Time and Tide. I found the repeats quite therapeutic because it was easy to remember.
As you all know I have spent quite a lot of time knitting. I’ve become a bit of a knitting addict. My passion behind writing patterns is really to share techniques and skills that I’ve learnt, and when I get excited about something, I want to share the excitement with others. This year it was all about stranded colourwork. It was something I never thought I would do, and the two-handed fair isle technique just seemed completely foreign and then suddenly it became a challenge that had to be accomplished. This is probably my most favourite technique at the moment. When some of you commented about wanting to try it out but felt a little intimidated, I knew that I had to create a pattern just for you. In the beginning is a rather busy pattern, but creates the opportunity to help you gain confidence in this knitting technique, so you can move on to bigger and more complex patterns. The pattern gives you an option of knitting either a cowl or an infinity scarf or both.
I also consolidated all the weekly releases from the Sock-along 2020 into a single downloadable pdf reference guide. It’s a step-by-step guide to knitting the right size socks for you.
My head is always abuzz with ideas, but I have so much to learn still and whilst the thought of a sweater pattern is a goal to be achieved, there is much learning to still take place about shaping, grading for different sizes, and achieving a good fit, so in the meantime I am focusing on improving my knitting skills by doing test knits. I’ve absolutely enjoyed doing that this year. I joined Yarn Pond and every time a request for a test knit came up I looked to see if it was something that I would like to wear or make for someone and I signed up for it. It has been a lot of fun. I’ve also knitted for designers that I otherwise would not have heard about or come across – they are so talented and so skilled and design the most beautiful patterns that are well worth knitting.
So whilst there’s been quite a few, I’m going to choose sweaters for this mention and the top three on my list of designers I tested for. All of my projects for the year can be found on Ravelry here: The first is our own local South African designer, Noma Ndlovu from Bigger than Life Knits. Noma is extremely talented and has a wide selection of patterns to choose from, including two recently released colourwork sweaters.
I signed up for the test knit of the Lupinus sweater by Jules Coco. I was drawn to her profile because she is an environmental scientist like me, and I was completely inspired by her and her designs.
I am now sewing away the last of my ends on a sweater that I knitted within a month – a new record for me. The pattern is yet to be released. It’s by Kirsten- Michele. I was drawn to her because she was born in Durban, South Africa. Her sweaters are gorgeous, and I am already putting together a yarn kit for another one of her designs.
I do hope to continue with testing into the future, but I am taking a step back to focus on some of these ideas that keep me awake at night. You will find a lot more projects coming from me, some little and some not so little. But first, I need to desperately clean out my current work area. Given this long term working from home situation I’m actually not going to have space in my study to continue working, so it’s time to clean up and out and finish up some of those WIPS that have been lying around for a really long time.
Kim Lategan has been on my case a little (because I absolutely need her to remind me of my unfinished designs) to complete my Lattice and Loops crochet blanket which we started almost a year ago now, but I had stopped due to hand surgery. It really only requires a few more rounds before the blanket is complete so do watch out for some interesting new projects in 2022. I hope that as soon as I’ve finished some of these projects, they can be released as patterns, but writing patterns do require time and working from home for someone like me, means that I sometimes have a problem creating boundaries between work and the rest of my life. I do admit though, that sometimes sitting through virtual meetings allows me to multitask so I may pick up an easy project and work with it whilst listening in to meetings.
So, what was meant to be a short update on what’s been happening over the past few months has turned into a very long story. It’s finally time to take a very well-deserved break. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, be safe, take care of yourselves and your loved ones and hopefully you get in some crafting time and I’d love to see what you’re up to.
Until next time Create, Craft and Inspire!