It started with a post…

A square representing many permaculture principles

The first square and letter

On 18 December 2013 I wrote post entitled My Masterpiece, inviting my blog readers to contribute to a knitted and crocheted blanket. I really didn’t dream that this would result in contributions arriving from around the world… North America, Africa, Asia and especially Australia. The very first square arrived before Christmas, in fact the letter that came with is was dated 19 December! That one was from Jennie… who came on one of my introduction to permaculture courses about three years ago. After that they just kept coming… I had weeks and weeks of getting little packages containing a square or two (Willow), or three (Nia) or even nine (Flo); I also received some lovely gifts – several of these from Australia, which must have added significantly to the postage. The whole experience was like having one long birthday!

A very special square

The final square to arrive

Of course all good things must end and so it was with slight sadness that I received my final square… hand delivered by Lorraine in June. I had a schedule to meet and so it couldn’t go on forever, how ever much I would have liked it to. It was bad timing, really… I had to crochet the edging of the blanket during a very warm summer, wearing shorts and t-shirt but swaddled in a cosy blanket. I managed to avoid passing out from heat exhaustion, and it was all finished in time for my diploma accreditation presentation as planned. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking it with me to visit all sorts of people and be duly admired, frequently with the comment “Oh I wish I could have contributed”. So, I have some good news… at the suggestion of the lovely Hannah from The Inkpot, I am (or rather you are) going to make a “Late-comers lap blanket”. Now is your chance to contribute if you didn’t before (or even if you did and want to again), but this time I’m not going to tell you what size square or rectangle to make… this is going to be a much more free-form creation and we’ll see what comes from it. It’s probably best to aim for something between 6 and 9 inches/15-22cm, but I will be able to accommodate anything… oh dear, famous last words! And, even better, I’m not on a deadline with this one, so you can take your time.

Of course, you start something like this and it makes ripples. The idea of this sort of crafty community creation was the inspiration for the blankets we’re making at Denmark Farm, three of which are now finished:

These (and more) are going to be raffled off to raise funds to support the work of the charity. I’ve just applied for the licence to run this ‘lottery’ as it’s legally termed and then I can get tickets printed up and start selling them.

But that isn’t the only ripple. Last night I had dinner with Jennie who made the first square. She’s recently had a a baby boy and she has decided that if people want to give him something, she’s going to ask for squares to make a friendship blanket – how great is that? I love the idea of marking a birth with this sort of creative project – so much more special than plastic toys, clothes or silver bracelets.

If my project has inspired you, perhaps you can use the idea yourself… if so, I’d love to hear about it.

Blanket #1

Blanket #1

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22 Comments

  1. Twitching with excitement about this one! A great idea about the birth blanket as that way anyone can contribute and what a personal, unique item? I was just given some wool samples that a friend was given when her nan died a few years ago. They have been sitting in her spare room for years and she was cleaning up, remembered that I crochet, and brought them for me to use if I could. Lovely burnt orange, flamingo orange, rose pink and black pure wool from the woolen mills that her nan used to work for. I would love to crochet/ knit (whatever…finger knit? 😉 ) you a square for your new lap blanket. A serendipitous square of great love with 1980’s wool from a mill that has long since ceased to be 🙂

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  2. I love your Masterpiece Blanket. You can never ever post enough pictures of that blanket. 🙂 (And OK, I can’t resist looking out for my little square each time.)

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    • Your square and accompanying chart were much admired by Jennie and her family last night… the scrapbook with all the letters and photos of the squares is such a lovely record of where they all came from. Every time I touch the blanket, I think of all the wonderful contributors and feel so close to them… an amazing object in so many ways!

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  3. I shall make a little something! 🙂 I am so glad to have the opportunity to participate as I wasn’t around for the first one. I love these community creations – I am about to start work on my project 🙂

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  4. …as soon as I find which of the boxes has the yarn in it. The truck is packed and sitting in the drive, and we have to kill some time today waiting for the phone call to say it’s all gone through. After which I can reverse the process, o joy…. But I shall definitely look for some yarn as a high priority!

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    • Hope the packing is progressing well… but you can bet that there will be things that take ages to reappear!

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      • … specifically, the box with the kitchen tools I held back because I use them every day. That one has disappeared, of course. But order is being reestablished slowly. I measured the yard, house and sheds out yesterday. Now all I need is the graph paper and I can start drawing plans.

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  5. There is something deeply sacred about these combined blankets. I love looking at your blanket and spotting my wee cats. I love all the other squares too. I also rather like the look of that cake too. 😀

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    • Every time I show it to someone I love telling the stories behind the squares and so feeling that much closer to my friends who contributed. You are in my thoughts often because I’m using the crochet cupcake as a pin cushion and so it’s regularly in my hands… thank you again for sending it.

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  6. Such a lovely idea and a beautiful finished project.

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  7. It always makes me feel happy hearing the story of how the Masterpiece came into being.It is a real heart and soul project and I am so happy it is going to happen again!

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  8. This project is enough to make me start crocheting again! When I was 9 years old, Mrs. Van Leer taught everyone in my forth grade class how to crochet. I have only re-visited this very satisfying practice from time to time as an adult. What a terrific project on so many levels! Thank you for doing it and thank you, too, for writing about it and sharing some photos.

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  9. Stunning end result, well done!

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