Daffodil, willow and snail

I promise that I won’t report back every time I have personal contact with one of my fellow bloggers, but I do want to share these with you:

Mementos of our first meeting

Mementos of our first meeting

A few weeks ago I travelled all of 500m from my front door to see Katy the Night Owl… fellow blogger. We would never have met if it wasn’t for blogging, despite living so close to each other. Anyway, on that first meeting I took her a bunch of daffodils (that we were kindly allowed to pick by Reena, a local farmer’s wife) and budding willow (from our hedge).

Katy was keen to make a contribution to the masterpiece and so her squares were inspired by that bunch of flowers. I went round to see her yesterday for a chat and to collect these beautiful creations. In addition, she had crocheted a tiny snail for me, that she turned into a brooch whilst we drank tea together… he’s there on the picture, but doesn’t show up very well.

I was able to take the BonBon hat over to show Katy how beautifully the yarn she had given me had worked up. Inspired, she added a BonBon to her list of things to make.

I’m still bowled over by the sense of community here in the blogosphere and the joy of finding individuals with similar interests, but I never expected to make a friend who I could walk over to have a cup of tea with whenever I felt like!

Bonbon…. or possibly pas bon

I was hoping to have lovely pictures of a completed hat to post today, but it’s not to be. Whilst awaiting the final masterpiece squares, I decided to have a go at making a Bonbon hat, as described by Jill on her blog Nice Piece of Work. Katy the Night Owl had given me some yarn that she couldn’t use and I thought it looked ideal for playing around with and making a hat:

Ready to go last Monday

Ready to go last Monday

 

However, yarn is a fickle thing and, despite what the labels say, all double knitting wool is not the same. The yarn is acrylic and wool and has plenty of stretch and I have quite a small head, so I thought that I would be able to make a hat just by following Jill’s basic instructions. However, by last Thursday when it was 22cm long it had turned into a very snug beanie hat (which I didn’t photograph)… not exactly the look I was going for… here’s what one should look like:

A Nice Piece of Work Bonbon

So, I frogged it back to the central few rounds, increased my number of increases, worked a few more rows and increased a bit again and I do now seem to have something that might be the right shape. In the past I hated having to frog my work, but these days it really doesn’t bother me so much. Jill stated quite clearly that the instructions for the Bonbon hat were just a guide and I have, so far enjoyed exploring the shape and pattern. Perhaps I’m more relaxed because I don’t need this hat and didn’t buy yarn specifically to make it; perhaps it’s because I’ve discovered the joys of the journey rather than the destination; or perhaps I’ve just got less up tight as I get older. Of course, the other thing about crochet is that you only have to pick up one stitch at the point you have to restart… a much easier prospect than for knitting. Whatever the reason, I’m having fun and, in the end, I’ll have a new hat.

So, in order to allow you to share the journey, here is progress so far…

Bonbon attempt 2... about 16cm long at the moment

Bonbon attempt 2… about 16cm long at the moment

Maybe this will work and maybe it won’t, but eventually I will know how to make a bonbon hat.

Many thanks  Jill for the inspiration and Katy for the yarn.

Calling time… and starter’s orders

Circle of friends on the left and the beginning of a shell stitch square on the right... both with yarn from Katy the Night Owl

Circle of friends on the left and the beginning of a shell stitch square on the right… both with yarn from Katy the Night Owl

It will soon be time to collect in the last of the masterpiece squares… a few more weeks and that will have to be the end. I’m expecting quite a few more to arrive before then, though. Yesterday I finished adding Flo’s squares, and I have a small collection of others that are edged but not yet stitched in. Plus, I keep getting inspired to make another square or two myself – currently a ‘circle of friends‘ square and a shell pattern square using yarn that Katy the Night Owl gave me on Wednesday (I wanted to mark our meeting within the masterpiece). Once all of the contributions and additions are stitched together I’ll be crocheting a border around the whole blanket to finish it off prettily… any suggestions for stitches to use gratefully received (I’ve made sure I have lots of yarn) as it’s not something that I have done before and I am dithering somewhat. If any squares do arrive after the blanket is completed, I’ll make a cushion to add to the set for extra comfort when I’m snuggled up thinking about my lovely friends who contributed.

The whole experience of creating a community work of art has been so inspiring to me, though, that I don’t want it to end. I will miss all the support and messages, not to mention the packages arriving through the mail. And so, as one lovely project ends, I have decided to embark on a new one… and you, dear readers, are amongst the first to know.

The current state of the masterpiece

The current state of the masterpiece

In order to raise some money for the wonderful Denmark Farm, I am going to encourage our local community, and those further afield who want to support us, to create some blankets to raffle off. We are going to have a series of ‘Cake and Craft’ afternoons (the first being on 23 April) where people can come along and make squares or embellishments. We’ll be skill-sharing, making friends and raising money all at the same time, as well as drinking tea and eating cake. For those who can’t actually come along, we’ll be accepting donations of yarn or additions to the blankets. I’m hoping that some of our local groups and organisations, like the WI, may want to contribute too. To make it all as inclusive as possible, rather than just asking for knitted and crochet squares (although these will be welcome), I’m planning an applique tree of life blanket too. This is inspired by Kate Chiconi’s quilt, but will be stitched onto a woolly blanket and will include felt, embroidery, knitting, crochet… anything the makers feel like. I’m still firming up details, but hopefully this new challenge will be another fun way to use crafts to draw together a community and have a positive impact on the world… ah, yes, craftivism again.

Near and far

Where you all come from

Where you all come from

When I first started writing this blog I don’t think I had any specific expectations about who would read it and, indeed, where in the world they would be. Over the months, however, it has been fascinating to see the range of countries appearing on the map of visitors. I’m still waiting for that elusive click from Greenland and it’s unlikely that it’s possible to visit from China, but the global spread is quite impressive. Although lots of visitors remain unknown, I have got to know many of my regular readers and I really love the fact that I’ve made new friends spread across the world. The Masterpiece project has been particularly lovely for making connections, and I feel especially close to the contributors when I hold their work in my hands. Of course, lots of my readers I already knew… family members, fellow permaculture apprentices, old friends… and it feels good to have this additional way of making a connection.

Yesterday, however, I managed a new experience… I went to visit someone in person who I’ve met through this blog. In the past I have directed people I’ve met face-to-face to read my posts, I’ve even chatted via Skype to a friend I’ve got to know through the blog (we must do it again Kate), but I’ve never been and called-in on someone before. It’s exciting to learn that you have readers in Poland, Brazil and Tasmania, but it’s a strange feeling to discover that one of your readers (who you’ve never encountered) lives about two minutes walk away! But so it is with Katy the Night Owl.

I came home with a full bag... that is the masterpiece peeking out from underneath

I came home with a full bag… that is the masterpiece peeking out from underneath

So yesterday afternoon, me and the masterpiece went on a visit. What a lovely time we had, talking crochet (well, me and Katy, the masterpiece just lay there and looked decorative). Katy can’t work with wool, so she gave me some balls of yarn that are no use to her… I really will have to use a bit of them to make a square to add to the masterpiece to represent “connections”. Now she’s seen the work for real, Katy’s going to make me a square, so I’ll be wandering around again once that’s done for another afternoon of tea and yarns (both sorts)…enjoying the company of a new friend. What a lovely yield from writing about things I’m interested in!

What about you? Have you made new connections through blogging? And if you’re new here, do say hello in the comments… you never know where it might lead!!

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