Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Crochet to calm a noisy mind

There are so many things buzzing around my head at the moment and the biggest one is Christmas. I know some don't like to think about it this early but I need to get my head around the planning now, before it all gets too busy. Where are we going, what are we doing, what is required of me? Do I need to order a turkey? That sort of thing. There are children's wish lists to be coordinated and gift ideas distributed among family members, budgets agreed; with a large extended family and six December birthdays, we plan these things with military precision.

I haven't yet made Christmas cakes or preserves yet, something I usually do in October, and I've missed this seasonal task of mine as it's one I always enjoy. I am thinking about Christmas crafting, something I really can't leave until the last moment; gifts for the children and my friends, perhaps something decorative for the house too. Teacher gifts: do I want to make individual Christmas cakes? If so what shall I bake them in? And I better get a move on and buy the ingredients. 

I've been trying to make a pumpkin pie cheesecake for the last three weeks. I keep buying the ingredients (gingersnaps, digestive biscuits, cream cheese, double cream) and every weekend I run out of time to bake it, and the biscuits get eaten, the cream used in something else. I'll make it though if it kills me, I didn't buy overpriced tins of Libby's pumpkin puree for nothing.

Work should be starting on our new roof any day now. I need to check when the scaffolding is going to arrive. I am mostly in denial about this huge piece of home improvement, and the holidays and other things we're sacrificing to get it done, and the cost. 

I need to get in touch with the puppy training place and see when we can start taking Ziggy to some puppy socialisation classes. We also need to work a on the house training more. I'm getting kind of sick of cleaning the floors. We are enjoying some lovely autumnal woodland walks with him though, especially over the weekends.

I am tired and a bit grumpy. I'm sneezing a lot and my throat hurts, so I'm fairy sure I'm coming down with a cold.

We only have one episode left of Stranger Things to watch. It's been so good, I don't really want to watch the final episode though because that means it will be over.

The weather has turned colder and we've been lighting the fire most nights, and candles too. Bella has given herself the job of candle lighter and enjoys lighting them for our family meals, or just a couple in the living room when we're all in there together. I've got lots of candle stick stubs and tumble dryer fluff and I'm wondering whether I could make some homemade firelighters with them. Pinterest will have the answer, I feel sure. 

We had an hour long power cut last Friday night, around tea time. It was a major pain, although I did feel justified in all my candle stick purchases because let's just say that we were amply lit. But quite a few times since then the lights have flickered and dimmed, and John and I look at each other and think, power cut?

These are just some of the thoughts buzzing around my noisy head tonight (is yours the same?) and when it gets like this I reach for Soothing Crochet. Something I don't have to think about - nothing to count, no decisions to make, no pattern to consult. I have for some time now had a bag of rather nice cashmerino yarn scraps, half and quarter balls left over from various projects over the years, and some my mum gave to me left over from some cushions she'd made. They are mostly black and greys with some pinks, reds, pale blue and a sort of charteuse yellow. Together they weighed around 200g, or the equivalent of four new balls, so enough for a project. 

I made a long foundation chain, joined it, crocheted into it in double stitches. Then I started working in clusters of three trebles, to create a sort of granny stripe but continuous. I reach for a colour and work with it until it runs out, changing the yarn midway through a row if necessary.

It's about half way through now. With every row it grows in structure and density. I don't want it to be floppy, I want it to have some substance to it. 

My plan is just to crochet until the yarn is gone. I have kept back enough for the final row, in black, but other than that it's just all rolling together, one continuous cowl. I like how dark and moody the colours are, perfect for a dark and wet November day. I think I might go and hook a few rows now, in fact, with a cup of tea and some chocolate. 

Joining in with Jennifer at Thistlebear's Winter Project Link Party.


  1. I know what you mean, with all these thoughts buzzing. I don't even feel like it is early now to be thinking of Christmas! I feel that if I don't get organised now, it'll be a mad stressful rush in December which will take any enjoyment out of it - and I don't yet have children to worry about either, so I can only imagine how much more you have to think about! I've got my wedding in May that I'm planning too - and it just feels like there are so many things to decide on, tasks to do, plans to make!
    I'm working on a baby blanket, which is just simple rows with a filet pattern - and I completely agree with you that it is soothing to just crochet effortlessly to calm the chaotic mind! I love the look of your soothing crochet - the pops of colour in the greys and blacks look great!

  2. Your mind sure is buzzing with Christmas craziness already! I'm making our fruit cake this weekend, and beyond that we've pared things down considerably to allow us to enjoy the season. Love the colours in your cowl! Beautifully made :)

  3. We're coming up to our silly season - 4 birthdays, Christmas and then New Year, all within 6 weeks. I find that alcohol helps! Your cowl is gorgeous; you definitely have a way with colour. I have a bag of leftover yarn from various projects. I'm putting squares in a Cosy Memories Blanket and then plan on making a granny stripe crochet blanket with the rest; it may take me a while! It's a nice time of year for power cuts - all those candles, so cosy. Best to stock up, just in case! xx

  4. I love Christmas and the Advent month, but I have not been as busy work-wise in a long time as I am this year. Therefore, I need a bit more planning, too. It is a good feeling to have some things done early; others must wait. My weekends are usually taken up with being at O.K.'s or he being at my place, but there is one weekend at the end of this month when I will be on my own, and I am planning on Getting Things Done then - hopefully, it will be the nastiest of weather so as I won't be induced to go out for long walks!
    All the best for your upcoming roof job. O.K.'s house had a new roof put on just now; the scaffolding was there for about six weeks, and we are not entirely happy with the quality of work. But the little house (more a cottage) has a very oddly shaped roof to begin with, so no standard work for the men, which explains why it took them so long.
    I like the colour combination on your current crochet project.

  5. Keeping your hands busy is a good way to calm your thoughts :-)

    I hope the roof repair goes well, it is cold time of year to have it it fixed and I am glad you have a wood fire stove to keep you toasty.

    As for Christmas, take a step back and see what is really important: spending time with loved ones. Christmas in Britain is so stressful, so much pressure from shops, magazines, social media and family to have a "perfect" day. I know you enjoy making gifts and nice edibles but if it stresses you out, just leave it. Your happiness/sanity is more important than a homemade Christmas cake. Budgeting is useful, and coordinating budgets and wish lists with family, too (but military precision sounds stressful). We've had a higgledy piggledy to completely chaotic kind of Christmas for years, it always comes together in the end. I grew up with spaghetti Christmas dinners - and survived.

    Ziggy is still a baby, he'll be house trained soon, promise. I'll let you into a secret: we have never done puppy training classes with Jack. School runs, busy bus stops and walks around the neighbourhood offer lots of opportunity to socialise.

    Anyway, must run, work to be done. Hope you feel less grumpy and tired today xx and hugs

  6. You're so good at the holiday prep, I'm sure it will all come together just fine. I hope the roof repair goes well, and is fast so you aren't in the cold. We had ours done in the time between closing on the house and moving into it, so we weren't actually living in it yet. We make firestarters from wood shavings (from the workshop) and old candles in a paper cup. So easy and almost free. Your cowl is lovely, I really like the colors. Thanks for joining in with my link party.

  7. I love those moody colours, beautiful. Overwhelm in my brain too, can't hold on to a thought for more than a minute before another one crowds in. Anxiety levels high, you have made me think I should crochet something. I did try to knit a bit, but the dog got it, you know how it goes. I am waiting to see how far through the family the norovirus rips at the moment. Two down. Sigh. Could do without it. CJ xx

  8. Puppy training is soooo hard sometimes. I actually think it causes mental health problems, well it did for me anyway. No offence to anyone who has real mental health problems. We had electricity problems too but luckily in the summer so it wasn’t too much of a hardship, but consequently had to have a new fuse box fitted last week which cost quite a lot. Crochet definitely calms the mind and I both crocheted and knitted whilst the work was being done to ease my busy brain. Can I please now crochet through Xmas in the hope it passes me by? Not my favourite season I’m afraid - maybe because I’m in charge of everything and I don’t like spending the money on anything except yarn? Enjoy. You always seem so organised.xx

  9. Do hope your cold is getting better... I have started festive thoughts, but organised and purchased nothing as yet. This slightly worries me - thank goodness for crochet and knitting st these times!

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