Friday 18 November 2022

...colour crochet mania

For my birthday this year I was treated to membership of an online crochet course I've been coveting for months - 'Homage to the (Granny) Square', by Sue Maton at The Mercerie. The course runs over 6 months, with permanent access to the online material once the 'live' course is over. The start date was 1st November, and for the past few weeks we have been focussing on colour theory, making colour wheels...
...experimenting with tone and colour harmonies...
...exploring the Rowan Felted Tweed colour range (the recommended yarn)...
...playing with possible colour combinations - I used an online app for this...
...until finally arriving at our own individual colour schemes after (in my case) hours of careful deliberation. 
I was thinking about the beach at Seahouses (never far from my mind's eye) when I made my choices. The centre of my blanket will predominantly consist of the first five colours, which remind me of the sand dunes and sky at sunrise/sunset. The border will utilise the four blues, representing sea and sky. The vibrant red is my "wild" colour - inspired by the huge red poppies we saw growing wild amongst the dunes last summer. 

This is probably the most ambitious (and expensive) project I have ever embarked upon. I never usually buy expensive yarn - my "stash" consists of odd balls bought in sales, charity shop finds and cast-offs from friends. I still have oddments of yarn from when my children were little (30+ years old!). Those same lovely children clubbed together to give me a voucher for my local wool shop for my birthday, to help with the cost of the yarn, and I found an online shop offering a 25% discount for the rest. Even so, it feels a bit 'wrong' to be spending so much money on myself, especially during a global recession...but I'm itching to make a start with these gorgeous colours, and I know I'll love every second of the making process. Hopefully the finished blanket will be both beautiful and useful, and enjoyed by all of us for a very long time.

Hot off my hook - keeping my hands busy while I wait to embark on 'The Blanket of Joy' - is this wondrous creation, made of cheap and cheerful Stylecraft yarn - leftovers from this year's 100 day project, my daughter's Rose Cottage blanket and the Attic24 Harmony blanket that got me back into crochet just 12 short months ago. 
I made it up as I went along, starting with two large, identical hexagons, which each formed an 'L' shape (for the sleeves and body) when folded in half. I widened the back and lengthened the body with some big granny squares, and then added more length, and breadth at the front, with another ten rounds (starting centre back, going up the front, round the neck and down the other side). I added smaller granny squares to the sleeves, to make them 3/4 length, and then did a few decreasing rounds to gather them in slightly.
Sticking to traditional granny square rules I gave almost zero thought to colour combinations - mostly just grabbed the nearest ball to hand at the start of each round. I fully accept that it's at the loud and garish end of the colour scheme spectrum, and probably not to most/many people's tastes! My daughter has already named it 'Joseph' and I suspect my husband is refraining from comment on the grounds of 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'...but it's a really warm, substantial garment (like a blanket in clothing form), and I will probably live in it all winter. It also fits beautifully with my 'Pushing 60 and Past Caring' style aesthetic!

Monday 7 November 2022

...Seahouses IX

Day One: First (rather blurry) glimpse of the beach, late afternoon, wind whipping the waves and driving sand across the shore, with Bamburgh Castle on the horizon. All this photo needs is a swooning lady with a heaving bosom in the foreground to make it the perfect front cover for a Mills & Boon historical romance.
The wind drove us away from the scouring sand towards the rocky shoreline at the start of the beach. I've never explored this section before - the path takes you onto the beach just after the rocks, and they're often under water unless the tide is quite far out. We've always just walked away from them, in the opposite direction, which turns out to have been a "Big mistake. Huge". (Roberts, J., 1990, Pretty Woman) These stratified rocks are AMAZING, carved and shaped by wind, sand and water into sweeping curves, etched with intricate swirls and patterns, and especially beautiful when softly lit by the low autumn sun. What a welcome back!

Day Two: We walked from Seahouses to Bamburgh along the beach. The wind had left hundreds of pebbles perched on their own little plinths...sea snail colonies huddled among the rocks...and porcelain-fine sea urchin shells scattered on the sand.

Day Three: We walked the length of the beautiful crescent beach at Beadnell Bay, on an overcast, windy day, pausing to watch the kite surfers sweeping back and forth across the surface of the waves, occasionally becoming airborne, like leaping salmon. Picked up a glowing turquoise shell, half-buried in the sand, which faded to pearly white indoors, away from that big, blue, reflective space.
Day Four: Rain was forecast, and rain came. We spent most of the day indoors, relaxing, reading, watching films, then mid-afternoon decided to disregard the weather and head for the beach. Even when it's almost entirely stripped of colour, misty, cold, and wet, this is still my favourite place to be - complete with prehistoric cave paintings and sentimental Valentines doodled in the sand.

Day Five: We packed up the car and parked by the beach for the final walk of the holiday - heading straight for the rocks this time! I will never grow tired of this beautiful place.