I wouldn't say I am really a fan of the New Year, New You idea, I mean what's so wrong with me as I am? And planning big changes or even small ones can feel like a lot of pressure so, I just don't.
I do think the New Year is nice pace to start new things though, especially things like 365 day projects, there is a roundness to it. This year I have a lot of gentle, slow stitching planned, projects that are really quite personal but still something I'll be sharing with you as I go. Partly to make me accountable (I am pretty crap at finishing stuff sometimes) but also to hopefully inspire you, too.
Why gentle or slow stitching?
I am the sort of person who needs to be doing something all the time, I need to be working on something and I go better at this last year, working on things for me, not just class prep but I need to do more. Not only is it good for me, my mental health, my creativity, it inspires me to come up with better classes and workshops, it encourages my students and it's empowering in general to be creating something yourself, and that is, after all, what I am all about.
Gentle and/or slow stitching is just that, no pressure, just easy, something to get lost in, even if it's just for 10 minutes a day. It's a form of self care and that is more important that most people realise, despite all the buzz about 'self-care' and 'self-love' 2018 brought us.
The first of my 2019 gentle stitching projects is a daily project. 365 days of crochet and is focusing on my own mental health and happiness. For this project I am making myself a mood blanket. Firstly, you can never have too many handmade blankets, fact, but secondly and most importantly, this blanket is a way of keeping a check on myself, my moods and how I am feeling generally.
How does it work?
A mood blanket basically charts your moods, they are very personal things, so no two persons will ever look alike, in fact if I made one every year, they would be totally different each time.
Every day I will stitch two rows of my blanket in my the colour of my mood. I have predetermined my colours and given each one a mood or feeling.
For this blanket I have chosen 14 colours so 14 moods. I obviously have WAY more than 14 moods or feelings but I wanted to keep this as straightforward as possible and not get lost down a rabbit whole of over thinking or fifteenmilliongazillon balls of yarn...
By the end of 2019 I will have a blanket of 730 rows. Thousands and thousands of stitches, showing my year, as I felt it. The good and the bad. I won't pick colours that I think look better, or swap things out so it doesn't show if I'm depressed for four straight days, it'll be my true, overall feeling, at the end of every day. Having said that, I think giving myself this visual of how I'm feeling will help me in a lot of ways, so hopefully there won't be blocks of really low days at all, as I'll see where I'm heading and help myself. See, self care!
As this is very personal, I won't be explaining why I've picked a certain colour on a particular day, the colours will say enough.I started by picking colours I was drawn to, ones I liked and ones that overall would look nice together in any combination. Once they arrived I made swatch pegs and decided which colour and what mood worked best.
This was by far the trickiest bit, I had to pick moods I knew I felt, and as it turns out, for me, it's easier to pick miserable ones than not, which is kinda sad I suppose. That being said I'm pretty reserved when it comes to expressing positive things, I don't get overly excited or bouncy about stuff and as I mentioned there are some anxiety things going on. Either way, I know that my blanket will be interesting and certainly make me a lot more self-aware.
So, the colours.
I'm using Stylecraft Special DK acrylic yarn, from Wool Warehouse and as I mentioned I have picked 14 colours and given them the moods/feelings as follows;
Storm Blue - Low/depressed
Mushroom - Relaxed
Teal - Happy
Silver - Tired
Khaki - Deflated
Cloud Blue - Sad/Upset
Gold - Contented
Petrol - Inspired
Walnut - Nervous
Grey - Stressed
Graphite - Frustrated/Annoyed
Boysenberry - Excited
It's possible that I'll add extra colours during the year if I feel there aren't enough or I don't have something that reflects my mood, but we'll see. For now 14 is enough to be getting on with.
Above: 4 days of stitching. Colours used; Petrol, Khaki, Mustard, Silver
As for the pattern I'm using, I'm going for something fairly repetitive, this is so I can just stitch and not think about anything else, so I've chosen a ripple pattern. This is creating beautiful waves of colour that I think will work wonderfully for the purpose of this project.
If you want to learn to crochet you can join my Beginners Crochet workshops and if you already know the basics but want to learn things like the ripple stitch, my Intermediate Crochet workshop would be a great class to join.