I really do wish I could take better photos! However, I think you get the idea of this pair of pods that I created last night and in the early hours on waking.
These ones I’m really pleased with; they’re the ones that look most like the seed pods I draw. I’ve also progressed to adding leaves to the stems and that funny star-shape.
I’m going to spend the evening doing some more crochet. I had EMDR therapy this morning, and it has totally drained me. I was tired and emotionally fragile, to begin with; I’m now emotionally exhausted and need to take self-care time.
I know that if I were to attempt digital or traditional art/drawing, then I would not feel satisfied with what I do. I’d get frustrated with myself, I’d become overly self-critical and would end up feeling worse than I do now. Although I am emotionally exhausted, I feel calm and fairly content. I need to keep activities that would drag me down to a minimum until I am more emotionally resilient.
So, self-care it really does have to be this evening, and maybe some or all of tomorrow.
It’s the first day of astronomical Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere – Spring for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere.
The signs of autumn are all around me. leaves are starting to don their fiery autumn hues. Shiny-red rowan and hawthorn berries festoon the branches. Shiny purple-black bramble-fruits mask the sharp thorns on their canes. Nuts of all kinds are changing from green to brown – a veritable feast for all kinds of critters. Bunches of sycamore helicopters and ash keys can be seen peeking out from the dark-green-tinged-with-brown leaves. Fluffy seed-heads of clematis coat the hedgerows like some kind of Hallowe’en web-like decoration.
It is my favourite season of the year. I love the colours. I am fascinated with how nature reveals it’s underlying architecture as the foliage falls, creating piles of colourful, crunch leaves that remind me of glowing embers.
Nature really does prepare for the long winter sleep by donning her party clothes for a final blaze of glory , a memory that will stay with us throughout the cold, dark Winter months to remind us that she merely slumbers and will reawaken in the Spring.
So, given my current fascination with freeform crochet, I have created some seed pods; at least that’s what I had in mind as I created these forms.
I do want to add some beads to them; I can’t resist adding some sparkle!
Of course, seed pods are quite apt for the season the world is entering; they are in abundance. I do love seed pods; they feature in my artwork quite a lot. So, it’s quite natural that I’d want to try to recreate some of my weirder ones in crochet.
This kind of crochet is turning out to be a bit easier to do than I thought it would. I do have a lot to explore and discover and a lot more confidence to gain, but I think I’m making a good start. I do need to learn some more textural stitches as well how to create spirals just to start.
To give you an idea of size, the largest seedpod is approx. 12″ in length. I used a 3.50mm hook with DK yarn. I will make some more pods in four-ply yarn with finer hooks. They should work out smaller.
I suspect that on my travels I may come across some interesting yarns with various textures and finishes that I can use to add some interest. However, for now I will just focus on how I can achieve the shapes and curves that I’d like to form seedpods.
Don’t tell me it’s all about maths – I’m absolutely a nightmare at maths. I have to figure it all out my way.
Now, if anyone should ever like to create seed pods or anything else I create, I will try to work out a written pattern. But just not yet. I’m still working this all out myself!
Today was not the day to focus on commissions it seems. I managed to lose myself in crochet for much of the day.
Here are some of the results of my crochet experiments. There are three seed pods/vessels and one leaf.
I have plans for them … I think I may turn them, along with many others, into some kind of wall hanging. I need to find myself a branch or some kind of thing.
This is an interesting journey. The seedpods have used things I’ve learned from hyperbolic crochet along with popcorn stitches.
The vessel on the top left actually reminds me of prehistoric pots – something I’ll have to revisit in the future as I do love prehistoric pottery and if I can re-create their shapes in crochet…well it’ll be fun! The base of this vessel is quite rounded.
I have a lot to explore, experiment with and gain some confidence with as far as hyperbolic and freeform crochet goes. However, it’s reignited my interest in it. How long that will last, I don’t know. Quickly becoming bored with things is a symptom of childhood trauma/cPTSD. However, this kind of crochet has a lot of potential for creativity and growth, just as long as I can overcome all my self-doubts and self-hypercritical nature.
I’ve been having a lot of fun with hyperbolic crochet over the past couple of days. The photo shows just a couple of the hyperbolic surfaces I’ve created. they look like corals, flatworms, a kind of flowery ball, and some weird kind of seedpod (the one at the bottom right which I’m still working on)
To create them you only need to be able to crochet chain stitches as well as a double crochet (single crochet in the US), though you can use other stitches if you wish.
To create a hyperbolic surface, you start with any number of chains. You then work stitches into each chain, increasing at regular intervals. You can, if you wish, join the chains into a ring.
I’ve also discovered that you can get fascinating shapes if you decrease from time to time. The shapes end up like some of the weird seedpods and organic forms that I draw!
This form of crochet can be as structured or free-form as you like, or a mixture of the two.
I’ve not felt this excited about a crochet project since I made the virus shawl and then some flowers, stars, snowflakes and feathers.
The excitement is not knowing how the hyperbolic surface is going to work out.
My only problem is what to make with them, what use to put them to, or who to gift them to.
I do have to add that they are very tactile – they can easily be manipulated, and there is something pleasurable and soothing in how they do this, particularly the smaller, tighter forms.
So, Angela, how are you doing?
I’m doing just fine today. I feel optimistic, content, happy even. The sun is shining, I’ve been out for an appointment and a short walk into the town to look at some yarn and also a trip into Holland & Barretts for some organic seeds and nuts; I also scored a couple of vegetarian scotch eggs too. So, after that, I realised I really had to return home to pop them into the fridge. But not before visiting Shaws to look at yarn. I came away with three cones of four-ply yarn in cream, grey and a soft turquoise. No prizes for guessing what for!
Yesterday, I managed to get some sleep before I headed to Hereford for a meeting in the evening. I wasn’t feeling all that bright and cheery as I left home for the hour and a half or so drive there. My mood did improve as I was driving through pretty scenery through a beautiful sunset that bathed the world in soft pink.
It was a long-assed day though; I didn’t return home until nearly midnight. Fortunately, I slept well overnight, and I woke feeling alert, if still a bit tired around the edges.
I quickly found my balance after EMDR this week, which is good to notice. I’ve also found myself at times trying to see if there’s anything sad or worrisome lurking; it’s almost as if I want to take myself back to the darker days of my life. How weird. I wonder if it’s because part of me thinks I don’t deserve to be content like this. Or maybe I’m just wondering if it is real and lasting and I expect to be dragged back down into the pits of despair and misery.
However, that inner summer has been ignited now, and it won’t easily be put out again. Now I’ve found it, I won’t hide it away. It will always be a guiding light for me, even if I find myself in darker places emotionally or mentally. I’m realistic enough to know that things will happen that affect me one way or another – that’s just life. The difference now is that I have a point of reference to journey back to, a touchstone. I now know what it is like to feel contented, optimistic, and it’s a feeling I won’t forget…ever.
I’ve had a quiet morning at home today and have taken the opportunity to have some self-care time, which for me means adding more colour to this design.
I’ve had three emotionally tiring days in a row; EMDR on Monday and anti-stigma talks on Tuesday and Wednesday. I also had two longish trips on Tuesday to Swansea and then Hereford in absolutely horrid weather.
I had a good sleep last night, but I still feel exhausted and I have one more anti-stigma talk to do in Cwmbran this afternoon. All done in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales.
I could just curl up in bed and sleep again now, but the shower is calling me and I need to sort myself out for that trip to Cwmbran.
Some might say I’m doing too much. Possibly. But it’s important stuff talking about mental health in the aim of raising awareness, understanding and reducing the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental illness.
Yes, I may be exhausted afterwards. Yes, I may need self-care time for a day or so. But it’s important to do this. It’s important to me.
If I’d known more about what a healthy mind and healthy emotions are when I was younger maybe, just maybe I could’ve sought out help and it may have been easier to achieve recovery.
Maybe I would’ve been more self-aware and able to make better life choices so I didn’t add to the trauma I already carried within me. Maybe I would’ve been wiser and cared a little more about myself and not given so much of myself.
If I can help people to recognise that their mental or emotional health isn’t as it could be and to find a way to change that without fear of stigma or discrimination then I think it’s worth it.
That’s why I do it. Even when I myself am emotionally drained from it. I know I’ll recover. I know that on my way home today I’m likely to get some nice food to cook this evening, maybe even some Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra, and I would like to settle down and watch some Star Wars.
I also want to get some cotton yarn. I had a book in the post at the weekend that has crochet patterns in it for what the American’s call ‘market bags’ and we in the UK call ‘shopping bags’. Crocheted, netting, pretty, reusable, personalised in terms of colour and embellishments.
I shall look forward to an evening of such self care tonight. A chance to properly stop, breathe and relax.
This is a work in progress, and I’m not at all sure about it. I had the title first (I’m working on loving and accepting myself), then a mental image of what I wanted to do, but I’m not at all sure about what has resulted from it. Usually by this stage in a piece of art I know if it’s working or not, and this one … well I’m not at all sure. I have to complete the outlines, add textures/patterns and metallic/iridescent accents, but I’m not entirely sure I actually want to finish this one. I’m wondering how much the resistance to this piece of art comes from my lack of satisfaction with the art itself and how much comes from what it is representing – my inner work at this time… An interesting point to muse, eh?
I’ve had a lot of emotional turmoil in the past few weeks while I’ve been off work with laryngitis, much of it to do with allowing myself to love, respect and care for myself and to let go of various negative belief systems from the past. It’s also involved a change in my value system, and something that hasn’t been easy to do. The words/mental idea sprung up from this work, as I’ve already mentioned. It’s been a bit of a tough time, and sometimes it’s hard to find balance.
It’s also had an effect on my creativity. Instead of painting/drawing/sewing I’ve been lost in either reading or knitting and watching DVD after DVD. A positive from this is that I have created, after 30 years or so, a knitted throw/blanket – which has amazed me as I’ve always got bored with the process after a little while, but not this time. It isn’t a pretty thing, it’s very random in terms of colours and knitted patterns and crocheted squares, but it’s mine and I love it very much, mainly because it’s proven to me that I can persevere with a project such as this, and there is benefit for me in doing something that is simple, creative in a crafty way, and also rather meditative in nature.
I now have another blanket/throw on the go – and it’s certainly going to be ‘different’, but very much ‘me’.
Little Pretty 7April2012
This is a teenytiny piece of textile art, approx. 4.5cm x 4.5cm (1.75″x1.75″) that I completed yesterday. The silver japan threads were added during a sewing/craft afternoon at O’Callaghan’s Coffee House yesterday. The other stitches and beads were added later.
It will eventually be for sale on Etsy, when I work out what price to put on it, and whether to offer it framed or ready to frame … I dislike trying to put prices on my creations.
Why is that, I wonder? I think it’s linked to me still not quite believing my artwork has value, or that my ‘doodles’ are truly art. I have made the leap to the recognition that what I think of doodling is really my version of intuitive art, art that expresses who I really am, what I am inside, and the richness of that inner self and my love of colour and flow and swirl and abstract pattern.
I really do need to work on a statement of me as an artist that fully expresses who I am in terms of art and what my kind of art represents. Now that’s a scary thing to do as it will lay part of me bare -though those who read my art aright will already have sussed that part of me out!
These have been knitted or crocheted in either double knitting, aran or chunky yarns for Knit-A-Square. Some are kitting in stocking stitch with moss stitch or garter stitch borders. Others have been knitted with a textured design on them, again with the borders. One even has a flower on it – stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch are the contrasting stitches – a pattern adapted from “Blankets and Throws to Knit” by Debbie Abrahams. A couple have been knitted diagonally in garter stitch. And there’s even a couple of crocheted ‘granny squares’! I have spent time keeping notes of what sized needles I’ve used, the number of stitches in a square, the patterns used, in a little notebook.
Crocheting is not a skill I’ve been able to come anywhere near perfecting. I can just about manage granny squares. Simple edgings too. But that’s it. Knitting is more my thing. I must admit it was fun to knit the flower from the book as a textured pattern rather than in colours – I need to seriously practice my intarsia knitting! I did try to make it in colours, but I got holes and uneven areas; it’s been a very long time since I did any such knitting.
I’ve found a lot of fun and joy and pleasure in knitting these little squares. They let me practice different techniques, play with different yarns, and learn new tricks. They’re small enough that they’re finished quite quickly and the materials/tools are easy to carry around so that knitting can be done on trains and so on; to take the blazer I’m knitting with me would need a large bag and plenty of room to accomplish job – not always available on a train, for instance, and not always sensible to take a huge bag of stuff with me anywhere. I’m hoping that their small size will allow me to become more creative with the designs as time goes on…with the limited number of stitches to make a square it’s a challenge!
The other good thing about this for me is that the size of the project is not overwhelming for me. I’m not making a huge number of squares of a certain size in order to create a blanket/throw/shawl. Each square is a complete item in its own right, and will become part of something much larger. I do have a problem with projects that overwhelm me with their enormity, such as knitting a large number of squares to make a blanket/throw, or writing a story (let alone a book), or a large and complex piece of art or jewellery or clearing the garden. Something I need to work on turning around … and until then, I’ll work on projects that either don’t overwhelm me, or I can push myself a little bit into something bigger than I would usually do, or sneak up on ones that would ordinarily overwhelm me and surprise myself!
Once I shake this cold/flu/pharyngitis off then I’ll no doubt start to practice contemplative knitting as a way of developing mindfulness, with the aid of tips from the book “Mindful Knitting” by Tara Jon Manning. But that is for another day. At the moment I’m still coughing, sniffing, blowing my nose and generally feeling off-colour still.
I’ve been off work for the last week. It started with a cough and a sore throat and has turned into tonsilitis, a very sore throat and a wracking cough. I’m on antibiotics and on the mend, but feel as if I’ve been through the wringer.
To cap it all I lost a filling Friday night, so that involves waiting to be seen by my dentist as I’m not in pain and it’s not an emergency. My DVD player broke on me yesterday which wouldn’t normally be an issue, but when I’m like I am now all I want to do is to cwtch up under my ‘noo noo’ (a thick and cuddly fleecy blanket) and watch nice films/programmes and sip warm drinks and nibble nice foods.
All this quiet time has given me the chance to just knit while I watch DVDs. I did buy a set of circular knitting needles and a set of brightly coloured aluminium crochet hooks from Knitterknacks on eBay.co.uk, and I was amazed when the items were delivered this morning! Now, there’s service for you! I have a good range of sizes now to keep me busy.
I have made a few tiny baby gowns and blankets for Cuddles and I will be seeing to finishing the last couple off and getting them in the post soon. I also have some 8″ squares to send to Knit-A-Sqaure so they may be made into blankets for needy children in South Africa. I’m also knitting a moss-stitch blazer for myself in purple aran yarn. I try to split my time evenly between the various projects, which is fun for me as I don’t get bored doing the same thing! The squares and baby clothes are fun to do as they are much quicker to complete than my large blazer (I’m not a tiny nor thin lady …). I have forgotten the pleasure I get from creating this way. In time, I’ll find the confidence to create my own patterns … more so as I shrink in size when the time is right for my protective layer of fat to be lost.
Well, it’s the very last day of September, another month of the year all but gone. Time seems to be flying by. Grey, gloomy starts to the mornings of late, and not just weather wise either. It’s been a fraught week at work. I’ve been left feeling exhausted by the constant treadmill of behaviour management, which I don’t think I’m managing at all well, yet others think I’m doing fine. I’m still putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect…
I went to buy some new skirts yesterday. I do like the current fashion of long lengths – that’s always been my kind of style! Drifty, floaty, off with the fairies. And I do wish they wouldn’t put huge mirrors in changing rooms … but I did stop myself descending into a dark gloom about my size, and I did avoid comfort eating too. Which is a little success for me. But if I think about it … I’m in danger of seriously beating myself up about it. It will sort itself out as counselling untangles the old learned attitudes towards myself and replaces them with better ones, bit by bit.
I’ve been crocheting over the past couple of days. I have one teeny wrap for a premature baby done, and am working on a blanket. Crochet is a challenge for me, more than knitting, as I’ve rarely made anything by crochet!
I’m also enjoying the relatively fast gratification of completing a project. It’s also nice to see the project grow so quickly. It’s not that I’m sort on patience, its that I can be short on time, as well as having a lot of other interests. But crafts such as crochet and knitting I can take on my travels with me, though I did chicken out of crocheting on a train last night as I travelled to and from a talk I was giving. I’ll get over that as I got over my extreme shyness at drawing/painting in public.
The current wraps and blankets will be going to Cuddles and are based on their patterns. I’ll just get a few more done before I pack ’em up and send ’em off.