Welcome! Well, the final square is mine and I can’t believe we are here already, wow… just a few weeks to go and many of you will have a completed blanket! Although, some of us will wonder what we will do with all our free time on Wednesdays…
I hope you like the square for this week. If you would like to learn a bit more about my experience with the CAL and how I came up with this square, read on!
*Disclaimer* I am currently on holiday and have been a general lazybutt layabout, so these red squares (for my personal blanket) are being shown unblocked. Let’s just pretend I did it on purpose to show the square in it’s ‘raw’ form and that ours start out somewhat wonky and wavy pre-blocking too! ;)
A little background info for those who are not taking part in the CAL. Last summer I was asked to take part in a special project for Scheepjes. Together with the other Scheepjes bloggers, I helped design a blanket for the Last Dance on the Beach crochet-along (CAL) in memory of our friend, and fellow blogger, Marinke Slump (aka Wink). The design was originally meant to be hers alone, but due to a terrible depression which lead to her suicide, she left us before she was able to finish it. We were approached and asked to work together to finish this idea for her. She had visited Scheepjes previously to outline what she envisioned for the CAL and that was passed on to us. Twelve of us together would create squares to make up the finished blanket.
Wink wanted this blanket to be something that would be suitable for all skill levels, introduce a variety of stitches and create texture. She also wanted this to be a learning experience, so that everyone would learn a little something along the way. She loved the idea of a beach theme and explained her ideas to the gang at Scheepjes, which was then passed on to us. We were asked to think of what we love about the beach and to try to find inspiration to create a square.
Right… OK, before I could do that I had to get past the sheer panic of being asked to design something. Firstly, I’m a knitter at heart. While I can crochet, knitting is where it’s at for me. Secondly, at that point in time, I had designed precisely zero things, ZERO THINGS. PANIC STATIONS! I was scared that I wouldn’t measure up and that I’d pale in comparison to some of the other amazing contributors who have so much more experience in designing. In the end they were all incredibly supportive and encouraging, and really wanted me to be able to take part, so I decided to go for it. Also, it was meant to be a learning experience, right? I guess I would learn a little something as well!
Honestly, I just really wanted to be a part of this project, even though I was completely intimidated by the idea. When I met Wink I was completely enthralled by her. She was WINK, for pity sake. Funky hair, big smile, endless creativity… I was in awe of her. I honestly thought she had the world by the nards and was kicking butt and taking names! I guess it just goes to show you that even behind the biggest smiles, you don’t really know what is going on in someone’s life. So, I wanted to pay tribute to her, to take part in this project with the other girls from our group that were also feeling the void she left behind. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy project, both because it was an emotional one, and that there would be a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but we were all committed to making it happen. I really hope we’ve made her proud.
Ok, back to the square before I end up all sniffly over here, jeez.
The inspiration part wasn’t difficult. If you’ve followed me on pretty much any social media you know that one of my favourite things to do in the summer is float on water, any water. Often it’s the pool at my in-laws in the south of France (where I am right now as I write this and you can see in the photo below) but I did grow up on an island and have spent my share of time at the beach as well.
I float like a boss!
Whether I am at the beach or the pool, when I’m not busy falling asleep, I’m looking around me and taking in all the sights and sounds of summer. One of the things that relaxes me most are the patterns the wind and sun create around me. The ripples in the water, the reflections the sun creates on the sand or the bottom of the pool, the breeze blowing through the trees and grass. The rhythm of it all relaxes me completely (which is often how I end up asleep, of course).
I wanted something that looked like ripples, or a fluid motion, but not a ripple stitch. After some searching I found a really wonderful wave stitch that I knew ticked all the boxes. It created texture, it used combination of stitches people may not have used before and it showed that fluid motion that inspired me in the first place. We had very specific instructions in regards to the amount of stitches and the size, so much like many of you who are working on the CAL now are experiencing, we also had a lot of trial and error when trying to get the correct formula for the squares. There was much frogging and many different hook sizes used but I finally got the magic number and then it all fell into place.
I really love this square and beyond the visible inspiration, it also represents so many things in regards to my thoughts about Wink, my own issues with anxiety, and life in general. Life is fluid, just like this pattern. I think we’ve all experienced that, haven’t we? The ebb and flow and the ups and downs of life. No matter how difficult things may feel at times, when everything seems to be coming apart at the seams, eventually it comes back together again.
In the time that this CAL has been running I have been ill, had and recovered from surgery, dealt with the endless frustration that comes with selling a house, taken criticism and insults as a moderator of this project and lost a loved one to Cancer. I have also traveled and been lucky enough to spend almost half of the last year in the south of France, spent time with my amazing husband and his family, hung out with and was inspired by other creative people, have watched friends I love welcome new members into their families and have met some really wonderful and enthusiastic people that are taking part in the CAL. For every cloud there has been a silver lining and for every loss there has been a gain. My life is a collection of ripples and I’m trying to remember to take the time to remember the good things when my mind just seems to want to concentrate on the bad. I hope you are able to do the same and remember that something amazing could be just around the corner.
Ok, so it’s time for you all to stop reading and get to work! I do hope you have been enjoying the CAL. Although, I’m sure whether you are or are not I’ve heard about it already on the Facebook groups! haha Enjoy!
Some additional info:
You have probably noticed that the squares for my personal blanket don’t match the colours of the official kits that were released. I have chosen my own colour scheme “Dancing in the Autumn Leaves”. It is being made with Merino Soft yarn in the following colours:
The colour combination was inspired by my love of autumn and, as a Canadian in the Netherlands, how dreadfully I miss the colours of home. You can see a small taste of it in this photo I took a few years ago on a trip home:
If you are interested in buying a kit for this CAL, you can find a list of Scheepjes retailers here.