Wednesday 24 January 2018

Eastern Jewels CAL :: Some thoughts before I begin

Hello everyone! (If there's anyone still bothering to check between the tumbleweeds for actual posts around here anyway!!) I've been away an extremely long time as last year was a tough one healthwise along with some new creative endeavors and there was little energy for crafting besides the crochet I can do from my bed... but I have decided to try and post as and when I can about whatever creative thing is at the forefront for me at the time and am going to start with a Crochet-A-Long (CAL) I'm going to be joining in with this year and hopefully continue by sharing update posts every so often... so here goes with a bit of background about the project...

If you crochet or even just follow any crocheters' blogs or social media, you will have seen the Stylecraft Eastern Jewels Blanket mentioned all over the place when it was announced a few months ago... if not, it is a stunningly intricate and colourful blanket which is actually a pattern released a few years ago (the Persian Tiles Blanket by Janie Crowfoot) given a new lease of life with a beautiful and bright colour palette by one of the Stylecraft Blogstars, Lucia Dunn, and there are already many finished blankets out there!!

At the time the colour chart and yarn pack for the new version was released, a group of my friends from a Facebook group for chronically ill creative-types hatched a plan for a leisurely- ie. chronic illness-friendly!- CAL (Crochet-A-Long) of their own which would begin in the New Year... I joined the new group but was hesitant to commit to joining in and buying the yarn pack as (glossing over the startling amount of yarn and WIPs I already have for a moment!) I just wasn't sure if the blanket was really 'me'- I don't normally do that many different colours from all across the spectrum in one place!! 

A good friend has been slowly attempting to persuade me that the whole rainbow at once is an awesome thing, though, and thanks to working on a few of her lovely original cross stitch patterns, including this one and this one, I am noticing my tastes are branching out beyond (my still-very-much-favourite) purple and teal tonal palettes and this blanket seemed a good way to challenge my own preconceptions of what colour combinations I could or couldn't enjoy! My friend has also said that, should i find I don't love the blanket when it's finished, it would have a very loving home with her, which made me feel easier about making it as I didn't want to feel it would be sat in a cupboard here unused and unloved... from what I have done so far I suspect I will love it when finshed, though!! Lol

Janie Crowfoot's original Persian Tiles Blanket:
Photo : Lucia's Fig Tree

Lucia Dunn's more 'random' version:

It's also a very busy pattern compared to my usual tastes- in fact the original colourway actually wreaks havoc with my illness-induced sensory overload issues and makes me feel rather queasy... like looking at one of those optical illusion pictures! Lol - but the new version, while busy, is so well balanced and varied in it's colours that it breaks up the repetitive effect of the motifs so that it doesn't have that effect on my brain at all. The dufferent shapes and stitch patterns within each motif will also give me something a little different to get my teeth into compared with the plainer blankets and cowls I tend to spend much of my time making.

I have always been extrememly affected by colours around me and I do find the way colour affects myself and others, physically and emotionally, absolutely fascinating, so this project seemed a good way to learn more and our group has already had some very interesting dicussions about what we do or don't like about the colours we have used so far! ☺

The slower pace of the CAL, to allow members of the group who aren't able to spend much time crocheting due to energy, pain or cognitive issues, will also prove to be a challenge to me as I tend to get carried away when I'm enjoying a project and barrel on at (my) top speed! I really want to keep to the group schedule so as get the full enjoyment from working alongside my friends (albeit from our own individual beds and sofas around the country, and even the world, thanks to the wonders of the internet!) and I think the execise in patience (and Pacing- a byword for success and frustration in chronic-illness communities!) will be good for me- and as the intention of the group is to work on this throughout the whole of 2018, I will have plenty of time to practise!! 

So, with all that in mind, I decided to give it a go... and then the search for a colour pack began as it has been so popular that it's out of stock everywhere!! I found just one pack left in stock, though, on Woolzone, a site I'd never even heard of before... but I took a gamble and placed my order and I'm so glad I did as it arrived in super-quick time with lovely personal service from the owner, Julie!! :) I am taking this project on with the hopes of learning more about colour, pattern, crochet pattern construction and myself in relation to all those things while also enjoying the connection and social aspects of working along with a group of friends old and new... and I am so excited to challenge myself and produce something I will hopefully grow to love! I was certainly incredibly excited when the postie knocked on the door and have thoroughly enjoyed getting caught up with the first few squares already! 

So, there are some of my thoughts on beginning the blanket... I'll be back soon with pics of my first batch of motifs and I hope you'll enjoy journeying with me in to a new, more technicolour land this year!! 

{{And if you would like to read more about the process of designing a blanket like this, Lucia wrote a wonderful post for her blog when the blanket launched... it's a great read if you are as fascinated by design, and colour theory as me and reading it was probably the moment I first seriously contemplated actually joining my friends in out CAL and is also the source for any images in this post not watermarked as my own 😊}}

1 comment:

Wendy said...

the blanket is stunning. i came across it a month or so ago and couldn't get hold of a wool pack! I finally found one last week and ordered it... no idea when i'm going to get time to start it as, despite having about 100 WIPs, I am currently knee deep in decorating my house! Maybe you'll spur me on...


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