It’s impossible to resist taking challenges from lovely people. Especially when completing that challenge involves my favourite crochet skill: cabling.
So when the lovely Becky, part of the RACPA team and genius behind Barely There Bears asked me how she could go about getting herself some Mumblicious Woolly Nonsense, “just like Carmen’s sunflower hat only with daisies”, I simply grinned and got out my order book.
Flowers, for me, have to be artificial, since I’m allergic to most types. I don’t know much about them apart from Daffodils (my all time favourite), Daisies and maybe a few others… and lets face it my knowledge is that daffodils are different shades of yellow/white/orange and that Daisies aside than the fact they really need to have little smiles (cos they’re such happy things), are white. Mostly. Maybe…
Anyway… we’ve established that I know basically nothing about flowers. Check.
I do however know lots about woolly nonsense.
I decided that I’d be making Becky a beanie using cabling techniques, although it wouldn’t be a basket weave like Carmen’s. I had noticed that Mandala Mania has hit the crochet world hugely, and although I love experimenting with colour, I definitely wanted this hat to be all about texture, since her choice of “moss green”, whilst lovely, was quite understated. Hers would be a subtle shade of green, and I wanted to choose a texture that was a little more complex as a contrast to that and the simple yet beautifully humble daisy.
Firstly, I hit the stash and found some gorgeous mossy colours. Perfect.
The daisy was already playing in my head. How I was going to make it… my brain already creating a video… my mind’s eye predicting the way I would weave the yarn around my fingers and constructing each of the little happy petals… Not the spiky kind of daisies… the simple, happy daisies that you lace together to make a necklace… the kind that evoke strong memories of childhood and playing out over long sunny summers. And so it began.
The calculations in my head whizzing, how I would create the pattern whilst increasing to make the crown of the hat… how I would shape the hat whilst developing those gorgeous texture-rich cables….
After a couple of false starts – those patterns just weren’t for this hat… I fell in love with what would later become the Goddess Mandala beanie. Lush. It was perfect. It resonated. It was “right.”
As the fabric grew in my fingers, the twists and turns sculpted the beanie that Becky would be wearing soon. It was one of those freeform experiences, where what you’re making isn’t scripted or particularly planned more than a few stitches ahead. It happens, and it works out. Because it is “right”.
Every hat I make, every project, every stitch… takes planning and holds THIS amount of emotion. I could never be happy “bodging” something. Or mass producing items in the hundreds. I couldn’t be happy giving anything less than 100% to each commission.
I love working on commissions who have a specific recipient in mind.
I find out about them. I visualise them, their lives, the part the item will play in that life and then I create the item FOR them. This was one of those projects that felt right from the start. More than the usual little bit of myself went into it. I was more than the usual amount nervous for Becky to like what I had built for her.
The hat was completed. I was tired. So I hit my button stash.
Yep. I have a button stash. I have loved buttons since playing with my mum’s button tin as a child. And I knew that I had daisies that NEEDED to go on this hat.
I added them, kept adding. You never see one daisy. And I can’t possibly imagine a world where you can have too many daisies. So more daisies were hunted down, recovered, added… It was looking more and more completed.
The last touch… the woolly daisy. The video in my head had been right. Each petal rounded and simple, reflecting the buttons, reflecting nature.
It was finished. Done. Completed. I was happy… and I hoped so hard that Becky would be too.
I emailed the photo. Distracted myself with not panicking about whether or not I had been right or if it’d actually been some kind of sleep deprived hallucination.
Want to know why I put myself through this? Why I do what I do? Cos not only do I love yarn bombing the world in my own millinerific way… Making people warm and happy whilst looking awesome and individual, I love getting feedback photos like this: