Crocheting through tough times

Lately, I have found myself putting things off: a visit to the bank, the doctor, the post office… “I don’t have to do it today. There’s time. Maybe in a week or two…”

Then I caught myself: why? What is going to happen in a week or two? Will the coronavirus go away? Will it be safer to go out and about?

Not likely. The you-know-what has hit the fan and is now flying in all directions. I’m afraid the world as we used to know it is no more.

A few days ago, we had a huge local demonstration of small business owners – restaurant owners, tour guides, dance instructors – who were all hit hard by COVID and now demand that the government gives them a financial boost to keep their businesses afloat.

I understand their plight, I really do. I know what it’s like to be financially desperate. However, I believe that no amount of handouts will enable businesses to operate if they don’t adapt to the new situation (Zoom lessons, takeout instead of sit-down meals, etc). And it often sounds like that: people don’t want to adapt. They want things to go back to normal, refusing to admit that normal has flown out of the window.

Even if we are lucky and the coronavirus disappears (which doesn’t seem likely), the impact of the past months has already hurled the world into a deep recession with a wide ripple effect. To get through it, we must be resilient, resourceful, and flexible.

In the meantime, there’s yarn: the best escape whenever things are stressful.

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My latest make, a little crochet tunic for Hadassah. It was meant to be a dress, but I ran out of yarn and, as it was one of the oddments of a vintage stash, had no way to buy more.

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Nevertheless, I like it, and so does the recipient. I put some vintage buttons at the back. Love the open raglan top – such a useful design.

I hope you are all using your favorite wholesome destressing outlet, whether it involves gardening, fabric and yarn, baking, or any other thing you can do away from dangerous crowds.

Another day, another basket

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I made another little rustic jute basket, much along the lines of my previous one. It seems perfect as a nest for my kids’ dinosaur collection.

It was meant to be oval but sort of came out round anyway – I guess I didn’t make the base chain long enough.

As much as I love the rustic look of jute baskets (and the fact that the material is inexpensive – I picked the roll up at the hardware store for about $2), I think I won’t be making another one anytime soon, as working with it is pretty heavy on the hands. Jute chafs the fingers, and I had to really pull on the thread to make the loops – no smooth gliding yarn action here!

I made the top row in a double strand of leftover coarse yarn of unknown origin. 😉

I hope you are all enjoying a happy and crafty summer.

Big Bird Crochet Pillow

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This quick and easy project would make a perfect gift. It’s soft and cuddly and extremely satisfying to make.

Materials:

Two cakes of super thick chenille yarn of this type (200 gr total). I used black, grey and white variegated.

Odds and ends of black, white, brown, and dark brown worsted weight yarn.

Stuffing of your choice.

Start by crocheting two identical circles from the chenille yarn, using a 7mm hook.

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Assemble the eyes and beak. For the eyes, start making dc with the black worsted yarn from the center, using a 3.5mm hook. At the end of the round, slip stitch and join.

In the next round, use white worsted yarn and work 2dc in each dc of the previous round. Slip stitch and join.

In the third round, work sc using the dark brown yarn in the following pattern: 1 sc, 2 sc in the next stitch of the previous round, 1 sc, 2 sc, etc.

For the beak, make a triangle in sc using the light brown yarn. Instructions for making a crochet triangle can be found here.

Naturally, you can play with the colors however you like.

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Sew the eyes and beak onto one of the chenille circles using a tapestry needle and worsted weight yarn of the same color (light brown for the beak, dark brown for the eyes).

Join the front and back of the pillow together by slip stitching. I used black worsted weight yarn for this because I thought it would look better. The thinner yarn disappears between the threads of chenille and the join is very neat and almost completely invisible.

Once you have just a bit of the front and back left to join, stuff the pillow. I used old stockings, but you can use store-bought stuffing if you prefer.

When the pillow is stuffed enough to your liking, finish the slip stitch join, tie up the ends, and push them inside.

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Voila! The pillow is ready for squishing.

Just keep crafting

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Latest creation, just completed yesterday: a pineapple crochet top made with the help of a diagram found on Pinterest. I made it with the last batch of yarn I got in town before the pandemic hit hard (I do have more yarn in my stash, don’t worry). I haven’t saved the label but any thread yarn will work for these kinds of high-definition patterns.

Around here, the government is trying to get back to business as usual too quickly, IMHO. I think there has been a lot of pressure originated in the false sense of security due to the relatively low number of deaths in Israel (200 total, or thereabouts). Preschools and first to third grades are going to reopen part-time starting Sunday and I can’t think of a more reckless and pointless move with which to restart the economy.

Fact: young kids can’t really be trusted in matters of hygiene and social distancing.

Another fact: Because of lack of teachers (due to smaller classes and older and at-risk teachers still staying home), children won’t be in school enough hours per week to allow working parents to return to their jobs.

Conclusion: this arrangement is just enough to promote the spread of the virus but not to be of any practical help for the economy.

There is a lot of talk about how children “need” to be in a school setting, how it’s a matter of “mental health” to get them back into classrooms even part-time. This is simply the result of a rigid mindset that knows no different and doesn’t wish to think outside the box. Countless families around the globe homeschool. Their children do just fine academically and socially. I think our Ministry of Education should have considered that fact before pushing for such huge risks.

Yes, our children will be staying home anyway, but this means that we, too, are going to be at a higher risk of infection as everyone will be cross-contaminated through schools.

Change of Seasons shawl

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I made this shawl a while ago, but haven’t had the chance to share it yet. With its hues of green and brown, it reminds me of spring and fresh grass, so I called it Change of Seasons shawl.

Materials: one skein of Papatya Angora. I loved working with this yarn: very fine, soft and warm. The color gradient changed beautifully and there were no knots.

Pattern: Fall River Shawl by Katya Novikova (free)

I hope everyone is keeping well and safe. I had to make a trip to town today (not my choice) and it was eerie. Almost all the stores closed and everyone hurrying to do their business and go. A disturbing sight – but not nearly as disturbing as the news of our government caving in to pressure and agreeing to open businesses, preschools, and partially schools. I believe wise people will continue to shelter and minimize outside business whether the law compels them to do so or not.

Stay safe and healthy!

Unseasonably warm crochet cardigan

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This was my last winter project for this year – a top down raglan cardigan made from alpaca yarn. I love the satisfaction of throwing something over me that feels almost like a blanket – but I suppose I will get to enjoy it next season, as it’s already getting too warm here for stuff like that. I’ll probably attach a couple of nice big buttons.

Now on to summer projects – lacy tops, table runners, baskets, bags, and more. Always more ideas than time!

On another note, we are doing OK in the midst of all the craziness that is taking over the world. We are, of course, privileged to have a house with a private yard and a nice balcony with a beautiful view, so despite the lockdown we never really feel confined. There’s always plenty of outdoor work going on, whether it’s hanging out the washing, weeding, or mucking up the chicken coop.

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One of our recent projects has been raising a pair of Japanese quail Shira got for her birthday. The female just laid her first egg a couple of days ago. Japanese quail rarely go broody, but we’ll probably try to incubate once we gather enough eggs.

Stay safe, everyone. These are scary times we live in, but I have never felt so connected to friends all over the world. We are truly all in this together, and I am optimistic that it shall pass and we’ll emerge on the other side stronger and more resilient than before.

A baby for my baby

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During this busy time of us all staying at home in quarantine, I found a few relaxing moments to put the finishing touches on this crochet doll I got done just in time for Hadassah’s second birthday. I’m happy to say that, though not perfect, this cuddly doll is a big hit and Hadassah loves toting it around.

I made it like I usually make my dolls – crochet the head and body from the top down, fill with stuffing, and then attach arms and legs. Then I used scraps from other projects for the dress. That’s one of the things I love most about making dolls – you get to use up yarn odds and ends, and the craft cupboard is a lot less messy by the time you’re done.

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Here is also a photo from our walk this afternoon. We are being very, very careful, but fortunately, very close to our house there are empty fields where you can wander as much as you want without meeting a living soul except the occasional distant glimpse of someone walking their dog.

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I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Please run no risks! We’ve got this and we’ll get through this.