Showing posts with label wink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wink. Show all posts

Introducing a special project: Last Dance on the Beach

Last summer my friend 'Wink' (Marinke) was working on a new design for a CAL (crochet-along) in collaboration with Scheepjes - it was to follow on from the huge success of their 2014 CAL and had a working title of 'Dance on the Beach'. Tragically, Wink lost her battle with depression before the design was finished, leaving behind her notes, samples and mood-boards. After liaising closely with her family, Scheepjes decided to continue with the CAL in her memory. 


When we last met up, Wink and I had planned some blog and design projects to do together but her death meant that they weren't to be, so when I was asked to help complete this final project and to bring it to life with the other 'Scheepjes bloggers/designers' she had introduced me to, it felt like the chance to work on one last special project with her. I am honoured, and also rather emotional, to have been a part of this by contributing one of the squares. I will tell you more about that on the week it's released. As details have now been made public, I can finally tell you about it and show you the pictures... 


The CAL is free to join and starts on April 20th. It will last for fourteen weeks. Each individual square will be released in English and Dutch, in PDF format with full video support, on Wednesday afternoons, Dutch time. Scheepjes will be offering extra support for their customers in the form of International/ English language and Dutch groups on Facebook. The groups are already very busy with thousands of people joining in to honour Wink, I am sure she would be quite overwhelmed by the love and support people are showing.


So that as many people as possible can afford to take part with the official kits, each colourway will be available in two different double knit yarn options. The Basic Kit will be £33.99 / €43,40 and is made up of 14 balls of Colour Crafter Acrylic yarn (which is super soft and doesn't feel as inexpensive as the price tag might suggest!) and a special edition label.

The Luxe Kit comprises 39 balls of Merino Soft yarn (which as the name suggests,  is incredibly soft and squidgy), a special edition label and wooden button, Knitpro stitch markers, a luxury embroidery scissors, colour catcher and Eucalan wool wash, and is packaged with a luxury beach bag. This option will cost £119.99 / €159,90.


Both kits include a €2 charitable donation to Mind in Wink's name. If you would like to select your own colours or to use a different yarn (some people have asked about substituting cotton yarns or Stone Washed if they live in warmer countries) you can make a donation to Mind yourself, if you wish.

You can already find the project listed on the Ravelry database so you can add it to your queue / favourites. As soon as the kits are ready, I'll provide more information - for now I can tell you they will be available at Wool Warehouse and Deramores in the UK from 1st April, as well as from other Scheepjes international stockists. I heard from some of the group members that the UK stockists offer great shipping to more far flung participants in Australia, New Zealand etc but that early ordering is recommended.  You have about a week to choose your favourite... I still don't know which is mine - what do you think? 

Logistical and mental preparations (and a request)

With just a few more 'sleeps' until Unravel, my preparations have begun in earnest. As always there are various things that have to be done before the annual trip to my favourite festival. First there is the logistical organisation involved in handing the 'baton' to my husband for the weekend. (Little Miss has a party to get to - with the right gift and wearing appropriate clothing, the dog can't be left all day if they go out, My Boy has homework to do... that sort of thing.) Not to mention packing for an overnight trip.

Then there are the pre-festival preparations - making sure I have noted yarn requirements for the patterns I plan to make, and that I work out my budget. Listing any buttons and notions I'd like to buy. I wrote about these things last year in my post 10 Tips for Unravel Festival. (As it happens, the extra day and additional coffee shop last year meant that some of the things mentioned weren't necessary, but the rest remain valid.)


There is something else I'm trying to be prepared for this year, and I'm finding it difficult. In fact, I'm hesitant to write about it, but there are two things that I know: (1) the blog would be an incomplete record if I didn't, and (2) writing always helps to process my feelings. So here goes.

For the last few years my friend Wink travelled from the Netherlands for Unravel. She would fly in on Friday and spend time with my family, we'd travel to- and from- the event together and share a hotel room there. We would have a great time with friends (old and new).

As the weekend approaches it's hitting me all over again that Wink is no longer with us, and that I will be travelling to Farnham alone. I am trying to be prepared for the journey and for being in the places we'd usually be together. Many of our 'Unravel gang' will be there - that will be a huge comfort, but we haven't seen each other since her death, and so I'm also preparing myself for the feelings which are inevitable when you finally get the chance to have a hug - phone calls and messages just aren't the same.

I considered not going to Unravel this year. Staying at home would certainly be easier, but I really don't think it would be the right thing to do. It would probably mean I'd never go back. So, my plan is to be there and to keep busy and not to dwell on the massive hole Wink has left behind. It won't be the same - it will never be the same - but I can do it with the help of my friends. We will make some new memories, and next year it will be easier - first anniversaries are always the hardest. I know this from experience.

So if you are at Unravel and you see me there, please do come and say hello - show me what you've bought and tell me about your day. Please help me to stay focussed on the good stuff, and all the great things about this community, because that's how I hope to remember this trip. Let's make it a good one. 

Finding the words: On the loss of my friend Wink

Standing 'shoulder to shoulder' in February this year!!!
As a verbose person, writing blog posts usually comes easily - editing them to a reasonable size is the hardest part. But since a phone call on Sunday, telling me about the death of my friend Wink (Marinke, but she liked 'Wink'), I have been struggling to find the right words to start this post. I want to honour her work but at the same time I am sitting here in tears (again) for the loss of a dear friend. A friend who stood a whole foot taller than me - more in heels - and frequently made jokes about it!

As an artist, Wink's work brought colour and joy to many. She generously shared so many wonderful tutorials and patterns and gave help and encouragement to many people. As well as being known for her beautiful shawls and mandalas, Wink's CAL with Scheepjes was an unprecedented international success. She was so proud when her first book launched earlier this year, and the second (as yet unpublished) is absolutely stunning. She leaves behind quite a legacy, and that's without considering her music and other talents. The response to her death (including hundreds of posts on Instagram and Facebook) has shown just how deeply her colourful creations touched people.

One of the 'Inspiration' images Wink used on a guest post she wrote on her use of colour
As a person, Wink was funny, warm and generous. In the early days of this blog she was a fabulous sounding board and helped me in many ways. When it turned into more of a personal friendship, we would send each other silly messages - getting excited over journals, dreadlocks, tattoos and all sorts of other things that had nothing to do with blogging. When she visited we sat up late, putting the world to rights, while drinking wine and eating "Gluten Free Dutch Apple Cake" although she had never heard of Dutch Apple Cake before. We laughed a lot. Wink credited me with inspiring her to knit and called me her biggest enabler when she picked up a spindle earlier this year (she teased me about that too, but I was proud to have encouraged her).

Wink's first time spinning, at Unravel 2015
For the last few years Wink came to the UK to visit Unravel festival with me (find the posts here). It had become a tradition for us to meet up with other crafty / blogging friends and to spend the weekend squishing yarn and nattering. We had already planned next year's trip and found a restaurant with an upstairs room we hoped to fill with our favourite crafty people. It simply won't be the same without her. We made other plans too - joint projects and blog collaborations - all things that can never happen.
With our friends Gilly & Jacqui
It is devastating that someone who was so loved, had so much talent and was such a beautiful person (inside and out) was in despair, and felt that taking her life was the best way out of it. I feel so incredibly sad for Wink's family, her boyfriend and all her friends. My thoughts go out to all of them, and I hope that the massive show of love for her - from all parts of the world - brings a little comfort. She may be gone, but her legacy - in her work and in the many lives that she touched - lives on.

Rest in peace my friend, I hope you found the light you sought. 

Postscript: If you would like to honour Wink's memory, her family have set up a memorial page and there are various 'events' happening on social media - search for #mandalasforwink #mandalasformarinke and #wearingflowersinmyhairforwink. 

Have you seen....?

Today, a selection of things from my growing list of things to tell you about....

1. Wink's new book Boho Crochet is now on general release (I even spotted it in my tiny village library!). I was very lucky to have a hand-delivered (early) copy back in February and love it.  
The patterns are from a select group of designers including Wink, who is contributing editor, and are based on traditional folk designs but the designs are anything but old-fashioned. As you might expect from Wink, the projects, yarns and photography are all completely gorgeous. I'll publish a more detailed review in another post, but had to mention it before our Make-along begins as Wink's Dancing Hearts wrap is one of the patterns and is another great option for those wanting to make a crochet shawl - it's stunning. Wink wore another version of this to Unravel (different colourway) and was frequently stopped and asked about it.

EDIT: Wink has set it up so that if participants want to purchase this as an individual pattern from Ravelry, the CFTCMAKEALONG code will work!! Thanks, Wink! 
Pattern: Dancing Hearts Wrap / Photo Credit: A Creative Being

2. The Knitters Toolbox iphone app by Amy Herzog is now available on iTunes. It's priced at £3.99 in the UK, which makes it one of the more expensive apps, but I'm sure it will come in really useful when customising projects or designing from scratch. I've just downloaded it and I'll let you know what I think. This short video gives a quick overview in the meantime. 

3. Last week on our Ravelry group, I announced that Helen Stewart is offering Make-along participants a discount on three of her gorgeous knitted shawl patterns. Use the code CFTCMAKEALONG to get 20% off these beauties. 
Pattern: Pebble Beach Shawlette / Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

Pattern: Fireflies Rising / Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

Pattern: Radiance / Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

4. The Make-along starts on May 1st - that's this coming Friday, you still have time to join us - so I'll be back soon with a few banners you can download to use on your blog/social media accounts, and a preview of some of the prizes that will be up for grabs! If you can't wait to chat about it, come on over for the group discussion - we are showing our yarns and pattern choices. 

Catharsis... and knowing when to give up

It's been a weekend of catharsis. It all began on Saturday morning when D entered the playroom with a roll of black sacks. A few days later it is continuing with my wardrobe. There's something very liberating about getting rid of the things that no longer serve you or make you happy.
Catharsis (or, my life in coat hangers)
Cleaning out my wardrobe, I realised that it's full of things for a life I no longer lead, or that I never really did lead. I'd go as far as to say my wardrobe suggests I'm a size 10-12 party girl who can wear high heels and spends the summer in the Mediterranean. The reality is a much more cuddly 40 year old mum living in a small village surrounded by farmland! Looking at so much stuff that I can't even wear is quite depressing - so it's all going. Five sacks have been filled already... and it's not finished yet. I'm giving up on the (ridiculous) dream that these things might ever fit me or suit me again.

Giving up on so many useless things feels like a very positive thing and following the advice of Queen Elsa, I'm letting it all go. It's not limited to sorting toys and clothes either - it's spilling over into my knitting. Of course there are many situations where perseverance is important, nay critical. For example, half way through an enormous picot bind-off, on a shawl you've taken months to knit. You may feel you want to give up, but you're close to having a wonderful finished garment so it's important to focus and just get on with the job in hand - with a refreshment break or two thrown in for good measure. In those situations it's vital that you don't give up.

On the other hand, life is way too short to be working on projects that you absolutely hate. And I've found myself in just this situation of late...
About to be frogged!!!!
Do you remember the Entrelac collaboration that Wink and I started a while ago? You may have noticed that the instalments have been getting further apart... and that for the last one I didn't even show the 'actual' project being worked - I used other yarn (soft and lovely to handle Scheepjes Stone Washed) to illustrate the tutorial. The truth is I HATE the yarn we chose for this project. There, I said it! It's scratchy and hard and I just don't want to pick it up. Ever.

After much procrastination I finally confessed to Wink and was relieved that she felt the same way about it. Phew! I still intend to continue with the tutorials and to post a pattern for this project, so at Unravel 2015 (more details to follow later this week) I'll look for something much nicer, and will pick this project up again at a later date. In the meantime, there are various Entrelac resources listed in the earlier posts if you're keen to give it a go.

Lots to show you this week, so I'll see you again tomorrow!

Q: What's backwards and interlaced?

Before I give you the answer to my question, I should tell you how this new project came about. Back in February when I went to Unravel with my friend (Crochet-blogger extraordinaire) Wink, we both bought the exact same skein of yarn (except hers was pre-wound one way, and mine the other). At the time we both happened to be wearing projects we'd made from Kauni Rainbow yarn - mine was the Whippoorwill my mum made "famous" and Wink's was a beautiful crochet shawl, which was completely different and equally eye-catching. Here they are together...
The yarn we both bought was not totally dissimilar to the Kauni - another rustic 100% wool yarn with a gradient. But this time, much more subtle and only 100g. We thought it might be fun to make something similar with them, but on purpose this time...
The yarn has sat in both our stashes since then, and we thought about what it might like to become. A little while ago Wink came up with the idea of something using entrelac. I hadn't tried it but thought it sounded fun and set about trying out the technique... which turned out to be perfect for backwards knitting! So over the next few weeks, my skein will be turned into something using entrelac knitting and Wink will be using entrelac crochet. At the end of it all we'll be publishing both patterns on our blogs for you (they'll be free). 

Wink has written about our collaboration today too, and we'll post periodic updates on our progress, which will include some tips and tutorials (I'll be showing you how to incorporate the backwards knitting technique from this tutorial, so you don't have to keep turning the work). I'm really excited about this, it should be great fun - if you haven't tried it before, it is much easier than it looks! Stay tuned...

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