A crocheted bedspread-19th Mar 2022

ca. 1985

Okay. Now you’re just showing off.

I have had these very words spoken to me so many times in my life and, sometimes, it has been true. But, why are the words flung out with such bitterness by the accuser, as if being good at something is a bad thing? And why is taking pride in an accomplished skill somehow seen as a huge character failing? And…discuss.

This blanket was made in 1985. My then husband and I had put a deposit on our first house and were doing the interminable wait for the paperwork to all catch up and the chain to be complete so that everyone could exchange contracts on the same day. It’s such a crazy system. Anyway…even though things can go badly wrong during this time, or so I was told by wiser heads, I had already decorated the main bedroom in my head several times over. The Laura Ashley catalogue was in shreds from overuse. I had hit upon this colour scheme as it matched various Laura Ashley bedsheets and wallpaper and paint and curtains…and…and…and…also matched the carpet in the bedroom in the not-yet-my-house, too.

It would be heaven.

The wool yarn came from John Lewis department store in Oxford Street and, in those days, it was supplied in skeins that had to be carefully unfolded first and then held up over two hands by a semi-willing helper while balls of wool were carefully wound off the skein, going round and round the upheld hands as fast as possible with out getting in a tangle.  It was tiring work for both holder and winder. Whatever happened, you mustn’t put the wool down, you needed to see the operation through for the whole skein as it could get in an awful tangle. Once it is off and wound into balls it can be worked with easily. Yes, I did try making something while working it straight off the skein…once.

I bought one skein and did a test hexagon. It was not too hard. I did more test hexagons to see how many I could get out of one skein. I then did my sums to decide how much of each colour I would need. I bought the colours one at a time as we could not afford for me to buy all of it at once. One colour a month after payday. I crocheted on the Underground. I crocheted at work. I crocheted at home. The pattern comes from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, page 291, and I crocheted 387 hexagons and then stitched them all together.

I stripped the old paper off the walls and ditto the highly flammable polystyrene ceiling tiles. Lucky for me, these had been simply pasted on to strippable lining paper and the whole lot came off in big, satisfying chunks. Whew.

I papered, I painted. I pulled it all together. It all matched and I was terribly excited when it was all done and then…

I sat back and had a look at what all my hard work had accomplished and was hugely, crushingly, disappointed. It all matched beautifully and it was all terribly sterile and utterly boring.

Decorating 101. Don’t do “matchy-matchy.” You will be disappointed.

I had grown up in a home that, in common with most of the people I knew, was decorated in a style my Mother called “Early Miscellaneous”. The idea that I could CHOOSE my style for myself with money I had earned was a very big deal to me at that time.

The objects, colours and schemes we choose for our homes are important because they reflect not only who we are but  who we aspire to be. It can also sometimes reflect how we would like to be perceived by others. Believe me, buying things that someone else has “put together” to make what can seem a complicated business simpler is unlikely to make your heart sing. Wait. Wait. Look. Feel. Find things that speak to you, that you will love for years. You are asking them to be a part of your family and home. Be that fussy.

My blanket is 100% wool but is washed in the machine at home on a wool wash. It is dried over the rack in the same way as old “Shaun the Sheep” from the Feb 2nd 2022 post. It has spent many years on the bed. The 5 cats I shared a home with over the years since 1985 all LOVED it. It still looks brand new. If it had been made of acrylic yarn I dare say it would be in landfill by now, bobbled and matted,  looking and feeling like what acrylic is- plastic- to sit there and not biodegrade for 500 years. I’ll take my chances with the moths, thanks.

Oh.

What’s that you say?

You really like it?

Why, THANK you!

I like it too, even after all these years.


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