At the beginning of each year, I like to set myself some goals and write a rough plan and time table for those plans to come to fruition.
I have yet to experience a year that goes to plan!
And I will bet most of you are the same.
Here is a little look back at the patterns I have published in 2020, and some of my thoughts about this year and what is coming next.
At the beginning of 2020, I made my usual plans about designs I wanted to create including my annual CAL crochet along.
I also had big plans already in the works to change my website as the old one was out of date and not flexible enough for my needs and the needs of my amazing followers.
But none of us knew what a curveball 2020 was going to throw us.
We did not know the strange times we were going to be living in, nor could anyone have predicted the massive surge and growth in the crafting community, because we had no way of knowing that we were all going to have to spend so much time at home.
The huge shipping problems with lockdowns, let alone the extra demand was unprecedented. I suspect that demand for yarn has nearly doubled the normal amounts.
As a Stylecraft Blogstar I am aware of all the gorgeous new goodies that are coming our way long before they hit the stores.
But again we had no idea how much our planning was going to be disrupted by delays in shipping from the manufacturer to Stylecraft and then out to all the stores.
January was time for my first publication of the year.
Sanctuary was the large afghan square that I designed for the crochet retreat that was held in Wiltshire, UK, in October of last year 2019.
After the pattern being exclusive to the fabulous ladies who joined us on the Crochet Retreat for 3 months, I made the pattern available to everyone.
During February I was busy designing this year’s CAL crochet along, Octagonical.
There was also lots of activity behind the scenes putting the finishing touches to the new website.
This included me having to edit and in some cases rewrite some of my blog posts, turning posts about designs into pattern pages, and uploading all of my patterns as pdf’s. This took hundreds of hours but I know it was worth it.
We wanted to create something personal.
Somewhere that your purchased or free patterns will be stored for you, where you can always come back and find your patterns should you lose them from your own device. This is available to both free and monthly members.
I wanted to be able to offer rewards to those of you who are loyal to me and my designs, this is where we brought in the Monthly membership idea, where you can use your credits to purchase patterns at a reduced cost.
Although some people have struggled a little to begin with we now know from your response that you are loving the new website and find it easy to use.
There is a blog post, with a video on how to use the new website HERE.
Although my patterns are available on Ravelry and in my designer shops with Wool Warehouse and Deramores, you will always get the most options here on my website.
I also started the re-modelling of my home with a gorgeous new kitchen in a soft dove grey with dark oak floor and worktops, so life was a little chaotic, to say the least.
What a month and what a change in all our lives, pandemics, lockdowns, stress levels through the roof for so many people for so many reasons.
Some people had to learn very quickly how to homeschool their children, suddenly everyone had to learn how to work from home and use video conferencing unless they are an essential worker.
Many people realised that what so many had thought of as a job that was beneath them suddenly were the people holding the world together and deserve the respect of all of us, without the grocery store workers and the refuse collectors our world would soon descend into chaos.
Everyone was shouting for the Doctors and Nurses here in the UK to be paid more and respected more… a good thing in my opinion.
And BOOM the crafting world went crazy and we all ran out of toilet paper, although I do not think the two are connected 😉
But before all that started I had a very special visitor.
My great friend Ineke, that gorgeous little Dutch girl came to stay for a few days and only just managed to catch one of the last flights home, but she did get home safely.
While Ineke was here we worked together on this year’s CAL Otagonical, and it was so much fun to have someone here in person to bounce ideas off of, and with her turbo-charged hook, she managed to test the first three parts of the CAL for me.
March saw two new patterns, both afghan squares.
Felicity is a large afghan square designed as a cushion cover.
And Angelique is a 10/12 inch afghan square designed for the FATW5 CAL on Facebook.
Because the world had just gone mad and everyone was so unsure of what was going on I decided to give you all a special offer and Framed was available for a short period of time at 50% off, I also encouraged you all to use up your stash as shops were closed and many online stores were struggling with demand and lack of staff to fulfil orders. Framed was not planned to publish until June, but hey, it’s good to be ahead of yourself sometimes.
I also published Beltane Blessings in April as planned to coincide with the festival of Beltane, as many of you will know my designs have meaning and I like to share a little of my thoughts, beliefs and feelings with you all.
I also completed the prototype of this year’s crochet along Octagonical.
Although I had made most of the video tutorials in March, June was the month I spent editing and finalising all the of the tutorials for my friend Emma, of PippinPoppycock. These were for her Floralia CAL crochet along which started later than planned in July.
The one part of my new year’s plan that I had still not got to grips with is sending out newsletters.
I spend an average 3 hours a day answering emails and checking in on my Facebook group Helen’s Hookaholics, I also have my little furry friend Mr J, who is a Westie that I rescued 3 years ago, and we go for walks every day, and we were now allowed to drive a short distance to exercise so we were back to the beach as often as possible, and I was spending a lot of time outside in my garden because the weather was fabulous, and Mr J likes to be comfortable so as soon as I get out of my chair he jumps in 🙂
I also spent this month working on the photo tutorials for Otagonical.
I also published the pattern for A Life Inspired which was a CAL in Crochet Now magazine here in the UK last year 2019.
And because lockdown had been lifted I managed to get my kitchen finished and the rest of the house decorated, although having to have only one person in each room took a bit of organising I can tell you.
June was a very busy month as I had my sister to stay for a few days, and we managed to get out and about quite a bit even with the restrictions that were still in place, Cornwall saw a lot of visitors this summer. And coming out of our second lockdown we are one of the few places in the UK that are in tier 1 so we still have much more freedom than most of the rest of the country at the end of 2020.
July, summer is in full swing and life is great.
All of the photo tutorials, video tutorials etc for Octagonical are finished, the yarn pack details are all organised, and then the dreaded news…. we may not have the yarn in stock comes through. Again because of the shipping logistics and the hold up’s everywhere.
But I decided to go ahead with the planned launch date and knew there would be limited numbers of some of the yarn packs.
Dawn is the pattern that was published this month, another large afghan square, made with Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK.
Those of you who love this yarn will have noticed that it has been discontinued, but wait until you see what is coming in place of it…gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and organic…shusssssh it’s a secret.
September and the time for me to publish a new shawl pattern.
Miss Mary is a simple triangular shawl, although I always wear them as a scarf. Perfect to make with one of the fabulous whirl type yarn cakes.
Things seem quieter now but I was getting ready to launch this year’s CAL and also working on two new blanket designs, one of which you will see early in the new year.
October and BOOM!
My world goes crazy as the new CAL started. You managed to break the internet!
Even though I upgraded my server and the web team knew all about the CAL we did not expect the amazing number of hits on my website when Part 1 was released. And because I published in the evening it meant no one was around to sort the issue quickly, so the following weeks were published late morning in the UK and they were able to jump on the problems immediately.
Lesson learned when you have thousands of followers don’t publish new patterns in the evening.
I have been looking at a lot of my older patterns and tutorials and have decided that some need to be rewritten, I have been working on this, along with everything else during the year, and will continue to make more updates next year.
4 Square poncho was one of the earliest tutorials I wrote 5 years ago, this has now been rewritten with more details and photos, and is a free pattern/tutorial that you can adapt to suit you.
The final pattern to be published this year is Splanna.
I decided it was time to do something to honour me and the light I try to bring to the world.
One last little something for you to look forward to next year… or maybe two somethings… my fabulous testing team are busy with a new blanket pattern that will be published in January, this will be similar to Continuum, which you can use to expand any of my large afghan squares into a full-size square blanket, the new one will be called Rectangulation so as you may guess it is to expand any large square into a rectangular blanket.
I will not go into the mathematical nightmare of designing my type of blanket pattern as a rectangle!
I have also just started on the prototype for the 2021 Crochet ALong, and you can see two of the proposed yarn packs below.
Here we are at the end of a very strange and trying year, a year where nothing seems to have made any sense.
But through it all, I know I have done my best to bring joy into the world, to help and support those I can, to be kind and patient and not to judge others. I honestly think that is all any of us can do. To live life with an open heart and to be able to forgive is key to our own happiness.
Be responsible for our own health, our own actions and reactions and to spread a little joy, love and laughter throughout the world has a greater impact than you could ever imagine.
Be Happy, stay safe and I wish you all a very merry festive season and a very happy new year for 2021.