It’s that time of year again, and boy did this one go quickly!
Get yourself a mug, cup or glass of something and maybe even a few of those leftover festive treats and settle yourself down to have a look back on 2021 and forward into 2022, and just a little bit of rambling from me.
Depending on the kind of year you have had it is time to say ta tar, cheerio, bye-bye, or do one 21!
I have had a very busy year, and I have achieved a lot, but oh boy have there been some trials and tribulations!
As you may know, I am a Stylecraft Blogstar, and though we have not been able to have our normal (in person) meetups, we have kept in touch with each other via social media, and Stylecraft has hosted zoom meetings, where they tell us all about the gorgeous goodies coming your way.
The biggest issue that Stylecraft and the designers have faced this year is huge delays in shipping and a lack of raw materials to make yarn with.
This is why there was a severe shortage of yarn packs for the annual Crochet Along – CAL at the end of the year.
But this didn’t hold any of you back, and I have seen so many beautifully made Faith blankets from you all.
But let’s start at the beginning of the year with a round-up of the designs I have brought to you in 2021.
In February Rectangulation was launched.
This is, as it says, a rectangular blanket, designed to use with any of my large Afghan squares to extend to a full-size blanket. This came about as so many people had asked how they could extend a square but for it to be a rectangle.
In March, I finally published a pattern Island Dreams, which was designed when I was travelling around New Zealand, and visiting my sister back in the early part of 2017, wow that seems like a lifetime ago!
It may seem that I went very quiet at this point…. But I was working on the design, photo and video tutorials for Faith, the crochet along.
With a crochet along the design process starts nearly a year before the actual CAL is launched.
Then came Faith, this year’s CAL (crochet along) which kicked off at the end of September and finished in November.
That was also when we had some major issues with the website, but I will get to that later.
Nana’s Hug was also published in November, a re-make of a motif my Nanna used to use to make us blankets as kids, this is the ideal project to use up all your little bits of leftover yarn from other projects and a very portable project when you are out and want something to do for 15 or 30 minutes.
The last publication of the year, launched in November, is Joyful Dance.
I think this is one of my favourite designs to date, and it really was a joy to design.
So after all that joy and all those gorgeous photos, I would like to tell you about the other major tribulation I have had this year, which is the website….
Nearly three years ago I decided I wanted to offer more than just some patterns to download or purchase through a third-party website. We started to plan and design the website and it has been hugely successful, BUT, the web team and I had no idea just how successful it was going to be!
Please remember I am a self-employed designer, working from home, on my own. I do not have hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend, nor do I have a full time IT staff or programmers and forget even thinking that I could do it myself!
I am 60, nearly 61 years old and computers were not used when I was at school so coding and the like was never a part of my education. Like most people I have learned as I go along, I can follow instructions, but I must write it all down or I will forget how to do it when it comes to the next time. Plus, I would rather spend my time designing and helping all of you because that is what I am good at.
The web team had never done anything like my website in the past and had no idea how much data was going to end up on the website. The data consists of all the blog posts, pattern pages, tutorials but also all the membership accounts and all the orders, both free and purchased patterns.
Then there is the issue of the server… when thousands of people all tried to access the website and the checkout at the same time to get the first part of a CAL, the server went into meltdown.
We solved that by my buying a dedicated server and all seemed great for a couple of weeks…
Then some delightful little soul decided it would be fun to hack the website… note the sarcasm !!
However, they very soon found that there are no payment details on the website, so nothing that would be of any use to their corrupt mind or fingers, but so that they could not be traced they decided to delete 7 days’ worth of data. That is every order, every monthly subscription, every new membership created between 10th and 17th November, with no way for us to retrieve the data.
It then took the web team and I hundreds of hours to sort everything out, replacing orders as you told me you could not access downloads, checking that payments had gone through the various third parties we use, like PayPal, but we got it all done and have learned more lessons.
We already had massive amounts of security on the website, but now it is like Fort Knox!!
And we are planning some huge changes for next year for the website.
I will let you all know as and when anything happens, but basically, we are, or rather the web team are going to completely rebuild the website to make it secure and robust enough to take us forward for the next 10 years.
Now you may understand my expression earlier … do one 21!
In the UK when we say do one, we mean buzz off, get lost, don’t ever come back.
So… let’s forget the past and look forward….
There will be a new design coming to you all mid-January. This is called Bugle Blanket, and will be available in US terms written pattern, photo and video tutorials, and also UK terms written pattern and photo tutorial.
Here is a sneak preview.
It is not even January yet and I am half way through designing the CAL for next year, I need to have it all finished by the end of March to allow enough time for yarn production and shipping etc to launch the CAL in October 2022.
Then I feel like I want to work on some smaller projects.
A post in the Facebook group Helen’s Hookaholics this morning reminded me of something very important.
One of our members made a blanket for her daughter, her mother in law saw it and asked to have one the same.
The members quandary was, even though she did not want to do it, should she make it to make mother in law happy?
This is something that most of us will come across, with whatever hobby we do.
My answer is this…
Love and respect yourself first.
If you make something with your hands, all the energy of how you are feeling is transferred through your hands into the piece of work, that in turn is transferred to the person receiving the finished piece.
If you work with love and a relaxed mind, then love and relaxation are the feelings the recipient will get from their gift/item.
If you work with guilt, resentment, frustration, then those are the feelings that are transferred to the recipient.
This is also why when people ask me to design specific things I always say no.
We are not machines, we have feelings, and everything we create should come from the heart and with love.
And I guess that is my “spiritual teacher” side coming through, and my message to all of you for 2022…
DO IT WITH LOVE
When you send love out into the world, that is what will come back to you tenfold.
Thank you for all of your love and support this year.
I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2022.