Bits and pieces that bring us comfort
During these strange in-between days spending time at home, rather than at the shop, the Loopettes have been finding sources of comfort from many different places. This week we’re sharing some of those things – lots of us have been knitting, but we’re also stitching, cooking, gardening and reading to keep our minds occupied and our hands busy.
“I’ve been delving into the realms of embroidery with Yumiko Higuchi as my guide. I’m starting out small, but depending on how long the lockdown lasts, I might end up with an entire tapestry! Other than crafting, I have spent time gardening, baking lots of bread and volunteering – helping the over 70’s and vulnerable in my borough. I packed food parcels to be sent out to those cannot leave their house to go to the shop. There are more ways to volunteer, even from home! I have done it through my local council. If you are interested, I would suggest looking up what your local council is offering.”
The embroidery pattern is ‘Flowering Branch Brooch’ from Embroidered Botanicals by Yumiko Higuchi.
“Not much knitting or crochet going on here. I have got a little routine going where I do chores in the morning, cleaning cupboards etc, after lunch I cook, preparing food for us and my daughter (she works in a school). Then I try and do some knitting but not really feeling it, but I’m really enjoying doing my tapestry in the evening, I’m on the background now and love the methodical stitching. I have also signed up to do Adriana Torres’ Raised Embroidery course!”
“I’m doing a lot of knitting and spinning but am also really thankful for my little garden. I like my garden to be useful as well as beautiful so a lot of my plants are edible. Even this early in the season there are delicious things to be had. A harvest from the other day included Swiss chard, sorrel and wild rocket for salad and rhubarb to eat with my breakfast yoghurt.”
Like most of us I imagine I am swinging violently between calm and acute anxiety, but in relation to comfort I would say:
• Listening to McCoy Tyner
• Knitting – new socks and old wip’s
• Baking. A lot.
• Exercising – running in the park is too stressy as it is busy and I have to stop myself from getting into altercations (not calm) so Pilates via Zoom or Joe Wicks P.E (for kids!) This helps with the not sleeping
• Enjoying hanging with my boys who are pretty chilled about this whole situation (home schooling is being approached in a somewhat haphazard manner on all sides)
• Reading – David Sedaris, Kiley Reid, Toni Morrison, thrillers
• Podcasts – football (missing this a lot), Phoebe reads a mystery (rec by Susan it is very good!)
• Watching – old films, old series, not too much of the news
• Sewing – I made a project bag!
• Enjoying the content being posted to various WhatsApp groups I’m in
“One of our main source of comfort these days, apart from knitting of course, is spending time with our little girl Rei, watching her learn so many things in such a short time. Watching her grow out of things in what feels like mere days, which then leads to me to, what a surprise, having to knit more small things. Knitting small things is in itself so very satisfying and utterly brilliant for an immediate sense of achievement.
I also take solace from a daily walk along the Thames, I have never seen it so serene, it’s really quite magical.”
Susan has another amazing soup recipe for us this week! Find the recipe by clicking here, or on the photograph above!
“This was a recipe sent to me by an incredibly lovely customer at Loop. Her name is Lucy Willis @lucysyarnpocket and she is a kind and good soul. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia in the States. She calls it Escarole Soup, which we shortened, lightheartedly, to squirrel soup – but I am pretty sure it is very close to an Italian Wedding Soup. In any case, it is now one of the most comforting bowls of food we know in my house. When my partner Anthony messages me at the shop to let me know he is making ‘squirrel soup’ for dinner I immediately feel warm and happy. We are eating a lot of our ‘squirrel soup’ these days for comfort.”
At the moment, I’m starting my days by knitting and reading my backlog of The Week, a weekly news magazine that I haven’t had a chance to read since December! I’ve found that the best way to structure my day is by following the sun as much as possible – I go sit close to a window and don’t move until lunchtime.
I’ve found it particularly soothing to wind my scraps slowly and carefully (see picture attached) and to tend to a small herb garden.
I’ve been watching relatively light-hearted TV and rewatching Disney films, but also reading – my latest favourite is Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. I’ve also reinstalled a couple of ‘Hidden Object’ games – a little mindless but I enjoy the distraction!
“I am rather enjoying this down time with Sargon my cat. Our new routine is get up, feed him, make tea and then out the front door for a stroll around the garden. Although he does look a little surprised when I’m home on a Saturday afternoon!
I’m delighted with all the visible mending that’s going on, it inspired me to use that as an embroidery/intarsia look on a sock. I quite liked knitting this sock… kept me interested … just add another random strand of colour! And all this while watching the blossom falling off the cherry tree in my front garden.”
“I’ve been trying to squeeze in as much creative time as possible the past few weeks – I feel like I’ve been given the gift of time! I’ve done a lot of sewing the past few days – I’m trying to build up my summer wardrobe, for when this is all over. I have been collecting vintage table cloths and linens for the past year or so, and In now finally have the time to make things with them!
I’m also focusing on getting as many projects off my needles as I can (there are quite a few at the moment). I started this Bloem cardigan by Marion Em back in November (eek!) and so I’m trying to finish it in this time at home – I’m desperate to wear it, even if I’m only wearing it over my pyjamas whilst sat on the sofa knitting on something else!”
“What I mostly have done during this first week is being a planner, carer, cook… for my family. Two locked down teenagers can be tricky and challenging sometimes! Of course knitting and trying to finish some stuff that I started too long ago has been on my bucket list. I decided I wouldn’t cast on a new project before I finished at least one!
I am also trying to finish some upholstery work that I left untouched for many months as well as some darning on my favourite cardigan that seems to have been some moths favourite too!”
“Even though the world as we’ve known it has been turned upside down in the last few weeks, I’m fortunate to be able to still work from home. While that hasn’t changed much for me I have been forced to slow down a bit and think about things that I would normally take for granted. Seeing my kids and their partners every Sunday for dinner is something I miss terribly but we have managed to have video chats and that has helped a lot. Sometimes just seeing someone’s face makes such a difference.
I feel like it’s really important to have something to look forward to during this time. So I’ve decided to take the time to go through my yarn and fabric stash to plan some sewing and knitting gifts for family and friends for birthdays and Christmas. Every year I feel so rushed when it comes to the holidays and it’s easy to feel like it’s over in the blink of an eye. So I’m taking this time to be thoughtful about what to make and have plenty of time to work on projects.
Catching up on tv box sets for a bit of escapism has been a nice evening ritual and baking bread from our own sourdough starter has also been a fun experiment. There’s no rushing a good bread dough!
Also something I’ve been meaning to do for ages is translating my great grandmothers recipes from her cookbook published in 1900 in Germany. It has such beautiful and detailed illustrations and engravings. I remember her cooking from these recipes and I’ve been meaning to have the book restored. I love seeing her handwriting and the recipes and her notes are fascinating not to mention very comforting in that it gives me a connection to my family through food. The book is filled with poems and notes about special meals shared with family members and what was served and who was there. It’s very special to me and helps me to look forward to being able to share meals and time with my family again soon.”
We hope you enjoyed this little insight into some of the Loopettes projects and hobbies! We’re going to try and bring you more posts like this in the coming weeks, if we are all still at home.
Fantastic giveaway of complete set of Sajou Embroidery Threads with Selvedge magazine
We just wanted to let you know that we are running a competition in collaboration with Selvedge magazine, to win a complete set of Sajou darning threads! The darning threads are made of four strands and apart from their original intended use, they are often used for embroidery projects. The thread is made of half wool, half polymide and is very solid, easy to use and its colours remain fast. This prize offers a complete set of ninety-six colours, wound on lovely cards and measuring ten metres each, and presented in a box entirely covered inside and out with Laine Saint-Pierre paper, worth £234!
You just need to go to Selvedge’s competition page, which can be found here, and fill out the little form! The competition will close on Wednesday 15th April 2020. Good luck!