nautical noel

So, we have made it to December 2020. This month i would like to concentrate on the good this year has brought. There had been a lot of hopeless moments in 2020, for sure. The year 2020 shall be remembered as … dramatic pause …

We will see how it is remembered, i cannot possibly predict that, that is for future generations and future historians to determine. Intense? Tense? In a word that has been a lot by the media to describe events: Unprecedented.

Today’s post, however, is not going to be concerned too much with the disasters that have struck the world in 2020.

This post comes out on the 5th December, which in some Eastern countries is St. Nicolaus Day. (If you have any traditions of your own and you are reading this, please let me know what they are, it would be very interesting to know if/ what happens on St. Nicolaus Day around the world.)

What most people do on the 5th in Slovakia (eve of St. Nicolaus day which is officially 6th December), is that they clean their shoes (boots by this point in the year as it is cold) and put them in the window before they go to sleep. And when they wake up, if their shoes are clean and they have been good, the shoes are full of goodies. This is based on the story of a priest called Nicolaus, as the story we were told when we were kids goes:

Nicolaus used to go around and put food into poor people’s shoes at night, their shoes being left outside their houses, to be an anonymous benefactor. He was not that quiet about it though, right? Someone found out – after all, we are still talking about it in 2020…

If you know more about the history, or have a different custom, again, please do share…

This was always something to look forward to at the start of December, as kids, when the story was full of magic, and an extra festive day before Christmas. Often we would get to have an exam free school day on the 6th (there is a rhyme to confirm this), or sometimes even get to go home at lunchtime…

Today, I would like to talk about hopes for us all, as December descends upon us. But first, a bit of a tangent. Please bear with, it will all make sense (hopefully):

My first complete immersion into another artist’s work was when i discovered Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. In fact, there might still be a little web page somewhere from when one of my assignments for A levels was to create a website on a topic. I chose Vincent Van Gogh. I tried to look for my original website, without much success, considering the time and resources i have had. If you find a website about Van Gogh in Slovakian, please do forward me the link, to check if it is my One.

But i digress.

I have read all about his work, and about his life, any book available in my small town library, i have read it! (if there is anyone young reading this, this was a long long time ago when internet was new, and books were still the main source of information for learning…) Anyway, one of his quotes have always stuck with me:

There is sorrow in the hour when a man is born into the world, but also joy, deep and unspeakable, thankfulness so great that it reaches the highest heavens. Yes the Angels of God, they smile, they hope and they rejoice when a man is born in the world. There is sorrow in the hour of death, but there is also joy unspeakable when it is the hour of death of one who has fought a good fight. […]

Sorrow is better than joy – and even in mirth the heart is sad – and it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasts, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Our nature is sorrowful. […] It is a good word that of St. Paul: as being sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

Vincent Van Gogh

‘Sorrow is better than joy’.

Is it? I could never truly agree. It seemed such a counterproductive look on life. It still sits uncomfortably with me, even after a lot of time has passed, and a lot of consideration and examination of theories and practices connected with all things human have been looked into. Consider the human experience. Pain is inevitable, and of course, without pain we would not know that there was something wrong, so it serves a purpose for us, for sure. It is part of life. Still, not one person on the earth would choose sorrow over joy, surely? Without getting too deep into the philosophical points of whether there is, in fact, any free will, or whether the mind is governed by the machine (body) and outside world (culture) in terms of what determines our actions, would we choose pain over pleasure?

Well, in 2020, not a lot of us got a choice. There has been lot of humans in pain this year, more than they have expected, and more than any of us would have predicted in January. Yet, if I look at this year in terms of my own development, and in terms of this website and blog, i am proud.

Natural introverts and people who are comfortable in their own company and quietness/ never stopping chatter of their own minds have fared better, i dare say, than those ultimately more social, extroverted, needing people around them. In one way, when there is no possibility of outside engagement, those things that are at the bottom of the list, like website and blog updates can jump up the list and be done, procrastination over, because there is nothing else to do but do what you can/ are able to do as you stay in.

Creativity is a good distraction for me personally, always, as you can read in my post HERE, where a description of the shock of the first lock-down and my way of dealing with is detailed.

Hundreds of words, and no mention of any crochet yet…

Let’s fix that now!

What has pain and December to do with crochet? Or me? In the sorrow of the pandemic, i have yet again found my creativity, and crochet in particular, as a way of helping me process through stuff, to get through the day/s and to find purpose and meaning where there ceased to be any easily/ readily available.

There has been a lot of pain to process this year.

  • Pain that was immediate and palpable in the air;
  • Pain that was brought on as a reminder of past events;
  • Pain in the uncertainty and inability to plan anything at all for future;

All this pain, and the processing of it has been as healing eventually, as distracting myself with crochet, knitting and/ or sewing. Focusing and dealing with it, because there is no other option, was actually very helpful. Difficult, sure! Helpful, definitely!

For today’s crochet showcase pieces i would like to introduce two jumpers (and hats to match, as i seem to make a hat to match pretty much everything these hands produce these days, reminisce about my HAT obsession HERE) which have come a long way from being originally made as bunting to sell, back in 2014, using my still favourite, Bavarian crochet stitch HERE.

I dismantled the unsold triangular crochet bunting a while ago, and then they sat there, waiting:

Until, years later, i have figured out how to put them together. Read HERE about my initial technique discovery/ decision. And,

Until i had the correct wool to connect them with. Which in this case turned out to be some beautifully soft, light and warm mohair wool that my mum, who is a knitter, had let me take from her stash at Christmas 2019.

I have completed these and someone since suggested there is a certain symbolic connection in my mum giving me wool which i then used to make myself two jumpers to wrap myself in, as if a hug from her, in the wool she gave. Poetic, right? From the pain of not selling the bunting, came the pleasure of having a jumper that feels like a hug from my mum.

See pictured below my red freestyle crochet cardigan and my golden freestyle crochet jumpers, in which i am wrapped up for Christmas, with crochet hats to match.

For the coming end of the year.

For the coming winter months.

For the hope of a better year ahead.

Hopefully, things are turning:

On 7th November 2020, a new president was elected in America, which gave the whole world HOPE, and made us all sigh and cry with relief after what seemed like a very bizarre four years prior to that moment.

This is my last post in 2020, and because of that i would like to wish you hope:

I wish and hope you are able to ask for what you need, and that you are able to get your needs met.

Wrap yourselves in warmth and comfort, whatever it is you need to finish the year well, and to feel supported through whatever you have been struggling with in 2020.

And if you would like to share your stories of hope, or of the significance of wool pieces, old favourite woolly pieces that were handmade for you by someone, i will appreciate that and look forward to You sharing these!

And regardless on whether sorrow IS better than joy, they both exist and they both come and go. Even in the hardest time, be reassured that whatever happens, you are moving forward, because time moves ahead without our say, as it always shall.

Take care and be kind and compassionate to yourselves.

Thank You for reading!

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