Christina Hadderingh, from A Spoonful of Yarn, designed the d’Histoire Naturelle crochet blanket for the Scheepjes crochet-a-long (CAL) of 2020. The pattern is for adventurous beginners and experienced crocheters alike and, to be honest, requires a bit of focus and willingness to challenge oneself now and again. The CAL set itself apart by inviting makers worldwide to embark on a concurrent journey by reading “All The Light We Cannot See” by the award-winning author Anthony Doerr. An ambitious project, combining crafting and reading that I truly enjoyed. Both the book and the blanket were hard to put down from the beginning, and I felt caught in a time warp, see-sawing between modern perceptions of life, survival, morality, and resilience and the period in which the book is set in.
In the book that took ten years to complete, Doerr tells the story of Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, whose father built a miniature of the Paris neighborhood they live in so that she can find her way home. Marie’s father works at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History), where he guards a priceless diamond. It also tells the parallel story of Werner, a German orphan whose discovery of a broken radio will fill his life with possibilities. The story follows the main characters whose paths will intersect in the last days of World War II.
I remember a few lines in the book still today, though I completed the blanket twice over a year. “What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.” The inference is that even though the universe is made of light that we cannot see, we should still try our best to understand. Another is “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever,” a sentence repeated many times in the book. An invitation to learn and do as much as possible while one can.
Let’s talk about the blanket. Scheepjes offered four colorways in two yarn weights. I chose Herbarium and Entomology, the first in Stone-washed/River-washed and the second in Color Crafter.
The Herbarium blanket is still used every day in our living room. The Entomology was gifted to a neighbor friend the year I completed it.
Each week of the ten, during which parts of the blanket pattern were released, readers could follow along with an indication of which chapter they should be on. I had read the book years before but took the opportunity to reread it while crocheting along. It made the experience unique and immersive.
I highly recommend giving it a go! You can go at your own pace and take in the story stitch by stitch and chapter by chapter.
You will not regret it.