Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Melancholy Mothers' Day

A Mothers' Day card, home-made of light blue card. Three flowers are lined up side by side. The stems are drawn with green pencil. The flower heads are made of paper circles which have scalloped edges folded upwards to make petals raised above the card. Each flower head has a flat centre glued against the card. From left to right the flowers are orange, red and yellow with the centre red flower slightly taller than the other two.
My children made me this card for Mothers' Day 2017.
The home-made ones are always the most precious,
don't you think?

The second Sunday in May is Mothers' Day in Australia.

While celebrating Mothers' Day with my own family last Sunday, there was another mum in my thoughts.

That was Amanda Bloom from "Little Box of Crochet", a subscription service for crochet lovers.  Amanda has been caring for her teenage daughter, Jenny, who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.

In recent weeks and months, the crochet community has been rallying around Amanda and Jenny, as Jenny's condition deteriorated to a point where palliative care was the only option.

My heart just aches for them!

A sunflower for Jenny
crocheted by Jodiebodie
pattern by Lesley Stanfield
I was busy making a sunflower back in April when the news came through that one of Jenny's dying wishes was to have her coffin decorated by crocheted flowers so it was the least I could do, to stop everything and make another sunflower to contribute to the cause.

I love this sunflower pattern. It's by Lesley Stanfield and published in her book, "100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet" (pattern no. 85).

The pattern was rated as an 'advanced design' but I found it very easy to memorise and adapt to different yarn weights and hook sizes.  The example in the book used 4-ply wool.

I also love the yarn.  For the centre of the flower, I used the same unlabelled, unidentified 5 ply perlé yarn as I used for the Ravellenic Tricot Lace Bookmark. This yarn has a sheen and its colour is somewhere between a golden olive green and brown, perfect for a sunflower seed.  The petals were made from a 4-ply soft cotton.  I love the way it shines and glows in the sun.

I am so happy with the photograph because it had been a very grey day, and just when I was ready to take the photo, the sun came out.

As I took the photo, I imagined all the sun's warmth and life being absorbed by this little flower, hoping that the flower would keep it safe until it reached its destination where the flower could exude the energy of the Australian sunshine with love, to brighten up Jenny's dark days.

I finished the photography, took everything inside, and within a minute, the clouds came over again and the rest of the day remained overcast.  It's as if the universe knew we needed that ray of sunshine just then.  That is another reason that this particular sunflower is special to me.

Of course, one sunflower would not be enough. More flowers needed to be made, so I used the opportunity to make more flowers from Lesley Stanfield's book.

Chamomile, Hellebore and Forget-Me-Not
crocheted by Jodiebodie
patterns by Lesley Stanfield
(Nos. 41, 74 & 49)

These flowers were chosen for ease and speed of making. Lesley Stanfield rated them as 'basic' and 'intermediate' designs. They are made of 4-ply cotton found in my stash which may include Panda Regal, Sullivans and Lion Brand Bonbons (Colour pack #640).

I chose chamomile because of its soothing qualities. (I am a regular user of chamomile tea and essential oils);  forget-me-not because there is no way Jenny will ever be forgotten as she is in so many people's hearts; and hellebore because they are tough and will flower through the dark days of winter and, apparently, the purple ones are highly treasured by plant lovers. They are also called 'Winter Roses' even though they are not botanically related to roses at all.

There was no more time to lose, so I stopped with four flowers and sent them off in a jiffy to Amanda and Jenny in the UK in April.  I do hope they arrived in time.

Amanda's assistant, Emma, keeps a very active Instagram account for Little Box of Crochet . That is where you will find the latest news and pictures.  Everybody who sent flowers was asked to take a photograph and post it with the tag #flowersforjenny so that even if the flowers were in the post, Jenny would be able to see them online with a simple search.

The goodwill in the global crochet community is phenomenal and the response was so overwhelming that we have been requested to not send any more flowers (in case you were starting to make one while reading this).

Amanda and Jenny have also come up with a plan for the flowers after the funeral:  Each person in attendance will be given a flower as a keepsake to remind them of Jenny and the rest will be donated on a massive canvas to the oncology unit where Jenny was treated.

The thought of losing a child is so horrifying, I cannot contemplate it and there are no words to soothe the profound agony that Amanda must be going through as a mother.

I woke up on Monday to the sad news that Jenny passed away in her mother's arms that evening.

It was Mothers' Day. 

It breaks my heart.

Sending love to all at Little Box of Crochet.
May Jenny forever rest in peace.

There are no more words. 


Links and References

Little Box of Crochet, UK:
Lupey Loops, "Ravellenic Games Review 2016", blog entry, 9 December 2016:

Ravelry project details:

Stanfield, Lesley, 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A collection of beautiful blooms for embellishing clothes, accessories, cushions and throws, paperback, ISBN 978-1-84448-403-4, 2nd reprint 2012, Search Press, Ltd, Wellwood, North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3DR, UK, Quarto Publishing plc 2009, UK.


  1. A beautiful idea and a beautifully written post. I cannot imagine the grief that ensues when one has lost a child, but I am sure the flowers helped make it more bearable and it is such a lovely idea for those attending the funeral to take one home in remembrance.

    1. Thank you, Mary Ann, for your compliments on my writing. I didn't know how I would write about this. I struggle to even answer comments about it. The grief of losing a child is so profound that words are insufficient.

      I hope these flowers will continue to soothe and comfort people into the future.

  2. Oh how sad. I had not heard about Jenny or the fight she had with cancer, I am heartbroken for all of them. I am so glad you wrote about this as it might be late for prayers for recovery but it is never to late for prayers for those left behind. Bless this entire family and bless all of those out there who sent flowers, just like you my friend. A belated Happy Mother's Day. You are the best.

    1. Yes, Meredith, I agree with you - prayers for everyone connected with Amanda, Jenny and their Little Box of Crochet. I will be thinking of them on Thursday.

  3. I love the flowers you made, especially the sunflower, and the sensitive way you have written about this very sad subject. I was too late to make a flower but it makes me feel happy that Amanda and Jenny were able to experience all of this kind thoughtful crafting of beautiful flowers made just for them.

    1. Crocheters around the world are just amazingly kind and compassionate. We are very lucky to be part of that community whether online or in our local neighbourhoods.

      I've been thinking about Amanda today, wondering how the funeral went, trying to imagine how awesome Jenny's coffin looked adorned with so many flowers - to think how far some of those flowers have travelled. Then I wonder about the people who will receive a flower, what will they do with them, where will they keep them, and I think of how much joy the colourful garden of crocheted flowers will bring to the patients of Jenny's oncology unit. It is a comfort that there will be a positive and useful legacy.