2015 was a terrible year, generally speaking. It was a year that seemed to bring out the worst in people and the world appeared to be heading towards darkness, fear, and hatred. I finally stopped watching the news this year (and I’m a total news junkie). Instead I tried to find beauty wherever I could find it: art, literature, and kind gestures.
But I am also a knitter and knitting brings solace (even when I’m stressed out of my skull over deadlines, I love knitting).
So, I’m going to spend this post looking back at my year in knitting (and crochet).
2015 was my first year of being fully self-employed. I made the big leap in 2014, and 2015 was a year of me realising what that meant. I got used to a full inbox and I learned big lessons on Saying No to Things. I travelled a lot and I met so many brilliant, talented, wonderful people.
I taught so many workshops all over the UK – from the buzz of Hackney in London to the quiet, quiet countryside of Northern Ireland. Bikes, busses, trains, and ferries. Astounding views ranging from the Lake District, Scottish glens, the flat streets of Cambridge, and the strange aircraft hangar feeling of a giant exhibition hall.
Design-wise, 2015 was another busy year.
I released three Authors & Artists patterns: Byatt, Mahy, and Lindgren. I had a few patterns published elsewhere: the Chard top in Knit Now and the Swale hap in the wonderful Drift book by Eden Cottage Yarns. I also had three sock patterns released with Old Maiden Aunt yarns, and the Crosstown Traffic released as a Malabrigo Quickie pattern. And I released the lovely HYGGE collection: Fika, Top Hygge, Skovtur, Brygga and Tryghed.
14 designs in one year – that should be grand, right? I feel quite bad about the low tally but I also know how much I ripped out and how hard I’ve been on myself (..may 2016 be the year of less perfectionism). I also worked on a few things that are yet to be released. I also knitted myself a comfy jumper with no pattern to show for it.
I went on three knitting retreats.
The first one was in February in Dunoon and had amazing views. I hung out with my Glasgow posse, watched Labyrinth & Flash Gordon for the first time, and knitted myself a Hetty cardigan.
The second was a combination knitting retreat/hen party for one of my dearest friends. We stayed in a fabulous farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales. We watched cheesy Doctor Who episode, ate cheese, and I played the worst round of pool ever seen. I also worked on the Mahy shawl constantly.
The third knitting retreat was in Lancaster at the Crawfords’ farm. A handful of designers camped on site and we spent a very fruitful summer weekend learning from each other, working on various future designs, and cooking amazing food. I was working on something that is yet to be released. Here’s a photo of some yoked jumpers/cardigans we were sporting.
(photo by Katya Frankel)
And then there were events. Three in particular stand out for me:
The Edinburgh Yarn Festival was such momentous event for me personally. I tend to sit on my own and work – and suddenly people came up to me and chatted. You are real! There are people out there! I had some thought-provoking, smart conversations and I got to spend time with some very special people. EYF 2015 was the event that made me realise that it is all real. You guys exist and you are awesome. Also, there was much yarn.
Yarndale 2015 was a mad lark. I said hello to so many people, talked so much, and did so many things for one very short day that I had to take a short holiday afterwards. Most of all, Yarndale was the day of the Scollay-along meetup and I got very verklempt.
And In the Loop 4 was fantastic. An inspiring three-day conference on all things knitting & textile. I gave a paper on Faroese knitting and the idea of tradition. Three days in the company of some of the brightest thinkers on knitting culture and knitting history. It really made me think hard and restored some confidence in my ability to think. I am eagerly awaiting the next ITL in 2017.
(photo by Jeni Reid)
Looking back, 2015 was probably the year of meeting people. I am a natural introverted hermit who lives in her own head, so it was a challenge for me at times, but I learned so much from each and every one I met.
2016 looks to be busy in terms of me being on the road talking to fabulous folks, but I have blocked out several weeks of me-time. I think I need that in order to be able to work. I am looking forward to seeing new faces and go places I have never been.
Thank you for 2015. It’s been a tough year out there in the world, but thankfully there has also been knitting and good people.