Wool Week is here. Friends are in Shetland or down in London having all sorts of woolly fun.
For the first time I am not actually involved in Wool Week. The past four years I was on the front-line at various events: talking to people about the wonderful qualities of wool, explaining how hand-knitting and fashion have more in common than people think, and emphasising that wool is far more than just lambswool or merino. But I am technically still as involved as ever.
This Sunday I am teaching a class on two-hand colourwork, Nordic knitting traditions, and Continental knitting at Edinburgh's Be Inspired Fibres, I am also busy working on an article about North Atlantic knitting traditions for a knitting magazine and I am working on no less than five future designs. So, in a way I am still talking about all those things but at my own pace and in my own way. It feels good.
I cannot resist still dressing the part, though, so yesterday I wore my Orkney cardigan together with my True Brit Knits badge. Every week is Wool Week, of course, but it's still nice to make an effort!
Design-wise I am both back doing something I really love and I am stretching my wings a wee bit.
I was recently commissioned by Susan Crawford to design a piece for her Knits for a Cold Climate collection. Susan's famous for her vintage-inspired knitwear design and she has given myself and fellow collaborator, Tess Young, a very interesting and very tight design brief. As you may have guessed by the name, it is a collection of designs inspired by the late 1920s/early 1930s and the English novelist Nancy Mitford. I am using Susan's Fenella yarn and the colour palette is just perfect for the period. I have long been interested in early 20th century arts and culture - specifically circa 1909 to 1939 - and I find it a really intriguing challenge to translate my knowledge of this period into knitwear design. Intriguing and fun. A bit like the design I am working on.
Finally, the Edinburgh Yarn Festival has announced their line-up of classes. I am really, really, really proud to see my name in a line-up international names as Helene Magnusson, Nancy Merchant, Veera Valimaki, Martina Behm, and Carol Feller as well as local luminaries Rachel Coopey, Hazel Tindall, the very, very lovely Kat Goldin/Joanne Scrace crochet duo, and Ysolda. Stallholders will be announced later this year - judging by the size of the new venue and some of the whispers I have overheard, it looks as though Jo & Micha has upped their game significantly. I am really, really proud to be a small, tiny part of this - and with In The Loop 4 lurking, 2015 could be a really great year for hand-knitting in Scotland.
(I really do guess that even though I'm not officially part of Wool Week this year, I'm still preaching the gospel. Ha.)