Lately I have had my head buried in spreadsheets, charts, style sheets and gauge swatches. All work and no play makes for a dull Karie. Sure, there were some bright spots (like my surprise trip to Arran) but I've mainly focused on ticking off items on my to-do list.
I celebrated Socktober by getting stuck into sock design for the first time. I have always had a mild phobia of feet (don't ask) but several people challenged me to conquer my phobia. I am glad I did because I really enjoyed playing around with a new canvas and checking out new techniques. I'm joining forces with Ms Old Maiden Aunt for her 2015 club - three exclusive colourways and three sock patterns by yours truly. I am truly excited to hear what people think of my sock patterns as it's a new area for me. I am not ruling out designing more socks, incidentally, as my friend Paula gave me a pair of luxurious hand-knitted socks as a belated birthday present and I love them to bits.
Just don't make me look at other people's toes, aghr.
Another highlight was teaching workshops. I really love teaching - that moment a tricky technique is mastered by someone or I can see someone getting it .. well, you cannot beat that feeling. One of my workshops took place at Dundee's Fluph yarn shop. We had six native languages between us and experience ranging from "designing my own jumpers" to "I learned to knit three months ago and have never worked in the round". Just such a great time and I love the six finished mini jumpers. All speak of the knitters' personalities and how much they were up for a challenge. The red jumper on the left? The lady had never attempted colourwork before and was excited to put small borders on her jumper. Ace stuff.
New designs? Yes. I finished nine new designs this months - including the three sock patterns that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I wouldn't necessarily recommend anyone doing that many designs in a month, but I found being busy silenced that annoying voice going "it's not good enough, Karie". I have struggled with perfectionism and impossibly high standards before - and it was interesting to see how being busy felt liberating.
I was excited to meet and chat with Susan McComb, the Knitter-In-Residence at Glasgow University for Wool Week. The residency was an extension of the ongoing Knitting in the Round project and since I have been part of the project in a number of ways, I was looking forward to seeing Susan's work. She had translated architectural details found around campus into knitting patterns, had taught knitting workshops throughout the university and spoken with Material Culture students about textiles. Susan spoke with passion about keeping your eyes open and knit what you see in every day life (this reminded me of Felicity Ford's recent work). We had a great conversation about inner/outer landscapes and the relationship between landscapes and textiles. Incidentally, if you can make it, the Knitting in the Round project has a workshop on Sanquhar knitting in Sanquhar tomorrow, November 1.
And I finished the Doggerland collection, my word. Part of me thought I would never get to the finishing line as the aforementioned perfectionism reared its ugly head again and again. But I did finish and I cannot quite believe that something that was inside my head for so long is now out in the world. The finished collection is almost 50 pages long (only because I used a relatively small sized font, ha ha) and has 8 patterns with essays and hand-drawn schematics.
I love collaborations and working closely with others on a design brief - but I take great pleasure to looking at Doggerland knowing it would not exist if it weren't for my stubbornness and my odd ideas.
It has also been quite overwhelming listening to people's responses - and i mean that in a positive way! I have been corresponding with few knitters (and non-knitters) over the past year or so, and I have heard so many incredible stories about how Doggerland has affected them or made them think. I'll be sharing some of those stories in a separate post, but it is truly one of the joys of my life that my work can affect people. It feels quite humbling.
So. November. What will November bring? Some time to breathe?