Twenty-one years ago I set up my very first website. It was hand-coded and had an "under construction" ruler at the top. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Today you get to see my new website. It does not have an "under construction" ruler at the top, but it does have a lot of cool stuff: tutorials for you to peruse, a workshop section that's easy to navigate, and a small shop for pre-ordering my new book. Speaking of which, I have also added a section where you can see sizing and yarn requirements for the book patterns. I still think pulling a website together is the coolest thing ever. I hope you find it useful and helpful.
I've been on the road quite a bit over the last few months.
(Initially the plan was to have the book published before my busy season kicked in, but production delays meant that I have been juggling book production and website development with workshop teaching. I am very grateful to be so busy, but it has also taken a toll. We live in a world where we admire "being busy" but often forget that "being busy" is a case of too much work and inadequate planning. Hopefully now that the book is nearly here and the website is live, I can begin to breathe again. Maybe just a little bit?)
One of my adventures took me to Faversham, a picturesque market town in Kent, England. It is home to The Yarn Dispensary, a yarn shop which has quickly become one of my favourite stops. I ran two workshops in the quirky and colourful shop, and it was such a relief to be back teaching after a summer of staring at a screen. I may be an introvert, but there is something about teaching that I just love. Maybe it is knowing that people will leave with confidence in a new skill; maybe it is that feeling you get when talented and creative people are in a space together; maybe it is that I feel good when I make other people feel good; maybe it is all of the above.
After the workshops, a friend took me to Margate to visit the sea shelter where TS Eliot wrote part of The Waste Land. I stood in the sea shelter, waved my arms around whilst kids skateboarded around me, and then we went for pizza. In a peculiar twist of fate, I have been waiting twenty-one years to make that pilgrimage. Looking out over Margate Sands and the North Sea, I kept thinking about how things can feel circular at times. Here I was in a place where Eliot wrote a key part of a poem which has defined so much of my life. Here I was looking out over the North Sea — the body of water covering Doggerland, an ancient land mass with which I feel a strange sense of belonging. It was beautiful.
As I am writing this, I have just returned from another journey filled with connections. I taught two classes at Knitwork, a Copenhagen knitting festival. I took the opportunity to spend a few days with my family (my mother has been fighting cancer this year — her prognosis is good, thankfully, but it has been a tense year). My family drove us out to Vesterlyng, a low-lying area that is part beach, part sea, part fen. The sunset flickered across the pools of water, while the resident cows were silhouetted against the sky. This is my childhood landscape. An odd, unsettled (and unsettling) place of utter beauty. No matter how many people visit, it feels remote.
Copenhagen was good as well. I walked familiar streets, my feet remembering the routes rather than my head trying to map where I was going. I really enjoyed my time at the festival: the colour palette was very different to the ones I'm used to at UK shows (if you think there is no unifying colour palette because of all the different dyers & companies, there is still an underlying aesthetic consensus that is difficult to escape — we are all caught up in our particular times & places), the general skill level was exceptionally high, and I found it so interesting to see a particular Danish sense of style (I need to write more about this). I left feeling very inspired and also intrigued. It felt good to get out of my shell.
Now I am home, but not for long. I am away to Inverness next week to teach at Loch Ness Knit Fest where I am looking forward to meeting old and new friends. Then I'm flying off to the Oslo Strikkefestival (where I shall be investigating how the Norwegian aesthetic plays out against what I saw in Copenhagen. I have some ideas already, but let's see how they fare. Denmark & Norway are connected in interesting ways.).
And then .. and then it is time to release my book. I'll be sharing details about the book launch parties soon. I cannot wait to show you all the things we've been working on for so long.
Phew. Hello and welcome to the new site.