And on the Second Day of 2015 She Did A Podcast & Stuff

December 2014 054 The last FO of 2014 showcased on the second day of 2015. I knitted the Coffee Bean cardigan for my youngest nephew as an Christmas present. I've used the pattern before and it's a great little project that looks contemporary, knits up a treat, and has a lot of scope for customisation. I used two balls of (the now sadly discontinued) Rowan Pure Wool Aran and used a remnant of a third colour in PWA to knit the buttonband trim. I just wanted to add a little pop of colour to a neutral-looking cardigan. I rather like the end result. Buttons are coconut shell buttons from an old, old eBay haul - this is the third project that uses these buttons and I still have many left!

But this is 2015, so let's not talk anymore of Christmas. Happy new year, everyone!In Scotland, we celebrate Hogmanay which makes the advent of a new year seem extra special. This time my partner and I actually went to a small party where we danced the night away and tried our hand at karaoke (good grief). I even wore a new frock which helped chase away all the clouds left behind by 2014. The bells were celebrated with a wee dram and we enjoyed a healthy serving of Stovies too. Dear reader, I appear to have gone native.

However, to kick off the new year in a suitably knitterly fashion, I sat down for a chat with the lovely Louise Scollay. You can hear a full hour of Louise & I chatting about our year in knitting, what plans we have for 2015 and how much we are looking forward to the Edinburgh Yarn Fest. When we did the interview, my head was full of the cold. Apologies for that! Our chat also include what my post-Doggerland plans are .. the first pattern from the new venture will be released later this month, actually. I really, really enjoy chatting with Louise - I think the podcast clocks in at 70 minutes ..  but actually we talked for like 2.5 hours. See if you can spot when I started coughing my lungs out so Louise had to do some super-clever editing!

One of the things Louise & I spend some time discussing is the idea of choosing a word that will keep you company throughout the coming year. It is a concept I have shamelessly stolen from Joanne Scrace - we discussed our mutual loathing of New Year's resolutions one evening and Joanne mentioned the ONE WORD thing. I like words, so obviously I love this idea. Surprisingly, I found it difficult to come up with a word that worked for me but I settled on this:


What would your word be?

So. It is the second day of 2015 and I am cautiously optimistic. Not bad for this glass half-empty girl.

Trekking Through A Landscape, Gathering Sunlight: An Interview with Sarah

The other day I wrote about the dark side of the internet. Today I'm showcasing just how the internet enables us to connect with like-minded people in far-flung places. Meet Sarah. Sarah  is one of the brains behind the podcast Fiber Trek. We share similar preoccupations with knitting, landscape and history. I've been preoccupied by those themes for a long time and it is exciting to see someone on the other side of the world exploring the same thoughts.


How did you get the idea for Fiber Trek? It is not your standard postcast, is it?

It's not really a personal account of my life & knitting  -  more a chance to chat about what people, landscapes & animals are doing in the textiles realm. The podcast includes my friend Morgan who does a segment where we talk about ecology & natural history in a way it relates to textiles.  On alternate weeks I offer up a Textiles in Time segment which looks at topics in history.

You think a lot about fibre arts, landscapes and history. How do those interest influence how you engage with your crafts? Do you see your crafting as a continuation of a tradition?
Landscape, history and tradition all have a strong influence on me.  My initial introduction was on a sheep farm in Orkney where I shepherded. I wanted to "feel" that space everyday and fiber arts enabled me to do that.  Wool encompasses the heart of the craft, the soul of the medium. When we select the yarn we touch the essence of hard work, death, birth .. the cycle.  I have become quite particular over the past year as to what yarn I purchase, not for any other reason than I want to connect with the heart and soul of my craft. I want to pick up my project and feel the farm; every stitch I take I want to have soul.The concept of time and place is so poignant. One of the best examples is Imperial Yarn and an interview I heard with Jeanne Carver on the Yarniacs Podcast.  She draws beautiful connections between the fiber and the land - and describes the sheep as a conduit through which we can harvest sunlight. I was inspired by Jeanne's commitment to landscape, her knowledge of place, and her allegiance to something greater. I love the idea of harvesting sunlight. I like it so much that from now on instead of stashing yarn & fiber, I will be gathering sunlight.

Jack and Sheep

Yes, I love that idea of gathering sunlight too. It's such a powerful image. But a big part of being a 21st century knitter seems all about coveting yarns from far-flung corners of the world. I cannot see you doing that. If you were to talk to me about local-to-you yarns, what would those be?

I love sourcing the product, squirrelling out the small farm and carrying something home that grounds me in the landscape; that allows me to tell a story every time I see it, wear it or use it. But local-to-me yarns is a difficult concept.  I have been involved in the local food movement for a long time but yarn seems to push boundaries. Yarn's not necessarily about a specific proximity to myself but it is about people and landscape - and what they are doing in that landscape. I seek out yarns in my state but I also use fiber & yarn to "travel" and support producers across the globe.  I like to research  farm-specific & artisan yarns.  I love yarns that have a story, it makes them feel "local" to me and creates a greater connection.

I am drawn to natural colors and  I like rugged yarns & fibers with toothy structure and resilience. I often look for breed-specific yarns as well as interesting local crosses.  I enjoy finding & meeting local dyers - especially those who raise or source their fleeces themselves.

Big Thumbs Up for yarns with resilience and structure. I call them rustic (which has its own landscape connotations) but I like resilience better. Speaking of place, where can people find you? 

Right now you can find me on Ravelry as Swenstea, on Instagram as fibertrektv, on Twitter as fibertrek and we have a group on Ravelry, Fiber Trek. Our blog site is http://fibertrek.wordpress.com & our website is http://fibertrektv.com

Thank you Sarah!

Fiber Trek is currently hosting a KAL for my Vedbaek shawl which I find so apt - the shawl pattern is a response to a particular landscape and a particular time whilst still being about rooting you in your time and place. I do not normally discount the Doggerland patterns, but I have given Sarah a discount code to use during the KAL. You get 20% off the pattern if you buy via the Fiber Trek KAL (check out the podcast for more details). I'm getting ready for the last Doggerland release and finding Fibre Trek is such a timely reminder of all the things I love about fibre arts.
All photos in this post thanks to Fiber Trek