Friday, 23 January 2015

A Colourful Frost

One of the very best things about designing and sending your pattern off into the big wide world by itself is seeing all the wonderful projects that it generates.

Following on from last weeks blog post "It Takes a Village..." social media gives an amazing ability for designers to interact with their customers and see their projects take shape.

Recently a group on Ravelry started a KAL on the theme of Hoar Frost and adopted my Hoar Frost socks as one of their chosen patterns. It is has been great fun to chat along in the thread and see so many fabulous socks spring into life.

It never fails to amaze me that the same design can look totally different when knit in different colours. The design now has 80 projects on Ravelry and it is fun to see how many knitters have chosen to use 'frosty' cool colours of blues, greys and neutrals. Others have spoken before about how certain words evoke certain colour associations (eg green - leaf/vine) and blue water/ocean/sky) which subconciously or not tends to influence our decisions when picking yarn for projects and it is a subject which I confess I find fascinating.

I have loved seeing all the 'non-frosty' colours too and picked a few that really jumped out at me just to create a fun collage. Daylight and sunshine is still in short supply here and so these socks gave me a much needed colour boost this week.

Friday, 16 January 2015

It Takes a Village...

There is a popular saying that It takes a village to raise a child.

I found myself pondering that as I sat in our local village Crafternoon the other day. We were a fairly diverse group of women ranging in age from 16 to 78 and engaged in a variety of different crafts.

We had card makers, cross stitchers, needle felters and of course, knitters. My enabling has proven very effective over the months and at least 3 ladies now permanently have a sock or two on the needles.

Conversation ranged widely during the afternoon on Christmas, holidays, crafts in general and extended to revision and learning techniques as one of our younger members is coming up to A Level exams. We talked about mind maps, bullet journalling, spider diagrams and shared our experiences of them. Afterwards her mother commented that her daughter had probably learnt more about revision techniques that afternoon than she had in her time at school and even though she (her mother) had said much the same thing, her daughter seemed more receptive to new ideas through the group than via her long suffering mum.

@Sarah Clarke, The Sheep Shop, Cambridge UK
We talked about how it takes a village...etc and I also watched as one of our older ladies (well into her 70s) sat with another teenager helping her to get her tension even as she wrestled with a particularly ambitious bit of colourwork knitting. Shared wisdom, shared experiences and knowledge all help us to grow in our craft.

I would also include social media in this category. Although it is easy to become a little overwhelmed by the constant feeds from social media platforms, there is such a profusion of knowledge, cameraderie and warmth on craft-related social media sites that it is hard not be drawn into the wonderful and vibrant online knitting community that we have.

Whether you prefer the wonders of Ravelry, the immediacy of Twitter or the visual appeal of Instagram or Pinterest, there are so many ways in which we can reach out to and be inspired by fellow crafters. Sharing experiences through knit-alongs (KALs), attending yarn festivals, joining in with hashtag events (such as #operationsockdrawer or #yearofmaking) all help to build and strengthen our community.

So, why not make 2015 your year of building your own online community? What KALs or other events are you planning to participate in? Are you going big with a year-long committment or aiming for smaller goals? Leave me a comment - I'd love to know.

And if you haven't already done so, please do join me on the various social media streams. Just follow the links in the sidebar.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Year of the Sock

A belated happy New year to you all

New Years Day in Buttermere
My new year started with a wet, windy and wonderful walk around Buttermere in the Lake District, battling the elements and having fun with the family.

A lovely, chilled out time was had by all with plenty of knitting and outdoor activities

A sunny day in Borrowdale
Lots of sock knitting in particular was done, despite me leaving all my beloved long circular needles at home. But even with DPNs I managed to come away with the makings of a lot more sock designs.

I am aiming to knit 15 pairs of socks in 2015 with 12 of them being my own designs. I have a cunning plan to base some of them on walks we did in the Lake District recently. With 3 or 4 socks per collection (or walk) they will guide you through some of the wonderful scenery on offer, and of course like all good country walks, will end in a sock named for a local pub :)

The first 2 pairs are on the needles and will be ready for testing soon. So dig out your walking boots and waterproofs (it isn't called the Lake District for nothing) and get ready to join me on Walks in the Lakes - Part 1.