Tuesday, 22 December 2015

As 2015 comes to a close....

Christmas is a busy and exciting time for most of us that celebrate it, with all the preparations and 'to do' lists and parties and events (if you're the social type, or a parent of social kids!), or if like me you may prefer to keep things simple, once the whirligig of gift shopping and preparations ceases, I batten down the hatches with my husband and moggy to enjoy some rare time for quiet and reflection. As one year comes to an end and a new one begins, it seems a very natural time for taking stock, resetting the compass and making plans for what I'd like do over the forthcoming year - yeah, I know how to party!!

Highlights of 2015

It's been a hectic and exciting year for me. I've continued to enjoy teaching workshops in Swansea including Magical Christmas Knits. We had a really fun and relaxed day in November making small gifts and ornaments including these beaded baubles -and one of the participants (who wishes to remain nameless) really got the bauble bug and has made several more, ringing the changes and making each one slightly different - aren't they great?

Another workshop highlight was Fathoming Fairisle where those that were brave also took scissors to our knitting to cut steeks. This proved to be a highly popular workshop with several folk left disappointed at not getting a place, so I'll be repeating it in April. Here's Clyde, the steeked version of the fairisle cowl I designed for the workshop.

I love teaching workshops and get a real buzz out of inspiring and enabling others to master their craft, and also learn a lot and find inspiration from others in the process. I'm looking forward to next year's workshop programme which which I've now put up on the website.

Another highlight of the year has been publishing my first book Elements in collaboration with Alison Crowther-Smith - we are known collectively as Smith & Jones knits and we have plenty of other collaborative projects in mind for the future. I designed 12 projects for Elements including the Cockleshell Cardigan featured in The Knitter magazine, shown left.

One of my favourite designs is of course the Garden Song Cushion and Blanket - I love colour work and was really pleased at how this heirloom piece turned out. Many of you have seen this design in progress and endured my shameless (and endless) tit jokes!

The book has been well received so far, and I can't tell you how exciting it is to see my designs being brought to life when I see them knitted by others. It was also a first for me to do a fashion show of all the designs with Alison and also the wonderful Martin Storey who's a pleasure to meet and is as lovely in person as his designs.

In addition to publishing Elements I've also been involved in pattern checking and tech editing for other designers and publishers. I enjoy this immensely as, not only do I get to fully indulge my inner nerd, it's really satisfying to work with others in this way to ensure the patterns and instructions are as clear as they can be, which ultimately feeds into my love of enabling other knitters to enjoy and master their craft.

As well as knitting I've continued to enjoy making textile art with Stitches Coven, a creative textiles group that I help facilitate. We held A Stitch in Time, our 3rd annual exhibition over the summer, which focussed on memories including a joint project we donated to the Alzheimer's Society. You can read more about it on our blog, and here is one of my pieces, Irka's Gingko which relates to my Polish Grand Aunt Irena.

I've had a pretty full on 2015 with some really steep learning curves, and am grateful for all the support I have been given by others - it's been a great year for me in terms of meeting new challenges and having a fun time with other folk in the process. I'm looking forward now though to having some much needed rest & recreation over the festive period. I'll also be making plans for 2016 which I'll share with you in my next post. in the meantime I hope you have a lovely Christmas if/however you choose to celebrate it, and I'd love to hear about it so do leave a comment below.

See you next year!

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1 comment:

  1. What an amazing year! Looking forward to your next post for 2016 plannings! Merry Christmas!