KNITSONIK has Schemes

Hiya, comrades! I have a throat infection which is preventing me from podcasting just now. Rest assured though, as soon as my pipes are mended I shall be back here, transmitting knitting + wool + sounds!

However, aside from the annoying cold, there’s been rather a lot else going on… A festival… Podcasting… Knitting…

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Mainly, I have been having a Big Long Think about What Comes Next (this involves The Knitting).

I find myself at a crossroads. My job at Oxford Brookes is ending on 1st May. The year has flown and there is no cash around to renew my post. This is scary but it is also exciting. The scary part is How Will I Eat and the exciting part is asking What Shall I Do Next? The research post has been wonderful; I have been prolific and busy, researching my socks off, and not having to worry constantly about money! The stability provided by the post has given me an opportunity to get a broad overview of my work, and I feel supremely glad to have had a little time to think.

Mostly I have been thinking about knitting + wool + sounds.

Before I held this academic position, I was in a kind of fear-based craziness of doing far too many projects all at once, many of which were somewhat underpaid – or at least which took more time than the available donuts covered. I am grateful for every opportunity I’ve ever had, but with my head above water, I’ve realised all I want to do forever and ever until I die is KNITSONIK. KNITSONIK is my own take on the world; it’s a vision that celebrates the everyday world through listening and knitting and thinking. It’s about appreciating ordinary things in knitting + wool + sounds, and it is completely unique.

KNITSONIK started with my knitting some speakers and playing the sounds of making my dinner through them.

I then knitted teabags (between making radio about the perfect cup of tea) and spuds (meanwhile recording the peeling of potatoes).

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KNITSONIK was always mixing The Knitting with The Sounds.

However as KNITSONIK has evolved, it’s grown into something about WOOL, too, and celebrating the origins of this glorious substance in distinctive regions and places – In Cumbria, Estonia, Shetland. KNITSONIK now combines knitting + wool + sounds to celebrate why Cumbrian wool, Estonian wool, Shetland wool – are different from each other. Distinctive, special, specific.

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Sounds from Cumbrian sheep farms playing through Cumbrian wool!

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Comparing the sounds of combing Estonian wool and Cumbrian wool in Mooste, Estonia!

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Fishing for sounds off St. Ninian’s Isle, Shetland, in my allover, knitted by Alice Simpson of Whalsay!

KNITSONIK now also has a podcast. I am especially honoured that the forum on Ravelry where this is most discussed is the Goat Devoted forum. Best of all, I am assured that some of my listeners are actual goats: you can’t argue with that.

Here I am proffering a baa-ing, 100% Shetland-wool clad speaker to an audience at “Playground on Fire” in Oxford. I am explaining that the pillow is made of Shetland wool, and that there is a special map where one can hear this wool growing in the landscape and being loaded onto a lorry to be spun into the very yarns they are holding. I’m in my Tall Yarns ‘n Tales spinning pinnie, with knitting + wool + sounds in my hands. The photo was taken by Pier Corona and I reckon it’s the most me I’ve ever looked.

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It is sad that my contract is ending at Brookes, but it is also exciting that a possibility may exist for me to move forward devoting myself 100% to The KNITSONIK Mission. I have been Scheming on How It Could Be So. With my Scheming, the fear of an Uncertain Future is turning into a lovely feeling of The KNITSONIK Dream Unfolding.

My blog over at thedomesticsoundscape.com/wordpress has always been like a veg patch where I grow my ideas, and a burgeoning need to reap a good harvest has been steadily gathering force in me since Shetland Wool Week 2013. There is a book in my mind – seeded there amidst all the chatter and the HUGE PHOTOS – and I really feel I must write it. There will be knitting + wool + sounds. Some of the sounds will appear here!

There are new enterprises in the wings, one of which you can read about here, and another of which shall soon arrive in the form of a glorious Kickstarter Campaign, several months in the planning! So whilst having A Big Think, I have also been asking everyone I know for help, support, skillz, input and feedback. I’ve been whipping my mission into shape, and writing to all my comrades in KNITWERLD to ask “is this bonkers or do you love it?” The responses have been overwhelmingly warm, encouraging, and extremely humbling.

I am blown away by your kindness and support, and I feel a little bashful. Thank you everyone; you know who you are.

There is a super-duper blog tour planned, with some turbo awesome stops on the way, and a grand unveiling on here and on thedomesticsoundscape.com/wordpress on Saturday 29th March. I do not wish to spill all the beanz just yet, but I will leave you one last tiny teaser…

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They say “go hard or go home”, so here I am, standing at a crossroads, absolutely positively definitely not going home… it’s going to be very exciting around here in a minute.

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