A year of KNITSONIK

Greetings, Comrades, and Happy Holidays!

One of our treasured tree ornaments – this one was made by Donna Smith!

Whatever your faith or philosophy, I sincerely hope that the depths of winter have afforded you quiet moments for reflection and joyous ones in which to party too; and that you are well and happy and enjoying a fine break with loved ones.

Another tree ornament – this one was made by my dear friend Caro

Things at KNITSONIK HQ are a little bit busy just now because in just under a month, myself and no. 1 comrade Mark are getting married.

Felix and Mark are getting married! Photo © Catherine Hadler and used with kind permission

Nevertheless, I find it is important around this time of year to take a breath to think about the year that has almost passed, the year that is to come, and the hopes, dreams and projects that lie ahead.

2016 was a good year. Best of all, Mark and I got engaged.

In other good news, I took delivery of the 3rd print run of the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook and I founded the KNITSONIK YouTube channel. I also began researching and practicing the best ways to produce an amazing online school, and I produced a major project for the Charles Dickens Museum, celebrating the life and times of Catherine Dickens. Together with my good comrade Louise, I also worked on what I think turned out to be one of our finest Wovembers.

Felix & Louise plotting Wovember back in the summer

However, there were many more things I had hoped to do in 2016 that I was not able to manage. Apart from a series of extremely depressing world and political events that I won’t go into here, it was a difficult year because ill health somewhat slowed me down. If you’ve ever had a serious long-term health condition you’ll know how frustrating it is when your body can’t keep up with your mind, and I confess that at times I’ve felt rather down and frustrated – especially when arthritis has wrecked my hands, or when drugs to manage it have wrecked my head.

I’m planning a more sustainable 2017 and things are hopefully on the up with new drugs and regimes, so to kick-start a positive slide into 2017, I thought I’d do some posts that celebrate some of the good things that happened in 2016; the things I managed and the things I did.

Today’s celebration is all about stranded colourwork produced using The KNITSONIK System: a year of KNITSONIK, if you will.

January – the Silchester Mittsalong

January was the Silchester mittsalong, in which many wondrous buddies from the KNITSONIK Ravelry group took part; here are my mitts in progress!

Swatching and matching at Purlescence in 2016
Sue’s beautiful swatch plus her inspiration source, worked at the Purlescence Weekender in February 2016

February involved a wonderful weekend of teaching at Purlescence with my good friend Brenda Dayne. I taught my Quotidian Colourwork class, and Brenda taught her Bespoke Yokes class. Many amazing swatches were produced in the course of the weekend, including Sue’s beautiful Istanbul tile inspired colourwork pictured above; I just love the way that Sue has translated her inspiration source into stranded colourwork there.

Missy Elliott in March…

March was all about knitting my Missy Elliott Sweater in time to wear it to the magnificent Edinburgh Yarn Festival at which I was teaching.

As well as prancing around in my giant woolly eulogy to the amazing Missy Elliott, I launched a new class at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in 2016 called Colours of Edinburgh. Colours of Edinburgh celebrates the colours of the beautiful landscape around Arthur’s Seat, and comrades who came to this class explored how to translate rocks, moss, grass, sky and stone into glorious stranded colourwork; I am teaching it again in 2017 and am already looking forward to it.

Colours of Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in 2016
April and Ella Gordon’s Crofthoose Hat

At the Edinburgh Yarn Festival I also met up with many buddies from Shetland who were there representing Shetland Wool Week and launching Crofthoose Hat – the signature design from this year’s patron, Ella Gordon. I knitted one up in April, theming the colours to the bricks of our wee home here: The Red House.

Knitted speakers at the Charles Dickens Museum

In May my soundpieces launched at the Charles Dickens Museum, as part of their wonderful exhibition: The Other Dickens, Discovering Catherine. One of the installations featured the very tiny sounds of making and knitting, and was presented within a sewing basket. I examined some of Catherine’s needlework to pick shades of Appletons Crewel Wool from which to knit covers for the little speakers, and you had to hold them to your ears to hear the tiny sounds.

#knitsonikmittsalong

In June, many comrades (including me) finished projects produced during the spring 2016 Magnolia mittsalong. In this mittsalong, myself and other comrades knitted KNITSONIK fingerless mitts using Magnolia flowers as our inspiration source. You can see some examples in this video produced for my YouTube channel and celebrating our collective creative investigations of magnolia blossoms.

July was all about the dots

I have a bit of a *thing* about polka dots and in July, I was obsessed with knitting polka dots in natural shades of wool from a dear friend’s flock of sheep. This design is languishing but I keep looking at its pleasing dottiness and I think we are not done yet, me and the dots…

Beginning work on my design for Lilith’s forthcoming book: Coming Home

…in August I began swatching for a new design for Old Maiden Aunt’s new book: Coming Home. My design takes its inspiration from the glorious shades of the Old Maiden Aunt yarn collection, and the flora that line the paths of the West Highland Way. Its name – Wild Mountain Time – refers to a very jolly walking holiday I had there with lovely Mark in 2009. I wrote about this on Lilith’s blog and you can see how much fun I had experimenting with the new-to-me palette of her glorious 4-ply Shetland yarn in August and September 2016.

WILD MOUNTAIN TIMES!
Shetland Wool Week in the South – yet another #knitsonikmittsalong

In October, stricken with FOMO and not able to attend Shetland Wool Week, I hosted my own celebrations here in the South, of which a long-distance #knitsonikmittsalong with a Shetland-theme was a key part. Knitters bought kits from my friends at Jamieson & Smith and Purlescence and we made mitts inspired either by the Croft House Museum, or by the knitting sheaths held in the Shetland Museum and Archives.

November stranded colourwork hats

In November, some dear friends of mine got married and I made them matching his’n’his hats. I used colours inspired by the European Union – Gold and Blue – whose freedom of movement laws enabled their love to flourish, and I charted two wee figures that are extremely simplified portraits of these glorious men. The little charts top and bottom of the hats are an abstraction of their initials, and the hats are complimentary opposites – just like their wearers.

Swatching for my own Wedding…

This December I have continued on the theme of stranded colourwork for weddings, but this time the knitting is for me. It’s taken me a while to settle on a design, but in the end the gauntlets I shall wear when me and Mark are wed will be like all my other mitts: swatches that celebrate new ideas as they progress; I think that is a good omen for a marriage, no?

I hope you have enjoyed this retrospective of a year of KNITSONIK and will see you again very shortly!
YOURS IN CONTEMPLATION,
FX

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8 Responses to A year of KNITSONIK

  1. Juliann says:

    Congrats to both of you. My son and his wife got married Jan. 8 in an outdoor ceremony on top of a mountain at a state park. It was fun and joyful and perfect for them. She wore a traditional gown, but had on white fur-lined boots. She had her auntie marry them. My niece (a professional singer) sang for them playing her guitar with frozen fingers. I hope you have joyful and marvelous memories with your friends and family. I hope Felix gets a part in the ceremony-oh, and the ducks too!

  2. Sharon Bice says:

    Thank YOU for sharing your creativity and inspiration…am eager for what 2017 will bring you, me, everyone! Best wishes to you, Sharon

  3. Bonnie says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Thanks for sharing this 2016 wrap up. I enjoyed it!

  4. MoniqueB says:

    Congratulations on your wedding. Wishing you the best things that marriage offers. Solace, Love, security and freedom. You’ve found your way in life and someone to share it all with. ❤

  5. Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts for last year, and hopes for the new one.

    Huge congratulations and love and hugs for you and Mark and your life (continuing) together.

    See you in Edinburgh!

  6. Jeannette Smyth says:

    congratulations on the wedding, please do keep us posted on the happily ever after knitting.

  7. Lynn says:

    So much to celebrate! Wishing you a wonderful 2017.

  8. I’ve loved seeinng and reading your Knit sonik year, in a year that has had so many downs, so many of my ups have been yarny and woolly…fueled by awesome, inspiring blogs like yours…..
    Wishing you and Mark so much happiness for 2017 xx

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