About a year ago, I was cutting up pomegranates in my kitchen and holding them against the Appleton Crewel Wool shade cards, in preparation for #knitsonikpomegranates.
The first print run of the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook ran out, and I ordered a second print run. In January 2015 we also set about transforming this…
…into a space ready for holding and distributing this.
I painted the room a cheery shade of blue, built shelving and a packing table, and created a large book-storage area underneath the bookshelves on the left, so that the second print run of the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook could be easily distributed from my home.
If you ordered a copy of the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook in 2015, then at some point I stood at this packing station, put your book into an envelope, franked that envelope, perhaps filled out a customs label and took it to the business post box a couple of streets from here. Each and every book I sell currently sets out from my home – the source of a great deal of the inspiration cited in its pages.
2015 saw the beginning of my joint quest with no. 1 comrade – Mark – to find the perfect living situation for in the future. If there are more KNITSONIK books and teaching and patterns, one day we will be able to buy a place together within which to base the continued KNITSONIK dream. 2015 saw us starting to think about where/how that might all happen.
I taught quite a few knitting classes in 2015… The first workshop of the year was held in February at Purlescence.
Then I taught at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (where I also sang the International Harvester Tractor theme song on the accordion as part of my stand-up set).
In March I worked with Yarn in The City to deliver a Quotidian Colourwork workshop in London…
…and in May I teamed up with my good friend Brenda Dayne in Wales for Gwlana.
At Gwlana I showed comrades how to design stranded colourwork based on everyday inspirations, and Brenda explained how to apply motifs and designs to a bespoke yoke sweater.
I also developed the SLICE! pattern especially for a steeking workshop held at Purlecsence. And at Shetland Wool Week in October, I taught five different classes, each themed around translating various inspiration sources into stranded colourwork.
Happily, I produced quite a few KNITSONIK swatches in 2015, mostly tied in with my teaching work and with the joyous swatch-a-longs organised in the KNITSONIK Ravelry group!
…and two swatches based on artwork for the album ‘Under Construction’ by one of my all time favourite female musical icons: Missy Elliott.
I am currently working on my #knitsonikmittsalong mitts that are also a swatch, and would like to make a shout out here to all my comrades working on the same!
In 2015 I released the SLICE! pattern, designed to help those afraid of steeking to overcome the fear. Cutting up your knitting is a piece of cake with SLICE!
I experimented with holding stalls at Woolfest (where I was an exhibitor in the art section of the festival) and at the Yarn in The City pop-up marketplace. I met many wondrous comrades at both of these events, and conversations with you there were some of the highlights of the year.
In 2015, I released 9 episodes of the KNITSONIK podcast, and appeared on podcasts produced by pompom (the pomcast) and aplayfulday. I feel really endebted to my comrades here who did a cracking job of asking amazing questions about the KNITSONIK mission and editing our conversations. I have had really positive feedback on both these interviews so if you’re new to KNITSONIK and want to know *exactly* what it’s all about, please start with my lovely friends who have helped me explain myself on their podcasts.
In other SONIK news, behind the scenes I have been doing lots of recording for KNITSONIK Audible Textures (the forthcoming album that accompanies the book).
I’ve also been working on my commission for the Museum of Oxford, produced by OCM. This project entailed over 30 trips to Oxford to collect interviews, and editing over 50 separate interviews about textiles in Oxford. I’m still not finished as the amplifier inside the wardrobe has broken and must now be replaced with a bespoke device that I am building myself.
In the autumn, I attended a residency in Burbage where I experimented with Alex McClean on translating my stranded colourwork sounds into live sonic performances using computer code…
…and in November I conducted several sections of Handel’s Messiah using my knitting needles at an experimental performance in Oxford.
(The performance also incorporated my recordings of sheep baas.)
…and at Shetland Wool Week we joined forces as knitting pundits AKA Mucker & Comrade to deliver some hilarity that will be coming to a KNITSONIK podcast near you some time in 2016.
Throughout the year I have continued to distribute the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook from my own home here in Reading, and our family has grown by three.
Also ongoing throughout 2015 were #TarmacTuesdays. Tarmac Tuesdays started because of the section in my stand-up comedy show at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in which I talked about tarmac and its role in developing ideas for the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. JustGem and Plutoniummuffins took my concept forward with the invention of Tarmac Tuesdays – an exercise by which, on Tuesdays, you notice and document a section of tarmac and upload the image to instagram or twitter with the hashtag #TarmacTuesday. I have been continuously moved and inspired and delighted and thrilled by the photos comrades everywhere upload on Tuesdays of tarmac. In the changing hues and colours of tarmac the passage of the seasons is traced, and I find the trickle of weekly photos a continuous and joyful reminder that there is beauty and wonder everywhere if you know where to look.
Another thing that has been utterly joyous in 2015 has been seeing what people have produced using the KNITSONIK System. In coming days I will be sharing some of these with you because I am awed and inspired by the wondrous ways in which folks are translating everyday inspirations into Stranded Colourwork and I thought you might like to hear about some of these creative projects.
Another highlight which almost feels too silly to share (but you know I’m going to anyway) involved drawing up at some traffic lights in the KNITSONIK mobile to see comrade Julia (whom I have never met in real life) waving a half-finished KNITSONIK mitt out of her car window!
Looking back at last year I am proud of the things I achieved in 2015. But I would like 2016 to involve more time for SONIK as well as KNIT, and perhaps for this to be a little bit easier than last year was. It is difficult to be passionate about things that are slow in an age which seems to be all about speed, but I am nevertheless pushing for a more sustainable approach to growing KNITSONIK. I adore teaching and some of the best moments of 2015 have involved meeting KNITSONIK comrades and working together to translate everyday inspirations into stranded colourwork. However in 2016 I am scaling back on workshops in order to pursue other projects. If you are hoping to attend a Quotidian Colourwork workshop, I’m teaching with Brenda at Purlescence this February and at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March, and I don’t have plans to teach any other classes this year.
I have seen lots of inspiring posts around which point to a word for 2016 or for the new year, and my word for 2016 is this: gentle. I hope all of you are able to enjoy more gentleness and kindness in 2016, and to have enough space around your dreams for them to grow. Thank you for being with me through 2015, for your comments and feedback, for listening to my SONIK and knitting my KNIT; the mission is nothing without you, friends.
Happy New Year,
Ever Yours in KNITTING + WOOL + SOUNDS,