Collecting Thoughts

A microphone backlit by sunshine and light... music and CDs on shelving can be glimpsed in the corner of the shot.

I didn’t mean to disappear! But it’s been so busy there’s barely been a moment to sit down and collect my thoughts within myself, let alone on here.

Yesterday I sat down with my KNITSONIK Bullet Journal and plotted out July and August, and already things feel calmer. I love seeing the pace of work return to something more manageable and a little time to sit and write out what needs to happen next always does my head the world of good. Today I’m filling in my plans for what I need to do in July and August, and hoping I can continue being productive but perhaps not at the unsustainable pace of May and June.

So what have I been doing? The main things have been working on my Knit Stars Think Like An Artist cowl, which is blocking as I type…

closeup of blocking knitting, you can just see a sort of zigzagging shape in greens and blues, and the rest of the colourful knitting is suggested but out of focus. The knitting is pinned taut on a board, to dry it neatly into shape.

…sorting out things like the Enamel Pins which go with the specially-curated yarn kits available exclusively through Knit Stars

canvas pencil case featuring Dutch buildings and a lovely bright red zipper; pinned onto the pencil case is a vibrant circular enamel pin featuring a colourwheel design inspired by the lovely bright shades so often used by the American Artist, Alma Thomas whose name appears at the centre of the pin.

…finding Sample Knitters to help produce samples for the Georgia O’Keeffe and Bobby Baker inspired versions of the cowl…

…and, crucially, working out all the charts and ideas for the first and original sample. I often find that large projects like this one involve a very long fermentation/thinking/planning phase followed by a massive burst of last-minute action. My Think Like an Artist cowl was no exception; I’ve been thinking about this project and how to approach designing each section since running little art classes for my dear niece through Lockdown. And there was a kind of euphoric joy involved in tearing through my journal pages, busting out charts and cowl-sections, peppered with motivational stickers to keep the knitting going whenever my body began to flag. I really enjoyed seeing it all coming together, and watching the motifs and patterns come to life in scruffy but serviceable hand-drawn pencil charts.

Think Like An Artist - scruffy bubble diagram in my bullet journal with all important thoughts artistically blurred through a judicious use of shallow depth of field.

closeup of scruffy, imperfect pencilled chart in bullet journal.

scruffy pencil chart with motivational stickers saying STAR / FANTASTIC / STAR placed on page upon completion of each section.

final Think Like An Artist cowl chart, with massive happy HOORAY RNIB disability-friendly/accessible motivational sticker placed proudly on page, on completion of the epic knit.

After this epic work push, my Knit Stars 6 Masterclass was filmed here in early June by Robin Fox and his skilled team. It was so brilliant to work with these amazing people, and for me very exciting to have things happening like Ollie sending a drone up the side of our house to record the patterned bricks; Ali putting his fantastic Schoeps microphone to use recording the distinctive squeaks of the gates in our street; and a special search for the exact manhole pattern used to inspire one of the sections of my cowl design.

The crew from left to right: Ali (sound), Robin (cinematographer), Felix and Ollie (lens whisperer and drone operator) all beaming at the end of a long day of filming.

It was an amazing experience, and very humbling to have such thoughtful and professional people bringing their documentary skills to tell the story of my creative practice. But it was a process I worried about as well; would I impart all the correct information properly in the allotted time? Would I make sense? Would the ideas embedded in my cowl come through to inspire and uplift other knitters?

Joyful filming Clapperboard covered in turbo fluorescent pink tape - it says KNITSTARS / R. FOX / INSTRUCTIONAL / TAKE 17 / 11/06/21

Luckily my dear and skilled friend Jeanette came here to watch the footage and ensure I was making sense and saying the technically correct things. This was immensely reassuring and helped my confidence no end, but perhaps the best thing was it meant we got to hug and laugh together in real life after all these months of lockdown.

Jeanette and Felix hugging. Jeanette is on the left, Felix is on the right, we are both smiling and wearing blue.

Jeanette had just finished filming her own Knit Stars 6 Masterclass on beaded colourwork – WHICH I CAN’T WAIT TO DO – and now I know how tiring the process is, I’m even more blown away by the joy, focus and energy she brought to my workshop filming and our time hanging out together afterwards with Mark. THANK YOU, JEANETTE!

Mark, Jeanette and Felix sat around a table in the pub, with wine and smiles!

Directly after the filming for Knit Stars, I was straight into a gruelling 24-hour knitathon to complete the last piece in a forthcoming accessory collection, ready for a photoshoot in Oxford. After knitting from 7am to 7am to get the main knitting completed, I slept for a few hours, got up, finished the knitting, pinned the whole thing out onto blocking boards and balanced this on top of a carload of props and lights before setting off in my car.

intriguing strands on the back of a piece of stranded colourwork knitwear.

It took 2 hours to unload the car and set up all my equipment and I was a bit too hyped to sleep properly, but Tuesday was a truly amazing day working with Kupa Matondo as Stylist and Creative Director, Bella as Makeup Artist and Faith Makawa as Model. It was sunny and beautiful; the venue spoke perfectly to the musical context of our designs; and I really enjoyed working with my faithful old Pentax to bring to life the vision Muriel Pensivy and I share for our forthcoming project.

A microphone backlit by sunshine and light... music and CDs on shelving can be glimpsed in the corner of the shot.

In the next few days, we’ll be reaching out to test-knitters who have signed up to the test and sample knitting pool put together by myself and Jeanette a few months ago. Then, in early August, we’ll launch the whole project fully through the Teachable platform. We’re taking this route because this is a full on KNIT + SOUND endeavour, and we need a platform that will let us share a lot of different media files. If you’re intrigued, stay tuned here and on Muriel’s Instagram. Also, please look out for a newsletter from me later in the week, where I’ll explain more about what we’ve been doing.

After sitting on this for ages, I think it’s going to be hard for either of us to stay quiet once we start sharing the stories behind what we’ve been making, reading, learning and listening to all year.

Until Soon,
Emphatically yours in Knitting + Sound –
Felix

intriguing image of beautiful silky turquoise shoes and glimpse of edge of knitwear, with holes and light coming through... you can see light, and lace, shadows, and just the barest hint of the edge of a piece of knitwear...

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