And just like that, the week disappeared.

Time is a funny thing – this week has gone by so quickly, and yet, when I look back at my journal, there are things that happened only a few days ago that feel like much further away.

So what has been happening? Different designs have been at various stages; I published my Ice Diamonds Mitts pattern, finished knitting and typing up another shawl design called Llandudno Promenade that I hope to share with you very soon, and I have swatched for the submission call I wrote about last week.

Oh, how I have swatched! I did 11 swatches in the end, having knocked that down from the 15 I initially wanted to try out. These have all been blocked and I’ve whittled them down to three that I think I want to include in my design. The shape of the stitch patterns is suggesting a long rectangular shawl which can be one of the most practical shapes to wear. Whilst swatching I found some more fab uses for washi tape, a thing I didn’t even know about until I started bullet journalling. I mark the sides of the pages in my journal with particular tape for each ongoing project and I used the same tape I assigned for this design to the pages in my stitch dictionaries where the patterns I wanted to try were lurking. Since you can also write on washi tape, I used a plain one to label each of the swatches with their page number, name of stitch pattern, number of stitches in a repeat and the needle size I had used. This has made it so much quicker to refer back to the patterns I have sampled and helped me choose which ones will easily go together.

In the midst of all this design work I kicked against ‘thinking’ knitting and made a hat last night in Rowan Big Wool that only took 150 minutes to make! That sounds shorter than two and a half hours somehow. I did change the pattern a bit as there was no way I was going to present my wife with a chunky hat with an even chunkier seam up the back, so I converted it to in the round. Hurrah for 10mm dpns (that’s double pointed needles).

Time being what it is I didn’t manage to do any gardening this week, although there are courgettes, raspberries and apples that all need harvesting – having written that it is now starting to rain.

I’ve been enjoying more Terry Pratchett audiobooks this week, most recently The Truth. There’s a line in that which says “The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret” – I’m trying not to let it, but it’s not always easy.

Stay warm, stay safe and keep knitting, Kx

Design Submissions

One of my favourite types of email landed in my inbox last night – a call for submissions. These have the effect of creating a serious case of ‘start-itis’, unless I’m up to my eyeballs in an existing project/design. Fortunately, I’ve reached the border on the shawl I’m currently designing for Yarn O’clock and I’m therefore allowing myself to be tempted.

Submission calls vary greatly. Some just have a word or idea, like ‘growth’, and these are the most open, but can also be the hardest to work with. Some come with big mood boards, showing inspirational pictures that are often nothing to do with knitting, but capture the theme or idea of the call. Some show knitted items in the style that would be welcomed, a kind of “this sort of thing, but not exactly this”. They all nearly always tell you what type of items are being looked for, what size range is needed, what type of knitted fabrics are wanted (lace, cables etc) and usually, but not always, what the ‘compensation’ is – how much they’ll pay.

The one I got yesterday is for ‘advanced lace’ shawls and wraps. This is right up my street and I love an excuse to get all complex! So, today I have begun my process towards submission. There’s always a lot to do, but I don’t mind that as if it doesn’t get selected then I’ll have a design ready and raring to go for someone else or for self-publication.

For the first time (influenced by my bullet journalling course) I have put a list down of all the steps I need to complete for the submission. I’ve done the first two, which might not seem much, but it’s an important start. For example, I try not to use silk anymore, so I’ve gone through the list of yarns available for this submission and selected ones that don’t contain silk. I’ve also rejected superwash yarns as I find they don’t keep their shape quite as well after blocking when working fine, open lace patterns. That left me with a choice of two! Using that I’ve gone through my stash (mostly looking at leftovers from previous designs/projects) and chosen some yarns that are a good match in terms of how they’re spun and what they’re made of (shown in pic at top). Now the fun can really begin. I think I will appreciate my list more and more in the next couple of weeks as there’s often something I will forget to do (like measuring the gauge – how many stitches and rows there are per 10cm).

My design submission job-list

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Keep knitting, K x

New Beginnings

Hi, I’m Kath. Previously a music teacher for 21 years, I became a full-time knitwear designer and knitting teacher in 2018. I love living in North Wales and getting thoroughly immersed in what I’m doing, whether that’s a project, book or border that needs weeding.

This website has been up for a whole week now! It feels as though that was an aeon ago, but when I think that it was 21st August that I registered my domain name and 22nd September (only 32 days later) when I pressed the ‘launch site’ button, I can hardly believe so much has happened in this short space of time.

The theme of this post is ‘New Beginnings’. September has seemed like the ‘New Year’ for me for most of my life – I was either in school, a student, or a teacher. It has always felt like the time to start afresh, create new resolutions and try new things. It’s only been two years that I’ve been out of the classroom so that’s been a well-established habit. On September 1st 2018 I dyed my hair turquoise for the first time as a marker that I was no longer a school teacher.

There are so many things I could say about 2020, but, for now, I want to focus on the recent good bits:

I took a bullet journalling course with the wonderful Felicity Ford in July, and this practice is revolutionising my life (and given me a good excuse to resurrect my childhood obsession with stationery).

In August I launched my first full collection – the March Brioche Shawl Collection. I’m really proud of this one and indebted to my wonderful tech editor, Deb Bramham.

As a result of not being able to sell at craft fairs and pop up shops because of Covid19, and because of the accessibility issues arising from my previous (and still, currently, main) pattern platform, I opened a Payhip shop, which in turn led to this website.

I’m also very excited about the upcoming Craftucation platform for online arts and crafts courses where I have been invited to be a tutor (and my first course is very nearly finished!).

So, there are many new beginnings that I am grateful for, even though a lot of things seem to falling down around our ears right now. My life has its complications as does everyone’s, but there is still enough on the ‘good’ side of the balance and I intend to share some of that with you all in the weeks to come.

Keep knitting, Kx

P.S. The photo is from one of my favourite places – on the Little Orme, looking over towards Penrhyn Bay and Rhos-on-Sea.

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