The last few weeks have been quite busy with commission and sample deadlines, festivals and general gadding about. This weekend I was scheduled to go and work at the Glasgow School of Yarn but due to circumstances beyond my control this didn't happen so I was faced with a weekend without commitments.
I consider myself to be really lucky to be making my living doing what I love but one of the things that I miss is the freedom to cast on what I like, whenever I like. I'm not one of those designers who started out because I couldn't find anything out there that I loved - quite the reverse! I have enormous respect and admiration for a whole host of people and find that I am always learning something new from the techniques that other people use.
With this in mind and as a way of giving myself a bit of a break I decided to declare last Friday a Knitting Holiday when I allowed myself to cast on whatever I liked with no limit to the number of projects that I started. This was a chance for me to have a look at all the projects that I have been dying to start and match them to favourite yarns and get started.
I settled down in my favourite corner of the sofa with a cup of tea and started knitting.
First on the needles was Catkin by Carina Spencer. I love knitting and wearing shawls but need them to stay in place as I rush around. This design is shaped to fit the shoulders and even has a row of buttons to help me manage it. I rummaged around in my stash, came across my two skeins of Wollmeise Twin and realised that they looked quite good together. So far so good...
Next I would a skein of one of my favourite and sadly discontinued yarns, Clan by the Yarn Yard. In some ways it is quite similar in texture to Wollmeise being smooth and made up of multiple plies of merino wool so is an ideal yarn for socks which need good stitch definition. I have had the book Coopknits socks by Rachel Coopey for ages and have attempted to cast on Dawlish, the first pattern in the book two or three times. I must have been a bit tired on these occasions as I managed to misread the pattern in several different ways. However, casting on in holiday mood I have no idea why I made such a hash of it the last time....
Upstairs in the Yarn Archive (or spare bedroom as some people call them) I have a large box of Jamiesons Spindrift yarn in all colours of the rainbow waiting to be knitted into traditional mittens, hats and scarves. I have long been an admirer of the way that Kate Davies combines a deep knowledge of the historical context of textiles with influences from nature so managed to find some shades that will work together to create a version of her Northmavine Hap Shawl.
I really enjoyed my brief Knitting Holiday at Home. I didn't go quite as crazy as I thought I might. I even managed to finish a pair of socks. They are only plain, worked in my favourite toe up method with Regia Kaffe Fassett yarn but I never tire of working with this yarn as the striping and colour combinations are always so easy on the eye and sophisticated.
I can thoroughly recommend taking the occasional day out just to indulge in the joy of knitting, no rules, no worrying about how many projects are already on the needles, no thinking that I should be concentrating on my own designs. I found the day inspiring and relaxing and was able to return to the day job with renewed enthusiasm and ideas.
I'm definitely doing it again even before I've finished these projects....