Knitting through upheaval

February 24th, 2016


Hi there, it’s been a while. Sorry about that, I never intended to be away for so long. In autumn of 2015 my partner and I decided that we needed a change of scenery and started plotting an escape from the flatlands and long shadows of the east. We had three potential new homes in mind – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol – all amazing, creative, friendly cities so it really came down to practical, boring things such as jobs and housing. Incidentally, I floated the idea of a move to Shetland, but got shot down on that, for now at least.

After a whirlwind of interviews, travel, indecision, selling our beloved Cambridge home and boxing up everything including the cat, we took off one clear and bright November morning, tearfully closing our front door for the final time. We left behind the city we were both born in, where we both grew up and where I went to university. Farewell Cambridge, you are beautiful but, after all these years, no longer right for us. That’s all it was really, a growing sense in each of us that everything about our lives was right apart from where it was all taking place.

Fast forward a few months and you find me writing this from our new home in Bristol. I’ve quickly grown to really love it here – the friendly folk (especially having come from the London/Cambridge bubble where rudeness is too often prized) and the terrain. Oh how I yearned for even so much as a hill! From any part of Bristol you can nearly always look up at another area of the city. The houses are often painted an astonishing variety of bright, cheerful colours and arrays of mismatched terraces glitter all around the city. Bristol has a creative heart that it very much wears on its sleeve and it feels like the right place for us for now.

Nothing is ever so idyllic and such a move is a seemingly never-ending gauntlet of stresses and pressure. Whenever I am stressed so many things fall by the wayside and I end up re-watching Seinfeld instead of reading, cleaning and organising instead of writing and dusting my sewing machine rather than firing it up. All of this predictably occurred with only one of my ‘power-four’ pursuits surviving the tumult to dominate in a loving, calming, protective way – knitting. I knit like a demon throughout this whole to-do. Hats flew off my needles one after another; three big projects are in progress and racing towards completion and I even tentatively wrote a hat pattern of my own (still to be tested and reworked before being added to Ravelry).

It was interesting timing really, I’ve been hearing little snippets of news about the benefits a mindful activity such as knitting has on both body and mind. I couldn’t agree more. From my personal experience it reduces stress and anxiety, provides a challenge and brings incredible levels of joy. I couldn’t be without it.

As such, I thought I would keep things simple with a little pictorial round up of the projects that kept me sane and links to their respective pages on Ravelry:

My Orkney cardigan. This would have been completed a while back if it wasn’t for ALL OF THE ENDS.

Orkney Cardigan Fair Isle Marie WallinOrkney Cardigan Fair Isle Marie Wallin Orkney Cardigan Fair Isle Marie WallinOrkney Cardigan Fair Isle Marie Wallin

 

I treated myself to a Wool and the Gang kit over Christmas because I was curious and needed a cosy jumper. The wool is lovely and the pattern is modern and wearable, but even so, it’s expensive for what it is. It will be the first fully-finished large item though, so that’s exciting.

Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarnWool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarn Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarn Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarn

 

I couldn’t resist Dianna Walla’s Sundottir pattern for Brooklyn Tweed. There are hundreds of amazing examples here and it’s the perfect, simple, two-colour yoked jumper.

Sundottir jumper knitting brooklyn tweed Dianna Walla Sundottir jumper knitting brooklyn tweed Dianna Walla

 

One of many hats, the Toorlie pattern by Ella Gordon. A lovely, clearly-written quick knit. I recommend it for anyone wanting to give colour-work a go. Also, the rust colour is amazing and therefore this hat rarely leaves my head.

Tootle Hat Knitting Ella Gordon Fair Isle Tootle Hat Knitting Ella Gordon Fair IsleTootle Hat Knitting Ella Gordon Fair Isle

Always waiting for cold days so that I can wear my vintage Fair Isle jumper.

Folklore vintage antique Fair Isle jumper Shetland wool


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