Welcome to episode— what is it now? I think it’s episode one hundred and twenty-burble-burble-burble (checked later – its 127!)
I knew when I sat down that this would be a long one!
- Today I’m talking about all the ‘I haven’t done that for a while’ things I did in November, which caused me some anxieties and some soul-searching.
- I tell you about the awesome new book Perspectives, from Julie Rutter and Emily K Williams.
- I’m discussing all the things I want to cast on this festive break (or the endless days as we reach the end of the year, depending on how you look at it!)
- and we, EVENTUALLY, have Wool Exploration with Zwartbles!
Come on in, the water’s fine!
Listen to the podcast
| Show notes
I didn’t podcast in November because I almost felt like I had, except it was a different podcast entirely. I was on the BBC Scotland Outdoors Podcast, as I had written into their regular programme, Out of Doors, in response to an assertion from a correspondent of their show, that there was no knitting wool in Scotland!
It also prompted me to write the post below.
November was a bit of a recurring pattern of “I haven’t done that for a whiles” (IHDTFAW). The Scotland Outdoors podcast was one such thing. It was the first time in ages since I had spoken about wool, on a platform that wasn’t mine and to a largely non-crafty audience. I can’t explain just how nervous I was. I was ill with nerves. I knew I wanted to do it, I knew I wanted to set the woolly record straight, but I was really petrified
I have put this down to having allowed myself to disconnect this year – due to COVID, etc – I was happy to take the slow pace that 2020 offered, but that had a knock on effect when I tried to pick things up again.
The podcast went well, despite my nerves. Someone once told me about public speaking that if you are nervous, you should smile when you talk, and all people will hear is your smile. That worked.
The next IHDTFAW was I gave a talk at a conference which was not about wool. There was a bit of relief with that in that I could pre-record my talk and so while I was nervous, I wasn’t quite as overwhelmed. I also gave a talk at Maddie Harvey’s online knitting retreat and that was a lot of fun, I enjoy waxing woolly! and the focus on this one was thinking about local wool when it comes to wool subs and the things we need to think about when it comes to subbing – I.e. what goes into a wool and the process to get a yarn that is similar to suggested yarn in the pattern, but my goodness, I was so nervous beforehand. And like the podcast interview, I still felt that way after it too.
I drove myself to the point of utter distraction with these IHDTFAW’s and I really didn’t enjoy that feeling. It was almost that I couldn’t balance all the things I wanted to do, with the things I needed to do and bound up in there were also issues of anxiety and imposter syndrome. I’ve spent an awful long time since trying to focus on that. I spoke to several friends about it too. Many reminded me that I am a great communicator and my enthusiasm shines through no matter, that is something that I do know and did try to focus on, but it’s a strange feeling and it’s sitting with me still a little bit.
I think the other side of this is that I haven’t necessarily missed doing that kind of work. Don’t get me wrong, I probably will do so again in the future, but again – I’ve had to mediate quite a bit on why that might be and I think its very possible that 2020 has just shifted my carefully placed boundaries around the things I do (and keep separate from podcast/online life) and I just need to work a bit on rethinking those.
So, I am standing in a space where I can both be grateful to 2020 and curse it for what it has done and changed. I think we are all a bit like that and all these feelings are valid!
I am sure that you have all seen that there is great new book out at the moment!
You might remember I spoke to Julie Rutter, back in Episode 75, when she discussed how she started her business Black Isle Yarns. Julie has been creating wonderful yarns, from hand-selecting fleece from her local area for a few years now and this May she released her newest base, Auchen – which is a beautiful blend of Cheviot, Shetland and BFL fleeces, all of which comes within an hour’s drive from Julie’s home! Some of the WoolWork community roadtested this yarn for Julie and the results were glowing; voluminous, robust-yet-next to skin soft, a versatile yarn for all items and stitches!
As we all know, the story yarn tells us doesn’t stop with the yarn in the skein and Julie knew from the very early stages of Auchen’s creation that she wanted to create a design book. She teamed up with her friend, and designer, Emily to collaborate on Perspectives. Together they have worked with some absolutely incredible women to create a book, which is both a love letter to wool, the Highland landscape and incredible design.
The patterns are created by a global team of six designers and they are just divine
Pityoulish Vest – Emily K Williams; this is a super core-cozying sweater with a beautiful lace detair
Rothiemurchus Cowl – Mieka John– two colours and an absolutely beckoning brioche tuck stitch – this might be my first cast on.
Feshie Shawl – Maddie Harvey – this shawl is positively undulating with plumpy lace lozenges
Balvattan Mittens – Julia Billings – makes me crave for snow and creating snowballs in creaky, crunchy snow in these
Inshriach Hat – Julie Rutter – The perfect winter colourwork hat
Eanaich Shawl – Tyne Swedish – This tips a loving nod to the traditional hap, but is in a shape that is a lot more wearable!
The book is a beauty to see and hold – you know I like a good layout, a nice paper stock and a good, visually accessible font and all of these boxes are ticked! Jeni Reid is the photographer, and her images in this book capture the beautiful designs and the stunning backdrop – her eye is incredible.
Congratulations to Julie and all involved – this is a joy!
What I failed to say in the show (its been a while, you’ll forgive me!) is that Perspectives is available as a paper and ink book from Black Isle Yarns for £15 and you can buy digital copies on PayHip too.
Julie has offered us a copy of her book to giveaway – which is exceptionally kind. Please go over to blackisleyarns.co.uk and have a look at the book. Leave a comment on this post telling me which pattern you would cast on first and tell me which colour of Auchen you would use (yarn not included in prize, I am just nosy!). I will close the giveaway in the New Year.
| Your Christmas Cast on
What are your plans? If you are on instagram you can post a comment to my post about this.
| Wool Exploration with Zwartbles
I know, eventually!!
I will post some notes and pictures about this bouncy, downy, sproingy wool in due course.
Our Wool Explorers were Carole, Mariette, Clare, Debra, Belinda and Nathalie. We looked at Zwartbles yarns from Lancashire Farm Yarn, Rosecombe Farm. Purewol and Groene Hart Wol in the Netherlands. There were also spinners using Zwartbles from Winghams Wool; Wychwood Spinner and John Arbon.
(Listen out for the bit where I realise I have been talking too long, and I just can’t form words anymore – I think I sound like a zombie when I am talking about my own notes)
| Thanks and goodbye
Thanks for all your support and enthusiasm this mad year! I hugely appreciate all the ways you do and it means a great deal. As I had some nice comments about reading poems last episode I close with Liz Lochead poem from her poetry book Fugitive Colours . The poem is called, How I’ll Decorate My Tree.
Take very good care, friends. Whatever you do, take good care,
I always link to a resource of helplines on my instagram, but if you do need to talk to someone over the festive period and you’re struggling, please do find that link here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/helplines-listening-services/
Update: Wed 20 Jan 21
I have used a random generator to pick a winner. The first numbered comment it picked was mine, so I drew again and it was the 17th comment, which was Ann Burrell. Congrats Ann, I will put you in touch with Julie at Black Isle Yarns and she will send you your copy of Perspectives. Thanks everyone who entered and thanks again to Julie for the prize