In February I began attending a weekly craft gathering at The Happenstore in Annandale, which then transformed 2017 into the year of CRAFT! I spent the year knitting, crocheting, making, tinkering and sewing, there was no project unfinished and my hands never busy enough! I was continually inspired by the Tuesday “Craft night in” group, I loved our weekly chats, we shared skills, laughs, ideas. . . Even though I have been knitting for years I always thought of myself as untrained as I learnt from my Nanna to knit with instinct, eye and whim. At The Happenstore I worked my way through formal patterns, learning abbreviations, stitch names and techniques from those around me (and Youtube), getting assistance from the brains trust as I needed every Tuesday. . .
I was an inspired student in someone else’s space, I grew in confidence to try projects that were harder, learnt new skills and I challenged myself.
With my newfound confidence in December I put my hat in the ring for something I felt was quite brave, I applied to be a TEST KNITTER! *for those non-knitters, test knitters trial a pattern to work out necessary corrections prior to publication by making the pattern themselves* My test-knit application was successful and I worked with French knitwear and pattern designer Julie Dubreux aka “Julie Knits In Paris” – https://www.ravelry.com/designers/julie-knits-in-paris – Julie’s patterns and style aren’t the typical knit which is why I was attracted to her as a test knitter, she creates non-traditional patterns I would love to make and wear. Julie set up an email thread with the other 18 or so test knitters (who came from ALLLL over the world), Julie was intending to release the pattern at VOGUE KNIT LIVE in New York – I had a MONTH to make a sweater.
This was an opportunity to test myself and those growing formalised and refined skills. I was signing up to knit a jumper during the heat of summer!
I started small by swatching the yarn, testing needle sizes and practicing the techniques – the design is called “Lolly Sticks” named after the alternating colourwork section that creates the shape. . .
Then I began the pattern starting at the neck, calling out for help as I needed with the test knit email group as my support. . .
I continued to knit this merino jumper through the heat wave of summer, taking the project on trains, to picnics – sneaking in knitting time while dinner was cooking. . .
The jumper is almost finished with the last section on the second cuff to go, you can check out Julie’s pattern here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lolly-sticks
I always think of myself as a reflective teacher, continually reflecting on my practice, improving and developing. A highlight of 2017 (the year of craft) is that I became an appreciative reflective learner. Becoming a part of unconventional classrooms outside my PLN and industry to focus on self development has left me feeling fulfilled by the challenge and personal growth.
If 2017 was the year of craft I am not yet sure what 2018 will bring.