Wrapping up 2019: Knitting, doodling and my make journal

They say once you pick up a skill, you never unlearn it, no matter how long you are out of practise. Well, I was definitely not keen to find out whether that was true or not, yet a couple of months into 2019 and I found out I had knitted very few stitches indeed.

I’m usually a slow maker and fine with that. I don’t think I’ll ever be the kind of knitter that ends the year with a completely new wardrobe to show for it. But, during a part of this year I almost didn’t make anything at all! I mentioned in my previous post about my year in sewing how my move at the start of this year played a role in it, but it would be dishonest to not talk about how racism, and the lack of inclusion and representation influenced my non-make months. The things I mentioned in my sewing post were as valid and more in the knitting community. The unwillingness to listen to marginalised voices, and how far people I regarded as online friends would go for that denial has changed how I relate to this community and in extension to my crafts. It took months for that change in relationship to settle on some new kind of form, and that was reflected in my making practise.

I took time to figure out how to connect to certain pieces in my wardrobe, stash and bookshelves now that I couldn’t relate to the people and brands associated with them any more. My opinion on how to deal with that has evolved over the year. I still think whenever there is a call-out people, organisations and brands should be given space and time to reflect on the criticism, apologize and work on being better. That is the entire point of the call-out. I believe in giving space for improvement, but I think that should work in tandem with actual behavioural change and recognition. Say, changing behaviour without apology or reflection is better than no changed behaviour at all, but is also super cynical and makes it look at least like your only doing it because it’s strategically more viable at the moment. 

I hope you’ll understand why, for the moment, I’m opting to not share any makes or photos from companies that have not done better this so far. Sharing as such would in essence be free marketing for them, even with my smaller platform. My most recent finished knitting project is a reworking of a project that I’m not feeling ok with sharing at the moment but had already yarn etc for. I have to see where I’ll take this in the future, but I actually like how this is going so maybe it’s a route I’ll take more often in the future for things already in my yarn, fabric or pattern stash.

What I have been Knitting 

Once I established how to relate to my crafts after all that, my making flame did return. Particularity in the last bit of the year I felt the old spark again when handling needles and wool or when thinking about things I wanted to make. Whereas before, at the start of the year my thoughts about projects where dulled and washed out, at the end of the year I felt a genuine enthusiasm again when engaging in whatever way about crafts. A feeling I do not take for granted, especially after this year.

With all that being said I think it is time to look at the things that did make it off of the needles and unto the blog this year and, and talk to you about something new I started doing this year that greatly helped my making!

The Return
Love Note marked a return to my knitting needles. Before that, my knitting had been sporadic at best. I had tried different projects but more or less lost my appetite for them before I finished the ribbing. This project was the first which made me want to knit on, and managed to yield some form of joy out of my knitting needles. It still wasn’t on the level where it used to be, but I was knitting and I liked it which was a huge win at the time. I can’t really separate that personal meaning from this jumper, and therefore I will probably always have some additional attachment to this Love Note.

Apart from that, I also think this is just a really fun jumper. Green is one of my favourite colours to wear, and the speckles offer ample opportunity for subtle matching.

For it is Summer
She still needs to make her first blog appearance, but I made a summer top in August this year. The temperatures were intense and I was losing my mind knitting on with wool so I wanted to see if summer stuff was something I could get into. I think I will always love knitting colourwork or cables with wool more than knitting airy summer tops, but overall I enjoyed the experience more than I expected, to the point that I think I will do it again if the temperatures send me up the wall again in the coming summers. First I want to see how much wear this Argil gets over the warmer days though.
The gift
I almost never knit for other people, even when I like you and think you are knitworthy, so me knitting an adult sweater for someone else truly is a once in a blue moon event! I did enjoy knitting this Riddari though, and it has been a joy watching someone I care about taking it on many adventures. So who knows, there might be another blue moon, in good time of course, but if not, that’s ok too.
I’m still quite chuffed about the time this sweater was complimented on by a non-knitter out in the woolless wilderness!
I Like Warm Hugs
This Heart cardigan is possibly my favourite make of this year. I had been on the look out for an Aran style cable cardigan like this for some time, and funnily enough I had the most perfect pattern waiting on my book shelve all that time. My time knitting on this is a hazy, confused and chaotic blur. I knitted it while packing up in my old apartment, doing home renovation stuff on the new one, moving and all the while I had a seriously ill cat. In hindsight it feels like I was subconsciously knitting myself a nice wrap-around hug.
Granted, almost anything I would have knit at that time would probably feel like that, given the circumstances I was knitting it in. However I’m glad it was this, and have something tangible to attach the memories and feelings of that time too.
The Signature Make
Orkney had been in my queue for ages before I finally set my needles to the pattern. Looking back it feels a bit silly, but she was the first allover I ever wanted to make so I guess I made the step towards doing it needlessly difficult. It seemed more logical to just go and make a few other allovers, than to start this one. I mean, I love the sweaters that I made in that time, so I’m not mad at myself but I do find it funny to see how nonsensical humans can behave at times.

Anyway, when I did finally cast on I greatly enjoyed the knitting process of this one and it was one of my very favourite things to wear this autumn/winter!

 Making journal
The most rewarding new thing I did this year was start a making journal. I started journalling when I was a kid, and it is a practice I kept more or less up with until this date. My journal is very much a personal journal, not a making log. Until this year I used to scribble make notes on pieces of paper here and there, sometimes spread over lots of pages in between my regular journalling.
In the first half of the year, I had lost my inspiration and love for the craft in a way that I’ve never had before. It was an odd time struggling so much with something that defines how you think about things and how you define yourself. I decided to see if starting make-journalling would help me find something of myself back in my crafting, as well as some of my joy of doing it. I didn’t have much expectations of what it would do, but I figured if in the end if I didn’t use it much I could still use the notebook for regular journalling (HA!).

What I did not expect was how much good it would do for me! I think it was the thing that helped me get back into making things more than anything else. Not only did it help me document makes, track modifications and gauge, collect ideas for future makes and reflect on and appreciate the things I was doing better, but unexpectedly it became a creative outlet in itself. I did not start it with the intention of if becoming a scrapbook that would make it to bullet journal pinterest boards, and it isn’t by a long shot. My doodling is charmingly mediocre, my handwriting never won any prizes (my primary school teachers made sure I was aware of that!) and my way of planning, tracking and note taking isn’t ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination. But it ignited a joy for doodling that I wasn’t expecting and I have felt more inspired to go rogue with designs, changing and adding things, and trying my hand at working out stuff from my own imagination. Additionally, I found ways of enjoying and busying myself with making with the make journal that does not just involve the physical activity. None of these were things I was expecting at all when I set out to do it, and it has surprised me how often I sat down to write and doodle in it for the cheer joy of it.

I think another less tangible thing that I like about the my make journal is that it’s nice to have something that I’m doing for me and that isn’t meant for a greater public or anything, unbothered by expectations, amounts of likes or algorithms. I mean, I try to care or think about these things as little as possible anyway, (which is fairly easy to do and say for me since all my online outlets are personal making logs) but it’s been nice to have something that’s just for me and doesn’t have any filtering or curating and whose most dedicated public consists of my cats and a cup of tea.

That wraps up my reflection on my year. The end of the year also marked the end of a decade, which wasn’t something that was hugely on my mind to the point that I didn’t even realise it until I saw a lot of people do decade reviews. Most of those were in formats that weren’t really a good fit for me, but I saw a couple of people do variations of “a decade of making” reviews which I thought was a fun way to look back on what I made. I only did it for knitting (since that is the craft that I have been doing for 10+ years) and it was fun to look back at my projects and see how my skills have developed over the years.

Well then, as January nears it’s end, I suppose it’s time to be done with looking back at the previous decade, and look forward to the next. Wishing you all a ton of inspiration and plenty of good days to get your needles out in 2020. Let’s get on with it!

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