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My creative year 2021

Do you enjoy to see what others made in a year or to reflect on their creative journey in that year? I certainly do and it inspired me to share my creative year with you, too.

Instead of sharing a list of all the things I have knitted or sewn, I would rather like to share some of my most rewarding experiences or “themes” of this past year.

A year of community

For me, 2021 has definitely been a year of becoming part of a creative community on instagram. In winter, the designer ponderandply started regular online knit nights which quickly became a big hit across her follower and fan base. Through our bi-weekly knit nights, I not only developed a deep friendship with her, but also with many other knitters from across the globe.

Together with Molly of ponder and ply, I then organized the #FemiknitsMAL in spring 2021. The idea was simple: create your “feminist uniform”, whatever that would mean for you. We wanted (and managed!) to encourage discussion about feminist themes that are connected to our crafting or our lives. It was a fantastic experience!

Here’s just one of my progress pictures for the week on intersectional feminism.

A year of test knitting

I love test knitting for the opportunity to work together with a designer and a really motivated group of other knitters to perfect a garment before release. It contributes to the feeling of belonging to a community which is great.

This year, I test knitted 16 designs, 9 of which were garments. Wow!

I was honoured to be part of the secret preparation for the yarn launch of AXIS by Lily Kate France (@lilykatemakes on instagram). The yarn is a Worsted Weight 90% Merino/ 10% Alpaca, and is absolutely fabulous to work with. I don’t really like heavy weights, but this one blew me away instantly. I already have a 2022 knit planned in AXIS. Lily offered me a free sample of her yarn pre-launch in exchange for test knitting a pattern. I chose the #RibblesdaleVest which is such a chic and classic style for unpredictable mid-season weather.

The Ribblesdale Vest in AXIS by Lily Kate France

I have a few rules for test knitting, because once you’re offered an opportunity, it can be hard to turn designs down.

Would I buy this design if I would see it?

Can I think of at least three ways to combine it with the clothes I have?

Do I *really* have time?

Those questions help to avoid that test knitting becomes a pressure, but just adds to an overall enjoyable knitting experience.

A year of giving.

This year, I created many gifts for others. I love to give handmade gifts, but I follow strict rules about it.

  1. Unless I offered it to you before, you may not request a handmade item.
  2. I set the deadline.
  3. No handmade gifts for persons who do not appreciate them and/or the labour that goes into them.

Let me share some of my favourite presents with you.

This complete birthday look for a friend’s daughter

I just love cute little matchy outfits, but of course they must be practical, too. The #TTFableDress by Twig and Tale ticks those categories for me and I have made some for several friends last year. I love this squirrel printed one especially (beacuse I love squirrels, and just like those joyful creatures my friend’s daughter has just recently discovered the joy of discovering the world by climbing and running around).

The birthday crown is my own creation and embroidery design and made my friend beyond happy. She told me later that she had intended to buy one for her daughter’s first birthday, but then completely forgot about it. What a beautiful coincidence!

The cardigan is the #DandelionLittle, a design by Along Avec Anna. Her garments just always fit like a glove, and the designs are so magical.

This special accessory for my Mum

My Mum received a few knits this year, but this one is gonna be my favourite. It’s a hair scarf design by the Marvelous Mrs Maker and I love how versatile and chic it is.

It’s knitted in a fantastic shade of “Oonagh yarn” (“Bramble Picking”) by Wild Atlantic Yarn, my favourite indie dyer brand.

Socks, socks, socks

I knitted a lot of socks this year, and almost exclusively for friends. Nothing beats a comfy pair of handknitted socks. Most labour definitely went into the #MermaidAvenueSocks by @summer.lee.knits, but look just how magical they are! I think my favourite design are the #Acornssocks by @amanitaknits. I might knit myself my own pair this year.

This jumper for my husband

In 2021, I also knitted a jumper for my taaall husband – and all of this in fingering weight yarn. As you might imagine, it took a few months, but I love the result. He is super happy with it and I can’t help but fall a little more for him, any time I see him wear it.

The pattern is #SoBasicSweater by @maxtheknitter, So basic, so good.

The yarn is, again Wild Atlantic Yarns (can you tell how much I love them?) in shade “Into the gathering storm” (I love the mystical sound of that)

A year of learning

I didn’t really challenge myself with my knit projects this year. Most of them were rather straightforward. But oh, did I try, swear, learn AND SUCCEED with my sewing. I also failed quite a bit, but that stopped once I turned away from big design brands and towards small independent designers.

My 2021 hit discovery is definitely Twig and Tale whom I found in the quest for a nice, breezy men’s shirt for my husband. I quickly fell in love with their whimsical looks, nature-loving aesthetic and focus on slow fashion. Sewing the Breeze Shirt for my husband and two Fable Dresses for myself (one of which I am wearing as I type these words) has advanced my skill tremendously. My wishlist of their patterns for 2022 is long.

What I love especially about their instructions is how they focus on creating durable garments which will last for years to come. That means: special attention to the insides and finishing of a garment, too.

I learnt just as much through the Patreon content tutorials and pattern tutorials by Gertie Hirsch, and made a really pretty Picnic Skirt, a stunning Cinch-It Dress and a super comfortable Barbie Top in 2021 . In 2022, I hope to tackle some of the more tailored and more advanced Charm patterns.

A year of whimsy

Who dooesn’t love a good portion of whimsical little stuff, unecessary, yes, but wonderfully adorable and joyful? Especially with the pandemic in full swing, I loved to create little things, pretty stuff to look at and be happy about.

In 2021, I tried my hands at a lot of new crafts: Dip Dye Candles, wet felting and visible mending. I love all the results and it’s hard to call favourites, though I must say that I loved the idea of mini stocking/ sock ornament Christmas cards for friends and family this holiday season.

Cover image features …

… My Rosa Cardigan by Along Avec Anna worn with my Picnic Skirt by Charmpatterns/ Gertie Hirsch

… my Lucrezia Blouse by Fabel Knitwear and a storebought corduroy skirt

… my Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns

… my Beauty School Top (from 2019) by Poisongrrls Design and my Stanwyck Skirt by Charmpatterns/ Gertie Hirsch

… my Fabel Dress by Twig and Tale

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