It was early January 2020. I’d had 10 days of holiday rest and it was time to go back to work. There was talk on the news about this virus in China but there was talk about a lot of stuff. My mind was on re-opening the shop and getting started on a new plan we had to run a series of niche talks for knitters. It was based on an idea to create some recurring events that would feed the curiousity of avid knitters in a different way from our regular classes.
The talks, called Knit 15, were a shamelessly geeky 15 minute window on a focused topic that would intrigue, puzzle and possibly inspire knitters. In the weeks that followed we had talks from Renee Callahan, Wendy Peterson and Rosa Pomar, exploring things like why the bust isn’t necessarily the best place to start when measuring for the perfect fit, the loose bit at the end of the row and its part in making disappointing left leaning decreases, and how a woman in persuit of locally made yarn should never be underestimated. The more topics we dreamt up, the more I discovered how rich a seam of fascinating experts we had in this community to draw on. It was all getting better and better.
And then COVID-19 arrived in the UK. The shop closed and the talks stopped.
And with all the other things to consider in the revised COVID-compliant version of the wool shop, I began to wonder whether the talks would really work any more. Lucky for me, Fabienne arrived . And she had other ideas – lots of other ideas as it turned out. And together with her formiddable tenacity, I’m thrilled to say she has brought Knit 15 back to life.
And so under the new directorship of knitwear researcher, designer and repairer, Fabienne Gassmann, we’ve prepared an evening of brand new Knit 15 live talks which will be staged on Zoom as part of this year’s Unravel Festival of Knitting.
Each talk will turn on the theme of mending in a mixure of familiar and some unfamiliar ways. From a shopkeeper who unravels the role of the wool shop in the lives of its knitters, to a repairer-explorer on the politics of holey clothes, to a team of historical textile conservators on the life and times of clothes and moths, to a textiles artist on the traumas of breaks in the fibre community and how it heals itself.
I do hope you’ll join us on the evening, or otherwise by catching up later with the talks on the Knit 15 Podcast which will go online soon afterwards.