Back in 2017 we launched our first book, A Year of Techniques (AYoT), and we really had no idea at all whether anyone apart from us would think it was a good idea. Happily, lots of you agreed with us, and what followed was a year of glorious sharing of knowledge and skills, with twelve knitalongs and hundreds of projects completed. We were totally gobsmacked at how many of you decided to work through the entire book, completing everything, and really honoured that you would choose to dedicate so much valuable knitting time to A Year of Techniques. Lots of people popped in and out and worked on the months that inspired them most, and that was amazing too. The projects were always designed to be self-sufficient, so whether you joined us for one or two, or all twelve – thank you all!
The first project in AYoT was my helically striped Hyacinthus armwarmers, and I think it’s safe to say that helical knitting was a very popular technique! Kay and Ann over on Mason-Dixon Knitting got quite carried away in their excitement about helicalising everything, and of course it lead to me writing a whole ebook on the topic. I highly recommend reading back the letters that Kay and Ann wrote to each other. They are a hoot!
There were lots of beautiful helical projects in the knitalong thread, and right from the beginning there were people who took an idea and ran with it…
Whilst there were heaps of beautiful projects in the original colourways, I have a particular fondness for projects whose colour choices are so immediately “them”.
Crochet-Julie is a marvellous knitter, and her projects are always a joy to behold, with their exuberant colours and effortless style. She used a selection of Countess Ablaze’s stunning yarns for her Brambling shawl, and even without her smiling face in the photo I think I’d have guessed fairly rapidly that this was her stunning scarf!
Bristol Ivy’s beautiful Brambling shawl design introduced us to intarsia. Intarsia is a technique that really divides knitters and I had long been in the “over my dead body” camp. Knitting Bristol’s Harewood hap cured me of my strong feelings about the technique, and it was great to see other knitters joining me in the “it’s fine in the right project with the right yarn” camp!
To complete the Spring set of projects in A Year of Techniques, we worked on Alex the Mouse – a beautiful toy mouse designed by the inimitable Ella Austin, and featuring a pinhole cast on for his/her button nose and feet. This was one of the most memorable knitalongs of the whole year for me, as a number of knitters went to town with modifications of the project…
The adorable pair of mice knitted by KnittingJoy during the pinhole cast on knitalong is an absolute triumph. Joy added Fair Isle bodies and cute sock and shoe details as well as fluffy KidSilk Haze ears. She kept really detailed notes on her Ravelry project pages, so if you want to have a go at upgrading your Alex the Mouse, then she’s provided a great roadmap for one way to do so.
Many of the projects in A Year of Techniques stretched people’s skills, and we shared in both the joys and frustrations over in the knitalong threads. Dbukko’s lovely pair of Alex the mice nearly didn’t happen after a squirrel made off with the first body and head, and you can read all about it in her Ravelry notes! The added bowtie and ruffles give her mice a very dapper quality.
The video tutorials for the spring projects are all still available over on our YouTube channel, and it’s never too late to cast on for one of these beauties, but we will be retiring all of the AYoT kits at the start of February to avoid any possibility of confusion with the new series, so if you’ve had your eye on a Brambling kit or perhaps an Alex the Mouse kit, then do grab one now before they are gone.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little wander down memory lane with me! Which was your favourite project from A Year of Techniques?