Five years ago this week I published the first post on this blog. Emma and I have been thinking about this milestone and how to mark it. We decided to each go back and read the blog posts and pick out our favorites – this is post # 271, so that is quite a lot to catch up on. I discovered many posts I had totally forgotten about. Emma sent me a list of her favorites (there were 25 of them!) and my list was equally long. On Doug’s advice, we have cut the list down considerably, and would like to present you here with an editors’ pick of a dozen posts.
How did we narrow the list? Mostly at random. To begin with there were two posts which Emma and I both rated very highly. I put them at the top as joint picks. These were both written early on – in 2012 – but we feel they capture something unique about our blogging experience. Then, we each narrowed our lists down to five, making a total of twelve favorites. We tried to pick at least one from each year, and to include a few different styles of post.
Retrospective knits. (2012) This is a bit of a cheat, as it is actually three posts: here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. These posts were a real family affair. We had gone as a family to visit my mother in Arizona. Mom has a collection of hand-knit garments knit in the 50s, 60s and 70s by my paternal grandmother, my mother, and myself as a teenager. We decided it would be fun to photograph the four of us – mom, me, Emma, and Leah – modelling these garments. We arranged a bunch of photo shoots, with the photos taken by Doug and Emma. These posts showcase the garments and also the family memories behind each one. Producing these posts was a totally lovely experience for each of us.
A tale of two Falkenbergs. (2012) This is a very personal post, which describes my relationship with knitting throughout my life, centred around the knitting of two garments designed by Hanne Falkenberg, which were knit during very different stages. I love this post, and obviously Emma is in agreement.
Move over, Mom! (2012) My daughter Emma persuaded me, after much effort, to start a knitting blog. From the very beginning she has had a big part to play as a technical editor, stylist, photographer, muse and sounding board. As the years go by, and Emma’s life becomes busier (and farther away), she has had much less to do with the every day running of the blog, though she continues to consult on every aspect. The writing, however, is mine, with one exception. In 2012, Emma wrote this post about how to photograph a sweater. I love this post to pieces, and I think it contains one of my favorite lines from any post on this blog: “As for top half difficulties, just follow this golden rule and nothing can go wrong: boobs should be in the boob portion of the sweater. ”
Venetian Audrey Modelled. (2013) Much of my emphasis in the past five years has been on getting well-fitted garments. This usually involves a lot of modification. The sweater I knit for Emma, which I call Venetian Audrey, was one of these. I love this post because it talks about the difficulties involved in modifying a pattern, as well as the magic of proper blocking, and adds to that a fabulous set of photographs.
Why I knit. (2014) My second daughter, Leah, has also served as muse to my knitting. Some of the really unique items I have knit in the past have been done in a collaboration with Leah, or have been sparked by Leah’s interests. This post showcases a gorgeous sweater which I knit for Leah that, in my mind, is the perfect combination of pattern and yarn and sensibility of the wearer. It also describes the modifications I made to get a perfect fit, and was beautifully photographed by Doug and Emma.
Escher Modification Chronicles. (2015) Again this is a bit of a cheat, since this was a two-part post; part 1 is here and part 2 here. These posts examined, in great detail, the struggles and rationalizations behind the modifications I made in the Escher Cardigan. I try to do a lot of things in this blog: I chronicle my knitting, I write about trends, I showcase patterns that catch my eye, etc. I often fret about including highly technical discussions about the minutiae of knitting, as I worry that these will bore the pants off my readers. I am also not a perfect knitter (is there such a thing?) and I like to convey the fact that knitting is a work-in-progress and involves a bit of trial and error. It is both skill and artistry, mixed with perseverance and a little blind luck. This is an example of one of those technical posts.
Knit Kurt Cobain’s sweater and save big bucks. (2015) I put a lot of effort into this blog and most posts are the result of many hours of writing, re-writing, consulting, and editing. Occasionally, however, I write a post totally off-the-cuff. This is an example of such a post. I saw a little blurb in the paper about Kurt’s sweater being auctioned and I typed this post up in minutes. Perhaps it doesn’t have the polish I try to put on most posts, but I think it is a good example of a funny post.
Emma’s picks (commentary by Emma):
Brick rocks. (2012) Brick was simultaneously the greatest and most difficult sweater of Mom’s I’ve had to photograph. The pink, red, and purple hues used, while obvious to the naked eye, are very difficult to distinguish in photographs, and adding in desert landscapes, which are notoriously difficult to capture, was a challenge. I’m pretty sure I made Dad stop the car, climb rocks, and pose for photographs every five minutes of the drive – I ended up with over 1500 photographs to edit and choose from before deciding on the final set you see in the post. Man it was worth it though!
Reflections on Thanksgiving, hurricanes, the flu, antique knitting patterns and the waistcoat-that’s-not-meant-to-be. (2012) This post I actually completely forgot about until this week when I reread all of our posts. It was a hidden gem – I had just moved away for university and had never realised that Mom still had the original Turkey Yarn sweater! The post itself is a bit of a hodge podge, but all of it is good. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday and one which has a lot of family traditions associated with it, including Dad’s great stuffing recipe (and my superior gravy). The fact that this yearly tradition is tied up (literally!) to one of Mom’s knitting projects from my infant days is kind of fun. It is also a reminder on the importance of reflection and on what’s important in life.
Rite of passage – the steek. (2014) I like this post for lots of reasons. First, Kelly had been talking about steeking and deciding not do it because she was afraid of it, for years. Then it turned out to be no big deal. It was funny to watch even if I was sick. Second, the project itself was a great one, and I always like Mom’s technical discussions of the knitting process; the finished project can be seen here by the way. Mostly I love this post, however, for Doug’s suggestions on possible post titles. I had forgotten about these and they totally cracked me up on re-reading the post!
teeny tiny hat. (2016) They say a picture says a thousand words. This post doesn’t need many words. I remember calling Mom right after reading the post and laughing down the line for about twenty minutes. Also Mom’s Venn Diagramming abilities have improved ten-fold since going to business school.
How long is your hand? (The non-Trump edition.) (2016) This is quite a recent post, and a long one. But, it is incredibly funny (at least to me) and is a great example of the interactions between Mom and me that led us to developing the blog in the first place. It shows that we still have it: a crazy, funny love of knitting, fashion, technique, words, and a working mother-daughter relationship that keeps us collaborating even after all this time.
I hope that you enjoy these dozen favorites from Emma and me. It was very hard to narrow them down and a lot of really great posts were left out. In fact, there is not a single Wearability Wednesday post here, even though they are among the most fun to produce. (Notice how I managed to sneak in a whole category of post here!) Also not here are any travel posts, though I have written many.
There have been many times, especially during these last two years as I have been struggling to finish my MBA and adjust to a new and busy career, when I have thought about ditching the blog. I worry that I am not knitting enough to make a knitting blog feasible. I worry that I don’t always have the time to personally answer all of the comments, something which I enjoy. I worry that my personal decision to not be on Facebook adversely affects the blog. I worry that blogging is a dying art form. I somehow always manage to talk myself out of it. The truth remains: I enjoy writing this blog. It involves my whole family and is a very fulfilling and creative outlet. I especially appreciate all of you readers who continue to engage with the blog. I love to read your comments, both here and on Ravelry. Thanks for coming along for the ride!