A four-month digital absence is a loooong time by modern standards, but just a blink of the eye when you're in the midst of a global pandemic. As I write this, we are a planet on lockdown, sheltering-in-place to slow the spread of a virus that didn't even exist when I stopped blogging last November. Today, the world looks dramatically different than it did four and half months ago. But, for better or worse, I'm still knitting. Always knitting.
When I posted on November 14th I had just published my final pattern of the Fall/Winter 2019 season, The Harbour Hat. Normally, I would have immediately turned to mad market prep, but since I'd already sold my entire inventory of cold comfort hats in September at Burlington MADE, it seems I got the gift of time for the holidays. I had planned to use that time to make decisions about cold comfort knits, and the direction it would take in 2020.
To be honest, I'd been toying with the idea of throwing myself head-long (head-long!) into hat making, and decreasing my focus on other types of design work. My goal had been to create a hat *empire*, albeit a very tiny one. A tricked out online hat shop. A book of cold comfort hat patterns. I really *really* like knitting hats.
But then Shibui Knits invited me to participate in a design collaboration I would have been a fool to pass up, the holidays happened, I resumed teaching at the hospital twice a week, our condo went on the market and, if that weren't enough, I had to have some scary cardiac issues evaluated. Suffice it to say web & blog updates went on the back burner, along with my hat empire.
Days passed. Months passed. And Time sorted things out, like it always does. I completed my collaboration with Shibui Knits, we signed on the townhouse dotted line and got an official moving date, and I began to receive follow-up care with a cardiologist. As March arrived it finally seemed like it was time to start that empire. It was not.
Two weeks later the world went on lockdown, and our collective physical and financial security became a very sudden, very BIG question mark. Naturally, I now find myself questioning the future of cold comfort knits.
Will the financial impact of the pandemic cause families to turn away from the type of high quality (higher-priced) hand-knits I had hoped to stock in my online shop? Will there be a resurgence of illness when the cold weather arrives and, if so, will that result in the cancellation of Holiday Markets--in other words, if I invest the next 6 months of time & money in knitting sufficient market inventory, as I normally would, will I end up "out in the cold" this coming winter?
And patterns? What about patterns? I've given away thousands of free patterns over the last few years...several hundred as a goodwill gesture when the lockdown started. But Ravelry has tons of free patterns. Many are good. Many are the classic you-get-what-you-pay-for knitting nightmare. Will financial uncertainty cause knitters to take their chances with free patterns, or will they still value the clarity and ease of a $4 pattern from an experienced designer?
In spite of all the uncertainty, it's times like these that remind me how incredibly grateful I am to be a Knitter. I've said before and I'll say it again: Knitting saved my life. Knitting saves my life. Every single day, and now more than ever.
So instead of feeling "stuck" at home, I'm feeling SAFE at home, with a comprehensive set of knitting needles, an inspiring set of stitch dictionaries, and a stash that will outlast the apocalypse.
And that's enough for now.
I'm Alexis, the knitter/designer behind cold comfort knits. My favourite animal is a sheep (obvi). My primary knitting fuel is coffee. And my inner child is actually an inner senior-citizen.