2012 wasn't a bad year, work-wise.. here we go with the annual review of the year in Hats.
We saw the release of Classic Woolly Toppers:
I enjoyed working on this book. It turned out to be quite a different project than originally planned, and this was a very good thing. The initial idea of CWT was a different play on 'classic', more along the lines of 'familiar' or 'tried & tested' yet the designs had other plans; I just couldn't stick with that theme. It was interesting actually, to try and set myself the task of emulating that kind of style, and failing. I like the result though! Each Hat took on a different construction angle and it reassured me that *my* style has it's place, that it's OK to just go with my own flow. For a few years now I've been uncertain of my identity and this book gave me back a bit of confidence in that area.
Classic Woolly Toppers was also a good photography project - I used more models and even flew in the lovely Charlie for a couple of shoots! I put more thought into location and lighting and actually *planned* each shoot (though I never got right down to mood and position boards) and I reckon that proved successful.
Here are the Hats from CWT..
From top left we have:
Besides the book, there were a bunch of single patterns, too. Not as many as previous years, a total of 17 besides the book designs, but still a fair production.
From top left we have:
Arkanoid, North Lyme (beanie version), North Lyme (slouch version), Mushroom Cap, Bóithrín (square top version), Bóithrín (beanie version), Sarah's Slouch, Rainbowret, Tangled River, Buzzba, Ledger (Aran), Ledger (Tom), Niamh, Retro Beanie, Bias Slouchy Hat, Sideways Pinstripe Beret, Runway, Kabouter, Encircle and Minikins.
Compared to previous years, 2012 didn't see *that* many new designs published - 27 in all. 2011 saw 35, 2010 saw 34, 2009 saw 14, 2008 saw 24 and 2007 also saw 35, with 2006 at 30 - which would make 2012 a relatively quiet year!
In fact, 2 of the 2012 releases (Mushroom Cap and Bobba) were old, old designs that needed revisiting, and several were designed the year before and published in 2012. The balance between self-published and published-by-a-3rd-party changed, too - of these 17 single patterns, 6 were published in other books or magazines. 4 of these 17 were free patterns.
Other highlights include exhbiting at TNNA - whilst this was costly and exhausting, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have every intention of doing it again. In fact my booth and display is already planned, as well as my 2 super-lightweight suitcases! (they're not quite packed yet, but they're as good as...) There was no summer tour this year but there was an autumn one, and that was great fun too, and a chance to catch up with a few sorely missed woolly friends.
The Mystery KAL saw record numbers - we had an amazing number of participants! - and a switch from 2 patterns to 1. That seemed to work - it was at least more manageable for me, and the feedback seems to be that only having the one pattern was a winner from a KALer point of view, too.
2012 was definitely a different kind of year, but there were reasons for that; it may have been good work wise but on the personal front, as you'll likely know, it was a rather different story, and I had to somehow make work fit in around that. Financially, 2012 was my best year ever, which was a surprise, and that makes such a difference - knowing that I've received tremendous support from all my readers and customers makes it so much easier to cope with all the not-so-good stuff. I don't have to stress as much about keeping food on the table or paying the bills, and that really is a big weight off my mind. For that, I could never thank you enough :)
And 2013? Well, there are no great plans. That doesn't mean I'm not going to be doing anything (!) rather that I'm going to be kind and not pile it on so much. Playful Woolly Toppers will be finished and released (this was one book meant for 2012) and I will be running off to TNNA again this June, but otherwise, I'm going with the flow. There are some designs due out with magazines this year, so keep an eye out for those. I want to work more on big, sculptural Hats but I'm making no deadlines. There are more experimental designs I want to play with but there's no time limit. There are a few places I'd like to run workshops, but there are no promises.
I want 2013 to be a kind year, not a stressful one, and I really do hope it's a good year for all of us.