A few years back I was in New York at an author’s, group signing event to promote my book, AwareKnits. My table was right next to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s (aka Yarn Harlot), who at one point hollered, “Vickie, check this out! You know the lore of the knitter’s journal — you know where we keep our carefully logged swatches as a history of our projects? This woman actually has one — they do exist!” I thought about that moment while I was doing a little yarn graffiti this week.
TOMS has a coffee shop/retail space here in Austin, TX that serves just as much as a hangout, as a place to shop for footwear and fair trade goods. Their visual manager asked if I’d yarn bomb a couple of their trees, but since my work plate overfloweth these days I said I could only do it if they didn’t mind me using swatches from old projects (versus making new pieces specifically for each tree.) They were cool with it (as they are with most things — such nice people at that place!), and I’m so glad because it brought something to the project I hadn’t considered: a visual log of a handful of my projects over the past few years. As I pieced each chosen (for size and fiber durability) swatch together to create the patchwork tree cozies it made me smile to think that this wasn’t just an act of Austin quirk. It’s meaningful — to others because the unexpected splash of color might be a bright spot in their day; to me because it serves as a memento of the love, labor, and passion I put into my work.
I may not be dedicated enough to organization to keep a traditional, knitter’s journal but my drawer-full of swatches –occasionally released into the world–does the trick.