Little Red Book

You know, there’s one New-Year’s tradition I did follow this time: The big housecleaning. It didn’t necessarily have to do with the coming of the new year, rather with the fact that I was going away for a few days and had asked a couple of friends to take care of my cats. There isn’t a better incentive for dusting off books and going through the mountain of paperwork on your dining table (not the desk, that is filled with knitting stuff…) than having people over whom you don’t want to think you’re sloppier than they already know you are…

Anyhow, while I was at it I decided to reorganize my knitting stuff. Again. Seems like I’m doing this at least once or twice a year. Mostly because I have little space available and everything gets crammed into every possible cupboard, box and drawer. And because all of it gets used frequently (and I’m a little disorganized, as I may have mentioned before) it all ends up lying around or accumulating in places where it doesn’t belong.

So, boxes got labeled and filled with samples and swatches, yarn stash was reordered, knitting needles sorted, books and patterns sorted into the bookshelf. And during these frantic activities my Little Red Book was misplaced. Gasp! Quotations_from_Chairman_Mao_Tse-Tung_bilingual

No, not this Little Red Book.

My own, personal, disorganized design journal Little Red Book. Which was gone when I came home after Christmas. I didn’t realize at first that it was missing. When I wanted to look something up in it after a few days and couldn’t find it in any of its usual hiding spots (inside a bag of yarn, below a pilRedbooke of printouts, in my bed…) I grew a little worried. Searched again and again over the next few days, cursing myself for tidying (nothing good ever comes of that!) and getting more and more frantic.

Do you know that feeling when, say, your house-key is missing and you have to be somewhere in half an hour and really need to get going? When you start looking into and under everything at least three times. Turn every coat pocket inside out, upend the mail-bowl and look into the sock drawer (just in case you put it there in a moment of mental derangement)? That’s what I did. For several days. I even called the friends I stayed with over Christmas to ask if I forgot it there. Even though I was certain that I never took it with me.

By the end of the second week of the new year I was certain that I had somehow managed to throw it away while I was cleaning up.

I checked one last time inside the new boxes and when I put them back I looked a little closer into the shelf. And there it was, lodged between the shelf and the wall, half hidden behind the boxes on the floor. Phew! Tragedy avoided.

You know, I really need this book…

… as a memory aid, because it contains loads of scrap paper, random drawings and small notes I jut down whenever an idea comes to my mind. Once written down, they are gone. I would have forgotten so many concepts I still wanted to explore.

I jotted this down after seeing a really nice sweater on a TV presenter...

I jotted this down after seeing a really nice sweater on a TV presenter…

… because there are complete patterns in there. Sometimes I make things up as I knit and write them down as I go. It would really have bugged me, having to reverse-engineer my own finished objects to find out how I did them exactly.

That's a complete sock pattern. I frogged those twice until they looked the way I wanted to. Good thing I don't have to figure it out again.

That’s a complete sock pattern. I frogged those twice until they looked the way I wanted to. Good thing I don’t have to figure it out again.

… for sentimental reasons. It’s been a steep learning curve over the time I’ve been using it, and I love being able to follow that while leafing through my book. Here’s the very first design I ever submitted, complete with the swatch I made for it. I was so thrilled when it got accepted that it helped me over the following 10 or 15 refusals.

There it is - the very first design idea I got accepted for publication... my Knotorious Gloves.

There it is – the very first design idea I got accepted for publication… my Knotorious Gloves.

Wanna guess where it is now?


Under my pillow. 🙂


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