I’ve found that perhaps the most difficult thing about the experience of the past few months has been having to change our business plans – often at incredibly short notice. Like all businesses, we’ve found ourselves continually having to alter our arrangements in response to circumstances, guidelines and restrictions that are continually changing. Our position is so much more secure than so many other small companies: I think about this all the time, and I’m honestly not complaining about our situation. But there’s no getting away from what is happening, and I think it is totally possible to feel two things simultaneously – viz that while (in Scotland at least) such measures are very well-thought-through and entirely appropriate they also make managing a business a complete pain in the arse. Some of our necessarily changed business plans have been really tricky and difficult to handle (I might write about those some other time) and some have been (though unwelcome) fairly straightforward. In the latter category is the fact that we can’t currently work with the models we’d planned to feature in various projects, specifically our pal Fenella, who was booked in to work with us on 10 Years in the Making.
Much of the work of designing a collection occurs quite a long time in advance of its release, and involves a lot of planning about yarn shades, palettes, sample knitting and styling. For this collection, Mel and I have been knitting a lot of samples with Fenella specifically in mind, and I’ve particularly enjoyed developing palettes and working with interesting shade combinations which I know would really suit her.
But, as things have turned out, and following current guidance here in Scotland’s central belt, I’m having to model all the designs in this collection. So, it’s now just Tom and myself on all the club photoshoots, and all of the photography is taken around the immediate environs of our home.
I love the combination of shades I used for Jibbie – today’s just-released club design – but know objectively that these colours would look much better on Fenella.
But though we’ve had to change our plans for using different models and locations, and though we really miss working with Fenella (who is just a generally energising and inspiring person to have around, quite apart from being a superb model), the one benefit of managing the shoots solely with Tom and myself is that we are able to be spontaneous: to get up, and get out and take pictures when the conditions and light feel right.
That was the case on the morning a week or so ago when we shot the photographs for Jibbie, a design initially inspired by sails (jibs), and boats, and water (Jibbie is also a Scots word for a scone or bannock of triangular shape)
At first light, there was a dense mist rising behind our house, but there seemed to be some soft light filtering through: good for photos. So we got up and got out.
It was a truly beautiful golden morning – definitely a morning to be made the most of.
We weren’t the only ones doing so, since down by the loch, we found a group of rather grumpy fishermen (not pictured) who seemed somewhat confused by the nature of our enterprise (“it’s for a knitting book”) and were also grumbling loudly about the activities of one of our neighbours, who lives over on the other side of the water, and who had chosen this morning to play some of his Kenny Rogers favourites at especially high volume.
What with the sweet country sounds wafting through the mist, and the querulous, disgruntled fishermen, there was definitely something a little surreal about this photoshoot.
. . . and, not being a purple person, I still think Fenella would look much better in this pullover.
But spontanous crack of dawn photography certainly has its benefits.
Jibbie is one of my favourite designs from the collection – and though I am not the model for whom this particular sweater was intended, I’m so pleased our spontaenous photographs turned out as they did. Thanks, Tom!