Julia Farwell-Clay


Austin Kleon Gets Me


It was such a busy year for me growing the teaching aspect of what I do, that I have only a few things to show for my design work since January: my own volume in the Mason Dixon Knitting Field Guide series, and finally releasing a pattern version of my Prada Shell experiments in the form of my Eddy Hat & Cowl. It’s a short list, but I’m so close to the end of several other projects, they almost feel like I could check off their boxes before 2019. But not quite. I have two sweaters that are almost ready to go, one written and in a slow motion tennis match email volley with my tech editor, and the other poised at the beginning of math calculations; having now knit the thing – I have to work out the numbers to make it work for people NOT my size. Meanwhile, as excited (is that the right word? demented? frantic? anxious?) as I might be to wrap these two designs up, I’m besotted with something else that has derailed all the determined forward slog of getting to the end of any other project. You must know the feeling I mean?

I love that place in the process where everything seems possible the “This is the best idea ever"!” point in Austin Kleon’s “Life of a Project” graphic from his book Steal Like an Artist. Do you know it? (psssst: perfect gift for all your creative buddies)

I love that he attributes it to his friend, Maureen McHugh

I love that he attributes it to his friend, Maureen McHugh

I think my version of this chart looks more like this:


The two sweaters I had hoped to close out the year with are respectively in the “At least it’s mine” and “Spreadsheet Hell” phases. So you can see why I would be much more in love with the “yay! knitting” items? One of the much-more-fun projects is the Shell Vest I’ve been knitting quite publicly on Instagram.


I’m past the armholes for the back now, and cruising along quite contentedly whenever I am not procrastinating. Okay, let’s be real. This IS the procrastinating.

I need to get back to work.

I really do.

But in the meantime, I’ll be in my chair by the window, drinking coffee and pausing at the end of every shell to pick it up and look at the whole thing, changing slowly from one thing (a GREAT idea), to “yet another thing I will avoid finishing.”


The sweaters will come. I promise. And I’ll be happy when they’re done to have something to show for all the time I’ve spent avoiding them. After one more shell.

Julia Farwell-Clay