It's a long time, seven years. It's how long many people spend at senior school, in Tibet, or working up an itch. It's the gap that Michael Apted uses, it's the run of bad luck you'll get (allegedly) if you break a mirror, it's how long they say it takes Jesuits to turn a boy into a man. It's even longer for dogs (7 x7) and, I would argue, in blogland where every day, month, year is concentrated and full.
Seven years ago Tom and Alice were twelve, Phoebe was nine, I was less lined, and Simon had more hair.
Seven years ago I'd just finished my MA in Victorian Art & Literature. I'd discovered Dickens and fat, theatrical fairies, and a new world of imaginative creativity. I'd begun a PhD and was researching an aspect of Dickens' work that hadn't (and hasn't) been covered in any great depth, and which continues to fascinate me. But I'd grown tired of libraries and very small words in very thick books.
Seven years ago I discovered blogs, and a new world of real creativity. For six weeks I thought about what I'd write if I had a blog, and then in February 2005, I decided to stop thinking and start writing. I can still remember the moment when I thought up the name 'yarnstorm' and suggested it to Simon. Poor Simon; when he nodded, he had no idea what was starting.
Seven years on, Tom is at university, Alice is working, both can drive, stay out late, be laws unto themselves, and Phoebe is not far behind. I've lost count of how many inches they have grown between them, how many exams they have taken, how many new things they have done. They have changed, developed, and are moving on.
Seven years on, Simon has ridden thousands of miles on his bike, been around the world in planes, but remains unchanged, and as supportive, good-natured, funny, and as enthusiastic about raisins and sausages as ever.
Seven years on, I'm still sitting in the same chair. Still dealing with books and words, cakes and fabric, yarn and colour, films and paintings. But now I take photos to illustrate my own words, choose my subjects, make cakes for books as well as for pleasure, digest films, paintings, books, ideas, in a very different way to the way I used to, all filtered through different lenses and prisms.
Seven years on I simply can't believe I am still blogging. I gave myself six weeks max., and if it didn't work out, I would retire, gracefully or otherwise. I reckoned I wouldn't be able to knit fast enough to maintain a blog anyway. But instead of seeing that as a failing, I realised it was an opportunity to write about other subjects equally dear to me. And, seven years on, I am always delighted when I discover that these interests are shared by others.
The seven years have been crammed, busy, always fascinating and thought-provoking, never dull. As well being the catalyst for quite a few things I never imagined I would do, the blog has also enabled me to make connections. I don't mean connections in the networking sense, but in the sense of making genuine connections with creative, thoughtful, generous, people who share, suggest, enthuse, encourage and make me laugh, here, by email, and in person. I've said it before many times in the last seven years, but I'll say it again: thank you for reading.
[I knitted all the projects in the photos for my book, which is where the patterns can be found.]