Thursday, January 7, 2010

Testing, 1, 2...



Ever wonder what I sound like? You can have a listen over at the Knit Picks podcast! Kelley from Knit Picks and I chatted a few weeks ago about their new Independent Designers Program, which officially launches today and is, I think, a very good thing for all parties. I'm chuffed as anything to note that among the other featured designers they invited to get the program off the ground is SweaterBabe, who is, like, totally famous and stuff. Squee!

One of the things Kelley and I (OK, mostly me--I'm like one of those Chatty Cathy dolls, just pull the string and I'll keep going until you smash crucial parts with a rock) talked about was the generational difference between knitters who started long ago, and those who are just picking it up now, when there's an Interwebs and Ravelry and whatnot. Kelley and I actually started knitting at the same time--literally decades ago!--but I think that generational difference has less to do with how long you've known how to knit, and more to do with how you knit now.

First of all, how mind-blowing is it that there are people out there who have never experienced knitting without Ravelry? There's a generational difference for you, and a profound one. I remember when I first heard about it from Splityarn, who was still knitting with our gang here in Austin then. Every week after that, the first topic of discussion around the knitting circle was "Where are you on the waitlist?" We didn't even really know what Ravelry was, but we wanted in on it!

Second, how many of you consider yourself well-acquainted with a knitter you may never have even met--someone you've friended on Ravelry, or whose blog you follow, or whose pattern you made after it appeared in Knitty? Lots of hands are going up out there, I can tell...

As I see it, the knitting community has gotten both way bigger AND way closer in the past few years. It seems like there are more people knitting together, in knitting circles and local groups, but also in virtual ways like knitalongs and NaKniSweMo and KIP Days. It also seems like we identify more strongly as people with a common interest--as knitters--now that we have more means of communicating and community-building around that shared interest. By that token, I'm definitely a new-generation knitter: I've known the mechanics for a long time, but now I think of myself as someone who DOES knit, not just someone who CAN knit.

Kelley and I talked about how I'm also a new-generation designer--someone who's benefiting from the fact that you can self-publish online, a pattern here and a pattern there, and thereby connect directly with the Great Knitting Public. It's so much easier for us this way--no long submission processes, no endless publication lead times! We also get instant feedback, most of it positive, which is so profoundly inspiring.

In fact, I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: I wouldn't be putting out patterns at all if it weren't for the knitters in my group, who I see every week, and for every single person who actually takes time out of their day to write a comment or fave a project. That's to say nothing of the people who actually MAKE something from one of my patterns--either just as written, or with their own modifications. It's a genuine treat for me to see how something looks in a different color, or with different choices for fibers and shaping and closures; it's like I get to experience the fun part of designing, the play and the possibility, all over again!

For example, just check out the WIP pics of the first two Myrtles being made by Ravelry users: reanbean and Northknitter are working on their projects in Massachusetts and Sweden, using colors that are totally different from one another and from my own prototypes of this design, but they could not be more delicious to look at. This may be a designer's proprietary pride, but viewed all together, I think they look even more beautiful than any of the individual projects. Thanks, Internet; thanks, Ravelry; thanks, Knitty; and thanks, knitters everywhere.

9 comments:

MBC said...

Very cool, Snowden! Yay!!
--Megan Bibb

TT820 said...

Thanks, Megan! So cool that you found my blog...happy 2010!

azknitter said...

Congratulations on the wonderful Independent Designer Program via Knit Picks and what a wonderful interview with Kelley. Can't wait to see you soar! Knit On!

Steven said...

No, thank YOU!

Very well put.

Laura Sue said...

Well, I be starting a Myrtle if I weren't already knitting a Beverly!!!

Laura Sue said...

Er, that was supposed to say I "would" be starting a Myrtle.... My html tags didn't work!

janna said...

I started knitting (again) before Ravelry, but after knit blogs started. Reading about other people's blogs really inspired me. What I find interesting are those people who knit (usually for years) who don't realize what's going on online. I have a good friend - a little older, but a librarian, so not technology-impaired - who is always surprised when I mention a web-based pattern. I've shown her Ravelry and Knitty and blogs, but she just doesn't see why they might be of use to her! I guess it's fine if she's happy, but it seems odd.

janna said...

Sorry - I seem to have just ranted on your blog! ;-)

TT820 said...

Sister, I hear you! I always think if my mom TRULY grasped what was on the Internet, we'd never be able to get her offline again. At the moment, though, she still thinks it's 5% eBay and 95% identity thieves and porn. (OK, maybe she's not wrong about the porn part. But you only really see that if you're looking for it.)