Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Between one thing and another, I've covered a lot of time zones lately, and it's been exhausting. It's not that I mind the travel itself--airports and airplanes are excellent places to knit for hours at a stretch, and you gotta love that--but it does make it hard to settle down long enough to get the real work of your life done, and falling behind is stressful.

I think this last round of excursions was worth the tsuris, though: Among other things, I got to pay a visit to Knit Picks headquarters in Vancouver, WA, which made my week. Actually, maybe my month! Here's me with Stacey W., who coordinates the KP Independent Designers Program:

We may look extra-happy because we were just about to enjoy some delicious burgers. (Mine was a veggie burger with bacon, which I think says a lot about how Complex and Nonconformist I can be when I try.) Or it may be because when you walk out of the Knit Picks office suite, you go by this ENORMOUS wall where they have all of their yarn lines, in all of the colors--current and future--which is truly a thing to behold. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon at KP, which is part of the Crafts Americana group, so I got to see not only where they shoot photos for all of their catalogs but also sneak peeks at some of the new quilting fabrics for the fall and winter. These include some awesome knitting-inspired prints--stockinette and fair isle snowflakes--that I can't wait to order when they become available. They'd be perfect for making sachets to go with one's handknitted woolens for the holidays!

It was super-neat to see the call center and the offices and just have a sense of the whole operation behind this company. I have a little bit of a fetish for knowing where the stuff I buy and use comes from--that's why I loved going to the farmer's market back home in California, where I knew my tomato guy and my wheatgrass-juice lady and our bread dude all by name, and they knew me. Since almost all local yarn shops are independently owned and operated, that rapport is pretty easy for knitters to achieve on a retail level, as it were, and you can get a great feel for indie dyers and spinners just from their web sites and Etsy shops, but I find it can sometimes be hard to get a personal sense from online retailers. Now I really feel like I'm part of the Knit Picks family, even though I'm still "independent," and that's great.

It just so happened that the day I was there was the day I passed a real milestone, too--sales of the Agatha pattern had just ticked past the 1,000 copies mark. Apparently, it's one of the biggest sellers among the IDP designs, which makes me prouder than I can say. That news was a bit of a surprise, though, in part because there are so few Ravelry project pages for Agathas--only a couple of dozen, which is just a tiny percentage, even if less than half of the people who download the pattern actually cast on for it. Sure, I can always track the sales numbers online, but somehow a pattern isn't really out there in my mind until I can see that people are making it. I'm hoping that people will post more of them over the next few months. And if you're not on Ravelry, but you have pictures of an Agatha you've made, send 'em to me! I get such a kick out of seeing what a design looks like in other colors, other textures, other sizes, or with changes to the shaping or style. It's almost like those crazy applications where you can see what you'd look like with plastic surgery or different hairstyles.

Which reminds me, now that I'm back from my travels, it's DEFINITELY time for a haircut. And maybe, just maybe, a little quiet time to sit and knit without having to worry about putting my seat back and tray table up for landing...