Friday, July 29, 2011

An Interview with...Jutta Bücker



Once a week I post  interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world. 


You can find Jutta here and here on Ravelry. Her website is in German however she has wonderful photos in her gallery. I did some editing, (with Jutta's permission) to improve the readability of her responses but I have tried to retain the charm of her translations from German to English

Where do you find inspiration? 
Whenever people ask me about finding inspiration for my designs, the only answer can be that I'm walking with my eyes open throughout the world, with a notebook in my bag. Perhaps it is a gift being able to translate different things into knitting designs (after having finishing school, I visited a well-known fashion school in Munich, where I learned all the basics of designing). I'm interested in eye catching details that make my designs very special. It's not always an unusual design, it's a very delicate cut or very special texture to knit, the tiny little things.



What is your favourite knitting technique? 
First of all, I'm not at all a perfect knitter. I fear perfectionists, handmade creations must not be perfect. If I wanted to have a perfect garment, I would go into a fashion store, it's very simple. I've never taken a special knitting class to become perfect in a particular technique. Coming back to the question, I like every technique that is feasible without taking too much time.



How did you determine your size range?
When working for a yarn company the sample is always knitted in S (36-38). While writing the pattern I think about what sizes I could imagine the garment being made in to be worn. When designing for my own collection, I'm interested in designs that are wearable for many sizes. Last year I started selling my patterns (and yarn) at  handmade fairs. I recognized that there are lots of knitting ladies that need bigger sizes. Currently I write patterns up to 3 x if possible (it's a question of the design!).

Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs? 
I can' t close my eyes to other designer's work. Why not find inspiration from them? The whole fashion world is inspired by each other. That's not a fault. Trends develop out of this fact.
             


How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself? 
I knit the samples myself, I must, because I'm designing while knitting, mostly. I make a design sketch, however not all the details that I draw look good when executed in the knitted style. My best test knitters are my friends, because they are not perfect knitters and they call me whenever something goes wrong or they do not understand. When I'm working for a yarn company they have their own test knitters.



Did you do a formal business plan?
Not really. I'm not at all efficient. A big fault in this business, because it is hard enough and you should have a plan. But, I'm working on it….!

Do you have a mentor? 
Yes, I think I have. It's Mr. Zitron, the owner of Atelier
Zitron. All their yarns are German products, produced on highest Oeko Tex standards.  I've been working for this yarn company for many years. Mr. Zitron has allowed me to work as I liked. I was and I am free in designs, colours, whatever. We produced different magazines together. The last  photo-shoot for the next publication was just a few weeks ago.  I have worked for most of the German yarn companies.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
It took a very, very long time I before I made my first step into the Internet. Just last year, I decided to establish a website.
Last year I heard of Ravelry! I couldn' t imagine knitters on the Internet. What a big mistake that was. Some weeks ago, I submitted for my first time to a US magazine and it's unbelievable, I'm in! Two days ago I released my first pattern in English on Ravelry. The Internet gives me a new platform to work  - no question about. And I would not be here…

Do you use a Tech Editor? 
Yes, for working in a foreign language it's a must.
Although I've written hundreds of pattern instructions, it's important that a second person reviews the pattern to catch errors in it. Sometimes you are blind to your errors while writing.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Sports, sports, sports, to move is the most important thing in my business. Sitting long days and often long nights, it's a must doing sports: walking early in the morning (4-5 times a week) with two of my best friends, laughing and discussing and chattering- wonderful! I also do step, aerobic, a body work-out (all in a sports club) and a fitness circle in a studio. Too much? Not for me!

How do you deal with criticism?
Who likes to be criticised? Nobody, I think, but I try to
learn from it. If someone doesn't like my design, I could
argue that nothing is as subjective as fashion. If somebody criticizes my work, I think about the criticism and try to make things better.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Perhaps never ever, I don't know but I'm working on it. Until now I've been happy that I have a husband who has a really good job and earns enough money. It would be the best thing ever, if I was able to support myself one day. Who knows?

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
I live my dream, I can't imagine ever working in another job!
But, it's a very hard business and it's very hard work. To  support yourself you must have many good ideas and be very efficient. Or you must have somebody in the background…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plus Size Knitting

Front and back measurement is the same

I'm currently working on a pattern for plus size knitting with another designer. We've spent a lot of time discussing the fit issues and I realized in my previous two posts on the topic of bigger bust lines that I missed covering part of the explanation of why these methods work in place of short rowing. Short row shaping is a problem to execute in highly textured or detailed stitch patterns so having other techniques to use expands  the possibilities for an appropriate fix on multiple design variations.

If you read through this article by Kathryn Brenne on adjusting for a full bust you will notice that the alteration does not just add length, it also adds width. This is a standard type of adjustment in the sewing world. My Garment designer program has two design variations, simple fit and refined fit. Refined fit means that you use separate measurements for the front and back of the body. Simple fit is the form that knit design typically uses, making the front and back one half the total measurement ignoring that many people measure larger at the front. While women with bigger girls are what we normally think of as having bigger fronts, apple shaped torso's and men with the beer belly shape also benefit from a larger front.

When the wearer's front is larger, more of the available ease is used up on the front of the garment. Side seams are often pulled forward and may not hang plum. Good fit standards say that seams should be perpendicular to the floor.

Front is larger than the back

If you take a knit and stretch it horizontally it cannot stretch vertically as much as gravity would normally allow it to. If you make the front bigger to accommodate the body shape with the appropriate amount of ease the knit will be relaxed enough to stretch vertically and will stretch to provide the extra length that would normally be introduced by short rows.

The post on increasing at the bust-line and easing can be found here.

The post on knitting bigger fronts can be found here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Field Guide to Knitters Part 5


Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here.

Competitive Knitters (Compto knitcreo)

Description 
Competitive Knitters come in several variations, design and speed competitors. The speed Knitters are the cheetahs of the knitting world. Their fingers move faster than regular Knitters believe could be possible. They have been known to engage in Sock Wars as well as The Knitting Olympics.

Habitat and range
Competitive Knitters are likely to be found at special events, showing their skills off to large groups of amazed observers. One of the most well known events is the Back to Back Wool Challenge.


A little history about the event appears in a document on the International Back to Back Wool Challenge site:

In 1811 at Newbury in Berkshire, UK, a one thousand pound wager was made to make a coat from  the sheep’s back to a mans back in one day. Watched by 5000 people, the coat was completed in thirteen hours.  The sheep was eaten with much quaffing of beer to celebrate.

Today's Challenge began in 1992 when Richard Snow, a keen young spinner at the Scottish Wool Centre at Aberfoyle in Scotland, developed thyroid cancer. His desire to raise funds for cancer research sparked off their Back to Back Challenge, a competition very similar to that run almost two hundred years ago. The event created enormous interest in the UK, not only because of the clever wool promotion
but also because of the funds raised for cancer research. 


There will be a special version of this type of event for the first time this year at Sock Summit. The Fleece to Foot Challenge.

Vocalizations
This Knitter often answers to the name "Wannietta" or Toronto Spider. At least they do in Canada! As Wannietta says on her blog she is "the 3-time and reigning champion of Canada's Search for the Fastest Knitter with a personal best of 245 stitches in 3 minutes, and 3rd fastest in the world at the '08 Knit Out" 

As part of the Toronto Spiders Team she and the other members (Julia Lee, Lorraine Smith, Judy Comfort, Karen Richens, Denise Powell, Barb Aikman, and John Steele), proudly shared their time of  5hr 52min 48sec 5hr 55min 50sec   A NEW CANADIAN RECORD 2010!

You can read about this years Back to Back event here
 

Field Guide to Knitters:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Part 4
Part 5

Friday, July 22, 2011

An Interview with...Karen Crouch


Once a week I post  interviews with interesting Knitting Professionals about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that everyone makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world. 

You can find Karen of Shall we Knit? here



Tell me how you got into the business of running a yarn store? 
I had talked about having a yarn shop for close to 20 years and in 2006 my husband basically said to put up or shut up - in the nicest way, of course.  Like most knitters we would always scout out yarn shops in our travels so I knew what I wanted and liked.  It’s not just about the product but about the atmosphere.  I wanted my customers to have a good time while they were here. 


Just as we were starting to get in gear to ponder a location a beautiful old Victorian house went up for sale 3 doors away from where we were living in New Hamburg.  We bought it planning on renovating the upstairs for an apartment for us
and have the shop on the main level.  We had a few hurdles with the township for various reasons and I had been starting to order stock and getting the shop ready when we realized that it wasn’t going to work in that location.  And, as they say,
timing is everything – just about that time an old building right on the main downtown corner in New Hamburg was sold and the owner was bringing it back to its former glory.  We rented a spot right away.  The location was originally a bank for 140 years but the whole corner had been a bar for the last 30 years and then had sat empty for 3 years with loose cats in the building.  Needless to say the renovation was extensive!

How long have you been in business?  

We officially opened in August of 2007 so this August is our 4th anniversary.  Wow is it only 4 years?  


 

Do you run the store by yourself or do you have employees, if you do how many people work at your shop?  
I worked by myself for the first year and then I hired Lynne who is my right hand and the other half of my brain most days.  Since then we have hired 4 more and they are all still with me.  We have an amazingly talented staff and they are all a lot of fun.

How did you choose the yarns that you carry in your shop?  
I like natural fibres so that was one of the things I focused on originally.  Also, because we were a little off the beaten track with the shop being in New Hamburg we wanted something to make the trip worthwhile.  So I really wanted yarns that were a little different or that you wouldn’t see regularly.  It’s really hard to sell a yarn that we aren’t excited about so we tend to LOVE our stock and stock what we love.

What have done to create a sense of community in your store?  
Every Friday night is Knit & Chat night and we might have 3 people out or we might have 20.  At our new location in Waterloo we have a lovely front porch so quite often we have 2 groups going.  We have always told our customers that if there isn’t a class going on in the classroom they are more than welcome to pull out their knitting and relax and we have a coffee station set up so they can be even more comfortable.

Classes – we get knitters coming back regularly for classes and then they come back to show off what they have made.

We also like doing events!  World Wide Knit in Public is one of our big ones.  

Some years we do a Breast Cancer fundraiser with knitting contests with our 6 foot bright pink knitting needles – that’s a lot of fun.

We also have a Knitting Registry – it works like a Bridal registry.  Customers can fill out a card to help us help their family and friends get them the perfect gift for birthdays, Christmas or maybe just because it’s Thursday.  We also have had different contests – socks, Baby Surprise, even Tea Cozies.  Then there is the bag draw – any time a customer doesn’t need a plastic bag they get in our monthly draw.

What is the biggest lesson running a yarn shop has taught you?  
I can’t do it all.  I have been very fortunate with the people that are on my team (and the unofficial team too) so I need to delegate and let them do it.  Letting go has been one of the hardest lessons, it is my baby after all.

What is your favourite part of what you do running the shop?   

I love the light-bulb moments we see in our classes.  Whether it is a brand new knitter who thought she would never be able to knit or someone who has knit for years and just learned something new. LOVE those moments and love hearing my teachers relating the stories after class and seeing the joy the teachers get from those moments too.
  
We've seen many cycles in the yarn industry of the market increasing and then falling again. What are your  thoughts on where things might be headed now?  
It’s exciting to see how knitters are braver than they used to be.  We are no longer handcuffed to the patterns. Knitters are changing, adapting, designing.  I think as we get busier and busier knitting is one of the things that gives us a bit of control of our time.  And because our time is so precious, knitters are using better quality products so that our time is totally enjoyable – it’s all about the right tools.

  
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t have a mentor but I have been very fortunate in having people come alongside me to answer my questions, make suggestions or just let me brainstorm. Some of these people are other yarn shop owners, designers and friends.  

Did you take any courses in how to run a business before you opened?
I didn’t take any courses besides some basic accounting courses but I had managed a variety store and they did a lot of management training that has come in very handy.  We do go to the trade shows every year and take advantage of any classes that may pertain to us.

I also am blessed with an amazing partner and husband.  He works full-time but is my tech guy evenings and weekends.   He does all of my website stuff as well as looking after set up of books and is my question guy too.
 
What impact has the Internet had on your business?

The Internet is huge! The majority of our knitters are very internet savvy so it really makes us work hard to stay on top of what is going on out there.  We have always had access in the shop to look up things for customers and now with Ravelry and other vendors doing the online PDF sales to shops it is changing some of our pattern thinking.  We have an extra computer and an iPad to get on line in case the main computer is busy.


 
 
How do you maintain your life/work balance?  
Things always work out for a reason.  I live 20 minutes away from the shop now and that is perfect.  It is really hard when you are self-employed to keep that separation but having the distance helps.  I think if our original plan to live above the shop had happened I would have had a real problem keeping life and work separate. 


 
 
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in running a yarn store?
Have patience and have fun!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's obvious....well no not really


My husband and I recently returned from a vacation and we got lost going to the car rental return at San Francisco Airport. The concierge at the hotel told us it was easy to get to and the route would be obvious.

We also got lost last year trying to find the car rental return at the Rome airport. That time we thought that the amount of signage in four different languages was the problem. Trying to read them and go at the speed of traffic is definitely a challenge.

This time for San Francisco I asked for the address of the car rental so I could use our GPS. The concierge said to me "but that's not the way we do it" and gave me a little card with directions. After I pushed back a little she gave me the address, unfortunately I didn't notice that she did not include the town name and GPS doesn't work with only a street name. I've also since discovered that the street address was inaccurate. In many cases the airport is not in the city that it serves so I thought that was the problem as to why I could not program it in the GPS. I've since then figured out that I could have found it by using the landmark section of the GPS. We missed our turnoff and then back tracked on the highway, started over and found the correct signs to guide us on the second try.

What does this have to do with Knitting? Well it makes me realize that what is obvious to one person isn't obvious to another when you are in unfamiliar territory. There are so many distractions to deal with that are not pertinent to your goal and we are limited by how many things can have our attention at one time. Have you ever noticed that putting key information in the subject line of an email creates questions by receivers who only read the body? Some Knitters skip over the pattern notes and  go straight to the instructions making assumptions about project construction that causes them a great deal of confusion and frustration. The way to fix this is to slow down, back track and start over from the beginning. That's the way we got to Hertz to return the car. We got off the highway, reviewed the instructions and backtracked to start afresh.

I find knitting is an allegory for almost everything in life including finding your way when you are lost.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Knitting on Planes


Like all Knitters planning for vacation, knitting is at the top of the list when packing. I usually like to take a fine weight yarn and to plan a project to be worked with circular needles. I also like to choose something with either an easily remembered stitch pattern or very small charts taped on a piece of cardboard that will be easy to prop up in a convenient location.

For a recent vacation as I was planning my knitting for the trip I checked the Air Canada site. They showed on their site that accepted items include:
  • Plastic knitting needles with rounded tips (except for itineraries including the UK)
I started looking around on the Internet as I have mainly bamboo and some Addi turbos as well as old metal needles that belonged to my Mother and Grandmothers. I was thinking I'd buy a set for my vacation project. It was a lace shawl BTW. 

I found Boye has plastic circular knitting needles and they are available in a size range of 10.5 to 19 US  (Too big). I also found Crystalites which are acrylic and start at size 8 US (Too big again). Even the Denise interchangeables appear to start at size 5 US. I'd never noticed before that small sizes of plastic needles only come as DPN's. I'm guessing that it is because they would break too easily.

In the end I took a bamboo set which is what I always do and put a life line through all of my stitches just in case I had any problems. 

ETA: I had no problems and no challenges from security. I guess they don't read their own rules. I knit on both flights there and back.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    An Interview with...Stephannie Tallent

    Once a week I post  interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world. 


    You can find Stephannie here and here.


    Where do you find inspiration?
    Sometimes I find it while learning new techniques, stitch patterns etc – I’ll learn or see something really nifty and want to incorporate into a design. What I’m starting to do more now, since I’m focusing on collections as opposed to single patterns, is to decide upon an overall theme, create a mood board (this part is really fun for me), then go from there.  The themes come from all sorts of things, but of the three I’m currently working on, one is an architectural and design style, one is inspired by a particular film director, and the other an area and time period.

    What is your favourite knitting technique?  
    I love cables and Bavarian twisted stitches best – no surprise there!  But I also like stranding and lace.

    How did you determine your size range?  
    For women’s sweaters, I try to offer XS-3X.  That sometimes means having a multitude of charts & stitch pattern variations to keep things proportional.  I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on having larger sizes (and for modeling the sweaters in larger sizes).


     

    Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs? 

    I sometimes do.  I don’t worry about being influenced.  It’s fun to see what other people are coming up with.  It’s gotten to be more a matter of lack of time.  I am trying to do more book reviews and participate in more blog tours, so I do get to see more that way.

    How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?  
    Hm.  I get the impression that the more popular patterns are simpler (as well as free), at least when you look at Ravelry and the popular projects. However, I hope and believe there’s a market for intermediate patterns.  Having said that, I really don’t like classifying patterns as beginner, intermediate, etc.  I try to list skills required for my patterns rather than classifying them.

    How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?  
    I just graduated to having sample knitters!  Right now I have 2 fantastic people giving me a hand with samples.  I also have a group of people who’ve tested for me in the past who are actively testing new patterns.

     


    Did you do a formal business plan?  
    I have a plan that outlines goals, design plans, etc.  It includes some information regarding advertising and marketing, but it’s not a business plan per se.


    Do you have a mentor?  
    Not formally.  I had one assigned while AKD was still around, and she was very helpful.  I have several other people of whom I can ask questions.

    Do you have a business model that you have emulated?

    No.  I think this business – designing – has so many options right now.  It’d be nice, honestly, to have some resources with specific examples on this.  Shannon Okey’s book (The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design) is extremely useful, but it doesn’t (and can’t) cover everything (and it’s already 254 pages!).

    What impact has the Internet had on your business?  
    Well, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have gotten into this without Ravelry, let alone the Internet.  

    Do you use a Tech Editor?  

    Absolutely.  I tech edit myself, and I swap tech editing with a couple other designer/editors.  I would never dream of releasing a pattern without it being seen by an editor.  I think when you’re designing a pattern, you get into it so deeply that your eyes just gloss over errors, typos, etc.  Maybe, just maybe, if you sit that pattern on a shelf and don’t look at for several months, then work on a bunch of things in between, you can go back and edit it, but…

    How do you maintain your life/work balance?  
    Not very well; it’s something I need to work on.  I consider myself a ‘laidback Type A’ – kinda like in Harry Met Sally, when Harry’s telling Sally she’s the worst sort –  high maintenance who thinks she’s low maintenance.  Working from home, if I’m home I feel like I should working, and there’s an endless list of things to do ancillary to design work, let alone all the designing and knitting.  

    How do you deal with criticism?

    Ugh.  Not well.  I take it to heart.

    How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?  

    Hah.  I’ll let you know in a couple of years, if ever.  Honesty, I make more in a couple days of vet work than in a month of design work and tech editing.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
    Learn as much as you can about your chosen area, and keep learning.

    Be in a situation where you don’t need to rely upon any income from it (whether that means you have a second job, someone who supports you, you’re retired otherwise with enough savings, etc).


    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Make it Flatter

    The schematic


    The sweater


     
    I've had two different questions come up recently about the same sweater silhouette pictured above. Question one was regarding what figure type does this sweater flatter? Some Knitters think that the way this garment hangs is very flattering due to the long diagonal lines that the front creates. Others think it makes the wearer look heavy, and wanted to know how to determine if it would look good on them. In terms of figure flattery the long diagonal lines should be flattering, however for this silhouette the factor to consider is the fullness of the torso. If your torso curves out away from your spine it is unlikely to make you look your best. If you have a midsection that is straight and perpendicular to the floor the garment tends to drop from the shoulder over the bust-line and hangs straight down. There is a space between the wearer and the sweater at the front. It therefore can take advantage of the long diagonal lines, especially from the front view. On a rounded torso the diagonal line advantage is canceled out by the viewers tendency to see relationships of the body to the garment. It can look like the garment is too small and is pulling open because of a sizing issue. Remember that the pattern photo has been taken on a tall, very slim model  which is why most Knitters do not foresee this potential problem when they choose the pattern.Your posture can also have an impact on the amount of space between the garment and the body so assess by looking at both your front and side views in a mirror.

    If you have already made something like this try wearing it with a darker garment as an under layer. The torso is more likely to look as though it is receding and that will make the wearer look slimmer.

    The other question has been "Why is the schematic wrong?" The schematic is inaccurate due to the technical execution of the garment. Every one of the examples that I was shown was a pattern with garter or seed stitch borders that had been knit at the same time as the garment. These stitch patterns make great borders as they lay flat but typically they do not match the row gauge of the body of the sweater. That means that the border is longer at the outside edge than it is at the side where it meets the garment. If you want the fronts to hang straight, a border that is picked up and knit separately or knit and sewn on will work better. Normally you would work with a smaller size needle when creating the bands separately. An alternative partial solution would be to slip the first stitch of every row to tighten up the edge of the border, that will stabilize the edge but it is still going to be longer than the garment. 

    I have one more slightly fiddly fix. You can still knit the border at the same time with a set of smaller DPN's, (be sure to choose a non-slippery needle that won't slip out of the work). It will create a firm edge with no join between the band and the body of the garment. It means that you will switch between your regular needles and the band needles as you reach the borders of each front section. Just let go of the needles not in use, in the same way that you would in a circular project with DPN's. 

    To determine the best possible choice of size for the DPN's.... you need to do a swatch. But you knew I was going to say that didn't you?

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    How to Make Yarn Stitch Markers



    I've been making yarn stitch markers lately because I've gotten so frustrated with the tiny ring markers popping off of the smaller size needles. I'm starting a lace shawl and I needed two different colors to mark the borders and center bits from the basic stitch repeat.

    Here how I make them. I used a heavier weight yarn in these samples for the photography, however I normally use fingering weight leftovers.  I also recommend using a wool yarn as opposed to any slippery yarn that the knots can work themselves out of.

    Fold the yarn to create a loop

    Make a loose knot by crossing the yarn strands from the ball over the folded loop.





    Pull the folded end through the loop to make a knot

    Place it on a needle and snug the knot up to the needle

    The completed knot

    Repeat until you have more stitch markers than required.

    Trim the excess yarn, leaving a short tail so that the knot will hold.

    I always make extra's to put in my project bag. I also make more than one colour to mark off different sections of the work. Use a needle one size up from the project needle to create markers that are a little looser. If you do use a yarn that knots slip out of you can put a drop of fray check or clear nail polish to secure the knot. Just be sure to let it dry thoroughly before putting the markers on your needles.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Being an Entrepreneur Means Working Any 16 hours a Day You Want!


    I read the title of today's post a while ago and laughed at the time, unfortunately I don't recall the original source but I can attest that it is true. 

    A little while ago at our Pro-Knitters meeting we talked about the fact that we frequently get questions from others about how much work do we really do? One member told us her friend was shocked to hear how many hours she puts into her business. I personally work more hours a day than I ever did when I was working for someone else...and yes some of that is knitting time. Unfortunately there is no way to do this without spending many hours knitting and swatching. Some of my knitting is done right in front of my computer while I write or chart step by step what I'm doing. Some is done in front of the TV, so that knitting is often worked on in the evening and on weekends when my husband is home. 

    So the question is why do we do this? 

    I realized some time ago that I'm most content when I work a lot. On the days that I goof off and put in fewer hours, I find myself feeling vaguely dissatisfied at the end of the day. I've discovered that this work is essential to my happiness and it allows me a level of creative expression that I could never get any where else.  I haven't written much about the search for fulfillment part of my blogs title page, however it is clear to me that that's exactly what I'm getting from the work I'm doing.

    In essence - this means that my 16 hours a day schedule will continue.


    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Knitting Maxims, Myths and Personal Rules


    Have you ever noticed that common maxims that are true often have an opposite that is also true? 

    Look before you leap versus he who hesitates is lost.

    Absence makes the heart grow fonder versus out of sight out of mind. 

    Deeper analysis tells us that while both are true we often need to look more closely to understand why that is the case.

    As an example this quote: "Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires." Francois de La Rochefoucauld

    Here's my list of knitting maxims, myths and personal rules that I hear frequently. The personal rules are the most dangerous, leading to many a knitting disaster. You will notice a few that are exact opposites. When you are having trouble with your knitting projects you might want to rethink some of these, especially the personal rules.

    I don't need to do a swatch. I have perfect gauge.

    Row gauge doesn't matter. 

    Row gauge is critical to success.

    But I'm always a size "X"!

    Only old ladies knit.

    Only cool young hipsters knit.

    That you will be the only knitter in the world that can make stocking stitch edges that will not roll.

    Yes - I can knit that item in the (extremely short) specified time. 

    Knitting is easy.

    Knitting is hard.

    You must hold your needles in the correct way.

    There is no one single way to hold your needles.

    I only knit with....(fill in the blank with a needle type or yarn).

    You must complete every project.

    You must abandon projects that aren't working.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Hard Work is it's Own Best Reward


    The last year has proved the truth of  the title of this post over and over again to me. It's been a year of phenomenal personal growth. I've worked (played with yarn) many more hours a day than any other time in my life. I'm so focused on knitting, designing and teaching that I dream about it almost every night. 

    I'm also very surprised to discover that I'm a writer as well. I started this blog as a way of tracking my progress since leaving the corporate world. Now I catch myself writing posts in my head and I rarely go anywhere with out a pen and notepad to jot down blog topics and design ideas as they occur to me. 

    This quote proved to be very illuminating to me. "A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood." Leo Rosten

    I think the sharing part is what's driving me most right now.

    My reading has changed as well, about half of it is now business related. I still love my mysteries and I can hardly wait for my library to get the newest just published Inspector Wexford. I'm working my way concurrently through (in order) Miss Marple, and Poirot. Since I'm almost done with Wexford I'm starting Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse from the beginning. The nonfiction part of my reading varies widely from lots of knitting technique materials to positive psychology, fashion, marketing and any other topic that piques my interest. 


    What are you reading, any good suggestions?

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    A Field Guide to Knitters Part 4

    Knit Picks Project Bags


    Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

    Fashion Knitters (Effingo knitcreo)

    Description 
    Fashion Knitters typically focus on knitting accessories and garments. They prefer their projects to be mainstream but slightly unique with an "edge". They have little interest in home decor projects or knitting for children or babies. Colour choice is carefully considered as they must have something in their closet that the knitting will worn with. Their closets and drawers are often over stuffed with clothing and accessories. They are likely to employ specific closet strategies, either grouping by colour or garment type to assist them in finding specific items in their vast wardrobes. Those who live in large urban areas wear a lot of black. They frequently wear matching accessories. The fit and flattery of every project is assessed and modified as necessary for the individual.Their knitting magazine numbers rival only their stash of fashion magazines


    Habitat and range
    Fashion Knitters are likely to be found watching "What not to Wear". They shop everywhere assessing high end and low end sources for upcoming trends.They love going to movies that are costume dramas as they know next seasons runway fashions will be impacted if the movie is a hit.


    Vocalizations
    This Knitter often answers to the name "Fashionista". They always understand phrases like "zebra is the new leopard." Fashion magazines provide updates about the latest trends that are discussed in groups of fashion Knitters.

    Social Knitters (Amicabiliter knitcreo)

    Description 
    Some variates of this Knitter only knit at social gatherings. They will pull out the same pair of socks at every grouping because they don't knit at any other time. The other more common variety is an obsessive Knitter who has a different project at every occasion. They are usually working on multiple projects, as not all are suitable to carry away from home. Socks are a common carry around project due to their small size. They are frequently seen carrying double pointed knitting needles tubes.

    Habitat and range
    These Knitters are often observed at coffee shops, yarn stores and guild meetings. In Toronto they have an annual subway Knit-a-long event. You can learn more here.

    Vocalizations
    Social Knitters have vocalizations common to all Knitters; what are you making, where did you get the yarn, what's the fibre? Most can list off all of the items on the Knit Picks travel and storage section by heart. The merits of the various knitting bags are often debated and most of these Knitters own many types.

    Field Guide to Knitters:
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

    Part 4
    Part 5