Monday, June 30, 2014

How Facebook Decides What You See

I’ve been noticing my Facebook feed keeps showing me the same postings everyday and I often don’t see things that friends mention to me. A week ago I went searching for background on how the news-feed works. I found this interesting article. I changed my feed to most recent from top stories. Then I reviewed the feed. I’m not interested in the posts about games and it turns out you can click on those and unfollow only the game related posts of your friends. I scanned the last 24 hours and saw lots of posts that I was interested in that I definitely did not see. Over the past 4 days I continued to check my feed and everyday they changed it back to top stories from most recent. Humm... Next I went to the pages for friends who appear to be absent from my feed and did a like on one of their posts and now I'm starting to see what they post in my feed.

I'm realizing that we can have an active influence on what turns up on the feed in a way that I'm sure most of us don't know about. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

An Interview with ...Maureen Foulds

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

You can find Maureen's blog here. She is here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration tends to sneak up on me. It could be a photo, a comment from a fellow knitter, a colorful skein of yarn that knows what it wants to be. With my Agatha Christie collections, it's a book title or plot element which magically aligns with a stitch pattern.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love the beauty and magic of lace. The fact that one can create such beauty with sticks and string? Lovely!

You specialize in accessory patterns. do you have any future plans for garments?
Garments are part of my long range plan. While I've knit many cardigans and sweaters, I wear very few of them because they're either the wrong fit or I don't like the resulting fabric. Until I master the technique myself and produce garments I will wear, I don't feel like I can design for others.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I believe that as a designer you have to look at other people's work - how else can you continue to grow? Does an artist stop looking at other art, or a writer not ready anyone else's writing? I get inspired by other designers' creativity, which usually results in my thoughts spiraling off in its own direction.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I prefer to focus on clarity. I try to make my patterns as clear and comprehensible as possible. I'm a technical writer by trade, so precise language is key. Whether I'm documenting how to use software or writing a pattern, I don't want my reader to be unsure of what to do next.
I also try to be cognizant of the fact that people of varying skill levels may be using my patterns. It's a tricky thing to find the balance between over-explaining or assuming too much. 

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I always knit the first sample myself to work out the precise details. I'm a very visual person, so I find I need to knit it myself to see how the 2 dimensional chart translates into a 3 dimensional object.
I'm very lucky to have a large pool of test knitters to draw on for my designs. Many of them have test knit for me multiple times. Anyone can request to be added to my list of test knitters. When I have a design ready, I'll post a call for testers in my Ravelry forum, ear burn the list and see who is available.

Did you do a formal business plan?
Not a formal plan, no. But I know where I'd like to get to and the steps I need to get there. I've been a project manager in the software industry, so I apply those skills to planning out each phase of my design endeavors. 
Every once in a while I pause to evaluate where I am in my plan and whether I'm ready to add in the next step. 

Do you have a mentor?
No, but I've been looking for a suitable mentor. I have a few people in mind as potential candidates. But it's a big step which requires a lot of thought. The fit has to be right in terms of personality, skills and career goals.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
There are elements of different designers which I would like to emulate. I admire the way Amy Herzog balanced her daytime career with her design career and family, eventually being able to make designing her full-time profession. 
I also admire Kate Atherley's knitting knowledge, especially when it comes to socks! And the way she has been able to build up a full teaching schedule. That's something to which I aspire.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
My business wouldn't exist without the Internet. I rely on sites like Ravelry, Patternfish and Craftsy for making my patterns available and growing my audience. I use social media to maintain a presence and build awareness. 
And more basically - I use the Internet to stay connected to the vast breadth and depth of knowledge that is out there about knitting, design, techniques, running a business. I spend a lot of time reading various Ravelry forums, fibre-related blogs, online classes, and so on. That's how I gain insight into what other knitters think, what they like to knit, what they don't like in a pattern. It's how I find new opportunities for my designs. And it's how I meet a lot of talented people.

Do you use a tech editor?
Absolutely! I think it's a necessity for anyone who wants to be a professional.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
It's difficult. I work full-time and have a family. I'm fortunate that I am able to work from home several days a week, which really helps me reclaim several hours back to the "life" portion of the equation.

How do you deal with criticism?
Chocolate! Actually, I welcome constructive criticism because I want to put out the best pattern I can. I know I'm not perfect and I know my weak areas. So when testers, editors or knitters point out errors or other issues, I'm grateful. I'd rather hear about any errors before I publish a pattern than after. 
My toughest test came back in May when Kate Atherley tech edited one of my patterns. She warned me upfront that she was blunt and honest in her edits and not to take it personally. I was nervous! But everything she pointed out - I was nodding my head and agreeing. Every point she made resulted in a better, clearer pattern.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I'll let you know if/when that happens! I've been very fortunate to build a fan base after only 18 months of designing. But I'm nowhere near supporting myself yet.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Don't do it to get rich. Do it because you have a passion for it. But also realize it's a business. You need to be professional. You need to figure out what makes your offerings unique. You need to figure out what image you want to project, how you'll market yourself, how you'll advertise and build your brand. 
Most important - approach it like a business not a hobby. Don't be afraid to charge for your time and skills.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Dressing well is a form of good manners." - Tom Ford

I've been thinking about this quote lately. I've recently attended several events that normally guests would dress up for. We have become a very casual world in the area of wardrobe but sometimes I feel we're slipping past enjoying personal comfort into disrespect. 

Etiquette is all about the expected behavior of members of society that demonstrate respect. The rules are there to make everyone feel comfortable. It's all about how you treat others. We should either be making people feel appreciated or being considerate of their feelings. 

I was at the ballet twice last month and spent an afternoon at a funeral. Most of the other guests were appropriately attired. It seems however, that there are always a few people who turn up looking like they are in the wrong place. I'm not thinking of those who are casual and tidy. I'm looking at the more extreme examples, of "I'm ready to work in the garden", take a nap in the "I'll just wear them one more time pajamas" or at the opposite end of the spectrum "let's get it on".  I'm never sure if they are making a statement or are being purposely contemptuous of the occasion? 

According to Emily Post  for funerals you should "Remember, though, that it is a serious occasion and your attire should reflect that, especially if you are participating in the service. At the very least it should be clean, neat, and pressed as for any other important occasion."

From dance when attending the ballet the advice is, "Dress Appropriately. Although there is no specific dress code for ballet performances, most people try to dress up out of respect for the ballet. Some people prefer to dress in business attire while others prefer trendy, but casual, clothing. Formal attire is not generally worn. If you are attending the opening night performance, however, the atmosphere will be a little more formal."

The two pieces of advice above seem to be simple to follow. I enjoy dressing up. I enjoy the sense of occasion it brings to any event. I enjoy seeing others turned out fashionably. I'm not saying that those of us who dress casually most of the time are never appreciative of anything. However,our culture does seem to be demonstrating an indifference  towards many traditional occasions. I find myself wishing that social mores hadn't changed so much. I suspect it's reflecting a shift in what we value in modern life. Most of us still dress up when we feel that an activity warrants the effort. I personally will continue to do so and at the same time I'll feel a little sad for those who don't see the value in taking the trouble.

Monday, June 23, 2014

There's how Many Stitches in a Shawl?

A while ago a non-knitting friend surprised me by asking "how many stitches knitting projects require"? I was probably taken aback since the usual question is "how long did it take". I didn't have a good answer at the time. 

I did a little Internet searching and came up with this quote from the Yarn Harlot. 

“ It is a peculiarity of knitters that they chronically underestimate the amount of time it takes to knit something. Birthday on Saturday? No problem. Socks are small. Never mind that the average sock knit out of sock-weight yarn contains about 17,000 stitches. Never mind that you need two of them. (That's 34,000 stitches, for anybody keeping track.) Socks are only physically small. By stitch count, they are immense.”

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

I was recently doing one of the many checks and rechecks I do on a pattern before it goes for tech editing. I was using an excel sheet, set up with formulas, to calculate the numbers. I realized if I added in more rows, I could get the total number of stitches the shawl required. The result was 25,442. Wow, even less than a pair of socks, for a triangle shawl that is 32 inches (81 cm) at center point and 64 inches (162.5 cm) across top edge.That larger needle and looser gauge really makes a difference. Yet at the same time, it took me way longer to knit than a pair of socks would. I always knew that somehow knitting has the ability to warp the space-time continuum.


Friday, June 20, 2014

An Interview with ... Dana Dodge of Got Yarn?

Prism's Foxy Cowl

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

You can find Got Yarn? here. Dana is here on Ravelry. 

All items in the photos are available from Got Yarn?

Tell me how you ended up running a yarn business?
I worked as an advertising art director for a dozen years after college. In 1994 I decided to freelance and see if I could earn my own keep. I was enjoying the entrepreneurial side, as well as the creative side, of my business. Since I was set up as a business and already collecting sales tax, I started buying close-out yarn from a few of the venerable US hand-knitting distributors. I was reselling to friends and acquaintances in order to support my voracious knitting habit.

In '98 I discovered EBay and typed in “yarn” and I got 7,244 hits. {I just now repeated that and got 174,837 hits.} I got really excited, so I listed a bunch of yarns immediately and sold everything in five days. That lead me to search for websites selling yarn. The results were sparse. Most were informational one page sites for LYS and they were not selling products online. Within a few weeks, I designed my website and placed ads in Vogue Knitting magazine. I launched on July 1, 1999. The name Got Yarn?® is an homage to my background in advertising.

Do you run the shop by yourself or do you have employees? If you do how many people work for you?
For the past eight years I have been solo, wearing all the hats.

I ran a retail shop from 2000-2006. I opened the shop because Got Yarn outgrew my basement, and I saw it as an opportunity to buy yarn from the many retailers who would not sell to me, because I was only online. When I closed I had seven part-time employees, who were as good as gold to me, but it got to be too overwhelming, wearing way too many hats. So here I am back at my beginnings.

How did you choose the yarns that you carry in your shop?
I buy what I love; what I personally would knit if I have the time to knit it all! I gravitate to the high-end. I carry mostly natural fibers, and hand-dyed yarn. To be worth my time {and my customer’s time} it has to be top quality, exquisite and well-wearing.

Nicky Epstein's Koigu KPPPM Capelet

You focus on kits which include the yarn and pattern. Could you tell us about that?
Yes, kits are my specialty. I offer hundreds of combinations of projects and yarns in various colors, and I assemble them as they are ordered. A kit might include a single pattern, a back-issue of a knitting magazine, or a hardcover book with dozens of projects. The paradox of choice can make even buying yarn overwhelming. My customers love picking a project and knowing they are getting the right yarn for it. I offer a lot of kits from world famous designers. I get orders from all over the planet for Kaffe Fasset kits with umpteen colors of Rowan yarn, plus the pattern book. I special order custom kits too: a Prism sweater kit in their favorite hand-dyed colorway, a Jane Slicer-Smith coat in a choice of three lengths, one of Maie Landra's amazing garments for Koigu. I get a lot of special requests. Even if it's a vintage design, I will try to find them an appropriate substitute. I get a vicarious thrill helping them pick the next project to go on their needles.

I also kit some of my own designs, mainly simple sweaters and fun, no-gauge hats. I try to offer crochet as well, but there's never enough time for me to list everything I can offer.
Here’s a quote from a customer, Kathleen in Canada... "I really like the fact that you put together unique and interesting kits that are hard to come by myself. There is simplicity when you receive a kit in the mail. It sits ready for you whenever the creative juices arise."

What is the biggest lesson running a yarn business has taught you?
Just about every knitter I have ever met, emailed or spoken to on the phone is an honest, passionate person! I can't imagine a more positive business to be in. Every day, I am grateful I was given the gift of knitting to guide my life.

What is your favourite part of what you do running the business?
Buying the yarn – what else?

Kaffe Fasset's Fair Isle scarf and dress for Rowan

We've seen many cycles in the yarn industry with the market increasing and then falling again. What are your thoughts on where things might be headed now?
I am really happy that most of the suppliers I started out with are still going strong. It takes a lot of innovation and smarts to do what they do, season after season. That being said, along with everything else, the internet has created unlimited possibilities for knitting and crochet. No doubt, the business will continue to fragment. Now anyone can sell yarn to the smallest corner of the planet, designers can make a living selling their designs directly and wholesalers have created close ties to their end-users. The conventional wholesale-retail model will continue to evolve rapidly.

Did you do a formal business plan?
NO! I would have thrown in the towel years ago!

Do you have a mentor? 
My father ran his own business for 40 years, all by himself and he is now comfortably retired. He has always given me sound advice. Fortunately, he doesn't question me about all the yarn!

Lizard Ridge Afghan in Noro Yarn, designed by Laura Aylor

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
My mother taught me to be nice to everybody, value creativity and buy quality, not quantity. I see my business as a fusion of her wisdom.

I have never put that down on paper before, but it's obvious now that both my parents taught me how to run a yarn business!

Did you take any courses in how to run a business before you opened?
When I started my freelance business I took a course on consultative selling. That means listening to your customers and helping them figure out what they want. Just about everything else I do here is self-taught. I've never even taken a single computer class. I am a fast learner and I've always operated by observation and intuition, figuring things out as I go along. I can easily get overwhelmed by too much information. Fortunately for me that doesn’t apply to my knitting. I love taking knitting classes and there's no such thing as too much!

Dana's Favorite Merino Yarn (Aurora 8) in her design Aran Mitts

How do you maintain your life/work balance? 
I try really hard not to answer the phone or check emails on weekends and holidays. Another plus about this business is that there are very few “yarn emergencies!” In advertising, the account executives treated everything like it was life or death.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I was lucky in that I caught the “new millennium scarf craze” while I had my shop. That helped me build a cushion. So that was seven years into it. After that I was a single, self-employed mom for six years. Just about any small business is all about cash flow. Anytime I needed money, I would send out an email blast to my customers!

Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf by Churchmouse

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in running a yarn business?
Say goodbye to knitting something just because you want to. All your precious knitting time will be spent on projects that will be popular and move yarn. If you gravitate towards muted colors, get over it!

Debbie Bliss Baby Blanket

Debbie Bliss Cardigan

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Create Chained Edges on Garter Stitch

Recently I had a question from someone who was knitting one of my shawl patterns. She wanted to check the technique for the slipped stitch edges.

I`m a loose knitter which can lead to sloppy looking edge stitches, mine have improved over the many years I`ve been knitting. Newer knitters can also struggle with loose edge stitches. The technique I use for slipping edge stitches creates a firm edge which looks like a crochet chain with a twist at the bottom of each chain stitch. I only use this technique on edges which will be exposed, not on those which will be seamed into a garment. I have also come across knitters who make beautiful edges in garter stitch, they probably wouldn't bother with this edging.

I create this edge by slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise and then moving the working yarn between the first and second stitch, then I knit the following stitches. On shawl borders I usually do a three stitch border, slipping the first stitch then I knit the next two stitches followed by my pattern stitch. At the end of the row I knit three stitches.   
Some knitters don't like the twist at the bottom of the chain stitch. If you want to eliminate it, add the extra step of ending every row by working into the back leg of the stitch. In my case that version creates a wider chain which stands out from the front plane of the knitting ever so slightly. The stitch also has a wider opening than the twisted version. I've noticed that results vary between knitters and with the same knitter when they move from one yarn to another or between needle materials.

I've included photos of my class sample. The best way for you to determine which version you prefer is to cast on six stitches. Knit 10 rows with no edge stitch, then knit 10 rows, slipping the first stitch of every row purl wise.  End by knitting 10 rows, slipping the first stitch of every row purl wise and ending every row by working into the back leg of the stitch.

If you enjoy reading my blog, I'd really appreciate it if you would tell your knitting friends or share links to your favourite posts online with Twitter, Ravelry or Facebook. Word of mouth is really helping to grow my business as knitters respect the views of other members of our community. Thanks!

Friday, June 13, 2014

An Interview with ... Carri Hammett

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

You can find Carri here and here on Ravelry.

You are currently taking a purposeful break from designing and writing. Could you tell us what lead to the break. 
At first my break wasn’t so much intentional as it was the result of circumstances. My husband and I decided it was time for the increasingly common rite of passage, downsizing. We had been living in the same house for 17 years and the task of purging our belongings and dealing with delayed maintenance needed my full time attention. To be honest, I thought I could probably make more money by doing a really good job of selling my house than I was making at the time as a designer. So, I made a clean break and limited my creative efforts to only those things which interested me. I had something really interesting happen. In the past the thought of watching TV or flying on an airplane without some kind of knitting in hand gave me a sense of panic.  With time, I found that I was becoming better at just being still.
What kinds of things are you doing during your break?
Well, I’m still unpacking boxes! I have to laugh. I’ve always told my friends that if I die suddenly they need to get to my house right away and help themselves to my stash of yarn and fabric. If they don’t take it I think my wonderful, long suffering husband will have it all bagged and waiting on the curb to be picked up by the garbage men within a few days. As painful as it is, I’m at a point in life where I feel that I need to give away much of my fiber stash and keep only those gems that truly inspire me.

I have also gotten very involved in my church. I’ve never had the time to seriously study the bible. My current lifestyle allows me the luxury to focus on making up for lost time.

I’m very fortunate to belong to a group of fiber artists who have met three times a month for years. We critique each other’s work, visit galleries, and learn new techniques. I think anyone who is committed to a life of creativity will benefit from the association with like-minded people. Personally I find it rejuvenating to hang out with people who ‘get me’.
Please tell us about your work to get yarn to survivors of the tsunami in Japan and how others can contribute to this effort?
In 2010 I sold my yarn shop to my dear friend Cynthia. She is a shrewd business woman and excluded from the purchase a large quantity of yarn that didn’t meet her criteria for various reasons (basically those items which at any time had been on sale). So I found myself with a rented space stuffed with yarn. Fast forward to early 2012 when my sister-in-law sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal about an American woman named Teddy Sawka, who was living and working as a Christian missionary in the area of Japan that had been devastated by the tsunami in March, 2011. Tens of thousands of elderly people had suffered the tragic loss of friends and family members and lost their homes and all their possessions. They had been relocated to temporary housing by the government and Teddy, a knitter, worried about the mental health of the ladies who were lonely, dispossessed, and had nothing to do. She began to teach them how to knit and soon found herself leading several groups at various sites. She called the program Yarn Alive. Many of the group members had gone from meeting once a week to gathering daily. Her knitting groups were hugely successful but Teddy struggled to find ways to keep them supplied with yarn.

I wrote to Teddy and said I had a LOT of yarn which I would be happy to donate. She replied that she would love the yarn but the sad truth was that getting it to Japan was prohibitively expensive. Here’s where the story really becomes miraculous. Teddy said there was one possibility- a shipping container was leaving Seattle in August and if there was any way I could get the yarn there, it could hitch a ride to Japan for free. My daughter had just graduated from college and had been hired by a company in … SEATTLE! They were paying for a full moving package - guys to pack her stuff, moving van, and the works. She had a pitiful amount of stuff; basically just clothing, a crazy number of shoes, books and some IKEA boxes. So I packed up 15 huge boxes of yarn, 2000 balls in total, and they made their way to Teddy via Minneapolis, Seattle, and a shipping vessel across the Pacific. Teddy and I marveled at the way God was able to intersect our lives and dubbed the experience the ‘Miracle in Seattle’.

Teddy and I have stayed in touch and in 2013 I was able to use my work as a guest writer on Kara Gott Warner’s (editor of Creative Knitting Magazine) blog to solicit yarn donations from readers all over the US. It took a little bit of creativity, but once again the yarn made its way to Japan via Seattle – another 2000 balls of yarn. Later that year I was stunned to receive an email from Teddy and see what the ladies had done with the yarn. The participants in Yarn Alive have always knit for others in the belief that there are those who are less fortunate (can you imagine?). In 2013 they focused their efforts on making items for the children of Syrian refugees living in Jordan. Continuing its miraculous journey, this time the knitted items made their way from Japan to Jordan via two huge, overstuffed duffel bags on an airplane with a volunteer worker. I can only shake my head in wonder at the way God continues to bless me with the knowledge of where all this yarn goes. Last year was ‘The Miracle in Seattle II’.

Teddy told me that it will be at least 2016, or even 2017, before the ladies of Yarn Alive will once again have their own homes. So they continue to live in their tiny rooms in relocation camps spread around the area of Shichigahama, Japan. This summer I will be sending the last of my yarn from the sale of my shop to the ladies of Yarn Alive. I have no doubt that God will again work wonders with the ‘Miracle in Seattle III’. If you would like to read the whole story here are the two articles I wrote:

If you have yarn you can donate (I will need it by the middle of July) please contact me at:

Also, you can support Yarn Alive with your monetary donations by going to:

Finally, please say your prayers for the ladies of Yarn Alive and for their angel, Teddy Sawka.

Where do you find inspiration?
My most powerful tool for inspiration is finding mental stillness and allowing my mind to ‘go shopping’ among the information that is already stored in my brain but not yet examined for its potential. As an artist, my visual sense is most dominant so I find images of every kind (nature, structure, creativity) compelling and fascinating. I’m at my most creative when I find the time early in the morning to sit with a journal and a very basic piece of knitting (like a garter stitch scarf). Ideas will begin to surface like a new sweater design or a color scheme or a recipe. I write or sketch however much I need in order to give the idea life and then go back to my knitting. I might cycle back and forth like this for an hour or two. It’s very relaxing and surprisingly productive and the lovely thing about this practice is that I feel as I have given myself a gift.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love making what I call ‘Knitted Quilts’. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Amish quilts. I adore their strong graphic quality and use of color. I like to challenge myself to create knitted objects that reflect Amish quilts but don’t have any seams. Instead I do everything with the use of miters and picking up stitches. I just finishing the fourth in a series of four pieces that will be felted and then hung as pieces of art along with my fiber artist friends in an upcoming show. The pieces are big, about 36” square and I’m really excited by how they’ve turned out but intimidated by the prospect of felting them. I once designed a knitted rug for Creative Knitting Magazine that used the same techniques.

Taste of Americana Hearth Rug

How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
I owned a yarn shop for almost eight years and I have taught a lot of people how to knit and how to advance their skills. As a result of that experience I think I have a good understanding of the roadblocks that often occur in the process. It’s important for me to write patterns that anticipate a knitter’s questions and write in a manner that is as clear as possible but also provides the extra information that experience has shown they will likely need. I know I probably frustrate my editors with too many words but the point is that I’m trying to help my knitters avoid THEIR frustrations. I try to be mindful of yarn shop owners who often have a limited amount of time to help knitters. If I can write patterns that keep knitters engaged and enthusiastic then a lot of people have benefited. If that’s considered ‘dumbing down the pattern’ then I’m guilty.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I rarely use sample knitters. It’s important for me to knit the item I’m designing. If something confuses me or I find a technique difficult while I’m knitting then I know my readers will have the same problem so I have to modify the design.

Did you do a formal business plan?
When I opened my yarn shop I didn’t have a formal business plan. There was the most incredibly charming retail space in a town close to mine. It had been used as a clothing shop but I always thought it would be the perfect spot for a yarn shop. I’ll never forget driving by on a Friday and seeing a For Rent sign. By Monday morning I had signed a lease and 60 days later opened a shop. It was incredibly serendipitous but I could have never pulled it off without the help and support of my husband and friends and family. When I opened my shop it was the height of the scarf fad and novelty yarn was hot, hot, hot. I think it would be much harder to do that now; it just takes too much money to start a sustainable yarn shop.

Do you use a tech editor?
I’ve worked with a number of tech editors but they have always been hired by my publishers instead of by me directly. I like to collaborate back and forth with tech editors on questions regarding accuracy or clarification but I struggle when working with a tech editor who is bound too tightly by a publication’s editorial guidelines. Even when writing a highly technical pattern I believe I have my own unique voice and I hate to see that quality stripped away from my patterns. I guess it correlates somewhat with your question about ‘dumbing down’ patterns.

How do you maintain your life/work balance? 
Well at the moment I guess I’m in an all or nothing mode and I’m not finding a lot of balance at all! 

How do you deal with criticism?
The longer I write the less attention I pay to it.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
When you’re designing, write everything down. All too often I get caught up in the flow of creativity while making a new design. I don’t want to stop and write down what I’m doing because I’m having too much fun and I’m sure I’ll remember what I did later. NOT!! I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve had to go back and remake something or knit a swatch because I couldn’t remember how I accomplished it.

Bountiful Bouquet