In my life, January is for catching up on projects that I never have enough time for -- projects that take a lot of intense concentration and hours and hours of work. Last January, I built myself a new website using the Big Cartel platform. It was a ton of work and I learned a lot.
This January I have been tackling another enormous project. It is finally done and I can tell you all about it. For those of you who have been following me for years, you probably know me as a knitwear designer. I worked for Classic Elite Yarns as the Creative Director for 16 years. CEY closed up shop in 2018. I wrote about that here.
Back in the 1990's I developed a range of patterns and kits for Classic Elite Yarns. It ran over 4 years and was super popular. There were four new booklets and kits each fall season and they were sold in LYS. The booklets were packed in wicker baskets with six assorted colors of yarn and then shrink-wrapped. They were sold exclusively through local yarn stores. This was before the internet, before Ravelry and before so much in the yarn industry began to change. There was no such thing as an indie dyer or designer back then (there were probably those folks but those names had not yet been coined).
I called the collection of these 16 patterns The World Knits Collection. They were inspired by my love of traditional cultures, costumes, and handknit, handmade, embroidered folk costumes. You can see the little booklets that I wrote and produced in the photo below.
I would write and knit the first sample of the project (sometimes I knit them all depending on the project and time I had). Then I would find talented knitters to make the rest of the samples. Each little booklet had several versions of the projects in it. I would give the knitters the Tapestry Wool/Mohair yarn in the colors I knew would work nicely together. They got a typed out pattern and many charts that they could pick from for their project. They would make the project I needed and put their own spin on it if they felt like it. The projects would come back to CEY and we would photograph them. The projects would travel to trade shows and then find their way back to the knitters.
I met the most amazing knitters through this project - many who became friends who I miss. I have sadly lost track of most of them now since I haven't been as involved with the knitting world for several years. These 16 World Knits Collection booklets really helped to cement my place as a knitwear designer in the industry. Several of the projects morphed into projects in my two most recent knitting books Kristin Knits (2006) and Color By Kristin (2009).
Over the years, the industry has changed so much. The little booklets were stashed in knitter's homes or thrown away. Knitters don't buy books so much anymore so all my designs have been locked away in my books that people don't read or reference anymore. My books are still in print but they are basically just taking up space in publishers' warehouses. It really is a very sad situation.
This past fall, I was able to purchase the rights to my World Knits Collection. I then had the opportunity to publish them on my own. But finding the time to do that was impossible with all the stuff I had on my plate with my pottery and our farm before Christmas. I decided to take January to get these things in order and so I have.
I'm sure some of you still have these booklets or perhaps knit from them in the past. I'm hoping I can inspire some newer knitters to try projects from the World Knits Collection. Over the next few weeks I will be introducing each one here on my blog. The patterns will only be available as PDF Downloads, not printed. You can print them out yourself though.
If you can and are interested, please help me spread the word in your knitting world. All the patterns are available for sale on my Ravelry store and on my website HERE as digital PDF downloads.