Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Me on Knitting and Books

I've hinted on my newsletter of late (sign up for it on the sidebar at the top of the blog), that I've got some new knitting content coming. It's actually not new but rather old but so old it may look new again! Yikes - how did that happen. I'm in my sixth decade of life. We have lived here on this farm for almost 21 years. How did it all go by so fast? How much time to I have left? Am I still relevant to anyone?

I'm in the midst of building PDF files for a rather large amount of work. I will be launching this project in the very near future. I'm hoping it all catches on but time will tell and I may be too much of a dinosaur to get any traction in the knitting community again. 

As I have been preparing the files, I've been looking back at some of my designing history. I haven't published a new knitting pattern since 2014. It was this cute Easy Aran sweater modeled by my little friend Emme who is now almost ten. 
I thought I was going to make a fortune. This was one of those patterns that used to do extremely well when I worked at Classic Elite Yarns. We'd sell tons of copies of designs like this. I was wrong, so wrong. 

I've sold a total of 29 of these PDF patterns for a grand total of $174 since 2014. This failure was what kind of turned me off to developing any new knitting patterns. Too much competition out there... who can find me.... I'm not relevant anymore.... nor am I feeling the knitting love and passion..... 

This break from knitwear design and the knitting world has been very good for me. I've moved beyond what I was known for and stretched my boundaries. I can't say I am any bit of a huge success but I feel good about the things I have done -- including writing two interior design/crafting books and republishing two embroidery titles. 

I pretty much feel that I am done with writing books for now. I've said what I have to say and until I find a new passion that I think the world needs in book format I will be working more on physical projects that I can share with my community on-line.

What are your thoughts on knitting and where do you buy your patterns? What are you looking for?  What are your thoughts on books? Do you even buy them anymore? Do you read anymore? All things to ponder as the world changes. 

22 comments:

Barb Kehl said...

I don't knit. I crochet. I crochet to relax. I make the same pattern over and over. I crochet afghans the size of a baby blanket. I give them as baby gifts and to adults to use when they want to feel cozy. When I get too many ahead I donate them to a good cause. Recently, I donated to the hospital for them to use when they send a new baby home.
My daughter is a knitter. I have several pairs of socks and some shawls. I appreciate following your activities.
Barb Kehl

Margaret Rauhut said...

Welcome back, Kristin. Love your designs. I do most/many of my own designs. Often "based on" inspiration from others. Can we say Elizabeth? But recently have enjoyed knitting others designs without all the planning of originals. Looking forward to seeing your newsletters!
Peggy Rauhut
Margaret Rose Designs

Linda Byrd said...

I am (deep) into my sixties, have knitted since my thirties and still very much enjoy it. I enjoy the new, simpler styles such as stockinette cardigan with an interesting hemlne or details. I knit a lot of small projects such as hats for newborns, which I give away, but I usually have a larger project for myself going at the same time. My goal for 2020 is to conquer a Fair Isle project. I like knitting with finer gauge yarn these days, probably because I live in Texas and have very little use for heavy, bulky sweaters. I buy most of my patterns online from lovecrafts.com, jimmybeanswools, etc. (no longer from ravelry but we won't get into that). But if a book has at least 3 patterns that I like, interesting commentary, and beautiful photos, I will buy it because I love reading as much as knitting. I lost most of my yarn and my entire knitting library to Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters, including many of your mailers/pamphlets which you sent to subscribers when you were first starting your career. I am slowly replacing my favorite books. One of the first replacements? Knitting the New Classics by YOU!

Kristin Nicholas said...

What lucky hospitals, families and babies that you donate your handmade things. Such a beautiful way to send a baby into the world. You are very special and generous indeed.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thanks Peggy. I’m working hard on this project but have hit some technical glitches. Hoping to get it done within the next couple weeks.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Oh my Linda— to have lost all your yarn and books after a lifetime of collecting. What a bummer. If you had newsletters from the beginning of my career you have been following me a long time! I don’t think I have those newsletters anymore. Thanks so much for your loyalty. At least you can find used out of print books online now. That used to be impossible. Knitting the New Classics was a great book and I was lucky to have that opportunity. Good luck with replacing the books. Sadly your stash is most likely irreplaceable. 😩

mascanlon said...

I have been following you for a very long time. Started on the embroidery side and I have those books. I have never been able to get the hang of knitting. I can knit but not purl, lol. And I had to have someone else cast on for me. But I am always so impressed by the wonderful and colorful projects I saw on your pages. I have a number of friends who are avid knitters and they all talk about Raverly as a source for ideas and patterns.

Holly in CT said...

The sweater is adorable but personally I wouldn't put that much effort into a sweater a child will grow out of quickly or trash with vigorous playtime.
I buy most of my patterns from Ravelry because I can reprint them if I destroy them by spilling on it and if I want to reuse the pattern I can quickly find it again. Occasionally, I will buy a book but quite frankly it doesn't make economic sense if I only like 1 or 2 patterns in the book. The only exception I make is if the book has 3 or more patterns I love, love and know Im going to make

Cat said...

I knit, and if I had a child to knit for, I would consider this. And I do buy books and occasional PDF's. However, no kids, so no need for the pattern... :/

It does look lovely, tho.

Cat

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me. Hope I can continue to inspire.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thanks Cat

Colleen said...

I was drawn to your work through your knitting but have stayed on to enjoy your latest artistic adventures. You are a deeply talented woman. The life of an artist/artisan is not an easy one, especially financially. The internet has changed the game for so many endeavors from journalism and politics to art. We must all change and grow or we become irrelevant. I look to a knitter such as Kate Davies for inspiration as an artist (and scholar) who has made the most of her talent in the current environment through much personal adversity. I do miss your creativity and sense of design in the knitting realm, but you must follow your muse. All the best to you for a peaceful and prosperous 2020.

Patti said...

Excited to hear your will be releasing some of your classic patterns! I have grandchildren that will look wonderful in this sweater. You created many classic designs in books that I love. I don’t like knitting from patterns in books, but you releasing your designs in pdf form I look forward to seeing. I will support you. You are a treasure, and I love following whatever art form your heart desires. New lamb and garden photos also are inspiring. I appreciate you sharing your life, but you also have to take care of yourself. Wishing you the best!

Kate M. said...

Kristin, I love this pattern and look forward to making one for my 2-year old grandson. After years of following patterns, in my 50's I discovered Elizabeth Zimmermann which made me - a bit - braver, maybe enough to make relatively minor modifications (knitting flat patterns in the round, pullovers into cardigans, some neck mods). Stylewise, I prefer classic styles the can be worn 20 years from now. I like the simplicity of Purl Soho patterns, Jared Flood's patterns, especially from his old Brooklyn Tweed blog when he was just learning about knitting and gave interesting, clear explanations and photos. I follow the Rainey Sisters blog because I like their choice of patterns and learn from their modifications. I don't read the Yarn Harlot as much these days because there is less about knitting than there used to be. I read the Mason-Dixon Newsletter each Saturday, as much for the tips on things to watch or listen to while knitting and technical advice as anything. I have a roomful of books I rarely consult and a lifetime of yarn - mostly wool - to use up. I love reading about your life, the farm, your family, what you are reading, thinking, doing. Hugs.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Coffee! I know about that! I will be selling the patterns on Ravelry and my website

Kristin Nicholas said...

I too enjoy following Kate Davies. Smart woman with a talented partner who takes beautiful pics. What a team.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thanks so much Patti!

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thanks Kate! Glad you discovered Elizabeth. I was turned on to her work at 20 years old when I first started knitting. Consider myself lucky.

Robin said...

Fingers crossed for you! I love your patterns!!!

If I buy patterns these days, it's mostly individual ones from Ravelry. I can't see myself buying books, but that's mostly because I have so many. Even though I'm not very active on Ravelry when I go there I always go to the pattern page, under "pattern browser and advanced search" and check out what's "hot right now". If you can get a pattern to get enough views to hit the hot right now it sort of feeds on itself with getting even more views. It seems to me people frequently offer a special price when a pattern first drops or a percent off with a special code for the first few days and these can get people to look. I don't know. This is just my guess.

Robin

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thx Robin. This is taking me so long and I realize how much I don’t miss the computer work. I should do a special price I suppose. Going to put them on Rav and my own website. Hoping I can get something up next week. Vklive is going on in NY this weekend so I wouldn’t bother with this weekend anyway. Your painting project is awesome. Keep going.

tjf said...

I am a little late in commenting here. I am catching up on reading your blog!
I wish you all the best - whatever direction that takes you! I have always loved your patterns and books. I found your knitting patterns and books long ago and I still love them. Your books are right next to Elizabeth Zimmermann's on my shelves. I have missed you in the knitting world! But, you have also inspired me to try embroidery and some sewing and I truly love reading about and seeing all your work - the farm, the pottery, farmhouse projects, knitting, sewing, fabric design. I definitely still buy both patterns and books although I am more picky about what I buy. I look for books that are beautiful to look at and to read (I love stories and history!) as well as have good patterns. I buy patterns on ravelry, too, usually when I am looking for something specific or need something quick. I love the little sweater; I was just reading about Aran knitting and I also have 2 little granddaughters to knit for now! (And a grandson on the way.) :)
Looking forward to getting some more of your patterns. :)
Tricia

Kristin Nicholas said...

Hi Tricia
So nice to hear from you again. Thx for your kind words and I’m honored to have my books next to Elizabeth’s on your bookshelf! Wow! ❤️

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