Every so often an interesting thread pops up on my twitter feed about the design world. I follow quite a few of the designers I admire so a conversation about this very thing is bound to pop up from time to time. The recent discourse is based on a blog post by Kristin Nicholas. The gist of it is that she is no longer interested in designing knitwear. She goes on to blame other designers from stealing her market. I suspect that is true. The “industry” has changed and more people are able to self-publish their patterns. But from my point of view, I don’t think that it’s a bad thing.
The majority of the commenters on her blog post are sympathetic. For them, Kristin Nicholas is a legend. They are (rightly) encouraging her to pursue other creative outlets which bring her joy. However, there are a few other commenters who have been known in the knitting world for a while; they are also lamenting the decline in their businesses because of the “hot young thing,” a phrase I find condescending. They are other notable designers and even yarn makers.
I know of Kristin Nicholas from Knit & Crochet Today which I’d record on my DVR a decade ago. She was a frequent guest offering helpful tips, so when I found her photos on Instagram I immediately followed her account. Did I notice a lack of knitting there? Yes. Did I care? No.
However, I think the problem is not so much that she is losing a desire to knit. I suspect that she is losing her income as a result of losing her brand and is trying to blame others for this shift. And I wonder if I’m one of the people she’s blaming.
I’m a lace shawl, wannabe sock knitter who has a knack for not relying on other people’s patterns when it comes to knitting everything else under the sun. I’ve even considered selling a few of my well-loved patterns next year. (Perhaps this is why I’ve been paying listening closely to the designers.) But why shouldn’t I be able to share my designs?
On her blog, she asks:
I would love to hear your thoughts. Where do you buy your knitting patterns now? Do you ever buy knitting pattern books? Do you only knit from free patterns? Do you follow the “hot knitters”? Do you follow knitters on Twitter? On Facebook? Or do you just like to knit to knit and could care less about what everyone else is doing? Are you a knitwear designer? What are you thinking about it all?
I buy my patterns individually from Ravelry.com.
I buy my pattern books from yarn shops, used book stores, new book stores, and Amazon.com.
I have knit free patterns in the past, but I have no problems buying patterns. I also have no problems working up my own patterns.
Who are the “hot knitters”? I follow whoever’s voice I like, but I don’t follow them because they are popular. Ysolda Teague? Yes. Stephen West? No. Andrea of Pineapple Bird Knits? Yes. Jared Flood? Occasionally. Orange Smoothie Knits? Certainly. Sarah of Long Tall Yarns? Absolutely. The list goes on.
I use Twitter, but I am selective about who I follow there (as I am on Instagram, Ravelry, WordPress, etc.).
I knit because I LOVE to knit. I enjoy seeing other people’s work (hence, my various social media accounts), but hardly ever have I had the desire to be a copycat. I think the only time I saw a pattern that I had to knit was Alex Tinsley’s howl cat, and I think I was five years late to the party on that one.
Well, enough of my thoughts, what are yours?