There are many reasons why working in This Is Knit is exciting, but one of the biggest is the sheer creativity of our customers. You come in through the doors every day and show us what you've just done: you've devised a new pair of booties, or you've combined two yarns that no-one's thought of combining before, or you've invented a new way of making lace. We get to see crochet and knitting design fresh and new, all the time. And there's so much of it!
Of course, this has always happened. In Ireland we have particular reason to be aware of this, because of the overwhelming evidence that the entire Aran knitting tradition was the invention of a few extraordinarily talented knitters within living memory (and if you believe Alice Starmore, the invention of just one
knitter). Tradition is being made by all of us all the time, because that's what happens when we think "I wonder what would happen if...?" and we take up tools and yarn to find out.
We live in a much more fortunate time than the knitters that developed Aran jumpers or the crocheters that had developed Clones lace a century before. Along with other Irish designers like Carol Feller and Kieran Foley, we can access the world through the medium you're using to read this. The internet can show your clever idea to millions, and there are millions who want to see it.
There's several ways of spreading the news about your pattern idea: there's self-publishing as a designer on Ravelry or through your own website or blog, or in an online magazine like Knitty. This is why we're looking forward impatiently to Amy Singer's workshop on getting published - the most important things to do and the most important things to avoid, as well as how to make sure our patterns stand out. There's still a few places left for it, and you can make a booking here
Knitty, Amy's own magazine, is a particularly interesting place to publish, because of the range of patterns it covers. There's classic cardigans in there, like Tempest
, and astoundingly popular sock patterns like Monkey
, but there's also lovely things for the home like the Lizard Ridge afghan
and sweet characters like Sheldon the turtle
What all of these patterns have in common is their popularity - as the project tabs on those pages show, they've all been made hundreds or thousands of times. What's more, when they were published, not all their designers thought of themselves as "designers" - see the short bio at the bottom of the Lizard Ridge page
(she was, happily, wrong).
So much beautiful, funny and clever innovation comes through our doors. It would be a shame for it not to get out there. And you know, there's no feeling on earth
like seeing someone's finished object of your design.
Speaking of our doors, this is a good time to mention that the shop won't be open on Sunday November 13th, during the Knitting and Stitching Show. (Goodness, is it that time already?)