I learned how to knit in an over-sold class at a local yarn store. The class was so over-sold that the friend I took the class with, who already knew how to knit but wanted to learn a particular technique listed in the class description, sat next to me and taught me everything I needed to know.
Little did I know at that moment that I was a wee drop of water in what would eventually become the perfect storm of knitting. I bought a copy of Stitch N Bitch. Obviously. And it taught me everything I wanted to learn next. I subscribed to Interweave Knits, which provided me with everything I wanted to knit, but didn’t.
And there was Knitty. And there were knitting blogs. And those were new and strange and exciting and a little scary.
About a year later I took a step I would later learn very few capital-k Knitters take, and I signed up for a crochet class (at that same yarn store; under-sold). I didn’t realize when I signed up that I already knew how to crochet, but it didn’t matter. It was that class that got me wanting to crochet more.
The year between classes was a huge one in online media. The online magazines and blogs that had seemed so new and uncharted and scary in 2003 seemed almost – albeit a small and fringe – mainstay in 2004.
Which is why, when I went home from that crochet class and looked for the crochet magazines and crochet blogs and budding communities of crochet geeks from around the world, I was baffled that I found so few.
The standard had been set by Knitty. If Knitty hadn’t existed, would I have been smart enough, innovative enough, brave enough to even consider starting an online crochet magazine? I honestly don’t think the idea even would have to occurred to me.
Which means that if Knitty hadn’t existed back in 2003, I never, ever would have started CrochetMe.com. Maybe I would have ended up a professional writer or editor eventually. It certainly seems like it would have been inevitable by some path or another. But not then, and possibly not in a way that would allow me to discover I’m entrepreneurial in addition to being solid with words and running publications, and possibly not about a topic that would lead me on a grand creative journey. Knitty’s existence and the manner in which it existed gave me an obvious path to follow, and on that path I not only created a career, I created a lifestyle that, after years and years of feeling unfulfilled and weird and out of place, enabled me to feel at home in my own skin. I created work that transcended just crochet, and just knitting, and has affected not only my overall happiness and my identity, but has led me to create more and more work related to ideas that mean the world to me, and that reaches even more people.
Amy Singer, who started Knitty all those years ago and who has shepherded it through massive disruptions in the publishing industry and the yarn-craft industry has seen her magazine’s ad revenue plummet in the post-2008 era. That ad revenue supports her. And it pays her editors, tech editors, designers and writers.
And so this week, Amy launched a Patreon so people who love Knitty can support the magazine with an amount they’re comfortable with, which will allow her to keep the free publication going when otherwise its future might be in peril.
I’ve supported the campaign, and I was delighted when Amy asked me to contribute a wee video in support, as well. I’m honoured to appear with so many beloved knitters in the compilation she put together, which you can see at the bottom of the Patreon page.
You’ll hear more and more about Patreon in the next short while, I think. It’s an outstanding service to pretty much everyone in the whole world who creates and consumes creative works. Knitty is already benefitting from it, and I have no doubt it will help strengthen the magazine’s already strong community in addition to enabling the publication to endure for a long time to come.