Amy Singer Makes Her First Visit to Yarn Thing with Marly Bird was the EVENT of the Day!
Amy says she learned to knit when little and did some knitting in her teens. In college, she wanted to knit something for a particular guy, but since they weren’t dating and she didn’t want to be OBVIOUS, she made mittens for everyone in her group. She knit as a newlywed and for a quilting group, she knit hats for everyone in the group. This was about 1997, in the year before, she was discovering internet. She was working in Advertising, as a proof-reader, premiums coordinator, learning to create advertising MacIntosh. She met Jane Siberry and became her web-master.
With her degree, creating great looking advertising content was a focus. Finding domain names became a challenge for many at that time. Amy realized early on that she missed out on the opportunity for Amy .com website. Feeling burned out after 20 years, she considered perhaps a quilt magazine or knitting. Searching domain names for the word Knitty, realized it was not being used and snapped it up before she had second thoughts. Her goal at first was to provide a platform for people to get their names out there, online, and to get stuff on her resume to get out of proof-reading!
At that time, Amy feels the knitting online was ‘sweetness and light’ with the discovery of Knitty.com (this link is to the current issue) and it’s first issue. And today, most of the feedback they receive is positive. They couldn’t see that they could make money from this, so it was available for free. After the first year, they noticed they were being approached by advertisers, which became a way to pay contributing designers. For the most part, folks realized they needed to pay the bills and didn’t mind. They have continued to work on the website to make it easy to view and download favorite patterns.
For those interested in it: Submissions require a finished item, that has been photographed, pattern written, so that the editors (primarily Amy) can see the quality of the design. Submitted items are reviewed by Amy, Jillian Moreno, and tech editor, Kate Atherly among other staff. Knitty publishes four times a year, with each season, so what’s published they first LOVED, then would work within what’s expected of viewers to the website. Sometimes pieces are chosen simply because they want to offer a variety of items, so it’s not all sweaters, or shawls. Even patterns that are not accepted, you can self-publish in Ravelry, so it’s a win-win.
Kristi Porter was an early success who was on board with Knitty as the first tech editor, advertising manager and contributed quite a few pieces (knitting garments side to side!) until she got too busy. Jillian Moreno created in 2002 a scarf of Koigu and fun fur! Amy Swenson created a hoodie in 1824 Cotton, that Amy really appreciated because she’s allergic to wool (really) which could be knit in the 18/24 wool. Stephanie Japel is now at Craftsy, but she first published leg warmers in Knitty 2003. Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s first published socks pattern was in Knitty. Kate Gilbert published a baby sweater, then Clapotis! Clara Parkes, Ysolda Teague… Cookie A’s Monkey socks (Amy thinks this revived sock knitting industry, we can’t disagree), Carol Sulcoski, Gudrun Johnson, Romi (or Rosemary) Hill’s first pattern was wire knitted napkin rings, Lee Meredith designed a scarf with fingerless mitts attached, Star Athena designed washcloths, Ann Weaver, Stephen West. (All of the links from Ravelry because you need to see how popular some of these first published designs became! Please follow them back to Knitty.com)
There came a dark time for many businesses as in around 2008. Last year, following another musician, Amy became aware of crowd-funding, specifically, through the Patreon Website. Amy admits that up to that point she had been afraid to ask for money for Knitty. However, she needed help to properly support her staff and contributors and so she took the leap get support. Doing so gives the community an opportunity to give a little bit to support the things we love. It doesn’t have to be everybody to work, either. With a lean infrastructure, it doesn’t take a LOT of people, those who can support it so that those who can’t can still enjoy. Knitty is a staple, it’s referenced often, many who were unknown have become known.
Amy Singer can be followed at her website of course, www.knitty.com (links to current issue) Knitty’s Facebook and Twitter. She blogs for knitty also. Instagram, Pinterest… Also, her Ravelry Designer page, Knitty Group. If you missed getting to hear this LIVE you can still hear it as an archived episode: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2016/04/12/amy-singer-makes-her-first-visit-to-yarn-thing or in your favorite podcast catcher like iTunes or Stitcher Radio.