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Amy Singer makes her first visit to Yarn Thing

Amy Singer Makes Her First Visit to Yarn Thing with Marly Bird was the EVENT of the Day!

Amy Singer profile picAmy 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 Knitty logoissue. 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 TeagueCookie 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.

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  1. Chris Lopez says:

    A great interview. And Marly, Amy is right. Why aren’t you using Patreon? Rocky Mountain Swatch is certainly a fun key word!

  2. Angela says:

    I so wanted to listen live (I work from home and can sometimes fit things in) but darnit my conference call went over by 30 minutes!!! What the heck is up with that — so fun to hear from Amy and be able to come back and link to all the great designers listed above. I had never realized how cool Rich Ensor’s socks were WOW! I want to pick up some yarn and start Circinus next.
    Of course I have to say that I have never tried a Rocky Mountain Swatch though LOL – no easy way to work that into my comment.
    Keep up the great fun work ladies, you provide so much enjoyment to us through all your different places on the web and on the “air.”

  3. Thekla says:

    So enjoyed this…I did not know all that history of Knitty. Nice to have the key words reflect your memory of Denver….rocky mtn swatch…;-)

  4. Michelle says:

    Rocky Mountain swatch sounds like a cool knitting country song! Thanks for another informative interview. Well done ladies.

  5. JulieRKnits says:

    Rocky Mountain swatch would make a great name of a sweater that you would go skiing in!!! What a fun interview. Thank you for the time you spent with us.

  6. Mary L. says:

    I envision a Rocky Mountain swatch to be a luscious, thick and nubby piece of fabric. Great interview – I really enjoyed it!

  7. Mary Kay Smith says:

    oooh Rocky Mountain swatch – maybe a design idea in there! Loved hearing Amy’s story and the background behind Knitty! Thanks again!

  8. Louise says:

    I am a big fan of Knitty and a Patreon supporter. I have never been to but always Rocky Mountain Swatch.

  9. Anita says:

    I am definitely a Rocky Mountain swatcher. If I don’t swatch I pay the price and I love living in the Rocky Mountains.

  10. Susan says:

    Rocky Mountain Swatch …humming it to the tune of John Denver’s classic song, Rocky Mountain High. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the Mason Dixon ladies do a parody of this one? Thanks for a great interview. I’ve been a Knitty reader for many years and this is the first I’ve heard Amy Singer’s story. I’ll be looking up all of those once unknown designers as soon as I post this. B

  11. Suzanne says:

    Rocky Mountain swatch sounds much better than Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. 🙂 I enjoyed this show so much. Knitty has been a part of my knitting experience and I’m always so excited when I see a new issue come out. Thanks, Amy, for sharing your story.

  12. Pamela Geist says:

    I’m not sure how to incorporate Rocky Mountain Swatch into this reply, but I sure enjoyed the podcast!

  13. Sally says:

    A great podcast with Amy, fun to hear about Knitty’s beginnings. Got to get on that Rocky Mountain Swatch soon…

  14. Mary Anne says:

    Fun to listen to Amy talk about all the designers who got their start with Knitty. Rocky Mountain swatch is one of the more unique phrases I’ve heard on your show but certainly cause for thought.

  15. Carol T says:

    The history of Knitty was so fun to hear about. Great podcast with Amy. I am close to the the Rocky Mountains, so I guess that I can say that I do a rocky mtn swatch before I knit.

  16. Viviannette says:

    I am going to check out knitty.com. I can’t believe I didn’t know about it before. Rocky Mountain swatch!

  17. France says:

    Rocky Mountain Swatch… say that three times fast! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this episode, which featured a fellow Canadian. I’ve since visited knitty.com quite often and love reading the articles and perusing the patterns.

  18. roseruffolo says:

    Kudos to a fellow Torontonian!

    I am super happy for Amy and the rest of the gang at Knitty! I wish them much deserved further success!

    “ROCKY MOUNTAIN SWATCH”…. I have no idea how to work that in a sentence….I guess I just did

    Thanks Ladies!

  19. amy g says:

    I haven’t used knitty very often but i plan on using it now. Rocky Mountain Swatch. The phase really needs to be sung like John Denver.

  20. Ramona says:

    We are blessed to have the likes of Amy Singer here in Toronto. I loved hearing about the beginnings of Knitty. I think being in the Rocky Mountains might be a good incentive for me to finally do a proper sized swatch – a Rocky Mountain swatch!

  21. Catherine says:

    I loved hearing how Knitty happened! However, I can’t figure out how to make Rocky Mountain swatch sound natural in my comment.

  22. Geraldine Scott says:

    I think Rocky Mountain Swatch would make a great name for a pattern! Thanks for the interesting interview!

  23. Lori Biamonte says:

    Rocky Mountain swatch should be sung to the tune of Rocky Mountain High! Now I can’t get it out of my head.

  24. Wendy says:

    Rocky mountain swatch…..first thing that came to mind was rocky mountain spotted fever. Thank Heaven rocky mountain swatches are not contagious or fatal. They just feel that way at times. 🙂 Great interview. Loved it!

  25. Diana H says:

    I love wearing skirts! At 4′ 10″, I may need to look at shortening them a bit. Thank you for a great show! and Rocky Mountain Swatch.

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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Netflix & Chill

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