Shannon Okey shares Knitgrrl’s BIG Project

Shannon Okey shares Knitgrrl’s BIG Project on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. This is the first episode of 2017, Marly’s TENTH year podcasting, so it’s only fitting that Shannon join us as she’s a special friend.

Shannon went full-time in the Yarn Industry in 2004. She began with a knitting blog, and was discovered, so to speak. Kathy Cano-Murillo (known as the Crafty Chica) let Shannon know her publisher was looking for someone to write knitting books for teenagers. She wrote two books Knitgrrl and Knitgrrl 2 (links to the books in Ravelry so you can check out the patterns), and later began her own publishing company, Cooperative Press, in 2010.

This was a big adventure because people don’t buy hard copy books anymore, a lot of books are actually more popular as e-books. Because Cooperative Press is an on-demand books, meaning that until you purchase the book, its not printed. That’s really cool with knitting books, any errors can be on every book published from the point the correction is made. Also, by being in partnership with the authors, helps keep costs down and everybody profits right away. Printing in the US and by printing on-demand, means they can have a book done in under a month.

Since 2009, Cooperative Press has been in a warehouse of about 500 square feet, which this creative person has outgrown, so she’s found a bigger space which will allow her to do yarn dying, and some other things. She’s had a hand-made craft show since 2004, so in the new space she will be hand-dying a wool fabric and still it’s not enough for Shannon.

With 2017, through Patreon, Shannon is creating a weekly, pattern and with it will be studying various aspects, gathering data and putting it in a book as a state-of-the-industry report. They will be charting the success of the pattern with the various elements that went into it, like photography, tech editing, sample knitters, etc., making sure that everyone who worked on each pattern in the project are compensated, plus where were the patterns sold successfully. There has been a lot of conversation about what designers are paid, so hopefully this will make us all aware of how this works.

The point is: Let’s figure out how to keep this wonderful industry from completely disappearing but still be viable for those participating. We who are the consumers can only benefit from the work of those that care and are willing to share what they are learning.

Shannon Okey can be followed through her website, www.KnitGrrl.com, also in Facebook, there is Knitgrrl Studio page and the Cooperative Press page, watch what happens and/or participate in the project at the Patreon Page. She previously visited the Yarn Thing podcast in 2014 and 2010.

Also, sharing the link to the visit of Kismet Andrews (of Bar-Maids) shownotes when she shared her new book, The Art of Schlepping.

You can see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ video of Marly from the Birds of a Feather Studio, that aired live on her Facebook page.


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  1. Suzanne says:

    This was a yarn thing 2.0 podcast. I loved hearing the intricacies of the professional side of the business. I’d like to listen to it again and then discuss it over a ham sandwich.

  2. Michelle says:

    Ham sandwich? What in the world is a Jewish vegetarian doing with a ham sandwich in her comment,lol!?!? This was a great podcast, as usual Marly and Team. Happy New year and much success to you all again this year and beyond.

  3. Carol T says:

    Very interesting podcast with tons of business facts. I will have to listen to it again and eat a ham sandwich to let it all soak in. Great podcast. Thanks.

  4. Vicki Lynch says:

    A ham sandwich on a beach sounds like a great idea. Now I just need an ocean and some tropical weather. I heard much today to make me stop and think about all the designers and indies trying to make it in the industry.

  5. Kim says:

    Congratulations on 10 years Marly! I think we need to celebrate with a ham sandwich! Thank you Shannon for sharing and moving the industry forward. As a consumer, it gives me a greater appreciation for all the hard work behind the scenes.

  6. Judith Schultz says:

    Would love to have been eating a ham sandwich in the Caribbean with Shannon and Debbie! Great podcast Marly and thank you so much Shannon for paying it forward by educating and enabling crafters to work together and be the best they can be. It takes a Village!

  7. Staci Lockman says:

    Ham sandwich? Sounds good! I think I’ll go make one right now. Knit (or spin, or crochet, or whatever you do!) on!

  8. Valerie K says:

    Ham sandwiches make a neat lunch, especially if you grill them with cheese. I’d like to sit down with Shannon and Marly to eat these sandwiches. That would be a great day

  9. Mary says:

    All the ham from Christmas is gone so no ham sandwich for me! But thanks for a great podcast! I love listening in on Marly’s conversations with her friends!

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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