Shannon Okey on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird

Shannon Okey on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird has become the new knitting fan girl experience, I think.

She says she didn’t learn to knit like the rest of us, as a pre-schooler at the knee of a parent or grandparent. (That didn’t happen to me either…) The family is artistic and she learned other things. As an adult and moving to Boston, in boredom went to a yarn store in Cambridge and stated she wanted to knit a cardigan. While she’s working on it ‘got REALLY into knitting’, she started blogging about it as that was the new cool thing to do at that time. Debbie Stoller’s ‘Stitch N Bitch’ book was really taking off at that time and publishers were desperate for the next one, and she wrote a book for ‘tweens (which I think was ‘Knitgrrl: Learn to Knit with 15 Fun and Funky Projects’ published in 2005) and in a short period of time she wrote about a dozen books for many different publishers. What a learning experience that was!Cooperative Press Logo

COOPERATIVE PRESS came about after she started looking at the math of a book publication and thought she could do it on her own. She began with The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwar Design and has 40 publications in it’s repertoire including the recent ‘Kung Fu Knits’ by Elizabeth Green Musselman that we heard about recently when Elizabeth was on during on Podcaster November. (They were mentioned in the chatroom but not by Marly & Shannon, the popular Madame DeFarge books are in that list…. Just check out the list on the Cooperative Press website, the list has some incredibly popular titles you may have heard of lately!)

Shannon says she finds that fiber people are the earlier adopters of technology, in downloading patterns and books, and it’s really driven small business. (She shared the current VAT tax issue that has been a hot topic lately. This blog post by Ysolda Teague was discussed.) Cooperative Press has kept track of digital verses print publications, and looking for ways that customers can save money on purchases, especially the shipping costs, the benefits of ‘Print On-Demand’ ~ especially when a mistake is discovered (‘It happens…’), fixing errata. She sees it as a good thing that the book is available to everyone every where as digital, immediately. Instant gratification is powerful!

She understands that is why pattern sales in Ravelry works. That is also why her magazine Knit Edge is solely digital and she’s considering a craft magazine, knitwear designer trade magazine and on and on. The possibilities are infinite for Shannon Okey and Cooperative Press.

As a side note and JUST FOR FUN! Shannon still does some designing, check out her list in Ravelry. What’s currently ‘On Her Needles’ is her ‘Frozen’ project, of Icelandic Inspired Patterns. She has put out a FREE pattern, and a challenge to DO WHAT YOU WANT with it. This will conclude with voting and prize money.

Another project coming up is Wool Mercantile will offer limited edition runs of specialty fiber things. You can subscribed to that and stay tuned for what’s happening in that.


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  1. Theresa says:

    Completely enjoyed today’s episode. LOL that she picked Albatross I can’t remember what the word for picking up my younger siblings from school was.. My book of choice would be Doomsday Knits b/c it looks awesome

  2. Mary says:

    My book of choice would be The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design ALBATROSS.

    I loved today’s episode. Shannon is smart, funny and knows what knitters want! A book filled with patterns alone does not cut it for me. I love reading about the designer(s) or about the wool used in the pattern…where it came from. I want to know EVERYTHING:) Like you said Marly…”it fills my soul”…

  3. Linda says:

    No a hard decision on the book–Sock Architecture!!!! No way can I use albatross in a sentence. Anyway, great show!
    Lmecoll on Ravelry

  4. Ruth says:

    I would love the book What Else Would Madame Defarge Knit? I only know of the albatross from the Coleridge poem. The magazine sounds great too.

  5. Ruthie says:

    I would love the book “What (Else) Would Madame Defarge Knit?” I only know of the albatross from the Coleridge poem. The magazine sounds great too. (I hope this comment will post this time because I keep getting an error….)

  6. Mary (kinoknits) says:

    My family’s word wasn’t albatross – it was Francine, the name of my cow. Yep, my cow. I’ve heard so much about Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture – I’d love to get my hands on it! Sounds like Cooperative Press is great to work with. Maybe if I get the guts and time, I’ll pitch my idea for a knitting book one day. 🙂

  7. Michelle says:

    An albatross is a lovely bird but not a bird who can knit! I would love to win “Beyond Knit & Purl”. I am a skilled crocheter but a beginner knitter.

  8. Sarah Short says:

    Great podcast as usual. My parents were also fans of Monty Python and I laughed so hard when Shannon mentioned albatross. If I am lucky enough to win I would like The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.

  9. Liz Fox says:

    Love Love Love Shannon Okey (Loved your Knitgrrl pod cast) – What would Madame De Farge Knit with an Albatross around her neck?

  10. hotknitter says:

    Now that’s an often ignored word – albatross. Sock Architecture is definitely my book of choice. I can’t wait to read it.

  11. Nancy says:

    Holey Albatross, Batman! Which book to pick? I already have a couple and I subscribe to Knit Edge. Aaaah, now River Ganseys sounds extremely intriguing. Wonder if it counts since it is not out yet? If not, Sock Architecture is definitely one for my sock library.

  12. Martha Donley says:

    I have never seen an albatross, but I know your books are prettier. I need boy’s knits as my 1st grandbaby, at boy, will be born in March

  13. Debbie R, says:

    Marley, another wonderful podcast episode. I learned a lot from today’s show with Shannon.

    Someday, I would like to see an albatross. My book of choice is Sock Architecture.

  14. Vicki Lynch says:

    I would like to see an albatross, but they aren’t native to Texas as far as I know. I’d love to get the book Cascadia, it’s on my wish list.
    Thanks again for another wonderful show.

  15. Tony says:

    I didn’t have a code word like Albatross because I always went home on the big yellow bus. I would like to win Sock Architecture and if I do win it I will feel like the luckiest person in the world!! Great interview!

  16. Susan Crosby says:

    Sometimes my yarn and fiber stash feels like an albatross around my neck. I’m on a yarn diet but not a pattern book diet. I thought the Cascadia title looked good.

  17. Irene says:

    I am with Susan above. Love the albatross comment and the Cascadia pattern book. So many lovely things to knit. Thanks Shannon, and Marly Bird

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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A cartoon image of a joyful chicken, sitting comfortably in a green armchair, knitting happily with blue yarn, surrounded by pink and white flowers, looking for DIY project ideas. -Marly Bird

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A colorful illustration of a white rabbit with a unicorn horn, nestled among multi-colored leaves arranged like a fan behind it, projects every mood of peacefulness and whimsy. -Marly Bird

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A whimsical illustration of a white chicken adorned with pink flowers and light pink butterflies, featuring flowing tail feathers and a playful pose, all set against a simple white background, perfect for mood-based projects. -Marly Bird

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