Time for another hard-hitting Daily Post question! What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?
Well, I didn’t accomplish much that was too difficult. Really. I didn’t solve world peace, or end starvation. I didn’t write a best-selling novel, and I didn’t enlarge the family or find the cure for cancer. I knit a bunch of really nice stuff, tried not to have too many sick days at work, and generally just kinda got along with the universe at large. Nothing too extravagant.
The knitting world, however…wow. I will admit, I snuck a peek at the knittyblog for some of this stuff, but I will say that I contributed to the growth industry: 2010 was the year of the independent designer.
The most obvious example is Ysolda Teague. She had an idea, put a few .pdf files out there, charged a decent price for ’em…and people bought them. I’m one of those people. Add to that the extra customer service of a designer who reads her email & twitter and responds happily to feedback. Wowzers…if I wasn’t impressed before, I would be now.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee may only develop one or two designs a year, but her influence is very well known and respected amongst knitters. I was reading a blog the other day and it mentioned that one of their designs had been “harlotted”. What does this mean? It was intriguing enough that it was knit up by Pearl-McPhee, and thus featured on her website, yarnharlot.ca. The designer witnessed a demand for her pattern, and thus was entirely boggled by the whole thing. I find this amazing.
The aforementioned Ysolda? Got her start on Knitty. Sure, she was designing for herself back then, but from the accounts I’ve read, she put in a submission and it just happened to hit at a good time. With the amount of “Hit” patterns on Knitty (Clapotis, Fetching, Monkey to name a few), it’s no wonder that it’s influential.
Add onto that the opening of Ravelry, and the relative ease with which a knitter/designer can add their .pdf file into the store. It’s not small change that we’re talking here. Whether or not the owners/creators earn anything above and beyond their operating costs is a question for someone more financially astute than I, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a tidy business being done by some of the more intrepid designers out there. It’s a different model of doing business, and certainly one that will likely be more closely looked into as more avenues open up.
Lastly, because of the influences of “Rock Star” knitters, and popular designers due to the new model of business, the “old school”, traditional media are also taking notice. I have seen more knitting publications in the past year or two than I have seen in the past five, and it’s mainly due to the internet media’s popularity push. When I first started knitting socks, I had a pamphlet from the 1960’s that I’d snagged from my Mother’s small pattern repository. I managed to get my hands on Knitting Vintage Socks, and Favorite Socks from Interweave, and those were my main resources other than Knitty. Now? You can’t walk into Chapters/Indigo without tripping over sock-knitting resources. The market is absolutely flooded. Wendy Johnson and Cookie A, two of the best know sock-mavens, got their starts on the internet, developing brand new business strategies through downloadable media.
So, for myself…I’ve been a happy little consumer, watching all this from the sidelines. And maybe that’s my biggest accomplishment; watching how the online business-side of knitting is developing. However, it’s been a heck of a year to watch these things develop, and it’s only going to get more intriguing in the next 5. I’ll be watching to see what happens next (hmm…a marketplace on Ravelry for wool and fibre? I guess we’ll see!)