Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sing a Song Called Amy
I am such a fan of knitty.com the online knitting magazine. Since 2002 it has been an online destination where I can get lost for hours and hours. The articles are witty and topical. The patterns offered have something for everyone. From simple, to some of the most complex directions ever seen. The knitty lingo for degree of difficulty, or skills needed to execute a pattern, is a rating system that uses a spice analogy. Are you a piquant or tangy knitter? Sometimes you like it hot, and sometimes you can not stomach the heat. But you get to decide based on whether or not the pattern looks good enough to "eat" instead of not trying it because you are a beginner. I love that.
Knitty is also free!!! The whole magazine.The patterns are free. I cannot emphasize enough how supportive I am of designers and the people in this industry that are trying to make money from their profession(moi included). Free patterns in a magazine format that equals and often beats the like of Interweave and Vogue for content is something to celebrate. Behind the scenes, designers are paid, and so are the staff of Knitty. For details you can check their site. They are very clear on the mechanics of the magazine. You do not have to have a publishing track record to get in, just a pattern that makes the cut. This is our chance ladies and gentlemen(yes, men design hand knits). An average of 1.5 million readers enter the website each month.
This is not true for all magazines. Submission guidelines, pattern ownership, and revenues paid can be very iffy. Not so with knitty. The advertisers pay for their ad space, we happily click through all of the enticing links lining each page, and the money trickles throughout the knit community. This is how I end up lost for hours in the attempt to read the whole issue. I have never done it in one sitting. Not yet.
The creative genius behind this love-fest of knitting is a woman named Amy Singer. She has long been an inspiration and personal hero. I admire her vision and the execution of knitty so much. She accepted our Guild's invitation to speak/teach in February and to my delight, I was her chosen chauffeur and tour guide. She has no idea how this was like giving a stalker the keys to the kingdom of the stalked. Amy appears to be a simple, petite, unassuming woman. I found her to be complex, petite and brilliant.
I admire people with the gift of languages and music. Music is a foreign language to me. I can not read it or play an instrument. Amy plays the ukulele. Well enough to impress me. She would say not that well. She is humble. I took her class for the Tuscany Shawl she designed and I am addicted to knitting the memorized pattern repeat. The math is beautiful, just as my shawl will be. I was present for her presentation to our Guild. A record breaking crowd turned out to learn all that can be taught about the fibers we knitters covet outside the world of wool. Amy wrote the book on non-wool fiber "No Sheep For You" I pride myself on keeping up with the world of yarn and I learned something new!
I wish there had been time to cover the topic of knitty and how it all came about. It was enough for me to be able to thank her in person for conceiving and birthing the magazine. I believe Amy's efforts contributed to building the online knitting community that is responsible for keeping knitting alive and well, for the longest continuous stretch of time on the knit craft continuum. That is a run on sentence, but it says it all. The web is well used by the mind of Amy Singer, and we knitters are well served by her creativity. She is good peeps all the way around.