on knitting, business, and being a woman

I’ve heard of her name many times. I’ve followed links to her blog posts, read them and agreed wholeheartedly (or was thoroughly amused) with many of them. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to subscribe to her blog in my Reader, but I finally did. And then, just a few days later, I discovered on it a post that is just so damn bang on.

Now I can say it, by Yarn Harlot

Most of us here are hobby-knitters. Myself fully included. And I love it for what it is to me. But my hobby also depends on the people for whom it is a business. Yes, it’s a business for the people who breed the sheep and create the yarn I knit with. Yes, it’s a business for the people who write the patterns I buy online. Yes, it’s a business for the people who write the books I learn my skills from. And there’s nothing dirty or un-nice about that. Just because it’s a business doesn’t mean it can’t be done with passion and love for the craft and the community.

I can’t help disliking the word “business” any more than the next person, I guess it’s just intrinsic in the society we live in today. But I dislike the stereotypes Yarn Harlot writes about much much more. Read the post. I promise it’ll give you some good food for thought during your hobby-knitting weekend.

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About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

6 thoughts on “on knitting, business, and being a woman

  1. I’ve recently been going through her back catalogue of blog posts and along with Kate Davies of Needled, she is my knitting hero. I think she may also be a regular hero as well.

  2. She is totally right. As a “hobbyist designer” I can’t afford to pay test knitters, so I have to rely on people generous enough to help me. If I started getting a reasonable revenue from my patterns I would definitely want to pay knitters for their time. I know how hard being a test knitter is, I’ve done it for other people as part of my “knitting karma – pay back” way of keeping the universe in balance. We should applaud those in the creative industry who have made a success of their work and try to make it easier for them, rather than deriding them for trying to earn a living doing something we need them to do!

  3. She had a good point about paying test knitters at one point, too. It’s a business. So pay for it. We’re devaluing our work if we keep giving it away for free. Anyway – she does keep putting up good things to think about. I’m glad you found her blog, too!

  4. I have to say, I’ve been a test knitter many times and I wouldn’t dream of asking or expecting to be paid for it…the opportunity to work with a new design and get the pattern for free is all the incentive I need. But, it comes down to hobby v. business, and for me it’s just something fun to do. On a related note, I get the impression (purely from Ravelry message boards) that there is some tension between ‘real’ designers and ‘hobby’ designers, which seems to crop up in any field where you don’t necessarily need to be formally trained to do it (e.g. photography).

  5. I’ve been meaning to write about Stephanie too – I don’t know how I discovered her blog, because, unlike you, I’ve never seen a link to her blog, or her name mentioned (maybe I don’t follow enough knitting blogs). Originally, I started reading her blog only because I like how she writes, and thought I could learning something from her style! This winter, I read all her books that I could find through the library (three), and loved them, and learned a lot about crocheting too (true! must write that post!).

    • Oooh, it didn’t even occur to me to look for the books, I’ll definitely do that! I recently joined a library here (it was such a good feeling :) though I doubt they’ll have such a broad range in English as to include books on crochet :)

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