A big welcome to Sandi Wiseheart of Knitting Daily!
LollyKnitting Around is the third stop on Sandi’s tour, and I was excited to hear what she had to say the newest knitting venture of Interweave Press. Read on…
What prompted the formation of Knitting Daily?
We started planning Knitting Daily about a year and a half ago, when a group of us at Interweave started dreaming about ways that we could bring the Interweave sense of community, technical excellence, and style to the web in a more accessible, more fun-to-visit sort of way. We did our homework, looked at a zillion other sites across all industries, and had a lot of fantasy brainstorming “what-if” sessions. It was a lot of fun, and we gave ourselves permission to dream big! One of the most important things we all wanted to do was to build a place online where we could have conversations with our Interweave readers in a more direct, more immediate, and more fun, sort of way. We constantly refer to ourselves and our readers as “the Interweave Family,” and we felt very strongly that we wanted to provide an online “home” for the knitting branch of that family. Then we set about furnishing that home with a library, a newsletter, and made sure we built in room to grow so we can build on additions and make improvements as we go along.
What can Knitting Daily offer to a beginning knitter who may be intimidated by the projects in the magazine?
In the Knitting Daily blog, as well as in the Techniques section, we have the ability to really break things down into smaller steps–I can post step-by-step photos of how to do a particular stitch, for example. Beginners can also search the site by skill level, and find patterns and information that is suited to their knitting comfort zone.
Plus, they can ask questions, and the Knitting Daily staff can answer back! Right now, there are some beginners asking questions in the comments on the blog, and as you read through the comments, you can see the more seasoned knitters answering them back! I love that part. I can’t wait until we get our forum installed and ready to go…..
Did I mention that one of our KD staffers is a beginning knitter? Yep. Kat, our graphics guru, is just learning, so she’s particularly keen on making sure that we have plenty of good stuff for beginners. I’m hoping to have a whole series of posts especially for beginners in the not-to-distant future.
Knitting Daily is still in the new stages; what features will the site offer in the future?
We have so much on our to-do list! We joke about it in the office: “Oh, that will have to be a Phase Ten addition.” We are sooo excited about the possibilities that a site like KD affords us. First up is going to be the Knitting Daily Pattern Store, which will be going live sometime this month (July). We’ll be able to offer patterns from sold-out issues, as well as new patterns exclusive to KD…. Interweave has a very large “catalog” of knitting patterns spanning all our publications, and with the Pattern Store, we will be able to provide wider access to all those treasures. Now we will! High on everyone’s list here is a forum, where we can have discussion threads for each of the Interweave knitting patterns (and other hot fiber topics!). This will make it so much easier for everyone to be notified about corrections, receive help with a particular pattern, and just share photos and tips. I love watching everyone talk to each other in the comments, so I am really looking forward to seeing folks be able to “talk” with each other in a more organized, more direct way soon.
We’ve all got long wishlists, as I say….and we welcome hearing what the readers’ wish lists are–because ultimately, it’s all about our readers! What our readers want is very, very important to us. That’s part of the joy of Knitting Daily right now–being able to respond so quickly to give readers what they ask for, without having to wait a full press cycle of six months or more. I love that!
How will Knitting Daily integrate with Interweave’s other new media approaches, i.e. the television show?
KnittingDailyTV came about when Interweave bought the Shay Pendray Needle Arts Studio (opens to a .pdf) show on PBS. Starting with the 2007-2008 season, we are giving it an “Interweave makeover”– new sets, new show website, new graphics, new content, and a new focus on knitting. The TV show’s website will be a sister website to KnittingDaily.com, just as InterweaveKnits.com is a sister site to Knitting Daily. And just like sisters talk about each other, and share the best of their lives, we online Interweave sisters will talk about each other and share good stuff between ourselves. But we’re very new sisters, so we’re still getting to know each other. I have to confess that I am really fascinated to see what Interweave does with its first TV show–so exciting!
The recent modifications you made to the Tomato sweater intrigued many readers. Do you plan to offer more personal tips and tutorials like this on the site?
Yes! I come from a long line of storytellers in my family, and I almost can’t help myself, as far as personal stories go…and the explosion of popularity of knitting blogs tells us that knitters connect deeply with stories and storytellers. All that aside: I personally have been floored by the outpouring of enthusiasm in the comments! I read those to myself in the evenings after work, and it’s a huge treat. Since I am really committed to listening to what the readers want, if what the readers want is more of the kind of thing I’m doing with the Tomato, then more they shall get.
What is your background? How were you prepared to take on a big project like Knitting Daily?
You might say I have a varied background Craft-wise, I have been knitting since I was tiny–I knit my first cardigan at age ten. I also crochet, spin, weave, do beadwork, and I was so obsessed by quilting at one point that I had my hand-stitched quilts in a show. I learned to sew and customize sewing patterns from my mom and a really awesome home-economics teacher (Mrs. Sweet, yes, that was her real name). Handcrafts are as essential to my life as good coffee and chocolate. As a child and teen, whenever someone asked where I was, my family would say, “Oh, she’s probably off making something somewhere.”
I went to grad school to train to be a clinical therapist–I joke that this was perfect preparation for being managing editor of Interweave Knits, the job I had before becoming editor of Knitting Daily. Managing editors are kind of the air traffic controllers of the magazine crew–I worked out the schedule for each issue, made sure that all the sweaters for that issue traveled from designer to editor to stylist to photoshoot to tech editor to editors again, coordinated the work flow between editors, authors, graphics folk, and production people…plus I was designing things for the mag, writing intros and articles, doing some tech-editing, and knitting socks in meetings. Oh, and I was also managing editor for Interweave Crochet and Knitscene during that same time period, so our team was doing 8 issues a year at that point. It’s a very hard-working team! There were days I wished I could wear roller skates to work so I could move around the office more quickly. During that time, one of my favorite things was to talk to the web people and come up with ways we could put little bits of the magazines online….so Knitting Daily is really an organic outgrowth of all of those conversations.
Wow! Did you learn as much as I did?! It is such an exciting time! The TV show, the pattern forums, the free patterns: so much to look forward to as an avid knitter. Since Knitting Daily went “live” in the middle of June, I have looked forward to the daily emails from Sandi. It usually hits my inbox after dinner, so it is almost like a dessert
You can read archived posts (I found the Sock Survey particularly intriguing!) and some beautiful free patterns. Two of the recent releases were already added to my TO-DO list…
…and Sandi offers one last tidbit…
Just a sneak preview ahead… I’ve gotten tons of emails about the Summer Shawlette and the Comfort Shawl. Lots of those emails are from breast cancer survivors or family and friends of survivors. Since there are some technically intriguing bits about knitting those shawls, and since lace is endlessly fascinating, AND since both shawls are fairly good introductory lace projects for beginning lace knitters, I want to write about those shawls next.
I also have an exclusive Teva Durham pattern that we will feature on Knitting Daily in August….there’s so much good stuff ahead. So if you like what I’m doing on Knitting Daily, let me know….and if you have some suggestions or ideas, let me know those as well! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
THANK YOU SANDI!
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