Fickle Knitter Book Signing at Strands and Stitches on June 9, 2012

Posted on Jun 07, 2012. 0 comments

FK_Cover8x10 I'll be at Strands and Stitches in Laguna Beach, California located right off of Pacific Coast Highway this Saturday, June 9th from 12-5 signing Leaves, Fickle Knitter Design Volume 1. World Wide Knit In Public Day June 9th, 2012 We'll also be celebrating Strands and Stitches' 20th Anniversary AND World Wide Knit in Public Day with Mira from Baah Yarn and up and coming designer Suzanne Nielsen! So if you're in the area please stop by and tell 'em Fickle Knitter sent ya. Read more »

Leaves, Fickle Knitter Design Volume 1 Reviewed in Summer 2012 Interweave Knits by Clara Parkes

Posted on Jun 04, 2012. 2 comments

"The premise of Michelle Miller's Fickle Knitter Design Volume 1: Leaves is one most of us will appreciate--patterns that use 395 or fewer yards of yarn. We've seen a lot of people try this approach, small-scale and mainstream publishers alike, but the results don't always scale aesthetically to match the amount of yarn the projects use. All eight of Michelle Miller's designs in this book do, and beautifully."
--Clara Parkes, "the Booklet" Summer 2012 Interweave Knits

Having my first book reviewed by Clara Parkes has been one of the top 5 best experiences of all time while working in the Knitting Industry. Do you know Clara? If not, pull up a chair.

Clara has owned and operated Knitter's Review since the year 2000. Knitter's Review is a website and weekly Newsletter (Sign up Here) where Clara writes and publishes honest and thoughtful reviews on all manner of knitting topics. I've been a reader taking Clara's advice since I started knitting in 2004. The Knitter's Review forums has provided me with a bevy of information with helpful folks offering advice over the years.

Clara has written three amazing books, The Knitter's Book of Socks, The Knitter's Book of Yarn, and The Knitter's Book of Wool.

This year she's begun filming segments for Knitting Daily TV, making appearances on her local ABC news affiliate WMTW, traveling the country for knitted related teaching and speaking engagements, and baking as well as creating her world famous "Claramels" caramels as well as maintaining a rich and varied sense of humor.

What does all this mean? That I'm as happy as a pig in a poke to have had my work featured in a review by Clara with the likes of Brooklyn Tweed and Ysolda Teague. Thank you so much Clara for including Leaves, Fickle Knitter Design Volume 1 in your column!

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What to do when you think you might run out of yarn by Michelle Miller

Posted on Jun 03, 2012. 6 comments

This article addresses some options available to you when you might run out of yarn while knitting a one skein triangle shawl. What makes me qualified to talk on the subject? I have run out of yarn while knitting a project and in my tenure as a designer I knit a lot of triangle shawls and talk with people who have knit a lot of shawls.

Fickle Knitter Design

Buy More Yarn
Let's start in the beginning and address the easiest solution. Buying more yarn! Way back in 2007 when I was footloose and fancy free I knit Shaped Triangle from A Gathering of Lace. I cast on without making a gauge swatch and without paying any regard to the yarn used in the pattern, the yardage requirements, or how a change in yarn could affect my gauge (kind of hard to determine since I didn't bother with a swatch in the first place!). So when I ran out of my Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace Multi I marched into my favorite LYS and bought another skein. Another option strongly related to Buying More Yarn is Trading for Stash on Ravelry. You can search knitter's stashes on ravelry and some might even sell or trade you their left over yarn! Ravelry is amazing. I know.

But Wait, What if You're Not Sure if you have enough Yarn?
I weigh my skeins before I start a top down triangle with a knit on edge. Actually, I weigh ALL the yarn I knit with because I have to record the yardage used when I write patterns! And I'll share a little secret with you. You can weigh your yarn and relate it directly to yardage by recording what is on the yarn label. How so? Let's say our yarn has 400 yards and weighs 100 grams. After knitting the main body of the shawl but before starting the knit on edging let's say I have 50 grams left. So how much yardage is that? Well let's see using a ratio, shall we?

x yards = 50 grams
400 yards = 100 grams.

Solving for x we find that x = (50*400)/100 = 200 yards left.

If you are still not certain about whether or not you'll have enough yarn you can continue weighing your yarn after knit on edging repeats to see how much each repeat weighs and compare that with how much knitting you have left to do. Let's take the simplest example of this and see how much yarn we have left after knitting the short row center, other wise known as the half way point when working a knit on edging onto a triangle shawl.

After the short row center we have 28 grams left. That means we used 22 grams from the 50 grams we had earlier when we started the edging. Since 28 grams is greater than 22 grams we should have enough yarn!

Use Smaller Knitting Needles on the Knit On Edge
I usually suggest a rule of thumb for determining yarn usage for those who want to knit a larger shawl. If you want to continue knitting one of my patterns so that it's larger you are welcome to do so. If you save 50% of the yarn by weight (i.e. 50 grams if you have 100) you ought to have enough to work your edging without running out. If you find that you have less than 50% of your yarn left by weight you can try a sneaky trick that won't change the overall appearance of your finished object too much. Try knitting the edging on a knitting needle a size or two smaller than what you knit the main body with. I don't do this in my patterns since I'm writing for other people to knit, but it is a simple and elegant solution to guard against running out of yarn.

I don't use a fancy scale, any small kitchen scale that measures in grams is sufficient. And it doubles as a nice scale for weighing first class mail! I paid under $20 for my scale at Target.

K3tog instead of k2tog on the border edge
This is a more advanced technique because it will require that you alter the short row instructions. Luckily I've written a tutorial on exactly how to do just that. Back to the topic at hand, simply add a "k3tog" with 2 edge stitches every 11th knit on edge row and you'll use less yardage. As I said above this will alter the short row instructions but that's not a show stopper.

Have you run out of yarn? Try a Contrast Border
Yarn Assassin's Ballerina Shawl
Ballerina Shawl with Contrast Edge and Beads instead of Bobbles by YarnAssassin

My favorite solution to running out of yarn on a top down triangle is to use a contrast border. Some of the prettiest shawls I've seen have used this technique out of necessity.

ilina's flyleaf 2
Flyleaf Shawl with Contrast Edge by Ilina

All you need to do is knit the main body of the shawl and cast on a NEW yarn when you start the knit on edging. You can do a closely matched color, a contrast color, a secondary color, or whatever else you'd like!

I hope that this article about the options available to you when you might run out of yarn while knitting a one skein triangle shawl has been helpful to you! Below are some additional resources you may find helpful on your knitting journey.

How To Knit a Gauge Swatch
How To Knit with Beads
Gauge, A Story
Submit to Knit Picks IDP
7 Ways to be a Great Test Knitter
How to Create Lace Motifs
Lace Triangle Construction
How to Insert Lace Motifs
How to--Short Rows for Shawls
How To Block Shawls
How to Calculate Hat Math
How to--Different Hat Sizes
Why Knitting Isn't Free

Interested in buying Michelle’s knitting patterns? Visit her online shop, ravelry shop, or etsy shop to buy one now. Each pattern purchased helps keep the lights on and gives Michelle time and resources to write more about knitting.

Read more »

Fickle Knitter Photography: Then and Now

Posted on May 31, 2012. 3 comments

I've gone back through my archives to bring you astonishingly bad photography of my very first knitting projects--so you can see that it's possible to go from really bad to not bad at all! 

There are tons of references available online for free where you can learn about Photography. I love Ken Rockwell's site, and an excellent book is called "Understanding Exposure" by Peterson. I also enjoy Scott Kelby's digital photography books.

And without further ado let's look at some spectacularly bad Fickle Knitter Photography circa 2004, followed by what I like to shoot now.

Fickle Knitter Photography THEN

Blurry Mitten With Vintage Scissors

Fickle Knitter Photography NOW

Obi Shawl
The Obi Shawl, the second Fickle Zen Mystery KAL. Click here to Purchase.

Fickle Knitter Photography THEN

Poorly lit Hat (also blurry)

Fickle Knitter Photography NOW

Patmore Bag
The brand new Patmore Bag. Click to Order Complete Patmore Kit via Holiday Yarns Here. (Kit comes with thinner organza ribbon, tequila not included).

Fickle Knitter Photography THEN

Blurry Baby Booties out of Craft Store Yarn

Fickle Knitter Photography NOW

silver spoon
Silver Spoon Shawl. Click here to purchase.

Fickle Knitter Photography THEN

More Craft Store Yarn projects. Still didn't know how to focus.

Fickle Knitter Photography NOW

baah scalloped scarf
The Baah Scalloped Scarf (Pattern now available in two sizes) Click here to purchase.

Fickle Knitter Photography THEN

I REALLY loved this Lion Brand yarn, so much so that I made a cute purse and promptly photographed what exactly? I don't see any portion of this photo in focus.

Fickle Knitter Photography NOW

Flyleaf shawl
Flyleaf Shawl. Click here to purchase.

Fickle Knitter Photography THEN

Not a bad photo, but my nephew D modeling one of my first Finished Knitted Objects.

Fickle Knitter Photography NOW

D as he is now. I adopted him last year after we lost my Sister and Brother in Law. He's the youngest 10 year old teenager I know!

I hope you've enjoyed this little walk down Fickle Memory lane. I've learned a lot about light and composition since the early days of my knitting career. You could also say I've learned a bit about knitting as well.

Interested in buying Michelle’s knitting patterns? Visit her online shop, ravelry shop, or etsy shop to buy one now. Each pattern purchased helps keep the lights on and gives Michelle time and resources to write more about knitting.

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How to Design Knitting Patterns on a Budget by Michelle Miller

Posted on May 28, 2012. 3 comments

How to Design Knitting Patterns on a Budget by Michelle Miller of Fickle Knitter Design
Fickle Knitter Design

You don't need a fancy degree or to spend thousands of dollars on charting and photography software, high end cameras, and photography equipment to become a knitting designer. Hard work, persistence, and dedication to learning is really all you need.

What makes me qualified to teach you about knitting design? Well I've self and traditionally published 102 knitting patterns, and written a book and had an article featured in Knitty and had many patterns published in Knitcircus magazine since 2008. The current issue of Interweave Knits (Summer 2012) and Creative Knitting (July 2012) both feature positive reviews of my first book Leaves, Fickle Knitter Design Volume 1. My designs appear in 59 shops across 24 states and 3 countries. I teach classes on knitting design and participate as a vendor in knitting festivals all over the United States. Most importantly, I've mentored many designers over the years and I hope this tutorial will give you some guidance on what you can create on a budget.

Before you start, make a game plan
What do you hope to accomplish by writing knitting patterns? (In other words, don't quit your day job just yet).

Make a list of goals that you hope to accomplish. If you want to self publish, what steps do you need to take to do so? If you want to have a design credit in traditional publishing, what magazines or books do you want to be featured in?

The Designers Discussion group on Ravelry is a fantastic resource. If you have a burning question about design this is the place to go. Between the Information Pages and the Search box (at the top above the topics and below the forums->designers group link) you ought to be able to find answers to just about any question including what magazines and books are holding submission design calls, and how you are compensated for your work. Anne, Corrina and Sarah work hard to keep the Designers group up to date and relevant.

Look at your favorite knitting authors and make a note of what they do that you like. This goes for layout, photography, and style. This doesn't mean that it's ever okay to copy another designer's work. Develop your own voice and standards and always put everything in your own terms.

Reading is Mostly Free
Your local library or knitting guild is a great resource if you are low on funds or do not wish to build a knitting book library of your own. You can borrow books through interlibrary loan, browse magazines and borrow books on every topic relevant to being a knitting designer from being a small business owner, marketing, to popular books by authors such as Elizabeth Zimmermann and Clara Parkes. Libraries are a 'use it or lose it' proposition these days, so the more we patronize libraries and teach our children to patronize libraries, the more funding they'll receive (or so is my hope). Also don't be afraid to talk with friends and family about your ideas, but don't let them discourage you either.

Low Cost Designing Software
I learned far more about Microsoft Excel than I ever thought I needed to know in an evil senior level physics course entitled "Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics" which we students promptly renamed "Sadistical" mechanics. But you don't need a degree in physics to learn Excel! Practice and experience and ease of use are what's most important. Many folks have access to Excel and have some experience with it so this might be a safe choice to dip your toe in the knitting design waters. Aire River Font is a wonderful companion to charting in excel, and it's free! Aire River Font grants permission to individuals and self publishers without royalty payments.

Apache OpenOffice is a freeware version for word processing and spreadsheets and is an alternative to Excel if you don't have access to the software. And Stitchmastery Font can be used in conjunction with OpenOffice for a minimal fee.

Another low cost charting software option is Intwined Pattern Studio. I paid only $44 for my copy and it is useful for turning charts into written instructions. As with any plug and chug software, you'll have to tweak the final product to fit with your standards.

Low Cost Photography Software
If you are low tech then Flickr may be a solution for photo editing. Although Picnik went away, aviary has some basic editing capabilities such as cropping, adding text, and resizing your photos. If you have more than 200 photos Flickr charges a very reasonable $25 per year to host your photos on their website.

I'm a long time user of The GNU Image Manipulation Program, aka the Gimp. However, this free software has a huge learning curve! If you need to perform more complicated graphical tasks I would recommend checking out youtube and using google to find tutorials to get you where you need to go with this program. But as it is free, and if you don't count the time spent teaching yourself how to use the software, it is much, much cheaper than the Adobe Suite, which ranges from about $1500-$1800 with the same level of difficulty in acquiring the skills needed to work with the software.

For the self publishing I do for my books I have switched over to the Adobe Suite of products including Photoshop and Illustrator, because having something printed in a book form has a higher dot per inch requirement than the Excel-Aire River Font can provide. Also, Adobe Illustrator charts are vector and not raster based, meaning they can be resized for optimal viewing size. This is important when you are having something published in a book or magazine format, and is not as relevant when self publishing single patterns printed from a non professional printer.

Low Cost Photography
Anyone who insists that you need a top of the line DSLR camera is probably trying to sell you a camera.
Photography by Patrick Hough
The Ballerina Shawl

The Ballerina Shawl, photographed by Patrick Hough was done entirely using a point and shoot camera! However, he is very knowledgable about photography and knows how to set up a composition and portrait photography. This knowledge comes from many years of study and reading as well as practice. Please see your local library or check out what local extension photography classes are available in your area.

Mama Janes

Use White Posterboard as a background for small objects, photographed using natural, indirect light from a window in your home. One of my first patterns, Mama Janes were photographed on a simple white background, using indirect light from a north facing window in my home. This cost me zero extra dollars since I had everything but the (49 cent) poster board on hand.

Ask your friends and family to model! But do yourself a favor and only ask people in your life who are enthusiastic about what you aim to do. No nay sayers allowed on photography day.

The Lisa One Skein Shawl
The Lisa One Skein Shawl

Now I use a fancy medium format camera that I inherited from my sister when she unexpectedly passed away from pneumonia in 2011. But a camera is only as good as the person behind the lens! I photographed the Lisa Shawl (Currently #1 on the Ravelry Hot Right now list at the time of publishing) using my sister's camera on a dress form in my studio. I've studied the light during the course of a day and know what time will yield the best indirect light. You can play some tricks with curtains to reduce direct light and also use (not free) equipment such as photo reflectors and studio lights. But sunlight is free, so learn about the natural light near you.

Early Knitting Photography by Michelle Miller
Think I'm full of it? Above is one of my first knitting shots, where I didn't even know how to rotate the photo so you can see me! (The project was also one of my first, a stockinette scarf knit with Lion Brand Homespun). Proof positive that reading and application of what you've read can change your skill level.

Mira Cole modeling the shawl knit with her yarn
The Baah Shawl

In the past 8 years I've spent a lot of time reading and practicing with my camera to develop the know how to take better photos. The above shot of the Baah Shawl begins my foray into modeled photography. You can see it's worlds ahead of my homespun scarf photo and the main difference is personal experience. So borrow photography books from the library, ask your photography nerd friends, and practice, practice, practice! You don't need a fancy camera when you've got the right lighting, and good composition.

Do you know a photographer who doesn't knit? Barter some hand knit socks for photography. Know a tech editor who you can trade a skill with? Bartering again is key. Same with your test knitters and graphic designers. Trade on your strengths and always be generous to the people who are helping you out. Bartering is a low cost way to get services you can't normally afford. But respect "no" when people aren't able to barter and move on.

How to Write Superior Knitting Patterns

    • Knit as much as possible, Study patterns,  & Practice
    • Tech Editing--Barter or realize that the cost of tech editing will help you sell more patterns in the future!
    • Test Knitting--Ask trusted friends or family to test knit for pattern clarity.
    • Good Photography--Learn the skills or barter!
    • Correct mistakes as soon as you find them--Let your knitters know of an error via an errata page or email them updates. Apologize, then move on.

Where should you submit?
Independent Designer Program at Knit Picks is a wonderful place to start! Go in prepared. If IDP is no longer accepting baby hats because they have a surplus, then don't submit a baby hat pattern! And don't give up after being told no. Keep trying.

There are also many online magazines such as Knitty, Twist Collective, Petite Purls and Clotheshorse that take submissions. Don't forget the major publishers like DRG, Interweave Knits, and Soho Publishing. Ready for your first book submission? Try the lovely indie operation run by Shannon Okey, called Cooperative Press.

Make a note of your responsibilities with each submission. Some publications provide technical editing, charting, layout, and photography services and some require that you provide those services with your completed submission.

And learn to read a contract.

Yarn Support
Once you have a few solid, successful designs under your belt (which can be accomplished with self publishing and a bit of low cost advertising on ravelry) you may want to start asking for yarn support. Be aware however that yarn support comes with it a responsibility to the dyer. Be respectful of dyers and yarn companies if they do not provide you with support because this is a small industry and you never know when you'll be tasked with dealing with these professionals in the future. Lay out terms that are agreeable to you and the dyer on what is to become of the yarn that you have received for yarn support. If you promise a design to a dyer, do everything possible to bring that design to press. Never take yarn and neglect to provide results because it makes all designers look bad.

I hope that you've enjoyed my tutorial on How to Design Knitting Patterns on a budget. Below please enjoy some of my other tutorials that may help you on your knitting design journey.

How To Knit a Gauge Swatch
How To Knit with Beads
Gauge, A Story
Submit to Knit Picks IDP
7 Ways to be a Great Test Knitter
How to Create Lace Motifs
Lace Triangle Construction
How to Insert Lace Motifs
How to--Short Rows for Shawls
How To Block Shawls
How to Calculate Hat Math
How to--Different Hat Sizes
Why Knitting Isn't Free

Interested in buying Michelle’s knitting patterns? Visit her online shop, ravelry shop, or etsy shop to buy one now. Each pattern purchased helps keep the lights on and gives Michelle time and resources to write more about knitting.

Read more »

Happy Memorial Day 2012

Posted on May 27, 2012. 0 comments

Happy Memorial Day

memorial day weekend 2012

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Zen Yarn Garden Interview and Yarn Party

Posted on May 22, 2012. 3 comments

Fickle Knitter Design has been collaborating with Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden to bring new knitting patterns in luxury yarn to market since 2010 and I'm happy report that it has been a happy and fruitful relationship for the both of us! Roxanne's sense of color is nuanced and beautiful and her selection of only the highest quality yarn bases makes for a masterful combination. In other words, Roxanne and Neville Yeun create a yarn that is mighty hard to resist for knitters, weavers, and crocheters alike.


Serenity Silk Single in Tangerine

Like the above Yarn, for example. I am so proud to share that Roxanne has created a special color way based on my obsession with the color orange! This amazing color is called "Tangerine" and is brand new to the Zen Yarn Garden line up. What I love most about Zen Yarn Garden's yarn is that it appears to be a solid color from a distance but when you examine it close up you discover that it is rich with color and texture. The yarn is a delight to the eyes and the hands.

I'll be appearing in the Zen Yarn Garden booth at Stitches MidWest on August 9th-12th. I'll be there signing books and you'll be able to play in my traveling Trunk Show all weekend. And please stay tuned for more special events featuring Fickle Knitter Design and Zen Yarn Garden in the future!

How long have you been in the yarn business?

Zen Yarn Garden officially started in late 2005 on Etsy on a part-time basis. Fast forward a couple of years and the business became a full-time endeavour for myself (Roxanne) and within the last year my husband (Neville) has joined me full-time.

What did you do in your previous life before becoming a dyer and do you enjoy being a full time dyer?

Before become a full-time business owner, I worked as an Executive Assistant for various non-profit associations. The longest was 10 years in Edmonton, Alberta prior to moving to Toronto, Ontario to marry Neville. I then worked for 2 years in Toronto as an Executive Assistant and when my husband got transferred to southern Ontario for his work, I decided to work full-time at my yarn business.

Now that Neville has joined me, I have handed over much of the dyeing responsibility to him. He and I create colourways together but the bulk of the workload now is his. He seems to enjoy it and for me, it was a welcome relief. I thoroughly and wholeheartedly enjoy creating colourways and watching the colours express themselves on the yarn but once the volume of yarn that needed to be dyed went up, the labour involved skyrocketed. Neville handles the physicality of the job way better than I do and to this day, I am still thoroughly involved in creating our colourways with him.


Serenity Silk Single color 301-02

What are the challenges of being a husband/wife business team?

It's wonderful to work with your husband on a full-time basis but the idiosyncrasies of your relationship can easily creep into the daily running of the business. It never ceases to surprise me that we get along so well doing this but there are still times where we don't see eye to eye. He is educated as an engineer who loves to have charts and plans and processes. Me? I'm a doer. I was an Executive Assistant who made sure things got done and prior to that I got a degree in Political Science so it was all about ideas. Making lists are good but getting things done is better. I'm sure you ladies understand...LOL! With his help the business is growing and fluorishing so I'm really quite grateful for his support and despite the little challenges we have they are definitely surmountable. We seem to balance each other quite well though as I am the idea person and he is the person who puts the process in place to get things done.

What made you decide it was time for a change on your retail site?

I've been using the same cart interface for about 4 years now and although I love it, it also does not have certain features that are a little more modern. The site did not translate itself well to tablets, iPads or smartphones and now that smartphones, tablets and iPads are everywhere, it is absolutely necessary that we make it an enjoyable shopping experience for our customers by making a change.

How much work goes into the dyeing business?

Oh gosh, it seems endless most days. The upside of a home business is you are at home but the downside is your work is always in front of you. We have the tendency to work late hours into the night and most days we are working 8-10 hours a day. Work never really go away either. I can't remember the last time my husband and I went on an actual vacation or had a real day off – even on the weekends we are still attending to this, that and the other.

May we see one of your first dyed skeins?

Oh sure! This skein I remember fondly...I had put the pot on the stove, added in a whole bunch of dye colour, dropped the yarn in and freaked out. Why? The water looked muddy and gray. To my amazement though, after I had taken it out and rinsed the yarn, I had created what would be called a “semi-solid”. In 2005 we didn't have that term to describe tonal colourways but alas, there I was creating one for the first time!

Are you incorporated?

We are! We decided last year to incorporate our business from a sole proprietorship. Incorporation has meant the business really is ts own entity compared to being “me” when it was a sole proprietorship.

What is your philosophy on collaboration?

Collaboration is part of the heart and soul of our business. Without working with others, our business would not fluorish. Collaborating with others brings in fresh, new ideas and also opens our eyes to different products and services that we can offer. We truly believe that to survive in this business you must create partnerships with other businesses and through that, we all benefit and help each other.

What’s new for Zen Yarn Garden?

We have made a commitment this year to travel to fibre and trade shows as often as we possibly can. The interaction with our customers and others in the business face to face is very valuable to our business and to our customers. We truly enjoy bringing our yarns to the knitters for them to see in person – seeing the delight in their eyes makes our jobs worthwhile!

And in closing, I'd like to say thank you to Michelle for hosting an interview of Zen Yarn Garden on her blog – it is much appreciated! Michelle and I have created a strong working relationship and we have lots of new ideas and products coming in the months to come so watch for them! Fickleknitter and Zen Yarn Garden collaborate well and it's been our pleasure working with Michelle!


And now onto the yarn party...come drop by our new Zen Yarn Garden online store to save 10% from May 22nd to May 28th inclusive. All yarns in our “yarn” dropdown category are part of the yarn party and don't forget to check out our Party Paks under “Specials” for even more savings on yarn trios!

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Sponsoring the Knitcircus Newsletter & A Contest

Posted on May 18, 2012. 4 comments

In an effort to put my money where my mouth is in regard to supporting women owned knitting businesses, Fickle Knitter Design has become a sponsor of the Knitcircus Newsletter. The Knitcircus Newsletter is chock full of knitting content, with Jaala Spiro as the Systems Engineer in Chief (I made that title up just now but I feel like it addresses all that needs to be done to bring you the newsletter each week) and also Owner and Operator of the publication. Recently Knitcircus changed focus from an online magazine to a Newsletter and Book Publishing format. Jaala has found her voice as a pattern writer and delivers quality content that you can trust each week. I'm proud to act as a sponsor for Jaala's efforts and you can view the first edition that includes a Fickle Knitter Design ad here.

The Knitcircus Newsletter addresses weekly topics such as:

To Subscribe to the Knitcircus Weekly Newsletter click here, Like Knitcircus on Facebook here, and follow Knitcircus on Twitter here.

Marinette Cowl
Marinette Cowl by Jaala Spiro

Jaala generously agreed to sit down for an interview this week and I hope you enjoy the results below. See the bottom of this post for information on how to win a copy of Knitting Recipes: Hats and Cowls!

How long have you been owner and operator of Knitcircus?

Knitcircus began when a friend and I decided to let go of the literary
magazine we'd been publishing, and turn to something a little more fun, and
less intense. It's been five years (?!) since the first issue, which was
printed on paper and hand-bound with yarn. It's just kept growing since
then; we went online with Issue #9 and grew to 26 patterns and 4 articles by
Issue #16, with more than 200 thousand viewers.

How has your vision for your company changed since its inception?

At first it was just for fun, then it gathered speed and became a real business, with multiple staff members, professional graphic design, and patterns from all over North America and Europe. Issue #16 marked the last magazine, and we've rolled with the economic punches to re-focus as a weekly newsletter, with articles, interviews and techniques that is free each week.

New Knitcircus Pattern by Jaala Spiro

Definitely Hers Hat Pattern is a pattern in the Knitting Recipes: Hats and Cowls collection

This last change has let me start publishing books of my own designs; Knitting
Recipes: Hats and Cowls
will be out this August!
Designing is a lot of
work, but my satisfaction levels have shot through the roof. I didn't
realize I'd been holding back all of these pattern ideas while I was editing
the magazine.

Another new project this year has been the Knitcircus Podcast: Amy Detjen,
the amazing knitting teacher and author of Knitting with Two Colors (along
with Meg Swansen) graciously agreed to co-host, so we get together and crack
each other up every two weeks. Well, mostly she cracks me up, because she's
brilliant and funny and knows everything about knitting.

What's something unique or fun about your company that people don't know?

Being self-employed is the best when your kids are in school and you get to
go work at The Sow's Ear yarn and coffee shop. That's when it all pays off.

And I've got more books up my sleeve. Watch for some Best of Knitcircus collections coming this fall! 

--Jaala Spiro, Owner of Knitcircus

Visit the Knitcircus Blog for a chance to win a copy of Knitting Recipes: Hats and Cowls by Jaala Spiro, good through Monday, May 21st, 2012.

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Please help me Welcome Lisa to the Fickle Knitter Team

Posted on May 17, 2012. 3 comments

New Tilli Tomas
The Lisa Shawl knit in One Skein of Tilli Tomas, Sample Knit by Lisa

Please join me in welcoming Lisa, the newest freelancer to join Fickle Knitter Design! Lisa will be answering questions and heading up Customer Service for knitters with a Fickle Knitter Design knitting question and can be reached at


Lisa also moderates the Fickle Knitter Design group on Ravelry under the handle Charlottesmom, and her responsibilities include running the bi-monthly Knit Alongs in the group, and providing test and sample knitting duties as well.

Necklaces Made to Order by Lisa

Not content until she's consistently overachieving, Lisa also creates beautiful necklaces you can find in her etsy shop.


Lisa's new gig with Fickle Knitter Design allows her to continue to stay at home with her little girl while giving her time to work on her knitting and to continue creating her beautiful beaded necklaces which are available in her Etsy Shop. You won't find the one featured in the post though, because I snapped it up as soon as it hit the shelves.

What does Lisa have to say about her new position with Fickle Knitter Design?

I am a SAHM and one who knits and spins and is addicted to your patterns since my first test knit.  You brought me over to the dark side of spinning and now I am knitting accessories and making jewelry along with being your virtual assistant to make ends meet. 

Welcome Lisa, and thank you for all you do!

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