I’ve recently met in person a new follower of this blog, and I was asked an interesting question ~~ what am I selling? Yarn? Even though it has seemed to me self evident all these years, I’ve been contemplating about it since, whether it is maybe not so evident anymore. I really never thought about this site being anything other than a blog, established 2010 (formally known as “Yarnings”) just to write about my creative projects, and life on the mountain, peppered with occasional philosophical musings, often including Emma (our dog) or Jeff (my partner), and loads of appearances by my nieces.
A little backstory: I came on to WordPress just as craft blogging had rather glutted the cyber space almost ten years ago. I began a blog first set private for just me and some friends & family to read, then I bravely changed the settings to unlisted shortly after, so I could share the link with the broader craft blogging world, and not until I started to sell my first knitting patterns, in 2013, did I change the settings to public with the domain jenjoycedesign.com. Originally my knitting was mostly about designing things for my young nieces, which was so amazing, and taking loads of photos of them, all which has been a colossally fun way to share time together and they’ve really gotten comfortable with modeling over the years (you see the photo shoots of them going back to the first sweaters in 2010 here in the archives , but one must scroll pages back to see oldest posts).
I guess now with so many platforms of social media, blogging does sound rather old school and maybe the whole thing about having a blog to document one’s creative endeavors can seem kind of self absorbed (especially when the author does not interact with the commentators) but I honestly gain massive inspiration from this blog, and incentive to come up with interesting things to do and write about! Besides, I have been grateful for the followers; the chat in the comments has been grounding for me, and have always tried to engage with those few who appreciate what I’m putting out there. Anyway this place has been and still is . . . just a blog.
I have been doing okay selling patterns over on Ravelry.com , and my designs on my designer page there are constantly linking back to this blog for tutorials, deeper explanation & sharing of inspirational beginnings. As well, every design shown in the sidebars or up in the tabs ” My Patterns ” when clicked makes a bee line straight to the pattern page on Ravelry.
Through it all I have not yet gotten bit by the social media bug, and even though I have accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, the former two which WordPress automatically posts to in my settings, I am rarely on them. I fully intend to use these social media sites more effectively in the future, but as yet I rarely author posts specifically on any of them.
So to answer this recent question I must say that it is only digital download knitwear patterns I sell, through Ravelry.com , but a lot of what I write here is in support of those designs I sell, as tutorials, sharing process of making, and interest cross-overs with the wider knitting (and even non-knitting) world. Ravelry is great, really awesome actually, and the virtual knitting platform has helped me make a little money in recent few years, although I really do work very hard at it. It is pretty much all I do these days outside of my domestic work (regretfully I have not been playing music professionally for several years now). Oh, and on Ravelry I have a forum where I support the designs, and folks can get help or make knitterly chatter.
So what are all the yarn posts, in Tweed Chronicles and Unspun, that I’ve got up there in the tabs? In these things I am not selling anything, but offering up for free, my trials and discoveries ~~ that is all.
For the present I don’t think selling yarn & knitting related objects in a virtual shop appeals to me , as so many top tier indie knitwear designers do, perhaps as a sort of mark of legitimacy, for in these recent two years of difficult transition I fear an online shop would end up a misfire, and a hassle of retail inventory of which I have not a single square foot of space or extra time for. I keep thinking one day I will do a virtual shop here, but for now digital pattern downloads are great; pure intellectual goods where I have had to learn to wear all the hats, from the designing, to writing, pattern tech editing & format design, photography, and lastly design promotion. Okay, there is the buzz word – promotion – and marketing. All in good time folks, in good time for sure, but I need to settle in my mind and in my new home, which is still not near finished, nor are we living in it yet, before I can grasp a solid approach with it. I am still exploring how I want to go to do my best with Jenjoyce Design.
For now Ravelry sells my patterns for me with their huge data & customer base, and my pattern design page is slowly growing in numbers, but I am only one among the thousands of competitive indie knitwear designers on Ravelry, seemingly all so similarly climbing the popularity ladder. I want to refine and distinguish my brand, and that is to write spinner friendly patterns (with extensive gauge charts in many sizes) and so there you have it, the reason for all the spinning tech posts. I am evolving in the direction of writing patterns for every kind of knitter, but even those who are spinners and have unique gauge issues, or those those thrifty knitters who want to use recycled or novelty yarn with no clue as to how to adapt gauges. This is why I am working like an ox presently spinning-to-knit the first sweater in decades, which you can read about in the series ” Spinning For A Project ” .
I will get back to posting about Knitting In The Wild when the wild places around here have become a little more accessible in the wake of the wildfire, and which I like to do especially at the turning of the seasons, and also sharing my recipes, and Emma, garden, and random philosophical musings as I love to do. My life and this blog is a work in progress, and as life pushes and pulls me along my way I unceasingly strive for a perspective of positivism.
Meanwhile, I’ve been spinning up a storm with the recent big 500g Sweater Project, spending more and more time with my Ashford Traditional Wheel in the loft space of the new house. Although the project is epic, I am learning a lot about spinning still, and then it will be already to knit up into something I’m designing just for it!