• norahowley

New Year, New Ventures

Yesterday was the solstice. As the days get longer (ever so slowly) it is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and offer a glimpse of what is coming in the new one. I suspect I am no different from many of you in that the past year has not gone to plan. That has included not having the mental/emotional capacity to blog regularly. Part of that has been because I have been thinking long and hard about how to move Knitting Tales forward.

Thanks to a wonderful group of women I have been co-working with this year, I have found a first direction. This site was premised on my belief that our crafts are about more than just a steady sequence of projects. Rather they are about people and stories as told through patterns and projects.

The knitting industry has changed a lot since I took up needles in the last years of the 1970s. For one thing it is based, in large part, on the availability of patterns in a digital format, whether through a designer's website, Ravelry, Etsy, or another platform. Even many of the beautiful print books and magazines that are released come with a code for a download. Out of print (and hopefully out of copyright) are scanned and sold as PDFs. But there is one group of patterns that may be at risk of getting lost.

These are patterns created before digitization was the standard. Their designers may be retired (or semi-retired) or deceased, or the company that produced them is no longer trading. These patterns exist in a sort of limbo. Some of them are found in the Ravelry data base or in old blog posts, but are not available for sale. Others may still be for sale in hard copy, but only if one knows where to look.

So what does this mean for Knitting Tales? This year, as part of my immersion in the story of Betty Lindsey and Yarns International, I realized there were over seventy stranded color work patterns, created by Ron Schweitzer for Yarns International that were at risk of fading into oblivion. This felt wrong. I reached out to Ron and with his agreement, have spent the second half of 2021 creating a the structure to release his work for Yarns International in digital form. The first of these will be available via this site in mid-January 2022. Others will follow.

I can't say more than that now, but I will leave with some pictures from the first release, The Chesapeake Collection

Knitted swatch in natural shades of wool.
Seascape Swatch: Knit in Jamieson's of Shetland

A youngish white woman on a beach wearing a knit sweater with a white skirt, socks, and sandals.
Original photo of the Lighthouses pattern. Knit in Shetland 2000/Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme

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