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A Little Housekeeping

LBHandknits

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I am never quite sure whether anybody reads this space and, subsequently, whether it is worthwhile to make any sort of announcements here. But the responses to several recent posts make me think that perhaps people do read, at least on occasion! So I'll give it a try. 

The thing I wanted to announce, is that I have recently made some changes - both to this website and to my work process. And before I explain what they are, allow me to provide some background:

When I started this website, a little over a year ago now, it was intended to serve a different purpose than it does now: It was meant as an online shop for bespoke and ready-made handknits. I had been knitting for hire for years, and friends kept encouraging me to make it ‘official.’ So finally last year I did. And in the first couple of months I did get some custom order requests. But what I got a lot more of, were requests from fellow knitters - for patterns. 

Quite taken aback by this at first, I would respond by explaining that I did not know how to write (or even read) knitting patterns; that I simply knit what I wanted and kept all designs and measurements in my head. This gave rise to a series of lively virtual interactions with knitters from around the world, as a result of which I first became aware of how different my knitting background was to that of my peers.  

With encouragement from said peers, I then set out to teach myself how to translate knitting as I knew it, to what we mean by knitting in the ravelry era. The terminology, the symbols, the very idea of patterns, of counting stitches… it was all completely foreign to me until then. And even after I started to write patterns - in the first instance, under LB Handknits and soon after for Apple Oak Fibre Works - they were, as it was soon pointed out to me, a tad different! 

I should explain here, that I did work with a technical editor straight away. But the problem was, that - like me - this person was only just starting out in their field. In hindsight, as someone who required a huge amount of stylistic direction, I needed a more experienced hand in this regard. It was only after I was engaged by a couple of clients with in-house tech editors/ pattern checkers/ schematic renderers, that I became fully aware of this. My pattern drafts returned transformed, and my jaw dropped. I realised then, that if I wanted my work to resonate with my audience and to be fully in line with industry standards, then all my patterns needed to be like that. 

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So, the first part of my announcement, is that as of March 2018 I have been working with a new technical editor. She is Sarah of Tricot Edit, and she knows All The Things, and she has been a tremendous help in bringing my design process in line with everything it ought to be in line with! 

The soon-to-be-released Sunny Every Day will be my first pattern that is 100% in the new format, and of course all subsequent patterns shall be as well. Then, once I have some time on my hands (after Woollin!) my plan is to go back and re-work those of my older patterns which I feel will benefit from it (if you've purchased an older pattern, you should automatically receive the new version around the end of this summer). 

What this change means for knitters, is patterns which I am now fully confident will meet their expectations. What this means for small indie yarn companies interested in collaborating - is that, unfortunately, I am no longer able to design for yarn support - as my out of pocket costs for publishing a pattern are considerably higher than what they previously were.  If you are an indie yarn seller or dyer, I would still love to collaborate with you, time permitting, in a way that is affordable to both of us. But basically, in addition to yarn support you would need to cover my costs - which I hope sounds fair!

The other thing I wanted to point out,  is that I have removed the Shop feature from the website. As mentioned at the start of this post, the Shop was originally there to sell bespoke handknits. Considering that I have changed my focus to design work, and that most of my pattern sales happen either through ravelry or through direct orders, the shop feature no longer makes sense. It still might come back on occasion, for sample sales and collaborative special edition runs, just not as a permanent fixture on the site. 

On the other hand, the Blog - which originally was only intended for occasional product-related updates, will continue to grow as a space where I share my thoughts on techniques and other (hopefully!) useful information. I am still finding my voice, as far as communicating about knitting in a way that makes sense to other knitters. But I think I am, slowly, getting there. 

When I started this website in 2017, I did not anticipate the direction it would take me in. I feel very fortunate to be involved in the fibre industry, and to be taking part in the many new projects which I soon hope to share with you. 

With thanks to all for their support, in its many forms,

- LB