Independent Knitwear Designers Web Ring: The Rest of the Best

Prior to jumping in to the remaining sites in the ring, I thought I would post a few comments on the ring. Why I started it, what I am looking for in sites that submit, and where I would like to see it go.

I started the ring because I have seen over the years so many comments about Indie designers. You don’t know what you are getting quality wise, good ones can be hard to find as you don’t necessarily have to be known in the popular mags to be a good designer, and so on.

While I know that there are many that I cannot attest to the quality of their pattern, there are certain assumptions I am making based upon how their web presence looks. One of the things I tend to repeat on the designing lists is that your website is your portfolio. It needs to be both easily navigated as well as look like a designers web site. The biggest assumption that I make is that if they show attention to detail on their sites, that their designs will share the same attention to detail.

I also am looking for something that asks me to linger. In the world of retail, I want designs that wow me in some way. I want designers with creativity besides practicality.  I am not saying every design has to be a work of art, but I AM saying that every design should be worthy of the title. By that I mean that it should look like something a designer would do. A plain gray sock that has generic toe and heel shaping with a ribbed top in generic wool does not cut it.  What makes it special? What kinds of detail does it have?

How much content is there, and if it is a blog how much of that content is related to their knitting design? If it is a personal blog, do they have clearly identified links to their designs or a list of the publications their designs are in, if they don’t sell pattern leaflets?

Is it getting tougher to get it? Yes, as the list evolves and becomes more defined. I always feel bad when I have to decline a site because they do not have enough content, or the site looks canned and the designs look generic. But I have to look at what I want in the end. And in the end, I want them all to be special in their own way. Not in the modern “every kid on the team gets a trophy” sense of special, but special because they really have something there that makes their work stand out.

Anyway enough of this. On to the sites.

KnitWhits is from designer Tina Whitmore, who founded Knitwhits and is the primary designer. Tina has been published in all the major US knitting magazines, as well as the UK magazine Knitting. She has also been on Knitty Gritty twice (the Just Beachy and Game Day episodes). From the website: “browse our online store for a vast selection of knitting and crochet patterns and kits for hats, scarves, new felted mittens, socks for all ages as well as a great selection of accessories: purses, designs for the home and lots more”.  And speaking of more, they have patterns for bikinis, too, and here is one I just had to show you in entrelac. Wow.

From designer Edna Hart is Edna Hart Boutique. This is a personal blog of the designer, and those are always interesting. I like them since you get to “know” the designer. Edna has a few designs that have been published in magazines, and she also has a shop”in Silverlake, Califorina that sells Yarn, Jewelry, Handbags, Baby gifts and Toys”. She shows her jewelry on her blog as well.

Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter (smgrdesigns)spends her days hand-dyeing for Lorna’s Laces. She is a budding designer and has a 6 designs on her blog, with links to the three carried by Lorna’s Laces. She has a passion for socks and it will be interesting to see how she evolves. She lives in Chicago and is a member of a band.

I was quite happy when Vermont Fiber Designs Sue McCain joined the ring. Prior to starting Vermont Fiber Designs, Sue was the Design Coordinator for Classic Elite Yarns. She has an outstanding selection of patterns and a tremendous range of sizes (5 to 6x). Vermont Fiber Designs also offers technical services in pattern writing, technical editing, and pattern publishing.

Right after this, Joan McGowan-Michal of White Lies Designs joined the ring. I have admired her work for some time as well. From the web site: “Designer Joan McGowan-Michael creates romantic knitwear with special consideration for a wide range of sizes from petite to plus”. Joan is also an author. Knitting Lingerie Style is her first book and it looks to be a classic. White Lies has wonderfully romantic knits in a great selection of patterns and sizes as well.

That’s it, and I will post intros on the new ones as they join the ring and are approved.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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