We were sitting in Starbucks on a cold Wednesday afternoon, as usual. Nikki said, ‘What are we going to do about our anniversary this year?’
In a group of crafters, we all knew she wasn’t talking about her wedding anniversary. She was talking about the anniversary of the year Belfast Stitch n Bitch was formed. It was our big ten. There were mumbles and shifting glances around the table. No one really had any spectacular ideas. Although in retrospect, I think they were probably just afraid to voice any ideas lest they be put in charge of executing them. But anyway.
‘Well, I did have one idea,’ she said. Everyone perked up. ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we published a pattern book?’
Suddenly there was lots of chatter. People had ideas and were full of enthusiasm. A few of us already had patterns in the works that we were testing. That was it! A pattern book full of patterns written by us: ‘amateur’ crafters with very little pattern writing experience, and yet we were confident it would be great. We discussed the logistics, and came to a few hard conclusions: we could only manage a small number of patterns to start with. They all had to be tested and we wanted the book printed in time for WWKIPD in June. It was almost December. There wasn’t much time, because I knew the patterns would then have to be edited, proofread, spell-checked, and photographs taken of the finished products. We were also funding this amongst ourselves, which meant a tight budget. Because I had a little publishing experience already (albeit in academia), these tasks fell to me, and I became the person to Make It Happen.
[This is the montage part, where you see me toiling away on a laptop surrounded by kids and cats, swearing up a storm as Word shifts my formatting, auto-correct changes my spellings to the American, and photographs refuse to slot seamlessly into the text. And also editing, editing, editing, and editing some more. During this process I also started nursing school, finished tweaking my own contribution to the book, and survived a nearly 3-week hospital stay with my 19-month-old when he came down with a particularly nasty case of pneumonia and pleural effusion. Then there was the back-and-forth process of contacting a printer, negotiating a price, sending in drafts, proofreading proofs, making changes, sending them back, taking photographs, arranging delivery of books and payments, arranging launch dates, fundraisers, marketing and sponsors. So it was stressful, to say the least.]
And then suddenly it was June, and the books were being delivered. Our launch day had been confirmed as 10 June, World Wide Knit in Public Day, and Nikki had come up with some really cool ideas for tote bags with our design printed on the front, and some finishing touches for presentation. She also secured a load of raffle prizes to help offset some of the costs we incurred. She made lemon drizzle cakes, I made brownies, Sharon made Greek dip and we gathered in the Dock Cafe in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter to celebrate the launch of our first collaborative pattern book, fittingly titled Knit 10 Together.
So! What can you find in the book? You can find four knitting patterns and two crochet patterns, and there are a range of skill levels and techniques: from beading and cabling to fair isle and toy-making. Here’s a sneak peek:
Whew. So WWKIP Day is over for another year. But this time, we have something more tangible than just memories to keep. We’re pretty happy with how it turned out, too. Ten years of community crafting at its best.
Here’s to another happy decade. ❤
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of our book, or would like to know more about it, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.