Good morning, everyone, and happy Hogmanay! The turning of the year always seems to be a time for drawing lines, and making plans, and this morning I found myself thinking about the strange turns my life has taken to land me here, in the middle of Scotland, creating patterns and making books. Almost 6 years ago, my stroke meant I could no longer work as an academic. A few weeks before it happened, I had created a pattern for a sweater which, as they say, went viral. Putting this pattern on sale opened up another path for me, allowing me to think of alternative options as I recovered. So you could say I started designing because I had to, because I had to find another way of supporting myself financially. But my “new” life began from another place of necessity too: I have found that I always have to be making something, whether its a cardigan, a piece of research, a skirt, an essay, a poem, a book. I have discovered that I just thrive on making stuff – and perhaps thats one of the many reasons why I enjoy what I do now much more than I did academic teaching.

A few weeks ago, we arranged new reprintings of the first two books I made and published independently: Yokes is now in its third edition and Colours of Shetland is going into its fourth. With the Buachaille book published last month, and further titles in the planning stages, I feel so incredibly grateful that the wonderful world of knitting has enabled me to rebuild my life in this interesting way as a writer, designer, and independent publisher, and am not a little proud of the books themselves. Back in 2011-12 when I was beginning to make this my business, money was very tight, I was still ill, and still recovering, and I was also very cautious. I saved what I could, and planned to create a book independently, if that was at all possible. But publishing a book is an expensive business if you want to do it well, and when we attended Woolfest in 2012, it was with the idea that these sales might help enable me to finance publication. I designed some kits which sold like proverbial hot cakes, and Colours of Shetland was basically created with the money we made that year at Woolfest. I have continued in this manner, carefully reinvesting back into my business, and have never sought any external finance or support. Crowdfunding and pre-orders have their place, of course, and without such mechanisms many important things created by independent producers would never find their way to market. Nonetheless I feel proud that, from a rather odd starting point (being left disabled by a stroke with 6 months sick pay) I’ve been able to make patterns, books, and now yarn, completely independently, with careful reinvestment, economic caution, and, of course, the continued support of the knitting world.

A few weeks ago I was approached by a mainstream publisher who wanted me to put together a proposal for a book of essays about knitting. I receive quite a few publishing proposals, but this was the first which has really interested and (if I am honest) rather flattered me. I have been going back and forth musing on the proposal, and my thoughts about the proposal, for quite some time. Under that imprint and editorial team, the book would be produced to a really high standard, and its reach would be incredibly wide. My words would reach a different commercial audience, and a big audience, is, I suppose what many writers crave. Much of the stress-y bits involved in making and publishing a book would be removed (thinking about the nitty gritty of paper stock, production and quality issues, storage and distribution issues) and the weight of editorial decision making would be taken away. This all seemed quite attractive.

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I really rather like being involved with the nitty gritty of publishing – production issues can sometimes be pressurising and more than a little frustrating (believe me), but they are also part of the process of making the thing. And I suppose, in all respects, I like to feel as close as I can to the making-of-the-thing. I also really enjoy working with my own editorial and production team (in whom I have absolute confidence) and making decisions (after taking advice) has never been hard for me. Then I considered that what made the mainstream publisher’s proposal attractive to me was simply hubris – the thought that more people would get to read what I wrote. And finally, I reflected on the fact that what I really liked about where I was was right now was its independence — I had built and made a (modest) success of my (very small) publishing operation completely independently — always taking advice from the people I liked and trusted.

So, finding myself here at the start of the new year in something of a quandary, I would like to ask the people I like and trust – that’s you – for your advice. I am erring towards not pursuing the proposal of the mainstream publisher — am I being short sighted and foolish? Is my attachment to my own independence simply another form of hubris that’s blinding me to how good it would be to create and publish something commercially? And whatever form it takes, would you like to see a (critical and historical) book of essays about knitting from me? What kinds of things would you really like to see me write about? What type of book(s) would you like me to produce?

In any case, I do intend to write more, and make more books, in 2016. I have my own ideas, of course, but any of your thoughts about what shape you’d like my work to take would be most welcome.

Thankyou x

287 thoughts on “turn-of-year reflections

  1. Life is short – you’ve found yourself in a place where you can enjoy what you do. Do the book only if it will bring you enjoyment and contentment. As you said, you are well placed to write independently of a publishing house. If it will make you happy- do it. If it will bring you stress, if ticking someone else’s boxes would have a negative impact on your wellbeing, then leave it x

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  2. Whatever route you choose, I would buy a book of your essays on knitting in a heartbeat! I am always craving an intellectual take on the creative hobby I love so dearly.

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  3. I’d give it a try. New year, something new. Lots of good ideas in previous comments that do t need repeating. Look forward to seeing more in print from you. Your photos, words and patterns are beautiful!

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  4. It is always worth a try. Who knows what you might learn. You may never want to do it again but at least you would know it wasn’t for you. I will say that I love your publishing style. Your books are beautiful and top quality which I appreciate so much. I always have you books out in plain sight for everyone to see. If you can produce something you are just as proud of with the help of a mainstream publisher, and you enjoy the process just as much, it is a win, win. If it doesn’t work out as you hoped, you don’t have to do it again. Can’t wait to see what you do this year. Good luck!

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  5. You can only make the decision – the only thing I would say is that I would read it whoever published it. Don’t underestimate the importance of your name and reputation though – the publishers have asked you for a reason. They are the publishers you are the creative force that will make the book sell. Ultimately I think you would probably be happier having complete control of a project but only you can decide.

    I think what you have created in a short time is inspirational especially considering the state you were in when you started – don’t underestimate what you’ve achieved and stayed true to yourself.

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  6. Hi Kate,
    It’s not like you need more input here and I haven’t read the couple hundred comments in their entirety. But here goes: I say work with the publisher on a book of essays. You haven’t done it before so why not find out what that route is like? Then you will ‘know’ rather than ‘surmise’ what you think about self-publishing compared with having a publisher. Secondly, a book of essays is probably not as easy to sell as a book of patterns intermingled with a few essays. This way the publisher takes the risk. (I find it heartwarming though to see that your fan base is willing to follow you wherever you go.)

    Personally, I love the history, tradition, and artistry of this craft and believe you would do an outstanding job on a volume such as you describe. Whichever way you go, congrats, and happy 2016.

    (I also applaud your steering away from the crowd-funding. Can’t you take much more pride in your accomplishments knowing you did it on your own time and with your own financial efforts? I’m of a different generation obviously…..)

    Gail

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  7. I did not read all the other comments so hopefully this isn’t redundant: I do agree with the person who said “follow your heart.” Writing about knitting is quite different, as you know, from designing, and selling beautifully conceived patterns and well conceived and designed books. Which speaks to you more right now ? If you were to publish either more knit wear or essays on your own, which would you choose?
    Speaking as someone who has written and published professionally, I do know that in addition to having more control, you own more profits if self publishing. Writing does not pay well, unless something sells like hotcakes, in my opinion. Nevertheless, Penguin…awesome imprint. A real ISBN. Go down in history. Be sure to interview the editors if possible. Get a lawyer to support you and read any contracts that you sign!!! I like your idea very much of going back to them with YOUR proposal. And leads back to…the above question re: what does your artistic soul want to do? What I would like to read: Is there information on history of knitting that has not yet seen the light? Are there more Jane Gaugains to explore? Good luck!

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  8. Just a further quick comment. As part of the Seven Skeins club, I received your wonderful book with the other benefits of membership. I have given the book to the woman who re-introduced me to knitting 8 years ago. She inspired me to pick up needles again, and it was a difficult gift to make, only because I was enjoying the book so much myself. I know I will order another copy for myself in the coming weeks, but it was the bestowing of a treasure, the widening of the audience and the joy of bringing someone else into the fold of interesting writing, not just another pattern, that induced me to give away something I valued to someone I valued. More people need to understand the relationship between the textures of society and the textures of fabrics.

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  9. Many of us have fought back from adversity, be it due to health, finances or emotional challenges. As life goes along, there comes almost an anticipation, a happy anticipation, of change. There may have been a fear of losing control of what one has fought so hard to build, re-invent or struggle for in some manner. As confidence grows, you know you will not lose your core, by involvement in new ventures. Like a good Scot, guard your resources, but don’t let fear or lack of confidence or even pride, disallow you a new learning experience. If this venture causes some grief, then don’t repeat it. You can surely make sure that a publisher does not disallow you the ability to concurrently, or sequentially return to self-publishing. You’re a smart woman, go ahead, jump in and watch your back, but enjoy the new adventure. Your talent, your intelligence and creativity are yours to impart or to share in any way you like. Let go. You will be fine.

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  10. Not much new to add: follow your heart, a venture into the mainstream does not mean you can’t retreat (provided there is nothing in a contract to prevent that). What else comes in when the work over every detail can be put aside?

    You have a lot to offer, no matter who publishes!

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  11. Your essays help connect us to history: of knitting, of creating, of ourselves. I think there is a thirst for that kind of knowledge, and this could be a great opportunity to fill that need while undoubtedly reaching new readers. And as others have said, it would also be a great learning opportunity for you.

    I will say that if you’d been approached for a book of designs rather than essays, my advice would be quite different! I think the very things that have made your publications so unique and well-received would be lost in such a venture.

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  12. I have always loved your writing, Kate, your immense skill and proficiency. A book of knitting essays would be wonderful and an excellent adjunct to your personal publishing projects. I have a book that was made in an InDesign class that is ready to be self-published(cat paintings). I was told that publishers will think twice before taking on an author or project that has been self-published. Presently, I am holding out for a proper publisher. You are a proven success. I imagine publishers will be clamoring to sign you onto a project! Can you do both, your own projects and a commercially published project? Would your time be fractured into too many places by taking on this new venture? I love your books; they are not your garden variety knitting books. They are so much more. It is truly amazing and wonderful what you have created with your knitting patterns, books, and now yarns! You have built a lovely little empire here. No small feat. In a way, the greater world needs access to your talents and gifts. I understand completely if you choose not to go in that direction. All the best to you, Tom, and Bruce.

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  13. There is so much wisdom and care in all of the comments I have read. All are viewpoints worthy of consideration, and I think your intuition is leading you in the right direction. Keeping our balance is always a challenge and especially important in maintaining our health. I suspect that keeping it homegrown and organic will take you exactly where you want to go. xov

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  14. Kate, I’m delighted to see you in the photos looking so well. I can see that you are very happy in your northern Scottish kingdom.

    2016 has been a wonderful time for me, as I married my first love, 50 years later than planned, but as they say, better late than never. He recently retired and is interested in finding out about his ancestors from the Isle of Bute. I’m especially keen on learning more about tartans, and their origins.

    I would love to see some up to date tartan themed knitwear. Not just tams, and socks, but designs that incorporate the colors of specific clans. Perhaps tartan themed cowls, bags, boot toppers, etc.

    And perhaps a touch of whimsy such as a cute sheep on the top of a tartan themed finger-less mitten.

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  15. i find your post indeed very self-deprecating. being self-employed myself (and a woman) it’s almost an anathema to “blow one’s own trumpet”. you have built something out of “nothing” using your mind and skills, and you even employ someone else, if i’m not mistaken. you are “adding value” or “creating wealth” for the economy (aside from all the creativity and joy your ideas spark). i am sure that you can trust in your instincts – they’ve brought you this far, after all. and if your instincts tell you to print a book through a publisher, well, it’s not like you’re selling your soul to the devil, is it? you can continue to self-publish simultaneously/afterwards can’t you? it’s one more experience to learn from (and maybe one that will take the pressure off, you for a little while at least). i look forward to seeing what this year brings.

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  16. You are such a fastidious researcher and inquisitive adventurer. I think that you should plan adventures to other parts of the globe to write about textile arts and sheep and other animals. I would think that there would be interested sponsors for such an endeavor. And, another book would almost make itself.

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  17. After half an hour of reading all the comments, I have given up, having got only about a quarter of the way through! You can have been left in no doubt at all about your legion of fans who have offered affectionate, considered and helpful advice and which, at this point, I can only usefully. But I would say if, by any chance, finance might encourage you to self-publish a book with such a great potential readership, why not try crowd-funding? Retain your independence, and your great team – and look at the potentially huge number of funders amongst your fans! My step son used this route very successfully for his own, independent creative purposes.

    Wishing both you and Tom a happy, healthy and fruitful year to come – with such projects, it seems guaranteed!

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  18. Food for thought as you carefully examine all sides of this issue: Engaging with a mainstream publisher might allow your work to be published in other languages. I would imagine translation would be extremely costly and difficult to achieve independently. This could be an opportunity for global community-building (that you have already begun, of course, with your explorations in Iceland and your Ravelry presence). Wouldn’t it be the opposite of hubris if you had the chance to allow your work to reach audiences in their native languages?

    I am a huge fan of your blog and your patterns. Thank you for making your passion available to the world!

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  19. Hi Kate, a contemporary book of essays on the history of knitting is very much needed – there is such a gap in the literature. What I am looking for is something with academic integrity, something inspiring, interesting and lasting. You are the only person (that I can think of) with the qualifications, as an academic, writer and designer, to do it. But if you don’t, someone else will – and that will be a shame. And there is nothing worse than seeing something you’d love to have done yourself, done badly by someone else. And it’s hard to bring out a similar publication on the coat-tails of a bad one. Be the first, and be the best – and you can still be involved in all the details. Make it a condition. But, having said all this, only do what you instinctively feel is right. There’s nothing worse that doing something just to please others and, worse still, to deadline!

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  20. If you can continue to hold the vision and authenticity that you embody, then how the process of publishing should just fit in with that – whether you do it yourself or collaborate with others. You should follow your instincts and the counsel of those who love you. I would welcome enthusiastically a book of knitting history and essays by you – and would happily pre-order such a publication. Keep on keeping on, Kate – you are treasured by us.

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  21. You have gotten wonderful advice. I will only say that I have been wishing for essays written by you full of history, creative design, and your own perspective. However it is published, I will read, treasure it and read it again. I will give it to friends and spread the word. Your essays have always fascinated and moved me.

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  22. Dear Kate,
    Given the quality of your previous books (beautiful photos, excellent writing) I’m not surprised at all that you’ve attracted the interest of a bigger publisher! Since you asked the opinion of the KDD comunity I feel I can add my comment after over two hundred others.
    Going along the mainstream publishing route one may consider what is to gain (wider audience, multi-language edition perhaps, good quality of the book as an object, fame!) and what is to lose (perhaps not having the last say, a lot of time devoted to mail/phone exchanges to get what you want as Knitsonik mentioned, subsequent tiredness and stress…). I noticed and really appreciated the care you took to source the wool for the Buachaille poject, the importance to have it worked not to far away by experienced people. Do you know where the bigger publisher would print and bind the book and in what kind of working conditions?

    If you decide to stay your own editor have you thought of making the most of the KDD comunity? I’m sure there could be some valuable collaborations for translation, distribution, advertisement. No doubt there is a whole network and range of skills and goodwill to use, an alternative way to produce and distribute a book.

    Whatever your final choice, please do continue to write, knit, create and share your work.

    I wish you the best of luck and fabulous new projects with Tom, Bruce and your friends in 2016.

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  23. I’d say go for it, as long as the terms meet your needs, because it’s always good to try new things. Perhaps it will spin you in new, interesting directions. Perhaps you’ll hate it. You won’t know until you try.
    On the other hand, if you’d rather not, that’s cool, too. (I’m so helpful, aren’t I?) Other offers may come. Maybe something will click more in the future. (I will buy any of the books you put out. I love your writing and your patterns.)

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  24. I love the essays in yokes. I think the skills you bring from academia are what I love about your work. Bringing the same level of attention and depth to your research and writing on knitting is really important to me as someone who, with a background in academic philosophy and literature, feels alienated by so much ‘popular’ media. And most importantly it is the respect for the subject matter – knitting and the history of the lives tied to it – deeming it worthy of ‘serious’ attention. Thankyou for speaking with your own voice instead of making concessions to preconceptions about – let’s face it! – women’s crafts and interests. Just because we’re dealing with fabric and fashion doesn’t mean we leave our brains and critical faculties at the door.
    So more history, more identifying the contradictions and complexities that make up this world we are participating in. Keep up the good work!

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  25. So many wonderful, thoughtful responses to your query. Your day-to-day will be very different under the direction of an ‘other’ overseeing your work and your schedule. You may experience times of frustration with someone looking over your shoulder, yet, at other times, you may be glad that you could immerse yourself in one aspect of your work, knowing that very capable people are handling the other parts of it. Only time and experience will tell. If you’re asking if your loyal fans will be here for you and wait for patterns, yarns, etc. while you focus on this project, I for one definitely will.
    My only hesitation is the long term. Once you hand over your work, it will no longer be yours. It feels a little like parenting. Bringing a child into the world requires time, energy, and money, and then, when the child is ready, out s/he goes into the world to lead an independent life – whether you are ready for that or not. You aren’t in charge, you don’t have control, and you must figure out your new relationship with your ‘child’, who is an independent person and is leading a life that often does not involve you. It’s not a reason not to go forward with a publisher, it is just something to recognize as part of the process.
    This may not have been a completely apt analogy, because your name will always be on the cover of the book and it will always be called Kate Davies “Book”, but I still feel that it is something to consider.
    I am a huge fan of your work and of your talents. Part of my respect for you is the way you weather life’s storms and figure out how to, literally, land on your feet.
    Good luck with your decision, I hope Bruce continues to recover, and Happy New Year to you and Tom.

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  26. Amazing news, Kate!

    I have to say that in 2015, balancing contracted work with my independent production activities was exhausting. Working on a community engagement art project is obviously quite different from working with a publisher on a book! But I think there is something to consider in terms of headspace, pressure and relationship management/communication when working with any external organisation. It means more emails, meetings, expectations and these can really intrude on, and pressurise, your own projects. So I think that timings wise it might be prudent to set up the contract so that you do not have to try and split yourself between KDD productions and commissioned writing, if you see what I mean?

    All that said, I think your work is incredibly important. Having distributed my own book and having talked to you many times about distribution I don’t think it is possible as an independent diy publisher to have the same distributive reach as a huge established publisher. The world needs more Kate Davies in it! And it would be magnificent to see your critical and engaging perspectives on knitting amplified across the mainstream at a level that could contest, challenge and transform the idiocy and prejudice with which knitting has historically been portrayed. It is the sort of thing that would be difficult to say to oneself, but I really think that working on a book of this nature with this level of publisher would be amazing not just for you but for the actual cause of knitting itself.

    I do not agree that someone else will write this book if you do not, as some commenters have suggested. Your voice is unique and for that reason I think you can get a contract which really works for you, and set aside a time when you will not have to split your mind between this publication and the amazing books you produce yourself.

    I also think it is not an either/or situation. You might treat it as an experiment and if you find you really dislike it, you never need work with a mainstream publisher again. You will learn loads from the experience I imagine but my bottom line is, please do it for knitting.

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  27. Good morning, Kate! A Happy New Year to you and your family, and thank you for this very moving and interesting post.
    Well, I can’t help in the decision-making – either option has its advantages and disadvantages and nearly everything on the pros and cons has already been said. But from the abundance of comments above one thing is clear: You should definitely continue designing, writing, and publishing.
    Personally, I admire the way you have tackled the setbacks in your life and I very much cherish your designs, the profound knowledge on the historical sides of knitting and your style of writing and I will certainly love to read more from you.
    So best of luck, Kate – and do what your heart tells you.
    Michaela

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  28. My apologies if this has already been stated… I gave up trying to read through all the opinions already provided. From the point of view of a marketing professional (what I am meant to be IRL) I think you should do the book with Penguin. I am constantly amazed when I speak to other knitters about you that they have not heard of your designs or your blog. The book will open up worlds that have otherwise not been aware of your talent until now due to the self-publishing nature of your business. I think (caveating and echoing others’ concerns about your health) that the book will give you a much greater audience, which no designer/writer in their right mind should turn down. Good luck, and Congratulations! And thanks for asking us. :-)

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  29. You are already publishing brilliant essays under your own imprint and you have complete control. With a little refocusing you can reach a wider audience while maintaining editorial control and not being distracted from the course you’ve set for yourself and your team. What you bring to the table is a fresh approach, Kate. Great businesses are built and sustained by that. Consider a polite no to the offer.

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  30. I really enjoy reading the histories and related stories with the patterns . The books and patterns you have already produced are interesting, and I have learned much reading the stories which inspired the different patterns.
    I don’t know about the publishing or business world, so, as a reader, knitter and, great admirer of the work you and your team put out, I love the way things are being done now. Your voice and vision are clear, the stories interesting, photos couldn’t be improved on, and you are charting your own course.

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  31. Hi Kate – I seem to be at the end of a long line of comments. I have enjoyed your blog and books and patterns for several years now. Choosing what to do with this offer is one that all the previously posted words come back to: this is your decision to make, from your own heart and hands. I have no opinion one way or the other, and all has been said. Reaching a wider audience does have a price, and may take you farther afield from your design and home than you want, or can conceive of at this moment. As we are coming into a leap year, and this may be the year for you to leap!

    Leave space for your self in all this, and decided what it is you want over the next 2 years, 5 years, 10 years and this may help.

    The response you have shows the knitting community around the world supports you, Tom & Bruce down whatever road(s) you take. Happy New Year!

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  32. Many years ago, when I was mulling a life changing decision, I was given good advice, which was to write down pros and cons in two columns on a piece of paper. It seemed too simplistic but the internal conversations looked VERY different when presented as two sides of a coin on a physical piece of paper. The key here is being totally honest and listing every aspect!
    Many, many years later (and after a serious health challenge) I recognise that the most important thing I have learned over the years is that if I have the luxury of being able to give myself mental time and space, the right decision will emerge and make itself clear.
    So don’t rush and trust your gut feeling would be my sense of things.

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  33. After 250 comments, i am not sure i can have anything new to contribute. You alone know what is best for you personally and at the end of the day your decision will come back to your own constraints and desires. However, knitting has extraordinary and enduring relevance for many women and men. It is not a fad, it is both historically significant and part of contemporary everyday culture. It is much more than an industry and patterns and yarns. From conversations i have read on Donna Druchanus’s blog, it seems very difficult for knitting historians and writers to break out of the knitting industry and women’s interest publishing into the mainstream. However, the practice of knitting IS part of social history and cultural studies. Any placement of knitting in these broader contexts to a mainstream audience is a valuable contribution to the social good I reckon. Best wishes in your decison making.

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  34. Can you talk with other knit designers who have faced this challenge? Or other essayists (perhaps bloggers) who have been offered a chance to be published by a major publisher? What do they think of their experience? What would they do differently? Was it worth it financially? Did they have to give up too much artistic control?

    Gather as much information as you can…and then follow your heart. Is the expanded audience worth the compromises you will inevitably have to make?

    Best of luck.

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  35. An opportunity to investigate and share the history of knitting in a book of essays and be able to build up a small financial cushion to support your independent business at the same time, could be too good an opportunity to miss. If the deadlines, creative control and academic approaches are realistic for your phyisical and mental well being then introducing your work to a wider audience can only be positive. It’s true that many more opportunities will undoubtedly come your way again but can you be sure that if you turn this down you won’t always be wondering . . . . what if?

    The wider knitwear market is ready for a book like this because the timing is right. You have worked very hard to achieve what you have built and have the knowledge and skill to do a great job. These two things point to you to write the book if you want to broaden your knitwear portfolio. Good luck with your decision making! You will make the right choice for you.

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  36. I haven’t read all of the comments, but I’ve decided to weigh in anyway. Penguin you say. I do like that name. :)
    * * *
    Must all the essays be new? As you know, writers do published essays that have already been published else where, and since you’ve written several historical essays could they be complied?
    Speaking of time, what do they expect? Can the time be lengthened, if necessary, so that you can keep your independent publishing going, or would you be happy publishing individual patterns, with or without kits for say a year?
    What about enhanced eBook options?
    Are you able to “meet” the editor/people you will be working with either in real time or via Skype? As I gathered from your earlier posts, and know first hand myself, good working relationships are so important to well being, health, and overall success.
    Ultimately, of course, the decision rests with you and rightly so.
    Best of luck, Kate!

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  37. Hi Kate — Your books are certainly lovely and creative in the truest sense — that is, showing the connections that our minds can make across cultures and art forms. From a practical perspective, however, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about a conventionally-published book as just a different income stream than the income stream you derive from your self-published works. You would still be the creator, just the creator of a different type of thing than the types of things you’ve been creating over the past several years. As for hubris, you might consider what you’re often telling your readers — that the intellectual and creative accomplishments of our foremothers are too often buried and unacknowledged — don’t let your inner critic do the same thing to you. Onward! — Yvonne.

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  38. Well, it is nice to has such a problem! I would say, go for it. As you rightly say this will open up a new audience to you, one which you could herd towards your own stable of independent books. Why does it have to be either or? The main benefit will surely be the experience you will gain from working with a publishers at this level, as well as the network of people you will meet – experience that will benefit you as you move your own publishing house forward with respects to even publishing other authors in the future? Go for it, you’d be a fool to miss this. I think this could lead to greater independence for you. As far as books go, I salivate at the history of knitting – the origins and the evolution of it all, the language of knitting. But then I’m a nerd.

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  39. Dear Kate,
    I would love to read a book by you on knitting!
    Nevertheless, as a former publishing editor and future self-publisher too I should warn you that you are likely to loose some of your creative freedom but on the other hand you might be able to put together an extremely ambitious project with less worries about costs (namely for anything that will concern buying rights and permissions to use images or documents which I suspect would be and important part of your research).
    The best of luck to all of your projects and a brilliant New Year for you and Tom!

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  40. There are so many wise comments above I don’t think I can add much except:
    if you decide to go with the big publisher really check the contract and how much say it will give you in determining the final result.

    I love all of your books and would buy everything you produce yourselves because of the following:
    depth of scholarship
    quality of the photographs
    the quirky mixes of patterns and cooking, not forgetting the fabulous Bruce!
    Hope he is feeling better by the way, as well as you and Tom

    Whatever you decide to do I am sure you will use your sound common sense and follow your heart

    Best

    Jan

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  41. While there are many excellent thoughts outlined here, I couldn’t help but add my thoughts. I love the idea of your writing a book of essays on knitting. I always thought you might have one in the works. I absolutely love your patterns and books because of the amazing, thoughtful research that makes the patterns so much more than just patterns. For the most part, I have stopped buying knitting books because I rarely want to knit more than one pattern and many are not as technically vetted as yours. I can always count on your books being clear, concise, and interesting. I look forward to every pattern and book release. Kate, whatever you do, I know it will be exceptional. I don’t think your thoughts reflect hubris, you should be proud of your work and business. It would be an exceptional achievement for anyone, let alone someone hit with a significant health issue.

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  42. I love your essays and would buy your book whether it is made available from a mainstream publisher or your own self-publishing. But here we are all fans. Would a mainstream publisher enable you to access a NEW market of knitters? Of course they would love to publish your work, as you bring an established readership with you. The question is whether they can offer you new readers. Where do knitters learn about new writers and books? Do they browse through a general bookstore or online bookstore? Some yes, myself I do read the reviews on Amazon. Also important though in the knitting world is word-of-mouth, blogs and our local LYS a lot for new ideas and books, and self-publishing fits this format very well. Also, for myself, as a Canadian, the decision to direct order from the UK is highly influenced by price – adding in exchange to Canadian $ plus shipping really adds to a book or yarn price. So I would ask what the price for the consumer would be if published mainstream. Obviously they want some profit too, so I’m thinking the purchase price might be higher than if you published yourself? Best Wishes, it’s a big decision.

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  43. I listen to G Rubin’s happiness podcast, and she says to ‘choose the bigger life’ when struck with a conundrum. I like that advice. Happy new Year!

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  44. Coming from an East coast fishing town, I’d love to see the heritage of ganseys propelled to the same level of Shetland knitwear, etc. There are a couple of books on ganseys, to my knowledge, but it would be lovely to see more focus on these alternative regional knitting styles. I would be most happy to help, too!

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  45. You seem to be looking at your choices as two separate directions.
    The publishers who’ve asked you to write the essays did not choose you because of whom you could become but because of whom you have become. Present the essays from your heart, and they will reflect the you that is an independent and creative knitter/writer/designer, and you’ll add /essayist to the list, along with many new eyes that haven’t seen you before. I was only introduced to your blog recently. I wish I’d been reading for years.

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  46. Yes!!!! By all means UNLESS your recent little cloud indicated a need for less stress, more support. Deep down inside, you know which road to chose.

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  47. I absolutely love your books, and everything about them! The quality is extraordinary, the pictures are beautiful, and I can see the care and love that has gone into their creations, not to mention the well written and beautiful patterns. As long as you continue to create these gems, I will continue to buy them and your yarn as well. Stay independent and in control of your business.

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  48. Dear Kate,
    I would love to read a book with essays about knitting, no matter if it is independenty published or published by a large company.
    I agree with many of the comments before and think that accepting the offer could give you experience that you cannot gain otherwise, but if you are not happy with it, I think that the book would find itself an audience even without the advertizing channel of a big publishing house. The book idea sounds very good to me.

    I wish you a Happy, healthy and successful New Year 2016.
    Susanne

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  49. Independence is great and important but there’s also a place for finding balance between that and more mainstream options. Being approached by a publisher like this one is a gift, and opportunities like that come along very rarely. It will be a different product but may well offer you new ways of looking at how you self-publish your other books in the future, and who knows what other opportunities might come from it. At the same time, a widely available book on the history of knitting is not exactly the norm and it would be rather nice to see this incredibly important participant in the economic and social history of textile production and use more commonly understood as something more than something women do over a cup of tea and a gossip. To turn down an offer like this might actually be doing this amazing skill, and the legacy of all those knitters that have informed your own practice, a disservice. Most importantly, congratulations – you’re very inspiring for those of us (me!) just embarking on self-employment in the new year. Best of luck with your decision…

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    1. CJ: Good point about the value of the kind of book being proposed – but I suspect you underestimate Kate’s attractiveness to publishers. ‘Being approached by a publisher like this one is a gift, and opportunities like that come along very rarely’ – far from it, I should think any publisher wanting to launch that kind of book on the knitting market would be very keen to get after her, and Penguin just wanted to get there before anyone else did! Commercial publishers love self-publishers with track records of saleable books, and solid reliable bloggers with a strong established following and a track record of successful writing (remember she already has a good number of academic publications to her name, including a full-length book). Wanting to write this book now would be a good reason to take this project on. Fearing such an opportunity would not come again probably would not. (No harm in gradually starting to store up material for such a book in ten years’ time, however!) – Sorry, Kate, it seems very rude to be discussing you in the third person in this way on your own blog site, but I couldn’t work out how to wriggle out of it in an answer to another commenter.

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  50. Do NOT do it. I am afraid that hitting the mainstream will change your life, your outlook and perhaps your peace. Bigger is not always better. As it is you have peace of mind, are your own master and independent!

    Stay true to yourself, and publish this book by printing on demand. Peoplexcan pre order, and you are free to have it your own way.

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  51. Hello Kate,

    I first came across you and your work in the form of Yokes seen in a bookshop in Lerwick this summer while on holiday. I wanted to learn something about yoke sweaters as I just bought some wool next door for my very first one but as I´m a very slow knitter (no need for so many designs) I didn´t buy the book, just browsed through it. Later while I researched more about yoke knitting on the Internet your designs kept popping out at me and I remembered you as the author of the Lerwick book. So I discovered your web and became a daily reader of your blog posts, both new and old. Being a rather creative person myself, I´ve always loved learning about the daily life of creative people (writers, musicians, artisans) I admire and I find your blog as well as the way you deal with things that are coming to you, both good and bad, truly inspiring. I follow several blogs of this kind but none of them influenced me as much as yours: I enjoy the way you write about your design ideas, about the nature around you, about the research you do and people you meet, as well as your brave and honest writing about your post-stroke life. You also take great photos and know how to write. When I learned that you now live just next to the place I really liked when I did the West Highland Way with my husband last year (the little elevation with the old trees just before the path starts to descend) it seemed like magic! I was happy to support your way of living and in that way return some of the joy and inspiration your work and writing gave me by becoming a member of the Seven Skeins club even though I don´t knit too much. So far I made a small Cochal as a gift for my husband and plan to try to make some of Tom´s recipes with him…

    What I wanted to say with my post is that I think you don´t need to do anything just in order to get more publicity. Even people who are only remotely interested in knitting and don´t live in the UK can already find their way to you. In fact, the way you´ve rebuilt your life reminds me a lot of Zoe Keating (http://zoekeating.com/), an independent musician I like who also does everything herself and sells her music on her website. When her husband got gravely ill her supporters´ community raised enough money so that she didn´t need to worry about the medical costs… I think you have a similar comunity around you and if the books you make on your own can find their way to at least some bookshops then you don´t need to have the name of a known publishing house on the cover to enhance your business. So my advice is: if you want, do it for the experience, to learn more about publishing etc., it might give you interesting new perspectives. But if your heart is not in it, don´t do it just for the publicity.

    That said, if you make (no matter with whom) a book consisting mostly of essays on knitting (not predominantly knitting designs) I will be happy to buy it. Especially if it, like Buachaille, resembles your blog in that it contains other things as well, like Tom´s recipes, nature photos, personal reflections etc., becoming a little world in itself, with each component mirroring and complementing the others.

    Best wishes,
    Tereza, Prague

    (trying to post this for a second time, sorry if both show up but so far I don´t see my first attempt anywhere)

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  52. P.S. I didn’t see this mentioned anywhere: if the book is a really big deal, after you’ve turned it in and the publication date is set, then comes the usually exhausting p.r. tour to sell the book — rounds of interviews, appearances, signings, parties, generally on a pretty tight schedule. That might not be so bad in the UK, and your fans would love it. But it can take a toll on health.

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  53. I would go for it and try something new and different. If it’s not what you want to continue with then you can go back to what you have done in the past.
    I think if you say no you may regret your decision – good luck whatever choice you make.

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  54. I enjoyed reading the articles in Colours of Shetland and Text Isles very much. If the new book was to be like those, it would be fantastic. Whether you self-publish or go mainstream would be up to you. I would buy it in either case.

    I read your blog, and the rest of the Internet, on my iPad or phone. The small grey typeface you use is incredibly difficult to read. Plus the blog format does not allow me to “pinch” it larger as some blogs do. While it looks great, I do wish it was more user friendly.

    All the best in 2016! My love to the fabulous Bruce.

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  55. I know that for me personally, I feel the need to challenge & stretch myself, to always learn something new from what I am doing. Once I am in a situation where this feeling has faded and whatever the task at hand may be, I start to get very itchy feet. So as with many other readers, I would suggest trying working with the publisher, it will be different and good or bad, you can learn from it and then decide if you want to repeat the experience. Either way, it’s a book I very much want to read.

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  56. Dear Kate

    Are you really going to manage to keep reading this far? When I looked yesterday there were only 16 comments, but I was looking after my sick mother at the time and have a translation deadline of my own to make…

    With my own experience of publishing, and being a very regular reader of your blog (though I don’t often comment), I think your instinct to hesitate is right. It’s an interesting and intelligent bit of commissioning on the part of the publisher (which imprint of Penguin, I wonder?), but I think you stand to gain less from it than they do.

    You don’t really need to learn about working with a mainstream publisher – your academic book will have given you enough of that. And think of the amount of time and energy you would have to tie down to their project – energy which you already have in short supply. I vividly remember that blog entry a good few years ago when you lost your knitting mojo, and realised that it was caused by tying yourself down to a programmed, repetitious project rather than something that was new and exploratory. I fear the same could happen again in terms of your writing, and once under contract you couldn’t just drop it when you found it didn’t suit you.

    A book of essays could be just the thing in, say, ten years’ time, and I’m quite sure you’d find a mainstream publisher who was interested even if Penguin have moved on by then. But at the moment, you’ve built up your beautiful independent books in a really solid way; you’ve got plenty of momentum up and no lack of ideas of where to go with them next; you’ve got a wonderful team together (and you never know when life chances may pull some of that apart). I love your independent books (I have Felix’s too), and don’t think there is any way that mainstream publishing can replace the special qualities they have, which are just the ones you have described at such length and so lyrically.

    So I don’t think it is hubristic at all to turn Penguin down, or, rather, to say, ‘thank you but not just yet’. What you are doing has solid value, you are building your own readership in a high quality way, and I think that in ten years’ time you’ll have more to look back on and feel proud of than if you interrupt your flow now, produce a big book of essays (however good), and then have to reinvent the connection back to your own agenda.

    I haven’t had time to read all the 216 comments this morning, as my deadline still presses, so hope I haven’t muddied the waters for you too much. Anyway, as we all know, you are well capable of absorbing all the input, mulling it over, and coming to a decision you feel happy with.

    Lots of love and best wishes for a happy new year with Tom, Bruce, Mel and all the crew

    Kersti

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  57. Wow…great decision to have to make…I have followed along on your journey since way back when…and I have loved all that you have produced..I have knitted owl sweaters, have made Snawheid hats and snawpaws…..read all the essays in your books and am about to cast on a miniature version of Murmuration….so like everyone else here you could say I am a fan.

    My thoughts on your dilemma…I think you should go for the book…a new experience, which as others have said you don’t need to repeat if you don’t enjoy it….but you might find that you do enjoy it…it would allow you to reach a new audience who might then be an audience for your independent work…and open new avenues to yet more amazing opportunities….and as others have also said you need to negotiate with the publishers what it is you want to achieve and how you go about it…if it’s up front then there should be no surprises,..

    Ok that’s my tuppence worth ;-)

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  58. Kate, after 55 years in academia, museums, and publishing, I urge you to follow your gut instinct and your heart, wherever that may lead you. The writers I’ve known over the decades — for some of them working with big publishing houses has been wonderful, for others it’s been hell (even for bestselling authors).

    Penguin is part of a conglomerate, and how happy you will be working with them will depend largely on who you are working with; the terms of your contract (conglomerate-owned publishers are offering some American authors contracts they’d have to be crazy to sign, see articles in New York Times); and how much if any control you want or can keep over your project.

    As to what we’d like to read — anything you want to write! You do explore interesting paths. Many, many thanks, and Happy New Year to you and Tom and Bruce (I hope you and Bruce are healing well).

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  59. I’m sure I’m the hundredth (plus) person to say this, but I think you should do it. Make it a learning experience. If you decide never, ever to work with a mainstream publisher again, how painful can the lesson possibly be? Famous last words, perhaps, but I doubt it.

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  60. It sounds exciting and an opportunity to reach a wider audience but, at the end of the day, you should do what brings you happiness,you will always have the support of your fanbase here!Wishing you and Tom a Happy New Year xx

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  61. Kate, you should follow your heart. Ask yourself, if, when looking back over your life when you are very old, will you regret not exploring this opportunity? There’s your answer. Good luck! :)

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  62. Kate, why not consider the issue as ‘both/and’ instead of ‘either/or’? I don’t see how undertaking a project with a commercial publisher would compromise your hard-won achievements and independent business. It would simply be opening up another channel for readers who otherwise might not find you. As long as you continue to control the mix, so that most of your time and effort goes to your own independent business, I don’t think it would be mistake to accept the proposal, give it a try, and see how it all goes. If you don’t find it works for you, then chalk it up to experience, and don’t accept the second offer.

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  63. My two bits: Give it a go. If it is a success, you can use the proceeds to finance an endeavor that may be a bit esoteric or have a narrower appeal. If it is less successful, the capital invested (finance wise) was the publisher’s, not yours. Although I am sure that your writing will still be as informative and interesting as ever.

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  64. I would read anything from you, and I particularly like your historical writings and essays. Your honesty and who you are comes through in your writing. It feels that you are sharing something very personal with us, and that’s a wonderful quality. So, here’s me bucking the trend (from the spattering of comments I read). I’ve worked in publishing, and it is a battle to keep your voice and your control over your product. I don’t know who you are talking to, but I do think you’ll have to fight to keep the vision you want. It is possible, and there are some really good editors and publishers out there. Just make sure they have the same focus and want the same outcome you do. It’s not hubris to want a reach more people, to share with more people. That’s what we do–we share our lives and our knowledge with each other, hoping that someone benefits from knowing us. You have a right to be very proud of what you have accomplished; don’t worry about about any subconscious needs for doing this book because of course there are subconscious needs–we all have them. Look at the other books the publisher has produced that are essays or similar to the book you want to write. Find out who the editors were for the books you like or who the writers worked with most of the time and talk to them. And talk to the writers of the books–would they do it again, was it a good experience, what would they have done differently. It could be that this will be a different kind of book than what you have published on your own and having the backing and financial support of a publisher will give you some freedom to explore. But you’ve done all that very well on your own, so if you decide not to go with this publisher, I have no doubt you will find a way to create what you want. I hope all of you have a wonderful 2016.

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  65. yes, i would like to see a book of essays on knitting from you, published by penguin, and i would like to see you continue as an indie designer and publisher, both. lots of work. but ever since your essay on pinny porn i have longed to hear more from you on

    — materialism/marxism/knitting (your wonderful pieces on the political econ of tea and knitting are still reverbing here) (you turned me on to bill brown’s A Sense of Things, and i’d love to get your sense of knitting)
    — women’s work/matriarchy of the isles/knitting,
    — from your post-stroke point of view, a review of all the (thumbsucker, truly infantile) lit on knitting as the new zen and a perhaps more medically well-informed look into knitting as brain injury therapy, the similarities between the organic effect of physical therapy and knitting
    — how brutalist knitting design (outlander TV show, catriona’s capelet etc.) and alexander mcqueen’s rehab of very craftly scots things have revolutionized knitting; the degree to which the revival of knitting has influenced britain’s fashion-forward emphasis on sustainable fashion (the fashion schools all teaching same), and the roots of all of this in 80s punk (here’s an interesting book: Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Kate Fletcher, moving toward global and enviro justice in fashion production)

    and so much more. this is important work, and i would be happy to think someone was paying you to think about it, and not about production. there’s only a few people like you well-placed to be scholars of knitting, and many many talented people on penguin’s staff ready to do the production. maybe they’ll let you play a little too. but i need to know more than any other writer on the topic has produced, and hopefully your health will permit you to do some heavy thinking for all of us. thank you for the pleasure all your wonderful book recs have given me through out the many years i’ve checked your blog daily.

    happy 2016 to you and yours.

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  66. How nice to be asked! I hope you will explore all the ins and out of intellectual property rights with a legal brain before entering into any contract with the publisher. Be sure, too, to negotiate fair and reasonable royalty rates for foreign and domestic distributions of the possible work! Up front advances are OK, but a smart/wise back end royalty deal is where some really good income stream can be generated, too. Wishing you continued success and happiness in 2016 and beyond!
    Jane

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  67. Happy hogmanay!! Hmm. I have never heard anyone say that word to me, but I have read it on your blog for a number of years now. All the best for 2016. I am very proud of you and all you accomplished and I would read and buy a book of essays by you. As for going with a publisher, I am not the one to ask. I wonder though, would you really be reaching a wider audience really? How many buyers would buy a book of essays on knitting just because it is from a big name publisher? Many of us follow you anyways, so we would be looking forward to your new book. What about the rights to reprint this book? If you don’t sell enough to the world, would the publisher decide not to reprint and then would you be unable to print your own?

    I hope your new year is better than ever. I am rooting for you. Keep knitting and writing and being awesome. Good health to all of you!

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  68. Dear Kate,

    A knitter-oriented book of essays like those in Textisles, in-depth, readable, and beautifully illustrated research, would find its way to my ‘keeper’ shelf.

    Your books have such clarity and character and such attention to detail; I suspect finding an editorial team that you are completely comfortable with will be critical if you decide to go that way.

    Do you like the other craft books the company has produced?

    I have in the past been involved in music production (helping musicians find producers, engineers, studios, publicists etc. so that their music gets to a wider audience). Editors and tech editors seem to me to be roughly the equivalent of music producers and engineers. They can profoundly influence the end result, both style, quality, direction and … feel … for lack of a better word. They become members of the band/team/family, at least for the duration of the project. Working that intimately on a creative project with sometimes critical or opinionated pros can be an exhilarating experience or a disfunctional disaster, so I’m seconding all the comments about talking to more than one editorial team before deciding.

    Also, there must be lawyers out there who specialize in publishing industry contracts, as there are in the music industry. Before you sign anything, talk to such a lawyer. At least have him or her read the contract, and ask a lot of questions. Even a boilerplate standard industry contract can surprise the unwary.

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  69. (Note: I apologize if this duplicated. Mad tech day.)

    I hope you never stop writing and designing. I love that you research, think critically, take time for your personal creative process, and live to the fullest, all of which is communicated in your blog, your books, and your designs. Having worked at many levels in the publishing business (my other professional life was in libraries, so books there, too), may I just add my voice to those cautioning against giving up too much. Yes, it may free you to work on other things or in other areas. And you can control the contract. One or two books isn’t the rest of your creative life. At least, it shouldn’t be. Maybe reach out to others in the community that do work with mainstream publishing and ask about your concerns, ramifications of publicity, etc. At the same time, I don’t think hubris kept EZ from beginning her own cottage publishing company to support her own knitting and making passion when a mainstream magazine rewrote her design instructions. It is completely okay to desire control over each step of the process. That is part of the point. Finally, the people who you would be working with at the new publisher would need to be up to your expectations. If they don’t respect your chosen subject matter, it’s not worth it. Too often, I was disappointed to discover, money is the only higher goal for the decision makers in publishing. (Oh, my poor youthful and idealistic dreams.) Also what about other self-publishing plans that may include drop-shipping, print-on-demand, things that may take pressures off of you in other ways? I’m sure you are well versed in the publishing industry from your academic life to being your own indie publisher, so much of what I’ve just said is getting my own head around the issue. In the end, I would recommend a ruthless pros and cons list, followed by a short read aloud with a trusted friend, next a good slug of single malt, and finally do precisely what your heart tells you to do.

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  70. Kate…very best in this new year , for your health, happiness , for you and Tom, and of course Bruce

    …looking at many of the wise and thoughtful comments, I too agree if you have the energy a book on essays about knitting would be amazing..the most significant thing for me is the larger audience that you would reach…..there is so much people dont know….cheers pat j

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  71. I hope you never stop writing and designing. I love that you research, think critically, take time for your personal creative process, and live to the fullest, all of which is communicated in your blog, your books, and your designs. Having worked at many levels in the publishing business (my other professional life was in libraries, so books there, too), may I just add my voice to those cautioning against giving up too much. Yes, it may free you to work on other things or in other areas. And you can control the contract. One or two books isn’t the rest of your creative life. At least, it shouldn’t be. Maybe reach out to others in the community that do work with mainstream publishing and ask about your concerns, ramifications of publicity, etc. At the same time, I don’t think hubris kept EZ from beginning her own cottage publishing company to support her own knitting and making passion when a mainstream magazine rewrote her design instructions. It is completely okay to desire control over each step of the process. That is part of the point. Finally, the people who you would be working with at the new publisher would need to be up to your expectations. If they don’t respect your chosen subject matter, it’s not worth it. Too often, I was disappointed to discover, money is the only higher goal for the decision makers in publishing. (Oh, my poor youthful and idealistic dreams.) Also what about other self-publishing plans that may include drop-shipping, print-on-demand, things that may take pressures off of you in other ways? I’m sure you are well versed in the publishing industry from your academic life to being your own indie publisher, so much of what I’ve just said is getting my own head around the issue. In the end, I would recommend a ruthless pros and cons list, followed by a short read aloud with a trusted friend, next a good slug of single malt, and finally do precisely what your heart tells you to do.

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  72. I love history so would love to have something that documents the past of our craft. Also, I think trying anything new is worth considering. Even going mainstream. Such exciting times!

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  73. Kate, I love your writing but , I must say, wouldn’t it be nice to have a book out w/ very wide reach and acclaim? Especially if it is essays and histories. You can always go back to publishing yourself. My daughter just was published by Cambridge Press and her conundrum was….an imprimatur by CP meant instant tenure(it did) but no money from many sales…a trade off she was more than happy to make. I will buy your book wherever and by whom it is published. Mary in Cincinnati

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  74. Dear Kate,
    I think you can do both go with a publisher for what they suggested and continue your independent publishing as time allows. You have a wonderful writing style which may appeal to those who don’t knit, but have an interest in fiber so the publishers might reach those people.I am assuming that they are looking for prose and not patterns. You might do another pattern book of your own. Best wishes whatever you decided.
    My husband has just written a 800 page book on relativity and if he had totally self-published it we would have had to move out of the house to have room for the copies to be mailed. somehow at the same time he has self published a few things he put out on the web. Catherine

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  75. What an interesting way to start off the New Year. As a former academic, I am torn in my response. Intellectual and artistic control, doing a project from start to finish on your own with help from trusted, valued colleagues and friends is so rewarding. Yet, at times I so wished that I had access to more resources and funding. Your intellect, artistry, and integrity are matched by few. I am always interested in anything you write and do. Trust in what feels right for you at this time in your life and whether it might support your goals for the future. You are a calculated risk taker. A wider audience and exciting creative journey await you no matter what path you take. Wishing you, Tom, and Bruce a very Happy, Healthy New Year.

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  76. Hi Kate

    I subscribed to the seven skein club and have had your book Buachaille sat on my sofa all Christmas either to follow one of the patterns or just to join you on your rambles with Bruce! Your other two pattern books look well used, I’ve perused them so many times. The point is, I’m a fan. I have no idea which way you should choose to go next. All I know is that I love the sincerity of your writing, the fact that your patterns are very personal to you yet you share the inspiration behind the designs with your readers. You seem to be going from strength to strength both personally and professionally so my advice would be to take things slowly. “Kate Davies” as a brand will only get bigger as you go into 2016. I don’t think your deal will go away and if you do decide to go ahead it’ll be at a time that’s right for you. For me and all your other fans, just keep doing what you’re doing. Happy New Year. X

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  77. Although I responded earlier, I would like to add that (although well-meaning) some of the comments seem to imply that you would be “selling out” or “making a deal with the devil” by working with a large publisher. Hey people, there are trade-offs in life! There are opportunities! There is nothing wrong with trying something new! If it doesn’t work out, so what? At worst, it’s a learning experience. At best, it adds a new dimension. Kate, please don’t feel bullied one way or the other – only you know what is right for you.

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  78. Would love to read a book of essays, however you choose to publish it. I think we’re all here knitting your patterns and reading your words because of the unique perspective you offer. Just choose what feels right to you and makes you happy!

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  79. I am a reader of the blog and a very happy member of the Seven Skeins Club. I’ve read through all of the comments, and I haven’t found one that asks about your desire to grow as a writer. Even accomplished writers like you can benefit from new readers. If you have a good editor, you will have another good reader, one with a lot of experience. So this might be an opportunity for that kind of growth.

    Like other commenters, I am eager to read essays by you about knitting, essays like your blog posts where you have taught me so many things about textiles, knitting, women’s history.

    But only you can decide how this project might or might not fit into your life as it is now. I’m always aware that there is much we, your readers, do not know.

    All the best to you, Tom, and Bruce in the New Year!

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  80. Dear Kate, Every time I read one of your essays and often when I read someone else’s take on knitting’s history I hope you will write “The History of Knitting”. Please do it. If only to squash the myth that Ganseys originated in Guernsey. Please do it. You have the skill, knowledge and passion to tell the story of how wool is intertwined in our history. In the preface to “A History of Hand Knitting” Richard Rutt wrote of his work that it was incomplete and uneven, amateur, and his hopes that others would write in greater detail with greater accuracy. Please do that. If you write the book I will buy it. Can I suggest that you look on the choice of publisher in the same light as buying a car. It is a vehicle to get your book sold, no more.

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  81. Dear Kate,

    I follow (and love!) your blog. I’ve never left a comment, but your recent post prompts me to do so. I should confess that I don’t usually offer advice to people, but I was inspired to write for a number of personal and professional reasons. I hope I don’t sound too forward by sharing my thoughts. You should of course feel free to ignore everything below. I’ll still love reading your blog and knitting your patterns regardless of your decision.

    What do I think you should do? Follow your heart, which means listen carefully and honestly to your own revelations. When I read your blog the parts that spoke clearest and loudest were the following: “I really rather like being involved with the nitty gritty of publishing,” and “I like to feel as close as I can to the making-of-the-thing,” and “what I really liked about where I was right now was its independence — I had built and made a (modest) success of my (very small) publishing operation completely independently.”

    Of course you were invited to write an essay collection! I’m not at all surprised. You’re a knitting rock star. And you deserve to be recognized for all your hard work. I hope you feel proud and excited by this unexpected invitation.

    However, don’t let this offer lead you away from the things you enjoy most about the life you’ve created. The publisher’s invitation will remain part of your story regardless of the path you choose. But it doesn’t have to determine your next move.

    You’ve asked us, “What type of book(s) would you like me to produce?” My answer would be this: “I’d like you to produce the book you want to create.” Whatever you’ve been doing with your creative energy is working very well. The only reason to change your course is if your goals change, if, as you say, you no longer desire “the making of the thing” and your “independence.” There may come a day when you prefer to let someone else handle the pressures of publishing. I’m a writer/academic and I know well the headaches involved in editing and producing a final product. Yet, I also know its joys–that sense of accomplishment of creating a work through every stage of the process. If you enjoy that work now, if it keeps you closer to the creative spirit that inspires you and brings happiness in your life, why change? To thine own self be true, I say!

    I wish you a HUGE congratulations and a healthy and happy new year. Thank you for being such an inspiration to us all!

    Best,
    Heidi in Oregon, US

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  82. I think you can do both and learn from a new experience. It’ll be different, it may be neither better nor worse, but self-publishing will always be there for you.
    (Basically, what they all said!) Enjoy.

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  83. Happy New Year. What an interesting proposal. I understand the love of self publishing. I also self published a book. It was a great experience and I learned an amazing amount. It was also exhausting and all consuming. Does this proposal give you an opportunity to say something important to you? Would it let you explore in a way you might never find time to with all the time consuming demands that self publishing inevitably brings? Or allow you to say something that you might not be able to find time to explore and communicate? I love the way you make things with your head, your hands, and your heart. Ultimately balancing those needs will lead you to the best choice for you. Best of luck.

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  84. Regardless of how you accomplish a book with historical knitting essays, it would be welcomed to the world of textile history! I found your site and blog via my own search for history. Needless to say, I’ve begun knitting! It is so important for creative people to continually be making. Your journey seems to be enabling you to take different paths that are both beneficial and practical to you and your fans, also your students. The project would be most welcomed to all of us. You just need to press forward and see which would encourage your own lust for learning. I look forward to reading it soon!

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  85. Having read most of the previous emails, two things stand out for me – first that we all would love to read such a book written by Kate however it gets published. And second that it seems to be an even split between staying independent or going with a big publisher! My gut feel as someone who has all your books and always reads your blogs is that at the moment you enjoy your work/quality of life balance and that comes through strongly for me in everything you produce, making it all even more attractive. Don’t lose that balance! In making a difficult decision a counsellor advised me to try to look ahead a year or two and to think whether you would want to be as you are now or different, and that was a helpful perspective. Good luck and a very Happy New Year, looking forward to whatever Kate Davies makes!

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  86. Dear Kate,
    Happy New Year to you, Tom, Bruce and all your team.
    First, let me not forget to tell you that I´ve received your latest book as part of the club and have been reading it over the holidays. It is a thing of beauty. Love the concept, the fact that you added Tom´s recipes (delicious!) and the walk, love your writing, and I love it as a physical object: the paper, the layout, Tom´s photography, the mountain that wraps itself around the book… Congratulations on that whole project. It was great to be part of it. I can totally see what you enjoy about doing things yourself. It shows very much on the lovely personal things you create. That´s probably what I like the most about all your creations. That they are so unique and personal, and that you can see the passion, love, erudition and hard work you put into them.
    Regarding your dilema, I see your reservations, which I understand, but I think I would give it a try. As others have said, the two options are not mutually excluding. This sounds like a good opportunity of seeing how something else works, and opportunity to learn new things that you can apply to your own business, and it will give you exposure to a bigger audience. That would be rather a gain to the bigger audience :) They don´t know what they are missing… The project sounds really interesting. I would love to read a book like that written by you. I feel you have a lot to say, a wonderful way of saying it, and there are simply not many books like that out there. There´s another comment from somene who worked in a mainstream publishing house, I forget her name, that I think is very wise: talk to them, see what the thing is really about in the details. If you can maintain your voice, have a certain degree of control and your health and life permit, and, above all, if it´s something you feel like writing about, do it! It can be a one-off experience. Specially that it is a different kind of book. You an still continue to publish independently and can still continue with your other projects later on. Your independent work I wouldn´t leave. I would think of this as a great opportunity that came along to write and research sth really interesting, to learn new things and get tools to help you main independent business. You have the advantage of experience too, so it would not be uncautious. I think it is also good that someobe who comes from the independent side, who produces this little gems you produce, can leave an imprint on the mainstream sector. It will be refreshing. In the end, I guess you just have to go with your gut. I think this is a great opportunity (for you and your prospective audience and for the craft too); however, the most important thing is what you gut tells you. If you are still not comfortable about it, don´t do it. Your own way is great already. We are all be going to be equally happy reading you, no matter how you publish. I do hope to see a book like that from you, no matter how it´s published. I have your two previous books and I have enjoyed them so much. Particularly the essays in Yokes. I also find very interesting the interviews and pieces of your writing you can read in your blog. The combination of craft, creativity and academic rigour,plus your personal voice, makes your work unique and exquisite. You have plenty to feel proud of.
    You know what I would love to see in the future? Besides what you already write, of course, which is really interesting and laden with inspiration. Not for the book, but for patters or the blog maybe, if it interests you. Projects for men. You must surely knit wonderful things for Tom, and I can see he has a modern taste, like you do. I knit your things for myself or your female friends and family, but would love to knit nice sweaters, vests, etc. for my husband and dad, who, like Tom, also like a more fitted style. In general, I feel there are less modern choices for men than for women in patterns, but maybe this is just my ignorance. Some light in that direction would be a nice project… The vest you made with Heritage yarn is on my queue for when I finish what I´m working on. That sort of thing. Patters, or recommendations of places to look for them, or other designers you find interesting…
    I wish you, Tom, Bruce and you team a wonderful year full of health and exciting projects. I hope you´re all feeling better. Whatever you do, no matter what scale, I wish you a lot of success. And thank you for your unique voice. It makes things very special.

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  87. Oh, please do consider undertaking such a writing project as proposed, Kate. I adore your writing and would read an essay on paint drying if it were written by you. However, as a reader and a knitter, I happen to particularly love reading about knitting. I’m only one devoted follower, but a book of essays on knitting by you sounds like a dream read to me! Admittedly I know less than nothing about the world of publishing, however, I think you are perfectly right to be flattered by the proposal and should not be put off by the idea of “going commercial”. There are many definitions of success, and by all of them you have proven yourself already – but don’t fear to add another string to your bow. I sincerely doubt that your personal integrity could ever be questioned, and your creativity cannot be bought and will always be at your disposal. I can’t see the possibility of reaching an even wider audience as anything but positive! Best of luck with the decision-making, it would be very hard indeed for you to go far wrong either way. xx

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  88. Your love/commitment to/interest in the larger publishing process shines through this blog post. It seems evident that you have found your post-academic calling. If this new book idea is anything like your Textiles magazines (which I loved), I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be a success.

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  89. Stay as you are kate love your blog patterns etc you are an individual keep that safe xx happy new year and to Bruce of course

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  90. Hello Kate, You have built an incredible audience all by yourself. Could a large publisher scale that upwards? You would be continuing to sell the book for them through your website, doing what publishers traditionally had to take on themselves, so a great deal of the marketing is already in the works. You will need to continue to support book sales through book tours. Certainly they need to make a profit but exactly how much of it will they take? What sort of advance will they give you to work on the book? If you’re wanting to go the route of traditional publishing, then please get yourself a good publishing agent with a proven track-record, someone who excels at negotiating and who will protect your interests.
    What does your heart say? What sort of pace allows you to work at your creative best? What part of the business of publishing do you enjoy the most and the least? Lots to weigh. Whatever you choose, I for one will continue to enjoy your excellent writing, intelligence, and creative spirit. Best to you!

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  91. I say go for it! One foray into another way of publishing does not negate everything you’ve accomplished, and will not leave it by the wayside, either. You will know if it’s something you want to continue, or if you want to stay with your highly independent (and wonderful!) way of writing and publishing. In all, I think it sounds like an interesting experience, and I would love to see that book!

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  92. I think a book about the historical aspects of knitting, written by an author devoted to all parts of the knitting process (from choosing the fiber, through processing and dyeing it, designing the pattern, etc) would be fascinating. I also think you are wise – though brave! to go the independent publishing route. Verify what I’m about to write with any authors of commercially published books you know: Commercial publishers think they “know” what will *sell* and will rewrite, or tell you to rewrite parts of your book. They want something *sensational* (I need italics here). They want edginess/a bit of confrontation with other authors of the same topic so they can promote your book as “a radical new look at” or “challenges existing misconceptions” or some such nonsense. Heaven forbid, they would probably use only models who are the typical tall, skinny sticks to wear your knitting designs, and those girls (because they are all girls, not grown women) would be plastered with cosmetics, and the garments pinned in back to make them look fitted *here* and *there*. You’d be selling your soul if you permitted that. You would dislike yourself.

    And now, I will step off of my soapbox and wish you the happiest and HEALTHIEST of New Year’s! Enjoy your haggis (well, you’ve probably already eaten it by now).

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  93. As a hopeful academic in the textile and fibers world, and a passionate knitter, I would love to have an academically rigorous book on knitting to which I could refer friends and colleagues that would be widely available where I live in the US. I love reading your blog, designs and ideas. Thanks for your lovely blog and best wishes for the new year!

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  94. What a quandary.

    A mainstream publisher could possibly mean affordability for people in other regions. This past year I’ve had to forgo many publications (most self-published) due to a struggling Australian dollar. The worst example was Cecelia Campochiaro’s Sequence Knitting. At it’s worst it was going to cost $AU200 including postage to Australia. Fortunately for me, my lovely family bought me a copy for Christmas (only $AU149). The book did not disappoint.

    My next thought can be either a pro or a con. Books published my mainstream publishers can be bought by public libraries. This allows people without the financial means to access the books but of course in turn can reduce sales. I regularly request my library to buy books so that I can peruse them before making an investment. This saves me from purchasing items that are not what I want (the few times I’ve been caught out I simply donate the book to the library) but also improves the library’s collection of knitting books so that they move past beginner knitters.

    Most importantly though, you need to do what works for you and what makes you happy.

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  95. Such a lot of great comments! I’m not sure if anyone else has asked about the copyright issues, but I’d wonder what happens to the copyright on a book and its contents if a big house produces it. If you produce it yourself, you retain all rights and can re-use or republish the contents later in other ways if you wish; if a big house publishes, don’t they then own the rights? What happens to your work when their print run is over? If it’s successful they may reprint, certainly, but then don’t you have to get permission from them to use any of the material from the book, even if the book is out of print and unavailable? Maybe eventually rights would revert to you? All questions to ask. If you have the means and the structure in place, which you do, it seems like a very sweet deal to be your own publisher and not be subject to the pushes and pulls of an outside publisher who have their own needs and limits to impose on you. You do indeed have all of the hassles and heartache on your own, but there would still be hassles and heartache with a regular publisher as well, just different ones perhaps. Like many others say, maybe you could try it and see, but freedom and independence are precious things, and your time and energy are precious resources too. Where do you want to spend you time and energy most?

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  96. I haven’t read the previous 163 comments, so if I repeat one, my apologies. Could this one book be just a trial, with the option of not publishing anything else commercially if you find that you don’t like it? Also, I will read anything you write, about knitting or any other subject that catches your fancy. So, that’s one sale! Happy New Year, Kate.

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  97. Happy New Year! I think you are on the right track by staying independent. I’d like to read anything about knitting which you would like to write; go for it!

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  98. You have learned to stand, walk and make a good life again with those you love around you. Please just continue to make what you like, how you like, with all those you will enjoy making it happen with the most. Everyone else, who wishes to, will come along too. Manage all expectation, yours & ours, with your continued good judgement & caution.

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  99. Kate, I would love to read a book of critical and historical essays by you, about knitting or really anything! I so enjoy your writing. I see this as a great opportunity for you. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to continue publishing books independently as well, does it? It’s a new adventure for a new year. All the best to you in 2016!

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  100. Hi! Well, you have a flattering dilemma on your hands. You asked for opinions… mine is that you keep your publishing in-house. I don’t want to see your work on the discount list at Amazon. Sure, you can get a wider audience with a traditional publishing house. A traditional publishing house is a machine that pumps out product; you will be pulled into and cycled around like a cog and your personal connection to your work product will be lost. ‘They’ have already set the theme. You can do it anyway, or not as you please. After a careful read, and re-read, of your post, I am of the opinion that your personal enjoyment and pleasure with the entire book process, despite the inherent stresses along the way, would not be satisfied interacting with a traditional publisher. You are actually taking an inspiration and bringing birth to it in tangible form. Each one is like your child. I wonder whether notions of independence (and perhaps judgment about this as a negative) and pride have gotten confounded. There is nothing wrong with feeling flattered by the offer. That is a normal, healthy response. The question is perhaps more whether traditional notions of ‘success’ are congruent with your own values and definition of success. You are allowed to do what is best for you, even if that means saying to the publishing house, ‘thanks for the interest, I think I will give it a pass just now.’ As your relationship with your book making changes over time, also a normal process, you may come to a place where you are happy to give some of the process over to ‘the machine’ that is publishing and hold your energy and focus on the parts you come to find you prefer. Let yourself grow with your work, as you have done to this point.

    Happy Knitting!

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  101. I love the way you write and I am passionate about history and knitting. All I know for sure is that every yarn shop on the west coast of Canada knows who you are, most feature your patterns, and if you stay independent, you already have a huge captive audience. Heck, I paid $40 Canadian dollars just to have your most recent book and I already had seen all the featured patterns. I bought it because I knew I would love the photos and the paper. Yes, the paper the book is made from. It is glossy and lovely. Anything you write, I will buy. Would you make more $$ working with a publisher? I wonder if that matters to you.

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  102. I can see you’re being given a lot of advice and opinions here, which is great.

    In my view, you’re already doing what you want: you’ve produced books, yarn, patterns etc. If the *only* thing that the big publishing deal will give you is an ego boost from knowing that more people will read your words (I know, I’m paraphrasing), then I’d say walk away from it. I find it hard to imagine that producing a book for someone else would be as fulfilling as doing it yourself (and I’ve been in the publishing business for almost 30 years). I’m sure you’d give the project all your attention and energy, and that alone would be enough to make me think twice, in your shoes.
    Go it alone. Remain independent. And yes, I’d be interested in reading the sort of book you describe. As would many others here. :-)
    Good luck!

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  103. Happy New Year!
    I love your blog and your books!!!
    I think if you go with a publisher make sure you have all the things you want to have a say in spelled out in your contract. The fact that there will be major advertising and promoting of your book would be great. On the down side they can get rid of your book anytime they wish and you’ll find it in a discount store (with no profit). I have written a couple of books, some parts of the experience have been wonderful, but somethings are disappointing. My last book has a not so great cover and there was nothing I could do about it, and now this represents my work. I think a great contract is the key. Best of luck in your decision!

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  104. I enjoy coming to your blog and reading your posts. I do enjoy knitting essay books, so I have to say I’d like to see this book in print. I’m more inclined to opt for reduced effort on your part – as long as the offer makes sense to you. I like the idea of your research, insight, wisdom, and experience reaching a wider audience through an established publisher. I am in the U.S. and am hungry for learning more about knitting and all associated factors.
    If you can get what rights and rewards you want from the publisher please consider going with this opportunity. Evaluate what the publisher offers in terms of storage and distribution of books as well as your own ability to meet requirements of the publisher. I would suspect if your book reaches a wider audience sales of your self-published books will also continue strong. I want to see you have the income that allows you to continue designing and selling your patterns or building your brand in whatever way will support you in the future.

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  105. I hope that you make the choice that makes you happy. However, if you do choose the large publisher for your next piece….I insist (nicely) that you let Bruce write an essay. I’ve always enjoyed his ‘asides’ when you are busy. ;p

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  106. Hi Kate,
    Patterns speak to the art. Essays speak to the heart. I love the way you write. I don’t have a publishing preference, but my heart would love to see those essays in print. Very best wishes.

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  107. Interesting decision to make. Personally, I would love to read a book on your essays on knitting as I find them more fascinating than actual patterns. I haven’t bought one of your pattern books, but I would buy one on your essays. This says more about my actual work output more than your books, trust me. I believe them to be excellent, but I just prefer to read than make. As far as publishing goes, I think your comments are valid. Whilst mainstream publishing packs an appeal to the ego, if you don’t mind all the work that goes into self-publishing, why not do it yourself? If it were me, the fame and prestige that would go with mainstream publishing would not be an attraction. I have searched in vain for essays on knitting and the history of knitting, and there is not much out there. I think your book is much needed, and don’t mind how you publish it, although I’d prefer to see the profits go to you, not mainstream publishing companies!

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  108. I think it is always best to go with your gut – what it is that you know intuitively. As others have said, I treasure the intimate relationship of doing business with you. The pattern, the book, the yarn comes directly from you in your Scottish Highlands to me here in the southern U.S. My dogs stick their noses into yarn that Bruce has undoubtedly sniffed. I enjoy doing business with you. Thank you for the work you do!

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  109. Tough one, there is something to be said for independence and as a consumer I must admit that I tend to prefer the independent rather than the commercial mass produced however, as many have said you may gain a lot in the process and as they say, nothing ventured!

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  110. Hey Kate,
    I want to thank you for your wonderful letter and sharing all that really matters to you. You always treat us like Close Friends, sharing so much of your life and the people that you love and cherish and the place that is now your Home and the influences that all those things have on you as a Designer, as a Person. I was taught at a very young age to treasure Books, Art and to treat these things with great respect, as someone put a lot of their time and themselves into these things. I word Cherish seems to fit best. If I’m honest, I would like to see you remain independent. I am drawn to your designs for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons, is they reflect you, the very heart and best of who Kate Davis is! I know that even though you have a huge following, if I ever needed help, or wanted to share how a design, or story, or tell you or Tom, how much my Family enjoyed the Dish Tom slipped in with a pattern of yours, I could. Most importantly, I would know, that you would read it and care, even though you don’t know me well. I also feel comfortable, telling someone that they would love a certain pattern of yours and that you had a beautiful Yarn that would really make it special. I would worry for one minute, that they might not get exactly what I told them they would, or they wouldn’t love it for all the reasons I said they would. That means a lot. I gave them “My Word” and I am not going to send them somewhere, or to someone I don’t they will love as much as I do. In the end Kate, all the things that make using a publisher attractive, are also the things that will limit the input you might have, and somehow, I just can’t see you settling for something less than you envisioned. If it were me I’d worry the whole time, that at some point, something would be done that I’m not comfortable with. I don’t have all the money in the World, I’m just a normal person, I know what I like and enjoy. If you published a book and it was more expensive because of how it was produced and knowing the Heart and Soul that all your other books have, I would not hesitate to purchase it. 35 Patterns and a very reasonable price would not compare with the Books I have purchased from You. Nor would being able to purchase 3 books by a Designer I like in a single year that each have 25 Patterns or more. I’m looking for more than “Like”, I’m looking for more than mass produced…I’m looking for unique, for a few surprises, for Pictures that have something more that just showcasing a sweater or mitts, I’m looking for a part of the Designer, a part of the Passion, the reason the designer, went in a certain direction. I guess I’m looking for the Story, I want more than just someone that can produce 3 or 4 Patterns each time a Magazine is printed. A Perfect example of what I’m trying relate to you, is the recent publication, well it came out in the Fall of 2015. Interweave put out “Folk Knitting” in October. I was interested the history of knitting, particularly in different areas of the World and add History to it and I’m going to be happy. When I received the Magazine, I could hardly wait to get a moment to read it and just absorb all the things I love about design in this area. I’m a very early riser and the next morning while everyone was asleep, I curled up with a cup of tea and the Magazine. It wasn’t long before I realized that “Folk Knits” didn’t really have anything new. Even the Patterns were all from other Publications by Interweave, some even from Books they had Published. I could literally go online to the Interweave site and look up every article and Pattern and see when it was published and what it was published in in the past. Not only was I disappointed and let down, if I was honest, I was a bit mad. Was it all about just making money? Was it so easy for them to just pick a title, look in their archives for things that fit the title, throw them together and then charge $15 plus $7 shipping (they don’t give you a choice for shipping), for them? Did they not understand that you expected to see new Patterns, new Articles, maybe something new had been found from the past and hadn’t been looked at before now! That’s the difference between Publishers and Someone like you Kate! Of course you want to make a profit, but at the same time, you are trying to show us the Passion, the Reason that you Love what you do and your hope that you can reflect that, convey that Love and Passion! In short, it is what makes you a Designer, and Artist, not just someone who can produce “X” number of Patterns in a given time. Well, now that I’ve written a novel, I best bow out and hope that I won’t be banned forever, from making Comments and that somehow it was helpful. I wanted to add the things I’d like you to explore, but then I realized, I follow you and Love your Designs and News, because of who you are and your outlook on life and all the other reasons that I could list, So with that said, I’m looking forward to following Ya’ll wherever the adventure takes you and what ever Surprises you discover….That’s what makes it Special! Happy New Year, I can hardly wait to see what the future has in store!

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  111. Hi Kate, Tom and Bruce! Happy New Year to all of you and your team!
    I always read your blogs with interest. For me, I would buy anything you published because I’m interested in knitting, its history and Scotland.
    What you have to think about is how it would impact on your health and quality of life. Right now, it appears to me that you have the perfect balance. Of course, I only know the bits you share with your audience, but life in the highlands, writing knitting patterns seems like the utopia that many people would die for!
    So, yes, I would definitely like to read more of your books, but following your blog is important for me too. I wouldn’t like to think that your idyllic lifestyle and health would be compromised. However, you are at the helm and ultimately have to do some soul searching to make that decision. It’s a hard one! Good luck and blessings in whatever decisions you make. I’m sure it will be the right one.

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  112. Personally, I think you should take the offer and do the book of essays. You are the perfect person for that task. Your writing is wonderful. I don’t see it as an either/or situation. If you are not happy with the publishing job when the book is finished, simply take what you have learned and continue your own independent publishing. I think the experience would be invaluable. Whatever you choose, I wish you the absolute best! While I love your books and patterns, what has meant the most to me is the personal struggles that you have shared.

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  113. A mainstream publisher putting out a knitting book attracts a new audience to the craft of knitting.

    An independent writer/designer publishing with a mainstream publisher attracts a new audience to her own books and patterns.

    I think if the deal sounds fair to you, do it (especially since it’s a collection and not just your own work). It will bring you more fans and help fund your own independent projects.

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  114. It is completely well said by numerous supporters above, but those of us overseas who often struggle to access small publications would welcome a broader reach of your book. If it doesn’t work for you or feel right then park the idea…someday it may become right. Your readers support you either way.

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  115. We need more well written books on the history of our craft. I would read historical essays, however you decide to publish them.

    Good luck. I will be interested to hear what you decide. I’m sure it will be the best for you, whichever path you take.

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  116. Go for it! You are brave, intellectual, curious, and not afraid of challenges. If taking a fork in the road is what you want, proceed, without fear of losing your fan base. You deserve a larger audience. And, remember: It’s YOUR life. Happy New Year! xx

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  117. So much wisdom in the comments. I would only add “Do what you will least regret”. This approach generally clears the path for me. I know you will listen to your heart. Best of luck as you move into territories.

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  118. Happy New Year to you, Tom, and Bruce!
    Frankly, I think I’d purchase any publication you put out. I so thoroughly enjoy the depth and care you put into everything you do. So do what speaks to your heart and I’ll support whatever endeavor you take on.

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  119. What a conundrum! But a good one and with all the good advice already spoken above you will do/know the right thing and we will follow you!! I have all your books and treasure them and would read whatever you wrote. Happy New Year to you, Tom and Bruce!

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  120. Hello Kate and Tom

    Happy NewYear.

    You certainly have plenty of comments to digest and there is a lot of wisdom contained within them.

    I know nothing of publishing but I am Scottish and very proud of my country even although I live in France. A book of essays re knitting would be wonderful. I noticed you said that you write poetry. Could that be combined with some photos of our wonderful country? May I also add that I find it quite humbling that you have asked your readers for their opinion. I bet you don’t get that very often in the publishing world.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide to do.

    Aw the best.

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  121. Happy new year!

    I think, as others have said, that there is not a ‘right’ answer here. I have learned from experience that things rarely turn out as we think they might, so I would expect you would get both more and less, which is to say different, from a collaboration with Penguin. You appear very clear of your beliefs, priorities and morals, so I would trust that would be able to ensure that those things that are important to you are enshrined in whatever contract you were to sign. And if not, you would have the strength to walk away. Perhaps, if it is possible, first meet with the team and discuss your concerns?

    Whichever you decide, your voice and interests are so recognisably yours, and so very interesting, that I’m sure there are many unknown opportunities beyond the horizon. Good luck with the decision!

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  122. As a regular reader of your blog and an infrequent commentator it is rather flattering that you ask our opinion on your personal decision.

    If you are being asked to write something you are obviously a commercial prospect and, I would hope, retain most of the control regarding content etc. It will be a different experience but if it’s not something you enjoy then your current route will be available as will your steadfast and appreciative followers.

    Personally I would like more tales about Bruce, and dog coats! Seriously I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles and books you currently produce. I admire your use of English and the background the you give via your research. I wouldn’t like a rehash of your blog but I love the historical and fashion details, the photos, the care and precision. More of the same would be superb.

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  123. I think it’s almost always worth trying something new, if it holds enough appeal (and this sounds like it does.) This is just one project of many, many others you have done and will do. Why not try out the commercial version and see if you like the commercial process? There may be upsides to this approach that you cannot foresee. And if not–if you do not retain as much control, or if you find you don’t like having un-tested strangers involved with your work, for example–you can still know that the words and the essence remain yours. You still can market the book on your blog and ravelry, among other places, and your devoted reader-knitters will support you no matter what. A commercial publication could just be one more experience in your life, one more piece of the rich tapestry that makes up your well-lived life. I say give it a try!

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  124. Hi Kate,
    I love that particular book publisher and would be hugely flattered also. I believe that, if I was interested in the project, that it would be a great experience. The profits could provide more funds for more independent projects. But I also believe that you have to go with your own heart/ instincts.

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  125. Hi Kate,

    Happy New Year!

    To me the proposal doesn’t sound better or worse than independence, merely different. It may also influence and inform your future work in ways it would be hard to predict. The fact that this one proposal stands apart and has garnered your attention in a way previous proposals failed to possibly indicates that it resonates more strongly with your values and your own ideas.

    All in all, it might be an adventure and I would love to read whatever it may end up being (truth be told, as a writer who knits, I’d be overjoyed if such a proposal hit my doormat!)

    Good luck with Buachaille and all your projects in 2016.

    Kim

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  126. Considering how you have made your way after leaving academia, I think it would be quite difficult for you, and perhaps disappointing in the end, to relinquish editorial control. That final say. One of the things I so like about your books, aside from the knitting designs, is your unique voice. You have found a way to combine your obvious love of research into topics that matter to you with a very real finished garment.
    Not to mention that this commercial publisher is simply coat-tailing on your independent success.

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  127. This is a timely post for me personally. I have also been reflecting about my life, fore and aft. I have concluded, again, that I must be vigilant about keeping my thinking independent as I grow older. It is just way too easy to relax and swallow cliches and stock phrases, current trends, popular (and ephemeral) smatterings of who-knows-what that passes for ideas and thinking. I have been considering what I really value, and that is independence in thoughts, words, and actions. Like you, I must be making things. My advice to you springs from this strongly held value — stay independent! You must have an inkling of how inspiring your fierce independence is to your readers. Yes, it is flattering that a mainstream publisher wants to take on a book from you, but please do consider the implications of giving up the “weight of editorial decision making” — that alone is too cruel to contemplate. I say this as a former technical editor — those decisions are not very pure and understanding because they must conform to the publisher’s drive to make a profit. I would purchase a book of your essays in a heartbeat because it is coming from one who thinks and creates outside the whole groupthink industry. I know that a book you have written and produced is not influenced by commercial motives, and that just like your yarn, it is authentic. That matters, very, very much.
    Cheers,
    Liz in Seattle

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  128. Really enjoyed reading your blog today. I see both sides, but somehow I feel you want to be sure you’re not shying away from “the big publisher” because of fear and discomfort. I, too, would say follow your heart, but just be sure what your heart is really saying. Perhaps my perspective is colored by my own trepidation in new situations. I think the project sounds wonderful either way that it’s done.

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  129. Dear Kate
    This New Year’s Day finds me knitting a third “Owls” sweater! I love your patterns, your originality and your depth of knowledge and the research you do into your subject. I think working with a mainstream publisher could offer you a lot of scope to carry on with your research. If you form a good relationship with your editor, you may be surprised at what new ideas will emerge from another point of view. It would be essential to meet the editor before committing yourself to anything because if you want to retain your own personality in the book she/he would need to understand, appreciate and get excited about knitting! But whatever you do, don’t let the experience get you stressed!
    Good luck and happy 2016
    Diana

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  130. My belief is that neither choice is a bad one, but I am secretly happy to hear you are leaning toward staying independent. That said, financial stability is important. I think the key is that you need to trust your instincts when deciding.

    My copy of Buchaille was on the coffee table this Christmas, and everyone who noticed it (Americans of Scottish descent; non-knitters, all) marveled about it. Your photos and writing would certainly delight a larger audience with a mainstream publisher, but the myriad small choices they would likely assume responsibility for (paper choice, etc) matter very much to the whole. I fear that the essential You-ness of the book might be diminished with corporate hands in the mix.

    That said, if you can retain enough creative control in the deal, perhaps that would not be lost. Perhaps freeing yourself from the business responsibilities would give you even more time to channel your creative energies into the work. Only you can decide. Is what you gain worth what you may give up?

    If you’re uncertain, my thinking is that you can stay independent for now. Try the next project on your own and see how it feels. You had a LOT of projects this year, and you need time to recharge. Big decisions can wait a bit. If publishers want to sign you now, they will still want to sign you in a year or two when you’re more certain of your choice.

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  131. mmm what a lovely predicament.

    I love reading your essays but I also love the patterns you create. I enjoy pausing in my knitting and reading your beautifully written accompaniment. I hope that this format for your self published books does not change. Tom’s recipes are a also a bonus, as I can now knit, read AND eat. My 3 favourite things.

    If it were just essays, I would go with the BP, if not, if it’s the style of book you have previously published, and if it is enjoyable, satisfying and profitable for you to continue to do them yourself, I say stick with it.

    I want lavender shortbread.

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  132. Dear Kate, iam not much of a comment-maker (is that an English word??), but asking your readers for advice urged me to, finally, write some remarks. First, knitting your patterns – to me – meant immensly improving my skills. You guide us knitters through a process of creating a garment that is wearable, technically fine, adaptable. I think this is one great plus to making a book for a wider audience. Second, your patterns are singular. There are many “designers” out there, yet there is something specific in your patterns that carry the name Kate Davies Designs (I couldn’t really tell what exactly that is, but e.g. Solveig Hisdal has this very specific “thing”, too. Your patterns stick out.) Third, iam a disabled teacher, and i know how hard it can be to recover in health, but also to recover for a work which sustains oneself. You wouldn’t necessarily loose your independence if you consider to work with a bigger company. You might gain more independence in this process, because some steps in it are taken off your shoulders. Fourth, the best test is to try it. Only after trying you’ll see if it was worth it or if you’ve learnt the lesson of “never, never, never doing this/that again in my life”. ;-)
    Have a good cup of tea and a splendid time pondering about the various arguments. Happy decision-making !!! ;-) And trust in yourself!

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  133. It seems to me a fine idea to have a go with a big publisher. If it is the right one, with people with whom you can have a good working relationship, it would allow you to focus on the content which, after all, is the central part of the “making”. It would be a new adventure, and you wouldn’t know how it will go until you embark on it. If it turns out to be an experience you don’t wish to repeat, you don’t have to–you have the success and experience gained from your indie publishing to continue the way you’ve been going.

    However you choose to publish, I would love to read a book of your essays!

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  134. Thank you for asking all of us for input, though I can understand if you have to stop reading our posts! So many interesting comments, and all worthy of consideration. I think we are all agreed that your health and family come first, as well as your relationships with those who work with you and support your independent projects.

    The project definitely sounds like a great idea. As pointed out already, first find out how much control over the process you will retain, especially the artistic aspects. How much travel and book signings (exhausting) will be required? What can you negotiate in the contract?

    Ask other knitting writers who have commercially published how their experiences went.

    If you choose not to do the project, and they ask another person to write this book, I don’t see that you need to have any regrets, as their book will be uniquely theirs and whatever you do in the future along the suggested theme will be uniquely “you.” You would probably feel uncomfortable publishing your own book on the exact same subject, but your style of writing can easily include delving deeper into the subject if it piques your interest and relates to your theme.

    Obviously, this publisher values your work highly, and I would hope that they will value you, as a person, designer, writer and artist, enough to consider your own desires and needs should you accept the offer. Whatever you decide, I will continue to enjoy your work and be inspired
    by you!

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  135. Make a list of “the good,” “the bad,” and “the ugly,” of why to go with a publisher or not. In the end this your work with your ethics of how you want it to be handled. I love the independent approach but that is my opinion and not yours for your work.

    All I can suggest is to go read the biography of James Herriot written by his son.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-James-Herriot-Memoir/dp/0345434900

    It might give an interesting insight to the effects of after you publish your work.

    I can never thank you enough for sharing your work and world with us all in a home grown way!

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  136. Hi Kate, I love the way you write and find the historical aspect fascinating. I would choose to go with what you in your heart was most enjoyable and particularly what you would find the least stressful! Also, coming from Lancashire myself I’ve often
    wondered if you’ve thought of looking at the wool and knitting history of Lancashire/Yorkshire? Either way good luck with whatever you choose. Happy New Year x

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  137. Many good comments above. As others have said, discuss the pros and cons with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Clara Parkes et al. Others have also mentioned EZ’s experience as a warning; but, as I understand it, you will not be submitting patterns to this publisher (and not all publishers play fast and loose with the submissions). Consider also the phenomenal and unexpected success of James Rebanks: apart from his faithful Twitter followers, who would have expected the humdrum life of a hill shepherd to reach such an audience?

    Secondly: a book of well-researched critical and historical essays can be of interest to more than just knitters. One can be interested in a subject without participating in it. (If anyone doubts that, they should visit historical sites such as Colonial Williamsburg and see the interest shown in the recreation of old methods of book-making, wheel-making, gun-smithing etc. The people who spend thousands on supporting CW are not budding wheel-wrights, blacksmiths or basket-weavers, but are interested in learning about and supporting the crafts.) It can also serve a resource for other historical writers who wish to incorporate accurate knitting references into their novels (e.g. knowing when, where and why circular needles were developed can be a small but telling detail).

    Thirdly: I thoroughly enjoy the essays in your three books: to me, they are the most interesting part of each. While I admire the patterns and respect the effort and detail that goes into them, I confess that I have not yet knitted any of them. (I’ve bought the yarn, the kits, the Seven Skeins – but have not (yet) started any.). Your essays in 60 North likewise bring me great pleasure, and your academic research and critical thought are a pleasant change from the more superficial approach taken by some other writers.

    In summary: I would like to see a book of critical and historical essays, and I think it is time you shared your talents with the wider world. Take the time to find a good agent and editor, and remember – whatever the outcome, you will have learnt something from it which you can apply to your independent endeavours.

    SarahCM

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  138. I think it is interesting as an independent soul you would ask the very confused population at large for a committee decision. Hahaha. I love everything about you Kate. Your talent. Your forthrightness. Your intelligence. Your adventure. Your illness and recovery and continuing courage. Your family. Your love for Bruce and Tom. Your gift of sharing. Your love of Scotland and allowing the voyeur in my a glimp into what is a bit of my own heart. There are many things I love about you. I know that was not your question but it is the new year here and I needed to get all that off my chest. As to your publishing independently or with a major label I vote for not allowing one to preclude the other. Why not do both? You of all people have the absolute ability to make it work. Publish the title that will give you commercial success. Why not? It’s money in the bank and another process to explore. Who knows. It might even give you more ability when publishing independently. Why not, I say, do both. You have many ideas. Take them and make your own book with those and take the mainstream publishers idea and let them publish your words. Words are a living legacy. Make yours as big and broad as possible. We need more intelligent reading in the world and more well thought out creative ideas. You have worked hard and made so many good decisions and I have full faith that whatever you choose will be right for you now. It goes without saying one can always take another road when the time comes. All the best to you my cyber friend.

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  139. Kate,
    You should continue self publishing. It is the process you like and unless this publisher is someone you know you will lose many aspects of the process and ultimately you may not Have the influence to leave or put in what you want. If you find the art of negotiation appealing then take the deal as that aspect will be the main part of the project.
    You have wonderful designs and I enjoy your blog. The photos you share bring back fond memories of living in Scotland! Keep up your work and be true to yourself and you will find the right answer for you.
    May this year be as prosperous and fulfilling as the last. As always I will look forward to your posts.
    Happy Nee Year,
    Cindy

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  140. There are a lot of comments and I haven’t read them all, but the early ones at least seem very much in favor of the mainstream publisher. I think it might be a mistake. Much as I’d love to see a whole book of essays on knitting by you, writing a book is a huge job. While I’m sure you would be great at it, I think it would be confining. I think you now have a great balance between designing and writing and I think this balance feels good to you.

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  141. I think you are SO WISE to reconsider the mainstream publishing option. My first thought was of all the fine knitting books I see at the used book store – the same title in tidy stacks…I would not like to see yours there and I think, with your current printing process, never will. Always retain control of your business – once you compromise on one thing, the next compromise will be easier until you find yourself with a book you didn’t really write.

    The second thought I had was of your current life – of how pleased you are with it, now. Beware of anything that threatens that peace and happiness. All this is said from the standpoint of a classic capitalist – the trade of goods and services for something you value. Just be sure that exchange really does bring value to your life. Best wishes for the new year and a hug and cookie to Bruce!

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  142. PS — sorry, and am so inexperienced that I made a mistake in my last comment which I must ask to have corrected. Could you please post my comment, if you choose to do so, WITHOUT my full name?

    Thank you! Kim

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  143. Is it possible to write a significant portion of the book that you envision BEFORE making a decision? And then see if it’s a good fit with what the publisher is seeking? Or must you give them an answer very soon? One thing that worries me is that you already have projects planned for this coming year, and your health (and life as a whole) has to come first. If you are locked into a commercial contract, will you be able to arrange for a significant extension on the deadline if you were to encounter a health setback? Please take the best possible care of yourself. That must come first.

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  144. Embrace any opportunity to learn something new or different, who knows where it could lead you. You may love what you are doing now but who knows, next year, in five or ten years you may wish to change direction, take a chance…

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  145. Dear Kate (and all),

    Afraid I haven’t the patience to read the 100-odd comments already posted, so this may be redundant. But I am moved to respond (for the first time!), because… Well, because it’s the first of the year, and I too am contemplating changes and new projects. Of course Kate must do what feels truly right for her, and that’s that. BUT as an academic historian with one book out and another “forthcoming”–both from ordinary academic publishers–I don’t see that publishing a book in more conventional style represents a significant loss of independence/autonomy. Unless, that is, one is very committed to bookmaking as a creative endeavor in and of itself. The main thing, in my opinion, is the text (and accompanying images), and there it seems likely that Kate would be entirely free to do as she chooses. Especially since Penguin has relatively deep pockets (at least as compared to academic presses), and can afford to cater a bit to authors. So the question in my mind is: does Kate WANT to write historical essays on knitting, and open more doors in the process? If not, or only “maybe,” then she should certainly decline this offer and continue along her admirable way. But if “yes,” and there is a congenial editor or two into the bargain, and perhaps a handsome advance, why not? The real question is whether she wants to devote the time and energy and imagination to writing the book, or not. Good historical essays will require a great deal of effort, as she of course knows well–and she may wish to use that precious life-force on other projects.

    Good luck, and thank you for your blog and everything else!
    Kim (who is knitting with delight a Peerie Flooers in J&S 2-ply)

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  146. My first post, but this one I can’t resist! Like you, Kate, I love making things — knitted things, gardens, bread, music, but especially books. I’ve been making books now for close to 75 years. My mother saved my first attempt, a story of a rabbit. I made the pictures, added scribbles for words, and then asked my mother to read it to me. Together, we managed to do that. Now, after a long stint as an academic editor and publisher, I’m a freelance editor, mostly of art books. A colleague produces the books, and I will say I take great pride in our finished products, thanks to an expert team of individuals and printers in the U.S., UK, and Europe. I also sometimes act as an advisor for friends who want to publish their own books.

    Re your project (Penguin, it seems?), you didn’t say if you were compiling a book of essays or writing them all yourself, but in either case, it seems to me you are used to working with your own team, so teamwork isn’t the problem — perhaps rather the thought that you wouldn’t be part of the team with a major publisher. For me, that would be the key issue, and I’ve experienced it both ways — terribly frustrating (worst case) if a book is on press, three months late, you’ve never seen the book jacket, and details are incorrect on the publisher’s website. This is the rare exception — most projects are very gratifying if you have supportive and cooperative colleagues at the publishing house.

    Can you meet with the publisher’s agent and your project editor, see if you think you can work well together, and study the contract carefully? Most authors don’t make a lot of money on their books, but you should at least be sure your time and expenses will be compensated. And as many have said, this needn’t be an either/or proposition — just a different way of creating another wonderful book.

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  147. i think you can do both, a wider audience and more copies sold would surely mean more money to invest in your own personal preferences and , not a minor thing, larger print runs mean cheaper prices for your readers.
    what have you got to lose ? if you hate it you need never go there again.
    you have managed some very hard situations in your life an d come out fighting, you have great things in you.

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  148. My husband left the New York Times on the kitchen table. While I was waiting for the kettle to boil and then my tea to steep, I read. It was the business section. It depressed me. The global drive for more, faster is too much. Everything inside of me screamed “stop, too much, too fast, let’s stop”. I love what you are doing…the actual doing and the showing that it can be done quietly, slowly, lovingly, thoughtfully and so beautifully. Thank you.

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  149. I would take the offer or at least look into it further, not remove it from the table.

    I don’t believe having a book publisher makes you less independent, or means you haven’t done it on your own. Think of your favorite authors, of the past and today. Would you call them all dependent?

    Nobody is a superhero who can do 100% of everything alone. You didn’t invent and design Ravelry, or create and edit knitting magazines, but you can publish through them and that’s great. Ditto these essays via the book publisher.

    I think it would be shortsighted to decline the offer. It would introduce you to a whole new audience, and that financial support would allow you to do more projects on your own if that’s what you’d like. If something like the cover is particularly important to you, you can negotiate a contract where you have veto power, or a contract where they agree to use one of Tom’s photos, or whatever else you want. Figure out what’s the most important to you and see what they think. If you can’t reach a compromise, then you can still walk away — but at least you’ll have checked, not just automatically dismissed it.

    Best of luck!

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  150. You’re a great writer, I would love that type of book from you. I would do it as long as your contract includes control over the aspects that are the most important to you. If you end up not liking it don’t do it again but if you do it could be a whole new venue for you. It’s been a rough year for me and your posts have been a bright spot in a dreary time, I wish you the best!

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  151. We would all read it with relish! Tough choice though, as you could easily write this book yourself. I think that a wider audience would enjoy your voice, as well as your perspective on knitting. However, it sounds like your gut is telling you to pass on this one. What does Tom think? I joke with my husband that I married him so that I would have a tie-breaker with myself! We will be your excited audience no matter what you choose!

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  152. I think you should talk to some others in the knitting community who are also writers like Yarn Harlot who has a lot of experience with both knitting, presentations and book publishing. In the end, no matter the opinions of all of us, you must do what’s best for you and follow your heart.

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  153. Happy New Year to you all from Canada. I’m not writing as a knitter or a writer but to to remind you of your uniqueness. The flattering offer you’ve had should enforce that. Getting caught up in the machinery of a large publisher may water down your special gifts that we are all so appreciative of. Deadlines and book tours could take you away from the world that you love so much for great swathes of time. Maybe there are other ways of getting your books into the larger world. Please, please, please go with what feels right, we’re right behind you supporting your choice though.

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  154. Kate this needs very careful consideration and you need all the true facts how main stream publishing works in the knitting world .
    From one who has done both types published and self published I have opinions on both .
    Mail me if you wish to talk
    Chrissiedayatgmail.comdotcom

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  155. I would venture to say that whichever decision feels right to you is probably the right one for you. There are always multiple things to weigh on these “which path to take” questions, and many times neither path is wrong–simply one is better for you, at this time in your life. Good luck making your final decision — I hope it may bring you peace. Happy New Year to you, Tom, Bruce, & Jesus (if you still have your cat). (Hopefully this does not double-post, the wordpress format gives me trouble)

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  156. Playing devil’s advocate here:
    How will you feel looking back in 10 years’ time if you don’t accept the offer? Just because it’s more commercial than your current work, doesn’t make it bad – think of the bigger audience, some who’ve possibly never even tried knitting, never experienced the pleasure in creating something unique, never thought about where clothes come from, never created a patter, nor compared wools.
    On the positive side, would working on this project widen and deepen your experience of publishing, increase your network of contacts, inspire ideas for your future personal projects?
    Also, is it not a bridge that links your previous academic career to your current one?
    As I said, just playing devil’s advocate. I’m sure that whatever decision you make will be right for you now.
    Happy New Exciting Year!

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  157. This is what you love to do, and you like to do it exactly the way you want to. How much control will the ‘big publisher’ allow you? Or are you just providing the material and they will do with it as they will?

    You’re successful on your own. If you were me, I think I’d stay on my own. You have a fabulous support crew, and have proved several times only that you don’t need a bigger organisation behind you.

    But it’s entirely up to you. Either way, I’m looking forward to a knowledgeable book of writing about knitting by you.

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  158. This is a difficult one. On one hand I agree with Jane’s post (above) as a librarian I know how difficult it is for inide publishers, to get noticed by public libraries, as suppliers focus on publishers like Penguin, who can offer large print runs and good discounts on bulk orders. For a book of essays on knitting this may well be the way to go, it may well have an effect on introducing more people to your independently published work and designs in general. However for a book of patterns I would be wary, all the patterns books I see are just that, with none of the details and comments which makes your books so special.

    On the other hand there are your concerns about the decision making process, but I would say it is not hubris to want your words to reach a wider audience. Your books are some of the most interesting knitting books I have read and all of the interesting knitting books I have read have been published independently. Perhaps someone in commercial publishing has realised there is a huge interest and market for books about knitting – it is about time this happened.

    This is a long comments, but whatever way you go, I look forward to reading your work and would be very interested in your essays. As to the future anything which combines your wonderful patterns, with stories, history, recipes and lovely photos will be read by this knitter.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you luck and look forward to the results.

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  159. I would most definitely enjoy a book with essays about any facets of knitting by you. Why not do the book with this publisher & make a pact with yourself that it could well be once only, just for a taste of what it might be? It doesn’t indenture you for the rest of your life if you turn out to not like the process, and you will have that itch scratched, so you will always know what it is you choose not to do again. Happy New Year!

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  160. What about a book of essays on knitting with the big publisher and a parallel book of your own featuring patterns related to the essays in the book? You get the experience of big time publishing, while retaining control over your own pattern world.

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  161. Happy new year! I think you should keep your independence and your integrity. You will probably regret it if you go with the big publisher, because you may lose control over your work and may end up having your name on a book that you would have done/ edited differently if it was up to you alone… You seem to have a wonderful team of lovely people around you, who are passionate about you and your vision. That is priceless. Tom has a very good eye for photographing knitwear in a very elegant and classy way and you have a real talent with words. You have the skill to write a lengthy story while keeping it interesting. I’m worried that having another editor chopping up your words may be a real shame. Your real forte isn’t your knitting alone. It’s you and the way you write, and describe Scotland and the landscape around you. That’s a big part of your success. That and of course your personality which is as smart and witty as Elizabeth Zimmerman :) (oh and Bruce of course!). All of this has contributed to your image and the way you have branded yourself. That’s you, the way you write about the Scottish culture and educate people about the history of places and knitting. You got everyone dreaming about the Shetlands as being the spiritual home of knitting and now we all dream of going there as a pilgrimage (forget the Bahamas! We want to go to the weather beaten Shetlands ;) – you have done so well following your own vision, don’t let a big corporation influence your work :) you don’t need them, you have inspired a lot of knitters worldwide with your integrity and independence. Furthermore remember Betty Mouatt.. She chose to keep her integrity over fame! If you keep your independence you will be even more famous for that! Turning the offer down will make you even bigger :)

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  162. Kate Davies, I avidly read your blog and patterns–but as I get older I find the elegant grey typescript in these posts difficult to read. It seems narrow and faint. Thank you for listening.

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  163. Happy New Year Kate, Tom & Bruce,
    What I love most about your work is its ‘indie-ness’, it’s not mainstream, big business and in every knitting shop you visit. Your work is much, much more than a knitting pattern, it’s unique in so many ways- design & fit, colour and pattern & combination, history, geography, nature ( I could go on and on!). I’ve always thought of myself as an experienced knitter and have knitted all my life, but I have learned so much from you since I discovered your work.
    You need to trust your instincts, they haven’t let you down yet! I and thousands like me will always buy your work no matter what you do in the future.
    Oh, and ideas for the future- have you ever considered researching knitting from other areas of the British Isles? It must be as diverse as the languages and culture of our little island🇬🇧

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  164. I remember reading that Elizabeth Zimmermann’s first pattern published by a big magazine was changed from her groundbreaking in-the-round method to a pieced pattern. She self-published from then on. You have developed such a style, and the reader doesn’t ever know which parts of the style or layout or content is truly the author’s and which is the publisher’s, in a commercially published book or magazine. On the other hand, it is a lot of work…. I’d love to read your historical essays. They are what makes your pattern books so extra special. Happy New Year. Enjoy the possibilities.

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  165. Speaking selfishly as an American librarian, I would love to see your books more widely available, since we can generally only order from large vendors. I know your books would circulate like gangbusters!

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  166. Perhaps you should talk to Janet Clare and Jenny Rayment both in the sewing/quilting world . Both have been and done the self publish route… both are very successful too

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  167. What a good idea to ask those who have followed you for years. There is so much wisdom.

    I really like what Blithespirit had to say. My only other suggestion would to talk with some other knitters (Yarnharlot, MasonDixonKnitting, ClaraParkes) and get their take on what it has meant to go with publishers as opposed to self-publishing.

    Even though we have never met, I feel privileged to knit your patterns, read your books and enjoy your blog. I so appreciate it.

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  168. The books you have published seem very unique to me. I love the patterns with a story. Hope you will not give that up. however it all boiles down to what you want or need at this time. Go with your heart and don’t look back.

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  169. Hi Kate,
    As an academic who knits and likes to make (and I consider research making too, but a different kind of making), I enjoy your critical essays and your academic writing. I don’t know why you could not pursue both means of publishing your work, and having a greater reach is a good thing. You’ve left the ivory tower, there is a potentially very large public for your work, so why not engage in multiple dialogues—potentially in multiple languages! This opportunity could open new doors, help build new relationships, and hopefully help support your creative endeavours. Hubris is believing you are doing everything on your own.
    Best wishes to you and yours,
    Nicole

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  170. Happy New Year to you too Kate. Thanks for sharing your book dilemma with us all. All I would say is what would you most regret doing or not doing? As we get older and look back on our lives, I think most of us wish to have as few regrets as possible – things we did which we would rather not have done, things we didn’t do which we wished we had done.

    As to what I’d like to see you write about, knitting history definitely, and the social history related to that. I’d also like more patterns! garments especially.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. I am sure it will work out well for you.

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  171. I have experienced both complete independence in my work and working for big organisations and I think if you have the chance to maintain your independence but also do some projects with big companies, it can be a fantastic way to learn more about who you are and what you want. As long as you are only committed to one book for them AND the don’t ask you to sign a contract which restricts you from independent publishing or publishing for others, then you have very little to lose. Also, as a huge fan of your beautiful and creative work, I think it would be so valuable for you to reach those knitters who haven’t heard of you yet.

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  172. Happy New Year, m’dear! Book- it’s not an either or, or a selling out or whatever else, why not try it, see what happens and keep doing what you are doing as well. If nothing else, maybe it would help fund your next pursuit. My advice is worth what you paid for it… :)

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  173. Hi,
    That’s such great news! And what a blessed story. You inspire me, Kate.

    In regards to working with a big publisher be careful and stick to your “guns” (as we Americans like to say). I say this because of my mother’s frustration when she got her first big-time book published. I think that that publisher is such a big machine, with so many parts and pieces, that it was hard for her to get things done. To get things changed. The outcome to the casual viewer is that the book came out great but to her there were so many glaring errors. Images were backwards, arrows pointed to incorrect elements, and some of the text was off. Being that it was an academic manual things ‘had’ to be exact. So, it was very difficult for her to let some of those things go. She had too. But her teachings and the revolutionary concepts that she brought to her field are now available to such a huge audience. The mistakes almost don’t even matter anymore.

    I would say it’s worth it even if there are snafus because your work would reach do many more people.

    Thank you for what you do, Kate, and may you have many more blessed years to come.

    ~ Tasha

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  174. j’aime le sens authentique de ton blog, l’histoire derrière les mots et les voyages imagés. merci pour ce partage créatif et laineux, ne change rien. sauf peut être la traduction française des livres, quoi que ! bonne année.
    *
    I love the authentic meaning of your blog, the story behind the words and pictorial travel. thank you for sharing this creative and woolly, changes nothing. except maybe the French translation of books, whatever! Happy New Year.
    *
    ChrisTine.

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  175. I would love to read anything you write as I am sure all that read your blog and books.would agree! Look how popular you are in a short amout of time and I only see that growing..i say listen to your heart, you already know the answer to which path is right for you…and people will follow…Keep on walking! Happy 2016 to you and Tom and Bruce!

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  176. Why not try a mainstream publisher, once, and see how it goes? Surely, you have more than one book of essays in you (I hope so, I want to read them!), so if you don’t like experience, the next book can be all yours. Learning how to make a book as part of a team, though, where you’re only really responsible for the words, may teach you things you didn’t know about yourself, things you can’t learn by doing it all yourself. And there are only so many hours in a day: spend them doing what you enjoy most, whatever that is. I’m looking forward to whatever you write, wherever I see it.

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  177. Happy Hogmanay Kate, Tom, and Bruce! I really appreciate you asking for the opinion of your readers and followers. I think that most of us are “makers”, and that there is something more essential that comes from the “making” than the actual product. It helps one become more of his/her authentic self. For the past several months, I have been mulling over why certain parts of my life feel a bit disconnected, and I now believe it is because I had let go of some of the making. That does not work for me, so I am taking the steps to bring those parts back. I think that is where you are as well. You enjoy the process of the making, and it seems that you thrive on it as well. I will purchase the book whether it is mainstream or independently published, but feel that you need to “go with your gut” on this one. There are always critics out there, so do what pleases you. That is what matters most at the end of the day.

    Warm hugs to Bruce. Glad to hear that he is recovering. Hope that you both are able to resume your walks soon.

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  178. Happy, healthy New Year!
    Do both; do not be afraid!
    Live big and share through it your knowledge with an audience who otherwise would never discover you. We also need to keep bookstores alive; and
    that would certainly be a fine
    contribution toward it!
    D a r e and do both, p l e a s e.

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  179. Happy New Year to you, Tom, Bruce & your crew. What an exciting decision for you to make, and it is certainly flattering that you have asked us to chime in with our advice, such as it is. I’ll add my two cents.

    Michele just above here has ably distilled everybody’s advice. Making a list of pros and cons will be very valuable. I agree that it need not be an either/or decision. It all comes down to what your relationship to Penguin will be. It may be my own legal background as a paralegal assistant that makes me want you to look very carefully at what Penguin will legally demand of you in the publishing relationship. Make certain that you can still continue your independent projects while under contract to Penguin without them claiming ownership of everything you do while working with them.

    So, good luck making your decision. I’m with everyone here in saying that I can’t wait to see your next project.

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  180. Happy 2016! Lots of hard thinking going on among your readers. For my two cents, I think you should approach the Penguin offer as a learning experience & go for it — so long as it can be a one-off if any aspect of it doesn’t meet your already established beautifully high standards. I have all your books & treasure them for more than just the knitting. I would definitely love to read essays about the history & cultural significance of knitting & patterns. Good luck to you as you head into the new year with whatever projects you take on.

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  181. so much good advice to be had above that I am inclined to say “toss a coin!”. You are a great writer and not only very creative but also a completer finisher so either choice will work. I look forward to reading your writing wherever I find it and to enjoying your glorious patterns, bw, karen

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  182. Wow, Kate, what a dilemma.
    I agree with some of the others in that nothing ventured, nothing gained, and that many knitters would love that new book whether it was commercially produced or not. With that being said I see the “problem” / opportunity two ways: 1) take a chance and do this project (yes, you may lose a bit of creative independence on the project, but you will GAIN mass market exposure.) –or– 2) turn it down and produce it on your own, retaining your total control in all aspects. This is a decision only you can make and you must follow your heart. And know that in the end, whatever you choose to do, we will be there supporting you!
    Good luck, and Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!

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  183. It sounds so tempting, but is it truly the right path for you? You value working independently (you even italicized that) and love the hands-on aspects of making. You will never regret staying true to your own preferred way of working.

    You are already sharing your work with an appreciative audience. Is a bigger audience better? Only you can decide. It would be incredibly inspiring to see someone of your ability and reputation say “no” to an opportunity that isn’t right. That is brave. So many feel they must grab the golden ring because they don’t trust that other opportunities, which feel much more right, will come.

    We only get one life. What others think you “should” do is of no concern.

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  184. First of all – Happy New Year from another stroke survivor of 2009 in Canada!
    I’ve followed you through your recovery as I recovered from mine.
    I’ve read your books, knit your designs & bought your yarns :)
    Now, as you ponder this important decision – all I can think is – Elizabeth Zimmerman. She too had this decision to make and I, like oh so many am thrilled with the one she made!
    Good luck to you, whichever path you choose.
    Gina

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  185. What a lovely post Kate. It’s wonderful to reflect on your path and see what has been learned, lost and gained and how there was simply no way to predict where you have arrived. I think it is difficult if not impossible to know all the outcomes from our choices. We use the information that we have and make a best guess based on our needs and values but outcomes are not in our hands. You seem a very thoughtful person to me and your questions are so well put. I do think both options could be considered hubris depending on your reasons for choosing them. On the one hand making a book deal with a large publisher could be about a desire for attention, validation and mainstream success (whatever that means). From all I’ve read from you those do not seem to be your driving motivations (although who among us can say we don’t need a little outside validation?) On the other hand remaining as independent as possible could become about control and staying with what you know and a certain amount of hubris. Once again, you don’t seem like a person who doesn’t recognize all you need from others and what you learn from them. You take advice and acknowledge that you need editors, accountants, designers and other skilled people to work together.

    I would echo what others have said. This is not an either/or proposition where you publish only with mainstream publishers or on your own. I was a bookseller for years and had wonderful and not so good interactions with publishers. That is just life. You will not be “selling out” if you work with a big publisher. It would be an entirely different set of people on the team and there would be lots of other opinions in the mix. Your books would be discounted and sold via online retailers and possibly thrown away. You would not be the boss of all final decisions. However, it could also be a great learning experience which would bring you into contact with all kinds of new people. There is no way to predict what roads those contacts and learning experiences could open.

    I would say, unless you have a sick, dread-filled feeling in your stomach, that it can’t hurt to try. Maybe the experience will not be entirely pleasant or go the way you want. That can also be fertile ground for learning and can enrich your own independent work. But if you do feel dread it means it is not right for you right now. I recently had to turn down an opportunity to help out an educational institution that I very much admire. The work sounded interesting and I support their overall goals. However, when I thought about adding it to my current responsibilities (I love saying yes to things and helping when I feel enthusiastic about the project) I felt pressure and dread. I knew I couldn’t do it right now and so I said no even thought that was hard for me. You know how much work you can take on and you can say yes or no to whatever you like.

    Don’t judge yourself for wanting more people to read your work. I think you have something really valuable to add to the conversation about knitting and crafting in the modern world. You speak about the connections, history and heritage so beautifully. I really appreciate how you don’t shy away from the difficult points where individuals or groups have been taken advantage of in our shared making history. I don’t find many writers who do that with such sensitivity and fairness. I think that would be valuable for so many people and there are plenty of makers who don’t use the internet much or spend time reading blogs. Plus, as a former bookseller, I feel there is a certain magic in the serendipity of finding the perfect book you never knew you always wanted just sitting on a shelf in a shop somewhere. It’s a beautiful thing and still happens (at least for me).

    That was very long. Either way I, and many others, will always be here, reading your blog and looking forward to hearing what you would like to tell us about. No matter how your next projects are published I will get them and find my life richer for them. I am a great lover of the personal essay and also love your historical essays as well. Your patterns are amazing and your writing is beautiful so any publisher and audience would be lucky to have your work.

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  186. A very interesting post. I worked for over ten years in a large commercial publishing house (the one that Penguin merged with recently) so can say quite confidently that your experience positive or negative, will depend on the editorial team that you work with. The first question to ask is – would you have thought of writing a book of essays on knitting if they hadn’t approached you? Or has their proposal inspired you creatively to think about combining your academic and research skills along with your love for knitting and wool? If you’d self-publish a book of essays in the future anyways, I would think seriously about their proposal. This is a different type of book to your three previous pattern books that we all love for the gorgeous photography, and great patterns and I wouldn’t want to see you take that type of project to a large publishing house because it’s the control you’ve had over those projects that have made them so unique. But a book of essays is different, and the scope of where Penguin can get their books distributed is pretty vast. So by all means submit a proposal and then meet with the team and ask them lots of questions before signing a contract. Are any of them actually knitters? Why have they approached you – is it the popularity of your blog, or on ravelry, or have they actually read and loved your previous essays? Do they want you – the writer – on their publishing list and why? You’ll soon get a sense of their passion (or not) and your gut will tell you what steps to take next. I have seen first-hand how a passionate editor or publicist or sales rep who gets behind a book can really make that book. Yes, there’s a lot of hype and a little loss of control in the big corporate publishing world, but there are also an awful lot of hardworking people who love books, writers and getting their words out to the right people. I think it would be a great adventure for you and if you do go this route, I hope you’ll share the journey with us. Best of luck with your decision and Happy New Year. I can’t wait to see what you’ll get up to in 2016.

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      1. I do agree with you. It is a fantastic advise.
        Lots of readers felt compelled to give their opinion. It has been really interesting reading them especially now, close to Easter time! What did Kate finally decided ? If I can add my pebble to this conversation, I would not be afraid to work with Penguin. It will be extremely interesting to have a team to work with. I am very eager to read a book of essays by Kate, as she is an excellent writer.
        I also love the coincidence that she created a “penguin pattern” …
        Best wishes to all and enjoy the Scottish Spring !

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    1. I work in publishing too, and I absolutely second this advice. You’re not just working with a company; you’re working with specific people at a company–your editor being the most important, followed by the publicity/sales folks (especially if part of the reason for going with Penguin is to reach a wider market). The quality of the experience will depend greatly on whether you and your editor are on the same page, so to speak! If it’s important for you to have input into, say, the design of the book, then express that and find out exactly what you can expect. Authors usually do have at least some say in those elements.

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  187. What a great place to be!! Following your heart and weighing all the pros and cons may get you closer to making a decision. I’m sure you’ll take your time in choosing the road and we’ll all be there cheering you on!!

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  188. Hello, Kate: I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been reading and enjoying your posts for a few years. I very much like the essays you’ve written about regional histories and trends in fiber and knitting and I expected that you would publish them in a collection some day (so that I could buy and re-read them). The only question you need ask yourself is whether now is the time. If you feel that you have the ideas and the material, then go for it! Doesn’t matter how (you have the flexibility, as other posters have pointed out).

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  189. Happy New Year! What an excellent idea to ask readers of your blog – I’m sure it must be a very tricky dilemma! Have you got all the specifics of how the book would look and feel and how much control you could retain? I’d be tempted to go for it – as long as they can be responsive to your needs as a maker.

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  190. Hi Kate – Would you regret it if someone else was offered the book to write? Maybe that’s the way to look at it. Btw I have tried to buy your new book, but I can’t get PayPal to work. Have been on the phone to PayPal and they have advised me to get in touch with my bank as it might be my card, but it isn’t. I’m going round in circles and can use it to buy other things from the Internet. Is there any other way of buying the book please?
    Pamela

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  191. Good morning, Kate, and a very Happy New Year! What thoughtful and wise comments your readers have offered, and though I feel quite unqualified to give you advice, my “gut reaction” is to encourage you to give the publisher a try, specifically with regard to a book on the history of knitting…I definitely feel, however, that you would need to be VERY specific about your role in the process, knowing that you would lose SOME control, but not ALL control of the project…if you find the outside publishing to be rewarding in the majority of the aspects that have meaning to you, then you can continue along that route, if not, you can always return to publishing any and all future works independently…in other words, no doors are closed to your wisdom, knowledge, and sense of balance in your life…whichever path you choose, you will have done it after much thoughtful consideration, and it will be the right path for you at this point in your life…..

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  192. OK here are my thoughts, keep it! THIS BELONGS TO YOU, this is intimate and you already share it with many and I thank you for that. You and many others have worked very hard and there is nothing wrong with some more hard work. You already have a very high standard and with your own team I do feel that would just continue and am quite frankly not sure how these books could get much better. Essays would be great both historical and critical, it is all the extras that make your books so special. The photos, history, recipes, etc……oh and the web site is really quite addictive not to mention the Seven Skeins Club! Thank you, thank you so much

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  193. Today, on the first day of 2016, my husband and I are starting a new independent venture. It is not one of great risk-taking, but it is a venture which looks entirely different from the way things are done in our part of the world. I think, in part, we have the courage to do this because we see people in the world — the lovely people of Kate Davies Designs — who are striking out on their own as well and independently creating Such Good Work in a new way.

    For us, the most important issue will be being able to work, on our own terms, hand in hand with our clients. We don’t want to “run a company” so much as we want total control over the decision making which will allow us to provide our service to each client.

    But the most exciting aspect of being independent is going to be our new ability to mix our work and personal lives. (I should explain that we have lived this life before, gave it up for a more “corporate” setting, and now wish to return to what had previously been working so well.) It is a lifestyle which allows us to elevate our daily activities of making a cup of tea, or taking a brisk walk with the dogs, or switching our priorities at the last minute to accommodate a new idea or need.

    I know this is right for us — but writing is an entirely different activity and would retain its solitary personality. Would the deadlines and commitments you would face alter your personal life? Would it prevent you from continuing as you have begun with Kate Davies Designs?

    Most importantly, I wish to say that Kate Davis Designs is an amazing accomplishment. Your books are the best in the business. Your designs take flight in my imagination. Your writing is spectacular. Your vision to include your travels and Tom’s recipes is so incredibly attractive. And your yarn — just the smell of it in my knitting basket calms me. The touch of it brings your world to mine.

    All this seems incredibly unique and valuable, doesn’t it?

    What I love most about what you do (and what I would love to see more of) is the way you connect your knitted pieces to entire outfits. Your wedding pictures were astounding! Your sweater was beautiful — but it was the entire package, wasn’t it? No fashion designer can pull together a look as beautifully as you can. You inspire!

    Thank you for your amazing work. It brings joy to my life. Rest assured that whatever decision you make — will be the correct decision. Your instincts are spot on!

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  194. Well, first of all, Happy New Year! Next, what a dilemma! I love your writing in any format so to me it wouldn’t matter whether it’s via a mainstream publisher or independently produced – either way I’m sure you would ensure the quality of the end product would be excellent. The way I see it, you’ve been asked for a specific title which means they must believe they have a market for it so, if it wasn’t already on your “books to write” list, it won’t be taking away from your planned stuff but will be adding to it and would reach a wider audience, which can only be a good thing because there are people out there who are currently missing out but don’t even know it! If you went with them for just this one book it would be just that, one book, and wouldn’t preclude you from continuing with your own publishing nor would it take away your independence. Perhaps it needs to be seen as a separate enterprise, as an “add on” rather than an “instead of”, if that makes sense. I’m not sure I’ve been of any help but I think the more people you reach the better because your writing’s (whether it’s historical or a knitting pattern) is fab! Good luck!

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  195. How exciting! I always make a two column pro and con list for decisions that I feel conflicted about. Usually I find myself searching and reaching for more ideas in one side to weight it and realise that I’ve already come to my decision!
    So what might the disadvantages of commercial publication be? Would they have exclusive rights to follow up ideas in the same vein for a period after publication? Is the writing schedule they propose sane in the light of your other creative endeavours and your health needs? Howuch editorial control will you ultimately have?
    I suppose I’ve not made the decision either, but hopefully given you some food for thought.
    As for what sort of writing I’d love to see more of from you, I think it falls into two categories: Historical and critical essays about knitting, making and their contexts; and reflective essays about places, people and experiences. Memoir type essays, I suppose, like your longer blog posts. I always look around myself with fresh eyes after reading about a walk or bit of landscape on your blog and I think that would all hang together wonderfully in a collection of essays (illustrated with some of your own photography perhaps?)

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  196. Dear Kate,
    Firstly, I would love to buy a book of essays about knitting. The quality and depth of your writing would make it something special. As for your other question, though, I have worked in mainstream publishing and do not believe that you would get a good deal. These companies are so huge, staff turnover is often high and, however committed and hard-working your editor is, your book will inevitably become part of the machine. It is creativity by committee and everyone has a different agenda.
    Having said that, as you know, it is always worth trying something new and taking some risks. You have experience of the publishing process and that would help you to make sure the best decisions were being made.

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  197. Hi Kate, Happy New Year to you all. I think Penguin are a genuine and traditional company, and they would make excellent bedfellows in what sounds like a great opportunity. This may or may not be a life-changing experience, but you’ll learn Something from it. Feel the fear and do it, anyway! Good luck x

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  198. I love reading essays about all aspects of textiles/knitting–technique, history, sources of design and materials, explorations of what it means to be a maker…….. I have read all you have written so far, and will continue to do so, as you are the best in the field, I think. I have an academic background (also York) but have not been employed in academia. However, my heart leaps when your writing connects with that part of me. And you keep my hands supplied, too, with endless rich possibilities. I have never been to a meeting of our knitting group without your name being mentioned, and we consider you an honorary member in absentia. So, follow your head AND your heart, and you will be led truly. This is more an appreciation than considered advice, but perhaps knowing that you have a dedicated following as all the comments indicate will give you courage which ever course you take. It will be the “right” decision because you will make it so. Happy New Year!

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  199. I think you have to do what’s important to you. If reaching the biggest audience possible is what you most want, then go with the mainstream thing. But I feel like you enjoy being involved at all points – just as you were with the making and dyeing of your yarn – and you are rightly proud of what you’ve built. If you’d like to grow organically (and, realistically, never get as big) then turn them down.

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  200. Hello and a Happy New Year. I’ve never commented before but I am an avid reader of your blog and a huge admirer of your knitting patterns and your wool. One of the (several) reasons for this is the pleasure I have derived from following the progress of your knitting career since your stroke. That this has approximately coincided with my own knitting “journey” adds to the interest a little but I think I would have enjoyed it anyway. To get to where you are now from where you were six years ago is a not inconsiderable feat, especially as you have done this entirely by hard work and careful planning, independent of external financial assistance. This really is something to celebrate at a time when so much is corporate and global. I understand exactly what you mean by the satisfaction in making something, whatever it might be and I think that you should follow your own laudable instinct not to be tempted into a venture that, at the present time, you are clearly unsure about. You have now become so successful amongst the knitting community that I am sure this tempting offer will not be the last and in the future you may think differently. For myself, I look forward to owning many more books written by you, containing knitting patterns and/or essays written on knitting or any other subject that takes your fancy. The reason for this is that, whatever your subject matter, what you write is erudite, reflective and just downright interesting! Whether these books are published independently or not will not make any difference to my decision to buy them, it’s just that, for the reasons outlined above, those under your own imprint will be the special ones. Good luck with your decision making and thank you, for all sorts of reasons. Happy 2016.

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  201. Happy New Year to you and your family. I always read your blog posts with interest and adore your patterns and colour choices. I believe you should regret the things in life you didn’t do rather than did. You could accept the proposal as a one off project and review afterwards if that’s the direction you wish to move in. X

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  202. I think that you should choose to do whatever does keeps you as calm (and not anxious) as possible. I admire you for having got rid of (beloved) shoes and loads of books when needed to.
    In her book “The Maytrees”, writer Annie Dillard makes her hero say: Ι got rid of things and created not just space but most of all, time in my life. Since I read this, I realised that time (with people and with ourselves, and with nature) is the most precious that we have.
    I wish you health and happiness dear Kate and Tom (and Bruce!).

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  203. Follow your heart. For my part, I think home made is always better and rewarding and you have a very big audience and so many followers that you can make it . Kind regards and many thanks for sharing your talent and thougths.

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  204. si j’avais ton talent, je suivrais mon intuition et ma créativité, avec la confiance des miens. tes œuvres personnelles me plaisent davantage que celles de la grande distribution qui répondent à une mode éphémère. j’y trouve plus d’authenticité, d’histoire derrière les mots et de voyage à découvrir. j’aime infiniment ton univers et ses paysages. merci pour ces partages. y aura-t-il une traduction en français. merci.
    *
    if I had your talent, I would follow my intuition and my creativity, with the confidence of mine. your personal works please me more than those of large retailers that meet a passing fad. I find more authenticity, history behind the words and trip to discover. I like very much your world and its landscapes. thank you for these shares. There he will have a French translation. Thank you.

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    1. Great point – a bigger publisher would allow you to publish in several languages, something which I guess isn’t really practical at your independent scale? As we know, knitting is the universal language :-)

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  205. Hi Kate,
    I’ve been thinking about your dilemma over breakfast. Maybe it’s not so much a question of hubris, but one of curiosity. I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing to experience being involved in commercially publishing a book, just to see what it is like. Especially since you have such a strong opinion about independently publishing them, after having both experiences you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about it. I suspect it will not stop you making your own books and patterns anyway. And it certainly want stop us reading them, commercially published or not!
    All the best for 2016, Maaike.

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  206. You could do both and damage neither. One great advantage of going with a mainstream publisher of the quality of the Penguin stable is that you will instantly without hassle and worry reach markets which might be a more haphazard encounter as you are: libraries, especially academic ones, and translated foreign ones. You have the advantage of having been an academic with the required discipline, but the unusual addition of a practitioner to boot. I also believe that there is a market for a book on the history of knitting. (Another advantage is that permissions to use all kind of illustrations from institutions all over the world can often be eased through the offices of an established publisher of note.)

    Another advantage, which can come with heavy strings in your case, is that they have the publicity and sales machinery. But of course that often means appearances. Don’t let this make you shy away however before you explore negotiating your exposure. Your medical history in itself is a selling point, I’m afraid.

    This could be a different kind of book from the beautiful ones you have already published yourself. The experience you have gained will contribute to your conversations about this new title, and also you will gain knowledge – negative and well as positive – about the workings of a large international machine. Each kind of publishing should have a positive effect on the other, and not preclude more titles in each.

    You will already be aware that writing a book on the history of knitting will take a lot of time away from your designing, and working with others can be taxing emotionally. Even the best working relationships can lead to frustrations. A good editor should help smooth such frustrations – I don’t know how much communication there is between departments (editorial, finance, production, design, sales, foreign, etc.) these days, but you will have contact with all of them, and in my day the editor arranged the mediation. Of course that is not so good if you don’t get on with the editor!

    I look forward to reading about what you decide and why. Whatever you do I wish you all the very best for the rest of this year and onward.

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    1. I would like to second these comments; they reflect my own thoughts very closely. I don’t feel the situation is either /or. A reputable publishing house, and an editor with whom you can work well, should make the experience interesting and rewarding. I think the result is likely to be a book that is different but complementary to your independently published works.

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  207. Dear Kate, I don’t read blogs, but occasionally I read yours. I don’t have your books yet but I enjoy your work. I might be part of that wider audience. What really interests me is not just a set of instructions with pictures, although inspiring; I enjoy learning about the history to the Orenburg shawl, the life of the Shetlanders, the patterns that relate to the island cables. There must be so many more to discover. The stories bring their energies and life into the stitches which might otherwise be processes.
    I would enjoy seeing the stitches reworked or re-modelled too, especially as historical images seem to all be black and white.
    Could there be lost stitch designs, or hidden messages like they used in the war with patchwork?!
    Your talent should be shared, you can take each opportunity on its merits, some will enable you to research write and edit. Some will enable you to complete the entire process, but, if you retain editorial control and build in some flexibility of time management, it is just delegating to enable greater things to be delivered.
    Alternatively, you don’t have to adapt or change. Consider how you would feel in either instance and I am sure you will find the answer.

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  208. Dear Kate,
    selfishly, this project sounds like a book I’d very much love to read – I say this as someone who is a knitter and an academic, though not very good in either capacity and coping with neurological issues of my own. I have much admiration for what you do and have read all of your blog several times over since I first came across it some time ago. The more historical and theoretical posts I found particularly riveting, and the idea of AN ENTIRE BOOK! OF ESSAYS! ON KNITTING! BY KATE DAVIES! or at least EDITED BY KATE DAVIES! is making me so very much excited. I understand your concerns and find them very much valid, though. (I’d still join a well-mannered picket line next to your cottage with tea and biscuits and a ‘Yes, Please’ banner.)

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  209. First time I’ve commented here. I would say go with the publisher and see it as a new challenge and an interesting collaboration. I would be curious to how you could affect the process and also what they would do for distribution. You have two “levers.” (1) They have approached you (2) You, not they, know your readers and have several successful books. You know what works. Having successful books already, I think, really gives you clout.

    It would not close the door, of course, to your own publishing in the future. And again it would be interesting to see what they could do.

    But whatever you do I like the book idea!

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  210. I wonder whether this really would be an either/or decision. If you feel you are selling your soul to the commercial publisher then I would advise against going with the proposal. But if not, then you could happily follow the commerical road for this book and the independent route for the next. You write about hubris in connection with the commerical book – but could it not be another kind of hubris to want to stay as exclusive as you are with your independent publishing? Also while you say you enjoy the nitty-gritty bits of publishing, this might not always be the case and you might be pleaseantly surprised by the amount of time and energy commericialism leaves you for other things.
    So all in all, if you feel the “purity of your work” reigns surpreme then commerical publishing obviously isn’t for you and you shouldn’t give it a second thought, in my opinion. But if other aspects are more important then this venture into commerical publishing could be a good idea, provided that you are not tied down to the deal forever.

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  211. Happy New Year to you and all of yours with special regards to Bruce.

    An interesting dilemma. The twists and turns of life can be so fascinating and perplexing. I see both sides. The only contribution I can make is to suggest that you ask yourself what if I don’t take up the publisher’s offer, will I ever find myself regretting it. It is a somewhat negative approach, but one I have found useful at times. Another string to the bow, it could support your independent lines!

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  212. I will read what you write in whatever form it takes, as many comments above attest. May you be at peace with the decision you make and, once done, start writing. Happy 2016! May it be full of happiness and the best of health.

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  213. Dear Kate,
    I can see your concerns. It would be a new experience, but how much control over the final product would you have to give up. You have one big advantage, you have successfully published books. The publishers must like what you have produced so far or they wouldn’t make the offer. Talk to them, relay your concerns and if your not happy with what they want, step away.

    A proud owner of your books

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  214. Good morning Kate, Bruce, and a Happy New Year!

    I find your life so admirable that I don’t see that I, who have done nothing of all that, should give you advice on how to proceed. However… Subject first of all, I think we all seem agreed that an historical perspective would be interesting (even archaeological), and regional, maybe outside the usual European box. And as far as working with a publisher is concerned: to me, health, independence and creativity (in that order) are the most important things in life. But entrusting your creativity to a publisher does not mean that after the event, you cannot withdraw, and become independent once more. You might learn a lot, which would better equip you to continue on a subsequent independent route. You might, as someone has said above, reach new readers. But keeping a firm hold on the project is important, as any “shortcomings” (wrong word, I mean departure from how you would have wished the book to be) in the finished product will reflect more on you than on the publisher I think. I have all your books, have knitted so many of your designs, and have loved reading your blog. I’m not sure you really need (unless financially) to change anything…

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  215. Hello Kate,

    I am a comparatively new follower of your blog so don’t really feel qualified to comment however will do anyway as you have asked.
    I think a history of knitting would be an excellent project for you – a blend of research and practical which you obviously find attractive. So a great starter for mainstream publishing.
    Would the publisher be open to see if your current team can also be involved in some way, as the people who already buy your books enjoy the format and input which already exists?
    If it extended your market then that could be used to fund another project.
    The downsides are that you could be caught in a net which you felt you couldn’t escape from and which might eventually destroy the pleasure you find in doing what you do at the moment.

    You seem to be surrounded by a great group of people – I’m sure you will use their input, they know you well – so use their advice , especially your husband Tom, and you will know in your heart how you want your future to look. Money and fame are not the only route to happiness, as you have found, and in fact are often destructive with the stress they bring and you end up caught in a vicious circle.

    I guess the most important thing is that you plan an escape in case it doesn’t work the way you think.

    So in other words, I’m not saying anything more than the others who have commented before!

    I would also agree about the sightly larger sizes :-)

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  216. Does it have to be either/or? Can’t you just try it once and see how it goes? I would love to see a book of essays by you, and I think it would do the wider knitting world a whole lot of good for it to be out there. Just a thought, has Indy publishing become a comfort zone?

    And a Happy New Year to you and yours whatever you choose!

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  217. You won’t know which path to follow unless you are sure where you want to end up. Browsing in bookshops, finding new treasures as you go, seems likely to me to become a thing of the past. I browse on Amazon and then order from my local independent bookshop. Not being published by a big player closes that avenue off a bit (but as I understand it the big players require the authors to pay for the privilege of high rankings). I found your site through a social media posting and have bought books direct. My feeling is you got to keep a higher % of the proceeds that way than you would through swimming in the bigger pond and I’m not sure that extra sales would compensate for the money lost to publishers and big retailers. Plus you would lose control of the product and might well find the publishers wanted you to recommend their choice of yarn manufacturers. On the other hand, there would be more chance of a seat on the morning magazine TV prog couches if that’s what you want…

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  218. Its a tough decision. Maybe ask if putting out a book on essays about knitting, is what *you* want to do. If it is and you have free reign over the content – do it with a mainstream publisher. If not, it can wait until you’re ready to do it yourself. I”m reminded of Ms Zimmerman’s issues with publishers… but this is a little different. It may help to talk to others who have published with mainstream publishers on creative topics. Let it be for a little while. The answer will come.

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    1. I agree with Bastienne….let it be for a little while. The answer will come. You seem to be aware of a deep felt doubt and if you feel that after all you have gone through, listen to your heart. If the publisher doesn’t want to give you a bit more time to think it over, then I say it isn’t the right time. I love every single photo and blog you post and the love I see in your eyes for your sweetie is worth more than any publishing contract. I believe they will wait until you are sure, one way or the other. No other writer has captivated the hearts of knitters and makers of stuff like you have…that is because your story is from the heart…your friends are full of heart…the people of Shetland come from their hearts. Anything that you create has to come from your heart and that can’t be bought…it has to be given freely like you have done since your journey began post stroke. I have taken courage, insight and learned from your blog…I am a photography lover, flower lover, tree lover and aside from being a fellow knitter, your journey encourages me to live as much in the present as a I can, take joy in what gives me joy, go ahead and push my limits but realize when it is time to back off. I am an artist who is just beginning to tap into my creativity. You will know if and when the time is right for this outside publishing contract and you will be quite sure you express your firm requirements if you do accept. You will know when the time is right for you. Keep on doing and being as you are. You have a wonderful life and you have had the courage to share it with us. It makes me happy that you ask for our advice….just like being part of your family and friends. Take care and I send you a huge hug. Joanie

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  219. Dear Kate, I wonder if a significant part of your current success as an independent designer and writer/publisher is not down to your own unique perspective? I have no doubt that you are the best person to undertake a volume of essays about knitting, but perhaps it would not reflect your personality as comprehensively and whilst it would reach a wider audience, it would be a different one. I suspect you could overcome this to some extent with parallel projects, but then you would also be inviting some pressure into what seems from the outside to be a pretty idyllic life. You would certainly learn from the experience but it might be at some personal cost. You have not indicated what Tom thinks of the proposal but I think your inclination to continue developing independently will deliver the most satisfaction, particularly since it is the whole creative ‘making’ process that is uniquely yours. As a devoted fan I can only say I would buy any book you write but it is the feeling that it is passing directly from your hands to mine that I particularly treasure! As to subject matter I think you and Tom are talented and creative people with a gift for developing an intimate connection with your audience. There is much to explore and it is your hands, eyes, minds and hearts that are most engaging. Happy New Year!

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  220. Dear Kate,
    You can write essays without a big publishing house and their editorial control. We will read anything you write, and love your own book designs and layout. Publish your own book about knitting, with patterns and historical facts and research. It doesn’t have to be the same as the idea a publisher has, it can be your own, worked in your own way, at your pace. Books are remaindered and you would lose your work, if you keep oversight and ownership of your own project, it will live as long as one of your patterns knitted up in good wool – a lifetime!!
    Happy New Year!!
    Heather

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    1. Ultimately this is your decision but I would like to say, you should NEVER give up your editorial rights. What is published under your name, should have your final approval and not that of an editor.

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    2. a very good point about how mainstream publishers “remainder” titles. With a mainstream publisher you would lose control of when it is taken out of print.

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    3. That’s not actually how remainders or editorial rights work. You never lose your work if a book is remaindered! Remaindering is a way to sell off excess stock, whether it’s in preparation of a book going out of print or managing inventory. In standard publishing contracts, once a book is out of print the author has the right to request that publishing rights revert back to them. Unless the house chooses to reprint the book and rerelease it, rights will be returned (for free) back to the author. Most good houses, penguin included, will also have a way for authors to get the final typeset and designed publishing files for the book (sometimes with a small fee, as after all)–and you can write that into the contract along with approvals clauses quite easily. Once the rights are back with the author, they can sell the publishing rights to another house, or publish themselves.

      There’s a difference between writing as a writer for hire (wherein you do often sign away your right to copyright or to editorial control) and where you are writing as the author, where your rights and your copyright rights are protected by your contract.

      So many people misunderstand the world of publishing, and publishing contracts. Most every publishing professional I’ve ever worked with–and I’ve been in the industry for over 16 years–wants the book to be great, and wants an author to be happy with it. Put approval clauses in the contract–text and copyedits is a given, and in fact, often boilerplate language, but also cover, design, layout, choice of contributors, etc. That is not special treatment, it is not uncommon, and though they may not be in boilerplate contract language they are in fact expected. (and if you ask a lawyer to help read through the contract, please please please get one who is a publishing lawyer and familiar with the terminology and standard wording of publishing contracts).

      I don’t think it’s hubris to be interested in publishing toward a wider distribution. Because, frankly, Penguin has an immense distribution to a wider audience and that is not inherently a bad thing to want your work to reach. I think it’s savvy business for your independent work, as well.

      Like others, I don’t think this is an either-or question. Why not do both and see where that takes you? Ultimately the decision is one you need to feel secure in, but I would not let fear of loss of control or concern about appearing egoistic deter you from something that could be quite exciting.

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  221. As a knitter, I rate your work and designs very highly. I like the fact that you are in a great place creatively – geographically and mentally – you value the simple pleasures in life, and the fact that you let us glimpse a little of that is very special. I gave my copy of Buachaille to my knitting designer friend and he treasures it and will add it to his “shrine” of Kate Davies titles. I would rather you didn’t become a discounted book author on the Amazon list because you have used a mainstream publisher and that is their way. However, my nana used to say, “look ahead on the road, and not at the bonnet when you’re driving”. Where do you want to be in 2026? Do whatever you must to achieve your long term goals. YOLO. That I am even having this “conversation” with Kate Davies is very special for me. Happy new year whatever you decide.

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  222. Some very interesting points have already been made, but my first reaction is to say yes, do it. The world needs more good writing about knitting and you write so well. Self publishing is brilliant, but could still be seen as ‘womens work’ and marginalized if you understand me, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but so much of women’s ‘making’ ‘herstory’ has been lost because it hasn’t been considered valuable enough to record and if a mainstream publisher wants to redress the balance and it would reach a greater audience, I can only think that would be a good thing for our craft. But, obviously you would have to weigh up the personal demands on your own health and creativity against that. I would certainly buy a book of that nature and have very much enjoyed all your essays in all their forms. Good luck with whatever you choose!

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  223. I agree with Louisa and Dimity, but
    They asked YOU.
    They must think you are the best person for the job. As long as you do not over tax your health and your relationships, you can do so much good.
    You know so many yarn indie companieswhich you could advertise in your new book by recommending their yarn as well as helping your future by recommending your yarn in your new patterns/adventure.
    Fairisle is so popular and your snood Sixareen is a good example of this, you could emphasize the history, the islands and the best yarn for the job.
    Or Scotlandl All its knitting history and special yarn companies eg Shilsadair, and patterns.
    You are so unique, thats why you are loved.
    Go for it
    It will help to give you security.

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  224. It’s a very interesting proposal. I think you should take the opportunity – let them take this project on, in full. I’m thinking that if they do this, the possibilities that might open up (more interest in your other writing, books, patterns, yarn and kits etc.) might lead to you having more time and especially money to put into other projects you’ve been wanting to get started but haven’t had the opportunity to work on. I think it’s a cracking opportunity to let so many more people know all of your work.

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  225. Dear Kate, happy New Year to you, Tom and Bruce. Such an interesting question from you. I would ask….are the 2 routes mutually exclusive? If you go with the mainstream project (and I think the essays concept is very interesting) what would it prevent you doing with your independent projects in the short term and long term?
    Good luck with decision making, you will have loads of support whatever you decide. Bon courage.

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  226. So from here it sounds like you’re doing what you love and value, and it’s going from strength to strength. There’s much to be said for that, and remaining independent. Whatever you decide, my heartfelt best wishes for the future, as ever.

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  227. Kate, I, like I’m sure many of your readers, have been touched and humbled by the way you have taken disaster and wrestled such a positive life affirming new way of being, both for you and your close circle. There is a huge emphasis on grabbing every opportunity but I think it was a wise person who said you can have anything if you really want it but you can’t have everything. Go with your heart, it was what got you where you are, whereas your head got you to a very unhappy place before the stroke. Best wishes whatever the future holds and lang may your lum reek.

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  228. I can only speak from my own experience, and for me, the responsibility for every aspect of a project is well worth the ups and downs and sleepless nights. I’d rather take the lumps of mistakes made as I learn the ropes of a new venture (and I’ve had a fair few, both ventures and lumps) than take what may seem like the smoother route of handing over control of a project and its outcome. But that’s just me, and I’m sure you’ll learn from whichever choice you make, Kate.
    Happy New Year to you and yours :)

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  229. I would give Penguin a try, as tribpot said it is a great opportunity. Giving them a try is not a lifetime commitment, if the experience ends up not being pleasant you would not have to repeat it. Make sure you read the fine print! Life is full of learning experiences and we should not let any of them get away. There are so many areas for you to cover in the wonderful world of knitting, history, necessity, pleasure, satisfaction and yes commerce. I say use your head, your heart and your gut will follow.

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  230. I don’t think that the two areas need to be mutually exclusive. By taking on the mainstream publishers offer you would reach a wider audience perhaps. This could result in more awareness of the other things you do. It could also help to fund your next independent project. As long as the offer allows you to retain a degree of veto then it seems like a win, win situation. But please don’t ever stop doing what you do. You’re the first designer whose patterns I know I will always love and your tutorials are the clearest and best. Can I ask that perhaps, as I am a lady of not inconsiderable girth, maybe some larger size options?

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  231. I can understand how the lure of being published in a traditional setting would be such a siren’s song. Though, I would always be afraid that I would be dancing to that song and never truly my own. It also somehow seems less personal. Almost faceless.

    Believe in yourself, your team, friends, family and look how far you’ve gotten. Your audience reaches around the globe! They are eager to support and cheer you onwards. Whichever route you choose to travel, you know they will continue to walk along side you.

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  232. Happy New Year Kate and co! I have just sat and reflected on your words while eating a bowl of porridge in bed on this cold frosty new year’s morning. My oats were local Shropshire oats and the milk from a local cooperative dairy, these are MY values and looking around me at the wool and books scattered over the bed I notice a pattern of support for the small scale business. I admire the fact that your business has grown organically, there is love and care in what you produce and this is so often missing in the homogenised big businesses. What would you miss by handing over the publishing to someone else? Would you feel a loss of integrity for what you love doing? I really enjoy your writings, it makes your 3 books special and is a unique selling point and I look forward to more, especially the historical side of knitting. At the end of the day all you can do is follow your heart regarding the publishing, but I know that what ever path you decide on, you will be supported by your loyal knitty friends here!

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  233. What I like about your books is the mixture of practical, inspiration and local history. I’m less interested in the idea of the proposed book. I’m erring on the side of staying independent for now because the publishers proposed book is not your dream/idea. If they wanted to work with you on an idea that you have…..now that would be a whole other story! Being independent also allows you to be in charge of the way that you maintain and manage your physical health while maintaining your business in a way that might not be possible if you were working with a larger publisher. Caution and prudence has served you well so far.

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  234. I have always loved what you do Kate and the way that you do it and whatever subject or patterns you come up will I am certain be brilliantly done ! To achieve what you have despite what life has thrown at you is to be greatly admired.
    We always have to listen to what our heads tell us BUT our hearts have to be in it too!
    I have all of your books (I love them all) and I’m quite sure whatever you produce in the future will be great and true to you!

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  235. I think you would lose a valuable part of what pleases you about your life right now—your complete independence. if you can make enough money continuing as you are, then that would appear to be the best choice. if you need to make more money, then go ahead and publish with the large company and fight like mad to retain as much independence as possible.

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  236. Dear Kate, even in a lost farm in the french Britanny we can reach you and your beautifull creativity through internet. You are right to prefer the books/cakes home made. We support you with the knitting hands and the heart!
    Blavez mat! Happy new year in Briton! Yarnly yours, Brigitte

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  237. Morning Kate and Happy New Year!

    I think that the world is more than ready for a book on historical knitting from you, Kate, but I think that you should follow your heart. If your heart and your gut are saying no, then step away. However, the financial and commercial rewards of such a book could really help with your independent work and enhance rather than hinder it.

    Do what your heart tells you. X

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  238. Dear Kate,

    it is so wonderful to read about the path you have made for yourself and the individual steps along the way. I have never commented here before, so I don’t want to presume too much; and I only have limited publishing experience through two academic books, one of which was published by a bigger publisher and one by a really small one. The bits you like so much about publishing, i.e. the decision making and controlling the entire process from beginning to end, were not part of my experience in either case. Sure, I gave my opinion on the design of the cover – image, background colour and font included – but in terms of promoting the book, making sure it is being advertised and all that, it is virtually impossible for me to have an input. From the moment the books were out they were sort of gone from my life. This may just be my own strange experience and maybe I didn’t do enough to push them myself and to, in a manner of speaking, make them stay in my life. Still, from what you’re saying your experience so far has been decidedly different and if it’s this difference that you like – the ability to oversee all the processes together with your team – then maybe keeping on working independently really is the path for you.

    My apologies for the length of this comment, and happy new year!

    Antje.

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  239. Great reading. First happy New Year. I truely believe that one should follow ones first gut feeling. Follow yr heart/ gut. Then don’t look back at what should of could of been.

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  240. What an interesting blog post to start the new year! Hope you are all on the mend.

    Do you see this as an either/or? I am very interested to hear that Penguin want to publish a mainstream book about knitting, esp essays (much more interesting than a pattern book). Your depth of knowledge and professional background make you absolutely the right person for the task, but I guess one thing to consider is that they will go and find someone else to do it if you say no. At the moment your choices are rather different, in that no-one else can publish your patterns (or Tom’s recipes!).

    As a publisher yourself, I think you would find exposure to the workings of the mainstream extremely interesting and useful in its own right, at the very least it would be an enlightening experience.

    But are you concerned it could take you away from your own ventures and might come with a significant opportunity cost? Would there be promotional duties that might overtax your health?

    I think if you can reach a satisfactory deal this is a great opportunity for you – and shouldn’t prevent you from continuing your independent enterprise alongside it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with tribpot …though I would add, have a very complete, ironclad contract which states that you have the LAST SAY on ‘everything–spelling, layout, photos if any etc’ so that even though someone else is publishing; they will still defer to you, the author and how you wish to be presented, to the readers of the world. This I have been told is how two designers I know have dealt with their work being published. Their decisions coming from past experience where they were not so pleased with the outcome of a book. They apparently didn’t have much say in the overall product. They now seem very happy with the publishers they deal with and the contracts they have.

      That being said…since it is so very, very interesting to read the details–history, history and ever so much more history, please.

      With thanks for enriching our lives, by what you do! Wishing Tom, Bruce and yourself a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

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  241. I’d love a book on the historical aspects of knitting: I particularly loved the essays in Yokes. I also think why not do one project with the mainstream project and see how it goes? If you really find afterwards that you didn’t like the process, you needn’t repeat it and just continue to publish independently…..

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    1. Try it. You may enjoy it.You may learn things to help your own publishing work. If not, you can always continue as you have been. New crossroads are hard. They take courage. But you have plenty of that! The desire for extending your audience is not simply hubris, it’s taking your love for knitting farther. The world needs it. I am far away in thhe US and am so glad i feel connected to your work. Best wishes.

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    2. I agree. Keep all your avenues open. Doors can be closed if you don’t like the space. Over 30 years ago I wrote a university term paper on the history of knitting and some aspects of spinning. My prof encouraged me to publish it but it still lies in a cupboard unread. There it will stay.

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    3. Teetering on the edges of large scale production may not seem to be what your main aims are but it wold be another extension of the fantastic work you do. You would be challenged in different ways and the quality of your work would of course not diminish.
      Go for it. Give it a go. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Good luck in all your future ventures.

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    4. I second Fiona’s thoughts. I also have loved your academic handling of the knitting world in the essays you have written and would love to read more. It seems that publishing mainstream might just be another avenue for your making…..It’s true though, that if you don’t like it you never have to do it again but if you don’t try you might find yourself always wondering. Good luck.

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    5. Absolutely agreed! As long as you keep editorial control and you trust the designers you have nothing to lose and may learn even more about publishing which will help your independent productions. Good Luck!

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