Wednesday, December 1, 2010

looking forward

Mr. Mitten and I had a long talk last night about what direction would be best for Fuzzy Mitten in the next year or two. While I still have time for things to continue as usual for a few months, we're expecting another baby in the Spring. As you can imagine, a newborn plus two-year old will make knitting and designing difficult for a while. Added to this is the knowledge that while I can continue to come up with cute new animals for you to knit, in truth most people seem to want just bunnies, teddies, and sometimes kitties.

As well, I feel like to need to stretch myself more as a knitter and designer. I took some time this past Autumn to try a couple different knitting techniques. But I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what is possible with a couple of sticks and string (to paraphrase from the Yarn Harlot). So while I have been trying to refine the toy patterns to make them turn out better with less effort, I think I can do more interesting things with the clothes.

So for the next year or so, we will most likely be revising and republishing a bunch of the toy and clothing patterns, especially those that are still in the old format from 3+ years ago. The toys themselves won't change much, as I will only knit new ones for better photos, and rewrite the pattern in the new format.

The clothing bundles are also in serious need of an overhaul. While I do sometimes have people asking for single clothing patterns, republishing them all separately would be a lot of work, and the number of toy plus clothing patterns would be unwieldy to keep track of (I already have about 50 published patterns). I would also like to design new and more interesting clothing patterns for more advanced knitters.

My thought at the moment is to reorganize them into bundles of 3, at a price comparable to my other patterns. However, there are two options for reorganizing them. One, I could make them into bundles of 3 similar patterns; for example, three variations on one pullover/cardigan. Or two, I could make them into bundles of 3 coordinating patterns; for example, a t-shirt, cardigan, and dress.

If you have a moment, please vote in the poll over on the side, so I can get a better idea of what you would like. Or leave a comment if you have more to say.

Of course, all this reorganization is still a lot of work, so it might happen slower than I would like. It's also going to play havoc with my Ravelry pages, but I'll find a way to deal with that. I hope you look forward to this direction we're headed in, as I think everyone will really benefit from all this house-cleaning. But I'm certain to come up with a new toy once in a while, as I can never stop my brain from coming up with great ideas (usually when I have no time to work on them)!

Well, that was a long post, and barely a sketch of the ideas floating around my head right now. I'll leave you will a cute photo for reading this far.
from Fuzzy Mitten's first Christmas

7 comments:

mlanezoo said...

You do such wonderful work...I know that whatever you end up doing will be terrific. Congrats on the new little one!! :)

Kavya said...

I'm excited to hear about your focus on revising clothing patterns and designing clothing patterns for more advanced knitters. You already have more adorable fuzzies than I have time to knit! While I'm sure you already have plenty of great ideas, I'd love to see patterns for your winged fuzzies or little accessories (bows, belts, bags, etc). All the best for your growing family :)

Catie said...

Congratulations on the baby.

I'm going to vote - but I'd like to say that I like the pattern bundles as they are - my only confusion is in figuring out if I have some of the patterns already because I have one of the books.

K said...

I'm facing the same problem with my novels. The market is strange, and I'm not sure which direction to go in terms of using manuscripts already written, but stuck in editorial limbo or worse - in a market that isn't as lively as it could be. That's not exactly what you are feeling, but the housekeeping and the thinking about direction - it's a little overwhelming.

You do have to take into consideration, I suppose, the numbers. But selling patterns is a little different than actually selling toys. You don't have to put much actual work into each pattern that's sold -- you can do the writing and the design and leave it up there, no harm done, waiting for the folks who are charmed by something other than kitties and rabbits (like me).

Of course, there is a dynamic element in the patterns - as you field questions (like mine) and as you update your techniques, you will want to update the patterns as well, which raises the question of updating for previous buyers. It can get complicated.

But here's the more important consideration: you are right to think that a baby and a toddler are going to change your life. They will, and if you are serious about parenting, they will change it profoundly. Of course, those two people are more important than any business or creative endeavor (outside of raising them with love and spirit and wonder) could be. They are the real fuzzy critters.

When my two (now my oldest) were baby/toddlers - in some ways, my life was totally paralyzed - the life outside of the kids and fam and home. But in other ways, I really blossomed. Part of that was the increased analytical thinking the kids required of me. But part of it was the release of adult creative energies that burst out after the kids were finally asleep. I wrote more then than I ever do now that all the birds have flown.

But you can't be afraid of losing your energy- because, honest - as those kids grow, they are worth every minute of your mind, heart and time. How they turn out is more important than how the business goes.

See - you're making me think when I should be off to bed.

I'd love to see the revised patterns. And you know that you're going to want to knit new animals, new toys, new clothing - because you aren't the kind of mind that holds still. You're going to do all this stuff anyway - documenting your journey in patterns that you put on-line is just a natural step. And always, always, the patterns will fall behind your own learning. You're just going to have to come up with a policy for that. Maybe you just keep updating what's on-line, and if somebody who has already bought requests an update you can send. Not everybody will ask. Few, in fact, probably will - it's just how people are.

Right now, having shut off the Christmas lights and more than ready to hit the sack, all I can say is congrats on the coming baby (they smell so great) - take your time, eat right, get some rest - because you won't get ANY for a while after spring. And know that whatever you have time to post, it will be loved and appreciated by a lot of people. You are likable, your work is charming - and you have more friends than you even know.

K said...

I'm facing the same problem with my novels. The market is strange, and I'm not sure which direction to go in terms of using manuscripts already written, but stuck in editorial limbo or worse - in a market that isn't as lively as it could be. That's not exactly what you are feeling, but the housekeeping and the thinking about direction - it's a little overwhelming.

You do have to take into consideration, I suppose, the numbers. But selling patterns is a little different than actually selling toys. You don't have to put much actual work into each pattern that's sold -- you can do the writing and the design and leave it up there, no harm done, waiting for the folks who are charmed by something other than kitties and rabbits (like me).

Of course, there is a dynamic element in the patterns - as you field questions (like mine) and as you update your techniques, you will want to update the patterns as well, which raises the question of updating for previous buyers. It can get complicated.

But here's the more important consideration: you are right to think that a baby and a toddler are going to change your life. They will, and if you are serious about parenting, they will change it profoundly. Of course, those two people are more important than any business or creative endeavor (outside of raising them with love and spirit and wonder) could be. They are the real fuzzy critters.

When my two (now my oldest) were baby/toddlers - in some ways, my life was totally paralyzed - the life outside of the kids and fam and home. But in other ways, I really blossomed. Part of that was the increased analytical thinking the kids required of me. But part of it was the release of adult creative energies that burst out after the kids were finally asleep. I wrote more then than I ever do now that all the birds have flown.

But you can't be afraid of losing your energy- because, honest - as those kids grow, they are worth every minute of your mind, heart and time. How they turn out is more important than how the business goes.

See - you're making me think when I should be off to bed.

I'd love to see the revised patterns. And you know that you're going to want to knit new animals, new toys, new clothing - because you aren't the kind of mind that holds still. You're going to do all this stuff anyway - documenting your journey in patterns that you put on-line is just a natural step. And always, always, the patterns will fall behind your own learning. You're just going to have to come up with a policy for that. Maybe you just keep updating what's on-line, and if somebody who has already bought requests an update you can send. Not everybody will ask. Few, in fact, probably will - it's just how people are.

Right now, having shut off the Christmas lights and more than ready to hit the sack, all I can say is congrats on the coming baby (they smell so great) - take your time, eat right, get some rest - because you won't get ANY for a while after spring. And know that whatever you have time to post, it will be loved and appreciated by a lot of people. You are likable, your work is charming - and you have more friends than you even know.

Chiwaluv said...

Wonderful news, I have all of your clothing patterns,and books, looking forward to new clothing patterns, I can not wait! (I think this is a great direction to go)

Will faithfully keep an eye out for those new patterns.

Congratulations on your new baby, boy or girl?

Jennifer Lori said...

Congratulations on the new baby!