DenKnits began when I decided that I was ready to share my knitting with others. I'd already established myself as denmoma so DenKnits was the perfect fit. I was happy to do occasional commission knits and sell some of my finished objects. Many of the items I knit weren't from specific patterns but creations I came up with following stitch patterns. That led me to trying my hand at writing up patterns.
Eventually I got to the point where I felt I could call myself a knit wear designer and I'm pleased to have over 40 designs under my belt at this time. With each of those designs I've learned something, from using test knitters to using a tech editor to the challenge of scaling sizes. After the work I put into my latest design, the first of it's kind for me, I really started putting some thought into my direction. I've done many different types of patterns and now know what I can excel in and what's better left for the experts. Designing will still be something I continue to do, however I want to do what I do best.
My designing has also been slowing down as I picked up other fiber crafts. With each new craft, I get this sense of wanting to share what I've found or what I've created. This is usually done in a rather rushed manner without much of long term plan or goal. I'm also not the best at 'shameless self promotion' and as a result I've never gotten very far. Having learned by trial and error with my designing as well as with these shop attempts, I was ready to get focused and make plans before jumping in.
So, PLANS. Designs, handspun & handmade yarns and batts to put it briefly. Let's delve in a bit further, shall we?
Designing. As I mentioned above, this is still a part of the plan, however I don't want to limit myself to knitting only. After learning to crochet almost 4 years ago I didn't think I'd understand it the way I do knitting. While that does still ring true to some extent, I feel like I've gotten a good understanding of the basics and could see writing up some simple crochet patterns in the future.
Handspun. When I started spinning, there was no turning back. After participating in the Michigan Fiber Festival handspun skein competitions for a couple years & receiving blue ribbons, I felt comfortable selling my handspun when an LYS put out a call. That has been fairly successful and has given me the confidence to aim at selling the handspun myself as well.
Handmade yarns. This train of thought actually came after the batts, however it fits better here. I've been collecting old t-shirts for years knowing I could make t-shirt yarn with them. I have cut the yarn in the past and crocheted a little rug. The more I thought about t-shirt yarn, the more it seemed to fit since it's already in a variety of colors and it's a unique yarn that could likely use some patterns designed for it.
Batts. As fun as spinning is, I continued to be drawn to working more with the fiber myself before the spinning. Fiber prep also became very important to me as I continue to struggle with wrist issues. Having to split and pre-draft slows me down but having a fiber that spins smoothly without a lot of tugging is essential to being able to keep spinning. Since batts are somewhat combed as they are prepped I decided to finally take the plunge and buy a drum carder. My Christmas gift to myself was a Baby Brother drum carder. And because I can't help but share, I started plans to sell batts. This might sound odd, but even with all these plans, I have no desire to start dying. My batts will be made up of pre dyed fibers, some more commercial than others, that I can combine to share my color palettes, my love of locks and highlight indie dyers I find along the way. I am also interested in making batts out of unusual breeds in their natural colors, making them more accessible to others.
Now that I've gotten products narrowed down I knew a name change was necessary. DenKnits just doesn't cover it all and could give someone a limited impression of all that I'm trying to do. After toying with options ranging from a complete name change to no change I decided on a subtle change. I want to go forward as DenKnits and... This leaves me open to many possibilities yet keeps the name recognition.
Writing all about this is the first real step. My current path takes me to a booth at a local event in November. Along this path I want to get my batts and tshirt yarns out into the wild for some testing. I'll be on the look out for spinners of any experience soon, who would be willing to test spin my batts and provide feedback at a significant discount on the product. Keep a lookout on the blog and on my Instagram denknitsand