Saturday, 5 November 2016

A Brief history of our "Award Winning" e-newsletter.

Since January of 1997 I've been regularly putting out some sort of newsletter under the banner of WOOL-TYME Kingston and then KnitTraders of Kingston. In the early days it involved much  cutting and pasting (literally) to make the different articles fit on a single sheet of 8 1/2" x 14" paper to cut down on printing costs. The only visuals were a few small pieces of clipart and everything was kept to a minimum. When the legal size pages were done, off I went to Staples for the 1 000 double sided copies which were then folded and prepped for envelopes by my kids (for a fee of course).

The envelopes were a whole production in themselves: hours each month collating and updating addresses, wrestling with the home printer that didn't like the brand or size of address labels I was using, printing and pasting the labels on the envelopes. (Repeat the process for return address labels.)
Then there was the time when I sent out a "postcard" announcing our Annual Inventory Sale only to have all 600 cards returned by the Post Office as they were 1/4" too wide: 600 wasted stamps! not to mention the fact that no one knew about the sale for a full week.

Needless to say, in those days it was not a monthly newsletter. Usually 3 times a year maximum - September, January and the end of May. Then in 2006 I was introduced to the wonders of the e-newsletter via a third party delivery system. This takes 98% of the drudgery and the cost out of newsletter distribution, leaving much more time for researching content and enjoying the process of writing. When describing a new yarn I can put in a digital link to the colour chart or to the Ravelry project page for that particular yarn. Fun stories can include videos, like the crew of shepherds who outfitted their sheep with vests of LED lights and trained their border collies to run the sheep into formation to create Light Up Sheep Art.

As knitting and creative fibre arts in general have become more popular, there is more media mention of stories that are of interest to our newsletter readers, not to mention the army of bloggers, both private and company sponsored, who are also mining and presenting fabulous stories to keep us all interested and amused. Once the newsletter started being published monthly, I would sometimes worry as the deadline approached about where to find my next general interest piece, or a cute cartoon or quirky project. Now I have a list of ideas that I've squirreled away that haven't had the chance to make it in to the regular newsletter so here they are for your pleasure. Enjoy!

   A 3000 year old ball of yarn found in England.
I wonder where the rest of the stash is?

Did you know that some of the biggest names in swimwear got their start knitting wool! Fashionista has an interesting article about that history.

Have you ever dreamed of a whole weekend of knitting with people who are as interested in the rich traditions as you are? Read the blog post from North of 49 from last month as Kristie joined Sylvia Olsen's workshop to learn all about Coast Salish Knitting (sometimes referred to as Cowichan Knitting) which is considered to be the only truly Canadian knitting tradition. Kristie's report makes you feel like you were there too.

This Baa-ble Hat from the 2015 Shetland Wool Week is any sheep fan's dream. Find it on Ravelry.

If you aren't a regular subscriber to the newsletter, you can link here to sign up now and avoid missing any more news from KnitTraders and the outside fibre world.