And on the Second Day of 2015 She Did A Podcast & Stuff

December 2014 054 The last FO of 2014 showcased on the second day of 2015. I knitted the Coffee Bean cardigan for my youngest nephew as an Christmas present. I've used the pattern before and it's a great little project that looks contemporary, knits up a treat, and has a lot of scope for customisation. I used two balls of (the now sadly discontinued) Rowan Pure Wool Aran and used a remnant of a third colour in PWA to knit the buttonband trim. I just wanted to add a little pop of colour to a neutral-looking cardigan. I rather like the end result. Buttons are coconut shell buttons from an old, old eBay haul - this is the third project that uses these buttons and I still have many left!

But this is 2015, so let's not talk anymore of Christmas. Happy new year, everyone!In Scotland, we celebrate Hogmanay which makes the advent of a new year seem extra special. This time my partner and I actually went to a small party where we danced the night away and tried our hand at karaoke (good grief). I even wore a new frock which helped chase away all the clouds left behind by 2014. The bells were celebrated with a wee dram and we enjoyed a healthy serving of Stovies too. Dear reader, I appear to have gone native.

However, to kick off the new year in a suitably knitterly fashion, I sat down for a chat with the lovely Louise Scollay. You can hear a full hour of Louise & I chatting about our year in knitting, what plans we have for 2015 and how much we are looking forward to the Edinburgh Yarn Fest. When we did the interview, my head was full of the cold. Apologies for that! Our chat also include what my post-Doggerland plans are .. the first pattern from the new venture will be released later this month, actually. I really, really enjoy chatting with Louise - I think the podcast clocks in at 70 minutes ..  but actually we talked for like 2.5 hours. See if you can spot when I started coughing my lungs out so Louise had to do some super-clever editing!

One of the things Louise & I spend some time discussing is the idea of choosing a word that will keep you company throughout the coming year. It is a concept I have shamelessly stolen from Joanne Scrace - we discussed our mutual loathing of New Year's resolutions one evening and Joanne mentioned the ONE WORD thing. I like words, so obviously I love this idea. Surprisingly, I found it difficult to come up with a word that worked for me but I settled on this:


What would your word be?

So. It is the second day of 2015 and I am cautiously optimistic. Not bad for this glass half-empty girl.

Making It Work: Kat Goldin

These days I often get asked for career advice - presumably because I turned my passion for knitting and crochet into my job. I have my own story to tell, of course, but I also know a huge amount of inspirational women who have turned their talent and passion for making into a business. So, I have asked a handful of these fantastic ladies to share their stories with me. You'll see these interviews popping up on Fourth Edition from time to time under the "Making It Work" moniker. I hope you'll enjoy these blog posts. - Karie

You are Kat Goldin, the author of Crochet at Play, the creative soul behind The Crochet Project and Capturing Childhood, an established knitting & crochet designer, and a craft tutor among many other ventures. How would you describe what it is you do?

I think I am a story teller. A handmade item tells a story – it moves from the inspiration, the pattern or the yarn, how it was made, how it looks, and how you keep or give it.  It is the same with photography, I use the camera to tell the story of my life, my children's lives, or the piece of hand knitting or crochet that I am photographing.

What is a typical working week like for you? I know you have a young family!

Its rather hectic, to say the least. I work every day. Usually  I am up most mornings at 5 to work before the kids are up, then I stop for a couple of manic hours that involve chasing naked children and making an army's worth of toast. It can be extremely stressful, but I have a very hands on and supportive partner, so we make it work because we have to. Because there are so many different elements to my work, I try to schedule things when I can. In Scotland, of course, one has the weather and light to take into consideration and this where the planning has to sometimes be flexible. If I am scheduling a photo-shoot, we have to either run the gauntlet or take a good day as soon as it comes and throw everything else out the window.

I often do phone calls and Skype with my other business partners in the evening when the kids are in other hands, and we even schedule working holidays together, so our families are all part of the business ecosystem.

As a female entrepreneur in the crafts industry, what has been the most surprising aspects of starting your own creative business?

Before I started my business, I worked in the civil service.  I remember distinctly being unhappy and thinking about working for myself.  However, I just couldn't see that I would have the discipline. I could barely get motivated to do my work when I had a boss watching me, so how could I be responsible for managing my own working life?  Well, as noted above, this is not the case. I love my work and seem to have an endless amount of energy an motivation to keep going and growing. Not to say that there aren't often times when I cry in despair over just how much I have committed to!

It is also extremely difficult to make money this way and takes a lot of careful decision making and planning. Everything from the cost of yarn, postage, subscriptions,  to childcare has to be taken into consideration and costed against income and the margins can be tight. It is not for the faint hearted, but if you have passion and commitment and good support from peers, you can definitely evolve a business.


Any advice for people wanting to start their own creative venture?

Do it! It can be scary and tough and a lot of work, but in the end it is so worth the risk!

Scotland is a really interesting place to work and live for anyone interested in the textiles and crafts industry. What difference does Scotland make for you in your work?

I don't know how one can live here and not be effected by it.

I live in Alloa, former home of Patons and across the street from the houses he built for his daughters. Textile history is all around me. Whenever anyone hears what I do for a living, I am immediately told about the mills and the jumpers their mothers used to make for them. I am the recipient of the entire neighbourhood's excess knitting paraphernalia and have been known to discuss shoulder construction with Grannys picking up kids from school. I don't think I would have that in my native Iowa where discussion was often about fishing or hunting.

Beyond that, I am hugely drawn to the colour palette that surrounds me here. I'd never really seen the sea or mountains until I moved here, and they have had an undeniable impact on my designs.

I want to ask about The Crochet Project - I think it is such a refreshing web-based showcase for contemporary crochet design. What prompted you to start it?

It was actually my co-editor Joanne Scrace's idea. We work phenomenally well together, so it really is a match made in heaven.  We each bring different skills to the mix – Joanne has an incredible eye for detail and can really think through designs and make sure we have all of the technical details sorted, where I use my skills in photography to make sure the project makes a great first impression. We were bemoaning the lack of showcases for contemporary crochet design and she suggested we start our own.

There is no doubt that crochet design is a very different market to that of knitwear.  I have always struggled to find many that are the kinds of things I want to make or give. I want beauty and drape and wearability. I want things that are beautifully photographed.  However, there hasn't been much of that around, so we have gone forth to make our own. Crochet deserves not to be neglected and it certainly doesn't have to be ugly or lack purpose. I don't make egg cosies or doilies for a reason, I believe crochet can do more and better. And now we are expanding our vision under the umbrella of The Yarn Project to include a similar showcase for knit wear design due to be launched in 2014 after the second edition of The Crochet Project this autumn.

What plans do you have for the future?

I am working on my second book with Kyle Books, the second issue of The Crochet Project, more photography workshops with Capturing Childhood and a couple of other secret projects launching early next year.  My future is busy!!

A huge thank you to Kat for taking the time to sit down for a chat with me. You can find Kat on Twitter, Ravelry and Facebook.

Do you have a question you want to ask a craft pro? Let me know.