Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sound Off: Do Free Beginner Videos Help or Hurt Machine Knitting?

Really hate that Knit Words won't be published any more.

But tell me the truth:  do the freebies like my free patterns and YouTube video lessons, hurt or help the machine knitting craft?  Are all these beginners turning into customers who buy machines, yarn, books, and magazines?

Let me have it, if I deserve it.  But know this:  I did this enormous amount of work to help keep MK alive, to help our craft.  Hardly anyone was teaching beginners, and no beginners means it will all be over soon.


  1. Your YouTube video lesson's absolutely help the machine knitting craft. My original machine was bought over 25 years ago by my husband while on a Navy cruise. It sat under the bed in the box since then. Thanks to your help with the video lessons and all I dusted it off and have learned quite a bit. Not to mention Hubby bought me an electronic standard and a punchcard bulky to go with the original punchcard standard. I have met several machine knitters both new and old hands since finding your site. And those that weren't aware of your site have been directed here. They too have learned much from you. I have bought and thoroughly enjoy all your dvd lessons so far. You can't imagine how much I appreciate them and the work that went into them. So yes you have contributed to at least me turning into a customer buying machines, yarn, books and magazines. And yes you do deserve to know it. =o)
    Thank you,

  2. I don't think so. There are a lot of people who are not willing to invest in the costs of a machine and the initial maintenance to get a used machine up and running if they are worried they won't be able to figure things out.

    If they have to pay to see anything, and they STILL can't figure it out, where will they be then? An enormous investment wasted. Beginners have to start somewhere, and they DO turn into customers.

    MK has a steep learning curve; it's a fact. Making it more inaccessible will kill it off sooner. It's sad, but it's true.

  3. I struggled before I decided to do all the freebies, and my decision was based around what effect it would have on the existing (and much appreciated) designers, dealers, and knitters.

    The beginner lessons are UP. I don't think they are great - I was absolutely an amateur videographer - but they are good enough to teach people to knit!

  4. Rest assured Diana your lessons and patterns are an inspiration to all machine knitters. I have bought a number of machines (chunky, punchcard and more recently electronic) because of your lesssons. The garter bar which was left in its box is now in constant use. I also subscribe to machine knitting magazines. There are no Machine Knitting groups where I live so you give much needed support. Thank you so much. Anne

  5. I am certain that your videos have helped many. I know they have helped me. I found you through my knitting machines and me. She has also contributed much and very well to machine knitters. There are things that have to be seen to click in place, and your videos do just that. I appreciate the close-ups. If I were at a demonstration I could not get as close to the machine as with the videos. The fact that you provide them without charge makes it even more appealing and rewarding. I am not a beginner, but I do not use the machine every day, so...some procedures are in need of refreshing; your videos makes it better than if you were next door. (I would have to make you coffee and scones, and would have to tidy up--this way I can drink coffee without scones and tidy up later...ha, ha) Please, keep sharing what you know. "we" your viewers/fans love your work. ^__^

  6. The free lessons I find on the net encouraged me to buy patterns and lessons. I do believe it would kill off the interest if one couldn't find a simple technique. If I had to wait until my next meeting to cast off a project I probably would have never continued. I just couldn't remember the cast off technique that was taught to me. The videos helped me remember and continue. I use the free videos and I bought Knitwords magazine. I thought the portion of her rant on free videos was a little off base.

  7. Your videos inspired me to drag out the old knitting machine and give it another try. In fact, I went looking for magazines and books to help me get started again. Thank you!

  8. Diana, I haven't spoken with other current or potential MKers about your work. Speaking for myself, I have found your free and published videos incredibly helpful, encouraging, accessible, inspiring and well done. Particularly having the YouTube videos up, I think, gives us a chance to "visit" with you any time we like, hear your calm, reassuring voice, and, most importantly, see you actually performing the work - over and over and over, as many times as we need.

    I think it makes a HUGE difference to have a resource like this, for new, existing and potential MKers. There will never be a large portion of the population that takes up this challenging and rewarding craft, but I think with the efforts of you and others it will surely make a resurgance.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your effort in promoting and informing machine knitting.

  9. Diana,
    I certainly appreciate all that you do!!! I had my machines in storage for over 20 years...the passap E6000, I sold as I was taking lessons when I moved from CT to FL...unable to keep up with it until now that I am retired. I am thinking of another electronic machine, however will make sure I get the brother machine down pat...I did purchase garter bar, books, and of course yarns thus far.....but please continue the freebee's and advanced purchased info will follow.....I thank you for all you do.........

  10. I don't think that MK is the kind of hobby that appeals to alot of people. It takes up room both for the machines & for the yarn. It is not an easy hobby to learn. I have been machine knitting off & on since I bought my first plastic machine from a free demo on TV. I have a knitting room that I am busting out of with 5 machines & my garage is full of bins of yarn. It is an expensive hobby & it is hard for the younger set to afford when they have young children at home, or still in school. But when the kids are gone & the house is empty, it is very pleasing to have my machines & yarn for company. MK'ers that are willing to give of their time & expertise for free are a God send. No one is going to buy a magazine like "Knitwords' if they don't get hooked on MK first. & the way to hook them is thru free demonstrations like yours. Thx for all you do, & God Bless You.

  11. Totally agree with all of the above! While I have looked at your videos I am still learning from the book ( it's what I know best), however when deciding wether to purchase a knitting machine, it was great to see your videos and see just how easy you made it look :)
    I think the lady at knitwords was talking more about all the free patterns all over the net, rather than help videos.
    The thing is with that though, is that they have always been there, before the internet there was photocopying and swapping, and before that there was writing them out.
    I think sometimes people just have enough of what they are doing and look for things to rationalise stopping it. It is real in their mind.
    I am sure many many more people that won't comment are very thankful for what you and others do, and I am sure many like me will still buy magazines ans books as an addition to what is free :)

  12. Your beginner lessons absolutely do not hurt other Machine Knitting Enterprises. In fact, they should be generating more interest in the long run.

    I am an advanced machine knitter and just sick about loosing Knitwords but I hardly think that the magazine did not survive because of too much free stuff on the net.

    The reason the magazine did not survive is because we could not generate enough interest in machine knitting to support it. We need more knitters all the time, and since there is just about no local support, your videos are filling a critical need.

    New knitters need to be able to test the water without investing thousands of dollars. A fashionable sweater is not a good first project without some one to hold their hands. The magazine is likely to appeal to a machine knitter who has some confidence about being able to complete the projects with limited resources, and the confidence comes with support at the beginning.

    Don't feel guilty one minute. Keep doing the videos. The craft critically needs them.

  13. You did not do anything wrong. Read: "Googled, the end of the world as we know it" It is available in audiobook. It is happening all over the place. You have just the right recipe. Keep going we are all delighted with your work. Thanks again.

  14. I think both magazines and videos have their place. Videos are excellent for showing techniques - diagrams are fine, but cannot show wrist action/hand movement! And magazines are great for looking through and for patterns and inspiration. There's no tuition in my area since education funds now go to literacy/math courses - "hobby" courses such as MK, sewing etc have all fallen by the wayside.

    Keep on keeping on! I've learnt a new cast off from your videos, and I thought I knew them all! So we never stop learning!

  15. Diana, simply said, your machine knitting videos are the best. I'm new to machine knitting and your tutorials have inspired me as much as helped me. Inspiration is such an important ingredient when one is learning a new craft and you provide that in spades. I have held your virtual hand as I've tried some of your techniques and thank you so much for your support.

  16. I blast (advertise) your blog all the time. I'm sad that you haven't done a new youtube video. Your youtube videos encouraged me to invest in more than a main bed. Some of the prices for equipments are just too high for some people. I wished I had learned from the beginning with the ribber. It's like learning all over. I see nothing wrong with demonstrating techniques. I would personally like to see more ribber techniques like how to do lace with ribber etc.

  17. Ah, "new media" meets "machine knitting". Like everywhere else, it implies that there will be changes. My POV is that it has little to do with you and/or KnitWords (to which I did subscribe),

    By that I mean:

    - On-demand video learning is a game changer (much easier to learn MK from a video than a column of text)

    - On-demand learning creates more user interest a) I can learn what the MK possibilities are before I purchase a machine.
    b) When I have a machine, I can learn how to create my ideas, rather than re-create the ideas of others.

    - Payment shifts to expert advice (ie, my Mom taught me how to knit for free. My neighbor gave me the crochet basics for me. The social internet supplements these connections. Users won't pay for basics. They pay for experts.

    - So if one wishes to continue a business model in the current ecosystem... I'd suggest that one find a means to provide on-demand (or near on-demand) expert advice. But the key word is expert.

    So no: It wasn't you. It's the internet & the way in which it is changing the nature & value of knowledge.

    (blah... back to my 3.6mm machine....)

  18. I can tell you that after seeing your videos...that were somehow linked somewhere on youtube...I have bought my first machine. It's just an ISM off of Ebay..but with 4 small kids and being a SAHM it's what I can afford right now. Your videos gave me the confidence to buy that! I know that I'll get one of the bigger, more advanced machines in the future...but I'll have to save, and till then I am now able to buy yarn and patterns and more yarn ;) and get a feel for things.

    I'm gathering from the other comments a magazine has gone out of business and is blaming all the free stuff online. I can assure you I would have never seen that magazine! Your Youtube videos I saw...and was inspired :o)

    Thank you!!

  19. You are all wonderful with your comments and encouragement.

    As the dust settles, I keep thinking about the LEVERAGE. I "teach" 300-800 times a day without lifting a finger. That's my video view rate. People are learning. And yes, I do charge money for more expert books and patterns than those basic lessons.

    As for Ruggles comments about video learning, I couldn't agree more. It's not just for youngsters - there are incredible resources out on the Net to keep us learning! My husband learned how to rebuild a printer from some benefactor in a gorilla suit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time management lecture from Randy Pausch (the "Last Lecture" professor).

  20. If you have not seen:

    I just signed up & have yet to really go thru their content... but I like the model. And they have webinars ( which are interesting.

  21. Just re-read what I wrote & realized that how I phrased things could be viewed as me saying "KnitWords wasn't expert".

    How I regret that. NOT NOT NOT what I meant to say. The lady is a guru.

    My point was just that print media is no longer the optimal delivery device for knowledge. Please forgive my poor brain-to-type skills.


  22. Mary Anne Oger of Knit Words is indeed, an MK guru. I wish her every success. Whatever Mary Anne does will be great because she is so clever, such a good communicator and so devoted to quality. We were very fortunate to have her MK magazine all these years.

    Machine Knitting is a very tough business. It is certainly difficult to think of a tougher one! A lot of talented people, amazingly hard workers, have been unable to make a living as dealers. If I ever entertain the idea of "retiring" from accounting and trying to make my money doing my videos and books, I'll expect I would have to teach hand knitting, crochet, and other crafts as well. Y'all may like my stuff, but it's an itsy-bitsy hobby business because the market is so small.

    If you want to make money, find a big market. Ours is a micro-market, and if it weren't for the Internet to connect us all around the world, what would we do?

    We have all marveled at why MK isn't fantastically popular, like other crafts. It was expensive and hard to learn, don't forget. The manufacturers could have done great things to solve both those problems, but they didn't. They sold a machine that cost over a month's rent with an indecipherable manual. As technology improved, their prices ratcheted up tremendously, where other electronics saw falling prices. The markup on MK stuff is ridiculously small. I voted with my checkbook to keep wonderful people like MAO in business, but there aren't enough customers. I am trying to increase the number of customers.

    Of course some customers are "cheap." I'm pretty careful with money myself (typical accountant), but the fact is, I spend because I can make beautiful products on the machine. I get value for my money, but that wasn't true at the beginning. The problem isn't that customers are stingy, it's that there aren't enough of them.

    A lot of the problem is our changing world: more women working outside the home plus having to do everything at home, everyone frantic to keep up with inflation, everyone working longer hours (at least in the US), and similar changes.

  23. I adore your videos. I bought a machine a couple of weeks ago. Your videos helped me understand the different techniques in machine knitting. They are clear and concise. I have learned a lot (and still have much to learn!). Thank you so much.