Thursday, November 7, 2013

Enlighten Me

I'm a big believer in focus.  Life is hectic, so I try to figure out what's most important to do next and put my attention into that.

With that outlook, it's no big surprise that I haven't gotten very involved in social media.  I have a Facebook page, because a few years ago, I was asked to do that for a volunteer gig, but I don't use it much these days.  There's a Facebook machine knitting page, but it isn't really active. Facebook is nice for keeping in touch with family members out of state, especially sharing photos and events.  I like looking at the latest pix of my great-nieces.

I have a Ravelry ID but hardly ever go there.  I don't quite understand Pinterest.  I also have a Linked In membership, which I use entirely for accounting and Scouting contacts, my day job stuff, and it's useful for professional contacts, networking, and discussions.

I recognize that I've got lots of blind spots, and maybe my failure to "get" social media is one of them.  On the other hand, maybe I should spend the time knitting and figuring out the next book.

I am old, but I can learn.  I have adapted to texting my sons.  I can't imagine why they would rather type than talk, but whatever it takes...

What do you think?  In my effort to popularize machine knitting and stay in touch with readers, would it add value if I used social media?  Which ones?  Google plus?  Facebook?  Ravelry? 


  1. Hi Diana - I think if you were to pick one then go with Ravelry - any one who likes knitting will eventually end up there. And the machine knitting patterns are very few in comparison to hand knitting and crochet. I've been using your videos to learn machine knitting and want to thank you for sharing :)

  2. Absolutely! I just started a Facebook group page for our MK Guild, and yes, it's not very active because most of our members are over 60 years and can't even send an email (which is far easier than machine knitting, but what can you do?). My reasoning was if we want to attract, new, younger members and people into the world of machine knitting, ensuring continuity of our clubs and the craft, itself, we have to go where they are, and not hide within our comfort zone. By the way, there are several very, very active MK groups on Facebook (some of them devoted to specific machines). Our guild also has a Ravelry page (there is an enormous MK group there, plus several others; some also dedicated to specific machines), but that's also not very active due to the demographic of our guild. Still, it's out there and we do have members that haven't actually joined our guild, which still accomplishes part of the goal, which is to let it be known that we're here.

    You can do a number of things: Start your own group page on Facebook (that way it doesn't have to be on your personal wall, which you can keep private for your close friends and family), and start your own group on Ravelry (same thing). Ravelry is a great place for people to come ask questions, share ideas, share projects and the more MKers we have there, the more accepting the site's owners will be about machine knitting (we have to fight for every bit of recognition we get out there because they're hand knitters). Facebook will allow you to link to your YouTube videos, where they can be watched right from Facebook, whereas Ravelry will allow you to link to them, but they have to be watched via YouTube, itself. You can also place photos directly within posts in both places.

    In my opinion, if your goal is to reach a wider, younger audience, you would do well to consider those two options.

  3. Hi, Diana, Ravelry discussion groups seem to be the place for all my friends but I personally don't go there very much.
    Pinterest is a place I go every day because it's quick and easy. You just pin an image which links to your website or another's website.
    I have learned quite a lot and gotten many ideas for machine knitting. I think once you get an idea for how Pinterest works, it is so quick.
    Your work is already pinned on Pinterest by those who love and appreciate your work.
    Thanks for all your help via youtube and your blog it has been invaluable.

  4. Sharon Snyder ssnyder120@sbcglobal.netNovember 8, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    I love your page just the way it is. I am older and just learning to text grandsons,etc i am all the others and use done of them. You are great just the way you are
    Sharon Snyder

  5. There's a big worldwide machine knitting group on Ravelry who'd be happy to welcome you there - we often recommend newbies to your excellent video courses! But I also love that you are thinking about machine knitting and writing new stuff, as there's not much "new" content out there... So... I guess I'm not much help! :)

  6. Word gets around so people know about your teaching, seminars, and patterns. I think you should continue to do what you do best and not worry about the social scene. Your customers will certainly spread the word and send others to you instead. At least I tell everyone about your work and direct them to your site. :)

    1. I second to this. I've been on Ravelry and Kniting Paradise. Most long time members often refer your blog and tutorial videos to beginners. The interest for machine knitting has already been implemented. No need to do more here at your end. The experienced members will help the new ones. It would be of great inspiration to us if you pop in now and then but your presence is not so necessary since your time is limited.

      Diana, if you want to expose machine knitting, the groups that need to be targeted would be the hand knitters and crocheters. They're the ones that may not know machine knitting even exist. They have already acquired patient and certain knowledge from these type of crafts, machine knitting would most likely interest them as well.

      As someone already mentioned, many people at age don't often use social media much. I'm wondering whether local yarn shops and craft stores (Michaels, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, etc.) allow us to post your recent brochure. Often, these places are where machine knitting conversation comes up with me. Many of us can lend a hand by posting your brochures at our local stores to market machine knitting. That is if the stores allow us. Just let us know.

  7. There are so many people who aren't into social media. You have this wonderful and extremely useful website. This format enables you to showcase your talent and expertise far better than social media could. We all have to decide where to spend our precious extra minutes. I applaud you for keeping this site as currrent as well as you do! Keep up the great work!

  8. Hi Diana - I have been following your posts for a few years now and have really enjoyed your you tube videos.
    I really want to learn how to use my knitting machine and ribber - I only know super basic stuff but have a lot of design ideas!
    I wanted to ask you if you have a ribber course for sale or if you will have one available soon. I want to buy a bunch of your tutorials and a ribber course would be one of them :)
    Regarding your social media questions... YES - by all means! I think having a Facebook page and a pinterest account dedicated to machine knitting will be great. Ravelry is great too - they have machine knitting groups there.
    I believe a facebook page and pinterest are an absolute must. On the other hand there are programs that let you plan posts to appear on several social media sites at the same time, the same info. Once you learn how to do it it is really easy!
    Thank you again for providing so much great info and great tutorials :)

  9. Between your comment and the commenter who said this is a good way to reach YOUNG people, and we need them in our craft, I think I need to do a little more. I'll check into "pinning" at Pinterest, since I've got a gob of photos, and I'll check into the software that lets you post more than one place.

  10. I really think you need to broaden your Ravelry presence. It's the first stop many go to for patterns, and you have awesome patterns. They've added machine knitting as a search function, so that makes it even easier now.
    Pinterest is cool, though I don't use it as much as I should. I have a facebook page for my business and I use that almost daily, since I do a lot of work for newborn photographers, and their clients tend to be younger and on facebook. Instagram is another one, but relies on mobile posting of pictures/videos mostly, so I don't use it. I don't see the point of twitter for increasing a knitting business, or passing along instruction. It's too frivalous and gossipy in my opinion. But for sure, get on board Ravelry. I don't log projects there, but I always search for patterns/yarns there!!

  11. Myself, I am a youtuber :-) It is the home of common knowledge and that rare tidbit, in vid format. e.g. how to make one's pasta maker double as a cotton gin. YouTube is where I first went to re-discover handknitting/crochet techniques and where in doing so, I discovered machine knitting and straightaway - there was Diana Sullivan with the best instructional vids on the internet. Thank You!
    I then purchased an LK150 to get started with your help at YouTube and with some free/purchased patterns. Thank You once again!
    Having just purchased my first (step-up from plastic flatbed) ribber machine. The very first thing I did was to go to YouTube to find Diana Sullivan :-) To reacquaint myself with her blog, to take a refresher course on flatbed and to introduce myself to the ribber before I tackle the manual, as while reading it, I will be able to visualize one of Diana's vids on the same subject. If I am having difficulty I can return to the course for another look-see! And of course, I will begin my first project with a Diana Sullivan pattern, like the Entrelac bag and Wear Your Diamonds booklets that I enjoyed making on my LK150.
    The only other knit sites that I visit regularly are: Knit It Now (machine-knitting everything) and Ravelry (patterns (free/purchased downloads) and Knit Freedom (hand-knitting techniques/patterns).
    I never visit social media sites! I think of YouTube, Knit It Now and Ravelry not as social media, but as group learning through sharing and selling what one does for pleasure. There's so much to learn and to do - no time for the chit chat, accept when I feel compelled to say thank you for sharing. Shine ON* Katie

  12. I would like to say that if it wasn't for you Diana I would have thrown my machine at the wall!
    I don't use any social media but found you!
    I just found you through google. Your right up there at the top.
    Everyone finds your website as you are the best and most informative!
    With great kindness thank you ever so much, your soothing voice, calm disposition and the graciousness of providing free instructional vids, especially for someone whom cannot afford to buy books and vids, you have not only saved my machine but also my sanity and now I am starting to actually knit. I am now saving to buy one of your books.
    I have just learnt how to increase and decrease a 2x1 swatch, which I have now turned into a cowl or is it just a neck warmer :) Thanks to you!
    So back to your question, if social media is not for you "oh well" concentrate on what you do well.
    Keep up the good work.
    With much kind Regards.

  13. Being one of those "young people", I can say that most services will let you post in multiple places at once, or at least reference posts in other places. For example, your blogger could automatically post to your google+ (or vice versa), your youtube will now also automatically post to your google plus. Ravelry has always had the option to show the latest blog posts in your profile if you link them. Most everything has an option to automatically (or with a click or two) post to facebook and twitter (and google+) as well.
    I think for the most part, it's simply a matter of taking the time to figure out how to connect everything and setting it up so that it posts in the various places automatically.
    Ravelry, on the other hand, is far more useful as a conversation place. Its forum layout, and easy access to patterns and products prioritizes conversations with people and posting written out pattern instructions.
    Were I in your position, I would first look to integrating all of the various services that exist, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram (for photos), youtube, and google+ (because it's almost impossible to not link google+, even though almost no one uses it). And once those all talk to one another, if you want to have more interaction with people, ravelry is probably the best bet to reach people, especially young people, and engage them in conversation, especially to share some of the wonderful information you have.

  14. Hi Diana,

    I guess this is my very first comment on your blog. :)
    First of all, I'd like to thank you for your amazing Youtube videos.
    Without you and your videos, it must have been so much more difficult to learn machine knitting.
    The manual tells you how to use the machines and how to knit stitches, but it doesn't teach you how to make different kinds of projects.
    Truly, you've been such a blessing in my journey to learning machine knitting.

    Regarding the social media, I'd highly recommend Ravelry.
    I use most of the social media that you mentioned, Facebook, Pintrest, LinkedIn, etc.
    Each of them has its own strength, and good for certain purpose.
    However, for anything related to knitting (both hand & machine) or crocheting, I don't think there's anything to beat Ravelry.
    Ravelry has pattern pages, project pages for those patterns, groups where people can ask questions and link back to the pattern or the project pages.
    I think it's really great, because it's built to serve the purpose of sharing knitting/crocheting related information.
    You can start a group on Ravelry to stay in touch with your audiences. (I'd join in a heartbeat!)

    Also Ravelry has huge number of members of the younger generations (I myself is a younger generation in comparison to the most of the machine knitters), so it should be a really great way to connect with the next generation of the machine knitters.
    (By the way, I almost sound like a sales person from Ravelry, don't I? I'm not affiliated with them at all other than just being a huge fan of the site. :D)

    Personally, I'd love to see more machine knitting patterns and projects on Ravelry. (Actually, I'm planning on writing couple of them soon. Hopefully, soon...)

  15. We try all the social media sites where I work (library), but when less than 1,000 people "follow" on pinterest and Facebook or twitter, (out of 200,000 cardholders) the math suggests no go. I think pictures on Pinterest of your work, and a directing web address would be useful. But your blog is as friendly to use as anything I've seen. And I didn't have to sign up to create an account to use it. Looking at Facebook, and your blog--I see them almost the same, but your blog has extras that can direct people in directions they are interested in.

    Thank you for all your work! It is really helpful to those of us who are in a blackhole as far as MK goes.

  16. Hi Diana, I have so enjoyed you over the years and purchased several patterns and DVD's and loved each one. I keep hoping you will do an instructional DVD on the KH970. You are a wonderful teacher, and I do follow you on FaceBook and Youtube. Blessings, Cobi Lee Henry

  17. Diana read you comments about social media and agree with you that in order to keep the craft of machine knitting going, we need more demographic diversity i.e., younger people to become interested in the craft. With the surge of interest in fashion design, sewing and hand-knitting, machine knitting is the next step for someone interested in designing and making their own knitted fabric. Machine knitting offers so many possibilities for creativity with colors and textures. So my vote would be to at least consider Ravelry and Facebook. As one person commented, you can keep your business Facebook page separate from you personal pages which is what I would want.

  18. I agree with the others who see social networks as essential. If MK is to ever have a future then young people must become a part of it, and Social Networks is how they communicate. No young people I know read books, write letters, or even subscribe to magazines. They are all on Twitter, FB, Ravelry, etc. I'd say it's essential to promote on those venues. :)

  19. I plead for Ravelry. First, because most knitters sooner or later end up there anyway. And second because Facebook and Google give me the creeps with their incessant hunger for my personal data to genereate personal commercials for me.
    Besides Ravelry would give the opportunity to put up single pattern for buying, which would make it much more affordable and easier for people like me, who don't want the whole book because they need only one pattern from it. And the shipping costs raise the price for the books so high, that they go well over my budget.

  20. There is ALSO a machine knitting community on the Knitters Paradise Forum, many, many internet and social media choices for sure!