Reflections

Thanksgiving is a reflective holiday for me even in a good year, and doubly so as we’re celebrating our first holiday without my father. So like always, I’m knitting. And thinking.

I’m so glad you like Morning Coffee, and I’ve been knitting like a fiend, lining up a bunch more:

courant-for-alison-5

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But today, I want to take a few minutes and reflect. I’m in a small island of stillness, right now: The last 6 months are over, the next 6 months likely won’t get crazy for a few weeks yet, even if we’re supremely lucky. 2013 has been intensely surreal, as years go:

  • In March, I was looking ahead to the book release, and wondering if there was any way at all to eventually be able to pursue my passions full-time. Jackie and I first started talking about what that might look like. I thought perhaps, in a year or two, it might work.
  • In April, Knit to Flatterwas released. Nearly 3 years after we’d started the project, Jonathan and I finished the rough implementation of the first CustomFit Elf and I started guesstimating mid-fall as a possible release date for the site.
  • By June, I created a rough set of wireframes to show around at the TNNA summer show. Everyone we showed was enthusiastic, and on the plane ride home Jackie and I talked seriously both about what it would take to get CustomFit live, and whether I might be able to pursue this full-time around January of 2014. I think we both knew, at that point, that managing the rest of the CustomFit release was unlikely to play well with my other career.
  • In July, my father passed away, and like many tragic events it was somewhat crystallizing for me. What am I here for, if not to pursue the things I love? We stepped up our planning and got a temporary team (and the resources!) in place that would carry us through the site’s launch.
  • August and September were this intensely wonderful mad rush. I left my day job. We were able to get a good-sized team of people working on the launch, if not full-time then at least a little every day. The sweaters produced by our amazing beta testers were wonderful. We identified problems, and fixed them, and generally hurled ourselves full-speed to launch.
  • Just six weeks ago, CustomFit went live to everyone. The amazing programmers behind-the-scenes melted away a bit (as expected) to their own day jobs and other projects. We’re now a much smaller, very part-time crew that (a) we can afford and (b) can take care of the few bugs and issues inevitable in any software project of this size.

I packed my fall schedule to the brim with classes, trips, CustomFit LYS trainings, and such. It’s been a whirlwind, and fun, and very unlike my previous job. My whole life looks so different than it did 6 months ago. (Both in the awesome way, and in the terrifying way. We’re far from out of the woods, yet.)

The next 6 months promise to be just as strange.

A quiet, industrious time, as I knit like the wind for the next book, and keep up pattern releases and preparation for the new year and a return to teaching.

Early next year (with luck), a business that’s strong enough to hire a programmer, so that we can go beyond (bare-knuckled) maintenance and create new CustomFit elves, so that everyone’s sweaters are as fantastic as possible. Shows (I’ll be at Vogue Knitting Live NYC and Seattle, and STITCHES West and South), travel, new features on the site, finishing the book, and sweaters, sweaters, sweaters. On the personal crafting front, I have high hopes for sewing and crochet.

I don’t have any idea where I’ll be in 6 months, really. Not just because nobody never truly knows where they’ll be, but also because so much of where I’m going depends on others. I can imagine all kinds of exciting things, and fervently hope that our fledgling little enterprise grows strong enough to allow me to throw myself at them with open arms.

I do know that despite the hardship and the fear and the sadness the last 6 months have held, they’ve also held intense joy, and purpose, and a greater sense of rightness with my world than I’ve ever had before. I’m thankful for that, in the here and now.

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And whatever the outcome, I’ll keep on knitting.

If you’re in the US, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. And I wish all of you some quiet happiness with your needles, the chance to pause with your thoughts, before rushing onward into the season.

Comments

  1. Pat says

    Amy,

    So happy to have been along for parts of the 2013 ride and I look forward to sharing more adventures in ’14.

    I just finished Cushman; now it’s on to Acorn Trail!

  2. Wendy says

    I have been reading your blog for a while, lurking quietly :) This morning though I thought it was time to let you know how much I enjoy your writing and how your posts and projects inspire me. I will be trying out ‘Customfit’ as soon as my current project is off the needles.

  3. says

    I’m happy for your success Amy it’s well deserved, and wish you all the best for the next years to come.
    Let me ask something about your perfect stitching, how a knitter can improve perfect and regular stitching? Watching at your knits and swatch I am always amazed about how they looks perfect. Is the yarn or just a beautiful hand stitching? Do you knit eastern or continental? Or combined? Please let us known. :)

    • Amy says

      I think this is a great question, Giusy, and I wish I had a better answer for you! I don’t think it’s just the yarn, though I do use very nice wool. I seem to have a very even tension. I throw, but actually I don’t even tension the yarn properly – more hold it lightly in a “pinch”. I should take a video of my knitting!

      In terms of advice to even up someone’s stitching, I’m far from an expert on teaching others how to knit but I do tend to scrunch all of my stitches up at the very tips of my needles and make the smallest motion possible. My fabric seems snug and elastic compared to some others I’ve seen.

      (Does that make any sense?)

  4. Debs (rav: newdknit) says

    Thank you for your time. I have learnt so much over the last two years from you and it has moved into my non knitted wardrobe. If I need something adjusted I take it to a tailor if I can afford it. My clothes fit me so much better. If I need a knitted garment adjusted I understand why now and just fix it (even if it takes a year)

    I can’t wait to knit my first CustomFit sweater, thank you!

  5. Cathy says

    HappyThanksgiving to you and your family too, Amy, and a huge thank you to you for having the vision and the courage to follow your dream. You are making all of us better knitters in the process! I wish you continued success, fulfillment and happiness in the years ahead.

  6. Bobbire R / rkr4cds says

    Such insight! THX! (and hands waving madly…
    What is the yarn & shade in your last image???
    It’s just the type of Barny-Red Rust I’m searching for.)

    rkr4cds

  7. Kristie says

    A quiet industrious time . . . exactly what I crave in my life right now. Thank you for capturing it so beautifully.

  8. Tania Bishop says

    A beautiful post. I’m in Australia and we of course are not celebrating Thanksgiving but your words sum up what I feel being “thankful” means.

  9. Martha S says

    Thank you Amy, for being who you are and having the dream and making it come true. I am so happy to be finishing up my first Custom Fit sweater and the second one has just been cast on! The next ones are dancing in my head. . . thanks to you and Custom Fit, I just can’t knit fast enough! ;)

  10. Andrea (xraymd) says

    Your knitting is a wonder. It looks completely kempt and totally professional. Do you have any posts about how you achieve this tension perfection? It is not just Knit to Flatter, it is Knit Fabric to Fawn Over ;-) – even if the sweater did not fit (which is not possible given your extraordinary guidance), I would wear it anyway just for the beauty and evenness of the stitches!

    • Amy says

      I’m far from an expert on teaching others to knit – but I do tend to (a) scrunch my stitches all down at the very ends of my needles, and (b) have a pretty tight connection between my “V”s – which makes my fabric snugger and more elastic than some I’ve seen. I should take a video!

      • Andrea (xraymd) says

        I think this video would be hugely popular – another aspect for Amy Herzog Designs? I would put out the cat, lock the door, send my husband on a lengthy errand and watch mesmerized with needles and yarn in hand to raptly learn! Not only are you the pinnacle of sweaters that fit but you could claim the top spot for beauty in stitches in those glorious sweaters that fit. Just an idea!

  11. says

    Having just started into self-employment venture myself, I very much understand you. After all, even it is so inspiring and fun what we do, it does have to pay the bills as well. I’ve yet to knit according to customfit, but I find what you do so valuable that I made myself a “mental” note to buy two custom fit patterns from you. I want this endeavour of yours to be successful because I believe it is making a difference.

  12. Cindy says

    I look forward to each and everything you design and add them to my ever growing list.

    I see someone asked about 1 of the yarns above and was hoping that you could say what the yarns & colors are in the first 2 pictures – I love all the yarn in this blog post and want to know what they are so that when the pattern comes out I will know where to go and what to buy.

  13. Karen in Tasmania says

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy everything you write, nor how helpful your many tips and insights have been. I am thankful that I have been learning so much from you and my results are improving all the time. It takes courage and commitment to do what you have done and I watch your success unfold with great pleasure. I am looking forward to what the next year holds for you – I’m sure it will be exciting and satisfying if not a little hair-raising!

  14. Katinka says

    I spoke on sweater knitting to my local guild in November, and part of my presentation was to talk about the evolution of Fit to Flatter – Knit to Flatter – Custom Fit. We’ve got some talented ladies — some who’ve knit for 40, 50, 60 years — and they were THRILLED with the idea of Custom Fit. I’m excited to see if any sweaters come of it!