I'm a huge fan of Karie Westermann's designs, and we've been online friends since the first issues of Knit Now back in 2011. (Issue 61 has just been published & my oversized lace scarf is on the cover!)
So I was very excited when I heard the details about 'This thing of Paper' and I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour - if you've come here from Natalie Servant's blog post, thanks for popping over!
'This thing of Paper' will be a book that incorporates both knitting designs & essays. Inspired by the age of Johan Guttenburg and his invention of the printing press, I'm sure we will see lots of Karie's intelligent approach to super wearable design.
Image ©Karina Westermann
You might have heard about the amazing success of Karie's kickstarter campaign, which is (at time of writing) 162% funded with 21 days to go! I had plenty of questions for her, but I was remarkably self restrained!
Me: Your 'This Thing of Paper' kickstarter campaign was launched and and all the money pledged within 24 hours. Were you prepared for that kind of response?
K: I was really, really surprised. I had allowed myself to think that maybe the initial rush would result in about £3,000 within the first day, and then it'd be a month-long campaign to get the rest of the money needed. Well, that obviously didn't happen! We hit the initial goal of £9,700 within 25 hours.
Hitting the target goal so fast meant that I needed to take a step back and reassess the project. I would definitely be able to deliver the book I promised, but suddenly there was potential money for improving the paper quality and things like that. The initial target was a bare-bones budget and because it had been met so quickly, I could allow myself to think of some things I hadn't dared to consider before.
But mainly I just felt like I was being love-bombed by the entire knitting community which felt really, really amazing. I was not prepared for that!
Me: I felt extra pressure from simply blogging about my 'Get your Granny on' book idea. How has the success of your campaign made you feel?
K: Oddly I feel very calm about the book now. I know it will get made and I can get it made without any compromises. That is a huge thing for me.
On a personal level, I feel like I have been through an earthquake! This Thing of Paper is a very geeky, arty and bookish project. I was bullied pretty badly at school for being a geeky, arty and bookish girl - you know, wounds heal and they leave scars that unfortunately stay with you throughout your life. And now this wonderful community of people have told me that it's perfectly fine to be geeky, arty and bookish!
There is some sense of pressure to this project (it wouldn't be right if I didn't feel that) but mostly it has taken away a lot of other things weighing me down. Does that make sense?
Me: Your previous collection, Doggerland, has been well received as an ebook. Why have you made the decision to go physical with this book?
K: People kept telling me that they wanted a physical book! And so I sat down and thought about it. I had been wanting to make a knitting book inspired by medieval manuscripts & early printed books since 2012, and suddenly it dawned on me that the most delicious thing in the world would be a physical knitting book about the thing-ness of books. Once I had made that connection, there was no going back.
Me: I know that your knitting patterns always have wearability at the forefront. Looking at your Pinterest board I imagine the actual patterns will have plenty of colourwork, but I can see cables too. Can you give us any hints about what sort of things we will be seeing in the designs?
The book will be divided into three sections: 1) Manuscript, 2) Invention, and 3) Printed. Obviously the book will have an overarching colour palette & feel to it, but each section will be like a mini-capsule in itself.
1) Manuscript will have colourwork and some texture worked in rich colours on a background of natural shades.
2) Invention will have some of the same elements but slightly more subdued. You will see extra emphasis on texture. Still rich colours.
3) Printed will be more pared back with a very defined colour palette. Again, emphasis on texture here.
Me: You've mentioned that there will also be essays included in 'This thing of paper'. I find this very exciting - for me, it's one of the things that makes a pattern collection into a really special book, the inclusion of 'other' stuff that comes from a passionate interest in something. I know basically nothing about this area - I'm a prolific reader but have never thought too much about the printing process itself. I'm looking forward to finding out more. Are all the essays going to be written by you, or will there be others involved?
K: I introduced the idea of essays in 'Doggerland' - pieces of writing that told a story or added context to a design. This Thing of Paper will have similar essays - all written by me. I have a background in book history, so unlike Doggerland, I already know a lot about 14-16th century book production! Basically, I have read 15th century treatises on the moral decay caused by the printing press, so you don't have to! More importantly, I see a lot of parallels between Gutenberg's (alleged!) invention and the media landscape of the 21st century: big changes to how we receive information and how knowledge is spread.
Well, I don't know about you - but I'm intrigued! There's still time to contribute to the kickstarter - it looks like there will be extra bonus things added. Thanks to Karie for answering my questions. It's been interesting reading all the tour posts so far - everyone seems to relate to something different. Next on the blog tour is another of my favourite creative & intelligent people - Woolly Wormhead. I'm lucky enough to have met Woolly in real life & I love her approach to design. Her blog is always interesting and she's not often persuaded to take part in blog tours, so be sure to check her out! I'm basically going to be fangirling my way through the whole tour :)
The full blog tour can be followed here:
May 26: Naomi Parkhurst
May 27: Meg Roper
May 30: Natalie Servant
June 1: Jacqui Harding
June 6: Woolly Wormhead
June 8: Tom of Holland / Tom van Deijnen
June 10: Ella Austin
June 13: Leona Jayne Kelly of Fluph
June 15: JacquelineM
June 16: Felix Ford/KNITSONIK
June 17: Clare Devine
June 20: Dianna Walla