Press Release Feb 20, 2001

Press Release Feb 20, 2001

It’s A Beginning

What is INK? INK stands for the International Network for Knitters. We are a new association formed in the US with the goal of joining knitters nationally and eventually internationally for the purposes of promoting, educating, enjoying, and expanding knitting. We are equally representative of hand and machine knitters, offering publications, education and support to both groups on an equal basis. As the masthead says, we are “A Resource for Independent Knitters”.

Why a Network? To us, a network means individuals and groups, knitters of all levels, coming together via many means; through publications, the Internet, seminars, and through a structure of committees and help lines. We have high aspirations for INK growing to support many tried and true knitting experiences, along with new, creative ones that take advantage of emerging technologies and communication methods. As we mature, member committees will be formed to assist us in spreading information in support of knitters and knitting around the world.

Who is behind INK? INK is directed by an Executive Board which sets goals, shares information and discusses issues important to the Network. Current members of the board have extensive experience in the knit community in areas such as shop management, committees, publications, editing, and seminar sponsoring. The Executive Board was formed at the invitation of its president, Diane Piwko, to assist her in founding INK and diversifying its goals beyond one person’s vision and limitations. Current members of the Executive Board are Kathy Sasser, Kay Holt, Susan Esser and Jennie Merritt. Supplementary assistance is offered by an Advisory Committee of industry leaders in yarn production, promotions, and publishing. Brief biographies follow after this article but each board member is a devoted knitter who brings a unique perspective to the management of INK. Board members are invited to serve for a two-year term. After their term expires, other active members from INK will be invited to take their place.

For a new association, there is already a great deal of support structure in place due to our roots. INK is a venture from Fiber Circle Publishing and its owner, Diane Piwko. Some of you may already be familiar with this company and its vast presence in the machine-knitting world. For a brief history, in 1997 Fiber Circle Publishing was formed from the purchase of Machine Knitters Source (MKS) magazine. Previously located in Vashon, WA, this has been the top selling machine knitting magazine in the US for over 16 years. Diane, the editor/publisher, is an equally capable machine and hand knitter, member of the Professional Knitwear Designers Guild, and long time contributor to MKS even before the purchase. Our offices are located in Plano, TX (a northeast suburb of Dallas), from which we have produced over 23 issues of Machine Knitters Source magazine, never missing a delivery date. All told, over the past four years we have edited, printed, and distributed approximately 2400 pages devoted to knitting, six issues a year. The office is fully staffed with paid secretarial, editorial, and graphics people who know the world of knitting. Fiber Circle Publishing is providing the startup capital and resources for INK. The company has toll free phone numbers, web sites, and much more in place already to support INK, with room for growth as needed. In short, do not think of INK as a typical start up but rather the expansion of an established knitting business.

How are Hand and Machine Knitters going to be merged into one Network? For the first time in knitting publication history, an editorial staff has been pulled together that equally understands the needs of hand and machine knitters, and the differences between them. As such, we do not intend to offer a “one size fits everyone” solution. Given our roots, the current subscribers to Machine Knitters Source magazine will automatically be enrolled as members in INK. Renewing their subscription when the time comes continues this relationship. New members to INK will be given the options of receiving INKnitters, MKS, or both on different payment plans. There will be a substantial discount for those knitters taking both publications. The INK website at www.INKnitters.com will be the common meeting ground. Here you will be able to download hand or machine knit versions of patterns from both publications, in the “CrossTalk” format that you need.Since Fiber Circle Publishing has experience hosting and attending seminars and trade shows for both hand and machine knitters (the MKS Forum, held bi-annually, is the largest machine knitting show in the US,), our soon to be planned show circuit will offer classes for both disciplines, taught the way each prefers. We shall represent knitting in whatever method our membership chooses to practice it, recognize the common ground and honor the uniqueness of each.

How will INK be operated? Fiber Circle Publishing will run the day-to-day tasks and operations. We have outside editorial consultants helping us gather material for each issue of INKnitters and MKS, working with the designers and authors. The Executive Board will oversee direction of the Network, propose programs and guide it fiscally.We want it stated clearly and up front, due to the founding of INK from an existing business, we cannot legally and ethically take claim to being “non-profit”. However, we are going to coin a new term and that is “Fiscally Open”. What that means is that a financial report will be place on the website annually for all INK members to view. This report shall show how your membership money is being used to produce INKnitters magazine, Machine Knitters Source, and other products of INK. All people actively working for the business are entitled to a salary, and that includes the owner of Fiber Circle Publishing who will function as a full-time editor/publisher, and as such will receive compensation appropriate to the publishing industry. Freelance authors, designers and teachers will also receive compensation for their contributions to INK. Any additional profit that membership brings in above operating expenses will be directed by the Executive Board into programs that supportour members and knitting in general. Thus, we are being open with you about how the Network spends its monies.

What will the INKnitters magazine be like? Our emphasis will be on articles covering technical/techniques, people profiles, the latest industry news, and many, many more items of interest to knitters. With this format, we want to fill a gap among currently available knitting magazines in the US. That doesn’t mean we won’t inspire you to knit. You can expect to see 8-10 patterns in each issue but over half of the magazine will be devoted to articles. We plan on having regular columns and writers in each issue so you can follow your favorite. Each issue will be a minimum of 80 pages, primarily in color.. Hopefully, we will be able to expand in the future since we all have a great deal to say. I forgot to mention, we will publish INKnitters four times a year, in June, September, December and March.

How do I continue receiving INKnitters? The premier issue, which is being mailed in early June, is our enticement carrot. This issue will be distributed free to approximately 15,000 knitters. In each copy there will be a coupon that must be returned to obtain the second issue of INKnitters, being published in September. Returning this coupon is not a commitment for you to join INK, rather it’s our way of giving serious potential members a chance to view our second issue and then make up their mind. If you choose not to join INK at that point, we do request a small charge for the magazine you did request and received.

How can I send a FREE premier issue of INKnitters to my friend? There are several ways of contacting us with your friends’ name. You can visit our website at www.INKnitters.com and use the handy submission form. You can call the office at 1-800-628-8047 and request a copy, or you can simply take the traditional method of mailing us at INK, 3415 Custer Rd, Suite 140, Plano TX 75023. Please allow 2-3 weeks to process your order and give the post office time to deliver your magazine using periodicals mail.Another method of previewing the first issue is through our website at www.INKnitters.com. The complete issue is downloadable as a series of PDF files that you can archive electronically. We can’t guarantee this for each issue of the magazine, just the one scheduled for June 2001.

Why join INK when other knitting groups and functions are available? We hope you will realize that involvement in any knitting group is not mutually exclusive, nor should it be. Each group, local or national offers programs for their members and non-members. Many of our members belong to several other knitting and fiber groups, and we certainly don’t discourage them. We envision INK as a true network in support of all knitters, no matter what other knitting affiliations our members have. We are all knitters, and our goals for INK members are education, help, encouragement, camaraderie and sharing.

What are the immediate plans for INK? We have to get some legs under us before we can run. INK has been in the planning stages for quite some time,with the Executive Board meeting regularly since January 2001. Our first tasks are to establish the magazine, start forming committees to work on the initiatives we want to implement and most important, getting our name out to all knitters about what we offer and what we hope to grow into. Obviously, reading this is a first step that is very tangible to you. Since press releases and editorial content like this are prepared months before publication, let me direct you to our website at www.INKnitters.com to view the latest news.

There need to be benefits in membership and a magazine is the strongest one any Network can start with. We have put an emphasis on obtaining regular column writers, soliciting designs for future issues, tweeking our format to your feedback. All these steps form a solid foundation to the magazines continued existence and ensure that we can meet our publication commitments.

Where does INK see itself a year from now? We see ourselves meeting you where ever we can, and listening to what you, our members think a knitting Network should provide. We want to implement your ideas about knitting and education, and offer the programs most meaningful to you.

Some first year goals are to start a seminar circuit. We’re not promising the large markets and numerous classes that you have come to expect from other fiber entities. Our emphasis will be directed toward more personalized teaching venues. We want to have affordable shows across the country in those areas where knitters are possibly not supported with numerous local yarn stores. And of course, hand and machine knitters will be equally welcomed, crammed with information and knitting overloaded.We see the first steps being made to share programs and initiatives with other associations in the UK, Canada, Australia and the rest of the world. Wherever knitters want to form an alliance with us, we’re willing to work in supporting them.

Your Executive Board

Susan Esser is an accomplished knitter and teacher with many years’ experience. Some of the highlights of those years are as follows: Master Knitter, certified by TKGA, and subsequently served as a juror for the Master Knitter Committee. She has taught knitting in homes, schools, Girl Scout groups, clubs, guilds, shops, and presented workshops in the US and Canada. Susan is the founder and Past President of the South Carolina Knitting Guild, heads up 3 social/knitting groups, as well as organizes NoSoKnits (North South Knit-ins) in VA, KY and NC. She is a teacher by profession, has a true love for the art of knitting and is a firm believer in passing on this great tradition through teaching others.

Kathy Sasser has served as co-chair for TKGA’s Master Hand Knitting Committee, worked as Advertising Director for CAST ON Magazine and is a certified Master Knitter. She owned her own yarn shop for four years and currently runs Arky Arky Creations, a home based design studio started in 1991. Her work has appeared in CAST ON Magazine and Knitting Digest. She has three designs due out in two new books by House of White Birches and has been selected as one of Knitters Magazine’s winners for their new Aran afghan contest.

Jennie S. Merritt is a wife, mother of two adult sons, and grandmother of two grandsons. She has been hand knitting since a child and began machine knitting in the 70’s. In the 60’s a love of teaching others developed and soon she was teaching school children, girl scouts, at living museums, and privately. From this evolved design work and writing and soon her designs and articles found their way to Machine Knitter’s Source, News and Views and Cast On magazines. She has been active in the fiber world as president of guilds in New York, CA, and VA, Chair of the machine knitting committee through TKGA, and author of a correspondence machine knitting program, as well as a member of spinning and weaving guilds.

Diane Piwko has been the editor/publisher of Machine Knitters Source for four years now. She is an accomplished machine and hand knitting designer who has been knitting for over 35 years, and she’s still under 40! Her personal tastes run towards the off-beat or very complicated since they challenge her engineering training. In addition to publishing the magazine, Diane has been a teacher on the machine knitting seminar circuit for many years, and often writes articles for MKS and other newsletters. She is a member of PKDG, the Dallas Handknitters Guild, North Texas Machine Knitters Guild and several other organizations.

Kay Holt is our shy member, saying just that she’s a knitter from South Texas. Personally, we know she’s much more then that, often the biggest smile that greets you at any knitting gathering across the country. We’ll have to coax more information from her in the future.