Thursday, November 5, 2015

Newsletter Thursday | A Peek Inside.

...I think y'all know that I write a bi-weekly newsletter for Cast-on Cottage (my LYS). Bonny asked me to share a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes leading up to publication. Today was a Newsletter Thursday... so here you go (and if you don't subscribe - here's what you missed)!
the pile of yarn on Tuesday morning
I meet with Theresa, the shop owner, every couple of months to learn about new lines, new yarns, trunk shows, and the "big" things happening at the shop. Our last meeting was in early September and we mapped out newsletters through November. Thinking the new Swans Island All American Sport would be arriving in late October, we planned today's newsletter to announce it.

I've been writing these newsletters since May 2014 (here's the first one) and ... things have evolved a bit! Sara helped me develop a style when she was here last June. Fonts and Colors make a huge difference. When we started, it was all about the "project". Now, though, the "off week" letters (which the shop's manager publishes) do most of that. My letters are focused around yarn, with just enough pattern thrown in to get people excited about that yarn. I still work with the same fonts and colors Sara helped me find, but now I spend most of my time on research...and photos.

When Swans Island announced the yarn and pattern collection (late Spring?) I immediately wanted to knit the Ingrid Pullover. I love pullovers and I really wanted to learn two-handed fair isle. I was delighted when Theresa decided to order the yarn...in all 36 colors. But when the yarn arrived last month, I was up to my eyeballs in Shibui and didn't really look at it. Until Monday when I snapped this photo with my phone.
the sport is on the right - 36 colors fill up the bins!
I pulled a HUGE bag of yarn (not all 36 colors, but at least 24) and brought it home to photograph. Tuesday morning, I dumped the bag onto my bed - my bedroom gets pretty good light even when it's not nice outside (and it's been not nice outside for days here). and just looked at it. No sun on Tuesday (not to mention no time :-) so on Wednesday morning I was out front taking photos. Four of my photos  made it to the newsletter; I took over 50.
for the opening - love the focus on the label...the rest of the photos were quick once I got this one
My "formula" is pretty photos + a quotation + a few words + a close-up closing.  I sketch out the photos I want to go along with the project suggestions. I really wanted to include some suggested colorways for one of the projects, but I couldn't get the photos just right. So in the end, I didn't include that in the newsletter.
from this morning's (failed) attempt to photograph colorways...again in my bedroom
I chose the best photos - opening, yarn (3) and closing - and started editing. I don't really do much with the actual yarn photos, but grabbing pattern images, finding a good quotation, matching colors ... it still takes an hour or two.
my kitchen counter close to  publication time
Once I have the images done, I start the newsletter. If I've done the images well, the words come easily and the actual letter takes less than an hour to write and edit. When I'm pleased with the final draft, I send it to Theresa for a last review. When she says OK, I publish. That happened today at 1:45. Which gave me just enough time to clean up this mess before I left for the knitting club at the nursing home.

I've mentioned here before that one of the hazards of this whole newsletter gig is what it does to my queue! This week was no exception. My friend Pat has had her eye on the Fiona Coat. She was planning to buy the yarn and knit it for her "light winter coat" in December and January. I really wasn't interested in knitting a "stockinette blanket with sleeves" ... until I saw this coat
yep, from Nordstrom...I don't even know how much it costs
and then I was obsessed. a flurry of texts and an in-person consultation yesterday...and I now have the yarn for my very next project.

Pat and another friend also bought their yarn yesterday. We're going to have a knit-along! of course Pat has already swatched...me...not so much, but I have wound a ball of yarn.
noting how weird lighting can be with yarn... this is the lightest color shown in the photo above
If you're here, thank you for reading! I hope you found this interesting...and I'd be happy to answer questions. especially if there are enough to prompt a follow-up blog post!

8 comments:

  1. That sounds like a whole lot of work. I'm sure it's well received, though, and I hope that makes it worthwhile for you.

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  2. You do a wonderful job with the newsletter and I find it hard not to want every yarn you show. That coat is amazing! And I can see it would be something to you'd wear and love.

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  3. I am knitting the Axis Shawl in Swans Island right now. I love, love this yarn...the natural colors, the smell, everything!

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  4. Thanks for the "Behind the Newsletter" peek! Your formula works well and your photos are quite tempting, especially with all those Swans Island colors. So my question: Do you have to take back all the yarn you bring home? ;-) I actually think you show a lot of restraint, surrounded by all that lovely yarn!

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  5. This is a great post and I commend you for all the 'behind-the-scenes' you not only shared but do! I love that you are going to knit a stockinette blanket with sleeves and the color palette is great and so you. Clearly in my next life I am going to become a knitter!
    Off to check out the newsletter!
    Cheers~

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  6. Excellent and they are so lucky to have you as the newsletter writer! I know I always enjoy getting it. :-) And that coat is just fabulous, can't wait to see you wearing it!

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  7. I can just see you in that coat :). And you put such a lot of effort into your newsletter - I am not surprised others are inspired. Photographing in a white space like that is very clever ...

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Thanks for the feedback!