The count-down has officially kicked off to the launch of the Making Things App. When the Making Things people first reached out to me, I had a lot of questions about what Making Things was, how it would all work, and if I would feel in my heart of hearts that it was something many knitters would latch onto. It’s probably common with any new approach to something we’ve become accustomed to doing a certain way and so I agreed to chat with the founder, Megan, via video to get a better feel for this company she was just beginning to piece together.
For those of you who know me personally, you already know that I’m on a journey to breaking free of myself. Not so long ago, a video chat would have sent me shaking and sweating, barely able to speak, and coming out the other side with little memory of what the conversation entailed. This was a real problem when I was trying to promote my first book (just a pinch of promotion! like, seriously, the bare minimum). My social anxiety took off a few years ago, but I’m pushing myself to rein it in and find myself within my head. It’s hard to explain, but I mention it now because I didn’t have those feelings talking to Megan. I felt like I was conversing with an old friend and went trailing on about unrelated topics, loosing track of the time we spent, and carrying on while also being completely distracted by all of the people and animals that seem to orbit me like I’m the sun. The natives were restless that afternoon and mama being on a work call = curious kids and random animal appearances. Megan just laughed and commented on how cute the puppies and bunnies were and counted the slumbering dogs in the background as hubs popped in for a kiss as he was headed off for work.
We even talked about my anxiety. We talked about how it flourished when I began working from the safe comfort of my couch, behind a screen. We talked about sharing more about it with the community as counter-intuitive as it sounds.
When it was well over our scheduled time and we were wrapping up, I knew I would be happy to be a launch designer for the app. I accepted and began working on pulling a few patterns for the launch that week. You see, Making Things isn’t another Ravelry site. It’s subscription-based with full access to all of the patterns on the site without any additional fees. What that means for knitters is that they are paying a membership fee in exchange for every single pattern on the app. In the beginning, I was questioning if the general knitting population would be willing to pay that monthly membership fee, but I did the quick math and realized it would end up equaling about the cost of maybe 2 or 3 patterns purchased individually per month, and suddenly I was well on my way to being sold on the idea. Now, the deal was sealed for me when it came to all of the designer resources they’re providing which doesn’t really have any effect on the knitters - unless you think in-house tech editing, pattern support, and possibly even product photos are going to effect you (just kidding, they totally are because you have live chat, pattern support, and quality patterns that are well-photographed at your fingertips. Plus, you won’t have to email a designer and wait to hear back for any questions you may have).
As I began getting to know the beta version during its soft launch, I discovered the growing library of how-to videos and stitch guides the app will have available in addition to the patterns. This means, if there is a stitch or a technique you may not be familiar with or 100% comfortable with, there’s a good chance you can find a tutorial for it on the app. This includes videos down to the most basic of basic - like how to knit and purl. I honestly don’t know how they’re doing it all, but it felt like a warm little hug just learning about everything they want to achieve for both me (the designer) and you (the knitters).
When the designer page email hit my in box, I was really excited to see how the patterns were all laid out, how the various pattern tools worked, and how the patterns are formatted. First, it’s all very clean and easy to navigate. Each designer’s page is formatted by the Making Things team to coordinate with either our logos or our profile pics (if a logo isn’t available) which is a small detail that I think shows just how much thought and care they are putting into the app. You will also find each designer’s bio along with Instagram, Facebook, and website links below their profile pictures so that you can stay connected with designers you love. Finally, there is a grid of pattern photos - this is the cool part for knitters - simply click on any picture and the pattern opens. It was actually sort of a shock even to me when I clicked a pic and anticipated maybe a row of images with a bunch of yarn, needles, notions info, and then maybe an action to get to the pattern, but rather the first thing I saw was the first section of my pattern! On my phone, I got started navigating the pattern and noticed there is a little photo icon on the pattern image that you can click to see all the pictures and at the bottom there are 5 icons that open for various actions. One opens a drop down menu that houses all of the extra stuff in the pattern like specs, abbreviations, special techniques, designer notes, etc… this is all the stuff I’m so accustomed to seeing first. There’s an icon that houses all of a pattern’s charts (this has interactive tools, too for keeping track of where you are on your chart which is incredibly useful), there’s a tool for making notes within the pattern, you can highlight sections, and about a million more tools. When I headed over to the page on my computer, it all worked very similarly. I wasn’t logged into my designer account, so I had the opportunity to see the pattern page as a knitter will. If you’re scrolling through the feed and click on an image, a page opens with photos, specs, and related patterns. You can then click on a link to wishlist the pattern on your dashboard or you can start making it. Other than that, it’s a nearly identical experience. I know that they’re still racing to button up all of the little odds and ends before launch, so some of the small details of how things work may change slightly.
If you want to see for yourself what this all will look like before launch, head to the Making Things page HERE and take a few minutes to really dive into the Digital Patterns tab at the top of the page to see all of the things I talked about here. Launch is set for October 30th and the MT community is gearing up - look for #MTdesigners and #letstartmakingthings on your favorite social media and I’ll be back to let you know how you can sign up for Making Things through my designer page (@pink_brutus_knits) so stay tuned and mark your calendar for the 30th!