Knitters are all about learning new things, but what if there was something that made the whole process easier? That’s what Knitrino, a new app from sisters Alison Yates and Andrea Cull, does. They work with independent designers to create specially-designed, interactive patterns. See only the size you’re making, check off your progress within the chart, create colorwork charts with the colors you’re using and click on a stitch to watch a video on how to do it.
Will you be joining us for our show on October 15? Knitrino is partnering with lots of Indie Untangled vendors to show off the current Knitrino patterns in their beautiful yarns. Kits will be available in the marketplace booths and Alison and Andrea will be on hand in the Indie Untangled Picnic Area to help you get started with Knitrino’s interactive features. If you’re attending our online event, you can meet them there, too!
Tell us the story of how you came up with the idea for Knitrino.
We started Knitrino by listening to knitters’ stories. We talked to them on video chats and at live shows, asking them about learning to knit, current WIPs, knitting heartache, and what they’d want with three wishes. Over & over we heard about mistakes & roadblocks caused by paper patterns: looking at the wrong size, losing a sticky note, forgetting to mark where they left off, re-creating entire charts in Excel for colorwork in their color combos. These knitters where spending hundreds of dollars on indie-dyed yarn, hundreds more hours knitting, only to have projects banished to the unfinished project pile because of the PDF pattern.
Why is Knitrino important?
If there’s one thing we learned from listening to knitters, it’s that everyone learns and processes information differently. Even very experienced knitters run into problems, looking up the wrong video for their magic cast on, or circling the wrong sweater size for one line of instructions. And aspiring knitters are often stumped by the jargon and abbreviations frequently found in knitting patterns. We have been blown away by the number of knitters who have grown their skills, tackling projects that they never thought they could, from socks to first sweaters! We are so grateful to have each other as we knit, and we want Knitrino to be the knitting sister, knitting coach, knitting mentor so knitters everywhere can realize they can do so much more than they thought they could!
What are each of your responsibilities when it comes to the business? What are the unique things that each of you bring to your company?
Andrea: As the “Chief Knitting Officer” I’m in charge of planning our curated collections, choosing yarns for new designs, scheduling tech edits & test knits, and organizing a collaborative release of the patterns when they’re ready for Knitrino. I love talking to designers, dyers, yarn shops, and knitter & brainstorming creative ideas. So I’m often on a video chat or DMing on Slack or IG to find out what people want, need, or dream of knitting in the future.
Alison: We always joke that I’m the business-end, but in reality, I’m the product/user experience (UX) part of the business. I dream up all the ways knitting should be easier, translate that into an implementation plan, and then work with our developers to create it. I also build the patterns on the backend – I love the mathy bits, and spend lots of my days in spreadsheets building patterns, doing our books, filing our taxes. Andrea and I are both scientists by training. We like to say that in our Venn diagram, our similarities are our parents, science, knitting, and shared values. Other than that, we’re very different, and that’s what makes us a great team.
What’s your vision of the future with Knitrino?
We have so many big plans for Knitrino, and this is just the start! What if you had settings for how you knit – left-handed picker or right-handed thrower, for example – and Knitrino would adjust all the instructions and videos to match how you knit? (Just to interject, we’re amazed at how left out our left-handed knitting friends have been, and all the extra effort that’s required of them.) What if you could specify your gauge or your size, and have Knitrino update the pattern just for you? And those are just the little things we’re working on – we have many secret things we can’t even talk about yet. Our hope is to take away the unnecessarily difficult aspects, and leave knitters with an experience where they can effortlessly focus on the knitting they love.
How do you decide which designers to partner with?
We love innovative ideas, beautiful motifs, and partnering with people who share our values. We are extremely grateful for the designers who believe in what we are doing for the future of patterns and want everyone we work with to feel good about our collaborations and what we are building with Knitrino.
Can you share some of your plans for future Knitrino designs?
We are really excited about an mini-skein pattern we have in progress for all those holiday kits! We also have about 20 beautiful designs currently in the queue from indie designers we love!
Tell me about how each of you learned how to knit? Alison, I understand you learned only after you and Andrea founded Knitrino.
Alison: When we started Knitrino, I wasn’t a knitter. I told Andrea I wasn’t going to learn – I just had too many hobbies that I didn’t have time for. But after a few months of talking to knitters, I broke down and told Andrea “Okay, you have to teach me how to knit! I feel like a fraud!” So I picked a vintage sweater that I wanted to make, and the rest is history,
Andrea: I first learned to knit from a pamphlet book with pictures about 20 years ago, but it didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t until about seven years ago when a friend said, “You can knit anything if you just do what the pattern says” that I began a journey to do just that!
Do either of you enjoy other crafts in addition to knitting?
Andrea: I’ve done some others but can’t say I “enjoy” them!
Alison: Sewing and crochet predate knitting, but there isn’t much time for them these days.
Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.
Andrea: I’m working on a colorwork cardigan for Rhinebeck that I engineered myself using the stunning motif from Francoise Danoy’s Koru cowl!
Alison: My vintage Rhinebeck dress from a 1930s pattern!