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Primarily Practical Knits - Lexington KY
See also my interview with J. Michelle, posted at jmichellemarketing.com/kelly-of-primarily-practical-knits/! Her website has some very good information for anyone interested in starting a craft business.
My name is Kelly Feibes, and I began knitting in 1985. For the first couple of years, I either ripped out or threw away almost everything I made. I didn’t stop trying, though. I loved the feeling of yarn and needles in my hands, the rhythmic motions, and the sheer magic of seeing a piece of string transformed into fabric.
Eventually, though, I started to produce some wearable clothing. Over time my husband and I built up quite a wardrobe of sweaters! I started giving my creations to other family members and friends. Occasionally someone suggested I sell my knits, but I always dismissed the idea. I knew very well how many hours went into producing even a basic sweater, and I knew most people couldn’t afford to pay for that much labor.
Lexington KY Changes My Knitting Habits
After moving to Lexington KY in 2001, I became friends with someone who planned to go into business making and selling cloth diapers. She asked if I could knit cloth diaper covers for her, and I did so. In the process, I realized how slow and tedious it would be hand knitting numerous diaper covers. Either they would be really expensive, or I would be very poorly paid!
I reluctantly began to research domestic knitting machines. (As a long-time lover of hand knitting, I had always considered machine knitting not a “true” craft.) But the more I learned, the more fascinated I became. I finally took a deep breath and purchased two machines. I assumed that 18 years of hand knitting would make it very easy for me to use these contraptions.
Wrong! I quickly found out that knitting on a domestic machine, or knitting loom as some call it, is a completely different craft than hand knitting. It requires skills and knowledge that I simply didn’t have. I also learned that it is, indeed, a “hand craft”, as my hands are required to be present and active at every step of the process. There are very few machine knitters in the Lexington KY area, so I immediately joined several Internet knitting lists to get help. I heard others talk about the “learning curve”--so at least I wasn’t alone.
Primarily Practical Knits Is Born
Since purchasing my machines in 2003, I have had a wonderful, sometimes frustrating, experience learning how to use them. Many generous knitters have helped me over the Internet and I found some excellent books on the subject. I have also been able to attend several machine knitting seminars and classes.
While most of my products are made at least partially on a domestic knitting machine, I still love hand knitting and crocheting. I always have at least two hand projects in progress, so that whenever I have a spare moment, or a long car ride, I have something to work on. Some of these are sold, some are gifts for friends and family, and some are garments or items for my own use. (My husband and I, and now my children, continue to have quite a wardrobe of sweaters, mittens, hats, ponchos…)
In addition to starting my Lexington KY business in 2003, I also “went public” by entering four items in the 2003 Kentucky State Fair. I was delighted to win two ribbons: blue for an adult cardigan and red for a child’s vest. I continued to enter winning items in the State Fair for a couple more years, until business picked up and I no longer had time.
The Philosophy Behind Primarily Practical Knits
I love knits, but I have noticed that most commercially available knits are either cheap (in every sense of the word) or luxury items. Cheap knits are frustrating: they don’t look good for long and they fall apart. Luxury knits are too expensive for many families, and are not always of the quality one might expect.
I want to provide knits that will meet the typical family’s needs. I use quality yarns that will last and last, and generally avoid expensive yarns that require special handling. I hand-finish each item, so I can guarantee it will not unravel in the wash. In fact, most of my products are washed before I sell them, using the same instructions I attach to the item.
I also want to provide handmade knit gifts suitable for many occasions. A handmade gift is very special because of the attention and care that are given to the product. Many people are very pleased to receive a handmade gift rather than something off the store shelf.
My products for sale get as much care and attention as the items I make for myself and my family. For more detail about my approach to creating handmade clothing and gifts, please visit Handmade Knits.
The Business Side of Primarily Practical Knits
Primarily Practical Knits was registered as a limited liability company in July 2003. I work out of my home in Lexington KY so that I may continue to be a full-time mother. Working for myself also allows me complete control over every item, so that I can guarantee the quality of my products.
Prior to my website, sales were all in the local area. “Word-of-mouth” advertising has worked tremendously well for me. Please visit my Testimonials page to learn what customers say about my work.
Thank you for your interest!
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