How KnackTM Began
So maybe it wasn’t a bolt of lightning, and it might not even turn out to be more than the flicker of a metaphorical light bulb, but when Maryanne and I sat down in Lis’s living room to hear about this idea called “knack,” something electric happened.
Knack Magazine was started in Lis’s living room, when she shared her idea with Maryanne and me for an online magazine we would put together, all about the things we like to do, the things we have a “knack” for. Knack is meant to read like a magazine, but have all the fun bells and whistles of a website. And so each issue contains articles, craft ideas, tutorials, and lots of pictures about one subject that we really like. We do research, create patterns, experiment with food and paint and fabric, and share it all with our readers. Some of it is free, just because we want to share. Some of the original artwork, craft or sewing patterns, lesson plans, etc. represent hours of hard work. So with each issue (for a small price) you can also purchase a Knack, which is a collection of original pdfs, word docs, video tutorials, and patterns that delve a little bit deeper into the issue subject.
We hope you enjoy reading our articles, that you get great ideas from our patterns, and that you come back often to read and to share your own flashes of inspiration!
Making things has always been kind of a release for me. If I’m stressed out or having a bad day, I like to immerse myself in a project (creating a knitting pattern, or redecorating the guest room.) I believe that arts, crafts, and a sense of humor are really all you need to stay happy and alive.
I like to make my kids’ Halloween costumes because I hate paying for the store-bought ones, and I think mine are more fun. I love playing with wool. I like washing, dying, carding, and spinning it. I also enjoy making unique clothes for my kids, usually with applique (which is not just for “cutesy” stuff anymore!)
I like the fact that there are always multiple ways to make things and I enjoy the challenge of finding the best or easiest or fastest way to do something. I like the flexibility of being able to create something myself, to make what I want exactly how I want it.
I also get a lot of satisfaction from teaching people how to make things. I love seeing the light that comes on when someone realizes they can do something they previously thought was hard. Creative knowledge needs to be shared, and I like to share it.
All of my hobbies have been developed out of a desire to have and be around nice things, but not having the money to have ALL of the things I wish I could. So here are some of my favorite things I’ve become good at (and still working on):
Visual arts. I love painting and drawing.
Woodworking. (I started in the wood shop with my grandpa watching him – he showed me how to use different machines and tools when I was REALLY little.) The first big project I did was building a bookshelf for my husband when we got married to store his crazy amount of books.
Sewing is my newest “knack.” When I had my baby girl I wanted to buy all kinds of cute clothes and quickly realized I would not be able to afford all the things I wanted. So I learned how to make them. From shoes to bows to complete outfits! Not any of the kitschy stuff you see people do… I like high quality professional looking designs. So that takes time, to figure out how to make good quality items.
And home decorating. I have things that bother me around my house, so in my head or on paper I sketch how I want to change them. And then I try to figure out how to actually do it. So, I love drawing ideal house plans with dimensions to fit my family perfectly. I visualize furniture and shelving that I want to create and build to fit my home. I collect things. And when an old person has a yard sale, OH MY GOSH, that’s my dream… old furniture to re-upholster, tables & chairs to re-paint. My ideal house is going to be so amazing, someday.
I have four young children, ages 3-10, and so the things that I have a knack for are most often connected to my family in some way. I have a couple of degrees in theatre, a BA in theatre education and an MA in theatre history and criticism. So I love the performing arts, and making them accessible and exciting for people of all ages. I’m a freelance dramaturg, so every now and then I get to work in an actual theatre.
I have a knack for education – I’ve taught at the high school, community college, and university and I really love teaching in any form. A love of theatre and a love of children have developed into an interest in children’s literature and storytelling. I secretly dream of writing children’s books someday.
I love hiking and camping and being out in nature – my dad is an ecologist and knows so much about the world around him and he had a knack for sharing that with us when we were little. So I’m doing my best to share that with my kids now – we listen for bird songs we recognize, read field guides about birds and wildflowers, and we love to explore the local natural wonders.